Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

Primary tabs

Page: of 4
Download: PDF (13.77 MiB)
Camp in the field near Front Royal VaOct 12th 1864My dear Wife,

Page 1

I have received two letters from you and one from Helen this week, but have not had a chance to write nor a chance to send a letter if I had written. In your last was an account against me presented by Clough, which is correct except the oats, which I do not recollect of having, but possibly I might have had. The horse hire which he has charged me is a horse I had to use when Pomp got [], but it was very small in him to make account of it after the many little favors I have done him. But I hope my experience here will be of some benifit to me in dealing with men.

I did promise Allen that I would have you pay him some money as soon as I could spare it without distressing my family. But my friends have sure fit to distress them for me. Some of them will regret it to the day of their death. There is a time when silence ceases to be a Victor.

You speak of the glorious Victories we have had here in the Valley. Words are inadiquate to express the magnitude of our success, and any

Page 2

attempt to give you any idea of the grandure of our opportunities would be futile. The Heroic fortitude of our wounded and dying soldiers is beyond discription, and the almost insane joy of the noble men that passed through the most terrific conflict ever from Genl Sheriden down to the rank and file can only be realized by witnessing the []. The whole thing was done with such rapidity that it seemed more like a dream than a drama of real life. I can only give you a faint outline of our opperations. We started from Clifton farm 8 miles north from Winchester, at 2 oclock A.M. Monday 19th Sept and arrived at the Opequan Creek about day light, and found the enemy entrenched on the opposite bank and in strong force. We surgeons after taking a vince of the position expected a big fight, and prepared our Hospitals and food for the wounded accordingly. The fight opned a little after 11 A.M. and it was the most terrific firing I ever heard, and that is saying a great deal after my experience before Petersburgh. But our boys did nobly & felt well paid for their almost superhuman efforts. Even the poor mutilated soldiers who lay in the Hospital writhing in agony, forgot their wounds and suffering, when the neat

Page 3

was told them that the Rebs were [] & we had won a great Victory, and [] to feel proud that they had acted a past in wining this victory, and will they might for they had earned the right to feel proud It is such men as them that we can trust our dearest nights in their hands. Our men followed up the Rebs all night, taking prisoners at every step almost, and we at the Hospital could hear the yells of our men for many miles away, and about the dire of battle and the roar of canon. This occured on Monday. We kept close on the heels of our for day and night until we arrived at Strawsburg Here we felt that we had got our hands full, but our noble Genl Sheriden was equal to the task, and on Thursday at 30 minutes to 5 P.M. Our forces advanced, with the most deafening yells that was ever heard and in less time than it has taken to write their page Fishers Hill was ours and the Rebs were fleeing perfectly panic stricken leaving every thing behind them. This is the strongest military position I ever saw and was considered by the enemy as the strongest in the confederacy. I stood where I could see the whole affairs, and it was the grandest sight I ever witnessed. We followed them up

Page 4

until we reached Harrisonburgh when they crossed the mountain to Culpepper. In all we have taken 42 canon about 12000 prisoners and thousands of muskets. When we fell back from Harrisonburgh we destroyed every thing that fire would burn, and left the country one desert waste. The people will have to leave the Valley or starve.

There is much more to tell you but I let it be till another time. I send you a map of the Valley. The red dotted lines show the different routs the 6th Corps has travelled many of which we have marched over a number of times.

Also a picture of the Cavelry attack at Winchester which will give you some idea of the scene. It will be of more interest to you because I had a past in all the moments.

Tell Helen I will write to her soon. Our mails are very uncertain and far between. I shall send you some money as soon as I can do so with safety. Give my love to the children and accept a life long love from

Your affectionate husbandJ.C. Rutherford

Remember me to our friends.

Page 5

1/2 past 4 P.M. I have just received your letter of the 8d inst, complaining of my not writing to oftener and giving particular &c. My dear, I have done so repeatedly, and have approved of the course you have pursued. Every thing will come out right in the end. Tell our friends who have friends in the 10th that they are all well, and if any thing should happen to them I will let them know.

My health is excelent, I was at the Hospital at the Winchester fight, and on the field at Fisher Hill. My duty to our wounded called me them, and it was a great pleasure to me to be able to eliviate their sufferages.

I have now read Helens letters, and think them excelent. Let her go to school if you can. I will answer them soon. Tell her I received I flowers, let her draw all she pleases not to neglect her other duties however

I am sorry to learn that Lucien is so unwell, hope he will get over it and be spared to his family, and to us a long time yet.