Camp Piatt, June 30, 1864.
DEAREST: – We reached here ten miles above Charleston last night. Dr. Joe will tell you all the news. It has been a severe but very pleasant campaign. We did not do as much as we think might have been done, but we did enough to make our work of great importance.
We are now talking of rumors that we are to go East via [the] Ohio River and [the] Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It is generally believed to be true, although as yet we have no other evidence of it than camp rumor.
I thought of you often while I was gone — of your anxiety about me and the suffering that all rumors of disaster to us would cause you. But I hoped you would keep up good courage and live it through. Oh, darling, I love you so tenderly. You must always think of me pleasantly. You have been the source of such happiness to me that I can't bear to think that anything that may befall me will throw a permanent gloom over your life.
The Twenty-third was lucky on this campaign, losing less than any other regiment, etc. The Fifth lost most, [the] Thirty-sixth next. All together, killed, wounded, and missing, my brigade does not lose over one hundred, if so much [many].
I am very fortunate in my brigade. It is now to me like my own regiment, and is really a very good one, perhaps the best to be found, or one of the best, in the army. General Crook is the favorite of the army. We hope to be organized into an independent command with Colonel Powell's Cavalry Brigade and two batteries. Then we can raid to some purpose.
If we are not sent East, we shall stay here three or four weeks recruiting, etc. — My love to the boys. Dr. Joe will have plenty of stories to tell them. The doctor was a most important person in this raid. He did more for the wounded than anybody else. Colonel Turley had his thigh broken at Lynchburg and was hauled over two hundred miles over all these mountains. His admirable pluck and cheerfulness has saved him. Nothing can exceed the manliness he has exhibited. — Love to friends all.
SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 475-6