Rutherford Hayes (American National Biography)

Ari Hoogenboom, "Hayes, Rutherford Birchard," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
When the lower southern states seceded following the election of Abraham Lincoln, Hayes was willing to "Let them go" (Diary and Letters, vol. 2, p. 4). The attack of Fort Sumter on 12 April 1861, however, infuriated him. On 27 June he was commissioned a major in the Twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, preferring to "be killed in the course of it than to live through and after it without taking part in it" (Diary and Letters, vol. 2, p. 17). An inspirational (and lucky) leader in battle, Hayes served four years, was wounded five times (once seriously), was brevetted major general, and emerged from the war a member of Congress. In Congress from 1865 to 1867, Hayes consistently supported Radical Republican Reconstruction measures, and as chair of the Joint Committee on the Library, he worked to develop the Library of Congress into a great institution. Disliking the long separations from Lucy and their children (they would rear four sons and a daughter), in 1867 Hayes happily resigned from Congress to run for governor of Ohio. He was elected and served two terms from 1868 to 1872. He was primarily responsible for the ratification by Ohio of the Fifteenth Amendment and for the establishment of Ohio State University. Hayes loyally supported Ulysses S. Grant for reelection in 1872 and ran for Congress to help the Republican ticket. Although Grant carried Ohio, Hayes was defeated and in May 1873 returned to Fremont.
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