Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sardis Birchard, July 30, 1864

July 30, 1864. 

DEAR UNCLE: – I received your letter of the 13th last night. I hardly know what to think about your bank. It seems likely enough that greenbacks may get lower as compared with gold, and perhaps all property employed in banking may depreciate correspondingly. But I am not thinking much of these things now and have no opinions on them which I think of any value. 

As to that candidacy for Congress, I care nothing at all about it, neither for the nomination nor for the election.* It was merely easier to let the thing take its own course than to get up a letter declining to run and then to explain it to everybody who might choose to bore me about it. 

We are gathering an army here apparently to drive the Rebels out of the Valley. I hope we shall be long enough about it to give the men rest and to heal their sore feet. We have had now three months of hard campaigning - marched one thousand to one thousand two hundred miles, besides [travelling] seven hundred (miles) by railroad and steamboat. Much night marching, four or five pitched battles, and skirmishing every other day. 

My health is good — perfect; bothered with boils from constant riding in hot weather, but of no importance. 

I wish you to send my letters to Mother. It will be a comfort to her to hear oftener than I have time to write. Colonel Mulligan was shot down very near me. We were side by side conversing a few moments before. My orderly was wounded, also my horse. Lieutenant Kelly had the narrowest possible escapes — several — balls grazing his head, ear, and body – Mrs. Zimmerman's brother, you know.


* Hayes had received numerous letters from friends in Cincinnati, William Henry Smith, R. H. Stephenson, E. T. Carson, and others, urging him to be a candidate. He was too busy in the field to bother about politics. But he was nominated August 6, and elected in November, without having taken any part in the canvass. 

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 488-9

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