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

Post image for Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes.

Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes.

August 19, 2012

Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

On Steamer Monitor, Kanawha River,
August 18, [1862]. Evening.

Dear Wife : — I am four hard days’ marching, and a few hours’ travel on a swift steamer nearer to you than I was when I last wrote you, and yet I am not on my way home. You will see in the newspapers, I suppose, that General Cox’s Division (the greater part of it) is going to eastern Virginia. We left our camps Friday, the 15th, making long and rapid marches from the mountains to the head of navigation on this river. We now go down to the Ohio, then up to Parkersburg, and thence by railroad eastwardly to the scene of operations. My new regiment fills slowly, I think, and it may be longer than I anticipated before I shall be called for at Cincinnati, if at all. There is talk of an order that will prevent my going to the new regiment, but I think it is not correctly understood, and the chance, it seems to me, is that I shall go home notwithstanding this change of plan.

Our men are delighted with the change. They cheer and laugh, the band plays, and it is a real frolic. During the hot dusty marching, the idea that we were leaving the mountains of west Virginia kept them in good heart.

You will hereafter direct letters to me “General Cox’s Division, Army of Virginia.”

August 19. Evening. Same steamer on the Ohio River. —

Dearest : — We have had a particularly jolly day. The river is very low, and at many of the bars and shoals we are compelled to disembark and march the troops around. In this way we have marched through some villages, and fine farming neighborhoods in Meigs County. The men, women, and children turned out with apples, peaches, pies, melons, pickles (Joe took to them), etc., etc., etc., in the greatest profusion. The drums and fifes and band all piped their best. The men behaved like gentlemen and marched beautifully. Wasn’t I proud of them? How happy they were! They would say, “This is God’s country.” So near you and marching away from you! That was the only sad point in it for me. Only one man drunk so far; his captain put him under arrest. He insisted on an appeal to me, and on my saying, “It’s all right,” he was sober enough to submit, saying, “Well, if the colonel says it’s right, it must be right,” so he made no trouble.

I shall write daily until we get to Parkersburg — that is on the line of railroad to Chillicothe, I believe. No more tonight.

[R. B. Hayes.]

Mrs. Hayes.

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