October the 26th 63
I take the present opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you and our little girl and all the rest of the friends well and I am happy to day that I am enjoying the best of health and the rest of the boys are all well. I expect you will think it has taken me a long time to rite this letter but I haven’t had any chance to send it away yet but I will send it today. I will not rite any more to you this time as I want to rite a little to Emily and the boy. Rite as often as you can and don’t forget to pray for me.
Wm Forder to SA Forder
I received your very cinded letter and was very glad to hear that you had not forgotten me. I would be very glad to se you but that is an impossibility at the present for I belong to Uncle Abe at the present but I hope it will not be long until he will get threw with me for I would like very mutch to be free once more so that I could go where I pleased. I have always heard it said the darkest hour was just before the day and I think if it gets mutch darker than it has ben for the last 2 or 3 months it will be a gloomy time but it seams to me this dark spell can’t last mutch longer at least I hope not for I dread the coming winter. Solidering will do very well in the summer and fall but look out for the winter but I think I can stand the hardships better this winter than I did last for my health is a great deal better now than it ever was before and I feald thankful to God for it for wo be unto the sick soldier but I feald that their is one that will do all things well and that is a nuf for us.
But I must close as I want to say a little to the boys. I want you to rite when ever you feald like it for it always pleases me to hear from any of you. So good by for this time. Still hoping to remain your loving brother
Wm Forder to Emily P Hubbard
Well boys, I would like to se a few lines from you. Rite and tell me what you are a dooing and how you and Milton is getting along with your <???> and 40 other things I would like to hear about. You must excuse me for not riting any more but I haven’t room this time so I will have to close for this time.
Wm Forder to GSS Hubbard
Note: The question marks once again indicates a word that was obscured in the original letter. In this case, an ink blot or other stain completely marred the one word of the sentence. My best guess would have been “Mothers”.
September the 20th 1863
I seat myself this beautiful Sabath morning to rite you a few lines hoping they will finde you and our little girl well as I am happy to say that I am well. O Sarah what would I give to be at home this morning to go to meeting with you the Church bells are ringing now and it makes me feald very solem to think over the past thier has been thousands of pore fellows lade beneeth the sod within the last year that will never enjoy the society of thier friends hear on earth but I hope they are enjoying unbounded bliss at God’s rite hand whare sicness sorrow pain and dith are felt and heard no more.
I am sorry to say that one more of our little squad is dead. Isac Marty is dead. He died at Nashville but I haven’t been able to lurn the particulars of his death. We left him at Murpheesboro when we left their 3 months ago. He was sick but nobody thought thier was mutch the matter with him but time has proved differant. Time is the best fortune teller in the world.
The rest of the boys are well and I do hope that we will all be spared to return home.
Well I will now tell you that we are still at Chattanooga. Our brigade is no longer in the woods division. their is a mounted brigade put in our place so Brigadier General Wagoner has charge of the town for the preasant. His brigade is composed of the 57 Ind 40 Ind and 15 Ind and the 97 Ohio Regiments and the 10t Ind battery. I will now tell you how to direct your letters untill further orders. _____ I will rite it on another peace of papers.
Their was some havy fiting in frunt yesterday but the rebs got the worst of it. I would not be supprised if this would be the bloodiest battle that ever was fought for both armys are reinforcing heavly. I am in hope that this will be the last battle but it is of no use for me to be riting about it for you will se all about it by the papers.
I believe I have rote all I can think of at this time so I will close for this time. I haven’t got any letter from you since I rote last Sunday. The last I got was mailed at Salem but I expect to get one in a day or two. Ma God speed the day when we can talk to each other in the place of riting is my prayer but I will close by saying I still hope to remain your loving and true husband
Wm Forder to Sarah A Forder and child and all the friends rite soon
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I haven’t got that letter from your Pah yet and it is time I was getting one from Mother unless they have turned me of as one of the lost sheep of Iseral but I guess they will all take the time sets rite
August the 28th 63
I seat myself this morning to rite you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same great blessing. It has been about 2 weeks since I have had an opportunity of riting to you. We left Pelham on the 16th and I have received 2 letters from you since that time and was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you and Leisa and the rest of the folks ware well. We are now laying on the top of the mountain. Chatanoga is about 8 miles from us on the other side of the Tenesee river. We can se the town. The rebs are thier in hevy force and I think they intend to give us a fite hear. We have ben hear 5 days. We are waiting on the rite and center. They are swimging around. I think the calculation is to surround the town. We ma have to ley hear some time for Rosey will have everything redy before he closes in on them. It is splendid senery hear. We can se as far as the eye can se. We are 1500 feet above the valey. Wilders brigad of mounted men are down in the valy in between us and the town. His battery has shelled the town. Some the rebs fired a 32 poinder at them twice. The first shot cild 4 horses and took of a sargents leg but the other shot done no damage. They fired several shots at our men with smaller guns but they could not reach them. The river is 6 hundread and 50 yards wide in frunt of the town. I don’t think our brigade will have mutch of any fiting to do for I think the fiting will be on the other side of the river for we can’t get about to them nor they can’t get to us with out putting pontoon briges across and I don’t think that will be done yet awhile.
We are waiting for an opportunity to go close a nuff to shell the town some, if they would let us go within 2 miles of the town we can give them fits with our 10 pound Parit guns. I think the most of the fiting will be done with artilery.
I don’t want you to be uneasy about me for God is able to take care of me. I think if we are successful hear it will be the last fiting we will have to do. You want me to get a furlow that is an impossibility for thier hasn’t ben but one or to men got furlows in this brigade for 4 or 5 months that I know of and that was to sick men and to one whose family was dead dying and sick. We will have to wait the lords time. He will do what is best for us if we only put our trust in him. My daily prayer is that the time will soon come when this wicked rebellion shal be put down so that we can return to our dear familys and friends. God speed that happy day but I must close for time.
Still hoping to remain your loving husband Wm. Forder to Sarah Forder.
Pray for me that I may prove faithful to you and our God so fare the well for this time. Rite soon and often.
Upside down on page 1: Our riting material is at back in the rear. We made out to get some paper and envelops this morning. Thier is only our brigade and 3 of four guns and have ben for 6 days.
Sunday June the 7th 63
I am still well and hope when this comes to hand it will finde you and all the rest enjoying the same blessing. I have just returned from a strole. I went over to the grave yard witch lays to our rite about 1/2 a mild. Their is about 1,000 newly made graves their. I saw 6 coffens put in the ground while I was their and I wasn’t their over 20 minits and I guess it wasn’t a very good day for buring eather.
Thier is men imploid to stay thier and dig graves put in the coffens and fill up thier graves levell with the ground and stick up a peace of plank at the head with the name, co and reg and the no of the grave but a nuff of that. The seam to be trying our lines. The report is that we will make a moave in some directions tomorrow but it is very unsur today. The boys are very ancious as a general thing to make a meove. The news are very chearing at the presant from the Eastern Arma. Ma God prosper the rite is my prayer.
I was glad to receive a few lines from you. I hope thes few lines will finde you well as I am thankful to say that I am well. I should be very happy to se you and have a talk about the past for I expect I could interest you for a few minits by telling you what I have seen and experienced since I last saw you but I trust it will not be long untill this war will come to a close so that I with many more can return to our familys and friends. Turn over
Well Emily I will close by saying I hope to remain your loving brother wm Forder to Emily Hubbard
Well Taylor and Scotty
I expect you think I have forgotten you but I have not. I often think of you and wonder if you and Milton Stile have as good a time as you did last fall. I want both of you to rite me a great big letter and tell me all the news and what you are doing and I don’t know what besides but I will know when you rite it. So good by for this time rite soon.
Yours Wm Forder to T & S Hubbard
Give my respect to all the friends
Note: This letter is fairly unique in that he is writing to Sarah, Emily and their brothers Taylor and Scott in one missive. A quick google search failed to bring any information up on Milton Stile but it’s presumably a friend of the boys.
May the 2th 1863
Dear father and mother Sisters and Brothers
I take the preasent opportunity to rite you a few lines to in answer to your cind letter that I received day before yesterday. I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well and doing well and I hope when this comes to hand it will find you still enjoying that great blessing as I am happy to say that I am enjoying the very best of health at this time and the health is very good in the arma at this time and the arma is in good spirits. A great many think the war can’t last mutch longer but it is hard telling when or whare it will stop but I can assure you of one thing the soliders as a general thime are willing to fight untill this rebellion is put down. If it takes 10 years, all that appears to bother them is the copperheads at home but I don’t think their is mutch danger of thier ammounting to mutch. You speak of the hard times thier and the high prices. I know it is very bad but it is nothing in comparison to what the people have to suffer down hear for when the rebs go to a union mans house they take every thing he has and when our men go to a rebs house they take everything he has and when our men got to a rebs house they take everything he has, so you se it is freely hard when the country is striped of every thing but I think that is the best way to do is to starve them out.
Well I will close for this time hoping to remain your loving suninlaw while life that last.
Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard
Well Julia it seams that you have ben sick but I hope you will be well when this comes to hand. You must chear up and not go to getting sick. Jim is fat and sasey and the rest of the boys are all well. It ma be that you and Sarah will not hear from us again very soon for they talk of going out on a 30 days scout. So if you don’t hear from us you will know what is the reason so good by for this time
Yours truly Wm Forder to Julia Hubbard
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I want all of you to rite as often as you can.
May the 1th 1863
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
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You neednt to let Sile know that I sent all his letters to you.
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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.
Tuesday April the 14th 63
I seat my self this morning to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you and our little girl and all the rest of the friends well as I am thankful to say that I am well at this time and so is the rest of the boys. I rote you a letter last Saturday and told you that we expected to go out on a scout but but we didn’t go. I told you in that if we didn’t go I would rite again the first of this weeak and you know I always try to fulfill my promises. I put a finger ring in my last letter for you that I made out of a shell that I got out of the Cumberlain River last fall. I don’t know wheather you will get it or not but I thought I would risk it. You must let mee know wether you get it or not.
I started 10 dollars in a letter to you the first of last week and I am a going to put 10 in this one. You must let me know as soon as you can weather you get it all rite or not.
It seams that I can’t think of any thing to rite this morning but I think if I was at home this morning with you I could talk a little. I guess I will close for this time and rite a little to Emily. So good by for this hoping to remian your loving husband
Wm Forder to S.A. Forder and friends rite soon.
Well Emily you said some time ago if I did not hury and come home you would be married befor I got their. Now I think you had better wait untill the soldiers get back because I am prety surtain you would rather have a solider than a coward. But I will have to close so good by rite and tell me all about it and and let me know who is to be my brother-in-law be shure to rite
Wm Froder to Emily P Hubbard
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William Forder Emily Hubbard
April the 5th 1863
I seat myself this beautiful Sabbath evening to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very cinde letter that came to hand to day witch was dated April the 2th . I was glad to hear that you ware all well and I hope when thoes few lines come to hand they may finde you and all the rest of the folks still enjoying that greatest of blessings as I am very thankful to say that I am enjoying as good helth at this time as I have since I came in the searvice. The weather has been quite cold for last 5 days but to day the sun is shining as clear and was as thoe it were May. When I say it has ben cold I don’t mean it has ben freezing for it hasn’t froze any for some time. We are still leying whar we ware when I last rote in side the breast works and I haven’t any idear how long we will stay hear.
I will now tell you that we have got pay again for 2 months witch was 26 doll. I am going to put 10 dollars in this letter for you and when I hear from it I will send some more. You said you did not get are a letter last week. I rite a letter to you every week and I want you to do the same. You said Pap wanted mee to se Jim as he rote he ws sick. He was hear to day and one of my old schoomates Heimel Sulivan.
Jim said he hadn’t ben very well for some time but he is well now.
O Sarah. How hapy I should be if I could be at home this evening to enjoy the sweet society of my dear little family and friends and I trust it will not be long untill I can enjoy that great pleasure. I shal have to close for this time hoping to remain your loving Husband.
Wm Forder to his loving wife SA Forder and all the friends.
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Be sure to rite often.
Dear Father and Mother.
I take the opportunity and rite a few lines to you as I haven’t told Sarah whare we are now. We have mooved back within half a mild of town in side the breast works. Their is a fite expected hear and if there is one it will be a big one and I think if we whip them hear it will about test the tale for them. We are well pirs (?) for them. We are on the east side of town and there is a line of breast that is 7 milds long on this side and it extends clear around the town and then their is some of the toulest breast work on the North West side of town I ever saw and they have got a lot of seage guns planted in there but a nuf of that. The peach trees are in full blossem but it turned cold last nite and the wind fairly blows today but it is to late in the season hear to freeze. I will have to close for this time hoping to remain your loving sun in law and brother while if that lasts.
Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and Children and all the friends rite soon
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Rite soon and tell all me all the news you can
Transcription Note: The word “pirs” was an enigma and remains so even after several attempts by myself and Alysia to determine the actual word. In context, a word such as “prepared” or “ready” should have been implied. But even going over assumed misspellings, abbreviations or slang options, we couldn’t really determine what exactly William had written. His “h” sometimes tended to drop below the line or it could have been an “f” or “p” which also appear similar in William’s handwriting. In short, we are unsure exactly what word he had indicated, hence the question mark following it.
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
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I forgot to say that Jim McMullen is well fat and sasey