Friday, June 2, 2017

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes: Morning, September 13, 1862

Frederick, Maryland, September 13, 1862, A. M.

Dearest: — Yesterday was an exciting but very happy day. We retook this fine town about 5:30 P. M. after a march of fourteen miles and a good deal of skirmishing, cannon firing and uproar, and with but little fighting. We marched in just at sundown, the Twenty-third a good deal of the way in front. There was no mistaking the Union feeling and joy of the people — fine ladies, pretty girls, and children were in all the doors and windows waving flags and clapping hands. Some “jumped up and down” with happiness. Joe enjoyed it and rode up the streets bowing most gracefully. The scene as we approached across the broad bottom-lands in line of battle, with occasional cannon firing and musketry, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in view, the fine town in front, was very magnificent. It is pleasant to be so greeted. The enemy had held the city just a week. “The longest week of our lives,” “We thought you were never coming,” “This is the happiest hour of our lives,” were the common expressions.

It was a most fatiguing day to the men. When we got the town, before the formal entry, men laid [lay] down in the road, saying they couldn't stir again. Some were pale, some red as if apoplectic. Half an hour after, they were marching erect and proud hurrahing the ladies!

Colonel Moor, Twenty-eighth, of Cincinnati, was wounded and taken prisoner in one of the skirmishes yesterday. The enemy treat our men well — very well. We have of sick and wounded five hundred or six hundred prisoners taken here.

Well, Lucy dearest, good-bye. Love to all. Kiss the boys.

Affectionately, ever,

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 352

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