Camp, Mouth Of East River, Giles County, Virginia,
May 15, 1862.
Dear Mother: — We have marched a great many miles through this mountain region since I last wrote you. We have had some fighting, some excitement, and a great deal to do. We are now in a strong position. General Cox commands the army, about five thousand strong, in this vicinity. We feel pretty safe, although the success of our arms at the East seems to be driving the enemy to these mountains in greater strength than before.
The scenery is finer than any we have before seen. How you would enjoy the views from my tent. In sight, at the bottom of the hill the Twenty-third is camped on, runs New River, a stream larger than the Connecticut at Brattleboro, then a beautiful cultivated country along its banks, and steep high mountains bounding the scene on all sides. I am afraid I am ruined for living in the tame level country of Ohio.
The reports indicate that the Rebellion is going under very rapidly. If no serious disaster befalls us the struggle will hardly outlast the summer.
I shall write very rarely. You will hear by telegraph all important news of us. I think of you and all the dear ones often — constantly.
R. B. Hayes
Mrs. Sophia Hayes.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 270-1