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Volume 30, No. 12 – December 2017


President’s Message:

Thank you to everyone who re-enlisted and paid their dues.  Your prompt payment is greatly appreciated.  Dues may be paid at the December meeting.

The annual holiday party will be Wednesday, December 13th at 7:00 PM.  Members and their guests are invited to share in a fun evening.  We ask that everyone bring a dish - appetizer, salad, entrée, dessert - to the meeting.  The knowledgeable and dynamic author, Robert Macomber, will be our speaker.  In December the raffle is all-inclusive and not limited to Civil War items.  A big ‘thank you’ to Harold Teltser for his donation of a $40.00 gift card to Publix for the December raffle.  Be sure to buy your raffle tickets and you may be the lucky winner.

Gerridine LaRovere

December 13, 2017 Program:

On December 13, 2017 the CWRT will hold its Holiday Party.  Bring a dish to share.  We will once again hear from Robert Macomber.  His topic will be: Blood Money: The Caribbean's Crucial Role In The Civil War.   

November 8, 2017 Program:

HayesRutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th president.  He can be considered a true public servant.  In order to understand and respect him, one should get a good general overview and summary of his life.  Hayes was born on October 4, 1822.  He attended Kenyon College where he graduated.  He decided to become a lawyer.  With the help of a wealthy uncle, he attended Harvard Law School.  He had a strong feeling for politics.  In 1844 he cast his first vote for Henry Clay and became active in the Whig Party.  In order to make a living, his practice would take him to Sandusky, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio.

Rutherford married Lucy Webb on December 30, 1852.  They had seven sons and one daughter.  They are:

Birchard Austin Hayes 1853 - 1926
Webb Cook Hayes 1856 - 1934
Rutherford Platt Hayes 1858 - 1927
Joseph Thompson Hayes 1861 - 1863
George Crook Hayes 1854 - 1866
Fanny Hayes 1866 - 1950
Scott Russell Hayes 1871 - 1923
Manning Force Hayes 1873 – 1874

Hayes was involved with railroad law.  But as a lawyer in Cincinnati he became a defender of run-away slaves.  Because of this later action he joined the anti-slavery movement and part of the rise of the Republican party.  When war broke out Hayes joined the army for love of union.  Early on he realized that for the Union to survive slavery must be stamped out.  He had the rank of colonel, was well liked by the volunteer soldiers he led, and was wounded four times.

After the war Hayes was elected to Congress twice and was a three-term governor of Ohio.  Among his accomplishments he established the Ohio State University and led the passage in Ohio of the 15th Amendment guaranteeing the vote for all men of all races.  He was the 19th President of the United States.

First, let us turn to the Civil War and the 23rd Ohio Regiment.  This regiment was typical of volunteer unit.  The governor appointed the officers and men were from northern and north-eastern part of the state.  Commanders and officers from these units are rarely mentioned in the historical record and yet they played the central role in all of the battles.  Hayes was unusual because he wrote books and articles from the view point of regimental command.  This is important because we learn how senior commander’s orders were executed.  It gives us insight as to how armies of the period fight, move, and are supplied.  From our vantage point in the 21st century we are just beginning to research the non-West Point participants and how they led the common soldier of the 19th century.

We are now going look at a series of battles in which Hayes led the Ohio 23rd.  His first real combat was the battle of Carnifex Ferry, where he was under the command of William Rosecrans.  It is September of 1861.  He led four of the regiment’s companies to the extreme left to search for the enemy’s right flank.  When found the confederate’s fired and then retreated.  After his introduction to battle, the area which will become West Virginia settled down into brief exchanges from winter positions.  The Union was under the command of Rosecrans and the Confederates were under Lee.

Hayes is in a defensive position in early May of 1862, and is ready for an attack he knows is coming.  When it came on the 10th his men put up resistance, but were far too small in number to hold their ground.  Hayes led an orderly retreat to the New River Gorge where he set up a defense.  However, the enemy brought up artillery and one of the rounds hit Hayes on the knee giving him a flesh wound.  Rather than being evacuated, Hayes continued to lead him men saying “Boys it is getting rather hot here.  We better move down.”  This is important because he continues to command, refuses treatment, and leads his men to safety.  This is the first of four wounds he will receive. 

By September Hayes’ regiment is transferred to Maryland in the days before the battle of Antietam.  He is part of the corps that is attacking Fox’s Gap.  He is leading when he is struck down by a second wound to his arm above the left elbow.  While lying in the field he is instructing his men to move forward.  It is interesting to note that he is next to a wounded confederate soldier to which he strikes up a friendly conversation.  He asks this man to contact his wife with a message if he should die there.  He does his duty as a soldier, but bares no malice towards the enemy.  From this point until the following June Hayes is recovering from his wounds.

By June of 1863, when West Virginia becomes a state, Hayes is back with the 23rd and operating in the new state.  His orders are to cut rail communication that the South is using to supply Morgan in the area to the north and into Ohio.  Morgan is moving all around Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.  Hayes meets Morgan at Pomeroy on the Ohio River and could have fought him there, but did not.  So Mnt

In May of 1864 Hayes is operating in western Virginia near Dublin.  He was involved in a small, but successful frontal assault.  Rather than stopping to consolidate his force and seek help from higher command, he resolves to attack to keep the momentum of victory going.  Believing he was outnumbered he resorted to deception by having his men yell like they were of great strength.  Not only did this shake the enemy, but it brought reinforcements from Crook, the commander.  Note all of the principle of war that Hayes, the untrained military commander, demonstrates.

In the summer, Hayes was part of the unsuccessful efforts of Hunter to rid the valley of Jubal Early.  In July near Winchester, VA, the Ohio 23rd was ordered to stop Early’s advance by preventing a flanking move on the Union right.  He received his third wound from a spent ball while giving orders on horseback. 

On August 7th Sheridan was given command.  He moves into Strasburg to the south to cut off Early’s retreat south.  Our story takes place a few weeks later on Opequon Creek outside of Winchester.  The aggressive Sheridan is trying to flank Early, but the southern commander drives a wedge into the center of Sheridan formation.  As Sheridan’s line stabilizes and the attackers have put in all their reserves, Sheridan drives at opposite flank of the opening attack.  Hayes is part of this counter attack and the ranking officer.  He is in direct control of no more than 1,200 men, but in the battle the whole army’s fate depends on this single colonel.  Following his orders, and shouting “come on boys,” he rides into the center of the creek.  When his horse gets stuck in the center of the stream, he dismounts and charges across the water.  When his division commander is wounded, he is now the commander of the 2nd Division.  Supported by a division of cavalry, Hayes carries the day.  Although COL RB Hayes is responsible, he gives the credit to General Crook.  There was one more battle in this area in which he took part.BG Hayes

Hayes was given a division after these fights.  In October, Hayes fought his last battle.  At Cedar Creek his was positioned in a poor defensive spot.  When the fighting began he received his forth wound from a spent ball.  Although criticized for his action, after the battle Crook came to his headquarters and promoted him to brigadier general. 

After the war he served in Congress and was governor of Ohio.  In 1876 he was the Republican candidate for President.  After a very bizarre election Hayes beat Tilden by gaining 20 electoral votes by way of a compromise.  Hayes would become president and the north would end reconstruction in the south. 



The compromise essentially stated that Southern Democrats would acknowledge Hayes as president, but only on the understanding that Republicans would meet certain demands. The following elements are generally said to be the points of the compromise:

1/  The removal of all U.S. military forces from the former Confederate states. At the time, U.S. troops remained in only Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida, but the Compromise completed their withdrawal from the region.

2/  The appointment of at least one Southern Democrat to Hayes' cabinet. (David M. Key of Tennessee was appointed as Postmaster General.)

3/  The construction of another transcontinental railroad using the Texas and Pacific in the South (this had been part of the "Scott Plan," proposed by Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad; he had initiated negotiations resulting in the final compromise).

4/  Legislation to help industrialize the South and restore its economy following Reconstruction and the Civil War.

5/  The right to deal with blacks without northern interference.

In exchange, Democrats would accept the Republican Hayes as president by not employing the filibuster during the joint session of Congress needed to confirm the election.  After the Compromise, a few Democrats complained loudly that Tilden had been cheated. There was talk of forming armed units that would march on Washington, but President Grant was ready for that. He tightened military security, and nobody marched on Washington.

Hayes was peacefully inaugurated. Points 1 and 2 of the compromise took effect. Hayes had already announced his support for the restoration of "home rule," which would involve federal troop removal, before the election. It was not unusual, nor unexpected, for a president, especially one so narrowly elected, to select a cabinet member favored by the other party. Points 3 and 4 were never enacted; it is possible there was no firm agreement about them.

Whether by informal deal or simply reassurances already in line with Hayes's announced plans, talks with Southern Democrats satisfied the worries of many. This prevented a Congressional filibuster that had threatened to extend resolution of the election dispute beyond Inauguration Day 1877.

It is interesting to note that Hayes and Monroe would be the only presidents to be wounded in army service.  The Ohio 23rd would send two of its members to the White House, McKinley and Hayes.


Last changed: 11/29/17

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