Headquarters 23D Regt. O. V. I., Camp At Mouth
Of East River, Giles County, Virginia,
May 12, 1862.
Sir: — Enclosed I send you the proceedings of the company commanders of the Twenty-third Regiment O. V. I. nominating Rev. Russell G. French, a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to the office of chaplain of the regiment. I have to request that Mr. French may be immediately commissioned — his commission to bear date May 1, 1862.
Rev. Amos Wilson was the former chaplain. He resigned on the 30th of April. His resignation was accepted and I directed his name to be stricken from the roll of officers of the Twenty-third Regiment.
Mr. French is a loyal citizen of Mercer County, of unblemished character, and with a fair reputation as a Christian and clergyman. He was driven from his home because he was a Union man; joined my command at Raleigh to act as guide and scout. We found him a most valuable man. He served without compensation. When serving with Company C in the late fight at Camp Creek he had his right thigh shattered to pieces by a Rebel ball. He is probably mortally wounded; in any event, he is crippled for life. Lieutenant Bottsford, who commanded Company C, says he behaved with great gallantry. He has a large family and small means. Officers and men all desire his appointment as herein requested.
R. B. Hayes,
Lieutenant-colonel 23D Regiment O. V. I.,
Brigadier-general C. P. Buckingham,
Copy [of] letter to Governor Tod asking a commission for Russell G. French, our wounded scout, etc., etc., as chaplain Twenty-third Regiment O. V. I.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 268-9