Just as a clock finished striking 12 midnight, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes of the 23rd Ohio arrives home for a long-awaited long furlough. He finds his wife, Lucy, his four boys (including five-week-old Joseph), and “Grandma” all well—or, as the perpetually upbeat Hayes tells his diary “: perfectly splendid.” For some days to come, his diary entries will be brief. He has other things to do.
ELSEWHERE IN THE CIVIL WAR: Grant’s steamboats keep disgorging troops on the shores of the Tennessee River, and they and gunboats are moving into position for an assault on Fort Henry. In the Confederacy, generals are struggling to persuade soldiers to re-enlist after their terms expire and the Virginia house of delegates is even discussing enrolling free blacks in the Confederate army (which will not happen).
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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