LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--DECEMBER 1862-
CAMP MASKELL, GAULEY BRIDGE, December 1, 1862.
DEAREST LU:--We are on the south side of the Kanawha--
same side as the Eighty-ninth--at the ferry below and
in sight of the falls, two miles below Gauley Bridge. There, do
you know where we are? It is a muddy -- bad slippery mud --
place, and as it rains or sleets here all winter, that is a serious
objection. Now you have the worst of it. In all other respects,
it is a capital place. Beautiful scenery--don't be alarmed, I
won't describe; no guard or picket duty, scarcely; good water
and wood; convenient to navigation; no other folks near enough
to bother, and many other advantages. The men are building
cabins without tools or lumber (sawed lumber, I mean,) and will
be at it some weeks yet before we look like living.
It was jolly enough to get back with the men -- all healthy and
contented, glad to be back in western Virginia by themselves.
They greeted me most cordially. It was like getting home after
a long absence. The officers all came in, twenty-four in number,
and around the wine, etc., you saw packed, talked over the funny
and sad things of the campaign -- a few sad, many funny. We
resolved to build a five-hundred-dollar monument to the killed,
etc., to be put in cemetery ground at Cleveland.
A story or two. Bill Brown, as he rushed forward in the bay-
onet charge at South Mountain, said to his lieutenant behind him:
"I'll toss the graybacks over my head to you, and you must
wring their necks." In Washington a lady asked Bill if he
wouldn't have his handkerchief scented: "Yes, yes," said he and
tore off about four inches square of his shirt and handed it to
her. She took the hint and gave him a fine handkerchief.
In Maryland, Colonel Scammon dressed up in a splinter-new
unform. He met a fellow hauling into camp a load of rails to
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 367
burn. Colonel Scammon said: "Where did you get those rails?"
"On a fence down by the creek." "Who authorized you to take
them?" "I took them on my own hook." "Well, sir," said the
colonel, "just haul them back and put them where you got them."
The fellow looked at the colonel from head to heel and drove
ahead merely remarking: "A bran' new colonel by G--d!"
The doctor asked Bill Brown where he was wounded: "Oh, in
the place where I'm always ailing.". . .
Comly is urged by leading officers in this brigade to be made
colonel of the Eighty-ninth. He would be a capital man for the
My mess are eating up the good things with a relish. It con-
sists of Comly, Doctor Joe, McIlrath, and myself. We have
Company A's fine tenor singer for cook -- a good cook and a nice
gentleman he is. My orderly, Carrington, and Doctor's ditto are
the only servants, all soldiers -- contrary to law, but much better
than having darkies. Dr. Joe has built a bed today wide enough to
have Webb and Birch both sleep with him! He really thinks of
Dr. Jim resigned today on a surgeon's certificate. Joe thought
it best and I concurred. He is not in danger, but was evidently
breaking down in this climate. Old Gray is with his company.
Dr. Joe saw him today carrying mud to a couple of men building
a chimney, and asked him what he was doing now. Gray re-
plied: "I am clark to these gentlemen!"
The Eighty-ninth were camped on this ground. When the
Twenty-third moved up alongside of them, the officer of the
day in the Eighty-ninth was heard by some of our men telling
in his camp that they were near an old regiment now and they
must be watchful at night or the Twenty-third would steal what-
ever they wanted! That night cook-stoves, blankets, a tent from
over the sleepers' heads, and a quantity of other property mys-
teriously disappeared from the Eighty-ninth notwithstanding
their vigilance. Our men sympathized, our camp was searched,
but, of course, nothing was found. After the Eighty-ninth
moved, men were seen pulling out of the river stoves and other
plunder by the quantity. The Eighty-ninth's surgeon was a
368 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
friend of Captain Canby. He called on the captain a few days
ago and was surprised to find his cooking stove doing duty in
Captain Canby's tent. The best of it was the Eighty-ninth ap-
peared to take it in good part.
Bottsford and Kennedy, both captains and A. A. G's -- Botts-
ford for General Scammon and Kennedy for General Crook.
Hood came up with me from Gallipolis. . . .
Camp Maskell, near Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, December
2, 1862. -- November 21, went on board [the] Izetta bound up
the Ohio; 22d, grounded on a bar (crawfish) and stayed there
until Wednesray, 26th. Found on board Captain Patterson, of
General Morgan's staff, and family, and other agreeable pas-
sengers. Bid good-bye to Lucy, boys, and all, four times on
different days. Reached camp Sunday P. M. with Captain Hood
and Mr. Stover. A cold morning, but Indian-summer-like in the
afternoon. Sunday evening, November 30, a jovial festive
meeting in my shanty of all the officers, twenty-four or twenty-
five in number. Fought over South Mountain and Antietam,
with many anecdotes, much laughter, and enjoyment.
Monday, December 1, a wet, raw day. Visited the men, all at
work on their new quarters--cabins sixteen by eighteen feet
square; four for a company and a kitchen or two. Rode out to
General Scammon's headquarters and dined with him. In my
shanty are Dr. Webb, Lieutenant-Colonel Comly, and Major Mc-
Ilrath. Mess, same. Frank Alpin [Halpin], cook, Harvey Car-
rington, ostler, Bill (colored), bootblack. I am to pay Alpin
[Halpin] five dollars, Bill three dollars and fifty cents, and Car-
rington seven dollars and fifty cents.
[Today], Tuesday, December 2, a cold morning, but a warm,
pleasant day. Sun shone about four hours. Only four men
sick in hospital.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 369
CAMP MASKELL, NEAR GAULEY BRIDGE, December 2, 1862.
DEAR MOTHER: -- I am again with my friends and am enjoying
camp life more than ever. The men are so hardy and healthy
(only four in hospital) and so industrious (all hard at work
building log cabins for winter quarters) and contented that I feel
very happy with them. We are in a quiet place by ourselves,
surrounded by fine scenery. Six miles only from the head of
navigation, and no drawbacks except mud and a good deal of
wet weather. Other regiments are on all the roads leading into
"Dixie," leaving us very little guard duty to do. A great relief
in winter. . . .
Affectionately, your son,
P. S.--Please send this to Uncle, as I have no time now for
writing. -- H.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Wednesday, December 3.-- A bright, fine winter day. We
moved our quarters fifty yards up the river into a house lately
occupied by a daughter of Mr. Riggs. Its windows on the north
side afford a good view of the river and of the Falls of the
Kanawha. With our new cooks, two soldiers, we are living
sumptuously -- better than ever before since I have been in camp.
Signed a recommendation for Sergeant Chamberlain, Company
A, as second lieutenant. Introduced to Captain Rigdon Wil-
liams, of the Twelfth. While at Middletown, Maryland, wound-
ed, I heard he was killed, and on my return to Ohio I reported
him killed. It was a Captain Liggett who was shot at South
Mountain in the head.
The Rebels did not carry the American flag at Antietam to
enable them to get into the rear of the Ohio troops. It was their
battle-flag. Yet I have reported this, on good authority, as I
thought. Our sergeant-major was probably killed attempting to
escape from the enemy, although Lieutenant Ritter thinks -- and
I have reported -- that he was killed pushing ahead of the regi-
370 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
ment. So difficult it is with the best intentions and no motive to
deceive, to get the truth of these battle incidents even from eye-
witnesses. The men are building the new city very rapidly.
Thursday, December 4, 1862. -- A clear fine day. In the morn-
ing I walked, or climbed rather, to the top of the hill near the
camp, just east of us. On the top I could see east of me the camp
of the Forty-seventh [Ohio] at Tompkins farm, the camp of the
Fourth Virginia, and other camps on the west side of Kanawha
to the west, and the road to Fayette south. A hard scramble
but I stood it well. My arm is still weak and easily hurt. Queer
feeling, to think I can reach up to grasp a limb of a tree, and
find it impossible to raise my hand above my head. In the after-
noon I walked with Captain Haven up to Gauley Bridge. He
explained to me the dwarf and giant laurel and the beautiful
holly. The dwarf laurel grows from three to five feet high, is
usually in thickets, and has an oval leaf. The giant laurel grows
fifteen or twenty feet high and has a long leaf. The holly grows
as high as apple trees and has a prickly leaf.
I give Colonel Comly drill and discipline, Major McIlrath, sup-
plies of all sorts, and I attend to general interests of the regiment.
I have sinks dug, look to camp drainage, and the like. The exer-
cise agrees with me.
Friday, December 5. -- Making sand walks around quarters.
A threatening morning and a snowy day. General Scammon
passed today with his staff for Fayette: Captain James L Botts-
ford, First Lieutenant A. C. Reichenbach, [and] Headington, of
Thirtieth. A good staff. Captain Hildt, of Twelfth, provost
marshal. Bottsford and Reichenbach of Twenty-third dined with
us on their way up to Fayette. General Scammon commands all
south and east of Kanawha River; General Crook all north of
same; both under Major-General Cox.
CAMP MASKELL, NEAR GAULEY BRIDGE, December 5, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE: -- I am enjoying myself here, looking after the
new town we are building. We are putting up about a hundred
log cabins, generally sixteen by twenty feet square. We are fur-
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 371
nished with no nails, very little sawed lumber, and no tools.
Somewhat over one-half the work is done, but cutting timber,
splitting shakes and puncheons, and putting them together is the
great business. We are on a piece of muddy bottom-land on a
beautiful bend of the Kanawha, with high mountains pressing
close up to us on all sides. We are on the side of the river
where no enemy can come without first running over three or
four other regiments, so that we have very little guard duty to
do. The men are strong, healthy, and happy. I yesterday
climbed the mountain just east of us, making a journey of four
miles before dinner. I walked six miles in the afternoon. The
ten miles was done easily. You may judge of my health by this.
Today it snows and blows. Tomorrow it will probably thaw.
We shall have some trouble with the mud, but I think with proper
ditching, and the use of sand, we can conquer the trouble.
Read in December Atlantic Monthly, "Hunt for the Captain,"
by Holmes. It is good.
R. B. HAYES.
Saturday, 6. -- A cold morning. Snow, two to four inches, on
the ground and more falling. Five wounded men returned last
night, restored and ready for duty. Captain Haven's resignation
having been accepted on account of ill health, he left us today
He goes home to Bedford, Cuyahoga County. He exhibited
great courage at Antietam and South Mountain. Appointed cap-
tain from sergeant, in violation of the rule of seniority, he en-
countered bitter prejudice as an officer, but his courage and good
conduct overcame it. Success to him!
This morning I climbed the hill above the falls on this side of
the Kanawha. Fine views of the wintry mountains, snow-clad
and with dark green holly, laurel, and pine along their sides.
The beautiful cold river beneath. Lucy thinks I am "dazed" on
Sunday, 7. -- Very cold, but pleasant winter weather. There
is talk of the Kanawha freezing over. The river is low and a
372 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
severe "spell" will do it. Cotton Mountain so slippery as to be
dangerous to cross with teams or on horseback. Dr. Joe went
over today to the Eighty-ninth to see Captain Brown of Chilli-
cothe, whose mother is there. She was charged thirty dollars
by a liveryman to bring her from Charleston, a distance of
forty-six miles. Dr. Parker, of Berea, Cuyahoga County, agent
of Sanitary Commission, visits us. We are in no condition for
inspection, but he is a sensible man and will make proper allow-
ances. Our sick in hospital is two, and excused from duty by
surgeon eight.--Snow lying all around.
Monday, 8.--A cold morning, but a bright warm sun melts
the snow on all the low ground. Lieutenant Smith says some of
our prisoners at South Mountain heard my speech as we went
into the fight. He says the colonel rode up, his eyes shining like
a cat's, [and said:] "Now boys, remember you are the Twenty-
third, and give them hell. In these woods the Rebels don't know
but we are ten thousand; and if we fight, and when we charge
yell, we are as good as ten thousand, by ---."
A paymaster. Not paid since August and then only to June 30.
A Sawmill -- or lumber (ten thousand feet); none yet, ex-
cept eighteen hundred feet and old drift, etc., etc.
Window sash and nails.
Mess stores at Charleston and Gallipolis; privilege to send.
CAMP MASKELL, December, 8, 1862. Monday morning.
DEAREST: -- I have been here a week yesterday. The knocking
about among the men, getting out lumber, building cabins, ditch-
ing and cleaning camp and sich, agrees with me spiritually and
physically. We have pretty good living and splendid appetites
and digestion. . . .
Comly is reading a novel, McIlrath a newspaper, Dr. Joe is
visiting, and I am writing you before a huge log fire in a great
old-fashioned fireplace. I wish you were here. It's really jolly
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 373
living so; you would be delighted with it. I love you ever so
much. Kiss the boys. Love to Grandma.
CAMP MASKELL, NEAR GAULEY,
Monday Morning,, December 8, 1862.
DEAR MOTHER:--I got your letter, mailed the 2nd, yesterday
morning. It was my first letter since I left home and was very
welcome. I like the coolness of the old Yankee colonel
and admire his earnestness. My speech at South Mountain was
not quite so religious, but I suppose it answered very much the
same purpose. I don't value what comes out of the mouth on
such occasions so much as the spirit of it.
We are having severe, but pleasant and healthful winter
weather. The men work hard getting up our log village and
enjoy it much. I spent Thanksgiving on the Ohio River very
pleasantly with an intelligent crowd of passengers. . . .
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Camp Maskell, near Gauley, December 12. -- Ninth to twelfth
bright, warm days; cold nights; snow scarcely melted at all on
the north side of the hills. The river is low and freezes in the
pools clear across. A single very severe night would close navi-
gation on the Kanawha. Nothing will save us from this calamity
but a mild winter or a freshet in the river. With this low water
a cold winter will bother us exceedingly. Well, well, our camp
is growing; a few nails have come to us; no sawed lumber yet.
Yesterday (11th) received a good letter from Lucy. She has
read Wendell Holmes' "Search After the Captain" in [the]
December number of [the] Atlantic and thinks I must not laugh
at her any more about her efforts to find me -- I being at Mid-
dletown and she at Washington searching the hospitals for me.
374 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Today got news of the capture of a brigade of our troops in
Tennessee by four thousand of John Morgan's men! Either a
surprise or a disgraceful thing of some sort! Also the crossing
of the river at Fredericksburg after heavy cannonading.
Saturday, December 13. -- The hottest day of the winter; a hot
sun made the shady side of the house the most comfortable. Our
new second lieutenant, [William] McKinley, returned today --
an exceedingly bright, intelligent, and gentlemanly young officer.
He promises to be one of our best. . . .
CAMP MASKELL, December 14, 1862.
DEAREST:--Very glad to have a good letter from you again.
Very glad indeed the bag is found--glad you read the article
of Dr. Holmes in the Atlantic Monthly. It is, indeed, a defense
pat for your case. I knew you would like it. You must keep it.
When we are old folks it will freshly remind us of a very inter-
esting part of our war experience.
If the enchanted bag contains my spurs, and if they are both
alike (which I doubt), you may send them to me when a good
chance offers. The pair I now use are those worn by Lorin
Andrews and given me by McCook. I don't want to lose them.
The fine weather of the past week has been very favorable
for our business and we are getting on rapidly. The river is so
low that a cold snap would freeze it up, and leave us "out in the
cold" in a very serious way -- that is, without the means of
getting grub. This would compel us to leave our little log city
and drive us back towards Ohio. . . .
One of our new second lieutenants -- McKinley -- a handsome
bright, gallant boy, got back last night. He went to Ohio to re-
cruit with the other orderly sergeants of the regiment. He tells
good stories of their travels. The Thirtieth and Twelfth ser-
geants stopped at second-class hotels, but the Twenty-third boys
"splurged." They stopped at the American and swung by the big
figure. Very proper. They are the generals of the next war.
I rode over to the Eighty-ninth. Promising boys over there.
I like the cousins much. Ike Nelson is a master spirit. The
others will come out all right.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 375
Yes, darling, these partings don't grow any easier for us, but
you don't regret that, I am sure. It will be all the pleasanter
when it is all over. How is your health? Is all right with you?
Your sake, not mine. Thanks for the Harper and Atlantic,
mailed me by Stephenson. Love to all.
Conners whom we saw at Frederick is not dead. He returned
safely last night. All the wounded are gathering in except the
discharged. Sergeant Tyler whom we saw with his arm off at
Frederick is in a bad way -- others doing well. . . .
Affectionately yours, ever,
P. S. -- Three months ago the battle of South Mountain. We
celebrated it by climbing the mountain on the other side of the
river to the castle-like-looking rocks which overlook the Falls of
the Kanawha. Captains Hood, Zimmerman, Canby, Lovejoy
and Lieutenant Bacon were of the party. Hood and I beat the
crowd to the top. Hood, the worst wounded, up first. When I
saw him shot through that day I little thought I would ever see
him climbing mountains again.
Monday, 15. -- A hot, clear day. Lieutenant McKinley and his
party work hard clearing our parade. Rode the little sorrel up
the river two miles. Threatens rain at night but we all vote for
another fine day. Fire in the mountains.
Tuesday, 16. -- Rained last night; raw and cloudy with a little
snow this morning. Sun shone in the afternoon. We hear today
of the crossing by General Burnside of the Rappahannock at
Wednesday, 17. -- Rode with Major McIlrath to General Ew-
ing's camp near Loup Creek to see about "wants." Generally
satisfactory results. Dined with the general and Mrs. Ewing.
A rough day with gusts of snow and the like.
Thursday, 18. -- A cold, bitterly cold, night but a bright, fine
day. Major McIlrath and Dr. Webb left for Ohio today.
376 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Major under orders from General Ewing goes to Camp Chase
with prisoner. Doctor got a leave from General Ewing for
twenty days to look after medicines, but this morning came a
thirty-day leave from Washington.
Sinister rumors from General Burnside. Telegraph operator
reported to say, "Burnside whipped like the Devil"! Ah, if so,
sad hearts in the North! Intervention again. So much blood
shed in vain! I confess to feeling much anxiety. The crossing
of the river at Fredericksburg with so little resistance, looks
as if the enemy was willing to let Burnside cross--as if they
were leading him into a trap. I trust the sinister report is false.
CAMP, December 18, 1862.
DEAREST:--Joe goes this morning, thanks to General Ewing
for the leave, contrary to general orders. Don't let him spend
more than two weeks at home.
I love you all to pieces this cold morning. Kiss the boys.
Merry Christmas 'em for me. I mean to have the cousins to dine
with me on Christmas. We shall have a good dinner. Our
cooks are splendid. . . .
Send me about two or three yards carpet (old will do) to light
out on these frosty mornings. Thunder, but it's cold this morn-
ing! If the water doesn't rise, we freeze up "shore," as darkies
Well, dearest, think of me lovingly during the holy days.
Friday, 19. -- Captain Bottsford and his father stayed with me
this evening; a pleasant time. Captains Zimmerman and Rice,
also from Mahoning County, helped drink an egg-nog of Mr.
Saturday, 20.--Burnside has retreated across the Rappahan-
nock. The Rebels can now set off the battle of Fredericksburg
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 377
against the battle of Antietam. They retreated back across the
Potomac. But I suspect they have a great advantage in having
suffered much less than we have. They fought behind entrench-
ments. When will our generals learn not to attack an equal ad-
versary in fortified positions? Burnside will now perhaps have
to yield to McClellan. It looks as if in the East neither army was
strong enough to make a successful invasion of [the territory of]
the other. If so conquest of [the] Rebellion is not to be. We
have now the Emancipation Proclamation to go upon. Will not
this stiffen the President's backbone so as to drive it through?
Desperate diseases require desperate remedies.
CAMP MASKELL, NEAR GAULEY BRIDGE, December 20, 1862.
DEAR UNCLE:--Dr. Webb went home on a thirty-day fur-
lough a few days ago. Our good health here makes a surgeon
almost unnecessary. We now have only one man in hospital -- a
chance case of erysipelas. Our camp is improving. We are
almost out of the mud and the greater part of our cabins
Another serious reverse. Burnside's repulse at Fredericks-
burg is bad enough as it looks from my point of view. It
would seem as if neither party in eastern Virginia was strong
enough to make a successful invasion of the territory of the
other--which is equivalent to saying that the Rebellion can there
sustain itself as long as it stands on the defensive. I don't like
two things in this campaign of General Burnside. (1) It looks
as if his first delay opposite Fredericksburg was an error. (2)
To attack an enemy of equal (or nearly equal strength)
behind entrenchments is always an error. This battle is a set-off
for Antietam. That forced the Rebels back across the Potomac.
This forces us back across the Rappahannock. We suffer, I
fear, a larger proportionate loss. I suspect the enemy lost but
little, comparatively. Now remains our last card, the emanci-
pation of the slaves. That may do it. Some signs of wavering
are pointed out by the correspondents, but I trust the President
will now stand firm. I was not in a hurry to wish such a policy
adopted, but I don't now wish to see it abandoned. Our army
378 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
is not seriously weakened by the affair at Fredericksburg and
very slight events will change the scale in our favor. Push on
the emancipation policy, and all will yet go well.
Our partisanship about generals is now rebuked. General
McClellan has serious faults or defects, but his friends can
truly claim that if he had retained command, this disaster would
not have occurred. The people and press would perhaps do well
to cultivate patience. It is a virtue much needed in so equal a
struggle as this. If the people can hold out, we shall find the
right man after [a] while.
But I bore you with reflections that must occur to every one.
R. B. HAYES.
LOG CABIN CAMP, December 21, 1862. Sunday evening.
DEAREST: -- Dr. Jim got his proper resignation papers today
and will leave in the morning. Dr. Joe's leave of absence from
Washington for thirty days from December 18 came to hand a
half an hour after he had left on General Ewing's twenty-day
leave. He will not regret the ten day's extension. . . .
I cannot answer all your inquiries about the wounded. Lig-
get is doing well; is probably at home ere this. I got a letter
from Joel tonight. He is the Jew who got eight bullet holes in
his person and limbs. He says he thinks he can stand service
in a couple of months. He don't want to be discharged. Ritter
writes me in good spirits.
Very interesting, all talk about the boys. . . . Webb's
surprise that learning is needed in western Virginia hits the
position of matters more closely than he knew. Sound teeth
and a good digestion are more required than education. I do
not know but fear to risk the boys in this eager mountain air;
not at present, at any rate. So, of your coming, --
Almost ten years. How happy we have been. But you don't
say a word about your health. If that requires you to come, you
shall come. Otherwise you perhaps "better not." Do you com-
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 379
prehend the solicitude I feel? Enough for tonight.--Love [to]
all the boys and to Grandma.
Monday, 22.--Warm, a shower in the morning. Finished
reading "Mysteries of Paris" last night. Not a wicked or ob-
scene novel by a good deal.
CAMP NEAR GAULEY, December 22, 1862.
DEAR MOTHER: -- I received your letter of the 10th. Yes, the
Vermont colonel's speech, etc., at Bennington came safely. A
cool old colonel he was, as well as pious. I see that the One
Hundred and Thirteenth Regiment is consolidated with some
other. How does it affect Colonel Mitchell? I hope he does
not lose his position. . . .
Dr. Joe Webb has gone home on thirty-days leave of ab-
sence. Colonel Comly, on an order from General Scammon, is
with him at Fayette. Major McIlrath has gone home for a
twenty-day visit. This leaves me the only field officer here, but
there is very little to do. The men still busy with their quarters
and all quiet in front. My health is perfect; I was never so
heavy as now.
You will enjoy the return of the children, or the young ladies
rather. What charming girls they are! My love to them and
Ruddy and all. I hope you will have happy holidays.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
December 23. Tuesday. -- Soft weather. Reading Buckle's
second volume. What a deep impression his mode of collect-
ing authorities and heaping up facts produces! It shakes one's
380 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
faith in the old orthodox notions to read his chapters on Scotch
THE DEAD OF SOUTH MOUNTAIN AND ANTIETAM.
Sergeant-Major Eugene L. Reynolds, of Bellefontaine. A
bright, handsome, ambitious, soldierly youngster; brave as a lion;
so game in appearance and conduct; cheerful, happy, and full of
promise! Killed at the close of the day on the mountain top.
Taken prisoner, says Captain Williams of the Twelfth, and
attempting to escape, shot in the bowels and afterwards
bayonetted through the forearm.
Corporal Bull, Company A. A fine-looking, amiable boy,
always smiling. Killed at Antietam.
Wilson B. Harper, Franklin County. A Mark Tapley for
jollity, large, healthy, industrious, and so anxious to please, he
always agreed with you. Wounded badly in thigh at South
Mountain and died after amputation a few days after. Cheerful
to the last. [List not completed.]
Sunday, 28. -- On Christmas my wife's cousins, Lieutenant
Nelson and privates Ed and Ike Cook and Jim McKell* dined
with me; all of Company D, Eighty-ninth Regiment. A. M. of
that day the regiment fired by battalion and file. P. M. I offered
a turkey to the marksman who would hit his head, and a bottle
of wine and a tumbler to next best shot, and a bottle of wine to
third best. A bright; warm day and a jolly one--a merry
[The] 26th and 27th, mild days and cloudy but only a few
drops of rain. Dr. Kellogg spent the 26th with us--surgeon
on General Scammon's staff. Talked free-thinking talk with him
in a joking vein. A clever gentleman. Major Carey stopped
[the] 27th with us--of the Twelfth. Told a good one; the
Thirty-fourth got a good lot of lumber; put a sentinel over it.
After dark the Twelfth got up a relief--relieved the Thirty-
four sentinel and carried off the lumber!
*Willie McKell. He died at Andersonville 1864.--This written on
margin by Mr. Hayes.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 381
CAMP MASKELL, December 28, 1862.
DEAREST: -- Sunday evening. Captain Hunter brings me the
spurs and pictures; for which, thanks. I will send the old spurs
home the first chance. There will be a good many [chances] soon.
Don't let Dr. Joe forget to bring back his sword-belt for me, and a
piece of old carpet or backing.
General Ewing has ordered one officer, three non-commissioned
officers, and ten privates to go home a week from today! And
what is still stranger our men are asking not to be sent home so
soon! The explanation of this latter wonder is that a paymaster
is pretty certain to be along about the 10th of January and the
men want to see him before going home. Unless General Ewing's
orders are changed you will soon see some of our men. My
orderly (cook), William T. Crump, will stop with you. If you
are curious to know how we live, put him in the kitchen a day
or two. The children will like him.
We have had no serious accidents with all our chopping, log-
ging, and hauling. On Christmas I was alarmed. John Harvey
(the boys remember him) driving a team with a big log at the
sawmill was thrown off and the wheel ran across his ankle. It
was thought to be a crusher but turns out merely a slight sprain.
Nobody sick in the hospital and only four excused from duty
by Dr. Barrett!
I dined the four cousins on Christmas day. Had a good time.
The regiment fired volleys in the morning. In the afternoon I
gave a turkey and two bottles of wine to the three best marks-
men. Target firing all the afternoon. A week more [of] pleasant
weather will put us entirely "out of the suds," or out of the mud.
We had our first dress parade this evening. The old flag was
brought out with honors. The companies look smaller than they
did at the last parade I saw on Upton's Hill, near Washington,
almost four months ago, but they looked well and happy.
The weather here is warm and bright. Very favorable for our
making camp. I am thinking how happy the boys are with their
uncles. It would be jolly to see you all. I love you ever so much.
Tell me about the Christmas doings. Love to all.
MRS. HAYES. R.
382 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Tuesday, 30.--Yesterday was a fine, warm, spring-like day.
This month has been generally good weather. We are getting
our camp in good condition. Yesterday General Ewing received
orders to "go South" (as General Banks said) with the Thirtieth
and Thirty-seventh Ohio and the Fourth and Eighth Virginia.
This breaks up our brigade. We were not very well suited with
it. General Ewing has many good qualities but thinks so well
of his old regiment (the Thirtieth) that he can do no sort of
justice to its rival, the Twenty-third. We are glad also to have
no longer any connection with the Thirtieth. The brigade now
consists of the Twenty-third, Eighty-ninth, and Ninety-second.
Two new regiments with ours. Colonel Nelson H. Van Vorhes
will command the brigade. He is a gentleman of character and
capacity without any military experience.
I can't help feeling the injustice in that point of view of put-
ting him over me; but as he is my senior as colonel of a new
regiment, it is according to rule and I shall cheerfully submit.
Yet it looks hard that he shall get the credit or glory of what
Comly, myself, and my regiment may do. For in any emergency
it would be to us that all would look for action and advice. But
"such is war," and I am here to do my duty wherever I may be
placed -- and I mean to do it fully and cheerfully, wherever the
credit may go. My impressions of Colonel Van Vorhes are
favorable. I have yet to make his acquaintance. General Ewing,
it is said, goes down the Mississippi. Good-bye, Thirtieth! We
have been with them since they joined us at Sutton, September
8, 1861--a year and a quarter ago.
CAMP, December 31, 1862.
DEAREST: -- This is New Year's eve. Dancing and merriment
seem to prevail. Many men and a few officers are expecting to go
home soon. Sergeant-Major Sweet will take you this, and the
McCook and Andrews spurs. We have had a great change this
week. Colonel Ewing--I mean General Ewing--has gone
South, taking with him the Thirtieth, Thirty-seventh, and Forty-
seventh Ohio and Fourth Virginia. The Eighty-ninth goes into
the fine camp left by the Thirtieth, ten miles below here; a great
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 383
gain to the Eighty-ninth. The Ninety-second goes to Tompkins
Farm, the camp left by the Forty-seventh, and are great losers
by the change; mad about it, too. We get rid of divers old
troubles, but remain in our log-cabin camp, and are content, or
rather pleased, upon the whole.
Now good night. Happy New Years to all. If no further
changes occur, and Uncle Joe would like to bring you up here
with one or two boys, I suspect you would like to come. Think
of it, and I will try to see you part of the way home, or all of
the way. Let him start about the middle of the month, so as to
reach here by the 20th. It will probably rain and be muddy
enough, but it will be funny and novel.
Good night. If Grandma wants to come, she will be welcome,
she knows, but I mistrust the peculiar climate we have. Our
weather this month has been much better than in Ohio.
CAMP REYNOLDS, January 4, 1863
DEAREST:--The same old camp, but "Reynolds," after our
gallant Sergeant-Major Eugene M., [L. Reynolds] who was
killed at South Mountain.
I am glad you are all well and happy with the uncles and "all
the boys." Yes, I confess I did forget the 30th [the tenth an-
niversary of his marriage]. Strange, too. I had thought of it
a few days before. I did not neglect to think of you. That I do
daily; but nothing occurred to call to mind the happy day. A
white day in my calendar--the precursor of the ten happiest
years. On the 30th we were all agog with the order and move-
ments connected with General Ewing's departure with four of
our regiments. This may have caused the lapse.
We had none of your bad weather. This [the] morning
opened rainy, windy, and turbulent, but by 2 P. M. it was warm,
bright, and serene. At our evening parade I made a little address
on the New Year and the past. I'll send you it to be put in the
384 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
It is Sunday evening and our cook, Frank Halpin (the best
tenor going), with three or four Company A comrades are sing-
ing in the kitchen. "Magnif!"
In the very worst of the rain-storm this morning, an ambulance
passed with Mrs. Brown, her son, and Ed Cook. Ed is sick,
decidedly, not as yet dangerously. He refuses to go home be-
cause he has been home sick already. Plucky. Perhaps it's as
well, although I rather urged his going. He will go to Cannel-
ton, where the regiment is now stationed, and will be well cared
for. Mrs. Brown takes the captain home. I suspect Ike [Nel-
son]* will soon be captain of the company. Brown is not able
to stand service, I think. Ike now commands the company.
Send me Rud's picture, and another installment of mine, for
If not costing more than about a couple of dollars, I wish Joe
would bring me Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations," also
"Lucile." The first large print. At Gallipolis or somewhere
he better get three or four split-bottomed or other cheap
chairs--none but cheap -- [and] a cheap square looking-glass.
I am still busy trying to conquer the mud. We are very com-
fortable but a sprinkling of snow or rain makes us ankle-deep
where the sand is not put on. This and our little town gives
me plenty to do. The lieutenant-colonel and major are both
I shall be very glad to have you here. My only fear is pos-
sible ill health for the boys. There is less sickness than last
year and by keeping carefully housed if the weather is bad, you
will be safe. -- Darling, much love for you and the dear ones at
[The address mentioned in the letter follows.]
COMRADES:--We have just closed an eventful year in our
soldier life. During the year 1862 the Twenty-third Regiment
*Cook and Nelson, cousins of Mrs. Hayes.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 385
has borne well its part in the great struggle for the Union. The
splendid fight of Company C at Clark's Hollow, the daring, en-
durance, and spirit of enterprise exhibited in the capture of
Princeton and Giles Court-house, the steadiness, discipline, and
pluck which enabled you, in the face of an overwhelming force
of the enemy, to retreat from your advanced position without
panic or confusion and almost unharmed, the conspicuous and
acknowledged achievements of the regiment at the battles of
South Mountain and Antietam, amply justify the satisfaction
and pride which I am confident we all feel in the regiment to
which we belong.
We recall these events and scenes with joy and exultation.
But as we glance our eyes along the shortened line, we are filled
with sadness that we look in vain for many forms and faces
once so familiar! We shall not forget them. We shall not for-
get what they gave to purchase the good name which we so
highly prize. The pouring out of their lives has made the tat-
tered old flag sacred.
Let us begin the new year--this season to us of quiet
and of preparation--with a determination so to act that the
future of our regiment shall cast no shadow on its past, and
that those of us who shall survive to behold the opening of
another new year shall regard with increased gratification the
character, history, and name of the gallant old Twenty-third!
CAMP REYNOLDS, NEAR GAULEY, VIRGINIA, January 4, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--First of all, my arm gives me no trouble at
all ordinarily. Getting on or off from a horse, and some efforts
remind me once in a while that it is not quite as good as it was.
Perhaps it never will be, but it is good enough, and gives me
very little inconvenience.
I am learning some of your experience as to the necessity of
overseeing all work. I find I must be out, or my ditches are out
of shape, too narrow or wide, or some way wrong, and so
of roads, houses, etc., etc. We are making a livable place of it.
I put off my own house to the last. Fires are now burning in it,
and I shall occupy it in a day or two. It is a double log cabin,
386 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
two rooms, eighteen by twenty each, and the open space under
the same roof sixteen by eighteen; stone fireplaces and chimneys.
I have one great advantage in turning a mudhole into a decent
camp. I can have a hundred or two men with picks, shovels,
and scraper, if I want them, or more, so a day's work changes
the looks of things mightily. It is bad enough at any rate, but
a great improvement.
We have rumors of heavy fighting in Tennessee and at Vicks-
burg, but not enough to tell what is the result. I hope it will be
all right. I tell Dr. Joe to bring out Lucy if he thinks best, and
I will go home with her.
R. B. HAYES.
Tuesday, January 6. . -- Very fine weather for a week
past, and I am busy digging ditches, building walks, roads,
bridges, and quarters. A pleasant occupation. Great fighting at
Murfreesboro; heavy losses on our side, but the general result
not yet known. Rainy today. I must build a skiff to get over
to the brick house to headquarters easily.
During past year we have received sixty-eight recruits; dis-
charged sixty-six; killed in action forty-seven; died of wounds
twenty; died of disease fifteen. [Total] deaths eighty-two.
Total loss aggregates one hundred and forty-eight. Net loss
CAMP REYNOLDS, NEAR GAULEY BRIDGE, January 6, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER:--This is a rainy day -- the first we have had
in a great while. I never saw finer weather than we have had.
It has enabled us to finish our log cabins and we are now in most
comfortable quarters. It would surprise you to see what tidy
and pretty houses the soldiers have built with very little except
an axe and the forest to do it with. My house is a double cabin
under a roof about sixty feet long by twenty wide with a space
between the cabins protected from weather.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 387
I see that the One Hundred and Thirteenth is ordered off, so I
suppose Laura is at home again. I shall write to her in reply
to her good letter soon. I think not less but more of her since
she has made so valuable an addition to the kinship.
I am writing to Dr. Joe to bring Lucy out here, if he thinks
well of it. There are three or four officers' wives in this
quarter now. . . .
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Wednesday, January 7, .--Appointed to command First
Brigade, Second Kanawha Division. Rather a small affair--
Twenty-third Regiment and Eighty-ninth Regiment, Captain
Harrison's Cavalry, Captain Gilmore's ditto.
Reports, after several days' desperate fighting, General Rose-
crans has taken Murfreesboro and defeated Bragg.
Sunday, 11. -- Moved into my new quarters last night. Rather-
ish damp; roof and gables of "shakes," a little open; no ceiling or
flooring above; altogether cool but not unpleasant. A letter from
Dr. Joe. Lucy and Birch and Webb to come up and give me
a visit. Right jolly! A letter from Uncle also.
Rosecrans by his fiery and energetic courage at Murfreesboro
or Stone River saved the day. Not intellectually an extraordin-
ary man, but his courage and energy make him emphatically the
fighting general of this war.
CAMP REYNOLDS, NEAR GAULEY BRIDGE, January 12, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of the 6th came duly to hand. The
death of Magee is indeed a public calamity. No community has
such men to spare. There is, I judge, no doubt of the death of
Leander Stem. More of my acquaintances and friends have
suffered in that than in any battle of the war except those in
which my own regiment took part. It was Rosecrans' personal
qualities that saved the day. He is not superior intellectually
388 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
or by education to many of our officers, but in headlong daring,
energy, and determination, I put him first of all the major-gen-
erals. He has many of the Jackson elements in him. Another
general, almost any other, would, after McCook's misfortune,
have accepted a repulse and turned all his efforts to getting off
safely with his shattered army.
Sherman has been repulsed, it seems. No doubt he will get
aid from below and from Grant. If so, he will yet succeed.
I do not expect a great deal from the [Emancipation] Procla-
mation, but am glad it was issued.
Notice Governor Seymour's message. It shows what I an-
ticipated when I was with you--that the logic of the situation
will make a good enough war party of the Democracy in power.
If you want to see eyes opened on the slavery question, let the
Democracy have the power in the nation. They would be the
bitterest abolitionists in the land in six months. I am perfectly
willing to trust them.
I received a letter from Dr. Joe saying he would bring Lucy
and Birch and Webb back with him. They will enjoy it, I do
I am now in command of [the] First Brigade of [the] Second
Kanawha Division. General Ewing has gone South with six
regiments from this quarter. This leaves us none too strong, but
probably strong enough. I shall probably have command of the
extreme outposts. I am not yet in command at Gauley Bridge.
I say this because I think it very insufficiently garrisoned, and if
not strengthened a surprise would not be remarkable. If I am
put in command, as seems likely, I shall see it fixed up very
R. B. HAYES.
Tuesday, [January] 14.--A warm, pleasant day. Sent three
companies late last night to Tompkins Farm under Captain
Sperry; a dark, muddy march--just out of good quarters too.
Colonel Hatfield of [the] Eighty-ninth Regiment makes a singular
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 389
point as to my rank compared with his. He was appointed
colonel about December I, and has a commission of that date;
that is, at the bottom are the words "issued this day of December"
and also sealed, etc., this day of December. My commission in
like manner was of November I. Colonel Hatfield was major
before and acted as second in command until he received his
commission. But his commission in the body of it has a clause
to take rank from October 2, 1862, which is twelve days earlier
than mine. He claims this is the date of his commission. Not
so, the date is at the bottom as above. A note dated December
I with interest from October 2 is still a note of December I.
But what is the effect of the clause or order in the body of the
commission? I say nothing. The governor of a State has no
power to give rank in the army of the United States prior to
either appointment or actual service in such rank. If he could
confer rank two months prior to appointment or service, he could
two years. He could now appoint civilians to outrank all officers
of same grade now in service from Ohio or from any other
State. But this is absurd. A commission being merely evidence
of appointment, the governor may perhaps date it back to the
time of actual appointment or service. The President of the
United States, as Commander-in-Chief of [the] United States
army, can, perhaps, give rank independent of service or actual
appointment. But if a state governor is authorized to do so, the
Act of Congress or lawful order for it can be shown. Let us
The President's power to appoint and to discharge officers em-
braces all power. It is supreme. But the governor has no
power of removal. He can only appoint according to the terms
of his authority from Congress or the War Department. What
is that authority?
The appointments are often made long before the issuing of
commissions. The commission may then well specify the date
from which rank shall begin. But I conclude there can be no
rank given by a governor prior to either commission, appoint-
ment, or actual service. Else a citizen could now be appointed
colonel to outrank every other colonel in the United States, and
390 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
be entitled to pay for an indefinite period in the past, which is
The governor has no authority to put a junior over a senior
of the same grade. He may promote or rather appoint the junior
out of order, because the power to appoint is given him. But to
assign rank among officers of [the] same grade is no part of his
duties. Why is such a clause put in commissions? (1) Be-
cause appointments are often made (always so at the beginning
of the war) long before the commissions issue. (2) In re-
cruiting also, the appointment is conditional on the enlistment of
the requisite number of men. Of course the rank dates from the
appointment and actual service.
But the great difficulty lies here. Is not this clause the highest
evidence -- conclusive evidence--of the date of the appoint-
ment? Can we go behind it? I say no, for so to hold is to give
the governor the power to determine rank between officers of
[the] same grade after appointment.
The order of appointment is highest (see Regulations). The
governor's order may be written, as Governor Dennison's were,
or verbal as Governor Tod's are--to be proved in one case by
the order, in the other verbally.
Thursday, 15. -- Rained last night; warm and cloudy today,
threatening rain. Yesterday warm and sunny but threatening.
Captain Gilmore dined with me. Says Colonel Hatfield reported
that he was to command the brigade; says he [Gilmore] and his
men are mad about it, that they want this brigade commanded as
Lucy and the boys to start today if possible. I hope it will
be more cheerful weather when they reach here.
Saturday evening, 17. -- The two wintriest days yet, yesterday
and today. Snowed and blowed yesterday all day. My open
shake roof let the snow through in clouds; felt like sitting by my
fire with an umbrella over me. Read Victor Hugo's new book,
"Les Miserables." Good, very.
Kanawha river rose fast -- about three feet yesterday, all from
the Gauley. New River doesn't rise until Gauley runs out.
Lieutenant Hastings and some of the new lieutenants, viz.,
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 391
Abbott, Seamans, and part of the sergeants, returned today.
They tell of strong "Secesh" feeling and talk in Ohio. The blun-
der at Vicksburg, the wretched discords at the North, and the
alarming financial troubles give things a gloomy appearance to-
night. But Lucy and the boys are coming! That will be a
Sunday, 18.--Last night the coldest of the winter. Today
clear and bright. Rode over to see Captain Simmonds about the
Rebel mail supposed to run from Charleston via Lick or Rich
Creek above Gauley, across Gauley River to Lewisburg Pike.
Walked P. M. on this side up to Gauley with Lieutenant Hast-
ings and Lieutenant (formerly sergeant) Abbott. Both been
absent on recruiting service since August 7. Am thinking of the
coming of my wife and boys.
FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND KANAWHA DIVISION,
January 20, 1863.
SIR: -- I am instructed by General Scammon to inform Major-
General Jones through you that he regards his sending two flags
of truce at the same time by different routes to our outposts upon
the same business, viz., the admission of ladies into our lines,
as using the flag for a purpose as obvious as it is improper, and
that such an abuse of it is not to be permitted.
Not to subject the lady in your charge to hardship, she will
be admitted into our lines on the representation of Lieutenant
Norvell that she is the wife of a citizen loyal to the United States.
R. B. HAYES,
COLONEL TWENTY-THIRD REGIMENT, 0. V. I.
CAMP REYNOLDS, WEST VIRGINIA, January 25, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER: -- Lucy with Birch and Webb arrived here last
night safe and sound. We shall enjoy the log-cabin life very
much--the boys are especially happy, running about where there
392 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
is so much new to be seen. . . . I write merely to relieve
anxiety about the new soldiers. -- Love to all.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CAMP REYNOLDS, February 8, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--Your tracts came yesterday and were dis-
tributed. They will do instead of sermons today. Lucy and the
boys are enjoying it much. They add much to our happiness this
I shall go with [the] Twenty-third to Charleston in a few
weeks. We are pretty well thinned out--only three old regi-
ments left. Lucy says she thinks the Rebels can't get her. I am
not so sure. She rode outside of the lines four or five miles
R. B. HAYES.
February 18, . -- Lucy, Birch, and Webb came up here
on the 24th of January. We have had a jolly time together. We
have rain and mud in abundance but we manage to ride a little
on horseback or in a skiff; to fish a little, etc., etc. I was more
than two weeks housed up with left eye bloodshot and inflamed.
Birch read "Boy Hunters and Voyageurs," and Lucy the news-
February 19. -- [Companies] G and B marched to Loup Creek
to take steamboat to Charleston; the rest to go soon.
A sort of pike called here salmon, a fine fish, caught at the
Falls, weighing from three to ten pounds. A large live minnow
is the bait.
CAMP REYNOLDS, VIRGINIA, February 24, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are all well. Lucy and the boys enjoy
camp life and keep healthy. Two of our companies have gone
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 393
down the river to Charleston preparatory to moving the Twenty-
third there. We expect to follow in two or three weeks. We
care nothing about the change. It brings us into easier com-
munication with home and has other advantages. We shall pos-
sibly remain there the whole spring. If so, after weather settles
in May, it will be a pleasant trip for you to visit us if you can
I have no idea when Lucy will return home. The boys are
doing well here.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP REYNOLDS, VIRGINIA, March 4, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE: -- Getting on finely. The boys busy and very
happy. Webb, I fancy, is a good deal such a boy is [as] Lorenzo
was. He is to be seen driving some soldier's team or riding
whenever there is a chance. Lucy will probably leave in a fort-
night or so, probably about the time we go to Charleston.
The new conscription law strikes me as a capital measure.
I hope it will be judiciously and firmly administered.
I have an offer for my Hamilton property one thousand dol-
lars cash, one thousand dollars in six months, and the balance of
fifteen hundred in three equal annual payments. Before the war
I would have taken it quickly enough, but I am not sure now but
the real estate is best. It pays taxes and about one hundred dol-
lars a year rent. What could I do with the money?
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP REYNOLDS, March 9, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE: -- Yours of last Sunday came to hand yesterday.
Wife and boys still here -- very happy. They fish and row skiff
and ride horseback. They can all row. Webb and Birch rowed
a large load of soldiers across the river and back--a large
roaring river, almost like the Ohio in a fair fresh. They will
394 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
go home in a week or two probably. We shall remain here two
or three weeks and then probably go to Charleston.
The new conscript act strikes me as the best thing yet, if it
is only used. I would only call enough men to recruit up weak-
ened regiments, and compel the return of the shirks and deserters.
Make our commanders give more time to drill and discipline;
make the armies regulars--effectives; stand on the defensive
except when we can attack in superior numbers; send no more
regiments or gunboats to be gobbled up one at a time. Mass our
forces and we shall surely conquer.
R. B. HAYES.
March 15, 1863.--Left our log-cabin camp at the Falls of the
Kanawha. Camp Reynolds was a happy abiding place. Lucy
came with Birch and Webb on the 24th of January. They rowed
skiffs, fished, built dams, sailed little ships, played cards, and en-
joyed camp life generally. We reached Charleston at dark [this]
Sunday evening. The men went to the churches to stay.
March 18-19, .--Went into Camp White (after Col-
onel White of the Twelfth), opposite the mouth of the Elk.
Saturday 21. -- Lucy and boys on the Allen Collier home.
CAMP WHITE, March 21, 1863.
DEAREST:--You left this morning. Don't think I am going
daft after you. I am in my tent facing the parade between the
captains and companies. McKinley is in his. The doctor, Avery,
and [the] major will come over tomorrow. I shall sleep in a tent
tonight for the first time since the night before South Mountain
-- over six months ago. . . .
Did you see us crossing in our boat before your steamer
passed? I saw you and swung my hat, but whether you saw me
I could not tell.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 395
Our house flag must come out to go on a high pole near head-
quarters if it is militarily proper, and I think it is. . . . Good-
Sunday, March 22, 1863. -- Have gone into camp. My head-
quarters here. My brigade is Twenty-third Ohio, Fifth Virginia,
Colonel Ziegler, Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry, Colonel Brown,
Captain Gilmore's Cavalry, Lieutenant Gonseman's ditto, and
Lieutenant --- ; also Captain Simmond's Battery. Gonseman
at Loup and Tompkins Farm. Gilmore, here. Battery at Gauley
Bridge; Twenty-third here. Thirteenth at Coal's Mouth and
Hurricane Bridge; Fifth at Ceredo.
The boys will never forget their visit to papa and the Twenty-
third. It will be a romatic memory. Webb was a greater favorite
than Birch. Mischievous but kind-hearted and affectionate.
Birch more scholarly and more commanding. Dear boys, how I
love them! They were with me nearly two months in my log-
cabin camp. Great happiness in log cabins.
CAMP WHITE, NEAR CHARLESTON, VIRGINIA, March 22, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--We came out of the wilderness a week ago
today. We are now pleasantly located on the left bank of the
Kanawha, just below (opposite) Charleston. We are almost at
home, and can expect to see anxious friends soon. You would,
I think, enjoy a trip up here in a few weeks. You can get on a
steamer at Cincinnati and land at our camp, and be safely and
comfortably housed here. Lucy and the boys, after a most happy
time, went home yesterday. We shall expect to see them again
while we are here.
We seem intended for a permanent garrison here. We shall
probably be visited by the Rebels while here. Our force is small
but will perhaps do. My command is Twenty-third Ohio, Fifth
and Thirteenth Virginia, three companies of cavalry, and a fine
396 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
battery. I have some of the best, and I suspect some of about
the poorest troops in service. They are scattered from Gauley
to the mouth of Sandy on the Kentucky line. They are well
posted to keep down bushwhacking and the like, but would be of
small account against an invading force. We have three weak,
but very good regiments, Twenty-third, Twelfth, and Thirty-
fourth Ohio, some, a small amount, of good cavalry and good
artillery, and about three or four regiments of indifferent in-
fantry. So we shall probably see fun, if the enemy thinks it
worth while to come in. Come and see me.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, NEAR CHARLESTON, March 22, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER:--One week ago today we started bag and
baggage for this place. We are within five or six hours' travel
by steamboat from Ohio (Gallipolis). Steamers pass our camp
daily two or three times for home. We are within fifteen hours
of Cincinnati and the communication frequent and regular....
We shall remain here probably a good while. The Twenty-
third is the only regiment in the vicinity. My command is
stretched from Gauley to the Kentucky line. I make my head-
quarters here but shall go in both directions often. Quite likely,
if present arrangements continue, I may run up to Columbus in a
month or two. . . . Love to all.
Affectionately, your son,
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Monday, [March] 23. -- Rained during the night. Rained 19th
and 20th all day; looks like rain all day today. This is a beau-
tiful valley from Piatt down to its mouth. Make west Virginia
a free State and Charleston ought to be a sort of Pittsburgh.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 397
P. M. Warm and bright until 6 P. M. An April shower.
Camp getting into order; gravel walks building, streets making.
Muddy now, but it is a loose porous soil and will turn out well.
Tuesday, 24.--Rain all night and this A. M.! Army move-
ments very slow. Vicksburg the great point of interest for a
month past. Things looking like fight in Rosecrans' vicinity;
Charleston also a point of attack.
In the North a reaction favorable to the war is taking place.
The peace men, sympathizers with the Rebels, called Copper-
heads or Butternuts, are mostly of the Democratic party. They
gained strength last fall by an adroit handling of the draft, the
tax-law arrests, the policy favorable to the negro, and the mis-
takes and lack of vigor in prosecuting the war. This led to over-
confidence, and a more open hostility to the war itself. The
soldiers in the field considered this a "fire in the rear," and
"giving aid and comfort to the enemy." They accordingly by
addresses and resolutions made known their sentiments. Loyal
Democrats like John Van Buren [and] James T. Brady begin to
speak out in the same strain. A considerable reaction is ob-
servable. The late acts of Congress, the conscription, the finan-
cial measures, and [the] Habeas Corpus Act, give the Govern-
ment great power and the country more confidence. If the con-
scription is wisely and energetically administered, there is much
reason to hope for good results.
In the meantime the Rebels are certainly distressed for want
of provisions. The negro policy doesn't seem to accomplish
much. A few negro troops give rise to disturbances where they
come in contact with our men and do not as yet worry the enemy
a great deal.
Thursday, 26.--A cold, rainy day. Last night the coldest
of the season. Yesterday with Dr. Joe and four oarsmen rowed
in his large skiff up Elk, three or four miles; caught in a wild
storm of rain and sleet.
Had a dispatch today from Captain Simmonds at Gauley; he
reports rumors of an early advance on all our posts. "Sensa-
tional!" General Scammon in a "stew" about it.
398 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Friday, 27. -- Bitterly cold last night; a bright, frosty morning.
Election yesterday in all these counties on accepting the condi-
tions which Congress affixes to the admission as a State of West
Virginia. The condition is abolition of slavery. The people
doubtless have acquiesced.
Rumors of enemy in Boone and Logan [Counties], also on the
Sandy. All pointing to an attempt to take this valley and the
Saturday, 28. -- Rain all night. Yesterday, a clear, cold
morning; a white frost; cloudy and hazy all day; rain at night.
P. M. Rode with Dr. Webb, Lieutenant McKinley, and a
dragoon out on road to Coal Forks as far as Davis Creek, thence
down the creek to the Guyandotte Pike (river road), thence home.
Crossed the creek seven times; water deep and bottom miry.
Today a fight between four hundred Jenkins' or Floyd's men
and two hundred and seventy-five Thirteenth Virginia [men] at
Hurricane Bridge. Rebels repulsed. Our loss three killed and
six wounded, one mortally. Floyd's men coming into Logan,
Boone, Wayne, Cabell, and Putnam [Counties], reporting Floyd
dismissed and his troops disbanded. The troops from being
state troops refuse to go into Confederate service but seem will-
ing to fight the Yankees on their own hook.
CAMP WHITE, March 28, 1863.
DEAREST:--I received yours last night. It is a week this
morning since you left. We have had rain every day, and in
tents in the mud it is disagreeable enough. The men still keep
well. We have plenty of rumors of forces coming in here. It
does look as if some of the posts below here might be attacked.
You went away at just the right time as it has turned out. A
few weeks hence it will be good weather again and you would
enjoy it if we are not too much annoyed with the rumors or
movements of the enemy.
Nothing new to talk about. General Cox is quite certainly not
confirmed, ditto his staff officers, Bascom, Conine, and Christie.
It is now a question whether they revert to their former rank
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 399
or go out of service. At any rate, we are probably not to be
under them. At present we are supposed to report to General
Schenck at Baltimore. We like General Schenck but he is too
distant and we prefer on that account to be restored to the
Department of the Ohio under General Burnside.
We have had two bitterly cold nights the last week; with all
my clothes and overcoat on I could not keep warm enough to
sleep well. But it is healthy!
Love to all the boys, to Grandma and "a smart chance" for
your own dear self.
Same as before, yours lovingly,
Sunday, [March 29]. -- Last night Lieutenant Austin came into
camp with thirty-three men and two guns; a ten-pound Parrott
and a three-inch Rebel gun captured by Colonel Crook at Lewis-
burg last summer. Cleared off cold last night; a strong northwest
wind all night and today; bitterly cold. No fun in tent life in
such weather. Rumors of the fight at Hurricane Bridge repre-
sent the Rebels as Jenkins' men, four hundred to seven hundred
Monday, 30. -- A cold, clear night last night; a fine morning,
but a white frost -- light. Report that the steamer which left
here yesterday morning with Quartermaster Fitch, Paymaster
Cowen, etc., on board was fired into nearly opposite Buffalo.
Said to be ten companies of Jenkins' men, some crossing
Kanawha, a few with horses. Lieutenant-Colonel Comly with
five companies [of the] Twenty-third went down [the] river
in [a] steamboat to Coal's Mouth to defend that point.
4 P. M. -- Reported that Point Pleasant is in possession of the
6 P. M. -- Dispatch from Captain Fitch says [that a] company
of [the] Thirteenth Virginia holds out in court-house at Point
Pleasant; with impromptu gunboats from Gallipolis drove the
Rebels out of Point Pleasant; can certainly hold it until dark.
400 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
9 P. M. -- Dispatch: Rebels driven back, twelve killed, four-
teen taken prisoners. Our loss one killed, one wounded, three
officers (?) taken prisoners. Stores all safe.
10 P. M. -- Rebels retreated up Kanawha; starving, out of
shoes, and ammunition.
Colonel Comly ordered to rig up steamboat so as to protect men
and go down the river to prevent Jenkins from recrossing the
[March 31].--7:30 A. M.--Colonel Comly started from
Coal's Mouth down [the] river at daylight.
8:30 A. M.--Dispatch from Colonel Comly at Red House
says, "Jenkins supposed to have recrossed the river five miles
above Point Pleasant." Our telegraphic communications via
Gauley and Clarksburg with the outside world cut off between
Gauley and Clarksburg! Bottsford says now: "Keep your
powder dry and trust in God!" I advised to send word to
Captain Fitch at Gallipolis to run his steamboats up Kanawha
and prevent a recrossing of the Rebels, but it was too late or
seems not to have been heeded.
CAMP WHITE, April 1, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--We have had most disagreeable weather for
a week. Part of the time we were cut off from outside world
by General Jenkins' raid below. He has thus far made nothing.
He has attacked two of the posts garrisoned by men under my
command and been whipped both times with a loss to him of
seventy killed and prisoners. Our loss is six. We could take
the whole party with cavalry enough. As it is, he will get off.
All fools' day is a bright cold windy day. We are in tents
rather too early for comfort or health. We are glad to see warm
R. B. HAYES.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 401
CAMP WHITE, April 1, 1863.
DEAREST:--We are again in communication with America
after being cut off about four or five days by General Jenkins.
He attacked two posts garrisoned by [the] Thirteenth Virginia--
and one had Lieutenant Hicks, the color sergeant and six men of
Twenty-third. In both cases General Jenkins was badly worsted
losing seventy men killed or captured, while we lost only four
killed and five wounded. A sorry raid so far.
Judge Matthews, I see, is to be superior court judge. I sup-
pose his health is the cause. He had a difficulty before he left
the Twenty-third which at times unfitted him for service in the
Awful weather for tent life the last week -- snow, rain, and
wind "all to once." I am really glad you left when you did. A
few weeks hence if Jenkins lets us alone we shall be in condition
to enjoy your presence.
Love to the dear boys. Webb will, I am sure, study hard when
he hears how much I want him to be a scholar. Birch and the
others are right of course.
The Prince's [Prince of Wales] wedding you read, I know.
No happier than ours!
Friday, [April] 3. -- Monday's fight at Point Pleasant was a
fine affair; twenty Rebels killed and fifty taken prisoners, of
whom twenty-four were wounded. Colonel Comly returned with
[Companies] E and K on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Jackson Smith [a prisoner] says: "[The] Eighth Virginia is
commanded by Colonel Corns; Colonel Ferguson [commands]
the Sixteenth Virginia. We took a near cut from Marion to
Jeffersonville, crossing Holston River and Brush, Poor Valley
and Rich Mountains, about twenty-eight miles in two days, leav-
ing Marion, March 14. Waggons followed by turnpike from
Wytheville. [On the] 16th, camped at Jeffersonville. [The]
402 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
17th, twelve miles to Abbs Valley; 18th, twelve miles into Mc-
Dowell County; 19th, twelve miles to Tug Fork in McDowell
County. Eight days' rations issued, crackers and dried beef.
[The] 20th, three miles up Tug and crossed. [The] 21st, twelve
or fourteen [miles] to Cub Creek; crossed [the] Guyandotte in
canoes. [The] 24th, passed Logan Court-house; 25th I came up
Big Creek to Turtle Creek; down Turtle Creek to Coal."
CAMP WHITE, April 5, 1863.
DEAREST:--The weather is good, our camp dry, and every-
body happy. Joe has got a sail rigged on his large skiff and he
enjoys sailing on the river. It is pleasant to be able to make
use of these otherwise disagreeable spring winds to do our
Visited the hospital (it being Sunday) over in town this morn-
ing. It is clean, airy, and cheerful-looking. We have only a
few there--mostly very old cases.
Comly heard a couple of ladies singing Secesh songs, as if
for his ear, in a fine dwelling in town. Joe has got his revenge
by obtaining an order to use three rooms for hospital patients.
The announcement caused grief and dismay--they fear small-
pox (a case has appeared). I think Joe repents his victory now.
Enclosed photographs, except Comly's, are all taken by a
Company B man who is turning a number of honest pennies by
the means -- Charlie Smith, Birch will recollect as Captain
Five companies of the Twenty-third had a hard race after
Jenkins. They got his stragglers. Colonel Paxton and Gil-
more are after him with their cavalry. General Jenkins has had
bad luck with this raid. He came in with seven hundred to eight
hundred men. He will get off with four hundred to five hundred,
badly used up, and nothing to pay for his losses. We lost half
a dozen killed. They murdered one citizen of Point Pleasant, an
old veteran of 1812, aged eight-four. They will run us out in a
month or two, I suspect, unless we are strengthened, or they
weakened. General Scammon is prepared to destroy salt and
salt-works if he does have to leave.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 403
I think of you and the boys oftener than ever. Love to 'em
and oceans for yourself.
P. S.--I sent by express three hundred and fifty dollars in a
package with two hundred dollars of Joe's. It ought to reach
Mother Webb in a day or two after this letter. Write if it
doesn't or does.
CAMP WHITE, April 9, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of the 3rd received. Yes, Jenkins
made a dash into Point Pleasant, but he dashed out before doing
much mischief with a loss of seventy-five killed and prisoners.
He attacked one other post garrisoned by men under my com-
mand but was repulsed. His raid was a failure. He lost about
one hundred and fifty men while in this region and accomplished
nothing. But we expect repetitions of this thing, and with our
present force we shall probably suffer more another time.
I do not look for an end of the war for a long time yet. I
am glad the late elections show the second sober thought to be
right. We can worry them out if we keep at it without flagging.
Come on, it will be good weather in a few weeks.
I send you a soldier's photograph of our log-cabin camp near
Gauley. It is not good. You can see the falls beyond the camp
and the high cliffs on the opposite side of the Kanawha. My
quarters were at the long-roofed cabin running across the street
towards the back and right of the picture.
S. BIRCHARD. R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, April 10, 1863.
DEAREST:--Your most welcome letter reached me this morn-
ing. Tell Webby the little rooster is in fine feather. He has had
a good many fights with a big rooster belonging to the family
near our camp, but holds his own very bravely.
404 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Yes, a coat of course. I am afraid about pants -- they should
be long and wide in the legs for riding if you get them. No vest
is wanted.--Did the cash come to hand?
Our large flag at home would look well flying over this camp
if you will send it by Mr. Forbes. As for the new regimental
flag, you shall get it some day if you wish to do it.
The fine weather of a few days past has brought us out. We
are very happy here again.
Colonel Matthews is perfectly right. He no doubt leaves the
army on account of the impossibility of serving in the field. He
was barely able to get through his first campaign. ...
I am as glad as anybody that the Union ticket [in Cincinnati]
was carried. The soldiers all feel happy over the recent indica-
tions at home. A few victories over the Rebels now would lift
us on amazingly.--Yes, "cut off" sounds badly, but it was a
very jolly time.
I have Captain Gilmore and Lieutenant Austin and two rifled
guns camped here, besides four howitzers with gun squads on
the steamboats. General Jenkins and about eight hundred men
left the railroad at Marion, Smith County, southwestern Virginia,
and crossed the mountains to the head waters of Sandy River
and so across towards the mouth of Kanawha. They reached our
outpost twenty-four miles from here and demanded a surrender.
Captain Johnson with four companies of [the] Thirteenth Vir-
ginia declined to surrender and, after a good fight, repulsed Gen-
eral Jenkins. He then crossed Kanawha twenty miles from the
mouth or less and attacked Point Pleasant at the mouth. Captain
Carter and one company of [the] Thirteenth Virginia occupied
the court-house. They could not keep the whole town clear of
Rebels but defended themselves gallantly until relieved from
Gallipolis. General Jenkins then retreated. Colonel Paxton and
Captain Gilmore followed by different routes, worrying him badly
and getting about forty prisoners.
Does Birch remember Captain Waller, a cavalry captain who
took care of Colonel Paxton and sat opposite us at table often?
Perhaps he recollects his little boy. Well he, the boy, rode with
his father in the pursuit and captured two armed men himself!
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 405
Captain Stevens and all the others are commissioned. Naugh-
ton is wroth at Dr. Webb and me! . . . More photographs.
Preserve with the war archives, and be sure of one thing, I love
you so much.
CAMP WHITE, April 15, Evening.
DEAREST:--Your short business letter came this afternoon.
I do not yet know about your coming here during the campaign-
ing season. If we fortify, probably all right; if not, I don't know.
Lieutenant Ellen is married. His wife sent me a fine big
wedding cake and two cans of fruit. Good wife, I guess, by the
proofs sent me.
You speak of Jim Ware. What does he think of the pros-
pects? I understand Jim in a letter to Dr. Joe says Dr. Ware
gives it up. Is this so?
I send you more photographs. The major's resignation was
not accepted and he is now taking hold of things with energy.
We are having further disasters, I suspect, at Charleston and
in North Carolina. But they are not vital. The small results
(adverse results, I mean,) likely to follow are further proofs of
our growing strength.
What a capital speech Everett has made. He quite redeems
Always say something about the boys--their sayings and
CAMP WHITE, April 19, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER: -- I received the letter written on your birth-
day yesterday. It found me very well and pleasantly employed.
Today is Sunday. We had a meeting this morning which you
would have enjoyed. We had the first sermon to the soldiers
406 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
we have heard in many months. A Presbyterian clergyman,
educated at Granville and Hudson, named Little, a man well
adapted to talk to soldiers, preached, sang, etc., etc., most ac-
ceptably to a fine audience of troops. He dined with me and
promises to come often. He belongs to one of the regiments
under my command, posted about forty miles from here.
My eyes are perfectly good--my arm good enough for my
use.--The weather here is beautiful--rather too hot. Health
good with us generally.--Love to all.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Wednesday, [April] 22.-- A good spell of weather just ended.
Drilling, boating, ball-playing, and the like make the time pass
pleasantly. Last Sunday had a Mr. Little preach to us on the
bank of the river. Several young ladies, a good audience of
soldiers, and a good sermon. Mr. Little brought a sort of hand
organ and was the chief musician -- an eccentric, witty man,
capable and zealous.
CAMP WHITE, April 22, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--We have a pleasant camp, just enough for
men to do to keep them out of mischief. About as easy soldier-
ing as we ever had. You can stay on the opposite side of the
river at a fair hotel for seven dollars per week, or on this side in
a comfortable tent, better grub, for nothing. If you can do better
at home, we can make up the difference in novelty. So come soon.
We shall have a superior foe driving us out or worrying us badly
in a month or two, and at your time of life that might be un-
comfortable. I think we shall be let alone now until after the
first of June. General Jenkins learned that a small force had
no fun coming in here and a large force can't live here until the
first of June or after.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 407
I hope we shall soon see the drafting begin. It ought not to
be delayed a day now.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA, April 30, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--I have received yours of the 25th. I am not
surprised to hear you are going into business under Governor
Chase's Bank Law. I thought of suggesting it, but knew so little
about it that I could form no intelligent opinion.*
You can come here well enough. There is of course a pos-
sibility of being cut off, but very small probability of it. I do not
doubt that the Rebels will get in below us, but we shall certainly
hear of it in time to ship off all who are not ready to stay. Lucy
would like to come with you, but you will not bring her unless
you find it quite convenient to do so.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, May 2, 1863.
DEAREST L--:--Yours and the monthlies were handed me
last night. No hurry about the "duds." As for shoulder-straps,
it would make no difference how it's done if it's according to
custom or regulations. I don't want to start a new fashion.
Regulations require straps of a certain size, color, etc., a silver
eagle, etc., etc. I would sooner have simply the eagle than a
strap twice as big as the rule, but of no importance. Glad to get
We are fortifying, partly to occupy time, partly to be safe.
Will [shall] be at it some time.
* Mr. Birchard was promptly taking steps to convert his bank into a
national bank under the new law. It became the First National Bank of
Fremont, and was the fifth bank in the country to be chartered by the
408 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Uncle talks of coming up. If he does, you may bring one or
more of the boys if you can do so conveniently, and if he asks
you. . . .
MRS. HAYES. R.
May 7, .--Another movement of the army of the Poto-
mac, this time under General Hooker, a man of energy and
courage. Whether able and skilful enough to handle so great
an army is the question. He is confident and bold. His crossing
the Rappahannock was sudden and apparently successful. It
looked a little like separating his army. The great fighting [at
Chancellorsville] was on Saturday and Sunday, reported vaguely
as "indecisive." Again this suspense--"with us or with our
foes?" All day Sunday I was thinking and talking of the battle.
The previous news satisfied me that about that time fighting
would be done.
CAMP WHITE, May 7, 1863.
DEAREST: -- The boxes came safely. The flag will not be cut.
The coat fits well. Straps exactly according to regulations or
none. The eagles are pretty and simple and I shall keep them
until straps can be got of the size and description prescribed, viz.,
"Light or sky-blue cloth, one and three-eighths inches wide by
four inches long; bordered with an embroidery of gold one-
fourth of an inch wide; a silver embroidered spread eagle on the
center of the strap." I am content with the eagles as they are
but if straps are got, let them be "according to red-tape." The
pants fit Avery to a charm and he keeps them. What is the
price? I'll not try again until I can be measured. I do not need
pants just now.
We have a little smallpox in Charleston. Lieutenant Smith
has it, or measles. Also raids of the enemy threatened. I
wouldn't come up just now; before the end of the month it may
be all quiet again. Bottsford's sister and other ladies are going
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 409
We are building a fort on the hill above our camp -- a good
position. We are in suspense about Hooker. He moves rapidly
and boldly. If he escapes defeat for the next ten days he is the
coming man. -- Pictures 0. K., etc., etc. -- Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, May 17, 1863.
DEAREST:--Things look well for quiet in our vicinity for a
time to come. We have had a good deal of excitement for the
past fortnight, but it is over now. Any time you think best to
come or send Grandma or any of the family, advise me as you
start and we will be ready for you and glad to see you. Comly
brings his new wife here soon. Ellen (Lieutenant Ellen), ditto.
Mrs. Zimmerman, an agreeable lady, is here now.
My whole brigade except two or three detached companies,
is now here. Delany, Simmonds, the Fifth and Thirteenth Vir-
ginia and a new cavalry company were sent for during the recent
scare. We have nearly finished a tolerable fort, and have a gun-
boat. I have thirteen pieces of artillery.
I am most agreeably disappointed in my Virginia regiments.
The Thirteenth is new and composed of West Virginians, but
it has capital officers and they promise well in all respects. I
reviewed them this Sunday morning. Their appearance would
be creditable to an old regiment.
The Fifth was in all battles under Fremont and Pope last
summer and behaved well, but was unfortunately officered. This
has been corrected. Their present commander is an excellent
man and I look for good things from them.
It perhaps would be better for you not to come until you are
ready to leave Cincinnati for the summer, if you do leave for the
summer. But you and Mother Webb will make your own ar-
rangements and it will suit me.
As ever, affectionately,
R. B. HAYES.
410 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CAMP WHITE, May 17, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . We are in no danger here. We
have built a tolerably good fort which we can hold against su-
perior forces perhaps a week or two or more. We have a gun-
boat which will be useful as long as the river is navigable. My
whole brigade has been here. The most of it is good and the rest
I like your bank project.
The Richmond hoax was a severe one. It did not reach us
in a way to command belief. I still stick to Hooker. The Rebel
loss of Jackson gives us the best of that effort. I hope the
Potomac Army will get a victory sometime.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA, [May 20 (?)], 1863.
DEAR UNCLE: -- If I wrote you two or three days ago after
getting your last, I take this one back; or let it go to my credit
on future account. We are expecting to have our communica-
tions cut with the outside world soon again. We are tolerably
fixed for it, and can worry through, if not too long continued.
We do not know accurately yet what has happened to Hooker.
He is repulsed and his movement a failure. I hope he is left
relatively as well off as he was before. If so, he is still, for all
I see, our general. I can perceive nothing injurious to him per-
sonally in the failure. He has shown his disposition to do some-
thing, and, for all that appears, capacity. This is all we can de-
mand. The radical vice is, as I have said to you before, I fear,
in the army. Somebody behaves badly. This is always to be
expected in all armies. But in this army it seems always to be
at the vital point, where it is ruinous. I always feel when the
Potomac Army moves, that if they are not routed, we are to be
glad. So now, from present accounts, I feel happy that it is no
worse. If our army under Hooker can keep employed the largest
and best Rebel army, they are probably fulfilling their mission.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 411
To do more than this, would speedily end the Rebellion. To do
merely this, will end it in time.
Perhaps I better take stock in your bank. I could now pay
one or two thousand cash, and by selling my Hamilton property,
could increase it soon to five thousand dollars. What say you?
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA, May 25, 1863.
DEAREST:--If Vicksburg is taken it will perhaps take us to
some other field. At least, important changes in our military
policy may be looked for. Therefore, darling, I want you to
visit me when you can, with such of the boys as you choose. All
this is supposing Vicksburg ours. If not there will be time
enough, I think, when you get ready to quit the city for the sum-
mer a few weeks hence.
Comly has his wife here. Captains Zimmerman and Sperry
theirs, and more are expected -- mine among the rest.--Love
P. S. -- Tell Stephenson I am now ready to sell the Hamilton
property as proposed, if the offer can still be had.
CAMP WHITE, May 25, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE: -- The Rebels don't make much progress to-
wards getting us out. We are tolerably well fortified here and at
Fayette. At the latter place they tried it, banging away three
or four days and doing nothing.
I will see to the bank stock and try to pay a little at any rate.
Grant seems to be doing well. If all we hear is true, I think
he will get Vicksburg soon.
412 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I have sent to Lucy to come up as soon as Vicksburg is taken,
thinking it probable that such an event may soon send us further
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, May 27, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER:--I received your letter and Laura's a few
days ago. . . . You seem to suppose Lucy and the boys are
here. This is a mistake. I did not send for Lucy until yester-
day. If the reports of General Grant's victories at Vicksburg
are true, I shall expect to see important changes in the location
of troops in this quarter. I therefore tell Lucy that her best
chance to visit me is now.
We have had a good deal of marching, but little fighting, dur-
ing the recent attempts of the enemy to get into this valley.
They failed entirely in their efforts. We are sufficiently fortified
to keep our positions against anything but greatly superior
forces. If Grant is successful, at Vicksburg, as seems now
probable, the whole prospect is changed and changed favorably.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, June 2, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE: -- Yes, I vote for you bank president. Signing
the bills will be a bore, but then the signature can't be counter-
Vicksburg appears to be a hard nut to crack. But with proper
efforts to reinforce and supply Grant, he must, I think, succeed.
The more obstinate the resistance, the more valuable will be the
victory if we finally gain it. We are stronger here than we
were. I now have a full brigade, four regiments infantry, a
battery, and three campanies cavalry. We fortify all points
S. BIRCHARD. R. B. HAYES.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 413
CAMP WHITE, June 14, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--I received yours dated the 4th last night.
I see by the Sentinel that you are a bank president, one of the
"moneyed aristocracy" of the land.
No taking of Vicksburg yet. I still think we must get it soon.
Vallandigham for governor? Pretty bold move. Rather rash
if it is considered that forty to sixty thousand soldiers will prob-
ably vote. I estimate that about as many will vote for Vallandig-
ham as there are deserters in the course of a year's service --
from one to five per cent. A foolish (or worse) business, our
Democratic friends are getting into. I don't like arbitrary or
military arrests of civilians in States where the law is regularly
administered by the courts, but no issue can be made on such
questions while the Rebellion is unconquered, and it's idle to
Lucy and all the family are on a steamboat a few miles below
here, and will be up this afternoon. We have had no trouble
from Rebels since their repulse at Fayette, so I think they will be
quite comfortable here.
15th.--Mother Webb and Lucy, with all the boys, are here.
Boys are delighted.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, June 19, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER: . . . Mother Webb, Lucy and the four
boys all got here in good health last Monday. They are housed
in a pleasant little cottage on the river bank--plenty of fruit
and flowers and not over fifty steps from my tent.
General Scammon's wife left yesterday. Four of [or] five
officers' wives are here, making society enough. It is not likely
they will remain in the present stirring times more than a week
Lucy had a long letter from Nellie Howells (Mead) just be-
414 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
fore she left Cincinnati. Nellie is very happy in her European
home.--Love to all.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES. R. B. HAYES.
Camp White (opposite Charleston), West Virginia, June 25,
1863.--Last Monday, the 15th, Lucy, Mother Webb, and "all
the boys" came here from Cincinnati on the Market Boy. A
few happy days, when little Joseph sickened and died yesterday
at noon (12:40). Poor little darling! A sweet, bright boy,
"looked like his father," but with large, handsome blue eyes
much like Webb's. Teething, dysentery, and brain affected, the
diseases. He died without suffering; lay on the table in our room
in the Quarrier cottage, surrounded by white roses and buds all
the afternoon, and was sent to Cincinnati in care of Corporal
Schirmes, Company K [D], this morning. I have seen so little
of him, born since the war, that I do not realize a loss; but his
mother, and still more his grandmother, lose their little dear
companion, and are very much afflicted.
CAMP WHITE, June 25, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--Our little Joseph died yesterday after a few
days' severe illness. He was eighteen months old--bright and
very pretty. I have hardly seen him, and hardly had a father's
feeling for him. To me, the suffering of Lucy and the still
greater sorrow of his grandmother, are the chief afflictions. His
brain was excessively developed, and it is probable that his early
death has prevented greater suffering. He was the most ex-
citable, nervous child I ever saw. We have sent his body home
for, burial. Lucy and the rest will leave here in a few days for
Chillicothe. This has dashed the pleasure of their visit here.
I have one thousand dollars for your bank (at Cincinnati), and
will [shall] have fifteen hundred dollars more in two or three
weeks. I want stock to that amount. I have one thousand dol-
lars' worth of 7:30 bonds, but I will keep them in preference to
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 415
I like Brough's nomination [for governor of Ohio.] We
everywhere lack energy. He will have enough.
R. B. HAYES.
July 1, .--Lucy and the family left on the Marwood
today. The visit has been a happy one, saddened though it is
by the death of our beautiful little Joseph. Lucy has been cheer-
ful since--remarkably so--but on leaving today without him
she burst into tears on seeing a little child on the boat. The
boys, the three, all lovable. Birchie is delicate, looks like Billy
Rogers. Must take care of his training.
Little "Jody" died in the Quarrier house, a little frame cottage
on the bank of the Kanawha opposite the lower end of Charles-
ton. Camp White was on the same premises.
CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA, July 1, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--Lucy and family left here today. They go
to Ross County. They will probably visit Delaware during the
summer. Unless we should have more active duty, I shall be
quite lonely for a while without them.
The invasion of Pennsylvania is likely to work important
changes; possibly to take us East again. The Army of the
Potomac has another commander. I still suspect that in the
case of that army, the soldiers are more in fault for their dis-
asters than the generals. I dread to hear of a battle there. They
will do better, however, on our own soil. If Grant could only
get Vicksburg in time to spare a corps or two of his troops for
the campaign in the East, we should be safe enough. If Lee
really is pushing into Pennsylvania in full force, it ought to prove
his ruin; but we shall see. I think, as you do, that it will do
much to unite us.
R. B. HAYES.
416 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CAMP WHITE, July 6, 1863.
DEAREST:--Dr. Joe got back yesterday--twenty-four hours
from Chillicothe. Very glad to hear his cheerful account of you.
I am in the tent occupied by Captain Hood and wife in front
of the cottage. We all miss you. You could not have felt the
loss of me more than I did of you. Notwithstanding the loss
of the dear little boy, your visit leaves a happy impression. I
love you more than ever, darling.
The Ninth has gone to Fayette. If the good news from the
East holds out, I think the Twenty-third will follow soon.
We had a good Fourth. Salutes from Simmonds and Austin.
A good deal of drinking but no harm. We let all out of the
I send you a deed to execute and send to Stephenson. Do it
before a notary. I will ask Uncle to put twenty-five hundred
dollars stock in his bank in your name.
I am sorry to hear Uncle Scott is in poor health. I think the
news from the East will be a good tonic. We shall whip the
rascals some day. -- Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, July 6, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . I propose to take in your bank
twenty-five hundred dollars stock in Lucy's name. Please see
when you get the cash to put the stock in her name. I have in
Stephenson's hands one thousand dollars and expect fifteen hun-
dred dollars more in three weeks. I send you an order for it.
Reports from the East look well. If true, we shall perhaps go
forward here. The Rebels found fighting in the enemy's country
a different thing from battling on their own ground.
R. B. HAYES.
LOG CABINS ON THE KANAWHA--1862-1863 417
CAMP WHITE, CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, July 8, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER:--. . . We received the news of the
capture of Vicksburg last night. I hope it will not turn out as
so many reports -- stock-jobbers' lies. We have thus far had en-
couraging success in Pennsylvania. If it is continued the Rebels
will hardly repeat the experiment of invading our soil. Alto-
gether things wear a hopeful appearance, but I do not expect an
early end of the war. A great deal remains to be done, and it
is gratifying that the people seem determined to be patient and
firm. . . .
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
July 7. P. M.--Heard the news of Vicksburg captured.
Fired one hundred guns and had a good time.
July 9. P. M.--Left Charleston on steamboat for upper
10 -- At Loup Creek all day.
11. -- Moved to foot of Cotton Hill, Fayette side.
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