Friday, June 16, 2017

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, Monday, September 22, 1862

Middletown, Monday, September 22, 1862.

Dear Uncle: — I am still doing well. I am looking for Lucy. My only anxiety is lest she has trouble in finding me. Indeed, I am surprised that she is not here already. I shall stay here about ten days or two weeks longer, then go to Frederick and a few days afterwards to Washington. About the 15th or 20th October, I can go to Ohio, and if my arm cures as slowly as I suspect it will, I may come via Pittsburgh and Cleveland to Fremont and visit you. I do not see how I can be fit for service under two months.

The Eighth Regiment was in the second battle and suffered badly. You must speak well of "old Frederick" hereafter. These people are nursing some thousands of our men as if they were their own brothers. McClellan has done well here. The Harpers Ferry imbecility or treachery alone prevented a crushing of the Rebels. Love to all. Send me papers, etc., here “care Jacob Rudy.”

Do you remember your Worthington experience in 1842? Well this is it. I don't suffer as much as you did, but like it.

Middletown is eight miles west of Frederick on the National Road. The nearest telegraph office is at Frederick. Two-thirds of the wounded men of my regiment have gone to Frederick. The worst cases are still here. In my regiment, four captains out of eight present were wounded, thirty-nine men killed, one hundred and thirty-seven wounded, and seven missing. I expect about twenty to twenty-five of the wounded to die. The New York Times account gives us the nearest justice of anybody in its details of the Sunday fight but we are all right. Everybody knows that we were the first in and the last out, and that we were victorious all the time. How happy the men are — even the badly wounded ones. One fellow shot through the body has gathered up a banjo and makes the hospital ring with negro songs!


SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 358-9

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