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T.J. Hindman’s letter to his father-in-law and his children provides hints about his character…

Addressed to Mr. Nathan Nash, J. E. Hineman, E. A. Hinemen

Grand Ecore La April 15, 1864.

Dear Sir, I will endevor to give you a short sketch of our march through Louisana. We left Brasier on the 13 of March full equiped for the summer campaign our march was over land and toilsome march. The 8 of April we came on the enemy. And had a desparate hard fight, it took place at Mansfield early in the morning. And lasted for the day the 13 Army Corp was badly cut to pieces we lost our corporal he had his arm chot off below the elbow and was taken prisoner the loss of […illegible…] regiment was 12 killed and wounded […illegible…] taken prisoner it was a hard fight out corp lost about one thousand. The rebs drove us back three miles then The 10 Corp came and re-enforsed us then we held the ground for the night, the next night we fell back to Pleasant Hill there we was re-enforced by general Smith with the 16 corp there we had a stand and a despirate strugle for our lives and the rebs was forced to fall back, the rebs say that they buried eight of there men to one of ours, they say that they lost lives and eight thousand killed and wounded and the same number taken prisoner, so I think on the whole it was the rebs whipped us win they got 50 of our wagons and lots of our ammunition. The rebs loss in the whole was seven thousand five hundred killed and we have not heard the amount of wounded and prisoners yet. Well I was glad to get out alive. The bullets fell like hail all the time.

I was glad to hear from you and the family and my litle children. Father, I want you to keep them till I give orders for to have them moved and I think that will be a long time for; I think that you will be good to them. I was glad to get there likeness, they look so pretty I hope they are as […illegible…] as they Look Well. I am well at this time a […illegible…] I have sprained my ankle pretty bad and can hardly walk on it and I hope these may find you the same and the children also. Father, I am still trying to live the life of the righteous that I may be prepared to meet those that has washed their robes and I will close by saying good by for this time.

T.J. Hindmen

Source: Letter in possession by Claudia Alkire family, gswho54@aol.com, on March 27, 2001. Transcription sent to Kay Bauman on April 17, 2011 by ancestry.com user sqgardner1.

In A Succinct History of the 28th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, E.E. Blake provides us with much more detail about the events on April 8, 1864 and all of the regiment’s history. Available online:

Just eight months before that battle, while Thomas was at war, his 21 year old wife died leaving behind two children.

It was another 15 months before he mustered out in July 1865.  After Thomas had been home a few months he married Martha, his first wife’s sister, who had been caring for his children while he was at war.


The image of Thomas above doesn’t help us know that he was 5′ 9 34” tall, with blue eyes, light complexion and had light colored hair when he was 26 years old.

The timeline of other known events in Thomas Jefferson Hindman‘s life:

  • February 22, 1836 born in Indiana.  There is uncertainty among researchers as to who his parents were.  Many say it was James and Sarah (Cox) Hindman
  • July 3, 1859, married in Marengo, Iowa Margaret Jane Nash (b. March 11, 1842), daughter of Nathan and Elizabeth (Moore) Nash
  • May 22, 1861, son John Edward Hindman was born
  • August 19, 1862, enlisted and mustered into Company B of the 28th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, which was for the Union.
  • September 6 or 12, 1863, wife, Margaret Jane, died at the age of 21
  • Thomas was present at each of his company’s muster rolls except the October 3, 1863 when he was “absent with leave”, which I presume was to go home after his wife’s death. 
  • Margaret’s children were cared for by Martha Ann Nash, her sister while Thomas was at war
  • April 15, 1864 letter sent to his father–in-law
  • April 17, 1864, promoted to Seventh Corporal
  • Daughter Elizabeth A. Hindman (unknown birthdate) died in infancy.  Some researchers show her death near the time of her mother’s death in September 1863.  That seems unlikely given Thomas’ reference to her in his letter dated April 15, 1864.
  • July 1, 1864, promoted to Fourth Corporal
  • October 19, 1865, wounded in the ankle in the battle of Cedar Creek at Virginia
  • July 31, 1865, mustered out at Savannah, Georgia
  • October 8, 1865, married in Iowa County, Iowa, Martha Ann Nash (b. February 1, 1839), daughter of Nathan and Elizabeth (Moore) Nash
  • 1866 – 1886 he and his second wife Martha had nine children
  • 1867 or so until sometime after 1885 the family lived in Mitchell County, Kansas
  • By 1894 at least some of his children were in Lincoln, Oklahoma
  • April 16, 1898 died in Sac Fox Agency, Lincoln, Dewey Co., Oklahoma

Thomas Jefferson Hindman was my biological great, great grandfather on my father’s side.


Further Reading:

No Story Too Small offered a challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor. 
Each of my posts for this challenge will include in the title “52 Ancestors Challenge” and will have the tag of 52Ancestors.