OF 1862

    TUESDAY, April 1.--Cloudy and threatening this morning.

.  .  . All Fools' day.  Soldiers  sent companies to

get pay out of time; bogus dispatches and the like.

  I hear that Dr. Joe is in his trouble by consent of Scammon.

Was he induced to ask for his examination? If so, how foolish!

I can hardly be angry, and yet [I am] vexed outrageously. He

[Scammon] has been operated on, used. Surely he wouldn't do

such a thing if he was wide-awake.

  April 2. Wednesday.--A windy day; roads drying rapidly.

Rode out with Avery. Saw the companies drill skirmish drill.

The militia called out to be enrolled in this county on the Union

side. About a hundred queer-looking, hollow-chested, gaunt,

awkward fellows in their tattered butternut garments turned

out. A queer customer calls our scouts "drives," another calls

it "drags." A fellow a little sick here calls it "trifling." He

says, "Yes, I feel 'trifling,'" meaning unwell.

  Sent Captain Zimmerman with Company E and Lieutenant

Bottsford, Company C, the scout Abbott, and two or three citi-

zens out towards Wyoming. Will be gone two or three days.

            CAMP HAYES, RALEIGH, VIRGINIA, April 2, 1862.

  DEAR MOTHER: -- I received your letter yesterday, just one

day after it was written. Very glad you are so well and happy.

You do not seem to me so near seventy years old. I think of

you as no older than you always were.       I hope you may  see

other happy birthdays.

  Our men stationed here, nine companies, were paid for the

third             time yesterday.   They send home about thirty thousand

dollars. Many families will be made glad by it. A small pro-



 portion of our men have families of their own. The money

 goes chiefly to parents and other relatives. . . .

   I send you two letters showing the business [we] are in.

 General Beckley is the nabob of this county; commanded a regi-

 ment of Rebels until we came and scattered [it]. He is now on

 his parole at home. The other is from an old lady, the wife of

 the Baptist preacher here.    Her husband preached Secession

 and on our coming fled South.

   We are all in the best of health.  Love to Sophia and Mrs.

 Wasson.             Your affectionate son,


   P. S.--The total amount sent home from our regiment fig-

ures up thirty-five thousand dollars.


  Raleigh, Virginia, Thursday, April 3.-- The rain last night

was merely an April shower.      It has cleared off bright and

warm. The grass looks fresh and green. I have one hundred

and fifty dollars in treasury notes. Last night Lieutenant Hast-

ings with Company I started for the Marshes of Cool to protect

the election and if possible catch the Trumps. . . . .

  Election day for West Virginia. One hundred and eight votes

polled here, all for the new Constitution.  I doubt its success.

Congress will be slow to admit another slave State into the

Union. The West Virginians are blind to interest as well as

duty, or they would abolish slavery instantly. They would make

freedom the distinguishing feature of West Virginia.       With

slavery abolished the State would rapidly fill up with an indus-

trious, enterprising population. As a slave State, slaveholders

will not come into it and antislavery and free-labor people will

keep away.

  Camp Hayes, Raleigh, Virginia, April 4, 1862. Friday. --

Very warm, windy. Mud drying up rapidly. Dr. Webb has

returned. Dr. Hayes was at the bottom of the affair. Colonel

Scammon telegraphed that Dr. Webb couldn't be spared and

ordered him to return here.    I suspect that Dr. Hayes made

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          223

 such representations to Colonel Scammon as induced him to re-

port Dr. Webb for examination. On reflection Colonel Scam-

mon no doubt felt that he had yielded too much and will now,

I presume, put a stop to further proceedings.

   About 4 or 5 P. M. yesterday I received an order requiring

Lieutenant Stevens and a corporal and six men to arrest General

Beckley and take him to Wheeling.        The arrest was made.

General Beckley's wife and family felt badly enough. The gen-

eral said he recognized the propriety of it and did not com-


  A thunder-storm last night. Will it clear off or give us

"falling weather"? The natives with their queer garments and

queerer speech and looks continue to come in.

   Camp Hayes, Raleigh, Virginia, April 5, 1862.  Saturday. --

Windy, cloudy, threatening more rain. Captain Haven in com-

mand of companies G and K started for the Bragg and Rich-

mond settlement this morning to defend that Union stronghold

and to operate if practicable against a force of cavalry and

bushwhackers who are reported to be threatening it. They will

remain at least three days.

  Lieutenant Stevens, Sergeant Deshong, a corporal, and six

men started this morning with General Beckley for Fayetteville

and probably Wheeling.

  Company A came up about 3 P. M. Hardy, well drilled.

Camp in Sibley tents in court-house yard in front of my quar-


  Captain Zimmerman with Companies C and E and ten pris-

oners returned at 4 P. M.     Marched fifty miles; burned the

residence of Pleasant Lilly. Lieutenant Hastings came in about

same time; had protected the election in the Marshes, and

marched forty miles.

  Sunday, [April] 6.-- A  lovely morning.  Sent Sergeant Ab-

bott to Fayetteville with five prisoners.  Company A look splen-

didly; drill well, sing well, and, I doubt not, fight well. Re-

ceived orders to be ready to move by Wednesday night. We

need canteens, a quartermaster, ammunition. Must see that

captains are all ready.


           CAMP HAYES, RALEIGH, VIRGINIA, April 6, 1862.

   DEAREST:--. . .  We are to move southward this week.

You will not hear from me so often as heretofore. At any rate,

you will get shorter letters -- none but the shortest; but you will

feel and know that I am loving you as dearly as ever, and think

of you and the dear boys with so much affectionate sympathy.

   The poor Lippetts!  How sad!  I did not doubt it.  A man

 who always spends more than he earns is on the downward road.

 I advised him to go into the army, but he said his family would

not listen to it. Far better to be in the place of Mrs. Whitcomb

and child. Pshaw! it is absurd to make the comparison. After

the sharpness of the first grief is over, its bitterness will be

mixed with a just pride that in time will be a gratification

rather. Children would be sure to so regard it.

   Corwine married to a girl of twenty-two! Joe tells a story of

a Lexington gate-keeper's remark to General Coombs about his

marriage: "Men must have been scarce where she comes from."

. . .                Affectionately ever,



                                CAMP HAYES, April 6, 1862.

  DEAR MOTHER:-- . . .   We  are to move southward be-

fore this will reach you, and before you will hear from me again.

. . .  We  are now about beginning our campaign.            Your

philosophy as to what befalls us is the true one: What is best

for us will occur. I am satisfied that we are doing an important

duty, and do not, therefore, feel much anxiety about conse-

quences. . . .

  The pleasantest thing in this part of our work is that, in this

region, the best people are on our side. We are not in an en-

emy's country.

                                            [R. B. HAYES.]


  Monday, April 7. -- Rained violently all day. Visited all offi-

cers to see if they were provided with canteens, etc., etc.  All

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          225

very nearly ready. Streams will rise and roads deepen so that

no movement can now be made. A gloomy day to pass in

camp, especially after getting ready to move. Set at liberty two

citizens in guardhouse.

  Tuesday, 8.--A. M. Still raining! Have borrowed "Jack

Hinton" to read to pass time. Rained all day. At night heard

a noise; found the sutler was selling whiskey; ordered two

hundred bottles poured out.

            CAMP HAYES, RALEIGH, VIRGINIA, April 8, 1862.

  DEAR UNCLE:--We are getting ready to move south.  Our

first halt, unless the enemy stops us, will be at Princeton, forty-

two miles from here, the county-seat of Mercer County.  We

shall stop there for supplies, etc., etc., and to suppress Rebel

recruiting and guerrilla bands probably a fortnight, then on to

the railroad at Wytheville, Dublin, or some other point. The

enemy will try to stop us. They will do their best, as the rail-

road is of the utmost importance to their grand army in eastern


  Colonel Scammon has a brigade consisting of [the] Twenty-

third, Thirtieth, and Thirty-seventh Ohio Regiments, a fine bat-

tery of eight pieces, and a small force of cavalry. I command

the Twenty-third which has the advance. General Cox com-

mands the division consisting of three brigades. At present only

one brigade (ours) moves up this side of New River.

  We should move tomorrow, but heavy rains yesterday and

today have filled the streams so that they can't be forded.     I

have got two companies cut off by the freshet, and have been

taxing the Yankee ingenuity of a company from Ashtabula in

getting grub to them.   I think it has succeeded.

  It is much pleasanter carrying on the war now than last cam-

paign.  Now the people, harried to death by the Rebel impress-

ment of provisions and also of men, welcome our approach,

receive us gladly, send us messages to hurry us forward, and a

few turn out to fight. Guides are plenty, information furnished

constantly, etc. All which is very different from carrying on

an invasion of a hostile people.



  I can't think that the new armies of the South will fight as

well as the old ones.   Besides being raw, large numbers are

unwilling. Our troops have improved beyond all expectation.

Our regiment is now a beautiful sight. The Thirtieth too has

become, under the drilling of the last two months, a capital body

in appearance. The Thirty-seventh is a German regiment -- has

companies from Toledo, Sandusky, and Cleveland. I have not

yet seen it.

  I prefer Lucy should let the house remain empty this summer,

or rented to some [family] to take care of it with my name on

the door, etc., and in the fall we will see as to permanent ar-


  The war will certainly last another campaign--I mean

through this summer and until next fall.  Even with victories

on the Potomac and at Corinth and Memphis, it will take months,

if not a year or two, to crush out the Rebellion in all quarters.


                                              R. B. HAYES.


  April 9, 1862.  Wednesday.--Rain; cooler than yesterday.

Company B sent off to effect a crossing over Piney. Ten refu-

gees from Monroe [County], escaping [Governor] Letcher's

draft, just in. A crossing over Piney effected. Captain Haven,

with [Companies] G and K, reported to have fifteen prisoners

and twenty-five horses. Kept back by the high water. P. M.

Cold and windy, but still raining.  Have read "Jack Hinton"

these two gloomy days with Avery.

  How pleased I am to hear from Lucy that Birtie has been a

good scholar; that at the school exhibition he was called up to

speak and spoke Logan's speech very well. . . .

  Captain Drake returned tonight. Sent my money by the pay-

master to my wife. He reports that the Thirtieth Regiment is

under marching orders for this point; that the Thirty-fourth

is at Fayetteville, and that a cavalry regiment, the Second Vir-

ginia, is to form part of our brigade.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          227

   April 10. Thursday.--A. M. Ground whitened with snow;

 still threatening bad weather.

   3. P. M. Captain Haven, Company G, and Lieutenant Bacon,

 Company K, have just returned. They bring fifteen prisoners

and about fifteen horses, with a number of saddles and bridles.

 They were captured over New River in Monroe County.

   At 8 P. M. F. M. Ingram (the silent telegrapher) came in say-

ing we had gained a victory at Corinth; Major-General Lew

Wallace killed; [Albert] Sidney Johnston, ditto; Beauregard

lost an arm.  Later told me that Island Number 10 was taken

with six thousand prisoners. Glorious, if true ! Night, clear and


  Friday, April 11. -- Clear and cold. Bet with Avery that five

men could not put a great log across Piney.  Rode out to see

the work. The pine log was water-soaked, long, large, and very

heavy. Five men from Company C worked resolutely at it two

or three hours, when Avery gave it up.--Threatening again.

  Further news shows that on Sunday our men near Pittsburg

 [Landing] were surprised by the Rebel army in great force from

Corinth, Mississippi. They were driven from their camps with

heavy loss, took shelter near the river under protection of the

gunboats. Early next day Buell came up and attacked the

enemy, routing him. Sidney Johnston reported killed and Beau-

regard wounded--lost an arm.  We barely escaped an awful

defeat, if these first accounts are true.

  Island [Number] 10 was a great capture.     Cannon, stores,

etc., etc., in prodigious quantities were taken. These victories

if followed up give us Memphis and New Orleans.--Nothing

said about our moving the last three or four days.

  Camp Hayes, Raleigh, Virginia, April 12, 1862. Saturday. --

Windy, cold, and cloudy -- another storm impending. Cleared

up towards noon. Had two good drills. A first-rate ride,--

new horse getting up to it.

  Further news confirms the victory at Pittsburg or Corinth.

The first day, last Sunday, our men [were] surprised and badly

whipped; the second day, the fresh troops redeemed the day


and gained a great victory. Island Number 10, a most important

capture; now said to have taken six thousand prisoners.

  Nothing as to our future movements. Perhaps we are wait-

ing to see what effect these victories will have. -- Blowing up a

storm again.

  Sunday, 13. -- Rain begins at guard-mounting. A year ago

today Sumter was taken.     Great events, great changes, since

then. The South was eager, prepared, "armed and equipped."

The event found the North distracted, undecided, unarmed,

wholly unprepared, and helpless. Then came the rousing up of

the lion-hearted people of the North.   For months, however,

the superior preparation of the South triumphed.     Gradually

the North, the Nation, got ready; and now the victory over Beau-

regard and [that] at [Island] Number 10, following Fort Don-

elson, put the Nation on firm ground, while the Rebellion is

waning daily. Tonight received Commercial of the 10th, with

pretty full accounts of the great battles.

  Captain Haven and Lieutenant Bacon, Companies G and K,

marched seventy miles on their late scout into Monroe. Scout

Jackson, Company B, gone one week today toward Logan. I

hope he is all right.

  Monday, 14, 1862. -- Still raining. No further knowledge of

movements. Lieutenant Reichenbach's party that went to Co-

lumbus with prisoners, returned this evening. We hear of the

taking of Huntsville, Alabama, today, the death of Beauregard,

and news of the siege of Yorktown.

  Tuesday 15. -- Still rain! -- Read Bulwer's "Strange Story."

One idea I get: "We have an instinctive longing for a future

existence"; ergo, there is a future. "Jack Hinton" and "Strange

Story" both read in these days of rain and suspense. I think

often of my wife and mother as I read news which seems to

point to an early termination of the war. How happy peace

will make many families!

  Lieutenant Harris, [a] corporal, and seven men go with pris-

oners to Fayetteville. Two will go on to Ohio.

  P. M. Cleared off enough to have a parade in the evening.

Evening, read Commercial of 11th containing more particulars

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          229

of the fight, the great battle at Pittsburg Landing.  What a

complete success General Pope's operations against Island Num-

ber 10 turned out to be! Complete. It must weaken the enemy

more than any blow they have yet received.

  April 16. Wednesday.--A. M.  Sun shining brightly.  I have

hopes of weather now that will allow us to move forward. A

fine day at last! Major Comly drilled the non-commissioned

officers as a company, A. M. and P. M. I drilled the regiment

after parade. In the evening the new sutler, Mr. Forbes,

brought me  [a] letter from  Lucy and portrait.  Dear wife,

the "counterfeit presentment" is something.     Also papers of

12th. The victory at Pittsburg [Landing] was not so decisive

as I hoped. The enemy still holds Corinth, and will perhaps

fight another battle before giving it up.

  Captain Bragg came in tonight, reporting a gang of bush-

whackers in his neighborhood.  Would send out a company if

I were not afraid that orders to move would catch me unpre-


  Thursday, April 17. -- Another fine day; very warm this A. M.

Drilled three times. Heard that Colonel Scammon and Mc-

Mullen's Battery were on the way here from Fayetteville; that

we must get ready for them.

                        RALEIGH, VIRGINIA, April 17, 1862.

  DEAREST:--I was made happy by your letter and the fine

picture of you it contained.   You seem undecided which you

intended should have it, Uncle Joe or your husband. But I shall

keep it. You will have to send another to Joe.

  Very glad the money and everything turned out all right. I

get the Commercial quite often -- often enough to pay for taking

it. And you paid Mr. Trenchard! Why, you are getting to be

a business woman. I shall have to let the law out to you when

I come home again. I do not know that I shall have an oppor-

tunity to do much for Will De Charmes, but I shall bear him in

mind. If Fremont ever comes along here I may succeed.

  We are still hunting bushwhackers, succoring persecuted


Union men, and the like. Our intended advance was stopped

by a four-days rain which, like the old four-days meeting, I

began to think never would end. We are now getting ready to

go on -- in fact we are ready, but waiting for others.  A great

battle at Pittsburg [Landing] and probably not a very great vic-

tory. It will all come right, however. We are told that Captain

Richardson of the Fifty-fourth was killed. You will perhaps

remember him as a gigantic lieutenant of Company D, whose

wife was at Camp Chase when you were there.

  18th, A. M. --  We shall make a short march today.  Letters,

etc., may be directed as heretofore. Very glad to hear your talk

about the boys.   It is always most entertaining to me.     You

will be a good instructor for them. Let me hear from you as

often as you can. You need not feel bound to write long let-

ters -- short ones will do. I always like your letters to be long,

but I don't want you to put off writing because your time will

not allow you to write long ones.

  It begins to look like spring at last. We are on very elevated

ground. The season is weeks later than in the valley of the


  Kiss all the boys. Love to Grandma. I wish so much to be

with you all. I think of you constantly and with much happi-

ness and love. Good-bye.

                    Affectionately, your


  P. S. -- 18th, P. M. I am ordered to advance to Princeton

tomorrow morning, in command of [the] Twenty-third, a sec-

tion of McMullen's Battery, and a squadron of cavalry. We

are all delighted with this plan.


  Friday, 18.-- A. M.      Finished letter to Lucy.    Must get

ready to move.    Put all the regiment into tents today, by one

o'clock. A shower fell just after the tents were up.

   Colonels Scammon and Ewing [arrived]; Lieutenant Kennedy,

A. A. A. G. to Colonel Scammon, and Lieutenant Muenscher,

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          231

aide, with an escort of horsemen came with them. The Thirti-

eth began to arrive at 2:30 P. M.       They came in the rain.

Major Hildt came to my quarters.      I joined the regiment out

in camp--the camp in front of General Beckley's residence

one mile from Raleigh.     Rainy all night.   Our right rest on

the road leading southwardly towards Princeton, the left on the

graveyard of Floyd's men.      The graves are neatly marked;

Twentieth Mississippi, Phillips' Legion, Georgia, Fourth Louisi-

ana, furnished the occupants. Four from one company died

in one day! (November 2, 1861.)

  Slept in Sibley tent. Received orders to proceed with Twenty-

third, thirty [of] Captain Gilmore's Cavalry, and a section

of McMullen's Battery to Princeton tomorrow at 7 A. M.

  Saturday, April 19.-- Rained violently; starting postponed.

Order modified to marching by easy stages to Flat Top Moun-

tain, there to choose strong position. General Fremont speaks

of our forces as his right wing; the left must be up towards

Cheat Mountain.  We are now at the pivot; to proceed slowly

until the left wheels so as to face southwardly with us. Rained

all day; couldn't move.    At evening looked slighteously like

clearing off.

  Sunday, 20. -- Rained four or five hours, part very violently.

I fear we can't cross Piney. Sent to Piney; find it too high to

cross teams, but not so high as to preclude the hope that it will

run down in a few hours after the rain stops falling.

  A cold rain coming; men sing, laugh, and keep mirthful. I

poke about from [the] major's tent to my own, listen to yarns,

crack jokes, and the like. Avery won a knife and fifty cents of

Dr. McCurdy (a cool-head Presbyterian) today at (what is it?)

freezing poker!    The doctor couldn't play himself and sent

for Bottsford to play his game. This, Sunday! Queer antics

this life plays with steady habits!

  Received by Fitch, Company E, a Commercial of 16th. Pitts-

burg battle not a decided victory. Beauregard in a note to Grant

asks permission to bury his dead; says that in view of the rein-

forcements received by Grant and the fatigue of his men after

two days' hard fighting, "he deemed it his duty to withdraw


his army from the scene of the conflict." This is proof enough

that the enemy was repulsed. But that is all. Two or three

Ohio regiments were disgraced; [the] Seventy-seventh mus-

tered out of service, [the] Seventy-first has its colors taken from

it, etc., etc.  Lieutenant De Charmes, the brother of Lucy's

friend, killed.

  What a day this is ! Cold rain, deep mud, and "Ned to pay."

Cold and gusty. Will it snow now?

      CAMP NEAR BECKLEY'S, Easter Sunday, April 20, 1862.

  DEAREST:--We  left Raleigh the day before yesterday and

came here intending to continue our march at least as far south

as Flat Top Mountain. But just as we had got our tents up

the rain began to fall and by morning all movement was out of

the question. It has rained ever since. The streets of the camp

are trodden into mortar-beds, the weather is getting cold, and

you would naturally think that a gloomier set of fellows could

hardly be found. But we are jolly enough. A year ago we

used to read of these things and sympathize with the suffering

soldiers.  But a year of use has changed all that.  Like sail-

ors in a storm, the soldiers seem stimulated to unnatural mirth

by the gloomy circumstances. We are guessing as to when it

will stop. We hope this is the last day of the storm, but there

is no trusting to experience in the Virginia mountains. Every

new storm has a new set of phenomena.          The men sing a

great deal, play fiddle, banjo, etc. At the stated calls, the fifer,

buglers, and band exert themselves to play their liveliest airs,

and so we manage to get on.

  I (when alone) get out your two pictures and have a quiet

talk with you. Joe is in the next tent with Major Comly and

Dr. McCurdy singing sacred music. I am alone in a tall Sibley

tent writing this on a book on my knee, my ink on my trunk.

The mess-chest open is before me; next to it, saddle, etc., then

India-rubber cloth and leggings, old hat, haversack, glass, and

saddle-bags; by my side, trunk; behind me cot with overcoat

and duds, and on the other side of the tent Avery's truck in

similar disorder. We have a sheet-iron stove in the centre-

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          233

no fire now. So you see us on a muddy sidehill. I can't find

time to write often now.    If we are resting I don't feel like

writing; when going, of course I can't.

  Send this to Mother Hayes.      She is seventy years old this

month, about these days.    She will think I am forgetting her

if I don't send her some "scrabble"  (western Virginia for

"scribbling") of mine.--Love to all at home.

                     Affectionately, your                  R.


  Beckley's farm near Raleigh, Virginia, Monday, April 2I.--

A.M. All night a high wind and driving cold rain; mud in camp

deep. Like the Mount Sewell storm of September last. All day

rain, rain -- cold, cold rain. Rode to Raleigh, called on Colonel

Scammon and Lieutenant-Colonel Jones and Major Hildt of

Thirtieth.  Talked over the troubles between the men of the

Twenty-third and the men of [the] Thirtieth. The talk very


       CAMP SOUTH OF RALEIGH, VIRGINIA, April 22, 1862.

  DEAR UNCLE:--The ugly chap on the enclosed bill is Gov-

ernor  Letcher  of Virginia.    He  is entitled to our lasting

gratitude. He is doing more for us in this State than any two

brigadiers I can think of. He has in all the counties, not occu-

pied by our troops, little squads of volunteers busily engaged in

hunting up and "squadding in," as they call it, all persons

capable of military duty. Thousands who wish to escape this

draft are now hiding in the mountains or seeking refuge in our

lines. Meantime the rascals are plundering and burning in all

directions, making friends for the Union wherever they go. The

defeat of the enemy in eastern Virginia sends this cobhouse

tumbling very fast.

  We left Raleigh last week and have been struggling against

storms and freshets ever since.  Today it has snowed, rained,

sleeted, and turned off bright but gusty a dozen times.  Camp

muddy, tents wet, but all glad to be started.

  I have for the present an independent command of the


Twenty-third Regiment, a section of McMullen's Battery, and a

small body of horse. We are the advance of Fremont's col-

umn. We are directed to move by "easy marches" forward

south. The design being, I suppose, to overtake us in force by

the time we meet any considerable body of the enemy. We

meet and hear of small bodies of enemy now constantly, but

as yet nothing capable of serious resistance.

  I see that Buckland's Seventy-second was in the great battle

at Pittsburg.  Glad they are not reported as sharing the dis-

grace which seems to attach to some of the other new regiments.

There was shocking neglect there, I should guess. Generals,

not the regiments, ought to be disgraced. A sudden surprise by

a great army with cavalry and artillery can't be had without

gross negligence.   The regiments surprised ought not [to] be

held up to scorn if they are stricken with a panic in such a case.

A few thousand men can slip up unperceived sometimes, but

for an army of fifty or sixty thousand men to do it--pshaw!

it's absurd.  What happened to Buckland's regiment?         Send

your newspapers of Fremont giving letters from the regiment.

  I see that your friend McPherson* is one of the distin-

guished. Good.

  Colonel Scammon is back with the brigade, Thirtieth, Thirty-

fourth, and a regiment of cavalry.

                           Good-bye,            R. B. HAYES.

  April 23.--Since writing the foregoing I have received

Commercials of 17th and 18th containing the doings of Buck-

land and the Seventy-second.    They did well.  It is absurd to

find fault with men for breaking away under such circumstances.

The guilty officers ought to be punished--probably Grant or

Prentiss, or both.--H.


  * James B. McPherson, a native of Sandusky County.  He was at

that time chief engineer on General Grant's staff.  A brilliant and able

officer who rose to the position of corps commander. He was killed in

battle at Atlanta, July 22, 1864,--the officer highest in rank and command

killed during the war. His grave is at Clyde, Ohio, marked by an im-

posing monument. One of the entrances to Spiegel Grove bears his name.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          235

   Price's Farm, four miles south of Raleigh, Virginia, April 24,

 1862. Thursday.--Left camp at Beckley's at 10:30 A. M. with

 Twenty-third, a section of McMullen's Battery under Lieutenant

 Crome, twenty horse under Captain Gilmore and his first lieu-

 tenant, Abraham. Reached here at 1:30 P.M.  A short march

 but crossed two streams somewhat difficult. Broke one whiffle-

 tree. All right, with this exception. Camp on fine ground,

 sandy, rolling and near to Beaver Creek. Floyd camped here

on his retreat from Cotton Hill. The men carried their knap-

 sacks; shall try to accustom them to it by easy marches at first.

 They are in fine spirits; looked well.

   A hostile feeling exists toward the Twenty-third by the

Thirtieth. Had a talk with Colonel Jones, Major Hildt, and

 Colonel Ewing. All agree that Major Comly and myself have

treated them well, but the company officers of the Twenty-third

have not behaved fraternally towards them.      The immediate

trouble now is some defilement of the quarters we left for the

Thirtieth in Raleigh. This must be looked into and punished

if possible.

  This is one of the finest camping spots I have seen.  Soil

sandy, surface undulating, in the forks of two beautiful moun-

tain streams; space enough for a brigade and very defensible.

It began to rain within half an hour after our tents were pitched

and was "falling weather" (west Virginia phrase for rainy

weather) the rest of the day. This is the sixth day of falling

weather, with only a few streaks of sunshine between.

  Friday, April 25. Camp Number 2, Price's Farm, four miles.

--Rained in torrents all night.  The windows of heaven were

indeed opened. By midnight the streams we crossed with teams

yesterday swum a courier's horse. At 7:30 this morning they

were impassable--swollen to rushing rivers.  About seven this

morning rain ceased to fall.

  Received orders last evening to send party to New River to

crush one hundred and twenty-five Rebels who crossed Monday

evening. In view of the storm, order countermanded this A.M.

Hereafter the camps of this detachment will be known by their

number. This is Number 2. Men catch fish this morning--


a species of chub. We have a corps of scouts organized, Ser-

geant Abbott commanding, composed chiefly of citizens--six

or eight citizens. Names: Russell G. French, Mercer County

farmer, and Thos. L. Bragg, Wm. C. Richmond, ---- Maxwell,

and --- Simpkins, all of Raleigh.

  Prepared during the afternoon to send four companies, A, E,

G, and H, to the junction of New River and Bluestone to "bag"

(favorite phrase with officers) a party of one hundred and

twenty-five Rebels supposed to be there on this side, shut in by

the high water. They left in the night under Major Comly, Dr.

Webb accompanying. Had a dress parade and a spirited little

drill after it. The sun set bathing the western sky and its

fleecy clouds in crimson.    Said to indicate fair weather.     I

hope so.  The streams still too high to be crossed.

  Camp Number 2, near Raleigh, Virginia, Saturday, April 26,

1862. -- The sky is still overcast. We shall move on five miles

today if it clears up.

  At General Beckley's residence are the females of three fami-

lies. Mrs. Beckley and all cried when we left. One young

lady, Miss Duncan, has a lover in Company F; Miss Kieffer, in

hospital staff, and all the other damsels in the like category.

They all speak of our regiment as such fine men! We burned

all their rails! Will pay for them if General Beckley is dis-


  At 10 o'clock marched to Shady Spring; camped on a fine

sandy piece of ground belonging to Dr. McNutt. The Secesh

burned the dwelling, the doctor being a Union man.         Floyd

camped here also. A large spring gives the name to the place.

The water gushes out copiously, runs on the surface a few rods

and runs again into the earth.     The grass is starting.    The

horses of the cavalry were turned loose on it and played their

liveliest antics.  The sun came out bright, a clear, bracing

breeze blowing. Altogether a fine afternoon and a happy time.

  Camp Number 3, Shady  Spring, nine miles' march from Ral-

eigh. Sunday, April 27.--A shower during the night; clear

and beautiful again this morning. Scrubbed all over; arrayed

in the glories of clean duds!

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          237

  Six fugitives from Wyoming [County] came in today. Major

Comly returned. No enemy at the point where expected. Ex-

pedition a "water-haul."

  Monday, 28.--A fine, warm spring day. Drills as usual.

.  .  . Four of Company I, a sergeant, two corporals, and

one private, left on Sunday to forage. They have not returned.

Their leave of absence extended a few hours--not to [be]

longer than the evening dress parade.    They stayed last night

with two of Company B near Flat Top and in the morning sepa-

rated from the Company B men saying they would not return

until they got something, but would be in by the Monday dress

parade "which period has now expired."       I much fear that

they are taken.  Sergeant Abbott's party of scouts were fired

on last evening; "nobody hurt." We must break up the gang

(Foley's) near Flat Top before we shall be rid of them.

  Camp 3, Shady Spring, Tuesday, April 29, 1862. -- Rain fell

at intervals last night; falling in a "drizzling manner" this

morning.   Colonel Scammon says we have rifled muskets at

Gauley.   If good long-range pieces, this is good.    We  must

have pieces that will carry half a mile, or we shall never hit

these fellows in western Virginia.     Sent Lieutenant Botts-

ford with Company C sixteen miles after Foley's bushwhackers.

           CAMP NUMBER 3, SHADY SPRING, April 29, 1862.

  DEAREST: -- We are camped in a beautiful healthy place at the

foot of Flat Top Mountain, on the line between Raleigh and

Mercer Counties, Virginia. The whole "surroundings" are ex-

hilarating--just enough of enemy's guerrillas to keep men

awake. We are in the advance, the only grumbling being be-

cause we are not allowed to push on as fast as we would like.

       Our only drawback is the frequency of rain-storms.

I don't know but they prepare our minds to appreciate more

keenly the bright bracing air that succeeds them.

  I need not say that I read all the accounts of the great battle.

We made a narrow escape there.  It will probably save us

from similar disasters in the next two or three engagements.


We  fear we have lost four good men in a scout a few days

back. They disobeyed or neglected a positive order and have,

I fear, been captured or worse.

  You must, I suppose, be getting ready for a move northwardly.

I hope you will enjoy the new home as much as we have the old

one.   I do not quite feel like giving up the old home yet,

but when I think of the boys, I think of it as a duty we owe

to them.

         Affectionately, dearest, your loving husband,


  P.S. -- Our four lost men escaped. They were fired on but

have got back safely. It is hard to punish men over whose escape

we are so rejoiced, but it must be done.


  Camp 4, Miller's Tannery, twelve miles from  No. 3, April

30, 1862.--Mustered the men  before breakfast at reveille;

marched for this camp twelve miles; arrived in good condition.

Rained P.M. Joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Paxton and Major

Curtis, Second Virginia Cavalry, with four companies, fine

horses and men.   Report from Bottsford that he found Foley's

nest but the bird gone.

  Camp 5, Princeton, May 1, 1862.  Thursday. -- Marched at

6 A. M. Heard firing in advance. Turned out to be Company

C on Camp Creek, attacked by Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzhugh with

four companies, dismounted, Jenkins' Cavalry and Foley's bush-

whackers. The company was in line ready to move off to return

to camp when they saw a party of bushwhackers coming down

the road who called out (Captain Foley called): "Don't fire;

we are Richmond's men." Immediately after, a volley was fired

into our men from all sides.  They were surrounded by three

hundred Secesh. Finding the attack so heavy, Company C was

ordered by Lieutenant Bottsford to take shelter in the log house

where they had quartered.    They kept up such a spirited fire

that the enemy retreated, leaving four dead, four mortally

[wounded], four more dangerously.  All these we got.  Cap-

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          239

tain Foley had his shoulder broken. The enemy fled in confu-

sion leaving their dead and wounded on the field. This was a

splendid victory for Lieutenant Bottsford and Sergeant Ritter,

of Company C, and Sergeant Abbott, Company I. They were

the prominent officers. Our loss was a German, Pfeffer, killed;

Lenox and another mortally wounded, three severely wounded,

and fifteen others slightly.  Sergeant Ritter had a bullet shot

into his head lodging between the scalp and skull.  He fell, but

instantly jumped up saying, "You must shoot lower if you want

to kill me."  It was a gallant fight.   Company C wears the


  I came up to the scene of the conflict soon after the enemy

fled. They say our coming drove them away. I couldn't speak

when I came up to the gallant little company and they presented

arms to me. I went around shaking hands with the wounded.

They all spoke cheerfully. We immediately pushed on in mud

and rain after the retreating foe. Captain McIlrath's company

(A) [led]. At a house where three cavalrymen were leaving

two of the enemy's wounded, they killed one and captured his

horse and shotgun, etc.   I then sent the cavalry under Lieu-

tenant-Colonel Paxton in advance. They soon were fired on by

a gang of bushwhackers from a hill and their horses badly

stampeded.   One horse threw his forelegs over Colonel Pax-

ton's horse's neck.  The cavalry dismounted, charged up the

hill, and caught one dragoon.

  Finding the cavalry would dismount and skirmish all the bad

hillsides (and they were abundant--being twelve miles of de-

files), I again put the Twenty-third in advance. At Ferguson's

we saw Captain Ward, quartermaster Rebel army, badly wound-

ed and another young soldier.

  We pushed on rapidly, crossing Wolf Creek, Camp Creek,

and wading Bluestone waist-deep--rain falling, mud deep and

slippery.  We came in sight of the wagons of the retreating foe,

but for want of cavalry familiarized to the business, we were un-

able to overtake them. We were told of great reinforcements at

Princeton or soon to be at Princeton.    The Forty-fifth [Vir-

ginia] there or coming. Captain Ward, a pleasant gentleman,

said we would probably "get thunder at Princeton." We kept


ahead.   On approaching town we saw great clouds.          Some

thought it smoke, some supposed it was clouds. Within two

miles we knew the Rebels were burning the town. We hur-

ried forward; soon reached an elevated ground overlooking the

place. All the brick buildings, court-house, churches, etc., were

burning.   I ordered up the howitzers to scatter out the few

Rebel cavalry who were doing it; deployed the regiment by a

file right into a field and marched forward by battalion front.

The town was soon overrun. Some fires were put out; four

or five tolerably fine dwellings were saved; a number of small

buildings and some good stables were also saved.

  And so ended the first of May--twenty-two miles in mud and

rain. An exciting day. Five enemy killed, nine badly wounded

that we got; three unwounded prisoners, and about a dozen

Rebels wounded. Total five killed, three prisoners, twenty-one

wounded. A good day's work.

  Camp No. 5, Princeton, May 2, 1862. Friday.--A fine day.

The cavalry yesterday took the Bluff Road and came into [the]

road from Princeton to Giles five miles.     They came across

tracks leading to Princeton.    Soon saw soldiers, opened fire

and had a fusillade of wild firing, the enemy fleeing to the moun-

tains.  It was the Forty-fifth Virginia  coming  to  reinforce

Princeton.   Slightly "too late."  Spent A. M. organizing de-

tachment of occupation.

    CAMP NUMBER 5, PRINCETON, May 2, 7:30 A. M., 1862.

  SIR:--Your strictures on the expedition under Lieutenant

Bottsford are very severe. I wrote you my account of it hastily

during a momentary delay of the column and am perhaps blam-

able for sending to you anything so imperfect as to lead to such

misapprehension. I was, however, compelled to write such an

account or none at all.  I trusted to your favorable judgment

of what was done rather than to the fulness and accuracy of

what I was writing. I thought that a most meritorious thing in

all respects had been done and did not imagine that it could

be so stated as to give you such a view of it as you have taken.

  You seem to think that the expedition was an improper one

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          241

 and that Lieutenant Bottsford or his men must have been guilty

of great negligence. I think the expedition was strictly according

to the spirit and letter of instruction given by both you and Gen-

 eral Fremont and that no blame ought to attach to any one for

the manner of it in any particular. I knew by reliable informa-

tion, which turned out to be perfectly correct, that Captain Foley

 and his notorious gang of bushwhackers were camped within

sixteen or eighteen miles of the camp at Shady Spring where

 I was stationed; that Foley's force was from thirty to sixty

men, and that the only way of catching him was by surprising

his camp at night or early daylight.   I sent Lieutenant Botts-

 ford with about seventy-five men of Company C, aided by Ser-

geant Abbott and his scouts, six in number, to do this service.

I was satisfied that the enemy had no force worth naming nearer

than Princeton, and at Princeton their force was small, prob-

ably not over two hundred or three hundred. All this informa-

tion has turned out to be correct.    Lieutenant Bottsford left

camp at 9 P. M., April 29, and reached Foley's about daylight.

He found the nest warm but the bird was gone. I can find no

blame in this. He was compelled to move slowly in a strange

country at night. A scout could easily give the required warn-

ing without fault on our part.

   On the 30th, Lieutenant Bottsford scouted the country for

the bushwhackers; camped in a house very defensible within

four to six miles of where he knew I was to camp with the

regiment. In the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Hugh, or

Fitzhugh, had marched with the whole force at Princeton, four

companies of Jenifer's Cavalry, dismounted, numbering over two

hundred, to aid Foley. This was done on the morning of the

30th, and on that evening Foley with bushwhackers and militia,

to the number of seventy-five or one hundred, joined Fitzhugh.

During the night they got as near Lieutenant Bottsford as they

could without alarming his pickets, not near enough to do any

mischief. In the morning Lieutenant Bottsford prepared to

return to camp. He drew in his pickets, formed his line, and

then for the first time, the enemy came within gunshot. Botts-

ford's men, in line of battle in front of a log house, saw the

enemy approaching.     A volley was fired on each side, when



Lieutenant Bottsford, finding the strength of the attack, took

shelter in the house and fired with such spirit and accuracy as

to drive the enemy out of gunshot, leaving his dead and four

of his wounded on the field, all of whom were taken possession

of by Lieutenant Bottsford's men immediately, besides four

wounded prisoners who didn't run far enough before hiding.

  This attack was in no blamable sense "a surprise." It found

Lieutenant Bottsford perfectly prepared for it.

  You seem to think there was nothing gained by this affair;

that it is a "disaster" and that "we lost twenty men." Surely

I could have said nothing to warrant this.       Of the twenty

wounded over two-thirds were able and desired to march to

Princeton with us. Our loss was one killed, two dangerously,

perhaps mortally, wounded, and two, possibly three, others dis-

abled,--perhaps not more than one.        The  enemy's loss was

thirteen dead and disabled that "we got." Captain Foley was

disabled and we know of four others in like condition and I

know not how many slightly wounded. This is not a disaster,

but a fight of the sort which crushes the Rebellion.

  You speak of Company C as advanced beyond "supporting

distance."   We  heard the firing and if the enemy had been

stubborn should have been in good time to help drive him off.

He reported here that our advance did in fact drive him off.

If this is not supporting distance, parties cannot leave camp

without violating an important rule. Lieutenant Bottsford had

retreated to within four miles of us.

  Upon the whole, I think that the affair deserves commenda-

tion rather than censure, and I take blame to myself for writing

you a note under circumstances which precluded a full statement;

such a statement as would prevent such misapprehension as I

think you are under.


                                         R. B. HAYES,




             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          243

      CAMP NUMBER 5, PRINCETON, May 2, 8 A. M., [1862.]

  SIR: -- Lieutenant-Colonel Paxton with the cavalry reached

here by the Giles Road about dark. He left the direct road to

Princeton at Spanishburg and took the Bluff Road, which

strikes the road from Giles to Princeton four miles from Prince-

ton. We found it impossible to send the cavalry to the Tazewell

or Wytheville Road, at least in time, and they went to the Giles

Road hoping to catch the enemy retreating on that road. The

enemy took the Wytheville Road to Rocky Gap and escaped.

The cavalry on entering the Giles Road found a great number

of fresh tracks leading to Princeton. Hastening on, they came

suddenly on the Forty-fifth Virginia coming to the relief of

Princeton. As soon as the cavalry came in sight there was a

"skedaddling" of the chivalry for the hills and a scattering of

knapsacks very creditable to their capacity to appreciate danger.

There was a good deal of hurried firing at long range, but nobody

hurt on our side and perhaps none on the other. The regiment

seemed to number two or three hundred.  We suppose they will

not be seen again in our vicinity, but shall be vigilant.

  This is a most capital point to assemble a brigade. The best

camping for an army I have seen in western Virginia. Stabling

enough is left for all needful purposes, two or three fine dwell-

ings for headquarters, and smaller houses in sufficient numbers

for storage. The large buildings were nearly all burned, all of

the brick buildings included. Churches all gone and public

buildings of all sorts.  Meat--sheep,  cattle, and hogs--in

sufficient quantities to keep starvation from the door. If you

will send salt we shall be able to live through the bad roads.

Forage I know nothing of -- there must be some. Our couriers

were fired on at Bluestone. They report Foley's gang is scat-

tered along the road. There should be a strong force at Flat

Top under an enterprising man like Colonel Jones. The country

we passed over yesterday is the most dangerous I have seen;

at least twelve miles of the twenty-two [miles] needs skirmishing.

  If quartermasters are energetic there ought to be no scarcity

here. The road can't get worse than it was yesterday and our

trains kept up to a fast-moving column nearly all the way. The


Twenty-third marched beautifully. A steady rain, thick slippery

mud, and twenty-two miles of travelling they did, closed up

well, without grumbling, including wading Bluestone waist-deep.

The section of the battery behaved well. I have already praised

the cavalry. You see how I am compelled to write--a sen-

tence and then an interruption; you will excuse the result. I

am very glad the telegraph is coming; we shall need it. I have

just heard that the train and one piece of artillery was in rear

of the point where our cavalry came on the Forty-fifth. I

would be glad to pursue them but am bound to obey instructions

in good faith. Rest easy on that point. The men are praying

that they [the enemy] may be encouraged yet to come to us.


                                            R. B. HAYES,


  P.S. -- Lieutenant-Colonel Paxton will act as provost marshal.

He is admirably fitted for it and is pleased to act.


     CAMP NUMBER 5, PRINCETON, May 2, 1862. 4:30 P. M.

  SIR: -- Company B and a company of cavalry scouted the road

towards Wytheville several miles today. They report the enemy

all gone to Rocky Gap. None, bushwhackers, or others, any-

where in the direction near here. Numbers of militia who were

in service here yesterday are reported escaped to their homes and

willing to take the oath of allegiance and surrender their arms.

A cavalry company scouted the road towards Giles. They re-

port the Forty-fifth retreated in great haste to Giles, saying they

found Princeton just occupied by two thousand cavalry and

eight thousand infantry. Their panic on falling in with Colonel

Paxton's cavalry was even more complete than was supposed.

They left knapsacks, blankets, and baggage. They had marched

over twenty miles yesterday to get here and were worn-out.

  There was a mistake as to the enemy firing on our couriers.

No bushwhackers have been seen between here and Flat Top

since we passed. Three parties have passed the entire distance

since baggage trains.    Negro servants of officers straggling

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          245

along alone, etc., etc., and nobody disturbed by the enemy. The

courier rode past a picket post of one of my scouting parties

refusing to halt, and was therefore fired on.

  Captain Gilmore is here with his company. Lieutenant Cooper

and property left at Shady Spring is here. Forage is turning

up in small quantities in a place but amounts to an important

item in the aggregate. Fifteen head of cattle have been gathered

up. There are sheep and hogs of some value.

  Only twelve men reported excused from duty out of seven

hundred Twenty-third men who came up. Company C I left

behind to look after their wounded. They will come up to-

morrow. Russell G. French will perhaps be crippled for life,

possibly die. Can't he be put in the position of a soldier en-

listed, or something, to get his family the pension land, etc., etc.?

What can be done? He was a scout in our uniform on duty

at the time of receiving his wound.

  If the present indications can be relied on, this region will

soon return to its allegiance. If nothing new of interest trans-

pires, will not one dispatch each day be sufficient hereafter, with

the understanding that on any important event occurring a mes-

senger will be sent?


                                            R. B. HAYES,




                                              May 2, 1862.

  DEAREST:--I reached yesterday this town after a hard day's

march of twenty-two miles through deep, slippery mud and a

heavy rain, crossing many streams which had to be waded--

one, waist-deep. The men stood it bravely and good-humoredly.

Today, only twelve are reported as excused from duty. Our

advance company (C), Lieutenant Bottsford in command, had

a severe battle.   Seventy-five of them were attacked by two

hundred and forty of Jenkins' Cavalry, now Jenifer's, with

seventy-seven of Foley's guerrillas. The battle lasted twenty


minutes, when the Rebels fled, leaving their killed and wounded

on the ground. One of our men was killed outright, three mor-

tally wounded, and seventeen others more or less severely in-

jured. The whole regiment came up in a few moments, hearing

the firing. Didn't they cheer us? As I rode up, they saluted

with a "present arms." Several were bloody with wounds as

they stood in their places; one boy limped to his post who had

been hit three times. As I looked at the glow of pride in their

faces, my heart choked me, I could not speak, but a boy said:

"All right, Colonel, we know what you mean." The enemy's

loss was much severer than ours.

  We pushed on rapidly, hearing extravagent stories of the force

waiting for us at Princeton. Prisoners, apparently candid, said

we would catch it there.  We would have caught Lieutenant-

Colonel Fitzhugh and his men, if our cavalry had had experience.

I don't report to their prejudice publicly, for they are fine fel-

lows--gentlemen, splendidly mounted and equipped. In three

months they will be capital, but their caution in the face of

ambuscades is entirely too great. After trying to get them

ahead, I put the Twenty-third in advance and [the] cavalry in

the rear, making certainly double the speed with our footmen

trudging in the mud, as was made by the horsemen on their

fine steeds. We caught a few and killed a few. At the houses,

the wounded Rebels would be left. As we came up, the men

would rush in, when the women would beg us not to kill the

prisoners or the wounded.      I talked with several who were

badly wounded.      They all seemed grateful for kind words,

which I always gave them. One fine fellow, a Captain Ward,

was especially grateful.

  This work continued all day; I, pushing on; they, trying to

keep us back. The fact being, that General Heth had sent word

that he would be in Princeton by night with a force able to hold

it. As we came on to a mountain a couple of miles from Prince-

ton, we saw that the Rebels were too late. The great clouds

were rolling to the sky--they were burning the town. We

hurried on, saved enough for our purposes, I think, although the

best buildings were gone. The women wringing their hands

and crying and begging us to protect them with the fine town

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          247

in flames around us, made a scene to be remembered. This

was my May-day. General Heth's forces got within four miles;

he might as well have been forty [miles away]. We are in pos-

session, and I think can hold it.

  Joe and Dr. McCurdy had a busy day. They had Secesh

wounded as well as our own to look after. Dr. Neal of the

Second Virginia Cavalry (five companies of which are now

here in my command), a friend of Joe's, assisted them.

  Saturday morning.--I intended to send this by courier this

morning, but in the press of business, sending off couriers,

prisoners, and expeditions, I forgot it. Telegraph is building here.

Anything happening to me will be known to you at once. It

now looks as if we would find no enemy to fight.

  The weather yesterday and today is perfect. The mountains

are in sight from all the high grounds about here, and the air

pure and exhilarating. The troubles of women who have either

been burnt out by Secesh or robbed of chickens and the like

by us, are the chief thing this morning. One case is funny.

A spoiled fat Englishwoman, with great pride and hysterics,

was left with a queer old negro woman to look after her wants.

Darky now thinks she is mistress.  She is sulky, won't work,

etc., etc. Mistress can't eat pork or army diet. There is no

other food here.  The sight of rough men is too much for her

nerves! All queer.

  We are now eighty-five miles from the head of navigation

in time of flood and one hundred and twenty-five in ordinary

times; a good way from "America," as the soldiers say.

  "I love you so much." Kiss the dear boys. Love to Grandma.

Ever so affectionately,


  MRS. HAYES.                                              R.

  Camp  5, Princeton, May  3.  Saturday.--The  Forty-fifth

Regiment had marched twenty miles through the rain to reach

here, were very tired and straggled badly. They were regularly

stampeded, panic-stricken, and routed. They report three killed

in one party of stragglers. They had a cannon drawn by six


horses, but our men "yelled so" and "fired so fast" that it was

no place for cannon; so they wheeled it about and fled with it.

All queer! Company C killed eleven, Colonel Jenifer burned

 Rocky Gap (four houses) and continued his flight towards

Wytheville. The Rebels report us two thousand cavalry and eight

thousand infantry!!  Got our tents today; got into a good camp

overlooking the town.

   Camp 5, Princeton, May 4, 1862. Sunday.--A fine day. Rode

with Avery out two or three miles.      This is a fine country.

Mountainous but with much good land and tolerably well cul-

tivated. A train of waggons with eight or ten thousand rations

arrived about 2 P. M. escorted by Captain Townsend's Com-

pany B, Thirtieth. Captains Hunter and Lovejoy arrived from

Cincinnati bringing good letters from Lucy--all about the dear

boys. . . . She takes a great interest in Will De Charmes; I

have today written Corwine of Fremont's staff to get him a place

if possible. A pleasant night -- the men sitting around their fires

and in tents on the fine hillside, laughing, joking, singing so

happily! A more happy lot of men can't be found. It is every-

where cheerfulness and mirth.

        CAMP NUMBER 5, PRINCETON, May 4, 6 A. M. [1862].

  SIR:--At this time I have received no communication from

[you] written after you heard of the capture of this point. I

shall hold this until 10 o'clock if I don't sooner hear from you.

  I send you enclosed a list of Captain Foley's men, the "Flat

Top Copperheads," taken from the pocket of one killed by

Lieutenant Bottsford's men. You have the precious document

with spelling, etc., etc. It should be copied for all who are

likely to catch any of the scamps. Foragers yesterday found

considerable quantities of well-cured bacon and fresh meat.

With the new grass coming on and this meat, an enterprising

army is not going to starve. This move was not made a day

too soon; a further advance while the panic prevails is a plain

duty and I doubt not you will order it as soon as you arrive.

Company C will be very anxious to come here to be ready to

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          249

go forward with us. If a guard is required when you reach

them for their wounded, I suggest that you order a detail of

say two men from each company of this regiment, to do that

duty and thus relieve the company.

  Two citizens of Kanawha County fled here with their slaves

soon after our forces entered the valley,--Colonel Ward and

Blain, or some such names. They hesitated about taking the

oath to support Governor Pierpont's Government. They will

take the oath to the United States. This simply means secession.

One of them got a pass from General Cox, dated December 17.

  I think these wealthy scoundrels ought to be treated with the

same severity as other Rebels.  They want food for their slaves.

We have none to spare to such men. Colonel P. [Paxton] will

perhaps pass them to you. If you allow quartermaster Gardner

to furnish them, let them pay sutler's prices the same as our

soldiers do. If I hear that you put them in the guard-tent, I

shall be pleased. They may not leave here until you come.

  I have stricken Rev. Amos Wilson's name from the rolls.

If he sends his resignation, all well; if not the order will be

published if you approve. I enclose Major Comly's remarks

on the Foley list.


                                          R. B. HAYES,




  Camp 5, Princeton, May 5, 1862. Monday.--A rainy day.

Very interesting today. The citizens admitted freely. Militia-

men, Union men, and all, coming in taking the oath. The enemy

reported running with a big scare, hurrying through Rocky Gap,

burning it, their tents and arms even. Tazewell Court-house,

deserted by troops, reported burned. Giles Court-house reported

ditto!!! Got a fine Mississippi rifle, brought in today by a

repentant Rebel. My orderly, Gray, will carry it for me. The

Narrows of New River deserted, too.


    CAMP NUMBER 5, PRINCETON, May 5, 8 A. M. [1862].

  SIR:--There will be no  difficulty in turning the enemy's

position at the Narrows of New River. There are paths or

open woods accessible to infantry leading across the mountains

to the right of the Narrows into the valley of Wolf Creek;

thence by good roads to the mouth of Wolf Creek, four to

six miles from Giles Court-house, and in the rear of the Nar-`

rows. This you will understand by looking at any map of this

region. Guides can be procured who will undertake to pilot us

across, a circuit of perhaps ten or twelve miles. I doubt whether

the enemy will attempt to hold the Narrows. Their force was

the Forty-fifth Regiment, and about eight hundred militia of

Giles, Montgomery, and            Counties.

  The Forty-fifth has a large part of it scattered over towards

the Wytheville Road, a part missing, and the remnant at the

Narrows will run on the first excuse.  The force now here can

take the Narrows on your order in forty-eight hours. They

are said to have some artillery--three to six pieces. I have

sent reliable scouts to try to get accurate information. A Rebel

captain of the Forty-fifth said: "No man could stand the yelling

of the Yankees, especially as they fired so fast !!" Twenty wagons

[with] provisions and Company B, Thirtieth, arrived at 2 P. M.

They report the roads hence to Raleigh very good and improv-

ing; the trouble is from Raleigh to Gauley.

  Captains Hunter and Lovejoy have arrived.          They report

Captain Foley died of his wounds. This will be a death-blow

to the "Copperheads." All the people tell us we need apprehend

no bushwhacking this side of that gang, either here or in front

of us.

  I am much gratified with the order and messages you send.

I know I have not given you as full and explicit reports of

things as would have been desirable. But when actually en-

gaged in an enterprise I am so occupied in trying to do the best

thing that I can't write satisfactorily.  I think in this matter

every important thing was right, save possibly one which I will

explain when we meet. We can get here and in the country

in front considerable meat--some cured but mostly fresh. In

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          251

sending forward provision trains this can to some extent be

considered. More salt and less meat can be sent.

  Will you dispatch General Cox that our long-range muskets

are much needed in the present service. Our experience the

last few days satisfies everyone that a man who can kill at four

hundred yards is worth three or four men with common muskets.

The quartermaster will never, send them unless General Cox

orders it.

  It rained during the night and is cloudy this morning. I

think we shall not have another "smart spell of falling weather,"

however.  In the house intended for your headquarters are ten

or fifteen rooms of all sorts, some chairs and tables but no

bedding, a good kitchen cooking stove, two negro women and

all appendages. Thomas will be able to make it a good estab-

lishment in a few hours for everybody you want and room for

hospitality. If, however, you prefer smaller quarters, there are

three or four others that will do as well, and the house in ques-

tion can be a hospital if needed.  No sick here now.  You must

have your bedding with you when you arrive if possible.


                                          R. B. HAYES,


                               COMMANDING DETACHMENT.


                CAMP NUMBER 5, PRINCETON, May 5, 1862.

  SIR:--This whole region is completely conquered. Rapid

movement is all that is needed to take possession of the railroad

and several good counties without opposition. Militiamen are

coming in glad to take the oath and get home "to work crops."

A part of Jenifer's force retreated through Tazewell, abandon-

ing Jeffersonville and it is reported burning it.  Humphrey

Marshall is reported on the railroad and near or at Wytheville.

The Forty-fifth retreated on to Giles abandoning the Narrows,

leaving the position deserted.    These are the reports.  Not

perfectly reliable, but I am  inclined to credit them.    At the

Rocky Gap many muskets even were burned, the militiamen

thinking it safer to return home unarmed. There is a report


from Tazewell that a battalion of cavalry is approaching through

Logan and McDowell, the other part of the Second Virginia.

If so they will meet with no opposition worth naming. It is

about certain that the enemy had but one cannon at the Nar-

rows. All I give you is rumor, or the nature of rumor, except

the conduct and disposition of the new militia. I hear that from

their own lips. An active command can push to the railroad,

taking coffee, salt, and sugar, and subsist itself long enough to

get the railroad from Newbern a hundred miles west. I speak

of the future in the way of suggestion that your thoughts may

turn towards planning enterprises before the scare subsides.

The rations I speak of because we ought to have a larger supply

of some things, counting upon the country for the others.

Colonel Little will send in reports perfectly reliable as to the

Narrows tomorrow.      I hear a report that the enemy--the

Forty-fifth--didn't stop at Giles but kept on towards Newbern!

I give these reports as showing the drift of feeling in this country,

and [as] hints at truth rather than truth itself.

  Monday  night.--I now  have reliable information of the

enemy, I think. It differs in many respects from rumors men-

tioned in the foregoing. The Forty-fifth Regiment during Fri-

day and Saturday straggled back to its camp at the mouth of

Wolf Creek, a short distance above the Narrows. About four-

fifths of the force got back foot-sore, without hats, coats, knap-

sacks, and arms in many cases. In the course of Friday and

Saturday a considerable part (perhaps half) of the cavalry we

drove from here reached the same point (mouth of Wolf Creek)

having passed through Rocky Gap and thence taken the Wolf

Creek and Tazewell Road easterly. On Saturday evening they

were preparing to leave camp; the Forty-fifth to go to Richmond

whither they had just been ordered, and the cavalry and the

few militia were to go with them as far as Dublin. The militia

were uncertain whether they were to remain at Dublin or go

west to the Salt Works in Washington and Wythe Counties.

They all expected to be gone from Wolf Creek and the Narrows

during Sunday. There would be no fighting the Yankees this

side of Dublin--possibly at Dublin a fight. The militia of

Wythe, Grayson, and Carroll, seven hundred strong, are the

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          253

force [at] Wytheville. At Abbington, one thousand [of] Floyd's

men. In Russell County Humphrey Marshall is still reported

with three thousand men badly armed and worse disciplined.

The great Salt Works (King's) work four hundred [men],

ten furnaces, and turn out seventeen hundred bushels every

twenty-four hours.  No armed force there.  All this from con-

trabands and substantially correct.

  Later.--Seven more contrabands just in. They report that

on Sunday the Forty-fifth and other forces, except about thirty

guards of baggage, left the vicinity of the Narrows arriving at

Giles Court-house Sunday afternoon on their way to Dublin

Depot; that from there they expected to go west to Abbington.

The contrabands passed the Narrows; only a small guard was

there with a few tents and wagons. No cannon were left there.

I do not doubt the general truthfulness of the story. It con-

firms the former. The enclosed letters perhaps contain some-

thing that ought to be known to General Fremont; if so you

can extract a fact or two to telegraph. They were got from

the last mail sent here by the Rebels.     The carrier stopped

seven miles south of here and the mail [was] picked up there.

  I wish to send three companies or so to the Narrows im-

mediately to see if we can catch the guard and baggage left

behind. If you approve send me word back immediately and

I will start the expedition in the morning.

  Latest.--Two more contrabands!!  We  can surely get the

baggage in six hours (eighteen miles) without difficulty. Do

send the order.


                                          R. B. HAYES,


                                COMMANDING DETACHMENT.


  Princeton, May 6, 1862. Tuesday evening.--A clear, cold,

bright day. Got a letter from my dear wife, very patriotic, very

affectionate. An angel of a wife, I have. And the boys, dear

little fellows  I hope we shall be together again before many



  I have been rather anxious today. We heard from contra-

bands and others that the Narrows [of New River] was de-

serted except by a small guard for property and tents. Major

Comly with Companies H, I, and K  and Captain Gilmore's

Cavalry was dispatched to the point eighteen to twenty-two

miles distant. No tidings yet, although a courier ought to have

reached here before this time if they and he travelled rapidly.

I suggested that if necessary to secure property they go to Giles


  In the meantime I hear that a foraging party of six of our

men as guards under Corporal Day, with three battery men

and a waggon, have been taken by a large party of cavalry on

the Tazewell Road, ten miles. Jenifer's Cavalry have gone to

Tazewell; got their horses and are now in the saddle ready to

cut off our men. Oh, for an enterprising cavalry force!

  I have looked for a messenger since 5 o'clock from Major

Comly. At midnight received a message from Major Comly

that the party finding the Narrows deserted and all property

gone, had gone on to Giles and taken it completely by surprise,

capturing some prisoners and a large amount of stores,--two

hundred and fifty barrels of flour and everything else. Very

lucky! and Colonel Scammon thereupon approved of the whole

expedition, although it was irregular and in violation of the

letter of orders. The enemy just out of Giles were at least

eleven hundred and had forces near to increase it to fifteen

hundred. Our party was only two hundred and fifty! The

colonel fearing the capture of our little party ordered me to

proceed at daylight with two companies Second Virginia Cavalry

and the rest of [the] Twenty-third Regiment to reinforce Giles.

  Giles Court-house, or Parisburg [Pearisburg], Camp Num-

ber 6, May 7, 6:30 P. M.  Wednesday. -- Just reached here from

Princeton after a fatiguing march of twenty-eight miles. Found

the major very glad to see us. All anxious, hearing reports of

[the] Forty-fifth reinforced by [the] Thirty-sixth or [the]

Twenty-second with artillery, etc., etc. Now all safe if we are

vigilant. The country after the road strikes New River is

romantic, highly cultivated, and beautiful. Giles Court-house is

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          255

[a] neat, pretty village with a most magnificent surrounding

country both as regards scenery and cultivation. The people

have all been Secesh, but are polite and intelligent.  When

Major Comly, Captain Gilmore, and Captain Drake entered town,

the people were standing on the corners, idly gossiping--more

numerous than the invaders.     They did not at first seem to

know who it was; then such a scampering, such a rushing into

the streets of women, such weeping, scolding, begging, etc., etc.

  Spent the night posting pickets and arranging against an

attack so as to prevent a surprise. At midnight a citizen came

in saying the enemy were preparing to attack us--the Forty-

fifth and Twenty-second--when he was at their camp, twelve

miles from here at Cloyd's Mountain. I doubled the pickets,

dressed myself and kept about quietly all the rest of the night.

         CAMP NUMBER 6, GILES, May 7, 1862, 6:30 o'clock.

  SIR: -- We arrived here after a pretty severe march of twenty-

eight miles. We know really very little of the enemy. It is

reported that the Jenifer Cavalry is at Newbern, the Forty-fifth

at Cloyd's Mountain, thirteen miles distant, also the Twenty-

second. We are without artillery and perhaps you would do

well to send us some.  We are told that the enemy are informed

of our strength and of the large amount of property of theirs

in our hands. There is no reason other than this fact for

apprehending an attack. The current rumor is that they intend

fortifying Cloyd's Mountain. You can judge from these facts

what is required. My opinion is we are perfectly safe. The

property is valuable, very valuable, especially for us here. It

is worth here not less than five thousand dollars.


                                          R. B. HAYES,



  P.S. -- General Heth is nowhere near here.



   Parisburg [Pearisburg], Virginia, May 8, 1862. Thursday. --

A perfectly splendid day. No attack or approach last night.

 Passed out at daylight a mile and a half in direction of enemy.

 Selected my ground in case of an approach of the enemy. Talked

with Mr. Pendleton [and] Colonel English. Find more intel-

ligence and culture here than anywhere else in Virginia. Today

 Sergeant Abbott found a Rebel picket or scouting party on the

mountain overlooking the village, peering into us with a fine

glass. A reconnaissance today discovered three regiments in

line marching coolly and well to the front as our men crossed

Walker's Creek, ten or twelve miles from here. They are said

to have three pieces of artillery and some cavalry.

  We get no reinforcements today and hear of none on the way.

I have asked for artillery two or three times and get none.

No message even today. It is a great outrage that we are not

reinforced. We are losing stores all the time which the enemy

slips away,-- not [to] speak of the possibility of an attack by

an overwhelming force.  Shameful!  Who is to blame?  I think

we shall not be attacked, but I shall have an anxious night.

                   CAMP NUMBER 6, GILES COURT-HOUSE,

                                  May 8, 1862, 4:30 A. M.

  SIR:--A citizen came in from Dublin last [night] about II

o'clock. He reports no troops there except a few guards, and

the enemy engaged in removing all stores to Lynchburg; they

commenced removing before we came here.          He came over

Cloyd's Mountain and in the Gap, posted strongly, he found

the Forty-fifth and its militia, perhaps five hundred strong, and

the Thirty-sixth, which had just joined them from the other

side of New River (they had been at Lewisburg), three hundred

strong, with five (5) pieces artillery, one large and four small.

They had ascertained that the "advance guard of Yankees"

which took Giles was only two hundred and fifty strong and

were then getting ready to march against us to attack last night,

with one cannon.    He heard when he came within four miles

that we were being reinforced; the negro reporting it thought

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          257

there must be fifteen thousand now in Giles. He said if they

heard of the reinforcements it would certainly stop their coming.

They had hope of reinforcements to stop us at Cloyd's Mountain

from the men on furlough from Floyd's Brigade. The brigade

is to be reorganized immediately.    It will form part of three

regiments. No other reinforcements hoped for in the camp talk

of the enemy.

  This is the substance of the information given me. I think it

reliable. I doubled the pickets at 12 last night and sent cavalry

patrols four miles to the front. I could not help wishing, if our

information was correct, that the enemy would be discovered

approaching. But all is reported quiet. I suspect they will let

us alone. If they had approached in the force reported we

should have flogged them well. As to reinforcements, we should

have some artillery. All others should bring tents with them.

The houses are all occupied.  If the Thirtieth comes let them

take two days, it is too severe on feet to march twenty-eight

miles on stones and hard knobs. The necessity for strengthen-

ing this post lies here: The country has a great deal of forage,

and we can't get it unless we are strong. The enemy yesterday

ran off six hundred bushels of shelled corn from near here. We

have two hundred and fifty barrels of flour, nine barrels corn-

meal, six barrels salt, sugar, drugs, some corn, and a vast variety

of stuff such as ammunition, tools, harness, material of wear in

stuff, etc., etc., all hauled into town and under guard. But a

great deal is slipping through our fingers for want of force to

take and hold it.

  This is a lovely spot, a fine, clean village, most beautiful and

romantic surrounding country, and polite and educated Secesh

people. It is the spot to organize your brigade. For a week or

two we are almost independent of quartermasters. The road

from you to this place has some very bad places -- perhaps five

miles in all; the rest is hard, smooth, and dry, a good road. Our

teams broke down a good deal but got within twenty miles. I

left a guard at Wolf Creek Bridge.      That is where the road

from Tazewell comes to the river and the bridge is very im-

portant.  We got Rebel papers to the 5th.  Notice the article

marked in the Lynchburg paper mentioning our advance. Also



letters, etc., which you will find interesting; also important list

of captured stores. Our prisoners, the officers and militia, nice

gentlemen but of no importance. I found [turned?] them out

on parole. You will not greatly disapprove of this when you

know the facts.    In short, if you can get the permission you

want to come here with your brigade, do so by all means as

fast as you can get tents for them. We are in no need of rein-

forcements for defense, if our information is correct, as yet,

but the point is too important to lose. You will see some be-

ginnings at fortifying the Narrows. It was a strong place.

  I still retain Gilmore's Cavalry. It is a necessity. Captain

Gilmore and his two lieutenants pretty much captured this town.

They have behaved admirably. Do get a revocation of the order

sending them to the rear, at least for the present.     You will

need them very much. Will you send up their tents and baggage

today? They must stay for the present. They can send tents,

etc., up with their own teams now there. I say nothing about

the major and his command.       They deserve all praise.    Say

what you please that is good of them, and it will be true. The

taking of Giles Court-house is one of the boldest things of the

war. It was perfectly impudent. There were more Secesh stand-

ing on the corners than were in the party with Major Comly

and Captain Gilmore when they dashed in.


                                          R. B. HAYES,





                    CAMP NUMBER 6, GILES COURT-HOUSE,

                                     May 8, 1862. 7 P. M.

  SIR:--We are getting on very prosperously gathering up

forage, etc. We have in town six hundred bushels corn in addi-

tion to amount heretofore reported.      Our stores of all sorts

exceed anything this side of Fayette. We are in much need of

shoes. We have got a lot of Secesh which though inferior will

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          259

help until our quartermaster gets a supply. It is ascertained

that the enemy is fortifying beyond Walker's Creek in a gap of

Cloyd's Mountain, twelve or thirteen miles from here; that they

have the Forty-fifth, Thirty-sixth, and probably the Twenty-

second Virginia, also a small number of cavalry and three to six

pieces of cannon. They advanced to within four miles of us

last night, but learning of our reinforcements they retreated.

Their advance guard was seen by my patrols and promptly re-

ported, but on scouting for them, they were found to have turned

back. Today I sent Captain Gilmore with half of his men and

a company of the Second Virginia cavalry to make a reconnais-

sance. They drove in the enemy's pickets, crossed Walker's

Creek, and went within a mile of the enemy's position. The

whole force of the enemy was marched out and formed in order

of battle. The apparent commander with a sort of body-guard

of twenty or so rode up to Lieutenant Fordyce drawing a re-

volver when he was shot from his horse by Colonel Burgess.

He was certainly an important officer. No one on our side hurt.

The cavalry quietly fell back when the enemy burned the bridge

over Walker's Creek after our cavalry had turned back.

  This indicates to my mind that as yet the enemy is disposed

to act on the defensive, but it is certain we ought to be promptly

and heavily reinforced. I do not doubt you have men on the

way.   We shall not be attacked, I think, in advance of their

coming; if so we shall be ready, but the stores and position are

too valuable to be left in any degree exposed.    With a large

force we can get much more property. Today while our scouting

party of cavalry was in front, about twenty of the enemy under

an officer with a large glass was seen by Sergeant Abbott and

a scout, examining the village from a very high mountain whose

summit, two miles distant, overlooks the whole town.

  8:30 P. M.--Couriers have arrived bringing messages for

the  cavalry,  but none  for me.     No  words  of  any  rein-

forcements either. In any event, the want of force will prevent

us gathering all the provisions and forage our position here en-

titles us to have. Major Comly says a conversation with the

family he boards in, satisfies him that the enemy has three regi-

ments at Walker's Creek.     We shall be vigilant tonight, and


shall be astonished tomorrow if we do not hear of the battery,

at least, moving to us before another of these clear moonlight

nights has to be watched through.


                                          R. B. HAYES,




  Parisburg, [Pearisburg], May 9.  Friday.--A lovely day.--

No reinforcements yet; have asked for them in repeated dis-

patches. Strange. I shall be vigilant. Have planned the fight if

it is to be done in the houses at night, and the retreat to the

Narrows, if in daylight with artillery against us.     The town

can't be held if we are attacked with artillery. Shameful! We

have rations for thirty days for a brigade and tents and other


                    CAMP NUMBER 6, GILES COURT-HOUSE,

                                      May 9, 1862. A. M.

  SIR:--Your dispatch of yesterday reached me about 10:30

o'clock P. M.    Its suggestions and cautions will be carefully

heeded. If in any important respect my reports are defective, I

shall be glad to correct the fault. The novelty of my situation

and the number and variety of claims upon my attention must

be my apology for what may seem negligence. Our men and

horses are getting worn-out with guard, picket, and patrol duty,

added to the labor of gathering in forage and provisions. You

say nothing of the forward movement having been disapproved,

nor of abandoning or reinforcing this point. I infer that we may

look for reinforcements today.  It is of the utmost importance

that we get prompt and large additions to our strength. The

facts are these: Large amounts of forage and provisions which

we might have got with a larger force are daily going to the

enemy. The enemy is recovering from his panic, is near the

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          261

railroad and getting reinforcements.     He is already stronger

than we are, at least double as strong. But all this you already

know from repeated dispatches of mine and I doubt not you

are doing all you can to bring up the needed additions to our


  I learn from contrabands that there is a practicable way for

foot and horse, not teams, up Walker's Creek on this side, by

which a force can pass over the mountains, five or seven miles

from the road and reach the rear or turn the enemy's position.

>From the general appearance of the hills near here I think that

some such passage can be found. The enemy has destroyed the

boats at the ferries, or removed them from this side wherever

it was possible to do so. The quartermaster is rigging up mule

teams and ox teams to do the extra hauling with considerable

success. There is of course some grumbling among owners of

wagons, etc., but I tell them it is a military necessity. The morn-

ing papers of Lynchburg are received here frequently the eve-

ning of the same day and regularly the next day. This shows

how near we are to the centre of things.


                                            R. B. HAYES,



  P. S. -- Details are constantly made from the force ready for

battle to take care of prisoners, guard bridges, etc., etc., until

our force here is reduced to a very small figure. Instant action

is required one way or the other.



                    CAMP NUMBER 6, GILES COURT-HOUSE,

                                 May 9, 1862, 10:30 (P. M.)

  SIR: -- You will have to hurry forward reinforcements rapidly

--as rapidly as possible -- to prevent trouble here.  This is not

a defensible point without artillery against artillery. No news


of a movement by the enemy but one may be expected soon.

Shall we return to the Narrows if you can't reinforce?


                                          R. B. HAYES,



  P.S. -- A party the other side of the river is firing on our men

collecting forage and provisions.



  Adair's, ten and one-half miles from Parisburg [Pearisburg],

Saturday, May 10, 4 P.M. -- We were attacked at 4 o'clock this

morning. I got up at the first faint streak of light and walked

out to see the pickets in the direction of the enemy. As I was

walking alone I heard six shots.  "No mistake this time," I

thought. I hurried back, ordered up my own and the adjutant's

horse, called up the men and officers, [and] ordered the cavalry

to the front. [I ordered] Captains Drake and Sperry to skirmish

before the enemy and keep them back; the rest of the regiment

to form in their rear. Led the whole to the front beyond the

town; saw the enemy approaching -- four regiments or battal-

ions, several pieces of artillery in line of battle approaching.

The artillery soon opened on us. The shell shrieked and burst

over [our] heads, the small arms rattled, and the battle was

begun.  It was soon obvious that we would be outflanked.  We

retreated to the next ridge and stood again. The men of the

Twenty-third behaved gloriously, the men of Gilmore's Cavalry,

ditto; the men of Colonel Paxton's Cavalry, not so well. I was

scratched and torn on the knee by a shell or something, doing

no serious injury. I felt well all the time. The men behaved

so gallantly!   And so we fought our way through town, the

people rejoicing at our defeat, and on for six hours until we

reached the Narrows, five and one-half miles distant. The time

seemed short. I was cheered by Gilmore's Cavalry at a point

about three and one-half miles from Giles Court-house, and we

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          263

were all in good humor. We had three men killed, a number

wounded, none severely, and lost a few prisoners.

  In the Narrows we easily checked the pursuit of the enemy

and held him back until he got artillery on to the opposite side

of New River and shelled us out.  Reached here about 1 P.M.

safely. A well-ordered retreat which I think was creditable.

  Camp near Adair's, Giles County, Virginia, Sunday  (?) May

11. -- This is the first Sunday that has passed without my

knowing the day of the week since childhood. The men biv-

ouacked on a sidehill near New River. Nothing exciting during

the day. The enemy in the Narrows, but not coming through.

Our masterly retreat of yesterday lost the Twenty-third one

killed, Hoyt C. Tenney, Company B, and three missing -- prison-

ers and mostly drunk; perhaps eight or ten wounded, generally

slightly.  The cavalry, one  killed, three missing, and some

wounded. Gilmore's Cavalry, one killed and one wounded. The

Twenty-third behaved admirably, cool, steady, obedient. A few

cowards -- a corporal or two in Company H, the most exposed

company, a sergeant of Company ---, etc., etc.; but men of

the Twenty-third with teams, etc., from Raleigh hastened to share

our fate; five for every one who left.     The Second  Virginia

Cavalry left us! Bad state of things.


                                              May 11, 1862.

  SIR:--Yesterday morning, 10th inst., at dawn, our mounted

pickets three miles south of Parisburg [Pearisburg] gave notice

that the enemy was approaching in order of battle. It was soon

discovered that his force was from twenty-five hundred to three

thousand, and that he had a battery of five pieces. In pursuance

of your order and according to a plan previously arranged, the

following disposition of my command was made. All our teams

and all the teams we could press were loaded and started for

the Narrows of New River. The cavalry under Captain Gil-

more, numbering thirty-five, and detachments of two companies

of the Second Virginia V. C. [Volunteer Cavalry] under Cap-

tains Emmons and Scott respectively were dispatched to the


front with instructions to harrass and delay the enemy. Com-

pany H, Captain Drake, and Company B, Captain Sperry of

the Twenty-third Regiment O. V. I. were assigned a similar

duty. The remaining seven companies (Company C not having

joined the regiment) of the Twenty-third Regiment were drawn

up in line of battle on a ridge in the rear of the village and

about a half a mile in rear of our skirmishers. My whole force

did not exceed six hundred men.

  The enemy on approaching the first line of skirmishers halted

and opened upon it with their artillery. The enemy, soon after

the firing commenced, sent detachments right and left to flank

our skirmishers.   The skirmishers slowly and in good order

withdrew keeping up a constant and galling fire upon the advanc-

ing lines. The enemy continued to press forward slowly and

occasionally halting until they reached the seven companies of

the Twenty-third Regiment in line of battle. Our whole force

was gradually pushed back, the enemy following with his whole

force, halting frequently to place his guns in position. In this

way the fight was kept up four or five hours when we reached

the Narrows of New River five and a half miles north of Paris-

burg [Pearisburg]. Here we were able to take advantage of

the narrow pass and brought the enemy to a stand.  He made

no serious effort to enter the Narrows in the face of the force

I had posted at the extreme southern entrance of the Narrows

at Wolf Creek Bridge.

  After perhaps two hours' delay the enemy succeeded in getting

two guns on the opposite bank of New River and at a distance

of two hundred and fifty or three hundred yards began to throw

shell into the detachment defending the pass. Our force drew

back to a new position out of range.     The enemy again ad-

vanced his guns, and thus gradually we were forced to the lower

entrance of the Narrows. No part of the enemy's force suc-

ceeded in getting through the Narrows. About the time the

enemy ceased to push forward, the cavalry under your command

came up. The fighting lasted seven or eight hours during which

time the detachment under my command retreated about seven


  Our loss was two killed and ten wounded and six missing.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          265

Of these the Twenty-third 0. V. I. lost Private Hoyt C. Tenney,

Company B, killed; and Privates Thomas Redmond, Company

I, John Leisure, Company D, and Henry Ward, Company B,

missing and probably taken prisoners. The wounded are all

doing well. Sergeant-Major Eugene L. Reynolds was hit in the

head by a fragment of shell while fighting in the front line of

skirmishers and knocked down. He had a narrow escape, but

was not seriously hurt. A severe wound was received by Ser-

geant 0. H. Ferrell, Company H. The other wounds are all

slight. The names of the injured in the Second Virginia Cavalry

have not been sent in.

  We brought off our prisoners taken when we entered Paris-

burg [Pearisburg] and carried away all our quartermaster stores

and ammunition. We lost the provisions we had previously

captured from the enemy (except what we had consumed), of

which there was a large quantity. The enemy's loss in killed

and wounded is not known.

  The officers and men of Captain Gilmore's Cavalry behaved

with the greatest gallantry during the entire day. The two com-

panies of the Second Virginia Cavalry rendered important serv-

ice when dismounted and acting as skirmishers on the right of

our line in the morning. The Twenty-third Regiment, officers

and men, were cool and steady and the whole retreat in the face,

and for the most part under the fire, of an overwhelming superior

force was conducted without the slightest confusion or haste on

their part.

  It is much to be regretted that reinforcements which I had so

frequently and urgently requested could not be sent in time to

save Parisburg [Pearisburg], as the loss of position and prop-

erty is very serious.*


                                          R. B. HAYES,



  Copy [of] report to Colonel Scammon of retreat from Giles

C. H. May 10, submitted May 11.

  * [This paragraph] erased before signing on request of Colonel Scam-

mon--not because I did not deem it true, but because he wished it, and

I did not want to embarrass him.



                                   VIRGINIA, May 11, 1862.

  DEAREST: -- Since I wrote you last I have lived a great deal.

Do you know that Giles Court-house was captured with a large

amount of stores, etc., etc., by a party sent by me from Prince-

ton?  It was so bold and impudent!  I went with six companies

of the Twenty-third to reinforce.     I soon found that unless

further reinforced we were gone up. The enemy, three thousand

strong, were within ten miles of us with a battery of artillery.

We had none. The place, a lovely mountain village, was wholly

indefensible except by a large force. I sent two couriers a day

to beg for reinforcements for three days.  None came.  At the

last moment the order came that I should retreat if attacked by

a largely superior force. This was easy to say, but to do it

safely, after waiting till the enemy is on you, is not a trifle.  I was

up every night. Had guards and pickets on every point of approach.

Well, yesterday morning, I got up before daylight, and visited

the outposts. Just at dawn, I heard the alarm guns. The enemy

were coming even in greater force than we expected. Four

regiments, a battery of guns, and a small force of cavalry. I

had only nine companies of the Twenty-third, much weakened

by detachments guarding supply trains, etc., and two weak com-

panies of cavalry. Not more than one-fourth of the enemy's

strength. But all went on like clockwork. Baggage was loaded

and started. Captains Drake and Sperry undertook to hold the

enemy with their companies and Captain Gilmore's Cavalry until

the rest could take position in rear of the town. I went out

with Captains Drake and Sperry.

  Just before sunrise, May 10, a lovely morning, we saw the

advancing battalions in line of battle in beautiful order. They

were commanded, it is said, by General Heth. They opened

first with cannon firing shell. The first personal gratification

was to find that my horse stood it well. Soon I saw that the

men were standing it well. As they came in range of our skir-

mishers, some fatal firing checked them; but they were rapidly

closing around us. Now was the first critical moment: Could

our men retreat without breaking into confusion or a rout?

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          267

They retired slowly, stubbornly, in good spirits and in order!

I got a scratch on the right knee, just drawing blood but spoiling

my drawers. But what of that? Things were going well. The

enemy now approached our main line. Could it retreat also in

order, for I knew it must be forced back. Here was the crisis

of our fate. They stood firmly. The enemy halted to get his

guns in position again. Soon we were in a fair way to be sur-


  The men were ordered to retire slowly, firing as they went,

to a ridge forty rods back, and then to form again. They did

it to perfection, and I knew we were safe. From that time, for

five hours, it was only exciting fun.    The fight lasted seven

hours, we retreating six and one-half miles until we came to a

narrow pass where three of our companies could hold back any

number. Here we were safe. The Twenty-third looked glori-

ously after this. We got off as by a miracle. We lost one killed,

one wounded badly and a host slightly, in the regiment; about

the same in the cavalry. Applause was never so sweet as when

right in the midst of the struggle, Gilmore's Cavalry gave me

three cheers for a sharp stroke by which I turned the column

out of range of the enemy's guns, which, with infinite trouble,

he had placed to sweep us.

  It was a retreat (which is almost a synonym for defeat) and

yet we all felt grand over it. But warn't the men mad at some-

body for leaving us?    We were joined by a battery and the

Thirtieth Regiment at 4 P. M. under Colonel Scammon, starting

at the seasonable hour of 7 A. M.! We are now strong again,

but driven from a most valuable position with a loss of stores

we had captured worth thousands.

  I am reported dangerously wounded by some of the cowardly

cavalry (not Gilmore's) who fled forty miles, reporting us

"routed," "cut to pieces," and the like.     Never was a man

prouder of his regiment than I of the Twenty-third. I keep

thinking how well they behaved.--Love to all.

                       Affectionately,        R. B. HAYES.

  12th, A. M. -- Since writing the foregoing, we have got

information which leads me to think it was probably well we


were not reinforced. There would not have been enough to hold

the position we had against so great a force as the enemy brought

against us. You see we were twenty miles from their railroad,

and only six to twelve hours from their great armies. . . .


  Monday, May 12. Camp at north of East River near line be-

tween Giles and Mercer Counties, eleven miles from Giles Court-

house. -- We moved here to a strong position. The whole bri-

gade as now organized is with us. This is the First Brigade of

the Army of the District of Kanawha--General Cox.  It con-

sists of [the] Twelfth, Twenty-third, and Thirtieth Ohio Regi-

ments, McMullen's Battery (two brass six-pounders and four

howitzers), and four companies [of] Paxton's or Bowles' Second

Virginia Cavalry; with Captain Gilmore's Cavalry for the

present. Brigade commanded by Colonel Scammon.

  Colonel White of [the] Twelfth a clever gentleman. Lieu-

tenant-Colonel Hines, ditto, but a great talker and a great memory

for persons and places.

  Fine weather since Sunday the 4th. Out of grub, out of mess

furniture.  Rumors of the defeat of Milroy and of overwhelm-

ing forces threatening us. Great news by telegraph: The cap-

ture of Norfolk, blowing up the Merrimac, and the like! Corinth

being abandoned. York peninsula falling into McClellan's hands.

If all that this indicates comes to pass, the Rebellion is, indeed,

on its last legs.



                                             May 12, 1862.

  SIR:--Enclosed I send you the proceedings of the company

commanders of the Twenty-third Regiment O. V. I. nominating

Rev. Russell G. French, a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal

Church, to the office of chaplain of the regiment. I have to

request that Mr. French may be immediately commissioned--

his commission to bear date May 1, 1862.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          269

  Rev. Amos Wilson was the former chaplain. He resigned on

the 30th of April. His resignation was accepted and I directed

his name to be stricken from the roll of officers of the Twenty-

third Regiment.

  Mr. French is a loyal citizen of Mercer County, of unblem-

ished character, and with a fair reputation as a Christian and

clergyman. He was driven from his home because he was a

Union man; joined my command at Raleigh to act as guide and

scout. We found him a most valuable man. He served without

compensation. When serving with Company C in the late fight

at Camp Creek he had his right thigh shattered to pieces by a

Rebel ball. He is probably mortally wounded; in any event, he

is crippled for life.   Lieutenant Bottsford, who commanded

Company C, says he behaved with great gallantry. He has a

large family and small means. Officers and men all desire his

appointment as herein requested.


                                          R. B. HAYES,





  Copy [of] letter to Governor Tod asking a commission for

Russell G. French, our wounded scout, etc., etc., as chaplain

Twenty-third Regiment 0. V. I.

  Tuesday, [May]  13, Same Camp, Giles County, Virginia.--

Still dry and dusty! We shall soon need rain! Queer need in

Virginia! No bread in camp today, but beans and beef and some

bacon. Had an evening parade. The regiment looked strong

and well.  Our camp, on a hill overlooking New River in front

and East River in the rear -- the Twelfth and Thirtieth in the

valley of East River, McMullen's Battery near by--is very pic-

turesque. High mountains all around; some finely cultivated

country in sight.

  The Second Virginia Cavalry, out foraging, came rushing in

covered with foam; reported a great force of Rebel cavalry


near by! Turned out to be our own-Gilmore's Cavalry! What

a worthless set they are proving to be.

  Camp near Mouth East River, Giles County, May 14, 1862.

Wednesday. -- Rained violently last night; not a bad morning,

however. Rumors of defeat of General Milroy up northeast by

Stonewall Jackson. Don't believe it. If true, it is not very

important, if the taking of Norfolk holds out. We ought to

catch the whole Rebel army near Richmond. With gunboats at

West Point up York River, up James River, and so on, we must

have that whole region soon. We now have a base of opera-

tions close up to the enemy's right.--Rain in violent storms

during the day two or three times.

  No bread; men want crackers. Transportation insufficient.

But for the large quantities of bacon we get in this neighbor-

hood, we should suffer. General Cox with Second Brigade is at

Napoleon French's, six or seven miles from here. Will be here

tomorrow. General McClellan within twenty miles of Rich-

mond! The crisis is now at hand. If no serious disaster occurs

in the next ten days, the Rebel cobhouse tumbles speedily and


  Same Camp, Thursday, May 15, 1862. -- Cloudy and threat-

ening rain. Several warm showers during the day. Firing be-

tween pickets constantly going on two or three miles down the

river. We send out two or three companies and a howitzer or

six-pounder to bang away, wasting ammunition. If the enemy

is enterprising he will capture some of these parties and per-

haps a cannon.


                                             May 15, 1862.

  DEAR  MOTHER:--We have  marched a great  many miles

through this mountain region since I last wrote you. We have

had some fighting, some excitement, and a great deal to do.

We are now in a strong position.  General Cox commands the

army, about five thousand strong, in this vicinity. We feel

pretty safe, although the success of our arms at the East seems

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          271

to be driving the enemy to these mountains in greater strength

than before.

  The scenery is finer than any we have before seen. How you

would enjoy the views from my tent. In sight, at the bottom

of the hill the Twenty-third is camped on, runs New River, a

stream larger than the Connecticut at Brattleboro, then a beauti-

ful cultivated country along its banks, and steep high mountains

bounding the scene on all sides. I am afraid I am ruined for

living in the tame level country of Ohio.

  The reports indicate that the Rebellion is going under very

rapidly. If no serious disaster befalls us the struggle will hardly

outlast the summer.

  I shall write very rarely. You will hear by telegraph all

important news of us. I think of you and all the dear ones



                                                R. B. HAYES


   Saturday, May 17.--A very hard day,--muddy, wet, and

sultry. Ordered at 3 A. M. to abandon camp and hasten with

whole force to General Cox at Princeton. He has had a fight with

a greatly superior force under General Marshall.        We  lost

tents, -- we slit and tore them, -- mess furniture, blankets, etc.,

etc., by this hasty movement. I was ordered with the Twenty-

third, Gilmore's Cavalry, and two pieces McMullen's Battery, to

cover the retreat to Princeton. We did it successfully, but oh,

what a hard day on the men! I had been up during the night,

had the men out, etc., etc. We were all day making it. Found

all in confusion; severe fighting against odds and a further re-

treat deemed necessary. Bivouacked on the ground at Princeton.

   Mem.:--I saved all my personal baggage, tent included; but

no chance to use it at Princeton.

   Sunday!! Came again unawares upon me at Princeton. At

 1 or 2 A. M. aroused to prepare to move. Moved off quietly;

 got off, again unmolested, to this point, viz., Bluestone River,


Mercer County, Virginia. I hope this is the last of the retreat.

We have [the] Thirty-fourth, Twenty-eight, Twelfth, Twenty-

third, Thirtieth, Thirty-seventh O. V. I.; Second Virginia Cav-

alry; and Simmonds' and McMullen's Batteries. The enemy re-

ported to have three thousand or so under General Heth and five

thousand or so under General Humphrey Marshall.  The num-

bers are nothing, but at present our communications can't well be

kept up. All will soon be remedied under Fremont. Then, for-

ward again! In the fights we have lost in our army, chiefly

Thirty-seventh and Thirty-fourth, near one hundred killed,

wounded, and prisoners.

  Camp on Flat Top Mountain, May 20, 1862.--Monday,

19th, marched from camp on Bluestone River to this point (yes-

terday) -- a hot dry march -- with knapsacks.  I supposed we

were to go only five miles; was disappointed to find we were

retreating so far as this point. Being out of humor with that,

I was out of sorts with all things; scolded "some" because the

column was halted to rest on the wrong side of a stream which

had to be crossed single file; viz., the near instead of the oppo-

site side; mad because Colonel Scammon halted us in the sun

half an hour--no water -- without telling us how long we

were to halt, etc., etc. But got good-humored again soon. Must

swear off from swearing. Bad habit. Met Dr. Jim Webb,

assistant surgeon of [the] Twelfth, yesterday as we approached

here. March fourteen miles.

  [Today], Tuesday, 20th, rains occasionally--a cold rain. No

tents, some trouble, but men are patient and hardy. Heard of

Ike Nelson's wounds, four to six in number and twenty bullet

holes in his clothing. Left for dead but got well.

  Avery and Captain Drake go to Raleigh this morning. We

are holding on, waiting for supplies in the place of the tents,

etc., we have lost.  No news yet of Richmond's having been

taken, but it is likely soon to fall unless we are defeated.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          273


             MERCER AND RALEIGH COUNTIES, May 20, 1862.

  DEAR UNCLE:--The last three weeks has been a period of

great activity with us -- severe marching, sharp fighting, and all

sorts of strategy and manoeuvring. I had command of the

advance southward and marched to within ten miles of the rail-

road, seventy miles south of this. This was ten days ago. On

the morning of the 10th the enemy attacked us in greatly superior

numbers and with artillery. In obedience to orders we have

been falling back ever since. I was much vexed that we were

not reinforced. Perhaps I was wrong. It is now believed that

the enemy, since their reverses in eastern Virginia, have been

sending heavy bodies of troops this way; that our force is

wholly inadequate to its task, and must wait here until largely

strengthened. I am not sure about this, but accept it without

much grumbling. As I had command of the advance, I also had

command of the rear-guard during the two most perilous days

of the retreat. I am glad to know that nobody blames me with

anything. Perhaps nobody ought to be blamed, certainly not if

the force of the enemy is correctly reported.  We have got off

very well, having the best of all the fighting, and losing very

little property in the retreat, and conducting it in good order.

  General Cox and staff narrowly escaped capture. My com-

mand had a narrow escape. With any common precautions we

should have been captured or destroyed, but luckily I had

mounted pickets two miles further out than usual and got notice

of the trap in time. The total loss of my command up to yes-

terday since May I inclusive is seven killed, six missing, and

thirty-five wounded. We have killed forty to fifty of the enemy,

captured about fifty, and wounded a large number. We have

captured and destroyed many arms, and lived on the enemy's

grub a week. We also took several teams and waggons. We

have lost our tents (except headquarters) and part of our mess


  We shall remain here and hereabouts some time to get rein-

forced and to get supplies.  We are in telegraphic communica-

tion with the world and only sixty miles from navigation.



  Dr. James Webb is now in this brigade, assistant surgeon of

the Twelfth Regiment 0. V. I. Dr. Joe is brigade surgeon.

We shall enjoy a few days' rest here. The Twenty-third is a

capital set. They always stood up squarely to the work and

enjoyed it. A vast difference between raw troops and those

who have tried it enough to be at home.

  Love to all. Good-bye.

                                              R. B. HAYES.


                          CAMP ON FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN,

                                 May 20, (Tuesday), 1862.

  DEAREST:-- Here we are "back again" -- fifty or sixty miles

in rear of the advanced position we had taken. The short of it

is, since the Rebel disasters in eastern Virginia they have thrown

by the railroad a heavy force into this region, forcing us back

day by day, until we have gained a strong position which they

are not likely, I think, to approach. I do not think there is any

blame on the part of our leaders. We were strong enough to

go ahead until recent events changed the plans of the enemy,

and made it impossible [for us] to reinforce sufficiently. I was

much vexed at first, but I suspect it is all right. We have had

a great deal of severe fighting -- fragmentary--in small de-

tachments, but very severe. We have had narrow escapes. My

whole command was nearly caught once; the Twenty-eighth

barely escaped. General Cox and staff got off by the merest

chance. Colonel Scammon's brigade was in close quarters, etc.,

etc. And yet by good luck, we have had no serious disaster.

We have lost tents and some small quartermaster stores, but

nothing important. In the fighting we have had the best of it

usually. The total loss of General Cox's command is perhaps

two hundred to three hundred, including killed, wounded, pris-

oners, and missing. The enemy has suffered far more. In my

fight at Giles, the enemy had thirty-one killed and many

wounded; our total casualties and missing, about fifteen. We

shall remain here until reinforced or new events make it possible

to move.

  I see the Thirty-third, not the Twenty-third, gets the credit

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          275

of taking Giles.  Such is fame.  No Thirty-third in this country.

[The papers also said] Major Cowley not Comly, and so on.

Well, all right. General Fremont complimented me for "energy

and courage" and the Twenty-third for "gallantry" to this di-

vision. So it is all right.

  Jim is here in our brigade (the Twelfth Regiment) looking

very well. Dr. Joe well. Adjutant Avery is to take this to

Raleigh only twenty miles off. We are connected by telegraph

with you too, so we are near again for a season.



  Show this to Steve [Stephenson].


  Camp Flat Top, May 21, 1862.  Wednesday.-A warm, windy,

threatening day. Drilled the regiment this morning; marched

to the summit of Flat Top, thence along the summit to the Ral-

eigh Road, and so back to camp. Men looked well. Companies

A, E, and K, under Major Comly, with a howitzer, marched

to Packs Ferry to hold it, build boats, and the like. They take

about twenty carpenters from the Twenty-third, also six cavalry-

men and a howitzer.

  Camp Flat Top, May 22, 1862.  Thursday. -- Today Colonel

Scammon with a small escort went over to Packs Ferry to look

after affairs with Major Comly and his boat-builders. A Cap-

tain Jenkins, of Kentucky, came from General Williams to nego-

tiate as to exchange of prisoners. General Cox detailed Lieu-

tenant-Colonel Hines and myself to meet him.  After some re-

flection, I suggested that it was honoring Captain Jenkins too

much to send two lieutenant-colonels, and the programme was


  I have caught a bad cold, the worst I have had since I came

into the army, caused chiefly by changing underclothes and

stockings from thick to thin.

  Called on Colonel Moor of the Twenty-eighth. The German

officers are neater and more soldierly in dress and accoutrements

than ours.   The Twenty-eighth has a fine band, twenty or


twenty-four musicians. Wrote to Lucy a short letter -- no flow

in it; but how I love my wife and boys  All the more tenderly

for these separations.

                CAMP FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, May 22, 1862.

  DEAREST:--I  have written you one or two letters which I

suspect fell into the hands of the enemy, but ere this, I do not

doubt, you have received dispatches and word by Thomas which

relieves you of all trouble on my account.

  We have had a good deal of war this month. More than half

the time during two weeks we were in the presence of the enemy.

Most of the time they [we] were either pursuing them or they

were crowding us. The number killed and wounded, consider-

ing the amount of firing, was not large. I suppose the total loss

of this army would not exceed two hundred. Our force is not

strong enough to do the work before us. We have so many

points to garrison and so long a line of communications to pro-

tect, that it leaves a very small force to push on with. . . .

  Before this reaches you, the great battles of the war will

probably be fought. If successful, we shall not meet with much

determined opposition hereafter. I was sent to meet a flag of

truce sent by General Williams and Humphrey Marshall this

morning. The officers talk in a high tone still, but the privates

are discouraged, and would be gladly at home on any terms.




  Flat Top Mountain, May 23, 1862. Friday.--Warm and

dry; getting dusty!!     Mr. French lies here wounded--his

thigh bone shattered by a ball that passed clear through his leg.

Dr. McCurdy thinks he will not survive more than three or four

weeks. . . . Our regiment elected him chaplain a week or

two ago to date from the day of battle, May 1, 1862. I hope the

Governor will commission [him] promptly. . . .

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          277

  The Commercial is reported as saying that people may "act

as if they had heard some very good news" from General Hal-

leck's army.

  It is dusty!! A cold wind blowing. The plan of going to

Packs Ferry and crossing New River, uniting with Colonel

Crook, and thence through Union to Christiansburg, is not yet

fixed upon.

  Flat Top Mountain, May 24, 1862.  Saturday. -- Cold, rainy,

and windy,--an old-fashioned storm. Men bivouacking! Col-

onel Crook, of [the] Third Brigade, was attacked yesterday

morning by General Heth with the same force which drove me

out of Giles. Colonel Crook had parts or the whole of three

regiments. He defeated Heth and captured four of his cannon.

Our loss, ten killed and forty wounded. Enemy routed and one

hundred prisoners. What an error that General Cox didn't

attack Williams and Marshall at Princeton! Then we should

have accomplished something.

                CAMP FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, May 24, 1862.

  DEAR MOTHER:--I have written you twice this month, but

am not sure as to your getting my letters. The enemy have

captured some of our mails, and possibly your letters are in

Secession. . . .

  We are having pretty busy times in the mountains. One of

our brigades, under Colonel Crook, gained an important victory

over the Rebels under General Heth yesterday morning at Lew-

isburg, capturing cannon, etc., etc. We shall not remain long

in the same place. Our force is not so large as that of the

enemy, and we must make up the difference by activity. They

are very sick of the contest, and if our great armies are suc-

cessful, we shall soon be over the worst of the Rebellion. . . .

                   Affectionately, your son,




  Camp Flat Top Mountain, May 25, 1862.  Sunday. -- Bright,

clear, and bracing. My cold no better yet, but no worse. I

hope it has reached the turning-point. All suspense in military

matters, awaiting result at Corinth and Richmond. The three

Companies, A, E, and K of Twenty-third, sent to Packs Ferry

were ordered in yesterday, as if much needed. They marched

in the rain and darkness seventeen miles last night and six this

morning; the severest trial they have had. It was too bad,

too bad.

  Sacred music by the band at sundown. Captain Evans, a

Cincinnati boy of [the] Thirty-fourth Zouaves, called to see me.

Queer people meet here. The Thirty-seventh and the Thirty-

fourth (Zouaves) suffered badly in the skirmishing about Prince-

ton. About sixty wounded (of ours) came up tonight, having

been exchanged, from Princeton.

                CAMP FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN, May 25, 1862.

  DEAREST:--Dr. Joe has a letter from McCabe in which he

speaks of your anxiety on my account. I hope that it has not

been increased by my dispatch. You will always hear the pre-

cise truth from me. You may rely on it that you hear exactly

the state of things. It would be idle to say that we have been

in no danger, or that we are not likely to be in peril hereafter.

But this is certain, that there is not half the danger for officers

in a regiment that can be trusted to behave well, as there would

be in a regiment of raw troops; besides, the danger on this line

is much diminished by a victory which one of our brigades under

Colonel Crook gained day before yesterday at Lewisburg. He

routed the army under General Heth, which drove me out of

Giles Court-house, captured their cannon, etc., etc. Now the

drift is again all in our favor.

  This is a lovely Sunday morning, after a cold storm of about

thirty hours. It brings great relief to men bivouacking on the

ground without tents, to have the sun shining out bright and

warm. The weather, except two days, has been good this whole

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          279

month.    This is the department to spend  the summer  in--

healthier and pleasanter than any other.

  I received Uncle's letter written when he was with you. I

am rather gratified to hear that you are not going to Fremont

this summer. It pleases me that Uncle likes the boys so well.

Dear little fellows, they must be so interesting. I think of them


  We expect to move from here southward in a few days. Our

army is under General Cox, and consists of the First Brigade,

Twelfth, Twenty-third, and Thirtieth under Colonel Scammon;

Second Brigade, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-seventh, and Thirty-

fourth under Colonel Moor; Third Brigade, Eleventh, Thirty-

sixth, Forty-fourth, and Forty-seventh under Colonel Crook,

besides a due proportion of cavalry and artillery. It is a good

army, but too small for the magnificent distances we have to

operate over.  We expect to be able to unite with Fremont's

larger body in about three or four weeks. In the meantime,

good luck at Richmond and Corinth may pretty nearly take

away our occupation.

  P.M. -- Recent news indicate [indicates] that we shall see no

enemy for some time. I believe I told you my Commercial has

stopped again. Try to start it so it will hold out. It comes to

subscribers here pretty regularly and promptly.

  Tomorrow a couple of men leave here for Camp Chase with a

prisoner. I shall send a Mississippi rifle with them. This is

the most formidable weapon used against us in this region by

the Rebels; they will leave it either with you or at Platt's in


  I enclose for Uncle a fifty-dollar bill. It was worth fifty

dollars when I got it. I could buy a pretty fair horse with it.

  Love to all the boys and kisses all round. Ever so much

affection for your own dear self.



  Camp Flat Top Mountain, May 26, 1862.  Monday.--Clear

and cool. A private dispatch informs General Cox that General


Banks has been driven back by the Rebel Jackson, probably to

Harpers Ferry. This is a long move to the rear. If true, it

indicates a pretty heavy disaster; places in jeopardy the Balti-

more and Ohio Railroad, etc. So we go.

                            CAMP FLAT TOP, May 26, 1862.

  DEAREST:--Your excellent letters of [the] 17th and 19th

came this morning--only a week in getting to me. I wrote

you yesterday by the soldiers, Corporal West and Harper, but

I must give you another by the sutler who goes in the morning,

just to show how much I think of you and your letters.

  We are now at rest on a mountain top with no immediate

prospect of anything stirring. We stand for the moment on

the defensive, and are not likely to be disturbed. We have

been having exchanges of wounded and prisoners with the enemy.

They have behaved very well to our men, and were exceedingly

civil and hospitable in our negotiations with them. They feel

a good deal discouraged with the general prospect, but are

crowding our small armies under Banks and Fremont pretty

severely. All will be well if we carry the pivots at Richmond

and Corinth. Enough of this.

  I still feel just as I told you, that I shall come safely out of

this war. I felt so the other day when danger was near. I

certainly enjoyed the excitement of fighting our way out of

Giles to the Narrows as much as any excitement I ever experi-

enced. I had a good deal of anxiety the first hour or two on

account of my command, but not a particle on my own account.

After that, and after I saw we were getting on well, it was

really jolly. We all joked and laughed and cheered constantly.

Old Captain Drake said it was the best Fourth of July he ever

had. I had in mind Theo. Wright singing "The Star-Spangled

Banner." "The bombs bursting in air" began before it was quite

light, and it seemed to me a sort of acting of the song, and in

a pleasant way, the prayer would float through my thoughts,

"In the dread hour of battle, O God, be thou nigh!"

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          281

  A happy thing you did for the sick soldiers, good wife!*

  "I love you so much." Well, that is all I wrote to tell you.

I must repeat again, send the Commercial "for the war."  Tell

Webb Lieutenant Kennedy was delighted with the picture, and

will try to send his to Webb some day. Send me one of all the

boys if you get them--Webb's of course. I am much pleased

that you are to stay in Cincinnati. Love to all the boys and

Grandma. Send me by sutler Harper and Atlantic for June.

Good-bye, dearest.

                        Affectionately ever,


  P.S.--I enclose you a letter which I wish Dr. Murphy [to

read] or somebody to read to him. He behaves badly, I sus-

  *Mrs. Hayes, in her letter of May 19, had written:      "Our hospitals

are all full of sick and wounded. A great difference can be seen between

the sick and [the] wounded.    The sick appear low-spirited--downcast,

while the wounded are quite cheerful, hoping soon to be well.      I felt

right happy the other day, feeling that I had made some persons feel a

little happier.  Going down to Mrs. Herron's I passed four soldiers,

two wounded and two sick. They were sitting on the pavement in

front of the office where their papers are given to them.  I passed them,

and then thought, well, anyhow, I will go back and ask them where they

are going.  A gentleman who I saw then was with them, said he had

just got in from Camp Dennison, and found they were too late to get

their tickets for that evening. I asked, 'Where will you take them?' He

said he did not know, but must get them to the nearest place, as they

were very weak. I said, 'Doctor, (the wounded man had told me he

was his family doctor and had come to take him home), if you will

take them to my house I will gladly keep them and have them taken to

the cars. There is the street-car which will take you near my house.'

He was very thankful, and he put sick and wounded on, and I started

them for Sixth Street, while I finished my errand, took the next car, and

found my lame man hobbling slowly along. We fixed them in the back

parlor. The doctor I asked to stay also, to attend to them. He said he

could not thank me enough, that he was a stranger here and was almost

bewildered as to what to do or where to take them.         Mary was up

early and we had a cup of coffee for them before five.  I thought of

you in a strange country, wounded and trying to get home. The cases

were not exactly alike, but if anyone was kind to you, would I not feel



pect. In short, darling, all men who manage to keep away from

their regiments are to be suspected. They are generally rascals.


  Flat Top, May 27, 1862. Tuesday.--A warm, fine day. My

cold is still very bad. I call to see Mr. French, the wounded

citizen of Lieutenant Bottsford's fight, now our Twenty-third

chaplain, daily. He is in good spirits, but [the] doctors talk

discouragingly of his case.

  News today that General Halleck has taken Corinth and

twenty thousand prisoners! Is it true? I hope so.

  Flat Top, May 28, 1862. Wednesday.-- No news yet from

Corinth; none from Richmond; all in suspense yet. We almost

fear to hear the news. Many rumors indicate that the Rebels

are leaving Richmond. The gathering of great forces opposite

to General Banks, and to Fremont all look that way.  A large

force is reported near Tazewell or at Tazewell, also.  The air

is full of rumors.  The great events will soon clear the air,

and we shall see where we are.

  Flat Top, May 30, 1862.  Friday.-- A hot summer day.  A

very singular thing happened this afternoon.  While we were

at supper, 5:30 P. M., a thunder-storm broke out. It was

pretty violent. Avery and Dr. McCurdy got up a warm dis-

cussion on electricity. As the storm passed away we all stepped

out of the tent and began to discuss the height of the clouds,

the lapse of time between the flash and the thunder. While

we were talking, Avery having his watch out and I counting,

there came a flash and report. It seemed to me that I was

struck on the top of the head by something the size of a buck-

shot. Avery and McCurdy experienced a severe pricking sen-

sation in the forehead. The sentinel near us was staggered as

by a blow. Captain Drake's arm was nearly benumbed. My

horse Webb (the sorrel) seemed hit. Over a hundred soldiers

felt the stun or pricking. Five trees were hit about a hundred

yards off and some of them badly splintered. In all the camps

something similar was felt; but "no harm done."

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1862          283

  The news not decisive but favorable. Lost a bet of twenty-

five cents with Christie, Company C, that either Richmond or

Corinth would be taken today.

  May 31, 1862. Saturday. -- Clear and bracing. Had a very

satisfactory inspection on the hill back of General Cox's head-

quarters. The men were many of them ragged and their clothes

and caps faded, but they looked and marched like soldiers.

  We hear of the retreat of Beauregard's great army from

Corinth. This is probably a substantial victory, but is not so

decisive as I hoped it would be. The Rebels have a talent for

retreating. Our generals do not seem to be vigilant enough to

prevent their slipping away. A thunder-storm last night.

Previous Chapter ||  Table of Contents  || Next Chapter