Camp Maskell, near Gauley. — Ninth to twelfth bright, warm days; cold nights; snow scarcely melted at all on the north side of the hills. The river is low and freezes in the pools clear across. A single very severe night would close navigation on the Kanawha. Nothing will save us from this calamity but a mild winter or a freshet in the river. With this low water a cold winter will bother us exceedingly. Well, well, our camp is growing; a few nails have come to us; no sawed lumber yet.
Yesterday (11th) received a good letter from Lucy. She has read Wendell Holmes’ “Search After the Captain” in [the] December number of [the] Atlantic and thinks I must not laugh at her any more about her efforts to find me — I being at Middletown and she at Washington searching the hospitals for me.
Today got news of the capture of a brigade of our troops in Tennessee by four thousand of John Morgan's men! Either a surprise or a disgraceful thing of some sort! Also the crossing of the river at Fredericksburg after heavy cannonading.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 373-4