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.

July 24, 2013

Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Camp White, July 24, [1863].

Dearest: — The happiness of this week’s operations is dashed by the death of Captain Delany and the probable loss of a number of other good officers and men in our cavalry. Captains Delany [and] Gilmore, the Thirty-fourth mounted infantry, and Second Virginia Cavalry left Raleigh, on the day we returned from there, to cut the Tennessee Railroad at or near Wytheville. On the very day we (the infantry) were gaining bloodless (or almost bloodless) victories over Morgan on the Ohio, our cavalry were fighting a most desperate battle with superior numbers three hundred miles off at Wytheville. Our men were victorious, carried the town by storm, but they lost Colonel Toland, Thirty-fourth killed, Colonel Powell, Second Virginia, mortally wounded, Captain Delany, killed, his two lieutenants, mortally wounded (you know them both), and four other lieutenants, wounded; thirteen privates, killed, and fifty, wounded or prisoners. It was a most creditable but painful affair.

I am expecting my two companies, the survivors, back tomorrow. Wytheville has been one of the most violent Rebel towns from the first. They always talked of “no quarter,” “the black flag,” etc. The citizens fired from their houses on the troops as they rode in. Colonel Powell was shot in the back. The town was burned to ashes. I will write you more about it when they get in.

We are cleaning camp and getting settled again. The old lady moved into the cottage when we left; I occupy the tent Captain and Mrs. Hood were in. Captain Zimmerman went today to relieve Captain Hunter as commandant of post at Gallipolis.

Uncle Scott and Uncle Moses will feel very hopeful in view of this month’s work. We have taken, as I reckon it, seventy thousand prisoners this month besides killing or disabling perhaps fifteen thousand to twenty-thousand more. A pretty big army of Rebels disposed of.

Morgan is not yet caught. He may get off, but his ruin is very complete. — Love to all.

Affectionately, your


Mrs. Hayes.

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