MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS -- WEST
VIRGINIA -- JULY-DECEMBER 1863
CAMP Joe Webb, Near Fayetteville, West Virginia, Sun-
day, July 12, 1863. -- We are starting on an expedition
to Raleigh County and perhaps further. I do not fully approve
of the enterprise. We are too weak to accomplish much; run
some risks; and I see no sufficient object to be accomplished.
I wrote to Lucy yesterday. I shall not write to Mother or
Uncle until my return. It would only cause them anxiety and do
no good. Of course this book will be sent home in case of
accident, and they will here see that they were not forgotten.
Dear boys, darling Lucy, and all, good-bye! We are all in the
hands of Providence and need only be solicitous to do our duty
here and leave the future to the Great Disposer.
[July 16, 1863].--We reached Raleigh Tuesday, 14th, about
12:30 P. M. Found the enemy strongly fortified at Piney River.
It was deemed unsafe to assault in front, and finding it would
take much time to turn the position, it was resolved to leave
without attempting to storm the works. During the night the
Rebels kindly relieved us by running away! P. M. We started
for Fayette on the 15th.
FAYETTEVILLE, July 16, P. M., 1863.
DEAREST:--We reached here today; left Raleigh yesterday.
The Rebels were fortifying beyond Raleigh on Piney. They
were already annoying us a good deal from there. We reached
their works Tuesday, 14th. After feeling for their position we
withdrew for the night. In the morning they were gone. A
force is destroying their works and we are so far on our way
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 419
back. We may go on another expedition before returning to
Charleston, but not one involving much risk.
Morgan is in Ohio. I wish we were there also. Possibly we
may be if he remains long. Very queer, these last struggles
of the Rebs. They are dying hard, but it seems like the con-
vulsive and desperate efforts of the dying. . . . Love to all.
Affectionately, dear one, your
FAYETTEVILLE, July 16, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER: --We have been into Dixie and are safe out
again into our own lines -- a very lively and pleasant raid.
I see Morgan is raiding in Ohio. I hope he will be caught.
It will not surprise me if we are called home to look after him.
I regard this as one of the reckless efforts of a despairing and
lost cause. Certainly the Rebel prospects were never before so
dark, nor ours so cheering.
I am very well. No time to say more.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
FAYETTEVILLE, July 16, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are on our return from beyond Raleigh.
Rebs we were after left their stronghold without a fight, and our
troops destroyed their works. Shall probably return to Charleston
soon. Morgan in Ohio! I wish we were there also. All things
look well. The escape of Lee does not disappoint me. To get
rid of him so easily is a success. We shall get him some day.
I enjoyed this last little campaign very much indeed.
R. B. HAYES.
420 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
[July 22, 1863]. -- [On the] 16th, at Fayette, heard that Mor-
gan was in Ohio at Piketon, leaving there for Gallipolis. Gen-
eral Scammon wisely and promptly determined to head him [off]
by sending me. (This was after a sharp controversy.) [The]
Seventeenth with [the] Twenty-third and Thirteenth took steam-
boats from Loup Creek for Gallipolis. [The] 18th at Gallipolis
heard Morgan had pushed by up the Ohio as if to cross at
Sunday, 19th, [at] Pomeroy. Halted; found the militia wait-
ing in position for Morgan. About noon he came; the Twenty-
third went out to meet him; found him in force; sent for [the]
Thirteenth; formed lines of battle. Morgan ditto. Seeing we
were "regulars and not militia" (words of inspection of Rebels),
he hurried off, with some loss. We had one wounded, in his
hand--Clemens, Company B.
[The] 20th, at daylight, found Morgan at Buffington Island.
He was here attacked by General Judah's cavalry and the gun-
boats. Not much fighting by Rebels, but great confusion, loss of
artillery, etc., etc.
On to Hockingport; guarded the ferries over the Ohio at Lee's
Creek, Belleville, and Hocking.
[The] 21st, back to Gallipolis. Morgan's army gone up. We
got over two hundred prisoners. Everybody got some. No fight
in them. The most successful and jolly little campaign we ever
[The] 22nd, Wednesday, home again in Camp White. [The]
Thirteenth left at Point Pleasant; [the] Fifth sent to Gauley
STEAMBOAT VICTRESS, OHIO RIVER, July 22, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--We have been after Morgan for a week. The
Twenty-third was in all the fighting at Pomeroy and Buffington
and took two hundred and six prisoners. The Rebs couldn't fight
soldiers at all. We lost one man. We had a most glorious time.
We go up the Kanawha again today.
S. BIRCHARD. R. B. HAYES.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 421
CAMP WHITE, July 22, 1863.
DEAREST:--Home again after an absence of two weeks,
marching and hurrying all the time. The last week after Morgan
has been the liveliest and jolliest campaign we ever had. We
were at all the skirmishes and fighting after he reached Pomeroy.
It was nothing but fun--no serious fighting at all. I think not
over ten killed and forty wounded on our side in all of it. Un-
luckily McCook, father of Robert and the rest, was mortally
wounded. This hurt me but all the rest was mere frolic. Mor-
gan's men were only anxious to get away. There was no fight
in them when attacked by us. You will no doubt see great claims
on all sides as to the merits of his captors. The cavalry, gun-
boats, militia, and our infantry each claim the victory as their
peculiar property. The truth is, all were essential parties to the
success. The cavalry who pursued him so long deserve the
lion's share. The gunboats and militia did their part. We can
truly claim that Morgan would have crossed and escaped with
his men at Pomeroy if we had not headed him there and de-
feated his attempt. It is not yet certain whether Morgan him-
self will be caught. But it is of small importance. His force
which has so long been the terror of the border, and which has
kept employed all our cavalry in Kentucky is now gone. Our
victorious cavalry can now operate in the enemy's country.
I thought of you often. We were quartered on steamboats --
men were singing, bands playing. Our band was back and with
us, and such lively times as one rarely sees. Almost everybody
got quantities of trophies. I got nothing but a spur and two
volumes captured from the Twentieth Kentucky, Captain H. C.
Breman, and now recaptured by us. Morgan's raid will always
be remembered by our men as one of the happiest events of their
Love to the dear boys and Grandmother. Joe is unwell and is
in a room in town.
422 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CAMP WHITE, July 24, .
DEAREST: -- The happiness of this week's operations is dashed
by the death of Captain Delany and the probable loss of a num-
ber of other good officers and men in our cavalry. Captains
Delany [and] Gilmore, the Thirty-fourth mounted infantry, and
Second Virginia Cavalry left Raleigh, on the day we returned
from there, to cut the Tennessee Railroad at or near Wytheville.
On the very day we (the infantry) were gaining bloodless (or
almost bloodless) victories over Morgan on the Ohio, our cavalry
were fighting a most desperate battle with superior numbers
three hundred miles off at Wytheville. Our men were victorious,
carried the town by storm, but they lost Colonel Toland, Thirty-
fourth killed, Colonel Powell, Second Virginia, mortally wounded,
Captain Delany, killed, his two lieutenants, mortally wounded
(you know them both), and four other lieutenants, wounded;
thirteen privates, killed, and fifty, wounded or prisoners. It was
a most creditable but painful affair.
I am expecting my two companies, the survivors, back tomor-
row. Wytheville has been one of the most violent Rebel towns
from the first. They always talked of "no quarter," "the black
flag," etc. The citizens fired from their houses on the troops as
they rode in. Colonel Powell was shot in the back. The town
was burned to ashes. I will write you more about it when they
We are cleaning camp and getting settled again. The old lady
moved into the cottage when we left; I occupy the tent Captain
and Mrs. Hood were in. Captain Zimmerman went today to
relieve Captain Hunter as commandant of post at Gallipolis.
Uncle Scott and Uncle Moses will feel very hopeful in view
of this month's work. We have taken, as I reckon it, seventy
thousand prisoners this month besides killing or disabling per-
haps fifteen thousand to twenty-thousand more. A pretty big
army of Rebels disposed of.
Morgan is not yet caught. He may get off, but his ruin is very
complete. -- Love to all.
MRS. HAYES. R.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 423
Sunday, [July] 26. -- The cavalry of General Scammon's com-
mand left Raleigh on Wednesday, 15th, to cut the [Virginia and]
Tennessee Railroad. On the [18th] they reached Wytheville
and had a desperate and bloody encounter. The Rebels occupied
the houses firing from them on our men. Our loss is serious.
Colonel Toland, Thirty-fourth Ohio Mounted Infantry, killed.
Colonel Powell, Second Virginia Cavalry, wounded mortally.
Captain Delany, a brave and valuable officer of my brigade, killed.
He was wounded in the body as he rode into town; dismounted
and stood by his horse firing his revolver when he was shot
through the head and killed instantly. The ball came from a
house hitting the eagle ornament on the side of his hat. Two
of his lieutenants badly wounded. The Rebels used the houses as
fortifications. They were burned.
Captain Delany was killed at Wytheville on the 18th. It was
near the entrance to the town from the northwest. His horse
had been killed and he stood by her firing his revolver. He re-
loaded after firing all his shots. A ball from a second-story
window struck through the eagle ornament on his hat and ranging
down through his head came out at his lower jaw on the opposite
side. Colonel Toland was at the bottom of the ascent leading
up into town, urging the men to go in and fire the town, when he
was shot through the breast. It is thought the same citizen, a
man of wealth living in a brick house at that end of town, shot
both Colonel Toland and Captain Delany. He (the citizen) was
killed by a [man of the] Thirty-fourth. His house was burned.
One citizen, a large fleshy man, in specs, was killed.
The Second Virginia Cavalry behaved shamefully. They
would not go in to the support of Captains Gilmore and Delany.
The Thirty-fourth did nobly. Major Huffman, Second Virginia,
said with a smile as Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin and the Thirty-
fourth passed in: "That's right Colonel, go in"! but [he] didn't
offer to go in himself.
CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA, July 26, 1863.
MRS. DELANY:--I have seen several officers and men who
were with your husband at Wytheville. His company led the
424 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
attack on the town. Captain Delany's horse was killed under him
and some think he was slightly wounded soon after the attack
began. Captain Delany continued the attack, encouraging his
men by his example until he was killed instantly by a ball in his
head. His body was taken to a house outside of the town, and it
is a gratification to know that it was left in charge of Father
Heidekamp, a friend of your husband, who is in charge of a
parish at Wytheville.
I will get together the property of your husband and send it to
you as soon as practicable.
A flag of truce will be sent towards Wytheville when further
particulars will be known.
R. B. HAYES,
COLONEL COMMANDING FIRST BRIGADE.
CAMP WHITE, July 26, 1863.
DEAREST:--I got yours of the 18th last night. Morgan's
embargo having been removed, we may now expect less delay
in our correspondence. . . . Your description of the
militia doings is amusing enough. We saw the same things on
our route in Ohio, but they were really very useful in blocking
roads, carrying information, and the like.
Dear little Joe, it will be a long, long time before you will even
know in how many ways he was dear to you. There will be a
loneliness in the house at Cincinnati greater than anywhere else.
It was fortunate for your present feelings that we lost him as
we did, instead of at home. The other boys are, I hope, enjoy-
We are likely, I think, to remain here some time. The great
successes of this month, if the Potomac Army meets with no
great reverse, will be likely, I think, to substantially end the
Rebellion during my original term of service. It is two years
ago yesterday since we left Camp Chase.--Good-bye, dearest.
Love to all.
MRS. HAYES. R.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 425
CAMP WHITE, July 28, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . We are again in our old camp. We
have lost some valuable officers and men since we left. Captain
Delany, commanding one of my cavalry companies, was killed
in storming Wytheville. He was a man to trust. He received
his promotion on my recommendation and was one of my best
We hear Morgan is himself taken at last. This is important.
At least ten thousand of our mounted men have heretofore been
kept busy watching him. They will now be at liberty to push
against the weakened enemy.
It now seems probable enough that the war will be substan-
tially ended with our original enlistment.
R. B. HAYES.
August 1, .--Our best scout, Corporal Jacobs, and
Private Fenchard, Company F, were murdered last night at
Morris' mill on Gauley River, twelve miles above Gauley Bridge.
Jacobs was an awkward, pigeon-toed youngster, cool, shrewd,
brave; could walk fifty miles a day, go without food or sleep
longer than most men; very fond of scouting. Poor fellow! I
have long feared that he would be caught in this way. He was
made one of the color-guard but was so awkward -- never could
keep step -- that we usually let him be excused from all ordinary
duty. Ordered Morris arrested, to be kept if no proof against
him; hung if guilty of the murder in any way.
CAMP WHITE, August 5, 1863.
DEAREST:--Yours from Elmwood, dated 2nd, reached me
this morning. You were not in as good heart as it found me.
I am feeling uncommonly hopeful. The deaths of officers and
men to whom I am attached give me pain, but they occur in
the course of duty and honorably, and in the prosecution of a war
426 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
which now seems almost certain to secure its object. If at any
time since we were in this great struggle there was cause for
thanksgiving in the current course of things, surely that time
Our prisoners left at Wytheville were well treated, and a
chaplain has been allowed to go there to see if the bodies of
Colonel Toland and Captain Delany can be removed.
I am grieved to hear that Uncle Scott is in trouble about Ed.
If he recovers from his present sickness it is likely he will be able
to stand it better hereafter. The process of acclimating must
have been run through with him by this time. If he gets good
health he will soon recover from the trouble about the promotion.
Let him make himself a neat, prompt, good soldier and there
need be no worry about promotions. It was not lucky to put
so many cousins in one company. I could have managed that
better, but as it's done they ought to be very patient with each
other. Ike Nelson was placed in a delicate position, and while
he perhaps made a mistake, it was an error, if error at all, on
the right side. Too much kinship in such matters does not do,
as Governor Dennison found out a year or two ago.
I am glad you are going to Columbus. I had a chance to send
one hundred and eighty dollars by Colonel Comly to Platt where
you can get it as you want.
By the by, who has the money left at Cincinnati? I sent an
order to Stephenson and he had none.
Poor boys, they will get to have too many homes. I fear they
will find their own the least agreeable. Very glad Birch is get-
ting to ride. Webb will push his way in such accomplishments,
but Birch must be encouraged and helped. Rud will probably
take care of himself.
Yes, darling, I love you as much as you can me. We shall
be together again. Time is passing swiftly. . . .
Joe was never so jolly as this summer. He is more of a
treasure than ever before.--Love to all.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 427
CAMP WHITE, CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, August 6, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE: -- I received yours of the first yesterday morn-
ing. Lucy writes that she expects to go to Delaware and Colum-
bus about the middle of this month, and to visit you before her
return. I begin to feel about those visits to you a good deal as
mother does--that the care and trouble they make for you
more than overbalances your pleasure in them; but you ought to
The money that I supposed was in Stephenson's hands, is
somewhere, and I'll inquire until I find it and let you know.
I think it probable that we shall remain in West Virginia. The
enemy has become alarmed by our movements against the Ten-
nessee Railroad, and has been strengthening their posts in front
of us until now we have twice our numbers watching us. To
keep them out of mischief, it is more likely that our force will
be increased rather than diminished. A gunboat has come up to
help us within the last half-hour. Our Wytheville raid did the
Rebels more harm than was reported. Five thousand suits of
clothing, over four thousand new arms, and quantities of sup-
plies were burned. I think they will not attempt to drive us
out in their present scarcity of men and means.
The Kentucky election pleases me. I hope Ohio will do as
S. BIRCHARD. R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA,
August 9 (Sunday), 1863.
DEAR MOTHER: -- It is a quiet, pleasant Sunday morning. A
large number of the officers and men have gone over to town
to church, leaving a few of us here "to keep house."
Our Rebel friends are gathering in pretty strong force in our
front. Many think it is with the intention of driving us out as
soon as the roasting-ears are in condition to afford them food. I
think, however, that they are merely concentrating to prevent
us from making raids to destroy their important railroad to the
Southwest. Whatever they mean, it is a comfort to know
428 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
that we are giving occupation to a larger force of Rebels that
they can well spare at this time.
Uncle writes that he expects to meet Lucy at Delaware or
Columbus, and as she intends to visit you soon, I suppose you
will see them all in a few days or weeks. I would be glad to be
with you, but I am not expecting to be my own master before
another year. -- Love to all.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, August 15 (Saturday afternoon), 1863.
DEAREST:--Hottest day yet. All busy trying to keep cool.
A dead failure all such attempts. A year ago today we set out
for Maryland and east Virginia. A swift year.
You don't write often these days. You don't love me so much
as you did. Is that it? Not much! You are as loving as ever,
I know, only it is a bore to write. I know that. So it's all right
and I am as fond of you as I was when you were only my sweet-
heart. Yes, more too. Well, write when you can comfortably.
I am going to inspect the Thirteenth at Coal's Mouth tomor-
row; take the band along for the fun of it.
I ride about, read novels, newspapers, and military books, and
sleep a power. We shall go up to Lewisburg, I guess, in two
or three weeks to see after the Rebels in that quarter. All quiet
in our borders now. . . . Love to all.
Yours, with great warmth,
CAMP WHITE, August 17, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . It looks as if we should be very
quiet here for two or three weeks, after which it is probable we
shall push up into the mountains again for a campaign of three
or four weeks.
S. BIRCHARD. R. B. HAYES.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 429
August 19. -- Mrs. Comly returned with her husband a few
days ago. I wish Lucy was here also. Foolish business to send
away our wives as was done. A very queer man when he gets
into a state of mind on any subject!
The hottest of weather for the past three weeks or so. Mother
made a visit to Fremont with Laura and Colonel Mitchell.
CAMP WHITE, August 23, 1863.
DEAREST: -- Very glad to get your good letter from Columbus.
I wish I could travel with you a few weeks now. Everybody
praises our nephew and his wife. That last phrase means Laura.
You must tell me more particulars about Fanny and Minnie,
or do they call her Emily now? If she is growing into a young
lady as fast as I suppose she is, Emily is the best name.
I got a letter from Mother at the same time with yours. She
is very contented and happy at Fremont. You will be together
soon. I hope you will manage to have the boys like her. She
is not likely to have much time to enjoy with her grandsons, and
I hope the most will be made of it.
I see that our beautiful little lost one is in your thoughts a
great deal -- much more perhaps than you thought he would be
when you left here. If it does not sadden your life, as I think
it does not, I am not sorry that you remember him so often. He
was too lovely to be forgotten. Your moralizing on your want
of dignity and all that doesn't disturb me. You'll do for your
husband, and I love you so much, darling. Be cheerful and
happy. Do as well as you can by the boys, but don't worry
about them. They will come out sometime. -- Love to all.
CAMP WHITE, August 24, 1863.
DEAREST:--I write you again so soon to speak of a man we
lost on Saturday. Joseph Kramer was drowned while sailing on
the river. The sailboat (that pretty one of Captain Warren's)
430 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
was swamped by a severe gale and poor Kramer sank after
swimming several rods. You will remember him as a good-
natured sailor who rowed boat with Archie at Camp Reynolds.
He got a furlough to see his family near Columbus. He was a
good soldier; leaves a wife and three or four children. They
live near Georgesville on the farm of the Harpers, a few miles
southwest of Columbus. Lieutenant Abbott was nearly lost with
him. He sank near shore and was senseless for a time.
Kramer is buried on the beautiful hill above the White
monument. He was so good a man that I hope his family will
not be forgotten by those who are interesting themselves at
Columbus in the welfare of soldiers' families. His widow will
need the aid of a lawyer or claim agent to get her allowances
from [the] Government. Platt can perhaps name the right per-
son and otherwise assist her.--No news.-- Love to all.
CAMP WHITE, August 25, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . I keep my cavalry moving as
much as possible. The infantry has little to do. The prisoners
taken and deserters coming in all talk in a way that indicates
great despondency in Dixie. If the movements of Rosecrans on
Chattanooga, Burnside towards Cumberland Gap, and Gilmore
at Charleston are reasonably successful, the Rebellion will be
nearer its end by the middle of October than I have anticipated.
A great contrast between the situation now and a year ago, when
Lee was beating Pope out of the Valley and threatening Wash-
ington. Beat the peace men in your elections and the restora-
tion of the Union is sure to come in good time.
. . . There will be no need of your going to Delaware
or Columbus merely to get Lucy. If she goes to Fremont she
will be able to travel without other escort than the boys.--Love
to Mother. I enjoy her letters.
S. BIRCHARD. R. B. HAYES.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 431
CAMP WHITE, August 30, 1863.
DEAREST:--. . . These cold nights and autumn storms
remind us of winter quarters. If we remain in this region I
mean to have you with me if possible all winter, and I feel like
beginning winter in good season. Already men are putting
chimneys in their tents. A few weeks will probably settle the
question as to where we shall spend the cold weather, and I
shall send for you at the earliest possible moment.
My little sorrel in a savage fit bit Carrington very severely
yesterday. In one snap he cut ten large gashes, several of them
to the bone, in the muscular part of the right arm between the
shoulder and elbow. The bone is not broken, but he will be
disabled for a month. He shook him as a rat is shaken by a
terrier dog. Charley Smith and two others were looking on, and
jumped in, or it is possible he would have been killed. As soon
as he was taken out of his stall the sorrel was as good-natured
I see it stated that very few are to be drafted in Ohio on this
call. I am glad if it is really not necessary, although it would
be pleasant to see our ranks full again. If we are not filled up
we shall of course be mustered out of service at the end of our
three years.--My love to all. Good-bye.
Affectionately, ever your
CAMP WHITE, September 4, 1863.
DEAREST:--Yours mailed 31st came last night. McKinley
(the former sergeant), tearfully and emotionally drunk, has been
boring me for the last half-hour with his blarney. He uttered
a great many prayers for "madame and those little boys, God
bless them." So, of course, I was civil to him.
We are less and less likely to be moved from here as the fall
weather sets in. The change to cold weather was a most grate-
ful one in our hot camp. It takes the long cold rain-storms of
November to make our camps put on their most cheerless aspect.
432 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
You inquire about Mrs. Comly and how we like her. She is
an excellent sweet young woman, and all who get acquainted
with her like her. She is affable and approachable, but of course
she can't make friends as you do. Your gifts are rare enough in
that line. The colonel is not well. He is living too luxuriously!
I would be glad enough to see you enjoying a faith as settled
and satisfactory as that of Mrs. Davis, but really I think you are
as cheerful and happy as she is, and that is what is to be sought,
a cheerful and happy disposition.
Tell the boys that Dick and Guinea are still fast friends. They
travelled with us up into Dixie as far as Raleigh, and down into
Ohio after Morgan. Dick has a battle with each new rooster
which is brought to headquarters, and with the aid of Guinea,
and perhaps a little from Frank or Billy, manages to remain
"cock of the walk." . . .
Love to all--girls and boys. Tell Fanny [Platt] if she ever
gets time in her Yankee school to write to outsiders, I wish her
to remember me.
September 5, 1863. 8 P. M.--Lieutenant Abbott, Sergeant
Clark, Sergeant Stoner, and seventeen other Twenty-third men
go into Dixie to destroy iron-works, bridges, etc., etc. A
perilous task. Great hardships and exposures to be encountered.
Good luck to them!
HEADQUARTERS 1ST BRIGADE, 3D DIVISION, 8TH ARMY
CORPS, CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA,
September 5, 1863.
EDITOR CATHOLIC TELEGRAPH:--In the Catholic Telegraph
of August 26, I am mentioned as the commander of the expedi-
tion to Wytheville in which Captain Delany lost his life. This is
an error. The expedition was planned by General Scammon
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 433
and was under the command of Colonel Toland until he was
killed early in the action at Wytheville, when (Colonel Powell,
the next officer in rank, having been disabled by a severe wound)
the command devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin of the
Thirty-fourth Regiment, O. V. This daring enterprise was so
ably conducted, not only in the advance and attack, but also in
the retreat, that it is due both to the living and the dead that
this correction should be made. Captain Delany was in the
brigade under my command until temporarily detached for this
dangerous service. Upon hearing of his death I sent the melan-
choly intelligence of the loss of this most gallant and meritorious
officer to his friends in Cincinnati. It was no doubt in conse-
quence of this that the mistake of the Telegraph as to the leader-
ship of the Wytheville expedition occurred.
R. B. HAYES,
CAMP WHITE, September 6, 1863.
DEAREST: -- How will it suit you to come out here as soon as
you have visited Fremont, say in two or three weeks? I would
like to have you here before the weather gets too bad. You can
leave the boys with their grandmother somewhere and after
it is known where we are to winter, I can send for Grandmother
and the boys to come also. If we stay here, I will want to keep
house for "you all" this winter. If we go too far into the bowels
of the land for you to follow, you can return to Grandma and
the boys after a suitable visit here.
As things are now it would be very agreeable for you here.
I prefer not to have the boys come out until it is quite certain
they can stay. If you only staid a week or two, it would be
worth while to come. If any change occurs to make it not
desirable for you to come, I will write you. In the meantime
I hope you will be able to cut your visits short so as to get here
by the last week in this month, or sooner if convenient.
I send you enclosed a letter from Mrs. Delany as one of the
memorials to be kept with slips from the Catholic Telegraph.
434 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I shall direct this to Columbus hoping however you have
started for Fremont. -- Love to all.
CAMP WHITE, September 11, 1863.
DEAREST:--Glad to get letters both from you and Mother
last night. Bless the boys, how they must enjoy their first family
visit to their new home! I would be as happy as any of them
to be there.
We hear good news from Burnside in Tennessee. If true it
makes it more desirable that you should come here soon. If he
moves along the railroad into southwestern Virginia, we are
likely to push forward to cooperate, in which case we shall
probably get too far into Dixie for our families to winter with
us. I will notify you if anything occurs to make it imprudent
for you to be here a couple of weeks hence. This is the month
in which the Rebels can come into the valley with the least dif-
ficulty on the score of supplies, but I don't think they will come.
If there is a probability of it, I will telegraph Uncle Scott in time
to stop your coming, or have Captain Zimmerman stop you at
Gallipolis. I do not decide against the boys coming, but as you
will be compelled to come to Gallipolis by railroad and stage
(steamers don't run on the Ohio now) and will perhaps only
remain a fortnight or so, it will perhaps be as well not to bring
them. If after you reach here it turns out that we shall winter
in the valley, I shall send for Mother Webb and all the boys and
keep house, or you can go back after them. In that case you
can rent the house, or if you prefer to winter at Fremont or in
Chillicothe, in case you can't do so here, you may rent the house
My reason for wanting you to come here as soon as you are
through visiting at Fremont, is, that perhaps we shall be ordered
forward as soon as east Tennessee is firmly in our possession.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 435
I think, however, the chances are in favor of our wintering on
Get me a lot of silk handkerchiefs and about three or four
pair stockings, not very heavy, but so-so. You can get them at
Fremont and do it before you forget.
Mrs. Comly is greatly pleased with the prospect of your com-
ing so soon. Mrs. Ellen is expected soon. She is supposed to
be on some sandbar between here and Cincinnati on the Ohio,
praying for a rise of water. Mrs. Barrett is the only other
officer's wife now here and she talks of going home in a fort-
Let me know by telegraph when you will be at Gallipolis
and the doctor or some one will come there after you.
Since writing we have further news of gratifying successes
in east Tennessee. If all continues to go well there, it increases
the chances of a forward movement here, and furnishes addi-
tional reason for you to come on soon before it is too late.--
Love to all.
P. S. -- You may get me a good pair of gloves -- citizens', not
gauntlets -- warm.
September 13.--Sunday a year ago was the 14th. South
Mountain and its losses and glories. How the sadness for the
former fades and the satisfaction with the latter grows!
General Burnside has east Tennessee. Knoxville ours; Cum-
berland Gap taken, and our forces on the railroad nearly to
Bristol. Knoxville to Bristol one hundred and thirty miles;
Bristol to depot at bridge one hundred and seven; total two hun-
dred and thirty-seven. Charleston to bridge one hundred and
436 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
September 20. -- Abbott and party returned. Found the moun-
tains filled with deserters and refugees, the roads and paths
patrolled by Rebel soldiers in pursuit of them. Food scarce;
returned in consequence of difficulty of getting food and the
great number patrolling all routes. Many very desperate gangs
of Union men in the mountains.
September 21, P. M. -- "Rosecrans [at Chickamauga] has
been badly beaten"! Such is the shock the dispatch gives us this
evening. After months of success one of our great armies is de-
feated. A concentration of Rebel armies has overwhelmed our
noble Army of the Cumberland. How these blows strike my
heart! I had just read a joyous dispatch from "L. W. H.",
"Billy Rogers has a baby." But nerve ourselves, we must. We
shall recover from the blow.
I have thought over it and feel easier. I suffer from these
blows more than I did from the loss of my sweet little boy. But
I suffer less now than I did from Bull Run, or even Fredericks-
burg. Can Rosecrans hold Chattanooga? Has he lost his army?
Will he be driven across the Tennessee? He ought to have
stopped his campaign with the capture of Chattanooga, fortified
the place, and awaited events. Easy to say so now, but im-
possible before, I suppose. Jim McKell, Lieutenant Nelson,
Colonel Mitchell (Laura's husband), all with Resecrans. Anx-
ious hearts at home.
September 23.--News better. Rosecrans defeated but not
badly. Enemy probably suffered too much to take advantage
of their victory.
GALLIPOLIS, September 24, .
DEAR UNCLE:--Lucy arrived here safely last night. We
shall go up the Kanawha tomorrow.
I hope that Rosecrans will be able to hold Chattanooga after
all. If he does, this struggle will be a most serious disaster to
the Confederacy, even if they have gained the battle, as a mere
I hope Birchie will not give you trouble. It gratifies me to
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 437
hear that he can chop so well, and that he is learning the names
of the trees.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA, September 28, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER:--. . . Your letter from Delaware dated
the 20th came this morning. I am glad you are safely back to
Mrs. Wasson's pleasant home. I always feel uneasy when you
have a journey before you.
Lucy left Webb and Ruddy with their Grandmother Webb at
Mrs. Boggs'. Birch went with Uncle back to Fremont.
I am in no hurry about having my boys learn to write. I
would much prefer they would lay up a stock of health by
knocking around in the country than to hear that they were the
best scholars of their age in Ohio.
I am glad to see that Laura's husband has distinguished him-
self in the recent great battle and has escaped without injury.
His good fortune will be gratifying intelligence at Columbus.
Lucy is in camp with me. Mrs. Comly (late Libby Smith) and
Dr. Barrett's wife are also in camp and make a pleasant little
circle. She sends love.--Remember me to Sophia and Mrs.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
September 30, .--Today I explained to the Twenty-
third Order Number 191 respecting the re-enlistment of veteran
volunteers. I told them I would not urge them to re-enlist; that
my opinion was that the war would end soon after the inaugura-
tion of a new President or of Lincoln for a second term, say
within one year after the expiration of their present term, i. e.,
June 1865, unless foreign nations intervened, in which case they
would all expect to fight again. About sixty re-enlisted.
438 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA, October 2, 1863.
MY DEAR SON:--I received a letter today from Uncle Birch-
ard. He says you appear to be very happy learning to chop and
work, and that you are helping Allen. Your mother tells me,
too, that you have learned the names of a good many trees, and
that you know them when you see them. I am very glad to
hear so much good of you. It is an excellent thing to know
how to work -- to ride and drive and how to feed and hitch up
a team. I expect you will know more about trees than I do. I
did not learn about them when I was a little boy and so do not
now know much about such things. There are a great many
things that are learned very easily when we are young, but
which it is hard to learn after we are grown. I want you to
learn as many of such things now as you can, and when you are
a man you will be able to enjoy and use your knowledge in many
Your mother took a ride on Lieutenant McKinley's horse this
morning, and enjoyed herself very much.
Uncle Joe has a big owl, such a one as Lucy saw at Uncle
Birchard's. A corporal in Company E shot its wing off, so it
couldn't escape. It snaps its beak very fiercely when we poke
sticks at it. The band boys have a 'possum and there is a pet
bear and deer.
I think Uncle Birchard will find a way to stop his chimney
from smoking. If he doesn't, you must tell him to build camp-
fires in front of his house as we do here. We find them very
I am sure you will be a good boy and I hope you will be
Your affectionate father,
R. B. HAYES.
BIRCHARD A. HAYES,
October 7. -- A rain a few days ago gave us a rise of two or
three feet in the Kanawha River. It is falling again, but is rain-
ing today again with prospects of water.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 439
Another order to give no passes and take up all old ones.
Funny business, this pass business. "Finds something still for
idle hands to do."
CAMP WHITE, October 7, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--I am very glad to hear that you are having
so little trouble with Birchie. He is of an affectionate disposition,
conscientious and truthful. His natural sense of duty is, I think,
unusually strong. . . . I much prefer that he should
work or ride or hunt in the open air than read in the house or
go to school. I do not care if he is far behind other boys of his
age in what is taught in schools. If he has health enough to
become a scholar or prepare himself for a learned profession at
sixteen, he will have enough time to do it then. If he hasn't a
constitution that will bear a sedentary life, there is more reason
for trying to build it up now by work and exercise in the open air.
Lucy is well and enjoys our camp life as well as she could be
expected to do away from her boys. In about a week from now
I shall probably be able to settle the question as to our winter
quarters and as to whether it will be worth while to send for the
boys. It looks as if the coming winter would be one of active
operations, and if so any plan I may form is likely to be inter-
rupted before spring. Indeed, is liable to be interrupted at any
time. In any event, I think we shall stay here watching the gaps
in front of us for six or eight weeks longer. After that I think
a somewhat smaller force will suffice to defend this region, and
we may be sent elsewhere. I think there is no danger of our
being seriously disturbed here. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, October 10, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER:--I have just received your good long letter
from Delaware on [of] the 3d. . . . There was no time
for Lucy to stop at Delaware on her way here. We were likely
440 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
to be sent South immediately after the battle in Georgia, and I
telegraphed her to come at once if she wished to see me. Our
going was not ordered as expected, and now we are more likely
to go to Ohio to recruit this winter than South. The Twenty-
third was the first original three-year regiment and its time will
be out in a few months. The men are re-enlisting for another
three years and there is a fair prospect of continuing the regi-
ment if we can get a little while at home this winter.
In the present uncertainty as to our winter campaign, I can
make no arrangements for my family. In the meantime Lucy is
enjoying a visit here. We have a number of agreeable ladies
in camp, and are making pleasant acquaintances among the citi-
zens. Charleston was a fine town before the war, and had a
very cultivated society. The war broke it up, but now the town
is gaining again and will ultimately recover its former prosperity.
Give my love to friends.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
October 15, . -- No rise of water on account of the rain
of the 7th.--A fine time, election day (13th). The Twenty-third
--five hundred and fourteen -- unanimous for Brough. I went
to bed like a Christian at 9 P. M. McKinley waked me at eleven
with the first news -- all good and conclusive. My brigade
unanimous for Brough; Twelfth Regiment, ditto. A few traitors
in [the] Thirty-fourth. McMullen's Battery, one for Vallandig-
ham. State forty or fifty thousand on home vote. A victory
equal to a triumph of arms in an important battle. It shows
persistent determination, willingness to pay taxes, to wait, to be
CAMP WHITE, October 19, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--You are a prophet. Brough's majority is
"glorious to behold." It is worth a big victory in the field. It is
decisive as to the disposition of the people to prosecute the war
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 441
to the end. My regiment and brigade were both unanimous for
Lucy will go to Chillicothe and home this week. She will fix
up matters, gather the chickens, and return in two or three weeks,
if all things look well, for the winter. She will, in that case, rent
the house in Cincinnati. Love to Birch.
R. B. HAYES.
October 21. -- General Duffie with about one thousand men,
cavalry, and two guns of Simmonds' off last night; supposed to
be after the railroad bridge again.
Lee followed Meade until he was near the defenses of Wash-
ington, when Lee is reported retiring again.
CAMP WHITE, October 21, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE: -- I received yours of the 17th this morning;
also one from mother of the 16th. Lucy left for home this morn-
ing with Dr. Joe. She will rent our house in Cincinnati, and re-
turn with our family two or three weeks hence, if things remain
as now. I gave her a letter to send for the pony, as well as
Birch, if agreeable to you. I am now entitled to two more horses
than I am keeping, and if we remain here, would like the pony
both for Birch and myself. I find little horses, if they are stout,
much better for the mountains. My sorrell stallion I want to
sell, because he is troublesome sometimes. He is a beauty and
good stock; worth two hundred or three hundred dollars.
R. B. HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, WEST VIRGINIA, October 21, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER: -- I received your letter of the 17th this morn-
ing. Our soldiers rejoice over the result of the Ohio election as
442 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
much or more than the good people at home. They felt afraid
last winter that the people were getting disheartened and that
there was danger that the war would be abandoned just as we
were about to succeed. They saw, too, how much the Rebels
were encouraged by our divisions in the North. The men of my
regiment and my brigade were both unanimous for the Union
ticket. The brigade cast over eight hundred votes all one way.
I have seen no account of any equal body of troops who did as
well. . . .
It is very uncertain what our movements this winter will be,
but I think I shall be able to come and see you by midwinter.
The time of mustering out my regiment is approaching and we
shall perhaps be sent home to recruit. At any rate I think I
shall see you this winter. -- Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, October 25, (Sunday), 1863.
DEAR MOTHER:--I received your letter of the 19th last eve-
ning. We have been very busy here the last week, worrying the
Rebels in our front to prevent their sending reinforcing the
Rebels who are opposing General Burnside, and getting ready
for apprehended attacks from them. It is now quiet again and
the rain and snow in the mountains are fortifications getting
stronger every day.
We are not allowed to build winter quarters yet, but the men
are fixing up all sorts of shelters and fireplaces to find comfort
these cold nights.
I heard from Lucy after she was well on her way to Chilli-
cothe. . . . I think it almost certain that she will come
back to stay in a fortnight or so.
I hope you will stand the cold winter well. -- Love to all.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 443
CHARLESTON, October 30, 1863.
DEAREST: -- General Kelley was here and reviewed the troops
on Wednesday. General Duffie's review was a beautiful and in-
teresting sight. Generals Kelley, Scammon, and Duffie with their
staffs have gone to Fayette--Miss Scammon, Miss Jones and
Miss Smith with them. I am now in command of their troops
here pro tem., and Avery and I run the machine on the town side.
We have got the regiment and brigade tents on stockade for
winter weather. They look well and will be comfortable. Mrs.
Comly is in the house, and Mrs. Graves will vacate the rest in
a day or two. It now looks favorably for our family arrange-
ments to be carried out as we planned them. Can tell certainly
after General Kelley leaves.
Uncle is so urgent for Birtie's staying longer with him that I
wish to consent unless you are very anxious to the contrary.
Birch says he would like to see us all but prefers to stay longer
at Fremont. -- Love to all.
MRS. HAYES. R. B. HAYES.
October 31. -- On the 28th General Kelley reviewed the Third
Brigade, [and] General Duffie's cavalry. A beautiful day; a fine
spectacle. I had only nine companies of the Twenty-third here--
a small affair. General Kelley is a gentlemanly man of fifty to
sixty; not an educated man--nothing particularly noticeable
about him. [The] 29th, the three generals with their young
ladies, Miss Jones, Miss Scammon, and Miss Smith and staffs
went to Fayette. I [am] left in command here at Charleston.
[The] 29th, got into new quarters -- wall-tents on boards.
CAMP WHITE, (Sunday), November 1, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER: -- It is a lovely morning. I have just got into
new quarters, two tents together on a stockade, making two good
little rooms with a coal stove. As cozy as need be. . . .
We had preaching in our camp last Sunday by the chaplain of
444 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
the Thirty-fourth, Mr. Collier, a rather entertaining speaker,
and have been promised meetings every other Sunday hereafter.
It is so unusual a thing that the novelty makes it attractive, if
there were nothing else to recommend it. . . .
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
November 5, 1863.--A warm fall evening. How I am moved
as I read the letter below. My own dear boys, and my feelings
towards the soldiers who are kind to them; Willie too--the
name of sister Fanny's lost boy. Oh, and my dear sister too.
How many will love General Sherman for that letter who would
never care for any laurels he might earn in battle.
[Pasted in the Diary is a copy of General Sherman's famous
letter to Captain C. C. Smith of the Thirteenth Regulars, thank-
ing the regiment--in which his little son Willie had fancied him-
self a sergeant--for the "kind behavior" of its officers and
soldiers to his "poor child." "Please convey to the battalion,"
the letter says in conclusion, "my heartfelt thanks, and assure
each and all that if in after years they call on me or mine, and
mention that they were of the Thirteenth Regulars, when poor
Willy was a sergeant, they will have a key to the affections of
my family that will open all it has, that we will share with them
our last blanket, our last crust."]
November 7, .--I am asked if I would not be gratified
if my friends would procure me promotion to a brigadier-general-
ship. My feeling is that I would rather be one of the good col-
onels than one of the poor generals. The colonel of a regiment
has one of the most agreeable positions in the service, and one of
the most useful. "A good colonel makes a good regiment," is an
Two things make me sometimes think it desirable to have the
promotion, viz., the risk of having a stupid brigadier put over me,
and the difficulty and uncertainty of keeping up my regiment--
that is the risk of losing my colonelcy.
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 445
CAMP WHITE, November 8, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE:--I received your letter of the 4th last night.
Very glad to hear Birch is still contented. The tool-chest would
just hit his fancy. He ought to learn the use of tools, but I don't
imagine he has any mechanical turn. The only decent thing I
could ever make was a bow, and that was rather from a knowl-
edge of the best material than from any skill in whittling. . . .
Stormy weather here. A large part of our forces is out after
a fight with a considerable Rebel force in the mountains. We
are anxiously waiting the result. Only two companies of my im-
mediate command is [are] out. This probably the last of our
campaigning in this quarter for a season.
R. B. HAYES.
November 9. -- The ground is white with snow for the first
time this year. Drs. Mussey and Blaney called Saturday. It is
intimated that there will be difficulty, or is danger of difficulty,
on account of Dr. Webb's long absence.
November 21. Saturday. -- Went to Gallipolis to meet the
family, -- Lucy, Webb, and Rud with Grandma Webb.
25. -- Lucy and I came up on the Viola.
26. -- Thanksgiving Day. Reports of fighting at Knoxville,
Chattanooga, and with Lee. If the result is generally favorable,
we shall see daylight plainer than ever; if otherwise, darkness
again but not so "visible" as before.
December 3, . -- The recent victory of Grant near Chat-
tanooga seems to be very complete. We have not heard from
Burnside, besieged in Knoxville by Longstreet, since the 24th or
25th. We have some apprehensions, but hope that he has been
relieved by Grant's success. Meade has pushed into the heart
of eastern Virginia after Lee. I fear the result. The Army of
the Potomac has been as unlucky on Virginia soil as the army of
Lee on our soil.
446 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Company B left today for home, over three-fourths, fifty-four,
having enlisted as veteran volunteers. Companies A, E, and F
are likely to follow suit.
CAMP WHITE, December 3, 1863.
DEAR MOTHER:--We are all here living very comfortably.
Webb and Ruddy are learning lessons daily. Webb is a little
backward and hates books. The other little fellow is like Birch
and takes to larnin'."
Lucy writes very few letters to anybody and avoids it when
she can. She finds a sympathizing friend on this subject in Mrs.
Comly, who dislikes it equally. When I am with Lucy, I do
We are likely to be engaged in pretty active operations here
this winter. We are doing all that the weather allows, and have
been pretty lucky so far. It will not surprise me if we have
some rather severe fighting.
My regiment is re-enlisting daily. There is no doubt that it
will be reorganized for three years more before the winter is
over. There is a general disposition with officers and men to see
the end of the war in the field, if our lives and health are spared.
Your letter mailed 30th came last night. Quick time!--My
love to all.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CAMP WHITE, December 4, 1863.
DEAR UNCLE: -- Lucy and I have considered your bulletin an-
nouncing your determination to hold Birch. I now write to give
you fair warning that the Twenty-third has re-enlisted for the
war. We are entitled therefore under a late order to be fur-
loughed in a body. One company has gone to Ohio already, and
more are preparing to go as soon as the situation here will allow.
Now, if you want war we can give it to you. I can take com-
MORGAN'S RAID AND MINOR OPERATIONS 447
panies enough of veteran volunteers to recapture our boy. So
be on your guard.
We are threatened with a Rebel invasion again. If they don't
come after us it looks now as if we should go after them. When
this is over our men will generally go home, and I am pretty
likely to go also. About the last of this month or early in
January if matters go well I shall probably visit you. All well
Let Birch write to his Grandma Hayes as often as he is dis-
posed to write at all. She is very much pleased with his letters.
R. B. HAYES.
[December 18, 1863].--December 8. Started P. M. for
Gauley (a campaign to Lewisburg). Avery, Mather, McKinley,
Dr. Webb; one hundred men under Captain Warren of Twenty-
third, whole of Fifth Virginia under Colonel Tomlinson, Ninety-
first and Twelfth of Colonel White's brigade, General Duffie's
Cavalry, General Scammon and staff, to co-operate with General
Averell in an attack on the railroad at Salem. Stopped at Clark
Wyeth's, five miles above Piatt, evening of 9th [8th]. 9th to
Gauley Bridge at Mrs. Hale's, Warren and Twenty-third --
twenty-six and one-half miles. 10th, nineteen miles to Lookout
(Mrs. Jones's). 11th, twenty-two miles to Hickman's. 12th,
twenty-three miles to Lewisburg, to Mrs. Bell's. 13th, return
thirteen miles to Jesse Thompson's, where my pistol was stolen by
young ladies; got it back by threat of sending father and mother
to Camp Chase. 14th, three miles to Meadow Bluff. Stopped
with Sharp. 15th, at Meadow Bluff. 16th, returned twenty-
seven miles to Mrs. Jones'. 17th, to Gauley, Loup Creek, and
steamer Viola to Charleston.--A good trip for the season. What
December 30, . -- Eleven years ago married. Lucy and
I talked of it and lived it over on this eleventh anniversary. A
448 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
[In the] evening, spoke to the men again about re-enlisting
as veterans. I want three-fourths of the present. We have two
hundred and fifty-five. Our present total five hundred; of these
we deduct officers twenty-five, invalids fifteen, recruits having
more than one year to serve seventy-five -- total one hundred and
fifteen, [leaving] three hundred and eighty-five. Three-fourths
[would be] two hundred and eighty-eight.
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