Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, May 26, 1862

Camp Flat Top, May 26, 1862.

Dearest: — Your excellent letters of [the] 17th and 19th came this morning — only a week in getting to me. I wrote you yesterday by the soldiers, Corporal West and Harper, but I must give you another by the sutler who goes in the morning, just to show how much I think of you and your lettersWe are now at rest on a mountain top with no immediate prospect of anything stirring. We stand for the moment on the defensive, and are not likely to be disturbed. We have been having exchanges of wounded and prisoners with the enemy. They have behaved very well to our men, and were exceedingly civil and hospitable in our negotiations with them. They feel a good deal discouraged with the general prospect, but are crowding our small armies under Banks and Fremont pretty severely. All will be well if we carry the pivots at Richmond and Corinth. Enough of this.

I still feel just as I told you, that I shall come safely out of this war. I felt so the other day when danger was near. I certainly enjoyed the excitement of fighting our way out of Giles to the Narrows as much as any excitement I ever experienced. I had a good deal of anxiety the first hour or two on account of my command, but not a particle on my own account. After that, and after I saw we were getting on well, it was really jolly. We all joked and laughed and cheered constantly. Old Captain Drake said it was the best Fourth of July he ever had. I had in mind Theo. Wright singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” “The bombs bursting in air” began before it was quite light, and it seemed to me a sort of acting of the song, and in a pleasant way, the prayer would float through my thoughts, “In the dread hour of battle, O God, be thou nigh!”

A happy thing you did for the sick soldiers, good wife!* “I love you so much.” Well, that is all I wrote to tell you. I must repeat again, send the Commercial “for the war.” Tell Webb Lieutenant Kennedy was delighted with the picture, and will try to send his to Webb some day. Send me one of all the boys if you get them — Webb's of course. I am much pleased that you are to stay in Cincinnati. Love to all the boys and Grandma. Send me by sutler Harper and Atlantic for June. Good-bye, dearest.

Affectionately ever,

P. S. — I enclose you a letter which I wish Dr. Murphy [to read] or somebody to read to him. He behaves badly, I suspect. In short, darling, all men who manage to keep away from their regiments are to be suspected. They are generally rascals.

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 280-2

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