IN WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA -- 1861
OCTOBER 4, 1861.--My birthday. At Camp Scammon,
one and one-half miles from Camp Sewell. A warm day
with clouds gathering. General Schenck has assumed command
of our brigade--Twenty-third and Thirtieth [Regiments].
Dined with General Schenck--a birthday dinner. His birthday
also -- he fifty-one.
CAMP LOOKOUT, Monday, October 7, 1861.
DEAREST:--The mails are in order again. Letters will now
come promptly. On the day after I wrote you last we got all
the back letters--lots of papers and dates up to October I.
One queer thing, a letter from Platt of July 31 and one from
Mother of October I got up the same day.
Our campaign is closed. No more fighting in this region
unless the enemy attack, which they will not do. We are to
entrench at Mountain Cove, eight miles from here, at Gauley
Bridge, twenty miles off, and [at] Summersville, about the same.
These points will secure our conquest of western Virginia from
any common force, and will let half or two-thirds of our army
go elsewhere. I hope we shall be the lucky ones to leave here.
The enemy and ourselves left the mountains about the same
time; the enemy first, and for the same reason, viz., impossibility
of getting supplies. We are now fourteen miles from Mount Sew-
ell and perhaps thirty miles from the enemy. Our withdrawal
was our first experience in backward movement. We all ap-
proved it. The march was a severe one. Our business today
is sending off the sick, and Dr. Joe is up to his eyes in hard work.
We have sixty to send to Ohio. This is the severest thing of
the campaign. Poor fellows! We do as well as we can with
them; but road-wagons in rain and mud are poor places.
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 109
Very glad--oh, so glad-- you and Ruddy are well again.
You did not tell me you were so unwell. I felt so badly to
hear it. Do be very careful.
Don't worry about the war. We are doing our part, and if
all does not go well, it is not our fault. I still think we are sure
to get through with it safely. The South may not be con-
quered, but we shall secure to the Nation the best part of it.
We hope to go to Kentucky. If so, we shall meet before a
month. Our regiment is a capital one. But we ought to re-
cruit. We shall be about one hundred to one hundred and fifty
short when this campaign is ended.
Tomorrow is election day [in Ohio]. We all talked about it
today. We are for Tod and victory.
Good-bye. Much love to all.
Affectionately, yours ever,
Tuesday morning, 6 A. M., October 8.
Your election day.
DEAREST:--This wet dirty letter and its writer have had con-
siderable experience in the last twenty-four hours, and since
the above was written. In the first place we have had another
bitter storm, and this cold raw morning we shiver unless near
the fires. At one time yesterday I thought I should have to
take back a good deal of what I said in the letter I had just
started for Cincinnati. I was at the hospital three-quarters mile
from camp, helping Dr. Joe and Captain Skiles put the sick into
wagons to be transported to Gallipolis and Cincinnati, when
firing was heard and word came that the enemy in force had
attacked our camp. The doctor and I hurried back leaving Cap-
tain Skiles to look after the sick. All the army, seven regiments
(five to six thousand men), were forming in line of battle. I
joined my regiment, and after waiting a half hour or so we were
ordered to quarters with word that it was only a scouting party
driving in our pickets. This was all in a rain-storm. The poor
fellows in hospital-- many of them -- panic-stricken, fled down
the road and were found by Dr. Joe on his return three or four
110 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
miles from the hospital. Three of our regiment got up from
their straw piles, got their guns and trudged up the road and
took their places in line of battle. The behavior of the men was
for the most part perfectly good. The alarm was undoubtedly
a false one. No enemy is near us.
We shall go, if the sun comes out, seven miles nearer home,
to Mountain Cove, and begin to build quarters and fortifications
for a permanent stronghold. This brings us within an easy
day's ride of the navigable waters of the Kanawha. Thence a
steamboat can take us in about a day or so to Cincinnati. Pretty
near to you. Telegraph also all the way.
Speaking of telegraph makes me think I ought to say Captain
Gaines (our prosecuting attorney) has done as much, I think
more, useful service, dangerous too, than any other officer in
western Virginia. The history of his company, protecting the
telegraph builders, would be a volume of romantic adventures.
Lieutenant Christie, of General Cox's staff, tells me Union
Chapel has had a division, and troubles. Sorry to hear it. If
you are compelled to leave, be in no haste to choose a new
church. I want to confer on that subject. I think it important
to be connected with a church, and with the right one. Mere
nearness is important. This would favor the church near Sev-
enth and Mound, if you can consent to go to a Presbyterian
[church]. But of this hereafter.
I somehow think we shall meet within a month or two. I
am very well and very full of fun this morning. A credit to
R. B. HAYES.
Captain Howard goes home in broken health. I shall send
this, dirty as it is, by some sick officer or soldier. You must
see some of them.
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 111
CAMP EWING, MOUNTAIN COVE, SIX MILES ABOVE
GAULEY BRIDGE, Wednesday, October 9, 1861.
DEAREST: --Captain Zimmerman and I have just returned
from a long stroll up a most romantic mountain gorge with its
rushing mountain stream. A lovely October sun, bright and
genial, but not at all oppressive. We found the scattered frag-
ments of a mill that had been swept away in some freshet last
winter, and following up came to the broken dam, and near by a
deserted home -- hastily deserted lately. Books, the cradle, and
child's chair, tables, clock, chairs, etc., etc. Our conjecture is
they fled from the army of Floyd about the time of [the] Carni-
fax fight. We each picked up a low, well-made, split-bottom
chair and clambered up a steep cliff to our camp. I now sit
in the chair. We both moralized on this touching proof of the
sorrows of war and I reached my tent a little saddened to find
on my lounge in my tidy comfortable quarters your good letter
of October I, directed in the familiar hand of my old friend
[Herron]. Love to him and Harriet. How happy it makes me
to read this letter.
Tell Mother Webb not to give up. In the Revolution they
saw darker days -- far darker. We shall be a better, stronger
nation than ever in any event. A great disaster would strengthen
us, and a victory, we all feel, will bring us out to daylight.
No, I don't leave the Twenty-third. I have been with them
all the time except six days. I am privileged. In the Twenty-
third I am excused from duty as major being judge-advocate
general. On the staff I am free to come and go as major of the
Twenty-third. This of course will not relieve me from labor,
but it makes me more independent than any other officer I
Dr. Clendenin and Joe tent together and mess with us.
Dr. Clendenin's connection with us is permanent. We are in
General Schenck's brigade. He lives in our regiment and we
We are now in easy two days' ride of Cincinnati by steam-
boat, all but thirty or forty miles. We shall stay at this place
ten days at least. We are building an entrenched camp for
112 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
permanently holding this gateway of the Kanawha Valley. . . .
I feel as you do about the Twenty-third, only more so. There
are several regiments whose music and appearance I can recog-
nize at a great distance over the hills, as the Tenth, Ninth, and
so on, but the Twenty-third I know by instinct. I was sitting
in the court-house at Buckhannon one hot afternoon, with win-
dows up, a number of officers present, when we heard music at a
distance. No one expected any regiment at that time. I never
dreamed of the Twenty-third being on the road, but the music
struck me like words from home. "That is the band of my
regiment," was my confident assertion. True, of course.
We have lost by death about six, by desertion four, by dis-
missal three, by honorable discharge about twenty-five to thirty.
About two hundred are too sick to do duty, of whom about one-
fifth will never be able to serve.
I was called to command parade this evening while writing
this sheet. The line is much shorter than in Camp Chase, but
so brown and firm and wiry, that I suspect our six hundred
would do more service than twice their number could have done
four months ago. . .
You need not get any shirts or anything. We get them on this
line, very good and very cheap. I bought two on the top of
Mount Sewell for two dollars and forty cents for the two-
excellent ones. I am now wearing one of them.
One of the charms of this life is its perpetual change. Yester-
day morning we were in the most uncomfortable condition pos-
sible at Camp Lookout. Before night I was in a lovely spot with
most capital company at headquarters. . . .
HEADQUARTERS 23d REG'T., O. V. INF., U. S. A.,
MOUNTAIN COVE, SIX MILES ABOVE GAULEY
BRIDGE, October 9, 1861.
DEAR BROTHER:--We are now near or at the point where
an entrenched camp for winter quarters is to be established. It
will command the main entrance to the head of the Kanawha
Valley, and can be held by a small force; is within a day's ride
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 113
of navigable waters connecting with Cincinnati, and telegraphic
communication nearly completed. From half to two-thirds of
the men in western Virginia can be spared as soon as a few
days' work is done. Indeed, green regiments just recruited
could take care of this country and release soldiers who have
been hardened by some service. Our regiment is second to no
other in discipline, and equal in drill to all but two or three in
western Virginia. We think it would be sensible to send us to
Kentucky, Missouri, or the sea coast for the winter. We can
certainly do twice the work that we could have done four months
ago, and there is no sense in keeping us housed up in fortifica-
tions and sending raw troops into the field. In Kentucky, dis-
ciplined troops -- that is, men who are obedient and orderly --
are particularly needed. A lot of lawless fellows plundering
and burning would do more hurt than good among a Union peo-
ple who have property. We have met no regiment that is better
than ours, if any so good.
Now, the point I am at is, first, that a large part of the sol-
diers here can be spared this winter; second, that for service,
the best ought to be taken away. With these two ideas safely
lodged in the minds of the powers that be, the Twenty-third
is sure to be withdrawn. If you can post the Governor a little,
it might be useful.
We are pleasantly associated. My mess consists of Colonel
Scammon, Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews, Drs. Clendenin and
Webb. The general (Schenck) and staff quarter in our regi-
ment, so that we have the best of society. My connection with
General Rosecrans' staff, I manage to make agreeable by a little
license. I quarter with my regiment, but am relieved from all
but voluntary regimental duty. I think I have never enjoyed
any period of my life as much as the last three months. The
risks, hardships, separation from family and friends are bal-
anced by the notion that I am doing what every man, who pos-
sibly can, ought to do, leaving the agreeable side of things as
clear profit. My health has been perfect. A great matter this
is. We have many sick, and sickness on marches and in camps
is trebly distressing. It makes one value health. We now have
our sick in good quarters and are promised a ten days' rest.
114 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
The weather today is beautiful, and I don't doubt that we shall
get back to good condition in that time.
Your election yesterday, I hope, went overwhelmingly for
"Tod and Victory." We talked of holding an election here,
but as we liked Jewett personally, it was not pushed. We should
have been unanimous for the war ticket.
Letters now should be sent to Gauley Bridge. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES. *
WM. A. PLATT.
October 10, Camp Ewing, seven miles above Gauley Bridge.--
A pretty day in a pleasant camp, surrounded by mountain scen-
ery. We had a false alarm in Camp Lookout; formed in line of
battle. I was at the hospital but rode rapidly up and was on
hand before the line was ready. Some men at hospital fled.
Some were suddenly well and took [their] place in line of battle.
October 11, Camp Ewing. --Wet, cold. We hear of enemy
back at Camp Lookout and rumors of, over New River. On this
road are many deserted homes -- great Virginia taverns wasted.
The people are for the most part a helpless and harmless race.
Some Massachusetts people have come in and made pleasant
homes. We are on a turnpike leading up the Kanawha to White
Sulphur Springs and so on to eastern Virginia.
October 12. At Camp Ewing. -- Rode down to Hawk's Nest
with General Schenck and Colonel Scammon and Lieutenant
Chesebrough; a most romantic spot. A cliff seven hundred feet
perpendicular projects out over New River; a view of New River
* This letter was placed in the Governor's hands for his information.
It was then sent to Mrs. Hayes, who on October 23 forwarded it to Mr.
Birchard. In her accompanying letter Mrs. Hayes wrote that she had
seen Colonel Matthews, who had told her that "Rutherford was almost
the only man who had not been sick or affected some by the campaign,
that he was perfectly well and looking better than ever." Mrs. Hayes
tries bravely to conceal her sense of loneliness, but it appears unmis-
takably in her closing paragraph where she writes: "We would be so
glad to see you. Yours and Rutherford's room is waiting--the books
are lonely and everybody and everything would meet you so gladly."
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 115
for a mile or two above and below the cliff, rushing and foaming
between the mountains. On the top was a small entrenchment
built by Wise. A Union man (like other Union men) wishing
to move to Ohio, says he means to burn his house to keep it
from falling into secession hands.
October 14. Camp Tompkins, General Rosecrans' Headquar-
ters, near Gauley Bridge.-- I came down here to hold court
today. Left my regiment about eight miles up the pike. Mrs.
Tompkins lives here in a fine large white house. Her hus-
band, a graduate of West Point, is a colonel in the secession
army. Why devastate the homes and farms of poor deluded
privates in the Rebel army and protect this property? Treat the
lady well, as all women ought always to be treated, but put
through the man for his great crime.
NEAR GAULEY BRIDGE, October 15, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:-- I am practicing law on the circuit, going from
camp to camp. Great fun I find it. I am now in General Rose-
crans' headquarters, eight miles from my regiment. This is
the spot for grand mountain scenery. New River and Gauley
unite here to form the Kanawha. Nothing on the Connecticut
anywhere equals the views here.
Glad Ohio is sound on the goose. Sandusky County for once
is right. We shall beat the Rebels if the people will only be
patient. We are learning war. The teaching is expensive and
the progress slow, but I see the advance. Our army here is
safe and holds the key to all that is worth having in western
Virginia . . .
R. B. HAYES.
P. S.-- Send letters, etc., care of General Rosecrans as here-
tofore. How about Treasury notes? Patriotism requires us
to take and circulate them, but is there not a chance of their
sharing, sooner or later, in a limited degree, the fate of the Conti-
nental money of Revolutionary times?
116 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CAMP TOMPKINS, GAULEY BRIDGE, October 15, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER: -- You will be pleased to hear that I am here
practicing law. The enemy having vanished in one direction
and our army having retired to this stronghold in the other, I,
yesterday, left my regiment about seven miles up the river and
am here at General Rosecrans' headquarters, looking after of-
fenders. It is safe enough in all this region. Our soldiers
occupy all the leading roads and strong places. We hear of
nobody being fired on, even by murderous bushwhackers. . . .
We are in the midst of glorious mountain scenery. Hawk's
Nest and Lover's Leap are two of the most romantic spots I
have ever seen. A precipitous cliff over seven hundred feet
high, with high mountains back of it, overlooks a wild rushing
river that roars and dashes against the rocks, Niagara fashion.
The weather too has been, and is, lovely October weather. Love
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
October 17, 1861. Camp Tompkins, near New River, two and
one-half miles above Gauley Bridge, at General Rosecrans' Head-
quarters. -- A threatening morning, a steady rain, fall fashion, in
the afternoon. Received a letter by Mr. Schooley, dated 9th,
from Lucy. Ruddy had been sick with a chill and Lucy not so
well. Dear wife! She is troubled in her present trials that I
am absent, but stoutly insists that she can bear up, that she is "a
good soldier's wife." She sends me pants, etc., etc. A great
many papers today in the court-martial line. Dr. Menzies called.
Somewhat gloomy but not more so than is his wont.
CAMP TOMPKINS, NEAR GAULEY BRIDGE, October 17, 1861.
DEAREST:--I am practicing law again. My office is pleas-
antly located in a romantic valley on the premises of Colonel
Tompkins of the Rebel army. His mansion is an elegant mod-
ern house, and by some strange good luck it has been occupied
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 117
by his family and escaped uninjured while hundreds of humbler
homes have been ruined. Mrs. Tompkins has kept on the good
side of our leaders, and has thus far kept the property safe.
The Twenty-third is seven miles or so up the valley of New
River. I was there last evening. Dr. Joe has been sick a
couple of days but is getting well. Very few escape sickness,
but with any sort of care it is not dangerous. Not more than
one case in a hundred has thus far proved fatal.
Colonel Matthews has gone home for a few days. You will
see him, I hope. If he succeeds in one of the objects of his
trip, I shall probably visit you for a few days within six weeks
Our campaign here is ended, I think without doubt. We hear
stories which are repeated in your papers which look a little
as if there might be an attempt to cut off our communications
down the Kanawha, but I suspect there is very small foundation
for them. We are strongly posted. No force would dare
attack us. To cut off supplies is the most that will be thought
of, and any attempts to do that must meet with little success,
if I am rightly informed about things.
We have had the finest of fall weather for several (it seems
many) days. The glorious mountains all around us are of
every hue, changing to a deeper red and brown as the frosts
cut the foliage. I talk so much of the scenery, you will suspect
me to be daft. In fact I never have enjoyed nature so much.
Being in the open air a great part of each day and surrounded
by magnificent scenery, I do get heady I suspect on the subject.
I have told you many a time that we were camped in the prettiest
place you ever saw. I must here repeat it. The scenery on
New River and around the junction of Gauley and New River
where they form the Kanawha, is finer than any mere mountain
and river views we saw last summer. The music and sights
belonging to the camps of ten thousand men add to the effect.
Our band has improved and the choir in Mcllrath's Company
would draw [an] audience anywhere. The companies, many
of them, sound their calls with the bugle, which with the echoes
heightens the general charm.
118 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I wish you and the boys were over in the Tompkins house.
How you would be happy and wouldn't I? I do hope you will
keep well, all of you. Kiss the little fellows all around and the
big boy Birch too. Tell Webby the horse Webb is in excellent
plight. I suppose "Birch" (the horse) has got home. Love to
Grandma and all.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP TOMPKINS, October 18, 1861.
DEAREST:--Soon after I had sent off my letter yesterday,
Mr. Schooley stopped with your bundle and letter. All most
acceptable, gloves, etc., particularly. I get all your letters. . . .
Don't worry about the country. Things are slowly working
around. For a first campaign by a green people, we have done well.
The Rebellion will be crushed even at this rate by the time our
three years are up. McClellan is crowding them. They must
fight or run soon, and I think either is death.
We have a little excitement every day over some guerrilla
story. But the rumors as they are sifted vanish rapidly into
Dr. Menzies was here today. He is troubled about his fam-
ily, about his colonel, and so on. Very queer how some clever
people manage to keep in a worriment under all circumstances.
One paymaster has come up. We hope to see ours some day.
I shall send you funds as soon as they are paid me.
It is raining--a settled fall rain. But we are in a valley
(not on top of Mount Sewell). I have a board floor to my tent.
Who cares for the rain ? -- especially if my wife and bairns are
safe under a tight roof by a warm fire. Keep up good courage.
Kiss the boys, give my love to all, and continue to have happy
dreams about your
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 119
CAMP TOMPKINS, October 19, 1861.
DEAREST:--I got your letter of last Sunday yesterday. You
can't be happier in reading my letters than I am in reading
yours. Very glad our little Ruddy is no worse.
Don't worry about suffering soldiers, and don't be too ready
to give up President Lincoln. More men are sick in camps
than at home. Sick [men] are not comfortable anywhere, and
less so in armies than in good homes. Transportation fails,
roads are bad, contractors are faithless, officials negligent or
fraudulent, but notwithstanding all this, I am satisfied that our
army is better fed, better clad, and better sheltered than any
other army in the world. And, moreover, where there is want, it
is not due to the general or state Government half as much as to
officers and soldiers. The two regiments I have happened to
know most about and to care most about -- McCook's Ninth and
our Twenty-third -- have no cause of complaint. Their cloth-
ing is better than when they left Ohio and better than most men
wear at home. I am now dressed as a private, and I am well
dressed. I live habitually on soldiers' rations, and I live well.
No, Lucy, the newspapers mislead you. It is the poor fami-
lies at home, not the soldiers, who can justly claim sympathy.
I except of course the regiments who have mad officers, but you
can't help their case with your spare blankets. Officers at home
begging better be with their regiments doing their appropriate
duties. Government is sending enough if colonels, etc., would
only do their part. McCook could feed, clothe, or blanket half
a regiment more any time, while alongside of him is a regiment,
ragged, hungry, and blanketless, full of correspondents writing
home complaints about somebody. It is here as elsewhere.
The thrifty and energetic get along, and the lazy and thoughtless
send emissaries to the cities to beg. Don't be fooled with this
I feel for the poor women and children in Cincinnati. The
men out here have sufferings, but no more than men of sense ex-
pected, and were prepared for, and can bear.
I see Dr. S- wants blankets for the Eighth Regiment.
Why isn't he with it, attending to its sick? If its colonel and
120 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
quartermaster do their duties as he does his, five hundred
miles off, they can't expect to get blankets. I have seen the
stores sent into this State, and the Government has provided
abundantly for all. It vexes me to see how good people are
imposed on. I have been through the camps of eight thousand
men today, and I tell you they are better fed and clothed than
the people of half the wards in Cincinnati. We have sickness
which is bad enough, but it is due to causes inseparable from
our condition. Living in open air, exposed to changes of
weather, will break down one man in every four or five, even
if he was "clad in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously
As for Washington, McClellan and so on, I believe they are
doing the thing well. I think it will come out right. Wars are
not finished in a day. Lincoln is, perhaps, not all that we could
wish, but he is honest, patriotic, cool-headed, and safe. I don't
know any man that the Nation could say is under all the circum-
stances to be preferred in his place.
As for the new governor, I like the change as much as you
do. He comes in a little over two months from now.
A big dish of politics. I feared you were among croakers
and grumblers, people who do more mischief than avowed
enemies to the country.
It is lovely weather again. I hope this letter will find you
as well as it leaves me. Love and kisses for the dear ones.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP TOMPKINS, NEAR GAULEY BRIDGE, October 19, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--It is late Saturday night. I am away from
my regiment at General Rosecrans' headquarters and feel lone-
some. The weather is warm, threatening rain. We are wait-
ing events, not yet knowing whether we are to stay here or go
to some other quarters for the winter. I can't help suspecting
that important events are looked for near Washington which
may determine our course for the winter. All things in that
direction have, to my eye, a hopeful look. A victory there if
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 121
decisive will set things moving all over. We know the enemy
we have been after is heartily sick of this whole business, and
only needs a good excuse to give it up. A party of our men,
bearing a flag of truce, spent a night with a party of Lee's men
a few days ago, and the conversations they report tell the story.
Matthews has gone home for a fortnight. It is quite probable
that I shall go home during the fall or winter for a short
We have done no fortifying yet. We occasionally hear of a
little guerrilla party and scamper after them, but no important
movements are likely to occur here, unless a road should be
opened from Washington to Richmond.
I see that Buckland is in the war. That is right. The notice-
able difference between North and South in this war is, that
South, the leading citizens, the lawyers and public men of all
sorts, go into the fight themselves. This has not been so with us
in the same degree. I am less disposed to think of a West Point
education as requisite for this business than I was at first.
Good sense and energy are the qualities required. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP TOMPKINS, October 21, 1861.
Monday morning before breakfast.
DEAREST: -- Dr. Clendenin goes home this morning and I got
up early to let you know how much I love you. Isn't this a
proof of affection? I dreamed about you last night so pleas-
The doctor will give you the news. I see Colonel Tom Ford
has been telling big yarns about soldiers suffering. They may
be true--I fear they are--and it is right to do something;
but it is not true that the fault lies with the Government alone.
Colonel Ammen's Twenty-fourth has been on the mountains
much more than the G. G-- s [Guthrie Greys], for they have
been in town most of the time; but nobody growls about them.
The Twenty-fourth is looked after by its officers. The truth is,
the suffering is great in all armies in the field in bad weather.
122 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
It can't be prevented. It is also true that much is suffered from
neglect, but the neglect is in no one place. [The] Government is
in part blamable, but the chief [blame] is on the armies them-
selves from generals down to privates.
It is certainly true that a considerable part of the sick men
now in Cincinnati would be well and with their regiments, if
they had obeyed orders about eating green chestnuts, green
apples, and green corn. Now, all the men ought to be helped
and cared for, but in doing so, it is foolish and wicked to assail
and abuse, as the authors of the suffering, any one particular
set of men. It is a calamity to be deplored and can be remedied
by well directed labor, not by indiscriminate abuse.
I am filled with indignation to see that Colonel Ewing is ac-
cused of brutality to his men. All false. He is kind to a
fault. All good soldiers love him; and yet he is published by
some lying scoundrel as a monster.
I'll write no more on this subject. There will be far more
suffering this winter than we have yet heard of. Try to relieve
it, but don't assume that any one set of men are to be blamed
for it. A great share of it can't be helped. Twenty-five per
cent of all men who enlist can't stand the hardships and ex-
posures of the field if suddenly transferred to it from their
homes, and suffering is inevitable. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
Sunday morning before breakfast,
TOMPKINS' FARM, THREE MILES FROM GAULEY BRIDGE,
October 27, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--It is a bright October morning. Ever since
the great storms a month ago, we have had weather almost
exactly such as we have at the same season in Ohio -- occasional
rainy days, but much very fine weather. We are still waiting
events. Our winter's work or destination yet unknown. De-
cided events near Washington will determine our course. We
shall wait those events several weeks yet before going into
winter quarters. If things remain there without any events,
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 123
we shall about half, I conjecture, build huts here and hereabouts,
and the rest go to Ohio, and stay there, or go to Kentucky or
Missouri as required. I hope and expect to be of the half that
leaves here. But great events near Washington are expected
by the powers that be, and it looks, as you see, some like it.
I have been occupied the whole week trying cases before a
court-martial. Some painful things, but on the whole, an agree-
able time. While the regiment is in camp doing nothing, this
business is not bad for a change.
The paymasters are here at last, making the men very happy
with their pretty government notes and gold. The larger part is
taken (seven-eighths) in paper on account of the bother in carry-
ing six months' pay in gold. Each regiment will send home
a very large proportion of their pay--one-half to three-fifths.
The death of Colonel Baker is a national calamity, but on
the whole, the war wears a favorable look. Lucy says you
are getting ready to shelter us when driven from Cincinnati.
All right, but if we are forced to leave Cincinnati, I think we
can't stop short of the Canada line. There is no danger. These
Rebels will go under sooner or later. I know that great battles
are matters of accident largely. A defeat near Washington is
possible, and would be disastrous enough, but the Southern sol-
diers are not the mettle to carry on a long and doubtful war.
If they can get a success by a dash or an ambuscade, they do
it well enough, but for steady work, such as finally determines
all great wars, our men are far superior to them. With equal
generalship and advantages, there is a perfect certainty as to
the result of a campaign. Our men here attack parties, not
guerrillas merely, but uniformed soldiers from North Carolina,
Georgia, South Carolina, etc., of two or three times their number
with entire confidence that the enemy will run, and they do.
They cut us up in ambuscades sometimes, and with stratagems of
all sorts. This sort of things delays, but it will not prevent,
success if our people at home will pay the taxes and not tire
of it. Breakfast is ready.
R. B. HAYES.
124 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
P. S.--You hear a great deal of the suffering of soldiers.
It is much exaggerated. A great many lies are told. The sick
do suffer. A camp and camp hospitals are necessarily awful
places for sickness, but well men, for the most part, fare well--
very well. Since I have kept house alone as judge-advocate,
my orderly and clerk furnish soldiers' rations and nothing else.
It is good living. In the camp of the regiment we fare worse
than the rest, because the soldiers are enterprising and get things
our lazy darkies don't.
Warm bedding and clothing will be greatly needed in the
winter, and by troops guarding mountain passes. The supply
should be greater than the Government furnishes. Sewing
Societies, etc., etc., may do much good. The Government is
doing its duty well. The allowance is ample for average service;
but winter weather in mountains requires more than will per-
haps be allowed.
CAMP TOMPKINS, October 27, 1861.
DEAREST:--I have had a week's work trying twenty cases
before a court-martial held in one of the fine parlors of Colonel
Tompkins' country-seat. I have profaned the sacred mansion,
and I trust that soon it will be converted into a hospital for our
sick. My pertinacity has accomplished something towards that
end. My week's work has had painful things, but many pleasant
ones. I trust no life will be lost, but I fear it. Still I have
done my duty kindly and humanely.
The weather generally has been good. The paymasters are
here and general joy prevails. I expect to remain at this camp
about a week or ten days. Whether I shall return to my
regiment or go around to Grafton is not yet certain, probably
I see that the Sixth Street ladies are at work for the Tenth.
All right. Clothing, but blankets and bedding comforts, etc.,
still more, will be needed this winter. Army blankets are small
and are getting thin and worn-out. As cold weather comes on
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA. 1861 125
the well, even, will need all they can get. As yet, in this region,
nobody but sick men have any business to complain.
Dr. Joe has an order from General Rosecrans to Jim to come
out and assist him. If he comes let him bring a good blanket
or comfort for me. If I am away it can be kept for me till
I return or used by somebody else. During the next ten days
I shall get money plenty to send you for all debts, etc., etc.
I can quite certainly make you a visit, but I hardly know when
to do it. Dr. Joe will want to visit home sometime this fall
or winter and you better "maturely consider," as the court-
martial record says, when you would prefer him to come. Of
course he must wait for Dr. Clendenin and I for Colonel Mat-
thews. My preference is about December.
Mother and Jim both seem to think letters never reach us.
We get all your letters now, and quite regularly. There was
a period after Carnifax when we were out of reach, but now
we are in line again. We see Cincinnati papers of the 24th
on the 26th. By the by, you need not renew my subscription
to the Commercial. No use to send papers. We get them
from the office sooner in another way.
If Jim comes let him get an assortment of late papers, Har-
per's, Atlantic, etc., etc., and keep them till he gets to our camp.
We are the outermost camp and people are coaxed out of their
literature before they get to us.
I dined in a tent with fourteen officers and one lady on Wed-
nesday. Her husband was formerly a steamboat captain, now a
major in [the] First Kentucky. She evidently enjoyed her sin-
gular position; bore her part well. . . .
Things I would like before winter sets in -- I am not sure that
Dr. Jim better bring them -- there is no hurry:
1. A good large blanket; 2. An India-rubber coat, common
black, -- Dr. J-'s size; 3. A pair of gloves, riding, buckskin or
sich; 4. A thick dark blue vest, military buttons and fit; my
size at Sprague's; 5. Enough blue cord for seams of one pair
126 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
of pants; Dr. Joe's poem, "Lucile"; 6. Two blank books, size
of my diaries --good nice ruled paper, 6 or 8 inches by 4 or 5;
7. A pocket memorandum book.
I could make a big list, but I'll quit.
Camp Tompkins, Tuesday morning, October 29, 1861.--A
bright, cold October morning, before breakfast. This month
has been upon the whole a month of fine weather. The awful
storm on Mount Sewell, and a mitigated repetition of it at Camp
Lookout ten days afterward, October 7, are the only storms
worth noting. The first was unprecedented in this country and
extended to most of the States. On the whole, the weather has
been good for campaigning with this exception. Camp fever,
typhus or typhoid, prevails most extensively. It is not fatal.
Not more than four or five deaths, and I suppose we have had
four or five hundred cases. Our regiment suffers more than the
average. The Tenth, composed largely of Irish laborers, and the
Second Kentucky, composed largely of river men, suffer least of
any. I conjecture that persons accustomed to outdoor life and
exposure bear up best. Against many afflictions incident to cam-
paigning, men from comfortable homes seem to bear up best.
Not so with this.
I have tried twenty cases before a court-martial held in Colonel
Tompkins' house the past week. One conviction for desertion
and other aggravated offenses punished with sentence of death.
I trust the general will mitigate this.
We hear that Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews, who left for a
stay of two weeks at home about the 18th, has been appointed
colonel of a regiment. This is deserved. It will, I fear, sepa-
rate us. I shall regret that much, very much. He is a good
man, of solid talent and a most excellent companion, witty,
cheerful, and intelligent. Well, if so, it can't be helped. The
compensation is the probable promotion I shall get to his place.
I care little about this. As much to get rid of the title "Major"
as anything else makes it desirable. I am prejudiced against
"Major." Doctors are majors and (tell it not in Gath) Dick
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 127
Corwine is major! So if we lose friend Matthews, there may
be this crumb, besides the larger one of getting rid of being the
army's lawyer or judge, which I don't fancy.
Colonel Baker, gallant, romantic, eloquent soldier, senator,
patriot, killed at Edwards Ferry on the upper Potomac! When
will this thing cease? Death in battle does not pain me much.
But caught surprised in ambush again! After so many warn-
ings. When will our leaders learn? I do not lose heart. I
calmly contemplate these things. The side of right, with strength,
resources, endurance, must ultimately triumph. These disasters
and discouragements will make the ultimate victory more pre-
cious. But how long? I can wait patiently if we only do not
get tricked out of victories. I thought McClellan was to mend
all this. "We have had our last defeat, we have had our last
retreat," he boasted. Well, well, patience! West Pointers are
no better leaders than others.
October 29, 1861. Evening.-- This is the anniversary of the
Literary Club--the society with which so much of my life is
associated. It will be celebrated tonight. The absent will be
remembered. I wish I was there. How many who have been
members are in the tented field! What a roll for our little
club! I have seen these as members: General Pope, now com-
manding in Missouri; Lieutenant-Colonel Force of the Twenti-
eth, in Kentucky; Major Noyes of the Thirty-ninth, in Mis-
souri; Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews, Twenty-third, in Virginia;
Secretary Chase, the power (brain and soul) of the Administra-
tion; Governor Corwin, Minister to Mexico; Tom Ewing, Jr.,
Chief Justice of Kansas; Ewing Sr., the great intellect of Ohio;
Nate Lord, colonel of a Vermont or New Hampshire regi-
ment; McDowell, a judge in Kansas; McDowell (J. H.), a
senator and major in Kansas; Oliver and Mallon, common pleas
judges; Stanton, a representative Ohio House of Representa-
tives; and so on. Well, what good times we have had! Wit,
anecdote, song, feast, wine, and good fellowship--gentlemen
and scholars. I wonder how it will go off tonight.
Queer world! We fret our little hour, are happy and pass
away. Away! Where to? "This longing after immortality!
128 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
These thoughts that wander through eternity"! I have been and
am an unbeliever of all these sacred verities. But will I not
take refuge in the faith of my fathers at last? Are we not all
impelled to this? The great abyss, the unknown future,--are
we not happier if we give ourselves up to some settled faith?
Can we feel safe without it? Am I not more and more carried
along, drifted, towards surrendering to the best religion the
world has yet produced? It seems so. In this business, as I
ride through the glorious scenery this loveliest season of the
year, my thoughts float away beyond this wretched war and all
its belongings. Some, yes many, glorious things, as well as all
that is not so, [impress me]; and [I] think of the closing years
on the down-hill side of life, and picture myself a Christian, sin-
cere, humble, devoted, as conscientious in that as I am now in
this--not more so. My belief in this war is as deep as any
faith can be;--but thitherward I drift. I see it and am glad.
All this I write, thinking of the debates, the conversations, and
the happiness of the Literary Club. It has been for almost
twelve years an important part of my life. My best friends
are among its members--Rogers, Stephenson, Force, James.
And how I have enjoyed Strong, McConkey (alas!), Wright,
McDowell, Mills, Meline, and all! And thinking of this and
those leads me to long for such communion in a perfection not
known on earth and to hope that in the future there may be
a purer joy forever and ever. And as one wishes, so he drifts.
While these enjoyments are present we have little to wish for;
as they slip from us, we look forward and hope and then believe
with the college theme, "There is more beyond." And for me to
believe is to act and live according to my faith.
CAMP TOMPKINS, VIRGINIA, October 29, 1861.
Tuesday morning after breakfast.
MY DEAR BOY: -- If I am not interrupted I mean to write you
a long birthday letter. You will be eight years old on the 4th
of November --next Monday, and perhaps this letter will get to
Cincinnati in time for your mother or grandmother to read it
to you on that day.
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 129
If I were with you on your birthday I would tell you a great
many stories about the war. Some of them would make you
almost cry and some would make you laugh. I often think how
Ruddy and Webby and you will gather around me to listen
to my stories, and how often I shall have to tell them, and how
they will grow bigger and bigger, as I get older and as the boys
grow up, until if I should live to be an old man they will become
really romantic and interesting. But it is always hard work for
me to write, and I can't tell on paper such good stories as I
could give you, if we were sitting down together by the fire.
I will tell you why we call our camp Camp Tompkins. It
is named after a very wealthy gentleman named Colonel Tomp-
kins, who owns the farm on which our tents are pitched. He
was educated to be a soldier of the United States at West Point,
where boys and young men are trained to be officers at the
expense of the Government. He was a good student and when
he grew up he was a good man. He married a young lady,
who lived in Richmond and who owned a great many slaves
and a great deal of land in Virginia. He stayed in the army
as an officer a number of years, but getting tired of army life,
he resigned his office several years ago, and came here and built
an elegant house and cleared and improved several hundred
acres of land. The site of his house is a lovely one. It is about
a hundred yards from my tent on an elevation that commands
a view of Gauley Bridge, two and a half miles distant--the
place where New River and Gauley River unite to form the Kan-
awha River. Your mother can show you the spot on the map.
There are high hills or mountains on both sides of both rivers.
and before they unite they are very rapid and run roaring and
dashing along in a very romantic way. When the camp is still
at night, as I lie in bed, I can hear the noise like another Niag-
In this pleasant place Colonel Tompkins lived a happy life.
He had a daughter and three sons. He had a teacher for his
daughter and another for his boys. His house was furnished
in good taste; he had books, pictures, boats, horses, guns, and
dogs. His daughter was about sixteen, his oldest boy was four-
teen, the next twelve, and the youngest about nine. They lived
130 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
here in a most agreeable way until the Rebels in South Carolina
attacked Major Anderson in Fort Sumter. Colonel Tompkins
wished to stand by the Union, but his wife and many relatives in
eastern Virginia were Secessionists. He owned a great deal of
property which he feared the Rebels would take away from
him if he did not become a Secessionist. While he was doubt-
ing what to do and hoping that he could live along without taking
either side, Governor Wise with an army came here on his
way to attack steamboats and towns on the Ohio River. Gov-
ernor Wise urged Colonel Tompkins to join the Rebels; told
him as he was an educated military man he would give him the
command of a regiment in the Rebel army. Colonel Tompkins
finally yielded and became a colonel in Wise's army. He made
Wise agree that his regiment should be raised among his neigh-
bors and that they should not be called on to leave their homes
for any distant service, but remain as a sort of home guards.
This was all very well for a while. Colonel Tompkins stayed
at home and would drill his men once or twice a week. But
when Governor Wise got down to the Ohio River and began
to drive away Union men, and to threaten to attack Ohio, Gen-
eral Cox was sent with Ohio soldiers after Governor Wise.
Governor Wise was not a good general or did not have good
soldiers, or perhaps they knew they were fighting in a bad
cause. At any rate, the Rebel army was driven by General Cox
from one place to another until they got back to Gauley Bridge
near where Colonel Tompkins lived. He had to call out his
regiment of home guards and join Wise. General Cox soon
drove them away from Gauley Bridge and followed them up
this road until he reached Colonel Tompkins' farm. The colonel
then was forced to leave his home, and has never dared to come
back to it since. Our soldiers have held the country all around
His wife and children remained at home until since I came
here. They were protected by our army and no injury done to
them. But Mrs. Tompkins got very tired of living with sol-
diers all around, and her husband off in the Rebel army. Finally
a week or two ago General Rosecrans told her she might go to
eastern Virginia, and sent her in her carriage with an escort
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 131
of ten dragoons and a flag of truce over to the Rebel army about
thirty miles from here, and I suppose she is now with her hus-
I suppose you would like to know about a flag of truce. It
is a white flag carried to let the enemy's army know that you
are coming, not to fight, but to hold a peaceful meeting with
them. One man rides ahead of the rest about fifty yards,
carrying a white flag--any white handkerchief will do. When
the pickets, sentinels, or scouts of the other army see it, they
know what it means. They call out to the man who carries
the flag of truce and he tells them what his party is coming for.
The picket tells him to halt, while he sends back to his camp
to know what to do. An officer and a party of men are sent
to meet the party with the flag of truce, and they talk with each
other and transact their business as if they were friends, and
when they are done they return to their own armies. No good
soldier ever shoots a man with a flag of truce. They are always
very polite to each other when parties meet with such a flag.
Well, Mrs. Tompkins and our men travelled till they came to
the enemy. The Rebels were very polite to our men. Our
men stayed all night at a picket station in the woods along
with a party of Rebels who came out to meet them. They
talked to each other about the war, and were very friendly. Our
men cooked their suppers as usual. One funny fellow said to a
Rebel soldier, "Do you get any such good coffee as this over
there?" The Rebel said, "Well, to tell the truth, the officers
are the only ones who see much coffee, and it's mighty scarce
with them." Our man held up a big army cracker. "Do you
have any like this?" and the Rebel said, "Well no, we do live
pretty hard,"--and so they joked with each other a great deal.
Colonel Tompkins' boys and the servants and tutor are still
in the house. The boys come over every day to bring the general
milk and pies and so on. I expect we shall send them off one
of these days and take the house for a hospital or something
of the kind.
And so you see Colonel Tompkins didn't gain anything by
joining the Rebels. If he had done what he thought was right,
everybody would have respected him. Now the Rebels suspect
132 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
him, and accuse him of treachery if anything occurs in his regi-
ment which they don't like. Perhaps he would have lost prop-
erty, perhaps he would have lost his life if he had stood by the
Union, but he would have done right and all good people would
have honored him.
And now, my son, as you are getting to be a large boy, I
want you to resolve always to do what you know is right.
No matter what you will lose by it, no matter what danger there
is, always do right.
I hope you will go to school and study hard, and take exer-
cise too, so as to grow and be strong, and if there is a war you
can be a soldier and fight for your country as Washington did.
Be kind to your brothers and to Grandmother, and above all
to your mother. You don't know how your mother loves you,
and you must show that you love her by always being a kind,
truthful, brave boy; and I shall always be so proud of you.
Give my love to all the boys, and to Mother and Grandmother.
Affectionately, your father,
R. B. HAYES.
BIRCHARD A. HAYES,
October 30. Tompkins Farm.--[I] walked with Captain
Gaines two and one-half or three miles down to Gauley Bridge.
Called on Major William H. Johnston and Swan, paymaster and
clerk for our regiment [for] Cracraft, quartermaster sergeant,
who wanted Dr. McCurdy's pay. To get it, drew my own and
sent him two hundred and sixty dollars and blank power-of-at-
torney to me to draw his pay. The doctor is sick and wants to
go home. Our regiment suffers severely with camp fever.
About one hundred and twenty absent, mostly sick, and as many
more prescribed for here. This out of nine hundred and fifty.
Severe marches, ill-timed, in rain, etc., etc., is one great cause.
Then, most of our men have been used to comfortable homes,
and this exposed life on these mountains is too much for them.
Well, we dined at a Virginia landlady's, good coffee, good
biscuit; in short, a good homelike dinner. Walked immediately
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 133
October 31. Tompkins Farm.-- Smoky, foggy, and Indian-
summery in the morning; clear, warm, and beautiful in the
afternoon. I rode up to the regiment at Camp Ewing, gave
some directions as to making out the new muster-rolls. Saw
several of the officers sick with the camp fever.
Poor "Bony" Seaman, it is said, will die. What a good-
hearted boy he was! His red glowing face, readiness to oblige,
to work--poor fellow! He was working his way up. Starting
as private, then commissary sergeant, then sergeant-major, and
already recommended and perhaps appointed second-lieutenant.
I shall never forget his looks at the battle of Carnifax. We
were drawn up in line of battle waiting for orders to go down
into the woods to the attack. The First Brigade had already
gone in and the firing of cannon and musketry was fast and
furious. "Bony" rode ahead to see, and after an absence of
twenty minutes came galloping back, his face radiant with joyous
excitement and his eyes sparkling. He rode up to Colonel Scam-
mon and myself calling out: "I've been under fire, the bullets
were whistling all about me, and I wasn't scared at all!" He
looked like my Birtie when he is very happy and reminded me
of him. His dress was peculiar too--a warm-us and a felt
grey hat like mine. Good boy, noble, true, must he die?
Captain Drake and Captain McIlrath had a quarrel last night.
Captain Drake had been drinking (not enough to hurt). Captain
McIlrath, putting his face close to Captain Drake's mouth to
smell his breath, said: "Where did you get your whiskey?"
And so it went, the plucky Captain Drake striking the giant
McIlrath, but no fight followed. McIlrath as captain of com-
pany A was first in line of promotion for major and Captain
Drake had been just recommended for the place. This fact
had nothing to do with it, merely a coincidence.
Returned to camp in the evening; rode part way with Colonel
McCook, open and minatory against Rosecrans. At eight P. M.
a dispatch from Adjutant-General Buckingham announced my
promotion to lieutenant-colonel vice Matthews, and J. M. Courtly
[Comly] as major. The latter is I fear an error. He is a
stranger to the regiment. It will make a fuss, and perhaps ought
to. Captain Drake is a brave, generous old fellow, excitable
134 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
and furious, but when the heat is off sound to the core, with
the instincts of a gentleman strong in him.
November 1. Camp Tompkins.-- Cold, gusty, but sunshiny.
The fine band of the Second Kentucky does discourse glorious
music. A dapper little fellow with a cane, "a nice young man,"
fit for Fourth Street in piping times of peace, walked by my
tent just now. Not a fellow in camp with his army blue, tattered
or not, who does not feel above him.
The enemy have just begun to fire on the ferry and on the
teams and passers between here and Gauley Bridge. They have
cannon and riflemen on the opposite side of New River. Went
with Sweet scouting to ascertain exact position of enemy. Fol-
lowed up rills and ravines, running imminent risk of breaking
necks; discovered tolerable views of the enemy. The echoes
of the cannon and bursting shells were grand in these defiles.
Two of our men slightly wounded. The ferry stopped during
daylight (but doing double duty at night), is all that was accom-
plished. Great waste of ammunition, great noise, excitement
among soldiers. Vox proeterea nihil. Got home at night, tired
enough, in the rain.
CAMP TOMPKINS, VIRGINIA, November 2, 1861.
DEAREST LUCY: -- I am about to return to my regiment, six or
eight miles up New River at Camp Ewing. I shall probably be
comfortably settled there tonight.
Colonel Matthews having been promoted to the colonelcy of
the Fifty-first, I have been promoted to the lieutenant-colonelcy
of the Twenty-third and relieved, for the present at any rate,
of the duties of judge-advocate. I of course regret very much
the loss of Colonel Matthews. But you know we have been
separated more than half the time since we came to Virginia; so
it is more a change in name than in fact. I hope he has a good
regiment. If he has decent materials he will make it a good one.
I am pleased, as people in the army always are, with my promo-
tion. I confess to the weakness of preferring (as I must here-
after always be called by some title) to be called Colonel to
being styled Major.
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 135
We had a noisy day yesterday. A lot of Floyd's men (we
suppose) have got on the other side of the river with cannon.
They tried to sink our ferry-boats and prevent our crossing
Gauley River at the bridge (now ferry for Wise destroyed the
bridge). They made it so hazardous during the day that all
teams were stopped; but during the night the ferry did double
duty, so that the usual crossing required in twenty-four hours
was safely done. Both sides fired cannon and musketry at each
other several hours, but the distance was too great to do harm.
We have two wounded and thought we did them immense dam-
age. They probably suffered little or no loss, but probably
imagined that they were seriously cutting us. So we all see it.
Our side does wonders always. We are not accurately informed
about these Rebels, but appearances do not make them formid-
able. They can't attack us. The only danger is that they may
get below on the Kanawha and catch a steamboat before we
drive them off.
I wish you could see such a battle. No danger and yet enough
sense of peril excited to make all engaged very enthusiastic.
The echoes of the cannon and bursting shells through the moun-
tain defiles were wonderful. I spent the day with two soldiers
making a reconnaissance--that is to say trying to find out the
enemies' exact position, strength, etc., etc. We did some hard
climbing, and were in as much danger as anybody else, that is,
none at all. One while the spent rifle balls fell in our neighbor-
hood, but they hadn't force enough to penetrate clothing, even
if they should hit. It's a great thing to have a rapid river and
a mountain gorge between hostile armies. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
P. S. -- I have been paid half of my pay, and will send you two
or three hundred dollars at least, the first chance. I wish you
would get Dr. Jim to buy one or two pairs of lieutenant-colonel's
shoulder-straps to send with the privilege of returning if they
don't suit. We expect Dr. Clendenin daily.
136 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Camp Ewing, Virginia, November 3. Sunday.--Yesterday
and today it has been rainy, stormy, and disagreeable. I came
up to my regiment yesterday as lientenant-colonel. The men and
officers seem pleased with my promotion. All regret the loss of
Colonel Matthews and say that if I go their interest in the regi-
ment is gone. The paymaster has paid me up to the 31st [of]
August, four hundred and ninety-six dollars. Lieutenant Richard-
son has also collected for me two hundred and fifty dollars of
money lent the company officers. I can send home seven hundred
dollars and still have two months' pay due me. I have been very
economical in order to a fair start for my family. I shall now
feel relieved from anxiety on that score and will be more liberal
in my expenditures.
A Mr. Ficklin, of Charlottesville, Virginia, a brother-in-law
of Mrs. Colonel Tompkins, came with her bearing a flag of
truce. He staid with us last night. He is an agreeable, fair-
minded, intelligent gentleman of substance, formerly and per-
haps now a stage proprietor and mail-carrier. He says he
entertains not the shadow of a doubt that the Confederate
States will achieve independence. He says the whole people
will spend and be spent to the last before they will yield.
On asking him, "Suppose on the expiration of Lincoln's term
a state-rights Democrat shall be elected President, what will be
the disposition of the South towards him?" he replied hesi-
tatingly as if puzzled, and seemed to feel that the chief objection
to the Union would be removed. So it's Lincoln, Black Repub-
lican, prejudice, a name, that is at the bottom of it all. His
account of things goes to show that great pains have been taken
to drill and discipline the Rebel troops, and that their cavalry
are especially fine.
All the sick sent over Gauley last night. A new lot appear
today. We have had three deaths by the fever.
I now enter on new duties. I must learn all the duties of
colonel, see that Colonel Scammon does not forget or omit any-
thing. He is ready to all but so forgetful. He loves to talk
of West Point, of General Scott, of genteel and aristocratic
people; and if an agreeable person is found who will seem to
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 137
be entertained, he can talk by the hour in a pleasant way to the
omission of every important duty.
Camp Ewing up New River. November 4. Monday.--Cold
and clear; rain probably over. My boy's birthday--eight years
old. It was such a morning as this eight years ago. I hope they
are all well and happy at home. They will think of me today as
they eat the birthday dinner and give him the birthday presents.
This morning four yawls were hauled into camp. It shows
that it is intended to cross the river and attack the enemy. The
blunder is in hauling them up in daylight. The enemy have thus
been told of our design and will guard the few practicable
ferries, as I fear, to our serious loss if not defeat. Stupid!
About seven hundred and fifty men are present this morning.
Sixty-nine are sick. This, after sending off one hundred and
fifty-nine sick men. Only one second-lieutenant for duty--
a bad showing. Sun shining at 11 A. M. All the company
officers gloomy and grumbling. The paymaster coming just at
this time is all that makes endurable this state of things.
3:30 P. M. -- Cannon firing heard. Shelling McCook's camp
on the hills below. I order out Captain McIlrath and company
to go with Mack's Battery.
CAMP EWING, November 4, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--Your letter of October 21 came to hand the
day before yesterday. I am very glad you are so much better.
If you will now be careful, I hope you will be able to get comfort-
ably through the winter. You have no doubt heard that Matthews
has been promoted to a colonelcy and has left us. I have been
promoted to his place of lieutenant-colonel. We regret to lose
him. He is a good officer. I have now been relieved from
duty as judge-advocate, and will hereafter be with my regiment.
The colonel of our regiment is a genial gentleman, but lacks
knowledge of men and rough life, and so does not get on with
the regiment as well as he might. Still, the place is not an
138 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
The enemy has appeared in some force, with a few cannon,
on the opposite side of New River at this point, and on the
left bank of Kanawha lower down, and are, in some degree,
obstructing our communications with the Ohio. To get rid of
this, we are canvassing divers plans for crossing and clearing
them out. The river here is rapid, the banks precipitous rocks,
with only a few places where a crossing, even if not opposed,
is practicable; and the few possible places can be defended suc-
cessfully by a small force against a large one. We are getting
skiffs and yawls from below to attempt the passage. If it is
done, I shall do what I can to induce the generals to see before-
hand that we are not caught in any traps.
This is Birch's birthday--a cold, raw November morning--
a dreadful day for men in tents on the wet ground. We ought
to be in winter quarters. I hope we shall be soon. We are
sending from this army great numbers of sick. Cincinnati and
other towns will be full of them . . . .
[R. B. HAYES.]
Camp Ewing, November 5.--Six hundred and fifty-seven
present for duty; sixty-nine sick. Total strength nine hundred
and thirty-six. Absent one hundred and ninety-three--all sick
but about forty on detached service. Captain Woodward worse
and in great danger. Enemy firing again on McCook's camp.
No casualties at 10:30 o'clock.
CAMP EWING, November 5, 1861. Tuesday morning.
DEAREST LUCY:-- . . . We are having stirring times
again. The enemy on the other side of New River are try-
ing to shell such of our camps as lie near the river bank.
We are just out of reach of their shot. McCook, in sight of
us below, is camped in easy range, and they are peppering at
him. I hear their guns every two or three minutes as I write.
He doesn't like to move, and probably will not until they do
him some serious harm. They fired all day yesterday without
doing any other mischief than breaking one tent pole. A ball
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 139
or shell would hardly light before his men would run with
picks to dig it up as a trophy. It is probable that we shall cross
the river to attempt to drive them off in a day or two. You
will know the result long before this letter reaches you.
I had a note from Jim yesterday, saying he had reached the
steamboat landing below here. We look for him today. I hope
he will get up so as to be here to help take care of things here
while we cross the river.
I have nearly one thousand dollars, seven hundred or eight
hundred dollars of which I will send you the first good chance.
Two months' more salary is due me besides about eighty-five
dollars as judge-advocate. So we shall have funds plenty for
I thought of you all yesterday, and wished I could look in
on you at Birch's birthday dinner. You were thinking of the
absent father and uncles. * So it is. We love each other so
much that on all sad or joyous occasions we shall always have
each other in mind. . . . Good-bye. Love to all.
Camp Ewing, November 8.--A beautiful fall day. About
six hundred and fifty for duty, about two hundred and twenty-five
* Mrs. Hayes, writing November 4, said: "All we lacked of happiness
was your presence. Not much time passes that you are not thought of,
talked of, and sometimes cried over, but that is always done decently and
in order, so I think I pass for one of the most cheerful, happy women
imaginable. I do not dare to let Birchie see me downcast for he has
so much sympathy that it is very touching to see him, and I do not want
to cloud his young life with sorrow. Today is his birthday. He is
very happy. Uncle George brought him an air-pistol, and he started to
school, all of which, makes him really happy. The book which I get
for him from you will complete his joy. . . . I felt finely this morning.
Every thing right. . . . But this afternoon, felt almost down. Ruddy's
chill is one cause, Birchie's absence another and Fremont the last and
greatest. I cannot give him up, yet it looks dark and forbidding. It will
be the last moment that I give up his honor, patriotism, and power to
successfully command an army."
140 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
sick, present and absent. All sent off who are in hospital but
four; nine hundred and twenty-nine men still in regiment.*
We are getting ready to leave. I send home all I can, pre-
paratory for rapid movements with weak trains of transporta-
tion. Still we have thirty-nine waggons, thanks to Gardner.
Captain Woodward died Tuesday, our hardiest officer. In-
dustrious, faithful soldier, he has made his company from the
poorest to almost the best. A sad loss. We send his remains
home. Our fourth death in camp.
CAMP EWING, November 8, 1861, Thursday A. M.
DEAREST:-- Mr. Fuller, our waggon-master, goes to Cincinnati
today. We are [so] busy preparing to send expeditions against
the enemy, sending off sick and baggage, that I have no time
I send you a few things that I would not want lost. My
Diary, up to date, for your eye alone, etc., etc. Drs. Joe and Jim
are busy as bees also.
We shall go into winter quarters in a fortnight or so I think,
when we shall have plenty of leisure.
I see the papers are full of foolish stories, sent by frightened
people to terrify without rhyme or reason. Nobody is hurt by
all this cannonading. One killed and three wounded covers the
casualties of five days. Our provisions are plenty and we are
in no peril here.
"Love to all the boys" and Grandma. Bushels--no, oceans
P. S.--Jim laughs when he sees me and says I must send
home my picture to show you that I tell the truth about health.
You need not buy any lieutenant-colonel's shoulder-straps or
send me anything more to this region.
* For some weeks after this date, nearly every entry in the Diary
contained a report similar to the one in this paragraph.
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 141
Camp Ewing, November 9, 1861. -- A wet disagreeable morn-
ing. Anticipating hasty movements--expeditions without bag-
gage against the enemy and the like--I yesterday sent home
my jottings up to this time and begin today a new book. We
were yesterday expecting to use four skiffs or yawls and two
boat frames built here covered with canvas in crossing New
River at a point five miles above here. It was hoped to surprise
the enemy. Indications yesterday showed that the enemy were
preparing to meet us. The passage to the water is down pre-
cipitous rocks six or seven hundred feet. The stream is very
rapid and deep. McCook says one hundred yards wide by one
hundred and fifty yards deep! The ascent on the opposite side
is equally difficult. One hundred men could resist the passage
of one thousand. We were not ordered over in view of these
facts. What will be done is yet unknown.
Last night ate a turkey supper at commisary building [with]
Captains Skiles and Drake and Lieutenant Avery and others.
Yesterday I drew resolutions on occasion of death of Captain
Woodward; today, on leaving of Colonel Matthews. Last night
Sergeant Blish of Company I, a very competent, good officer,
died--making, I think, the fifth death in camp in our regiment.
CAMP EWING, November 9, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER:--It is a rainy disagreeable November day. I
have done up all the little chores required, have read the article
in November number of the Atlantic Monthly on "Health in
Camp," and hope not to be interrupted until I have finished a
few words to you.
I wish you could see how we live. We have clothing and
provisions in abundance, if men were all thrifty--food enough
and good enough in spite of unthrift. Blankets, stockings,
undershirts, drawers, and shoes are always welcome. These
articles or substitutes are pretty nearly the only things the
soldiers' aid societies need to send. India-rubber or oilcloth
capes, or the like, are not quite abundant enough. Our tents
are floored with loose boards taken from deserted secession barns
and houses. For warmth we have a few stoves, but generally
142 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
fires in trenches in front of the tents or in little ovens or furnaces
in the tents formed by digging a hole a foot deep by a foot
and a half wide and leading under the sides of the tent, the
smoke passing up through chimneys made of barrels or sticks
crossed cob-house fashion, daubed with mud.
There is not much suffering from cold or wet. The sickness
is generally camp fever --a typhoid fever not produced, I think,
by any defect in food, clothing, or shelter. Officers, who are
generally more comfortably provided than the privates, suffer
quite as much as the men -- indeed, rather more in our regiment.
Besides, the people residing here have a similar fever. Exposure
in the night and to bad weather in a mountain climate to which
men are not accustomed, seems to cause the sickness irrespective
of all other circumstances. We have nine hundred and twenty-
five men and officers, of whom two hundred and thirty are sick in
camp, in hospitals in Virginia and in Ohio. Less than one-fourth
of the privates are sick. One-half the captains, and one-half
the lieutenants are or lately have been sick. Few are seriously
or dangerously sick. Almost all are able to walk about. Only
five out of about as many hundred cases have died. Three of
them were very excellent men. Overwork and an anxiety not
[to] give up had much to do with the fatal nature of their
attacks. One was one of our best and hardiest captains, and
one a most interesting youngster who somehow always re-
minded me of Birch--Captain Woodward, of Cleveland, and
Bony Seaman, of Logan County.
I never was healthier in my life. I do not by any means
consider myself safe from the fever, however, if we remain in
our present location--higher up in the mountains than any
other regiment. If I should find myself having any of the
symptoms, I shall instantly come home. Those who have done
so have all recovered within a week or two and been able to
return to duty. I do not notice any second attacks, although
I suppose they sometimes occur. Other regiments have had
more deaths than we have had, but not generally a larger sick-
Our men are extremely well-behaved, orderly, obedient, and
cheerful. I can think of no instance in which any man has
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 143
ever been in the slightest degree insolent or sullen in his manner
During the last week the enemy have made an attempt to
dislodge us from our position by firing shot and shell at our
camps from the opposite side of New River. For three days
there was cannonading during the greater part of daylight of
each day. Nothing purporting to be warfare could possibly be
more harmless. I knew of two or three being wounded, and
have heard that one man was killed. They have given it up
as a failure and I do not expect to see it repeated.
Dr. Jim Webb came here a few days ago, on a dispatch from
the general, and will aid in taking charge of the sick in some part
of the army, not in our regiment. He brought many most ac-
ceptable knickknacks and comforts from home. . . .
The newspapers do great mischief by allowing false and ex-
aggerated accounts of suffering here to be published. It checks
enlistments. The truth is, it is a rare thing for a good soldier
to find much cause of complaint. But I suppose the public are
getting to understand this. I would not say anything to stop
benevolent people from contributing such articles of clothing
and bedding as I have described. These articles are always put
to good use. -- Love to all.
Affectionately, your son,
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Camp Ewing, November 10, 1861. Sunday morning.--I am
officer of the day today and interested in the weather. It stopped
raining towards evening yesterday. It is foggy and damp this
morning--will probably be pleasant during the day. I have
to visit all the pickets; the stations are ten or twelve in number
and it takes about three hours' riding to visit them. They are
on the Lewisburg pike for three or four miles, on the Chestnut-
burg road about the same distance, and on suitable points com-
manding views of the country on either side and of the river.
Went with Colonel Scammon, Captain Crane [Company A,
Twenty-sixth Ohio], [and] Lieutenant Avery to Pepperbox
144 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Knob and looked over into enemy's camps on [the] south side
of New River; thence with Avery to Townsend's Ferry, the pro-
posed crossing place. Most romantic views of the deep moun-
tain gorge of New River, near the ferry. Climbed down and
up the hill by aid of ropes. Two Rebel soldiers got up an ex-
tempore skiff, just opposite where our men were getting our
skiffs, and crept down the cliffs. They came over and were
caught by our men as they landed. They were naturally sur-
prised and frightened. A third was seen on the other bank who
escaped. So our scheme is by this time suspected by the enemy.
CAMP EWING, November 10 (Sunday night late), 1861.
DEAREST:--I have just returned from a hard day's work
examining the romantic mountain gorge of New River which
we are preparing to cross, but which I suspect we shall not
cross. A glorious day -- exciting, and delightfully spent.
Got your letter by Dr. Clendenin on my return at dark. A
good letter, darling. Write 'em often.
Yes, Fremont's removal hurts me as it does you. I hate it
as much as I did the surrender of Sumter. It may be justified
and required by the facts; but I don't see it in anything yet
published against him.
Mrs. Herron is misinformed about Matthews. I know all
about it. The colonel would have returned and expected to
return. He wished a change immensely, but he would not have
resigned. I am sorry to lose him. I know he did his best to
get me with him. He got a promise which he thought would
please me even better. -- It is all agreeable with me here -- per-
fectly so. I can't say when I shall be able to go home. Not for
some weeks, but sometime during December or January, I see no
reason to doubt that I shall see you. . . .
We sent home a lot of things and would send more if we
could. (Take care of the soldier with the scalded hand. You
will, of course.*) The reason is, the roads are bad and when
* Mrs. Hayes wrote November 19: "We had kept the soldier, Harvey,
here. His hand was badly burnt, but mother has dressed it every day,
and now it is well."
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 145
we move as we must do often, we shall be compelled to leave
or destroy all surplus baggage.
Camp Ewing, November 11. Monday. --Today private
Roach, Company I, was killed by a pistol shot accidentally dis-
charged by a comrade. Rode down to reconnoitre enemy's posi-
tion up the river. Saw Captain Mack fire at them with Parrott
Camp Ewing, Virginia, up New River, twelve miles above
Gauley. November 12. Tuesday.-- Officer of the day. Rode
to Townsend's Ferry to see Major Crawford's folly. Saw it.
Preparations to cross New River although the enemy must be
aware of our purpose -- a thing difficult if unopposed, impossible
and ruinous if opposed. Why don't these generals have common
November 19, 1861. (Tuesday).
DEAREST: --We are housed comfortably in a fine village de-
serted by its people, leaving us capital winter quarters. Floyd
intended to winter here, but since his retreat we are left in
We have had severe marching; two nights out without tents
--one in the rain and one on the snow. We stood it well.
Not a man sick of those who were well, and the sick all im-
proving--due to the clear frosty weather.
Dr. Joe is reading with much satisfaction the news of the
success of our fleet. It is most important. We are hoping to
stay here for the winter if we do not leave Virginia. It is
much the best place we have been in. All, or nearly all, people
gone, fine houses, forage, healthy location, etc., etc. Direct to
Gauley as usual. I think of you almost constantly these days.
We are now entirely clear of the enemy. I met a party of
146 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Georgians yesterday with a flag of truce; had a good friendly
chat with them. They are no doubt brave fine fellows but not
hardy or persevering enough for this work. They really envied
us our healthy and rugged men. They are tired of it heartily.
I can't yet tell when Dr. Joe or Jim or myself will come home,
but one of us will pretty certainly come within a fortnight. No,
I shall not be able to come so soon, but one of the doctors, will
I think. Love to the dear boys and Grandma and so much for
your own dear self.
CAMP UNION, FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA,
November 25, 1861.
DEAR MOTHER: -- I have just read your letter written at Dela-
ware, and am glad to know you are so happy with Arcena and
the other kind friends. You may feel relieved of the anxiety
you have had about me.
After several days of severe marching, camping on the ground
without tents, once in the rain and once on the snow, we have
returned from a fruitless chase after Floyd's Rebel army, and
are now comfortably housed in the deserted dwellings of a
beautiful village. We have no reports of any enemy near us
and are preparing for winter. We should quarter here if the
roads to the head of navigation would allow. As it is we shall
probably go to a steamboat landing on the Kanawha. Snow is
now three or four inches deep and still falling. We are on
high ground--perhaps a thousand feet above the Kanawha
River--and twelve miles from Gauley Mountain.
Our troops are very healthy. We have here in my regiment
six hundred and sixty-two men of whom only three are seri-
ously ill. Perhaps fifteen others are complaining so as to be
excused from guard duty. The fever which took down so many
of our men has almost disappeared. . . .
This is a rugged mountain region, with large rushing rivers
of pure clear water (we drink it at Cincinnati polluted by the
Olentangy and Scioto) and full of the grandest scenery I have
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 147
ever beheld. I rode yesterday over Cotton Hill and along New
River a distance of thirty miles. I was alone most of the day,
and could enjoy scenes made still wilder by the wintry storm.
We do not yet hear of any murders by bushwhackers in this
part of Virginia, and can go where we choose without appre-
hension of danger. We meet very few men. The poor women
excite our sympathy constantly. A great share of the calamities
of war fall on the women. I see women unused to hard labor
gathering corn to keep starvation from the door. I am now in
command of the post here, and a large part of my time is
occupied in hearing tales of distress and trying to soften the
ills the armies have brought into this country. Fortunately a
very small amount of salt, sugar, coffee, rice, and bacon goes
a great ways where all these things are luxuries no longer pro-
curable in the ordinary way. We try to pay for the mischief
we do in destroying corn, hay, etc., etc., in this way.
We are well supplied with everything. But clothes are worn
out, lost, etc., very rapidly in these rough marches. People
disposed to give can't go amiss in sending shoes, boots, stock-
ings, thick shirts and drawers, mittens or gloves, and blankets.
Other knickknacks are of small account.
Give my love to Arcena, Sophia, and to Mrs. Kilbourn.
R. B. HAYES.
Fayetteville (Camp Union), Virginia, November 27. Wednes-
day.--We left all baggage on the morning of the 13th early,
except what the men could carry, and started down to Gauley
to pursue Floyd or rather to attack him. My memo[randa]
are as follows:--
November 13.--Had a good march down to Gauley--the
whole Third Brigade under General Schenck. Weather warm
as summer, almost hot. Crossed New River at ferry near its
mouth, worked by Captain Lane and his good men, thence down
left bank of the Kanawha to the road from Montgomery Ferry
to Fayetteville, thence about two miles to Huddleston's farm,
where we bivouacked among briars and devil's-needles -- officers
148 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
in corn fodder in a crib. The band played its best tunes as we
crossed New River, Captain Lane remarking, "I little hoped to
see such a sight a week ago when the enemy were cannonading
us." About 10:30 o'clock General Schenck got a dispatch from
General Benham saying Floyd was on the run and he in pursuit,
and urging us to follow. At midnight the men were aroused
and at one we were on the way.
November 14, Thursday.--A dark, cold, rainy morning.
Marching before daylight in pitchy darkness. (Mem.:-- Night
marches should only be made in extremest cases; men can go
farther between daylight and dark than between midnight and
dark of the next day, and be less worn-out.) We stopped in
the dark, built fires, and remained until daylight, when we
pushed on in mud and rain past enemy's entrenchments on
Dickinson's farm to Fayetteville where we arrived about eight
or nine A. M. After passing enemy's works, [we found] the
road strewed with axes, picks, tents, etc., etc.--the debris of
Floyd's retreating army. Fayetteville, a pretty village, de-
serted by men and by all but a few women. We quartered with
Mrs. Mauser; her secession lord gone with Floyd. We heard
P. M. of General Benham's skirmishers killing Colonel St.
George Croghan today--colonel of Rebel cavalry and son of
Colonel George Croghan of Fort Stephenson celebrity. Died in
a bad cause; but Father O'Higgins, of the Tenth, says he be-
haved like a Christian gentleman. Colonel Smith wears his
sword. Shot through the sword-belt.
November 15. Friday.-- General Benham's brigade return
from the pursuit of Floyd. He runs like a quarter-horse. One
of the servants says that when Floyd was here, Mrs. Mauser
said she hoped he wouldn't leave. He replied: "I assure you,
madam, I'll not leave Cotton Hill until compelled by death or
the order of the Secretary of War"; and, added the darkey, "The
next I saw of him he was running by as fast as he could tar."
At night, a fierce snow-storm; no shelter for many of the
troops; bivouac in it!
Saturday, November 16. -- General Benham's brigade marched
back towards Gauley, leaving here with cheers after their in-
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 149
clement night! Colonel Scammon went on reconnaissance to-
wards Raleigh, in command; nothing to do. Present for
duty four hundred and nine. No sick; all sick and weakly gave
out before we reached here; a number left to guard property,
do work at Gauley, etc.
November 17. Sunday. -- I was sent in command of one hun-
dred men of Twenty-third and one hundred of Twenty-sixth
six miles towards Raleigh to Blake's to watch a road on which
it was thought Colonel Jenkins' Rebel cavalry might pass with
prisoners and plunder from Guyandotte. We bivouacked on the
snow in fence corners--ice half inch thick--and passed the
night not uncomfortably at all. A party of Rebels from Floyd's
army met us here with a flag of truce. Had a good little chat
with several of them. They did not seem at all averse to friendly
approaches. It seemed absurd to be fighting such civil and
friendly fellows. I thought they were not so full of fight as
our men--acted sick of it. One youngster, a lieutenant in
Phillips' Legion, T. H. Kennon of Milledgeville, Georgia, wanted
to buy back his little sorrel mare which we had captured--a
pleasant fellow. They were after Croghan's body.
Monday, 18. -- No signs of Jenkins last night. Heard cannon
firing down Kanawha and got ready some rail barricades under
direction of Colonel Ewing--rather shabby affairs; could see
it gave confidence to men. Ordered back to Fayetteville; re-
turned at dark.
Tuesday, 19. -- General Schenck and staff left today. Gen-
eral Schenck sick --not health enough for this work. We are
rejoiced reading news of the naval expedition to Port Royal.
It looks well. I hope the present anticipations will be fully
Wednesday, 20. -- A wet disagreeable day. Captain Reynolds
returned from a trip to Raleigh with a flag of truce. Town of
Raleigh abandoned. Floyd on beyond. They treated the cap-
tain and his party well. The impression is they are not averse
to peace. Once taught to respect the North, they will come to
terms gladly, I think.
150 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Thursday, 21. -- Colonel Ewing bent on a quarrel with Avery
about an old secesh horse; a nice gentleman, Colonel Ewing,
but so "set in his way." Lieutenant Hunter returned. Lieu-
tenant Warren gone to headquarters to be captain of ordnance.
Friday, 22. -- Rode alone down to Gauley over Kanawha and
Gauley Rivers, up New River, and stayed at headquarters of
General Rosecrans. Always treated well there. Ate pickled
oysters immoderately and foolishly; drank mixed drinks slightly
but foolishly. But spent an agreeable night with General Rose-
crans, Major Crawford, and Captain Reynolds and Major Jos.
Darr. Good men all. Cold, desperately windy night; slept
coldly in Captain Hartsuff's tent.
Saturday, 23.-- Rode up to Captain Mack's (Regular-army
artillery officer) ten miles up N[ew River] and near our old
Camp Ewing. Business: To appraise under order from General
Rosecrans damage done citizens by our men. Board consisted of
Colonel McCook, self, and Captain Mack. Met McCook mend-
ing road. [He] said he would sign what we should agree to.
Did the work and slept with Captain Mack in his new Sibley
tent, warmed by a stove. A good institution, if [tent is]
floored, for winter.
Sunday, 24. -- Rode in rain and snow, chiefly snow, down to
Gauley over Kanawha and back to Fayetteville; a hard ride in
such a day and alone, too. How I enjoy these rides, this scen-
ery, and all! Saw a teamster with a spike team (three horses)
stalled; got on to his leader and tried to help through; gave it
up; took a pair of his socks -- he had a load.
FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, November 27, 1861.
DEAREST:--I sent you a rifle for Birch. It was loaded, as
I learn. The lieutenant promised to take the load out. If he
has forgotten it, have our neighbor of all work, corner of Long-
worth and Wood, take out the load before Birch plays with or
handles it. You may send my vest by anybody coming direct to
my regiment. We expect to move two or three days nearer to
you the last of this week. The point is not yet known--per-
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 151
haps Cannelton or Charleston on the Kanawha. I have got a
"contraband," a bright fellow who came through the mountains
a hundred miles, hiding daytime and travelling nights to get to us.
Daniel Husk is his name. His story is a romantic one, if true,
as it probably is.
I would have Mr. Stephenson invest in Government 7 3/1O per
cent five hundred or six hundred dollars. I shall send you three
hundred or four hundred dollars more, as soon as the pay-
master comes again. . . Colonel Scammon is absent. I
command the regiment and the post, so I am busy. Excuse
brevity, therefore. Love to the boys.
Fayetteville, Virginia, Thursday, 28. --Thanksgiving at home.
Dear boys and wife! I hope they are enjoying a happy dinner
at home. Here it is raining and gloomy. We do not yet know
where we are to winter; men are growing uneasy and dissatis-
fied. I hope we shall soon know; and if we are to stay here I
think we can soon get into good case again. --Decided that we
are to stay here for the winter. Wrote to Uncle and Laura
humorous letters--attempts--describing our prospects here.
Two small redoubts to be built soon. Quarters to be prepared.
Rain, mud, and cold to be conquered; drilling to be done, etc., etc.
FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, November 29, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:--We have just got our orders for the winter.
We are to stay here, build a little fort or two, keep here fifteen
hundred men or so--sixty horsemen, a battery of four or six
small cannon, etc., etc. We shall live in comfortable houses.
The telegraph will be finished here in a day or two. We shall
have a daily mail to the head of navigation -- sixteen miles down
the Kanawha. On the whole a better prospect than I expected
in western Virginia. Our colonel will command. I am conse-
quently in command of the Twenty-third Regiment. This is the
152 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
fair side. The other side is, sixteen miles of the sublimest
scenery to travel over. We get supplies chiefly, and soon will
wholly, by pack mules. We have a waggon in a tree top ninety
feet high. If a mule slips, good-bye mule! This is over the
"scenery," and where there is no scenery, the mud would appal
an old-time Black Swamp stage-driver. If rations or forage
give out, this is not a promising route, but then we can, if forced,
march the sixteen miles in one day--we have done it--and
take the mouths to the food if the food can't be carried to the
If the river gets very low, as it sometimes does, the head of
navigation will move thirty or forty miles further off; and if
it freezes, as it does once in six or eight years, there will be
no navigation, and then there will be fifteen hundred souls
hereabouts anxiously looking for a thaw.
You now have the whole thing. I rather like it. I wish
you were in health. It would be jolly for you to come up and
play chess with the colonel and see things. As soon as we are
in order, say four or five weeks, I can come home as well as not
and stay a short time.
R. B. HAYES.
FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, November 29, 1861.
DEAR LAURA:--Thanks for your letter. I hope I may think
your health is improved, especially as you insist upon the pair
of swollen cheeks. We are to stay here this winter. Our busi-
ness for the next few weeks is building a couple of forts and
getting housed fifteen hundred or two thousand men. We oc-
cupy a good brick house, papered and furnished, deserted by its
secession proprietor on our approach. Our mess consists of
Colonel Scammon, now commanding [the] Third Brigade, Col-
onel Ewing of [the] Thirtieth, Dr. Joe, and a half dozen other
The village was a fine one--pretty gardens, fruit, flowers,
and pleasant homes. All natives gone except three or four
families of ladies--two very attractive young ladies among
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 153
them, who are already turning the heads or exciting the gal-
lantry of such "gay and festive" beaux as the doctor.
We are in no immediate danger here of anything except starva-
tion, which you know is a slow death and gives ample time
for reflection. All our supplies come from the head of navi-
gation on the Kanawha over a road remarkable for the beauty
and sublimity of its scenery, the depth of its mud, and the dizzy
precipices which bound it on either side. On yesterday one of
our bread waggons with driver and four horses missed the road
four or six inches and landed ("landed" is not so descriptive
of the fact as lit) in the top of a tree ninety feet high after a
fall of about seventy feet. The miracle is that the driver is
here to explained that one of his leaders hawed when he ought to
We are now encouraging trains of pack mules. They do well
among the scenery, but unfortunately part of the route is a
Serbonian Bog where armies whole might sink if they haven't,
and the poor mules have a time of it. The distance luckily to
navigable water is only sixteen to twenty miles. If, however,
the water gets low, the distance will increase thirty to forty
miles, and if it freezes--why, then we shall all be looking for
the next thaw for victuals.
We are to have a telegraph line to the world done tomorrow,
and a daily mail subject to the obstacles aforesaid, so we can
send you dispatches showing exactly how our starvation pro-
gresses from day to day.
On the whole, I rather like the prospect. We are most com-
fortably housed, and shall no doubt have a pretty jolly winter.
There will be a few weeks of busy work getting our forts ready,
etc., etc. After that I can no doubt come home and visit you
all for a brief season.
So the nice young lieutenant is a Washington. Alas! that so
good a name should sink so low.
I am interrupted constantly. Good-bye. Love to all. Can't
write often. Send this to Lucy.
Affectionately, your uncle,
MISS LAURA PLATT.
154 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Fayetteville, Virginia, Saturday, 30.--Snow on the ground;
not cold, but raw and disagreeable. Granting furloughs to four
men from each company keeps me busy. A week or two ago
the colonel sent a recommendation to appoint Sergeant Haven,
of Company A, a captain, for services in connection with our
naval expedition across New River. His services were probably
important, but the jump over the heads of lieutenants is rather
FAYETTEVILLE, CAMP UNION, November 30, 1861.
DEAREST:--We are now engaged in getting winter quarters
fixed comfortably. There are not houses enough to lodge all
the men without too much crowding. We hope soon to have
elbow-room. We ease it off a little by being very liberal with
furloughs. We allow four men--"men of family preferred--"
to go from each company for twenty days. As a consequence,
there must be daily some of our men going through Cincinnati.
The bearer will bring (probably) besides this letter, the accou-
trements which go with Birt's Mississippi rifle, and a couple of
gold pieces, one for a present for you and one for Grandma
We are doing well. Today is bright and warm after a three-
days storm of rain and sleet. I had a letter from Laura. You
may send my vest; also "Lucile." All sorts of reading matter
finds grabbers, but I think of nothing except any stray Atlantic
or Harper's of late date. I do not wish to go home for some
weeks, but if necessary, I can now go home at any time. I
prefer that every other officer should go before I do. Dr. Joe
is now acting as brigade surgeon, Colonel Scammon as briga-
dier, and I as colonel; Dr. Jim, as temporary surgeon of the
All the people hereabouts are crowding in to take the oath
of allegiance. A narrow-chested, weakly, poverty-stricken,
ignorant set. I don't wonder they refuse to meet our hardy
fellows on fair terms. Captain Sperry says: "They are too
ignorant to have good health."
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 155
Love to "all the boys," to Mother Webb, and ever so much
for your own dear self.
Sunday, December 1, .--A dry, cold day, no sun,
leaden sky,--threatens snow. About noon gets gusty, wintry
and colder. No severe cold yet. Am preparing to have regular
lessons and drills. P. M. Began to drizzle--a wintry rain.
Loup Creek or Laurel, up yesterday, prevented our waggons
crossing. Today fifteen wagons with food came in. Read Hal-
leck's "Lectures on the Science and Art of War." Goodish.
Youth, health, energy are the qualities for war. West Point
good enough, if it did not give us so much of the effete.
Monday, 2.-- Snows all day in the mud. Letter from Lucy
dated 24th. Seems in pretty good heart. Kanawha ferry stop-
ped--flood wood too much for the rope. Men engaged fixing
quarters as well as they can in such bad weather.
FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, December 2, 1861.
DEAREST:-- . . . Dr. Joe made up his mind to go by the
first wagon to Gauley on his way to Cincinnati. Won't the boys
jump to see him!
I should like a first-rate pair of military boots--not so high
as common -- high in the instep and large. Two or three
military books--good reading books. We have Halleck ["Ele-
ments of Military Art and Science"] and Scott's dictionary and
don't want them.
Fayetteville, Virginia, Thursday, December 5.-- Another
bright, warm day; the afternoon was like spring. Held the
first meeting of regimental officers in the adjutant's office last
156 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
evening. Went over guard duty in the "Regulations." I learned
something and think the others did.
Today a foolish young countryman came in with apples, pies
and bread, [and] tobacco. Undertook to sell apples at ten cents
per dozen, pies twenty cents. The soldiers got mad and robbed
the apple cart in the streets. I got mad; paid the F. F. V. five
dollars out of my own pocket; got Colonel Eckley to do like-
wise; had the colonel informed and the thing suitably noticed.
Drilled after parade in a few simple movements; got along
Friday, December 6.-- A warm, bright day. The chaplain
returned today; not an agreeable or useful person. He has been
absent over two months. I wish he had not returned.
Colonel Scammon gave me a good, long confidential talk. Like
all men having some trifling peculiarities which are not pleasant
but who are sterling in all important things, he is best liked when
best known. He is a gentleman by instinct as well as breeding
and is a most warm-hearted, kindly gentleman; and yet many
of the men think him the opposite of all this. I must take more
pains than I have [taken] to give them just ideas of him.
Saturday, December 7.--Another warm, bright day--the
roads improving. People come twenty-five miles to take the
oath. How much is due to a returning sense of loyalty and
how much to the want of coffee and salt, is more than I know.
They are sick of the war, ready for peace and a return to the
old Union. Many of them have been Secessionists, some of
Rode Schooley's high-tailed, showy horse twice. Drilled after
evening parade. Met the sergeants for instruction tonight.
Sunday, December 8.-- A cloudy morning, threatening rain.
After ten A. M. cleared up and a bright, warm day. Inspected
quarters informally with Lieutenant-Colonel Eckley. Favorable
impressions of his disposition confirmed; dined with him and
his adjutant, Lieutenant James, of Urbana, and Rev. Long, ditto.
Wrote letters--very short--to Uncle, mother, and Lucy.
Had a good drill after evening parade. Colonel Scammon,
Lieutenant Gardner, quartermaster, and Major Comly play whist
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 157
in the other room. . . . We have intimations that Jenkins
and his cavalry are coming in here again. The colonel is taking
precautions against surprise. I shall see that my regiment is
ready, if possible.
CAMP UNION, December 8, 1861.
DEAREST: -- It is Sunday -- inspection day. Visited all quar-
ters and hospital. All in improving condition. Tell Dr. Joe we
have had five bright warm lovely days and a fair prospect for as
many more. Roads improving; telegraph wire here, and will
be in working order tomorrow or day after.
Have the daily Commercial mailed to me here from the office
for one month. If it comes as often as twice a week, I will
renew the subscription, otherwise not.
A trunk full of nice doings, socks, mittens, small looking-
glasses, needle doings, etc., etc., came up from Gauley among
our baggage. Nothing to show who from or who to. I as-
sumed that it was an instalment from Cleveland for the Twenty-
third and Dr. McCurdy disposes of it accordingly.
I am feeling anxious about you. Write often all about your-
self. Love to the dear boys and all. Ever so much for yourself.
Tuesday, December 10. -- A little warm rain last night;
cloudy and threatening rain in morning; turned off bright and
clear. Had a good drill after evening parade. Moved into a
good room in a pretty cottage house owned by J. H. Phillips,
a drygoods dealer, who has left with the Rebels. His store was
burned by McCook's men because he was a persecutor of Union
men. Captain Sperry and Lieutenant Kennedy are my co-ten-
ants. We shall take good care of the premises and try to leave
them in as good condition as we find them.
Wednesday, January [December] 11. -- A cold morning,
threatening rain; rained a little last night. Turned off bright,
clear, and cold in the afternoon. Had a headache in morning,
158 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
drank a little bad wine last night; all right after dinner. Living
so cozily in my new quarters. Oh, if Lucy was here, wouldn't
it be fine! How she would enjoy it! Darling! I think of her
constantly these days. A drill; formed squad in four ranks;
marched, closed in mass.
Thursday, December 12. -- A bright, pretty, cold winter morn-
ing; our eighth fine day!! Ground froze in the morning; dry
and warm all day after sun got one-third up. In [the] morning
walked with Lieutenant-Colonel Eckley around southern part
of town, in the woods, visiting pickets and noticing the lay of
the land. He agrees with me that the chief danger of an attack
is a hasty assault to burn the town; that for this purpose a
stockade or log entrenchment should be thrown up at the lower
end of town. Drilled P. M.--No letters or news.
Friday, December 13.--Another beautiful winter day--
cold, quiet. Sun strong enough to thaw all mud and ice. No
ice on streams yet that will bear a man. Building redoubts at
either end of town. Since I came to Virginia in July, I have
not shaved; for weeks at a time I have slept in all clothes except
boots (occasionally in boots and sometimes with spurs), a half
dozen times on the ground without shelter, once on the snow.
I have wore [worn] no white clothing (shirts, drawers, etc.)
for four months; no collar or neckerchief or tie of any sort for
two months; and have not been the least unwell until since I
have taken winter quarters here in a comfortable house. Now
I have but a slight cold.
December 14, Saturday.-- A fine day, warm and bright,--
the tenth! Western Virginia is redeeming itself. Our men
think there is something wrong. The nights are clear, frosty,
Camp Union, Fayetteville, Virginia. Sunday, December 15.--
Another fine day. Had a review this morning--fine spectacle.
Received a letter from Dr. Joe, dated 10th, last night. All
well at home. Lucy looking for her troubles to be over soon.
Dear Lute! I hope she will get on well. Some fleecy clouds
in the sky; the good weather must end soon.
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 159
CAMP UNION, FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA,
December 15, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE: -- I have often wished since I have been in Vir-
ginia that you were well enough to come and spend a few weeks
with me. I have never wished it more than now. I am quartered
alone in a pleasant cottage house, with plenty to run and do
whatever I want done. The weather is lovely. We are drilling
our men, building forts, etc., etc., and are undisturbed by the
world. The people hereabouts, many of them fresh from the
Rebel armies, come in, take the oath, and really behave as if
they were sick of it, and wanted to stop. Nothing but ill luck,
or a great lack of energy, will prevent our wiping out the
Rebellion, The common people of this region want to get back
to coffee and salt and sugar, etc., etc., none of which articles
can now be got through whole extensive districts of country.
If nothing occurs to prevent, I shall come home in January
for thirty days. Will visit you at Fremont, if you do not
happen to be in Cincinnati or Columbus. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
Camp Union, Monday, December 16, 1861. -- A beautiful day.
Rode with Colonel Scammon to Townsend's Ferry. That is
we rode to the top of the cliffs on New River; thence with six
men of Company B we scrambled down by the path to the river,
perhaps by the path three-quarters of a mile. A steep rocky
gorge, a rushing river, the high precipices, all together make a
It was here we intended to cross with General Schenck's bri-
gade to cut off Floyd's retreat. Boats were prepared, four
skiffs brought from Cincinnati, but the river rose, just as we
were about to cross, making it impossible. It has always been
a question since whether the enemy were aware of our purpose
and would have opposed our crossing. I supposed that so much
work preparing could not have escaped their notice, and that
they were ready for us. Opposition on such a path would have
160 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
been fatal. From all I saw at the ferry, I am inclined to think
they knew nothing of our purpose. There are no signs of
pickets or ambuscades to be found on this side. The distance
from the river to this village is only two miles and we could
probably have taken it and held it.
The bold enterprises are the successful ones. Take counsel
of hopes rather than of fears to win in this business.
FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, December 16, 1861.
DEAREST:-- . . . I think of you constantlty now. Keep
up good courage. Let me know all about you all the time. I
will send you a dispatch from here as soon as our operator is
at work just to show you that we are not far apart.
We are very healthy and contented here. The sick are less
and less daily.
I see somebody knits woollen gloves for soldiers. That's
sensible. A few stockings, gloves, woolen shirts, and the like
are always wanted at this season.
I write this by Captain Howard. He is probably to resign
on account chiefly of ill health.
Kisses for all the boys and "love you much."
Did you get the gold pieces, etc?
Camp Union, Tuesday, December 17, 1861. -- Our thirteenth
fine day. The frost still coming out of the ground; freezes hard
nights, thaws all day in the sun. Mud deeper in many places
than it was a week ago; on the hills and ridges getting dry. . . .
Drilled as usual at night. Men improving in drill. Lieutenant
Durkee returned yesterday or day before -- health restored;
weighs one hundred and eighty [pounds], looks well; left Camp
Ewing over the river in October, apparently a doomed man.
Captain Moore returned today, apparently in good health. Talks
gloomily of the regiment; thinks Captain Drake, Lieutenant
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 161
Avery, etc., will not return; that he and most of the officers
will resign. Chief difficulty is the governor appointed Major
Comly in my place as major. It [the appointment] ought to
have been made from our own regiment. Captain Drake was
recommended and would have been satisfactory to a majority.
But Major Comly has shown himself so diligent, gentlemanly,
and reasonably [reasonable], withal so well acquainted with
tactics and the duties of a soldier, that those who have been
here the last six weeks are reconciled to his appointment and
think it is well for the regiment. Captain Moore also reports
an impression he got that I was to be a colonel soon and leave
the regiment. I don't believe it.
CAMP UNION, TUESDAY, December 17, A. M., 1861.
DEAREST: --I can't let another chance slip without a letter to
show you I am thinking of you.
Still lovely weather. Rode to the scene of the naval expedi-
tion on this side of New River, a romantic place.
I send this by Lieutenant Kennedy's father. He brought
from Bellefontaine gloves, socks, blankets, and shirts -- enough
and to spare all around--for Captain Canby's company. I
get something every time anything comes.
We are in glorious trim now. Some of the companies still
lack comforts, but we drill with life. The paymaster is here
and it is white days with us.
The Rebels are getting sick of it. Nobody but Jenkins holds
out in all this country. Rebel soldiers come and give up their
Dearest, good-night. Love to all the boys and Grandma.
. . . I do hope you will get along well. You shall keep
Dr. Joe till the trouble is over.
R. B. HAYES.
Fayetteville, Virginia, Camp Union. Wednesday, December
18.--Another fine day. Sergeant John McKinley, Company
162 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
G, left for Mount Vernon this morning; took a letter to Lucy
and a watch to be repaired. He is a character, an erect, neat,
prompt old soldier. English of Lancaster, or rather Irish of
England, he talks the most profuse flattery, but it does win,
fulsome as it is. He does his whole duty. As he left me he said
"I want to see that 'Lieutenant' from before your name. Every
good man should go up."
Drilled as usual. Weather very warm at evening. "Jeff
Davis," a boy who came into Camp Chase with Company A
and who drilled like an old sergeant, though aged but thirteen,
returned yesterday from Cleveland.
CAMP UNION, FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, December 18, 1861.
DEAREST: -- You will think I have nothing to do but to write
to you. I can't let a good chance slip without sending you word
that "I am well and doing well and hope, etc." Sergeant Mc-
Kinley, an old soldier, or rather I ought to say an experienced
soldier, offers so generously to go and see you that I must
let him. Birch ought to hear him talk. He has many scars
received in battle, and Birt would like to hear about them. He
Love to all the boys and ever so much for yourself. I suspect
I am getting more anxious about you than the people at home.
You must keep up good heart. We shall be together pretty
soon again. If we have another little boy, we will have enough
for a file in four ranks -- which Birtie knows, I suppose, is
requisite for a march by the flank. "Companions in battle"
they are called. If it is a daughter, why bless you darling,
won't we have a nice family? . . .
This is our fourteenth beautiful day and prospects of more,
tell Joe.-- Love to all.
Affectionately, dearest, your
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 163
CAMP UNION, FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, December 19, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE: --Yesterday morning, a party of contrabands
started for Ohio. It is not unlikely that some of them will find
their way to Fremont. Allen, a mulatto, with his wife and one
or two children, is one of a thousand --faithful, intelligent, and
industrious, -- will do for a house servant -- would just answer
your purpose. His wife can cook--is neat and orderly--a
most valuable family, you will find them, if you put them into
the new house, or anywhere else. If you don't want them, you
can safely recommend them. Quite a number have come to me,
but these are the pick of the lot. They have another black man
and wife with them who are well spoken of; I do not know
them. It is, of course, doubtful whether Allen will find you; I
think he will. I send him because I think he will just answer
They will all be entitled to freedom, as I understand the rule
adopted by our Government. Their master is a Rebel, and is
with Floyd's army as quartermaster, or the like, being too old
for a soldier. These people gave themselves up to me, and I
let them go to Ohio. The rule is, I believe, that slaves coming
to our lines, especially if owned by Rebels, are free. Allen gave
me valuable information as to the enemy. These facts, if nec-
essary hereafter, can be proved by members of Captain McIlrath's
Company A, Twenty-third Regiment, Cleveland, or of Captain
Sperry's Company H, Ashtabula County. Of course, there is
little present danger of attempt to recapture them under the
Fugitive Bill, but it may be done hereafter.
You, perhaps, know that Dr. Joe took a contraband to Cin-
cinnati. These people do not go to Cincinnati, preferring the
country, and fearing relatives of their master there. The party
start for Galion in company with the servant of one of our
men; from there, they will probably get to you.
R. B. HAYES.
Camp Union, Fayetteville, Virginia. Friday, December 20.
--A. M., before breakfast, some clouds and wind but sun now
164 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
shining. Change threatened. We have here Twenty-sixth Regi-
ment, now under Lieutenant-Colonel Eckley, who also commands
the post; Thirtieth Regiment, five companies, under Colonel
Ewing; Twenty-third, now under my command; McMullen's
Battery, and a Pennsylvania cavalry company, stationed on the
road towards Raleigh. Twenty-third here 550, Twenty-sixth, 600,
Thirtieth, 200, battery, 40, cavalry, 40--1430 men. Building
two forts on hill northeast of town, one on hill southwest of
town. Wind and clouds during the day, but the sun shone
brightly on our dress parade, making this our sixteenth good
Saturday, 21. -- A cold, bright winter day. Sent a dispatch
home to Lucy. Paymaster here getting ready to pay our men.
The James D. (Devereux) Bulloch* was a good friend of mine
at Middletown, Connecticut, (Webb's school) in 1837-8 from
Savannah, Georgia--a whole-hearted, generous fellow. A
model sailor I would conjecture him to be. Rebel though he is,
I guess him to be a fine fellow, a brave man, honorable and all
It is rumored that Great Britain will declare war on account
of the seizure of Slidell and Mason. I think not. It will blow
over. First bluster and high words, then correspondence and
diplomacy, finally peace. But if not, if war, what then? First,
it is to be a trying, a severe and dreadful trial of our stuff. We
* Pasted in the Diary is the following clipping from the Richmond
News of November 30:--"Captain James D. Bulloch, who lately suc-
cessfully ran the blockade while in command of the steamship Fingal,
has arrived in Richmond. He thinks there is a likelihood of Lord
Palmerston's proving indifferent to the question involved in the seizure,
by Captain Wilkes, on the high seas, from a British vessel, of Messrs.
Mason and Slidell."
Captain James D. Bulloch was the "Naval Representative of the
Confederate States in Europe" during the Civil War. It was under his
direction and through his energy that the Alabama and other cruisers
were built and equipped to prey on American commerce. In 1883 Captain
Bulloch published in two volumes a most interesting narrative, entitled
"The Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe, or How the
Confederate Cruisers Were Equipped." It may also be recalled that
Captain Bulloch was a brother of President Roosevelt's mother.
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 165
shall suffer, but we will stand it. All the Democratic element,
now grumbling and discontented, must then rouse up to fight
their ancient enemies the British. The South, too, will not thou-
sands then be turned towards us by seeing their strange allies?
If not, shall we not with one voice arm and emancipate the
slaves? A civil, sectional, foreign, and servile war--shall we
not have horrors enough? Well, I am ready for my share of
it. We are in the right and must prevail.
Six companies paid today. Three months' pay due not paid.
A "perfectly splendid" day -- the seventeenth!!
Sunday, December 22. -- The Forefathers' day -- Pilgrim day.
We are at the same high call here today--freedom, freedom
for all. We all know that is the essence of this contest.
Cold, but the sun gilds the eastern sky as I write, and a few
thin clouds gathered during the night are rolling away. . . .
At 3:30 P. M. a cold rain begins to fall--the end of our fine
weather. How long shall we now be housed up by stormy
weather? . . .
Monday, December 23.--Wet, cold, windy; sleet last night.
Five companies of the Thirtieth came up last night. Little or
no preparations to shelter them--all their field officers gone.
A sorry plight.
At dinner today with Captain Sperry and Lieutenant Ken-
nedy, I was handed the following dispatch:
"Cincinnati, December 23, 1861.
"Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Hayes, Twenty-third Regiment.
"Wife and boy doing well. Stranger arrived Saturday eve-
ning, nine o'clock P. M.
J. T. Webb."
Good Very! I preferred a daughter, but in these times
when women suffer so much, I am not sure but we ought to
rejoice that our girls are boys. What shall I call him? What
will Birt say, and Webb, and Babes? "Babes" no longer. He
is supplanted by the little stranger. Cold wind and snow-storm
outside. Dear Lucy! I hope she will keep up good heart. I
replied by telegraph: "Congratulations and much love to mother
and son. All well."
166 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CAMP UNION, December 23, 1861.
DEAREST:--I am so happy to hear today by telegraph that
your troubles are over (at least the worst, I hope) and that
"mother and son are doing well." Darling, I love you so much
and have felt so anxious about you. The little fellow, I hope, is
healthy and strong. It is best it was not a daughter. These are
no times for women. . . . What do the boys say? . . .
Tell me all about him.
Captain Sperry will take this. I shall time it so as to come
about the time that Dr. Joe will leave--say, the 15th to 20th
January, unless something occurs to stop it.
I shall send either to you or to Platt five hundred dollars by
Captain Sperry. Get all you want--Christmas presents for
the boys and all.
Kiss the boy, yes, "all the boys" for me.
FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, December 23, 1861.
DEAR UNCLE:-- I have just heard by telegraph of the birth of
my fourth son. In these times, boys are to be preferred to girls.
Am glad to hear Lucy is doing well. . . .
Yes, we are in winter quarters, most comfortable quarters.
I have to myself as nice a room as your large room, papered,
carpeted, a box full of wood, and with a wild snow-storm blow-
ing outside to make it more cheerful by contrast. We have had
eighteen days of fine weather to get ready in, and are in
pretty good condition. We have our telegraph line running
down to civilization; get Cincinnati papers irregularly from
four to ten days old. I have enjoyed the month here very much.
Busy fortifying--not quite ready yet, but a few more days
of good weather will put us in readiness for any force. The
enemy are disheartened; the masses of the people want to stop.
If England does not step in, or some great disaster befall us,
we shall conquer the Rebellion beyond doubt, and at no distant
period. . . .
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 167
I shall go home about the time Dr. Joe starts back here--
say the 15th to 20th January, if nothing new occurs to prevent.
If you can't come down to Cincinnati, I shall go to Fremont.
R. B. HAYES.
HEADQUARTERS 23D REG'T. O. V. INF. U. S. A.,
December 23, 1861.
DEAR DOCTOR:--Thanks for your letter of the 16th. You
will of course stay with Lucy until after she is out of all danger,
if it is a month or more, and all will be well. Some arrange-
ment, or no arrangement, it will be all right. I will come home
unless something turns up to prevent, which I do not anticipate,
so as to reach there just before you leave. McCurdy would
like to go home during the next month, but it can all be arranged.
I will make Jim assistant at any time if it is thought best,
but I do not wish to put him over McCurdy. This, however,
need not trouble you. You can stay as long as you please, and
I will see it duly approved.
You have authority to send home our men, but to stop all
cavil I send you an order which you can fill up with the name
of any officer, commissioned or non-commissioned, who you
think can be trusted, directing him to bring here all men who
are able to come.
At dinner just now I got your dispatch as to the boy. . . .
Welcome to the little stranger! I hope he will be stout and
healthy. . . .
Did Lucy get a draft for eighty-seven dollars by Captain
Drake or Lieutenant Richardson, and two gold twenty-dollar
pieces by a Company A man? Get Lucy for me some ring or
"sich" thing that she will like--something nice.
R. B. HAYES.
DR. J. T. WEBB.
168 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Tuesday, December 24.--Good weather. Moderately cold;
ground frozen so it will bear teams, whitened with a thin
sprinkling of snow. Captain Sperry left this morning with
Sergeant Hall and Private Gillet for home via Cincinnati. . . .
Fayetteville, Virginia, Wednesday, 25.--A beautiful Christ-
mas morning--clear, cool, and crisp (K. K. K.), bright and
lovely. The band waked me with a serenade. How they im-
prove! A fine band and what a life in a regiment! Their music
is better than food and clothing to give spirit to the men. . . .
Dined with McIlrath's company--sergeants' mess; an
eighteen-pound turkey, chickens, pies, pudding, doughnuts, cake,
cheese, butter, coffee, and milk, all abundant and of good quality.
Poor soldiers! A quiet orderly company under good discipline;
speaks well for its captain.
In the evening met at the adjutant's office the commissioned
officers of the regiment. Much feeling against the promotion
from third sergeant to captain of Company G of Sergeant Haven,
Company A. It was an ill-advised act. I think highly of
Sergeant Haven. He will, I think, make a good officer. But the
regular line of promotion should [be departed from] only in
extraordinary cases, and then the promotion should be limited to
the merits of the case. The lieutenants passed over--all the
first and second-lieutenants -- are much dissatisfied and the
captains who are not yet reconciled to the major are again ex-
cited. They have a story that the colonel recommended Sergeant
McKinley for promotion to a first lieutenancy. It can't be pos-
sible, and if not, the other case will lead, I think, [to] no un-
We adjourned to my quarters. I sent for oysters to the
sutler's; got four dollars and fifty cents' worth and crackers.
They were cooked by Lieutenants Warren and Bottsford. A
good time; Bottsford, a little merry and noisy. Present, Major
Comly, Captains Canby and Moore, First-Lieutenants Warren,
Hood, and Rice and Naughton, Second-Lieutenants Bottsford,
Hastings, Ellen, Adjutant Kennedy, Stevens. Retired at II
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 169
CAMP UNION, Christmas morning, 1861.
DEAREST:--A merry Christmas to you and the little stranger
(I suppose he is a stranger to you no longer)--and to all at
home. At this home-happiness season, I think of you constantly.
. . . Oh the boys, how they must enjoy Uncle Joe and the
presents! You will see they get some from "Uncle Papa" too.
A Dr. Hayes is here as brigade surgeon. Scarcely any sick in
our regiment, so Dr. Joe can feel easy about his absence.
Beautiful weather again. Only one bad day. The rest of the
Thirtieth has come up. It is now the strongest regiment here.
This half is better stuff too and had some service.
Captain Zimmerman takes this. I sent a chair and five hundred
dollars, by Captain Sperry. Let Joe tell me what money you
have received from me. It is all right, I suppose, but I would
like to know. . . .
MRS. HAYES. R.
Thursday, December 26. -- A cloudy day--thawing and
muddy. The colonel is planning an expedition through Raleigh
to Princeton to capture what is there of the enemy,--viz.
six hundred sick with a guard of about one hundred men,
arms and stores, with a possibility of getting Floyd who is said
to be without guard at and to burn the railroad bridges
near Newbern. The plan is to mount one-half the force on
pack mules and ride and tie--to make a forced march so as
to surprise the enemy. He does not seem willing to look the
difficulties in the face, and to prepare to meet them. He calls
it forty or fifty miles. It is sixty-seven and one-half. He
thinks men can move night and day, three of four miles an hour.
Night in those muddy roads will almost stop a column. With
proper preparations, the thing is perhaps practicable. Let me
study to aid in arranging it, if it is to be.
Dear wife ! how is she? -- Soon after breakfast the sun chased
the clouds away and we had a warm spring day. The bluebirds
are coming back if they ever left. Our twenty-first fine day
170 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Friday, December 27. --A cold and windy but clear morning
--good winter weather. It was warm last night until 2 [A. M.],
wind veered around from south to north and [it was] cold as
blazes (why blazes?). Rode with Major Comly down to Cap-
tain McIlrath's. He preferred remaining in his quarters to a
trip to Raleigh. Five companies to be sent to Raleigh to occupy
it,--to push further if best to do so.
Drilled in a clear, brisk air. Colonel Scammon is preparing
to send to Raleigh in the hope that a party of the enemy at
Princeton may be surprised; also that railroad bridges near
Newbern may be destroyed.
Harvey Carrington and T. S. Dickson, Company C, complain
of Sergeant Keen and Thomas Mason for keeping two hundred
and ten dollars won at "Honest John." They say the agree-
ment was that whatever was lost or won was to be returned
and that they played merely to induce others to play. I told them
that as they, by their own stories, were stool-pigeons, they were
entitled to no sympathy. They admitted that much of the money
had been won gaming. I declined to order the money returned
to them. I sent for Sergeant Keen and Mason, who denied
the story of Carrington and Dickson, but admitted winning the
money. I ordered them to pay the money into the company
fund of Company C where it will be used to buy gloves and
such other comforts as the Government does not furnish for
all the company.
Saturday, December 28.-- Cold very, but still and clear--
good weather. Warm in the afternoon. Rode with Colonel
Scammon to the different works. They are well done as works,
not very necessary, and not perhaps in the very best localities,
but well enough. They are, I suspect, creditable to Colonel
Scammon as military earthworks of no great pretension. At-
tended the funeral of another man of Company B. Sad and
solemn. The lively music after all is over offends my taste.--
A good, lively drill.
Camp Union, Fayetteville, Virginia, Sunday, December 29. --
Major Comly (J. M.) with five companies marched today to
occupy Raleigh twenty-five miles south of here. Companies F
WINTER QUARTERS, WEST VIRGINIA, 1861 171
and G, Twenty-third, two companies of Thirtieth, and one com-
pany, Twenty-sixth. Weather, bright and clear; ground, frozen
hard; roads, good. Success attend them! Company inspection.
CAMP UNION, FAYETTEVILLE, VIRGINIA, December 29, 1861.
DEAREST:--I have no letter from home since the boy was
born. I have by mail Commercials of several days later date
and hoped for a letter; but I comfort myself by thinking that
all is going well with you, or the telegraph would inform me.
I now begin to think anxiously of coming home. If nothing
occurs unforeseen, I must get home before the next month runs
out. We have sent Major Comly with a detachment to occupy
Raleigh, twenty-five miles further into the bowels of the land,
and his absence may prevent my coming so soon as I hope, but
I shall come if possible.
Dr. McCurdy is sick, and will probably go home soon. Dr.
Hayes, the brigade surgeon, seems to be a nice gentleman, and
gets along well with Dr. Jim, as surgeon of the Twenty-third.
Colonel Scammon has been unwell, and says that while he likes
Dr. Hayes as a gentleman, he would prefer to be doctored by
Dr. Joe, and inquires often as to his coming. I tell him Dr. Joe
will in no event return before the 10th and not then unless you
are out of all danger.
Make Joe tell me all about "the boy." Does "the face of the
boy indicate the heart of the boy"? Do you love him as much
as the others? Do you feel sorry the fourth was not a daughter?
I think it's best as it is. -- Love to "all the boys" and kiss the
R. B. HAYES.
Monday, December 30. -- A "magnificent splendid" day -- the
twenty-fifth fine day this month; twenty-five out of the last
twenty-six!! The companies at Raleigh diminish our strength.
Five hundred and twenty present. Total in companies here
seven hundred and forty-three.
172 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Tuesday, December 31, 1861.--New Year's Eve--the last
day of the year -- a busy day with me. A review, an inspection,
and a muster of the regiment all by me; also an inspection of
McMullen's Battery. Yesterday received letters from Platt and
Dr. Joe. The little stranger is more like Birt than the others
and smaller than Rud. Birch indignant that he isn't big enough
to drill! -- A lovely day today. Twenty-six fine days this month;
a few [of] them cold, not severely so, but all good weather.
Lucy getting on well. Good, all!
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