THE CIVIL WAR MEMOIR OF RUSSELL HASTINGS
From Birth to July 25, 1861
I was born in Greenfield, Mass., May 30th, 1835. I am the son of Col. Russell and Harriet A. Thayer Hastings. The old farm house where I began life still stands (1899), one mile north of Greenfield village on the Bernardston road. The little (then red) school house where I learned my A.B.C.'s also still stands, as bleak and forlorn as is the usual country school house. There was one oak standing then, now bleakness reigns supreme.
I passed through all the usual conditions of a boy born to a parentage of toil. I was made to be useful even when a toddler. There was always something a little fellow could do, from bringing the tired mother kindlings from the woodshed to a basket of apples from a near-by tree. Later I was made useful in hunting eggs, going for the cows, spreading hay, and in the winter making paths. As we were of Puritan descent Santa Claus did not stop at our house; toys and books for children were almost unknown, yet what delight I had in my first sled and skates. Then I remember the lovely hours in the sand bank, the swimming hole, the trout fishing, the ball game of nine old cat, and many games not now known. I look back with pleasure to the school days and remember many little incidents of no moment, that happened when trudging back and forth, summer and winter. I remember the big man teacher of whom I was afraid; the sweet-tempered school teacher Miss Nancy Slate and my school mates, not many now living.
There were eight children in the family, I being the sixth, and I remember what a houseful! we had. We always had plenty to eat, but our clothes had to descend and many darns and patches were in evidence. When I now go into the old farm house I think what a first class stevedore my mother must have been to stow away such a large cargo in such a small ship.
In 1847 when I was nearly twelve, my father moved to northern Ohio, and settled in 1849 at Willoughby. How distinctly the journey comes back to me' The Connecticut River Railroad was just completed. The Boston and Albany and New York Central were running as far west as Buffalo. My first railroad journey began on that May morning in Greenfield and ended that night at Schenectady, N.Y., where the next day we took a line canal boat for Buffalo. This for a boy was the perfection of travel, and a week of bliss followed. I was everywhere, except in the canal, and walked miles on the tow-path, rode the horses, visited manufacturies, saw everything of note in the many villages and always succeeded in catching the boat about meal time, though a good run we had to do it sometimes, trying to reach the boat at a lock where we climbed aboard as the boat was ascending or descending. T``Te hardly liked to depend on the mischievous steersman between locks as he would have been glad to see us fall in the canal as he brought the boat almost near enough the bank for us to jump aboard. He never caught any of us though, and finally after much teasing and, by us, some throwing of stones he would bring the boat up all right. I then fully expected, some day when I had grown to manhood, to become a steersman on a canal boat. I don't think I looked so high in rank as Captain.
Seven happy days were passed before we reached Buffalo, where we had to change to a Lake steamer, a little side wheel boat. One day and a night, with much seasickness, and we disembarked at our Ohio port, Fairport, and after a drive of 12 miles we reached Madison, the home of three of Father's sisters who had married and moved west many years before.
For one year my father looked over northern Ohio and as far west as Chicago, and finally settled in Willoughby.
We then all resumed the routine farm work of our younger days. I found that farm work in Ohio and New England was much the same thing - early beginning of the day's work and late ending, with little time for pleasure. I attended the public school, and one winter when I was sixteen years old, I went to a private school kept by Dr. Nichols at Kirtland, Ohio.
At this school which was a trifle in advance of the public school, my brother and I "boarded ourselves": that is, we hired a room near the school, and on Monday morning we carried from home enough uncooked food to last until Friday noon, when we cut for home, a three mile walk, and Mother's table over Sunday. I was rather the best cook, so most of that work fell to me. This ended my school education.
When I was seventeen I obtained a situation as clerk in a country store at Madison. At this store was sold everything; and everything and anything was bought in exchange. Once it was a brick-yard taken in exchange, with several thousand bricks. One minute I was selling rum and sugar, the next silk and calico, then receiving grain of all kinds, and some days counting bricks into wagons. In winter the firm bought slaughtered hogs and packed the pork.
It was a year of all round education; I would not have missed it for anything, or missed getting my eye teeth cut on the old farmer with his damaged grain or the old farmer's wife with her short dozens of eggs, and many bad ones. Many a fight I have had to avoid, with the respectable wife of the old deacon farmer. Then the smart woman about the village who wanted credit which I had no authority to give, and the denial must be given in a diplomatic way. I got caught once, though, and how disgraced I felt. Mr. Willard was kind enough to say, "I get caught myself occasionally".
The store was filled each evening by village cronies, the blacksmith, wagon maker, horse trader and their ilk, who smoked, talked, joked and told stories. There was very little trade during the evening, so I had much time to listen, which was an education past all finding out. Most of their stories were personal reminiscences, which might have happened anywhere from Maine to Mexico, as Ohio was then a frontier state, and these men had come west to make their fortunes. I am sure I imbibed the moral of each story, though the story itself has long gone.
I had my strict orders to put up the blinds at nine o'clock, which was a strong hint for these cronies to go home. After they were all away how lonely it seemed in this dingy old store. I then trundled out my bunk from under the counter and tumbled into bed. Think of having to sleep in this nicotine-laden air with hardly a breath of fresh air, as I dare not open any window, for had not country stores been burglarized? One night a patent medicine bottle on the warm top top shelf gave me an awful fright by exploding with a pistol-like sound. The next day I moved all those bottles to a cooler corner where they would stop fermenting. In a few minutes (it would seem) after I had tumbled into bed, I would awaken and if I immediately roused up, lighted the lamp and looked at the clock, I would find it five twenty A.M. - time to get up, take down the blinds and sweep out the store. I have almost been alarmed at times, because of having this ability to waken out of a deep sleep at a certain hour. It seemed ghostly, as though some part of my existence went wandering around that store, climbed to the clock and felt of the hands, then crept back into the body and aroused me.
The following year in 1856, I went to Cleveland and found employment in a regular city dry goods store, but I must say I often longed for the country store and its cronies.
Before the year had passed, I was called back to the old farm to take charge, as my father and elder brother had become invalids and I was needed to fill their place. How like going to prison it seemed after this swing in the world! I had always disliked farming and now it seemed to me I should have to put my nose to the grindstone, as many a son has had to do, and take charge of the old homestead. A young man upon his own farm, even if not paid for, is in much better condition, but here I thought I would never get out from under the harrow.
I went back to the farm in November 1856. My brother died in the fall of 1857, and my father in 1858. I then had in my mind a plan to leave the old homestead as soon as my younger brother John should become old enough to take charge. One little knows what the future may bring forth and how very near is the turn in the lane. The Civil War gave me my chance and how gladly and joyously I accepted it.
THE CIVIL WAR
The cause of this stupendous Civil War has been written upon from all sides, many different causes under as many different names have been given. I have no hesitancy in giving the plain correct name - Slavery.
The Confederate said the rights of the South under the Constitution were in danger, the Northern agitator said the rights of the individual man under the Constitution were in danger. Neither, for diplomatic reasons, used the phrase - "Abolition of Slavery". Many people in the South, slaveholders, did not want to see the dissolution of the Union, content to keep the "Institution" within bounds of the then existing Slave States.
Many people in the North sympathized with the Southern slaveholder, but were in that condition because of party interest, being Democrats. Another large class in the North - being Republicans - did not see how under the Constitution, Slavery could be interfered with in the States already admitted into the Union, but believed that in the Territories Congress had full power to legislate on the subject.
After the Mexican war and annexation of California and New Mexico, the "Missouri Compromise" was adopted by Congress. It was purely a Compromise agreeing that all north of a line extending from the southern line of Kansas to the Pacific, should be free territory, and in all territory south of that line, Slavery should be allowed. Every one breathed more freely under this semblance of peace, but we were not to have peace on any terms.
The South were dissatisfied as they felt the North had the best of the bargain. Later followed Senator Douglas' bill for the repeal of the "Missouri Compromise" which passed both houses of Congress after much acrimonious debate on both sides. President Buchanan signed it and then all the vast territory west of the Mississippi with the exception of the state of Iowa was open to Slavery. Then followed trouble in the preparation of the Territory of Kansas for Statehood. The advocates of freedom were successful and Kansas was admitted in the Union as a free state.
Then followed the John Brown affair at Harper's Ferry, Va., in 1859. He with some half-dozen followers seized the United States Arsenal at that point, anticipating that the slaves of Virginia would rise and join him, and a revolution would begin. The United States troops captured him and he suffered death on the gibbet at Charles Town, Va. - a sad end for a man with a crazed brain.
At the Presidential election held in November, 1860, the Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln was elected, and he was to take his seat on March 4th, 1861. This election aroused and embittered the whole slave holding South. All these things are matters of history and I need not enlarge upon them.
One who did not live in those days cannot imagine under what excitement we lived from 1854 to 1861, especially during the winter of 1860-61. In the North the party lines as between Democrat and Republican were strictly drawn and maintained. We all became constitutional lawyers and statesmen, the terms "State Rights" and "Rights under the Constitution" were glibly thrown from tongues whose owners before this, hardly knew we had a written constitution. In village debating societies, on the village street, at the post office, and in the country store, nothing was debated but the great danger of a conflict between the North and the South. The Democrats as a rule excused or upheld the South. I look back upon that winter with a measurable degree of pleasure. When a people are aroused what an education this arousing becomes! Our minds came out from under the shell of unexcitable condition and took up new and advanced ideas.
During all this time the South was not idle. Their members of Congress were full of fervor for a New South and threatened to dissolve the Union and establish a Confederacy with Slavery as a corner stone. Mr. Toombs of Georgia spoke in Congress of a Confederacy which would in time extend from Maine to Texas and that he "would live to call the roll of his slaves under the shadow of Bunker Hill Monument". Each city, village and township began to organize troops, drill and equip them.
The Secretary of War, James B. Floyd of Virginia, secretly transferred most of the muskets from the U.S. Arsenals in the North to Southern Arsenals. Our little Regular Army of only six thousand men was also scattered to Stations in the South and placed under the command of officers in sympathy with the South. As early as December, 1860, South Carolina called a convention to consider the question of secession and on the 20th of December, that convention passed unanimously an ordinance declaring the union between South Carolina and the other States was thereby dissolved. Within the next two months six other southern states adopted ordinances of secession. A Confederate government was organized by these six states, the capital located at Montgomery, Alabama, early in February 1861, with Jefferson Davis as provisional President. This so-called government seized several United States forts, all the Customs Houses and U.S. property in these states.
Here was a case of clear treason, but President Buchanan said that although he did not believe a State had the right to secede, yet he found no power in the Constitution for the President to coerce a State. He had back-bone enough though, to refuse to receive commissioners from this so called government.
In Charles Town harbor were Forts Moultre, Sumter and Pinckney: Major Robert Anderson had command of these forts, and he abandoned all but Sumter, the strongest. His men were few and his stock of provisions scant. In January 1861, the steamer "Star of the West", was sent with troops and provisions to succor the fort, but she was driven away by the fire of Confederate batteries. Still Buchanan declared he had no authority to suppress such action.
This was the condition of affairs when Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated at Washington, on March 4th, 1861. His inaugural message, every expression of which breathed only peace and goodwill, was not satisfying to the South. The hotheads held the reins and only dissolution of the Union would please them. A majority of the new Congress just chosen were politically opposed to the President, yet that did not satisfy the South. Secession was the slogan and nothing short of secession would satisfy them. The President sent a fleet for the relief of Fort Sumter, and on April 12th, the Confederate batteries opened on the fort, and on April l4,Major Anderson surrendered, and marched his garrison out with the honors of war.
On the next day President Lincoln issued a proclamation convening Congress on the 4th of July, 1861, and issued a call to the Governors of States for 75,000 troops for the defense of the Union.
From now on I shall give little attention to the history of the great war in which at least eight thousand million dollars' worth of property was destroyed and one half million human lives were sacrificed, but shall confine myself to the part I took in it from 1861 to 1865.
CALL FOR TROOPS
As my mind reverts to that morning in April when news came to Willoughby that war had begun, and that President Lincoln had called for 75,000 men for three months service, it seems a dream, though no doubt then my feelings were intense. All that morning we discussed the peril to the country and finally embraced the usual relief in a republic where the people rule, by calling a town meeting. Runners were sent out over the township notifying the inhabitants to assemble at the town hall that evening, April 16th, 1861.
The meeting was promptly called to order at 7 p.m. by Doctor St. John, a gray-haired man of dignity, who was the village orator, and one on whom we could always depend on such occasions. He stated the object of the meeting and aroused much enthusiasm. In the crowd were Democrats, Republicans and some abolitionists, no division into party lines now the flag had been fired upon. Five minute speeches were made, all dwelling upon this fact: "and whosoever does that is my enemy even though a brother" was the fervid remark of one of our leading Democrats. I made no speech as I was then, as now, not able to speak to an assemblage.
Enlistment papers had been prepared by a self-formed Committee and were now in the hands of the Secretary. One orator told us, "the day for words has passed, now comes the time to act, who among us is willing, yea anxious, to put on shield and buckler in defense of the flag. Let those so disposed sign the enlistment paper now on the Secretary's table".
Who should sign first? Mr. St. John S. Ellen, a law student, a Democrat, and English born, was the first to reach the table and place his signature on the enlistment paper. I followed next, followed by some thirty or forty who made known their willingness to enlist. The meeting adjourned and I went home, carrying the news to my mother. It was the first time I had ever known her to falter in line of duty. She said, "I fear you are not strong enough for such work, there are plenty of robust men who can better serve the country". I was then nearly twenty-six years old and stood six feet four inches, very slender, weighing only one hundred and sixty pounds, with very little muscle, and much given to a bad persistent cough. My elder brother Benjamin had died of quick consumption and I had every symptom of the incipient stages of this fearful disease. My case simply shows the battle is not always to the strong, as my army life was without a single sick day or one day's loss of duty, until I received my wound in September 1864.
To insure acceptance into camp as a Company we must have one hundred men, so the towns of Willoughby, Mentor and Kirtland united, and thus formed a Company. Up to this time, but little had been thought about officers, but at a meeting held in the town hall at Mentor, the following officers were chosen by ballot:-
Capt. R. B. Moore - Willoughby
1st Lieut. Selleck B. Warren - Mentor
2nd Lieut. Russell Hastings - Willoughby
and the name of "Union Savers" was adopted. In the few days which had elapsed before this, the ladies of each town had assembled and made a red woolen shirt for each man, this being the only sign of a uniform we had. The Governor of Ohio, William Dennison, was notified of our readiness, and he ordered us into "Camp Taylor" at Cleveland, Ohio. We were to take the railway at the Willoughby depot on April 20th.
On the morning of our departure for camp, the Union Savers assembled at the Willoughby town hall. From somewhere a fife and drum corps was obtained and we marched to the depot. This was our first assemblage and I felt a considerable degree of pride as we marched two by two (this being the only formation we then knew) through the streets. I doubt not I felt even more pride now than later when with a larger command I rode at the head of a body of battle scarred veterans.
Friends from the three towns had assembled at the depot. Our village orator made a most affecting speech, laying his own son, as a willing sacrifice, upon the altar of our country. Tom was willing enough that morning, but he didn't stay laid worth a cent, as in ten days he was home again and there remained during the war. Other orators promised us many ways of being killed, by bullet, by sword, at the cannon's mouth and I know not what. Our brave young village lawyer promised "That gore should flow like the Amazon torrent", but he himself saw none of it, only read of it in the morning papers from afar. A flag was presented by a coterie of ladies and I know not where we Union Savers promised to carry it - no doubt somewhere in the vicinity of the foe, probably over the ramparts or some such thing. A revolver was presented to me, the only deadly weapon in the company, except the old rusty sword our Captain brought to light from some uncanny garret, he having served in the Militia. Tears flowed like water from mothers', sisters' and sweethearts' eyes; fortunately then I had none, though a little girl in Columbus, Ohio, only ten years old, was picking lint and hurrahing with the loudest, little knowing where her hero was.
At last we were aboard the train and the last goodbyes said. Such a display of "gush" as we had just passed through was very disgusting to me and I was glad it was over. We then supposed we would all be home again in less than three months, the whole difficulty settled and peace like a "white-winged messenger", etc..... We little knew what we were undertaking, we had not the least idea of the bloody contest we should pass through during the next four years, thinking and believing the whole movement was bravado, and when once arrayed in army lines the better judgement of all would come to the front and a compromise would be made, as had already been done several times in the past history of the Slavery agitation. But the time had arrived when it must be fought out at the cannon's mouth.
A short hour's ride and we were at Cleveland. How proudly we marched through the streets to our camp, some three miles away! How the people cheered! The kind hearted ones, who believed in doing as well as cheering, thrust into our hands, cakes, doughnuts, bouquets, needle cases and I know not what. The Union Savers found their barracks simply board sheds with bunks on either side filled with straw. Those of us who had thoughtful mothers brought blankets, those who did not come so provided, slept without. The April nights were cold and the straw bunks hard after the warm soft feather beds we were accustomed to. Our meals were supplied already cooked, being served on rough tables with tin plates and cups, in large dining halls. One tender hearted mother exclaimed, "Why, our boys are eating from tin, and mercy me, no table cloth"' The table was well supplied, with good nutritious food, rough and plain. In the years following we often thought of that table with many regrets.
We found already in camp some fifteen or twenty companies of our class of Volunteers - so far no uniforms or regimental organization. Our schools of drill began at once, simply learning how, in small squads, to keep step and the simplest of evolutions. There was no music and all movements were made by the drill masters, hip! hip! hip! How green we were !-hardly knowing our right foot from our left, just the material, though, from which to form the very best troops.
Our Captain reported at headquarters, and asked for assignment to a regiment. Day after day passed and no assignment was made but plenty of drill. Other companies had been assigned and marched off. Still the Union Savers waited. The crush for assignment was so great that only those Captains with some strong pull could get assigned. Our Captain had none so we impatiently waited. President Lincoln had called for 75,000 men and over 200,000 had responded.
On the 3rd of May President Lincoln issued another call for 300,000 men for three years, and those of us not mustered into the three months service were told we could either enlist for three years or take our discharge. This changed the state of affairs. The difference between three months and three years was strikingly one, a picnic, the other, the serious condition of war. The Union Savers were drawn up in line and the order given "those wishing to enlist for three years step three paces to the front". Some forty men immediately stepped to the front. Others were undecided and must first go home. Several of this class returned to us; but about fifty percent "had all they wanted of war".
Now the Union Saver Company was broken up; the nucleus at once reorganized and volunteers were called for to fill up to one hundred men. This was done successfully in a few days by men coming in squads from other broken companies in camp. The same officers were re-elected. Now began a more systematic school for the soldier - evening schools for the officers under Hardee's Tactics, and drill for eight hours a day under skilled drill masters, and much progress was made.
During the first week of June, 1861, came an order for all the three year troops in Camp Taylor to proceed to Columbus, Ohio, by rail. Five companies of us now marched through the streets of Cleveland to the depot. The people along the line of march were as enthusiastic as ever and we felt some of the spirit of heroes. We reached Columbus late at night and camped at Camp Jackson within the city limits. The next morning we were marched four miles west on the National Road where we (the five companies) were formed in lines in a large cornfield and told we were here to organize a large camp, later called Camp Chase. Sufficient lumber for erecting barracks was already on the ground, and carpenters' tools were issued to us with instructions to build our own barracks.
Probably no such army had ever been assembled as this Union Army. Coming as they did from all ranks of life, every known industry of the world was represented by skilled workmen and whatever was needed to be done, men to do it were readily found in the ranks. If it was a locomotive to be run, a bridge or barracks to be built, a river steamboat needing a crew, the skilled men were always found.
Before night barracks enough were completed to shelter us for the night and the next day all were completed, and quite a city of shanties had sprung up in this cornfield. Here were first issued to us cooking utensils and rations of food, and our first meal at Camp Chase was served by the Company cook. This seemed more like Army life of which we had read in books. The next thing needed to make it more complete was uniforms and rifles. In this camp we were mustered and sworn into the service of the United States. Now we were firmly fixed for three years service, if the war should last so long. A gleam of forecast began to reach us that we might serve out our full term. Now came an order organizing the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The Union Savers with nine other companies constituted this regiment. We now lost our name and became Company I. 23rd. O.V.I.
This was the first three years regiment from Ohio. It was mustered into service June 11th, 1861. The regimental organization was as follows:
William S. Rosecrans - Colonel
Stanley Matthews - Lieut. Col.
Rutherford B. Hayes - Major
Company A. from Cuyahoga County:-
James P. McIlraith - Captain
Wallis J. Woodward - 1st. Lieut.
John F. Wall - 2nd Lieut.
Company B. from Ashtabula County:-
G. R. Giddings - Captain
C. A. Sperry - 1st Lieut.
W. W. Sheppard - 2nd Lieut.
Company C. from Crawford County:-
John W. Skiles - Captain
J. Ross McMullin - 1st Lieut.
M. P. Avery - 2nd Lieut.
Company D. from Cuyahoga and Lorain:-
H. S. Lovejoy - Captain
A. S. Hunter - 1st Lieut.
Henry Richardson - 2nd Lieut.
Company E. from Mahoning County:-
W. H. Zimmerman - Captain
Wm. S. Rice - 1st Lieut.
Jas. L. Botsford - 2nd Lieut.
Company F. from Logan County:-
Israel Canby - Captain
Cyrus W. Fisher - 1st Lieut.
Robt. P. Kennedy - 2nd Lieut.
Company G. from Ashland County:-
Wm. Slocum - Captain
Henry G. Hood - 1st Lieut.
Geo. W. Stevens - 2nd Lieut.
Company H. from Holmes County:-
J. L. Drake - Captain
G. P. Cunningham - 1st Lieut.
DeHaven K. Smith - 2nd Lieut.
Company I. from Lake County:-
R. B. Moore - Captain
Sellick B. Warren - 1st Lieut.
Russell Hastings - 2nd Lieut.
Company K. from Lorain County:-
D. C. Howard - Captain
Fred H. Bacon - 1st Lieut.
A. C. Fiske - 2nd Lieut.
It will be noticed my first commission was as second lieutenant of Company I, bearing date of June 11th, 1861, and that I was superior in rank to only one officer, the second lieutenant of Company K.
I will here give my promotions during the war.
Second Lieutenant - June 11, 1861
First Lieutenant - March 23, 1862
Captain - August 8, 1863
Lieut. Colonel - March 8, 1865
Brevet Colonel - March 13, 1865
Brevet Brig. General - March 13, 1865.
The 23rd Ohio had many men both in Field, Line and Rank who arose to distinction in war and in civil life after the war, as the following list will show.
Col. W. S. Rosecrans became a noted General in the war and later in civil life was made a member of Congress and Registrar of U. S. Treasury.
Lieut. Col. Stanley Matthews became Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Major Rutherford B. Hayes arose to rank of Major General and in civil life became a member of Congress, Governor of Ohio for two terms, and President of the United States from 1877 to 1881.
Lieut. Robert P. Kennedy, member of Congress for several terms and Lieut. Governor of Ohio.
Serg't Wm. Lyon, Lieut. Governor of Ohio.
Private William McKinley, Company E., arose to rank of Major by brevet, became in civil life member of Congress for several terms, Chairman of Ways and Means Committee (Father of the McKinley Tariff Law), Governor of Ohio, two terms, and President of the United States from 1896 to 1901 and will probably be elected for second term in November, 1900.
Our list of Mayors of cities and minor County and State officers embraces the balance of the regiment.
This regiment was organized by order of Governor Dennison and he held the power to select and appoint the Field Officers; these he selected from the City of Cincinnati. A remonstrance was at once organized by the line officers urging the Governor to appoint as field officers men from the northern part of the State; men who by chance we might know.
The true secret of the movement was that our Captains had aspirations, and a strong desire that some of them might be fortunate enough to be selected for these positions. A delegation composed of all the Captains of the line, ten in number, went to the Governor's office and stated their grievance. The reply of the Governor was that no change could be made, he personally knew the gentlemen appointed; they were men of high standing at the bar, and of sterling characters, that Colonel Rosecrans was a graduate of West Point and had already seen service in the Mexican War, that all of them were men who would become noted, and "you will some day be proud that you had the distinction of serving under them". Our Captains' guns were spiked and with hat in hand they filed out of the office.
This same day our field officers came to camp, and occupied the quarters provided for them. After the evening parade, Major Hayes and his wife walked first through the company streets and visited the kitchen, speaking to all, as though they had been friends for years, Mrs. Hayes asking for a taste of some of the food. Afterwards they called at all the officers' quarters and the impression was, there and then, that the Major and his wife would do.
We now settled down to study and drill, especially battalion drill, as in the Cleveland camp we had had none of it. We had evening school for the officers and Hardee's Tactics were seldom out of hand or mind. To this was added guard duty and the posting of pickets far away from camp, the Lieutenants in turn taking command of the guard, and the Captains in their turn serving as officer of the day. This guard and picket duty was of great advantage, as we were thus taught what this service would mean in face of the enemy. But that which was the hardest of all to learn was discipline, a word little known in our vocabulary, and never brought into our daily home life. We at home obeyed because of love or profit. The need and necessity that unquestioning and immediate obedience to orders should be the rule of army life, was an idea we could not at first assimilate; later, when in the midst of active campaigning, we did see the necessity and yielded ready obedience.
I have a story to tell of the lack of discipline, which best illustrates our condition. Officers were not required to show a pass when crossing the guard line. As we were without uniforms a sentinel was ordered to take the word of the person attempting to cross, that he was an officer and let him pass. All privates and non-commissioned officers must show a pass or turn back. One day I was crossing the line, and still being in my "Union Savers" red shirt, I no doubt looked very tall to the little chunky stripling I found where I wanted to cross. Being halted, I told the sentinel who I was and was allowed to pass on, but while I was but a few feet away, I heard this sentinel call to another sentinel, "Say, Jake, did you ever see such a clothes pin of an officer as that fellow?". This sentinel was William McKinley, a private of Company E. from Mahoning County. He later was promoted to be an officer in the line and for several years we bunked together and rode side by side while on staff duty. (He is now  President of the U.S.)
About the 20th of June, Colonel Rosecrans was promoted by the President to Brigadier General and placed in command of the troops in West Virginia and E. P. Scammon was appointed by the Governor of Ohio as Colonel of our regiment.
Scammon was a West Point graduate and had served on the staff of General Scott during the Mexican War. He was something of a martinet, or rather seemed so to us at that time. We thought he was fussy and particular as to little details of drill and camp life. Later when we saw him under fire, how cool and collected he was, we forgave him. For a year or more I served on his staff as chief Aide de Camp, and found him a charming and most agreeable man.
At this date (about 25th June, '61) what a ragged lot we were, having left home in April and thinking next week or the week after at the longest we would have our uniforms; we made the civilian clothes last from day to day and week to week, until Falstaff's rag-a-muffins were by comparison well dressed. The first issue of clothes was only undershirts and drawers, blouses and trousers not arriving until several days afterwards. At the evening parade on the day of the first issue, the regiment appeared dressed only in these shirts and underdrawers. Imagine Colonel Scammon's horror when he appeared on our front to take command of the parade. He simply wilted, and at once dismissed the parade. Later he ordered all the officers to his headquarters and such a lecture we got! We were quite content with words only as we feared being placed "under arrest", whatever that might be.
The officers were almost as ragged as the men, and at our own expense we were expected to uniform ourselves, with one suit at least with cocked hat, epaulets and swords. We were out of money and did not expect to see a paymaster for months, if ever. What should we do? The matter was solved one day by the appearance in camp of a Jew clothier who solicited orders. He would give us credit until a paymaster should appear; but, we said, "no one knows where we then may be or who will have been killed". "Oh"' he said, "but you are all gentlemen and I trust you. If some are killed I will put that down to the cause". I began to think a Jew was not so bad a fellow. He got the orders at fearful prices and fitted us out with low grade goods, the glossy army blue cloth turning in a few weeks to a dingy purple.
Now came an issue of muskets, which caused much commotion in the regiment. The U.S. Government were so hard pressed for arms, that all kinds of expedients had to be adopted. Most of the U.S. rifles had been stolen for the South, by the mean craftiness of Buchanan's Secretary of War, James B. Floyd. President Lincoln had sent agents all over Europe to purchase rifles, while in the meantime, our arsenals in the North were filled with artisans making the most approved rifles of that period. A large lot of old and discarded flint-lock muskets were turned into percussion caps, being muzzle loaders, with smooth bore and firing a round bullet and three buck shot.
This was the musket issued to our regiment, and which aroused a revolt, first in words and later in active insubordination. Two companies at dress parade that evening stuck the musket by the bayonet into the ground and marched away to quarters. Now there was serious trouble. Colonel Scammon placed the officers of these two companies under arrest, confining them to their quarters awaiting court martial. The officers could do nothing with their men to allay the insubordination. The men said they would not receive such old fashioned arms and the United States might make the best of it. The fact was these officers and also our Colonel had used little diplomacy in their conduct; and who was there who could remedy it? Our Major Hayes went to these men in their quarters and requested they would listen to him. After a few words of explanation showing how hard-pressed the government was for arms, by reason of the treachery of Secretary Floyd, that these would answer as well as any to learn the manual of arms with, and that no doubt, later on, perhaps before we left this camp, the government would arm us with the most approved rifles. A little Irishman called out, "Bully for Hayes, come boys, let's get our guns". There was a rush for the parade ground, and in a few minutes not a musket was left to disgrace the regiment.
In this same Camp Chase many other regiments were organizing and learning the art of war, all anxious to be ordered off to the front.
1861. July 21st. News came to us this Sunday evening of a decisive battle having been fought at Bull Run, Va., the Union troops defeated with great slaughter, and much demoralized fleeing to Washington. The two sides were about equal in number, some 30,000, and a sudden panic seized the Union troops when they really had won the battle. Really the result of Bull Run was favorable to the Union cause as it had the effect of rousing the North to the realities and making us see that a long and bloody struggle was before us.
Congress immediately voted $5,000,000 and 300,000 men, and the President placed General George B. McClellan in chief command of the Army of the Potomac, while President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy placed General Robert E. Lee in command of Confederate forces in Virginia. All these things of which I am writing are matters of history, so I will not enlarge, but go back to the 23rd O.V.I. in Camp Chase.
From July 25th, 1861 to March 31, 1862
Up to this time I have dwelt much in detail, thinking it might be of interest to show how the armies in the Volunteer force were raised. From now on I shall follow my own life in the army, not so much in detail, only touching here and there at points of interest. Fortunately I have a copy of Sergeant Clugstone's diary for every day of the the three years enlistment, and from then on to the end of the war a copy of General Hayes' diary.
1861. July 22nd. After the battle of Bull Run we knew we would soon be called to the front. The regiment was well equipped, had nearly three months drill and was in the best of health. The term of enlistment of the three months troops would soon expire and we expected to take their place on the firing line. Much discussion took place as to where we would be sent. Naturally we concluded Washington. Later in the war we discussed plans somewhat, but never arrived at conclusions, only waiting for facts to develop.
1861. July 25th. Orders had come the night before to be prepared to leave Camp Chase the following morning. Great hilarious excitement prevailed. Home letters were written, that I fear were not received at their destination with the glee in which they were written. Long before sunrise the regiment was ready, with camp equipage in the wagons. When the assembly sounded, line was formed and away we marched with our fine band leading. Where we were going only the Colonel knew, presumably Columbus depot, cars and away, any direction except north. We all hoped [to] Washington, and when on the cars with our locomotive pointing eastward we were certain [of it]. How little we knew and how glad now I am that we were not swallowed up in that great Army of the Potomac.
We left Columbus on the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, transported in the regular passenger day cars. Some of the men had obtained whiskey and a jolly lot they were. One Company "I" man was so crazed by his libations that he must fight the officers; he pitched into Lieutenant Warren and was brought to his senses at the muzzle of a revolver; he said in a threatening tone, "Never mind, Lieutenant, we will settle this when the smoke gets thick", and truly it was settled three years after, of which I will tell later on.
About noon of the next day (26th), we crossed the Ohio River at Bellaire and were now on the "sacred soil" of Virginia; we felt we were in the enemy's country and must begin to look out for "Pizen pies and such things". Here we met some three months troops on their way home to be mustered out. They had been in battle with General McClellan at Philippi and what heroes they seemed; one was able to show a wound. Again we were ordered on the cars and were away to the eastward - Washington for sure.
1861. July 27th. At day break we found ourselves at Clarksburg, West Virginia. Now all our hopes were dissipated, we were not going to Washington. Here we made our first camp with tents, and what a long time it took to pitch the tents. Each company had six tents for the men and two for the officers; while the Colonel and his staff had quite a little village. We had twenty-three wagons to transport our tents and camp equipage, yet we grumbled. Before the year was gone we had no tents, and transportation was cut down to one wagon to the regiment; and so by degrees we learned to become soldiers.
1861. July 28th. Struck tents at daybreak and marched away southward. The roads were good, but the day was very hot, many of the men were overloaded with a knapsack crowded full and began to ask to fall out. At each resting halt much trash was thrown away. I really think this was the hardest day's march we ever made, as we did not know how to march. We made twenty- four miles and camped at Weston, Lewis County, West Virginia. Our camp was just outside of town and I was appointed Provost Marshal with office in town and a guard given me to keep order [in the town]. I knew little of the duties of Provost Marshal but I soon learned. A very teachable incident happened while I was there on duty. Our men from the regiment were allowed on pass from their Colonel to go to town; one of these men had become troublesome and would not obey the order of one of my guards to halt. After the usual number of halts being called, the guard fired and killed the man. This taught all our men that a sentinel is autocratic on his beat, and one had best obey instantly when the order to halt comes.
1861, August 3rd. The right wing of the regiment under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Matthews marched to Sutton. In the right wing was my company "I" and glad enough I was to be relieved of my duty as Provost Marshal of Weston. It was thought a small band of Confederates were at Sutton. We made the march in two days, halting at night at Bulltown. At Sutton we found things quiet, though a company of Confederates had been there, fortified slightly, and marched away on our arrival. Not a shot fired. Here we remained until our left wing joined us.
1861. September 4th. General Rosecrans and staff with several regiments arrived at Sutton. Here was assembled an army of nine thousand men. The Confederates under General Floyd were said to be at Summersville some thirty miles south.
1861. September 7th. Marched from Sutton at noon and camped at Little Birch Mountain (the Sergeant says, "laid out all night having had nothing to eat for twenty-four hours"). I remember nothing of this.
1861. September 9th. Left Birch Bottom at 10 A.M. for Summersville and marched thirteen miles ("laid out all night"). Trifles troubled us in those days. Our cavalry reported the Confederates at Summersville, one regiment of Infantry, one regiment of Cavalry, and one Battery. The Confederate General Floyd had assembled an army of about fifteen thousand men in the vicinity of Gauley Falls on the Kanawha River, and Summereville was his advanced post. We now hoped he would give battle there. Our outpost pickets and scouting Cavalry were well out to the front and occasionally had a skirmish with the enemy. We now seemed close to the desire of our hearts - a battle.
BATTLE OF CARNIFEX FERRY
1861. September 10th. Broke camp at daybreak - our Brigade having the rear. As the morning went on we frequently heard skirmish firing at the front, and knew our Cavalry was pushing back the enemy's pickets. At noon we reached Summersville, the enemy having retreated. Our advance had found the enemy intrenched behind earthworks at Carnifex Ferry, several miles away. Our march was continued toward this point. At 2 P.M. we could hear constant skirmish firing and we were pushed on at greater speed. About 3 P.M. we heard a volley of musketry and boom of cannon; the battle had begun and we were not in it. Faster we marched, the sooner to be there and have our share. About a mile from the battlefield Company "I", my company, was taken out of the line and orders given to our Captain Moore, to move his company down a cross road to our left, march to a certain ford on Meadow River and guard it from any contemplated flank attack. As the main column moved on, we were jeered at by our comrades whom we thought more lucky; yet I dare say many a fellow would have been glad to change places with us. From the nearness to the battle we could see the smoke and hear the almost constant rattle of musketry, and the louder sound of cannon. Well, we turned away from it with some reluctance. Later in the War we would have turned away gladly, and have been pleased that our line of duty was other than in the thick of battle"
Dear old Captain Moore was a good fellow, but no more fitted for a soldier than my grandmother's pussy cat As we marched away towards this unknown ford he took no steps to put out an advance guard, but marched on as calmly as though he were drilling his company in camp. We had now reached a portion of the road which was flanked on either side by deep woods, a fine place for a surprise. If the Captain loved anything in the tactics it was to march in two ranks; that was simple, four ranks was complex. Seeing the condition of things, I struggled to the front and suggested to the Captain that it might be well to put out an advance guard of five or six men in command of a sergeant. An advance guard and a skirmish line had but little distinction to the Captain, and now all of Hardee which had been driven into his head in our three months drill seemed to have instantly departed, for he directed a movement not known in tactics, or even in school boy drill, which, in executing, the men lost all contact with each other and soon were lost as a company. Marching in two ranks he told the front rank to file to the left, and the rear rank to file to the right with no instructions how to guide. The result was we marched away each rank from the other indefinitely. A small portion of the company nearest me struggled on manfully through the thick laurel brush and finally came into an open field close by a farm house. We visited this farm house and of course found only the "women folk" at home, the male portion of the family were probably over at the battle field pumping lead into our boys. We were offered and took some milk and corn bread. What should be done next? We were lost, where Captain Moore and the balance of the Company were we knew not. The women folk knew of no ford in that vicinity, and at the suggestion of one of my squad that we go over and see the fun, viz. the battle, we marched away in the direction of the firing. Is it at all surprising that that we were not successful in the early part of the war with an army made up of such ignorance of the art of war? The South was just as ignorant, otherwise it would have gone hard with us.
Only one year before on the 10th September, 1860, I had attended at Cleveland a celebration of Commodore Perry's victory over the British on Lake Erie, and at this same hour of the day had stood on the bank of the Lake and viewed a sham battle going on. We were then as a Nation at peace with the world, no signs of disturbance. But in only a short twelve months the North and South were at each others' throats, and here was a genuine battle. How little we know what a year may bring forth.
We were not long in finding our brigade and were surprised to learn it had been held in reserve. On regaining the 23rd Regiment, we found the left wing, under Major Hayes, had been sent to find and attack the enemy's right. We learned the next day the Major was not successful in finding the enemy, only sending a few volleys across a deep ravine where he thought the enemy ought to be. Company "I" came in by squads safe and sound. Still the battle was raging down at the front, and just before dark an order came for our brigade to move down quickly. Up we were in a minute, into line and on the double quick rushing forward to the firing line. Alack a day' dark came on before we reached it and supperless we lay down in our ranks to rest for the night. In the night the Confederates stole away, and the next morning we marched over his earthworks, like a farmer going to his mowing.
Well! Here was my first battle and I did not get under fire. We had heard during the afternoon and evening that the slaughter was fearful, the 10th Ohio nearly "wiped out". Certainly there had been noise enough to have killed thousands, but when the official report came to us it was fifteen killed and sixty-five wounded. Enough to begin with though, but in the years that followed we were glad to get off with twice or three times that percentage. The greatest loss was in the 10th Ohio commanded by Colonel Lytle. He was an Irishman as were all his officers and men. He tells this incident as happening here at Carnifex Ferry after the battle and while we were awaiting orders. One of his Captains came to his headquarters complaining that his First Lieutenant caused him much trouble by getting drunk and he wanted him court-martialed. "I have just put him in the guard house and now what shall I do?" Colonel Lytle exclaimed, "Hell and damnation man! You can't put an officer in the guard house, it's against the regulations". I can, for he's there now". The Captain's reply was - "Be jabbers I can, for he is there now". They were good fighters but oh, how ignorant of the art of war. Colonel Lytle was soon promoted to Brigadier General and arose to some distinction in the "Army of Tennessee".
The second day after the battle I was put in command of the guard, my first experience in the face of the enemy. My headquarters were at a log house near the earthworks, and my picket posts were out toward where the enemy were supposed to be. These I must, under the regulations, visit many times during the day and night. I kept a portion of the guard at my headquarters to relieve those on picket at stated hours. All about this log house were many signs that a severe struggle must have taken place on this spot, on the day of the battle, and worst of all, there were many signs of blood upon the ground - to a new soldier an uncanny sight. One of my posts was by the ferry side, on the road by which the Confederates had retreated. This road led from my headquarters down a bluff in a winding way some one-fourth mile. During the day everything was peaceful, but at night we all became somewhat nervous and sights and sounds were magnified. About midnight I heard a musket shot at the ferry followed by several more. With a sergeant and three men (the regulation number for an officer when visiting an outpost), I hurried down the road, and met the outpost coming in, the corporal in charge in a tremor of excitement. He had seen an object moving and fired on it, and fearing he would be "cut-off" had retreated for headquarters. Not one of the picket knew what they had seen, only "something moving". It was a about, and went to the ferry. This ferry was in a narrow deep gorge of the Meadow [Gauley] River. On the lower side of the ferry large rocks had at some time rolled from the hillside thus choking the river sufficiently to make a quiet pool over which the ferry boat could go. A foot bridge had been built on these rocks by our troops, since the battle. When I arrived at the point of disturbance everything was perfectly quiet. I could see the ferryman's house on the other side and not a sound could be heard. With my sergeant I went out upon the foot bridge, waiting, listening. What a beautiful spot it was with the full moon lighting up the whole gorge.
Concluding the corporal and his party had seen nothing I gave him further instructions and retraced my steps up the hill. When halfway up, bang, went a musket at the ferry. I returned to hear the same story, "something moved". "All right", I said, "you should always fire, after challenge, under such conditions. We will go across the river and see what there is over there", and with my sergeant and three men crossed the foot bridge to the ferryman's house, found it abandoned and no troublesome enemy about. I sent this nervous corporal with most of his men to headquarters, in charge of my sergeant, and spent the balance of the night at the ferry. Something didn't move after that; but I was glad enough when daylight came. I am thus particular in recounting the experience of this night to convey some impression of the duties of an outpost. Many a night after this I had command of the guard, when something did move and we had quite a spirited skirmish, but I did not so nervously feel the responsibility as on this beautiful night at Carnifex Ferry.
1861. September 14th. General Floyd had gathered up all his troops at the head of the Kanawha Valley and fell back toward Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, on the east bank of the New River and towards Raleigh on the west bank. On the 14th we resumed an advance, our column going up New River towards Lewisburg, while another column of our army went from Gauley Bridge up the west bank as far as Fayetteville. These two columns were ten or fifteen miles apart but quite generally the country between was covered by scouting parties. Our Cavalry had closely followed the retreating enemy, but the Infantry saw nothing of him. We sometimes could hear the cannon of our Cavalry far out to the front and that was all.
After several beautiful fall days, real picnic weather, we reached Sewell, a little hamlet on the plateau of Big Sewell Mountain, and there went into permanent camp. Here we experienced a great equinoctial storm and suffered from the cold at this high altitude. The roads became bad and our train of four hundred wagons of six mule teams, could not well supply us with food. Typhoid fever began to break out, and General Rosecrans concluded it best to fall back to Gauley Bridge and that vicinity. Small stern-wheel steamboats could bring us provisions up the Kanawha, as far as Loup Creek, ten miles below Gauley.
1861. October 1st. Broke camp and returned to Gauley Mountain within eight miles of Gauley Bridge. Here we formed a permanent camp, naming it Camp Ewing. We sat down to await the worst enemy any army ever has, and one sure to attack a new army - Typhoid Fever. Nearly every man in my regiment was sick and more than one hundred died. At one time there were only two officers for duty, Lieutenant Thompson and myself. We went on guard every other day as guards must be kept up, for the enemy followed us on our retreat, and although not desirous of battle, he annoyed our outposts.
One morning I came in from guard duty thinking my turn to break down had come. My Captain Moore was sick in his tent, Lieutenant Sellick B. Warren was sick at hospital and I went to my bunk feeling most miserable. I sent to the sutlers for a pint bottle of "Pike's Cordial", cherry cordial. It was a very palatable decoction of whiskey, water, sugar and something with the taste of wild cherry (might have been prussic acid). I took a good swig, put the bottle by my side and dropped off to sleep. When I next awakened I took another swig. I was in my bunk all that day and night, awakening the next morning with an empty bottle and the fever broken. I accused our cook of having drunk my cordial, but I concluded he hadn't and that my swigs must have been larger than I thought. I was excused from duty that day, but the following I was all right. Our Brigade was encamped within an area of half a mile, all sick with typhoid. How disheartening it was to hear the band playing dirges and the volley fire over the graves of our comrades! This became so frequent that an order was issued stopping such things. Only one of my intimate friends died (David Houliston, of Willoughby), though nearly all became ill and went to hospital. The convalescent sick and frequently those still very ill were sent to the hospital at Cincinnati. We did not have ambulances enough to carry them to the boat at Loup Creek, over twenty miles, so the larger number were transported in the army wagon which had brought us supplies. Think of taking a typhoid patient from his cot, jolting him over the rough mountain roads in an army wagon with only a little straw to lie upon. Strange to say none seemed the worse and some improved. The idea of going home worked marvels. From the hospital at Cincinnati they were furloughed home for thirty days. Our ranks were much reduced, but enough were left to keep up an organization. When these furloughed sick returned, the rest of us at different times during the winter took our furlough of thirty days at home.
1861. November 13th. The fever had abated by this time and many of the sick had returned to duty. The Brigade, consisting of the 23rd, 26th and 30th Ohio Regiments, broke camp at 7 A.M. and took up the march towards Gauley Bridge, the 23rd in advance. How glad we were to leave that much hated Camp Ewing; and then we were marching towards Ohio; perhaps we would be taken out of West Virginia and sent to some more important post. How we cheered when the band struck up, "Oh, ain't I glad I'm out of the Wilderness". We were now trained soldiers, had become well drilled and disciplined, had had typhoid fever and now were as tough as nuts, nothing but bullets could hurt us. We had a jolly rollicking day's march, reached Gauley Bridge, kept on down the river towards the boat landing, crossed the Kanawha River on the ferry, thus being on the boat landing side at Loup Creek ten miles away. When we took up our line of march again it was not towards Loup Creek, but to the left up Cotton Mountain and southward toward Fayetteville. We didn't cheer so very much as we began the ascent. Back into the wilderness we turned, and after one and a half day's march reached Fayetteville, nearly opposite and across the New River from the hated Camp Ewing.
Fayetteville was the county seat of Fayette County, a little village with brick county buildings, while the residences were principally wood. Possibly there might have been two hundred inhabitants. On our arrival we found but three houses occupied by their owners, the rest of the inhabitants having gone south with their furniture and slaves. These people were more fortunate than many others in the South as frequently the Confederate troops set fire to the towns when they retreated. The empty houses at Fayetteville were immediately occupied as barracks. The officers of Company "I" were lucky enough to have the clerk's office fall to their lot, a one-story, two-room brick house. In one room we put three straw bunks, while the second was used as dining room and kitchen. How snug we felt. The men of Company "I" were put in a house close by, and with straw bunks from parlor to garret had plenty of room. The sergeants and corporals had the parlor to themselves.
I can't remember when these distinctions in rank began to show, probably arrived at by degrees. At home we were all hail fellows well met, calling each other by our first names and were socially equal. After our army life began, distinctions gradually appeared, titles were given and each man took his position according to his rank. Our officers' quarters were never invaded by the rank and file unless they had some business with the Captain' and we never went to the men's quarters, except on duty. Neither did we go to the quarters of our superior officers, except on duty or by invitation. Our associates now were the officers of our regiment and brigade. This distinction and separation caused some heart burnings at first, but the necessity of this sharply drawn line was soon apparent and acquiesced in. An army would soon become a mob if intimate associations between the privates and officers should prevail. The moment a sergeant was commissioned to be a lieutenant then he was gladly received into our set and we chummed with him as of old in our village life.
We now settled down into the belief that Fayetteville was to be our winter quarters, with only a few Confederate troops in our front, and they forty or fifty miles away. Why should we be kept up in this wilderness and mountainous altitude where it was almost as cold as in our Northern Ohio home? Why not take us down into the Kanawha Valley, where it was much warmer and thus save the great expense of transporting our supplies over the mountain roads? We learned that all armies must have these outposts, many miles away from the main Army; and in this case, the Kanawha Valley must be kept guarded at all times to prevent the enemy from raiding into Ohio.
At this time General Rosecrans, commanding our West Virginia Army, was at Tompkins Farm, two or three miles above Gauley Bridge, on the east bank of the New River.
1861. November 21st. Our camp was named Camp Union. General Schenk [was]relieved from command of Brigade and our Colonel E.P. Scammon detailed to command the Brigade.
1861. December 9th. To keep us employed more than anything else, Colonel Scammon laid out an elaborate earth fort and work began today. The building of this fort kept us occupied for several months; only a few hours a day were the men employed, but regular drill was kept up each day. After the fort was finished we were drilled in fort service. We had also some mining work to do to teach us how to approach the enemy's fort.
1861. December 17th. The Sergeant says, "five slaves left Camp Union for Ohio". We began the freeing of slaves long before President Lincoln.
1861. December 21st. Paymaster arrived in camp and paid us for two months service. Five months were due us, but Uncle Sam was awful poor. The Secretary of the Treasury was seeking in all ways to obtain funds. Borrowing of capitalists answered for a while, and then the President asked Congress to go to the people. Congress authorized a bond issue for many million dollars and the bonds were of various sizes, some as low as 50c, and these were bought eagerly by the common people. After the adoption of this method Uncle Sam had all the money he wanted. It is quite safe to trust the common people.
Our Lieutenant Colonel Stanley Matthews left us, having been promoted to the Colonelcy of the 54th Ohio, a new regiment. We honored the man but had no enthusiasm for him, and did not much regret his departure. His promotion made a vacancy and our Major Hayes was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and as Scammon commanded the brigade, this left the command of the 23rd to Hayes. We gave him our implicit obedience and he had our admiration which ripened each week into loving regard, as we came in touch with his ways and methods when in full command of us. The vacancy of the majority was filled by Governor Dennison sending from Ohio an editor named James M. Comly. We didn't like this act of the Governor, for the promotion of one of our Captains to be Major would have given us each a step and would have been regular. Poor Major Comly was not received with open arms. We were not rude to him but he must have seen and felt that he was outside of our "hail fellow well met" circle.
1861. December 29th. The left wing of the 23rd commanded by Major Comly was sent to make permanent camp at Raleigh, some thirty miles south. Company "I" with the right wing stayed at Fayetteville.
1862. January 1st. The only entry of the Sergeant is - "Eleven contrabands came into camp and went on their way rejoicing towards Ohio and freedom". If their owners should have chanced to come to camp no one would have admitted having seen any "contrabands" and no aid or obstruction would the slave-holder have received, but he never would have found his slaves. Uncle Sam hadn't hired us to become slave catchers, and the South soon found it was useless to pursue after runaways.
One day like another dragged on, we would hear now and then that our Cavalry, scouting well out to the front, had met a Cavalry patrol of the enemy and a little brush had taken place. Not a woman in camp. We had told over and over all our old stories and jokes, we had played cards until I hated the sight of one, and what would we not have given to have a place to go and call upon some young ladies! Alas! This winter the inhabitants had packed up and gone away with their wives and maidens. Furloughs for thirty days were being liberally given and many of us availed ourselves of this break in the monotony.
The Lieutenants were frequently sent out with a small command for scouting duty, proceeding from camp for many miles, sometimes being out for two or three days. The object was to give the Lieutenants experience in an independent command of men, and to thoroughly learn the topography of the country, and to have the inhabitants see we were rather decent fellows, and didn't "wear horns". After passing out of Fayetteville several miles we generally found the people had remained at home. Some families though were without any male member, except old men, the younger ones probably being in the Confederate Army. In some few families younger men might be at home on furlough. But we never troubled about that so long as we were not bush-whacked on our march. We swapped coffee for chickens, and a few moments chat with a rosy-checked girl was a pleasure. Girls are girls under all conditions, and as much given to flirting with strangers and a hateful enemy as with their neighbourhood swains.
I had no leave of absence that winter, for before my turn came, signs of Spring began to show and the enemy had wakened up somewhat and began to annoy our advance, so all going away home was stopped, except to invalids.
1862. March 8th. Companies "I" and "K" 23rd Regiment ordered to march for Raleigh where the left wing had been for several weeks. Arrived there on the 10th - a cold march as there was snow on the ground. At Raleigh the inhabitants of the town had all left, and our company officers had quarters in a log house; good, warm and comfortable. The men were quartered in the Court House. Here our Captain Moore became ill and went home on leave of absence. Dear old man, good, kind and well meaning, but not a soldier.
We were now thirty miles nearer the winter camps of the enemy and the spring rousing of the two armies had begun. It was still cold and snow fell frequently, but soon melted away.
"Bush-whacking" began to be prevalent and many scouting parties were sent out to punish them. The term bush-whacking covered an irregular warfare carried out by the inhabitants of the country in this way:- these bush-whackers did not belong to the Confederate Army but their sympathies were entirely with the South. A little squad from a neighbourhood would station themselves on a hill near the roadway where our supply trains would have to pass, the trains always being guarded by a few troops. These rascals would fire on the train, frequently killing or wounding the mules, occasionally hitting a driver. If the troops pursued after them they could easily elude the troops and perhaps appear again on a hill farther on, on the route. Rules of war do not apply to such cases and no mercy was shown them if captured, but the trouble was to capture them.
I was sent out from Raleigh in command of sixteen men to give the bush-whackers in that region a lesson. I was furnished with a list of names of ten or more suspected men. About six miles from camp I came to the first suspect. He of course had taken to the bush but wife and children were at home. I told her my orders, and why the house must be burned. I gave directions to my men to put her furniture on the lawn. Of course tears flowed like water, and her large flock of children wailed aloud. I continued stony-hearted. The furniture was now out of the house, the supply of meat in the smoke house was also out and safe from fire when, well! - I marched on and left them weeping. But I had told her if any more bush- whacking took place we would lay the whole country waste. If these bush-whacking men wanted to fight, their places were in the Confederate Army.
I was out scouting two days and whenever I found vacant houses, where the owners had gone south, I applied the torch. I burned six houses while I was out end reached camp with not one shot fired at my command. That was a surprise to me as I anticipated they would assemble and bush-whack me. I had before been out in command of scouting parties and occasionally exchanged shots with the enemy's patrol but this scout was peaceable, and not at all to my liking. It had the effect though of stopping bush-whacking, and I hope these men went off and joined the Confederate Army and thus carried on a legitimate warfare.
1862. March 21st. Companies "H" and "I" received orders to march on an extended route to capture some Confederate Cavalry horses being wintered across New River in Greenbrier County. Our Command was about 120 strong, commanded by Captain Drake of Company "H". We carried four days' rations in haversacks. Leaving camp at daybreak, with snow on the ground and bitter cold, we marched over White Oak Mountain by a trail reaching Richardson's Ferry at night - an eighteen mile march. We camped in Richardson's house, a double log, lying on the floor. We had to pack with much system to get so many men stowed in such a small compass. Lieutenant Warren and I slept under the bed occupied by Mr. Richardson and wife.
At midnight all were aroused, as we must reach the Cavalry camp by daybreak. New River at this point was about 150 yards wide. The regular ferry boat had been destroyed sometime before, so we had to cross in canoes, lashing two together. It took us about an hour to get the command over. A fierce snow storm prevailed, and we likened our case to "Crossing the Delaware" barring the ice.
Now we had a five mile march before us and we reached the camp at daybreak completely surprising it. A few shots were fired and the skirmish was over. It wasn't much of a camp after all, as we only captured fifteen men and twelve horses. Some of them might have ridden away during the skirmish We immediately retraced our steps to the ferry, crossed over and went into camp for the night. How those horses hated to go into the water to swim over, and how they did shiver after coming out. We now took things leisurely as the object of our scout had been successful and we had no fear of the enemy. We returned by a better and longer route reaching camp at Raleigh at noon the 24th March, having been out three nights.
March 31st, 1862 to March 1st, 1863
1862. March 31st. Received a letter from the Governor's office, Columbus, Ohio, stating that I had been promoted to First Lieutenant and on my acceptance, a Commission would be sent me bearing date of March 23rd, 1862. Captain Moore had resigned, and thus a vacancy had been made, and I was fortunate enough to be allowed to remain with Company "I". Lieutenant Warren was at the same time promoted to Captain, and Sergeant Major John S. Ellen was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and all being "Union Savers" we were glad enough to be assigned to Company "I" - a piece of good luck not likely to happen again. I suppose I have been assigned for duty to every company in the 23rd Regiment.
1862. April 1st. Paymaster arrived and paid us off. We were always paid in cash and then some member of each company was sent home with the funds of each man.
During this month we saw signs of a readiness being made for the Spring advance. Pack mules by the hundreds arrived. Supplies by the ton were stored at Raleigh. (Said an officer apostrophising a long train of pack mules going by - "You look pretty dam ominous".) General Rosecrans was relieved and sent to the Army of Tennessee(l) and General J. D. Cox appointed to command in Rosecrans' place.
We still kept up our scouting by squad and company, frequently running across the enemy's scouts, when a few shots were fired. Lieutenant J. S. Botsford with Company "D" had a gallant little fight, I will tell of it later on, in connection with a general movement of all the troops.
1862. April 18th. The 23rd Regiment received marching orders with three days' rations in haversacks. Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes now had command of the 23rd Regiment, Colonel Scammon commanding the Brigade.
We marched six miles to Beckley's farm and went into camp in tents - the first tent work since the fall before. They were not so warm and comfortable as our house barracks; and to top all our discomforts a cold spring rain set in, lasting five days during which time we suffered severely, many of the men taking severe colds.
1862. April 25th. Broke camp and marched to Shady Springs, where we were joined by four companies of the 23rd Regiment who had been scouting towards Pack's Ferry on the New River. The 23rd Regiment was together again, and there was joined to it McMullens Battery of Mountain Howitzers and one company of 1st Virginia (Union) Cavalry. This constituted the advance, and all was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel R. B. Hayes. Colonel Hayes was now in his proper element - in command of a force near the enemy and cut loose from telegraphic communication with his superior commander.
1862. May 1st. Broke camp and marched twelve miles to Camp No.4, on Flat Top Mountain; (from Raleigh the camps were numbered).
Company "D" commanded by 1st Lieutenant J. S. Botsford had been sent, on April 30th, out in this direction on a scout, and it was expected to meet him here at Camp No.4. But Botsford had marched too far into the country on our right and was compelled to spend the night on the road towards Princeton, about six miles in advance of our camp, at Clark's Hollow. Colonel Hayes did not worry over the non-appearance of Botsford as so many scouting parties had been out at different times during the winter with no serious results. Lieutenant Botsford with his company spent the night at a log house occupied by a widow woman. The next morning at daybreak he assembled his company before the door of the log house preparatory to marching to camp, when without any warning a volley was fired by the enemy upon him. Some four hundred Confederate troops had surrounded him. One man was killed and several wounded by this volley, but Botsford got all his command into the log house, knocked out some of the chinkings and in quick time turned the house into a fort. The Confederates kept calling out, "Surrender you dam Yankees - we have got you at last". Botsford's reply was shots from his muskets. He has often told me the story and how at times things looked serious, but the fight was kept up, the Confederates dodging from tree to tree on the hillsides surrounding him, slowly creeping nearer and nearer. The chinking space between the logs answered for firing upon the enemy, who could also fire through the space upon Botsford's men, though not with the same accuracy; but many of Botsford's men were being wounded. The Confederates fired from the hillside down upon the roof and the bullets would go through and into the room. The fight was kept up for an hour or more, when very suddenly the enemy's fire stopped, the cause of which Botsford could not understand, thinking the enemy were employing some strategy to draw him out, or getting ready to make a rush on him. He said those were trying moments. But the silence continued so long that one of the sergeants ventured out, found no sign of the enemy, but could hear band music in the direction of Flat Top Mountain; and it seemingly was coming nearer; then Botsford understood, succor was coming - the Siege of Lucknow over again.
1862. May 2nd. Broke camp at daybreak and took up our line of march toward Princeton, Mercer County. I remember what a beautiful sunny morning it was, with many signs of spring even at this high altitude. When we had advanced to the southern edge of the mountain and began to descend the southern slope, rifle firing was heard. We at once knew Botsford was in trouble. Colonel Hayes ordered the Cavalry advance to push forward rapidly, and directed the band master to strike up one of his loudest tunes. It was this tune that Botsford heard and before many minutes our Cavalry was with Botsford. When the Regiment arrived at the scene, Company "D" was greeted as all heroes should be. The Company had lost one killed and nineteen wounded.
The advance stopped but a moment and then pushed on towards Princeton. The Cavalry in advance skirmished all day with the enemy who had beset Botsford in the morning. The enemy must have suffered severely under Company "D"'s fire as wounded Confederates were found in numbers at the houses on our way. The enemy's casualties in this fight were eight killed and thirty wounded; one Captain killed and Captain Foley mortally wounded. It didn't pay them.
At Blue Stone Creek the enemy made a stand which the Cavalry were unable to push on, but the Regiment soon dispersed them with little loss on either side. About sunset we came in sight of Princeton and found it in flames. The Confederate General with more enthusiasm than horse sense had set the fire. We hurried on to town and through streets with houses burning on either side, drove out the Confederates to the hillside beyond, and went into camp for the night - our Cavalry pushing on after the enemy, until dark put an end to pursuit. We had marched twenty-three miles, most of the time a running fight. Our troops saved several of the burning buildings.
1862. May 3rd. Camp No.5 at Princeton. We remained at this camp until May 6th. Here General Cox in command assembled an army with the intention of striking the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad at Newbern and destroying the extensive bridge over New River. His command consisted of two Brigades (6 Regiments) with eleven guns.
1862. May 6th. Colonel Hayes with five companies of the 23rd left camp and marched toward Giles Courthouse (Pearisburg). We met no enemy in force and entered the town late in the afternoon, having marched 28 miles. It was a beautiful village of some six hundred inhabitants. A few Confederate troops had occupied the town the day before, but had all gone toward the railroad. We were were now within twenty miles of the railroad.
1862. May 7th. The balance of the 23rd Regiment and several companies of Cavalry arrived today.
1862. May 8th. Our Cavalry scouted towards the railroad for eleven miles and found the enemy in force. Our supply train reached us today. Colonel Hayes knew we were in much danger being so far in advance of the main army and General Cox did not seem inclined to move his army on from Princeton to support us. Colonel Hayes had quartered his troops in the courthouse, each man lying by his rifle. The officers of Company "I" had taken their meals at a private house. The lady in charge said her husband was in the Confederate Army, and was at our front.
BATTLE OF PEARISBURG
1862. May 9th. Before daybreak we were all called to arms, as our outposts were being driven in. Without breakfast we formed line to the south of town and awaited results. About sunrise our Cavalry outpost came in, quickly followed by the Confederate troops on our front. Their battle line extended a long distance past our line, and a battery of Artillery opened on us. We later learned they had three regiments. Colonel Hayes took in the situation at once, and fell back to the north side of town, and opened fire on the enemy. (I hadn't time to go and pay my board bill. I owe it yet.) After a few minutes of contest, several of our men falling wounded, we, with considerable haste, but without losing our organization, fell back to a point where our one regiment could command the position. The pursuit stopped, as I suppose the Confederates had to receive the congratulations of their town friends. From here we marched back to the gorge of New River, where one regiment could hold a dozen. This point we held until night, the Confederates keeping up a desultory fire, and also shelling us from across the river, until our muskets soon put a stop to that. At 4 P.M. the 30th Regiment and McMullen's Battery joined us, but it was too late. If these reinforcements had reached us at Pearisburg our defeat would not have been so decisive, and better than that, if General Cox had moved with the same vigor that Colonel Hayes had displayed, we should have reached Newbern Bridge and destroyed it; thus much damaging the Confederate run-way between their army at Richmond, and their army in Tennessee. Cox was a gentle-mannered man, sometimes addressing his troops as "gentlemen". There were too many such men in high command, who had not one characteristic of a soldier. He lost four days at Princeton, and so lost the object of his campaign.
We left the narrows after dark, and fell back nine miles to a very strong position, to which point General Cox moved up his army.
Our loss in the Pearisburg fight was two killed and nine wounded; not as many as Botsford had lost out of his company at the log house on Flat Top Mountain. We were now shut up in this wilderness, where no supplies could be captured and were ninety miles from our steamboat landing on the Kanawha, and such scant supplies as we did receive were hauled in wagons over this mountain route. We had captured 300 barrels of flour at Pearisburg, but of course lost it. If General Cox had only pushed us on towards the railroad we could have subsisted on that rich country.
From now on for a few days Cox seemed to have only a waiting policy. It certainly was a waiting policy as to food as we were on half rations and less from May 10th to May 17th.
1862. May 16th. One Regiment, the 36th Ohio, had been left at Princeton to guard our rear and on this morning was attacked and driven toward Flat Top Mountain.
1862. May 17th. Two Regiments of Cox's army, the 28th and 37th Ohio, who were five miles nearer Princeton than we, marched during the previous night and attacked the enemy at Princeton at daylight and routed them in gallant style. These two Regiments lost 25 killed and 60 wounded. Early in the morning the 23rd Regiment, as well as the whole of Cox's command, abandoning our standing tents and much of our baggage, fell back to Princeton and next day to Flat Top Mountain and occupied our old Camp 4, from which we had marched sixteen days before "with our hearts just a-bumping". Now we were vexed, ill-natured and felt disgraced, all coming about because a gentle, mild-mannered gentleman had been made Brigadier General and put over us.
1862. May 26th. Our wounded had been left at Princeton on our disgraceful retreat and today they were all sent in to us on parole, numbering sixty.
1862. May 30th. Twenty-seven years old today.
I have spoken of the revolt at Camp Chase when our first muskets were given us. Today our new rifles have arrived. These were the old musket, rifled, having a raised sight and firing a conical bullet weighing one ounce. We feel very grand and now know the Confederates will have to look out.
1862. June 6th. Paymaster arrived and payed us for two months. Part of the 23rd Regiment was at Pack's Ferry on New River, Confederates frequently appearing on opposite bank and skirmishing.
1862. July 12th. Right wing of the 23rd Regiment stationed at Camp No.4 Flat Top Mountain changed camp to Green Meadows, very quiet in our camp. At Pack's Ferry there is much skirmishing with enemy across the river.
1862. August 7th. Heavy thunder-shower, and lightening struck stack of rifles at guard tent, exploding them all. The guards were somewhat shocked, but not dangerously hurt.
1862. August 9th. Was detailed on recruiting service, with Lieutenant Avery, to go to Ohio and open recruiting stations. My squad consisted of self, Sergeant E. A. Abbott and Private John R. Cowan. Left same day for Raleigh and proceeded as rapidly as possible by way of Fayetteville, Kanawha River, to Columbus, Ohio. This was my first leave and was glad it was duty which took me to Ohio. At Columbus I was allowed to select my own recruiting station, and I decided on Painesville, Ohio, near Willoughby. This work was hum-drum enough and it was almost impossible to secure recruits for an old regiment - new recruits preferring to go into the new regiments then forming, as there was some chance of securing positions as non-commissioned officers; at least they were all promised such positions. I had nothing to offer but private in rear rank. I was not at all successful as a recruiting officer. I was not happy and grieved for camp life.
To make my condition still worse, my Regiment together with all of General Cox's army were ordered to join the Army of Potomac. The command was now by general orders called The Kanawha Division. This Division reached Washington, August 25th, and participated in the many combats about Washington, and when General Lee invaded Maryland the command marched northward reaching Frederick City, Maryland, September 12th and drove the Confederate rear guard out of the city. If there ever was a Barbara Fritchie they saw her. On the 14th September [they] took part in the battle of South Mountain where Colonel Hayes received a wound in the arm. The 23rd made a bayonet charge, meeting (by coincidence) the 23rd North Carolina and fought it out at a stone wall, to the surrender of the enemy. Our 23rd loss was 33 killed and 105 wounded.
1862. Sept. 17th. The Regiment participated in the battle of Antietam being on our left wing at Antietam Bridge. During this battle the Kanawha Division was in Burnsides' Corps. As soon as I heard of the movement of my command toward the East, I sent in my application to be relieved and allowed to join my regiment. It was not granted and so I had to content myself as best I could. I always have felt somewhat disgraced and much grieved that my line of duty took me away from my command during these two great and glorious battles (South Mountain and Antietam).
My command remained with the Army of Potomac until October 8th, 1862, when they took up line of march for the Kanawha Valley. Went by cars to Clarksburg, West Virginia, then marched over the route followed in 1861, via Weston, Sutton, Summersville and Gauley Bridge - a very hard march as they encountered much rain and snow, had no tents, were almost shoeless and in rags. At the Kanawha Ferry (the Falls) the Regiment went into winter quarters, building log houses sufficient for all.
During all this fighting, marching and suffering, I had been snugly ensconced in my recruiting office, and living on the fat of the land. The last of September I moved my office to Cleveland, Ohio, and when there directly after Antietam, I had the pleasure of greeting many of my comrades, who had taken part in that campaign. One of them was Sergeant William McKinley, who for heroic conduct at Antietam Bridge had been posted for a 2nd Lieutenant's Commission, and given leave of absence. At Columbus he had been to the Governor's office and secured his commission. He then came to Cleveland, on his way home, and called on me. It took me but a few minutes to find that he had only money enough to buy a soldier's railway ticket to his home at Poland, Ohio. I said, "McKinley, how would you like to go home to your Mother in your second Lieutenant's uniform, with your sword by your side?" How his eyes sparkled when I said, "You ought to and shall. Stay with me two or three days, and I will fit you out". What a proud boy he was (then 19) when he first donned his uniform; I could not have enjoyed it more if I then had known he was later to become President of the United States. He was a very lovable boy, and in later years when we served together on the staff of General Hayes, occupying the same tent when we happened to have one, frequently sleeping under the same blanket, riding side by side day after day, week after week, and month after month, enduring every hardship known to a soldier's life, I grew to love him past all understanding, and do to this day(7). He always rode a little brown horse, and Webb C. Hayes, then an urchin of perhaps six years, used to call out to McKinley, "Hullo Billy McKinley on a bob-tail nag". Today,  Webb is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Philippines War.
When I was at home these recruiting days my mother made me a wonderfully long wool blanket or comfort. The ordinary army blanket would not begin to cover my feet and shoulders at the same time. As Doctor Webb used to say, "11 into 10 won't go". So a 5' 6" blanket wouldn't cover 6' 4". But my mother's blanket did more, covering feet and head with nose sticking out to breathe the night air.
I frequently sent in requests to be relieved from recruiting service. At Christmas I got my orders to join my regiment and found it at Gauley Bridge, in log houses. Each company had built six houses for the men and one for the officers, 70 in all. Colonel Hayes' house was a double log at one side of camp. Hayes was now a full Colonel. I received a most royal welcome from all. I had lived in comfort for the past four months and I had to break myself to hard bunks, camp food and habits.
I found the 12th Ohio was occupying our winter quarters at Fayetteville and another regiment was at Summersville, so we felt quite snug and safe from any disturbance from the enemy. The camp was located on Gauley River - the bank on one side and Cotton Mountain rising abruptly on the other. Steamboats could come to a point ten miles below so we felt we were almost in the swim of the world. Our log huts were very warm and comfortable and, barring nothing to do, we were well off.
Our Colonel Scammon, now Brigadier Scammon, had command of a Division scattered from Coalsmouth on the north to Fayetteville and Summersville on the south, extending over sixty miles. His headquarters were in Charleston on the Kanawha, a village before the war of some 1,000 inhabitants. Our camp was some thirty miles up river from Charleston. Cincinnati papers reached us one day old. Our sutler kept a good stock of supplies of food, so we did not suffer in that line. Guard duty was light and drill not fatiguing, so we felt that for winter quarters we were well off. Of course life was monotonous, but our line officers were very chummy, had no little mean jealousies, being much like brothers, while our Colonel Hayes held us in touch with him and his ways, the ways of a truly noble gentleman. I am very thankful my life at that age was thrown in such intimate contact with a man of his characteristics. We did though at times long to be on the move again.
I will quote from Sergeant Clugstone's diary to show how little of interest was going on.
1863. Jan. 15th. Rained from 4 P.M. to 3 A.M. No news.
1863. Jan. 16th. Cold strong wind. Received rations today.
1863. Jan. 17th. Freezing all day. The river continues to rise.
1863. Jan. 18th. Sunshine at 10 A.M. Stood picket guard on outpost.
1863. Jan. 19th. No news.
1863. Jan. 20th. Cold wind. Mr. Shutt started home.
1863. Jan. 21st. Cold, snowing, the river is falling.
1863. Jan. 22nd. Four rebel Cavalry wearing U.S. clothing entered Fayetteville and passed out without being recognized.
1863. Jan. 23rd. Pleasant and muddy, we have four prisoners in the guard house. Our mess bought cranberries, being a rare dish with us. We enjoyed it.
1863 . Jan. 24th. Mrs. Hayes and her two little sons arrived in Camp today. Weather pleasant but still muddy. (The two little sons were Birchard and Webb. They then were probably ten and eight years old.)
Mrs. Hayes' presence in camp was a new excitement. We had seen but little of her, but were very favorably impressed with her lady-like pleasant ways. That same evening the line officers, as was their duty, called upon the Colonel's wife, and her manner of receiving us made us feel very much at home. From then on we always spoke of her as though she belonged to the 23rd Regiment. A new recruit asked one morning, "Where is the woman who sews on buttons?" A mischievous soldier told him to go to that house at the end of the line and a woman there would do it. The sweet innocent carried his blouse to the Colonel's log house and when Mrs. Hayes answered his knock he asked if she was the woman who sewed on buttons for the regiment. Mrs. Hayes, taking in the situation at once, said, "I will be glad to do the work, leave it with me and I will see it is done". When he came for the blouse he blushed, stammered and apologized, trying to say how sorry he was. Mrs. Hayes said, "Oh, the boys are all the time trying to play tricks on us, but I don't think they have succeeded this time, do you?"
1863. Jan. 24th. Exchanged our old rifles for new Enfields. These were of English manufacture and the best rifle then made (though muzzle loaders and with percussion cap). The soldiers received them with much satisfaction. Before the close of the war in 1865, a few regiments of the U.S. Army were armed with a magazine rifle, but the large bulk had muzzle loaders. How would the soldier of today  with his repeating rifle, like to make as many motions as did the soldier from '61 to '65 to load his rifle - bring his rifle to the ground, reach to his right hip for one cartridge, insert it in the muzzle, draw ramrod, change ends and ram home the cartridge, throw the rifle to the left arm, pick a percussion cap from out of the cap box and put it on the nipple? All these movements must be gone through to load. The first firing was by volley but after that each man loaded and fired at will - some being much faster than others in loading, the lines were soon keeping up a continuous rattling fire. I think we wounded and killed a larger per cent than now with the rapid fire rifle, because the two lines were much closer. The other side were armed with these same rifles so things were equal.
1863. Feb 12th. Paymaster paid us for six months' service. The month of February dragged on with great monotony, one day like another with no variation, except when called upon for guard duty. I wished the Confederates would make such a move as would take us on the march, even though it was winter weather. We couldn't even go down to Charleston without a pass from General Scammon's headquarters. Our Colonel's pass would not answer. But an unexpected change came for me about the first of March. Lieutenant John S. Ellen, an old Union Saver, was now Quartermaster of the 23rd Regiment, thus having charge of the supplies for the Regiment. His duties required he should go occasionally to Charleston. He said, "If you will go to Charleston with me I will furnish a horse to ride, we will go to Loup Creek 10 miles by horseback, thence by boat to Charleston". Colonel Hayes said I had his verbal permission, but I must take my chances at Charleston. If General Scammon found I was there I might have to suffer a reprimand or a light court-martial. I was so terribly hungry for a change I took the risk and went to Charleston, stayed over night and was preparing to take boat to return, when our Captain Botsford (the Clark Hollow hero), now on General Scammon's staff as Adjutant General, came to me and with a very solemn face and tone of voice said General Scammon had sent for me to come to headquarters. My heart went down to my boots and I expected the worst, for the General's orders about officers going to Charleston without permission was instantly in my mind. I followed Captain Botsford (Captain Jim) feeling sad enough. Before we reached headquarters the Captain said, "You needn't look so solemn, I will tell you something. The General caught sight of you yesterday on the street and asked, 'Who is that tall officer in that regulation overcoat?' and I had to tell him it was you." That didn't help me much, but the Captain went on to say, "The General wants you to go on to his staff as Aide-de-Camp" - Whew! how my spirits rose. The General greeted me in the most effusive way, told me what he wanted, said I need not return to my regiment, that he would issue an order at once and turning to Captain Botsford directed him to make the order, detailing me as chief aide-de-camp, and to write to Colonel Hayes of my seizure. Captain Jim and I went to the office and the order was made. As he handed it to me he said, "thus much for a swagger overcoat." During my recruiting service, I had been awfully extravagant and bought an elegant regulation overcoat, costing one hundred dollars. It was the only one in the 23rd Regiment and almost in the Division, the officers generally wearing the private's coat of sky blue.
Now there are two things my children must refrain from doing - never disobey an order and never dress extravagantly. When I courted your Mother at the Executive Mansion in Washington and was accepted, she claimed it was the Rockford overcoat that won her.