Captain Drake and Gilmore's Cavalry have returned. The infantry are bathing in Bluestone. The expedition was completely successful, and was of more importance than I supposed it would be. They reached the salt well about 2:30 A. M.; found the works in full blast — a good engine pumping, two pans thirty feet long boiling, etc., etc. The salt is good; considerable salt was on hand. All the works were destroyed by fire. A canoe found at Crump's was taken to the ferry.
I spent an anxious night. Jackson, Major Comly's scout, reported that the salt well was guarded. This came to me after I was in bed and too late to send the word to the expedition. I anticipated trouble there and felt anxious enough. I slept little, was up often. But luckily all went well. Not a man was in sight. This morning, as they were returning, the cavalry were bushwhacked, horses wounded, clothes cut, but no man hurt.
Received a “secret” order to be ready to move on one-half hour's notice. Rode post to the ferry; set the men to preparing for one of General Pope's minute and practical inspections.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 322-3