Camp Reynolds, January 4, 1863
Dearest: — The same old camp, but “Reynolds,” after our gallant Sergeant-Major Eugene M., [L. Reynolds] who was killed at South Mountain.
I am glad you are all well and happy with the uncles and “all the boys.” Yes, I confess I did forget the 30th.1 Strange, too. I had thought of it a few days before. I did not neglect to think of you. That I do daily; but nothing occurred to call to mind the happy day. A white day in my calendar — the precursor of the ten happiest years. On the 30th we were all agog with the order and movements connected with General Ewing's departure with four of our regiments. This may have caused the lapse.
We had none of your bad weather. This [the] morning opened rainy, windy, and turbulent, but by 2 P. M. it was warm, bright, and serene. At our evening parade I made a little address on the New Year and the past. I'll send you it to be put in the archives.
It is Sunday evening and our cook, Frank Halpin (the best tenor going), with three or four Company A comrades are singing in the kitchen. “Magnif!”
In the very worst of the rain-storm this morning, an ambulance passed with Mrs. Brown, her son, and Ed Cook. Ed is sick, decidedly, not as yet dangerously. He refuses to go home because he has been home sick already. Plucky. Perhaps it's as well, although I rather urged his going. He will go to Cannelton, where the regiment is now stationed, and will be well cared for. Mrs. Brown takes the captain home. I suspect Ike [Nelson]2 will soon be captain of the company. Brown is not able to stand service, I think. Ike now commands the company.
Send me Rud's picture, and another installment of mine, for distribution.
If not costing more than about a couple of dollars, I wish Joe would bring me Adam Smith's “Wealth of Nations,” also “Lucile.” The first large print. At Gallipolis or somewhere he better get three or four split-bottomed or other cheap chairs — none but cheap— [and] a cheap square looking-glass.
I am still busy trying to conquer the mud. We are very comfortable but a sprinkling of snow or rain makes us ankle-deep where the sand is not put on. This and our little town gives me plenty to do. The lieutenant-colonel and major are both absent.
I shall be very glad to have you here. My only fear is possible ill health for the boys. There is less sickness than last year and by keeping carefully housed if the weather is bad, you will be safe. — Darling, much love for you and the dear ones at home.
1 The tenth anniversary of his marriage.
2 Cook and Nelson, cousins of Mrs. Hayes.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 383-4