Sunday, April 2, 2017

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, August 12, 1862

Camp Green Meadows, August 12, 1862.

Dear Mother: — I received your good letter of the 2d the day before yesterday. On same day received one from Lucy of same date.

We have had some fighting and a good deal of excitement and night riding and duty of various sorts during the last week. We have been exceedingly lucky, losing, so far as I know, but one man. We had two accidents — one man drowned and eight struck with lightning. All were senseless and most of them seemed dead for a short time, but all are living and probably all will recover entirely. It was the same day that we were attacked, after the enemy had retreated. The men all supposed that a shell of the enemy had burst. The enemy were in great force and had artillery superior to ours, but the security of our position was soon apparent, and after less than an hour's firing they retired, having lost a few killed and wounded.

I have agreed to accept [the] colonelcy of [the] Seventy-ninth regiment if it is filled without drafting. I suppose this will take me to Cincinnati and home in three or four weeks. I shall no doubt be in duty bound to devote all my time to the new regiment, but I shall of course manage to see you if it is but for a day or night.

The weather is seasonable — that is hot as Tophet. We have a few more sick than usual but nothing serious.

I am pleased with the war prospects. We may meet with disasters to give things a gloomy look before the new troops are ready for the field, but it certainly seems as if we could, with the new army, put a speedy end to the Rebellion. I trust you will live to see the country again at peace. But war isn't the worst thing that can happen to a country. It stirs up a great deal of good. I see more kindness, more unselfish generosity around me than would probably be found among these young men if they were plodding along in ordinary selfish pursuits.

Affectionately, your son,
Mrs. Sophia Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 327-8

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