Rutherford B. Hayes: One of the Good Colonels
As the nineteenth president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes brought an end to Reconstruction and returned order to the White House. But it was his service as a volunteer officer in the Union army during the Civil War that provided the most glorious years of his life and made his post-war political accomplishments possible. Although he spent much of the war on the periphery, away from the major centers of activity, Hayes performed conspicuously whenever called upon. He participated in the repulse of dreaded Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan's Ohio Raid and, although only a colonel, commanded a division in General Philip Sheridan's devastating Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864. No professional soldier, Hayes was nonetheless a natural warrior. Another future president, William McKinley, wrote of his fellow Ohioan, His whole nature seemed to change when in battle. Normally kind and agreeable, Hayes grew intense and ferocious during a fight. In all, he was wounded five times and had four horses shot from under him. And while he ended the war as a brevet major general, Hayes noted that he never fought a battle as a general. He was, by his own reckoning, simply one of the good colonels in the great army.
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23rd Ohio 36th Ohio Antietam arrived artillery attack August battle became boys breveted Bull Run camp campaign captain capture cavalry Cedar Creek Charleston cheers Cincinnati Civil colonel Comly command Confederates Crook's army Crook's Corps defeat Despite Early Early's elected enemy Federal fight fire Fisher's Hill force fought George Crook Hayes learned Hayes reported Hayes wrote Hayes's Brigade Hunter Infantry John John Brown Gordon John Pope Jubal July Kanawha Division Kentucky Kershaw killed Lee's Lieut Lincoln lndian Maryland Maryland Campaign McClellan Middletown miles Morgan moved October officers Opequon Creek ordered Pope Potomac prisoners promoted to brigadier promoted to major Railroad Rebels regiment Reno Reno's River Rosecrans Rutherford Scammon Second Brigade September served Shenandoah Valley Sheridan Sheridan's army skirmishing soldiers South Carolina South Mountain troops Twenty-third U.S. Military Academy U.S. Volunteers Union army victory Washington West Virginia western Virginia William McKinley William Starke Rosecrans Winchester wounded