Monday, February 20, 2017

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, July 14, 1862

Camp Green Meadows, July 14, 1862.

Dearest: — I am so pleased with your affectionate letter, that I sit down merely to “jaw back,” as the man said of the responses in the Episcopal service.

I love you just as much as you love me. There now! Yes, dearest, this separation so painful does, I think, make us both dearer and better. I certainly prize you more than ever before, and am more solicitous about your happiness. . . .

We came here yesterday. It is a fine camp, but warm and summery compared with Flat Top. There is no noticeable scenery in view from camp, but we are near New River at the mouth of Bluestone River where the scenery is truly grand. I rode down there this morning to enjoy it. We marched fifteen miles yesterday — the happiest gang of men you ever saw. We are nearer the enemy, and have more of the excitement incident to such a position than at Flat Top. I am in command here, having six companies of the Twenty-third, Captain Gilmore's Cavalry (the men who behaved so well when we fought our way out of Giles), and a section of McMullen's Artillery, besides two squads of First and Second Virginia Cavalry. Everyone seems to be happy that we are out by ourselves. Besides, Major Comly with the other four companies Twenty-third is only five miles from us.

Drs. Joe and Jim are still at Flat Top. Dr. Joe will join us in a day or two. Colonel Scammon is not expected here to stay.

I sent off Captain Drake and two companies with a squad of cavalry just now to effect a diversion in favor of Colonel Crook who is threatened by a force said to be superior to his own. The captain is instructed to dash over and “lie like a bulletin” as to the immense force of which he is the advance and then to run back “double-quick.” Risky but exciting.

Richmond is not so bad as it was. Our men, certainly, and our general, perhaps, did admirably there. . . . Don't worry about the country. “It's no good.” We can't help it if things go wrong. We do our part and I am confident all will come right. We can't get rid of the crime of centuries without suffering. So, good-bye, darling.

Lovingly, as ever,
Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 302-3

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