Thursday, November 8, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Friday, Nov. 8, 1861

Back at headquarters in Cairo after the “Battle of Belmont,” Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant once again is fully engaged in paperwork. He proclaims his thanks to the troops and sends a message to the Confederates regarding prisoner exchange and care for the “many unfortunate men [who] were left on field of battle.” A report goes to the Union army's Western Department headquarters. Orders for the disposition and supply of troops are sent. To his wife, Julia, and his father, Jesse Root Grant, Grant sends a rundown on the affair at Belmont. There is no mention of Grant’s own close call with the Confederates, but he tells his family members with satisfaction, “We…started back having accomplished all that we went for, and even more….the victory was most complete.”

In western Virginia, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes tells his diary it is “a beautiful fall day,” but interrupts his customary good spirits to note the death—presumably from sickness—of Capt. Wallis J. Woodward, “our hardiest officer….A sad loss.” On this day, 40% of the men of Hayes' regiment are not ready to fight, mostly because of sickness.

Hayes writes a briefly, reassuring letter to “dearest” Lucy, concluding, ‘”’Love to all the boys’ and Grandma. Bushels—no, oceans for yourself.”

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