AUGUST 1862

FLAT TOP, June 1, 1862.  Sunday.--We got our new rifled

     muskets this morning.  They are mostly old muskets, many

of them used, altered from flint-lock to percussion, rifled by

Greenwood at Cincinnati. We tried them on the hill one and a

half miles east of camp, spending three hours shooting.  At two

hundred yards about one shot in eight would have hit a man;

at four hundred yards, or a quarter of a mile, about one shot

in ten would have hit; at one-third to one-half mile, say seven

hundred yards, about one shot in eighty would have hit. The

shooting was not remarkably accurate, but the power of the

gun was fully as great as represented.  The ball at one-fourth

mile passed through the largest rails; at one-half mile almost

the same. The hissing of the ball indicates its force and velocity.

I think it an excellent arm.

  Companies B and G went out to Packs Ferry to aid in build-

ing or guarding a boat, built to cross New River

  Flat Top Mountain, June 2, 1862.  Monday. -- A clear, hot,

healthy summer day. General McClellan telegraphs that he has

had a "desperate battle"; a part of his army across the Chicka-

hominy, is attacked "by superior numbers"; they "unaccountably

break"; our loss heavy, the enemy's "must be enormous"; enemy

"took advantage of the terrible storm." All this is not very

satisfactory. General McClellan's right wing is caught on the

wrong side of a creek raised by the rains, loses its "guns and

baggage." A great disaster is prevented; this is all, but it will

demonstrate that the days of Bull Run are past.


             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          285

                        FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, June 3, 1862.

  DEAREST: -- I am made happy by your letter of the 24th and

the picture of Webb.  Enclosed I send Webb a letter from Lieu-

tenant Kennedy.

  I am not surprised that you have been some puzzled to make

out our movements and position from the confused accounts

you see in the papers. Our log-book would run about this way:

Flat Top Mountain, twenty miles south of Raleigh, is the

boundary line between America and Dixie -- between western

Virginia, either loyal or subdued, and western Virginia, rebellious

and unconquered. [Here follows an account of the movements

and activities of the regiment during May, which is a repetition in

brief of previous letters and Diary entries.] Here we are safe

as a bug in a rug -- the enemy more afraid of us than we are

of them--and some of us do fear them quite enough. My

opinion was, we ought to have fought Marshall at Princeton,

but it is not quite certain.

  All our regiments have behaved reasonably well except [the]

Thirty-fourth, Piatt's Zouaves, and Paxton's Cavalry. Don't

abuse them, but they were pretty shabby. The zouaves were

scattered seventy miles, reporting us all cut to pieces, etc., etc.

Enough of war.

  The misfortune of our situation is, we have not half force

enough for our work. If we go forward the enemy can come

in behind us and destroy valuable stores, cut off our supplies,

and cut through to the Ohio River,--for we are not strong

enough to leave a guard behind us.

  We look with the greatest interest to the great armies. Banks'

big scare will do good. It helps us to about fifty thousand new

men. . . .

  I nearly forgot to tell you how we were all struck by lightning

on Saturday. We had a severe thunder-storm while at supper.

We were outside of the tent discussing lightning--the rapidity

of sound, etc., etc., Avery and Dr. McCurdy both facing me,

Dr. Joe about a rod off, when there came a flash and shock and

roar. The sentinel near us staggered but did not fall. Dr. Mc-

Curdy and Avery both felt a pricking sensation on the forehead.


I felt as if a stone had hit me in the head.  Captain Drake's

arm was benumbed for a few minutes. My horse was nearly

knocked down. Some horses were knocked down. Five trees

near by were hit, and perhaps one hundred men more or less

shocked, but strange to say "nobody hurt."

  All things still look well for a favorable conclusion to the war.

I do not expect to see it ended so speedily as many suppose, but

patience will carry us through.

  I thought of you before I got up this morning, saying to my-

self, "Darling Lucy, I love you so much," and so I do.




  Flat Top Mountain, June 5, 1862.  Thursday. -- Rained most

of the day. Want of exercise these rainy days begets indiges-

tion, indigestion begets headache, blue devils, ill nature, sinister

views, and general disgust. Brightened up a little by news that

General Pope has taken ten thousand men and fifteen thousand

stand of arms from Beauregard's retreating army. It looks as

if Beauregard's army was breaking up. Later. News of the

taking of Memphis and Fort Pillow.

  General Cox read me a letter from General Garfield in which

he speaks of the want of sympathy among army officers with

the cause of the war; that they say Seward, Chase, and Sumner

are more to blame than Davis and Toombs! General Sherman

said he was "ashamed to acknowledge that he had a brother

(Senator John Sherman) who was one of these damned Black


  These semi-traitors must be watched.--Let us be careful who

become army leaders in the reorganized army at the end of the

Rebellion. The man who thinks that the perpetuity of slavery

is essential to the existence of the Union, is unfit to be trusted.

The deadliest enemy the Union has is slavery--in fact, its only


             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          287

                        FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, June 5, 1862.

  SIR: -- Colonel Little wishes to procure the release of James

McKenzie, of Mercer County, Virginia, now a prisoner of war at

Columbus. McKenzie was taken by Lieutenant Bottsford,

Company C, Twenty-third Regiment, at the time of the fight

at Clark's house, May I. Colonel Little says he knows McKenzie

was always a Union man, and believes his assertion that he

joined the militia under compulsion, that he intended to desert

to our forces, and at Clark's availed himself of the first oppor-

tunity to do so. I therefore recommend that steps be taken

to procure the release of McKenzie.


                                       R. B. HAYES,





  Flat Top Mountain, June 6, 1862. Friday. -- Rained a great

part of the night; a cold, foggy morning; but I feel vigorous and

well. . . .    I climbed to the top of the mountain to the

right of the camp through the wet bushes and fog and feel the

better for it.  We have scarcely tents enough for the officers.

The men build shelters of bark, rail pens, and the like. I

call this "Woodchuck Camp." Our new chaplain, Russell G.

French, is gaining strength and will probably recover. There

is a loose piece of bone still in his leg, but it does not seem

to distress him a great deal. Five of Company C were either

killed or have died of their wounds received in the recent

fight at Camp Creek.

  Flat Top Mountain, June 7, 1862.  Friday [Saturday] A. M.

-- Still cloudy with hopes of clearing off.  This has been a bad

storm, lasting almost a week. No prospect of moving yet. Read

the "Bride of Lammermoor." --I don't like the conclusion of it

--lame and impotent.


  Flat Top Mountain, June 8, 1862. Sunday. -- A bitterly cold

morning -- too cold to snow! Gradually warmed up. P.M. rode

with Avery four or five miles. Our horses rested and fed up

were in high spirits. We are all heartily tired of staying here.

When shall we go? -- Dear Lucy, I think of her very often these

dull days. It looks as if the war would soon be ended, and

then we shall be together again.

  Flat Top Mountain, June 9, 1862. Monday.--Still cold

weather. . . . Heard of the taking of Memphis after a battle

of gunboats lasting an hour and twenty minutes. As reported it

was a brilliant victory.

  Flat Top Mountain, June 10, 1862.  Tuesday. -- Still cold.

A month ago we were driven out of Giles. Over three weeks

of inaction!  No news for two or three days either from Mc-

Clellan or Halleck. Fremont is pushing ahead with energy.

  Flat Top Mountain, June 12, 1862.  Thursday. --A  warm,

bright, seasonable morning. Heard of Fremont's battle near

Port Republic. As yet doubtful as to the result; shall look

anxiously for the next news. . . .   The battle before Rich-

mond looks better, the more we see of it.

             CAMP ON FLAT TOP, VIRGINIA, June 12, 1862.

  DEAREST:-- I began a letter to you yesterday intending to

finish it after the mail came in; I can't find it. No loss. I recol-

lect I told you to [give] Mrs. Sergeant McKinley ten dollars on

account of the sergeant, which please to do. I probably also

said that up on this mountain the weather is colder than Nova

Zembla, and that since the enemy left us we have been in a state

of preparation to go ahead -- which means do-nothingness, so

far as soldiers are concerned. I have now an expedition out

under Major Comly, not important enough for a regimental

commander, so I am here in inglorious idleness.

  A day's life runs about thus:-- At 5 A. M., one or the other

of our two Giles County contrabands, Calvin or Samuel, comes

in hesitatingly and in a modest tone suggests, "Gentlemen, it is

'most breakfast time." About ten minutes later, finding no re-

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          289

sults from his first summons, he repeats, perhaps with some

slight variation. This is kept up until we get up to breakfast,

that is to say, sometimes cold biscuits, cooked at the hospital,

sometimes army bread, tea and coffee, sugar, sometimes milk,

fried pork, sometimes beef, and any "pison" or fraudulent truck

in the way of sauce or pickles or preserves (!) (good peaches

sometimes), which the sutler may chance to have. After break-

fast there is a little to be done; then a visit of half an hour to

brigade headquarters, Colonel Scammon's; then a visit to division

ditto, General Cox's, where we gossip over the news, foreign

and domestic (all outside of our camps being foreign, the residue

domestic), then home again, and novel reading is the chief thing

till dinner.  I have read "Ivanhoe," "Bride of Lammermoor,"

and [one] of Dickens' and one of Fielding's the last ten days.

  P. M., generally ride with Avery from five to ten miles; and

as my high-spirited horse has no other exercise, and as Carring-

ton (Company C boy) is a good forager and feeds him tip-top,

the way we go it is locomotive-like in speed. After this, more

novel reading until the telegraphic news and mails, both of which

come about the same hour, 5:30 P. M. Then gossip on the news

and reading newspapers until bedtime -- early bedtime, 9 P. M.

We have music, company drills, -- no room for battalion drills in

these mountains, -- and target practice with other little diversions

and excitements, and so "wags the world away."

  We get Cincinnati papers in from four to six days. My

Commercial is running again. Keep it going. Write as often

as you can. I think of you often and with so much happiness;

then I run over the boys in my mind--Birt, Webb, Ruddy.

The other little fellow I hardly feel acquainted with yet, but the

other three fill a large place in my heart.

  Keep up good heart. It is all coming out right. There will

be checks and disappointments, no doubt, but the work goes

forwards. We are much better off than I thought a year ago

we should be. -- A year ago! Then we were swearing the men

in at Camp Chase. Well, we think better of each other than we

did then, and are very jolly and friendly.

  "I love you s'much." Love to all.

                        Affectionately,                  R.


  Since writing this we have heard of Fremont's battle the other

side of the Alleghanies in the Valley of Virginia. It will prob-

ably set us a-going again southward.-- H.


  Camp Jones, Flat Top, June 15, 1862. Sunday.--Had our

first dress parade in five or six weeks last night. No room or

opportunity for it this side of Princeton, May 5. . . .

  Wrote to General Hill requesting the commissions of Russell

G. French and Martin V. Ritter. Red-tape is a great nuisance

unless everybody acts with promptness and accuracy in all de-

partments. This we know will not be done. Red-tape must

therefore be cut or important rights and interests [suffer].

               CAMP ON FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, June 15, 1862.

  DEAR MOTHER: -- It is a beautiful Sunday morning.  We  are

on the summit of a range of mountains, perhaps one-third to half

a mile high, giving us extensive views of mountains and valleys

for thirty or forty miles south, east, and west of us. The nights

are cool, often cold, and the brisk breezes make even the hottest

part of the day agreeable. We are exceedingly healthy and with

just enough to do to keep blood circulating, and occasionally a

little flowing.

  I hear from home very often, letters usually reaching me about

seven days after they are written. I am rather glad that Lucy

will remain in Cincinnati this summer. By next summer the

war will, perhaps, be ended and we can all spend it in Fremont

together. The boys seem to be doing well in the city and can

afford to wait.

  I hope Uncle's health is again as good as usual. It will not

surprise me if he goes up to seventy as you have [done]. It

does n't seem such a great age as it once did. You are no older,

or but little older, as I think of you, than you were many years

ago. -- My love to Laura and all.

                   Affectionately, your son,

                                         R. B. HAYES,


             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          291

  Camp Jones, Flat Top, June 16, 1862.  Monday.--A cold

morning and a cloudy, clearing off into a bright, cool day.

  Last night walked with Captain Warren down to General

Cox's headquarters. Talked book; the general is a reader of the

best books, quite up in light literature; never saw the Shakespeare

novels; must try to get him "Shakespeare and his Friends."

  The extracts from Richmond papers and Jeff Davis' address

to the soldiers indicates that the Rebels are making prodigious

efforts to secure the victory in the approaching struggle. I trust

our Government will see that every man is there who can pos-

sibly be spared from other quarters. I fear part of Beauregard's

army will get there. Can't we get part of Halleck's army there?

  Camp Jones, Flat Top Mountain, June 19, 1862.  Thursday.

--Cold, dull, and P. M., rainy. Drilled A. M. Rode with Ad-

jutant Avery and practiced pistol firing in the P. M.

  Lieutenant-Colonel Paxton of the cavalry called to see me

about Lieutenant Fordyce. Would he do for captain? Is he

not too fond of liquor? My reply was favorable. He says he

has three vacancies in the regiment. Captain Waller seduced

Colonel Burgess' daughter; had to resign in consequence. I

recommended both Avery and Bottsford for captains of cavalry;

both would make good captains. Only one will probably be

commissioned. While I dislike to lose either, I feel they are

entitled to promotion and are not likely to get it here.

  Ditto, Ditto, June 20, 1862. Friday.--Cold and wet. We

wear overcoats, sit by fires in front of tents, and sleep under

blankets! Had a very satisfactory drill. Am reading "St.

Ronan's Well."  Rode down the mountain towards New River

On returning found R. S. Gardner giving a blow-out on receiv-

ing news of his appointment as captain and quartermaster.

Lieutenant-Colonel Paxton, Bottsford, and Lieutenant Christie,

of General Cox's staff, all a little "how-come-ye-so." . . .

  Camp Jones, Flat Top, June 21, 1862.--. . . Rather agree-

able social evenings with the officers at my quarters, the band en-

livening us with its good music.


  Dr. McCurdy having been appointed inspector of hospitals for

this division, we had a Dr. Hudson, of Medina, a new state

surgeon, assigned to us as assistant surgeon in Dr. McCurdy's

place. Dr. Hudson turns out to be a thin-skinned, nervous,

whimsical, whining Yankee. He has just heard of the death of

a favorite daughter. His grief loses all respectability, coupled

as it is with his weaknesses and follies. We agreed today with

Dr. Holmes (the medical head man) to swap our Dr. Hudson

"unsight, unseen" for any spare doctor he could turn out. We

find we caught a Dr. Barrett, lately of Wooster, a young man

of good repute. We take him, pleased well with the bargain.

         CAMP JONES, FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, June 21, 1862.

  DEAR UNCLE: -- We have been here and hereabouts almost a

month. Our line of defense extends twenty to thirty miles from

New River southwesterly along a mountain range. We have

mountain weather. If the wind happens to lull when the sun

shines we get a taste of summer heat. At all other times it is

very cold.  We have fires, wear overcoats, and sleep under winter

blankets every night. Our men from the lake shore say it is

very much like April and May weather in the neighborhood of

home. The men are very healthy; not over a dozen or so un-

fit for duty out of eight hundred. We have frequent recon-

naisances and scouting expeditions against the enemy, not amount-

ing to any great matter. We have not seen or heard of a

guerrilla in these mountains since we passed here about the first

of May. We get and meet parties of the enemy occasionally,

but they are regular soldiers. We suppose the savage treatment

administered when we went across a month ago finished bush-

whacking in this vicinity. We do not expect any important

movement until the event at Richmond is known. Then, what-

ever the result, we expect to be busy enough.

  Soon after we came on to this mountain, I caught a bad cold-

the worst I have had in some years. Since I have been in camp

I had not had a severe cold before. It held on two weeks, but

is now nearly gone without doing any mischief.

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          293

  Both sides appear to be fighting well in all parts of Virginia

now. It seems to be reduced pretty nearly to a question of

numbers -- I mean, of course, numbers of drilled soldiers.  I do

not reckon the enemy's recent conscripts nor our own new regi-

ments as amounting to much yet. It seems therefore as if, with

the superior numbers which we ought to have at the critical

points, we would crush them out during the next six weeks in

Virginia. Virginia gone, with what the Rebels have already lost,

and the Rebellion is a plain failure. But I think we shall need

all our soldiers a long time after that. I hope we shall not be

needed another winter, but I greatly suspect we shall.


                                                R. B. HAYES.


  "Same as before," June 22, 1862.  Sunday.--A warm, beau-

tiful, Sunday morning; all things bright and cheerful. Inklings

and hints of matters before Richmond are more encouraging.

But these delays of McClellan are very wearisome.

  Ditto, Ditto, June 25, 1862. Wednesday. -- Dined with Gen-

eral Cox. He has a plan of operations for the Government forces

which I like: To hold the railroad from Memphis through

Huntsville, Chattanooga, Knoxville [and] southwest Virginia to

Richmond; not attempt movements south of this except by water

until after the hot and sickly season. This line is distant from

the enemy's base of supplies; can therefore by activity be defend-

ed, and gives us a good base.

   Camp Jones, Flat Top Mountain, June 27, 1862.  Friday.--

Took the men to Glade Creek to wash. Water getting scarce in

this quarter. The men danced to the fiddle, marched to music,

and had a good time generally. Rode, walked, and read "Seven

Sons of Mammon."

   Read the account of the disaster on White River, Arkansas, to

the gunboat, Mound City. The enemy sent a forty-two-pound

ball through her boiler and a horrible slaughter followed, scald-

ing and drowning one hundred and fifty men!


  General Pope appointed to "the Army of Virginia"--being

the combined forces of Fremont, Shields, Banks, and McDowell,

now in the Valley of Virginia. Sorry to see Fremont passed over

but glad the concentration under one man has taken place. Gen-

eral Pope is impulsive and hasty, but energetic, and, what is of

most importance, patriotic and sound -- perfectly sound. I look

for good results. -- Rained in the evening.

  Camp Jones, June 28, 1862--. . .  Spent the evening with

General Cox. He gave me some curious items about the last

campaign from the diary of an officer of the Rebel army.

  We hear General Pope is to command the Army of Virginia

and that Fremont has, on his own request, been relieved from the

command of [the] First Army Corps.--Sorry Fremont is so

cuffed about, but am glad one mind is to control the movements

in the Valley.

  We have rumors of "tremendous fighting" before Richmond;

that we have achieved a success, etc., etc. What suspense until

the truth is known!

                       FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, June 30, 1862.

  DEAREST:--I write by Captain Gardner, who having been

promoted to captain in [the] quartermaster's department, now

leaves our regiment. I send a package of your letters, some

Secesh letters, etc., etc. I do not wish to lose the letters and

official documents, and send them to you for safety.

  "We are well and doing well at this present time and hope

these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing." Why,

that is a good letter. No wonder the uninitiated ride that

formula so hard.  It says a great deal. . . .

                 As ever, affectionately, your



  Camp Jones, July 1, 1862.  Tuesday.--Cloudy  and rainy.

Our water on this mountain top is giving out. Avery and I rode

six miles towards New River in the rain but could find no good

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          295

 camping ground where water could be had. This rain will per-

 haps give us enough here again.

   Nothing definite from Richmond. There was some fighting

 and an important change of position on Friday. There are

rumors of disaster and also of the burning of Richmond, but

telegraphic communication is reported cut off between Washing-

ton and McClellan. This is the crisis of the Nation's destiny.

If we are beaten at Richmond, foreign intervention in the form

perhaps of mediation is likely speedily to follow. If successful,

we are on the sure road to an early subjugation of the Rebels.

The suspense is awful. It can't last long.--Night; raining


   Camp Jones, July 2, 1862.  Tuesday [Wednesday]. -- Rained

all night; weather cold. Water must again be abundant. Grad-

ually cleared off about 3 or 4 P. M.

  Dispatches state that McClellan has swung his right wing

around and pushed his left towards James River, touching the

river at Turkey Island, fifteen miles from Richmond. Is this

a voluntary change of plan, or is it a movement forced by an

attack? These questions find no satisfactory response in the

dispatches. Some things look as if we had sustained a reverse.

(1.) It is said the move was "necessitated by an attack in great

force on Thursday." (2.) All communication with Washington

was cut off for two or three days. (3.) We have had repeated

reports that the enemy had turned our right wing. (4.) The

singular denial of rumors that our army had sustained a defeat,

viz., that "no information received indicated a serious disaster."

(5.) The general mystery about the movement.

  It may have been according to a change of plan. I like the

new position. If we are there uninjured, with the aid of gun-

boats and transports on James River, we ought soon to cripple

the enemy at Richmond.

  Camp Jones, July 3, 1862.  Wednesday [Thursday].--A fine

bright day. General Cox is trying to get our army transferred

to General Pope's command in eastern Virginia.

  The dispatches received this beautiful afternoon fill me with

sorrow. We have an obscure account of the late battle or battles


at Richmond. There is an effort to conceal the extent of the

disaster, but the impression left is that McClellan's grand army

has been defeated before Richmond!! If so, and the enemy is

active and energetic, they will drive him out of the Peninsula,

gather fresh energy everywhere, and push us to the wall in all

directions. Foreign nations will intervene and the Southern Con-

federacy be established.

  Now for courage and clear-headed sagacity. Nothing else will

save us. Let slavery be destroyed and this sore disaster may

yet do good.

  Flat Top, July 4, 1862.  Friday.-- A fine day.  No demon-

strations in camp except a National salute and a little drunken-

ness. Quietness of the Sabbath reigned.

  The Commercial of the first puts a different face on the news

of McClellan's recent movements near Richmond. The change

of position seems to have been well planned--a wise change--

and it is not certain that any disaster befell us during its execu-

tion. There was fierce fighting and heavy loss, but it is quite

possible that the enemy suffered more than we did.

  My orderly, Gray, good old veteran Irish soldier, "drunk and

disorderly" yesterday. All right; he shall be released today.

  July 5, 1862. Saturday.--A fine, warm day. I rode with

Avery and an escort of twelve dragoons under Captain Harrison

(a Union doctor of Monroe County), to look for a new camping

ground, ten or twelve miles from here, at or near Jumping

Branch, on the pike leading from Raleigh to Packs Ferry. The

village last winter was the rendezvous of the enemy who were

threatening Raleigh and was burnt, except two or three houses,

by Major Comly to get rid of the nest. We dined with an in-

telligent Union farmer, a Mr. Upton, whose house was spared.

A good spring for the men's use and a tolerable stream for the

animals and washing. But no camping ground which we would

take in exchange for Flat Top as long as water can be got here.

  While at Mr. Upton's, we heard from an artilleryman that

after we left camp news was received at headquarters that Mc-

Clellan had entered Richmond yesterday! Prior advices led us

strongly to hope, almost to believe, it was true. We all said

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          297

we believed it. How suddenly McClellan loomed up into a

great general--a future (not distant future) President!  We

thought of a speedy end of the war and a return home; of the

loved ones' happiness at home! I could toast McClellan, "slow

but sure," "better late than never," and the like.

  On reaching camp our hopes were cruelly dashed. The only

dispatches received, meagre, ambiguous, and obscure, indicate dis-

aster rather than victory! That after six days' hard fighting

McClellan has lost fifteen to twenty thousand [men] and is

twenty or thirty miles further distant from Richmond than when

the battle began! No disaster is told other than this; but if it is

true that he has been beaten back to a point thirty-five or forty

miles from Richmond, we are where I feared we were on the

third. But these dispatches are so deceptive as to complicated

and extensive movements that I must hear further before I give

up to such gloomy anticipations. But I am anxious!

  Camp Jones, Flat Top Mountain, July, 6, 1862.  Sunday. --

         It seems on reflection that McClellan has been forced

back in seven days -- six of them days of fighting -- about fifteen

to twenty-five miles; that he has probably not lost very heavily in

artillery or stores; that the weight of the attacks on him have

[has] been too heavy and have [has] forced him back. Well,

then, our columns must be rapidly made heavier. We shall see!

        . . . Nothing new from Richmond today.  What is the con-

dition there? Is our army merely pushed back by superior num-

bers or has it been defeated?

                          FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, July 6, 1862.

  DEAREST:--Sunday afternoon about 4 P. M.--hotter than

ever. I have just finished reading your letter written last Sunday

at Chillicothe. I am very glad you are so happily homed at Uncle

Scott's. It is far better up on that beautiful hill with such kind

friends, young and old, than in a hot and dirty city. You cannot

think oftener of me than I do of you and the dear ones around

you; no, nor more lovingly.

  I knew you would be troubled when Fremont was relieved

from duty, and perhaps still more when you hear of McClellan's


repulse before Richmond. These things appear to postpone the

termination of the war; but are such disasters as must be looked

for in such a contest. We must make up our minds that we have

a heavy work, and that reverses must frequently occur.

   We have no right to complain of our lot. We have a beautiful

and healthy camp, with the enemy in front, strong enough to keep

us busy holding our position, without much danger of losing it.

It is the common opinion that if the reverse before Richmond

has been serious, we shall be sent to eastern Virginia, and I may

add that it is the universal wish that we may see some of the

movements that are going on there.

  Drs. Joe and Jim are both very well and with little to do. Our

loss by sickness during the last three months is only three.

  Dr. Joe and I sent early in June to your address nine hundred

and fifty dollars. Did you get it? It is important we should

know if it has failed to reach you. As letters miscarry some-

times, be sure to speak of it in two or three letters.

  I got from Mr. Stephenson a Harper and Atlantic for July

today.  All reading matter is in the greatest demand. . . .

  It is not of much consequence to Boggs whether he returns

or not; yet he ought to be allowed to do it. If a soldier is well

enough to be a nurse he can be useful with his regiment.  If he

can neither nurse nor march, he can get his pay or a discharge

easier here than elsewhere. But we will do our best for the man.

  Think of it, the Fourth was a lovely day but we sat around a

fire in the evening and slept under blanket and coverlid. . . .

  Good-bye, darling.  Don't get downhearted about the war and

our separation.  It will all come right, and then how happy we

shall be -- happier than if we had not known this year's ex-


                   Affectionately ever, your



  Camp Jones, Flat Top, July 7, 1862.  Monday. -- The warm-

est day of the season. The men are building great bowers over

their company streets, giving them roomy and airy shelters. At

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          299

evening they dance under them, and in the daytime they drill in

the bayonet exercise and manual of arms. All wish to remain

in this camp until some movement is begun which will show us

the enemy, or the way out of this country. We shall try to get

water by digging wells.

  The news of today looks favorable. McClellan seems to have

suffered no defeat. He has changed front; been forced (per-

haps) to the rear, sustained heavy losses; but his army is in

good condition, and has probably inflicted as much injury on the

enemy as it has suffered. This is so much better than I antici-

pated that I feel relieved and satisfied. The taking of Richmond

is postponed, but I think it will happen in time to forestall foreign


  There is little or no large game here. We see a great many

striped squirrels (chipmunks), doves, quails, a few pigeons and

pheasants, and a great many rattlesnakes. I sent Birch the rattles

of a seventeen-year-old yesterday. They count three years for

the button and a year for each rattle.

  There is a pretentious headboard in the graveyard between

here and headquarters with the inscription "Anna Eliza Bram-

mer, borned--"

  Camp Jones, July 8, 1862.  Tuesday.-- A fine breezy day on

this mountain top. Bathed three miles from here in Glade Creek.

I find this sitting still or advancing age (good joke!) is getting

me into old gentlemen's habits. My breath is shorter than it

used to be; I get tired easier and the like.

  Very little additional from Richmond, but that little is en-

couraging. Our forces have not, I think, been discouraged or in

any degree lost confidence, by reason of anything that has oc-

curred before Richmond. Our losses are not greater than the

enemy's -- probably not so great. The Rebel reports here are that

our loss is thirty-eight thousand killed and wounded and two

thousand prisoners; that they left fourteen thousand dead on the

field! This is all wild guessing; but it indicates dreadful and

probably nearly equal losses on both sides.

  July 10, 1862.  Thursday.--.  .  .  I wrote this morning a

cheerful letter to Mother. I think often these days of the sad loss


six years ago; my dear, dear sister,--so--.   But it is perhaps

for the best. How she would suffer during this struggle!

  I have just read the Commercial's story of the six days' battles.

What dreadful fighting, suffering, weariness, and exhaustion

were there! The letters in the paper of the 5th are agonizing

in the extreme. The telegraphic news diminishes our loss in the

battles before Richmond, and gives, I think, exaggerated reports

of the enemy's loss. They are said to have lost from thirty to

sixty thousand!!

                        FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, July 10, 1862.

  DEAR MOTHER:--I think you would enjoy being here.  We

have a fine cool breeze during the day; an extensive mountain

scene, always beautiful but changing daily, almost hourly. The

men are healthy, contented, and have the prettiest and largest

bowers over the whole camp I ever saw. They will never look

so well or behave so well in any settled country. Here the

drunkards get no liquor, or so little that they regain the healthy

complexion of temperate men. Every button and buckle is

burnished bright, and clothes brushed or washed clean. I often

think that if mothers could see their boys as they often look in

this mountain wilderness, they would feel prouder of them than

ever before. We have dancing in two of the larger bowers from

soon after sundown until a few minutes after nine o'clock. By

half-past nine all is silence and darkness. At sunrise the men

are up, drilling until breakfast. Occasionally the boys who play

the female partners in the dances exercise their ingenuity in

dressing to look as girlish as possible. In the absence of lady

duds they use leaves, and the leaf-clad beauties often look very

pretty and always odd enough.

  We send parties into the enemy's lines which sometimes have

strange adventures. A party last Sunday, about forty miles

from here,  found a young  Scotchman and two sisters, one

eighteen and the other fourteen, their parents dead, who have

been unable to escape from Rebeldom. They have property in

Scotland and would give anything to get to "the States." One

officer took one girl on his horse behind him and another, an-

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE 1862          301

other, and so escaped. They were fired on by bushwhackers, the

elder lady thrown off, but not much hurt. They were the hap-

piest girls you ever saw when they reached our camp. They are

now safe on the way to Cincinnati, where they have a brother.

  We are expecting one of these days to be sent to eastern

Virginia, if all we hear is true.

  I have just received an invitation to Rogers' wedding. If you

see him or his bride tell them I regret I shall not be able to be

at Columbus on the first of this month. . . . Love to all.

                   Affectionately, your son,

                                              R. B. HAYES.


      Columbus, Ohio.

  Flat Top Mountain, July 11, 1862.  Thursday  [Friday].--

Wrote to Platt about promotion to colonelcy in one of the new

regiments. I would dislike to leave the Twenty-third under any

circumstances and would not be willing to do it to be taken

from active service. But I certainly wish the command of a

regiment before the war closes.

  Today, to my surprise, Rev. A. Wilson made his appearance.

He could not get his pay on the pay sheets furnished because

there was no certificate of his resignation having been accepted.

He was directed to return to the regiment by General Fremont's

adjutant-general. So he came. One of the men, seeing him,

said to me with a knowing look: "Have you any chickens in

your coop, Colonel?" A pretty reputation for a chaplain truly!

--A fine rain last night and this forenoon.

  July 12, 1862.  Saturday. -- Received orders today to move

to Green Meadows tomorrow. It is said to be a fine camping

place, and although our present camp is the prettiest I have ever

seen, we are glad for the sake of change to leave it.

  Camp  Green  Meadwos, July 13, 1862.  Sunday.--Struck

tents this morning on Flat Top at 5 A. M. and marched to this

place, reaching here at 11:30 A. M., fourteen miles; a jolly

march down the mountain under a hot sun. Many sore feet.


Band played its lively airs; the men cheered, and all enjoyed

the change. We are east of Camp Jones and about three miles

from the mouth of Bluestone River and New River, within six

miles of camp at Packs Ferry on New River. The camp being

one thousand to fifteen hundred feet lower than Flat Top is

warmer. We shall learn how to bear summer weather here.

Our waggons arrived about 6:30 P. M. We relieved here two

companies of the Thirtieth under Captain Gross. I command

here six companies Twenty-third, Captain Gilmore's Cavalry, a

squad of Second Virginia, a squad of McMullen's Battery, and

a squad on picket of Captain Harrison's Cavalry.

  Ditto, July 14, 1862.  Monday. -- I rode today with Captain

Gilmore and Avery to the mouth of Bluestone and a ford on

New River. The pickets are so placed that an enterprising

enemy would by crossing New River and passing by mountain

paths to their rear, cut them off completely.

                     CAMP GREEN MEADOWS, July 14, 1862.

  DEAREST: -- I am so pleased with your affectionate letter, that

I sit down merely to "jaw back," as the man said of the re-

sponses in the Episcopal service.

  I love you just as much as you love me. There now! Yes,

dearest, this separation so painful does, I think, make us both

dearer and better. I certainly prize you more than ever before,

and am more solicitous about your happiness. . . .

  We came here yesterday. It is a fine camp, but warm and

summery compared with Flat Top. There is no noticeable scenery

in view from camp, but we are near New River at the mouth

of Bluestone River where the scenery is truly grand. I rode

down there this morning to enjoy it. We marched fifteen miles

yesterday--the happiest gang of men you ever saw.           We  are

nearer the enemy, and have more of the excitement incident to

such a position than at Flat Top. I am in command here, having

six companies of the Twenty-third, Captain Gilmore's Cavalry

(the men who behaved so well when we fought our way out

of Giles), and a section of McMullen's Artillery, besides two

squads of First and Second Virginia Cavalry. Everyone seems

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          303

to be happy that we are out by ourselves. Besides, Major Comly

with the other four companies Twenty-third is only five miles

from us.

  Drs. Joe and Jim are still at Flat Top. Dr. Joe will join us

in a day or two. Colonel Scammon is not expected here to stay.

  I sent off Captain Drake and two companies with a squad of

cavalry just now to effect a diversion in favor of Colonel Crook

who is threatened by a force said to be superior to his own. The

captain is instructed to dash over and "lie like a bulletin" as to

the immense force of which he is the advance and then to run

back "double-quick." Risky but exciting.

  Richmond is not so bad as it was. Our men, certainly, and

our general, perhaps, did admirably there. . . .       Don't

worry about the country. "It's no good." We can't help it if

things go wrong. We do our part and I am confident all will

come right. We can't get rid of the crime of centuries without

suffering. So, good-bye, darling.

                      Lovingly, as ever,                 R.


  Green Meadows, July 15, 1862.  Tuesday. -- Captain Drake

with Companies H and I returned this morning. The mounted

men crossed the ford just above Bluestone on New River. The

water was too deep and current too strong for footmen. They

(the horsemen) called at Landcraft's, Young's, etc., etc. They

learned that the only enemy now in Monroe is probably the

Forty-fifth [Virginia], some cavalry, and artillery; and they

have withdrawn from the river towards Centreville or some other

distant part of the county. All others gone to or towards the

Narrows or railroad.

  At 9 o'clock I took four companies, A, C, E, and K, and

the band and went to Packs Ferry. There the men went in

swimming.  Crossed 262 of them in the flying bridge--an affair

like this [a crude pen sketch is given]--which swings from

side to side of the river by force of the current alone. The bow

(whichever way the boat goes) is pulled by means of a windlass

up the stream at a small angle. The men enjoyed the spree.


  We returned at 6:30 P. M. The scenery is of the finest; the

river is a beautiful clear river. Strange, no fish except catfish,

but they are of superior quality and often of great size.

  The enemy shows signs of activity in Tennessee again. Our

men will have a hard time during the next two or three months

trying to hold their conquests. We will have our day when

cold weather and high water return, not before. About Rich-

mond there is much mystery, but supposed to be favorable.

  Camp  Green Meadows,  July 16, 1862.       Wednesday. -- A

warm, beautiful day. The men busy building shades (bowers

or arbors) over their streets and tents, cleaning out the springs,

and arranging troughs for watering horses, washing, and bath-

ing. The water is excellent and abundant.

  I read "Waverley," finishing it. The affection of Flora Mc-

Ivor for her brother and its return is touching; they were

orphans. And oh, this is the anniversary of the death of my

dear sister Fanny -- six years ago! I have thought of her today

as I read Scott's fine description, but till now it did not occur

to me that this was the sad day. Time has softened the pain.

How she would have suffered during this agonizing war! Per-

haps it was best--but what a loss!


                                              July 17, 1862.

  DEAR UNCLE:--. . .  I am not satisfied that so good

men as two-thirds of this army should be kept idle. New troops

could hold the strong defensive positions which are the keys of

the Kanawha Valley, while General Cox's eight or ten good

regiments could be sent where work is to be done.

  Barring this idea of duty, no position could be pleasanter than

the present. I have the Twenty-third Regiment, half a battery,

and a company of cavalry under my command stationed on

the edge of Dixie--part of us here, fourteen miles, and part

at Packs Ferry, nineteen miles from Flat Top, and Colonel

Scammon's and General Cox's headquarters. This is pleasant.

Then, we have a lovely camp, copious cold-water springs, and

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          305

the lower camp is on the banks of New River, a finer river than

the Connecticut at Northampton, with plenty of canoes, flat-boats,

and good fishing and swimming. The other side of the river

is enemy's country. We cross foraging parties daily to their

side. They do not cross to ours, but are constantly threatening

it. We moved here last Sunday, the 13th. On the map you

will see our positions in the northeast corner of Mercer County

on New River, near the mouth of and north of Bluestone River.

Our camps five miles apart--Major Comly commands at the

river, I making my headquarters here on the hill. We have

pickets and patrols connecting us. I took the six companies to

the river, with music, etc., etc., to fish and swim Tuesday.

  It is now a year since we entered Virginia. What a difference

it makes  Our camp is now a pleasanter place with its bowers

and contrivances for comfort than even Spiegel Grove. And

it takes no ordering or scolding to get things done. A year ago

if a little such work was called for, you would hear grumblers

say: "I didn't come to dig and chop, I could do that at home.

I came to fight," etc., etc. Now springs are opened, bathing

places built, bowers, etc., etc., got up as naturally as corn grows.

No sickness either--about eight hundred and fifteen to eight

hundred and twenty men--none seriously sick and only eight

or ten excused from duty. All this is very jolly.

  We have been lucky with our little raids in getting horses,

cattle, and prisoners. Nothing important enough to blow about,

although a more literary regiment would fill the newspapers out

of less material. We have lost but one man killed and one taken

prisoner during this month. There has been some splendid run-

ning by small parties occasionally. Nothing but the enemy's

fear of being ambushed saved four of our officers last Saturday.

So far as our adversaries over the river goes, they treat our men

taken prisoners very well.  The  Forty-fifth, Twenty-second,

Thirty-sixth, and Fifty-first Virginia are the enemy's regiments

opposed to us. They know us and we know them perfectly well.

Prisoners say their scouts hear our roll-calls and that all of them

enjoy our music.

  There are many discouraging things in the present aspect of

affairs, and until frost in October, I expect to hear of disasters



in the Southwest. It is impossible to maintain our conquests in

that quarter while the low stage of water and the sickness compel

us to act on the defensive, but if there is no powerful intervention

by foreign powers, we shall be in a condition next December to

push them to the Gulf and the Atlantic before winter closes.

Any earlier termination, I do not look for.

  Two years is an important part of a man's life in these fast

days, but I shall be content if I am mustered out of service at

the end of two years from enlistment. -- Regards to all.


                                              R. B. HAYES.


  Camp Green Meadows, July 18, 1862.  Friday. -- Rained last

night and drizzled all this morning. . . .  I feel dourish

today; inaction is taking the soul out of us.

  I am really jolly over the Rebel Morgan's raid into the blue-

grass region of Kentucky. If it turns out a mere raid, as I

suppose it will, the thing will do great good. The twitter into

which it throws Cincinnati and Ohio will aid us in getting vol-

unteers. The burning and destroying the property of the old-

fashioned, conservative Kentuckians will wake them up, will

stiffen their sinews, give them backbone, and make grittier Union

men of them. If they should burn Garrett Davis' house, he will

be sounder on confiscation and the like. In short, if it does not

amount to an uprising, it will be a godsend to the Union cause.

It has done good in Cincinnati already. It has committed num-

bers who were sliding into Secesh to the true side. Good for

Morgan, as I understand the facts at this writing!

  Had a good drill. The exercise and excitement drove away

the blues. After drill a fine concert of the glee club of Company

A. As they sang "That Good Old Word, Good-bye," I thought

of the pleasant circle that used to sing it on Gulf Prairie,

Brazoria County, Texas. And now so broken! And my class-

mate and friend, Guy M. Bryan--where is he? In the Rebel

army! As honorable and true as ever, but a Rebel! What

strange and sad things this war produces! But he is true and

patriotic wherever he is. Success to him personally! 

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          307

  July 19. Saturday. -- Some rain. Ride with Quartermaster

Reichenbach to the scene of [the] Jumping Branch fight. Read

with a good deal of levity the accounts of John Morgan's raid

into the blue-grass region of Kentucky. It strikes me that the

panic and excitement caused in Cincinnati and Indiana will

stimulate recruiting; that Secesh sentiment just beginning to

grow insolent in Ohio will be crushed out, and indirectly that

it will do much good. All this is on the assumption that Morgan

is routed, captured, or destroyed before he gathers head and

becomes a power.

  Camp Green Meadows, Mercer County, Virginia, July 20, 1862.

Sunday.--Morgan's gang, or Rebels encouraged by him, have got

into Warrick County, Indiana. This is the first successful (if it

turns out successful) invasion of free soil. I regret it on that

account. I wished to be able to say that no inch of free soil

had been polluted by the footstep of an invader. However, this

is rather an incursion of robbers than of soldiers. I suppose

no soldiers have yet set foot on our soil.

  I wish we were near or amidst the active movements. We

ought to be sent somewhere.

  July 21. Monday. -- We are target firing now. The Enfields

are a little better sighted than the muskets; the muskets have

most power and the longest range. Company C does rather the

best shooting, Companies E and A coming next.

  A zouave at the Flat Top camp found tied to a tree with five

bullet holes through him!  Naked too!  An enemy's cavalry

patrol seen two miles outside of our pickets. Secesh, ten or

twelve in number.

  July 23. Wednesday.--Marched four companies to Blue-

stone; bathed. A good evening drill.

  Last evening I fell into a train of reflection on the separation

of the regiment, so long continued, so unmilitary, and so cause-

less, with the small prospect of getting relief by promotion or

otherwise in the Twenty-third, and as a result pretty much de-

termined to write this morning telling brother William [Platt]

that I would like a promotion to a colonelcy in one of the new

regiments. Well, this morning, on the arrival of the mail, I get


a dispatch from W. H. Clements that I am appointed colonel

of the Seventy-ninth, a regiment to be made up in Hamilton,

Warren, and Clinton Counties. Now, shall I accept? It is hard

to leave the Twenty-third. I shall never like another regiment so

well. Another regiment is not likely to think as much of me. I

am puzzled. If I knew I could get a chance for promotion in the

Twenty-third in any reasonable time, I would decline the

Seventy-ninth. But, then, Colonel Scammon is so queer and

crotchety that he is always doing something to push aside his

chance for a brigadiership. Well, I will postpone the evil day

of decision as long as possible.

                       CAMP GREEN MEADOWS, July 23, 1862.

  DEAREST:--I today received a dispatch from Captain Clem-

ents that I have been appointed colonel of the Seventy-ninth

Regiment to be made up in Warren and Clinton Counties. I shall

make no definite decision as to acceptance until I get official

notice of it. I suppose it is correct. I shall much hate to leave

the Twenty-third. I can't possibly like another regiment as well,

and am not likely to be as acceptable myself to another regiment.

If there was a certainty of promotion to the command of the

Twenty-third, I would certainly wait for it. But between you

and I [me], Colonel Scammon is not likely to deserve promotion,

and will perhaps fail to get it. If he gets it he will probably

keep command of the Twenty-third--that is, have it in his

brigade. Besides, I begin to fear another winter in these moun-

tains. I could stand it after two or three months' vacation with

you in Ohio, but to go straight on another year in this sort of

service is a dark prospect. Altogether, much as I love the

Twenty-third, I shall probably leave it. I shall put off the evil

day as long as I can, hoping something will turn up to give me

this regiment, but when the decision is required, I shall probably

decide in favor of the new regiment and a visit to you and the

boys. I know nothing of the Seventy-ninth except that a son of

the railroad superintendent, W. H. Clements, is to be major. I

knew him as a captain in the Twelfth, a well-spoken-of youngster.

It will be a sad day all around when I leave here.

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          309

  Last night various doings at headquarters of brigade disgusted

me so much, that before I went to sleep I pretty much resolved

to get up this morning and write in the most urgent manner

soliciting promotion in a new regiment to get out of the scrape.

But when this morning brings me the news that I have got

what I had determined to ask, I almost regret it. "Such is war!"

  Write me all you learn, if anything, about the new regiments

-- what sort of people go into them, -- are they likely ever to

fill up? Etc., etc.

  24th, A. M.-- A year ago tonight you and I walked about

Camp Chase looking at the men cooking their rations to be ready

to leave the next morning. A short and a long year. Upon the

whole, not an unhappy one. Barring the separation from you,

it has been a healthy fine spree to me.

  Since writing to you yesterday I learn from Dr. Joe, who is

now here, that there really seems to be a fair prospect of

Colonel Scammon's promotion. This will probably induce me

to hold off as long as I can about the Seventy-ninth business.

You can simply say you don't know if you are asked before hear-

ing further as to what I shall do. -- Love to all the boys.




  Camp Green Meadows, July 24, 1862.  Thursday.--I got a

lame, halting permission from Colonel Scammon to go on an

errand of mercy over New River into Monroe [County] after

the family of Mr. Caldwell, a Union man, who has been kept

away from home and persecuted for his loyalty.  The colonel

says I may go if and if; and warning me of the hazards, etc., etc.,

shirking all responsibility.  It is ridiculous in war to talk this

way. If a thing ought to be done according to the lights we

have, let us go and do it, leaving events to take care of them-

selves. This half-and-half policy; this do-less waiting for cer-

tainties before action, is contemptible. I rode to the ferry and

arranged for the trip with Major Comly.

  Six companies go over the ferry tonight and go on towards


Indian Creek. Two stop at the Farms Road, to protect our rear

from that approach; four companies and the cavalry will go to

Indian Creek take post at the cross-roads, and the waggons and

cavalry will push on to Mr. Caldwell's and get his family before

daylight and start back. The whole party will retire to the ferry

if possible before night of the 26th.

  July 25, 1862. -- Friday. -- Preparations for the trip.  We go

from this camp immediately after dinner.

  July 26, 1862. -- Had a good trip.  Got out from under the

noses of heavy forces of the enemy the wife and four children

of Mr. Archibald Caldwell. He will settle in Indiana. We left

camp with Companies A, I, C, and E at half past twelve and

marched to within a mile of the ferry; halted in a valley out

of sight of the river and of the river hills until 7:30. We were

joined by Captain Gilmore, Lieutenant Abraham, and Lieutenant

Fordyce with their excellent company of cavalry about 7 P. M.

We marched to the ferry just at dark and were there joined by

Companies B and F and by Lieutenant Croome with a squad of

Captain McMullen's artillery company and one howitzer.  We

crossed New River on the flying bridge built by Captain Lane

of the Eleventh.  We had three loaded wagons and an ambulance.

Four trips, fifteen minutes each, crossed us. At the Farms Road,

five miles from the ferry, Company B, Captain Sperry, and

Company I, Captain Warren, were detailed to take position to

hold that road and prevent any enemy's force from coming into

our rear.

  Soon after passing the ferry, it was found that the road had

in places been washed away, in others, filled by slides, and in

others, cut into deep gullies. The waggons and ambulances were

turned back; the column pushed on. Near Indian Creek, at

Mrs. Fowler's, about 1:30 P. M. [A. M.], Captain Gilmore and

myself with Captain Drake being in advance, we stopped and

these officers and myself went in. Mrs. Fowler refused to get

a light, saying she had none; refused to tell whether there was

a man about the house; said she didn't know Mr. Caldwell and

was very uncommunicative generally. She persisted in asking

us who we were, what we wanted, and the like. Just as she had

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          311

said there was no candle or light in the house, I struck a light

with a match when we saw the candle she had blown out on

going to bed not two yards off! It was lit and a man was dis-

covered peeping through a door I We got from her the fact that

no soldiers were at Indian Creek and very few at Red Sulphur or


  I ordered the cavalry to push rapidly on to Mr. Caldwell's

house, and bring off his wife and children on horseback. I rode

back to the infantry and artillery and directed them to bivouac

-- to sleep on the ground. Lieutenant Hastings was officer of

the guard. I told him he need station no pickets or guard! A

year ago we camped our first night in Virginia. It was near

Clarksburg in the midst of a Union region. No enemy anywhere

near, and we had one hundred and sixteen men on guard!  My

reason for not worrying anybody with guard duty was that our

position was concealed; and as we had just taken it after a

night march no one could know that we were there. The camp

was inaccessible, by reason of [the] river on one side and im-

passable mountains on the other, except by the road up and

down the river. [Companies] B and I were on this road at the

first road leading into it, eight miles off, and the cavalry were

passing up in the other direction. So I made up my mind that

as I was not sleepy I would keep awake and would be guard

enough. I lay down on an India-rubber blanket--my sheep-

skin for a pillow--with only an overcoat on, Dr. Joe sleeping

by my side; and in this position where I could hear every sound,

remained comfortable but watchful until morning. The stars

disappeared towards morning, covered by fleecy clouds.

  In the morning we built fires, got warm coffee, and felt well;

we were opposite Crump's Bottom.  We hailed a man on the

bank at Crump's and made him bring over a canoe, but learned

little  from  him.  About  5:30  the  cavalry  returned  hav-

ing Mrs. Caldwell and the children on their horses. We im-

mediately set out on our return. The first eight miles in the cool

of the morning was done in two and one-fourth hours; after

that leisurely to the ferry. Six men of Company A waded New

River near the mouth of Bluestone. A long, tedious wade they

had of it. Stopped at the ferry two hours; men all had a good


swim. Got back to camp here safe and sound. Cavalry marched

almost fifty miles in about twelve hours; artillery with mountain

howitzer twenty-five miles in nine hours' marching time and

thirteen hours altogether; infantry thirty-six in fourteen hours'

marching time and twenty hours altogether. A pretty jolly

expedition! Horses fell down, men fell down; Caldwell got

faint-hearted and wanted to give it up. Lieutenant Abraham

was cowed and I sent him with the infantry to bivouac. As they

returned, the cavalry took all of Mrs. Fowler's new blackberry

wine and honey! All sorts of incidents;--funny good time.

  July 28, 1862. Monday.--Received letters from Mother,

June 3 and July 17, and from Platt, July 22. Platt says Gov-

ernor Tod will not appoint men now in the field because he needs

the officers at home to aid in recruiting the regiments. This is

foolish. If volunteering has to be hired(?) and forced, we had

better resort to drafting.  That is the true course! Draft!

  Rode with Major Comly to Flat Top. No news there of much

note. Colonel Scammon was nominated for a brigadiership by

the President but there are seventy others of whom eighteen

were confirmed, making it is said the two hundred allowed by

law. So the thing seems to be up. Whether the Governor will

confirm the nomination of the Hamilton County committee does

not yet appear.

  Camp Green Meadows, July 29, 1862.  Tuesday. -- Returned

from [to] Camp Green Meadows today. General Cox thinks

Colonel Scammon will be ordered to act as brigadier by the

President; that a vacancy in the colonelcy of the Twenty-third

will thus occur; that I had better hold on for the present before

accepting the Eighty-third [Seventy-ninth]. As I have no notice

that the Governor has made the appointment, I shall have nothing

to act on for some days, if at all. But drafting is the thing!

                      CAMP GREEN MEADOWS, July 29, 1862.

  DEAR MOTHER:--I received a letter from you dated the 17th

July -- one from William dated 22d July, and another from you

dated June 3, yesterday. I begin to have hopes that your birthday

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          313

letter may yet turn up. Letters are rarely lost, even in this

region. The Rebels captured one of our mails early in May,

and may have got your letter.

  I am glad you are enjoying so much. It is not at all unlikely

that I may have an opportunity to visit you in August or Septem-

ber for a day or two. I shall do so if it is possible without

neglecting duty.

  We are not as busy here as we would like to be, but we are

delightfully camped, and among a friendly people. The greater

part of them are preparing to move to Ohio and Indiana, fearing

that we may go off and let the Rebels in to destroy them. We

receive many letters at this camp from Rebels who are in Camp

Chase as prisoners. Their wives and relatives call almost daily

to inquire about them and for letters.

  Last Sunday I dined at a Union citizen's near here. There

were eleven women there whose husbands or brothers were at

Camp Chase. I took over a lot of letters for them. Some were

made happy, others not so. There had been sickness and death

at the prison, and the letters brought tears as well as smiles.

  Good-bye. --Affectionately, your son,



  July 30, 1862. Wednesday. --I set the men to drilling in the

new target practice. Rode with Bottsford over to see Mrs.

Lilley, an old lady whose husband, James Lilley, lately died at

Camp Chase in prison. Her son James is still there. As the only

male member of the family old enough to do work, I am inclined

to ask for his release. Her daughter Emily, a well-appearing

young woman, is accused of giving the information which led

to bushwhacking Captain Gilmore's cavalry. I hope it is not so.

  I received today letters from Stephenson and Herron and an

order from Columbus "authorizing" me to assist in raising a

regiment, the Seventy-ninth. I don't know what to think of all

this. Am I required to go home and assist?

  July 31, 1862. Thursday. -- Rained almost all day, clearing

up the after part of the day.  Received Commercial of 28th.  It


looks as if they were getting ready to draft.  The Commercial

finds fault with the rule which practically excludes from the new

regiments officers already in the field: no one to be appointed

unless he can be present to aid in recruiting, and no officer to

have leave of absence unless he is actually commissioned over a

regiment already filled up!! Well, I am indifferent. The present

position is too agreeable, to make [me] regret not getting an-

other.-- I saw the new moon square in front.

         HEADQUARTERS 23D REGT. O. V.,


                                              July 31, 1862.

  SIR:--I am this day in receipt of Special Orders No. 716,

dated Adjutant-General's Office, Columbus, Ohio, July 21, 1862,

directed to me at Cincinnati, authorizing me to assist in raising

one of the new regiments now forming in Ohio. I shall apply

for leave of absence by today's mail for the purpose of entering

upon the service indicated in the order.

  It is proper to add that, although fully sensible of the im-

portance of rapid recruiting, I would not ask leave of absence

from duty in the field for that purpose, if there was any im-

mediate prospect of active operations here.


                                 R. B. HAYES,





  August 1, 1862. Friday.--A good little drill. Mr. Land-

craft, one of the three slaveholders of Monroe County who were

true to the Union, and a Mrs. Roberts were arrested and brought

into my camp in obedience to orders from headquarters. Mrs.

Roberts is a ladylike woman; her husband, a Secesh, is a prisoner

at Raleigh. Mrs. Roberts and her uncle, Mr. Landcraft, came

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          315

over New River and passed into our lines, the pickets admitting

them, without proper passes. If this is the whole offense, the

arrest is on most insufficient and frivolous grounds. In the case

of Mrs. Roberts, who has a nursing child at home, it is as cruel

as it is unnecessary. I shall do my best to get them out of the

trouble. These needless persecutions of old men and of women,

I am ashamed of.

  August 2, 1862.  Saturday.--. . .  From General Cox I

hear that I can't send captains on recruiting service. This dis-

appoints Captains Drake and Sperry. I have named Lieutenants

Avery and Hastings. I also learn that I can't go home to recruit

the Seventy-ninth Regiment whose colonel I am to be if and if.

Well I don't care much.  I should never find such a regiment as

the Twenty-third.

  August 3, 1862.  Sunday.--. . .  Was glad to be able

to release Mr. Landcraft and Mrs. Roberts.  This arrest was a

foolish business.

  [August] 4, 1862.  Monday. -- Company I, Greenwood mus-

kets, fired at target one hundred yards. Best string, thirty-seven

inches (4 shots); the muskets not so accurate for short ranges

as the Enfields; not so well sighted. Possibly the men are some-

what afraid of them is one reason. I keep the men busy to

prevent rusting. This target practice seems to interest them very


  August 5, 1862.  Tuesday.--Target practice continues.  I

did a thing that worried me this A. M. I saw two soldiers sitting

on post. It was contrary to orders. I directed that they should

carry knapsacks one hour. I do not often punish. They turned

out to be two good quiet soldiers. But the order was given before

I knew who they were. One of them felt badly, wanted to be

excused; but the order was out and I had it executed. I trust

it will cure the evil. . . .

  Camp Green Meadows, August 6, 1862.  Wednesday. -- This

has been a day of excitement and action. Before I was out of

bed a courier came saying our pickets on New River above Blue-

stone were probably cut off; that firing had been heard near there,


and none had come in to the picket station. I ordered Companies

C and E to go down and look them up, supposing some small

party of the enemy had attempted to cut them off. Before the

companies could get away another courier came reporting that

the enemy in force, three thousand to four thousand, had passed

down New River on the other side. Of course this was to at-

tack the ferry. I sent word to the ferry and to Flat Top, directed

the men to put one day's rations in haversacks, forty rounds of

ammunition in boxes, and fill canteens. Then word came that

the forces were smaller than supposed and no cannon. I dis-

patched Flat Top, Colonel Scammon to that effect, and that re-

inforcements were not needed.

  Soon after a courier from [the] ferry [reported] that the

enemy in large force were firing cannon rifled at them. I sent

this to Flat Top. Then called up Companies E, C, and K to go

to reinforce the ferry. I sent the band to give them music and

told the men: "Fighting battles is like courting the girls: those

who make most pretension and are boldest usually win. So, go

ahead, give good hearty yells as you approach the ferry, let the

band play; but don't expose yourselves, keep together and keep

under cover. It is a bushwhacking fight across the river. Don't

expose yourself to show bravery; we know you are all brave,"

etc., etc. The men went off in high spirits.

  A courier came from Bluestone saying the enemy were at the

ford with a cannon in some force. I sent Company I down there

to watch them and hinder them if they attempted to cross. Under

what he deemed obligatory written orders, Major Comly de-

stroyed the large ferry-boat. Soon after, the enemy ceased firing

and made a rapid retreat. They ran their horses past the ford at

Bluestone. Whether they left because they heard our band and

reinforcements coming or because they saw the major had done

their work, is problematical.

  My couriers reached Flat Top in from one hour ten to one

hour thirty minutes: viz., at 7:10, 8:30, and 9 A. M. The colonel

with [the] Thirtieth and artillery, cavalry (Thirty-fifth), starting

at 12 M! Rather slow business. The artillery and Thirtieth

halted at Jumping Branch, reaching there two and one-half miles

back at 4 P. M. Slow aid. It beats Giles!

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          317

   A singular and almost fatal accident occurred about 5:30 P. M.

In the midst of a severe thunder-storm the guard-tent was struck

by lightning. Eight men were knocked flat, cartridge boxes ex-

ploded, muskets were shattered, etc., etc. The eight were all

badly hurt, but dashing cold water on them they revived. They

were playing "seven-up." They thought it was shell. One said

as he came to "Where are they? Where are they?" Another

spoke up repeating the question, "Where is Colonel Hayes?

Where is the colonel?"

                        GREEN MEADOWS, August 6 [5], 1862.

  DEAREST:--Adjutant Avery, Lieutenant Hastings, and some

good men go home on recruiting service.

   I have nothing to say this hot day. I have still some hope that

things will so work together as to allow me to see you during the

next month or two. At present no leaves of absence are granted

to officers appointed in new regiments. I do not know how this

will affect the appointees for the Seventy-ninth. If they choose

to turn us out, all right. I am indifferent. Indeed, leaving the

Twenty-third is an unpleasant thing to contemplate. When I

look at the neat, hardy, healthy, contented young fellows who

make up nine-tenths of the regiment, and contrast their appear-

ance with a mob of raw recruits -- dirty, sickly, lawless, and com-

plaining, I can't help feeling that I should be a great fool to ac-

cept the new position.

  But there are other considerations which influence me in the

other direction, and so I quietly dodge the question for the pres-

ent. To see "all the boys" and your own dear self, that is a great

matter, and I think, if things go on as I anticipate, that circum-

stances will decide me for the Seventy-ninth, always provided

these stringent orders as to absence don't cut me out of the


  Dr. Joe has been for three or four days quite sick. He is now

up and about again. He complains that he gets no letters.

  Later. -- Dr. Joe is content. He has got two letters--one

from you and one from Mother. I have yours of the 26th. Yes,

we feel a good deal alike about leaving the Twenty-third. Well,


I have no official notice as to what I am to do. But I have

official notice that no leave of absence is granted for the purpose

of recruiting new regiments. So the question as to whether I go

or stay is likely to decide itself.  So let it do. . . .   Love

to all the boys.

                     Affectionately ever,


                                               August 7 [6].

  DEAREST: -- I wrote this last night -- today has been a day of

excitement. All has not been quiet on New River. This morning

at daylight I was aroused by a courier saying our most distant

picket had been fired on and as no one had come in, they were

believed to be all cut off. I got out two companies to see to it.

In twenty minutes another came in saying that the enemy three

thousand to four thousand strong, with artillery, were coming to

attack our four companies at Packs Ferry, under Major Comly.

I sent word to the major and three companies, [and] word to

Flat Top for help. Well, they made the attack both at the ferry

and the ford--but it was across a broad river.  Cannon shots

barely missed many times. Shell lit in close proximity and failed

to explode, and our sharpshooters getting bold and skilful, the

enemy retreated, running the gauntlet of our sharpshooters on

the river bank for three miles. Not a man of ours killed or

wounded. Reinforcements reached us under Colonel Scammon

at 4 P. M., just four hours after the last Rebel had disappeared

six miles above here. Our courier carried the news to Flat Top

 in one hour and ten minutes. The "aid" did it in six hours!

   We had a terrific thunder-storm about six P. M. The lightning

 struck our guard-tent. Five men were laid out apparently dead.

 Dr. Joe and all of us were there in an instant. The men are all

 restored and I think will all get well. They all appeared dead,

 and but for instant aid would have died. . . .



   August 7. -- Thursday. -- Colonel Scammon who came down

 with the battery and the Thirtieth Regiment, returned to Flat

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          319

Top this A. M. The colonel is too nervous and fussy to be a

good commander. He cut around like a hen with one chicken

after getting news of our being attacked three hours or four be-

fore he started his troops. They reached the place where they

camped, twelve miles from Flat Top, about 5 P. M. They would

have got to the ferry, if at all, after dark. The enemy could have

fought a battle and escaped before aid would have come.

  Lieutenants Avery and Hastings, Sergeant Abbott, Corporal

Bennett, and two privates left today on recruiting service.

  Camp Green Meadows, Friday, August 8, 1862.--Captains

Drake and Skiles of [the] Twenty-third and Captain Gilmore of

the cavalry returned today. They brought fourteen head [of]

good cattle got from Secesh. Captain Drake is very much irritat-

ed because he and Captain Sperry were not detailed on my rec-

ommendation to go on recruiting service, the reason given being

that captains in the opinion of [the] general commanding, Gen-

eral Cox, ought not to be sent. Since that, a number of captains

have been sent from this division.  This looks badly.  Captain

Drake tenders his resignation "immediate and unconditional." I

requested the captain not to be too fast. He is impulsive and

hasty, but gallant and brave to a fault, honorable and trustworthy.

I prefer to send him on any dangerous service to any man I ever

knew. I hope he will remain in the regiment if I do.

  I ordered camp changed today to get rid of old leaves, soured

ground, dirty tents, and the like. Have succeeded in getting more

room for tents and more room for drill.


                                              August 8, 1862.

  DEAR UNCLE:--. . . .         I have not yet decided as to the

Seventy-ninth Regiment. I would much prefer the colonelcy of

this [regiment, the Twenty-third], of course. At the same time

there are some things which influence me strongly in favor of the

change. I shall not be surprised if the anxiety to have the colonel

present to aid in recruiting will be such that I shall feel it my

duty to decline.  You know I can't get leave of absence until my


commission is issued, and the commission does not issue until

the regiment is full. By this rule, officers in the field are ex-

cluded. I shall leave the matter to take care of itself for the


  We have had a good excitement the last day or two. A large

force, about two thousand, with heavy artillery and cavalry, have

been attacking the positions occupied by the Twenty-third. They

cannonaded Major Comly at the ferry four and one-half miles

from here, and a post I have at the ford three and one-half miles

from here, on Wednesday. Tents were torn and many narrow

escapes made, but strangely enough nobody on our side was hurt.

With our long-range muskets, the enemy soon found they were

likely to get the worst of it.

  The same evening our guard-tent was struck by lightning.

Eight men were knocked senseless, cartridge boxes, belted to

the men, were exploded, and other frightful things, but all are

getting well.

  The drafting pleases me. It looks as if [the] Government was

in earnest. All things promise well. I look for the enemy to

worry us for the next two months, but after that our new forces

will put us in condition to begin the crushing process. I think

another winter will finish them. Of course there will be guerrilla

and miscellaneous warfare, but the power of the Rebels will, I

believe, go under if [the] Government puts forth the power

which now seems likely to be gathered.

  I am as anxious as you possibly can be to set up in Spiegel

Grove, and to begin things. It is a pity you are in poor health,

but all these things we need not grieve over. Don't you feel glad

that I was in the first regiment originally raised for the three-

years service in Ohio, instead of waiting till this time, when a

man volunteers to escape a draft? A man would feel mean

about it all his days.

  I wish you were well enough to come out here. You would

enjoy it to the top of town. Many funny things occur in these

alarms from the enemy. Three shells burst in our assistant

surgeon's tent. He was out but one of them killed a couple of

live rattlesnakes he had as pets! One fellow, an old pursy fifer,

a great coward, came puffing up to my tent from the river and

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          321

began to talk extravagantly of the number and ferocity of the

enemy. Said I to him, "And, do they shoot their cannon pretty

rapidly?" "Oh, yes," said he, "very rapidly indeed--they had

fired twice before I left the camp"!

  It is very hot these days but our men are still healthy. We

have over eight hundred men, and only about ten in hospital

here. . . . .


                                                R. B. HAYES.

  P. S. -- Wasn't you pleased with the Morgan raid into Ken-

tucky? I was in hopes they would send a shell or two into

Cincinnati. It was a grand thing for us.


  August 9.  Saturday.-- Am planning an expedition to go to

Salt Well and destroy it; also to catch old Crump if he is at

home. Jacobs, Company G, a scout, went up yesterday to

Crump's Bottom. Reports favorably. All safe now. Curious,

quiet fellow, Jacobs.  He takes no grub, wears moccasins; passes

himself for a guerrilla of the Rebels, eats blackberries when he

can't get food; slips stealthily through the woods, and finds out

all that is going.

  Old Andy Stairwalt, a fat, queer-looking old fifer with a

thin voice, and afflicted with a palpitation of the heart (!)--a

great old coward, otherwise a worthy man -- was one of the first

men who reached here from the ferry after the attack of Wednes-

day.  He was impressed that the enemy were in great force.  I

asked him if they fired their cannon rapidly. "Oh, yes," said he,

"very rapidly; they fired twice before I left the camp"!

  Sad news. The dispatch tells us that "General Bob McCook

was murdered by guerrillas while riding in front of his brigade

in Tennessee." He always said he did not expect to survive the

war. He was a brave man, honest, rough, "an uncut diamond."

A good friend of mine; we have slept together through several

stormy nights.  I messed with him in his quarters on Mount

Sewell. Would that he could have died in battle! Gallant spirit,

hail and farewell!



  I send out today Company E, thirty-nine men, K, twenty-seven

men, H, about thirty men, and a squad of men from A, I, and C

of twenty-seven men, and about twenty-five cavalry to stop the

salt well in Mercer, twenty miles above here. Total force about

one hundred and fifty men. They go up to Crump's Bottom,

catch him if they can, take his canoe and the ferry-boat and

destroy the Mercer salt well. This is the programme.

  A charming affectionate letter from my dear wife. She speaks

of her feelings on the night before the regiment left for the seat

of war, a year ago the 24th of July.* Dear Lucy, God grant you

as much happiness as you deserve and your cup will indeed be

full! She speaks of the blue-eyed beautiful youngest. He is al-

most eight months old.  A letter from mother Hayes, more cheer-

ful than usual, religious and affectionate. She is past seventy,

and fears she will not live to see the end of the war. I trust she

will, and to welcome me home again as of old she used to from


  Sunday, August 10, 1862, 9:30 A. M.--Captain Drake and

Gilmore's Cavalry have returned. The infantry are bathing in

Bluestone. The expedition was completely successful, and was

of more importance than I supposed it would be. They reached

the salt well about 2:30 A. M.; found the works in full blast--

a good engine pumping, two pans thirty feet long boiling, etc., etc.

The salt is good; considerable salt was on hand. All the works

were destroyed by fire. A canoe found at Crump's was taken to

the ferry.

  I spent an anxious night. Jackson, Major Comly's scout, re-

ported that the salt well was guarded. This came to me after I

  *Mrs. Hayes had written from Chillicothe, August 2: "The 24th of

July a year ago was a happy, and yet, oh, sad night, and yet the thought

that I was with you to the last moment of that sad parting sends such a

thrill of joy through my heart. I think of it so often. 'Twas bitter to

know that when morning dawned, instead of joy and happiness, 'twould

bring such heavy sorrow, such bitter tears. We stood and gazed after

the cars holding all that was dearest to us, but I was a soldier's wife,

I must not cry yet. While standing there, an old woman spoke to Mother,

asking who was gone; then she turned to me, 'You had better take a

good cry, my dear, 'twill lighten your heart.' How freshly everything

comes before me now!"

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          323

was in bed and too late to send the word to the expedition. I an-

ticipated trouble there and felt anxious enough. I slept little, was

up often. But luckily all went well. Not a man was in sight.

This morning, as they were returning, the cavalry were bush-

whacked, horses wounded, clothes cut, but no man hurt.

  Received a "secret" order to be ready to move on one-half

hour's notice. Rode post to the ferry; set the men to preparing

for one of General Pope's minute and practical inspections.

                    CAMP GREEN MEADOWS, August 10, 1862.

  DEAREST LUTE: -- All your names are sweet. "Lu" is good; 1

always think of the girls at Platt's saying "Aunt Lu." "Lute"

and "Luty" is Joe; and "Lucy darling," that's me. All pretty

and lovable.

  Your letter of the 2nd came last night. A great comfort it

was. Several things last night were weighing on me, and I

needed a dear word from you. I had got a reluctant permission

to send a party to attempt to destroy the salts-works at the Mercer

salt well twenty-five miles from here, over a rough mountain

country full of enemies, and uncertain who might be at the well.

I started the party at 6 P. M. to make a night march of it to get

there and do the work and get fairly off before daylight. Cap-

tains Drake and Zimmerman were in command with twenty of

Gilmore's gallant cavalry and one hundred and thirty of our

best men. I had got all the facts I could before they left, but

after they were gone three hours, a scout I had given up came

in with information that the works were strongly guarded. I

slept none during that night. Then too, the sad news that Mc-

Cook was murdered was in the evening dispatches, casting a deep

shadow over all. It needed your letter to carry me through the


  I was out at early dawn, walking the camp, fearing to hear the

gallop of a horse. Time went on slowly enough, but it was a case

where no news was good news. If they had run into trouble

the word would have returned as fast as horseflesh could bring

it. By breakfast time I began to feel pretty safe; at eight I


visited the hospital and talked cheerfully to the sick, feeling

pretty cheerful really. About half past nine Captain Drake rode

in. The fifty miles had been travelled, and the Secesh salt well

for all this saltless region was burned out root and branch.

Three horses were badly wounded; many [men] had their

clothes cut, but not a man was hurt. They reached the well at

2 A. M., found it in full blast, steam on, etc., etc., received one

feeble volley of rifle balls and the thing was done. So much

good your letter did.

  Yes, I get all your letters about one week after you mail them.

I got a letter from Mother of same date at same time.  This

happens almost always.

  As to the Seventy-ninth, I agree with you.  The greatest in-

ducements are to visit you and to get out of these mountains

before another winter. I may, and probably will, find worse

places, but I am getting tired of this. Another thing, a sense

of duty. I do not know that it clearly inclines either way. In

such case we usually manage to persuade ourselves that it points

the way we wish. But it strikes me that the Twenty-third is as

near right as I can make it.  It can't get much more out of me,

while possibly my experience might be more useful in a new

regiment than anywhere else.  Do you see where I am coming


  As I am writing a messenger from headquarters comes with

a significant order headed "secret." I am ordered to place all

things in readiness to move on thirty minutes' notice -- to have

baggage, etc., etc., in such condition that it can be done on that

notice any time after tomorrow at 3 P. M.  This means what?

I suspect a move to the east by way of Lewisburg and White

Sulphur Springs. It may be a move to eastern Virginia. It may

be towards Giles and the railroad again.

  Well, I have galloped to the ferry five miles and back. I am

likely to be settled some way soon, but at any rate, in the Seventy-

ninth or Twenty-third, I have got the best wife of any of them.

This war has added to my confidence in you, my love for you,

and my happiness that I have so dear a wife. The character you

have shown in bearing what was so severe a trial, the unselfish

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE -- 1862          325

and noble feeling you constantly exhibit, has endeared you to

me more than ever before.

  Joining the army when I did is now to be thought fortunate.

Think of my waiting till forced by the fear of a draft to


  Good-bye, darling. Love and kisses to the dear boys, the little

blue-eyed favorite, and all.

                    Affectionately ever, your


  I enclose a literary specimen.*


  Monday, August 11, 1862.--Received a note from Major

[Comly] that the enemy was moving from Red Sulphur either

towards us or Colonel Crook. Kept the men preparing for the

"secret" inspection or movement.  Got a letter from the major,

rather obscurely intimating that I did wrong in sending him aid

at the time of the attack on him, and showing that he is offended

about it, or hurt about it, at any rate. He says I lent official

color to the rumor that he had abandoned the place by doing it,

etc., etc. I replied that he was in error in thinking I had said I

sent reinforcements to him instead of sending to Bluestone be-

cause of a rumor that went to Raleigh that he had abandoned

the ferry without firing a gun. I had not heard the rumor then;

but I did fear he was losing, AS I heard from couriers that he

was destroying boats, and that the column a mile or more out

was still marching this way.

  Tuesday, August 12, 1862. -- I sent this morning to J. C. Dun-

levy, Lebanon, the following dispatch: "I am glad to hear that

the Seventy-ninth is likely to be promptly filled without drafting.

If so I shall join it as soon as leave can be obtained." So I am


  *The "specimen" was a scrap of paper reading: "Mr. Kernel hase

I Want a Pass to go to see Wilson Lilly he has Sent for me he is Just

at the Point of death

                                              "EMILY LILLY"


  A fine rain this P. M.-- A most gorgeous picture was pre-

sented by the sky and clouds and the beautiful hills surrounding,

as I sat looking at our dress parade.

                  CAMP GREEN MEADOWS, August 12, 1862.

  DEAR UNCLE: -- I write merely to say that I have concluded

to accept [the] colonelcy of the Seventy-ninth if it is filled with-

out drafting. I love this regiment, but must leave it. I was

pretty evenly balanced on the question. I have decided it rightly.

It will take me to Cincinnati, I conjecture, in about three or four

weeks. I shall no doubt be kept closely at work, but will manage

some way to see you, if but for a night. Possibly you can come


  I am sad over McCook's death. From the first he always

told me -- I suppose he said the same thing to many -- that he

would certainly not survive the war. He expected confidently

to be killed. I suppose all men have notions one way or the

other of that sort.

  Quite a batch of the new colonels are persons with whom I

am on agreeable terms. Anderson, Haynes, Lee Stem, Moore,

Longworth, Tafel, and a bunch of others. But they will be a

funny lot for a while. I suspect I shall enjoy the thing. I can

now appreciate the difference between an old seasoned regiment

and the same people raw. Nothing is nicer than a good old

regiment. The machine runs itself--all the colonel has to do

is to look on and see it go. But at first it's always in a snarl, and

a thousand unreasonable men make such a big snarl. I have no

doubt I shall see times when I would like to see around me the

quiet, neat, hardy youngsters who are with me now.

  Well, good-bye. I feel like shedding tears when I think of

leaving these men, but I at once get into a quiet laugh when I

think of what I am going to -- a thousand-headed monster!


                                              R. B. HAYES.

  P.S. -- I forgot to say anything about the war. My command

is scattered from fourteen to twenty miles from any succor, and

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          327

if attacked it's doubtful if any would reach in time. We must

fight or go under, perhaps both.  Well, on the 6th, the enemy

three times our whole and six times our detachment at the ferry,

with rifle, cannon, etc., etc., attacked. We had a busy day but

by stratagem and good luck we got off with slight damage. They

thought we were the strongest and after firing two hours re-

treated. Next day but one, we destroyed their salt works twenty-

five miles from here. Last night I was up all night riding and

manoeuvring to keep them off; but it makes a man feel well to

have something to do.


                    CAMP GREEN MEADOWS, August 12, 1862.

  DEAR MOTHER:-- I received your good letter of the 2d the day

before yesterday.  On same day received one from Lucy of same


  We have had some fighting and a good deal of excitement and

night riding and duty of various sorts during the last week. We

have been exceedingly lucky, losing, so far as I know, but one

man. We had two accidents--one man drowned and eight

struck with lightning. All were senseless and most of them

seemed dead for a short time, but all are living and probably all

will recover entirely. It was the same day that we were attacked,

after the enemy had retreated. The men all supposed that a

shell of the enemy had burst.  The enemy were in great force

and had artillery superior to ours, but the security of our position

was soon apparent, and after less than an hour's firing they re-

tired, having lost a few killed and wounded.

  I have agreed to accept [the] colonelcy of [the] Seventy-ninth

regiment if it is filled without drafting. I suppose this will take

me to Cincinnati and home in three or four weeks. I shall no

doubt be in duty bound to devote all my time to the new regi-

ment, but I shall of course manage to see you if it is but for a

day or night.

  The weather is seasonable -- that is hot as Tophet. We have

a few more sick than usual but nothing serious.


  I am pleased with the war prospects.  We may meet with

disasters to give things a gloomy look before the new troops are

ready for the field, but it certainly seems as if we could, with

the new army, put a speedy end to the Rebellion. I trust you will

live to see the country again at peace. But war isn't the worst

thing that can happen to a country. It stirs up a great deal of

good. I see more kindness, more unselfish generosity around me

than would probably be found among these young men if they

were plodding along in ordinary selfish pursuits. . . .

                   Affectionately, your son,




                               August 18, [1862].  Evening.

  DEAR WIFE: -- I  am  four hard days' marching, and a few

hours' travel on a swift steamer nearer to you than I was when

I last wrote you, and yet I am not on my way home. You will

see in the newspapers, I suppose, that General Cox's Division

(the greater part of it) is going to eastern Virginia. We left

our camps Friday, the 15th, making long and rapid marches

from the mountains to the head of navigation on this river. We

now go down to the Ohio, then up to Parkersburg, and thence

by railroad eastwardly to the scene of operations.  My  new

regiment fills slowly, I think, and it may be longer than I an-

ticipated before I shall be called for at Cincinnati, if at all.

There is talk of an order that will prevent my going to the new

regiment, but I think it is not correctly understood, and the

chance, it seems to me, is that I shall go home notwithstanding

this change of plan.

   Our men  are delighted with the change.  They cheer and

laugh, the band plays, and it is a real frolic.  During the hot

dusty marching, the idea that we were leaving the mountains of

west Virginia kept them in good heart.

   You will hereafter direct letters to me "General Cox's Division,

Army of Virginia."

             HOLDING THE FRONT LINE--1862          329

  August 19. Evening. Same steamer on the Ohio River. --

  DEAREST: -- We have had a particularly jolly day.  The river

is very low, and at many of the bars and shoals we are compelled

to disembark and march the troops around. In this way we have

marched through some villages, and fine farming neighborhoods

in Meigs County. The men, women, and children turned out with

apples, peaches, pies, melons, pickles (Joe took to them), etc., etc.,

etc., in the greatest profusion. The drums and fifes and band all

piped their best. The men behaved like gentlemen and marched

beautifully.  Wasn't I proud of them?  How happy they were!

They would say, "This is God's country." So near you and

marching away from you! That was the only sad point in it for

me. Only one man drunk so far; his captain put him under

arrest. He insisted on an appeal to me, and on my saying, "It's

all right," he was sober enough to submit, saying, "Well, if the

colonel says it's right, it must be right," so he made no trouble.

  I shall write daily until we get to Parkersburg--that is on

the line of railroad to Chillicothe, I believe. No more tonight.

                                             [R. B. HAYES.]


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