THE CIVIL WAR MEMOIR OF RUSSELL HASTINGS
March 1st, 1863 to April 8th, 1864
I had now arrived at the position much desired and sought for in the subaltern's army life, a position on the staff either Regimental, Brigade, Division or Corps, the higher the better. I had by one jump stepped from 1st Lieutenant in an Infantry Regiment to the position of Chief Aide-de-Camp, on a Division Staff. General Scammon had command of the Kanawha Division and District, with his Corps Commander (General Kelley) at Cumberland, Maryland, a hundred miles away; so he was practically master of all he surveyed.
Now I had no longer to go on guard duty or march on foot, and had two horses and an orderly at my beck and call. Just now we were located in a private house in Charleston, took table board at a hotel and had all the comforts of home life. The Division Staff, some ten in number, were generally good fellows, and life went on rather pleasantly. Of course, if the General so willed he could send me back to my regiment, to guard duty and going a-foot, but for some reason he seemed to like me and kept me mighty close to him. In such quiet winter quarter times as now the duties of an aide were merely nominal, with no fixed work to perform - as had the Adjutant-General, Quartermaster and Commissary. An aide only comes to specific duties during a campaign, especially in time of battle, carrying orders all over the field.
My General was passionately fond of card-playing especially cribbage, so each morning and afternoon I played with him, but when evening came I was relieved and a four hundred game was made up, by other members of the staff, and I was allowed to go off on a lark, not to be called upon duty until next morning. My chums then were Lieutenant Millward of 34th Ohio, Aide with me on the Staff, and Lieutenant William McKinley, 23rd Ohio, on Colonel R. B. Hayes' Brigade Staff. Willie Nillie we had the entrÁe to the houses of the aristocracy of the town, so each evening we were out somewhere. My General always desired to know where I had been the night before and he usually remarked, "much less danger in such associations, but I trust you are always discreet in any conversation you may have had on military subjects."
1863. March 15th. The 23rd Regiment had orders to vacate their warm log house quarters at Gauley Bridge and come to Charleston. They arrived today by boat and went into camp across the river from Charleston. The change was fearful as the regiment had to go into tents with no opportunity for fires. Many had severe colds and there were several cases of pneumonia. Colonel and Mrs. Hayes took possession of a frame house close by the camp. Hayes now commanded a Brigade consisting of the 23rd Ohio Infantry, 5th West Virginia and 13th West Virginia and McMullen's Battery. This Brigade was stationed over a large area of country, the 23rd at Charleston, 5th at Big Sandy and 13th on Coal River.
I was delighted to have my regiment in such close touch. Colonel Hayes directed that a saw mill close by should be seized, repaired and that the regiment should cut trees, haul logs to the mill, saw them into boards and put up paddy shanties for the 23rd. All this work was done entirely by the regiment and in a few days the boys were comfortably housed. Other regiments shivered and suffered on, not being guided by a wise, sensible hand. This was the second winter quarters the 23rd had built this winter, and at any moment they might be ordered to abandon this new camp as they had the one at Gauley Bridge. If it should not long benefit them it might some other regiment. Such was the spirit that directed Colonel Hayes, and such labor kept the men employed, strengthened both mind and body, and gave them some object in life, and in the end made them comfortable. After this began the work of elaborate forts on the hills surrounding Charleston.
1863. March 30th. Reports came in to Division headquarters that our out-station at Hurricane Bridge on the Coal River in charge of four companies of the 13th West Virginia was attacked. We had three killed, six wounded. Four hundred Confederate Cavalry crossed the Kanawha River at Red House, twelve miles below Charleston, and Point Pleasant on the Ohio River at the at the mouth of the Kanawha was attacked and our troops driven out. This was getting serious as the Confederates in strong force, were between us and the source of our supplies. Five companies of the 23rd under Lieutenant Colonel Comly were sent out to meet them, going by steamboat to Coals Mouth, thence scouting westward toward Hurricane Bridge, and had a little brush with the enemy. This Confederate raid cost us 5 killed and six wounded. The Confederate loss was 14 killed, 20 wounded and 16 prisoners. If I had been with my regiments I would have taken part in the raid, but being on staff duty remained at Charleston awaiting results.
1863. April 20th. It was reported to Division headquarters that a Brigade of Confederate troops were at Shady Springs, our old camp on Flat Top Mountain in 1862. Sufficient troops were at Fayetteville to watch them.
1863. May 10th. The Confederates all along the line of our out-posts seem to have begun spring operations; - telegraph line cut between here and the mouth of the Kanawha River. A supply train of 30 wagons and ten Cavalry were captured yesterday between Gauley Bridge and Summersville. Our men were kept under arms and five companies of the 23rd moved across the river into Charleston, and thence on up the Elk River several miles. Every precaution was taken to prevent surprise.
1823. May 20th. A small gunboat came up the Kanawha and went on to Camp Piatt, four miles above. Three pieces of artillery arrived and were placed in the fort on the west bank of the river. A skirmish occurred at Fayetteville - unimportant results. Being at headquarters, all these items from our out-posts came to be known by me.
1863. June 1st. The routine of duty for a regiment was issued by General Order from Division headquarters:-
Reveille - 5:30 A.M.
Sick Call - 8
Fatigue Call - 8
Guard Mount - 8.30
Battalion Drill - 9 to 11
Dinner Call - 12
Fatigue Call - 1 P.M.
Drill - 3 to 4
Dress Parade - 5:30
Tattoo - 8:30
Taps - 9
So the boys were kept busy
1863. June 3rd. Paymaster again appeared and was greeted with the usual hilarity - never tired of seeing the paymaster (this time it was General B. R. Cowan).
1863. June 10th. Mrs. Scammon and her daughter Miss Maggie arrived. This stirs up headquarters somewhat, and we burnish our buttons and dust our clothes.
1863. June 11th. Twelve hundred horses arrive to mount the 34th Ohio Infantry, to serve as mounted Infantry. Out of this lot I selected a nervous black, whose business seemed to be to stand on his hind legs. I didn't keep him long, but made an exchange for Old Whitey, whom I rode during the war. After the close of the war he was brought to Fremont, Ohio, the home of General Hayes, and there lived in clover until he died a natural death. I have placed a glacial boulder over his grave, on which is inscribed:
A Hero of Nineteen Battles
1861 - 1865
1863. June 12th. General Scammon having set the style of having his wife in camp, we concluded he contemplated no move was to be made in the near future, so many officers sent for their wives and I invited my sister Mary to come and visit me. I changed my place of taking meals to a boarding house where she could have a good room. Some twenty-five or thirty ladies now assembled in Charleston and a jolly time we had - dinners in camp ¿ la tin plate, pick nicks, riding parties, etc. General Scammon would frequently attend the dress parade of the 23rd Regiment, as a visitor, with his wife and daughter and some of the staff ladies (a grand cavalcade).
You will no doubt think such days hardly meet for times of war, but the enemy were strangely quiet on our front and General Scammon had orders to remain quiet and keep watch that no raid should be made from our front to Ohio. Sergeant Clugstone says, "everything in 23rd Camp was so quiet that resort was made to all means to kill time". Prisoners now did the work on forts, drill was not so frequent and we descended so low as to have cock fights. It was full time that we should feel the pressure of an enemy in our front.
1863. July 2nd. Confederates began to assemble on our front at Flat Top Mountain, in considerable numbers. Colonel Hayes with his brigade, 23rd Ohio, 5th and 13th West Virginia, moved to Gauley Bridge, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and had a scrub fight at Piney Creek, six miles beyond Raleigh - slight loss on either side. General Scammon and staff remained at Charleston. The ladies were now ordered home as times were getting a little lively.
1863. July 4th. Heard of the capture of Vicksburg by General Grant - much rejoicing on our part.
1863. July 17th. The Confederate General Morgan had assembled in Tennessee, four thousand picked Cavalry, and quickly raiding through Kentucky, crossed the Ohio River into Indiana below Louisville. His movements had been so rapid that no Union troops could be assembled to meet him at the point of crossing. From Indiana he moved eastward, passing into Ohio only a few miles north of Cincinnati, meeting no force to oppose him, except some Infantry home guards. He could easily ride away from them or disperse them by skirmish. Cincinnati was in a tremor and each village through which he passed suffered from the looting by his troops.
While Colonel Hayes was with his Brigade on his movement toward Flat Top Mountain, news came to Division headquarters that it seemed probable General Morgan would continue his raid eastward through Ohio and probably attempt to cross the Ohio at Pomeroy and regain the Southern line. Colonel Hayes with his Brigade, being some ninety miles south of Charleston, was directed to move toward Charleston as rapidly as possible. Other troops were left to watch the enemy at Flat Top while Hayes moved his brigade by forced marches to the Kanawha River.
1863. July 17th. By almost super-human efforts Colonel Hayes with his Brigade, the 23rd Ohio, 5th and 13th West Va., reached Loup Creek, landing above Charleston this morning and embarking on steamboats made ready for him, reached Charleston at 4 P.M. Here General Scammon and staff, with a company of Cavalry upon another steamboat, joined the fleet and all steamed away down the river to Gallipolis, which was reached at 2 A.M. Here it was learned that General Morgan was raiding eastward through Ohio and would probably strike the Ohio River at Pomeroy. We also learned that some of our regular Cavalry under General Judah was following in Morgan's rear and pushing him hard.
Our fleet turned its way up the river and reached Pomeroy next morning at 8 A.M. Morgan's Cavalry was reported approaching town, not many miles away. The Brigade disembarked and moved to the hills back of town, formed line and awaited Morgan's Cavalry. Early in the afternoon his advance appeared in sight. He made every disposition of his troops to attack us. His method of attack was to dismount his men and attack as Infantry. Morgan thought the troops before him were home guards, and that he soon would make quick work in dispensing them.
General Scammon kept his troops quiet and as much under control as possible, hoping Morgan would dismount and form most of his troops in line and our sudden attack would surprise and thus make capture possible. The Confederates opened upon us with shell (we had no cannon) and began an advance. Now we began firing and advancing, but at sight of our well ordered line, the Confederates halted, hesitated, broke and ran; gaining their horses they mounted and rode away. They now knew they had met the regular troops and "skeddadled" for the next ford of the Ohio, at Buffington Island. The loss was very slight on both sides as we did not get close enough for effective work.
To Buffington Island by land was some twenty miles, while by boat was nearly fifty, as the Ohio from Pomeroy up makes a big sweep. Now began the race of steamboat for fifty miles against horses for twenty. Rushing back to our boats on the double-quick we were all too slowly aboard and steaming up the river. The river was at a low stage, and the night being very dark we frequently ran aground, which delayed us very much, but at daybreak, 1863, Sunday July 19th, Buffington Island was in view and to our chagrin found the Confederates crossing. One Regiment, 5th West Virginia, was landed on the West Virginia bank and soon put a stop to the crossing. (About one hundred had already crossed). The other regiments were landed on the Ohio side. At sun-up we heard firing on the Confederate rear, which we knew meant that our General Judah with his regular Cavalry had caught up and was attacking. In the meantime our two regiments of Infantry on the Ohio side began the attack, and in a few moments the Confederates broke up into small squads, and scattered through the country. We captured several hundred on the battlefield, but General Morgan with a few of his troops kept on up the Ohio. By this time, after two weeks of raiding, the Confederates were badly demoralized and utterly exhausted from hard work and loss of sleep, and as they broke into squads they were ready to surrender. Our Sergeant Clugston with six of his comrades wandered into the country foraging for chickens and good
things and ran upon one of these squads. They were camped in a deep gully, sleeping away the day. Clugstone's men opened fire on them when up went a white flag, and an officer came out to parley. The first question asked was, "Are you Militia?". When told not, then he said, "I want to surrender". It was a proud Sergeant who marched these 145 men into camp. Part of our fleet continue on up the river patrolling the different fords as far up as Parkersburg. Some few of the Confederates crossed at each ford, but General Morgan, with a small squad of his men was driven on by our Cavalry until he reached Columbia County, Ohio, where he finally surrendered to "the Militia". A bitter pill for him. Thus ended "The great Morgan Raid". Nothing was accomplished, and the Confederates lost nearly four thousand of their best Cavalry and their leader was in prison, at the Ohio penitentiary at Columbus, Ohio. The loss on our side -- our Brigade - was very small indeed.
Now I had seen my first staff duty in battle and enjoyed it much better than being on foot in the ranks. General Scammon praised me for my efficiency and I felt some emotions just above the belt. Our fleet and brigade were now scattered up and down the Ohio River from Parkersburg to Gallipolis, Ohio. Assembling them by degrees with orders for each boat to return to Charleston, General Scammon and staff turned homeward.
1863. July 22nd. Reached Charleston this morning and resumed our usual camp duties. Now we wished the ladies were here again.
1863. July 27th. While we were after Morgan, General Scammon had ordered an advance movement from our front southward, and the 34th Mounted Infantry and 2nd West Virginia Cavalry (Union) moved as far south as Wytheville Wythe County, on the Virginia ard Tennessee Railway, and after a severe engagement, took the place and destroyed much of the railroad and many stations and bridges. This was a counter stroke to the Morgan raid and was the first time our troops had reached the Virginia and Tennessee Railway; Colonel Powell commanding our force received much credit for it. The Colonel was severely wounded, reported killed, but he recovered with the loss of one eye.
1863. August 1st. Paymaster paid us for two months. Confederates attacked Fayetteville. The 12th and 91st Ohio soon drove them back. Several prisoners were taken.
1863. August 8th. Received my commission as Captain 23rd O.V.I. Now I expected to be ordered back to my regiment to take command of my Company "C", but General Scammon requested my retention on his staff, and Colonel Comly in command of the Regiment granted the request. It was entirely against custom for a Captain to be away from his Company on detached service, but an exception was made in my case. I liked the staff service best and was glad enough to be detached.
1863. September 30th. The U.S. Government, plainly seeing the war would continue far beyond the enlistment of the three years men, issued an order allowing these men to re-enlist at any time "for the war", offering four hundred dollars bounty to each re-enlisted man and thirty days furlough immediately on re-enlistment. The three years enlistment of the 23rd Regiment would not expire until June 11th, 1864. Men were constantly re-enlisting and taking their furloughs during the following fall and winter
1863. October 2nd. By order from the War Department, deserters from the Confederate Army were allowed to enlist in the Union Army. Some ten or fifteen had enlisted in the 23rd Regiment. This morning it was found five had deserted, taking rifle and equipment with them. I speak of this as one of these five made considerable history for the 23rd, and also much annoyed General Hayes after he was nominated for President in 1876. I shall write of this later on.
We felt all through the past summer that we were not doing our share of hard work for maintaining the Union; but what could we do more than we had done? By chance we were in service in this mountainous region, having watch and ward from the Kentucky line on the West to the Peaks of the Allegheny on the East. This we did well as no raider passed our line and entered Ohio, and we helped destroy Morgan's command, which had crossed the Ohio River below Louisville. General Scammon was very watchful and alert, kept in close touch with his troops on his numerous out-posts, and there was no attempted raid that he did not frustrate. His troops were constantly skirmishing, sometimes amounting to a little battle, and the number of prisoners brought in during the summer was very large, the percentage being larger than with the Army of the Potomac. These prisoners were all sent on to the rear, being imprisoned on Johnson's Island in Lake Erie, just off Sandusky, Ohio.
The only busy officers of our staff were the Quartermaster and Commissary. It caused more labor and watchfulness to care for and provision the many outposts, miles apart and away, than to have cared for ten times as many troops in one close and compact army.
So long as Mrs. Scammon was in Camp, and she was there much of the summer and fall, my duties were nil. During this period of inaction McKinley and I became much interested in the young ladies of Charleston and surrounding country. At Malden, five miles above, our horses (caparisoned steeds) were frequently seen at the door of a wealthy salt maker's house. It was dangerous to be so far away from camp without a guard, as the people of Malden were all Confederate sympathizers; some having relatives in the Southern Army. We were always gladly received in our many calls, and were really never suspicious of any collusion with their Confederate Army friends. We were very careful to instruct our orderlies as they held our horses, never to go away from the front gate, never to dismount, to be alert, and to alarm us in haste if anything suspicious should occur. The young ladies of this household frequently visited a married sister in Charleston and as the summer wore on we became quite chummy (Platonic). This married sister was occupying a beautiful house owned by a somewhat noted Confederate who early in the war had taken his slaves and gone south. General Scammon hearing of commodious house thought best to occupy it as headquarters and issued an order to that effect. It was not a pleasant duty for me to execute, to inform Mrs. ... (I forget her name) of the needs of General Scammon. When we moved in I asked the old negro mammy which was Miss Mary's room. I seized that one and stood guard over it, until the other members of the staff made their selection. The romance of this whole story is that when we abandoned the house, one of the pillows, which had so often pressed the cheek of Miss Mary found its way into my luggage, and I carried it all through the campaigning of the war and have it yet. When I tell you that two of the Staff married Southern girls when in Charleston, you will at once jump to the conclusion that your mother and grandmother might have been some one else.
Another little incident and I will stop romancing. I had charge of the telegraphic cipher code, as well as all captured mail. A mail was frequently sent out by flag of truce merely to accommodate those citizens having relatives in the South, and flags of truce sometimes brought in a mail. This mail, both going and coming back, had to be censored, and it was my duty to attend to this. Sympathizers much preferred an illicit mail which frequently went and came. This letter censoring was both amusing and instructive. An illicit outward bound mail was captured and brought to me. In it unfortunately was a letter written by a young lady who was granddaughter of my landlord where I took my meals. I sat at the same table with her three times a day. This letter was full of military information of value to the enemy. I felt it my duty to show this to General Scammon. He said, "If this young lady is so fond of giving information to our enemy, it will be best to send her over the line, and she can tell all she knows by word of mouth. Inform her Grandfather that a squad of Cavalry will be at his door at ten A.M. tomorrow to escort this young lady under flag of truce over the line". Then followed a tearful time. The result of the whole affair was, the escort was promptly at the door, a last personal appeal by the grandfather and young lady to General Scammon, and the edict, "Go and sin no more". She was but eighteen years old and did not appreciate the magnitude of her offence until this crash came. Other citizens, no doubt, after this, abstained from using the illicit mail.
1863. November 20th. General Scammon and Mrs. Scammon left Charleston for home. I accompanied them going to Yellow Springs, Ohio, and became their guest. General Rosecrans' family also lived there, and the few days I remained had a fairly good time. We had many horse back parties, and we young folks scouted the country. I rode General Rosecrans' war horse. From here I went home to Willoughby, staying a few days, then joined General Scammon and returned to Charleston. I found at Willoughby I was still Russ. Hastings.
1863. December 8th. Now came an order from Corps headquarters at Cumberland, Maryland, to make a winter raid southward, more as a feint to cover another movement than for actual attack. The command consisted of Colonel Hayes' Brigade of Infantry, one Battery and two regiments of Cavalry. This Cavalry was commanded by a little Frenchman, General Duffie, an adventurer, whom the War Department had seen fit to send us, with his head full of European tactics as useful in these mountains as a popgun for war. What a rascal he was!
1863. December 9th. General Scammon with his staff and Cavalry escort left Charleston and camped that night in tents just above Malden (I saw the salt maker's daughter for a moment).
1863. December 10th. General Scammon with troops moving slowly. The enemy no doubt knows of the movement by this time, but which side of New River the expedition will take he knows not. Camped that night in house by Gauley Falls. General Scammon and staff were halted at our outpost near the Falls, just after sundown, by a sentinel who demanded the countersign. Our Adjutant-General, Captain Botsford, who issued the countersign for that day, had omitted to give it to us, so here we were in a pickle. I advanced to the sentinel, it still being light enough to distinctly see me and tried to reason with him. He admitted he knew me "but you haven't the countersign". Very well, I said, will you send in to your commanding officer and state that General Scammon is waiting at the outpost. We waited until Botsford came up when he gave the countersign and we moved on. General Scammon complimented the sentinel, but said, "It has been very inconvenient this time". No doubt this man has many times [told] this tale of how he stopped the Commanding General at the picket post.
1863. December 11th. At the Falls the ways part, one way, by crossing the Kanawha River we would go south on the west bank of the New River, and the other, by crossing the Gauley River we would go south on the east bank of the New River. When we took our line of march this morning we crossed the Gauley and then the Confederate spy who was constantly watching our every movement, carried the news to the enemy's advanced posts. On we marched up the Gauley Mountain past Camp Ewing where we suffered so from typhoid in 1861, and went into camp at Little Sewell, 24 miles march. A raging snowstorm had now come on and snow fell to a depth of six inches. Tent work was not much to our taste and we all suffered severely.
1863. December 12th. Our Cavalry had gone much faster than the Infantry and camped last night within six miles of Lewisburg, Greenbrier County. We pushed on through the snow and reached Lewisburg about sundown, to find our Cavalry had driven out of Lewisburg a regiment of Infantry and a body of Cavalry who were in winter camp there. The command went into camp but General Scammon and staff took possession of the village inn. The Confederates had got over the silly manner of burning villages on our approach. General Scammon had now advanced as far as General Kelley, his Corps Commander, had directed. Our Cavalry under General Duffie had gone on as far as White Sulphur Springs.
1863. December 13th. This day and night was spent in Lewisburg, the troops almost frozen. Our Cavalry returned reporting the enemy had disappeared, except a strong rear guard. Our supply train was stalled in the snow on Big Sewell Mountain.
1863. December 14th. The object of the advance now having been accomplished and the troops needing food, the return march was taken up toward our stalled supply train. Little had been accomplished, but I suppose all was done that General Kelley expected. The Cavalry lost a few wounded, but the Infantry did not see or hear a shot fired at the enemy. We had marched over 80 miles in midwinter for what we never really knew. And now we must march back again. Such foolish movements were frequently made by Generals like Kelley. Camped at night on Big Sewell Mountain. Whew! But wasn't it fearfully cold:- said to have been near zero.
1863. December 15th. Today we just scrambled on toward home. As we marched down the mountain the snow gradually disappeared and at night we were in the Kanawha Valley where the temperature was much higher.
1863. December 16th. General Scammon and Staff with Colonel Hayes and Staff left the troops and hurrying on to Loup Creek took steamer and reached Charleston that night. The troops came in next day by steamboat, much battered and worn and almost barefooted, and it was many days before they gained their usual robust condition.
1864. January 26th. An order had come from Corps headquarters (General Kelley at Cumberland, Maryland) for General Scammon to report there for a conference. Plans for the spring campaign must be talked over, and much that could not be trusted to the mail or telegraph. Who of his staff would accompany him? The Adjutant General, Captain Botsford, had gone on his wedding journey, and I was in charge of the Adjutant office. How delighted I was to be informed that I would be left in charge of the office, while Lieutenant Millward, Captain Pinkard, Quartermaster, and Colonel Jones, Inspector-General, would go with him. They left by one of our little Kanawha River stern wheel boats. The only cloud in my sky now was, that the command of the Division fell upon the little despicable French General Duffie. How I hated him. If only the command could devolve upon Colonel Hayes, whom I reverenced and worshiped, but army regulations prevented, so I made the best of it. I had no trouble with the little Frenchman but came very near it several times. General Scammon telegraphed of his safe arrival at Cumberland and later of his contemplated return.
1864. February 3rd. A telegraph report came that General Scammon had been captured at Red House landing on the Kanawha. The boat on which he was a passenger had tied to the shore waiting daylight before running up the chute. The steamboat captain had neglected to inform the General of this act, otherwise some action would have been taken to keep a soldier guard. No regular guard was on board, only soldiers returning from furlough without arms. When steaming in mid-river they were comparatively safe, but being tied to the wharf a prowling squad of Confederate Cavalry stole aboard and captured boat and all. No resistance could be made as everybody was asleep and anyhow were without arms. The report did not reach headquarters until late in the forenoon after the boat had been burned and the Confederates were off with their prisoners and booty. General Scammon, Lieutenant Millward, Captain Pinkard and Lieutenant Lyon of the 23rd were captured and carried away. The Quartermaster, Captain Pinkard, had considerable money in his possession, said to have been one hundred thousand dollars. Imagine the excitement at headquarters! Squads of Cavalry were sent in all directions and all outposts directed to send out scouting parties, but all without avail.
The capturing party took to the woods, never traveling by road and, always being in a friendly country, escaped. Lieutenant Millward, after his return from captivity, told me they often saw our squads, from hill tops, but a revolver at their heads prevented calling for help. General Scammon and party were sent to Richmond and from there to Charleston, South Carolina, and were placed in the lower end of the city under fire from our big guns in the fleet. There they remained for months receiving no damage whatever. All of which shows how little damage big guns do on land. (Big noise, that's all). The busy little humming bullet does the work.
Well, at Charleston, West Virginia, there was a pretty kettle of fish. The Division was in command of the crazy French adventurer General Duffie. I was in a very unpleasant situation. General Duffie had his own Brigade staff and at once began to re-organize the Division Staff. He politely requested me to remain as Adjutant-General, but I asked for time for consideration. General Scammon might be recaptured and I much preferred to be with him on his return. Mrs. Scammon was anxious to know every detail of the capture and importuned me to go to her.
1864. February 7th. I now took my thirty days of Veteran leave on re-enlisting for the War, and carrying General Scammon's effects to his home, told Mrs. Scammon the whole tale, and went on home to Willoughby. I had a very pleasant visit with my mother and sisters, but was ready to return to camp when my thirty days leave had expired.
1864. April 8th. Reached camp and reported for duty to my Company "C" in the 23rd. It now seemed that I was to go afoot for a while, but General Crook who had relieved General Duffie, was re-organizing the "Army of West Virginia", as we were now named, having two Division of troops (6 Brigades). He placed Colonel Hayes in command of one of these Brigades. As soon as I arrived Colonel Hayes placed me on his Brigade staff as Inspector General(17) Now I got back my Old Whitey horse, and felt better. I can assure you that my appointment this time on the staff was not due to the extravagant overcoat.
April 8th, 1864 to May 30th, 1864
CLOYD'S MOUNTAIN AND NEWBERN BRIDGE - 281 Miles
1864. April 8th. General George Crook, who had taken General Scammon's place and relieved General Duffie, was a West Point graduate who had served in the Regular Army until the war broke out, when he was made Colonel of the 36th O.V.I. He served with us in the fall campaign of 1861 and then went to the Army of the Tennessee [Army of the Cumberland], returning to West Va. after two years of service. We knew enough of him at this time to have great respect for his military ability, but with a few months campaigning in his command we grew to love him, having every confidence in him as a commander. I should have been glad to serve on his staff, yet I was content and more than content to serve on the staff of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, a man I almost worshipped; and what I am in life, is largely due to my intimate association with him. As Inspector-General on his staff, with his Brigade (23rd and 36th Ohio and 5th and 13th West Virginia) scattered from Charleston to Guyandotte near the Ohio, I had to journey to these different posts to inspect the troops, but this was not for long, as Hayes' Adjutant-General, Captain Avery, was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of a new Ohio regiment, and then I took position and served as Adjutant-General. This brought me in closer touch with Colonel Hayes.
Lieutenant William McKinley was now serving as aide-de-camp on Hayes' staff and we again became bunkies.
CAMPAIGN OF 1864
In the Spring of 1864, the Department of West Virginia was re-organized under command of General Franz Sigel and his Department extended from the Blue Ridge on the east to the Kentucky line on the west. General Sigel's headquarters was in the Shenandoah and he had with him about 8,000 troops. His western command was in the Kanawha Valley and was commanded by General George Crook, and at that time was called
"The Kanawha Division."
The Kanawha Valley Troops were as follows:
General George Crook, Commanding.
Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, commanding.
23rd and 36th Ohio, and 5th and 13th West Virginia.
Colonel C. B. White, commanding.
12th and 91st Ohio and 9th and 14th West Virginia.
Colonel Sickel, commanding
3rd and 4th Penn., and 11th and 15th West Virginia.
With two Batteries of Artillery the foregoing numbered about 6, 000.
To this was temporarily attached a mixed lot of mounted Infantry and Cavalry with a battery of Artillery, numbering some 2,000 commanded by General Averell.
The full staff of Colonel Hayes was at this time as follows:
Captain Russell Hastings - Adjutant-General
Lieutenant William McKinley - Aide-de-Camp
Lieutenant O. J. Wood - Aide-de-Camp
Lieutenant J. H. De Lay - Quartermaster-Commissary
We were a happy military family, with one of the bravest and most gallant officers of the army as our head, a man in whom we had implicit trust, feeling that whatever he ordered to be done could be done, and it was our greatest pleasure to do our part. This implicit trust in the man extended down through the Brigade, the different regiments constituting it, and thence on down to the shortest man in the rear rank. We all knew no foolish movement would be ordered, no useless sacrifice of life would ensue, but we knew that to carry out Rutherford B. Hayes' orders, there would be many a bloody clash of arms and many of us might go down. But wherever we were, our leader was a leader in the full acceptance of the term, and we always found him well to the front, with the orders, "Come on boys" not "Go on boys". We had marched and counter- marched over the Allegheny Mountains until we were toughened in foot, limb and back, could march from thirty to thirty-five miles a day, and come into camp at night as fresh as a society belle.
When General Crook assumed command in the spring of 1864 the secret planning of campaigns for the coming summer was all in the direction of the Virginia and Tennessee Railway, with Newbern Bridge as the objective point. As the spring opened and the roads were becoming settled there were symptoms of an approaching advance; mules and wagons began to arrive on each steamboat from below; rations for man and beast and ammunition were received in large quantities. The army could always read the future work before them by such conditions as these, and we all knew we would soon be on the march somewhere. We little cared where, as we were tired enough of winter quarters and were anxious to be up and doing.
1864. April 29th. When the First Brigade formed line this morning preparatory to taking up the march a more joyous set of boys were never known. Cheer after cheer went up and when Colonel Hayes with his Staff took his position at the head of the column and the band struck up "Dixie" all our hearts were stirred to their depths. But many a heart with us that morning within a few days ceased to beat, either on the skirmish or in bloody battle.
Our line of march was up the Kanawha River on the west bank, making short easy marches, to allow the men to become inured to the work before them, of much tramping. We made fourteen miles and went into Camp at Fields Creek. Our transportation was much cut down, only one wagon to a regiment being allowed - this to carry the company officers' mess chests and small allowance of luggage. The men carried their own, with two or three days' rations. They had no tents, and didn't want them on such a campaign. One wagon was allowed for Brigade headquarters, and Hayes had a tent and his Staff two, McKinley and I had one between us.
1864. April 30th. Marched thirteen miles to Cannelton.
1864. May 1st. Marched nine miles to Gauley Falls and our winter camp of '62-'63. Thus far our march had been one continuous holiday. The Spring vegetation was well started, trees in partial leaf and the redbud in bloom.
1864. May 2nd. Up to this date we had no definite idea where our objective point was, but this morning when the column turned its head to the gorge leading up Cotton Mountain all knew that Newbern Bridge was to be burned and the Virginia and Tennessee Railway destroyed.
Colonel Hayes seemed elated and happy, turning to me he said, "at last our work begins and with General Crook to lead us we shall surely win". Our Commander now began to "push" us by more rapid marching, giving regular "resting spells". The orders were to march fifty minutes and rest ten, and the men, without breaking rank, dropped to the ground on the grass by the roadside and there rested until the bugle sounded the onward march. By this methodical way, adopted by General Crook, we were able to make long marches with much less fatigue. A cold rain storm came on as we were marching up the mountain, which in the afternoon turned to sleet, and at night into snow. This day's march took us through Fayetteville, where we had spent the winter of 1861-62 and thence on four miles on the Raleigh pike, making seventeen miles for the day. Snow was falling as we made camp and a dreary night it was after our comfortable quarters at Charleston; but soldiers make the best of all things and soon camp fires were lighted, supper being cooked, jolly talk and rollicking fun going on.
1864. May 3rd. My duties as Adjutant-General required that I should be one of the first up in the morning and as I looked out of my tent this snowy morning I could only see stacks of rifles where the regiment had placed them the night before, and innumerable hillocks of snow, each hillock representing a soldier soundly and warmly sleeping rolled in a blanket. At the first tap of reveille these hillocks suddenly turned into a living army. Oh, that we now could sound the bugle over the camping ground of our dead and see that grand army arise from their grassy hillocks and commence the duties of the day. As we marched out of camp this morning there was not among the men that rollicking humor of the previous day. The snow lay upon the ground some three or four inches deep, wet, slushy snow, making the marching hard enough for the head of the column, but after several thousand men and some cavalry had tramped upon this damp snow the mud pudding thus formed was not a choice place for a morning's walk. Our column consisting of Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery and the wagon train, when well closed up, covered about three miles of the roadway, and as only the roadway was available in this mountainous country, your sympathy should go out toward the infantry guard of the wagon train. General Crook joined the column today. Marched fourteen miles and camped on Raleigh pike.
1864. May 4th. Better roads today, and our line of march took us through Raleigh where we spent the last months of the winter of 1861-62, passing the log house I then occupied, and reminded me of the many scouting parties I commanded that winter two years before, when I was learning to be a soldier. Marched fifteen miles and camped at Princes, four miles south of Raleigh.
General Crook had ordered General Averell with his Cavalry, about two thousand in number, to move from Charleston by way of the counties of Logan, Wyoming and Tazewell, some distance to the west of us, and strike the Virginia and Tennessee Railway at Wytheville. The Cavalry with our column (some 400 under Colonel Oley) was kept well to our front, so the enemy were completely deceived as to where the main column was. This plan of advance directed by General Crook, left the enemy uncertain where to concentrate his troops to meet us, but he made a square guess that the bridge was in danger, but made no attempt to hinder either column far away from the railway.
1864. May 5th. Marched today twenty-five miles over Flat Top Mountain, our old camping and tramping ground. The road was somewhat blocked by fallen trees, but the infantry scrambled over these and left the pioneer squad to clear the road for the Artillery and wagon train(l0). Our only supply train with ten days ration for men and mules was kept close up and well guarded by one regiment, changing each day. There was no bush-whacking as in the early days of the War. The burning of houses in this neighbourhood in 1862 had a lingering effect. The train numbered two hundred wagons with six mules to each.
1864. May 6th. Marched sixteen miles today to Princeton. Our Cavalry had found a small force of the enemy here but they were easily driven out, retreating in the direction of the Narrows and Pearisburg. In 1862, Colonel Hayes had driven the Confederates out of Princeton and marched through the streets with burning houses on either side - no such foolish destruction now. We went into our old camp of 1862. The Confederates had built an elaborate earth fort at Princeton which was captured without a shot. It was beautifully sodded on its side and marked with sod "Fort Breckenridge". The boys soon changed the lettering to "Fort Crook", remarking, "the name is changed as easily as the fort was captured". At this time, no doubt, the enemy had at last found where our main force was, and were hurriedly making disposition of troops to meet us. From Princeton there were two roads leading to the railroad, the better road by the Narrows and Pearisburg, and the other by Rocky Gap, over one of the spurs of the Allegheny Mountains. General Crook decided to take the Rocky Gap road, shortening the route by a few miles, but over a rough mountain road.
1864. May 7th. Marched twenty-two miles today and camped at Wolf Creek. No sign of any enemy.
1864. May 8th. Marched twenty-three miles and camped at Shannon within eleven miles of Dublin depot. Our advance found the enemy today and much skirmishing took place, but the enemy was easily driven.
BATTLE OF CLOYD'S MOUNTAIN
1864. May 9th. Took up line of march at 5 A.M. The enemy began skirmishing as soon as we were well out of camp. The Cavalry no longer being able to drive him, the Infantry and two pieces of Artillery took the advance. Hayes' Brigade constituted this advance, and climbing the mountain road before us, driving in the enemy's strong skirmish line and two guns of a battery in position on the summit, developed the enemy's position in the valley beyond a ridge on Mr. Cloyd's farm. The Confederate forces before us were the joint commands of Generals W. E. Jones and Jenkins, several thousand strong, entrenched on a wooded spur behind hastily constructed earthworks, with their guns so placed as to sweep a broad open field that fronted the works while a knee deep creek ran at the base of the works.
Up to this time the Brigade commanders had little to do which would show mettle in them, but now came their time for individual action. Colonel Hayes was ready and willing for the fray, sat his horse with firmer seat, was chatty and smiling, and while the shells of the enemy were screaming over our heads, or bursting in the trees above, he seemed as composed as though on dress parade.
Soon our commander, General Crook, came up and said he had sent Colonel White with the Second Brigade over the mountain to our left, to find the enemy's right and then to "strike hard". His orders to Colonel Hayes were to move his command to the left of the road, pass over the mountain spur, and form line of battle at the foot, and there wait until he heard Colonel White's rifles and then to charge and carry whatever he found before him. Colonel Hayes was now in his element, with orders to obey and yet left to act on his own judgement when the pinch should arrive. We soon found the wood so dense and mountain side so precipitous we were compelled to dismount and leave our horses - the first and only time Hayes or his staff ever dismounted and fought on foot.
The enemy were constantly shelling the wood, as they might possibly here and there catch sight of us, or thought we might be there, but no one was hurt, only an ugly noise to contend with. Slowly Hayes led our way through thickets and over rocks until we found ourselves at the foot of the mountain and in the thicket skirt of a meadow some hundred yards across, with the enemy on a ridge above a creek on the opposite side. Now the enemy saw us for certain, and opened with musketry and shell. Colonel White's rifles now being heard attacking the enemy's right, Hayes ordered his brigade to charge by the rear rank across the meadow. Moving by the rear rank into battle is apt to create more or less confusion, but Hayes was a man of quick judgment and these moments were precious. To form the brigade by the front rank would require a movement taking about ten minutes and being under fire, it would have been very perilous. With White's rifles sounding in the distance, and Crook's orders to attack when White's rifles were heard, there was but one thought in Hayes' mind - obey all orders, as quickly and promptly as possible.
Across the meadow we went on the run, suffering but few casualties, reached the creek, waded it, and on the opposite bank, being under cover of the enemy's fire, all dropped to ground to take breath. While lying here a Pennsylvania brigade temporarily attached to our command (Buck Tails) under took to charge across the meadow, on our right (they should have charged with us) but these doughty "Buck Tails" turned tail and ran back into the woods to the old line. When they stopped running I don't know. I only know nothing was seen of them until the battle was over. While lying here awaiting orders I discovered General Crook was with us, having charged across the meadow. Lieutenant Jackson said the only objection he had to a corps commander leading a charge was, that he had to be helped across the creek. Large riding boots full of water are not desirable adjuncts in a charge, so the General had asked for help. With such a corps commander troops seldom fail.
Soon the bugle sounded the charge, and the First Brigade arose to their feet, and rushing up the hill met the enemy's fire, both of musketry and grape shot. This volley cost the Brigade a fearful loss of life, some two hundred and fifty officers and men, but did not stop it one instant. On we went, reached the works, and then the enemy broke in confusion and ran. The Battery was captured and the 23rd Ohio, having fortunately passed over it, claimed it as their own. A young recruit in Company "B", passing close by one of the guns, took off his cap and with an Indian war whoop jammed it into the muzzle and went on. I noticed an act of gallantry on the part of Captain Warren of Company "I", 23rd Ohio. Two of his men were skulking behind a fallen tree, when the Captain jumped upon the tree and with his sword beat the men from their cover. As they arose to their feet one met his fate by a bullet in his breast, while the other and the Captain passed on unhurt. The one killed was the man I have spoken of who had to be brought into subjection at the muzzle of Captain Warren's revolver in 1861 when on the cars in Ohio, and who then threatened to kill Warren when the smoke got thick. Warren in the most exposed position was unhurt, while the skulker was killed. Such seems to be the fate of a soldier, the bullet for Warren was not yet moulded, and never was, as he was never wounded, was reckless to a fault in his gallantry, and died in bed at his [Kansas] home some twenty-seven years after the close of the War. The Brigade passed on with a rush, and captured two hundred and thirty prisoners. An hour later when near Dublin depot the enemy made a determined stand, having received some one thousand reinforcements brought by rail from Wytheville, who being too late for the battle now tried to stem the route. Colonel Hayes, with only a part of his brigade, probably five hundred men, and two guns of McMullens' Battery, being much in advance of our army, met this force of the enemy and not waiting for aid to come up attacked and routed him. The order was passed along the line, "yell like devils", and every man carried out the order to perfection and one would have thought five thousand men were in line instead of five hundred. The two guns were worked with the greatest rapidity I have ever seen, several times a minute, fully shotted with grape and canister. If Colonel Hayes had shown any hesitancy and had simply tried to hold the enemy in check awaiting reinforcements, this much superior force would have probably become emboldened and driven us back on our scattered force in confusion, and we might have lost the day, as did General Early at Cedar Creek, Oct. 1864. (Sheridan's Ride).
Our horses had come up just before this last fight, so Hayes could ride rapidly among his troops and thus enthuse them. I fought most of the battle of Cloyd Mountain in stocking feet(l3). In our winter inaction at Charleston, the young vain staff officers had equipped themselves with jaunty, tight riding boots, and on the day of the battle I had on a pair of such boots. While riding they were comfortable enough, but after being dismounted and climbing up and down mountain sides, over rocks and through laurel thickets my feet were in a painful condition. In the charge across the meadow I kept on my boots, limping every step. After crossing the Creek I took them off and tied them together, and throwing them across my shoulder charged up the hill in my stockened feet. In the after pursuit of the enemy I was still without boots. On I went through mud in the road, across fields thick with running blackberry vines and one can imagine with what joy I greeted my "Old Whitey" horse. I threw the boots over the saddle, jumped on and fought the last little sharp fight on Old Whitey's back. I never dismounted during any of my battles after this one.
I will relate another incident. I have told of a soldier's cap being thrust into the muzzle of one of the captured guns (brass napoleons). Some few members of the 23rd Ohio went back to these guns after the enemy were thoroughly routed, and found them in the care and possession of a corporal guard of the Pennsylvania Buck Tails. They claimed they had charged and captured them. The boys tried to persuade them they were in the wrong, that the 23rd Ohio had passed over the battery a few minutes after the "Buck Tails" turned and ran away. The guard would not allow anyone to pass a guard line they had established about the guns, and things were getting serious. Our boys thought they might have to again capture this battery when the boy recruit without cap came back. He took in the situation at once and in the most respectful tone said, "Mr. Corporal, may I go to that gun and get my cap?" The corporal was considerably non-plussed and said no one can touch these guns, we have had charge of them ever since we captured them and shall continue to hold them. The boy said, "Well, Mr. Corporal, if I cannot go to the gun, won't you please run your hand into that second gun and there you will find my cap which I jammed in there while you were skedaddling back into the woods". The cap was found as the boy represented with "23rd O.V.I." on the front, and that corporal's guard, midst the jeers of the 23rd boys, melted away. A detail was then made from the 23rd commanded by Lieutenant Andrew Austin and the guns were carried away to the Kanawha Valley. In the subsequent raids made that summer these guns passed into the possession of some ordnance officer and all track of them was lost.
After this last stand of the enemy we marched on to Dublin Depot, and went into camp. Our loss in this battle was six hundred killed and wounded. The 23rd Ohio alone lost 125 out of 450 in line. We were compelled to leave 200 of our most seriously wounded in the farm house of Mr. Cloyd on the battlefield. Surgeons and drugs were left with them. The enemy's loss must have been considerable judging from the dead and wounded we saw on the field; 230 unwounded prisoners fell into our hands. At Dublin depot we captured considerable military stores which were destroyed, and the station was burned and water tank destroyed. We had marched eleven miles and fought a fiercely contested battle. A sad night followed, so many missing from our ranks. Our staff came through untouched. I was the only one wounded, blistered feet from too much vanity. That night I went to the bottom of my luggage and found a pair of half worn army shoes which adorned my feet for the rest of the campaign.
1864. May 10th. So far so good - but the Newbern Bridge seven miles east was yet untouched. Following the railway track, burning and destroying, we discovered the enemy at the eastern end of the bridge and in considerable force. This battle was more like an artillery duel, very few of the Infantry being engaged. A skirmish line was formed near the bank of the river, keeping up a hot fire, but the body of the First Brigade was in some deep woods under cover. A soldier in a West Virginia Regiment received a severe wound in the shoulder from a piece of shell. On our surgeon (Dr. Webb) dressing the wound, he found the soldier to be a woman. Such cases were not infrequent in our army.
A company of soldiers was sent to burn the bridge, which was accomplished in this way, under a fierce fire of musketry and shell. Several freight cars were filled with combustable material, set on fire and then pushed well out onto the bridge, and all was soon burning fiercely. In two hours this high structure, some four hundred feet long, had tumbled into the river and disappeared.
Our part of the campaign was now finished, we had successfully carried out the work before us, having marched 186 miles into the heart of the enemy's country, fought one fierce battle at Cloy's Mountain and a lesser one at the bridge and now must turn our faces homeward. Our supply of food was running short, but General Crook had ordered a wagon train of food to be sent up the east bank of New River to meet us, and it was necessary we should hurry on to the designated place or we would go hungry.
General Averell had not been as successful in his operations. Finding or thinking he might meet a superior force at the salt works, he changed his course toward the lead works at Wytheville(l5) and here met with a reverse and from there drifted eastward crossing New River and reaching Christiansburg where he destroyed some railway shops.
After the bridge was down we resumed our march on that same day, crossed New River at Peppers Ford and went into camp. Marched 12 miles on our way home. The First Brigade had the advance in crossing the river, the balance of the Army and train were all night in crossing.
1864. May 11th. Took up line of march toward Blacksburg, the First Brigade having the advance - no enemy. As we were entering Blacksburg in the afternoon a Confederate officer home on leave, rushed from his house, mounted his horse being held by his orderly and both galloped away. I put spurs to Old Whitey and Corporal Brigdon, our Brigade flag bearer, passing the flag to a comrade, joined me and we pursued them. I opened upon them with my revolvers, large Navys. Our advance guard in rear of us was firing past us as we galloped on. Finally the officer's horse fell by a bullet from our guard, and the officer tried to mount behind his orderly but failed. When I came up the officer surrendered, and I found a revolver shot through his hand. He was Lieutenant Colonel Linkus. We parolled him and he went back to his wife and her tender nursing. I think she was not sorry of the result. Marched eleven miles and camped a few miles north of Blacksburg.
1864. May 12th. Marched toward Newport and Salt Pond Mountain. The First Brigade took its turn today in guarding our long train. We struck the foot of the mountain about 3 P.M. and commenced the ascent. On the very top of this mountain there used to be a "deer's salt lick", now becoming a large pond only a little brackish. It had been rainy all day and the roads were very muddy and very slippery. Our mules were very tired and weakened by their long journey; although the road was of slight grade and originally fine, our command soon made it almost impassible. I was at the very rear and could not account for the slowness of march. About midnight I struggled forward and found many teams stalled. Some wagons were empty and others had a small supply of food. Directed that all food should be saved by transfer to other wagons, the mules changed, making twelve to a wagon, and the emptied wagons to be backed over the edge of the road and allowed to tumble down the mountain side. This was done with some one hundred wagons, thus reducing our train by half. About daylight I reached the head of the train and found Colonel Hayes and balance of staff on the summit, very miserable and trying to get warm before a rousing camp fire. The rain had turned into spitting snow. I reported to him what I had been doing all night, which met with his approval. Here we remained until the train had closed up and all the wagons were on their way down the mountain. I look upon this night as one of the very miserable ones of my war experience. In the last twenty-four hours we had made sixteen miles, and were glad enough to be relieved of that wagon train and take our place in the marching column.
1864. May 13th. Today we crossed Peters Mountain, fifteen miles towards Union. The enemy began to harass us, he being a force which had been stationed at Lewisburg all winter, but we soon made short work of him, capturing his big guns and scattering him down the valley. Several more wagons, I learn, were lost today
1864. May 14th. Marched today only seven miles to Salt Sulphur Springs. Short rations begin to tell on us, men getting hungry, forage parties sent out in all directions with small results. Two days' rations had been issued at Newbern Bridge and since then an occasional small ration from the supply train, the balance from the country.
1864. May 15th. We left Salt Sulphur and marched through and past Union, Monroe County, making only four miles. Are waiting for train to come up. Foraging parties were sent out with light results. Getting very hungry.
1864. May 16th. Marched to Alderson's ferry on Greenbrier River, making thirteen miles; more and more hungry on light rations. General Averell's force is covering our rear, while in advance General Duffie with his Cavalry are in Lewisburg. Some bush-whacking today. I hope I shall not be sent out to give them a lesson as at Raleigh in 1862. General Crook received a very slight wound from one of their bullets.
1864. May 17th. Spent the day ferrying the Artillery and supply train over. The river was much swollen from the constant rains. The mules had to be swum over, and everybody took part. General Crook with his long brush switch in the midst of us doing more work than anybody. These mules showed more obstinacy than ever mule was known to show. We grouped them by thirties and forties on the river bank, with a soldier on a horse who would plunge in and swim for the other side, when the mules were supposed to follow. It took much persuasion in the way of shouts, whipping and other means to make the mules take the water, and when once in only a small proportion would follow the lead horse, the balance swimming down stream, coming out of the water on the same side they entered; these were coralled for the next attempt. This work was kept up for two days before the train and mules were all over. Talk about Washington crossing the Delaware!!!
1864. May 18th. Toward evening we had all the train and troops over, and we marched five miles toward Sewell Mountain, and went into camp. Eight wagons of supplies reached us here, each man got a hard tack and a half.
1864. May 19th. Marched to Meadow Bluff, twelve miles, and went into camp, waiting for supply train from Gauley Bridge.
1864. May 20th. Large supply train from Gauley Bridge arrived this evening and we received full rations for the first time since Newbern Bridge, the 10th of May. From Newbern Bridge to this place we should have made it in four days, but the constant rain storms, causing muddy roads and swollen creeks and rivers, so delayed us that nine days were occupied. Rations ran very short, many a soldier went hungry and many wagons were abandoned. The wagons left on Salt Pond Mountain were a mine of wealth to the inhabitants for years afterwards.
Our raid was over, we had accomplished more than was anticipated and gave General Lee at Richmond a shock, as he now knew his "run-way" between the East and West was assailable. Now we sat down to rest and recuperate and to count up our losses. Captain Hunter (at my side) and Lieutenant Seaman were killed, Captain Rice and Lieutenant Abbott wounded, and about 130 enlisted men killed or wounded. (This in the 23rd alone).
At this restful camp, we ate and slept until the 31st of May, when we began the more notable raid of Lynchburg under a new and untried department commander - General Hunter.
Up to this date we had marched 281 miles.
1864. May 30th. My 29th birthday with three of them spent in Uncle Sam's Army.
May 31st, 1864 to July 9th, 1864
Marched to Staunton - 123 miles
Marched to Lynchburg - 100 miles
Marched to Charleston - 218 miles
General Sigel, our Department Commander, had not been as successful as Crook. In his advance up the Shenandoah Valley he suffered a serious defeat at New Market. General Grant at once asked for Sigel's removal, which was granted, and General David Hunter relieved Sigel on the 20th of May.
General Hunter was a loyal Virginian, being more of a politician than a soldier. For some reason we had very little confidence in his ability and after campaigning in his immediate presence for a few days our confidence disappeared entirely.
General Hunter (then in camp at Cedar Creek, fifteen miles south of Winchester, in the Valley) had orders from General Grant "to push on [if possible] to Staunton, Charlottesville and Lynchburg, destroy the railroads and canal beyond possibility of repair for weeks, then either return to your original base or join me at Gordonsville;- in your movement to live as much as possible on the country."
I shall tell in detail this memorable raid and show what a mistake was made in placing General Hunter in charge.
Hunter was now at Cedar Creek, about seventy miles from Staunton [in the Shenandoah Valley], while Crook was near Lewisburg [Greenbrier County], one hundred and six miles away. The Confederate force before Hunter was the one which had defeated General Sigel, and Hunter knew a battle must be fought to reach Staunton. Before Crook was no force but what he could easily push on and away; it might hinder but could not stop him. But if Hunter should be no more successful than had been Sigel, Crook would be in imminent danger, [if he should reach the vicinity of Staunton and Hunter would be defeated.]
1864. May 31st. Our troops, now well fed and rested, with new clothing, except shoes, left camp at Meadow Bluff, and marched in the direction of Lewisburg. Crook's army had become much reduced by battles, sickness and the expiration of the three years term of service. I am unable to state the number which left Lewisburg in his command for Staunton.
We were passably happy as each man knew we were going over the Allegheny Mountains into the Shenandoah Valley. We had seen much of the Kanawha Valley and this section of West Virginia, and were glad of the change. Marched twelve miles.
1864. June 1st. Marched through Lewisburg to within one mile of White Sulphur Springs; made thirteen miles. A few Confederate Cavalry opposed our advance, but were quickly driven.
1864. June 2nd. Marched through the grounds of White Sulphur Springs. Here was a summer resort much used by the South and having lodging capacity for five thousand people in the main building and numerous cottages. The dining room would seat fifteen hundred. For some cause these buildings never suffered from the wreck of war, probably because the stockholders lived both North and South. Camped at Callaghans on railroad. Confederates left this place today after a slight skirmish. Marched seventeen miles.
1864. June 3rd. Took the road leading to Warm Springs. A beautiful day, beautiful mountainous country and happiness reigned. Some of the old rollicking fun burst out. Marched eighteen miles.
1864. June 4th. Today we had the extreme advance, with no Cavalry on our front. Passed Hot Springs and Warm Springs. We skirmished across Warm Springs Mountain and drove before us a small force of Confederate Cavalry, and passed down into a beautiful valley beyond. The boys enjoyed this day's march, except those who had badly worn shoes. Camped by the banks of a beautiful mountain creek. Marched fifteen miles.
1864. June 5th. The column moved at 7 A.M. Skirmished across Cow Pasture Mountain and through Panther Gap. An attempt at a stand was made in Panther Gap, but by earnest determined work the enemy were soon routed. We lost one killed and six wounded. Marched twelve miles and camped at Goshen on the railroad.
1864. June 6th. Followed the railway going east, tearing up rails, burning stations, destroying water tanks and doing mischief generally. Today we became experts at destroying railway, the Brigade destroying eight miles in such a way that the rails would have to be sent to a rolling mill to be straightened. With tools for the purpose we drew the spikes holding the rails to the tie, then placed the ties in piles, some three feet high and fifteen feet apart so the rails, when placed on them, would rest only at each end. By placing dry combustible materials under and on the rails in the center, a hot fire soon heated the rails so their own weight bent them to the ground. In a spirit of mischief some rails were bent into the letters U. and S. and set up by the roadside. I have been told these remained there for years afterwards. Marched eight miles.
1864. June 7th. Left the railway and crossed North Mountain, thus avoiding the enemy who had assembled at Buffalo Gap to fight us. The road over North Mountain was one of those roads built by the State years ago, almost like a Roman road. Virginia ran into debt to the tune of eleven million dollars to build these several roads over the Alleghenys to connect with Kentucky and Tennessee. The road on which we marched showed signs of having been abandoned for years. Grass grew over it except a horse path in the center and on the top was an abandoned wayside inn. A beautiful view opened into the Shenandoah Valley. No enemy today and we marched sixteen miles, passing through Middlebrook and camped north of town on the road toward Staunton. Here we learned General Hunter had taken Staunton on the 6th, the enemy retreating toward Waynboro.
1864. June 8th. Marched to Staunton; General Hunter's command numbers eleven thousand, twelve miles. We were glad enough to learn that Hunter had been successful, otherwise we should have had to skedaddle back to the Kanawha Valley as best we could.
To reach Staunton we had marched 123 miles in nine days, not one whit tired and ready for anything.
1864. June 9th. Obtained shoes for our men.
Here nine officers and one hundred and sixty men of the old 23rd left us for home, their three years term of enlistment having expired. The balance of the regiment had re-enlisted for the War. A sad day, as among the nine officers who found it necessary to go home were some of my most intimate friends. Of the old "Union Savers" who went home, were Captain Selleck B. Warren, Captain John S. Ellen and Lieutenant Benjamin Jackson.
The 23rd Ohio veterans who had re-enlisted did not number quite enough to entitle the organization to an existence, but as the 12th Ohio was in the same condition the two regiments were consolidated under the title of the 23rd Ohio. All were quite content with this arrangement as we had known each other for three years, had been brigaded together, had fought several battles side by side (South Mountain and Antietam) and we always felt safe when the 12th was by our side.
With Crook's Infantry and Averell's Cavalry, Hunter's force at Staunton now numbered 18,000 with 36 guns.
At Staunton, Hunter burned and destroyed Army property valued by the Confederate quartermaster at $400,000.
1864. June 10th. After giving our last goodbyes to the 23rd boys going home, they turned their faces toward home and peace, while we veterans turned our faces southward to the stern duty of war and marched away. From Staunton there are two roads leading to Lexington through a beautiful valley some fifteen miles wide. General Hunter marched by way of Greeneville while Crook, with his much depleted corps, went by way of Middlebrook and Brownsburg. Cavalry moved on parallel roads on either side of the infantry columns, thus carrying out what Hunter had read in some European military textbook(7). In an open country that we now were in, such a movement was admissable, but when our politician General struck the rough mountainous country beyond, he was as much "at sea" as a soldier could get. Today Colonel Hayes' Brigade had the rear.
The advance was led by the Brigade, the cavalry being used to protect our flanks, European style. This Brigade was but a few miles out of Staunton before the enemy began skirmishing, when some more European tactics were displayed and much time lost. We gained scarcely six miles in the forenoon, but at noon General Crook made a change by sending for Hayes' Brigade to take the advance and the Brigade with European tactics and poor luck or something was sent to the rear. Such changes were not usually made during the day, but by order each night for the march for the following day.
Colonel Hayes put the 23rd in the advance and, deploying one company as skirmishers, put me in charge of the line. Hayes' orders were simply, "Don't let those fellows delay us". Our 23rd boys were now on their mettle and short work they made of the Confederate obstruction. In half an hour's time the enemy had disappeared, and did not show any fight until about 6 P.M. We were then entering the small village of Brownsburg, when a small squad of Cavalry made a dash at us, ran down and over of the advance guard of some six men, and were within one hundred feet of the second advance guard of which "Old Whitey" and I were a part. I thought sure I was bound for Libbie prison, but we all kept up firing, my revolver's little pops doing its best, when fortunately the main guard commanded by Lieutenant Miller arrived on high ground in my rear, and firing a volley over my head, at once dispersed what was left of the squad. This taught them a lesson as no further attack of this nature was made. On both sides several were killed and wounded. Lieutenant Miller with the main guard who was supposed to be in a safe place was instantly killed.
I hope you will not think me vain if I should copy an extract from a letter written me by Colonel Comly after the close of the War.
May 29, 1865.
My dear Colonel:
. . . . . . . "At Staunton recently I talked with a Captain Opie (Confederate) who asked me who a tall officer was who rode an iron grey horse at Cloyd Mountain and in numerous other places he mentioned. He said he saw the officer for the last time at the battle of Winchester (Opequan) and had tried to have him shot a great many times. He told about laying traps for the individual, as he was with the advance guard on several occasions, but could neither catch or kill him. He said the man was too brave to be allowed to go on, and he hated to have him killed, but considered it his duty to do so. I told him I thought you were the individual and he said he would like very much to see you" .....
J. M. Comly
With all the delay of the forenoon and the skirmishing of the afternoon we made twenty-four miles and camped just beyond Brownsburg.
1864. June 11th. Marched this morning in the direction of Lexington where it was known a force was assembling to meet us. Colonel Hayes' Brigade had again the advance. The enemy had left our front and gaining the south bank of North River in the village of Lexington, having burned the bridge, made a stand. We reached the bank of the river about noon and found the enemy's strong skirmish line on the opposite bank. This was principally an artillery battle. The Confederates had posted themselves in and around the village and it was not thought best, as the inhabitants were present, to shell or attack the town from the north bank. Our artillery though, sent a few shell through some of the church steeples and the dome of the Military Institute as a gentle reminder, while a brigade was sent to our right to cross the river and strike the enemy's left, also cutting off retreat. Our skirmish line kept up a sharp fight on the banks of the river. During this interim, while waiting for the flank movement, Hayes' Brigade was put under cover. On our left on ground overlooking the village was a battery lazily shelling whatever seemed an interesting rr.ark on the Confederate side. Because of curiosity I rode to this battery where there was a beautiful view of all the surrounding country. I felt interested to try Old Whitey with artillery fire, I went quite near and he showed no sign of timidity. A cannoneer suggested I try him closer, and, moving so close that he rubbed his nose on one of the cannon wheels, when bang went the gun, the recoil sending it backward several feet, but Old Whitey never flinched. The Captain of the battery congratulated me on having such a war horse. He certainly was an ideal war horse in everything but color. I reasoned in this way that there were many more "misses" than "hits" - better be the target than alongside. He was perfectly fearless, could jump any fence, and never became nervous, except when a little whizzing bullet came close by his ears. It sounded too much like a whip [I suppose]. These little whizzers were now coming too thickly to be pleasant and realizing I was out of my line of duty, I turned and galloped back to my command and cover.
About five P.M. there were signs of the retirement of the enemy; no doubt they had learned of the rear and flank movement, and they quietly stole away, and Lexington was like "Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain" We were soon over the river into town marching through the streets singing "John Brown's body". We marched through to the other side and went into camp, having made twelve miles.
The inhabitants watched us from behind closed blinds, as we were the first of the Union troops the villagers had seen. Here was located the Washington College, afterwards the Washington and Lee College of which General Lee was President [after the War and] up to the time of his death. The Virginia Military Institute [was also located here]. In the little cemetery was the grave of General Stonewall Jackson, which probably everyone in the command visited. There was a wooden head arid footboard which was nearly cut away by our boys, each wishing [a sliver as] a memento of this gallant officer.
1864. June 12th. General Hunter ordered the burning of the Military Institute, the Washington College and Governor Fletcher's private residence. General Hunter was a loyal Virginian and probably had many old scores to settle, as he frequently ordered his troops to commit acts of vandalism, which could only have been inspired by spite. The burning of the Military Institute might have been a lawful act of war, as the cadet students had fought General Sigel's troops in the battle of Piedmont on May 5th. He detained his troops here two days to carry out these vandal orders, when he ought to have been pushing on rapidly toward Lynchburg. Generals Hayes and Crook very much disapproved of this, feeling such vandalism was wrong and beside we were wasting time.
1864. June 13th. Simply watching the smouldering ruins. If Hunter had marched on on the morning of the 12th our Cavalry could by this morning have been in Lynchhurg where ample supplies could have been secured.
1864. June 14th. At last General Hurter concluded to move on and without incident we marched to Buchanan. Our Cavalry had taken possession the day before. The Confederates had burned the bridge over the James River, as well as several buildings. Here we struck the canal and began the destruction of locks, embankment and loaded canal boats. Before morning a pollywog could not make way in that canal.
1864. June 15th. Marched very early this morning, in direction of the Peaks of Otter, three peaks, seemingly made and stuck down on the top of Blue Ridge. Ten miles away these peaks looked high enough, if toppled over, to reach us. Early in the forenoon we began the ascent of Blue Ridge, upon one of the wonderful mountain roads of Virginia.
Our Cavalry had the advance and cleared the way with wonderful rapidity, so we were not delayed. About 2 P.M. we crossed the summit at the base of these peaks, they reaching some fifteen hundred feet higher. What a panorama there was before us as we looked southward over a long stretch of level country, reaching to near the North Carolina line. What a gorgeous display of rhododendrons on the south side of the mountain, all being in full bloom! Easily we wended our way down through this garden of nature. As the head of our column had nearly reached the foot of the mountain I rode ahead and looked back upon the roadway as it zig-zagged for miles down the mountain side. With the moving troops plainly seen, as no dense woods obscured the way, only rhododendrons one mass of color, I felt it was a sight never to be equalled, and later on, when the troops filed past me going into camp, with the band playing, each soldier with a [rhododendron] bouquet in the muzzle of his rifle, taking the step and rifle at "right shoulder shift", [it] seemed like a moving bank of flowers. Before sundown of the next day, those same muzzles were hurtling death and destruction amongst the enemy's ranks. Marched 16 miles and camped not far away from Liberty.
1864. June 16th. Took up line of march early, and struck the railway at Liberty about 8 A.M. We were now within 24 miles of Lynchburg. The country all about was in the hands of our Cavalry, one regiment riding around Lynchburg on the south to the James River. At Lynchburg were large supplies for the Confederate Army, and supplies of food we must have for our 18,000 men, for the return trip. The railways on the east side, two of them, were open toward Richmond [whence] reinforcements for the Confederates must come. Very few troops were in Lynchburg on the 16th and if we had begun the march at 3 A.M. - break of day - we could have made the 24 miles and captured the town and supplies. If General Hunter had wished to secretly aid the enemy he could have done no better than he did.
When we reached Liberty he at once put his troops at the work of destroying the railroad instead of pushing on rapidly toward town. We spent all day at this work and went into camp disgusted and cross. How General Crook fretted over this delay! Made twelve miles.
1864. June 17th. Began the day destroying railway toward Lynchhurg. Did our work well. Late in the afternoon the work of destroying railroad was stopped as the Cavalry could no longer push the enemy. The Infantry took the front passing the Cavalry, our boys jeering the Cavalry, as they pass by them to the front, with irritating remarks, such as "who ever saw a dead Cavalryman?", "Doctor, did you ever see a sabre wound?", "Take good care of your horse, Cavvy, you will need him when you run away", and so on.
We formed line of battle at Quaker Church, three miles out of town and brushed the Confederates before us as fast as we could march. Occasionally a man was hurt, not many though. Lieutenant Roberts (now  Lieutenant Colonel, 17th U.S. Infantry), mustering officer, received a bullet knocking out all his front teeth, much improving his appearance. He probably had his face sideways to the enemy and, since his teeth much protruded, the bullet did not touch his lips, but passed on its way, hunting other victims. Just as dark came down we were in sight of the enemy's earthworks on the outskirts of town. If we had had half an hour of light we might have been able to have gone into town. We lay upon our arms in line of battle all night. No coffee making allowed, as the enemy were too close and kept up a desultory fire all night. Our supper was hard tack and raw bacon washed down with water from a canteen. Here we were on the night of the 17th, when we ought to have been in the city on the night of the 16th, have committed our work of destruction, captured our supplies and been well off on our return trip. By the tardiness of our Commander our chance of success for the next day seemed very slim. As we lay in ranks (no sleep) we could hear trains arriving, bands playing and thought by the sound, troops were marching from the depot to the works in front of us. We had marched twelve miles.
1864. June 18th. Colored men came out from the city and told us General Early's Corps had arrived by rail from Richmond during the night and now were in the works before us. With all this information before him, General Hunter took from out his line Colonel Hayes' Brigade and started it on a long detour to enter the City from the south-east. After marching four miles on this flank attempt, orders were received to return to the front line as the enemy were evidently projecting an attack. Back we hurried almost on double quick and reached the line just as the enemy's advance began. We made a counter attack and drove the enemy back to their works, our end going over the works; but the line on our right not being as successful, we could not hold them so fell back to the line on our right. In this charge the loss to our Brigade was considerable.
Here we lay in line all day hugging the ground for dear life, suffering a constant fusillade of musketry and receiving the shells of the enemy. General Hunter had lost his chance of making the raid a success. We were now within fifteen miles of Appomattox, where General Lee surrendered to General Grant on May 9th, 1865.
Steps must now be taken for the return, and after dark a skirmish line of Cavalry took up our line with instructions to keep up a constant skirmish fire until midnight, while the Infantry took the road for Liberty and marched away. An hour's rest was given us twelve miles from Lynchhurg. Our Brigade had in addition made eight miles during the day on the flank movement. For two days and two nights we had had no sleep.
On a council of war being called by General Hunter, it was thought best not to go down the Shenandoah Valley, but to take route over the mountain to the Kanawha Valley where there were supposed to be plenty of food supplies. No supplies could be obtained on the march, as the country was a wilderness. This movement threw open the Shenandoah Valley, which opportunity was quickly seized, and General Early moved his forces rapidly down the Valley and in a few days was menacing Washington from the Maryland side.
1864. June 19th. Two days rations of hard tack and bacon and several days rations of coffee and sugar were issued this morning from our train. We were now nearly two hundred miles from our base of supplies.
This raid had done some good in bringing the fact home to General Lee that his rear was no longer to remain undisturbed as it had been during the early part of the War. With Sheridan raiding from the Army of the Potomac, Crook raiding to and burning New River Bridge, and now Hunter well up in rear of Richmond, he could not alone quietly watch the Union forces in his front, taking no thought of his rear, but must keep a large force on the alert in that direction, to keep open his source of supply.
We reached Liberty at 6 P.M. and camped, having some good restful sleep. Other troops in the advance were marching all night. Colonel Hayes' Brigade covered the rear from now on.
1864. June 20th. At daybreak we were up and on the march. The enemy's Cavalry annoyed us somewhat this day, but by lying in ambush, several times, we gave them such punishment that they troubled us but little after that. Early's Infantry did not follow but marched down the Shenandoah Valley as fast as possible.
We made Buford's Gap late in the afternoon (twenty miles), where we rested until 8 P.M. when we took up the night march, continuing all night.
1864. June 21st. After marching all last night reached Salem at 9 A.M. having marched during the night eighteen miles. Resting here but a few moments. we turned northward leaving the Virginia and Tennessee Railway, marching in the direction of New Castle. About noon we heard firing in our advance, and hurrying forward we found the enemy's Cavalry under General McCausland had attacked our train and a battery of artillery belonging to the other Corps, at a point weakly guarded, and had succeeded in stampeding this battery of ten guns. The cannoneers mounted their horses and ran away, never firing a gun at the enemy. The enemy also cut out of the train several wagons, and carried away eight of the guns, leaving the caissons with a fire under each. The ammunition began to explode as we reached this point and all we could do was to take a few minutes' nap while these fireworks were going off. In the afternoon we reached the foot of North Mountain where we waited until dark trying to ambush the enemy, but he was very wary and did not fall into the trap. Continuing our march, we reached the top of the mountain at 10 P.M., when we lay down in our ranks, by the roadside, and gained a few hours of much needed sleep. Marched twelve miles.
1864. June 22nd. Took up march again at 2 A.M., continuing down the mountain and reached New Castle at 10 A.M. (eight miles). Here forage wagons issued us some flour, and some cattle were killed. This gave us a slight taste of food. The day before at Salem I had obtained an ear of dry corn on the cob upon which I had nibbled during the day and night; Old Whitey had to live on grass. Continuing this march, making ten minute halts each hour, we crossed Potts Mountain four miles over, and continuing on over Price's Mountain; thirteen miles - wholly a night march.
1864. June 23rd. Dragged ourselves along over Sweet Spring Mountain, reached the summer resort of Sweet Springs at 10 A.M. Here we remained for the balance of the day and night as the men were so exhausted from loss of sleep it was thought best to give them some rest. Marched six miles.
1864. June 24th. Marched at daylight and camped at [White] Sulphur Springs; camped on the spot where we had camped on the way to Staunton. Marched fifteen miles, spent the night here(18). Up to this time the command had remained quite intact, but from now on they began straggling through the country seeking food.
1864. June 25th. Marched through Lewisburg at 3 P.M. and, continuing on, reached Meadow Bluff at 3 A.M. Marched fifteen miles. How our hearts sank when we learned rations were not here. The officer in charge of the supply train had reached this point with it but fearing a bush-whacking attack turned about and retraced his steps to Gauley Bridge. This was almost the last feather, but after resting three hours pushed on toward supplies.
1864. June 26th. When we went into camp at 3 A.M. there were not more than two hundred men of the Brigade with the flag, the balance were scattered over the mountain and dragging along in the rear, or had gone ahead to meet the train. Marching alone a soldier makes much better time then when marching in a column. The wagon master reported that some of our men met the train two days in advance of the main column.
We took up the march at 6 A.M., having had three hours' sleep. We crossed Little Sewell Mountain at 10 A.M., reaching the foot of Big Sewell at noon; crossed over, reaching the foot at 5 P.M. Had made fifteen miles since 6 A.M. Here we tumbled into camp without form or ceremony, simply rolled ourselves in our blankets, and dropping to the ground, fell asleep.
1864. June 27th. Were up and off at 6 A.M. and at 10 A.M. the supply train with 70,000 rations met us. The famished men could not wait for a regular issue and hard tack boxes and pieces of bacon, coffee and sugar were placed before them and they helped themselves. The surgeons walked about the camp as the men were cooking coffee and bacon, cautioning them about over-eating. The wagon master had been handing out with a liberal hand for the last two days to those hungry stragglers who had left the column and gone on ahead.
Ambulances were now loaded with food, and sent back on our trail to pick up and feed those who had fallen by the wayside.
Thus ended General Hunter's raid to Lynchburg. We left Lynchburg on the night of the 18th June with no martial enemy following us, after the second day. But we were pursued by a more formidable enemy who was decimating our ranks and destroying our command. For nine days and nights we marched on making 164 miles with only two days' rations, with the exception of a small flour and fresh beef issue on the 22nd. Only the provident who husbanded the small supply in their haversack when we left Lynchburg came through with the flag and column. The balance were scattered, some not coming in for several days afterwards. The generous ration of coffee and sugar issued on the 19th helped materially to keep the men marching.
From the time General Hunter had assumed command of these 18,000 men up to this date, he had lost 1,500 men in killed and wounded and eight guns.
We were now encamped near by our typhoid fever camp of October 1861, having marched over the hills and mountains of West Virginia until we knew each road and most of the byways. We thought, in 1862, when we joined the Army of the Potomac for the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, and again when we joined Hunter in the Shenandoah Valley, that we should not again see the Kanawha Valley, but there seemed a fatality guiding and driving us back to our beloved valley and mountains.
1864. June 28th. Our 70,000 rations would not, under ordinary circumstances, last but four days and, with the prodigality they had been issued, two days would finish them, so we must move on to our base at Charleston, some fifty miles away. We marched out of camp this morning in much better spirits and much augmentation of ranks. Our boys seemed to have assembled from all directions and when we arrived at Gauley Bridge our ranks were quite full. The men were very weak, yet they made a good day's march, passing our winter log hut camp on the opposite side of the Kanawha River at the Falls and went into camp opposite Loup Creek. Marched twenty-five miles.
1864. June 29th. Marched to a point called Camp Piatt, ten miles above Charleston, making seventeen miles. Here another supply train met us and rations of all kinds were plentiful, even some luxuries.
1864. June 30th. Staid in camp sleeping and making up for extra exertion and loss of sleep.
1864. July 1st. Broke camp this morning, passing through Maiden where I had a pleasant chat with the salt boiler's daughter (The Countess of Shrewsbury). On we went to Charleston, anticipating we should go into our old camp opposite Charleston, but we kept on across Elk River and event into camp on Doctor Patrick's farm, and named it Camp Crook
We had left Charleston on April 29th, and had marched as follows:
On New River Bridge raid - 281 miles
To Staunton, Shenandoah Valley - 123 miles
To Lynchburg ............................. - 100 miles
To Charleston ............................. - 218 miles
63 days - 722 miles
During this time we had fought four battles, and not many days had passed that Old Whitey and I were not under fire.
We remained at Camp Crook nine days and then received orders to proceed to Harper's Ferry by way of river and the Baltimore and Ohio Railway.
Perhaps we were unduly angered at General Hunter, our commanding officer, though we could not help feeling a want of confidence in him. On the 15th July, General Grant wrote to C. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War - "I am sorry to see such a disposition to condemn so brave an old soldier as Hunter is known to be, without a hearing. He is known to have advanced into the enemy's country toward their main army inflicting a much greater damage upon them than they have inflicted on us with double his force, and moving directly away from our main army. Hunter acted too, in a country where he [we] had no friends..."
It was a mistake of General Grant's to have kept Hunter in command one moment after our return from Lynchhurg. General Grant finally became satisfied that he must go, and he was succeeded in August by General Philip Sheridan.