WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN -- AUGUST-NOVEMBER
MONDAY, [August] 25 and Tuesday, 26. -- In Washington.
Here all arrangements connected with army matters are
perfect. An efficient military police or patrol arrests all men
and officers not authorized to be absent from their regiments, and
either returns them to their regiments or puts them under guard
and gives notice of their place. A good eating-house feeds free
of expense and sleeps all lost and stray soldiers. An establish-
ment furnishes quartermasters of regiments with cooked rations
at all times; fine hospitals, easily accessible, are numerous. The
people fed and complimented our men (chiefly the middling and
mechanical or laboring classes) in a way that was very gratifying.
We felt proud of our drill and healthy brown faces. The com-
parison with the new, green recruits pouring in was much to
our advantage. Altogether Washington was a happiness to the
WASHINGTON CITY, August 25, 1862.
DEAREST:--We arrived here after ten days' marching and
travelling, this morning. We go over to Alexandria in an hour
or two to take our place in General Sturges' Army Corps of
General Pope's Command. Colonel Scammon leads the First
Brigade of General Cox's Division in the new position. If the
enemy press forward, there will be fighting. It is supposed they
are trying to push us back. Reinforcements for us are pouring in
In case of accident, Joe and I will be reported at the Kirkwood
House in this city. I feel a presentiment that all will be right
with us. If not, you know all the loving things I would say to
you and the dear boys. My impression is that the enemy will
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 331
be in no condition to hurry matters fast enough to get ahead
of the new legions now coming in. They must act speedily or
they are too late.
Direct to me as in my last.
WASHINGTON CITY, August 25, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE:--Our men are in the cars expecting to cross
to the scene of war (Warrenton) every moment. Aften ten
days' marching, etc., etc., we got here this A. M. Things here
look improving. The troops are pouring in from all directions,
and unless the enemy get some success soon, they will be too
late. There seems to be some fighting in the front. We shall be
in it, if it continues. I think it will all go well. We are gaining
strength every hour.
The Kirkwood House here is the place where Dr. Webb and
I will be reported in case of accident.
R. B. HAYES.
Wednesday, [August] 27 [and Thursday, 28th,] at Alex-
andria. No great difference from time in Washington, but much
less agreeable. Friday, 29th, marched to Munson's Hill and
bivouacked. Saturday, 30th, put up our tents between Forts
Ramsay and [Buffalo] at Upton's Hill. On Friday, fighting
heard west and southwest of us -- supposed to be at Manassas.
All day Saturday, ditto. At Alexandria first saw McClellan's
Grand Army. They do not look so efficient as General Cox's
six regiments, but are no doubt good.
The Thirtieth got here in time to get through to Pope. [The]
Eleventh and Twelfth [Ohio] went forward under Colonel
Scammon to try to do the same thing. At Bull Run Bridge, be-
yond Fairfax, united with First, Second, Third, and Fourth New
Jersey, under General Taylor, and pushed on, New Jersey regi-
332 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
ments in advance; ran into a battery and heavy force of the
enemy. New Jersey broke, fled, and never rallied; [the] Eleventh
and Twelfth pushed on and fought gallantly, Colonel Scammon
cool and steady! Won praise from all. Good! Honor of Ohio
sustained. Eastern correspondents fail to tell the facts.
Camp near Upton's Hill, near Falls Church, on road to Man-
assas, August 30, 1862. -- All or nearly all day we have heard
cannon firing, as is supposed, in direction of Manassas Junction.
It is believed that General Jackson is fighting Pope. The firing
was heard yesterday a considerable part of the day. We all
listen to it, look at the couriers; anybody moving rapidly attracts
a thousand eyes. For a long time the thing was not very much
attended to. Now it gets exciting. We feel anxious; we wish
to know whether the battle is with us or with our foes. It is
now 5 or 5:30 P. M. The decision must come soon. It is not a
bright nor a dark day. It is neither hot nor cool for the season.
A fair fighting day. The only report we hear is that a Union
man eight miles out says we got possession of Manassas yester-
day, and that the Rebels today are trying to get it back; that
they have been repulsed three times. The firing seems to be in
the same direction as heretofore and not differing much in loud-
ness. Anxious moments these are! I hear the roar as I write.
7:30 P.M.--A lovely quiet sunset; an exhilarating scene
around us; the distant booming growing more faint and more
distant, apparently, till at early dark it died away. With us or
with our foes?!! It is said Jackson was west of Pope and be-
ing driven back; if so, probably "with us." That Jackson made
a speech saying they must win this fight, that it would decide the
fate of the Confederacy! Well, we wait. The suspense is less
dreadful since the cannon no longer roar.
9:30 P. M. -- No news. This I interpret to mean that there
has been no decided victory -- no decided defeat--a drawn
battle. Why not mass tonight all the thousands of troops to
overwhelm Jackson tomorrow? It could have been done in time
to have flogged him today. He is the rebel chieftain. His de-
struction destroys the Rebel cause?
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 333
CAMP ON MUNSON'S HILL, NEAR WASHINGTON,
(SAY EIGHT MILES), August 30, 1862.
DEAR LUCY:--Things all seem to be going well with General
Pope and the rest. I am not sure, but I think the day for an
important Rebel success in this region is past. Colonel Scammon
with the Eleventh and Twelfth Ohio had a severe fight at Bull
Run Bridge with a superior foe. They behaved gallantly and
saved our arms from a disgrace which was imminent in conse-
quence of the ill conduct of four New Jersey regiments. Colonel
Scammon behaved with unexpected coolness and skill. He was
good-natured and self-possessed, both unexpected.
Well, we do enjoy the change. We, of course, are full of per-
plexity, getting into the new schoolhouse, but we feel pretty
proud of ourselves. All of McClellan's army is near us, but we
see nothing superior to General Cox's six Ohio regiments.
We were in Washington two or three days. All arrangements
there are capital; fine hospitals, good police for arresting stray
soldiers; a soldiers' retreat, where all lost and sick are lodged
and fed well, and a place where all were furnished with cooked
rations to carry on marches. The people near our camp fur-
nished us with fruit, melons, and nice things unlimited. We
staid in Alexandria two or three days. Not like Washington,
but so-so. We are here with other troops looking after three fine
forts built here by the Rebels, intending, I suppose, to occupy
them if the Rebels should get near Washington again.
The Rebels have been making a strong effort to rush on to
Washington and Baltimore, but as I have said, I think they are
just too late. It looks to me as if we would remain here a few
days, perhaps a few weeks, until the new army is gathered and
organized. I feel hopeful of the future.
Well, I love you so much. I wrote you a loving letter from
Flat Top or Green Meadows, which I wish you tothink of as
my good[-bye] words for you in case of accident. -- Love to the
334 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
P. S.--The Eastern correspondents do no sort of justice to
the gallantry of the Eleventh and Twelfth Ohio, nor to the pol-
troonery of the First, Second, Third, and Fourth New Jersey.
[In a letter of the same date and place as the preceding, Dr.
J. T. Webb writes his mother:--
"We are in hearing of a battle that is progressing some ten or
fifteen miles distant. The cannonading has been kept up pretty
steady all day long; at times it is quite brisk; what would you
think of it were you here? This country presents the same
appearance as western Virginia, save only on a grander scale.
There is not a fence between here and Alexandria, although it is
almost a continuous village; splendid residences line this road
that have had fine parks of trees around, all of which have been
cut down to clear the way for the artillery; every mile almost,
you come upon a line of forts. This point was for some time
held by the Rebels, and between the armies this section is pretty
badly used up. Many of the finest residences are deserted, some
have been burnt. It is a sorry sight to witness it."]
Upton's Hill (near Washington), August 31. -- Mustered the
men for July and August. A rainy, cool day. The great battle
of yesterday and the day before, so near here that we heard the
roar distinctly, is supposed to have resulted favorably to our
arms. How decisively is not yet known here. We hear all sorts
of rumors, such as the capture of Jackson and sixteen thousand
men and the like; but nothing definite is known. The appear-
ances are favorable. We inquire of every one to get facts and get
only vague rumors.
This Sunday evening the reports from the battlefield are less
favorable than the morning rumors. There is talk of "no result,"
a "drawn battle," and the like; that our army has fallen back
four miles to Centreville. Another [report] says McDowell
withdrew a division from one outlet and let Jackson escape. A
report says our loss is ten thousand; the enemy's much heavier.
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 335
No firing all day today. This evening after dark firing of heavy
guns was heard for a few minutes, apparently in the same place
Received a dear letter from Lucy dated August 13 and directed
to Flat Top. She says she is happy in the thought that we are
doing our duty. This is good. Darling wife, how this painful
separation is made a blessing by the fine character it develops,
or brings to view! How I love her more and more!
September 1.--A coolish, cloudy day. Wrote letters to
Mother and Lucy. Nothing definite from the battlefield. Rumors
of good and bad. Many complaints of McDowell; that he let
Jackson slip off by withdrawing a division from an important
point. On the whole, the result seems to be a draw yet. Our
army in great strength, rumor says two hundred thousand, is on
this side of the old Bull Run battlefield; the enemy one hundred
and eighty thousand strong on the identical ground. No firing
today until about 5:30 or 6 o'clock when there was a grand up-
roar until after dark near the old place, possibly further north;
rumored or conjectured to be an attempt to our right. A thunder-
storm came on about the same time when there was a fierce
rivalry between the artillery of earth and heaven, the former
having a decided advantage. A fierce storm of wind and rain
all night, blowing down some tents and shaking all in a threaten-
ing way. About 9 P. M. received orders from brigade head-
quarters to be especially vigilant and to have the men ready to
form line of battle without confusion. All which was done.
UPTON'S HILL, NEAR WASHINGTON,
September 1, 1862.
DEAREST:--Very severe battles were fought day before yes-
terday and the day before that a few miles west of here. The
roar could be heard in our camp the greater part of each day.
We are six or eight miles west of Washington over the Potomac
in Virginia between Forts Ramsay and Buffalo--strong works
which we, I conjecture, are to hold in case of disaster in front.
The result of the battles, although not decisive, I think was
336 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
favorable. The enemy's advance was checked, and as our strength
grows with every hour, the delay gained is our gain.
You have no doubt heard of the battles, and perhaps feel
anxious about us. One thing be assured of, after such affairs
no news of us is good news. The reason of this is, if we are
well we shall not be allowed to leave, nor send communications;
if injured or worse, officers are taken instantly to Washington
or Alexandria and tidings sent. I write this to relieve, if pos-
sible, or as much as possible, your anxiety on hearing of battles.
At present I see no prospect of our being engaged, but I look for
battles almost daily until the enemy is driven back or gives up
his present purpose of carrying the war into our territory. I
feel hopeful about the result.
Your letter of the 13th August, directed to me Raleigh, etc., I
got last night. We shall now get one another's letters in three
or four days. I was made happy by your sensible and excellent
talk about your feelings. A sense of duty or a deep religious
feeling is all that can reconcile one to the condition we are placed
in. That you are happy notwithstanding this trial, adds to my
appreciation and love and to my happiness. Dearest, you are a
treasure to me. I think of you more than you suppose and shall
do so more here than in western Virginia. Here I have far less
care and responsibility. I am now responsible for very little.
The danger may be somewhat greater, though that I think
By the by, we hear that Raleigh and our camps in west Vir-
ginia were occupied by the enemy soon after we left. No differ-
ence. There is one comfort here. If we suffer, it is in the place
where the decisive acts are going on. In west Virginia, success
or failure was a mere circumstance hardly affecting the general
cause. . . .
Well, love to all. Dearest be cheerful and content. It will
all be well.
P. S.--I was near forgetting to say that I think I shall not
be permitted to join the Seventy-ninth. That matter I suppose
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 337
is settled. The prospect of Colonel Scammon being brigadier
September 1. Evening. -- About five o'clock this P. M. heavy
firing began in the old place -- said to be near Centreville or at
Bull Run. A fierce rain-storm with thunder set in soon after,
and for the last ten hours there has been a roaring rivalry be-
tween the artillery of earth and heaven. It is now dark, but an
occasional gun can still be heard. The air trembles when the
great guns roar. The place of the firing indicates that our forces
still hold the same ground or nearly the same as before. It is
queer. We really know but little more of the fights of two or
three days ago than you do; in the way of accurate knowledge,
perhaps less, for the telegraph may give you official bulletins.
We have seen some, a great many, of our wounded; some five
or six hundred of the enemy taken prisoners, and a few of our
men paroled. Some think we got the best of it, some otherwise.
As yet I call it a tie.
I am very glad to be here. The scenes around us are interest-
ing, the events happening are most important. You can hardly
imagine the relief I feel on getting away from the petty warfare
of western Virginia. Four forts or field works are in sight, and
many camps. The spire of Fairfax Seminary (now a hospital),
the flags on distant hills whose works are not distinguishable,
the white dome of the capitol, visible from the higher elevations,
many fine residences in sight -- all make this seem a realization
of "the pride and pomp of glorious war." The roar of heavy
artillery, the moving of army waggons, carriages, and ambulances
with the wounded, marching troops, and couriers hastening to
and fro, fill up the scene. Don't think I am led to forget the
sad side of it, or the good cause at the foundation. I am think-
ing now of the contrast between what is here and what I have
looked on for fifteen months past.
Dearest, what are you doing tonight? Thinking of me as you
put to sleep the pretty little favorite? Yes, that is it. And my
thought in the midst of all this is of you and the dear ones.
I just got an order that I must be "especially vigilant tonight
338 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
to guard against surprise, or confusion in case of alarm." I
don't know what it indicates, but that I have done so often in
the mountains that it is no great trouble. So I go to warn the
captains. -- Good night, darling.
Ever yours most lovingly, R.
September 2, A. M.--A stormy night but no surprise. A
bright cold morning, good for the poor fellows who are wounded.
UPTON'S HILL (SIX OR EIGHT MILES FROM WASHINGTON),
VIRGINIA, September 1, 1862.
DEAR MOTHER:--We are in the midst of the great acts.
The roar of the battles of the 30th and 31st was perfectly distinct
here. We were in readiness to join in if needed. We are placed
here, however, I conjecture, for a few days with a few other
old regiments, to hold Forts Ramsay and Buffalo in case of dis-
aster in front. I think the result thus far, though not at all
decisive, upon the whole, favorable.
You will feel some anxiety when you hear of battles, but I
tell Lucy no news, after a fight, from me is good news. If safe
I have no opportunity to communicate. If injured or worse,
officers are taken to Washington and tidings sent. I am glad to
say all things pertaining to soldiers, sick or wounded, in Washing-
ton are managed most admirably. Few private families could
provide equal comforts and accommodations. I write this for
Uncle as well as for you.
I saw Captain Haynes the day before yesterday. He is thin
and worn, but gaining. He was uncertain whether he could join
his regiment (the new one) or not. I suppose it is settled that
old officers can't go to the new regiments. This settles my
chance for the Seventy-ninth also. All right, as far as I am
personally concerned. The rule is a bad one -- a very bad one --
so bad that it will perhaps be changed, but it is no hardship to me
personally. I see no regiment here that I would prefer to the
Twenty-third. General Cox's six regiments from Ohio are among
the crack troops of the army in the opinion of everybody.
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 339
Colonel Scammon distinguished himself the other day and
will, I doubt not, be made a brigadier. . . .
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Tuesday, September 2, 1862. Upton's. -- A clear, cold, windy
day; bracing and Northern. No news except a rumor that the
armies are both busy gathering up wounded and burying dead;
that the enemy hold rather more of the battlefield than we do.
12:30 P. M. -- I have seen several accounts of the late battles,
with details more or less accurate. The impression I get is that
we have rather the worst of it, by reason of superior generalship
on the part of the Rebels.
9:30 P. M.--New and interesting scenes this P. M. The
great army is retreating, coming back. It passes before us and in
our rear. We are to cover the retreat if they are pursued. They
do not look or act like beaten men; they are in good spirits and
orderly. They are ready to hiss McDowell. When General Given
announced that General McClellan was again leader, the cheer-
ing was hearty and spontaneous. The camps around us are
numerous. The signal corps telegraphs by waving lights to the
camps on all the heights. The scene is wild and glorious this
fine night. Colonel White of the Twelfth and I have arranged
our plans in case of an attack tonight. So to bed. Let the mor-
row provide for itself.
Wednesday, September 3.--No alarm last night. Enemy
quiet in front. A little firing near [the] chain bridge, supposed
to be feeling of our position. It is rumored that the main body
is going up the Potomac to cross. Many men last evening in the
retreating ranks were ready to hiss McDowell.
P. M. After supper. I am tonight discouraged--more so
than ever before. The disaster in Kentucky is something, but
the conduct of men, officers, generals and all, in the late battles
near Bull Run is more discouraging than aught else. The Eastern
troops don't fight like the Western. If the enemy is now ener-
340 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
getic and wise, they can take great advantages of us. Well, well,
I can but do my duty as I see it.
EIGHT MILES WEST OF WASHINGTON,
UPTON'S HILL, September 3, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE: -- The fighting at and near Bull Run battlefield
is finished and our army has withdrawn to the fortifications near
Washington, leaving General Cox's force here on the outposts.
The general result I figure up as follows: We lose ten to fifteen
cannon, five thousand to eight thousand killed, wounded, or
prisoners, a large amount of army stores, railroad stock, etc.,
destroyed, and the position. The enemy lose a few cannon, about
the same or a greater number killed and wounded, not so many
prisoners by about half, and hold the position. It is not a de-
cided thing either way. We had decidedly the advantage in the
fighting of Thursday and Friday, 28th and 29th. At the close
of the 29th Jackson was heavily reinforced, and worsted us on
Saturday. Saturday evening our reinforcements reached Gen-
eral Pope and we were about equal in the subsequent skirmishing.
I get some notions of the troops here, as I look on and listen, not
very different from those I have had before.
The enemy here has a large force of gallant and efficient cav-
alry. Our cavalry is much inferior. The Rebel infantry is su-
perior to ours gathered from the cities and manufacturing vil-
lages of the old States. The Western troops, are, I think, su-
perior to either. The Rebels have as much good artillery as we
have. We have largely more than they have, but the excess is
of poor quality. In generalship and officers they are superior to
us. The result is we must conquer in land warfare by superior
numbers. On the water we have splendid artillery, and are
masters. High water, deep rivers, heavy rains, are our friends.
General Sigel is a favorite with troops. General Banks and
Schenck are praised by them. General McDowell is universally
denounced. General Pope is coldly spoken of. General McClel-
lan is undoubtedly a great favorite with men under him. Last
night it was announced that he was again in command at this
the critical region now. Everywhere the joy was great, and was
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 341
spontaneously and uproariously expressed. It was a happy army
There is nothing of the defeated or disheartened among the
men. They are vexed and angry -- say they ought to have had
a great victory, but not at all demoralized. I speak, of course,
only of those I see, and I have seen some of the most unfortunate
regiments. Everyone now recognizes the policy of standing on
the defensive until the new levies are organized and ready. All
that we can save is clear gain. Unless the enemy gets decided
and damaging advantages during the next fortnight or so, it is
believed we can push them back with heavy loss and with a fair
prospect of crushing them. I see you are having another demon-
stration at Cincinnati and Louisville. I can't think it can end
successfully. The great number of new troops must be able to
hold them in check until they will be compelled to fall back.
Once let the enemy now begin a retrograde movement with our
great wave after them and I think they must go under.
We are here a good deal exposed. Anything that shall hap-
pen to me, you will know at once. I feel very contented with my
personal situation. Your certain aid to my family relieves me
from anxiety on their account. It is an immense relief to be here
away from the petty but dangerous warfare of west Virginia.
Direct General Cox's Division, via Washington. I already get
the Sentinel here of late date -- the last published.
P. M. -- Since writing the foregoing I received your letter of
the 28th inst. [ult.] Your letters will come to me with great
certainty, I do not doubt, and quicker than when I was in west
We see that a strong Rebel force occupies Lexington, Ken-
tucky. All the river towns are threatened. This is our dark
hour. We will [shall] weather it, I think. Generalship is our
Glad you will write often. -- I shall stay with the Twenty-third.
--I saw Haynes and told him I supposed we were cut out by the
orders. I care nothing about it. Haynes was looking thin.
R. B. HAYES.
342 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Since writing I have been in a caucus of the major-generals.
It is curious, but a large number of truthful men say Sigel is an
accomplished military scholar, but such a coward that he is of
no account on the battle-field! Funny! We don't know all about
things and men from the newspapers.
Thursday, September 4.--A cheerful bright morning and a
sound sleep dispels the gloom resting on my views of the future.
During the night a courier came to my tent saying that two
thousand of our wounded are in the hands of the enemy and are
starving! The enemy is in bad condition for food.
Siege guns were put in the fort on our right (Ramsay) during
the night; the preparations are advancing which will enable us
to hold this post and "save Washington."
10 A. M. -- The rumor is that the enemy is directing his course
up the Potomac, intending to cross into Maryland. We now hear
cannon at a great distance, in a northern direction.
About 4:30 P. M. the enemy began to fire at our cavalry
picket, about three miles out. Waggoners rolled in, horsemen
ditto, in great haste. The regiments of General Cox's Division
were soon ready, not one-fourth or one-third absent, or hiding, or
falling to the rear as seems to be the habit in this Potomac army,
but all, all fell in at once; the Eleventh, Twelfth, Twenty-third,
Twenty-eighth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-sixth Ohio can be counted
on. After skedaddling the regiment of cavalry, who marched
out so grandly a few hours before, the firing of the enemy ceased.
A quiet night followed.
Cincinnati is now threatened by an army which defeated our
raw troops at Richmond, Kentucky. Everywhere the enemy is
crowding us. Everywhere they are to be met by our raw troops,
the veterans being in the enemy's country too distant to be help-
ful. A queer turning the tables on us! And yet if they fail of
getting any permanent and substantial advantatge of us, I think
the recoil will be fatal to them. I think in delaying this move-
ment until our new levies are almost ready for the field, they
have let the golden opportunity slip; that they will be able to
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 343
annoy and harass but not to injure us; and that the reaction will
push them further back than ever. We shall see! A rumor of
a repulse of the enemy at Harpers Ferry by Wool. Hope it is
UPTON'S HILL, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA,
September 4, (P. M.), 1862.
DEAREST: -- I received your good letter of the 29th yesterday.
Our situation now is this: Washington is surrounded for a
distance of from seven to fifteen miles by defensive works,
placed on all the commanding points. For the present the thing to
be done is to keep the enemy out of the capital until our new
army is prepared for the field and the old one is somewhat re-
cruited. We (that is General Cox's Division, viz.: Eleventh,
Twelfth, Twenty-third, Twenty-eighth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-
sixth regiments of infantry, Captains McMullen's and Simmond's
Batteries, Gilmore's, West's, and Schaumbeck's Cavalry, all from
western Virginia) are placed to guard important roads and points
of which Upton's Hill and Munson's Hill, Forts Ramsay, Buffalo,
and "Skedaddle," all in the same vicinity, are the chief. We are
about seven miles from Washington, in sight of the capitol, and
eight miles from Alexandria.
For a few days after the retreat of our forces from Centreville
and Bull Run, these were points of peril. In case of an advance
of the Rebels we would be first attacked. I slept in boots and
spurs with my horse saddled. But now all the forts are manned
and I do not expect to see the enemy approach in this direction.
They could easily storm our positions with a strong force, but it
would cost so many lives to storm all the works between here
and Washington that they would be ruined to attempt it.
I therefore look for quiet camp life for some time to come,
unless the enemy makes such advances to Washington from other
directions as will make these works worthless, when we should
probably go to Washington. This I do not anticipate. We shall
drill, brush and burnish up, sleep and get fat.
Things have had a bad turn lately, but I don't give it up.
Something far more damaging than anything which has yet hap-
344 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
pened must occur, or these attempts to carry the war into our
territory must recoil heavily on the Rebels. Failing to hold their
advanced conquests, they must go back vastly weakened and dis-
heartened, while our following wave will be a growing and re-
sistless one. It will be a few weeks yet before the evil time and
the occurrence of sinister events will cease. But frosts and rains
are coming and when they come will be our day. We can only
hope to get off as easily as possible until that time.
The Kentucky disaster I fear injured many of your friends;
but if not made permanent, it will do good.
Well, this is talk about public affairs. I sent my trunk today
via Washington to Platt. If not intercepted (no unlikely event)
I will mail one key to Mother and the other to you.
An old gentleman--too old to stand this "biz"--named
Kugler, called to see me just now, saying that my commission in
the Seventy-ninth was made out; that he was a captain in the
Seventy-ninth and was trying to get the War Department to let
me go. I said "nix" either way. At present I prefer to stay here,
but no odds. While he was talking, the enemy began to fire on
one of our cavalry pickets with shell. He said to me: "When
do you start in such a case?" I told him, "When I got orders."
He seemed much astonished at the quiet reigning in camp, while
the teamsters were tearing in like mad. He is a wealthy distiller
at Milford who gave twenty-five hundred dollars to raise a com-
pany which he intends to turn over to a son or nephew. He
seems determined to get permission for me to join the regiment
and may possibly succeed.
A lovely sunset on a most animating scene. Troops are getting
into shape and things look better. McClellan is indeed a great
favorite with the army. He is no doubt the best man to take
the defense of the capital in hand. He is the only man who can
get good fighting out of the Potomac Army. McDowell is de-
tested by them. Pope coldly regarded. McClellan is loved.
Not thinking him a first-class commander, I yet in view of this
feeling, think him the best man now available.
There, darling, is a long letter and yet not a word of love in
it. But I do you love so much, dearest. You may emphasize
every word of that sentence.
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 345
I hope they will whip Kirby Smith and his Rebel horde. But,
at any rate, he will soon get to the end of that rope.
MRS. HAYES. R.
Friday, September 5, 1862, 9 A. M. -- Distant firing heard to-
wards Leesburg and up the Potomac. A warm fine day.
P. M. Received orders to be ready to march immediately; to
cook three days' rations, etc. Understood to be to join Burnside.
September 6. Saturday.--Left Upton's Hill at 7:30 A. M.
Marched through Georgetown and Washington to the outskirts
of Washington towards Leesboro Road, a very dusty, hot, op-
pressive day; Twenty-third in the rear. Men kept well closed
up through Washington but stopped at a grove, near where we
stopped to camp, in large numbers. Lieutenant Christie reported
that only three hundred of the Twenty-third marched into camp.
This was substantially true, but conveyed an erroneous impres-
sion that we fell out and straggled badly. All corrected however
WASHINGTON CITY, September 6, 1862.
DEAREST:--We have had a very hot, dusty, and oppressive
march from our camp at Upton's Hill. Some of McDowell's de-
moralized men are thought good enough to take care of the field-
works out there, and General Cox's six regiments of Ohio men
are now attached to General Burnside's Corps. What is to be our
duty and where, we do not yet know. We suppose we are to
meet the invasion threatened by the Rebels into Maryland. We
may be destined for other service; but you will hear from us
often. We all hear favorable impressions of General Burnside,
and are glad to be assigned to his corps.
You will not allow yourself to be too anxious, I trust, on my ac-
count. Rejoice when it rains or gets cold. We are victimized by
the drouth. Well, good-bye. Love to the dear boys. I thought
of them often today; little fellows very like them followed us as
we marched through the streets today.
Affectionately, ever your
MRS. HAYES. R.
346 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
WASHINGTON CITY, September 6, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE:--We left Upton's Hill and its earthworks to be
guarded by less serviceable troops than ours, and marched here
through heat and dust today. We (that is General Cox's six
Ohio regiments and the artillery and cavalry that we had on
[the] Kanawha) are attached to General Burnside's Army Corps.
Pope is under a cloud; promised and boasted too much, and has
failed in performance. We like General Burnside and his repu-
We suppose we are destined for the defense of Maryland, but
don't know. Being with General Burnside, you can keep the run
of us. I am told that my commission as colonel of the Seventy-
ninth has issued, and that influences are at work to get me re-
leased here. I do and say nothing in the premises.
It is very touching, the journey of Father Works, mentioned in
a letter I got from you last night, to see his friends at Fremont.
His desire, under such circumstances, to see you all, and his
anxiety not to put you to the trouble of visiting him. He is a
noble old man. It would be well if we had many like him. Re-
gards to all. I am gratified that you approve my being here.
R. B. HAYES.
Sunday, September 7. Washington City.-- Left the suburbs of
Washington to go on Leesboro Road about twelve to fifteen miles.
Road full of horse, foot, and artillery, baggage and ambulance
waggons. Dust, heat, and thirst. "The Grand Army of the
Potomac" appeared to bad advantage by the side of our troops.
Men were lost from their regiments; officers left their commands
to rest in the shade, to feed on fruit; thousands were straggling;
confusion and disorder everywhere. New England troops looked
well; Middle States troops badly; discipline gone or greatly re-
On coming into camp Major-General Reno, in whose corps we
are, rode into the grounds occupied by General Cox's troops in a
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 347
towering passion because some of the men were taking straw or
wheat from a stack. Some were taking it to feed to horses in
McMullen's Battery and to cavalry horses; some in the Twenty-
third Regiment were taking it to lie upon. The ground was a
stubble field, in ridges of hard ground. I saw it and made no
objection. General Reno began on McMullen's men. He ad-
dressed them: "You damned black sons of bitches." This he
repeated to my men and asked for the colonel. Hearing it, I
presented myself and assumed the responsibility, defending the
men. I talked respectfully but firmly; told him we had always
taken rails, for example, if needed to cook with; that if required
we would pay for them. He denied the right and necessity; said
we were in a loyal State, etc., etc. Gradually he softened down.
He asked me my name. I asked his, all respectfully done on my
part. He made various observations to which I replied. He
expressed opinions on pilfering. I remarked, in reply to some
opinion, substantially: "Well, I trust our generals will exhibit
the same energy in dealing with our foes that they do in the
treatment of their friends." He asked me, as if offended, what
I meant by that. I replied. "Nothing--at least, I mean nothing
disrespectful to you." (The fact was, I had a very favorable
opinion of the gallantry and skill of General Reno and was most
anxious to so act as to gain his good will.) This was towards
the close of the controversy, and as General Reno rode away the
men cheered me. I learn that this, coupled with the remark, gave
General Reno great offense. He spoke to Colonel Ewing of
putting colonels in irons if their men pilfered! Colonel Ewing
says the remark "cut him to the quick," that he was "bitter"
against me. General Cox and Colonel Scammon (the latter was
present) both think I behaved properly in the controversy.
Monday, September 8. Camp near Leesboro, Maryland.--
Nothing new this morning. Men from Ohio all in a talk about
General Reno's abusive language. It is said that when talking
with me he put his hand on his pistol; that many standing by be-
gan to handle their arms also! I am sorry the thing goes so far.
348 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CAMP FIFTEEN MILES NORTH OF WASHINGTON, IN
MARYLAND, September 8, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE: -- I write you about a difficulty I had yesterday
with Major-General Reno, not because it gives me any trouble
or anxiety but fearing that false and partial accounts of it may
get into the Eastern papers and give you trouble.
As we were camping last night, the general rode into my regi-
ment in a towering passion, using most abusive language to my
men for taking a little straw to put on the hard, rough, ploughed
ground they were to lie on. I defended the men and in respect-
ful language gave him my opinion of the matter. He gradually
softened down and the affair seemed to end pretty well. But
the men cheered me, and this he seems to lay up against me. He
couples this with a remark I made that, "I trusted our generals
would exhibit the same energy in dealing with our foes that
they did in the treatment of their friends," and has talked of
putting me in irons, as is said. General Cox, Colonel Scammon,
and all the Ohio colonels and troops sustain me fully and justify
the cheering, saying the men have the same right to cheer their
colonel that they have to cheer General McClellan. I think it
will stop where it is, except in the newspapers. Whatever is
reported, you may feel safe about the outcome. They are doing
some hasty things at Washington, but I have no doubt in any
event that Governor Chase and the President will see justice
done at the end to all our Ohio men.
We are supposed to be here in readiness to operate against
the enemy invading Maryland. At present we are in General
Reno's Corps, General Cox's Division, Colonel Scammon's Brig-
ade, of General Burnside's Army. On the march, the Ohio troops
have shown the best discipline and the most endurance of any
body. New England furnishes the next best. Some of the
Yankee troops are capital, all are good. The Middle States
(New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) are many of them
I have seen Colonel Ewing, who called on General Reno. He
says General Reno was "cut to the quick'" by the remark I have
quoted, and is exceedingly "bitter" about it. Well, it's all in a
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 349
lifetime. General Cox means to get us transferred if possible
to General Sigel's Corps, on the ground that General Reno has
given such offense to the Ohio troops that they will serve under
him with reluctance.
Things have a bad look just now, but I still think they will
mend before any crushing calamity comes. They will, if proper
system and energy is adopted.
R. B. HAYES.
P. S. -- You may send this to Platt to set him right if he hears
any lies about it. -- H.
September 9. Tuesday.-- Marched about eight miles in a
westerly direction through a fine-looking, well-improved region.
Men very jolly. All came in together, "well closed up," at night.
Major Comly sent with five companies to Seneca Bridge, three-
fourths mile west of camp, to "hold it." Kelly, Company A, a
witty Dutch-Irishman, kept up a fusillade of odd jokes in Eng-
lish German. The men cheered the ladies,--joked with the
cuffys, and carried on generally.
Wednesday, September 10, 1862. -- We camped near Seneca
Bridge, about twenty-five to thirty miles from Washington. The
order cutting down baggage trains leaves us eight waggons;--
one for headquarters, i. e. field and staff; one for hospital; two
for stores; four for company cooking utensils and the like. The
band trouble breaks out again. We enjoy these short marches
among great bodies of moving troops very much. Tonight the
sutler sold brandy peaches making about ten or a dozen of our
men drunk. I thereupon made a guard-house of the sutler's
tent and kept all the drunken men in it all night! A sorry time
for the sutler! Got orders to move at the word any time after
10 o'clock. I simply did nothing!
Camp near Rich or Ridgefield [Ridgeville], about forty miles
from Baltimore, about thirty from Washington, about seventeen
from Frederick. Marched today from ten to fourteen miles.
350 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Occasionally showery--no heavy rain; dust laid, air cooled.
Marched past the Fifth, Seventh, Twenty-ninth, and Sixty-sixth
Ohio regiments. They have from eighty to two hundred men
each -- sickness, wounds, prisoners, etc., etc., the rest. This looks
more like closing the war from sheer exhaustion than anything
I have seen. Only four commissioned officers in the Seventh. A
lieutenant in command of one regiment; an adjutant commands
another! Saw General Crawford today, he was very cordial.
CAMP NORTHWEST OF BROOKVILLE, MARYLAND,
September 10, 1862.
DEAREST:--We are now about twenty-five or thirty miles
northwest of Washington, about thirty miles from Baltimore, in
Maryland. The army is gradually moving up to operate against
the Rebels who have crossed the Potomac. We march about
eight to twelve miles a day -- General Cox's Division always near
the front, if not in front. We are now in front. Captured a
Rebel patrol last night. We subordinates know less of the actual
state of things than the readers of the Commercial at home.
Order is coming out of chaos. The great army moves on three
roads five or eight miles apart. Sometimes we move in the night
and at all other hours, moving each subdivision about six or
eight hours at a time in each twenty-four hours. Some large
body is moving on each road all the time. In this way the main
body is kept somewhere in the same region. General Burnside is
our commander. I have not yet seen him. He was cheered
heartily, I am told, yesterday when he met his troops below here.
His Yankee regiments are much the best troops we have seen
East. "The Grand Army of the Potomac" suffers by comparison
with General Cox's or General Burnside's men. It is not fair,
however, to judge them by what we now see. They are returning
form a severe and unfortunate service which of necessity has
broken them down.
We march through a well-cultivated, beautiful region--poor
soil but finely improved. I never saw the Twenty-third so happy
as yesterday. More witty things were said as we passed ladies,
children, and negroes (for the most part friendly) than I have
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 351
heard in a year before. The question was always asked, "What
troops are those," or "Where are you from?" The answers were
"Twenty-third Utah," "Twenty-third Bushwhackers," "Twenty-
third Mississippi," "Drafted men," "Raw Recruits," "Paroled
prisoners," "Militia going home," "Home Guards," "Peace Men,"
"Uncle Abe's children," "The Lost Tribes," and others "too
numerous, etc." Nearly all the bands are mustered out of serv-
ice; ours therefore is a novelty We marched a few miles yes-
terday on a road where troops have not before marched. It was
funny to see the children. I saw our boys running after the music
in many a group of clean, bright-looking, excited little fellows.
What a time of it they have in Cincinnati? I got a dispatch
from Mr. Clements yesterday saying I was discharged ten days
ago by the War Department to take command of the Seventy-
ninth, but I get no official notice of it, and at present can't get
leave to go and see to it. If the place is not filled by somebody
else I shall join the new regiment before the end of the month,
I suspect. I have no particular preference or wish about it, but
having said that I will join if leave is given, I shall do so unless
in the meanwhile some change in affairs takes place to justify a
I can hardly think the enemy will carry his whole or main
force into Maryland and risk all upon a battle here. If not he
will probably withdraw on the approach of our army. If he
does, I can then get leave of absence.
Kisses and love to all the boys. Love to Grandma and the dear
friends you are among. I feel very grateful for their kindness
to you and the boys. I think of you now almost as constantly
as you do of me.
I have very little care or responsibility. The men behave well,
and are always ready. I got into an angry altercation with Major-
General Reno who was in a passion and abusive to some of my
men; the men cheered me as he rode off, which made a little
difficulty, but I am told he is ashamed of it, and it led to no
Good-bye, darling. "I love you so much."
Affectionately, yours ever,
MRS. HAYES. R.
352 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
FREDERICK, MARYLAND, September 13, 1862, A. M.
DEAREST:--Yesterday was an exciting but very happy day.
We retook this fine town about 5:30 P. M. after a march of
fourteen miles and a good deal of skirmishing, cannon firing and
uproar, and with but little fighting. We marched in just at sun-
down, the Twenty-third a good deal of the way in front. There
was no mistaking the Union feeling and joy of the people -- fine
ladies, pretty girls, and children were in all the doors and win-
dows waving flags and clapping hands. Some "jumped up and
down" with happiness. Joe enjoyed it and rode up the streets
bowing most gracefully. The scene as we approached across the
broad bottom-lands in line of battle, with occasional cannon
firing and musketry, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in view,
the fine town in front, was very magnificent. It is pleasant to
be so greeted. The enemy had held the city just a week. "The
longest week of our lives," "We thought you were never coming,"
"This is the happiest hour of our lives," were the common ex-
It was a most fatiguing day to the men. When we got the
town, before the formal entry, men laid [lay] down in the road,
saying they couldn't stir again. Some were pale, some red as if
apoplectic. Half an hour after, they were marching erect and
proud hurrahing the ladies!
Colonel Moor, Twenty-eighth, of Cincinnati, was wounded and
taken prisoner in one of the skirmishes yesterday. The enemy
treat our men well--very well. We have of sick and wounded
five hundred or six hundred prisoners taken here.
Well, Lucy dearest, good-bye. Love to all. Kiss the boys.
FREDERICK, MARYLAND, September 13, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE:--We retook "Old Frederick" yesterday eve-
ning. A fine town it is, and the magnificent and charming recep-
tion we got from the fine ladies and people paid us for all the
hardships endured in getting it.
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 353
The enemy has gone northwest. They are represented as in
great force, filthy, lousy, and desperate. A battle with them will
be a most terrific thing. With forty thousand Western troops to
give life and heartiness to the fight, we should, with our army,
whip them. I think we shall whip them, at any rate, but it is
by no means a certainty. A defeat is ruin to them, a retreat
without a battle is a serious injury to them. A serious defeat to
us is bad enough. They left here, for the most part, a day or
two ago, saying they were going to Pennsylvania. They be-
haved pretty well here, but avowed their purpose to ravage Penn-
sylvania. We had a good deal of skirmishing and a little fighting
to get this town. General Cox's Division did it. We lost Colonel
Moor of [the] Twenty-eighth Ohio, Cincinnati, wounded and
taken prisoner. We captured five hundred to six hundred sick
and wounded Rebels. A few of our men killed and wounded.
The whole body (Ohio infantry) behaved splendidly.
R. B. HAYES.
P. S. -- Cannon firing now in front.
FREDERICK, MARYLAND, September 15, 1862.
To W. A. PLATT, Columbus, Ohio.
I am seriously wounded in the left arm above the elbow. The
Ohio troops all behaved well.
R. B. HAYES.
MIDDLETOWN, FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND,
September 15, .
DEAR MOTHER:--I was wounded in the battle yesterday. A
musket-ball passed through the centre of the left arm just above
the elbow. The arm is of course rendered useless and will be so
for some weeks. I am comfortably at home with a very kind
and attentive family here named Rudy--not quite Ruddy.
354 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
The people here are all, or nearly all, Union people and give
up all they have to the wounded. The ladies work night and day.
We are doing well so far in the fighting.
You see I write this myself to show you I am doing well, but
it is an awkward business sitting propped up in bed nursing a
useless arm. Lucy will find me here if she comes. Or if I go to
Frederick, [let her] inquire at provost or military headquarters.
If I go to Baltimore, she must have inquiry made at same places
there.--Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
P. S. -- Send this to Mother Hayes also. I write you thinking
Lucy may leave before this gets there.
MIDDLETOWN, September 16, 1862.
DEAR MOTHER: -- It would make you very happy about me if
you could see how pleasantly and comfortably I am cared for.
Imagine Mrs. Wasson and two or three young ladies doing all
in their power to keep me well nursed and fed, and you will get
a good idea of my situation.
The worst period of my wound is now over. I am, when still,
free from pain. A little boy, about Ruddy's age, (eight or nine)
named Charlie Rudy, sits by the window and describes the troops,
etc., etc., as they pass. I said to him, "Charlie, you live on a
street that is much travelled." "Oh," said he, "it isn't always so,
it's only when the war comes." Mrs. Rudy's currant jellies re-
mind me of old times in Delaware.
I hope Lucy will be able to come out to see me. At any rate,
I shall probably come home and stay a few weeks when I shall see
you. Thus far, the best of the fighting is with us. My regiment
has lost largely but has been victorious. -- Love to all.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 355
Thursday, September 18, 1862. -- [At] Captain Rudy's (Jacob
Rudy, merchant), Middletown, Maryland. Here I lie nursing
my shattered arm, "as snug as a bug in a rug."
September 12, entered Frederick amidst loud huzzahs and
cheering--eight miles. Had a little skirmish getting in; a beau-
tiful scene and a jolly time.
September 13, marched to this town, entered in night -- Mid-
September 14, Sunday. Enemy on a spur of Blue Ridge, three
and one-half miles west. At 7 A. M. we go out to attack. I am
sent with [the] Twenty-third up a mountain path to get around
the Rebel right with instructions to attack and take a battery of
two guns supposed to be posted there. I asked, "If I find six
guns and a strong support?" Colonel Scammon replies, "Take
them anyhow." It is the only safe instruction. General Cox
told me General Pleasanton had arranged with Colonel Crook of
[the] Second Brigade as to the support of his (General Pleas-
anton's) artillery and cavalry, and was vexed that Colonel
Scammon was to have the advance; that he, General Cox, wished
me to put my energies and wits all to work so that General
Pleasanton should have no cause to complain of an inefficient
support. The First Brigade had the advance and the Twenty-
third was the front of the First Brigade.
Went with a guide by the right flank up the hill, Company A
deployed in front as skirmishers. Seeing signs of Rebels [I] sent
[Company] F to the left and [Company] I to the right as flank-
ers. Started a Rebel picket about 9 A. M. Soon saw from the
opposite hill a strong force coming down towards us; formed
hastily in the woods; faced by the rear rank (some companies
inverted and some out of place) towards the enemy; pushed
through bushes and rocks over broken ground towards the enemy;
soon received a heavy volley, wounding and killing some. I
feared confusion; exhorted, swore, and threatened. Men did
pretty well. Found we could not stand it long, and ordered an
advance. Rushed forward with a yell; enemy gave way.
Halted to reform line; heavy firing resumed.
I soon began to fear we could not stand it, and again ordered
a charge; the enemy broke, and we drove them clear out of the
356 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
woods. Our men halted at a fence near the edge of the woods
and kept up a brisk fire upon the enemy, who were sheltering
themselves behind stone walls and fences near the top of the hill,
beyond a cornfield in front of our position. Just as I gave the
command to charge I felt a stunning blow and found a musket
ball had struck my left arm just above the elbow. Fearing that
an artery might be cut, I asked a soldier near me to tie my
handkerchief above the wound. I soon felt weak, faint, and sick
at the stomach. I laid [lay] down and was pretty comfortable.
I was perhaps twenty feet behind the line of my men, and could
form a pretty accurate notion of the way the fight was going.
The enemy's fire was occasionally very heavy; balls passed near
my face and hit the ground all around me. I could see wounded
men staggering or carried to the rear; but I felt sure our men
were holding their own. I listened anxiously to hear the ap-
proach of reinforcements; wondered they did not come.
I was told there was danger of the enemy flanking us on our
left, near where I was lying. I called out to Captain Drake, who
was on the left, to let his company wheel backward so as to face
the threatened attack. His company fell back perhaps twenty
yards, and the whole line gradually followed the example, thus
leaving me between our line and the enemy. Major Comly came
along and asked me if it was my intention the whole line should
fall back. I told him no, that I merely wanted one or two of the
left companies to wheel backward so as to face an enemy said
to be coming on our left. I said if the line was now in good
position to let it remain and to face the left companies as I in-
tended. This, I suppose, was done.
The firing continued pretty warm for perhaps fifteen or twenty
minutes, when it gradually died away on both sides. After a few
minutes' silence I began to doubt whether the enemy had dis-
appeared or whether our men had gone farther back. I called
out, "Hallo Twenty-third men, are you going to leave your
colonel here for the enemy?" In an instant a half dozen or more
men sprang forward to me, saying, "Oh no, we will carry you
wherever you want us to." The enemy immediately opened fire
on them. Our men replied to them, and soon the battle was rag-
ing as hotly as ever. I ordered the men back to cover, telling
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 357
them they would get me shot and themselves too. They went
back and about this time Lieutenant Jackson came and insisted
upon taking me out of the range of the enemy's fire. He took
me back to our line and, feeling faint, he laid me down behind a
big log and gave me a canteen of water, which tasted so good.
Soon after, the fire having again died away, he took me back up
the hill, where my wound was dressed by Dr. Joe. I then walked
about half a mile to the house of Widow Kugler. I remained
there two or three hours when I was taken with Captain Skiles
in an ambulance to Middletown--three and a half miles--
where I stopped at Mr. Jacob Rudy's.
I omitted to say that a few moments after I first laid [lay]
down, seeing something going wrong and feeling a little easier,
I got up and began to give directions about things; but after a
few moments, getting very weak, I again laid [lay] down.
While I was lying down I had considerable talk with a wounded
[Confederate] soldier lying near me. I gave him messages for
my wife and friends in case I should not get up. We were right
jolly and friendly; it was by no means an unpleasant experience.
Telegraphed Lucy, Uncle, Platt, and John Herron, two or three
times each. Very doubtful whether they get the dispatches. My
orderly, Harvey Carrington, nurses me with the greatest care.
Dr. Joe dresses the wound, and the women feed me sumptuously.
Don't sleep much these nights; days pretty comfortable.
[Yesterday, the] 17th, listened almost all day to the heavy can-
nonading of the great battle on the banks of the Antietam, anx-
iously guessing whether it is with us [or] our foes. [Today, the]
18th, write letters to divers friends.
MIDDLETOWN, MARYLAND, September 18, 1862, (P. M.)
DEAR MOTHER:--I am steadily getting along. For the most
part, the pain is not severe, but occasionally an unlucky move of
the shattered arm causes a good deal of distress. I have every
comfort that I could get at home. I shall hope to see Lucy in
two or three days.
The result of the two great battles already fought is favorable,
but not finally decisive. I think the final struggle will occur soon.
358 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
We feel encouraged to hope for a victory from the results thus
far. We have had nearly one-half our fighting men in the
Twenty-third killed or wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Jones of
Thirtieth Ohio, in our Brigade, of Columbus, is missing; sup-
posed to be wounded. Colonel of the Eleventh Ohio,
killed. Love to all.--Send this to Uncle.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
MIDDLETOWN, MARYLAND, September 18, (P. M.), 1862.
DEAR MOTHER: -- I hope to see Lucy in a few days. She will
find me here in good hands and improving fast. I suffer a good
deal at times, but for the most part get on well. Drs. Joe and
Jim both safe and very busy. The Twenty-third has suffered
heavily, nearly one-half our fighting men killed or wounded. Two
battles already fought; result not yet decided. So far, the ad-
vantage is rather with us.
R. B. HAYES.
September 19. -- Begin to mend a little.
September 20. -- Got a dispatch from Platt. Fear Lucy has
not heard of my wound; had hoped to see her today, probably
shan't. This hurts me worse than the bullet did.
September 21.--Battle of Antietam rather with us. The
Twenty-third has done nobly. Very gratifying. But alas, thirty
or forty dead, and one hundred and thirty or one hundred and
MIDDLETOWN, Monday, September 22, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE: -- I am still doing well. I am looking for Lucy.
My only anxiety is lest she has trouble in finding me. Indeed,
I am surprised that she is not here already. I shall stay here
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 359
about ten days or two weeks longer, then go to Frederick and a
few days afterwards to Washington. About the 15th or 20th
October, I can go to Ohio, and if my arm cures as slowly as I
suspect it will, I may come via Pittsburgh and Cleveland to Fre-
mont and visit you. I do not see how I can be fit for service
under two months.
The Eighth Regiment was in the second battle and suffered
badly. You must speak well of "old Frederick" hereafter. These
people are nursing some thousands of our men as if they were
their own brothers. McClellan has done well here. The Harpers
Ferry imbecility or treachery alone prevented a crushing of the
Rebels. Love to all. Send me papers, etc., here "care Jacob
Do you remember your Worthington experience in 1842?
Well this is it. I don't suffer as much as you did, but like it.
Middletown is eight miles west of Frederick on the Na-
tional Road. The nearest telegraph office is at Frederick. Two-
thirds of the wounded men of my regiment have gone to Fred-
erick. The worst cases are still here. In my regiment, four cap-
tains out of eight present were wounded, thirty-nine men killed,
one hundred and thirty-seven wounded, and seven missing. I
expect about twenty to twenty-five of the wounded to die. The
New York Times account gives us the nearest justice of anybody
in its details of the Sunday fight but we are all right. Everybody
knows that we were the first in and the last out, and that we
were victorious all the time. How happy the men are -- even the
badly wounded ones. One fellow shot through the body has
gathered up a banjo and makes the hospital ring with negro
MIDDLETOWN, MARYLAND, September 26, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE:--Lucy is here and we are pretty jolly. She
visits the wounded and comes back in tears, then we take a little
refreshment and get over it. I am doing well. Shall, perhaps,
come home a little sooner than I expected to be able to. I am
360 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
now in a fix. To get me for the Seventy-ninth, some of its
friends got an order to relieve me from the Twenty-third from
the War Department. So I am a free man, and can go or come
as I see fit. I expect, however, to stay with [the] Twenty-third.
Shall probably start home in ten days or so. I got your letter
of the 18th. You need have no anxiety about me. I think I shall
come home by way of Cleveland and Fremont, stopping a few
days with you. Love to all.
MIDDLETOWN, MARYLAND, September 26, 1862.
DEAR MOTHER:--Lucy is making me very happy and com-
fortable. She visits the wounded and is much interested in them.
I am doing well, and shall probably get home in three or four
weeks. Many of the wounded are starting home, and all hope
to get leave to go before they return to service. I am not suffer-
ing much. The weariness from lying abed is the chief annoyance.
Dr. Smith was here with Mr. Sessions and others. You need not
send fruit and things. I get all I need without trouble. Love
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
MIDDLETOWN, October 1, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE: -- Lucy is here; we are rather enjoying it. The
rascally arm is very uncertain; sometimes I think it is about well,
and then I have a few hours of worse pain than ever. It is, how-
ever, mending prosperously. I think I can travel comfortably by
the first of next week.
I get all of your letters. Those sent to Washington have all
been forwarded here.
Lejune, who has a brother in Fremont (grocery keeper), cap-
tured twenty-five rebels on the 14th!! He surrounded them ! He
was afterwards wounded -- I think not dangerously.
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 361
You will like the President's [Emancipation] Proclamation. I
am not sure about it, but am content.
McClellan is undoubtedly the general for this army. If he is
let alone, I think he may be relied on to do well. One element
we of the West overlook: These troops are not any better (if so
good) than the Rebels. We must have superior numbers to make
success a sure thing. All things look well to me now. If we
don't divide too much among ourselves, I think we get them this
We shall probably go to Columbus at first. Our boys at Uncle
Boggs' will draw us that way. My stay in Ohio will probably
be about fifteen to twenty days. We must meet, of course. If
necessary, I will come out to Fremont.
MIDDLETOWN, MARYLAND, October 1, 1862.
DEAR MOTHER:--We are getting on very well. The arm
mends slowly but is doing well. I think I can move by the first
of next week.
I receive your letters and was much obliged for the dainties
you intended to send, but we don't need them. Lucy visits the
hospital daily. We rather enjoy this life. For the most part,
I am very comfortable, but an hour or two a day I suffer more
than ever. I shall come to Columbus first; probably the last of
next week, say about the 12th of October. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
October 4, 1826. -- Visited the battle-field with Lucy, Mr. Rudy,
Corporal West, and Carrington this [my] fortieth birthday, Hunt-
ed up the graves of our gallant boys.
[The next day Hayes had a letter from Dr. J. T. Webb, who
was with the Twenty-third at Sharpsburg, Maryland, informing
362 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
him that General Cox had been ordered back to western Virginia.
The letter said: "We all expect to be on our way back in a few
days. There is much dissatisfaction at the prospect of returning
to western Virginia. For my part, I will not remain in western
Virginia another winter for any consideration whatever, if there
is any way to avoid it."
Dr. Webb added these words about a young man some day to
be President: "Our young friend, William McKinley, commis-
sary sergeant, would be pleased with a promotion, and would not
object to your recommendation for the same. Without wishing
to interfere in this matter, it strikes me he is about the brightest
chap spoken of for the place."
A few days later Colonel and Mrs. Hayes returned to Ohio.
October 17, Miss Laura Platt, Hayes's niece, wrote Mr. Sardis
Birchard announcing her approaching marriage to Mr. John G.
Mitchell. To this letter Hayes added the following postscript:
"I know Mr. Mitchell (Colonel Mitchell) well. He is a young
lawyer, educated at Kenyon, of good family, entered the war as
lieutenant, then adjutant, then captain, and now lieutenant-
colonel of [the] One Hundred and Thirteenth. A member of the
Episcopal Church, and a capital fellow. He is neither tall nor
slim, but good-looking. He is taller than Laura and about as
COLUMBUS, October 23, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE:--Laura married and off yesterday -- all sen-
sible and happy. We had a delightful visit to the boys and kin
at Pickaway and Ross Counties. Lucy drove young Ned to
Chillicothe and back from here. He is a safe horse and Platt
expects to send him back to you when he begins to use his colt.
My arm mends very slowly. Mother and all here well. I am
to be colonel of [the] Twenty-third and to go to western Vir-
ginia. Shan't go for some weeks. Lucy goes home to Cincinnati
next week--about the last of the week. My regards to all.
S. BIRCHARD. R. B. HAYES.
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 363
COLUMBUS, October 31, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE: -- Lucy has had a pretty severe attack of
diphtheria. For three or four days she was in a good deal of
pain and could neither swallow nor talk. Yesterday and today
she has been able to sit up, and is in excellent spirits. We expect
to return to Cincinnati next week, and in a week or ten days
after I shall probably go to the Twenty-third. My arm has im-
proved the last week more than any time before.
You are glad to hear so good an account of Ned! Lucy says
you ought to be glad to hear so good an account of her! That
she drove him so skillfully, she thinks a feat.
Unless you come down here by Monday next, we shall be gone
home. Laura is looked for with her spouse tomorrow.
CINCINNATI, November 8, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE: -- Lucy and I came down Tuesday and are now
comfortably home again. My arm improves rapidly, and I think
in two or three weeks I shall return to the regiment. All the
boys came down with their grandma and Aunt Lucy. They are
very healthy and happy. In haste.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, November 12, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE:--Your letter, also the apples, came safely to
hand. The apples were finer than usual. The family are settled
down with a girl that starts off well. The elections don't worry
me. They will, I hope, spur the Administration to more vigor.
The removal of McClellan and the trial of Buell and Fitz-John
Porter, the dismissal of Ford, and substituting Schenck for Wool,
all look like life. General Burnside may not have ability for so
great a command, but he has energy, boldness, and luck on his
364 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
side. Rosecrans, too, is likely to drive things. All this is more
than compensation for the defeat of a gang of our demagogues
by the demagogues of the other side. As to the Democratic
policy, it will be warlike, notwithstanding Vallandigham and
others. Governor Seymour has made a speech in Utica since his
election indicating this. Besides, that party must be, in power, a
I expect to return next week, middle or last of the week. My
arm does well, but is not of much use. If I find anything in-
jurious or difficult in campaigning, I will get assigned to some
light duty for a few months.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, November 24, 1862.
DEAR MOTHER:--I took passage on a steamboat and left for
my regiment at Gauley Bridge on Saturday, but after going a
few miles, we got cast on a bar, and can't get off until a rise of
water. Luckily, I was in reach of the street railroad cars, and
so came home to await the coming rise. It is expected tonight.
I am sorry not to visit Columbus again, but we had a good visit
with you, and we should not feel more reconciled to a separation
if I were to stay a month. You will be glad to learn from Uncle
that I am likely to stay in winter quarters where my arm can be
cared for as well as if I were at home. You will direct letters
to me at "Gauley Bridge, Virginia, via Gallipolis."
The children were to see us yesterday and seemed very happy.
They would like to go home before Christmas, but will not
mourn much, as they suppose they are sure to be relieved then.
We had an excellent visit from Uncle. I hope he enjoyed it as
much as we did. Good-bye. Love to Ruddy.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
WOUNDED AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN--1862 365
GALLIPOLIS, November 28, 1862 (P. M.)
DEAREST:--Had a nice trip up the river. All accounts from
the Twenty-third seem favorable for a tolerably decent winter.
I go up in the morning. Met Captain Hood here. He goes up
with me, also two or three soldiers.
Mr. French and eight men in hospital, all glad to see me. I
wished you were with me on the way.
Love to all the boys and Grandma. Write often. With much
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