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 26, 2013

Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Sunday, [July] 26. — The cavalry of General Scammon’s command left Raleigh on Wednesday, 15th, to cut the [Virginia and] Tennessee Railroad. On the [18th] they reached Wytheville and had a desperate and bloody encounter. The Rebels occupied the houses firing from them on our men. Our loss is serious. Colonel Toland, Thirty-fourth Ohio Mounted Infantry, killed. Colonel Powell, Second Virginia Cavalry, wounded mortally. Captain Delany, a brave and valuable officer of my brigade, killed. He was wounded in the body as he rode into town; dismounted and stood by his horse firing his revolver when he was shot through the head and killed instantly. The ball came from a house hitting the eagle ornament on the side of his hat. Two of his lieutenants badly wounded. The Rebels used the houses as fortifications. They were burned.

Captain Delany was killed at Wytheville on the 18th. It was near the entrance to the town from the northwest. His horse had been killed and he stood by her firing his revolver. He reloaded after firing all his shots. A ball from a second-story window struck through the eagle ornament on his hat and ranging down through his head came out at his lower jaw on the opposite side. Colonel Toland was at the bottom of the ascent leading up into town, urging the men to go in and fire the town, when he was shot through the breast. It is thought the same citizen, a man of wealth living in a brick house at that end of town, shot both Colonel Toland and Captain Delany. He (the citizen) was killed by a [man of the] Thirty-fourth. His house was burned. One citizen, a large fleshy man, in specs, was killed.

The Second Virginia Cavalry behaved shamefully. They would not go in to the support of Captains Gilmore and Delany. The Thirty-fourth did nobly. Major Huffman, Second Virginia, said with a smile as Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin and the Thirty-fourth passed in: “That’s right Colonel, go in”! but [he] didn’t offer to go in himself.

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