CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861
JULY 27, 1861.--From Bellaire to Clarksburg in Vir-
ginia. All the way, one hundred and thirty miles, in Vir-
ginia, greeted by shouts and demonstrations of joy. The people
had seen many three-months men going, leaving western Vir-
ginia for home. This, with the defeat at Washington perhaps,
led the people to fear that the Union men were left to the Rebels
of the eastern part of the State. Our coming relieved them
and was hailed with every demonstration of joy. [Today],
Saturday, at 2 P.M. [A.M.] reached Clarksburg. Worked like
a Turk in the rain all the morning laying out a camp and getting
it up, on a fine hill with a pretty scene before us. Clearing off
towards the close of the day. Tried to dry clothes. A busy day
but a jolly.
In the evening General Rosecrans came over here and ordered
Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews to march at 2 A. M. with the right
wing in seventy-five waggons, leaving us with left wing and
baggage to move at 7 A. M. to Weston. Order of march for
our column, ten pioneers, three hundred or four hundred yards
in advance of main body; advance guard of thirty, one hundred
yards in advance of main body; next, main body; waggon train
with baggage, twenty-eight wagons; rear guard of thirty, one
hundred and eighty yards in rear of wagons.
(I write one letter for all friends and want Lucy to keep all
these scrawls for future reference.)
CLARKSBURG, VIRGINIA, July 27, 1861 (?) (I
believe) Saturday (I know).
DEAR WIFE:--Our second day, from Bellaire to this place,
was an exceedingly happy one. We travelled about one hun-
dred and thirty miles in Virginia, and with the exception of one
46 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
deserted village of Secessionists (Farmington), we were received
everywhere with an enthusiasm I never saw anywhere before.
No such great crowds turned out to meet us as we saw from
Indianapolis to Cincinnati assembled to see Lincoln, but every-
where, in the corn and hay fields, in the houses, in the roads,
on the hills, wherever a human being saw us, we saw such honest
spontaneous demonstrations of joy as we never beheld elsewhere.
Old men and women, boys and children--some fervently prayed
for us, some laughed and some cried; all did something which
told the story. The secret of it is, the defeat at Washington
and the departure of some thousands of three-months men of
Ohio and Indiana led them to fear they were left to the Rebels
of eastern Virginia. We were the first three-years men filling
the places of those who left. It was pleasant to see we were not
invading an enemy's country but defending the people among
whom we came. Our men enjoyed it beyond measure. Many
had never seen a mountain; none had ever seen such a reception.
They stood on top of the cars and danced and shouted with de-
We got here in the night. General Rosecrans is with us. No
other full regiment here. We march tomorrow up the mountains.
All around me is confusion--sixteen hundred horses, several
hundred wagons,--all the preparations for a large army. Our
own men in a crowded camp putting up tents. No time for
Captain McMullen will go to Columbus to return. He will
get my pistols of Mr. Platt, if they come to Columbus in time.
You would enjoy such a ride as that of yesterday as much as
I did. It was perfect. Now comes the hard work. Good-bye;
love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--Colonel Matthews showed me a letter from his mother
received at the moment of his leaving. She said she rejoiced she
was the mother of seven sons all loyal and true, and that four of
them were able to go to the war for the national rights.
The view from where I sit is most beautiful--long ranges of
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 47
hills, a pleasant village, an extensive sweep of cultivated country,
the fortified hill where an Indiana regiment prepared to defend
itself against overwhelming odds, etc., etc.
Direct all letters and express matters to Clarksburg, Virginia,
with my title and regiment until further directions. This is the
great depot for operating in western Virginia, and all letters, etc.,
will be sent from here forward to me.
July 28. Sunday.--Busy from 4 A.M. packing baggage,
striking tents, and preparing to move. Baggage enormous and
extra; great delays; great stew. Our new Irish quartermaster--
a failure so far. Got off about 11 A. M., in a great shower. I
rode backwards and forwards; got wet; weather hot after the
showers; face and nose, softened by the rain, begin to scorch;
a peeling time in prospect. Still it was novel, scenery fine.
Blackberries beyond all experience line the road; road good.
Camped at night in a meadow by the road. Rain-storm soon
followed. Many put up no tents; wearied with the day's
march, they threw themselves on the ground and slept through.
I got wet through trying to get them sheltered.
In the enemy's country, although all we meet are Union men.
Many fancied threatening dangers in all novel sights. A broken
limb in a tree top was thought to be a spy looking down into the
camp; fires were seen; men riding by were scouts of the enemy,
July 29. Monday.--A bright, warm day. Marched yesterday
fourteen miles; today, nine miles to Weston, which we reached
soon after noon. A pretty county town of one thousand people
or so, surrounded by hills, picturesque and lovely. Encamped
on a hill looking towards the town, my tent where I now sit
opening upon a sweet scene of high hills, green smooth sward,
or forests. The west fork of the Monongahela flows at the bot-
tom of the hill, just below the rear of the field officers' tents.
July 30. Tuesday.--Warm, bright morning. Damp in the
tent with the fogs of the night. Hang out my duds to dry.
48 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Have met here divers Cincinnati acquaintances and Lieutenant
Conger and Dr. Rice, of Fremont. Just now a fine young first-
lieutenant (Jewett of Zanesville) was accidentally shot by a gun
falling on the ground out of a stack. A great hole was torn
through his foot. The ball passed through three tents, barely
missing several men, passed through a knapsack and bruised
the leg of one of Captain McIlrath's men.
WESTON, VIRGINIA, Tuesday Morning, July 30, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--If you look on the map you can find this
town about twenty-five miles south of Clarksburg, which is about
one hundred miles east of Parkersburg on the Northwest Vir-
ginia Railroad. So much for the general location; and if you
were here, you would see on a pretty sidehill facing towards and
overlooking a fine large village, surrounded by lovely hills, al-
most mountains, covered with forest or rich greensward, a pic-
turesque encampment, and on the summit of the hill overlooking
all, the line of field officers' tents. Sitting in one of them, as
[Henry] Ward Beecher sat in the barn at Lenox, I am writing
you this letter.
I have seen Conger, acting assistant quartermaster of [the]
Tenth Regiment. He wishes a place. I ventured to suggest that
he could perhaps raise a company in your region by getting an
appointment from the governor. All here praise him both as a
business man and as a soldier. He must, I think, get some place.
His reputation is so good with those he is associated with.
Dr. Rice also called to see me; he looks well and is no doubt
an efficient man. Dr. Joe has had a consultation with him and
thinks him a good officer.
We enjoy this life very much. So healthy and so pretty a
country is rarely seen. After a month's campaign here the
Tenth has lost no man by sickness and has but seven sick. Gen-
eral Rosecrans takes immediate command of us and will have
us with him in his operations against Wise. We shall have
mountain marches enough no doubt. So far I stand it as well as
the best. . . .
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 49
This is the land of blackberries. We are a great grown-up
armed blackberry party and we gather untold quantities.
Here there are nearly as many Secessionists as Union men;
the women avow it openly because they are safe in doing so, but
the men are merely sour and suspicious and silent. . . .
Men are at work ditching around my tent preparatory to a
thunder-shower which is hanging over the mountain west of us.
One of them I hear saying to his comrade: "This is the first
time I ever used a spade and I don't like it too well."
But you have had enough of this incoherent talk. Colonel
Scammon and Matthews have both been absent and left me in
command, so that I have been exposed to numberless interrup-
Good-bye. Direct to me by my title "Twenty-third Regiment,
Ohio troops, Clarksburg, Virginia," and it will be sent me.
R. B. HAYES.
Send this to Lucy.
CAMP ON WEST FORK OF MONONGAHELA
RIVER, WESTON, VIRGINIA, Tuesday, P. M.,
July 30, 1861.
DEAREST:--We are in the loveliest spot for a camp you ever
saw--no, lovelier than that; nothing in Ohio can equal it. It
needs a mountainous region for these beauties. We do not know
how long we shall stay, but we suppose it will be three or four
days. We have had two days of marching--not severe march-
ing at all; but I saw enough to show me how easily raw troops
are used up by an injudicious march. Luckily we are not likely
to suffer in that way. We are probably aiming for Gauley Bridge
on the Kanawha where Wise is said to be fortified. General
Rosecrans is engaged in putting troops so as to hold the principal
routes leading to the point.
The people here are divided. Many of the leading ladies are
Secessionists. We meet many good Union men; the other men
are prudently quiet. Our troops behave well.
50 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
We have had one of those distressing accidents which occur
so frequently in volunteer regiments. You may remember that
a son of H. J. Jewett, of Zanesville, President of [the] Central
Ohio Railroad, was on the request of his father appointed a
first-lieutenant in Captain Canby's company. He joined us at
Grafton in company with his father. He had served in Colonel
----'s regiment of three-months men in all the affairs in
western Virginia and is very promising. A loaded gun was
thrown down from a stack by a careless sentinel discharging a
Minie ball through young Jewett's foot. I was with him in a
moment. It is a painful and severe wound, perhaps dangerous.
There is a hope he may not be crippled. He bears it well. One
of his exclamations was, "Oh, if it had only been a secession
ball I wouldn't have cared. Do you think you can save my
leg," etc., etc. The ball after passing through his foot passed
through three of McIlrath's tents, one full of men lying down.
It cut the vest of one over his breast as he lay on his back and
stirred the hair of another; finally passed clean through a knap-
sack and struck a man on the leg barely making a slight bruise
and dropping down. Dr. Joe has the flattened bullet now to give
My horse came over the hills in good style.-- Pshaw! I
wish you were here; this is a camp. The field officers' tents are
on a high greensward hill, the other tents spreading below it in
the sweetest way. As I write I can turn my head and from the
entrance of the tent see the loveliest scene you can imagine. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
July 31. Wednesday.--Another warm, bright day. Orders
from General Rosecrans direct Colonel Lytle to go with his
regiment to Sutton and put this place in command of Colonel
Scammon. This is supposed to indicate that we are to remain
here for some weeks.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 51
CAMP NEAR WESTON, VIRGINIA,
Wednesday, P. M., July 31, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--How you would enjoy sitting by my side
on this beautiful hill and feasting your eyes on the sweep of hills
that surrounds us. Nothing in Vermont is finer. The great
majority of the people here are friendly and glad to have us
here to protect them from the Secessionists. This is agreeable;
it puts us in the place of protectors instead of invaders. The
weather is warm, but a good breeze is blowing. The water is
good; milk and blackberries abundant, and the location perfectly
healthy. . . .
The village is a pretty one with many good residences and nice
people. The State is, or was, building near where we are en-
camped a large lunatic asylum--an expensive and elegant struc-
ture. The war stops the work. This part of Virginia naturally
belongs to the West; they are now in no way connected with
eastern Virginia. The only papers reaching here from Richmond
come by way of Nashville, Louisville, and Cincinnati. The court-
house and several churches are creditable buildings, and the
shrubbery and walks in the private grounds are quite beautiful.
Do not allow yourself to worry if you do not hear often. I
think of you often. Love to Laura and all.
Affectionately, your son,
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
[WESTON], July 31, , Wednesday P.M.
DEAREST:--We are to stay here and keep in countenance the
Union people for several days--or a week or more--until others
come in to take our places. It is safe, which would please
Mother; it is pleasant as a camping ground. I wish you were
I tell Mr. Schooley to bring me an India-rubber havelock and
cape to keep water out of neck--or some such thing; also strong
black buttons--a few--and a pair of yellow spurs, regulation
52 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Young Jewett sleeps well and is in no great pain--so far do-
ing well. His chance of saving his foot is about even--a sad
case. We are to be alone in this locality; possibly we may be
divided so as to occupy two or three places. Kisses for the boys.
August 1, .--Another hot, moist day; deep fogs in the
night. Two gentlemen, suspected of secession proclivities, clerks
of the courts, were required to take the oath of allegiance to the
new State Government of Virginia and to the United States.
They say it is not always so rainy here; they lay it to the
presence of our troops.
Colonel Matthews left with the five right-wing companies for
Bulltown and Sutton at 1 P. M. today. I felt a little melancholy
to see the fine fellows leaving us.
A year ago today was with Lucy travelling from Detroit on
the Grand Trunk Railroad eastwardly for pleasure. A telegraph
line is completed to this point connecting us with all the world.
Governor Wise, it is said, has continued his retreat up the
Kanawha towards eastern Virginia. It is said that he has left
Gauley River and burnt the bridge. If so western Virginia is now
in our undisputed possession. But it is also said that General Lee
is coming with a large force to look after General Rosecrans. I
suspect that all the movements of the Southern army look to
operations about Washington and Baltimore, and that all move-
ments of troops in other directions are merely feints.
WESTON, August 1, 1861.
DEAREST:--Do you remember a year ago today we were rid-
ing on the Grand Trunk Railroad from Detroit by Sarnia east-
wardly? Jolly times those. If you were here, these would be
as pleasant. The water in the river below our camp flows past
you in the Ohio; in these low water days, about a month after
they leave here.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 53
We are now in telegraphic communication with the world. Dr.
Joe receives dispatches about medicines and Colonel Scammon
about military matters from Columbus and Cincinnati. We had
the two county court clerks before the colonel taking the oath of
allegiance to the United States and to the new Government of Vir-
ginia. They squirmed a little, but were required to do it or go
to Camp Chase.
Colonel Matthews left this noon with five companies--right
wing--for Sutton, a place forty-four miles south of this place.
We suspect that Wise has left western Virginia. If so, our
campaigning here is likely to be pacific and uninteresting.
August 2.--I have been out to report myself at reveille, and
not feeling like resuming my nap, am seated on my trunk
jotting down these lines to my darling. Colonel Jewett arrived
last night from Zanesville. He finds his boy doing well. It is
still very uncertain what is to be the result. It is probable that no
amputation will be necessary, and there is hope that he may not
be more than very slightly crippled, He will be unable to use
his foot, however, for perhaps months.
Our news is that Wise has continued his retreat burning the
bridges after him. This confirms our suspicions as to his aban-
doning all west of the mountains. There is, however, a report
from the East that General Lee is to be sent out here to look
after General Rosecrans, with a considerable force. I do not
believe it, but if so, we shall have lively times. Colonel Ammen
with the Twenty-fourth is reported in our neighborhood. We
shall be glad to be with them again.
Puds, here it is Saturday, the 3d, and my foolishness isn't off
yet and won't be until Monday. It is so hot and pleasant. I am
so lazy and good-natured. Joe says, "I wish Webb was here";
I say, I wish you were all here. We may be ordered to move
any hour, and it may be [we] shall be here a week hence. We
have got our camp into good order--clean and pretty. Joe was
pretty sick last night, but is under a nice shade today, as lazy
and comfortable as possible. The effect is curious of this fine
mountain air. Everybody complains of heat, but everybody is
in a laughing humor. No grumbling reaches me today.
I have called on divers leading lawyers and politicians, gen-
54 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
erally Union men, and find them agreeable people. The court-
house here is a good one and is used as a hospital for all these
regiments. About one hundred sick are there. When Joe gets
perfectly well, which I advise him not to do, he will have charge
of all of them. We have four or six there.
Very affectionately, your
"Love me?" I have heard nothing from Ohio except an oc-
casional newspaper. Write about Uncle and everybody. Our
men sing beautifully tonight.
August 2, 1861.--A. M. fired pistol with Captain Zimmerman
and P. M. Enfield rifle with Captain Sperry. My pistol shooting
rather poor. Rifle shooting at one hundred yards good, at three
hundred yards, tolerable. Weather hot. In the evening passed
the sentinels to try them, back and forth several times. Found
them generally defective; they took instruction kindly and I hope
they may do well yet.
August 3, 1861.--Called on James T. Jackson, a Secessionist,
for a map of Virginia--one of the Board of Public Works
maps. He said he once had one but his brother had sold it to
a captain in [the] Seventh Regiment. Called then on William
E. Arnold, a lawyer and Union man. He offered every facility
for getting information and gave such as he could; also lent
us a good map. Hottest day yet. Dr. Joe ailing. Young Jewett
doing well, but getting tired and sore.
August 4. Sunday.--Visited the hospital. It is airy and com-
fortable--the court-house of the county, a large good building.
The judge's bench was full of invalids, convalescent, busily
writing letters to friends at home. Within the bar and on the
benches provided for the public were laid straw bedticks in some
confusion, but comfortable. A side room contained the very
sick, seven or eight in number. The total inmates about seventy-
five. Most of them are able to walk about and are improving;
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 55
very few are likely to die there. One poor fellow, uncomplain-
ing and serene, with a good American face, is a German tailor,
Fifth Street, Cincinnati; speaks little English, was reading a
history of the Reformation in German. I inquired his difficulty.
He had been shot by the accidental discharge of a musket falling
from a stack; a ball and several buckshot pierced his body. He
will recover probably. My sympathies were touched for a hand-
some young Canadian, Scotch or English. He had measles and
caught cold. A hacking cough was perhaps taking his life.
Nobody from the village calls to see them!
A hot day but some breeze. We hear that Colonel Matthews
with the right wing was, on the morning of the third day from
here, near Bulltown, twenty-seven miles distant. Governor Wise
is somewhere near Lewisburg in Greenbrier County. Cox [Gen-
eral J. D.] is in no condition to engage him and I hope will not
do it. I rather hope we shall raise a large force and push on
towards Lynchburg and east Tennessee. Jewettt is doing well.
WESTON, VIRGINIA, August 4, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--I write often now, as we soon pass out of
reach of mails. We hear the news by telegraph here now from
all the home towns, but mails are uncertain and irregular. We
are very healthy, but the weather is hotter than any I have known
in a great while. Our wounded lieutenant, Jewett, is doing well.
His father is here nursing him. The fine large hospital for all
this region of country, having one hundred patients belonging
to different regiments, is in charge of Dr. Joe. It is the court-
house. The people here do not find us much of a nuisance. Of
course, in some respects we are so, but all things considered, the
best of the people like to see us. I mean to go to church this
pleasant Sunday. My only clerical acquaintance here is an intel-
ligent Catholic priest who called to see Colonel Scammon. I have
been cross-examining a couple of prisoners--one a Methodist
preacher--both fair sort of men, and I hope not guilty of any
improper acts. Good-bye.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
56 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
NEAR WESTON, VIRGINIA, August 4, 1861.
DEAR LAURA:--As we ride about this exceedingly pretty
country and through this reasonably decent village, I am re-
minded of young ladies in Ohio by occasionally meeting a damsel
wearing a stars-and-stripes apron, or by seeing one who turns
up her nose at the said stars, etc.
We are leading camp life again--watching Secessionists, study-
ing geography, sending and receiving scouts and couriers and
sich like. Colonel Matthews has gone with the five companies of
the right wing forty-four miles further up into the hills. We
shall follow him if there are any hostile signs up there, and he
will return to us if such sign fail him.
You and Jeanie A- have been of use. The bandages are used
in dressing the shocking wound of young Jewett of Zanesville--
a lieutenant, handsome, gallant, and intelligent. Just the person
you would wish to serve in this way. Dr. Joe hopes he will not
be crippled. At first it seemed that he must lose his foot; but
your bandages or something else are bringing him up. It will
be perhaps months before he can walk.
The court-house here (about like yours) is a hospital for the
sick and wounded of all the regiments hereabouts. It would
be a glorious thing if some Florence Nightingales would come
here. They could be immensely useful, and at the same time
live pleasantly in a pretty mountain village, safe as a bug in a
rug. Won't you come? It is easy getting here and cheap stay-
ing. Too hot under canvas to write much. Love to all.
MISS LAURA PLATT,
August 5.--Cloudy and showery and sunny at intervals this
Monday morning. Went out shooting pistol with Adjutant C. W.
Fisher. No good shooting by either. I did the worst, pistol dirty
--cleaned it.--More couriers, more rumors of Wise down to-
wards Greenbrier County.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 57
August 6.--Warm, beautiful weather. A busy day, settling
disputes between citizens and their quarrels. I held a sort of
police court. Dr. Joe also decided cases. The parties under
arrest, we hear their stories and discharge or put on bread and
water as the case seems to require. All local tribunals suppressed
or discontinued. We also are full of courier and express duty.
Colonel Withers, a Union citizen of the old-fashioned Intelli-
gencer reading sort, called. He is a true patriot. We sent out a
courier to meet Colonel Ammen with the Twenty-fourth, pre-
paratory to greeting and escorting him. But he isn't coming yet.
Colonel Scammon is policing and disciplining in a good way.
The colonel improves. As soon as taps sounds he has the lights
put out and all talk suppressed.
When we came to Weston, Colonel Lytle was here with four
companies. The Seventeenth returning home (three-months
men) passed through here about the second or third. The Nine-
teenth about the first. Colonel E. B. Tyler with the Seventh
is beyond Sutton. Colonel Bosley with the Sixth is at Beverly.
WESTON, VIRGINIA, Tuesday P. M., August 6, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--I have just read your letter, with Brother
William's of the 2nd,--the first I have had from anybody since
we came to Virginia. I am sitting in my tent looking out on the
same beautiful scene I have so often referred to. It is a bright
and very warm afternoon, but a clear, healthful mountain air
which it is a happiness to breathe. . . .
My horse shows a little weakness in the fore shoulders, but
as he can probably work well in an ambulance, I can exchange
him for a good government horse, if he gets worse. We have
plenty of business. A good deal of it is a sort of law business.
As all civil authority is at an end, it is our duty to keep the peace
and do justice between the citizens, who, in these irregular times,
are perhaps a little more pugnacious than usual. Dr. Joe and I,
under direction of the colonel, held courts on divers cases all the
forenoon. It was rather amusing, and I think we dispensed very
exact justice. As there is no appeal, a case decided is for good
58 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I am so glad you and Uncle are both getting well. If Uncle
wishes to travel, and we remain here, he couldn't please him-
self better than by a trip this way. He would enjoy a few days
very much in our camp, or at the hotel in the village.
Young Jewett leaves with his father for Zanesville tonight.
I hope he will stand the trip well. I will hand them this letter to
mail when they get out of these woods. Send me sometime a
neat little New Testament. I have nothing of the sort. I have
clothes enough. I am cut short by business. Good-bye.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
August 7, Wednesday.--Another bright, warm day. With
Adjutant Fisher pistol shooting this A. M. Tolerably good
firing. Last night a picket shot through the hand; said he fired
twice at his assailant; doubted. Supposed to be an accidental
wounding. Letters from Ohio.
August 8. Thursday.--Rumors of the approach of a great
army under Lee from eastern Virginia are still rife. The enemy
is said to be near Monterey, the other side of the Alleghanies and
aiming to come in this direction to reoccupy western Virginia,
capture our stores, and to dash the war if possible into Ohio.
The United States ought promptly to push into western Virginia
an army of at least fifty thousand men to repel any such attack
if made and to push on to the railroad leading from Richmond
southwesterly through Lynchburg towards east Tennessee. This
would cut off Richmond from the southwestern States and be
otherwise useful. Horsemen and waggons are now passing
towards Bulltown. This is the hottest day yet; it must rain be-
WESTON, VIRGINIA, August 8, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--I am glad to learn by a letter from Mother
that you are getting well enough to ride about town. I hope
you will continue to gain. If you should want to take a short
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 59
trip this fall, I am not sure but a journey this way would be as
enjoyable as any you could make. By getting a note from Gov-
ernor Dennison, you could travel on railroad (now run by the
Government) to Clarksburg, and thence, there are all sorts of
conveyances, from a teetering ambulance to an old-fashioned
Pennsylvania six-horse waggon.
Our regiment is divided for the present. One half under
Colonel Matthews has gone forty-four miles south. We remain
in charge of a great supply depot, and charged with keeping
in order the turbulent of this region. The Union men are the
most numerous, but the other side is the more wealthy and noisy.
We are kept busy enough with them.
This town is about as large as Fremont was ten years ago,
has a fine court-house and other county buildings. A lunatic
asylum for the State of great size was building when the war
broke out. It is a healthy hilly country, very picturesque, and
hotter today than the Cincinnati landing. We are so busy that
we do not complain much of the tediousness of camp life. We
are now constantly hearing of the approach of General Lee
from eastern Virginia with a force large enough to drive us out
and capture all our stores, if one-fourth that is told is true. He
is said to be about seventy-five miles southeast of us in the
mountains. Whether there is truth in it or not, I have no doubt
that troops will be urged into this region to hold the country.
At any rate, as it is on the route to east Tennessee, and on a route
to cut off the railroads from the southwest, I am sure there
ought to be a splendid Union army assembled here. I suppose
it will be done.
Lucy and the boys are in Pickaway County. Dr. Jim was
taken prisoner at Manassas, but escaped; lost his carpet-sack, but
captured a secession horse which he brought home. Dr. Joe
enjoys it well. Colonel Scammon is an agreeable gentleman
to associate with. We have a great deal of amusement. Dr.
Joe visits the secession folks, and reports a great many good
things. They say that in two weeks they will see us scattering
like sheep before the great army of Lee and Wise.
When you write, direct to me, "Twenty-third Regiment, Ohio
Volunteers, Clarksburg, Virginia," and it will be sent wherever
60 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I may chance to be. We are now connected by telegraph with
the whole country. A dispatch to or from Weston, is more cer-
tain of delivery than a letter. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
August 9. Friday.--The colonel is out of humor with Lieu-
tenant Rice for letting men on guard go to their tents to sleep
and scolds him severely in the presence of his men. A little less
grumbling and more instruction would improve the regiment
faster. The men are disconcerted whenever the colonel ap-
proaches; they expect to be pitched into about something. A good
man, but impatient and fault-finding; in short, he is out of
health, nervous system out of order. Would he had sound
health, and all would go well. He gives no instruction either in
drill or other military duties but fritters away his time on little
details which properly belong to clerks and inferior officers.--
Begun to rain at noon, refreshing rather.
Our men returning from Sutton report our right wing under
Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews gone on to Summersville. Also
that a party in ambush fired on two companies of Colonel Lytle's
regiment, killing one and wounding four. This sort of murder
must be stopped. The colonel is busy issuing passes to citizens,
the patrol or picquets having been ordered to stop all persons
travelling on the roads without passes. This must be a great
annoyance to the inhabitants. Is there enough benefit to be
gained for all the hate we shall stir up by it?
The mother of our adjutant at Camp Chase seeing a boy
walking up and down on his sentinel's beat took pity on him,
sent him out a glass of wine and a piece of cake with a stool
to sit on while he ate and drank. She told him not to keep
walking so, to sit down and rest! She also advised him to
More rumors of the approach of Lee with fifteen thousand
men to attack our forces at Buchanan [Buckhannon]. Lieutenant
Reichenbach with his party of twenty men marched yesterday
twenty-eight miles and today, by noon, fifteen miles.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 61
Joe Holt* makes the best war speeches of any man in the land.
It always braces my nerves and stirs my heart when I read
them. At Camp Joe Holt, near Louisville, he said: "Since the
sword flamed over the portals of Paradise until now, it has
been drawn in no holier cause than that in which you are en-
CAMP NEAR WESTON, VIRGINIA, August 9, 1861.
DEAREST:--I have just read your letter postmarked the 5th at
Kingston. Right pleased with you. Very happy to get your
good letter. It has been bright, warm (hot) weather since Sun-
day, but today at noon a fine rain began to fall, and this after-
noon I was loafing about in the tents, hard up for occupation.
Lying alone in my tent, your letter came in with one from Uncle
written Sunday. Wasn't it so lucky? I've nothing to tell you,
I believe. Dr. Joe is well--perfectly--again; busy changing
his hospital from the court-house and jail to a secession church
which doesn't run now. The colonel is busy giving passes to
citizens wishing to travel roads guarded by our picquets.
Colonel Matthews under Colonel Tyler has gone to Summers-
ville about seventy miles south of this. They are looking for
Wise. In the meantime we have rumors that General Lee is
marching over the mountains to push the Union forces in this
region out of the State, and to seize the stores so abundantly
gathered hereabouts. We have no means of knowing the truth
here; if there is anything in it, we shall be called to Buchanan
[Buckhannon], sixteen miles east, where the first attack is ex-
pected. There is a little more activity among the enemy in this
quarter since these rumors became rife. Our party from the
*Joseph Holt, born in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, January 6,
1807; died in Washington, August 1, 1894. Famous as a jurist and an
orator. He was Postmaster-General in Buchanan's Cabinet for a time
and in 1860, when John B. Flood resigned, he became Secretary of War.
He was a vigorous Union man, urging his fellow Kentuckians "to fly to
the rescue of their country before it is everlastingly too late." In Sep-
tember, 1862, President Lincoln appointed him Judge-Advocate General
of the army, in which capacity he served long with great distinction.
62 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
south, returning today, report that an attack was made up the
road on two companies of Colonel Lytle's men by a party in
ambush, who fired one volley and ran off into the hills. One man
killed and four wounded. Captain Gaines (our prosecutor)
called to see me last night. His company is detached from his
regiment, guarding a party putting up telegraph wires. Mr.
Schooley returned from Cincinnati with late news last night.
He says, it [was] so lonely he really wished to get back to camp.
I am sorry to have Colonel Matthews and the right wing gone,
but except that we are doing nicely. Colonel Scammon is in bet-
ter health and things go on very smoothly.
The soldiers fare very well here, and stand in little need of
sympathy, but when I have an opportunity to smooth matters
for them, I try to do it, always remembering how you would
wish it done. What a good heart you have, darling. I shall try
to be as good as you would like me to be.
Young Jewett got safely home. He is likely to have a long
and serious time getting well, but will probably be very slightly,
if at all, crippled. Colonel Ammen is at Clarksburg. If we
have any force sent against us, we shall be with him; otherwise,
not at present.
I am glad you are visiting at Aunt Margaret's this hot weather.
Do you recollect when we were up [the] Saguenay a year ago
at this time? Here Colonel Scammon came in full of pleasant
gossip, feeling happy with letters from his wife and daughters.
No more chance to write in time for tonight's mail. Continue
to address me at Clarksburg until I direct otherwise. Love to
all at Elmwood. Kiss the boys all around.
R. B. HAYES.
August 1O. Saturday.--Rained a good part of the night.
We learned that while the right wing of our regiment occupied
the court-house at Sutton, many records, etc., etc., were torn up.
It is said the old clerk cried when he saw what had been done.
Disgraceful! What a stigma on our regiment if true! We have
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 63
had and deserved to have a good name for our orderly conduct,
respect for rights of citizens, etc., etc. I hope nothing has been
done to forfeit our place.
August 11. Sunday.--Raining this morning, very warm. Ar-
rested, on complaint of a Union man, H. T. Martin, a secession
editor, who is charged with holding communication with James
and William Bennett, leaders of a guerrilla party. He was
formerly from Ohio. Is a Southern state's-right Democrat
in talk, and makes a merit of holding secession opinions. Having
been engaged in getting up troops for the Southern army, the
colonel will probably send him to Ohio.
Colonel Lytle's men fired on near Bulltown; one killed, four
wounded; guerrilla party in the hills out of reach. Our regiment
did not destroy records. We have sent two captains and eighty
men after the guerrillas.
August 12. Monday.--Showery all day. Sent to Clarks-
burg H. T. Martin. He will probably be sent to Columbus for
safe keeping. I gave him a letter to my brother-in-law to insure
him attention there in case he should need. It is impossible to
avoid mistakes in these cases. Union men may make charges
merely to gratify personal animosity, knowing that in the nature
of things a full investigation is impossible.
During Monday night a squad of the Tenth Regiment returned
from the Buckhannon road with the body of one of the wild men
of the mountains found in this country. He followed their regi-
ment, shooting at them from the hills. They took him in the
Bulltown region. He wore neither hat nor shoes, was of gigantic
size--weighing two hundred and thirty pounds; had long hooked
toes, fitted to climb--a very monster. They probably killed
him after taking him prisoner in cold blood--perhaps after a
sort of trial. They say he was attempting to escape.
WESTON, VIRGINIA, August 12, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are still getting on nicely. We have a
good deal more excitement now than usual. Wagon and cattle
trains and small parties are fired on by guerrillas from the hills
64 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
on two of the roads leading from here. Dr. Joe has about eight
or ten in charge who have been wounded in this way. Two only
have been killed. None in our regiment. The men all laugh at
"squirrel guns" and the wounds they make. Several would have
been killed if shot in the same part by the conical balls of our
military guns. The "deadly rifle" of olden times shoots too small
a bullet, and is too short in its range; but as Cassio says, it is
often "sufficient." We send out parties who bring in prisoners--
sometimes the right men, sometimes not. All this keeps up a
stir. In a week or two we shall get up a regular system of
scouring the country to get rid of these rascals. The Union men
here hate and fear them more than our men.
The threatened invasion by Lee from eastern Virginia hangs
fire. They will hardly venture in, unless they come in a few days,
as we are daily getting stronger. I hope you are still getting
R. B. HAYES.
August 13.--Still rain. My horse hitched to a tree on the
brow of a hill very near my tent broke loose during the night,
and, it is said, rolled down the steep hill and swam the river.
This morning he was seen trotting about in high feather on the
opposite side of the river. He was caught and brought back
unhurt, to the surprise of all who saw the place he must have
gone down. Our right wing has been sent for to return to
Bulltown. Captains Drake and Woodward who are out guerrilla
hunting are still absent and not heard from for twenty-four
hours.--P. M. Still raining. Captains Drake and Woodward
have returned. They caught two of the pickets of the guerrilla
party they were after but failed in surprising them, owing to a
boy who gave information of their coming. They found a few
good Union men; the mass of the people most ignorant. [They]
describe the country in the edge of Webster County as precipitous
and difficult; the people timid but cunning. They also brought
two other prisoners, men who have been in the secession army.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 65
August 14. Wednesday.--The weather has changed to cool,
and although the sky is still clouded I hope this long rain is now
over. Our prisoners turn out to be Hezekiah and Granville
Bennett, cousins of the notorious James and William Bennett,
aged forty-nine and twenty-two, father and son, and Moss and
George W. Brothers, aged fifty-eight and forty-eight. Our in-
formation is not definite as to their conduct. One or more of
them belonged to the Southern army, and all are accused by their
Union neighbors with divers acts of violence against law-and-
Last evening Lieutenant Milroy came over from Glenville
reporting that Captain R. B. Moore feared an attack from three
companies of well armed Secessionists in the region west of them,
say Spencer, and was fortifying himself. The people immediately
around him are friendly, he having conducted himself with great
prudence and good sense and by kindness and justice made friends
of the people of all parties.
August 15. Thursday.--A bright, lovely day and the prettiest
evening of the month. The bright moonlight exhibits the land-
scape enough to show its loveliness and the lights and shadows.
The hills and woods are very picturesque. It makes me long
for wife and boys and friends behind. How Lute would enjoy
roaming with me through camp tonight.
More rumors of attacks by guerrillas, or "bushwhackers" as
they are here called, on our couriers and trains. A courier and
captain and some wagoners are reported killed or taken below
My box containing pistols and sash, etc., by mistake sent from
Clarksburg to Buckhannon. Made arrangements to send Lieu-
tenant Richardson and two men with ambulance after it.
WESTON, VIRGINIA, August 15, 1861.
DEAREST L--:--We had four days of rain ending yesterday
morning--such rain as this country of hills and mountains can
afford. It was gloomy and uncomfortable but no harm was done.
66 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
It cleared off beautifully yesterday morning and the weather has
been most delicious since. This is a healthful region. Nobody
seriously sick and almost everybody outrageously healthy. I
never was better. It is a luxury to breathe. Dr. Joe--but don't
he go into the corn? He has it three times a day, reminding me
of Northampton a year ago and your order for supper on our
return from Mount Holyoke.
Our regiment has had divers duties which keep up excitement
enough to prevent us from stagnating. Colonel Matthews and
right wing is fifty miles south. Captain Drake and Captain
Woodward, with their companies, spent the four rainy days
scouring the steepest hills and deepest gullies for the rascals who
waylay our couriers and wagon trains. They captured three or
four of the underlings, but the leaders and main party dodged
them. Captain Zimmerman and his company have gone west
forty miles to escort provisions to Colonel Moor (Second Ger-
man Regiment of Cincinnati in which Markbreit is Lieutenant)
and to clean out an infected neighborhood between here and there.
A sergeant and six men are at Clarksburg escorting a prisoner
destined for Columbus. Lieutenant Rice and twenty men are es-
corting cattle for Colonel Tyler's command south of here. A part
of our cavalry are gone west to escort a captain and the surgeon
of the Tenth to Glenville, thirty-seven miles west. On Saturday I
go with Captain Drake's company to meet Captain Zimmerman's
company returning from the west, and with the two companies,
to go into the hills to the south to hunt for a guerrilla band who
are annoying Union men in that vicinity. I shall be gone almost
a week so you will not hear from me for some time. The tele-
graph is now extended south to a station near where I am going
to operate, so that we are in reach of humanity by telegraph but
not by mail.
Dr. Joe has got the hospital in good condition. A church
(Methodist South) in place of the court-house for the merely
comfortable, and a private house for the very sick. None of our
regiment are seriously ill. The sick are devolved upon us from
other regiments--chiefly lung complaints developed by march-
ing, measles, or exposure. Very few, if any, taken here. Divers
humane old ladies furnish knickknacks to the hospital and make
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 67
glad the poor fellows with such comforts as women can best
We find plenty of good Union men, and most of our expedi-
tions are aided by them. They show a good spirit in our behalf.
A large part of our friends in the mountains are the well-to-do
people of their neighborhoods and usually are Methodists or other
Good-bye, dearest. I love you very much. Kiss the boys and
love to all. Tell Webby that during the rain the other night,
dark as pitch, my horse, Webb, fell down the hill back of the
camp into the river. Swam over to the opposite shore, and at
daylight we saw him frisking about in great excitement trying
to get back to his companion Birch. When we got him he was
not hurt or scratched even. He stumbles a little, which doesn't
do for a riding horse, so I have taken a government horse which
looks very much like him; same color and size but not quite so
pretty, and given Webb to Uncle Joe for an ambulance horse.
I shall call my new horse Webb, so there are to be two Webbys in
the regiment. My next horse I shall call Ruddy. Love to
August 16. Friday.--A morning of small excitements. A
wagon train stopped on its way towards Sutton to search for
arms or ammunition concealed in boxes of provisions. . . .
Drake, Captain, and Woodward search train in vain for con-
August 17. Saturday.--Dispatches came last [night] from
Colonel Matthews. He can't return as ordered for fear of losing
his command between Summersville and Sutton; rumors of Wise,
etc., etc. Colonels Tyler and Smith go with him nine miles back
towards Gauley Bridge to fortify. The colonel thinks this is a
mistake of judgment and is disgusted with it. I think Colonel
Scammon is right.
68 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Lieutenant Rice's men report that three men named Stout
were taken near Jacksonville by some of Captain Gaines' men
and part of his command and that afterwards Gaines' men killed
them, alleging orders of Captain Gaines, etc., etc. This is too
bad. If any of my men kill prisoners, I'll kill them.
Captain McMullen with four mountain howitzers arrived this
morning--12-pounders. Good! My horse, not Webb first but
Webb second, by hard riding foundered or stiffened. Mem.:--
Lend no horse; see always that your horse is properly cared for,
especially after a hard ride.
HEADQUARTERS 23D REG'T, O. V. INF., U. S. A.,
August 17, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are kept very busy, hunting up guerrillas,
escorting trains, etc., etc. Attacking parties are constantly met
on the roads in the mountains, and small stations are surrounded
and penned up. We send daily parties of from ten to one hun-
dred on these expeditions, distances of from ten to forty miles.
Union men persecuted for opinion's sake are the informers. The
Secessionists in this region are the wealthy and educated, who
do nothing openly, and the vagabonds, criminals, and ignorant
barbarians of the country; while the Union men are the middle
classes--the law-and-order, well-behaved folks. Persecutions
are common, killings not rare, robberies an every-day occurrence.
Some bands of Rebels are so strong that we are really in doubt
whether they are guerrillas or parts of Wise's army coming in to
drive us out. The Secessionists are boastful, telling of great
forces which are coming. Altogether, it is stirring times just
now. Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews is nearly one hundred miles
south of us with half our regiment, and is not strong enough to
risk returning to us. With Colonels Tyler and Smith, he will
fortify near Gauley Bridge on [the] Kanawha.
Dr. Rice is here sick in charge of Dr. Joe. He got in safely
from a post that was invested about thirty miles west. He will
get well, but has been very sick. This is the healthiest country
in the world. I have not been in such robust health for a great
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 69
while. My horse is not tough enough for this service. I had
better have taken Ned Jr., I suspect, although there is no telling.
The strongest horses seem to fail frequently when rackabones
stand it well. The Government has a good many horses, and I
use them at pleasure. When I find one that will do, I shall keep
it. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
WESTON, VIRGINIA, August 17, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--Nothing new to tell you. We are kept
more busy than heretofore with watching and hunting after the
robbers who are plundering the Union men in our neighborhood.
We have rumors of invading forces from eastern Virginia strong
enough to drive us out, but we know nothing definite about them.
Captain McMullen arrived safely with my box. His company
of artillery is a great addition to our strength.
Our men are very healthy and busy enough to keep them out
of mischief. Dr. Joe finds a number of old ladies who do all in
their power to make our sick soldiers comfortable. One poor
fellow who was thought to be gone with consumption is picking
up under their nursing and strengthening food, and will, perhaps,
get well. None of our regiment are seriously ill. We were
never in so healthy a country. . . . .
The war brings out the good and evil of Virginia. Some of the
best and some of the worst characters I ever heard of, have
come under our notice during the last fortnight. It is not likely
that we shall move from here for some weeks. We are required
to send expeditions to protect Union neighborhoods and wagon
trains, and to drive off scamps almost every day. We are prob-
ably doing some good to the better sort of people in this country,
besides the general good which we are supposed to be doing in
the cause of the country.
My love to all.--Affectionately,
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
70 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
HEADQUARTERS, 23D REG'T, O. V. INF., U. S. A.,
August 17, 1861.
DEAREST:--Your letter to Dr. Joe did me much good. Bless
the boys. I love to read your talk about them.
I had just started this letter when a dispatch came from Cap-
tain Zimmerman. He had a little brush with some guerrillas in
the mountains twenty-five miles from here and had three men
wounded. This is the first blood of our regiment shed in fight.
He scattered the rascals without difficulty, making some prisoners.
We have had a picquet wounded on guard and accidental wound-
ing but no fighting blood-letting before. This is the expedition I
expected to go with when I wrote you last, but the accounts of
the enemy not justifying the sending of more than one company,
I was not sent.
There is a general rising among the Rebels. They rob and
murder the Union men, and the latter come to us for help. We
meet numbers of most excellent people. We have out all the
time from two to six parties of from ten to seventy-five or one
hundred men on scouting duty. There are some bloody deeds
done in these hills, and not all on one side. We are made happy
today by the arrival of Captain McMullen with an excellent
company of artillery--four mountain howitzers and complete
equipments. They will be exceedingly useful. Lieutenant-Col-
onel Matthews is nearly one hundred miles south of us with
Colonel Tyler and others. The road between here and there is
so infested with "bushwhackers" that we have no communication
with him except by way of Gallipolis in Ohio. He has been
ordered to return here but deems it unsafe to attempt it.
Colonel Scammon has fallen in love with Joe. He says if his
qualities were known he would get a high place in the Regular
Army medical staff, and brags on him perpetually. We have very
few of our own men sick, but numbers in the hospital of other
My new horse doesn't turn out any tougher than the other.
But Captain McMullen says he has one which I am to try to-
night. I shall get a "Webby" that can stand hard work and poor
fare one of these days.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 71
How about the pants? If they are reasonably good blue, put a
light blue stripe down the outside seam and send them to me
when you have a chance. I don't care about the color. The blue
stripe is enough uniform for this latitude. Hard service for
duds. I am well supplied--rather too much of most things.
August I8. Sunday P.M.--Since writing the above we have
received word that the enemy in force is coming towards us
through the mountains to the southeast, and have been ordered
to prepare three days' rations and to be ready to march at a
moment's notice to attack the enemy. I am all ready. My little
knapsack contains a flannel shirt, one of those you gave me, two
pairs of socks, a pair of drawers, a towel, the what-you-may-
call-it you made for me to hold scissors, etc., etc. This is enough.
We are to go without tents or cooking utensils. A part of
Colonel Moor's Second German Regiment are to go with us.
Markbreit is among them. They reached here last night.
It will be a stirring time if we go, and the result of it all by
no means clear. I feel no apprehension--no presentiment of evil,
but at any rate you know how I love you and the dear boys and
Grandma and all will take care that I am not forgotten. You
will know by telegraph long before this reaches you what comes
of the anticipated movements. I suspect we are misinformed.
At any rate, good-bye, darling. Kisses for all.
August 18. Sunday.--Last night, about ten or eleven, five
companies of Colonel Moor's (Second German Regiment)
Twenty-eighth Regiment arrived from Clarksburg under Lieu-
tenant-Colonel Becker. My partner, L. Markbreit, is sergeant-
major. This morning, raining hard. Exciting rumors and news.
A Tennessee regiment and force coming through the mountains
east of Sutton--a battery of four guns, one thirty-two-pounder!!
What an anchor to drag through the hills! Absurd! Danger of
all provisions below here with vast stores being taken by the
enemy. We are ordered to cook three days' rations and be ready
72 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
to move at a moment's warning, with forty rounds of ammuni-
tion. All trains on the route to Sutton are ordered back or to
take the way to Buchanan [Buckhannon] via Frenchtown.
Eighty thousand rations are ordered to same place from here.
All is war. I pack my portmanteau and prepare to move. Oh,
for a horse which wouldn't founder, or get lame, or stumble!
At night no order to move yet.
August 19. Monday.--No more rumors. A tolerably pretty
day. At 12 M. [midnight] got orders to quietly strike tents and
with three days' rations and the minimum amount of baggage
move to Buckhannon. Two companies, Captain Drake's and
Captain Zimmerman's, had just returned from a scouting expe-
dition to Walkersville, etc. No rest yet. After a world of con-
fusion, aggravated by an incompetent quartermaster, we got off
August 20. Tuesday.--After marching three miles we stopped
for water and to let the teams come up. One man reclining was
accidentally shot by another hitting his foot against the hammer
of a musket. Poor Carr received the ball in the heel of his shoe;
it passed up his leg, grazing it merely, grazed his body and arm
and shoulder, and left him without a serious wound! Fortunate.
Reached Buckhannon about 3:30 P. M.--so sleepy; no rest
or sleep the night before. Stopped at noon--got good bread and
milk, honey and blackberry jam, and slept nearly an hour in a
barn. Buckhannon a pretty place.
August 21.--Changed camping place at Buckhannon to a fine
spot one and one-half miles on road to Cheat Mountain. Got
settled with McMullen's Battery just as rain set in at night.
Had letters from Jim and Will Scott and Uncle George.
BUCKHANNON, VIRGINIA, August 21, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--You may send this letter, showing my
whereabouts, to Lucy. I have no time to write much. On Sun-
day night, about 12 o'clock, we were ordered to quietly pack and
march rapidly to this place. Some of our men had just returned
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 73
from long scouting expeditions. They were weary with march-
ing over the hills in rain and mud, and here was another march
without sleeping. It was borne cheerfully--the men supposing
it was to meet an enemy.
We find this a lovely spot, superior in some respects to the
scenery about Weston. We have a beautiful camp about one and
one-half miles from the village. There are here parts of five
regiments--all but this from Cincinnati. Men are constantly
arriving, showing the rapid concentration at this point of a large
body of troops. We are ignorant of its purpose, but suppose
it to be for service. We are all so healthy. I meet many Cin-
cinnati friends and enjoy the greetings.
I received a letter from Uncle, directed to Clarksburg. I sup-
pose that is still the best place to direct my letters. Write often.
Let Uncle know where I am and how lately you have heard
from me. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
[August] 22. Thursday.--At our nice camp. P. M. rained
and blew violently. In the midst of it we got orders from Gen-
eral Rosecrans to prepare to march to Beverly. "Early" in the
morning would do. Slept in my wet boots. Wrote home and to
mother and Uncle.
BUCKHANNON, August 22, 1861.
DEAR JIM:--I have written hastily to Mr. Warren. I hope
he will not be so much disturbed after he reflects on matters.
Have you had a formal application before the governor for a
place? It should be done by yourself or by a friend in person.
I suppose examination may be required. If so, attend to it. Dr.
Joe is well. We are expecting an enemy soon.
R. B. HAYES.
DR. JAMES D. WEBB.
74 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
BUCKHANNON, VIRGINIA, August 22, 1861.
DEAREST:--It is a cold, rainy, dismal night. We are all pre-
paring for an early march. I have made up a large bundle of
duds--all good of course--which must be left here, to be got
possibly some day but not probably. All are cut down to regu-
lation baggage. Many trunks will stop here. A tailor sits on
one end of my cot sewing fixings. All is confusion. The men
are singing jolly tunes. Our colonel takes his half regiment, the
left wing, and half of McCook's Germans, and we push off for
the supposed point of the enemy's approach. We shall stop and
camp at Beverly a while, and then move as circumstances require.
How are the dear boys ? Will Scott writes me that he goes into
the Kentucky Union regiments.
Good-bye, darling. Joe wishes to write and wants my pen.
R. B. HAYES.
Friday 23.--Clear, bright day; mud and water in the road
but a bracing air and blue sky overhead. Men marched with
spirit. Lovely mountain views and clear mountain streams al-
ways in sight. Camped on the mountainside in the road; no tents
pitched. Colonel and Dr. Joe slept in ambulance. I fixed up our
cots under the blue canopy, near a roaring mountain stream, and
with Adjutant Fisher watched the bright star near the Great Bear,
perhaps one of that constellation, which I conjectured was
Arcturus, until the moon came in sight. Slept in snatches and
Saturday 24.--Doctor and I laughed at a soldier who said
it was Saturday. We thought it was Thursday. The finest day's
march yet. Streams, mountain views, and invigorating air!
Reached Buckhannon [Beverly] at 2 P. M.; greeted by friends
in the Guthries warmly--Captain Erwin, Captain Bense, Cap-
tains Tinker, Clark. Saw Tatem, sick, Charles Richards, Tom
Royse, and others. Danger here; men killed and an enemy com-
ing or near Cheat River. Ambulance guide and men of
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 75
"Guthries" killed. We camped on a pretty spot. Captain Mc-
Mullen's howitzers and one-half of McCook's regiment with us
on the march. Ours the only band here.
BEVERLY, VIRGINIA, August, Saturday, 24 or 23, 1861.
DEAREST:--Your letters are all directed right--to Clarksburg,
Virginia--got one from you, one from Uncle and one from
Mother with a nice Testament today.
We marched from Buckhannon as I wrote you; but the rain
stopped, the air was delicious, the mountain scenery beautiful.
We camped at night in the hills without tents. I looked up at
the stars and moon--nothing between me and sky--and thought
of you all. Today had a lovely march in the mountains, was at
the camp of the enemy on Rich Mountain and on the battlefield.
Reached here today. Saw Captain Erwin and friends enough.
It is pleasant. We had one-half of our regiment, one-half of
McCook's German regiment and McMullen's Field Battery. Joe
and I led the column. The Guthrie Greys greeted us hospitably.
Men are needed here, and we were met by men who were very
glad to see us for many reasons. We go to the seat of things in
Cheat Mountain perhaps tomorrow.
I love you so much. Write about the dear boys and your
kindred--that's enough. Your letter about them is so good.
P.S.--My favorite horse has come out fine again (Webby
first, I mean) and Webby second is coming out.
Joe and I vote these two days the happiest of the war. Such
air and streams and mountains and people glad to see us.
BEVERLY, VIRGINIA, August 24, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--Thank you for the postage stamps. The
traitors at home, you need not fear. . . We are needed
here. Shall march towards the enemy tomorrow again. I am
76 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
better pleased with this than with the main army at Washing-
ton. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
BEVERLY, August 24, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--Fifty miles further in the mountains. Most
lovely streams and mountains. My tent now looks out on a finer
scene than any yet. Thank you for the Testament. I see war
enough. I prefer to read something else. We expect to move
on soon. We are at the jumping-off place. You will not hear
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Beverly, August 25. Sunday.--A cold night. Clear but
foggy this A. M. No orders to march yet. Good! Provisions
and provender, i. e. rations and forage, scarce and poor. Captain
Clark, a spirited German (Prussian) officer of the "Greys,"
dined us yesterday at Widow What's-her-name's hotel, Got let-
ters here from Lute, Uncle, and Mother, with a Testament from
Mother. Shall read it "in course"--through I mean; begin
BEVERLY, VIRGINIA, August 25, 1861, Sunday A. M.
DEAREST:--Supposing I might have to go on towards Cheat
Mountain this morning, I wrote you a very short note last night
I now write so soon again to show you how much I love you
and how much my thoughts are on the dear ones at home.
I never enjoyed any business or mode of life as much as I do
this. I really feel badly when I think of several of my intimate
friends who are compelled to stay at home. These marches and
campaigns in the hills of western Virginia will always be among
the pleasantest things I can remember. I know we are in fre-
quent perils, that we may never return and all that, but the
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 77
feeling that I am where I ought to be is a full compensation for
all that is sinister, leaving me free to enjoy as if on a pleasure
I am constantly reminded of our trip and happiness a year
ago. I met a few days ago in the Fifth Regiment the young
Moore we saw at Quebec, who went with me to see the animals at
Montreal one Sunday. Do you remember the rattlesnakes?
Young Bradford goes to Cincinnati today.--We have our
troubles in the Twenty-third of course, but it is happiness com-
pared with the Guthries--fine fellows and many fine officers,
but, etc., etc.
We saw nothing prettier [last year] than the view from my
tent this morning. McCook's men are half a mile to the right,
McMullen's Battery on the next hill in front of us. The Vir-
ginia Second a half mile in front, and the Guthries to the left.
We on higher ground see them all; then mountains, meadow, and
stream. Nothing wanting but you and the boys.
I want to say to you it will be impossible often, as we get
further in the hills, to write, and when I do write it will be
only a few lines. Don't think I am getting weaned from
you and home. It is merely the condition of things compels me.
I saw young Culbertson, looking strong and healthy, Channing
Richards, the Andersons, etc., etc., all ditto. Young Culbertson
is now in a scouting party that is after guerrillas who murdered
some of their men in an ambulance.
I have got a new boy--a yellow lad in Guthrie Gray uniform,
aged about sixteen, named Theodore Wilson.
Sunday evening.--Just got orders to go to Huttonsville. Look
on my map of Virginia and you will see it geography style, but the
beautiful scenery you will not see there. We are to be for the
present under General Reynolds, a good officer, and then General
Benham or General Rosecrans. All good. The colonel takes our
one-half and the German half of McCook and the battery of
McMullen. The soldiers are singing so merrily tonight. It is
a lovely sweet starlit evening. I rode over to Colonel Sanders-
hoff (I think that is the name of McCook's soldierly and gen-
tlemanly lieutenant-colonel) to tell him about the march, and
from his elevated camp I could see all the camps, "sparkling
78 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
and bright." I thought of the night you walked with me about
Good-night. Our most advanced outpost is connected by
telegraph, so that in Cincinnati you will know what happens at
an early date; earlier far than any letter of mine can reach you.
Kisses to all the boys. Love to Grandma and affection enough
for you, dearest.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--It would do mother good to know that I read three
chapters in the Testament she sent me. Send a quarter's worth
of postage stamps in your next.
Monday evening, August 26.-- Marched today up the beau-
tiful valley, "Tygart's Valley" I believe, to this pretty camp in
the hills, eighteen miles. Saw our general. About forty-five, a
middle-sized, good-looking man, educated at West Point. An
army man, good sense, good talker--General Reynolds. Oh,
what a lovely spot!
August 26, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are camped somewhere near, I think, the
head of Tygart's Valley, near Cheat Mountain Pass. Several
regiments are in sight, and the enemy under Lee so near that
our outposts have fights with his daily. We are under a capital
general, and are fast getting ready. I think we are safe; if not,
we shall be within a very short time. We expect to stay here
until we or the enemy are whipped, or back out for fear of a
We are in [a] lovely little valley on a fine clear trout stream,
with high mountains on all sides and large trees over us. A per-
fect camp, perfectly protected by entrenchments for miles up the
valley, pickets and scouts in all directions, etc., etc. A telegraph
finished to headquarters of our general from General Rose-
crans' at Clarksburg, and rapid mail carriers daily to the same
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 79
place. For instance, your letter of the 19th was handed to me
at my tent by the courier within half an hour after our arrival
Glad Fanny is with you. Lee will not whip us unless we
attack him with a force too small. If he attacks us, we are
the best off. The postage stamps are all gone.
R. B. HAYES.
I got four Fremont Journals. Much obliged.
SOMEWHERE IN TYGART'S VALLEY, NEAR CHEAT
MOUNTAIN PASS, VIRGINIA,
August 26, Monday evening, 8:30
P.M., after a march of eighteen miles, 1861.
DEAREST:--You will think me insane, writing so often and
always with the same story: Delighted with scenery and pleas-
We are camped tonight in a valley surrounded by mountains
on a lovely stream under great trees. With the Third Ohio,
Thirteenth Indiana, one-half of McCook's Ninth and the Michi-
gan artillery, which Mother remembers passed our house one
Sunday about the last of May, and McMullen's Battery, all in
sight. Our General Reynolds makes a good impression. We
are disposed to love him and trust him. We expect to remain
here and hereabouts until the enemy, which is just over the
mountain, either drives us out, which I think he can't do, or
until we are strong enough to attack him. A stay of some weeks,
What a lovely valley! Joe and I will always stick by Ohio
River water. It must be in the summer chiefly made up of these
mountain streams than which nothing can be purer. Our mails
will come here daily. I got a letter from Uncle delivered at
my tent within half an hour after it was up, dated 19th and
directed as all letters should be, Clarksburg.
We sent back our band to escort in the Germans who were
80 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
three hours behind us. I built a bridge for them, etc., etc. How
polite they were. We like them so much.
R. B. HAYES.
Have the daily Commercial sent me directed, "Maj. R. B.
Hayes, 23d Ohio Regiment, Clarksburg."
Tuesday, [August] 27.--Ordered to make a forced march,
without tents, knapsacks, or cooking utensils, to French Creek
by a mountain path scarcely practicable for horsemen. At about
3 P. M. set out. I led the column afoot, Captain Sperry on
Webby. Reached a river over the mountain after dark; kindled
fires and slept on ground. Thirteen miles.
Wednesday, 28.--A long march over a bad path--thirty
miles--to French Creek, or Scotchtown. Boarded with Mrs.
Farrell. A fine Union settlement. Forty years ago a Massa-
chusetts colony came here, and their thrift, morality, and patriot-
ism are the salt of this region. Slept in tent of Culbertson and
Lieutenant--of Captain Remley's Fifth Regiment. Noble
and generous treatment from them.
Thursday, 29.--Moved into the Presbyterian church to await
our tents and train.
Friday, 30.--Last night Dr. Joe and I did our best to house
in Mrs. Sea's barn (a good Union lady, two sons in the army),
the Germans of the Ninth, who lay in the mud, without shelter.
Spent today in a jolly way, resting.
FRENCH CREEK, August 30, 1861, Friday Night.
DEAREST:--"The best laid schemes of mice and men," etc.,
especially in war. That beautiful camp at the head of the valley,
where we were to stay so long, had just been gotten into fine
order, when the order to leave came: "Make a forced march
to French Creek by a mountain path, leaving tents, baggage, and
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 81
knapsacks to be sent you." We obeyed, and are yet alive. A
queer life. We are now as jolly as if we never saw trouble or
hardship. Two nights ago and three nights ago we lay in the
rain in the woods without shelter, blankets, and almost without
food, and after such hard days' toil that we slept on the moun-
tains as soundly as logs. All the horses used up, Uncle Joe's
Birch among the rest, except my pretty little sorrel, Webby,
which came through better than ever.
Let me describe my kit: Portmanteau containing two pair
socks, one shirt, a towel containing bread and sugar, a tin cup,
a pistol in one holster and ammunition in the other, a blanket
wrapped in the India-rubber you fixed, and a blue (soldier's)
overcoat. Seven miles we made after 2:30 P. M. on a good road
to Huttonsville, then by a bridle-path part of the way and no
path the rest, following a guide six miles over a steep, muddy,
rocky mountain. At the foot of the mountain I put Captain
Sperry, who was footsore, on Webby, and pushed ahead afoot.
I could see we would not get over the mountain to a stream we
wished to camp on until after night, unless we pushed. I put on
ahead of [the] guide and reached the top with Lieutenant Botts-
ford, the keen-eyed snare-drummer, Gillett (Birch remembers
him, I guess), a soldier, and the guide alone in sight. We waited
till the head of the column came in sight, got full instructions
from the guide, directed him to wait for the column, and leaving
him, re-enforced, however, by the silver cornet player, we hurried
down. In half an hour it was dark as tar. I led the little party
blundering sometimes, but in the main, right, until we could hear
the river. Long before we reached it, all sound of the column was
lost, and the way was so difficult that we agreed they could not
get down until daylight. We got to the river at 9:15 with three
matches and a Fremont Journal to kindle fire with, no overcoats
and no food. It was a wet night. Didn't we scratch about and
whittle to get dry kindling, and weren't we lucky to get it and
start a great fire with the first precious match?
Now for the column: It reached almost over the mountain
single file. 1st, Pioneers under a sergeant, ten men; 2nd, Lieu-
tenant Smith with advance guard of thirty men; 3d, Colonel
Scammon and the five companies, Twenty-third; 4th, Captain
82 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
McMullen and his four mountain howitzers and mules and
eighty men; 5th, Lieutenant-Colonel Sandershoff with five com-
panies of McCook's regiment. The head of the column got
down to us to our surprise at 10 P. M. McMullen gave it up
at 11 P. M. half-way up the mountain, and the Germans were
below him. The next day we toiled on thirteen and a half hours'
actual marching over the hills to this place, thirty miles. About
three hundred of our men reached here at 8 P.M.--dark,
muddy, rainy, and dismal--hungry, no shelter, nothing. Three
companies of the Fifth under Captain Remley (part of Colonel
Dunning's Continentals) were here. They took us in, fed us,
piled hay, built fires, and worked for us until midnight like
beavers, and we survived the night. Our men will always bless
the Cincinnati Fifth. A friend of the doctor's, Davis, named
Culbertson, looked after [me] and Dick Wright and others
took care of Joe. Those who seemed unable to keep up, I began
to order into barns and farmhouses about 6:30 o'clock. The
last six miles was somewhat settled and I took care of the rear.
In the morning we found ourselves in a warm-hearted Union
settlement. We got into a Presbyterian church. We made head-
quarters at a Yankee lady's and fared sumptuously; but Mc-
Mullen and the Germans were still behind. They got in twenty-
four hours after us in another dark wet night. Dr. Joe was in
his glory. He and I took charge of the Germans. They were
completely used up. The worst off we took into a barn of Mrs.
Sea. I mention the old lady's name for she has two sons and
a son-in-law in the Union army of Virginia and gave us all she
had for the Germans. We got through the night work about 12
M. [midnight] and today have enjoyed hugely the comparing
notes, etc., etc. Our tents reached us just now, and I am writing
in mine. The colonel was used up; Joe and I are the better for
it. The move is supposed to be to meet the enemy coming in
by a different route. We march on tomorrow but on good roads
(reasonably so) and with tents and rations.
I love you so much. Kisses for all the boys and Grandma.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 83
Tell Mother, Uncle, Laura, etc., that I get all letters, papers,
Testament, etc., that are sent. I have lost nothing, I am sure.
Such things are carefully forwarded from Clarksburg.
I am in command of the battalion and write this in the bustle
of pitching tents preparatory to marching again as soon as
Saturday, [August] 31,--Mustered today. I called the roll of
our five companies and of McMullen's Battery.
Sunday, 1 [September].--Drummed three men (youngsters)
out of Captain Drake's company, by [the] colonel's order. The
men all approve it but it makes me sick. The boys all probably
confirmed thieves before they joined the army, but it makes me
sick. Also sent back a waggon-master and drivers. This pleased
me. The rascals refused to drive further unless certain con-
ditions were complied with. Sent off, all right! Took the
mutinous waggon-master off his horse.
Tuesday, September 2 .--Twelve miles from Walkersville
to Bulltown. Found McCook and had a good time with him.
Wednesday, 3 .--Saw General Rosecrans and staff.
Caught our guard without a salute. We go with him south today. A
good time with McCook and his Ninth. Marched from Bulltown
to Flatwoods on road to Sutton, about ten or eleven miles.
Camped on a hill with Captain Canby's Company F of our right
wing and Captain Moore's Company I, ditto. How pleasant to
meet them after our long (five weeks) separation. They have
had troubles, hard marches, and fun; one man shot resisting a
corporal, two men in irons for a rape, and one man arrested for
sleeping on post (third offence penalty death!)
BULLTOWN, September 3, , 1861. Wednesday Morning.
DEAREST:--Let me say first that the army mail arrangement is
perfect. All letters are got promptly here. We march forty or
84 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
sixty miles to a new point. We are hardly stopped at our des-
tination on a sidehill, in a wood or meadow, before a courier
steps up and hands us, privates and all, letters just from Clarks-
burg. For instance, we are seventy miles over mountains from
our last camping place. I had not got off of Webby before a
fellow came up, "Are you the Major?" and handed me a letter
from you, 27th, from Mother, 26th, from Uncle, 26th, and half
a dozen others all late. The same thing is happening all the
We have had a forced march without tents, cooking utensils,
or knapsacks over a mountain road--bridle path. I came out
first best. All the horses injured except Webby. . . .
Good time here. McCook gathered his whole regiment. They
serenaded us and we them. The Ninth and Twenty-third swear
by each other. They Dutch, we Yankees. General Rosecrans
takes command here. We go south to Sutton, etc., until we
meet the enemy. Shall not write often now.
Good-bye. Blessings, love, and kisses for all.
R. B. HAYES.
BULLTOWN, September 3, , 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--All your letters come safely; got one of the
26th yesterday. Mail facilities coming this way are perfect.
We are now under General Rosecrans in person going south
toward Summersville, through Sutton, until we meet the enemy
unless he leaves western Virginia. Unless overwhelming[ly]
superior in numbers, we shall beat him, accidents always ex-
cepted. Our numbers are not, perhaps, as great as we would
wish, but you must remember we are over one hundred miles
from a railroad and bad roads (not very bad) to haul supplies.
It is physically impossible to supply a very large army without
a very long preparation. The wagon-trains would actually im-
pede each other, if you were to attempt to crowd too fast,
faster than we are now doing.
Take it easy, we shall clean them out in time, if the people
at home will hold on and be persevering and patient.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 85
We have had the severest experience soldiers are required to
bear, except a defeat; viz, forced marches without shelter, food,
or blankets over mountain bridle-paths, in the night and rain.
Many fail. My little horse came out well and sound again, the
best in the regiment. The doctor's gave out and was left. I
gain strength and color; a little flesh perhaps. Never before
so healthy and stout. You will hear first of our welfare in the
[Cincinnati] Commercial. Their "special correspondent" wrote
a letter in my tent this A. M. Good-bye.
R. B. HAYES.
ON ROAD TO SUTTON, SOUTH FROM
WESTON, September 3 , 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--We are having great times with forced
marches over the hills. It agrees with me. I get all letters by
couriers very promptly. . . .
We go south under General Rosecrans. All things look en-
couragingly. We meet friends constantly and unexpectedly. . . .
On Sunday we had church in camp, with a Presbyterian Con-
gregation of Yankees who came here forty-five years ago. We
occupied their church for shelter. They treated us most hospit-
ably. All from Massachusetts and retaining the thrift, morality,
and loyalty of their native State, or rather of the State of their
fathers, for most of them were born here.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
SUTTON, OR SUTTONVILLE, VIRGINIA, September 5, 1861.
DEAREST:--We are in another camp of fine views. This is
the last stronghold of our army as we advance toward the enemy.
We are now part of an army of from six to eight thousand and
are pushing towards an advancing enemy stronger in numbers,
it is said. Some time will perhaps elapse before we meet, but we
are pretty certain to meet unless the enemy withdraws. This,
86 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I think, they will do. I like the condition of things. Our force,
although not large, is of good regiments for the most part:
McCook's Ninth, Colonel Smith's Thirteenth, Lytle's Tenth
(Irish), are all here; also Colonel Moor's Twenty-eighth (Mark-
breit's regiment), Colonel Lowe's Twelfth, our regiment, and
Colonel Porshner's Forty-ninth (Wilstach regiment) coming;
also one part company of Regulars; four companies artillery,
four companies cavalry. An army about as large as can well
manoeuvre in these mountains. General Rosecrans is in com-
mand in person with General Benham of the Regular Army to
second him. We are camped on both sides of Elk River, con-
nected by a beautiful suspension bridge. Camps on high hills;
fortifications on all the summits. "A gay and festive scene," as
Artemus Ward would say, especially about sundown when three
or four fine bands are playing in rivalry.
Elk River empties into Kanawha, so that the water now drip-
ping from my tent will pass you, perhaps, about a fortnight
hence; the clearest, purest water it is too. From the tops of the
high hills you can see the rocks in the river covered by ten or
twenty feet of water. Nothing finer in Vermont or New Hamp-
I have just got a letter from Dr. James [D. Webb]. Say to
him, let all my letters be opened, and if any are important, send
them; otherwise, not, unless from some especial friend. Send
me some stamps and tell me how you are off for cash. We ex-
pect to be paid soon; if so, I can send you some three hundred
to six hundred dollars.
We are to have a bore here in a few days--a court-martial
on some officer in the Tenth or Twelfth, and I am to be judge-
advocate, unless I can diplomatize out of it, which I hope to do.
We got today papers from Cincinnati--the Times of the 28th
and the Commercial of the 2d. Think of it; only three days old!
It has rumors that General Rosecrans is captured. Well, not
quite. He is in good health, and the Twenty-third Regiment is
his especial guard. No force can get him here without passing
Among the interesting things in camp are the boys. You recol-
lect the boy in Captain McIlrath's company; we have another
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 87
like unto him in Captain Woodward's. He ran away from Norwalk
to Camp Dennison; went into the Fifth, then into the Guthries,
and as we passed their camp, he was pleased with us, and now
is "a boy of the Twenty-third." He drills, plays officer, soldier,
or errand boy, and is a curiosity in camp. We are getting dogs
too, some fine ones; almost all the captains have horses and a few
mules have been "realized"--that's the word--from Secession-
It is clearing off, so we shall be happy again. I am sorry you
are unwell. Don't get down-spirited. We shall get through and
come home again. Love and kisses for all the boys. Affectionate
regards to Grandma. Jim's letters will be very acceptable. Good-
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--If you could see the conveniences (?) I have for
writing, you would see how such a scrawl as this becomes a
possibility. I have found out the day of the week and month;
it is Thursday, the 5th September, 1861.
Friday, [September] 5 .--As judge-advocate, with Gen-
eral Benham, Colonels Scammon, Smith, et al., I tried two cases.
J. W. Trader, etc.
Saturday, 6 .--Marched to Birch River.
Sunday, 7 or 8.--As officer of the day, I rode all day--
up Birch, crossing it forty times and going fifty to sixty miles.
Rode out to pickets with General Benham.
Monday, 9.--Marched over Powell Mountain and camped
eight miles from Summersville. Enemy near us; a battle to
Tuesday, 10.--Marched seventeen miles, drove enemies' pick-
ets out of Summersville, followed nine miles to Gauley river.
Enemy entrenched on a hill, high, steep, and hidden by bushes,
three to six thousand strong. We get ready to attack. We
have been divided into three brigades: First, General Ben-
88 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
ham's, consisting of Tenth (Colonel Lytle's Irish), Twelfth
(Colonel Lowe's), and Thirteenth (Colonel Smith's) regiments;
Second, Colonel McCook's--the Ninth, Twenty-eighth, and
Forty-ninth; Third,--Twenty-third and Thirtieth and Mack's
Battery. McMullen's Battery attached to McCook. Stewart's
Cavalry, West's to headquarters, and Schaumbeck's Cavalry to
First Brigade led the attack. We stood near half an hour
listening to the heavy cannon and musketry, then were called
to form in line of battle. My feelings were not different from
what I have often felt before beginning an important lawsuit.
As we waited for our turn to form, we joked a great deal.
Colonel Matthews, Scammon, Captains Drake and Woodward,
and privates--all were jolly and excited by turns.
Finally our turn came. I was told to take four companies
and follow one of General Rosecrans' staff. I promptly called
off Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth companies. We marched
over a hill and through a cornfield; the staff officer and myself
leading on, until we reached the brow of a high hill overlooking
the Gauley River and perhaps three-quarters of a mile from the
entrenchments of the enemy. He [the officer] then said to me
that I was to be on the extreme left of our line and to march
forward guided by the enemy's guns, that he had no special
orders to give, that I was an officer and must use my own judg-
ment. He never had been over the ground I was to pass over;
thought the enemy might retreat that way.
I marched to the wood; found it a dense laurel thicket on the
side of a steep hill, rocky and cavernous; at the bottom a ravine
and river and up the opposite hill seemed to be the enemy. I
formed the four companies into order of battle, told them to
keep together and follow me; in case of separation to push
forward in the direction of the declining sun and when the firing
could be heard to be guided by it. I handed my horse to one of
the unarmed musicians, and drawing my sword crept, pushed,
and struggled rapidly down the hill. When I reached the bottom
but four or five of Company K (Captain Howard) were in sight.
Soon men of Captain Zimmerman's came up and soon I gathered
the major part of the four companies. I had sent Captain Wood-
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 89
ward and twenty scouts or skirmishers ahead; they were among
By this time it was getting late. I formed a line again extend-
ing from the river up the hill and facing towards the enemy,
as we supposed. The firing had ceased except scattered shots.
We pushed slowly up, our right up hill, where I was soon en-
countered [by] the Twenty-eighth--lost. Had a laugh and
greeting with Markbreit who was on the left of the Twenty-
eighth (he was my partner). The head of my column was near
enough to be fired on. Two were wounded, others hit; none
seriously hurt. The face of the hill on which the enemy was
posted was towards precipitous rock. We could only reach
them by moving to the right in front of the Twenty-eighth,
Forty-seventh, and Thirteenth.
I have heard nothing clear or definite of the position, either
of the enemy or ourselves. The above [drawing] is no doubt
very erroneous, but is my guess. I got up nearer than anybody
except the Tenth and Twelfth but was down a steep hill or
precipice and concealed. Some of my men bore to the right and
pushing in front of the Twenty-eighth and Forty-seventh mixed
with the Thirteenth. It soon got dark; all firing ceased. I drew
off single file, Captain Sperry leading; got up the hill just at
complete dark; found messengers ordering us to return to the
rest of our regiment, on the extreme right. Some thirty of my
men were missing--Captain Woodward, Lieutenant Rice, etc.,
etc. I left ten sentinels along the brow of the hill to direct them
where to find us. The greater part soon overtook us. We
marched through lost fragments of regiments--Germans
mostly, some Irish, talking of the slaughter, until we got into
an old field near our regiment. There we waited. Nobody
seemed nervous or anxious--all wishing for light. Talked
with McCook who criticized the orders, but was in good tem-
per; had lost three horses. Finally found our regiment and
all marched off to bivouac. In the morning great cheering near
the fort. Enemy had run away in a panic by a road over the
hill back of their works, leaving flag, etc.
90 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
GAULEY RIVER, 8 MILES SOUTH OF SUMMERSVILLE,
September 11, 1861.
DEAR LUCY:--Well, darling, we have had our first battle, and
the enemy have fled precipitately. I say "we," although it is
fair to say that our brigade, consisting of the Twenty-third, the
Thirtieth (Colonel Ewing), and Mack's Battery had little or
nothing to do, except to stand as a reserve. The only exception
to this was four companies of the Twenty-third, Captains Sperry,
Howard, Zimmerman, and Woodward, under my command, who
were detailed to make an independent movement. I had one man
wounded and four others hit in their clothing and accoutrements.
You will have full accounts of the general fight in the papers.
My little detachment did as much real work--hard work--as
anybody. We crept down and up a steep rocky mountain, on our
hands and knees part of the time, through laurel thickets almost
impenetrable, until dark. At one time I got so far ahead in the
struggle that I had but three men. I finally gathered them by
a halt, although a part were out all night. We were near half
an hour listening to the cannon and musketry, waiting for our
turn to come.
You have often heard of the feelings of men in the interval
between the order of battle and the attack. Matthews, myself,
and others were rather jocose in our talk, and my actual feeling
was very similar to what I have when going into an important
trial--not different nor more intense. I thought of you and the
boys and the other loved ones, but there was no such painful
feeling as is sometimes described. I doubted the success of the
attack and with good reason and in good company. The truth
is, our enemy is very industrious and ingenious in contriving
ambuscades and surprises and entrenchments but they lack pluck.
They expect to win, and too often do win, by superior strategy
and cunning. Their entrenchments and works were of amazing
extent. During the whole fight we rarely saw a man. Most of
the firing was done at bushes and log and earth barricades.
We withdrew at dark, the attacking brigades having suffered
a good deal from the enemy and pretty severely from one of
those deplorable mistakes which have so frequently happened in
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 91
this war--viz., friends attacking friends. The Tenth and
Twenty-eighth (Irish and Second German of Cincinnati) fired on
each other and charged doing much mischief. My detachment
was in danger from the same cause. I ran upon the Twenty-
eighth, neither seeing the other until within a rod. We mutually
recognized, however, although it was a mutual surprise. It so
happened, curiously enough, that I was the extreme right man
of my body and Markbreit the left man of his. We had a jolly
laugh and introductions to surrounding officers as partners, etc.
The enemy were thoroughly panic-stricken by the solid volleys
of McCook's Ninth and the rifled cannon of Smith's Thirteenth.
The Tenth suffered most. The enemy probably began their flight
by a secret road soon after dark, leaving flag, ammunition, trunks,
arms, stores, etc., etc., but no dead or wounded. Bowie knives,
awful to look at, but no account in war; I have one. One
wagon-load of family stuff--a good Virginia plain family--
was left. They were spinning, leaving rolls of wool, knitting,
and making bedquilts. I enclose a piece; also a pass--all queer.
They [the enemy] crossed the Gauley River and are said to be
fortifying on the other side. We shall probably pursue. Indeed,
Colonel Matthews and [with] four of our companies is now
dogging them. We shall probably fight again but not certainly.
I have no time to write to other friends. The men are now
talking to me. Besides, I want to sleep. Dearest, I think of
you and the dear ones first, last, and all the time. I feel much
encouraged about the war; things are every way looking better.
We are in the midst of the serious part of a campaign. Good-
bye, dearest. Pass this letter around--bad as it is. I have no
time to write to all. I must sleep. On Sunday last, I rode nine-
teen hours, fifty to sixty miles, crossed a stream with more water
than the Sandusky at this season at Mr. Valette's from thirty to
forty times--wet above my knees all the time and no sleep for
thirty-six hours; so "excuse haste and a bad pen", as Uncle says.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--Joe and his capital assistants are trumps.
92 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
BIRCH RIVER, BETWEEN SUMMERSVILLE AND
SUTTON, VIRGINIA, September 14, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--I have no time to write letters. We are
getting on finely. Our battle on the 10th at Gauley River, you
have no doubt heard all about. Nothing but night prevented our
getting Floyd and his whole army. As it was, we entirely
demoralized them; got all their camp equipage even to their
swords, flag, and trunks (one of the best of which the general
gave me). I had an important and laborious part assigned me.
An independent command of four companies to be the extreme
left of our attacking column. We worked down and up a
steep rocky mountain covered with a laurel thicket. I got close
enough just at dark to get two men wounded and four others
struck in their garments.
This is not a dangerous business; after tremendous firing of
cannon and musketry, we lost only thirteen killed, about fifteen
badly wounded and fifty or sixty slightly wounded. The enemy
are no match for us in fair fighting. They feel it and so do
our men. We marched rapidly seventeen miles, reaching their
vicinity at 2:30 or 3 P. M. We immediately were formed and
went at them. They were evidently appalled. I think not many
were killed. Governor Floyd was wounded slightly.
On yesterday morning I was sent on a circuitous march to
head off parties hastening to join Wise or Floyd. Four com-
panies of my regiment, two companies of Colonel Ewing's, and
a squadron of Chicago cavalry are under my command. We
marched up Gauley River to Hughes Ferry. There we were
fired on by a lot of guerrillas concealed in rocks. It was more
dangerous than the battle. Three of us who were mounted
and in advance were decidedly objects of attention, but for-
tunately none were hit. We chased them off, getting only one.
I am now here relieving a small party of our folks who are
entrenched and who have been in constant dread of an attack.
We are without tents and expect to return to the battle-ground
in six days.
In the battle only one commissioned officer was killed, Colonel
Lowe. One acquaintance of yours, Stephen McGroarty, an
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 93
Irish Democratic orator, formerly of Toledo, now of Cincin-
nati (a captain), was shot through the body, but kept on his
feet until the fight was stopped by the darkness. He will recover.
One of my comforts is that my horse has come out in better
plight than ever. I think he never looked so well and spirited
as he did today as we marched over Birch Mountain.
If no disaster overtakes us at Washington, we shall soon
see signs of yielding by the South. The letters, diaries, etc.,
etc., found in Floyd's trunks and desks, show that their situa-
tion is desperate. Thousands are in their army who are heartily
sick of the whole business.
We retook a large part of the plunder taken from Colonel
Tyler as well as prisoners. The prisoners had been well treated,
very. The young men in Floyd's army of the upper class are
kind-hearted, good-natured fellows, who are [as] unfit as pos-
sible for the business they are in. They have courage but no
endurance, enterprise, or energy. The lower class are cowardly,
cunning, and lazy. The height of their ambition is to shoot a
Yankee from some place of safety.
My regards to all. Send this to Mother and Lucy.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--The enclosed picture of a lieutenant in the army we
routed is for Laura.
BIRCH RIVER, EIGHTEEN MILES NORTH OF SUM-
MERSVILLE, Sunday, September 15, 1861.
DEAREST:--We are as happy and care-for-nothing [a] set of
fellows here today as you could find anywhere. I have now for a
while an independent command of four companies, Twenty-
third, Captain Moore, Captain Lovejoy, Woodward, and Drake,
two companies of the Thirtieth and a squadron of the Chicago
Dragoons. We are now about thirty miles from the battlefield,
heading off (if there are any, which I doubt), reinforcements
for the enemy. The men are jolly, the anxieties of the battle
94 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
all forgotten. We seem to be in most prosperous circumstances.
I shall rejoin the main army in three or four days.
You have heard about the fight. It was a very noisy but not
dangerous affair. . . . Where I was a few balls whistled
forty or fifty feet over our heads. The next day, however,
with Captain Drake's company I got into a little skirmish with
an outpost and could see that the captain and myself were
actually aimed at, the balls flying near enough but hurting no-
body. The battle scared and routed the enemy prodigiously. . . .
I hardly think we will [shall] have another serious fight.
Possibly, Wise and Floyd and Lee may unite and stiffen up
the Rebel back in this quarter. If so we shall fight them. But
if not encouraged by some success near Washington, they are
pretty well flattened out in this region. We shall be busy with
them for a few weeks, but as I remarked, unless we meet with
some serious disaster near Washington, they will not, I think,
have heart enough to make a stiff battle.
My "Webby," tell the boys, pricked up his ears and pranced
when he heard the cannon and volleys of musketry. He is in
Dr. Joe and McCurdy were very busy with the sick and
wounded during and after the battle. Our troops who were
taken from Colonel Tyler and retaken by us say they were very
well treated by the enemy. McCurdy is now with me. Colonel
Scammon couldn't spare Joe.
The last week has been the most stirring we have had during
the war. If in all quarters things go on as well as here we
shall end the war sometime. The captured letters show that
Governor Floyd's army were getting tired of the business.
Did I tell you General Benham gave me an awful bowie
knife and General Rosecrans a trunk out of the enemy's spoil?
The last much needed.
Well, dearest, this is one of the bright days in this work.
I am prepared for all sorts of days. There will be dark ones
of course, but I suspect there is a gradual improvement which
will continue with occasional drawbacks until we are finally
successful. Love and kisses for all. Good-bye, darling.
Affectionately, R. B. HAYES.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 95
P.S.--Captain McMullen who was wounded is well enough
for another battle. Since writing in comes a mail carrier out
on this road and your letter of the 5th and postage stamps is
in his budget. So I put a stamp on it and if I had another
envelope would direct it again.
Tell Webb that my pretty horse is the original Camp Chase
"Webby," the finest horse in the regiment. I tried one or two
others, but Webb plucked up and beats them all.
Glad, very, you are at home and happy. We are here happy,
too. This is all Cincinnati nearly--this army. Yes, Joe, is a
great favorite with the colonel and with all. The colonel leans
upon [him] entirely. He is really surgeon of the brigade and
should Colonel Scammon be a brigadier, Dr. Joe will become
his brigade surgeon permanently. All glad to get letters. I
love you so much. Good-bye.
September 19.--Offered the place of judge-advocate general
by General Rosecrans. Have served in five cases--[on the]
5th and 6th at Sutton, 16th, 17th and 18th at Cross Lanes (also
the 12th)--and a few days between those dates preparing re-
ports of proceedings.
CROSS LANES, NEAR GAULEY RIVER, BELOW
SUMMERSVILLE, VIRGINIA, September 19,
Thursday A. M., .
DEAREST:--I fear you do not get the letters I have written
the last ten days, as we are out of the reach of mail facilities.
I got your letter of the 5th about forty miles north of here out
of a waggon-train that I stopped. You can always know of my
welfare from the correspondence in the Gazette and [the] Com-
mercial. They are informed directly from headquarters. I see
their correspondents daily. Colonel Scammon being at the head of
a brigade (a very little one), Colonel Matthews commands our
96 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
regiment. On the day of the fight, and most of the time since,
I have had an independent command. Most [of] the time al-
most a regiment, made up from our regiment, the Thirtieth, and
small parties of cavalry. I have thus far been the sole judge-
advocate also of this army; so I am very busy. We tried three
cases yesterday. It is a laborious and painful business. And
after writing so much I would not write you but for my anxiety
to have you know how much I think of and love you. Love and
kisses to all the boys.
My impression is that the enemy has left our bailiwick en-
tirely, but there are rumors of re-enforcements, etc., etc. If so,
we shall have another fight within ten days. With anything like
management and decent luck, we shall surely beat them. But
there is a great deal of accident in this thing. Not enough to
save them unless they do better than heretofore.
Dr. Joe is well. All of us getting thin and tough. Matthews
has lost twenty-five pounds, Dr. Joe five pounds. I have lost
five to eight. The soldiers generally from ten to twenty pounds.
I never was so stout and tough. You need not send my pants
unless you see somebody coming direct or get a chance with Mr.
Schooley's things. I am well fixed. Dr. McDermott is here,
one week from Ohio. We now get news by way of Kanawha in
two days from Cincinnati.
You need have no fear of my behaviour in fight. I don't know
what effect new dangers might have on my nerves, but the other
day I was several minutes under a sharp guerrilla fire--aimed
particularly at Captain Drake and myself (being on horseback),
so I know somewhat of my capacity. It is all right. In the noisy
battle, for it was largely noise, none of our regiment was under
fire except the extreme right wing of my little command; two
were wounded, and I could hear the balls whistle away up in the
air fifty feet over my head; but it amounted to nothing. A por-
tion of Colonel Lytle's men caught nearly all the danger, and
they were under a very severe fire.
It is beautiful weather--lovely moonlight nights. A great
many well cultivated farms; plenty of fruit, vegetables, and food.
Good-bye again. The paymaster is expected soon. I shall be
able to send you lots of money if he does [come], as I now
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 97
spend next to nothing. Kisses for all. Dearest, I love you
P.S.--This letter is so incoherent by reason of interruptions.
Joe wants me to say that we had peaches and cream just now.
CROSS LANES, September 19, 1861.
DEAREST:--It is a lovely moonlight evening. I mailed you
a letter this morning, but as Lieutenant Wall of Captain McIl-
rath's company has resigned to go with the navy, and will go
to Cincinnati tomorrow, I thought I would say a word further
while our band plays its finest tattoo tunes. They are sweet,
very. You see by the enclosed the scrape I am in. I have
tried four or five cases on general orders, and here comes an
order making me permanently a J. A. [judge-advocate]. It is
not altogether agreeable. I shall get out of it after a while
somehow. For the present I obey. It is pleasant in one re-
spect as showing that in my line I have done well. Lieutenant
Wall will, I hope, call and see you. He is a good soldier and
we are sorry to lose him. If this reaches you before other
letters from here and Birch River, you may know that two
older and longer ones are after you.
One thing in the new appointment: If I can't get out of it,
you may see me one of these days, sooner than you otherwise
would, as it confers some privileges, and that would be sweet.
Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--We hear tonight of the death of Colonel Lorin An-
drews at Kenyon.* We feel it more deeply than in most cases.
*Lorin Andrews born at Ashland, Ohio, April 1, 1819. Studied law,
but soon gave up the practice to devote himself to work of education.
He was President of Kenyon College at the outbreak of the war and
was the first man in Ohio to offer his services to the country. He was
colonel of the Fourth O. V. I. in the first campaign of the war and
"died, a martyr to the Union, September 18, 1861."
98 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
He was my classmate--a fellow student of Colonel Matthews.
He took a great interest in our efforts to get a place in the war,
and rejoiced with us when we got a fine regiment. McCook
gave me Andrews' spurs when he left for home, to wear until
his return. Alas! we are not to see him. He was an earnest,
true man. Hail and farewell! We have been so full of humor
tonight and this saddens us. Good-bye again, dearest.
MRS. HAYES. R.
CROSS LANES, NEAR GAULEY RIVER,
SOUTH OF SUMMERSVILLE, VIRGINIA,
September 19, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--I am in the best possible health. Since the
retreat of the enemy I have been too busy to write. You must
look in the correspondence of the Commercial or Gazette for
my welfare. If I should lose a little toe, it will be told there
long before a letter from me would reach [you]. Their cor-
respondents send by telegraph and couriers every day from this
army. Their accounts, making proper allowance for sensa-
tional exaggeration, are pretty truthful.
Dr. Joe and his assistant performed their duty and the duty
of about half a dozen other surgeons during and after the fight.
Everybody was well cared for--even the enemy. The number
of killed and badly wounded did not exceed twenty-five; other
wounds about seventy-five, mostly very slight. The suffering
is not great. Gunshot wounds are accompanied with a numb-
ness which relieves the wounded. Laura's bandages figured
We are now enjoying ourselves very much; beautiful weather;
fine fruit, vegetables, and other food, also pretty nights. Love
Affectionately your son,
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--You must excuse my short letter. I have a pro-
digious amount of writing to do. I am acting judge-advocate
and have tried five cases lately.--H.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 99
September 20.--I am ordered to the place of judge-advo-
cate and to be attached to headquarters. I dislike the serv-
ice but must obey, of course. I hope to be released after a
few weeks' service. In the meantime I will try to qualify my-
self for an efficient discharge of my new duties. I agree with
General Rosecrans that courts-martial may be made very serv-
iceable in promoting discipline in the army. I shall try to
introduce method and system into the department. I will keep
a record of cases, collect a list of sentences proper for different
cases, etc., etc.
September 21, 1861.--Equinoctial storm today. Our regi-
ment does not move. I am getting ready for my new quarters
and duties. Just got ready for bed; a dark, dismal, rainy night.
Visited the hospital tonight. Saw several of Colonel Tyler's
men who were wounded and taken prisoners in his surprise a
month ago and were retaken by us after the fight at Carnifax
Ferry. Intelligent men from Oberlin, one Orton; one from
Cleveland. They have suffered much but are in good spirits.
The enemy boasted that they would soon drive us out and would
winter in Cincinnati.
September 22. Sunday.--Cold, raw, and damp--probably
will rain. I must get two flannel or thick shirts with collars,
also one or two pairs of thick gloves.
CROSS LANES, VIRGINIA, September 22, .
Sunday morning, before breakfast.
DEAREST:--It is a cold, drizzly, suicidal morning. The equi-
noctial seems to be a severe storm. Part of our force has
crossed [the] Gauley to operate in conjunction with General
Cox who is near us. The enemy have retreated in a broken
and disheartened condition twenty or thirty miles to near Lewis-
burg. Unless largely reinforced, they will hardly make another
stand. The first fair day our regiment will cross [the] Gauley
and the rest will follow as weather permits. We have such a
long line of transportation and as the wet fall months are at
hand, I suspect we shall not attempt to go further than Lewis-
100 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
burg, possibly to the White Sulphur Springs, before we go into
You know I am ordered to be attached to headquarters. As
soon as my regiment moves they will leave me. This is hard,
very. I shall feel badly enough when they march off without
me. There are some things pleasant about it, however. In
the first place, I shall probably not be kept away more than a
month or two before I shall be relieved. Then, I shall be in
much more immediate communication with you. I can at any
time, if need be, dispatch you; so you are within an hour of me.
I shall travel a good deal and may possibly go to Ohio. I
began my new duties by trying to do a good thing. I have
sent for Channing Richards to be my clerk. He is a private
in the Guthries. Enough said. If he comes as he is ordered
to by the general, and as no doubt he will, I can easily see how
his education, brought to notice as it will be, will get him into
the way of promotion. I have also a soldier of the Twenty-
third, who has been a sailor, an ostler, and a cook, and will be
able to look after me in his several capacities.
The wounded are all doing well. The number now in the
hospital is small. The doctor has been getting discharges or
furloughs for our sick. The rest are getting hardened to this
life and I hope we shall continue healthy. Colonel Matthews
has been slightly, or even worse, sick, not so as to confine him
to his quarters except one morning. His health generally has
been excellent. The "poor blind soldier," as Birtie called him,
is perfectly well again.
It is coming out a bright warm day. Weather is a great matter
in camp. A man so healthy and independent of weather as I
am can keep up spirits in bad weather; but [to] a camp full,
on wet ground, under wet tents, hard to get food, hard to cook
it, getting homesick, out of money, out of duds, weather be-
comes an important thing.
Speaking of duds, I ought to have a neckerchief, a pair of
officers' thick gloves, two soldiers' shirts with collars, flannel
collars same as the shirt. I have worn but one white shirt in
two months, and as only one of my thick shirts has a collar,
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA --1861 101
I am more or less bored for the want of them. I shall get
soldiers' shirts by the first arrival.
Love to the dear boys. I am hoping to send you money soon.
If the paymaster will only come! Love to all the rest as well and
bushels for your own dear self.
R. B. HAYES.
P. S.-- Dr. Clendenin arrived today and is brigade surgeon
of our (Colonel Scammon's) brigade. This pleases Joe and all.
We are lucky in doctors. Colonel Scammon says, "No doubt
Dr. Clendenin is a good man, but I would prefer Dr. Webb."
CROSS LANES, VIRGINIA, Sunday, September 22, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:-- . . . We are waiting for good weather
to go in pursuit of the enemy. Unless some calamity occurs to
us at Washington, so as to enable the Rebels to reinforce Wise
and Floyd, I do not think they will fight us again. We shall
probably not pursue more than forty miles to Lewisburg or
White Sulphur Springs, and then our campaign closes for the
season. You see, probably, that I am appointed judge-advo-
cate for the department of the Ohio. This includes the State
of Ohio, and, should I continue to hold the place, I shall prob-
ably be required to go to Columbus and Cincinnati in the course
of my duties. But I shall get out of it, I hope, in a month or so.
It will separate me from my regiment a good deal, and the
increase of pay, about forty or fifty dollars per month, and
increase of honor, perhaps, is no compensation for this separa-
tion. I have acted in all the cases which have arisen in General
Rosecrans' army. I shall be with my regiment soon again, I
hope. While the general is in the same army with them, we
are together, of course. I am constantly interrupted. I am
today in command of the regiment, Colonel Matthews being
unwell, so I am perpetually interrupted. Good-bye.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
102 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
MT. SEWELL ON PIKE FROM LEWISBURG DOWN GAULEY
AND KANAWHA RIVERS, THIRTY MILES FROM LEWIS-
BURG, CAMP SEWELL, September 25, 1861.
DEAR L--:-- I am now in General Cox's camp, twenty-five
miles from the Carnifax Ferry. The regiment is back about
twenty miles. I am here as J. A. [judge-advocate]. Came
over yesterday. This camp is on the summit of a high hill or
mountain which affords a most extensive view of mountain
scenery. The enemy is on a hill about one or two miles from
us under Wise. Their strength is not known. Firing continued
between the pickets yesterday a good part of the day. Many
cannon shot and shell also were let off without much result.
One man (Major Hise) slightly wounded on our side. We are
ordered not to fight the enemy, not to attack, I mean, until
General Rosecrans arrives with our regiment and other forces.
McCook is here. If the enemy does not retire, I think there
will be a battle in a few days, but I think they will retreat again.
They left a strongly fortified position day before yesterday.
I found it yesterday. Well, all these matters you read in the
Tell uncle I would write him, but I don't know where he is,
and I suppose he sees my letters often enough. I am in the
best possible health and spirits. I trust you are also. It seems
to me we are gradually getting better off in the war. It may,
and will last some time, but the prospect improves steadily.
I merely write this morning to tell you of my present where-
abouts, and that I love you dearly. Kisses and love for the
boys and all.
SEWELL MOUNTAIN, GENERAL COX'S CAMP,
September 27 (Saturday or Friday, I am told), 1861.
DEAR L--:-- We are in the midst of a very cold rain-storm;
not farther south than Lexington or Danville and on the top of a
high hill or small mountain. Rain for fifteen hours; getting
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA --1861 103
colder and colder, and still raining. In leaky tents, with worn-
out blankets, insufficient socks and shoes, many without over-
coats. This is no joke. I am living with McCook in a good
tent, as well provided as anybody in camp; better than either
General Cox or Rosecrans.
I write this in General Cox's tent. He sits on one cot read-
ing, or trying to read, or pretending to read, Dickens' new novel,
"Great Expectations." McCook and General Rosecrans are in
the opposite tent over a smoke, trying to think they are warmed
a little by the fire under it. Our enemy, far worse provided than
we are, are no doubt shivering on the opposite hill now hidden by
the driving rain and fog. We all suspect that our campaign
in this direction is at an end. The roads will be miry, and we
must fall back for our supplies. My regiment is fourteen miles
back on a hill. When clear we can see their tents.
Just now my position is comparatively a pleasant one. I go
with the generals on all reconnaissances, see all that is to be
seen, and fare as well as anybody. We were out yesterday
P. M. very near to the enemy's works; were caught in the first
of this storm and thoroughly soaked. I hardly expect to be
dry again until the storm is over.
SEWELL MOUNTAIN, September 29, 1861.
DEAREST L--:--A beautiful bright Sunday morning after a
cold, bitter, dismal storm of three days. It finds me in perfect
health, although many a poor fellow has succumbed to the
weather. The bearer of this goes home sick--a gentlemanly
German. I am still living with McCook, my regiment being
back ten miles. We are in doubt as to whether we shall fight
the enemy ahead of us or not. We are compelled now by roads
and climate to stop and return to the region of navigable waters
or railroads. No teams can supply us up here much longer.
In this state of things we shall probably be content with holding
the strong points already taken without fighting for more until
104 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
We have three generals here. Rosecrans, Cox, and Schenck.
General Cox is a great favorite, deservedly I think, with his
men. We suppose, but don't know, that there are three gen-
erals in the enemy's camp, viz: Lee, Wise, and Floyd. Their
force is believed to be much larger than ours, and many more
cannon, but they dare not attack. They are industriously for-
tifying hills which we care nothing about.
My regards to the family. Love and kisses to the boys. The
bearer, Mr. Harries, will, I hope, call on you.
Affectionately as ever, your
Camp Sewell, October 1, 1861.--About a week ago I left
Camp Scott, or Cross Lanes, and came over to General Cox's
camp on the top of Sewell Mountain. Our Secesh friends are
fortifying in sight. I staid with McCook. General Cox is an
even-tempered man of sound judgment, much loved by his men.
McCook and he both wanted to occupy Buster's Knob on the
left of our enemy's camp, but a dispatch from General Rose-
crans prevented. The next day the enemy were fortifying it.
General Schenck takes command of our brigade. I have tried
five cases the last two days. We had a rain-storm, cold, windy,
and awful. Must go to winter quarters. The enemy still for-
tifying. Our pickets killed a colonel or lieutenant-colonel of the
enemy who rode among them. All wrong and cruel. This is
too like murder. Shooting pickets, etc., etc., ought to be put
down. Another cold night. Jolly times we have in camp.
CAMP SEWELL, October 3, 1861.
DEAREST:--This is a pleasant morning. I yesterday finished
the work of a court-martial here; am now in my own tent with
my regiment "at home." It does seem like home. I have washed
and dressed myself, and having nothing to do I hope to be able
today to write to all. I begin, of course, with my darling wife,
of whom I think more and more affectionately the longer we
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA --1861 105
are separated. And the dear boys too--kiss and hug them
We are evidently at the end of our campaign in this direction
for this season. The bad roads and floods make it impossible
longer to supply an army so far from railroads and navigable
waters. How soon we shall begin our backward march, I do
not know. If the enemy were not immediately in front of us
we should leave instantly but, no doubt, our leaders dislike to
make a move that will look like a retreat from an enemy that
we care nothing about. But there is nothing to be gained by
staying so far in the mountains, and the danger of starving
will send us back to Gauley Bridge long before this reaches you.
We shall, no doubt, garrison and fortify the strong points which
control western Virginia, and the question with us all is, who
is to stay and who go to some pleasanter scene.
We are now in General Schenck's brigade, and hope he will
have influence enough to get us a place in the Kentucky or
some other army. We are, no doubt, the crack American regi-
ment of all this region, and think we should have the con-
spicuous place. I think we shall get out of here, but we shall
see. I think there will be no battle here. The enemy are
strongly entrenched and far superior to us in numbers. Be-
sides there is no object in attacking them. They have twenty-
two pieces of artillery. They will not attack us, unless en-
couraged to do so by our apparent retreat. If they come out
of their entrenchments to fight us we think we have got them.
So if our retreat is prudently managed, I suspect there will be
nothing but skirmishing. That we have a little of daily.
Since we passed into the mountains, we are out of reach of
mails. It is almost a month since the date of your last letter.
I am still on General Rosecrans' staff although with my regi-
ment, and you can direct letters as heretofore, except instead
of "Clarksburg" put "Gauley Bridge," and ask Dr. James W.
[Webb] to leave the new direction at the Commercial office.
I am in the best of health. I speak of this always because
it is now a noticeable thing. No man in our regiment has been
healthier than I have, perhaps none so healthy. I have not
been laid up a moment, hardly felt even slightly unwell.
106 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
It is singular how one gets attached to this life with all its
hardships. We are a most jovial happy set. Our mess now is
Colonel Scammon, Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews, Dr. Clendenin,
Dr. Joe, and myself. I doubt if anywhere in the country a
happier set gather about the table. Joe is full of life, occasion-
ally unwell a little, but always jovial. Matthews has had some
of his old troubles--nothing serious -- but is a most witty, so-
cial man. Colonel Scammon takes medicines all the time, but is
getting fat, and is in the best of temper with all of us. General
Schenck and his staff are also here. Donn Piatt is one of them.
The general and Donn add greatly to our social resources. In-
deed I have seen no regiment that will at all compare with us in
this respect. . .
I shall be thirty-nine years old, or is it thirty-eight, tomorrow?
Birthdays come along pretty fast these days.
Do the boys go to school ? I hope they will be good scholars
but not study at the expense of growth and health . . . .
If the paymaster ever gets along I shall be able to send home
money enough to pay debts, taxes, and keep you going for some
We have news of a victory by McClellan. We hope it is
true. Whatever may befall us, success at Washington if fol-
lowed up secures our country's cause. Love to all.
Affectionately, as ever,
UP GAULEY RIVER, CAMP SEWELL, October 3, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--I should have written you, if I had known
where you were. We are in the presence of a large force of the
enemy, much stronger than we are, but the mud and floods have
pretty much ended this campaign. Both the enemy and ourselves
are compelled to go back to supplies soon. I think, therefore,
there will be no fight. We shall not attack their entrenchments
now that they are reinforced, and I suspect they will not come
out after us. Donn Piatt just peeped in. He always has funny
things. I said, quoting Webster, "I still live." "Yes," said he,
"Webster-- Webster. He was a great man. Even the old Whigs
CAMPAIGNING IN WEST VIRGINIA--1861 107
about Boston admit that!" And again, speaking of the prospect
of a fight, he said: "This whistling of projectiles about one's
ears is disagreeable. It made me try to think at Bull Run of
all my old prayers; but I could only remember, 'Oh Lord, for
these and all thy other mercies, we desire to be thankful.' "
We shall soon go into winter quarters at posts chosen to hold
this country, Gauley Bridge, Charleston, etc., etc. Who will get
into a better place, is the question. We all want to go to Wash-
ington or to Kentucky or Missouri. We are in General Schenck's
brigade, and hope he will make interest enough to get us into
good quarters. There is much sickness among officers and men.
My health was never better than during these four months. I
hope you will continue to improve.
I am still in General Rosecrans' staff; but having just finished
an extensive tour of court-martial, am again in camp with my
regiment in good order. It is like going home to get back.
Still this practicing on the circuit after the old fashion, only
more so--an escort of cavalry and a couple of wagons with
tents and grub--has its attractions. I shall get out of it soon,
but as a change, I rather enjoy it.
Between you and Platt, I must get a strong, fleet, sure-footed
horse for the next campaign. If the paymaster comes, I shall
be able to pay from one hundred and fifty to two hundred dol-
lars. My present horse turns out well, very well, but the winter
will probably use him up, and I must get another.
Hereafter, direct to me, Gauley Bridge, instead of Clarksburg.
We have just learned that McClellan has had a success at
Washington. If so, whatever happens here, the cause is safe.
I hope the news is true.
R. B. HAYES.
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