Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, July 23, 1862

Camp Green Meadows, July 23, 1862.

Dearest: — I today received a dispatch from Captain Clements that I have been appointed colonel of the Seventy-ninth Regiment to be made up in Warren and Clinton Counties. I shall make no definite decision as to acceptance until I get official notice of it. I suppose it is correct. I shall much hate to leave the Twenty-third. I can't possibly like another regiment as well, and am not likely to be as acceptable myself to another regiment. If there was a certainty of promotion to the command of the Twenty-third, I would certainly wait for it. But between you and I [me], Colonel Scammon is not likely to deserve promotion, and will perhaps fail to get it. If he gets it he will probably keep command of the Twenty-third — that is, have it in his brigade. Besides, I begin to fear another winter in these mountains. I could stand it after two or three months' vacation with you in Ohio, but to go straight on another year in this sort of service is a dark prospect. Altogether, much as I love the Twenty-third, I shall probably leave it. I shall put off the evil day as long as I can, hoping something will turn up to give me this regiment, but when the decision is required, I shall probably decide in favor of the new regiment and a visit to you and the boys. I know nothing of the Seventy-ninth except that a son of the railroad superintendent, W. H. Clements, is to be major. I knew him as a captain in the Twelfth, a well-spoken-of youngster. It will be a sad day all around when I leave here.

Last night various doings at headquarters of brigade disgusted me so much, that before I went to sleep I pretty much resolved to get up this morning and write in the most urgent manner soliciting promotion in a new regiment to get out of the scrape. But when this morning brings me the news that I have got what I had determined to ask, I almost regret it. “Such is war!”

Write me all you learn, if anything, about the new regiments — what sort of people go into them, — are they likely ever to fill up? Etc., etc.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 308-9

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