August 19. Same steamer on the Ohio River. —
Dearest: — We have had a particularly jolly day. The river is very low, and at many of the bars and shoals we are compelled to disembark and march the troops around. In this way we have marched through some villages, and fine farming neighborhoods in Meigs County. The men, women, and children turned out with apples, peaches, pies, melons, pickles (Joe took to them), etc., etc., etc., in the greatest profusion. The drums and fifes and band all piped their best. The men behaved like gentlemen and marched beautifully. Wasn't I proud of them? How happy they were! They would say, “This is God's country.” So near you and marching away from you! That was the only sad point in it for me. Only one man drunk so far; his captain put him under arrest. He insisted on an appeal to me, and on my saying, “It's all right,” he was sober enough to submit, saying, “Well, if the colonel says it's right, it must be right,” so he made no trouble.
I shall write daily until we get to Parkersburg — that is on the line of railroad to Chillicothe, I believe. No more tonight.
[R. B. Hayes.]
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 329