LAND--JANUARY-JULY 1864

                           CAMP WHITE, January 1, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--. . .  This is New  Year's day.  Bright

but very cold and windy.  My  regiment has re-enlisted

and a majority of the men and part of the officers have gone

home. I expect to go to Ohio towards the last of this month.


  S. BIRCHARD.                                   R. B. HAYES.

  January 5, 1864.--Last day of bounties.  Got about three

hundred veterans. The Twenty-third may now be counted as a

veteran regiment. Very absurd in Congress repealing bounties.

                          CAMP WHITE, January 17, 1864.

  DEAR MOTHER:--We are all very well and have enjoyed the

cold snap. We had good sleighing about ten days. The river

was closed, cutting us off completely from the civilized world.

Provisions were pretty plenty, however, and we felt independent

of the weather.

  It is not quite certain yet when I can get off. I hope to do so

by the last of this month. Lucy will come with me. We shall

go first to Cleveland where some of our veterans are recruiting;

from there to Fremont, thence to Delaware and Columbus, and

return by the way of Cincinnati. . . .

                  Affectionately, your son,



   29                    (449)


  Monday, [January] 18.  P. M.--Raining the first time this

month. New Year's Eve change came about midnight. January

I cold and windy, "very, very indeed"; snow about [the] 3rd.

Two weeks of unusual cold weather. Kanawha frozen; naviga-

tion suspended about a week; a week's good sleighing. Now a

thaw for a few days; snow going off.

  Captain Gilmore out after Rebel Colonel Ferguson, Sixteenth

Virginia Cavalry; fourth day out.

                           CAMP WHITE, January 24, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE: -- The extension of the bounties and postpone-

ment of the draft will postpone my visit home a week or two.

I shall not leave here probably before the second week in


  We are all very well. It is very lonesome here now. All the

Twenty-third company officers but four or five are at home, half

of the men, besides a good many of all other organizations

hereabouts. Recruiting seems to be progressing favorably. I

trust we shall have stronger and more efficient armies in the field

this spring than ever before. I think it likely that the Rebels

with their unsparing conscription of young and old will for a

time outnumber us again. But a few weeks' campaigning will

send to the rear the old men and boys in vast numbers.

  I am growing anxious to see Birch and his mother talks of

him constantly.


  S. BIRCHARD.                                   R. B. HAYES.

  January 26, 1864. -- Another large squad of veterans and the

most of the remaining officers left for Ohio yesterday.  Re-

cruiting seems to be active in Ohio. I think we shall get our


  *A Columbus dispatch of February 14, in the Cincinnati Gazette, had

this paragraph:--"It has been ascertained at the muster-in office, that the

Twenty-third Ohio, Colonel R. B. Hayes, Department of West Virginia,

was the first regiment from this State to enlist as veterans.  Several

regiments have claimed that honor."

             WINTER RECRUITING--1864          451

  Plan of spring campaign from  Kanawha Valley. -- Ten or

fifteen thousand men can move from the head of navigation on

the Kanawha River (Loup Creek) via Fayette, Raleigh, Flat

Top, and Princeton to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad be-

tween New River and Wytheville, a distance of one hundred

and thirty-nine miles, in a week or ten days; spend a week on

the railroad destroying New River Bridge and the track for

twenty-five miles; return to Loup Creek in one week more and

be carried in steamers into the Ohio, and thence East or South

for other operations. One week is time enough to convey such a

force to Loup Creek from the Potomac or the West. The roads

and weather will ordinarily allow such a column to move April

20. Supplies and transportation should be provided at Fayette

during February and March. The utmost secrecy should be

observed so that the first information the Rebels would have

would be the approach of the force. Such a destruction of the

railroad would effectually cut the communications of Longstreet

and Jones in east Tennessee and compel him [the enemy] to

abandon that country. The Rebels could not reconstruct the

railroad during the next campaign. It would perhaps compel the

evacuation of Richmond.

                          CAMP WHITE, February 7, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--The capture of General  Scammon and two

of his staff, will postpone my coming a few days, only a few

days, I hope. I must be cautious what I say, but to you I can

write that his capture is the greatest joke of the war.  It was

sheer carelessness, bad luck, and accident.  It took a good many

chances, all lost, to bring it about.  Everybody laughs when

he is alone, and very intimate friends laugh in concert when

together.  General  Scammon's great point was  his caution.

He bored us all terribly with his extreme vigilance. The great-

est military crime in his eyes was a surprise. Here he is caught

in the greenest and most inexcusable way.

  We shall come, I think, in a week or so via Cleveland.

                       Sincerely yours,

  S. BIRCHARD.                                 R. B. HAYES.


                           COLUMBUS, February 29, 1864.

   DEAR MOTHER:--We are having a pleasant visit. The new

Mrs. Platt we like well. Her presence will be a good thing for

the little folks and Laura receives and treats her in a very

sensible and happy way.

  I go to Cincinnati tomorrow or day after, and early next week

leave for the Kanawha.




                    CAMP WHITE, March 11, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--Home again with Lucy and all the boys--

well and happy. Birch did not meet his brothers until he saw

them here last night. Three happier boys I never saw. They

are all very well.--Love to all.


                                          R. B. HAYES.


                           CAMP WHITE, March 26, 1864.

   DEAR MOTHER:--We are now having a cold rain-storm, but

are all well. There is considerable sickness among our new

recruits of the usual sort -- measles, mumps, and a little small-

pox and fever. Nothing very serious so far, and as the weather

gets warmer we hope to get clear of it altogether.

  Mrs. Ellen, a nice lady, wife of our quartermaster, is teaching

the two smaller boys regularly and speaks very encouragingly

of her scholars. Lucy schools the larger boy with a young

soldier who is a good deal older than Birch, but not so far ad-

vanced. . . .

  I hope you will get through the raw weather of spring with-

out serious illness.--Love to all.

                    Affectionately, your son,



             WINTER RECRUITING--1864          453

                              CAMP WHITE, April 3, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--. . .  I have spent the last week visiting the

five posts between here and Sandy occupied by my men. We are

picking up a good many Rebels in small squads. Things look

like active operations here as everywhere else, but nothing

definite yet.


                                              R. B. HAYES.


                                CAMP WHITE, April 9, 1864.

  DEAR MOTHER:--It is wet and stormy weather, but we are

all safely sheltered and care nothing for wind or rain.

  I am very glad you can write so cheerfully as you did in your

last letter. If you could see what I see every day you would

think the people of the North were blessed indeed. I feel con-

fident that we are more than half through with the work of

crushing [the] Rebellion.

  I send you this time the writing of my grandfather [about his

ancestors]. It will interest you a great deal. I would be glad

if you would preserve it or send it to Uncle Birchard for him

to keep for me. I wish you would write me a similar account

of your ancestors. Mrs. Wasson's excellent memory of dates

and names may aid you.

                  Affectionately, your son,



                              CAMP WHITE, April 20, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--It now seems certain that we are to take an

active part in the summer's campaign. We expect to see some

of the severe fighting. The Rebel troops in our front are as

good as any, and we shall attempt to push them away. My brig-

ade is three large regiments of infantry, containing a good many

new recruits. They have been too much scattered (at ten or

twelve places) to be properly drilled and disciplined. Still we

have some of the best men in service. Of course, if they should


break or falter in action, I will be a good deal exposed, otherwise,

not so much as heretofore. Still I have no misgivings on my

own account, and even if I had, you know my views of such

things well enough to know that it would not disturb me much.

  Lucy and the boys will soon go to Chillicothe to stay in that

vicinity with or near her relatives. Birch would like to go to

Fremont, if his mother could go with him.


                                              R. B. HAYES.


                               CAMP WHITE, April 24, 1864.

  DEAR MOTHER:--We are very busy, and of course happy

getting ready for campaigning. General Averell is here and

large additions are daily arriving to our force. The Thirty-

sixth Ohio is at present added to my command, I hope per-


  Lucy and the other ladies are preparing to go to Ohio. The

weather is favorable and everything is cheering and full of

life. . . .

                    Your affectionate son,



  April 26, 1864. -- All things point to early action.  [The]

Thirty-sixth Ohio came up and entered our camp yesterday

morning; now below us. The enlisted men gave General Crook

a seven-hundred-dollar sword on our parade this morning.

  Avery, a major, on his way to Annapolis with the Sixtieth.

Glad he is getting his deserts; sorry to lose him. I hope the

Thirty-sixth is to be with us. General Duffie and others dined

with me today. All talked action.


  DEAR MOTHER:--We have been marching now three days.

We have a considerable force and are setting out on a campaign.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1864          455

We expect our full share of active service. We are under the

immediate command of General [George] Crook. We all feel

great confidence in his skill and good judgment. General

Averill is also with us in command of the cavalry. I have the

First Brigade of Infantry, consisting of [the] Twenty-third and

Thirty-sixth Ohio, Fifth and Thirteenth Virginia Volunteers.

The last named is not yet with us.

  Lucy and the boys left on a steamboat at the same time I did.

You will perhaps not hear from me often for a while. -- Good-


                    Your affectionate son,



                    CAMP REYNOLDS, May 1, [1864].  12 M.

  DEAREST:--I am in the old log cabin at a desk where our

bed stood. The troops are on the hill overlooking the Falls.

The Fifth has gone to Tompkins Farm. I write you merely to

finish the good-bye so hastily spoken on the steamboat. Your

visit has been the greatest possible happiness to me. I carry

with me the pleasantest recollections of you dear ones all. Good-





  May 2.--March at 6 A. M. to Fayetteville. Reached camp

on Raleigh road in a cold driving rain at 1 P. M. Camped on

wet ground in snow. A rough opening of our campaign.

  Fifth and Seventh [Virginia Cavalry], six hundred men,

[under] Major Slack, attached to [the] First Brigade. [The]

Thirty-fourth [Ohio], Major Furney, two hundred and seventy

men, ditto. -- Twelve miles.

  May 3, Tuesday. -- Marched to Blake's, thirteen miles. Called

with Colonel White on Colonel Sickles. Get an order from divi-

sion headquarters regulating halts. General Crook orders, "No


rails to be burned." Hard to enforce but am doing my best.

The Thirty-sixth obey promptly. Others grumble. General

Crook is testing our discipline!

  May 4, Wednesday. -- Marched 5:30 A. M. from Blake's

to Prince's, fifteen miles; Third Brigade, Colonel Sickles, in ad-

vance. Fine, bright weather. Soldiers call out to General Beck-

ley: "Now bring on your militia!" A laugh rings out.

  May 5, Thursday. -- From Prince's to Camp Creek, twenty-

five miles. Road blocked by chopping trees. Cleared by thirty

or forty of our axemen as fast as the column needed to pass.

We led off reaching Flat Top at 11 o'clock A. M.

  May  6.  Friday.--To  Princeton sixteen miles.  Very hot

and dusty. Enemy left yesterday evening except a small camp

guard. Camps and baggage of officers all left; apparently de-

ceived by our manoeuvres or [they] trusted too much to the

blockade. General Crook's strategy has succeeded perfectly in

deceiving the Rebels. Main force [under] Colonel McCausland,

said to have gone to meet us towards Lewisburg. Rebels had

begun pretty extensive and well-constructed works. We burn

their camps. Foolish business to entrench this point at this

stage of the game. In green sods on the parapet was the name

"Fort Breckinridge." Our boys changed it to "Fort Crook."

  May 7.--A hard day's march. Left Princeton at 4 A. M.,

crossed East River Mountain and passed through Rocky Gap.

To cross roads nine miles, to Gap, eighteen -- a twenty-mile


  May 8.  Sunday.--Rocky Gap to Poplar Hill (Sharmon's),

twenty-four miles.--Ten from Giles; ten and one-half from

Dublin. Rebels probably ahead of us getting ready.

  May 9.--Battle of Cloyd's Mountain, or as Rebs call it

"Cloyd Farm." Lasted one hour and a half. The Twenty-third

and Thirty-sixth, under the immediate direction of General

Crook, charged across a meadow three hundred yards wide,

sprang into a ditch and up a steep wooded hill to Rebel breast-

works, carried them quickly but with a heavy loss. Captain

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1864          457

Hunter killed. Lieutenant Seaman ditto. Abbott's left arm

shattered. Rice a flesh wound. Eighteen killed outright; about

one hundred wounded--many mortally.  This in [the] Twenty-

third. [The] Thirty-sixth less, as the Twenty-third led the

column. Entered Dublin Depot, ten and one-half miles, about

6:30 P. M. A fine victory. Took some prisoners, about three

hundred, [and] five pieces [of] artillery, many stores, etc., etc.

A fine country; plenty of forage. My loss, two hundred and

fifty [men].

  Tuesday, [May] 10.--Went to New River Bridge. They

shelled the woods filled with our men killing three or four. A

fine artillery duel between our guns on the high ground on the

west side of the river, theirs on the east. The Rebel effort was

to keep our men from firing the bridge. It was soon done. A

fine scene it was, my band playing and all the regiments marched

on to the beautiful hills hurrahing and enjoyed the triumph.

Marched thence to Pepper's Ferry and spent the afternoon and

night fording and ferrying the river. Sixteen miles.

  Wednesday, [May] 11. -- To Blacksburg, nine miles, through

a finely cultivated country; constant pursuit of mounted videttes.

We caught Colonel Linkus, formerly of [the] Thirty-sixth [Vir-

ginia], as he was leaving town. Camped about 2 P. M. on a

fine slope in a fierce rain-storm. No comfort.

  I protect all the property in my vicinity. I take food and

forage and burn rails, but all pillaging and plundering my

brigade is clear from. I can't say as much for the Pennsylvania

regiments, Third and Fourth, etc. Their conduct is most dis-

graceful.  An officer may be excused for an occasional outrage

by some villain in his command, but this infamous and universal

plundering ought to dispose of shoulder-straps. Camped on

Amos' farm--engaged in the Rebellion.

  Thursday, 12.--A most disagreeable rainy day.  Mud and

roads horrible. Marched from Blacksburg to Salt Pond Moun-

tain. My brigade had charge of the train. I acted as wagon-

master; a long train to keep up. Rode all day in mud and rain

back and forth. Met "Mudwall" Jackson and fifteen hundred


[men]--a poor force that lit out rapidly from near Newport.

Got to camp--no tents--[at] midnight. Mud; slept on wet

ground without blankets. A horrible day, one of the worst of

all my experience. Fifteen miles.

  Friday, 13. -- From Salt Pond Mountain to Peters Mountain.

A cold rainy morning. Afternoon, weather good. Bivouacked

on east side of Peters Mountain very early.  Sun and rest

make all happy. Caught a Rebel train and a cannon at the foot

of the hill. [At] 3 P. M. ordered to cross Peters Mountain to

get forage for animals. A good little march--fifteen miles.

Bivouacked at foot of Peters Mountain northeast side.

               MONROE COUNTY, IN BIVOUAC, May 13, 1864.

  DEAREST: -- We are all right so far.  Burned New  River

Bridge, etc., etc. A most successful campaign. The victory of

Cloyd's Mountain was complete. The Twenty-third and Thirty-

sixth and part of Thirty-fourth fought under me. All behaved

well. The Twenty-third led the charge over an open meadow to

the enemy's works and carried them with a will. It cost us one

hundred and twenty killed and wounded. . . . This is our

best fight. [The] Twenty-third captured two cannon and other

trophies. General Jenkins and other officers and men captured.

-- Love to all.



  Saturday, 14.--A rainy night.  No march this A. M.  Ser-

geant Ogden here wounded twice -- not dangerously. Given by

Captain Hastings a pair of spurs from Cloyd's Mountain said

to have been worn by General Jenkins.

  12 M. Ordered to march. [The] Fifth and Seventh Vir-

ginia dismounted men report to me under Major Slade; Captain

Reynolds, quartermaster.

  P. M. Marched in a driving rain over execrable roads to near

Salt Sulphur Springs, three or four miles south of Union. The

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1864          459

question is, Can the train pass over such roads?--six miles.

Out of grub; live off of the country. General Averell and his

cavalry a failure.

   May 15. Sunday.--Marched four miles from south of Salt

Sulphur Springs to north of Union -- a beautiful grazing coun-

try. Salt Sulphur a pleasure resort in good condition; Union

a fine village. A bushwhacker killed by [the] Thirty-sixth.

Slept last night on the ground; rained all night; roads still worse.

Slept well. Greenbrier River reported unfordable. Starvation

only to be kept off by energetic and systematic foraging. Gen-

eral Crook anxious; works himself like a Turk.

  Four men of Company F, who went out foraging at Blacks-

burg, reported to have been seen dead on the road. They went

out foolishly unarmed. Washed, shirted, and cleaned up.


  1. A better pioneer party.

  2. A provost guard to look after stragglers, prevent plunder-

ing, etc.

  3. A better arrangement for sick and wounded.

  4. A guard to feed and keep prisoners.

  We have now been fifteen days away from all news except of

our own successful movements.

  We have here two hundred and fifty Rebel prisoners of [the]

Thirty-sixth, Forty-fifth, Sixtieth Virginia, etc. They are well-

behaved, civil fellows; have had very little to eat for some days.

We are trying to feed them. A good Secesh mother is now

feeding some of them.

  May 16.  Monday. -- Ordered to march at 8 A. M. on road to

Alderson's Ferry. We guard the trains. Before trains [were]

all out, General Averell requests that I detain one regiment;

his pickets fired on or approached on Sweet Springs Road. At

his request remain until 11 A. M. Marched one hour and

fifteen minutes to [within] about four and one-half miles from

Union. There shown a dispatch from General Crook by an aide-

de-camp of General Averell authorizing him to detain me but no

orders given. Told the aide I would halt there until he could


send orders from General Averell if I was wanted. Waited

one and one-fourth hours; sent a messenger to Captain

Bottsford for orders. Reports from Union indicate no force.

After 3 P. M. marched slowly on after the infernally slow train.

Soon overtook it at Little Flat Top. After crossing met my

orderly (Heckler, Company C, wounded severely) from Captain

Bottsford directing me to remain at place I sent from. I rode

rapidly forward towards  ferry to get further orders.  Met

Lieutenant Patton and got from him verbal orders and also a

written order to camp near ferry. A bad road over Little

Flat Top and also near the river. The rest of the road good.

Three or four wagons broken; men tired, weak and hungry.

"Living on the country"; showery still, muddy of course.

  May 17.  Tuesday. -- Rained last night of course.  Camp at

Alderson's Ferry on Centreville road; very wet. Ordered to

send a regiment to Union to report to General Averell. Sent

five companies from Colonel Duval's command [and] five com-

panies of Twenty-third, all under Lieutenant-Colonel Comly;

Major Adney also went with [the] Thirty-sixth companies, [and]

Dr. Barrett, surgeon. I don't believe the enmy is in force near

Union. All busy with a small ferry-boat getting over wagons,

etc.; horses and mules swim. General Crook and staff all at

work, clubbing mules into the river. Considerable quantities of

corn, etc., got here. Corn in the ear issued to men. Some parch,

some boil, some pound up. Regular rations all gone long ago.

A prodigious rain-storm about noon; no escape from the flood

of falling and running water.  The river we are crossing fell

two feet last night.  This will fill it booming full again.

  We are now nearly three weeks without news from the out-

side or inside world. Great movements have taken place, we

know, but "with us or with our foes," we can't answer. The

Rebels we see seem to have heard news which they construe in

their own favor, but there is no elation of feeling as we would

expect if they had met with decided success. We are so absorbed

in our own fate that the more important operations of Grant

do not fill us with anxiety.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1864          461

  Lieutenant Hamlin, Thirty-sixth, goes with twenty-two men,

three seregants, etc., on Centreville Road.

  May 18. Wednesday.-- A foggy morning. Teams still slow-

ly crossing. Brigade flag carried by Brigdon hit two or three

times in battle of Cloyd's Mountain. Once struck out of Brig-

don's hands.

  May 19. Thursday. -- From three miles north of Greenbrier

River to Meadow Bluff ten miles. Forgot a picket of twenty

men on south side of Greenbrier River; got them up all right.

Reached Meadow Bluff at 12:30 P. M. Found Colonel Enochs

with three companies of Fifth Virginia. Rest at Lewisburg.

The Fifth did its duty well. They divided into two regiments,

built fires, and played tattoo, as if a division were coming, and

deceived the Rebels completely. We camp here as if for time

enough to refit, etc., etc. Lieutenant-Colonel Comly tells me

that ---- is disposed to find fault with me and my doings.

Very well. I shall do my duty to the best of [my] ability and

give myself as little trouble as possible about faultfinders and


                             MEADOW BLUFF, May 19, 1864.

  DEAREST: -- We got safely to this point in our lines, two hours

ago, after twenty-one days of constant marching, frequent fight-

ing, and much hardship, and some starvation. This is the most

completely successful and by all odds the pleasantest campaign

I have ever had. Now it is over I hardly know what I would

change in it except to restore life and limbs to the killed and


  My command in battles and on the march behaved to my en-

tire satisfaction. None did, none could have done better. We

had a most conspicuous part in the battle at Cloyd's Mountain

and were so lucky. You will see the lists of killed and wounded.

We brought off two hundred of our wounded in our train and

left about one hundred and fifty. But we have good reason to

think they will fare well. . . .


  We took two cannon which the regiment has got along here

by hard work. The Thirty-sixth and Twenty-third are the only

regiments which went into the thickest of the fight and never

halted or gave back. The Twelfth did well but the "Flatfoots"

backed out. The Ninety-first well, but not much exposed. The

Ninth Virginia did splendidly and lost heavier than any other.

The Potomac Brigade, (Pennsylvania Reserves, etc., etc.,) broke

and fled. I had the dismounted men of the Thirty-fourth. They

did pretty well. Don't repeat my talk. But it is true, the

Twenty-third was the Regiment. The Thirty-sixth I know would

have done as well if they had had the same chance. The

Twenty-third led and the Thirty-sixth supported them. General

Crook is the best general I have ever known.

  This campaign in plan and execution has been perfect. We

captured ten pieces of artillery, burned the New River Bridge

and the culverts and small bridges thirty in number for twenty

miles from Dublin to Christiansburg. Captured General Jenkins

and three hundred officers and men; killed and wounded three to

five hundred and routed utterly his army.*

  We shall certainly stay here some days, perhaps some weeks,

to refit and get ready for something else. You and the boys are

remembered and mentioned constantly.

  One spectacle you would have enjoyed. The Rebels contest-

ed our approach to the bridge for two or three hours. At last

we drove them off and set it on fire. All the troops were

  *Dr. J. T. Webb in a letter to his mother from Meadow Bluff, May

24, 1864, says:--

  "The more we learn of the Rebels, etc., at Cloyd's Mountain, the greater

was our victory.  It is well ascertained now that in addition to their

strong position and works, they had more men in the fight than we had,

and also more killed and wounded. They not only expected to check us

there, but fully counted on capturing our whole force. Their officers

whom we captured complain bitterly of their men not fighting. Our new

recruits, whom we were disposed to smile at, did splendidly. One of them,

whom Captain Hastings on inspection at Camp White told he must cut

off his hair, as men with long hair could not fight, meeting the captain in

the midst of the fight, the fellow at the head of his company, playfully

remarked, shaking his locks at the captain: 'What do you think of long-

hair fighting now?'"

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1864          463

marched up to see it -- flags and music and cheering. On a

lovely afternoon the beautiful heights of New River were covered

with our regiments watching the burning bridge. It was a most

animating scene.

  Our band has been the life of the campaign. The other three

bands all broke down early. Ours has kept up and played their

best on all occasions. They alone played at the burning of the

bridge and today we came into camp to their music.

  I have, it is said, Jenkins' spurs, a revolver of the lieutenant-

colonel of [the] Rebel Thirty-sixth, a bundle of Roman candles,

a common sword, a new Rebel blanket, and other things, I would

give the dear boys if they were here.--Love to all.

                      Affectionately ever




                                             May 19, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE: -- We are safely within what we now call "our

own lines" after twenty-one days of marching, fighting, starving,

etc., etc. For twelve days we have had nothing to eat except

what the country afforded. Our raid has been in all respects

successful.  We  destroyed  the  famous Dublin  Bridge  and

eighten miles of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and many

depots and stores; captured ten pieces of artillery, three hundred

prisoners, General Jenkins and other officers among them, and

killed and wounded about five hundred, besides utterly routing

Jenkins' army in the bloody battle of Cloyd's Mountain. My

brigade had two regiments and part of a third in the battle.

[The] Twenty-third lost one hundred killed and wounded.

We had a severe duty but did just as well as I could

have wished. We charged a Rebel battery entrenched in [on]

a wooded hill across an open level meadow three hundred yards

wide and a deep ditch, wetting me to the waist, and carried it

without a particle of wavering or even check, losing, however,

many officers and men killed and wounded. It being the vital

point General Crook charged with us in person. One brigade


from the Army of the Potomac (Pennsylvania Reserves) broke

and fled from the field. Altogether, this is our finest experience

in the war, and General Crook is the best general we have ever

served under, not excepting Rosecrans.

  Many of the men are barefooted, and we shall probably re-

main here some time to refit. We hauled in wagons to this

point, over two hundred of our wounded, crossing two large

rivers by fording and ferrying and three ranges of high moun-

tains. The news from the outside world is meagre and from

Rebel sources. We almost believe that Grant must have been

successful from the little we gather.


                                              R. B. HAYES.


  May 20. Friday. -- Settled weather at last; cold nights. One

of the most interesting and affecting things is the train of con-

trabands, old and young, male and female -- one hundred to

two hundred -- toiling uncomplainingly along after and with the

army.  They with our prisoners and the trains left for Gauley

this morning.

  May 21.  Saturday.--Rations  of coffee, sugar, hard bread,

etc., filled our camp with joy last night. It now looks as if

Grant had failed to crush Lee merely on account of rain and

mud. We seem to have had the best of the fighting and to have

taken the most prisoners. I suspect we have gained the most

guns and lost the most killed and wounded. General Crook

thinks Grant will force the fighting until some definite result is


  Sunday, [May] 22. -- President of court martial to try the

Rebel quartermaster (Jenkins), of [the] Fifteenth Virginia,

for pillaging.   Sat at  Sharpe's;  Lieutenant-Colonel  Bukey,

Major Carey, Major Cadot, Captain Henry, Sweet, etc., etc.

  News  from  Grant confirms my  impression that the storm,

mud, and rain prevented a decisive victory.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1864          465

  [May] 23. Monday. -- Court martial continues. Prosecution

closed yesterday. Defense opens this A. M. Adjourned until

tomorrow, 9 A. M., after hearing all the testimony the accused

had [to] present. Two captains and several men captured near

here by guerrillas.

  [May]  24.  Tuesday.--Finished Jenkins' trial.  No definite

news lately. Charlie Hay, Sergeant Heiliger, and Sergeant

Clark returned. Hay and Clark get from Casey's Board cap-

taincies of first class. Heiliger gets second lieutenant of second

class. A queer result. The three are probably nearly equal in

merit. Major McIlrath reported near with detachments for all

regiments. Captain Hood sick.

  [May] 25.  Wednesday.--Major McIlrath with seven hun-

dred of various regiments came in at 10 A. M.; Lieutenant

Hicks, Dr. McClure, and forty men of [the] Twenty-third; about

three hundred of [the] Thirty-sixth. Wrote to mother and


                             MEADOW BLUFF, May  25, 1864.

  DEAREST:--We are preparing for another move. It will re-

quire a week's time, I conjecture, to get shoes, etc., etc. It

looks as if the route would be through Lewisburg, White Sul-

phur, Covington, Jackson River, etc., to Staunton. The major

came up this morning with a few recruits and numbers of the

sick, now recovered. They bring a bright new flag which I can

see floating in front of [the] Twenty-third headquarters. I

suspect it to be your gift. Three hundred more of the Thirty-

sixth also came up. The Fifth and Thirteenth are coming, so

I shall have my own proper brigade all together soon. . . .

  Brigdon carried the brigade flag. It was knocked out of his

hands by a ball striking the staff only a few inches from where

he held it. It was torn twice also by balls.

  I see the papers call this "Averell's raid." Very funny! The

cavalry part of it was a total failure. General Averell only got

to the railroad at points where we had first got in. He was



driven back at Saltville and Wytheville.  Captain Gilmore is

pleased. He says the Second Virginia was the best of any of

them!. . .

  I am now on most intimate and cordial terms with General

Crook.  He is a most capital commander.  His one fault is a

too reckless exposure of himself in action and on the march--

not a bad fault in some circumstances.

  I shall probably send my valise back to Gallipolis from here to

Mr. James Taylor. It will contain a leather case with Roman

candles for the boys, a sabre will go with it for one of them, a

wooden-soled shoe, such as we destroyed great numbers of at

Dublin, and very little else.  If it is lost, no matter.

  May 26. -- Just received your welcome letters of the 6th and

14th. Very glad you are so fortunate. Write to Uncle and

Mother when you feel like it.

  We shall start soon -- perhaps in the morning. We take only

one wagon to a regiment. The Fifth is now coming into camp.

The general is pleased with Colonel Tomlinson's conduct and

Colonel Tomlinson will remain. The Thirteenth will be here

tonight. All my brigade together. The rest of the Thirty-sixth

is here, six hundred and fifty in all. We feel well about the

future. General Crook is more hopeful than ever before.

  You need not believe the big stories of great victories or de-

feats at Richmond. But I think we shall gradually overcome


                     Good-bye, darling,



  [May]  26. Thursday.--. . .   Trains arriving; looks like

moving on Staunton soon. News from Grant rather favorable.

                            MEADOW BLUFF, May 26, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--I get two letters from you today. We all

believe in General Crook. I am on the best of terms with him.

He is the best general I have ever been with, no exceptions.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1864          467

We have all sorts of rumors from Grant, but it is all clear that

we shall finish them soon, if our people and leaders do their

duty. They are at the end of their means, and failure now is

failure for good.

   My brigade is all here, or near here, now. We are getting

ready to move towards Staunton soon; tomorrow, I think. I

have the two best regiments to be found and two others which

promise well. Good-bye.


                                              R. B. HAYES.


   [May] 27. Friday. -- Read Colonel Gilbert's pamphlet on

Governor Brough's rule as to promotion. I do not quarrel with

it as a general rule, but Colonel Gilbert and the Forty-fourth

should have had their officers as desired. To make such a rule

inflexible is very foolish.

  Saturday, [May] 28.--Colonel Brown and [the] Thirteenth

came up last night; seemed glad to be with the brigade all at

one camp. I was certainly glad.

  Sunday, [May] 29.--Heard preaching of Mr. Harper,

Thirteenth, on the hill in front of [the] Thirty-sixth; so-so.

Fine day. At night news that Grant had crossed the Pamunkey,

fifteen miles from Richmond. Sherman at Dallas, Georgia.

                             MEADOW BLUFF, May 29, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--Contrary to my expectation when I wrote

you a few days ago, we are still here. We are detained, I sup-

pose, by different causes, but I suspect we shall move soon to-

wards Staunton. We may drift into the army of Grant before a

month. My proper brigade is now here and all of it camped

in sight of where I now sit, viz., Twenty-third and Thirty-sixth

Ohio, Fifth and Thirteenth Virginia. I have seen them all in

line today. They form a fine body of troops. We are soon to


lose the enlisted men of the Twenty-third who did not become

veterans. I think a good many officers will leave at the same

time. It is probable that the veterans of the Twelfth will go

into the Twenty-third. If so it will make the regiment better

and stronger than ever before.

  We are not informed how Grant succeeds in getting into

Richmond. You know I have always thought he must get the

Western Army there before he can whip Lee. It looks a little

now as if he might do it without Western help. We shall see,


                                              R. B. HAYES.

  I hear from Lucy that she is settled in a good boarding-house

at Chillicothe.


                    MEADOW BLUFF, Sunday, May 29, 1864.

  DEAREST: -- Still here getting ready -- probably delayed some

by the change in Department commanders, but chiefly by rains

and delays in obtaining supplies. All the brigade now here,

camped in sight of where I now sit. We hardly know where we

are to come out, but there is a general feeling that unless Grant

succeeds soon, we shall turn up in his army.

  You notice the compliment to Major Avery, "bravest of the

brave." A good many officers of [the] Twenty-third are talking

of going out at the end of the original term, ten days hence.

Major McIlrath bid us good-bye this morning. Major Carey is

likely to take his place with the veterans of the Twelfth. . . .

  My staff now is Lieutenant Hastings, adjutant-general, [Lieu-

tenant William] McKinley, quartermaster, Lieutenant Delay,

Thirty-sixth, commissary, and Lieutenant Wood, Thirty-sixth,

aide -- all nice gentlemen. I enclose Colonel Tomlinson's photo-

graph which he handed me today.

  Well, this is a happy time with us. -- You must not feel too

anxious about me. I shall be among friends.

  A flag of truce goes in the morning after our wounded left at

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT--1864          469

Cloyd's Mountain. There were four doctors and plenty of

nurses left with them. . . . Love to all the boys.

                     Affectionately ever,



  Monday, [May] 30. -- No move today; hot and sultry. Saw

[the] Fifth drill; [the] Thirteenth, ditto. News that Grant's

prospects are fair.

  Tuesday, May 31, 1864. -- We move today. Colonel Sickles

and the reserve, except veteran volunteers, go home today.

They passed with slow sad music this morning. A bad time to

go to the rear. Marched to Bunger's Mill, ten and one-half

miles from  Meadow  Bluff and five miles from Lewisburg.

Camped on left of Second Brigade in a pleasant glen.

  Wednesday, June 1. -- Marched thirteen miles to [within] one

mile of White Sulphur Springs. A hot day; easy march.

Waded Greenbrier. A good camp on Howard's Creek, head-

quarters on a knoll, left-hand side going east. Mr. Caldwell at

White Sulphur very civil. Sold me two teams. A fine, beauti-

ful place. Rumors of Rebels at Callaghan, Jackson River, etc.,

etc.; a patrol or picket at White Sulphur.

  Thursday, June 2.--March at 5 A. M.  White Sulphur to

Callaghan, about fourteen miles; a cloudy, good marching day.

Nothing of interest today. Bill Jackson left Callaghan three

days ago.

  Friday, [June] 3. -- From Callaghan to near Hot Springs in

Bath County, nineteen miles. Yesterday crossed Allegheny

Mountain; good road. Waters this side flow to the James River.

A good day's march; forded Jackson River at Mr. Porter's.

A young lady says Richmond papers of 27th contain news

favorable to them.

  Saturday, [June] 4. -- From the vicinity of Hot Springs to the

east side of Warm Springs Mountain, beyond the alum-works,


sixteen miles. My brigade in advance drove a small squad of

Rebels from Warm Springs--said to be McNeil's and Mar-

shall's Cavalry. No resistance offered but a few trees cut to

blockade the road. Rumors of a fight at Harrisonburg; as

usual reports are two-faced. Papers of the 27th to 31st in-

clusive [from] Richmond.

  Sunday, [June] 5.--From three miles west of Millboro to

one mile beyond Goshen; about thirteen to fourteen miles.

Rained last night. Our march today impeded by a small body of

Rebel cavalry. Rumors of Jackson, McCausland, and General

Morgan, all hurrying to Staunton to oppose Hunter or our com-

mand.   Perhaps both in detail.  Bad strategy to propose to

unite two forces in the enemy's lines. Struck the Virginia Cen-

tral one hundred and seventy-five [miles] from Richmond near

Goshen. Our route through narrow valleys or canons where a

small force can easily hold a large one.

  Now (3 P. M.) we are waiting as rear brigade, on a pretty

stream, for the leading brigade, Colonel White's, to drive a party

of Rebels through a narrow gap on railroad from Millboro to

Goshen. They turn the position and we go on. We lose two

or three slightly wounded and capture four or five Rebels and

wound three others badly. Goshen a pretty place in the moun-

tains. We cross no high mountain today.

  Monday, June 6.--From one mile east of Goshen to two

miles west of Craig [Craigsville] on Central Railroad, six miles

--10 A. M. to 1 P. M. Still halted, destroying Central Rail-

road. A big squad of men turn it over, rails and ties, and

tumble it down the embankment; burn culverts and ties as far

as possible. The railroad can be destroyed by troops marching

parallel to it very fast. Easier to destroy than to build up, as

our Rebel friends are learning to their cost. Camped in a big

thunder-shower, all wet as drowned rats. Slept well.

  June 7.  Tuesday. -- From two miles west of Craig [Craigs-

ville] to within six or eight of Staunton. A fine day. At Pond

Gap crossed Central Railroad and over a mountain--a detour

which let us into [the] Valley of Virginia, avoiding the Rebel

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          471

position in Buffalo Gap. A lovely valley; we dine now (12 M.)

on a beautiful farm in this lovely valley--all happy to get here

so easily. Reports say Hunter is in Staunton; got there last

night. The general (Crook) found a four-leafed clover yester-

day. I saw the new moon over my right shoulder. Funny how

a man of sense can think for an instant even of such follies.

We crossed the mountain to Summerdean, a little pretty hamlet.

Skirmished into Middlebrook, a beautiful country.        Supplies

are abundant.    Hunter flogged the Rebels  badly and  took

Staunton yesterday. Eighteen miles today.

  June 8. Wednesday.--Marched ten miles in a northeast di-

rection to Staunton, a fine town of five thousand inhabitants or

so. General Hunter here. He had a good victory.

                        STAUNTON, VIRGINIA, June 8, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--We  have had another very fortunate cam-

paign.  Everything lucky--except Hunter got the victory in-

stead of Crook. But that is all right, of course. The march,

destruction of railroads and stores, so far, have made this a

most useful expedition. We know nothing of Grant for many

days, but we think he must be doing well.

  We shall be at work immediately again. Now out of West

Virginia for good, I suppose.

  I had a letter from you the day we crossed the Allegheny

Mountains. Nothing from Mother for more than a month.

  Our march for five days has been in counties where Yankee

soldiers were never seen before, Bath, Rockbridge, and Augusta.

We have visited many watering-places, White Sulphur, Hot, and

Warm Springs, etc., etc. An active campaign leaves little chance

for writing or hearing. I think you had better direct hereafter

to Crook's Division, Hunter's Army, via Martinsburg, Virginia.

                                            [R. B. HAYES.]


                                  STAUNTON, June 8, 1864.

  DEAREST:--We reached the beautiful Valley of Virginia

yesterday over North Mountain and entered this town this morn-


ing. General Hunter took the place after a very successful

fight on the 6th. We seem to be clear of West Virginia for good.

We shall probably move on soon.

  Our march here over the mountains was very exciting. We

visited all the favorite resorts of the chivalry on our route,

White Sulphur, Blue Sulphur, Warm, and Hot Springs, etc., etc.

Lovely places, some of them. I hope to visit some of them with

you after the war is over.

  We know nothing of Grant but conjecture that he must be

doing well.  We are now in Crook's division, Hunter's Army,

I suppose. General Crook is the man of all others. I wish you

could have seen the camps the night we got our last mail from

home. It brought me two letters from you, one of [the] 26th.

I told General Crook, Webb sent his love. "Yes," said he,

"Webb is a fine boy; he will make a soldier."

  We have enjoyed this campaign very much. I have no time

to write particulars. It is said that the prisoners will be sent

to Beverly tomorrow and that the men and officers of [the]

Twenty-third whose time expires will go as guard. I shall per-

haps send my sorrel horse by Carrington and if he can't sell him

for two hundred dollars to take him to Uncle Moses to do just

what he pleases with him. If he can't keep him he may give

him away or shoot him. He is a fine horse and behaved ad-

mirably at Cloyd's Mountain, but he is too fussy and noisy.

  I feel the greatest sympathy for you during these long periods

of entire ignorance of my whereabouts. I trust it will soon be

so that I can hear from you and send news to you often.

                                            [R. B. HAYES.]


                         STAUNTON, VIRGINIA, June 9, 1864.

  DEAREST: -- I wrote you yesterday a letter which if it reaches

you at all, will be some days in advance of this. I send this by

the men whose term of service has expired and who go to

"America" in charge of prisoners captured a few days ago by

General Hunter at the battle of Piedmont or "New Hope."

  All operations in this quarter have been very successful. We

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          473

reached here yesterday morning after an exciting and delightful

march of nine days from Meadow Bluff.

  The men not enlisting (one hundred and sixty) with nine offi-

cers left our camp this morning to start tomorrow in charge of

Colonel Moore. The band played "Home, Sweet Home." The

officers who leave are Captains Canby, Rice, Stevens, Sperry,

and Hood; First Lieutenants Stephens, Chamberlain, Smith,

Jackson, and Hicks. We have left seven full companies and

twelve good officers. The old flags go to Columbus to the gov-

ernor by the color-bearer.  We  shall quite certainly get more

men from the Twelfth in a couple of weeks than we now lose.

  I send Carrington with the little sorrel to sell or leave with

Uncle Moses if he fails to sell him, and Uncle Moses can do

what he pleases with him.

  I send a pistol captured at Blacksburg from Lieutenant-

Colonel Linkus, Thirty-sixth Virginia, Rebel.  Also pencil mem-

orandum of no account. Preserve the handbill showing Lee's

appeal to the people of this (Augusta) county.

  I have just visited the very extensive hospitals here. They

are filled with patients, two-thirds Secesh, one-third our men.

Nothing could be finer.  In a fine building (Deaf and Dumb

Asylum), in a beautiful grove--gas and hydrants--shade, air,

etc.  The Secesh were friendly and polite; not the slightest

bitterness or unkindness between the two sorts. If I am to be

left in hospital this is the spot.

  Direct to "Second Infantry Division (or General Crook's

Division), Department West Virginia, via Martinsburg."

  Love to all.-- Affectionately ever,



  [Lexington], Sunday, June 12. -- General Hunter burns the

Virginia Military Institute. This does not suit many of us.

General Crook, I know, disapproves. It is surely bad. No

move today. [Marched] thirteen miles yesterday.


   LEXINGTON, ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, June 12 (Sunday), 1864.

  DEAREST: -- I just hear that a mail goes tomorrow. We cap-

tured this town after an artillery and sharpshooter fight of three

hours, yesterday P. M. My brigade had the advance for two

days and all the casualties, or nearly all, fell to me.  [A]  first

lieutenant of [the] Fifth Virginia killed and one private; three

privates of [the] Thirty-sixth killed and ten to fifteen wounded.

[The] Twenty-third had no loss. Very noisy affair, but not


  This is a fine town. Stonewall Jackson's grave and the Mili-

tary Institute are here.  Many fine people.  Secesh are not at

all bitter and many are Union.

  I am more pleased than ever with General Crook and my

brigade, etc., but some things done here are not right. General

Hunter will be as odious as Butler or Pope to the Rebels and

not gain our good opinion either. You will hear of it in Rebel

papers, I suspect.

  Weather fine and all our movements are successful.  The

Rebels have been much crippled already by our doings. We are

probably moving towards Lynchburg. If so you will have heard

of our fortunes from other sources before this reaches you.

  I got a pretty little cadet musket here which I will try to send

the boys. Dear boys, love to them and the tenderest affection

for you. -- Good-bye.

                                            [R. B. HAYES.]


  [Camp Piatt, West Virginia,] Thursday, June 30, 1864.--

This [has been] the hardest month of the war; hot and dusty

long marches; hungry, sleepy night marches; many skirmishes;

two battles. Men worn out and broken down.

  Tuesday, June 14, [we] marched [from Lexington] to

Buchanan.  A hot, dusty march, twenty-four miles.  Bathed in

James River. The next day [we pushed on] to "Fancy Farm,"

Bedford County, near Liberty, sixteen miles. Fine views of

Peaks of Otter.  [Thence], Thursday, (16th), to Liberty and

beyond on railroad towards Lynchburg. Worked on the rail-

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          475

road, tearing up and burning, etc. [We heard] various rumors,

generally good.

  Friday (17th), Colonel White's brigade cleaned out Rebels

handsomely to [within] three miles of Lynchburg. The next

day [the] Rebels [inside the] works [were] re-inforced. [There

was] skirmishing and fighting but no general attack. [At] 8:30

P. M., we back out via Liberty Road, [Hunter's attempt to cap-

ture Lynchburg having proved a failure].

  Sunday (19th), en route to Liberty, sleepy, tired; hot, and

dusty. All goes well however so far. Twenty-six miles. Mon-

day (20th), still on, night and day! Sleepy and tired. Enemy

following attacked our cavalry at Liberty yesterday evening

with some loss to us. Today at Buford Gap we got ready for

battle, but Rebels not ready.

  Tuesday (21st), on to four miles beyond Salem. Rebels at-

tack often, but their feeble skirmishes do no hurt to Crook.

They however get nine guns of Hunter! Wednesday (22d),

fifteen miles to Newcastle. We (First Brigade) guarded the

wagon train; poor business. Thursday (23d), [from] New-

castle to Sweet Springs--a beautiful watering-place -- twenty-

two miles, over two high ranges of the Alleghenies. [Thence,

by] night march, seventeen miles to White Sulphur, [arriving]

at 2:30 P. M., Friday (24th). Night marches bad unless there

is good moonlight.

  From White Sulphur, Saturday (25th), [we marched] to

Meadow Bluff, twenty-four miles, [reaching there] long after

midnight, starved and sleepy. The hardest [march] of the war.

The next day [starting] at sunrise, many without sleeping a

wink, we march to Tyrees, twenty miles, [at the] foot of Mount

Sewell. Monday (27th), at 4 A. M., [we] march and meet a

train of provisions at or near Mountain Cove. A jolly feeding

time. Camp at old Camp Ewing. The next day, march to Loup

Creek, fourten miles; and yesterday to Piatt, twenty-two miles.

                                CAMP PIATT, June 30, 1864.

  DEAREST: -- We reached here ten miles above Charleston last

night. Dr. Joe will tell you all the news. It has been a severe


but very pleasant campaign. We did not do as much as we

think might have been done, but we did enough to make our

work of great importance.

  We are now talking of rumors that we are to go East via [the]

Ohio River and [the] Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It is gener-

ally believed to be true, although as yet we have no other evidence

of it than camp rumor.

  I thought of you often while I was gone--of your anxiety

about me and the suffering that all rumors of disaster to us

would cause you. But I hoped you would keep up good cour-

age and live it through. Oh, darling, I love you so tenderly. You

must always think of me pleasantly. You have been the source

of such happiness to me that I can't bear to think that anything

that may befall me will throw a permanent gloom over your life.

  The Twenty-third was lucky on this campaign, losing less

than any other regiment, etc. The Fifth lost most, [the] Thirty-

sixth next.  All together, killed, wounded, and missing, my brig-

ade does not lose over one hundred, if so much [many].

  I am very fortunate in my brigade. It is now to me like my

own regiment, and is really a very good one, perhaps the best

to be found, or one of the best, in the army. General Crook is

the favorite of the army. We hope to be organized into an in-

dependent command with Colonel Powell's Cavalry Brigade and

two batteries. Then we can raid to some purpose.

  If we are not sent East, we shall stay here three or four weeks

recruiting, etc. -- My love to the boys. Dr. Joe will have plenty

of stories to tell them. The doctor was a most important person

in this raid. He did more for the wounded than anybody else.

Colonel Turley had his thigh broken at Lynchburg and was

hauled over two hundred miles over all these mountains. His

admirable pluck and cheerfulness has saved him. Nothing can

exceed the manliness he has exhibited.--Love to friends all.




             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          477


                              WEST VIRGINIA, June 30, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--Back home again in the Kanawha Valley.

Our raid has done a great deal; all that we at first intended, but

failed in one or two things which would have been done with

a more active and enterprising commander than General Hunter.

General Crook would have taken Lynchburg without doubt.

Our loss is small. [The] Twenty-third had nobody killed. My

brigade loses less than one hundred. Our greatest suffering was

want of food and sleep. I often went asleep on my horse. We

had to go night and day for about a week to get out. We are

all impressed with the idea that the Confederacy has now got

all its strength of all sorts in the field, and that nothing more

can be added to it. Their defeat now closes the contest speedily.

We passed through ten counties where Yankees never came be-

fore; there was nothing to check us even until forces were drawn

from Richmond to drive us back.

  There are rumors that we are to go East soon, but nothing

definitely is known. We hope we are to constitute an independent

command under General Crook. We have marched, in two

months past, about eight hundred miles; have had fighting or

skirmishing on over forty days of the time.

  My health, and my horse's (almost of equal moment) are


  Send letters to the old direction, via Charleston, for the



                                              R. B. HAYES.



                            WEST VIRGINIA, June 30, 1864.

  DEAR MOTHER:-- We got safely back to this point yesterday

after being almost two months within the Rebel lines. . . .

We have had a severe and hazardous campaign and have, I

think, done a great deal of good.  While we have suffered a

good deal from want of food and sleep, we have lost very few


men and are generally in the best of health. . . .       General

Crook has won the love and confidence of all. General Hunter

is not so fortunate. General Averell has not been successful

either. We had our first night's quiet rest all night for many


  Dr. Joe went to Ohio with our wounded yesterday and will

see Lucy. He has been a great treasure to our wounded.

  We have hauled two hundred [wounded men] over both the

Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies and many smaller mountains,

besides crossing James River and other streams. Our impres-

sion is that the Rebels are at the end of their means and our

success now will speedily close the Rebellion.


                                              R. B. HAYES.


                     CHARLESTON, CAMP ELK, July 2, 1864.

  DEAREST: -- Back again to this point last night.  Camped op-

posite the lower end of Camp White on the broad level bottom

in the angle between Elk and Kanawha. My headquarters on

one of the pretty wooded hills near Judge Summers'.

  Got your letter of 16th. All others gone around to Mar-

tinsburg. Will get them soon. Very much pleased to read about

the boys and their good behaviour.

  Dr. Joe went to Gallipolis with our wounded, expecting to

visit you, but the rumors of an immediate movement brought

him back. We now have a camp rumor that Crook is to com-

mand this Department. If so we shall stay here two or three

weeks; otherwise, only a few days, probably.

  You wrote one thoughtless sentence, complaining of Lincoln

for failing to protect our unfortunate prisoners by retaliation.

All a mistake, darling. All such things should be avoided as

much as possible. We have done too much rather than too

little. General Hunter turned Mrs. Governor Letcher and

daughters out of their home at Lexington and on ten minutes'

notice burned the beautiful place in retaliation for some bush-

whackers' burning out Governor Pierpont [of West Virginia.]

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          479

And I am glad to say that General Crook's division officers and

men were all disgusted with it.

  I have just learned as a fact that General Crook has an in-

dependent command or separate district in the Department of

West Virginia, which practically answers our purposes. We

are styled the "Army of the Kanawha," headquarters in the


  I have just got your letter of June I. They will all get here

sooner or later. The flag is a beautiful one. I see it floating

now near the piers of the Elk River Bridge.

  Three companies of the Twelfth under Major Carey are

ordered to join the Twenty-third today -- Lieutenants Otis, Hiltz

and ---- command them, making the Twenty-third the strong-

est veteran regiment. Colonel White and the rest bid us good-

bye today. What an excellent man he is. I never knew a better.

  You use the phrase "brutal Rebels." Don't be cheated in that

way. There are enough "brutal Rebels" no doubt, but we have

brutal officers and men too. I have had men brutally treated

by our own officers on this raid. And there are plenty of

humane Rebels. I have seen a good deal of it on this trip.

War is a cruel business and there is brutality in it on all sides,

but it is very idle to get up anxiety on account of any supposed

peculiar cruelty on the part of Rebels. Keepers of prisons in

Cincinnati, as well as in Danville, are hard-hearted and cruel.




                 CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, July 2, 1864.

  DEAR MOTHER: -- We got back here yesterday. I find a letter

from you [of] June 11.  No doubt others are on the way from

Martinsburg -- the point to which all our letters were forwarded

for some weeks.

  I am glad you are back at Columbus again and in tolerable

health. We have had altogether the severest time I have yet

known in the war. We have marched almost continually for

two months, fighting often, with insufficient food and sleep,


crossed the three ranges of the Alleghenies four times, the

ranges of the Blue Ridge twice, marched several times all day

and all night without sleeping, and yet my health was never

better. I think I have not even lost flesh.

  We all believe in our general. He is a considerate, humane

man; a thorough soldier and disciplinarian. He is hereafter to

have the sole command of us. I mean, of course, General Crook.

General Hunter was chief in command, and is not much esteemed

by us. . . . I think Colonel Comly will get home a few days.

His health has not been very good during the latter part of our


  I hope you will not be overanxious about me. What is for

the best will happen. In the meantime I am probably doing as

much good and enjoying as much happiness here as I could

anywhere. -- Love to all. I knew you would like Mrs. Platt.

                   Affectionately, good-bye,


  P. S. -- I expect to remain here a fortnight or more.


                 CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, July 2, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE: -- We are told this morning that General Crook

is to have the command of the "Army of the Kanawha," inde-

pendent of all control below Grant. If so, good. I don't doubt

it. This will secure us the much needed rest we have hoped for

and keep us here two or three weeks. My health is excellent,

but many men are badly used up.

  I do not feel sure yet of the result of Grant's and Sherman's

campaigns. One thing I have become satisfied of. The Rebels

are now using their last man and last bread. There is absolutely

nothing left in reserve. Whip what is now in the field, and the

game is ended.


                                              R. B. HAYES.


             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          481

                   CAMP CROOK, CHARLESTON, July 5, 1864.

  DEAREST:--Your last from Elmwood, June 16, reached me

last night. Very glad to get so good and cheerful talk.

  It is not yet quite certain whether I shall be able to come and

see you for a day or two or not. I think it is hardly best for

you to attempt coming here now, but if I can't come to you,

we will see about it.

  Sunday morning the veterans of the Twelfth under Major

Carey were united to the Twenty-third and that evening your flag

was formally presented to the regiment at dress parade. The

hearty cheers given for Mrs. H-- (that's you) showed that you

were held in grateful remembrance. I do not know whether

you will get any letters from Colonel Comly or not.  You cer-

tainly will if he does not think it will be a bore to you.

  You have no doubt seen the proceedings of the non-veterans

on giving the old flag to the governor at Columbus. I send a

slip containing them to be kept with our archives. Secretary

[of State, William Henry] Smith's allusion to me was awkward

and nonsensical; but as it was well meant I, of course, must sub-

mit to be made ridiculous with good grace.

  The fracture of Abbott's arm turned out like mine, a simple

fracture without splintering and he saves his arm in good con-

dition. He is doing well.

  Our prisoners wounded at Cloyd's Mountain were well treated

by the citizens of Dublin and Newbern, etc., and by the Rebel

soldiers of that region. Morgan and his men, however, behaved

badly towards them -- very badly -- but as they were with them

only a few hours, they were soon in better hands again. At

Lynchburg the people behaved well also.

  Don't let Uncle Scott be pestered with the little sorrel. He

may give him away if he can't dispose of him otherwise.

  We are gradually getting over our sore feet and weak stom-

achs and shall be in good condition shortly. Captain Hood is

here again in command of his company. Major McIlrath, Cap-

tain Warren, Lieutenants Deshong and Nessle and perhaps one

or two others leave us here. The Twenty-third is now a large



and splendid regiment again, better than ever, I suppose.--Love

to all.              Affectionately, ever,



  Thursday, July 7, 1864. -- Ordered to Parkersburg and East

tomorrow.  I go on steamboat with Third and Fourth Reserves,

Captain Moulton, to Gallipolis.

             PARKERSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA, July 12, 1864.

  DEAR MOTHER: -- We are here on our way East.  I managed

to slip ahead of my command and spend Sunday with Lucy and

the boys at Chillicothe. I should have been very glad to get to

Columbus and would have done so if it had been possible. But

we are being hurried forward as fast as possible to aid in putting

an end to the trouble in Maryland. I know very little about it

but hope it will turn out much less serious than is now repre-


  I found my family well homed and in good health. It was an

unexpected but very happy meeting.

  My love to all the family.  Letters directed to me in Crook's

Division, via Cumberland, will probably find me. I think all

your letters have finally reached me.

  My health, after all our severe campaigning, is excellent.

                    Your affectionate son,



                    MARTINSBURG, July 17 (Sunday), 1864.

  DEAREST:--A  week ago, about this time, we were enjoying

our pleasant ride like young lovers on the Kingston Pike. Now

we are widely separated.

  I am semi-sick--that is the boil I told you I was threatened

with on my hip is actively at work. The worst is over with it.

I am lying on my blankets in the barroom of a German drinking

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          483

saloon that was gutted by the Rebels. The man is a refugee but

his excellent frau is here ready to do anything in the world for

a bluecoat. She wants me to go [to] a chamber and a clean bed,

but I like the more public room better.

  Half my brigade went this morning to General Crook, thirty

miles east. We go in a day or two. The combinations to catch

the Rebels seem to me good, but I expect them to escape. Raid-

ing parties always do escape.  Morgan  was  foolhardy and

Streight lacked enterprise.  They are the only exceptions.

  You will probably see some correspondence about your flag

gift in the papers.  Don't blush, it's all right. --"S'much."  Love

to all.

                      Ever, darling, your



           MARTINSBURG, VIRGINIA, July 17 (Sunday), 1864.

  DEAR MOTHER:--I am much obliged for your letter by Col-

onel Comly. Glad you still are in good health. We are pretty

busy now trying to prevent the escape of the Rebel raiders who

have plundered Maryland. . . . The weather is very warm

but we have good breezes and excellent water in this region

so that campaigning is not unpleasant.

  I notice Mitchell's name is often mentioned in connection with

Sherman's army. He has a fine position. I trust he will come

safely out of it. -- Love to all.

                   Affectionately, your son,



  [The Diary for the last few months of 1864 is for the most

part hardly more than a line a day, entered in a pocket memoran-

dum book, "The Southern Almanac for 1864," which Hayes's

orderly, William Crump, had got hold of at Middlebrook, Vir-

ginia, early in June. Many of the entries were originally made

with a pencil and subsequently inked over. Usually the entries

give only a bald statement of the movement of the day. In some


cases entries are omitted here entirely; in other cases several

are combined in a single paragraph.]

  Sunday afternoon, July 17, [the] Fifth [Virginia] and

Twenty-third [Ohio] [marched from Martinsburg] to near

Charlestown. Slept in a farmyard. Twelve miles. The next

day, march toward Harpers Ferry and [the] Shenandoah at

Keys Ferry. Whole brigade together. Fine river and valley.

Skirmish all P. M. Heavy cannonading at Snickers Ford.

Twenty-three miles. Spent Tuesday (19th) skirmishing with

Bradley Johnson's Cavalry between camp on Bull Skin and

Kabletown. Rodes' Division try to take us in and fail after a

brisk fight. Six miles. Wednesday (20th), back to Keys

Ferry and Harpers Ferry [and] thence to Charlestown; ordered

to join General Crook. Ten miles.

                            HARPERS FERRY, July 20, 1864.

  DEAREST:--I am here with my brigade, merely to get am-

munition and grub. Have been fighting and marching three

days; lost only three killed and twelve wounded. Shall remain

all day. All well. My boil does me no harm, but it is an awful

hole. Doctor well. Can't give you much news. I am on a scout

after Crook who is lost to the bureau!  It is very funny.  He

has caught some Rebels and many wagons, I know, and I think

he has got a good victory, but I don't yet know.

  In our hunt we have had hard marching and plenty of fighting

of a poor sort. Rebel cavalry is very active and efficient, but

it don't fight. Our losses are ridiculously small for so much

noise. . . .




  Thursday (21st), marched to near Snickers Ford. Camped

near Colonel Ware's. Fifteen miles. The next day, marched

to Winchester. A fine town before the war. Eleven and one-

half miles. Saturday (23d), enemy reported in force approach-

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          485

ing Winchester. Skirmished all day. Small force of Rebel

cavalry fool ours. Seven miles. Sunday (24th), defeated badly

at Winchester near Kernstown by Early with a superior force.

My brigade suffered severely. Rebels came in on my left. Poor

cavalry allowed the general to be surprised. Seven miles. All

[that] night marching, twenty-two miles, to Martinsburg. My

brigade covered  the  retreat.   Retreated  from  Martinsburg;

turned on Rebels and drove them out. Monday night to Poto-

mac at Williamsport, [Maryland], twelve miles, a severe, sleepy

job. Camped on Antietam near battle-ground.

                     CAMP NEAR SHARPSBURG, MARYLAND,

                            Tuesday evening, July 26, 1864.

  DEAREST:--We reached here today after two nights and one

day of pretty severe marching, not so severe as the Lynchburg

march, and one day of very severe fighting at Winchester. We

were defeated by a superior force at Winchester. My brigade

suffered most in killed and wounded and not so much in prison-

ers as some others. The Twenty-third lost about twenty-five

killed and one hundred wounded; [the] Thirty-sixth, eleven

killed, ninety-nine wounded; [the] Thirteenth, fifteen killed,

sixty wounded (behaved splendidly -- its first battle) ; [the] Sixth,

four killed, twenty-seven wounded. In [the] Twenty-third, six

new officers wounded and two killed--Captain McMillen late

of [the] Twelfth and Lieutenant Gray, a sergeant of Company

G. Morgan again wounded, not dangerously. Comly very

slightly. Lieutenant Hubbard, late commissary sergeant, fell

into [the] hands of Rebels. The rest all with us. Lieutenant

Kelly slightly three times.  Lieutenant Clark (late sergeant) not

badly. All doing well. Lieutenant-Colonel Hall (Thirteenth)

twice badly but not dangerously--a brave man, very. My

horse wounded. This is all a new experience, a decided defeat

in battle. My brigade was in the hottest place and then was in

condition to cover the retreat as rear-guard which we did suc-

cessfully and well for one day and night.

  Of course the reason, the place for blame to fall, is always


asked  in such cases.     I think the army  is not disposed to

blame the result on anybody. The enemy was so superior that

a defeat was a matter of course if we fought. The real difficulty

was, our cavalry was so inefficient in its efforts to discover the

strength of the enemy that General Crook and all the rest of us

were deceived until it was too late.*

  We are queer beings. The camp is now alive with laughter

and good feeling; more so than usual. The recoil after so

much toil and anxiety. The most of our wounded were brought

off and all are doing well. -- Colonel Mulligan, commanding [the]

brigade next to mine was killed. Colonel Shaw of [the] Thirty-

fourth killed.

  As we were driven off the field my pocket emptied out map,

almanack, and [a] little photographic album. We charged back

ten or twenty yards and got them!

  There were some splendid things done by those around me.

McKinley and Hastings were very gallant.  Dr. Joe conspicu-

ously so. Much that was disgraceful was done, but, on the

whole, it was not so painful a thing to go through as I have

thought it would be.

  This was Sunday, about 2 P. M., that we all went up. We

shall stay here some time if the Rebels don't invade Maryland

again and so give us business.

  I thought of you often, especially as I feared the first reports

by frightened teamsters and cavalry might carry tidings affect-

ing me. It was said my brigade was crushed and I killed at

Martinsburg. By the by, the enemy followed us to that place

  * Dr. J. T. Webb, in a letter of July 28 to his mother, writes:--"All

this misfortune was occasioned by the infernal cavalry. They were sent

out to guard our flanks and failed to do so. Had they done their duty,

Crook would never have thought of fighting. There were about twenty

thousand Rebels, while we had some six or eight thousand, all told. Our

calvary is a miserable farce. They are utterly useless, in fact they were

in our way. Had we not depended on them, we never would have been

caught. They (cavalry) cut loose from their artillery and we, with our

infantry, hauled off their guns, at the same time driving, or rather

keeping, back the Rebels."

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          487

where we turned on them and flogged their advance-guard


  So much, dearest, as ever.




  [August 27, Hayes's command marched fourteen miles down

the river road toward Harpers Ferry and camped below Sandy

Hook. The next day the Potomac was crossed and a camp was

established in the woods near Halltown, Virginia, a good loca-

tion except that it was "too far from water." Here the weary

soldiers rested two days. Then, Saturday night, July 30, they

marched back in the darkness, through dust, heat, and confusion,

fourteen miles into Maryland; and Sunday ten miles farther on

through Middletown to a wooded camp. Hayes writes: "Men

all gone up, played out, etc. Must have time to build up or we

can do nothing. Only fifty to one hundred men in a regiment

came into camp in a body."]


                             HARPERS FERRY, July 29, 1864.

  DEAREST:--A fine day in a pleasant shady camp, resting.

That sentence contains a world of comfort to our weary, worn-

out men. All are clothed and shod again, and general good

feeling prevails.

  We are joined by a large force under General Wright, who

commands the whole army. It looks as if we would move up

the Valley of Virginia again. If so the papers will inform you

of our movements and doings.

  I sent you a dispatch and letter after our return from the

reverse at Winchester, but am not certain that either was for-


  I can only repeat what I have written so often, my love and

esteem for my darling and my wish that she may be as happy


as she has always made me.--Love to the boys and all the

dear ones.            Affectionately ever,




                                               July 30, 1864.

  DEAR UNCLE:--I received your letter of the 13th last night.

I hardly know what to think about your bank. It seems likely

enough that greenbacks may get lower as compared with gold,

and perhaps all property employed in banking may depreciate

correspondingly. But I am not thinking much of these things

now and have no opinions on them which I think of any value.

  As to that candidacy for Congress, I care nothing at all about

it, neither for the nomination nor for the election.* It was

merely easier to let the thing take its own course than to get

up a letter declining to run and then to explain it to everybody

who might choose to bore me about it.

  We are gathering an army here apparently to drive the Rebels

out of the Valley. I hope we shall be long enough about it to

give the men rest and to heal their sore feet. We have had now

three months of hard campaigning -- marched one thousand to

one thousand two hundred miles, besides [travelling] seven hun-

dred [miles] by railroad and steamboat. Much night marching,

four or five pitched battles, and skirmishing every other day.

  My health is good--perfect; bothered with boils from con-

stant riding in hot weather, but of no importance.

  I wish you to send my letters to Mother. It will be a com-

fort to her to hear oftener than I have time to write. . . .

  Colonel Mulligan was shot down very near me. We were

side by side conversing a few moments before. My orderly was

wounded, also my horse.  Lieutenant Kelly had the narrowest

  *Hayes had received numerous letters from friends in Cincinnati,

William Henry Smith, R. H. Stephenson, E. T. Carson, and others, urging

him to be a candidate.  He was too busy in the field to bother about

politics. But he was nominated August 6, and elected in November,

without having taken any part in the canvass.

             ADVANCE AND RETREAT          489

possible escapes -- several -- balls grazing his head, ear, and

body--Mrs. Zimmerman's brother, you know.


                                              R. B. HAYES.

  Sunday, 31st. -- I write this at Middletown, at the table of my

old home when wounded -- Jacob Rudy's. They are so cordial

and kind. Dr. Webb and I are at the breakfast table. All in-

quire after Lucy and all. Send this to Lucy. Such is war--

now here, tomorrow in Pennsylvania or Virginia. -- Good-

bye. -- R.



  MY DARLING: -- We are having a jolly good time about sixteen

miles north of Middletown, resting the men, living on the fat

of the land, among these loyal, friendly people. We are sup-

posed to be watching a Rebel invasion. Our cavalry is after the

Rebel cavalry and I hope will do something. Averell is a poor

stick. Duffie is willing and brave and will do what he can.

Powell is the real man and will do what a small force can do.

I suspect there is nothing for us to do here--that is, that no

[Rebel] infantry are here.

  I saw Colonel Brown. -- Hayes Douglass was, I am told, to be

in our division. I am sorry he is not. I have not seen him.

  The Rudys I saw Sunday. They were so kind and cordial.

They all inquired after you. The girls have grown pretty--

quite pretty.  Mr. Rudy said if I was wounded he would come

a hundred miles to get me. Queer old neighborhood this. They

sell goods at the country store at old prices and give silver in

change! Dr. Joe bought good shoes for two dollars and twenty-

five cents a pair.

  We are in the Middletown Valley, by the side of a fine moun-

tain stream. We get milk, eggs, and good bread. All hope to

stay here always -- but I suppose we shall soon dance.  We have

campaigned so long that our discipline and strength are greatly



  I read the correct list of killed, wounded, etc., of [the]

Twenty-third this A. M. It contains scarcely any names you

would know. With two-thirds of the regiment composed of new

recruits and Twelfth men this would of course be so.--The

band astonished our rural friends with their music last night.

They never saw Federal soldiers here before. They have twice

been robbed by Rebel raiders and so are ready to admire all they

see and hear. -- Love to all.

                     Affectionately ever,

  MRS. HAYES.                                              R.

  Friday, August 5, 1864.--Wednesday, marched eighteen to

twenty miles across the Catoctin (Blue) Ridge, [and on] through

Frederick to the left bank of the Monocacy, one and one-half

miles below [Frederick] Junction [where we camped]. Yester-

day [there arrived] ninety recruits for [the] Twenty-third, a

deserter from Charleston among them. Providential !--[I] rode

into Frederick with General Crook, and dined with Dr. Steele,

of Dayton. Today [was the] trial [drumhead court-martial] of

deserter Whitlow. He was shot at sundown before all the


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