Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Letters from the Front - Nathan Hayward

Friday, April 11, 1862

In a letter to his father Doctor Nathan Hayward related recent events affecting the regiment since their arrival on the Peninsula. He noted that he was serving as the director of the division hospital temporarily, and that patients would be soon be transported by ambulance to Ship Point. The roads were in very poor conditions due to heavy rainfall, and any travel was slowed considerably. He related that the regiment lacked adequate shelter from the rain. Despite the difficult conditions, the regiment was in relatively good health.

Doctor Hayward relayed the arrival of Colonel Lee at Fort Monroe, with hopes of his exchange and return to command within the next week or two. Sadly, he noted that some of the officers who had recently returned to the regiment after severe wounding at Ball's Bluff were not able to stand the strain of active command. Captain John C. Putnam and Lieutenant William Riddle, still struggling with their former injuries, had requested sick leave. Captain Ferdinand Dreher, despite continuing pain from his former wounds, decided to remain.1

1Nathan Hayward, "Letters," Association of Officers of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, Reports, Letters and Papers Appertaining to Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, vol. 1, p. 372-75, Twentieth Massachusetts Special Collection, Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts.

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