Union Civil War General
19th President of the United States
Governor of Ohio
United States Congressman from Ohio
(1822-93) Born in Delaware, Ohio, he attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with the highest honors in 1842, and addressed the class as its valedictorian. After reading law in Columbus, Ohio, Hayes moved east to attend Harvard Law School in 1843, and graduated and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1845 where he opened his own law office in Lower Sandusky. He later moved to Cincinnati where he started a new more lucrative practice. As the Southern states quickly began to secede after Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in 1860, Hayes was lukewarm about civil war to restore the Union. Considering that the two sides might be irreconcilable, he suggested that the Union just let them go. Though Ohio had voted for Lincoln in 1860, Cincinnati voters turned against the Republican party after secession. Its residents included many from the Southern states, and they voted for the Democrats and Know-Nothings, who combined to sweep the city elections in April 1861, ejecting Hayes from the city solicitor's office. After the Confederates bombarded Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, Hayes resolved his doubts and joined a volunteer company composed of his Literary Society friends. That June, Ohio Governor William Dennison appointed several of the officers of the volunteer company to positions in the 23rd Ohio Infantry. Hayes was promoted to major, and his friend and college classmate Stanley Matthews was appointed lieutenant colonel. Also joining the regiment as a private was another future U.S. President, William McKinley. After a month of training, Hayes and the 23rd Ohio set out for western Virginia in July 1861 as a part of the Kanawha Division when the regiment encountered Confederates at Carnifex Ferry in present-day West Virginia and drove them back. Hayes was promoted to lieutenant colonel and when the regiment resumed its advance the following spring, Hayes led several raids against the rebel forces, on one of which he sustained an injury to his knee. That September, Hayes's regiment was called east to reinforce General John Pope's Army of Virginia. Hayes's troops then joined the Army of the Potomac as it hurried north to cut off General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, which was advancing into Maryland. Marching north, the 23rd Ohio was the lead regiment encountering the Confederates at the Battle of South Mountain, Md., on September 14, 1862. Hayes led a charge against an entrenched position and was shot through his left arm, fracturing the bone. He had one of his men tie a handkerchief above the wound in an effort to stop the bleeding, and continued to lead his men in the battle. While resting, he ordered his men to meet a flanking attack, but instead his entire command moved backward, leaving Hayes lying in between the lines. Eventually, his men brought him back behind their lines, and he was taken to a hospital. The regiment continued on to Antietam, but Hayes was out of action for the rest of the campaign. In October, he was promoted to colonel, and assigned to command of the first brigade, of the Kanawha Division, and elevated to rank of brevet brigadier general. In July 1863, his division skirmished with General John Hunt Morgan's cavalry at the Battle of Buffington Island. In 1864, the Army command structure in West Virginia was reorganized, and Hayes's division was assigned to General George Crook's Army of West Virginia. Advancing into southwestern Virginia, they destroyed Confederate salt and lead mines there. On May 9, 1864, they engaged Confederate troops at Cloyd's Mountain, where Hayes and his men charged the enemy entrenchments and drove the rebels from the field. Following the rout, the Union forces destroyed Confederate supplies and again successfully skirmished with the enemy. Hayes and his troops then moved to the Shenandoah Valley for the 1864 Valley Campaign. Crook's corps was attached to General David Hunter's Army of the Shenandoah, and once again encountering Confederate forces, they captured Lexington, Va., on June 11th. They continued south toward Lynchburg, tearing up railroad tracks as they advanced. Before the army could make another attempt at Lynchburg, Confederate General Jubal Early's raid into Maryland forced their recall to the north. Early's army surprised them at Kernstown on July 24th, where Hayes was wounded by a bullet to the shoulder. He also had a horse shot out from under him, and the Union army was defeated. Retreating to Maryland, the army was reorganized again, with General Philip H. Sheridan replacing Hunter in command. By August, General Early was retreating up the valley, with Sheridan in hot pursuit. Hayes's troops fended off a Confederate assault at Berryville, and advanced to Opequon Creek, where they broke the enemy lines and pursued them farther south. They followed up the victory with another at Fisher's Hill on September 22nd, and one more at Cedar Creek on October 19th. At Cedar Creek, Hayes sprained his ankle after being thrown from his horse, and was struck in the head by a spent round, which did not cause him serious injury. His leadership skills and bravery drew his superiors' attention, with General Ulysses S. Grant later writing of Hayes, "his conduct on the field was marked by conspicuous gallantry as well as the display of qualities of a higher order than that of mere personal daring." Cedar Creek marked the end of the campaign, and Hayes was promoted to brigadier general, and brevet major general in October 1864. In the spring of 1865, the war came to an end with Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox. Hayes visited Washington, D.C., that May, and observed the Grand Review of the Armies, after which he, and the 23rd Ohio Infantry returned home. After the war, Hayes served in the U.S. Congress, was Governor of Ohio, and was the 19th President of the United States, serving 1877-81. Rutherford B. Hayes died of complications from a heart attack at his home in Fremont Ohio, on January 17, 1893, at the age of 70.
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 3/8 x 4 card. Half view in civilian attire. Imprint on the front mount, President R.B. Hayes. No back mark. Very fine view of the distinguished President Hayes sporting a full beard, and dressed in a dark suit, vest, white collared shirt and tie.