Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Rutherford B. Hayes.

Rutherford B. Hayes.

January 12, 2013

Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Camp Reynolds, Near Gauley Bridge, January 12, 1863.

Dear Uncle: — Yours of the 6th came duly to hand. The death of Magee is indeed a public calamity. No community has such men to spare. There is, I judge, no doubt of the death of Leander Stem. More of my acquaintances and friends have suffered in that than in any battle of the war except those in which my own regiment took part. It was Rosecrans’ personal qualities that saved the day. He is not superior intellectually or by education to many of our officers, but in headlong daring, energy, and determination, I put him first of all the major-generals. He has many of the Jackson elements in him. Another general, almost any other, would, after McCook’s misfortune, have accepted a repulse and turned all his efforts to getting off safely with his shattered army.

Sherman has been repulsed, it seems. No doubt he will get aid from below and from Grant. If so, he will yet succeed.

I do not expect a great deal from the [Emancipation] Proclamation, but am glad it was issued.

Notice Governor Seymour’s message. It shows what I anticipated when I was with you — that the logic of the situation will make a good enough war party of the Democracy in power. If you want to see eyes opened on the slavery question, let the Democracy have the power in the nation. They would be the bitterest abolitionists in the land in six months. I am perfectly willing to trust them.

I received a letter from Dr. Joe saying he would bring Lucy and Birch and Webb back with him. They will enjoy it, I do not doubt.

I am now in command of [the] First Brigade of [the] Second Kanawha Division. General Ewing has gone South with six regiments from this quarter. This leaves us none too strong, but probably strong enough. I shall probably have command of the extreme outposts. I am not yet in command at Gauley Bridge. I say this because I think it very insufficiently garrisoned, and if not strengthened a surprise would not be remarkable. If I am put in command, as seems likely, I shall see it fixed up very promptly.


R. B. Hayes.


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