In winter quarters at Camp Union, Fayetteville, western Virginia, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes of the 23rd Ohio watches white refugees from the Confederacy passing through, on their way west.
They “constantly come…on their way to Ohio, Indiana, or other western states,” Hayes tells his diary. “Many of them are young men who are foot-loose, tired of the war. No employment, poor pay, etc., etc., is driving the laboring white people from the slave states.”
Between the African-American escapees from slavery and the discouraged whites, it must seem to Hayes as if the Confederacy is being drained of its people.
Hayes is especially ebullient today because he has just received permission for a total of 31 days of leave to go home to “Dearest Lucy” in Cincinnati. Two days ago he wrote that, “I am getting impatient to be with you….I am bent of coming as soon as possible….I do want to see you “s’much,” and I love you “s’much.”
ELSEWHERE IN THE CIVIL WAR: From his headquarters in Cairo, Illinois, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is gearing up for a major move against the Confederate enemy. He orders 150,000 rations loaded aboard a steamer which he will take with him for his assault on Fort Henry, which guards passage on the Tennessee River. Several hundred miles to the east, the U.S.S. Monitor, “the cheesebox on a raft” that represents the latest in naval warfare technology, is launched at Greenpoint, Long Island. At Southampton in England, Confederate envoys Slidell and Mason finally arrive, released after a month’s imprisonment in the United States in the Trent affair.
IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.
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