[from the diary of Charles Hay, Co. H, 23rd Ohio]
Fayetteville, Fayette Co. W. Va.
Wednesday, January 1st. 1862.
I have concluded to commence the
New Year, by introducing a new feature
in my line of operations. As time and oppor-
tunity will permit, I will try to beguile away
a spare moment by recording such things as
may prove a source of satisfaction and
interest not only to myself, but to friends in the
future. A word explanatory may not be
amiss. Be it known, then, that the writer
has been, and now is, at the opening of these
pages, a soldier in the United States Volunteer Army,
23d. Ohio Reg’t. Our Reg’t was organized about
the 1st. of last June, but I did not become
a member until July 24th, when I joined
Capt. Drake’s Company (H.). The Reg’t left the
place of rendezvous Camp Chase, O. July 25th., and next day entered
Western Va. at Benwood, 4 miles below Wheeling,
and have ever since been in the State, being
now South of the Central part, and not far
from the Kentucky line; the result of numerous
and hard marches. We came here Nov’v 14th.
The town was almost entirely deserted at the time
of our arrival, consequently, we got good quarters, which
we still retain, our Company occupying the lower floor
of the Court-House, a good, substantial brick building.
Since coming here we have done no marching.
This is a tolerably handsome little village, and, I suppose,
in times gone by, the people enjoyed the comforts of
good homes, and the pleasant society of friends, but,
alas, how changed. War produces ravages, such as I
need not particularize because too generally known.
The disruption of society, however is one of the worst
results, when neighbor is arrayed against neighbor, and
brother against brother. ~~~ Nothing exists here of
society except the name, however social or peaceful
a community it may once have been.
The country in the vicinity is tolerably rough, but
much less than most parts of Western Va., that I
have yet seen, viz: the most of the Country between
this and Clarksburg in Harrison County. As far
as fertility is concerned, I do not consider it the
best, probably medium. The water is poor, providing
considerable Diarrhoea, that curse of the Camp.
My health has been excellent all summer
but, at last, I am attacked with Diarrhoea, and
am, at this writing, quite ill, and feel very weak, and
much reduced. Should I succeed in getting a furlough,
I won’t be long in making tracks for home.
[transcription by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]
feeling enough interested.