Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lucy Webb Hayes to Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, May 19, 1862

Our hospitals are all full of sick and wounded. A great difference can be seen between the sick and [the] wounded. The sick appear low-spirited — downcast, while the wounded are quite cheerful, hoping soon to be well. I felt right happy the other day, feeling that I had made some persons feel a little happier. Going down to Mrs. Herron's I passed four soldiers, two wounded and two sick. They were sitting on the pavement in front of the office where their papers are given to them. I passed them, and then thought, well, anyhow, I will go back and ask them where they are going. A gentleman who I saw then was with them, said he had just got in from Camp Dennison, and found they were too late to get their tickets for that evening. I asked, “Where will you take them?” He said he did not know, but must get them to the nearest place, as they were very weak. I said, “Doctor, (the wounded man had told me he was his family doctor and had come to take him home), if you will take them to my house I will gladly keep them and have them taken to the cars. There is the street-car which will take you near my house.” He was very thankful, and he put sick and wounded on, and I started them for Sixth Street, while I finished my errand, took the next car, and found my lame man hobbling slowly along. We fixed them in the back parlor. The doctor I asked to stay also, to attend to them. He said he could not thank me enough, that he was a stranger here and was almost bewildered as to what to do or where to take them. Mary was up early and we had a cup of coffee for them before five. I thought of you in a strange country, wounded and trying to get home. The cases were not exactly alike, but if anyone was kind to you, would I not feel thankful?

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 281

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