Camp Maskell, Near Gauley Bridge, December 5,1862.
Dear Uncle: — I am enjoying myself here, looking after the new town we are building. We are putting up about a hundred log cabins, generally sixteen by twenty feet square. We are furnished with no nails, very little sawed lumber, and no tools. Somewhat over one-half the work is done, but cutting timber, splitting shakes and puncheons, and putting them together is the great business. We are on a piece of muddy bottom-land on a beautiful bend of the Kanawha, with high mountains pressing close up to us on all sides. We are on the side of the river where no enemy can come without first running over three or four other regiments, so that we have very little guard duty to do. The men are strong, healthy, and happy. I yesterday climbed the mountain just east of us, making a. journey of four miles before dinner. I walked six miles in the afternoon. The ten miles was done easily. You may judge of my health by this. Today it snows and blows. Tomorrow it will probably thaw. We shall have some trouble with the mud, but I think with proper ditching, and the use of sand, we can conquer the trouble.
Read in December Atlantic Monthly, “Hunt for the Captain,” by Holmes. It is good.
R. B. Hayes.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 370-1