“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 8 August-September, 1861 – Returning to Fountain Rock and Family Does Not Exceed The Reach of Armies by Jim Surkamp.

824 words

TRT: 9:54 Video link: https://youtu.be/z-TaEbCpg2M


With support from American Public University System (apus.edu). (The sentiments expressed do not in any way reflect modern-day policies of APUS, and are intended to encourage fact-based exchange for a better understanding of our nation’s foundational values.

Fountain Rock, the Boteler’s Home , today the site of the pavilion at Morgan’s Grove

In the after years the young people listening to these wartime tales never forgot, amid more exciting things, the description of the first night at Fountain Rock after the heart-burdened hurry of the journey back to war-clouded Virginia. The sound of the wind in the trees, the ripple of the water pouring through the dairy, the soft stir of insect life, all the “live murmur” of the summer night fell upon the travelers with strange impressiveness after the hustle and jar of the city.

Hope, fear and consolation were seldom voiced. The Fountain Rock family could not bear to stay longer in Baltimore and as soon as a pass could be obtained from the provost marshal of the city, Gen. Lew Wallace, Mrs. Boteler and her two daughters, Helen and Charlotte, returned to Fountain Rock. There they found Mr. Boteler and his wounded son. How changed the boy was! His wound, tho disabling was not serious, but he had been ill from exposure and his mother and sisters did not recognize at first in the pale, bearded man the boy who had been full of youthful vigor and confidence a few months before. He left in a few weeks to rejoin his regiment while his father was occupied at home and in the valley camps nearby. The quiet of the country felt strangely at first upon the overstrained nerves of the returning refugees. – (1).

That August, on information from Shepherdstown blacksmith and Unionist, Joe Welshans, federal troops of the 13th Massachusetts Infantry, under Col. Leonard encamped on the Maryland side of the Potomac from Shepherdstown, came to Fountain Rock in the middle of the night to arrest Boteler, then a Confederate Congressman.

Tippie Boteler wrote:

Pa had half-dressed & gone down to the back doors, at which he found massed bayonets & finding there was no escape went himself to the (front) door, threw it wide open & asked what they meant by coming at that time of night to a gentleman’s house . . .

Boteler was held for a day and then released, a decision criticized later by a higher-up. After he was freed, Tippie Boteler wrote that one (enemy soldier) said: “You are a very dangerous man.” Pa said, “yes, last night unarmed, barefoot & half-dressed.” – (2).

Rezin Davis, Lizzie Shepherd & Their Three Children Have Company.

Shortly after this return Elizabeth Shepherd joined her husband at the Lower Farm, where Davis Shepherd’s father and mother had been since spring. As the summer wore on, the yankees encamped on the other side of the river grew more and more aggressive, and one morning in September they opened fire full upon the place. Bullets whizzing through the trees and minie balls flattening themselves against the stones of the river front of the house kept those within in dread for hours.

It soon became imperative that the family should seek safety elsewhere. A few necessary articles were hastily gathered together, the children were lifted through the windows facing south out of reach of the constant fire, the grown people crept out through the basement. Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd, Sr. and their daughter went to John Shepherd’s and Davis and his family went, of course, to Fountain Rock.

That night the Union soldiers (from Indiana-JS) came across the river and took possession of the abandoned house. They told the servants left on the place that they might have anything they wanted. The negroes afterwards described with graphic detail the revels of the occupying soldiers, who amused themselves by placing wine glasses on their boot toes and kicking them up against the ceiling and smashing other fragile articles found in the china closet and on the mantels. They were afraid to eat any of the provisions, for fear of poison, they said, but they were quite as willing to appropriate for destruction as for us and soon put the place in sorry condition. All the preserves and pickles in the pantry were emptied in an unpleasing puddle in the front yard. The doors were split from top to bottom by sabre strokes, and many things of value were carried away for souvenirs. The servants were delighted to exercise their wits in recovering for Mrs. Shepherd some of the things taken by the soldiers and told with glee how they had “stolen them back for the mistress.” – (3)

Two cousins of the Botelers, also from Shepherdstown, enlist in the First Rockbridge Artillery and 12th Virginia Cavalry in October, 1861 – joining the many other relations in those units.

BOTELER, CHARLES PEALE: Pvt. Res. Shepherdstown, Enl. Centreville 10/23/61. Present 10/12-31/61 and 2/1-5/62. Ab. on leave for 34 days 2/6/62. Present 3/62 until transf. Ashby’s Cav. 4/2/62. In Signal Corps Army of NVa. 10/1-11/30/63. Brother of Henry Boteler.

BOTELER, HENRY: Res. Shepherdstown. Enl. Fairfax CH 10/10/61. Present 1/10–31/61 and 5/1-2/62. Ab. on 34 days, beginning 2/6/62. Present 3/62-8/31/64. Present 9-10/64, promoted 7th Cpl. Present 11-12/64. Surrendered Appomattox 4/9/65. Brother of Charles P. Boteler. – (4).


U. S. Census 1860

Civil War Service Records – National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Elizabeth Stockton Pendleton, “A Wartime Incident,” The Shepherdstown Register. March 8, 1934; same article also September 25, 1924.

Helen Boteler Pendleton, The Shepherdstown Register, January 25, 1934.

Main Image Credits:

The Blacksmith’s Shop 1863 by Eastman Johnson

A map of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and its principal connecting lines uniting all parts of the East & West. – A. Hoen & Co. Baltimore, Lith. by A. Hoen & Co. [1860].

African-American woman – David Hunter Strother – West Virginia University

“Battle of Wilson’s Creek” – N.C. Wyeth

Lewis “Lew” Wallace circa 1865 – wikipedia.org

Confederates of the Army of Northern Virginia captured in 1864 during the Overland Campaign. Photographed at White House Landing, Va. (F. T. Miller’s Photographic History Of The Civil War)

Colonel Samuel H. Leonard; pictured above, Carlisle Army Heritage Education Center; Massacusetts MOLLUS Collection

Unidentified soldier. (Confederate Drummer boy) – AUGUST 4, 2012 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Detail (the drum) from A Break, Playing Cards, 1881 by Julian Scott.

NEXT: Chapterette 9. https://civilwarscholars.com/uncategorized/thy-will-be-done-chapter-9-october-december-1861-fountain-rocks-nighttime-search-takes-away-lizzies-husband-rezin-davis-shepherd-jr-to-prison/