May 10, 1863

May the 10th 1863

Dear Father and Mother and Sisters and Brothers

I take the present opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you all well as I am thankful to say that I am enjoying the best of health. The boys are all well and in fine spirits. The health was never better than it is at this and the boys are all in fine spirits. Alto the news are rather discuriging from Hookers arma at this time but I am in hopes they will come out all rite yet. I think if they are successful the war can’t last meutch longer at the least I hope not. We are still laying in camp near Murpheesboro but their is no telling how long we will stay hear if we should go out on a scout and you shouldent hear from me for a week or 2. You must not be uneasy about us for I would rather be out scouting around than laying hear in camp. Some think because a man is in the arma he is as good as dead but I don’t think so. I feald just as safe heare as I would at home and if I had nobody but my self to care for I should be very well contented. But as it is I hope it will not be long untill I can return to those I love.

I am going to send Siles letter. I don’t want you to get any ways excited about it. Just consider the source and let it rest untill I get back and I think I can straten things out a little. It seams to rather stick the old fellow that I thanked you for what you had done and didn’t thank him. I generally try to thank thoes whome thanks are due. If I hadn’t thought you deserved thanking I shouldn’t have do so but what you done the very best you could for it was to your intrust to do so but let the old jent slide. He will get his pay some of thoes days. I will have to close for this time. Hopeing to remain your loving and tru friend and suninlaw

Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and Children and friends

Note: “Hooker’s Arma” refers to Major General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker who at this time had command of the Army of the Potomac. He was best known for a major defeat at Chancellorsville which was a battle fought from April 30 to May 6, 1863 which is likely the news that William found discouraging. May 3red of that battle was considered the second bloodiest day of the civil war.

May 1, 1863

May the 1th 1863

Dear Sarah,

Threw the goodness of god I am purmitted to rite you a nother letter witch I hope will finde you and all the rest of the friends well as I am thankful to say that I am enjoying as good health at this time as I have for several years. I know that you will think their is some thing to matter that I didn’t riter last weeak. I will now tell you the reasons. I told you in my last letter that we ware going out on a 6 days scout but as it happened it tured out to be a 10 days scout. We started out on the 20 and got back on the 30. We went out a bout 40 milds. We had a good time. We first went to MacMinville and took 200 prisners and burned the town and then went Leiberty and took a few more prisners and burnt a part of the town. We went from their to Alicande got some more prisionrs. Thier our calvra and mounted infantry went to Lebinon.
I haven’t heard what they done thier but there was between 3 and 4 hundred prisners braut in and where there was 50 familys mooved in with us, I think, and mabee more that many any how.
Well anuf of that you wanted to know how I liked my shirts. I like them first rate. I could have sold them for 3 dollars a peace but I would not take twice befor them for they are so much better than the wolen shirts. I have got everything you have sent me all rite. I got a letter from Jsade Booher yesterday. He wants to know if I will sell queen. He thinks it would be for the best. He thinks the money on in trust will be better than the mare. I am going to tell him to set hir and loan the money and send you the note for I know she will be a bother to him. I will send Sils last letter so you can se what he has to say. I rote to him to send me the note and

Upside down on page 1
You neednt to let Sile know that I sent all his letters to you.

Upside down on page 3
If I get time I will rite to your pah tomorrow tell all the friends to rite

Notes: The letter appears to be incomplete and ends here.  With regards to the raids, it’s worth noting that during the Civil War, it was common for the soldiers, after raiding a small town that the unit did not have the man power to hold, to evacuate the residents and burn the property after stripping it of anything useful. This way, the enemy would not be able to avail themselves of anything useful as well.

April 19, 1863

April the 19th 1863

Dear Sarah,

It is with great pleasure that I seat my self this lovely sabath day to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very cinde letter that I received a few minits a go. It was rote on the 15th. I was very glad to hear that you ware all well. I am well at this time and so are the rest of the boys and I hope when this comes to hand it may finde you enjoying the same great blessing. You did not say weather you had got the money I sent or not. We got paid agan some 3 weeks ago and I put a 10 dollar bill in a letter for you at the first of weak before last and the first of last weak I put 2 5 dollar bills in a nother letter which would make 20 dollars that I haven’t heard from yet. I have a little more to send but I will wait until I rite again before I send it. We are to start out in the morning on a 6 days scout so that it will be Saturday evening before we return but I would rather beout a scouting around than laying in camp for we have ben laying hear to long that I am bored of the place. We have had a nice time lately. The weather has ben nice and we have a plenty to eat and not much to doo.
I believe I will put a cupple of dollars in this letter and risk it. I want you to be sur to let me know wheather you get the money or not. You wanted to know if we got any eggs hear. The suthars bring them hear and sell them for 5 cents a piece or 60 cents a dozen. I shall have to close for this time hoping to remain your loving husband while life that last.
Wm. Forder to SA Forder and all the friends. Rite as often as you can.

The upside down passages were odd at first but on examination, they flow next to each other from page one to 4 to make a coherent message. Strung together, with a “-” where the line moved from page 1 to four, the message ultimately reads:

I would like to rite – to to your pah but I
haven’t time. Now tell – him I will rite to him the
next time. Tell all – the friends to write

The Copperhead Movement

In up coming letters, you will start to hear William discuss the local “Copperheads”  The Copperheads or “Peace Democrats” were northern sympathizers to the confederates.  They were defined by being anti-war, pro-slavery, and very vocal about their stance.  Historians note that many Copperheads focused on political activities such as organizing anti-war political rallies, opposing pro-war and abolitionist candidates, and fighting against the draft.  Some Copperheads attempted to talk Union soldiers into deserting.  There were also indications that some Copperheads had been planning to assist with the escape of Confederate prisoners and sometimes served as paid informants to Confederate agents.  A series of trials in 1864 accused prominent Copperheads of treason.

The majority of Copperheads were in the southern Midwest in southern Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana which is likely why they feature so frequently in letters between William and his family in Darlington, Indiana.  Demographically, members of the Copperhead movement consisted of former Southerners who had moved north of the Ohio River, the poor, and merchants whose businesses were suffering due to loss of business down south.  The group also consisted of many German and Irish Catholics from mill town and mining communities.

There remains a fair amount of debate among historians on the effect of the Copperhead movement on the war as well as the extent of their loyalty to the Union and the depth of their racist views. 

 

Undated – Dear Father and Mother

Dear Father and Mother

I don’t know wether I can think of any thing to rite or not as I have rote about all I can think of but it makes no difference wo I rite to. You all get to se what I rite. I am always very glad to hear from any of you.
I can’t think of anything els to rite so I will give you a short discription of the country. Hear it may be interesting to you. Murpheesboro has ben a prety smart town but like all the rest of the Southern towns they are going to ruin. In the place of improving farm 4 to 5 miles and in some places father around merfreesboro the land is level and torable good. Where ever the land is level it is inclined to be rather smampy and for that reason the roads are all graded but in agreat many places the roads are ruined. There has been so much wagoning done. I believe about one half of the timber in this state is sedar. Nearly all the rails are made of sedar. I have saw hundreds of acres of sedar so thick a man could not ride threw it and again I have saw acres in a body that could se nothing but rack. The farmers turn thier attention generaly to the groth of cotten but thier will be but very little of any thing raised this season for the men are nearly all gon both white and black. I shall have to close for the time hoping to remain your loving sun and brother.

Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and all the rest.

Upside down on Page 1
Be sure to rite whenever you can and tell me all the news

February 26, 1863

February the 26th 1863

Dear Father and Mother and Brothers and Sister

I take the preasant opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will find you all well as I am thankful to say that I am well. I am always very glad to hear from you and it would do me a heap more good to se you all but I am willing to wate with patance for the sake of our beloved country. I know that I could not be satesfide at home while the simpesithers are are cutting up so I don’t want to come home until I can stay for I don’t think I could stand it to part with my dear family and friends again. I hope it will not be long untill this thing will be settled. I wish all the northern simpesithers ware in a fite with a nuff powder under them to blow them to heaven and I had a orders to touch it off. I hope that will have more sense than to make it necessary for an army to pass threw our beloved state for it is awful to se the destruction of property where an army goes. The farming is all destroyed for 2 or 3 milds around Murfreesboro and from hear to Nashville within site of the road there is a great many large farms that thier ain’t hardly a rail left or any timber left to make rails. We are still laying in camp near Murfreesboro and I haven’t any I dear how long we will lay hear but I hope we will stay untill the wether settles. We have had a heep of rain and lately it has rained for 36 ours and it is still raining rite along.

I told Sarah that I would send hir a little money but I haven’t had any chance to sende it yet. If I don’t get a chance to send it before long I will sende it in a letter but I will let you know when I send it and how I sent it. I will have to close for this time.

Hoping to remain your loving Sun and Brother

Wm Forder to GS Hubbard and children
Rote as often as you can. Rite rite rite

Upside down on page one
I forgot to say that Jim McMullen is well fat and sasey

February 20, 1863

February the 20th 1963

Dear Sarah,

I take the preasnt opportunity to rite a few lines to you in answer to your cinde letter that came hand yesterday and the miniturs came all rite. I was assuredly glad to get them. I think yours look just like you but Leissy’s I can’t tell anything about it. I think it would have taken better in dark close but it will doo very well. Every body wonders how I came to get such a good looking woman. That’s our business, not theirs and they say that is a cute little girl too. The socks haven’t come yet but you neadnt to bother about that part. I have socks a plenty . We got a little money yesterday and but a little. We only got 3 months pay and after paying our clothing bill we hadn’t much left. We are aloud 3 1/2 dollars a month for clothing and you know we had to draw a full suit in the start. So after getting the clothing bill I got 21.85 and thier is a month and a half behind to go uppon. I can’t send very mutch home. I had borwed a little and I want to ceep a little to wich you will have no objection. I know the express man will be hear today. I guess if not he will be hear in a day or to and then I will express 12.00 to Salim in your paps name. This is a very small sum but it is the best I can do to ceep 10 or 5 dollars to buy a little something fit to eat once in awhile. This will be enough to buy you and our little girl a dress or to. You said you wished I could se the little girls playing together. I wish I could. It would be joy beyond measure.

You wanted to know if my teeth bothered any more. I haven’t had the tooth ache 5 minits for 4 months or more. I expect you would like to know wether I am well or not. I can tell you that I feald better now than I have for a long time. The rest of the boys are all well except T Sands. He is frechly sick. He has a severe cold settled on his lungs.
I hope when this comes to hand it will finde you all well. I will have to close for this time. Rite soon.

From your loving husband
Wm Forder to Sarah Forder

February 20, 1863

February the 20th

I guess near Merfreesboro TN
They say it is Thursday. I don’t know.

Dear Father and Mother

I take this opportunity to rite a few lines to you. I am well and hope when thoes few lines I come to hand they may finde you all well. You have me some of the price of things and said you expected I didn’t know much about the prices hear. I don’t know anything about the price of iron or sow belly or hard tacks or any thing that Uncle Abe gives us. The drifters sell cheap ham 30 ct to 50 ct a pound and butter from 50 to 60 ct. a pound. They have fruit in quart cans and they sell them from 1 to 2 dollars according to the scareyty of them and everything in accordance with those figures and they sell thier whiskey for $1.00 a pound but thank fortune that don’t cost me any thing but some will have the critter but a nuf of that. They say hey are arming the negros. I wish they would let the niger question alone for it will truly cause trubble in the union army if they do arm them. I do hope this war will be settled before long for it seams the longer the worse. But I hope they will have more sense to than to gote fiting in the North for it looks distressing to se the destruction of property where the army goes. I will have to close. Rite soon I hope to remain your loving son in law life shall last.

Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and children

Upside down on page one
Rite soon and give all the news you can think up. Give my respect to all the friends.

 

February 15, 1863

February the 15th 63

Camp near Murfreesboro

Dear Sarah

I seat my self this good sabath morning to rite a few lines to you hoping they will find you all well as thank God it leaves me and all the rest of the boys. Well, I received your letter that was rote the 1 of this month with this paper in it and I was sory to hear our little girll and mother was sick but I hope they are well by this time. I am very anxious to hear from you again and I think I will in a day or to.

The is as warm as spring hear the most of the time. The grass is beginning to gro and the birds to whistle as thou everything was peaceable and quiet. Our Captain has ben gone home several days. He will be back befor long. Now the people at LaFayette have made a lot of things to send to the batry and he is going to bring a lot of new horses. We have got new harness for all our horses this last weeak and we are getting the guns repared some oo that we will soon be redy for a nother fite but I hope they will leave the fighting part out. It seams that you didn’t under stand what I meant by being changed. What I mean is that we are now the 2 Devision 1 Brigade but this is best way for you to direct your letter.

William Forder
10th ind Bat
Cap Cox
Woods Devision
Louisville, KY

We are still laying in our old camp yet but I don’t think we will stay heare much longer. Forage is getting rather hard to get so that we will have to go some place and I don’t care for I am tire of staying heare. The pay master is hear. We will get some money in a shorte time maybe today. I don’t know how much we will get yet. I rote some time ago that I would express it to Salem in your Pap’s name. I expect it will be thare by the time you get this letter. You neadent send me any more paper now for I can get all I want. Now I will have to come to a close for this time hoping to remain your loving husband while life shal last don’t for get me in your prayers. I hope it will not be long untill we can come home. Give my respects to all the friends

Wm Forder to Sarah A Forder

Rite soon and often and tell all the friends to rite

Indiana 10th Inventory

An Artillery Battery is a unit that specializes in heavy fire power weapons.  Modern day artillery units carry rockets, mortars, and missiles.  However, during the time of the civil war, this generally meant one thing.

Cannons. 

And variations thereof.

Historically a “Battery” consisted of a group of cannons, howitzers, and mortars coordinating fire.  The Cannons and Howitzers are defined by the weight of the ordinance it can hurl.  Therefore, a 10lb cannon can fire a 10lb cannon ball.  According to www.civilwarhome.com, the term “Light Artillery” indicated that the cannoniers were mounted and therefore could move faster than their unmounted counterparts.  The guns were typically lower in weight in order to aid in their mobility. 

Another civil war blog, To the Sound of the Guns, lists ordinance records and inventory from various Indiana Batteries including the 10th.  According to these inventories, the unit carried two 12pd field howitzers and four 10pd Parrotts.  For those who are interested, To the Sound of the Guns also lists inventories of related equipment gleaned at various points from the units. 

Image of a 10lb Parrott

Image of a 12 lb Howitzer