January 1, 1865 - May 26, 1865

to Sardis Birchard dtd Chillicothe, January 1, 1865
to Rutherford B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, January 3, 1865
to Sophia B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, January 8, 1865
to Sardis Birchard dtd Chillicothe, January 8, 1865
to Rutherford B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, February 21, [1865]
to Rutherford B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, February 26, 1865
to Rutherford B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, March 1, [1865]
to Rutherford B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, March 20, [1865]
to Sophia B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, April [1865]
to Rutherford B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, April 17, 1865
to Rutherford B. Hayes n.p., n.d.
to Rutherford B. Hayes dtd Chillicothe, April 24, [1865]
to John Joseph Cook dtd Chillicothe, May 3, 1865
to Maria Cook Webb, Washington City, May 26, 1865

Chillicothe, January 1st [1865]

Dear Uncle,

How rapidly this year has passed- last winter was spent with Rutherford at Camp- but now there is but little prospect of seeing him soon-

The children were made very happy by your kind remembrance of them Birch was made happy by a nice Bible and spade- he selected his gifts- the others I selected my self and all were pleased-

I feel very glad that I decided to spend the winter here- I find many of my old friends- and many new ones on account of my dear husband being engaged for his country- then not a day passes that some of my relations do not come to see how we are-

The boys are very good- and give me little trouble- I always know where they are and who with- I feel that now is as important a time in their lives as any will be- Birchie attends Sunday School regularly- while Webb and Rud go to church with me or Grandma- The little General as Uncle Scott calls him- is three months old- and has managed to occupy a good deal more time than is allowable for small children- the poor little fellow has been sick a great deal but now is improving growing and laughing- when ever the state of his stomach will admit of a smile- I must close to be in time for the Mail- All send love- Birch has a letter almost finished- Mother is quite as well as usual- My dear Aunt- Mrs McKell- has received the sad news that her son Willie a prisoner for more than a year has at last died from Starvation at Andersonville- We think of him as at rest- his father was opposed to his going- at first but he urged it- and I well remember one remark he made- "It is a holy cause and I must bear my part- His Mother has seen one of his comrades who was with him through all- he says Willie never complained- and would check them if any one spoke against the Government- as being to blame in their lengthened captivity-

But I must say Good bye- again- dear Uncle- and yet I hope to see Rutherford

this winter- Love to all-

go back

Chillicothe, January 3rd [1865]

My dearest-

I have never felt so much anxiety about you- as I do now- yesterday and last night I was so depressed really unhappy as I thought of the dearest one of my life- I cannot think of you as in any certain place- and the dread that Grant- is the one you are to be sent too [sic] is very great- But there is no use darling to trouble you with my anxieties- when next I hear from you- all will be well- Christmas and New Years have passed pleasantly for the children- a little sadly and longingly- for I had hoped to have had you with me-

Now for the little folks- all are well- Birch and Webb are getting ready for school tomorrow Webb is doing well- and is a good boy- Birch I need not say is all obedience to teachers and rules- Little Rud is happy and hearty- wearing very proudly a watch given him Christmas- it is true he would rather have it keeping time- but it is the next thing to it-

Then comes little George C- he is getting fat- will be the handsomest Hayes- a merry jolly little soul- when his stomach will allow of mirth- but he is the most exacting little General you ever saw- Is there not something you would like me to send you- I have your socks- do write soon-

Poor Willie McKell died last July his comrade has been exchanged and has

been to see Aunt Phebe he suffered greatly- but never complained or would let them speak complainingly of the government- I must close for the mail- remember me to friends- Love to Joe- All join in love to dear R

Yours Affc.
go back

Chillicothe, January 8th [1865]

Dear Mother Hayes-

I have been intending to write to you for some time- but find that it is almost impossible for me to get time- Our baby has been and still is very troublesome- but now is beginning to grow- and we hope will yet be a good baby- Birchie and Webb are going to school- they like their teachers very much and give me no trouble about their lessons- Little Rud has been away from us near three months- at Aunt Margret's but he is now with us- he is very well a great big fat boy-

We are very pleasantly situated- the family are as kind to me and the boys as though one of their own Mother's health is about as usual the changeable weather- affects her a good deal-

Monday Morning-

We are all well- Birch and Webb have gone to school- Rud is rocking the cradle- work which he does not like to do- they are all feeling very happy in the hope of soon seeing their Father- Baby is growing some- and I do hope he will soon be over his colic- he has had it worse than any of the others-

Aunt Phebe has heard of the certain death of her dear boy Willie- at Andersonville Prison she has seen a comrade who was with him through all suffering and death- her anxiety about him has changed her very much- but now she feels resigned- knowing that his life and profession of religion- was all she could ask- All other friends are well- I have a cousin John Boggs who will be at Delaware- I will write asking him to call and see you- I must close- hoping you will soon see Rutherford- Remember me to Mrs Wasson and Sarah-

go back

Chillicothe, January 8th [1865]

Dear Uncle:-

Birchie or Sardis has at last finished his letter Whether there is much hope in him I cannot say; he is all you could wish in his studies, but backward in writing. I enclose one of his lessons that he writes with a pencil.

He is right when he "says baby has the colic dreadful". He is just beginning to grow and with all his troubles he will be a merry little fellow.

Birch wants me to ask you to excuse the blots on his letter- that in his copy book he has no blots and finds it is harder to write a letter than a copy.

Love to all.
Yours affectionately,
go back

Chillicothe, February 21st [1865]

My dearest-

Received your letter last evening- noticed the last sentence- nothing would give me more pleasure than to be with you a little while- and then to witness the great triumph of our principles- yet I am afraid I am not well enough- am still very weak have been to breakfast this morning for the first time- I don't know how much better I might feel by the end of the week- as you say I would have no preparation to make- and could be ready at any time to start if strong enough-

Will not the expense be great and is not your family expensive enough now- Good bye dearest little George is fast gaining our hearts- getting over his troubles and becoming a laughing happy boy- the boys all well and happy-

Love to Joe- remember me to friends-

Yours truly

Mother wishes to be remembered to her recreant Son- Let me hear from you soon
go back

Chillicothe, February 26th [1865]

My dearest R-

What a sad week this has been- I can think of nothing but the terrible I disaster which has befallen us all in the capture of Gen Crook- I have hoped and still have a lingering hope that he might escape- but I suppose all is vain- I cannot tell you how I felt- when ever I could get alone- the tears would come- the children were very much troubled- I wrote you a few lines by Capt Douglass in answer to your very kind letter- I am getting stronger every day I think- though I still have difficulty in going up and down stairs-

Last Friday Uncle Scott came and took me to Aunt Phebes- it was right pleasant to get out once more- I left little Georgie with Mother- and found before the day was over that I missed him a good deal- I wish you could see him now- a great beautiful boy- with the sweetest smile and merriest face- almost five months old- and don't have the Colic but once a day-

Monday Morn-

All well this morning- little boys gone to school- Ruddy with his First Reader following me around little Georgie C. looking sweeter and prettier than ever as he lays in his cradle taking his Morning Nap- Grand ma the industrious one really doing some thing- while I am scratching with a trembling and stiff hand nothing for my dearest to read- only he will know we love him more and more We received a letter from Joe written on the 20th last Saturday- always a week before we receive letters- Mother is very much relieved to know the whereabouts of her dear son Joseph- we were uncertain whether he had reached Cumberland until last Saturday when she received a letter- love to him from all- A good deal of sickness and death among the old people- old Mr Jordan and Mr George Dunn have died within the last two weeks- Let us hear from you all All join in much love to you As soon as it will do for me to go- I shall make a visit to Aunt Margret- Good bye again

go back

Chillicothe, March 1th [sic] [1865]

Dearest R-

It seems a long while since I received a letter- your last was dated 24th which I received on the 1st I consider myself well- but have not gotten over the stiffness- How anxiously we look for news- all feel that the close is near- and I believe we are more anxious than you who are in the field- For several days past I have thought so much of Gen C- is there any way to send him money- or has it been done- I suppose of course that if he had any with him- they would rob him of it- We are so quiet here- that I can only write of my dear boys-

Birchie I must acknowledge to a feeling of pride in him- full of life and play- and yet so observant of the rules- and so honest in giving in his conduct at the close of the day- I am very much amused with his account of his trials through the day- how just as he was thinking he would miss- the answer came to him- he enjoys Mr Mansfield articles in the Gazette as much as I do- and appreciates and understands them- he wants your care your advice- I can train him in honest principles- and kindness but you are wanted in his studies

Last Month he was the only one that got the Reward for recitation conduct and punctuality in his class- he was very happy as he handed me his card and picture- don't think I am making him perfect- he has dark moments-

Webb is my affectionate mischievious [sic] boy- good at school- studying very well- and every once and a while has a word of praise but I will tire- Master George is a handsome boy- bright and loving- ruling Grandma and all the rest- but not much trouble now- Your name sake is a curiosity just halting between good and bad- though as yet the good predominates- Last night Times has good news from Sherman and Sheridan- Oh dear if Gen Crook was only with us- instead of Prison- It was such a happiness to me to feel that it would have been a pleasure to you to have had me with you did you go to Washington-

I was so glad you wrote to Aunt Phebe- poor Aunttie [sic] with all her sorrow weighing her down I fear she will not live long- she looks very badly-

All other friends are well- Love to Brother Joe-

Yours Affc.
go back

Chillicothe, March 20th [1865]

Dearest R-

Excuse my pencil- but my ink is out and I did not think of it before the boys went to school-

I am always so happy when I receive such kind loving letters from you- I do not feel any thing of Rheumatism except on damp days- My knees are some painful- but otherways [sic] I am quite well- We have been having some delightful weather- I have not been to the country yet- but expect to make a little visit with George- our darling- I often wonder whether the other children were as sweet and interesting as he is- Yesterday I had a very sever [sic] spell of sick headache- I am better this morning- but not entirely over it- Charley Smith stopped to see us- which gave Mama and the boys much pleasure- I only regret I have not something nice to send you- Rud was half crazy to go with Charley- to see you- Webb is nine years old to day- a dear affectionate little fellow-

Aunt Phebe had a pretty severe hemorrage [sic] from the lungs last Thursday- We cant help but feel very uneasy about her- All the other friends are well- Yesterday Morning Mr Walke- the old gentleman died- a great many deaths among the old people-

Do write to me as often as you find time-

All join in love to you and Joe- have you seen Genl Crook since his return- I hope he will not feel lenient and merciful- This morning two gentlemen started for their Sons or to see them- exchanged but to [sic] low to be moved- one is the kind friend of Willie McKell as long as he lived-

Was Vice President Johnson an intemperate man before his election-

Yours Affc.

Love to Joe - -
go back

Chillicothe, April [1865]

Dear Mother Hayes-

We are all quite well- the children very happy- and joyous- thinking their Father will soon be home- Now Richmond is ours- it was their first exclamation on hearing the news- Our little town is very quiet- almost too dull- but Birch and Webb are at a good school- and doing well- and I am closely occupied with little George- so I have not much time to seek pleasure- Ruddy spends a good deal of the time at Uncle Scott- or Aunt Margret- and loves the country dearly-

There has been a great many deaths among the old people this Winter and Spring- On our Square two old gentlemen have died within a few weeks- the town is very much changed- not more than half a dozen of the old people are living here now-

I was very glad Cousin John called to see you- I knew you would like him- You will have another call from him on his return- I expect to make a visit of several weeks- to the country- as soon as I can feel certain of good weather Yesterday George C. and I went to spend the day- consequently my letter was not finished- he is now six months old but has required so much and suffered so terribly with the Colic- that I have never taken him away from home- but twice- he is now growing fast and getting to be a good baby-

Aunt Phebe- (Mrs McKell) has had another Hemorage [sic] from the Lungs- which alarmed us very much- but she has not had a return since- and we hope by care will not- I think her health is visibly failing- the suffering and death of her dear son was more than she could bear- All other friends are well-

Mother and all the boys send love-

Yours Affec-
go back

Chillicothe, April 17th [1865]


From such great joy how soon we were filled with sorrow and grief past utterance I do not know how you will feel- whether Mercy or Justice- will be nearest your heart- I am sick of the endless talk of Forgiveness - taking them back like brothers- we are not savages- that we want revenge- but excuse me for beginning a letter to you in this strain last evening I heard Wm McClintick talk or speak to a crowded house altogether on Mercy and followed by another Mercy Man- that I felt as most in the house did- that Justice and Mercy should go together- Now don't say to me Ruddy that I ought not to write so- but I will come back to the dear little ones-

Birchie is devouring Gulliver- Webb looks at the pictures- and has bargained with me to read to him- I don't think it will tire you for me to say again- that they are good boys at school "Boys of good report"- even Webb- last month Birchie again got the Reward for being best in recitation in his class"- no need to speak of his conduct- it does seem to me strange the feeling of confidence I have in him- I would not trust impulsive little Webb- to go after Night to hear a speech from the Court House- but Birch is so much interested in public speaking- that he listen like a Man- and at the conclusion comes home happy and will tell much that has been said-

They are working in their garden it will be very pretty- many of the seeds are coming up- and oh such happy youngsters- then the little Banty hen- is setting and so they have enough to make them glad- and withal- they often say to me- papa will soon be home- then Webb goes off in some antic our "Pops" as he calls you- Young Rud is pursuing his studies under difficulties- he has been allowed to spade up some of the garden- and feels his importance- but last not least George C- is a splendid boy- I would not have you think it simply his "Mothers Vanity"- We are all well- Aunt Phebe is better than when I last wrote- Uncle Scott about as usual- I have not seen him since this terrible blow to the Nation- All are well at Uncle Moses- John has been home- he had called to see Mother Hayes- and would not forget to do so while he remained there- he has always had some old person to care for- so that I think it makes him feel more tenderly towards Age.

Birch is very happy with the Illustrated Magazine- at first we thought Uncle Birchard sent it- but after all it was papa thinking of his boys-

Write soon. Where is Joe. Love to him


Mother dont like to have a letter go off- without having a special morsel of love sent-
go back


[n.p., n.d.]

[to Rutherford]

When I heard you were removed from the old Brigade- it made me sick- my head ached my heart ached- then I knew how much reliance I had placed on the soldiers of the lst Brigade- Why was it- did any one else want the Command of our tried proven Veterans- You had been with them so long- that I felt towards them that they were especially near and dear to me- But so it is all is change- yet I hope you will have no fighting to do- how I long for the time when War shall be over- and you once more at home- Good bye dearest- your letters come so seldom- Write oftener-

Yours Affec--
go back

Chillicothe, April 24th [1865]

My dearest

Your letter of the l9th was received Saturday evening- and I hasten to reply- You ought to receive a letter every week at the least- but I am glad you do not think I have neglected to write- I am ready so that I could start at any time- little George is a good little fellow- and Mary Stewart nee' Pool- one we have long known is coming to be babys Nurse- so that is all arranged- then comes the only trouble if I come on immediately how long will I be absent. not that I am fearful of becoming weary with you- but how long will I leave Mother with the care of babies- putting a question to you- ought I to be absent more than four weeks Birchie is perfectly delighted with the prospect- I have said nothing to Webb- but that is all right-

All friends are well- and make many inquiries about you Kate Stillwell is home o n a visit with her two babies- Our boy is handsomer than her girl-

Are you not glad I am so well satisfied with the little Hayes's You say not much baggage- that is sound- but my trunk is all I have- My husband having taken possession of the smaller one- Good bye dearest longing so much to be with you- and oh so happy to think the War is over- and hoping we may all be together for a good long life-


I read your little good bye to the old Brigade with pleasure- and yet with a good share of sorrow- the old Brigade knew and trusted you- the new one yet to find out your kind and feeling heart-

go back

Chillicothe, May 3rd [1865]

My dear Uncle -

We received your letter and was very glad to hear from you - and in evidence of that fact my not having written sooner - has weighed heavily on my spirits - and this morning I must write or banish you entirely from my memory. a difficult matter an Uncle six feet! how many inches) and proportionably lond. To begin - we are still moving slowly quietly - all large ladies more slowly- we did get up some excitement on Lee,s surrender- and some indignation - yes a good deal of feeling on the President,s murder. The horrible events of the last few weeks cannot be realized - tis like a terrible dream - the mind can hardly be brought to think - a man or a country so fallen as to sacrifice their last friend - Mercy was his error and oh how much we need justice. God grant that the thousands of staunch braves may not be forgotten in the terrible judgements which should follow. Were it not for the strong abiding faith we have in the Providence that is guiding us and controlling our destinies - we might fear and tremble - Of our own family affairs all remain's the same. Mr Hayes nor the Dr. are yet determined what will be their course. Mr Hayes is ;in command of the force stationed at New Creek, Va--He was ordered there to command the expedition across the mountain to Lynchburg - to intercept Lee but after his surrender it was of course abandoned - Dr. is at Winchester with the 1st Brigade - both are well - the boys are well - working in their garden - attending to Mrs Banty and her young brood - still going to school doing well and tolerably good - Little George Crook continue's to improve at a rapid rate - Mother has not been so well the severe weather affects her a good deal - Aunt Phebe continus about the same - she does not go about very much - and our last news from Aunt Margrets - she was very sinnile - very weak and some days not able to be up - we feel very anxious about her - this life is filled with hopes and fears. I shall send you the picture's of Eddy - I hope they will be as good as you expected - they were taken from the darkest likeness - Mother and the children - Aunt Phebe - join in love

Let us hear from you soon.

Your Affec
Niece Lu
go back

Washington City, May 26th [1865]

Love to all my boys & their Grand Ma

My dear Mother-

I cannot help thinking of you at every moment of pleasure and enjoyment- and wishing heartily that you could have witnessed the March of our troops- We had a good situation in the stand for Congressmen- directly opposite the reviewing stand with President Johnson- and Grant- with all the Cabinet Officers- I cannot but feel great confidence in the President- a fine noble looking man- who impresses you with the feeling of honesty and sincerity- We had R's field glass and I assure you I looked at him earnestly and often- then Gen Grant so unassuring [sic] and yet so noble- that all pleasant thoughts centered round him- his two little boys were hanging round his chair- leaning on him with all fondness and love- from nine in the morning until four the troops were passing- Cavalry that has fought so splendidly in the Valley and round Richmond- but their gallant leader Sheridan was not with them- Gen Crook with his usual modesty quietly slipped away- he is in Command of the Cavalry since Sheridan has gone to Texas- so the next in Command Gen Merritt rode at their hand- he is a brave and gallant man- well worthy to be at their head- I think every one had feelings of most intense joy and pride- Some of the Foreign Ministers were present- and I could but think- how beneficial the sight would be to them- an immense army- composed of tried and victorious men- and yet not half who are now in the field - it may enable other nations to form some faint idea of our power- it is useless to say anything about the two days of parade- while my heart was filled with joy at the thought of our mighty country- its victorious noble army- the sad thoughts of thousands who would never gladden home with their presence made the joyous scene mingled with so much sadness- that I could not shake it off- We are delightfully situated with regard to rooms- having the whole second story at our disposal- but we have had some rich experiences getting the substantials [sic] of life- You will enjoy hearing of our discomfort- R consoled us by saying he was an experienced Campaigner- and we would be systematic about it- beginning at the Depot and continue our way until at last Coffee and bread should be found- Now we take our meals at the Hotel a few doors from us- This pen of R is such a terrible one that you may find more difficulty in translating my hieroglyphics than usual-

Yesterday and to day being rainy and dreary my mind turns to Mother and her boys- are they good children giving grand ma little trouble dear little George how often I long to see him will he remember me- any how I will be delighted to be at home again- Monday we will go to Richmond- I hope to see brother Joe- then I will be ready to start home- This must be a dreadful place to be obliged to live in- I am not in love with Washington nor a political life- this letter is just for your eye- I am going out a little while-

[Above in L.W.H. handwriting, unsigned; note at top of p.1 in RBH handwriting]
go back

back to all letters