“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 6 (Continued) Tragedy Descends on the Shepherd and Conrad families by Jim Surkamp

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Images at Flickr: 22 https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimsurkamp/albums/72157651740598561

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.


Fanny Shepherd ALLEN dau of RD Shep and Eliz.StocktonBoteler
Lizzie Shepherd

At the beginning of the Civil War, Davis Shepherd was captain of a small company of picked men appointed to guard the ford at his father’s place overlooking the Potomac River some five miles above Shepherdstown. The river was picketed on both sides and one of the Union camps was stationed directly across the river from the Lower Shepherd farm, as it was generally called.

Terrible rumors of danger to unprotected country families living in the path of the hostile army had caused the Boteler family to leave Fountain Rock and refugee in Baltimore.

Davis Shepherd’s wife, Elizabeth (A. R. Boteler’s oldest daughter), and her little ones had also been unable to remain at the River Farm while Davis was on duty at his father’s place. She and her two little children were at the rectory with Dr. Andrews, whose big heart and hospitable home were opened freely to all who needed comfort and help of any kind.

Beautiful Mrs. Tom Butler, frightened from Rose Hill by another sinister rumor of the war cry of the enemy also took refuge at the rectory with her four children, and at different times during that spring and summer others sought shelter with the well-beloved rector, counselor and friend of the whole community.

Later in July came the news of Manassas A. R. Boteler’s son, Alexander, Jr. had been wounded, but little could be learned of his condition.

Hearts were filled with anxiety for him and with grief for dear ones whose names were on the list of the slain. Tucker and Holmes Conrad, Peyton Harrison, W. F. Lee – these and others not less dear fell in that first great battle of the war.

Old Mr. Conrad had met the messenger bringing him tidings of his boys at the gate.

“Which?” he asked.
“Both” was the answer.
There was at all times a wonderful calm about those who suffered loss. No “wind of words” bore back the rising tide of sorrow following a battle.
– (1).

Brothers in blood, in faith
Brothers in youthful bloom
Brothers in life
Brothers in death
Brothers in one same tomb
Well fought they the good fight
in death the victory won
sprung at one bound to heaven’s light
and God’s eternal son
Written by David Holmes Conrad and carved on the tomb of his two sons Holmes and Tucker
July 21-22, 1861 Manassas
Pvt Henry Tucker Conrad, Sgt Holmes Addison Conrad


Elizabeth Stockton Pendleton. “A Wartime Incident – Fifty years Ago,” Shepherdstown Register, July 16, 1914; also “A Wartime Tragedy,” Shepherdstown Register, March 8, 1934.

Bradley Forbush webmaster 13thmass.org

1860 Census – National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Tombstone inscription by Holmes Conrad – findagrave.org

Military Archives – Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Image Credits:

Double Folio Civil War Wood Engraving “THE NEWS FROM THE WAR” – June 14, 1862 – by Winslow Homer

The Conversation (1882) by Edward Lamson Henry

The New Bonnet by Eastman Johnson

Monument Square, Baltimore, Maryland, June 1861, after the arrest of Marshal of Police Kane

Old Time Militia Masters by Porte Crayon. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine Volume 0057 Issue 338 (July 1878) / Volume 57, Issue: 338, July 1878, pp. 212-222.

First Battle of Bull Run, chromolithograph (1889) by Kurz & Allison – Library of Congress

NEXT: Chapters 7 & 7.1 Click Here https://civilwarscholars.com/uncategorized/thy-will-be-done-chapters-6a-the-battle-of-manassas-bull-run-is-over-william-lee-is-dying/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 7 & 7.1 – William Lee Turns The Tide at Manassas; Then, is Dying by Ann Reeves (a descendant) and Jim Surkamp; THE TALE OF TWO CANNON by Jim Surkamp

Thy Will Be Done – Chapter 7 – William Lee Turns The Tide at Manassas; Then, is Dying by Ann Reeves (a descendant) and Jim Surkamp

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Maybe the Best Civil War Story – Chapter 7 – By His Brother’s Bedside – by J. Surkamp

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Images at Flickr: 78 “Jeb” Stuart and The “Curse” of the Silver Spurs by Jim Surkamp https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimsurkamp/albums/72157632616352506 (Spurs first given by Stuart to Wm Lee, who died wearing them at Manassas and some months after they were returned to Stuart in the fall of 1862, he was wearing; them when he was mortally wounded).

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.


William Fitzhugh Lee: “The Overlooked Lee” – Ann C. Reeves

(Ann C.Reeves, a direct descendant of “Willie” Lee of Shepherdstown, writes of the brief shining light of her ancestor’s life. William Fitzhugh Lee has been inexplicably missed by most official records. He was raised by the Lees in Shepherdstown after his father’s death, was a Virginia Military Institute graduate, close friend of J.E.B. Stuart, bestowed mysterious silver spurs by Stuart, only to die leading a pivotal charge on a battery at Manassas – that was not ordered. His poignant, agonizing death with family would become common – universal as an event but, as all such deaths, unique in its pathos and power. An American generation – across the divide – would encounter the new horror of young men in their budding prime, dying.-ED).

While not the head of his class academically, William “Willie” Lee was chosen by his classmates, on the basis of “character,” to address them upon graduation:

When I look around the happy faces of the motley throng assembled here tonight and reflect that those bright eyes now beaming with merriment and love may on tomorrow’s dawn grow dim with tears, when I meet the smiles of youthful manhood, the thoughtful glance of matured intellect or the searching gaze of venerated names as, and even then, we seek to trace the course of future tears and as the last hoary age turns to scan the path on which the course of life is run, bowed beneath the weight of years we seek not then to serve amid the rich promises of earthly hopes or to build the fairy fabric of ambition’s dreams.

These were the stirring words of a young and optimistic William Fitzhugh Lee in his Fourth of July Valedictory address to his compatriots at the Virginia Military Institute in 1853. Although the issues of slavery and states rights had been in the political forefront and the idea of secession had been discussed for several years, no one could have known how prescient these words were; that within eight years they would all wake up to “the dawn grown dim with tears,” and for him and his loved ones, this would unfold on the shores of Bull Run Creek.

William was the son of the Rev. William Fitzhugh Lee of Richmond and Mary Catherine Syme Chilton Lee, of Fairfax, born on April 27, 1832 in Richmond. The Rev. Lee, a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary, was a first

cousin to Robert E. Lee. Bishop Meade described him as “light as a feather, but possessed a strong mind and will, and lived under the pressure of a heart and soul devoted to the love of God and man.” Despite a brief ministry of only twelve years, he made a significant contribution to the Episcopal Church, serving as Rector of a historic church in Richmond that he renamed St. John’s, famous for Patrick Henry’s speech in which he proclaimed, “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” St. John’s thrived under his leadership, crowded with parishioners and Sunday school children and a zealous missionary society. Controversy around needing to expand led to Lee’s resignation and his founding and serving as Rector of Christ Church, Richmond. Due to physical frailty and declining health, he resigned and then founded and edited “The Southern Churchman,” an evangelical journal that he was editing on his deathbed, at the age of 33. His small son, William Fitzhugh Lee, known as “Willie,” was only five.

Although devoted to his mother, who returned to Alexandria with him, Willie spent considerable time with his paternal uncle, Edmund Jennings Lee, of Shepherdstown, Virginia, who served as a surrogate father. He was especially

close to his cousin, Edwin Gray Lee, who would end up on the battlefield with him at Manassas in July of 1861. Willie entered the Episcopal High School in Alexandria in the fall of 1842, aged ten. There, he fell under the

tutelage of the Rev. William N. Pendleton, Episcopal priest, headmaster of the school, and later, a Brigadier General and Chief of Artillery for the Confederate Army. A West Point graduate, Pendleton was a gifted teacher, engineer, and athlete who served as a powerful Christian role model for the boys he taught, including Willie. Pendleton’s daughter, Susan, would later

marry Willie’s first cousin, Edwin Gray Lee, of Shepherdstown, who was like a brother. Pendleton’s son, Alexander Swift Pendleton (Sandie) would serve

as Jackson’s Adjutant General and his unofficial Chief of Staff, later to become Early’s Chief of Staff. Willie also attended the Fairfax Institute.

During the times he lived with his aunt, uncle, and cousins at Leeland, in Shepherdstown, he grew up knowing their friends and neighbors. Among them was one of five daughters of a town physicians, Dr. Richard Parran and his

wife, Laura Morgan Parran. Eliza Morgan Parran, listed in the Morgan and Parran Family Bibles as Lillie (courtesy, John Whelihan) was the second eldest daughter. She is described in the March, 1853 journal of one potential suitor (William Quesenbury Claytor) as a young woman “whom I admire exceedingly…I think her decidedly more attractive than her sister…who is considered so beautiful.” (Alexander Street Press). Willie and Lillie must have known each other for many years. She participated in the annual

Ring tournament, a throwback to the chivalric jousts of England. Held in Morgan’s Grove (Lillie’s grandparents were Morgans,) there were knights on horses encouraged by the beautiful young women of Shepherdstown, one of whom was crowned Queen of Beauty among Maids of Honor. Lillie held both roles. She must have been intelligent, too, as William’s Commencement address also extolled the extension of literacy to women, making marriage a partnership of intellectual equals.

In 1850, William entered the class of 1853 at the Virginia Military Institute, the third class since it’s founding. According to correspondence between his mother, Mary Lee and the Superintendent, Col. Francis H. Smith, there were maternal worries about his maturity and moral behavior, as well as questions about his tuition, paid for by Edmund Jennings Lee. As required by graduates of VMI, William was expected to teach for a period of time in Virginia, which he ultimately did, in Fauquier County. Letters between him and Superintendent Smith suggest that he tried to bypass this responsibility due to a need for greater income to help support his mother, and, for a short time, he first worked as a civil engineer.

In June of 1855, William entered the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant under the 2nd Regiment, scheduled to be stationed at Fort Ridgely, a small outpost in Minnesota, although a letter to Superintendent Smith suggests he was rerouted to Fort Leavenworth. Records indicate that he also served at Fort Randall South Dakota, Fort Riley, Kansas, and several other remote frontier posts that helped to manage Indian affairs. During this period of time, he came to know J.E.B. Stuart, who was making a name for himself in the US Army. It was William who informed Stuart that his wife Flora, had born him a son. When admirers gifted Stuart with a pair of silver spurs, he gave them to William Lee in acknowledgment of his promise as a soldier.

On September 15th, 1859, William Fitzhugh Lee married Lillie Parran while on leave from Jefferson Barracks. The wedding was performed at 8:00 in the

morning at Trinity Church by the Rev. C. W. Andrews, an influential churchman whose dedication to theology and global understanding included a strong interest in the Liberian solution to slavery. Dr. Andrews figured largely in the lives of the Parran and Lee family members, with numerous baptisms, weddings, and funerals (C.W. Andrews Papers, Duke University Archives).

After they were married, the Lees and the Stuarts bonded as couples, at Fort Riley and later, at Jefferson Barracks. This was a special relationship that

lasted as long as each of the four lived. While Flora Stuart and Lillie became close, J.E.B. Stuart also seemed quite taken with Lillie for her special qualities, and they sustained a deep and enduring friendship as evidenced by several remaining letters. In a July 16, l860 letter from Stuart to Lee written from a camp 10 miles above Bent’s Fort, Stuart wrote:

Dear Lee:
As Mr. Robt. Bent son of Col B leaves on 18th for the states I avail myself of his going to jot you a line. I made a little scout the other day which accomplished all the success attending us thus far. I will give you very briefly the items. As we passed Bents Fort on the morning of the 11th old B told us he had positive information that old Sotanke & family (2 lodges) had been a few minutes before within a ½ of a mile from his post. When hearing of our being there he cleared out double quick. I immediately volunteered to pursue him, and the maj. detached with me 20 men, and I started in pursuit. After a sharp trot of 5 miles I came in sight, he then abandoned everything but the ponies & I followed at a run – He was several miles ahead but I gained on them every jump. I never participated in a more exciting chase. In 2½ hours after leaving Bents Fort I was just in the act of nabbing them when I discovered Capt. Steele with a large detachment approaching from the opposite direction returning from a 8 days unsuccessful scout. Wasn’t that unfortunate for me? Finding that he was sure to secure the main party I turned to the right to pursue some scattered bucks running off in that direction, in that pursuit a part of Steele’s command under Otis, Armstrong, & Bayard joined and two warriors were killed, & 1 squaw captured, those captured by Steele’s party were 16 women & children and 36 ponies & mules. The last warrior was killed by the Sergt (Occleston) of my detachment, but not until he had given Bayard a very severe arrow wound in the cheek, and wounds to two of my detachment in the legs. The capture of the whole party I am confident (&I believe all of nearly all are equally so) would have been just as certain by my party alone, but as my Detachment had contributed mainly to effect it, I suppose I ought to be satisfied. I pursued them 26 miles to Steele & then 6 miles to the right. I had Bayard carried in a blanket that distance back to Steele’s. Bayard is now here, he suffers a great deal having the arrow head still deeply imbedded in between the cheek bone & the upper part of the upper jaw-bone. It can not be extracted. No fears are entertained as to his ultimate recovery, but he will be a sufferer for some time I fear.
I have heard nothing from Riley since the mail sent out from Pawnee Fork. We have heard through the Cheyenne’s and Arrapahoes who are here & very friendly, that somebody has killed 8 Kiowas near Cow Creek, and that somebody has killed 20 lodges of Comanches on a tributary to Arkansas below Mulberry Creek, and that Ruff has killed 110 on the Canadian. We have received pretty authentic information that the Indians who were at a point 20 miles from Denver City have moved down on the Republican and Smoky Hill, & our next move will be in that direction. We will probably reach Pawnee Fork by the middle of 20th of August. Desaupne is now absent with 100 men over a 5 days scout on Purgatoire Cr, he is expected day after tomorrow. The Indians have refrained from depredations thus far on the emigrants, as far as we can learn. The prisoners are now in the hands of the Indian Agent Bent – who will endeavor to secure the delivery of the mail murderers. He has however ascertained pretty certainly that they have been all killed. The warriors we killed were Sotanke’s brother and son the Squaws were his. The old buck is bankrupt now. Walker went up to a grand war dance at Bents Fort. We enjoyed it very much. Young Bent the bearer of this seems to be a very clever fellow, and has been very kind to us. Don’t curse your fate if you should be ordered to take post at Bent’s Fort, it is by far the best point west of Riley’s & so stands in our estimation. Quarters already for 2 companies, and the best building material – except lime, clay is however available as a substitute. Remember me cordially to Mrs. Lee when you write (I suppose she is East), and present my kindest regards to all friends at Pawnee. I do not consider that worthy Capt of our regiment one of that number. I think it probably that Bayard will in a week if his situation will allow it, be sent in the ambulance under escort to Pawnee to go thence to the States. His gallantry & personal daring was the subject of special mention in my report, though he belonged to Steele’s detachment.

The officers here are getting on very harmoniously & pleasantly. Very truly yours, J.E.B. Stuart

(Original letter, now lost, was in the possession of Mrs. F.V. Chappell, of New London, CT. Contents courtesy Western Historical Manuscript Collection – Columbia, MO)

in later life, and as an infant with her mother

On New Year’s Day, 1861, Laura Morgan Lee was born to Lillie while William was stationed at Jefferson Barracks. As the winter progressed and more and more southern states voted for secession, Abraham Lincoln assumed office, and the northern and southern stances became tightened, William became more and more upset. Following the battle at Fort Sumter in April, he began to speak out against what he considered the faulty course being pursued by the Federal Government toward the South. He spoke his mind quite freely and was arrested by Captain Nathanial Lyon, a staunch abolitionist who had gained command of the St. Louis arsenal. William was court-martialed and kept on house arrest for a brief period of time. When released, he resigned from the Army on April 30, ten days after his second cousin Robert E. Lee’s resignation, and returned to Virginia. With the help R.E. Lee, he was appointed a captain in the Confederate Army, ordered to duty at Harper’s Ferry. According to Charles D. Walker, author of “Graduates and Eleves of the Virginia Military Institute,” William was ordered to Harper’s Ferry where he was “actively engaged in the training of the raw recruits of the recently-formed army, and afterwards…performed laborious service as a drill-master and recruiting officer.” Although Walker writes that Lee was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of the 33rd Virginia Infantry, things at Harper’s Ferry were very disorganized as herds of new, untested recruits descended upon that town. It took the arrival of Thomas Jonathan Jackson, William’s former Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Instructor of Artillery at VMI to whip the new recruits into shape During this time, Lillie and six-month-old Laura had remained in Missouri. Fearful of their safety, William quickly penned the following letter on June 21st.

Harper’s Ferry, VA June 21st 1861
My dear Lilly
I wrote to you a few days ago advising you how to get to Virginia. Since then I have been most anxious and uneasy about your safety. The mails have all stopped Between here and all points north and west. So I shall have great difficulty in Getting letters to you. When you write, enclose your letters to Dr. MacGill of Hagerstown and ask him to find an opportunity to get them to your mother {Laura Parran Towner in Shepherdstown} who can transmit them to me. The Balt. & Ohio Rl.Rd between Wheeling and Grafton is in possession of the troops of the North. It will be out of the question therefore for you to attempt to come in that Way. The Louisville route is the only one left you now. Find an escort to that city or to Cincinnati. From Cincinnati you could go to Louisville and then on to Lynchburg, Va. O’Connell sometimes goes to Newport to take recruits. Ask him To let you know when he can go next after the receipt of this and if he can take you with him to Cincinnati and place you en route for Louisville. In the meantime write to Dr. Llewellyn Powell, my cousin, tell him who you are & how you are traveling & ask him to meet you at Louisville & place you under escort for Va. It would be better if you could get an escort all the way in. Suppose you write to Maj. Hagum {Hagman?} to try & find you one from Fort Leavenworth. There are Constantly officers (resigned) on their way in from there.

I must hurry down & try & find an opportunity to send this to you – all are well & in good spirits. Love and Kisses & all – From your fondly devoted Husband W. F. L.
(Original location of this document at Red Top, family home in Connecticut of William Reeves, Jr., Carol Reeves Parke, and Ann C. Reeves)

The following events are taken from private John O. Casler’s “Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade.” Casler had joined the Potomac Guards in June of 1861, which became part of Col. Arthur C. Cummings’ regiment that ultimately became the First Brigade under T.J. Jackson, along with Lieutenant Colonel William Fitzhugh Lee. According to Casler, by June 24th the companies took part in Johnston’s movement to reinforce Beauregard at Manassas Junction, marching east towards Winchester, where they were celebrated by brass bands, “drums beating, colors flying, and the fair ladies waving their handkerchiefs and cheering (them) on to ‘victory or death.’” The soldiers moved to Shawnee Springs and back to Romney. Between late June and early July, they moved between Darksville, Shawnee Springs, and Martinsburg with a few minor “squirmishes” with the Federals. An anticipated July 4th battle did not materialize and they moved back to Winchester. Casler admits to his disappointment, not yet having experienced the horrors of war.

It was in Winchester that William Fitzhugh Lee saw his little Laura for what would be the last time.

According to Casler, his battalion was ordered to report to Col Cummings, somewhat south of Winchester and they remained in the area until July 15th, at which time they became permanently attached to General T.J. Jackson’s brigade. As there were not enough men, yet, to be numbered, their regiment became Colonel Cummings Regiment. They finally left the Winchester area on July 18th, marching toward Berry’s Ferry, on the Shenandoah River, where they were informed of the Federal threat to General Beauregard at Manassas Junction. The men were formed in ranks in a forced march all day and all night, crossing the Shenandoah around midnight and spending about two hours to rest in Paris, before heading towards Manassas.

Lowell Reidenbaugh, in “33rd Virginia Infantry,” writes that the men reached the Shenandoah River at sundown, walking waist-high through the water. They were exhausted, and spent the next night (the 20th) in a grove of pines. In the morning, they marched upstream, returning to Blackburn’s Ford. Three hours later, Jackson was informed of an impending battle near Henry House Hill, the left anchor of the Confederate line. The 33rd marched the seven miles there and sustained bombardment without a fight until mid-afternoon.

There are several accounts of the ensuing battle between the 33rd and Rickett’s and Griffin’s batteries, near Henry House Hill in Manassas. Casler explains that the 33rd Regiment had been organized in Winchester, and that most companies “were perfectly raw troops.” Jackson, soon to be named “Stonewall” had ordered the brigade to hold off fire until the Federals were within thirty paces. Cummings wrote that the brigade had reached the brow of the ridge near Henry House with the 33rd Regiment to the far left. All agree that a charge was made contrary to orders. In “Col. Cummings’ Account” in the Southern Historical Society Papers, he explained that some Federals, dressed in red, had started firing on the left flank of the brigade. This “tore up the ground uncomfortably near the men and, the two things together, coming about the same time caused considerable confusion in part of the regiment, and realizing that the most trying position that raw men, and even the best disciplined and bravest could be placed in was to be required to remain still, doing nothing, receiving the enemy’s fire without returning it, I feared the consequences, if I strictly obeyed General Jackson’s orders; therefore it was that I have the orders to charge, contrary to his order to wait until the enemy was within thirty paces, the enemy being much further off at that time.” Casler writes:

Colonel Cummings and Lieutenant Colonel Lee were in front of our regiment, perhaps a hundred yards, stooping down, and occasionally standing to get a view over the crest of the hill that rose gently before us for a little over a hundred yards. The musketry kept up on our right, and then Colonels Cummings and Lee were seen to rise and bending down, to come back with somewhat quickened steps to the regiment. I remember, as Colonel Cummings drew near, he called out: “Boys, they are coming, now wait until they get close before you fire.’ Almost immediately several pieces of artillery, their horses in front, made their appearance on the hill in front of us, curving as if going into battery, and at the same time I descried the spear-point and upper portion of a United States flag, as it rose in the hands of its bearer over the hill; then I saw the bearer, and the heads of the men composing the line of battle to the right and left of him. At the sight several of our men rose from the ranks, leveled their muskets at the line, and, although I called out, ‘Do not fire yet,’ it was of no use; they fired and then the shrill cry of Colonel Cummings was heard, ‘Charge!’ and away the regiment went, firing as they ran, into the ranks of the enemy, and particularly at the battery towards which our line rapidly approached . . . I think it can be demonstrated that the victory of First Manassas is traceable to Colonel Cummings (p. 42.)

Casler quoted a letter received from Col. Cummings at 75 years of age:

When General Jackson directed me to look out for the enemy’s artillery, Captain William Lee, who was acting as Lieutenant Colonel, and a gallant man he was, and I walked out on the plateau and saw the artillery of the enemy moving rapidly up the Sudley road to our front and left, and large bodies of the enemy’s infantry moving along the hill towards our left flank, and we returned immediately to the regiment.

Casler felt that the unauthorized charge was made “with splendid discretion (p. 43.) While it took three attempts to secure Rickett’s battery, it was an unexpected victory for the Confederates (in the eyes of much of the country), and it buoyed their spirits greatly.

During the charge, Captain William Lee, acting as Lieutenant Colonel, was mortally wounded in the breast.

An article in the Times-Dispatch of June 4, 1905 was reproduced in the Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume XXXIV. Quoting Captain John H, Grabill, of the 33rd, “After the battle was over, General Jackson rode to one of the field hospitals As he sat upon his horse he looked steadily upon the dying Captain Lee of the Thirty-third, who was propped against a small tree, and made this remark: ‘The work Colonel Cummings’ regiment did today was worth the loss of the entire regiment.’” In fact, the 33rd sustained huge losses.

A touching first-hand account of the Battle of First Manassas was written in a personal letter from William Lee’s cousin (who was like a brother,) Edwin Gray Lee to William’s mother, describing the battle, his lingering illness, and death (Western Historical Manuscript Collection, Columbia, Mo.)

He began:

You know we left Winchester on the 18th of July. We reached Manassas Junction on the 19th and on the morning of Saturday the 20th we were placed in the reserve to General Longstreet behind the woods in rear of the Battlefield of the 18th. While we lay there I repeatedly saw Willie and conversed and laughed with him. Early on the morning of the 21st we were moved and we continued to shift our position until about 10 A.M. when we finally took one in reserve to Gen. Bee’s Brigade. During this morning I saw William frequently. About 11 o’clock we got a request from Gen. Bee to come to his support. Gen. Jackson (I was his aide-de-camp) sent me to move the various regiments forward. And the last time I saw Willie was just as I bore the order to Col. Cummings to move his (???-ED). He was looking as calm and cheerful as ever. I saw him, and at 20 minutes before 12 o’clock, we entered the battle. The order of our Brigade was as follows – On the right was the 5th Regt. Next the 4th the 27th was in column in reserve to the 4th and in front of the 4th were 21 pieces of our artillery. On the left of the 4th was the 2nd and on the left of the 2nd the 33d, which was Wm’s Regt. Which made the left of the Brigade.About 2 P.M. the battle became terrific. Our artillery and that of the enemy kept up one uninterrupted roar, while the sharp rattle of the musketry and the occasional thunder of a volley from a whole Regiment, mingled with the crashing or shot, the shriek and whistle of bullets, the bursting shell, and the hoarse, loud tone of fierce Command made it all seem doubly terrific and grand.About 2:30 or 3 P.M. “Rickett’s Battery” was brought on the hill, put into position and unlimbered. It fired two shots, when it was charged by the 33rd. They drove the Yankees from the guns but were not strong enough to hold them, and were driven back. They Charged again, Wm. Leading the left wing and Colonel Cummings the right, and again took the battery and again had to abandon it. It was in this charge that Wm. Was shot. (All these particulars I learned afterwards.) Col. Cummings rallied his men, charged the third time, and took and kept the Battery. The 33rd lost more than one third in killed and wounded, a greater loss than was sustained by any other Regiment on either side.When Willie was shot, he walked back up the hill, but did not fall. He remarked to an officer, “I am shot”: and the blood began to trickle from his breast. He was assisted to a distance of more than half a mile in rear of the Battle ground, and he then had to lie down. “All the charges” that I mentioned above, occupied but a few minutes: About 3 o’clock I was accosted by Dr. Cornelius Baldwin of the 33rd who asked me if I knew Capt. Lee was shot. My heart sank as I told him no, and I begged him to take me to him.He said no, if I could stay with Dr. McGuire (who was overwhelmed there with the wounded) he would bring him there. I urged him to make all speed, and in a few minutes he brought William to us in a light spring wagon.We lifted him out as tenderly as we could and laid him in the shade, on the ground. The day was extremely hot and all around us was dust and confusion – wounded men in every conceivable state of mutilation lying all round.Dr. McGuire immediately unbuttoned Willie’s coat and vest as far as he could. The wound was right in the centre of the breast between the 1st and 2nd studs of his shirt. The missile that inflicted the wound (whether a small piece of shell or a bullet, I never could determine) had struck the third button of his coat, partly torn it off, and had passed downwards, driving the cloth or the coat, waist coat and small waistcoat button, together with his shirt, about an inch and a half into the breast.It required nearly the whole of the surgeon’s strength to draw these things from the wound, while I held him in my arms. The wound gave him much pain; the Dr. carefully dressed it and laid him down in quite an easy position. Whatever it was that struck him did not enter the breast: It either fell off, rebounding when he was shot, or else it was pulled out, unobserved, with the clothing. He was too much hurt to be allowed to talk, and the only communication he made was either assent or dissent, indicated by the movement of his head. After his wound was dressed, I gave him some water and asked him if he felt easier. He nodded. I then told him he must not speak, but that I must tell him that we had whipped the enemy and would soon drive them from the field. Just then our gallant Brigade made its final charge, and Generals E.K. Smith and Elay came up with their fresh troops. The enemy broke and ran in the wildest panic, and the mighty, never, never-to-be forgotten shout of victory arose. I sat down by him and said:“Willie, do you hear that? We’ve whipped them and they are flying! The day is ours and we have gained an overwhelming victory!! Oh, how his glorious eye brightened, as he feebly waved his hand, and still more feebly whispered “hurrah!” At this moment Brig. General Jackson came up with a shattered finger to have it dressed; as soon as it was done, he directed me to get on my horse and ride back with him on the field. A young friend who was by Willie’s side assured me he would never leave him and would see him well and comfortably taken care of and fixed. I was utterly unable to leave the field of battle until after dark, and even then I had not fulfilled the orders I had to execute. I got to my Brigade about midnight: and next morning early I went to the house where I learned Willie had been taken. It was owned by some good Scotch people named “Pringle.”The house was full of wounded, among them Br. Gen. E.K. Smith, who was removed during the day. Willie was in a large room down stairs and during all the time save three days, was alone. My excellent young Harrison from Berkely, was by him, nursing him as tenderly as tho it had been his own brother. He had been up with him the whole night. Willie was still suffering very much, but was much better. He had the best medical attendance the army afforded, in Drs. McGuire, Conrad and Straith. The latter was with him day and night the whole time. He was still forbidden to talk; but he beckoned me to him and said, in a low whisper: “Eddie, write to Lil and Mother.” I said: “Yes Willie, but don’t talk.” He smiled and was perfectly quiet.All that day and night he was in much pain, but it diminished and the next morning (Tuesday) he was much better. Before day I went to his wife, and in the morning as soon as I got a little rest, I wrote to you. He seemed to suffer less all day than he had done, and during part of it seemed really bright, and I couldn’t help hoping he would get well. He asked me twice if I had written to you, and seemed quite and satisfied when I told him I had, but I wouldn’t let him or rather did not encourage him to talk of you although I knew his thoughts were with you and his wife and child continually. At night he was not so comfortable as during the day, but next morning he brightened up again and continued so much better until Thursday indeed until Friday morning early that I determined to write to you saying that the Drs hoped for his recovery, as indeed they did during part of Wednesday and Thursday. But it did not continue. Young Harrison hadto leave me on Tuesday morning, when my cousin, George Bedinger came to aid me in nursing him. To both of them we owe many, many thanks. Their kindness and watchful attention could not have been greater possibly.Cousin Lillie did not get my letter, as I did not know where she was. But being at Strasburg, she learned on Wednesday that Willie was wounded and on Thursday she and Mrs. Swann, her cousin, came to the house where we were. They had great difficulty in getting there, but the kindness of some officers helped them through. During all this time Co. Cummings and others of his Regiment came over continually to enquire after him. Dr. Eliason, who lived up the road some little way, was more than kind, also. (Talcott Eliason) He supplied so many comforts and conveniences. On Friday morning Willie began to grow worse. In the afternoon Mrs. Towner (Lillie’s Mother)and Pa and Edmund came. I knew then from the Surgeon there was no hope. Oh how my dear father wept over one whom he loved as his own son! Constantly Willie asked us briefly as possible, to read to him and sing to him. And every thought, and every breath was but full of confidence and faith and love towards our Heavenly Father and the Blessed Savior. He grew gradually worse from this, gangrene having ensued. On Saturday he said “Dr. is there any hope”? Straith (who was unremitting in his efforts) replied “Captain I fear there is none”.His wife and all of us were around him. He said: “I had hoped to live to see my Country established in her new Government: but if Thou orderest otherwise, Oh Father, Thy will be done”. He asked Pa to pray; but he was weeping so that he could not and I prayed for him, for his wife and child, for his Mother and for us who loved him dearly:“That all of us might bow with humble hearts to the will of that God whose every act is full of love; that we might kiss the hand that ever Chastens for our good and remember that those who departed in Jesus, were only ‘gone before’.”And when I finished he took up the prayer and prayed the God of Justice and the God of Battles to bless and prosper our Country very briefly, for he could not talk much, but how fervently and how beautifully. And I know that God will answer that prayer of his faithful dying servant. From this moment he was conscious scarcely at all. He suffered much until Sunday night: but after that he was insensible to pain. I sat by him, watched him, nursed him and scarcely ever left his side from this, or during the whole time. But I have nothing more to tell. At twenty minutes before nine o’clock on Tuesday night, July 30th his brave heart ceased to throb and the blessed Father of Mercy took him to Himself. And when I looked upon his thin but calm and beloved face (for oh dear Aunt I loved him) my heart went up to God for those he left behind. And surely He will be with and bless them for hath He not promised? He was so gentle, so patient, so full of love to those who
were around him . . . He has only gone before, dear Aunt Mary, to await you in his Father’s home. The faithful soldier of Christ’s Cross has gone to join his Lord’s glorious army – never, never more to leave it.I have since then been commissioned as Major to the Regt. (33rd) which he was on duty with; and often wish you could hear the expressions of regard, respect and love with which the command, from its commanding officer to (two unknown words) soldier invariably speak of him. No sadder (two unknown words) than that of his loss couldever have been made to them. But he fell, (blessed thought) in the path of duty, in his Country’s Cause, in Freedom’s cause, on the field of honor and of glory. He fell, not unmarked, unknown, & unloved; but with his sword in his strong grasp, as the leader of gallant soldiers many of whom fell by his side, and mourned by hundreds who knew him but to love him. And above all, far above all, he
fell, not without hope in God – but an humble, earnest prayerful child of Jesus: a trusting servant of the Most High! And to that Gracious God and Loving Father, dear Aunt I commend you: Oh may He in his Great Mercy be with you, bless you, sustain you, & comfort you. “The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble. The name of the God of Jacob defend thee: send thee help from the sanctuary and strengthen thee out of Zion”! Let us take comfort from and make an example of, the dying bed of my more than brother. And “cast our burden on the Lord” and say as he so sweetly, submissively said “Oh Lord! Thy will be done.”

Virginia Bedinger wrote to her mother in Shepherdstown, “Truly, it was a great victory + I pray to God to make us thankful to Him for his great love + mercy towards us in delivering us from the horde of our enemies . . .Measuring our friends loss in that victory, poor Mr. Willie Lee was wounded desperately + when we heard it was thought he must die. God have mercy on his poor young wife.”

Charles Wesley Andrews, the Episcopal clergyman and Rector of Trinity Church in Shepherdstown, also went to visit William in the Pringle House. In a letter written to his wife, he wrote:

I went to see Willie Lee who was shot in the breast mortally as is supposed. Lilly had got there. He was well attended to by Edwin Lee and others. He could not speak above a whisper & breathed with difficulty, but understood all I said. He was alive however yesterday morning when I left & there’s no thought or possibility of his recovery. Mr. E.J. Lee has gone back again this morning to bring up his body if he dies.

Although the lingering death of any young soldier is tragic, William did not die alone, miserable, and unknown as did so many courageous warriors in this terrible conflict. On the field, in the field hospital, and as death slowly overtook him, he was surrounded by friends and family – his beloved Lillie, his mother-in-law, classmates from VMI, his former professor Jackson, General Pendleton, his priest C. W. Andrews, his cousin/brother Edwin, his uncle and surrogate father, Edmund, Col. Cummings, and fellow members of the 33rd. With a lifetime forged with early loss and economic hardship, the frustration of not seeing his dream of a new country, the devastation of knowing he was not to enjoy the blessings of a long marriage and fatherhood of his baby girl, and in the face of intense pain and suffering, William was consoled by his deep faith that God’s will be done. In the end, it was not Captain and Mrs. William Fitzhugh Lee, but Willie and Lillie, lovingly intertwined in the cot of the front right room of the Pringle House as his life slowly ebbed away. Thus did the following dawn grow dim with tears.

Because of the disorganization, lack of documentation in the early days of the war and his untimely death during the first real battle, William Fitzhugh Lee’s brave and humble character, popularity, and courageous role in the Battle of First Manassas has not been properly told. It is time for my great-great-grandfather’s story to be shared.

(Lillie Parran Lee is at the far right).

Lillie Parran Lee was devastated, wearing widow’s black daily for the next fifty-five years. Following Willie’s death, she had her sister, Mary Dare Tinsley, hand deliver the silver spurs, which William was wearing when he was felled, to J.E.B. Stuart. Upon his dying, Stuart told those around him to give his sword to his son and to give his spurs to Mrs. Lillie Lee, of Shepherdstown. The friendship between the two couples had come full circle.

My mother, Elizabeth Lee Chappell Reeves and Uncle, Thomas Huntington Chappell, remembered her well from their childhood as a gentle and loving elder who told stories and played card games with them. She would never acknowledge President Lincoln or the existence of West Virginia, insisting on Jefferson County, Virginia as her place of origin. From a childhood of carefree gaiety and social interest, Lillie sustained not only the early loss of her father, husband and close friend, J.E.B. Stuart, but her daughter, at the age of 34. She remained loyal to the Cause, dying in New London Connecticut at the home of her great-grand daughter, whom she helped raise. But that is another story – Ann C. Reeves.

Useful Local Links:

Manassas: The March, The Mayhem, The Memory – Pt. 2
14,991 words


Rev. C. W. Andrews Collection – Special Collections Library, Perkins Collection, Duke University.

Andrews, Rev. C.W. (1877). “Memoir of Rev. C. W. Andrews.” Cornelius Walker, ed. New York, NY: Thomas Whittaker, 2 Bible House. Print.

Andrews, Rev. C.W. (1877). “Memoir of Rev. C. W. Andrews.” Cornelius Walker, ed. Google Books. 19 July 2008. Web. 24 Dec. 2010.

Casler, John O. (1906). “Four years in the Stonewall Brigade, containing the daily experiences of four year’s service in the ranks from a diary kept at the time.” Marietta, GA: Continental Book Company. Print.

Casler, John O. (1906). “Four years in the Stonewall Brigade, containing the daily experiences of four year’s service in the ranks from a diary kept at the time.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 1 March 2011.

Craighill, E. A. (1989). “Confederate surgeon: the personal recollections of E.A. Craighill Confederate surgeon.” Peter W. Houck ed. Lynchburg, Va: H. E. Howard, Inc. Print.

Cummings, Col. Arthur. (1906) “Colonel Cumming’s Account.” Southern Historical Society papers. R. A. Brock (ed). Volume 34. Richmond, VA.: Southern Historical Society. pp. 367-371

Cummings, Col. Arthur. (1906) “Colonel Cumming’s Account.” Southern Historical Society papers. Google Books 15 Aug. 2006 Web. 15 Oct. 2011.

Grabill, Captain John H. (1906). “Thirty-Third Virginia at Manassas – Col. Cummings Takes Liberties With His Orders and Does Good Work.” Southern Historical Society papers. R. A. Brock (ed). Volume 34. Richmond, VA.: Southern Historical Society. pp. 363-367.

Grabill, Captain John H. (1906). “Thirty-Third Virginia at Manassas – Col. Cummings Takes Liberties With His Orders and Does Good Work.” Southern Historical Society papers.
Google Books 15 Aug. 2006 Web. 15 Oct. 2011.

Index:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu
Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Johns, J. (John), Sparrow, William. (1867). “A memoir of the life of the Right Rev. William Meade, D.D., bishop of the Protestant Episcopal church in the diocese of Virginia.” Baltimore, MD: Innes & company. Print.

Lee, Susan P. (1893). “Memoirs of William Nelson Pendleton.” Philadelphia, PA.: J. B. Lippincott Company. Print.

Lee, Susan P. (1893). “Memoirs of William Nelson Pendleton.”
Google Books 15 Aug. 2006 Web. 15 Oct. 2011.

Reidenbaugh, Lowell. (1987). “33rd Virginia Infantry.” Lynchburg, VA: H. E. Howard, Inc. Print.

Strother, David H., “Mountains.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 51, Issue: 304, (Sept., 1875). pp. 475-486. Print.

Thomas, Emery M. (1999). “Bold Dragoon: The Life of J.E.B. Stuart.” Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Print.

Virginia Military Institute Archives

Walker, Charles D. (1877). “Memorial Virginia Military Institute. “Biographical Sketches of the Graduates and Eleves of the Virginia Military Institute who Fell During the War Between the States.” Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott & Co. Print.

Walker, Charles D. (1877). “Memorial Virginia Military Institute. “Biographical Sketches of the Graduates and Eleves of the Virginia Military Institute who Fell During the War Between the States.“Google Books 15 Aug. 2006 Web. 15 Oct. 2011.

Western Historical Manuscript Collection, Columbia, Mo.

Virginia Military Institute Archives


Surkamp, Jim. (1998). “J.E.B. Stuart’s Silver Spurs Pt. 1.” (Video) Retrieved 5 July 2011 from:

Image Credits:

William Fitzhugh Lee – Courtesy Reeves Family

Bishop William Meade –
Johns, J. (John), Sparrow, William. (1867). “A memoir of the life of the Right Rev. William Meade, D.D., bishop of the Protestant Episcopal church in the diocese of Virginia.” Baltimore, MD: Innes & company. Print.

Rev. William Lee – Courtesy Reeves Family

Edmund Jennings Lee – Courtesy the Goldsborough Family

Edwin Gray Lee – Courtesy the Goldsborough Family, detail from painting at Library of Congress.

William Nelson Pendleton –
William Nelson Pendleton. “Encyclopedia Virginia.” Courtesy The Virginia Historical Society. 7 Oct. 2010 Web. 15 Oct. 2011.

Susan Pendleton Lee – Notman Photographic Archives, McCord Museum, McGill University, Montreal. Photo No. 19459

Sandie Pendleton –
Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Laura Morgan Parran – Courtesy of the Reeves Family

Original Trinity Episcopal Church – Jim Surkamp

A ring tournament –
Strother, David H., “Mountains.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 51, Issue: 304, (Sept., 1875). pp. 484. Print.

The Queen of the Ring Tournament –
Strother, David H., “Mountains.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 51, Issue: 304, (Sept., 1875). p. 485. Print.

Young J.E.B. Stuart
Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Edwin Gray Lee in civilian clothing – Notman Photographic Archives, McCord Museum, McGill University, Montreal. Photo No. 17037.

Dr. Hunter McGuire –
Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

George Bedinger Rust – Danske Dandridge Collection, Special Collections, Perkins Collection, Duke University

Edmund Lee Jr. – Courtesy the Goldsborough Family

Photos of actual room William Lee was cared for – Ann C. Reeves

Virginia Bedinger (Lucas) – Perry Collection, Charles Town Library, “Jefferson County History” Notebook.

Thy Will Be Done – Chapter 7.1 – THE TALE OF TWO CANNON by Jim Surkamp

15.476 words

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.).

William Blackford
Warren Lee Goss
John Casler
T. J. Jackson
Thomas Gold
John N. Opie
J.E.B. Stuart
George C. Eggleston
David Humphreys
William A. Morgan
George W. Baylor
Edwin Gray Lee


The Battle of Manassas/Bull Run shattered with gore the illusion of a short, “duel-like” war, with reserved seats for those with parasols.

William Blackford of Stuart’s cavalry recalled: “It is amusing now to recall how general the feeling was – every one seemed to think one battle would settle it, and those in authority, who had brought on all the trouble, who ought to have known better, unfortunately thought so, too.”

The battle was messy, incoherent with many piecemeal attacks and counter-attacks. William Blackford in Stuart’s cavalry was well-placed to see thousands of men turn and walk – then run – from the field of battle, as their 90-day tours of duty were coming due.

” . . . the most extraordinary spectacle I have ever witnessed took place. . . . I had been moving forward to the attack, some fifteen or twenty thousand strong in full view, and for some reason had turned away in another direction for a moment, when someone exclaimed, pointing to the battlefield, “Look! Look!” Where those “well-dressed,” well-defined lines, with clear spaces between, had been steadily pressing forward, the whole field was a confused swarm of men, like bees, running away as fast as their legs could carry them, with all order and organization abandoned. In a moment more, the whole valley was filled with them as far as the eye could reach. . .”

That fact, battlefield pressures, and the mere ability of some 8500 well-trained men – in Winchester on July 18 – to just get to Manassas by Sunday morning the 21st – decided the outcome.

We follow the men from the Shenandoah Valley with J.E.B. Stuart and Thomas Jackson, both freshly made Brigadier Generals, and those they faced, as they fought to hold the crest of Henry Hill. Of 2,600 men in The Stonewall Brigade, 480 became casualties in their real first battle. (Ballard; OR, Series I, IX, P. 483)

We focus on the linchpin events of the day surrounding the capture and recapture of the batteries of Union Captains Griffin and Ricketts, the first capture of which by the Confederates seemed to be the beginning of the ultimate unraveling of Union resolve. The struggle was between the Confederates, especially the Stonewall Brigade, trying to secure this ridge of Henry Hill where the batteries were after 2:30, while overcoming constant, strenuous efforts by Union forces to flank Jackson’s Brigade on the left of his line. Ultimately, reinforcements and vigilance by Confederate General Stuart’s cavalry kept that from happening. Around 5 PM the Union forces retreated. Learning from this, President Lincoln then issued a new call for 500,000 more recruits, but this time – requiring three-year commitments.

NOTE: Primary sources are given with an emphasis on first-hand accounts and direct observation. Personal or second-hand estimates of casualties or other quantities are kept as in the original and are subject to the analysis and possible documented correction by the researcher.-ED


The batteries of Ricketts and Griffin, by their fine discipline, wonderful daring, and matchless skill, were the prime features in the fight. The battle was not lost till they were lost. (Frye, Battles & Leaders, Vol. 1, P. 189)


While General Johnston’s movements were going on in the lower Valley of Virginia, others of great importance were being made elsewhere in the State, the chief of which was the organization of an army by General Beauregard at Manassas Junction, to cover the approach to Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. This Junction was about twenty-five miles from Alexandria, and was manifestly the strategic point for the defense of Northeastern Virginia. The United States troops were now massed in and around Washington, preparing for an advance into Virginia, and all the energies of the Confederate authorities were concentrated upon preparations to repel the invaders. On both sides Manassas was the center of expectation. Generals Beauregard and Johnston were acting in concert, and on the 18th of July, Johnston received a telegram from Beauregard that the enemy was advancing in force upon Bull Run, and calling upon him to hasten to his assistance. General McDowell, with a large army, was marching forward to attack the Confederates with the confidence of an easy victory. They had already driven back General Beauregard’s advance guard, and seemed likely to carry all before them when the arrival of Johnston’s troops turned the fortune of the day.


There was an urgency in the ranks of the 2nd Virginia Infantry on July 18, 1861, urgency and emergency. Word had arrived at Winchester that there was an attack just outside of Manassas Junction, that the Union army was advancing rapidly against a small force under Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard at Manassas Junction. Joe Johnston and his army at Winchester needed to leave the Valley immediately, and to scurry to Manassas Junction, to reinforce the Confederates there and to stop this Union advance. And so Jackson’s men hurriedly began to march east from Winchester – to the Shenandoah River, crossing at Berry’s Ferry in Clarke County. . . (Frye),

JULY 18 – (Thursday)

On a sudden order to start a march, the Confederate soldiers near Winchester quickly began, except for ten, known of in the 2nd Virginia regiment, who “skedaddled” instead, eight of whom were from Company E, commanded by Raleigh Colston. (Frye, P. 11)


On the 18th of July I struck my tents, rolled them up, and left them on the ground, and about noon marched through Winchester, as I had been encamped on the other side of the town. (Jackson to Mrs. Jackson, Memoir).


July 18th we marched through Winchester and took the road leading to Berry’s Ferry, on the Shenandoah river, about eighteen miles distant. The citizens were very much grieved to see us leave, for fear the enemy would be in town, as there were no troops left but a few militia and Colonel Turner Ashby’s cavalry. (Casler).

3 PM

By 3 p.m., the Valley Army was in motion. According to one old Johnny, at that hour “we were rapidly moving through the dusty streets of old Winchester, there only to be the more inspired and encouraged for there was not a mother or sister who had not in the ranks a son or brother. . .” (Reidenbaugh).

About an hour and a half after leaving, I had the following order from General Johnston published to my brigade: “Our gallant army under General Beauregard is now attacked by overwhelming numbers. The commanding general hopes that his troops will step out like men . . .” At this stirring appeal the soldiers rent the air with shouts of joy, and all was eagerness and animation where before there had been only lagging and uninterested obedience. (Jackson to Mrs. Jackson, Memoir).

After marching a few miles we were halted, and the Adjutant read us orders that the enemy were about to overpower General Beauregard at Manassas Junction, and we would have to make a forced march. It was General Johnston’s wish that all the men would keep in ranks and not straggle, if possible. (Casler)

. . . about two miles out of Winchester. The column was halted and officers revealed a startling piece of information: Confederate forces under P.G.T. Beauregard had been attacked by Federals under . . . McDowell at Masassas and the Valley Army was on its way to help out “Old Bory.” (Reidenbaugh)

. . . as we marched we were halted on the road and an order from General Johnston read telling the men that “Our gallant army under General Beauregard at Manassas in now attacked by overwhelming numbers . . .” This appeal to our patriotism was like an electric shock, and was responded to with cheers, and every one felt that it was up to him to do his duty. (Gold).

. . . our disgruntled army moved towards the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were all completely at a loss to comprehend the meaning of our retrograde movement, until a general order was read, informing us that we were marching to the relief of Beauregard at Manassas, where a great battle was imminent. At this news, the whole army set up a continuous yell. It was the first Rebel yell, which afterward became so familiar to friend and foe. (Opie).

We continued our march until we reached Millwood, in Clarke County, where we halted for an hour or so, having found an abundance of good water, and there we took a lunch. Resuming the march, our brigade continuing in front, we arrived at the Shenandoah River about dark. The water was waist-deep, but the men gallantly waded the river. (Jackson to Mrs. Jackson, Memoir).

In fact the river was high, the river was almost chest-deep at that point and when the 2nd Virginia came to the river crossing, it stopped. It was pondering: “Well, do we wait for a ferry? How do we get across? Do we need rope to help keep our balance?” and all of the sudden the 33rd Infantry of the Virginia Brigade just splashed right in to the water . . . 2nd Infantry standing there on the road – ruminating, contemplating the water – and the 33rd Infantry just rushes right in to the water. Well the 2nd Virginia was greatly embarrassed. So sure enough, as soon as the 33rd had left the bank, all of 2nd Virginia trudged right into the water, all except one company. A ferry did arrive and Company C, a Clarke County Company, got on a ferry boat and one of the locals carried them across the river. They didn’t get wet. (Frye).

But when we reached the Shenandoah River and found that we had to ford it, our enthusiasm cooled and for a time many of us held back, but just then the 33rd Virginia, under Colonel Cummings came up and marched right into the water. We were put to shame and waded right in. (Gold) NOTE: Gold’s account is modified by Mr. Frye’s information.-ED

We waded across the Shenandoah river with our clothes and cartridge boxes hung upon our muskets . . . (Opie).

. . . the men removed their clothes and suspended them from their muskets along with their cartridge boxes and haversacks. In this undraped fashion, the men splashed ahead in “a long struggle against a cold, breast-high current.” (Reidenbaugh).

Straggling gained fearful proportions as the men climbed the Blue Ridge and passed through Ashby’s Gap at midnight (Reidenbaugh).

Charles Ferrell appears to have been one of those who fell off the march at this stage-ED:

FERRELL, CHARLES F.: b. 8/23/42, Painter. enl. 4/20/61 at Harper’s Ferry in Co. B as Pvt. AWOL 7/17/61 while on march from Winchester to Manassas. Present again Sept-Oct. 1861. POW at Kernstown, 3/23/62 (Ft. Delaware). Exchanged 8/5/62. After exchange, went home without leave, and taken POW at home. On parole as of 10/31/62. Present again Nov.-Dec. 1862. Surrendered at Appomattox. d. 5/23/08. bur. Elmwood Cem., Shepherdstown, W.Va.
1850 Census:
18 380 387 Ferrall Jacob 31 M WChairmaker VA
19 380 387 Ferrall Susan 31 F W VA
20 380 387 Ferrall Charles 7 M W* VA

Upon setting up camp for rest, Jackson when asked who would do guard detail, said: “The poor fellows are exhausted. I’ll stand guard.” (Jackson, of course, was on horseback for this march from Winchester to Paris). (Reidenbaugh).

JULY 19 – (Friday) (early morning)

Col. J.E.B. Stuart‘s 1st Virginia Cavalry had little time to get to Manassas

Gen. Joe Johnston informed Col. J.E.B. Stuart that his 150 cavalry troopers (1st Virginia Cavalry) would have to get to Manassas by road in time for battle. This meant more than a full day of hard riding, while maintaining the horses. (Ballard, Driver).

(Near Falling Waters in Berkeley County, in early July, 1861, Stuart with his new recruits):

“Attention!” he cried. “Now I want to talk to you, men. You are fellows, and patriotic ones too, but you are ignorant of this kind of work, and I am teaching you. I want you to observe that a good man on a good horse can never be caught. Another thing: cavalry can trot away from anything, and a gallop is a gait unbecoming a soldier, unless he is going toward the enemy. Remember that. We gallop at the enemy, and trot away, always. Steady now! don’t break ranks!”

And as the words left his lips a shell from a battery half a mile to the rear hissed over our heads. “There,” he resumed, “I’ve been waiting for that, and watching those fellows. I knew they’d shoot too high, and I wanted you to learn how a shell sounds.” We spent the next day or two literally within the Federal lines. We were shelled, skirmished with, charged, and surrounded scores of times, until we learned to hold in regard our colonel’s masterly skill in getting into and out of perilous positions. He seemed to blunder into them in sheer recklessness, but in getting out he showed us the quality of his genius; and before we reached Manassas, we had learned, among other things, to entertain a feeling closely akin to worship for our brilliant and daring leader. We had begun to understand, too, how much force he meant to give his favorite dictum that the cavalry is the eye of the army. (Eggleston).

Stuart’s men grew tired and hungry during the hard ride. William Blackford resorted to extreme measures-ED

I was famishing when we halted for rest, but just then a man passed by with a huge bullfrog he had just caught . . and he told I might have it if I liked as he would not eat for all the world. It was but the work of a few moments to kindle a fire, dress the frog and broil him, not the hind legs, but the whole body; it was delicious and quite enough to serve as a pretty good meal. . . I had been in saddle all the day before and all the night, and without food during that time except the bullfrog; this together with my attack of sickness made me so weak that I could scarcely walk across the front yard of the house to knock on the front door. . . Some charming girls in wrappers, aroused from their slumbers, appeared at the upper windows and after hearing my tale hastened to dress and come down. . . A basin of cold water fresh from the well and snowy towels refreshed me inexpressibly, for the roads were suffocating in dust. Then a delicious breakfast, hot strong coffee in a huge cup, seemed to bring new life to my bones. (Blackford).

But I must tell who Comet was, for to a cavalry officer in active service his horse is his second self, his companion and friend, upon whom his very life may depend. . . He was a dark mahogany bay, almost brown, with black mane, tail and legs and a small white star on his forehead – great eyes standing out like those of a deer, small delicate muzzle – delicate ears in which you could see the veins, and which were in constant motion with every thought which passed through his mind – small and beautiful feet – and legs as hard as bone itself. (Blackford).

Jackson’s Brigade continues its march to the train connection at Piedmont.-ED

They then continued on up and over the Blue Ridge, back down the east side of the Blue Ridge and now we’re in Piedmont, Virginia. This was important, because at the Village of Piedmont, you could get on the train of the Manassas Gap Railroad. And so the 2nd Infantry rushed to Piedmont where they would get on the train. (Frye).

This halting and crossing delayed us for some time; but about two o’clock in the morning we arrived at the little village of Paris, where we remained sleeping until nearly dawn. I mean the troops slept, as my men were so exhausted that I let them sleep while I kept watch myself. Bright and early we resumed the march, and the head of our column arrived at Piedmont, on the Manassas Gap Railroad, about six o’clock in the morning; after eating our breakfast, the brigade commenced going aboard of the cars. . . (Jackson to Mrs. Jackson, Memoir).

Then we started on a quick march, marched all day and nearly all night, wading the Shenandoah river about 12 o’clock at night, halted at a small village called Paris about two hours, then resumed the march . . . about daylight, and arrived at Piedmont Station, on the Manassas Gap railroad. Our brigade was in the advance on the march, and when we arrived at the station the citizens for miles around came knocking in to see us, bringing us eatables of all kinds, and we fared sumptuously. There were not trains enough to transport all at once, and our regiment had to remain there until trains returned, which was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. (Casler).

We had a regular picnic; plenty to eat, lemonade to drink, and beautiful young ladies to chat with. We finally got aboard, bade the ladies a long farewell, and went flying down the road, arriving at the Junction in the night. (Casler).

. . . and, marching all night, crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains and reached the Manassas Gap Railroad at daylight. At Piedmont Junction we ate breakfast, and were loaded into box cars and hurried on to the junction. (Opie).

Even here an interesting thing happened. These men would be placed in cattle cars. They would be tightly stuffed into these very tight structures on rails and be prepared to move. Not everybody in the 2nd Virginia was crammed into a cattle car. Lawson Botts’ Company, Company G from Charles Town, spied what looked to be a much better car – a passenger car, and so they immediately apprehended the car – the passenger car – and Company G, those boys, had comfortable seats. Well, all a sudden, this brash young man comes in and says: “You can’t take this car. This car can’t be yours.” (Frye).

Lawson Botts and the boys say: “Well, why not?” – and

Sandie Pendleton, who was on Johnston’s staff at the time, said: “Because this is for the officers of the Brigade.” And at that point the Botts’ Greys said: “We are equal to our officers. We deserve these seats, and you are going to have to be forced to remove us from this car.” End of discussion. They rode in luxury to Manassas Junction. And so that would be the last fun – fun moment for these boys of 2nd Virginia. That train ride to Manassas Junction, and then it became very serious. They would get off the train, they would march to Mitchell’s Ford along Bull Run; they would see the sight from the very first fighting at Blackburn’s Ford on July the 18th and they knew at this point, they now were going to face the Union Army in strength. They knew now that real business was at hand and most importantly – this is probably what was happening on that train ride – these men were in conversations. They were in conversations about the future of their new country, the Confederacy. They understood the weight of responsibility that was now upon their shoulders. What was going to happen? Would they stand and fight? Will they be drilled and disciplined to the point that they would withstand bullets and shots from cannon? Would they indeed be able to withstand the attack of the enemy. Would they survive or would they die? (Frye)

. . . after eating our breakfast, the brigade commenced going aboard of the cars. . . and the same day all that could be carried arrived at Manassas about four o’clock in the afternoon, without much suffering to my men or to myself. The next day we rested, and the following day was the memorable 21st of July. (Jackson to Mrs. Jackson, Memoir).

JULY 19 (Friday) – JULY 20 (Saturday)

. . . By night fall we are there and in bivouac. . . (Gold).

. . . that evening we got on the cars (at Piedmont Station) and arrived at the Junction that night. (Casler).

Upon our arrival, we were unloaded, and the trains were hurried back for other troops. We marched to a neighboring thicket and bivouacked for the night. After supper, a number of our company were seated around a camp-fire, when one of our comrades, William Woodward, exclaimed, “Boys, to-morrow I will be killed; but, Opie, you will survive the war!” I attributed his observations to the apprehensions of a timid nature, and said to him, “If you feel in this way, do not go into the battle.” I shall never forget his reply, “Yes, I will; I do not fear death. It is my destiny, and I will meet it like a man.” The next day that noble hero fell at my side, at the Henry house, pierced by a minie ball. His last words were, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Since then, I have ever, under all circumstances, believed in destiny, a belief which saves one from many unnecessary fears. (Opie).

JULY 21 (Sunday) – THE MAYHEM

The next morning we marched about four miles east, where they had had a battle on Thursday (July 18th-ED). We stayed there all that day and night, expecting an attack every hour. (Casler).

(That-ED) Sunday morning our forces were attacked four miles higher up, and we made a quick march from there to the battle-field . . . where we arrived about 12. They had been fighting all morning, but about 10 they got at it in earnest. We got there (that is, Jackson’s Brigade) just in the heat of the battle. . . (Casler).

. . . At day break we are marched to Blackburn’s Ford on Bull Run, where two days before a fight had taken place. But no foe appears to us and we are marched westward. . . (Gold).


NOTE: Capt. William A. Morgan was with J.E.B. Stuart and the 1st Virginia Cavalry that were following the infantry to Manassas from Winchester en route some 36 hours.-ED.

We left the neighborhood of Winchester very suddenly and marched day and night for the junction which we reached on Saturday (July 20-ED). We camped that night on what was the battlefield the next day (July 21-ED) Sunday bright and early, by dawn the conflict began with the booming of artillery and the sharp reports of musketry, mingled with the hoarse commands given by the officers, the screams of the dying horses and the groans of the wounded which was kept up without intermission until moonlight. (Morgan).

The reveille aroused us early on that fateful morning, and we ate a hasty breakfast, and, while yet eating, heard the slow and funereal booming of a distant cannon. It was “Long Tom,” a Federal rifle cannon, sounding the death knell of many a gallant soldier who fell that day. The long roll sounded, and we fell into ranks; and, the regiments having formed into line, great bolts of white cotton were brought out, which the officers tore into strips, and we tied a piece around our hats and another to our left arms. Mouldy, and the rest of his crew, never cut such a ridiculous figure as did we. We presented the appearance of so many lunatics. The men looked at each other, then up and down the line, and raised one loud and general shout of laughter. Comments were numerous. One fellow said, “I feel like a fool,” whereupon a comrade observed, “I suppose, then, you feel quite natural.” Another swore that we would frighten the Yankees to death before we could get a shot at them. I really think our very appearance, when we made the final charge, did help to confuse them. After we were thus decorated, we were given the watchword in a whisper, for fear the enemy, who was two miles off, might hear it. It was “Our Homes.” The next thing was the signal. When you met any one, and were in doubt as to who he was, you were to throw your right hand across your left breast and shout, “Our Homes!” holding your gun in your left hand. They, however, failed to tell us that, while we were going through this Masonic performance, we thus gave the other fellow an opportunity to blow our brains out, if we had any! Now you laugh and look incredulous, and, it may be, shake your head, reader; but this is a solemn fact. I often wonder if such a comedy was ever before or since enacted under such dramatic and tragic conditions. The fact is, our generals were as green as gourds in June. We destroyed on that morning cotton enough to make shirts for half the army, but cotton was king that day at least. (Opie).


. . . we arrived (to the main battlefield.-ED) about 12. . . (Casler).

. . . The brigade was ordered to the left of our army to reinforce our troops then engaged with McDowell’s advance. We moved into line southeast of the Henry house, on a little crest, in front of a pine thicket. The battle was then raging and the Confederates were retiring. As the dead and wounded were carried past, we realized for the first time the horrors of battle. Company C, commanded by Captain Nelson, was on the left of our regiment, the Botts Greys, Company G, was next in line to Company C, and as the men in the companies fell into line according to size, my place was on the extreme left of Company G, next to Tom Burnett, our fourth corporal, and adjoining the right of Company C. Captain Nelson was at the right of his company, and near him were the Randolphs, Grubbs, Cooke, and others of large stature. On the left of Company C was the Thirty-third regiment of our brigade, the Fourth, Fifth, and Twenty-seventh being on the right. (Baylor).

. . . instead of moving forward to his (Bee’s-ED) immediate support, we were halted and ordered to lie down in line of battle. The firing in our front was terrific, and why we did not render immediate and timely assistance to Bee I could never learn. We lost several of our men while lying in this position, and presently discovered that the firing drew nearer and nearer. At first a few wounded men appeared, then squads of stragglers, and, finally, crowds of men without order or organization. Some of them, carrying their dead and wounded, rushed headlong through our ranks to the rear. Bee rode about and through them, endeavoring in vain to rally them. When near our lines, he turned his horse and rode, unaccompanied, over the brow of the hill, and, like Hasdrubal at the battle of the Metaurus, he determined not to survive his people. It was when endeavoring to rally the remnants of his brigade that he is said to have remarked, “There stands Jackson and his men like a stone wall.” History does not explain this discrepancy: instead of standing, we were lying flat upon the ground, by order of General Jackson. Not until Bee’s Brigade was overwhelmed and driven from the field did we receive orders. (Opie).

When his brigade was drawn up in line of battle at Manassas, and the enemy were finding our range pretty accurately and sending quite a variety of shot our way, I noticed the approach of three men on horseback directly in the rear of our line, one of whom called to us to open space for them to pass through towards the enemy. This was done, and they rode along our front, fully exposed for half a mile, in order to get a good observation of the enemy’s position. President Davis and Generals Jackson and Beauregard were the three men. It was surprising that none of the three were seriously hurt, though General Jackson was shot in the hand at the time. . . (Humphreys).

The enemy’s artillery shelled us in this position for an hour or more, doing little damage. During this cannonade I remember General Beauregard riding in our front and the rousing cheer we gave him. Sam Wright broke ranks, ran forward and shook his hand. This was our first view of Beauregard, and his appearance is still indelibly impressed on my mind. (Baylor).

1 PM

About one o’clock the fence skirting the road at the foot of the hill was pulled down to let our batteries (Griffin’s and Ricketts’) pass up to the plateau. The batteries were in the open field near us. (Goss).

It was at this time that McDowell committed, as I think, the fatal blunder of the day, by ordering both Ricketts’ and Griffin’s batteries to cease firing and move across the turnpike to the top of Henry Hill, and take position on the west side of the house. (Imboden).

2:30 PM

The batteries of Ricketts and Griffin, by their fine discipline, wonderful daring, and matchless skill, were the prime features in the fight. The battle was not lost till they were lost. (Fry, Battles & Leaders, Vol. 1, P. 189)

Griffin moves two guns of his battery to the right of Ricketts, where the 33rd Virginia Infantry captures the guns. The remainder of Griffin’s battery withdraws from Henry Hill. (Ballard).

I will only say that, after taking our position on the left of the brigade, we laid upon the ground listening to the musketry and cannonading going on to our right – or, rather, somewhat in front of our right – from the Confederate forces, which was being vigorously responded to by the Yankees. The ‘Henry house’ was in front of our brigade, over the hill — the upper part of the house visible — and the Robinson house was to the right of that a few hundred yards. Occasional shells would explode over our regiment, and the solemn wonderment written on the faces of the men as they would crane their heads around to look out for falling branches was almost amusing. Colonel Cummings and

Lieutenant Colonel Lee were in front of our regiment, perhaps a hundred yards, stooping down, and occasionally standing to get a view over the crest of the hill that rose gently before us for a little over a hundred yards. The musketry kept up on our right, and then Colonels Cummings and Lee were seen to rise and, bending down, to come back with somewhat quickened steps to the regiment. I remember, as Colonel Cummings drew near, he called out: “Boys, they are coming, now wait until they get close before you fire.” Almost immediately several pieces of artillery, their horses in front, made their appearance on the hill in front of us, curving as if going into battery, and at the same time I descried the spear-point and upper portion of a United States flag, as it rose in the hands of its bearer over the hill; then I saw the bearer, and the heads of the men composing the line of battle to the right and left of him. At the sight several of our men rose from the ranks, leveled their muskets at the line, and, although I called out, “Do not fire yet!” – it was of no use; they fired and then the shrill cry of Colonel Cummings was heard, “Charge!” and away the regiment went, firing as they ran, into the ranks of the enemy, and particularly at the battery towards which our line rapidly approached. Although bearing a non-commissioned officer’s sword, I had obtained a cartridge box, belted it on, and had in some way secured a flintlock musket, with which one of our companies was armed. This gun, after two futile efforts, I fired at a man on horseback in the battery, one of the drivers, I think. I got near enough to the battery to see that it was thoroughly disabled, horses and men falling, and our line driving ahead, when I felt the sting of a bullet tearing a piece from my side, just under my cartridge box, which I had pulled well around on the right and front of my waist. (Randolph Barton to John Casler, January 15, 1897, quoted in Casler).

Jackson had, within the half hour before, passed along his brigade the order not to fire until the enemy was within thirty paces, and then charge. But the shells of the enemy had caused some confusion with the left company of my regiment, (8 companies in the 33rd Va. Infantry Regiment.-ED) and when Griffin’s Battery showed itself on the hill in front of us, and occasional shots began to fall among us from the enemy moving towards our left to flank us, when the tumult of the broken ranks of Bee and Bartow was threatening the steadiness of our right, and the enemy, with exultant shouts, was pressing on, I (Cummings.-ED) . . . thought if those guns get into battery and pour one discharge of grape and canister into the ranks of my raw recruits the day is gone . . . (Cummings to Casler, both of the Va. 33rd Infantry, September 20, 1896; quoted in Casler)

We were watching to see what they would do next, when a terrible volley was poured into them (the Union men in Griffin’s battery.-ED). It was like a pack of Fourth-of-July fire-crackers under a barrel, magnified a thousand times. The Rebels had crept upon them unawares, and the men at the batteries were about all killed or wounded. (Goss).

. . . I heard small-arms on-our-left, and turning in that direction, saw the Thirty-third regiment engaging the enemy. I recollect their first volley and how unfavorably it affected me. It was apparently made with guns raised at an angle of forty-five degrees, and I was fully assured that their bullets would not hit the Yankees, unless they were nearer heaven than they were generally located by our people. To my great astonishment and admiration, however, I soon saw these same men gallantly charging a battery in their front, and my spirits rose. Our men clamored to go forward to assist them, but our officers refused permission, and the golden opportunity was accordingly lost. (Baylor).

When in their advanced and perilous position, and just after their infantry supports had been driven over the slopes, a fatal mistake occurred. A regiment of infantry came out of the woods on Griffin’s right, and as he was in the act of opening upon it with canister, he was deterred by the assurance of Major Barry, the chief of artillery, that it “was a regiment sent by Colonel Heintzelman to support the battery.” A moment more and the doubtful regiment proved its identity by a deadly volley, and, as Griffin states in his official report,”every cannoneer was cut down and a large number of horses killed, leaving the battery (which was without support excepting in name) perfectly helpless.” (Frye, Battles & Leaders, Vol. 1, P. 189).

Property The New York Public Library

One of the artillery-men there engaged has since told me that . . . they saw a regiment advancing, and the natural inference was that they were Rebels. But an officer insisted it was a New York regiment which was expected for support, and so no order was given to fire on them. “Then came a tremendous explosion of musketry,” said the artillery-man, “and all was confusion. Wounded men with dripping wounds were clinging to caissons, to which were attached frightened and wounded horses. Horses attached to caissons rushed through the infantry ranks. I saw three horses galloping off, dragging a fourth, which was dead. The dead cannoneers lay with the rammers of the guns and sponges and lanyards still in their hands. (Goss).

The battery was annihilated by those volleys in a moment. Those who could get away didn’t wait. We had no supports near enough to protect us properly, and the enemy were within seventy yards of us when that volley was fired. Our battery being demolished in that way was the beginning of our defeat at Bull Run,” said this old regular. (He added: “I saw the Rebels advance and try to drag away those eleven guns three times, but they were driven back by steady volleys from our infantry. Then some of our men tried to drag the guns away, but were ordered to take their places in the ranks to fight. They couldn’t be spared!” (Goss).

As I approached the ground, General Jackson, whose brigade was then engaged, sent me word to protect his flanks, but particularly his left flank. I divided the regiment, giving Major Swan half (I had but 300 men for duty), and with the remainder hurried up to Jackson’s left, leaving his right to Swan. Entering a skirt of woods, I received intelligence that the enemy was rapidly outflanking us.

I hastened forward through several fences just as a regiment dressed in red was running in disorder towards a skirt of woods where the fire had been heaviest. I took them to be ours, and exclaimed with all my might: “Don’t run, boys we are here.” They paid very little attention to this appeal. When passing in column of twos through a narrow gap to gain the same held and very close to them I saw in their hands the U. S. flag. I ordered the charge, which was handsomely done, stopping their movement and checking the advance upon Jackson. I rallied again for another charge, as only a portion of my command was in the first, owing to the difficulty of closing up; but finding the enemy had gained the woods to my right and front, leaving no ground for charging, I retired to the next field to give them another dash if they penetrated beyond the woods, which, however, they did not attempt. (Stuart Report, OR, Series, Chapter IX, P. 483).

The regiment charged was the Fire Zouaves, and I am informed by prisoners subsequently taken that their repulse by the cavalry began the panic so fearful afterwards in the enemy’s ranks. (Stuart Report, OR, Series, Chapter IX, P. 483).

Our Cavalry was drawn up in rear of the lines of infantry . . . when the order came for us to do our part, that is to charge the enemy which of course we did, we charged up to their right flank upon which the New York Zouaves Regt., formerly commanded by Col. Ellsworth, were stationed. Owing to the dust and smoke which was to vision, impenetrable, the enemy did not see us until we were among them, with our pistols and sabers we charged them through and returned, cutting and riding them down in every direction. The charge was made just in the nick of time for, believe me, we were whipped beyond doubt . . . (Morgan).

Col. Stuart and myself were riding at the head of the column as the grand panorama opened before us. . . about seventy yards distant. . . and in strong relief against the smoke beyond stretched a brilliant line of scarlet – a regiment of New York Zouaves in column of fours, marching out of the Sudley road to attack the flank of our line of battle. . . they were all looking toward the battle and did not see us . . Col. waved his sabre for the rear to oblique to the left. . . I had not thought which of my weapons to draw until I started . . . I seized and cocked (carbine rifle-ED) that, holding it in my right hand with my thumb and finger on the trigger, I thought I would fire it and then use it for a crushing blow . . . (Blackford).

The tremendous impetus of horses at full speed broke through their line like chaff before grain . . . (I) fixed my eye on a tall fellow . .I then plunged the spurs into Comet’s flanks . . . he rose to make the leap; but he was too close and going too fast to rise higher than the breast of the man and he struck him full on the chest rolling him over and over and under his hoofs and knocking him about ten feet backwards . . . I leaned down from the saddle, rammed the muzzle of the carbine into the stomach of my man and pulled the trigger. I could not help but feeling a little sorry for the fellow as he lifted his handsome face to mine, he tried to get his bayonet up to meet me; but he was too slow, for the carbine blew a hole as big as my arm clear through him. (Blackford).

I now found my self perishing from thirst from the intense heat and the violence of my exertions . . . there was a small branch . . . its banks were lined with the enemy’s wounded who had crawled there to drink, and many had died with their heads in the water, the dark blood flowing into and gradually mingling with the stream . . . at last, I had to lie down and watch for the blood stains to pass. . . It was a long time before I could get Comet to touch it . . . (Blackford).


The Thirty-third took the battery, but not being reinforced, was forced to fall back in some disorder, which resulted in leaving the left of our regiment exposed to an enfilading fire, and the enemy soon took advantage of the situation and opened on Companies C and G at short range. Under this galling fire, with some of our officers shouting to the men, “don’t fire. they are friends,” our men were somewhat confused, but soon realizing the true situation, briskly returned the enemy’s fire with telling effect. I have since that time been in many engagements, yet have never seen men act as coolly and boldly under such disadvantageous circumstances as our men did on that occasion. Companies C and G, though suffering heavily, were unflinching and holding their own against largely superior numbers. (Baylor).

Men who were casualties that day from the 2nd Virginia Infantry Regiment’s Companies C & G:

MANNING, WILLIAM PRICE: b. 12/8/44 in Jefferson Co. near Duffields. 5’7″. light complexion, blue eyes, dark hair. Student. enl. 4/22/61 at Harper’s Ferry in Co. G of 2nd Va. Inf. as Pvt. Wded. in breast and face at 1st Manassas. 7/21/61. Absent due to wound through Sept/Oct, 1861. Last Infantry record shows him absent on special duty Nov/Dec. 1861. enl. at Harrisonburg in Co. B of 12th Va. Cav. as Pvt. POW near Sharpsburg. Md 9/28 or 9/30/62 (Ft. McHenry. 2/13/63 To Ft. Monroe for exchange. 2/14/63 Admitted Gen. Hosp. Petersburg. 2/18/63 debilitas. Released from hosp. 2/24/63. POW at Pommellville 8/2/63 (Ft. McHenry. 6/12/63). To Ft. Monroe for exchange, 6/28/63. Present Nov/Dec. 1863. Absent and sick Jan/Feb. 1864. Present March/April 1864. No futher record. Paroled at Charles Town, W.Va. Postwar received medical degree from University of Md.; physician at Shepherdstown, W.VA, until 1882; then moved to Washington, D.C. d. 2/11/01 at Washington. D.C.
1850 Census:
35 956 969 Manning Nathaniel W. 37 M WFarmer 8,000 VA
36 956 969 Manning Martha 37 F W VA
37 956 969 Manning Frances 13 F W VA
38 956 969 Manning Mary M. 9 F W VA
39 956 969 Manning William P. 6 M W* VA
40 956 969 Manning Edward B. 3 M W VA
41 956 969 Smith John W. 25 M WTeacher of Music CT
42 956 969 Redman George 50 M W VA
1 956 969 Redman William 21 M W VA

TIMBERLAKE, SETH MASON: b. 11/16/32 at Winchester. Farmer. enl. 6/19/61 at Winchester in Co. G of 2nd Va. Inf. as Pvt. Wded. in both legs at 1st Manassas, 7/21/61. Returned to Regt. from sick leave, 10/12/61. Last infantry record shows him absent sick, Nov./Dec. 1861. enl. 4/17/62 at Conrad’s Store in Co. B of 12th Va. Cav. as 1st Sgt. Nicknamed “the fighting sergeant” and “Uncle Seth.” Unofficial source (Baylor) says horse KIA at Front Royal, 8/11/62. Unofficial source (Baylor) says wded. east of Charles Town in early Dec. 1862. Absent on horse detail, Nov./Dec. 1863. Present Jan./Feb.-March/April 1864. No further record. Paroled at Greensboro, N.C., 4/26/65. Postwar, went to New York in 1866 and was employed in mercantile business in Brooklyn; then returned to Charles Town, W.Va.; then moved to Staunton area where he served as a steward of Western Hosp. d. 12/18/07 at home of his son in Brooklyn, N.Y. bur. Tinkling Spring Church Cem., Fisherviile, Va. (family lived at Cool Spring on Lloyd Road in 1850, today the site of Craftworks.-ED)

ISLER, CHARLES H.: b. 183O? Farmer. enl. 4/18/61 at Charles Town in Co. G of 2nd Va. Inf. as Pvt. Wded. at 1st Manassas, 7/21/61. Last infantry record shows him still absent from wound, Nov/Dec. 1861. enl. in Co. B of 12th Va. Cav. as Pvt. (date and location of enl. not stated). Unofficial source (Baylor) says POW at McGaheysville, 4/27/62. Baylor also says wded. just east of Charles Town in early Dec. 1862. Only official record is MWIA at St. James Church, Brandy Station, 6/9/63. bur. Edge Hill Cem., Charles Town, W.Va. (family lived at Beeler’s Mill property, located today on Kabletown Road.-ED)
1850 Census:
35 1180 1195 Isler Abraham 56 M WFarmer 15,000 VA
36 1180 1195 Isler Sarah 50 F W VA
37 1180 1195 Isler William H. 16 M W VA
38 1180 1195 Isler Charles H. 11 M W* VA

AISQUITH, CHARLES W.: b. in Jefferson Co. 5’8″. fair complexion, blue eyes, dark hair. Clerk. enl. 4/18/61 at Charles Town in Co. G as Pvt. To Sgt., date not listed. Wded. in neck at 1st Manassas, 7/21/61. Returned to duty 9/25/61. Absent sick Nov./Dec. 1861. Present again 4/30-10/31, 1862. Hospitalized 4/5/63, chronic diarrhea. Last official entry shows him commissioned as hospital steward, 6/1/63. d. 4/2/92. bur. Zion Episcopal Cem., Charles Town, W.Va.

BRISCOE, THOMAS W.: b. 9/4/33. Physician. enl. 4/18/61 at Charles Town in Co. G as Pvt. MWIA in chest at 1st Manassas, 7/21/61. d. 7/24/61 at hospital at Culpeper Court House. bur. Zion Episcopal Cem., Charles Town, W.Va.
1850 Census:
31 1321 1336 Briscoe George 27 M WArmourer VA
32 1321 1336 Briscoe Sarah R. 22 F W VA
33 1321 1336 Briscoe Frances 4 F W VA
34 1321 1336 Briscoe George W. 1 M W VA
35 1321 1336 Hicks Frances 14 F W VA
36 1321 1336 Power John W. 23 M WLabourer VA
37 1321 1336 Briscoe Thomas 59 M WFarmer 28,000 VA
38 1321 1336 Briscoe Juliet W. 48 F W VA
39 1321 1336 Briscoe Ellen M. 30 F W VA
40 1321 1336 Briscoe Ann 23 F W VA
41 1321 1336 Briscoe James 21 M W VA
42 1321 1336 Briscoe Thomas W. 17 M W* VA

1860 Census, P. 120:
Briscoe, Thomas W (b: 1833),*
Briscoe, Thomas (b: 1791),
Briscoe, Juliet W (b: 1802),
Briscoe, Frances A (b: 1845),
Lawrence, Lewis M (b: 1832)

BUTLER, FRANCIS G.: b. 4/10/21. Farmer. enl. 4/18/61 at Charles Town in Co. G as Pvt. MWIA in chest at 1st Manassas, 7/21/61. d. 7/25/61 at Pringle’s House, Manassas. bur. Edge Hill Cem., Charles Town, W.Va. (Home may have been on the bend in Ridge Road opposite Glenburnie farm owned in 2011 by the Casserleys.-ED)
1850 Census:
10 456 463 Butler Frances G. 29 M WFarmer* KY
11 456 463 Butler Hannah S. F. 28 F W VA
12 456 463 Butler Sarah E. 4 F W VA
13 456 463 Butler John D. 2 M W VA

PAINTER, JAMES H.: b. 1841? Laborer. enl. 5/11/61 at Harper’s Ferry in Co. G as Pvt. Wded in the thigh at 1st Manassas, 7/21/61. Returned to regt. 10/1/61. Last official entry shows him present, Nov/Dec· 1861. d. 1910. bur. Greenhill Cem., Stephens City.
1850 Census:
19 929 942 Painter George 45 M WLabourer VA
20 929 942 Painter Barbara 46 F W VA
21 929 942 Painter Mary J. 15 F W VA
22 929 942 Painter Jacob 13 M W VA
23 929 942 Painter James 10 M W* VA

ENGLISH, ROBERT M.: b. 9/27/24. Farmer. enl. 4/18/61 at Charles Town in Co. G as Lt. Wded. in arm, leg, and breast at 1st Manassas, 7/21/61. Returned to duty 10/25/61. KIA at Port Republic, 6/9/62, bur. Edge Hill Cem., Charles Town, W.Va. (lived at the “Riddle Farm” located east of Country Club Road and north of the intersection with Route 340.-ED)
1860 Census: English, Robert M (b: 1826)*

2:30-3:00 PM

NOTE: The 5th Virginia Infantry (that John Opie was in.-ED), Hampton Legion, 4th Alabama Infantry, and 7th Georgia Infantry recapture Ricketts’ guns. Gen. Bee is mortally wounded and Gen. Bartow is killed. Ricketts is wounded and captured. The 11th Massachusetts falls back to the Manassas-Sudley road. But Henry Hill is recaptured again by the Union by the 69th New York Infantry and 38th New York Infantry. Opie’s unit is forced to withdraw. (Ballard)

“Attention! Attention!” we sprang to our feet and were ordered forward at a double-quick up the hill, until we reached the Henry house, where the men broke ranks and deployed along the yard and garden fences, not a few crouching behind the dwelling and outhouses. The enemy poured into us a terrific fire of musketry, and their batteries fairly rained shells. Immediately in our front, was a regiment of New York Zouaves, whose red uniforms made them conspicuous targets for our marksmen, and we literally mowed them down. On our right, in an old road running at a right angle with the line in our front was a mass of infantry, which, being protected from our fire by a high embankment, killed and wounded a great many of our men. William Woodward and Joab Seally fell. The deadly missiles fell around us like hailstones. The shouts of the combatants, the groans of the wounded and dying, and the explosion of shells made a complete pandemonium. The atmosphere was black with the smoke of the battle, which raged with great violence on both sides. O’Donnell, Scanlan and Steinbuck fall. A boy from Bee’s Brigade is shot in the forehead, and dies without a groan. He did not tell us his name, but simply asked if he could fall in with our company. Poor boy, he died among strangers like a hero. I felt like taking him in my arms, but that was no time for sentiment; besides, it was to be expected. . . (Opie).

A private in our regiment, Rippetoe by name, exchanged shots at very close range with one of the enemy, and both commenced to reload, when Rippetoe, seeing that his enemy would reload before he could, picked up a rock and killed him. . . (Opie).

One fellow fell, shot on the eyebrow by a spent ball, making a slight wound, and he, kicking and tossing his arms about him, yelled, “O Lordy! I am killed! I am killed! O Lordy, I am dead!” I saw the fellow was not hurt much, only alarmed, and I said, “Poss,” (as we called him,) “are you really killed?” “Yes, 0 Lordy, I am killed!” “Well,” said I, “if you are really killed, why in the devil don’t you stop hallooing?” He is alive to-day, but he never forgave me. Finally, while loading and firing as rapidly as I could, taking rest on the fence, I found it impossible to get the ball in my gun, a minie musket. I examined it, and found that a ball had struck and indented it at the muzzle; and, therefore, throwing it down, I looked around and found that I was alone with the dead and wounded. I picked up another musket, and ran through the yard and down the slope of the plateau, where I found Stannard’s Battery, and, upon inquiry, was directed to a piece of woodland, passing through which, I found the brigade reforming under the immediate supervision of General Jackson, who had been wounded in the hand. I have never seen a Southern history which relates the fact that Jackson’s Brigade was driven from its first position. When I returned to the regiment, upon inquiry, the men said they had been ordered back—by whom, no one knew. I certainly heard no such order, and I believe, to this day, that the men fell back of their own accord, as they were subjected to both a front and flank fire for over an hour. (Opie)

To my right was one of our batteries, in front of which I ran in my eagerness to get with our people, when a cannon was discharged. . . I will here relate how I used the signal and watchword during the course of the battle. . . Still running, I threw my right hand across my left breast and shouted, “Our Homes!” Another gun was fired; I repeated the signal and shouted the watchword; yet another gun went off; and, still running at the top of my speed, I continuously beat upon my breast, shouting, “Our Homes! Our Homes! Our Homes!” When I passed the battery I halted and asked a powder-begrimed officer what in the devil they meant by shooting at me. Whereupon he replied, “We are not shooting at you, you d—d fool, we are shooting at the Yankees.” As I agreed with the officer that I was a D. F., I did not resent his observation, but asked him where the brigade went. . . . (Opie).

The batteries and Henry Hill position of Ricketts and Griffin changed hands six times throughout the afternoon, ending with Confederate possession. This excerpt from Gen. Jackson’s report suggests this fight for the batteries.-ED:

Lieutenant-Colonel Lackland, of the Second Regiment, followed by the highly meritorious right of the Second, took possession of and endeavored to remove from the field the battery which Colonel Cummings had previously been forced to abandon; but after removing one of the pieces some distance was also forced by the enemys fire to abandon it. . . The brigade, in connection with other troops, took seven field pieces in addition to the battery captured by Colonel Cummings. The enemy, though repulsed in the center, succeeded in turning our flanks. But their batteries having been disabled by our fire, and also abandoned by reason of the infantry charges, the victory was soon completed by the fire of small-arms and occasional shots from a part of our artillery, which I posted on the next crest in rear. (Jackson’s Report, OR Series 1. Vol. 2, Chapter IX, p. 482).

3:30-4:00 PM

At 3:30 p.m. the advance of the enemy having reached a position which called for the use of the bayonet, I gave the command for the charge of the more than brave Fourth and Twenty-seventh, and, under commanders worthy of such regiments, they, in the order in which they were posted, rushed forward obliquely to the left of our batteries, and . . . pierced the enemy’s center, and by cooperating with the victorious Fifth and other forces soon placed the field essentially in our possession. (Jackson’s Report, OR Series 1. Vol. 2, Chapter IX, P. 482).

Having reformed his brigade, Jackson exclaimed, “We must give them the bayonet, men; they cannot stand the bayonet!” At this moment men began to cry out, “We are flanked! We are flanked!” pointing to the left. In full view, about a mile from us, we saw several regiments wheeling into line. We could not determine at that distance to which side they belonged. We could see no cotton decorations and could not distinguish their flags or uniforms. General Jackson quickly dispatched several mounted men to learn who they were, and to report as speedily as possible. We waited for a few minutes in suspense, when the men came galloping back, yelling at the top of their voices, “It is Kirby Smith.” It is Kirby Smith!” Whereupon General Jackson sent his aides to the different colonels of regiments with orders to charge at once and preserve the alignment. We sprang forward, five crack Virginia regiments, with a yell that almost shook the universe. Simultaneously, Kirby Smith, with Elzey and Early, was plunging, with fixed bayonets, into the right flank of the enemy. We pass our artillery and the cannon of the enemy concentrate their fire upon us. Men, dead and wounded, fall all around; but there is no halt or pause. “Close up, men! Steady there! Close up!” There is no firing on our part. The infantry of the enemy, which had been heavily reinforced, poured volley after volley into us. Yet the command, “Close up, men! Close, up! Forward! Steady, men!” is all that we heed. We reach Ricketts’ Battery. It is deserted by all save the dead and wounded. There, shot through the thigh, between two of his guns, the gallant old hero lay, dead men and horses piled around him. Our lieutenant-colonel, Wm. H. Harman, said, “Why, Ricketts, is this you?” “Yes,” said he, “but I do not know you, sir.” “We were in the Mexican War together; Harman is my name.” Ricketts then recognized him, and they shook hands, literally across the bloody chasm. Harman sent for an ambulance and had him removed from the field. (Opie).

The Federal infantry had reformed and made its last stand. Half-way between them and Ricketts’ Battery, I saw a fine horse, with a brass-mounted saddle on, standing by a bush, on which the bridle was caught. I could not withstand the temptation, so off I rushed for the horse, in the midst of the musketry fire of both sides. I reached the horse, mounted and rode him back, amidst the shouts of our men and the balls of the enemy, not one of which struck me. While all these things were being enacted, the most striking picture I witnessed that day was that of a big soldier of our company by the name of Jas. Frazier sitting astride “Long Tom,” yelling like a Comanche. The rush at Ricketts’ Battery disordered our men, and they halted and began loading and firing back at the enemy’s infantry. (Opie).

Here the major of the regiment, afterwards the colonel, W. H. H. Baylor, who was killed at the Second Manassas, gave me a five-cent star off his coat collar and took my fine horse, worth $200. I thought, at the time, the star made me a hero, but afterwards would have preferred the horse. (Opie).

Recovering again from our confusion, incident to the capture of the battery, we were again closed up and ordered forward, but this time loading and firing as we went. The Federal infantry kept up a weak and desultory firing until we were within about two hundred yards of them, when, regardless of the threats and expostulations of their officers, they broke ranks, and many of them divesting themselves of all impedimenta, such as guns, canteens and cartridge belts — all sought safety in flight; in other words, they became panic-stricken, which means insane from fear. No one who has not seen an army panic-stricken, can realize what a fearful sight it is to behold. Men and officers become lost to all reason, all honor and all hope. They overcome all obstacles in their mad flight; fences, rivers, and even armed men, are disregarded, and nothing can stop them but absolute exhaustion. (Opie).

Now, my Northern friend, this was you this time; but, later on in the war, I saw an army of ours do the same as you did here, with much less excuse. (Opie).

4:00 PM

This position Jackson held until nearly four o’clock, when three of his regiments charged out in front, breaking the center of General McDowell’s line. Just at this time, too, an unexpected thing occurred, which settled the day. (Humphreys)

General Kirby Smith, with about fifteen hundred men, mostly Marylanders, was having his command conveyed by railroad to the junction, which was General Beauregard’s base. Hearing the roar of our battle, and knowing that if he went on toward the junction he would get farther away from the field of contest, he stopped the train at the nearest point, and guided by the sound, attempted to join us, but, fortunately for us, came out of the woods upon the flank of McDowell’s army, pretty well to their rear. They seeing this, thought it a trap, threw down their muskets, cut loose the horses from their guns and converted their whole army into a fleeing mob. From the crest of a high hill I could see a vast multitude all flying for dear life, scattered for three miles in width, and as far as the eye could see looking North. (Humphreys).

5 PM

But now the most extraordinary spectacle I have ever witnessed took place. I had been moving forward to the attack, some fifteen or twenty thousand strong in full view, and for some reason had turned away in another direction for a moment, when someone exclaimed, pointing to the battlefield, “Look! Look!” Where those “well-dressed” well defined lines, with clear spaces between, had been steadily pressing forward, the whole field was a confused swarm of men, like bees, running away as fast as their legs could carry them, with all order and organization abandoned. In a moment more the whole valley was filled with them as far as the eye could reach. They plunged through Bull Run wherever they came to it regardless of fords or bridges, and there many drowned. Muskets, cartridge boxes, belts, knapsacks, haversacks, and blankets were thrown away in their mad race, that nothing might impede their flight. In the reckless haste the artillery drove over every one who did not get out of the way. Ambulance and wagon drivers cut the traces and dashed off the mules. In crossing Cub Run a shell exploded in a team and blocked the way and twenty-eight pieces fell into our hands. By stepping or jumping from one thing to another of what had been thrown away in the stampede, I could have gone long distances without ever letting my foot touch the ground, and this over a belt forty or fifty yards wide on each side of the road. (Blackford).

Soon after the battle Gen. Jackson writes his wife:

“Mr. James Davidson’s son, Frederick, and William Page (son of my dear friend) were killed. Young Riley’s life was saved by his Bible, which was in the breast-pocket of his coat. . . My finger troubles me considerably, and renders it very difficult for me to write, as the wind blows my paper, and I can only use my right hand. I have an excellent camping-ground about eight miles from Manassas on the road to Fairfax Court House. I am sleeping in a tent, and have requested that the one which my darling had the loving kindness to order for me should not be sent. (Jackson to Mrs. Jackson, Memoir).


2,600 in Jackson’s Brigade (Ballard, P. 20).

It is with pain that I have to report as killed 11 officers, 14 non-commissioned officers, and 86 privates; wounded, 22 officers, 27 non-commissioned officers, and 319 privates; and missing, 1 officer (Jackson’s Report, OR Series I, Chapter IX, P. 483)


Manassas, July 22d.
My precious Pet, — Yesterday we fought a great battle and gained a great victory, . . . Although under a heavy fire for several continuous hours, I received only one wound, the breaking of the longest finger of my left hand; but the doctor says the finger can be saved, it was broken about midway between the hand and knuckle, the ball passing on the side next the forefinger. Had it struck the centre, I should have lost the finger. My horse was wounded, but not killed. Your coat got an ugly wound near the hip, but my servant, who is very handy, has so far repaired it that it doesn’t show very much. . . . The battle was the hardest that I have ever been in, but not near so hot in its fire. I commanded in the centre more particularly, though one of my regiments extended to the right for some distance. There were other commanders on my right and left. Whilst great credit is due to other parts of our gallant army. . . (Jackson to Mrs. Jackson, Memoirs).

Manassas Junction, July 24, 1861.
Dear Father and Mother: I seat myself once more to write you a few lines, to let you know where I am and that I am still alive. Last Sunday was such a day as I had never seen, and I hope to God I never will see another such a time. We had one of the hardest battles that ever was fought in the
United States. I have not power to describe the scene. It beggars all description. . . (Casler).

Camp Fairfax Station, July 24th, 1861
My Dearest Wife: I wrote you a few very hurried lines a day or two after the Manassas fight, merely to let you know that we were not killed. I do not know whether you have received them or not and as I expect Mr. Scinsendiver to return to Shepherdstown, I will write more fully.

We left the neighborhood of Winchester very suddenly and marched day and night for the junction which we reached on Saturday. We camped that night on what was the battlefield the next day. Sunday bright and early, by dawn the conflict began with the booming of artillery and the sharp reports of musketry, mingled with the hoarse commands given by the officers, the screams of the dying horses and the groans of the wounded which was kept up without intermission until moonlight. Our Cavalry was drawn up in rear of the lines of infantry and kept there until about 12 or 1 o’clock when the order came for us to do our part, that is to charge the enemy which of course we did, we charged up to their right flank, upon which the New York Zouaves Regt., formerly commanded by Col. Ellsworth, were stationed. Owing to the dust and smoke which was to vision, impenetrable, the enemy did not see us until we were among them, with our pistols and sabers we charged them through and returned, cutting and riding them down in every direction. The charge was made just in the nick of time for, believe me, we were whipped beyond doubt, but our cavalry charge decided the fate of the day and gave them for a different arrangement of our troops. (Morgan).

When after three hours of desperate fighting on both sides, the enemy being flanked by our cavalry and annoyed by the New Town battery they could stand no longer and then commenced a terrible fight. For an hour before they were routed I had a position which we had taken from them on their flight for a mile or two on both sides. Our cavalry having taken the hill were stationary for an hour it was truly a grand and terrible sight to look upon, one incessant war of artillery and musketry all the time every moment men and horses fell, numbers of them until they could not ship (?-ED) us, or at least thought so, when they fled in confusion and we after them for 8 miles, following them to Centerville I shan’t attempt a description of this glorious battle you have often read of them and can form some idea when you get the particulars of this eminent fight. (Morgan).

Our cavalry, – that is one or two companies suffered a good deal. Two whole front ranks went down as they entered the enemies lines, myself and company were in the very center of their ranks. The balls flying thick all around, apparently as thick as hail and yet strange to say there was no one killed; two or three of us were slightly wounded, myself among the number, three or four horses were shot and bayonetted by the Zouaves – my wound was caused by the jam of horses and men and has ceased to give me any trouble. It was in the knee of my right leg, in an hour I had forgotten it, in my first letter I did not mention it, for the reason it was not worth notice, so you need not be at all uneasy for I assure you I am in perfect health now. My horse, George, behaved nobly, never flinching at any time. (Morgan).

I rode over the field of battle the next morning to see the sad havoc by section being arrayed against section, men and horses covered the ground in every direction the most awful and ghastly sights – some men with their heads cut off from the shoulders, some with half heads torn to pieces -some disemboweled and mangled in every conceivable manner. To you or brother I suppose it would be an awful spectacle, but to tell you the truth, I, although having as much sympathy as the most of you, seeing so much blood and carnage, soon became used to it, and my curiosity was only to know what sort of a wound the poor wretch had received to kill him. There are dead men everywhere — all around — some crawled into the bushes and died, some went a mile or two and died, everywhere are the dead — and the whole country smells so very offensively that no one can stay in it or near that region. (Morgan).

I am now stationed at Fairfax station 18 miles from the field and 15 miles from Alexandria — I suppose we will move on to Alexandria in a day or two, — I am now on detached service under General Ellzey of the Maryland line — Col. Stuart has been promoted, and is now acting as Brigadier General — his promotion owing to the hard fighting and hard service which in his command have done. Our regiment has been highly praised, much more than any other in the service. The reason Jack and Davey were not in the fight was, that Jack is Assistant Quartermaster and was with his baggage four miles off. Davey just reached Camp without arms and had to go to the baggage train for them and did not get up with us again for a day or two. Archie was in — but not with my company – he was detailed as an escort to Gen. Bee of the South Carolina Brigade, and after Bee was killed he joined the Amelia troop for the rest of the day. . . (Morgan).

Neally (Cornelius.-ED) Hite was sick and went home. Fontaine Hite was with me all through – The Yankees lost in killed and wounded about 6,000 — Our loss was about 500 killed and 1000 wounded. These are the figures spoken of down here — I think judging from what I saw — that our loss is over estimated and the Yankee loss under what it really is. I heard that Wm. Lee was killed — and so stated in my letter to you, but I found him in one of the hospitals yesterday — he is very severely wounded and I think mortally — poor fellow, I hope he may recover — he was shot through the breast – the morning I saw him he was better, but I thought it was the state that precedes death. (Morgan).

Our loss in officers has been severe — you have no idea of the plunder that was taken — 500 wagons would not hold it — arms — 40 odd pieces of artillery — numbers of elegant horses — any quantity of provisions and clothing, fancy articles, etc. Our boys are literally loaded down and I had to scold them for having so much about them — they all turned out in new clothes of the finest kind –most of them had more clothes now than they ever had. When I started from Winchester, I had but one shirt, and that on my back and after wearing it a week and a half, it was of course ready for a change — and seeing quantities of nice new shirts lying around I just appropriated one to myself. We have quantities of overcoats, in addition to all our other traps. I often think of you and my darlings at home — often — you were in my thoughts on that dreadful Sunday after the fight has began and God alone knows whether I may ever see you all again — kiss my dear children for me and tell them not to forget me — Give my love to Mother – Lillie and Cousin Rose and family. (Morgan).

How are you getting on so close to the Boss? Keep out of her reach — I saw Jim Towner yesterday and he said he was glad you had his rooms, and hoped you would make yourself comfortable. Camp duties now claim my attention, and I must stop. God bless you and protect you all.
Goodbye, Ever Yours, W. A. Morgan (William A. Morgan to his wife in Shepherdstown).

John Casler visited the battlefield and talked with the daughter of Mrs.Judith Henry, an elderly widow in the house who, in an exchange between Confederate sharpshooters in the house and Ricketts’ battery was killed.

I don’t suppose the soldiers of either army knew there was anyone living in the house, for all the other citizens around had fled for safety earlv in the day. However, be that as it may, they were there. The house was riddled with shot and shell from both sides, and the old lady, being helpless and confined to her bed, was pierced with several bullets and killed, while the daughter, unable to carry her off at the commencement of the fight, remained with her. She had crawled under the bed and escaped unhurt. I conversed with the daughter the next day, when she related what is here recorded. I also saw the corpse of the old lady. Their names were Henry, and this was the since noted “Henry house.” (Casler).

It should be noted of interest that the mentioned “Robinson house” east of the Henry house was owned by a 62-year old, freed black man named “Gentleman Jim Robinson” who owned 100 acres of improved farm land. Robinson, according to the family tradition was mulatto whose father was a member of the wealthy Landon Carter planter family who owned a mansion and plantation close by. Congress later authorized compensation to Mr. Robinson for property damage.-ED

After having driven the enemy from the field. . . we were halted and ordered to collect our dead and wounded. . . It now becomes our painful duty to relate how we disposed of those whose misfortune it was to fall that day. At this period of the war the Ambulance Corps, with its ambulances, stretchers and attendants, had not been thoroughly organized in our army. Consequently, each company went about the battle-ground, seeking its own fallen comrades. When we found one of our wounded, we placed him in a blanket, and thus carried him to the field hospital. I visited one, located outside of a farm house, and felt at the time that the sight I beheld there exceeded anything imaginable. (Opie).

There were two huge piles of legs, feet, hands and arms, all thrown together, and at a distance resembled piles of corn at a corn-shucking. Many of the feet still retained the boot or shoe. Wounded men were lying upon tables, and surgeons, some of whom at that time were very unskillful, were carving away, like farmers in butchering season, while the poor devils under the knife fairly yelled with pain. Many limbs were lost that should have been saved, and many lives were lost in trying to save limbs which should have been amputated. We found, in going over the field, dead men in every conceivable position, mangled, dismembered, disemboweled — some torn literally to pieces. Some, in their death struggles, had torn up the ground around where they fell. Others had pulled up every weed or blade of grass that was in their reach. The horrible scene would have melted the heart of a demon; but, later on in the war, as such sights became commonplace, the men evinced not the slightest sign of feeling or emotion. The only question which arose in their minds was . . . Who next? (Opie).

There has never been, in ancient or modern times, a people who did not honor their dead and give them decent sepulture; but our manner of burying the dead, both friend and foe, was necessarily brutal and barbarous. Exposed to the hot sun, decomposition immediately begins; therefore, when there are many dead, or when an army is moving, little time is allowed for the exercise of that care and pains which decent internment would require. Then, too, the soldier is a very lazy animal. We dug long trenches where the dead lay thickest, and the bodies were thrown in, until the trenches were full, when the loose earth was thrown over them and the ghastly work continued. (Opie).

These so-called graves were frequently very shallow, especially where the soil was rocky; and sometimes a hand or foot of some poor fellow served as a head or foot board. On this occasion we buried the dead of the enemy; but we buried all alike, except that we made separate trenches for them. The night overtook us while engaged in this gruesome work, and with it a perfect downpour of rain. (Opie).

I found a well-filled haversack, and out of this I ate, for the first time since morning; and, placing two rails together, put one end on the fence and the other on the ground — the two making a comfortable bedstead, thus raising me off the wet ground. I lay down lengthwise upon them, and, spreading my blanket and oilcloth over me, slept on the field as dry as if in a house. The next day we finished our unpleasant work and went into camp. (Opie).

Lily Parran Lee of Shepherdstown hurried to Manassas to be at the bedside of her husband, who had been shot in the chest. A younger Lee addressed his graduating class at Virginia Military Institute in July, 1853. In parting he said: “But that connection is, this night, dissolved and my voice must now never again be heard within these walls. No, never again and as with indistinct confusions the mingled visions of the past. . .”

Useful Local Links:

Manassas: The March, The Mayhem, The Memory Pt. 1 – Dennis Frye

Dennis Frye on May-July, 1861

2 Dragons Sweep the Panhandle May-July, ’61

The Messy Birth of The “Stonewall Brigade”


Ballard, Ted. (2007). “Battle of First Bull Run.” Washington, D.C.: Center for Military History, United States Army. Print.

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Map of First Manassas

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Irvin McDowell
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Pierre G. T. Beauregard
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Manassas: The March, The Mayhem, The Memory, Pt. 2 With Dennis Frye
by Jim Surkamp on July 21, 2011 in Wartime


VIDEO:(CC) The Best Civil War Story – Chapter 7.1 – Wm Morgan and Anna – by Jim Surkamp. Click Here. TRT: 19:35.
Video link: https://youtu.be/MrBniWlTn6U

Image Credits:

File:Alexander Pendleton c1860s.jpg
Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

“Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. Print.

Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.

“Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. Print.

Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.

Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. Print.

“Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.

Blackford, William W. (1945). “War Years with Jeb Stuart.” New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Print.

Blackford, William W. (1945). “War Years with Jeb Stuart.” Google Books. 19 July 2008. Web. 24 Dec. 2010.

Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

File:Pgt beauregard.jpg
Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

File:Joseph Johnston.jpg. Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Imboden, John. (1888). “Jackson at Harpers Ferry in 1861.” Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1. Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co.

Imboden, John D. (1888). “Jackson at Harpers Ferry in 1861.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.

Jackson, Mary Anna. (1895). “Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson.” Louisville, KY: Prentice Press, Courier-Journal Job Print. Co. Print.

Jackson, Mary Anna. (1895). “Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.

(composite from two sources)
“Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. Print.

Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.

WarrenLeeGoss.jpg New York Public Library. 3 January 1997. Web. 15 July 2011.

Goss, Warren L. (1875c). “Recollections of a Private.” New York, NY: T.Y. Crowell & Co. Print.

Goss, Warren L. (1875c). “Recollections of a Private.”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 24 Dec. 2010.

“Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. Print.

Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.


Baylor, George. (1900).”Bull Run to Bull Run: Four years in the army of northern Virginia.” Richmond, VA: B. F. Johnson Publishing. Print.

Baylor, George. (1900). “Bull Run to Bull Run: Four years in the army of northern Virginia.” Google Books. 19 July 2008. Web. 24 Dec. 2010.

Frye8a.jpg Jim Surkamp Collection

Casler, John O. (1906). “Four years in the Stonewall Brigade, containing the daily experiences of four year’s service in the ranks from a diary kept at the time.” Marietta, GA: Continental Book Company. Print.

Casler, John O. (1906). “Four years in the Stonewall Brigade, containing the daily experiences of four year’s service in the ranks from a diary kept at the time.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 1 March 2011.

Opie, John N. (1899). “A Rebel Cavalryman With Lee, Stuart, and Jackson.” Chicago, IL: W. B. Conkey Co. Print.

Opie, John N. (1899). “A Rebel Cavalryman With Lee, Stuart, and Jackson.” Google Books. 19 July 2008. Web. 24 Dec. 2010.

United States. The Library of Congress Geography and Map Division. (1864). “Map of Loudoun County and part of Clarke County, Va., Jefferson County and part of Berkeley County, W. Va., and parts of Montgomery and Frederick counties, Md.].” United States. The Library of Congress: American Memory. “Maps Collection.” 27 Oct. 2009 Web 10 Sept. 2010.
g3883l cwh00043 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3883l.cwh00043 (enter into search window-ED)

Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

“Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. Print.

Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.

Lloyd, James T. (1861). “Lloyd’s official map of the state of Virginia from actual surveys by order of the Executive 1828 & 1859.” United States. The Library of Congress: American Memory. “Maps Collection.” 27 Oct. 2009 Web 10 Sept. 2010.

“Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. Print.

Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.

‘Capture of Ricketts’ Battery’, is by Sidney E King. The painting is oil on plywood, and is displayed in the Henry Hill Visitor Center at Manassas National Battlefield Park. Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 May 2011.

front of a cannon By Jim Surkamp

Battlefield at Bull Run, Virginia Fought July 21, 1861 by Henry L. Abbot” Baylor Library Digital Collections. 2 September 2006 Web. 10 July 2011.

Humphreys, David. (1903). “Heroes and Spies of the Civil War.” New York, NY, Washington, D.C: Neale Publishing Co. Print.

Humphreys, David. “Heroes and Spies of the Civil War.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 24 Dec. 2010.

“Lawson Botts.” House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College

“James Walkenshaw Allen.” VMI Archives. 2 September 2007. Web. 10 July 2011.

“William Nelson Company C, 2nd Virginia Infantry.” Gold, Thomas D. (1914). “History of Clarke County, Virginia.” Berryville, VA: C. R. Hughes Publishers. Print.

Gold, Thomas D. (1914). “History of Clarke County, Virginia.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 28 Dec. 2010.

Goss, Warren L. “Recollections of a Private, Part II.” The Century Magazine, Vol. XXIX, Dec., 1884

Goss, Warren L. “Recollections of a Private, Part II.” Rugreview.com. 23 June 1998. Web. 15 July 2011.

robinsonhouse.jpg The National Park Service

Col. William A. Morgan Letters, 1853-1889, in the Tracy W. McGregor Library, Accession #1275, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

General Edwin Gray Lee. Notman Photographic Archives. McCord Museum, McGill University, Montreal, Photo No. 17037. 27 Sept. 2007 Web. 6 July 2011

Room where William Fitzhugh Lee died at Manassas, 1861. Collection of Ann Reeves

Lily Parran Lee wife of William F. Lee. Private Collection

William Fitzhugh Lee. Private Collection

Chapterette 8: Click Here. https://civilwarscholars.com/american-civil-war/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/

“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/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 9 October-December, 1861 – Fountain Rock’s Nighttime Search Takes Away Lizzie’s Husband Rezin Davis Shepherd Jr. To Prison by Jim Surkamp

1268 words

TRT: 13:39 Video link: https://youtu.be/vV8MSbIXRNg


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.

Elizabeth Stockton Boteler-mrs Rezin Davis Shepherd + Alexander R. Shepherd-her son2

During the next two months Davis Shepherd spent most of his time in camp, but when off duty would come to his family at Fountain Rock.

In November, 1861 all the Confederate forces on the river were called in and he was ordered to report with his company to Colonel McDonald at Winchester. The same day that this order was received a message was brought to him that Redmond Burke had escaped from the Old Capitol Prison in Washington and was waiting to see him in Shepherdstown. Davis met the Confederate scout in the village and received from his hands copies of the plans of fortifications around Washington. Burke feared that he might be taken and wanted copies of his papers to be in safe hands in case of accident

The men of Davis’ company were housed for the night in the old market house and he came back to Fountain Rock. In the meantime, Mrs. S. one of the Union sympathizers of the town, was hastening up the river to the yankee camp with word of Redmond Burke’s return and of the whereabouts of Davis and his company.

Acting on information given by this woman, the soldiers encamped in Maryland, crossed the river and came to Fountain Rock at midnight. The rap of bayonets on the door roused the family, who were ready in a few moments to meet the crowd of soldiers who pushed into the house and swarmed all over it in every direction.

Davis Shepherd disappeared at the first noise of their approach and no one knew where he had hidden himself – a much safer situation than if the four frightened women had helped him find a hiding place. A demand was made for candles to aid in the search, and Helen (Tippie) Boteler went to the pantry, but was so closely surrounded by men that she could not raise her hand from her side. She could raise her voice, however, and cried out indignantly, “Is this to be allowed?” Immediately the men fell back, and procuring the necessary light, she carried it for the searchers from room-to-room.

They thrust their bayonets through every mattress, even lifting with the point of a bayonet, the mattress of the crib in which little Fanny was sitting up in still, wide-eyed terror. Finding an old musket in the corner of one of the garret rooms, they seized on it with enthusiasm.

“Cap! aw, Cap! here’s a gun.” One of them cried. “Take it by all means,” said Tippie holding up the candle. “You will find it worthless. There are no useful arms here; they are all in the hands of our brave soldiers!” This pronounced with as much fervor as she could command seemed to end their interest in the weapon and they left it where it stood.

Finally they came to a curious cubby-hole under the roof where the old and newer parts of the building joined. This low attic space was entered by one of the soldiers, who had to crawl through a doorway not more than two-and-a-half feet high to search it. He came back in a moment, his face white and eyes staring. “There’s a man in there!” he exclaimed, with as much fear in his tone as if he had found a wildcat. Davis Shepherd came out before they had time to fire at him and stood tall and straight in the narrow landing at the head of the garret stairs, facing his captors. He had taken off his uniform containing the papers and left them under the eaves. The soldiers did not go back for them, but allowing time only for a hasty completion of toilet carried him off with them at once.

When the little group of women saw him there in the hands of the enemy with an unknown fate before him, all possibility of brave sounding speech left them, and husband and wife said goodbye with the expressionless quiet of desperate self-control.

On their way through town the company separated. One of the squad went to the market house. The leader knocked at the door and called out in the darkness. “Get up, boys! Davis Shepherd is out here and wants you right away!” “All right!” “We’re coming!” “I’ll go anywhere with Davis!” “I’d get up to fight a yankee any time of night!” Came the answering calls from Davis’ guard as they scrambled from bed and went out one-by-one to meet their unexpected capture. The other division of the company was on the lookout for Redmond Burke. They had been directed to the house of George McGlincy, the town constable. Not finding the man they wanted here, they took McGlincy prisoner instead.

But Redmond Burke was in the house all the time. When the alarm came, he was seized with terror. He was a brave man, but the idea of being trapped this way was an agony! “Hide me! Hide me!” he begged of McGlincy’s daughter. She took him to the top of the house and pointed to the rafters. A man could lie along one of the heavy beams in the obscurity of the dark garret in comparative safety if he could once get there. Burke looked up, measuring the distance above his head with a quick eye, then turned to “Gin” McGlincy in dismay. “Here, stand on my shoulder!” she whispered; and she stood firm while he swung himself up, his heavy-nailed boot making a deep mark in her flesh.

As she came down the stairs she met the search party who were just entering. The sight of them filled her with anger, and taking her stand at the head of the narrow stairway with an axe handle she beat back the soldiers who attempted to come up. When she finally allowed them to pass her, Burke had so successfully hidden himself that they soon gave up the search.

In the dark dawn, the soldiers rowed back across the river with their prisoners and discussed the adventures of the night in Davis Shepherd’s hearing. “My, but don’t those rings on Miss Boteler’s fingers sparkle!” said one. “I’m coming back to get ‘em someday!”

“I’d like to have a picture of her!” said another. “Did you see how her black eyes flashed when she said: “They’re all in the hands of our brave soldiers?” mimicking the dramatic manner of (Tippie Boteler-JS) .

One must not at this late day dwell upon the horror of prison life nor tell the story of all that Davis Shepherd suffered while in the hands of the Federal authorities. Two deliberate attempts were made upon his life, one at Keedysville and again at Williamsport. He was put in solitary confinement. At one time he was taken desperately ill and the doctor who tended him looked him over and remarked, “It’s a pity Alex Boteler’s son-in-law should die a natural death!”

When they reached Washington he was made to march up and down the streets in the custody of his self-important captors until he could walk no further. They had to carry him at last to his cell in the Old Capitol prison. When the articles for exchanging him as a political prisoner were prepared – it was said he was a prisoner of war; and when preparations were made for his exchange as a prisoner of war, he was declared a political prisoner. His health was wrecked by poisoned food given him; every indignity was put upon him. Filth and disease surrounded him. – (1).


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:

Images of Boteler and Shepherd Family – courtesy Leslie Keller and the Boteler/Pendleton Family

“Tippie Boteler” with candle – adapted from painting by Godfried Schalcken

Title: [Washington, D.C. The Old Capitol Prison, 1st and A Streets NE]
Date Created/Published: [Between 1860 and 1865] – Library of Congress

Title: [Washington, D.C., vicinity. Seven officers by a big gun in a fort]
Date Created/Published: [Between 1860 and 1865] – Library of Congress

Gamble, William H.
Plan of the City of Washington, the Capitol of the United States of America
Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, 1861; Courtesy of Murray Hudson, Halls, Tennessee.

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine Volume 0033 Issue 194 (July 1866)
Title: Recollections of the War [pp. 137-160]
Author: Strother, D. H. p. 151 “not at home.”

Works by Adalbert John Volck at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1938:
Searching for Arms (from Confederate War Etchings)
Marylanders Crossing the Potomac to Join the Southern Army (from Confederate War Etchings)
Smuggling Medicine (from Confederate War Etchings)

“Home,” Harpers Weekly, Feb. 25, 1865

“Home Sweet Home” by Winslow Homer – circa 1863

NEXT: Chapterette 10. https://civilwarscholars.com/american-civil-war/thy-will-be-done-chapter-10-by-jim-surkamp-henry-kyd-douglas-writes-tippie-of-his-exploits/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 10 January, 1862 – A “Chilling” Account of Stonewall Soldierhhood

2144 words

TRT: 22:45 Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVxwLouaet0


Chapterette 10: A Love-Prospecting Henry Kyd Douglas Writes Tippie Boteler from a 2nd Virginia Infantry Encampment Amid the Worst Winter Weather Conditions in West Virginia, Yet Perhaps Unable to Warm Her Heart.

Henry Kyd Douglas

January, 1862 – A “Chilling” Account of “Stonewall” Soldierhood

Letter from Henry Kyd Douglas to Tippie Boteler, Winchester, January 12, 1862.
My Dear Miss Tippie – I’ve been to the Springs since I read your delightful last (letter). It may appear to common people as a very peculiar taste but it is a matter of taste alone, and as I never enjoyed the pleasure of visiting this or that locality in the summer and in time of peace, I did have an opportunity of going to Bath (Berkeley Springs) in winter, when everything was gilded with snow. You perceive therefore that the “one great wish so new to all hearts” that our Brigade might not be sent to Romney, was gratified in a very Delphic and to us unsatisfactory manner. But we all stand on a level (I mean all of Jackson’s and Loring’s commands) now. Before this trip it was a common thing for the members of Genl. Loring’s command to remark that it was very true though Stone-Wall had seen some hard marching and a goodly share of sharp fighting, but they had never endured the hardships of the mountain bivouac, or been exposed to the blasts of western Virginia and its deep snow. They recounted their severe trials, their hair-breadth scrapes, in wonderful eloquence, until that credulous portion of Christendom – the female sex – listened with admiration and awe and began to the chagrin of us Jacksonites to love them for the dangers they had seen. But we’ve got even now. They have been compelled to admit that they have endured within the past two weeks what they never endured before. With sufficient degree of zeal, we will hereafter be able to hold our share of the sympathies of those who hear of this the hardest march since those of Napoleon. But it has had a terrible effect upon the troops, as the overflowing hospitals of Winchester attest. About eight hundred soldiers have been rendered unfit for duty by sickness and four-horse wagons are continually arriving filled with living evidences of the hardships we have seen, while scores of sick soldiers that cannot be accommodated are being daily sent off to Staunton and other hospitals. I think the sentimentalists who imagine that there is no way to die in war but in battle, would be shocked at the sight of those who are expiring without a wound, and would feel disposed to modify that Plato quotation,”Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” (Not by Plato, but from the Roman lyrical poet Horace’s Odes III.2.13 – JS). The line can be roughly translated into English as: “It is sweet and fitting to die for your country.) – (1).

But to begin at the beginning and be as brief as possible – for I’ve nothing else to write about and may as well fill my letter with a short account of our trip to the Springs (a la correspondent for news-paper) however uninteresting it may prove.

About 4 o’clock on New Year’s morning we were awakened by an untimely reveille and long roll. Every soldier knew before he left his bed (excuse my civilized style of saying “bed”) that a march was before him in celebration of the advent of 1862. No one knew whither, but a majority dolefully thought of Romney. About day-light we were on the way, puzzling as to our course. The day was pleasant, although rather warm for marching. It was soon evident that the whole army (militia included) was along and an active expedition was expected. About dark we bivouacked (which means we encamped within tents).

Our brigade was placed upon a high hill covered with pine-trees, resembling the spur of a mountain. Very soon the winds commenced blowing in real winter blasts and increasing in fierceness kept it up all night. Our baggage, being in the rear of the whole wagon train which was about 5 miles long, did not reach us at all that night and consequently we were left exposed to the “cold chilly winds” without a blanket and many without their overcoats. Pine fires were built, but the smoke and sparks were dashed in all directions so furiously that it was almost impossible to stand near enough to the fires to keep moderately comfortable (by moderately I mean one side – for while it would be warm the other side would be freezing).

Many threw themselves down on the ground, determined to try and sleep amid the smoke and sparks. The consequence was that very few of them escaped without burned clothes. I know I did not. I laid down by the fire and, covering my head with the cape of my overcoat, tried to sleep. I had just succeeded in getting into a nap when I was awaked by a severe shake and on looking up found several soldiers engaged in putting out the fire which had caught my overcoat in several places. Satisfied that sleep under the circumstances was impossible I stood by the fire for the rest of the night – and was duly thankful in the morning that I was still alive. At the sounds of the drum the march was resumed and continued until about 3 p.m. when we bivouacked until next morning and commenced the march again. This was a cold disagreeable day but we kept up the march until after 10 at night.

In the meantime we had white-spotted evidence that it was going to snow and to add to the disagreeability of the march, some poor fellows fell in the many runs we crossed after dark, and the ice on their clothes soon reminded one of sleighing times only this situation was not quite as comfortable as it might have been in ordinary times. That night we had more than our quantity of bed-clothing for, in putting my head out from under the blankets, whither it had been driven by sleet and snow, I found in the morning about two inches of the old goo(s)man’s geese feathers on top of my bed. I had observed frequently during the night that the snow (which is much more insinuating and curious than rain) had penetrated through the small crevices between the blankets and brought itself in very disagreeable contact with my head and face.

But I am getting admirably prolix. The next day we entered Bath and our brigade quartered there for the night. Our camp staid in a beautiful cottage built by Mr. McGilmer of Bath for a summer residence and slept on the spring lawn. It was beautifully furnished, French bedsteads, etc. oil-cloth and matting on the floor; innumerable beautiful engravings and some very handsome paintings around the walls – entirely too handsome for soldiers’ barracks. I should have preferred a good stable loft. But I’m glad to say nothing was injured and we left it very early next morning. But we had at least spent one night in Bath and that in the winter.

Did you ever read “The Daltons”? If so do you remember the description of Baden, the celebrated German watering place in winter. The resemblance to Bath is clear. To those who live at such a place all the time, the contrast between summer and winter must make either one or the other, according to the fancy, all most unendurable.

Just imaginatively repeople Bath with its summer visitors, gauze drapes, bare arms, low necks, light slippers, bare-heads – walking through the snow, stepping on ice, and watching the white rocks and leafless trees on the barren hill that rises up among the winds and seems to protect Bath. Wouldn’t it be a suggestive but strange sight? But we left Bath and went on to the river about four miles. The yankees had fled precipitately from Bath and owing to the cowardice and inefficiency of the contemptible militia, had escaped us, except about 24 prisoners. However, we got several yankee storage-houses with army stores to the value of 30 or 40,000 dollars, burned Capon Bridge and tore up a part of the B&O R. Road. Our camps fared very well in yankee plunder, some getting jackets, some hats, shoes etc. and some entering into speculations by selling what they had captured or stolen. But the suffering of the soldiers during these few days and until the army arrived where it now is, was greater, much greater than I had described, between rain, snow, ice and cold. It was the Valley Forge of the Revolution, even to the frozen and bleeding feet. I cannot bore you by a description and even if given it would seem almost incredible.

One little episode was decidedly interesting to the soldiers. Amid the snow and ice, several messes in our camp regaled themselves with corn and tomatoes, canned, taken from the yankees and as delightful and fresh as I have ever seen them in winter. The last march the army took to where it now is – was a dreadful one. The road was almost an uninterruptible sheet of ice, rendering it almost impossible for man or beast to travel, while by moonlight, the beards of the men, (not mine), matted with ice and glistening like crystals, presented a very peculiar yet ludicrous appearance. I have not been able to find a man in the 2nd Reg. who did not fall down at least twice. I laid down (rapidly and with emphasis) three times. 3 men in our brigade broke their arms falling, and several rendered their guns useless. Several horses were killed and many wagons were compelled to go into night quarters along the road, being unable to get along at all. Nearly all the march of 18 miles was made after dark. But I’ll describe (it) no further and but leave the brigade and regiment where it is – about 23 miles from here at Unger’s store.

How long they will remain there and what they will do next I know not, although I should not be surprised to see them here before long. Col. Ch. Jas. Faulkner has gone to Richmond for orders. You know he is one of Genl. Jackson’s aide de camp.

Probably you have asked what I am doing in Winchester with my company so far away. I arrived here last night. A general court martial convened by Genl. Johnston meets here to-morrow, of which I am Judge-Advocate, viz. prosecutor for the court, or in other words it is my duty to prepare and try all the cases brought before it. I have 15 to begin with and will be kept here at least 2 weeks, probably a month. I was ordered here (by) Genl. Jackson last night and came with Ned Lee who is a member of the court. Were it not for the court I would now be in Shepherdstown, as I could have received a furlough several days ago, but was detained and sent here for duty. I am certainly not sorry to get away from camp, although the duties of a Judge-Advocate are many and his responsibility great. I will send this letter to you at Shepherdstown although it is probably from what you said in your last that you are in Lynchburg. Hoping to hear from you very soon, with a letter that will rival mine in length, with many good messages to you, Ma and family, I am Yours in inexpressible friendship, Henry Kyd Douglas – (2).

February 11, 1862 – Winchester, Va. – Sickness Rewards Col. Allen with the Welcome Trappings of Home Life.

Because of sickness and duties like Douglas’ at the court-martial hearings in the Winchester Courthouse, Col. James Allen, the commander of the 2nd Virginia infantry, enjoyed the comforts of a home there and the presence of his wife, Julia, and their little son, Hugh. In a letter to James’ sister, Fanny, Julia wrote:

He was taken about ten days ago with a disorder of the stomach & bowels, which he neglected, & continued at the Court House every day through all the rain & mud until he was so weakened as to be forced to stay in and have a Doctor. He has now been in bed five days with more or less fever all the time, though the original disease is controlled, Nature seems to be slow in righting herself. He is kept on very light diet, Toast & Tea, Jelly and Oysters & by the way there is no Green Tea to be gotten in this place, and the Coffee, mostly or wholly Rye. I wish I could get at some of Mother’s stores now. Mr. A. won’t drink Black Tea which is Hobson’s choice here. The Dr. said he had no fever this morning and thinks he will be up in a day or two! – (3).


The Papers of Henry Kyd Douglas – Perkins Manuscript Division – Duke University

part of paragraph one – Julia Pendleton Allen Civil War Letter. A Confederate Officer’s Wife in Winchester, Virginia
Virginia Military Institute Archives. VMI Collection note: The original letter is privately owned. The owner provided the VMI Archives with a copy of the original and granted us permission to publish the letter on our website, so that its content could be made available to researchers.

The Daltons: Or, Three Roads in Life. Published 1859 by Chapman and Hall.

Main Image Credits From Video

The Pension Claim Agent Eastman Johnson – 1867

Beyer, Edward. (1858). “Album of Virginia” Richmond, VA.: published by s.n. – Rockfish Gap and the Mountain House

Les chevreuils dans la neige, Gustave Courbet, huile sur toile, 54 x 72,5 cm, musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France. Date circa 1866

Napoleon’s retreat from Pontin’s Southport by Adolph Northen

Horace reading before Maecenas by Fyodor Bronnikov

Horace, portrayed by Giacomo Di Chirico – wikipedia.org

Frozen Wappingers Falls, New York State

The Mud March, Giovanni Ponticelli

Mud March – Harpers Weekly, March 19 1864.

Baden-Baden, view from conversation house, around 1850

Charles J. Faulkner – wikipedia.org

William W. Loring – wikipedia,org

The Vidette – from “The long roll” by Mary Johnston; with illustrations by N.C. Wyeth. Published 1911 by Houghton Mifflin Co., Riverside Press in Boston, Cambridge. p. 642.

Edwin Forbes sketch of a Civil War Soldier in Winter Camp. – Library of Congress
Rainy Day in Camp (also known as Camp near Yorktown) by Winslow Homer.

“Winter quarters on the Rappahannock- army huts of the One Hundred and Nineteenth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, near Falmouth, Va.” Frank Leslie’s “Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War.” (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896).

Winter bivouac – “Battles and Leaders. Vol. 1.” (1887). Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. p. 483.

Map showing Bath, Va. and the surrounding region – “Battles and Leaders. Vol. 2″. (1887). Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. p. 284.

Men sleeping; Men standing in the cold – Horace Carpenter. “Experiences of War Prisoners. Plain Living at Johnson’s Island.” The Century; a popular quarterly Volume 0041 Issue 5 (Mar 1891). p. 705; p. 711.

Autumn Scene in the North Carolina Mountains by William Aiken Walker

Sherry Sir? 1890 by Thomas Waterman Wood

Autumn Leaves 1870 by Thomas Waterman Wood

Autumn Scene on the Edge of A Cornfield by William Aiken Walker

Lying man, sick and thin – T. H. Mann. “A Yankee in Andersonville.” The Century; a popular quarterly Volume 0040 Issue 3 (July 1890). p. 447.

Harper’s Weekly, September 7, 1861, p. 569.

Winchester, Va. during Civil War – The National Park Service

A Visit from the Old Mistress 1876 by Winslow Homer

(detail) Girl Eating Oysters by Jan Steen

Ear of rye – wikipedia.org

Mucha-Untitled (seated woman with coffee cup) – wikimedia.org

NEXT: Chapterette 11. https://civilwarscholars.com/usct/thy-will-be-done-chapter-11-march-1862-freedom-comes-hard-to-rezin-davis-shepherd-and-almost-too-late-but-freedom-offered-by-hugh-pendleton-at-westwoo/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 11 March, 1862 – Freedom Comes Hard To Rezin Davis Shepherd and Almost Too Late; But Freedom Offered by Hugh Pendleton at Westwood to His Many Enslaved Brings The Best Day Ever by Jim Surkamp –

2719 words

TRT: 24:57 Video link: https://youtu.be/ppP6gu0wJvM

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.




The harsh winter of 1861-1862 slowly yielded to spring and new growth, new signs of life re-awakening – and a barely recognizable man coming across the yard to Fountain Rock:

One chilly day in March the family at Fountain Rock saw a strange man slowly making his way through the grove from the Ridge road. He appeared old and ill and no one knew that it was Davis until he reached the porch. Knowing that his life was nearly gone he had sworn to give no further aid or assistance to the cause he had loved and had come home. He had walked all the way from Harper’s Ferry. Always a lover of the fields and woods and mountains, and especially a lover of the river near which he had lived all his life, Davis Shepherd had come home spent and heart-broken to die. – (1).

Freedom Is Offered by Hugh Pendleton at Westwood to His Many Enslaved; George Slow Also Finds A Friend For A Lifetime.

In late February, 1862 Federal General Nathaniel Banks crossed into Virginia at Harper’s Ferry, ventured through Charlestown and continued deeply into the Shenandoah Valley into what would be for his troops a disastrous encounter with Confederate General Stonewall Jackson’s very fleet and hard-fighting brigade.

Those enslaved persons in Jefferson County and beyond seized the opportunity to depart from the farms they worked and stubbornly affix themselves and their families to this massive Federal army, while it was here and available. Many found finding work and shelter at Harper’s Ferry.

Their number probably would soon exceed two thousand, based on newspaper reports of the number of African-Americans at Harper’s Ferry in September, 1862. – (2).

The exodus began in March, shortly after Bank’s army appeared in the County. His chief-of-staff, David Hunter Strother, whose wife lived in Charlestown and who had memorably encountered his friends in the Virginia militia in April, 1861, as war was starting, kept a diary that charted the number of African-Americans arriving in the spring of 1862 at Federal encampments.

He remarked in his diary on March 8th – An excitement was produced in town by the arrival of a wagon load of Negro women and children with bag and baggage as if bound for a free country, . . . I understand they were forwarded to Harper’s Ferry. . . Numbers of men have flocked into town more or less every day since our occupation (of about ten days.-JS). – (3).

Enslaved were leaving their farms all over the county. At Adam Stephen Dandridge’s farm, The Bower, Dandridge recorded leaving that spring of 1862: a woman and her two children, two men and one boy, “some men,” 38-year-old John Pinco, and 19-year-old William. – (4).

James and Ann Hooff wrote in their daily farm diary on March 12, 1862: When we got up we found every women and child gone – took our wagon and moved everything – several of the neighbors’ servants gone at the same time. – (5).

Enslaved African-Americans leave Mt. Pleasant farm of Charles Aglionby and his family. He wrote in his farm diary:

March 10 – Monday – Negroes go into the Union Lines – Left the premises last night the following slaves:
Martha – 17 years old, sound, healthy, stout, color rather light;
Laura – black, 39 years old, medium size, handy at all works;
Louis – 23 years old, not very tall, but thick set complexion, copperish;
Bob – 17 years old, a mulatto, chunky, but not tall or large for his age;
Henry Robinson – dark complexion, slender male, age supposed to be thirty or upwards, he is the property of Mrs. Elizabeth Strider and had Laura for his wife.

March 13 – Wednesday – More workers leave by night:
Left last night Ralf Madison Hall, aged 26, dark, good looking, heavy set, medium height, boot and shoe maker; Silas Hall ditto from Mr. Conklyn about same time, aged 14 years. – (6).

Some returned to their farms and owners in May when it briefly appeared that Stonewall Jackson might capture Harper’s Ferry. Hoping for mercy, some of these returnees were promptly and angrily re-sold by the owner. – (7).

Hugh Nelson Pendleton, who built in the early 1850s his farm abode called Westwood just west of Rippon and near the border with Clarke County, had written of his animus against enslavement.

As of the summer of 1860, he had ten men and six women at Westwood, including a seven-month-old baby girl. – (8).

According to his daughter-in-law – Tippie Boteler, he had written: “all my slaves are kindly treated and seem contented and happy, but I have no doubt they would gladly be free. All have been more or less instructed and some read very well,” despite, Tippie Boteler added, the fact that it was considered illegal to teach literacy to those enslaved in Virginia. – (9).

Pendleton wrote, acknowledging the Thorntons, a family of enslaved workers, who worked a nearby farm and sometimes Pendleton’s and as well as the Boteler’s, had opted to find better opportunities in Liberia and ten of that family, left for Cape Palmas in 1855. (10) (11) (12).

With the federal army literally in his own back yard that spring in 1862, Pendleton, the family history goes and is supported, decided to offer freedom to those he enslaved.

The first man to opt for freedom at Westwood was 32-year old George Slow, who was born there in 1830 when it was part of another farm property. Two other men, one thirty-one and the other thirty-five-years-old in 1862, also joined the army with George. The oldest woman who was sixty-three chose to stay. – (13).

Captain Frank A. Donaldson later of the 118th Pennsylvania Corn Exchange Regiment, described his first meeting Slow while his army was moving towards Berryville from Charlestown in early March, 1862.

(Donaldson was born in Philadelphia, June 7, 1840. He was enrolled as a sergeant of the 71st Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers (Baker’s California Regiment), May 26, 1861, and was mustered into the service June 4, 1861. He was taken prisoner at Ball’s Bluff, October, 1861. His conspicuous gallantry in this engagement was rewarded by promotion to a second lieutenancy, May 1, 1862. He was severely wounded at Fair Oaks, May 30, 1862. Upon his recovery he was mustered out to accept the captaincy of Company H, 118th. He was honorably discharged, January 14, 1864.) – (14).

Donaldson who befriended George Slow for a lifetime wrote how their encounter happened:

Donaldson wrote his brother March 15th from Bolivar, describing the beauty and devastation of Harper’s Ferry, the homes in Charlestown and then his journey towards Berryville when he meets George Slow:

Dear Brother:

Here I am once again on old Virginia’s sacred soil. In the few lines written from Harper’s Ferry, I said I did not think much of the place. That was literally true as regards the town, but as to the beauty of the country, the magnificence of the surrounding landscape, there can be no question.

Harper’s Ferry is situated at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, and is probably one of the most picturesquely located places in America. I can conceive of no more beautiful scene than just here. Then, too, it is full of memories of the stirring past, although desolation and ruin reign everywhere. There is scarcely anything besides a few standing walls, to remind one of the busy arsenal where so many muskets, now in the hands of the enemies, as well as its own troops were made by the Government. The Engine house where John Brown battled for abolition’s cause is still standing, but the citizens of the town itself have deserted it. The only place of business open are our own people and the only customer, too, are our own army. Everything wears an aspect of utter decay and destruction.

I left on Thursday morning and rode as far as Charlestown, a distance of nine miles, in the Sutler’s wagon, when finding he was not going further, I took up my journey on foot for Berryville, a distance of a trifle less than thirteen miles.

Charlestown is a pretty place, with numberless frame cottages, painted white, with green Venetian shutters. I did not have time to go all over the place, but a number of historical places were pointed out to me, notably the Court house where old John Brown was tried, and the jail where he was kept prisoner.

Nothing of note happened on the journey excepting the meeting with a mounted officer who had kept me company until near Berryville. He said he was a Major of a Rhode Island regiment, and asked so many questions about myself and the probable number of troops at Harper’s Ferry, that I became suspicious, in fact alarmed, and told him a pretty lively tale about the latter place. While conversing with him I could not understand why if he was journeying from Harper’s Ferry he knew so little about the situation there. However, I feared to ask him the question, lest my suspicions proving correct, I might again be taken prisoner. He was a very gentlemanly man, and was dressed in our uniform, that is so much of it as I could see. He had a glazed forage cap, and a long dark blue, almost black, circular, or officer’s cavalry overcoat, and was armed with holster pistols and one also attached to his waist belt, but carried no sword. He was about 40 years of age and wore his beard cut close all around his face. Just before reaching Berryville, he stopped at a private roadside house, where a female evidently a lady came out, and while pumping water for him, conversed in a tone of voice inaudible to me, at least. I stood aside while they talked together and was satisfied that they knew each other quite well. Here he left me after cordially shaking my hand. He said he had enjoyed my company very much which had helped him to pass way many tedious hours of lonely traveling.

All along the good solid turnpike to Berryville (Route 340 in 2014.-JS) there were evidences of the passing of large bodies of troops, there being scarcely a fence rail left in the whole distance, and the sad havoc made with the woods, where an encampment had taken place and was most marked. I saw no soldiers during this tramp. The farmers appeared to have been at work and the country as far back as I could see, was well cultivated and full of fine-looking wheat; at least, to my unpracticed eye, it looked remarkably good and heavy.

They Meet George Slow.

As we moved away from the vicinity of Charlestown, we saw a number of Negroes leaning on a fence surrounding a neat little house on what appeared to be a large plantation. Captain Urie spoke to one of them and asked whether he would like to join the army. Replying that he would, the Captain told him to come along, and he and two or three others did so.

In conversation with him I learned his name to be George Slow, and that he was or had been, a slave, but, his master (Pendleton), knowing that he could not keep his slaves, had given him his freedom, and he (George) would like me to go back and corroborate what he said. He had been a house servant and nicely brought up. We like him very much and he is a first-rate cook and very handy generally.

Slow continued with the army, acting first as a servant to Captain Urie; but when Urie took sick, Slow in May, 1862 transferred to the service of Donaldson with whom he stayed through many battles, starting May 30th at Fair Oaks – outside of Richmond – where Donaldson was wounded and George Slow relentlessly stayed by his side or brought help, saving Donaldson’s life. – (15).

Major References for/from video:

Magazine of the Jefferson County Historical Society. Volume LXXV December 2011. “Jefferson County to Liberia: Emigrants, Emancipators, and Facilitators.” by Jane Ailes and Marie Tyler-McGraw p. 52.

In Jefferson County Museum – Charles Town, WV:

Aglionby, Charles. “The Day Book Kept By Charles Aglionby at Mount Pleasant, Charles Town, Jefferson County, Virginia.” 6 March, 1861 to 1 January, 1866.” – Transcribed by Francis John Aglionby (1932-2002). With permission from Julia Aglionby.

Also in the Jefferson County Museum:

The Farm Diary of John and Anne Hooff

Dandridge Account Books

Serena K. Dandridge undated letter, Dandridge Collection, Duke University.

The Letter of Frank Donaldson. A Young Northern Soldier’s Journey thru Jeff. in March 1862 – The Boteler Collection – Courtesy Ms. Leslie Keller.

James, Anne Hooff Farm Journals, Wednesday, March 12, 1862. Perry Collection, Charles Town Library.

Eby, Cecil D., Jr. (Ed. and Intro.). (1961). “A Virginia Yankee in the Civil War. The Diaries of David Hunter Strother.” Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Print. p. 10.

Frye, Dennis E. (1984). “2nd Virginia Infantry.” Lynchburg, Va.: H. E. Howard, Inc. Print.

Elizabeth Stockton Pendleton. “A Wartime Tragedy,” Shepherdstown Register, March 8, 1934.
and “A Wartime Tragedy,” The Shepherdstown Register, September 25, 1924.

Survivors’ Association, 118th (Corn Exchange) Reg’t. P. V. (1888). “History of the Corn Exchange Regiment, 118th Pennsylvania Volunteers, from their first engagement at Antietam to Appomattox. To which is added a record of its organization and a complete roster. Fully illustrated with maps, portraits, and over one hundred illustrations.” J. L. Smith in Philadelphia, PA: J. L. Smith Publishers. Print. p. 642.

The Richmond Enquirer correspondent in Winchester reporting the number of enslaved driven from Harper’s Ferry after its capture by Confederates. – September 23, 1862.

1860 Slave Schedules, Jefferson County, Virginia, United States Census.

Jefferson County Death Records show the death December 6, 1858 of enslaved person, Mary Frances Thornton and reported by her owner, Hugh N. Pendleton.

Confederate Service Records – National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Image Credits:

A sutler’s store, Harper’s Ferry, Virginia [soldiers of Gen. Geary’s Div. making purchases] – Frank Leslie’s November 29, 1862, p. 1

Title: Harper’s Ferry, photographed immediately after its evacuation by the rebels. 1861
Other Title: Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., view of town; railroad bridge in ruins. Creator(s): Bostwick, C. O., photographer

By Thomas Waterman Wood
A Bit of History: The Contraband; The Recruit; The Veteran
Market Woman
A Southern cornfield

By Eastman Johnson
A Ride for Liberty c. 1862;
Union Soldiers Accepting a Drink c. 1865
Winnowing Grain

Mathew B. Brady – Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University [1]
Text from below the photo: “Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by Barnard & Gibson, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Columbia.” “Contrabands at Headquarters of General Lafayette,” black-and-white photograph on carte de visite mount, by the American photographer Mathew Brady.

West Virginia University –
Online Photographs from the
West Virginia Regional History Collection

  • by Biscoe, Thomas and Walter;
    Harper’s Ferry from Bolivar Heights
    Bolivar Heights and Gap of Harper’s Ferry, W. Va
    Picturesque Group of Houses
    Charles Town, Near View Looking Northeast
    View from Fairview House
    View of Road Back to Middletown
    Charles Town, Old Virginia,
    From Pike 3/4 of a Mile South of Town

Maryland Heights by Alfred Waud, Harpers Weekly Novemeber 22, 1862
Mural of John Brown in Kansas Statehouse

Daguerrotype of John Brown 1846 by Augustus Washington

NEXT: Chapterettes 12-13. Click Here https://civilwarscholars.com/american-civil-war/thy-will-be-done-chapter-12-13-the-battle-of-antietam-the-bower-legend-by-jim-surkamp/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 12-13 The Battle of Antietam & The Bower Legend by Jim Surkamp

(aka “Maybe the Best Civil War Story Chapter 12-13”)
Chapterette 12 – The Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg Repurposes the War and Fills Shepherdstown’s Structures with 5,000 Wounded . . . and the Echoes of Indelible Memories.

11,435 words

Chapterette 13 will follow this chapter in the text herein.

Thy Will Be Done – Chapter 12a TRT: 25:54 Video link: https://youtu.be/SQvAkG5I1RM (Images from the video not available on Flickr)

Thy Will Be Done – Chapter 12b TRT: 44:43 Video link: https://youtu.be/cbB2_kUVIUU (Images from the video not available on Flickr)

Thy Will Be Done Chapter 13a – TRT: 1:00:26 https://youtu.be/vAqCNPA4_Tc

Thy Will Be Done Chapter 13b – TRT: 33:22 https://youtu.be/1hoI3hG2DQw

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.


Just before Antietam, when the Confederate troops passed over into Maryland, Davis Shepherd, Junior rode to Kearneysville to meet them and came into Shepherdstown at the head of the army on his beloved horse – “Jinny” – a soldier among soldiers once more, though armed only a riding whip. The weight of his oath of neutrality seemed for a time lifted from him. – (1).

War ravaged the fields of Virginia harvesting men, remnants strewn as Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson coordinated a series of stunning reversals on the poorly led men fighting for the Union cause.

Then Lee boldly calculated to move his 70,000 men across the Potomac River at White’s and other fords the first week of September into the North. He hoped to carry the momentum to a negotiated separation from the United States for the Confederacy by demoralizing and swaying voters in the Northern states as they planned to vote for new Congressmen in November. Virginia needed to recover and harvest its grain. He may have known that England had already placed on its agenda a decision on whether to throw its weight – and domination of the seas – in favor of a “dis-uniting” of the United States – pending results of fighting on the battlefields of Maryland. The Deciding Stage was set.

But Lee knew grimly that his best fighters who were with him that hot, dry September could not last in a long war against the North’s deep resources and manpower. He played all his cards that September. This, Lee felt, was the last, best chance for the South to strike a winning blow. – (2).

The Dragons Are Approaching:

September, 1862, was in the skies of the almanac, but August still reigned in ours; it was hot and dusty. The railroads in the Shenandoah Valley had been torn up, the bridges had been destroyed, communication had been made difficult, and Shepherdstown, cornered by the bend of the Potomac, lay as if forgotten in the bottom of somebody’s pocket. We were without news or knowledge, except when some chance traveler would repeat the last wild and uncertain rumor that he had heard. We had passed an exciting summer. Winchester had changed hands more than once; we had been “in the Confederacy” and out of it again, and were now waiting, in an exasperated state of ignorance and suspense, for the next move in the great game. – (3).

Surprised that the 12,700-man garrison at Harper’s Ferry was not evacuated to be closer to Washington, Lee daringly decided to capture the garrison, entailing Lee’s breaking-up of up his army, which had dwindled down to just 40,000 from the 70,000 ten days prior. Men were exhausted, filthy, only semi-clad, and would at times, just lay down on grass and die.

Lee sent more than half his army towards Harpers Ferry less than seventeen miles away, but in three very different directions to encircle the garrison commanded by a fusty general named Dixon Miles. Stonewall Jackson led the force of 28,000. – (4).

Some of Jackson’s men coming to Harper’s Ferry from the west passed through Shepherdstown.

We found ourselves on Saturday morning, September 13th, surrounded by a hungry horde of lean, dusty tatterdemalions, who seemed to rise from the ground at our feet. I did not know where they came from, or to whose command they belonged; I have since been informed that General Jackson recrossed into Virginia at Williamsport, and hastened to Harper’s Ferry by the shortest roads. This would take him some four miles south of us, and our haggard apparitions were perhaps a part of his force. They were stragglers, at all events – professionals, some of them, but some worn out by the incessant strain of that summer. When I say that they were hungry, I convey no impression of the gaunt starvation that looked from their cavernous eyes. All day they crowded to the doors of our houses, with always the same drawling complaint: “I’ve been a-marchin’ an’ a-fightin’ for six weeks stiddy, an’ I wish you’d please to gimme a bite to eat.”

Their looks bore out their statements and when they told us they had “clean gin out,” we believed them, and went to get what he had. They could be seen afterward asleep in every fence corner and under every tree, but after a night’s rest they “pulled themselves together” somehow and disappeared as suddenly as they had come. – (5).

If the Federal Commander Gen. George B. McClellan ever knew that Lee – located just a short march to the west from his own 87,000 men encamped around Frederick, Maryland – had scattered his much smaller army across fifty square miles with a river dividing it, Lee would have been doomed. One would think.

But McClellan, in fact, DID learn all about Lee’s situation at just the right time to act, but Lee survived.

The order that Lee shared with three division commanders on September 9th was being read avidly by Gen. McClellan in Frederick’s marketplace by noon on September 13th. Two privates using an abandoned, once-Confederate camp site near Buckeystown, saw in the debris what looked like cigars wrapped in paper. Of course it turned out the paper was far more important than the cigars. – (6).

“At last, now I know what to do! Here is a paper with which, if I cannot whip Bobby Lee, I will be willing to go home.” McClellan famously said to Gen. John Gibbon nearby.

It became one of the most dramatic battles because Jackson’s men had to capture Harper’s Ferry’s 12,700 man garrison in almost no time allowed, and make the daylong march back to Lee’s army fragment at Sharpsburg – before Lee’s fragment army was wiped out by McClellan’s witting, advancing army of 87,000. In fact, hastened by the information from the found lost order, the very first of McClellan’s men to cross the Antietam Creek to Sharpsburg did so a bare three hours after the last of Lee’s men. And the Federals, perhaps surprising the Confederates with their celerity, fought and beat the rear-guard Confederates, all across South Mountain – the north-south ridge separating the two armies as they advanced.

The Confederate wounded began arriving at Pack Horse Ford just below the sleepy Virginia town of Shepherdstown.

Monday afternoon (September 15th) at about two or three o’clock, when we were sitting about in disconsolate fashion, distracted by the contradictory rumors, our negro cook rushed into the room, her face working with excitement. She had been down in the ten-acre lot to pick a few ears of corn and she had seen a long train of wagons coming up from the ford and, (she said) “They are full of wounded men, and the blood is running out of them that deep,” measuring on her outstretched arm to the shoulder. This horrible picture sent us flying to town, where we found the streets already crowded, the people all astir, and the foremost wagons of what seemed an endless line, discharging their piteous burdens. The scene speedily became ghastly, but fortunately we could not stay to look at it. There were no preparations, no accommodations – the men could not be left in the street – what was to be done? . . . Here they were, unannounced, on brick pavements, and the first thing was to find roofs to cover them. Men ran for keys and opened up the shops long empty, and the unused rooms; other people got brooms and stirred up the dust of ages; the swarms of children began to appear with bundles of hay and straw, taken from anybody’s stable. These were hastily disposed in heaps, covered with blankets – the soldiers’ own, or blankets begged or borrowed. – (7).

On the Eve of An Epic Battle

As night drew nearer, whispers of a great battle to be fought the next day grewlouder, and we shuddered at the prospect, for battles had come to mean to us, as they never had before, blood, wounds and death. – (8).

Wrote Federal officer Rufus Dawes the night before Antietam:
We passed over open fields and through orchards and gardens, and the men filled their pockets and empty haversacks with apples. About dusk, sharp musketry and cannonading began in our front. It was nine o clock at night when our brigade reached the position assigned it. The men laid down upon the ground, formed in close column, muskets loaded and lines parallel with the turnpike. Once or twice during the night, heavy volleys of musketry crashed in the dark woods on our left. There was a drizzling rain, and with the certain prospect of deadly conflict on the morrow, the night was dismal. Nothing can be more solemn than a period of silent waiting for the summons to battle, known to be impending. – (9).

The day began overcast, but became later a cloudless, blue-sky, perfect day in the mid-seventies. Col. John Gordon of the 6th Alabama Regiment later wrote: “It was in marked contrast with other battle-grounds. On the open plain, where stood these hosts of long hostile lines listening in silence for the signal summoning them to battle. There were no breastworks, no intervening woodlands, nor abrupt hills, nor hiding-places, nor impassable streams. The space over which the assaulting columns were to march, and on which was soon to occur the tremendous struggle, consisted of smooth and gentle undulations and a narrow valley covered with green grass and growing corn. From the position assigned me near the centre of Lee’s lines, both armies and the entire field were in view. The scene was not only magnificent to look upon, but the realization of what it meant was deeply impressive. Even in times of peace our sensibilities are stirred by the sight of a great army passing
in review. How infinitely more thrilling in the dread moments before the battle to look upon two mighty armies upon the same plain. . .” – (10).

Then the bloodiest day in American military history began in the dew and fog from a night rain.

On the 17th of September, cloudy skies looked down upon the two armies facing each other on the fields of Maryland. It seems to me now that the roar of that day began with the light, and all through its long, dragging hours its thunder formed a background to our pain and terror. If we had been in doubt as to our friends’ whereabouts on Sunday, (possibly referring to Dudley Digges Pendleton, Henry Kyd Douglas, Edwin Gray Lee, among others-JS) – there was no room for doubt now. There was no sitting at the windows now and counting discharges of guns, or watching (as they did during the Harpers Ferry battle) the curling smoke.

We went about our work with pale faces and trembling hands, yet trying to appear composed for the sake of our patients, who were much excited. We could hear the incessant explosions of artillery, the shrieking whistles of the shells, and the sharper, deadlier, more thrilling roll of musketry; while every now and then the echo of some charging cheer would be borne by the wind, and as the human voice pierced the demoniacal clangor we would catch our breath and listen, and try not to sob, and turn back to the forlorn hospitals, to the suffering at our feet and before our eyes, while imagination fainted at the thought of those other scenes hidden from us beyond the Potomac.

On our side of the river there were noise, confusion, dust; throngs of stragglers; horseman galloping about; wagons blocking each other, and teamsters wrangling; and a continued din of shouting, swearing, and rumbling, in the midst of which men were dying, fresh wounded arriving, surgeons amputating limbs and dressing wounds, women going in and out with bandages, lint, medicines, food. An ever-present sense of anguish, dread, pity, and I fear, hatred – these are my recollections of Antietam. – (11).

There was this terrific battle.
The noise was as much
As the limits of possible noise could take.
There were screams higher groans deeper
Than any ear could hold.
Many eardrums burst and some walls
Collapsed to escape the noise.
Everything struggled on its way
Through this tearing deafness
As through a torrent in a dark cave.
The cartridges were banging off, as planned,
The fingers were keeping things going
According to excitement and orders.
The unhurt eyes were full of deadliness.
The bullets pursued their courses
Through clods of stone, earth, and skin,
Through intestines pocket-books, brains, hair, teeth
According to Universal laws
And mouths cried “Mamma”
From sudden traps of calculus,
Theorems wrenched men in two,
Shock-severed eyes watched blood
Squandering as from a drain-pipe
Into the blanks between the stars.
Faces slammed down into clay
As for the making of a life-mask
Knew that even on the sun’s surface
They could not be learning more or more to the point
Reality was giving it’s lesson,
Its mishmash of scripture and physics,
With here, brains in hands, for example,
And there, legs in a treetop.
There was no escape except into death.
And still it went on–it outlasted
Many prayers . . . – (12).

Roughly 40,000 artillery shells were fired that day, some 20-pounders traveling as far as 1900 feet traveling at 1,250 feet per second. Possibly a hundred muskets or rifles fired every second for hours. – (13).

No one ever talks about the sound. It was a day of only thunderous sound in Shepherdstown over two miles away.

Gen. Alpheus Williams wrote his wife in New York City:
The roar of the infantry was beyond anything conceivable. . . Imagine from 8,000 to 10,000 men on one side, with probably a larger number on the other, all at once discharging their muskets. If all the stone and brick houses of Broadway should tumble at once the roar and rattle could hardly be greater, and amidst this, hundreds of pieces of artillery, right and left, were thundering as a sort of bass to the infernal music. – (14).

It is utterly incomprehensible and perfectly inconceivable how mortal men can stand and live under such an infantry fire as I heard today. Judging from the way the musketry roared the whole surrounding air between the lines must have been thick with flying lead. – (15).

Cheated out of a meal by the order, Gen. John Bell Hood’s Texas Brigade charged with “a shout as piercing as the blast of a thousand bugles” across a cornfield toward federal positions in the morning – a fierce futile charge that dropped 82 per cent of all the soldiers in one charging regiment. – (16).

Both commanding generals were ill-informed, Lee thinking his army was closer to 70,000 not yet realizing the deep loss to straggling; McClellan, always one to operate on the estimate of the enemy’s forces at what could charitably be called the “maximum possible” number. McClellan acted in a way that reflected his strange conviction that Lee had 100,000 men.

But what enabled Lee to manage the slaughter better than McClellan was where he chose to watch things. The more inexperienced McClellan set up shop in a comfortable home two miles to the north getting his intelligence through the lens of a telescope, eyed by someone other than himself. The concluding written-down orders were then galloped out to the battlefield to the appropriate commander, often long after the orders pertained.

Lee, more experienced and oblivious to personal physical risk it would seem, watched with his hand seriously hurt and bandaged from his horse near the Hagerstown Pike on a knoll. There, he was able to see emerging dangers and lateral off verbal orders directly to the intended commander.

How the two Generals opted to be informed almost determined the outcome.

The whole day – and the war itself – was coming down to a “warm” discussion among Generals McClellan, Sumner and Franklin on whether McClellan should make use of about 20,500 fresh, undeployed men into the battle – right at a time, unbeknownst to them – when Lee had virtually no reserves left and was fighting almost on pride alone. – (17).

Thousands of well-led federals closed in from the Sunken Lane area on what remained of the paltry Confederate position near Hagerstown Pike. Confederate Captain M. B. Miller double-charged his two guns with spherical case and canister causing them to leap ten to twelve inches into the air with each firing. With no time left, these only two brass guns — remarkably – brought down what observing Confederate General Longstreet called “the aggressive spirit of their right column” – Col. Francis Barlow and, another shot brought down the Federal commander of the entire front, Gen. Israel Richardson. The federal advance stalled, saving the Confederates. – (18).

Lee ordered Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart to probe the terrain between the extreme Union right and the riverbank of the Potomac to see if there was room to press the remnants of his army around the end of the Union line, to either escape or turn the Union line. But the prompt, persuasive reply from 42 Union guns quashed that plan.

Moreover, if the advancing, slightly opposed Union forces crossing the Burnside Bridge, totaling 8,600 men, could get to the Main Street of Sharpsburg, then all Confederate escape routes were blocked and the entrapped army of Northern Virginia would be defeated.

By 4 PM, McClellan chose to agree with Gen. Sumner, calling off any offensive on the main battlefield and decided to not attack Lee with his thousands of fresh bluecoats, leaving Lee able to fight another day. – (19).

Federal Genls. George Greene, who captured the Dunker plateau earlier in that day, and the wounded Joe Hooker, whose men fought all morning, both volcanically cursed at this premature quitting.

Musing on McClellan’s wayward thought processes to not take action, Lee’s chief of artillery, Edwin Porter Alexander, later wrote:
For Common Sense was just shouting, “Your adversary is back against a river, with no bridge & only one ford, & that the worst one on the whole river. If you whip him now, you destroy him utterly, root and branch and bag and baggage. Not twice in a life time does such a chance come to any general. Lee for once has made a mistake, and given you a chance to ruin him if you can break his lines, and such game is worth great risks. Every man must fight and keep on fighting for all he is worth. – (20).

What about the one last chance for victory for the Federals?

Burnside’s drive was thrown back by the perfect attack by Confederate Gen. A. P. Hill’s 3500 men, arriving on their 17-mile march from Harper’s Ferry – a stunning clash that stilled the carnage at last on that impossible day.

. . .the explosives ran out
And sheer weariness supervened
And what was left looked round at what was left.
Then everybody wept,
Or sat, too exhausted to weep,
Or lay, too hurt to weep.
And when the smoke cleared it became clear
This has happened too often before
And was going to happen too often in the future
And happened too easily
Bones were too like lath and twigs
Blood was too like water
Cries were too like silence
The most terrible grimaces too like footprints in mud. – (21).

After dark, Lee’s commanders drifted automatically back to Lee’s tent and each had a private conference with him.

Henry Kyd Douglas ventured out into the dark mystery of the sodden grounds, where cries inside a haystack faded into meuling – then silence.
The dead and dying lay as thick over the land as harvest sheaves. The pitiable cries for water and appeals for help were much more horrible to listen to than the deadliest sounds of battle. Silent were the dead, but here and there were raised stiffened arms; heads made a last effort to lift themselves from the ground; prayers were mingled with oaths, the oaths of delirium; . . . men were wriggling over the earth; and the midnight hid all distinction between the blue and the gray.

My horse trembled under me in terror, looking down at the ground, sniffing at the scene of blood, stepping falteringly as a horse will, avoiding human flesh; afraid to stand still, hesitating to go on, his animal instinct shuddering at this cruel human mystery. – (22).

Wounded continued to overflow in Shepherdstown.

When night came we could still hear the sullen guns and hoarse, indefinite murmurs that succeeded the days’ turmoil. That night was dark and lowering and the air heavy and dull. Across the river innumerable camp-fires were blazing, and we could but too well imagine the scenes that they were lighting. We sat in silence, and a drawing close together, as if for comfort. We were never hopeless, yet clung with desperation to the thought that we were hoping. But in our hearts we could not believe that anything human could have escaped from that appalling fire. – (23)

On Thursday, September the 18th, the two armies lay idling facing each other, but we could not be idle. The wounded continued to arrive until the town was quite unable to hold all the disabled and suffering. They filled every building and overflowed into the country round, into farm-houses barns, corn-cribs, cabins – wherever four walls and a roof were found together. . . . There were six churches, and they were all full; the Odd Fellows’ Hall, the Freemasons’, the little Town Council room, the barn-like place known as the Drill Room, all the private houses after their capacity, the shops and empty buildings, the school-houses – every inch of space and yet the cry was for (more) room. The unfinished Town Hall had stood in naked ugliness for many a long day. Somebody threw a few rough boards across the beams, placed piles of straw over them, laid down single planks to walk upon, and lo, it was a hospital at once. The stone warehouses down in the ravine and by the river had been passed by, because low and damp and undesirable as sanitariums, but now their doors and windows were thrown wide, and with barely time allowed to sweep them, they were all occupied, even the “old blue factory,” an antiquated, crazy, dismal building of blue stucco that peeled off in great blotches, which had been shut for years, and was in the last stages of dilapidation. – (24).

Late on the 18th was almost moonless. Then, a thunder storm and Lee’s discovery that morning of just how weak his army had become – set cannon wheels rolling quietly down the pike, the soft shuffle of men marching at the double-quick into the water at Boteler’s Ford. 25,000 tattered men, carrying wounded, and getting away. All night Lee and Jackson stood on their horses in the Potomac River, as the often Clogged stream of wagons and men crossed back into Virginia – and home. At ten AM the next morning, Gen. Walker passed Lee at mid-river confirming that he was the last fighting force to which Lee said softly: “Thank God.”

Netta Lee returns to her home of Bedford that rainy evening after caring for wounded all Thursday at Parran House in Shepherdstown (in 2014 on the northeast corner of Mill and German Streets):

When I got back to Bedford that night I found the house, Father’s office, and every vacant space full of soldiers. General Loring (should be “Lawton.”-JS) had been badly wounded and with his doctor and orderlies had Brother Edwin’s room in the eastern wing. In the next room, was young Tom Barlow with a broken leg and his brother Jack to nurse him. Jack came with tears in his eyes and asked us to care for them; they were from Williamsburg, Virginia. My uncle, Colonel Richard Henry Lee, though not wounded was induced by Father to stay with us. Then General Robert E. Lee’s son, “Rooney,” had his horse fall on his leg and sprain it badly; he was in the little room next to General Loring (Lawton) and remained a day or two. In the room next to my own was a poor fellow named Willis, who soon began to develop typhoid fever, was ill for weeks and died there. In my father’s office in the yard, a soldier sat propped in an arm-chair, holding his arm which rested on his knee. There was a puddle of blood between his feet; blood was dropping from a wound, small and not painful, but it had dropped all day; we had tried to get a surgeon to tie the artery; we feared he would die before morning.

At last Mother sent a note to dear old Dr. Quigley, our family physician. It was dark and it was raining, but he came to us, with only a dim lantern to guide his footsteps. He told us he could not see to take up the artery, but thought his medicine would clot the blood and stanch it until morning. It did relieve the patient, who slept quietly all night with a friend beside him. Next day came a report that the yankees were crossing the river and paroling all wounded whom they could not imprison, so before they reached Bedford, our young cavalryman was propped on a horse and with his friend, they hastened to the Confederate lines. They stayed at Dr. Logie’s beyond Kearneysville, until able to travel further.

Oh, those awful days! Houses searched and men arrested without cause. Mr. Davis Shepherd and a company of young men became a home guard. Naturally he was betrayed by Union sympathizers, sent to the Old Capitol Prison, became very ill and returned home to die. – (25).

On Thursday night we heard more than the usual sounds of disturbance and movement, and in the morning we found the Confederate army in full retreat. General Lee crossed the Potomac under cover of the darkness, and when the day broke the greater part of his force – or the more orderly portion of it – had gone on toward Kearneysville and Leetown. (The larger portion with Lee, Jackson, and Stuart actually moved west towards Martinsburg, then encamped at Bunker Hill. Their rearguard defenders under Gen. A. P. Hill went towards Leetown.-JS). – (26).

General McClellan followed to the river on Friday morning, and without crossing got a battery in position on Douglas’s Hill, and began to shell the retreating army, and in consequence, the town. What before was confusion grew worse; the retreat became a stampede. The battery may not have done a very great deal of execution, but it made a fearful noise. It is curious how much louder guns sound when they are pointed at you than when turned the other way! And the shell with its long-drawn screeching, though no doubt less terrifying than the singing minie ball, has a way of making one’s hair stand on end. – (27).

The stream of fleeing soldiers on the Kearneysville Pike went by Poplar Grove, the home of the Bedingers just south of Shepherdstown and the family soon had about a hundred men on the lawn, in the house or in their barn. Described by descendant Serena Dandridge as “the intelligent devoted angel,” 48-year-old freedman Abram Dixon helped the family with the overwhelming need.

When Poplar Grove was the center of such artillery shelling, and when the rest of the family was safely ensconced in the cellar, little Danske stayed behind despite the family’s pleadings to join them in the room above. Finally she closed her reading matter, R. M. Ballantyne’s ‘Coral Island’ and remarked: ‘Now I can tell my descendants that I finished a book during a battle!’- (28).

(This popular book is considered by literary scholars as a model for the 1954 book by William Golding “Lord of the Flies.”) – (29).

Someone suggested that yellow was the hospital color, and immediately everybody who could lay hands upon a yellow rag hoisted it over the house. (But) when the firing commenced, the hospitals began to empty. All who were able to pull one foot after another, or could bribe or beg comrades to carry them, left in haste. – (30).

The men were described by one of their numbers as: sun-burnt, gaunt, ragged, scarcely at all shod, specters and caricatures of their (our) former selves. . . they (we) had fed on half-cooked dough, often raw bacon as well as raw beef, had devoured green corn and green apples; they (we) had contracted diarrhea and dysentery of the most malignant type, and, lastly, they (we) were covered with vermin . . . (31).

Mitchell continues:

In vain we implored them to stay; in vain we showed them the folly, the suicide, of the attempt; in vain we argued, cajoled, threatened, ridiculed; pointing out that we were remaining and that there was less danger here than on the road. . . The cannon were bellowing upon Douglas’s Hill, the shells whistling and shrieking, the air full of shouts and cries; we had to scream to make ourselves heard. The men replied that the “yankees” were crossing; that the town was to be burned; that we could not be made prisoners, but they could; and that anyhow, they were going as far as they could walk, or be carried. And go they did. Men with clothes about their heads went hatless in the sun, men with cloths about their feet limped shoeless on the stony road; men with arms in slings, without arms, with one leg, with bandaged sides and backs; men in ambulances, wagons, carts, wheelbarrows, men carried on stretchers or supported on the shoulder of some self-denying comrade – all who could crawl went, and went to almost certain death. They could not go far, they dropped off into the country houses, where they were received with as much kindness as it was possible to ask for; but their wounds had become inflamed, their frames were weakened by fright and over-exertion; erysipelas, mortification, gangrene set in; and long rows of nameless graves still bear witness to the results.

Our hospitals did not remain empty. It was but a portion who could get off in any manner, and their places were soon taken by others, who had remained nearer the battlefield, had attempted to follow the retreat, but having reached Shepherdstown, could go no farther. We had plenty to do, but all that day we went about with hearts bursting with rage and shame, and breaking with pity and grief for the needless, needless waste of life. – (32).

Among the new arrivals from battle, Edward Moore of the First Rockbridge Artillery, apparently with George Bedinger and Steve Dandridge made his way to the Bedinger home in Shepherdstown. If Dandridge was indeed present at Poplar Grove, he would not have known that within fifteen years he would marry one of its inhabitants and spend the balance of his life at this home, as it become his own.

Moore wrote:
On the following day at our hospital the heap of amputated legs and arms increased in size until it became several feet in height, while the two armies lay face-to-face, like two exhausted monsters, each waiting for the other to strike. About sundown that afternoon I was put in an ambulance with S. E. Moore, of the College company, who was in a semi-conscious state, having been struck on the brow, the ball passing out back of the ear. The distance to Shepherdstown was only three miles, but the slow progress of innumerable trains of wagons and impedimenta generally, converging at the one ford of the Potomac, delayed our arrival until dawn the next morning. About sunrise we were carried into an old deserted frame house and assigned to the bare floor for beds. My brother David, whose gun had remained on picket duty on this side of the river, soon found me, and at once set about finding means to get me away.

The only conveyance available was George Bedinger’s (NOTE: A step-son to Carrie Bedinger from the first marriage of Henry Bedinger.-ED) mother’s carriage, but my brother’s horse — the same brute that had robbed me of my bedding at Leesburg — now refused to work. The booming of cannon and bursting of shells along the river at the lower end of the town admonished us that our stay in the desolate old house must be short, and, as brigade after brigade marched by the door, the apprehension that ‘they in whose wars I had borne my part’ would soon ‘have all passed by,’ made me very wretched. As a last resort, I was lifted upon the back of this same, obstreperous horse and, in great pain, rode to the battery, which was camped a short distance from the town. S. E. Moore was afterward taken to the Bedingers’ residence, where he remained in the enemy’s lines until, with their permission, he was taken home by his father some weeks later. – (33).

With so many starving soldiers begging, food became scarce at the Grove and the family, like many, lived largely on cornbread and dried apples. – (34).

We presently passed into debatable land, when we were in the Confederacy in the morning, in the Union after dinner, and on neutral ground at night. We lived through a disturbed and eventful autumn, subject to continual “alarms and excursions,” but when this Saturday (September 20, 1862) came to an end, the most trying and tempestuous week of the war for Shepherdstown was over. – (35).

Some wounded rebels did not got back to Virginia soil:

The innovative Medical Director of the Federal army, Jonathan Letterman reported afterward:
In addition to our own wounded, we had to care for two thousand five hundred Confederate wounded from the battle of South Mountain, Crampton’s Gap and Antietam. . . Those in houses progressed less favorably than those in barns, those in barns less favorably than those in the open air, although all were in other respects treated alike. – (36).

With wounded from both sides on both sides of the river, Dr. Abner Hard, lead a covert advance with an Illinois regiment that surrounded Shepherdstown and its surprised inhabitants. Confederate officers were taken prisoner and Dr. Hard also recovered Federal wounded to bring back to Maryland. They also rounded up Edwin Gray Lee who was visiting his parents at Bedford. He was released a few days later in early October in a prisoner exchange.

Hard wrote:
Friday, September 26, 1862 – Ascending the hill through a deep ravine the body of a soldier was discovered, too much decomposed to be recognized. Near the village we encountered the rebel pickets who beat a hasty retreat, but our movements were ordered and executed so quickly and with such celerity, that the village was surrounded and occupied before many were aware of our presence. The place had the appearance of one immense hospital, nearly every house being filled with wounded, which had been taken from the battle of Antietam. Among them were some union prisoners, which we provided for with great pleasure. . .

We drove the enemy some three miles beyond the town, and took about thirty prisoners, among them Lieutenant Colonel Lee of the Thirty-third Virginia Infantry. He was finely mounted and equipped, and expressed himself greatly chagrined at being captured. Toward evening the regiment returned to camp with their prisoners, proud of their day’s work.

On (Sunday) the 28th, our newly appointed Chaplain, Rev. Philo Judson, arrived and preached his first sermon.

Monday, September 29th, a reconnaissance in force was made, General Pleasanton commanding. Colonel Farnsworth being unwell our brigade was under the command of Colonel Williams, of the First Massachusetts Cavalry. Halting for a short time at Shepherdstown, our wounded men, found there, were conveyed across the river in small boats and sent to Sharpsburg.

While engaged in the discharge of this duty we observed those in charge of a hospital near the river, took especial pains to prevent our going around a certain house. Our suspicions were aroused, and thinking there might be some soldiers secreted there, one of the officers of the regiment was made aware of the facts. He at once instituted a search, though strenuously opposed by the family. No soldier was found but a fine cavalry horse with full equipments was discovered in a cave in the hill, which made an excellent addition to our own animals.

A few miles further on at a farm-house we found Colonel Magill and other rebel officers, suffering from severe wounds. The Colonel had an arm amputated at the shoulder, which, for want of proper care, was alive with maggots. After dressing their wounds we learned that the Colonel had been educated at West Point, and was a classmate of General Pleasanton. – (37).

Friday, October 3, 1862 – Henrietta Bedinger Lee writes her daughter, Ida Rust in Loudoun County:

Your dear letter came safely yesterday, it was a balm and comfort to my tired mind and weary body. Your dear father returned from his exile about two weeks since, when our army passed into Maryland. Oh, what a time we have had with that army. The fight near Sharpsburg filled our town to overflowing with wounded and dying men. Every vacant house, every church and nearly all the private homes have been full. I had eleven, and with their attendants, sixteen. Now I am sitting by your father’s sick bed. For a week he has been quite ill with typhoid; yesterday his fever left him, but in spite of all our entreaties he would get up and he would eat some cheese; the consequences were a horrid night and more fever. I am very nearly worn out with anxiety and watching. Added to this is a sad case upstairs: a young man who has been ill since the battle; he was badly wounded, then typhoid set in, and now, for several days, he has been in a dying condition; he cannot survive this day. I have another young man in Eddie’s room, who is doing well, though he was badly wounded. The others were removed to Winchester, though many were utterly unfit to go.

(Referring to the federal shelling from Ferry Hill) . . . the shells passed over the east wing of Bedford, trimming the trees in the garden and scaring old Kizia who was digging the cabbage bed, out of her senses. Seven of the shells were picked up unexploded. Oh, how many desolate homes, orphan children and widowed mothers has this vile cruel and oppressive war has caused.

Your dear brother (Edwin Gray Lee) came from a bed of sickness in Lexington to see us last Thursday. I had not seen him since last spring. The yankees were informed of his visit by this vile old Abram Snyder, whom he met in the road; they surrounded the house, captured him and his pet horse, which had been stolen, and to recover which, he had that day paid $75. – (38).

Dr. Hard’s regiment came looking for officers, while Edwin Gray Lee was sitting on the portico of Bedford using field glasses. His younger sister, Netta Lee, was about to go to town to buy some hops to make a hops pillow for her sick father. Getting word of approaching yankees, Edwin rushed to the stables, saddled his horse and fled across the fields in the direction of Morgan’s Grove. Unfortunately he got into the swamp, where the federals surrounded him and captured him. – (39).

Henrietta Lee continues:

Edwin was paroled, but his horse, revolver and saddle were taken from him. He is with us now but expects to leave tomorrow in order to be exchanged. Poor fellow! Old Ginny, which he hired as a cavalry horse, was also stolen the night before last, or rather captured, as his rider was in a house in town and a yankee came along and took the horse off.

I have not been in Town for nearly two weeks. Two wounded men died at The Rectory last week and Lila has been sick – but is recovering. Annie did not get (illegible) to stay those days with me. The days she arranged to come, all the wounded were brought in. She is well and her little children very sweet. Tippie spent the day here on Wednesday. She is as precious and lovely as she can be and I think the young Captain she has taken a fancy to, thinks far more of himself and his promotion, than of her – he is very full of himself, that is certain. Tippie always speaks most lovingly of you and wishes she could see you and be near you as who does not. . .

(Referring to the Federal Provost Marshal in Sharpsburg) she writes: No tyrant of the old world ever displayed greater despotism. Is it not sad that so many of our poor wounded should be in such hands. Heaven shield us from their grasp. Sue (Mrs. Lee’s daughter-in-law, Mrs. Edwin Lee-JS) writes as if she hoped you would come and spend the winter with her – but there is still so much uncertainty. I supposed you have not yet decided. It is thought that (Mary) Dare Parran has made a conquest of a Dr. Tinsley who is here attending the sick and wounded. I can’t say much for her taste. He is staying at her Mothers, is from Williamsburg and an acquaintance of Edwin’s, he dined with us, but he did not take my eye.

I could fill several sheets with interesting accounts of our wounded and sick soldiers, and I do say if we have had a specimen of the way the Physicians treat those poor men through out our southern land, it is no wonder they die in scores. It seems to me this war has crushed our humanity from the hearts of men. O that it might please God to end it and give us back our loved ones to our homes and hearts again. I could amuse you by the hour with some items, especially I wish I could transcribe a note I got from a gentleman during our season of confusion & nursing, It was a rare note to send a lady. The last of Carrie’s (Caroline Bedinger, widow of Henry Bedinger and mother of Danske, Henry, Mary, Virginia and George at Poplar Grove.-JS) wounded left a week ago. Col. Calhoun of South Carolina and like the one who left us, he parted with tears and sobs. Poor fellow. I could have wept with him. But darling my paper is nearly exhausted, I fear I will find this rather bulky for my envelope. I will squeeze it in. Thank dear A. (Ida’s husband Armistead) for his kind sweet letter, this must answer his and yours as I have a scarcity of paper & envelopes. Kiss him and the precious boy & little Beckie, My heart is pining to see you all. God our Father bless and keep you all for Jesus sake. Ever your loving Mother. PS I have no strength or wish to read this over, let no eye see it; destroy as soon as read. – (40).

Earlier on Monday, September 22nd, President Lincoln had given the bloodbath that was here a reason with his most lasting action, the announcement and later signing into law of the Emancipation Proclamation, making the carnage at Antietam part of a war for the freedom of the enslaved. A young nation would continue killing itself for issues so divided and hopeless, many entrusted solutions to Providence alone. The war would rage down its long dusty path for thirty more months, leaving this nation with a deep, everlasting, contemplative scar; and some were nobly saved, to the last best hope of earth.


Elizabeth Stockton Pendleton, “A Wartime Tragedy,” The Shepherdstown Register, September 25, 1924.

Dennis Frye in “Harpers Ferry Under Fire – A Border Town in the American Civil War.”

“A Woman’s Recollections of Antietam” by Mary Blunt (pseudonym for Mary Bedinger Mitchell). Battles & Leaders, Vol. 2, pp. 686-695.

Rufus Dawes in “Service in the Sixth Wisconsin.” p. 87.

John Brown Gordon in “Reminiscences of the Civil War.” pp. 82-83.

“From the Cannon’s Mouth: The Civil War Letters of General Alpheus S. Williams.” p. 127.

George Neese in “Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery.” p. 125.

James Longstreet in “From Manassas to Appomattox; memoirs of the Civil War in America.” pp. 251-252.

Stephen Sears in his “Landscape Turned Red.” pp. 271-272, p. 396 footnote.

Wikipedia.org: “Field Artillery From the Civil War;”

Image Credits:

“Battles & Leaders,” Vol. 2 – pp. 465, 512, 561, 576, 630, 561.

Broadway, New York City – New York Public Library

Battle Maps – Baylor Digital Library

Library of Congress: Map of Frederick, Shepherdstown, & Sharpsburg region; Col. Dixon Miles; Harper’s Ferry destroyed bridge; Capitol Building under construction; Sharpsburg, MD Main Street; Francis Barlow.

Paintings of Antietam Battle – Antietam National Historic Battlefield

Images from Wikipedia.org: Israel Richardson; Edward Porter Alexander; Lord Palmerston; R.E. Lee’s horse “Traveller; William B. Franklin; Robert E. Lee; George B. McClellan; Stonewall Jackson; John Bell Hood; Rufus Dawes; Alpheus Williams; Ambrose Burnside.

Second Bull Run – Currier & Ives, (1862?)

Boys in Shepherdstown – detail 1866 photo from Historic Shepherdstown Museum.

John Brown Gordon – georgiaencyclopedia.org

Tattered Confederate cavalryman cartoon from “Harper’s Weekly” (October 4, 1862)

Lost Order 191 – Stanford University, Law Library

Cook from David Hunter Strother’s “Virginia Illustrated “Harpers New Monthly.” January, 1856, p. 177.

Excerpt from poem “Crow’s Account of the Battle” by Ted Hughes.

Chapterette 13 – September-October, 1862 – The Bower – “If these walls could talk”

Thy Will Be Done Chapter 13a – TRT: 1:00:26 https://youtu.be/vAqCNPA4_Tc

Images at Flickr 13a (1): 63 (with script captioning)

Images at Flickr 13a (2): 51 (with script captioning) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimsurkamp/albums/72157667221981841

Images at Flickr 13a (3) – 65 (with script captioning)

Images at Flickr 13a (4) – 85 (with script captioning)

Images at Flickr 13a (5) – 99 (with script captioning)

Thy Will Be Done Chapter 13b – TRT: 33:22 https://youtu.be/1hoI3hG2DQw

Images at Flickr 13b (1) – 138 (with script captioning)

Images at Flickr 13b (2) – 88 (with script captioning)

After the Antietam battle, Confederate men crossed at Pack Horse Ford below Shepherdstown while Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry crossed further upriver at the more dangerous Shepherd’s Ford.

After a final battle Saturday, September 20, 1862 at Shepherdstown at Pack Horse Ford, they all went into camp to rest, eat and “de-bug” themselves. Stonewall Jackson’s men encamped at Bunker Hill below Martinsburg with Gen. Lee, then Lee moved further south to near Stephenson’s Depot.

Federal commander, George McClellan, confounded and vexed both the enemy and President Lincoln with the myriad reasons he’d dole out for not restarting the fight with Lee’s recovering but weaker army, choosing instead to “vacation,” as it were, on the Maryland side of the Potomac.

Stuart’s cavalrymen even mocked McClellan’s inertness in early October, taking Gen. Lee’s order to re-cross into Maryland and to Pennsylvania and ride around the entirety of McClellan’s army, grabbing a thousand horses en route. This staged show of strength had the additional purpose of keeping McClellan indecisive. Lee was also, by this show, politically influencing mid-Atlantic voters who would cast votes within a month for a new Congress.

This chapter, however, is about how J.E.B. Stuart’s 36-50 some odd-man staff (and their friends) found paradise at The Bower, and made the most of it for a month. The Bower was the home of Adam Stephen Dandridge, the friend of Alexander Boteler who years before introduced Boteler to his future wife at Princeton College in New Jersey.

The fun and hi-jinks of these men, coming directly from a most horrible scene, have become the stuff of legend. The Bower, looking west from its magisterial perch atop a hill along the Opequon, remains, to this day in the Dandridge family and is protected with a permanent conservation easement. (NOTE: The original main home burned and was rebuilt in the 1890s on the same footprint and brick frame but with the addition of dormers and a wrap-around porch, the style of that period.)

One can only surmise that after the Dandridges extended their hospitality to Stuart’s contingent that upon their departure, left the Dandridge family cleaned out of provisions and extremely vulnerable to retribution by the Federal armies.

The Legend of the Bower
Serena Catherine Dandridge, one of the two eldest, young daughters of the Bower’s owner, wrote:

The host and hostess welcomed not only their friends, but their friend’s friends, to what was merrily nicknamed ‘Liberty Hall.’ The resources of the house were manifest, fat cattle in the pastures, poultry in the surrounding hills, many gardens in the rich bottomlands in front, with fifty servants always at one’s beck and call. Every bit of room availed to hold a guest. In the attic and on vast mattresses thrown down, in lack of other accommodation, the children dreamed sweetly of the morrow. Back of the house lay numerous terraces and plots, planned and planted by the artistic taste of my grandmother. Here amidst the rich shrubberies, we’d look sheer across the Valley, from Blue Ridge to the North Mountains, all over the lovely land . . . We gloated on the Paradisical beauty of the beloved home and loved to put a wealth of flowers about it, and to read its praises written, as they often were in prose or verse. – (1).

Monday Morning, September 29th – Heros Von Borcke first sees The Bower:

Weather: very warm, dry and dusty. – (2).
When I arose from my grassy couch at sunrise on the 29th, I found, indeed, that the half had not been told me of The Bower. Our headquarters were situated on a hill beneath a grove of lofty umbrageous oaks of primitive growth, which extended, on the right, towards the large mansion-house, the thick brick walls of which, in the blush of the early sunlight, were just visible in little patches of red through the rich verdure of the embosoming garden. At the foot of this hill, skirting a main road to which the slope was smooth and gradual, ran the bright little river Opequon, its limpid waters breaking through and tumbling over the hills and rocks, thus forming a cascade of considerable height, with rainbows in its spray as the sun changed every falling drop into a ruby or a diamond.

This lovely entourage was now enlivened and diversified by the white tents of our encampment, the General’s, with its fluttering battle-flag, in the centre, by the smoke of the camp-fires where the negroes were busily engaged in cooking breakfasts, by the picturesque groups of officers and men who were strolling about or cleaning their arms, and by the untethered horses and mules which were quietly grazing all over the ground. One may be pardoned some extravagance of language in attempting to describe a scene which brought a feeling of thankful happiness of the soldier, weary of the excitement, the toil, the hardship, and the anguish of war.

We had now plenty of food for our exhausted animals, which had undergone so much fatigue and privation, and our own commissariat was far more abundant than it had been for many weeks. The long mess-table, at which we dined together in the open air, was loaded with substantials that seemed dainties and luxuries to us, who often for days together had gone without food, and at best could secure only a meagre repast.

Frequently, when the mocha, of which we had captured a large supply from the enemy, was smoking invitingly on our breakfast-table, we had the pleasure of greeting the proprietor as a welcome guest at our morning meal at headquarters; later in the day a lady’s skirt might even be seen in the streets of our encampment; but regularly every night we proceeded with our band to the house, where dancing was kept up till a late hour. – (3).

Evening Wednesday-Very Early Morning Thursday, October 1-2 – Shepherdstown, VA:
Stuart and Von Borcke visit home of Lillie Parran Lee, East German Street, Shepherdstown, VA. and she gives Stuart the silver spurs her husband wore when he died at the First Battle of Manassas/Bull Run, spurs that Stuart was given years earlier and that he had graciously given to her husband and close friend, William F. Lee. While visiting, Stuart also invited her and many of the town’s young ladies to a Ball at The Bower. – (4).

Thursday Weather: forenoon – quite warm; afternoon – thundering, small clouds passing around; evening fine breeze sprang up. – (5).

Netta Lee recalls how she and a group of older, more sophisticated Shepherdstown ladies rode in a van provided by Confederate General J.E.B.Stuart, visiting her relative Gen. Robert E. Lee and going to an unforgettable night of dancing and festivities at the Bower.

Evening Tuesday, October 7 – The Bower & The Grand Ball:

Netta Lee continues, describing The Bower and the ball, after coming from Gen. Lee:
When we arrived at The Bower, a servant brought up an officer’s card for ‘The Ladies of Shepherdstown.’ At once, Margie (Boteler-JS) said, as she read aloud the card: ‘Major Frank Huger! Oh, I know he has come to call on me; I met his cousin in St. Louis.’ But Eliza (Hamtramck-JS) knew somebody else who knew him and thought he had come to seek her. I modestly remarked: ‘I wonder if he can be my brother’s old chum and schoolmate at Mr. Ben Hallowell’s school in Alexandria?’ Cousin Lily called to us to hurry down and I followed the others to the porch below. The older girls were first to be introduced; then came my turn. When my name was mentioned, he (Frank Huger) came quickly across to me, bowing low and offering his hand, saying: ‘I came here especially to see you, Miss Lee, for I am sure you must be the sister of my old chum, Edwin Lee. Am I not right and may I shake your hand?’ Well, I did feel a little triumphant, for I had been called ‘Bread and Butter’ all along the trip, yet I got three kisses from our General Lee and he called me his ‘sweet little cousin’ when he gave me mine. – (7).

Evening Tuesday, October 7 – The Bower and the Grand Ball’s Music Program: – (8).

Grand Overture – Orchestra
Cottage By The Sea – Sweeney.
Lilly, Dear – Sweeney.
When The Swallows Homeward Fly sung by Stuart
Looka Dar Now by Capt. Tiernan Brien
Going Down To Town played by Sweeney
Ever of Thee
Money Musk
The Separation
I Ain’t Got No Time To Tarry
Lively Piece
Soldier’s Dream

Sweeney’s “orchestra” as described by William Blackford:
We had at headquarters a capital band of singers who were (p. 162) accompanied by Sweeney on his banjo, Bob, The General’s mulatto servant, on the bones, and occasionally, by a violin, and other instruments. But the main standby was Sweeney and his banjo, and every evening at The Bower this formed a part of the entertainment. – (9).

Blackford gives his account of the Ball’s mysterious – uproarious – couple – “The Pennsylvania Farmer and His Wife” – actually Von Borcke and Brien.
One evening, when there was an invited company and the parlors were all full, Von Borcke and Brien gave us another capital performance. They were to appear as Paddy and his sweetheart. Mr. and Mrs Dandridge were the only two persons in the secret, and Von Borcke and Brien were taken secretly upstairs for preparations under their care. Von Borcke was transformed into a blushing maiden weighing two hundred and fifty pounds and six feet, two and a half inches tall; a riding skirt of one of the girls, supplemented by numerous dainty underskirts and extended by enormous hoops according to the fashion then in vogue, hung in graceful folds to conceal the huge cavalry boots the huge damsel wore.

Her naturally ample bosom palpitated under skillfully arranged pillows, and was gorgeously decorated with the Dandridge family jewelry and ribbons; while ‘a love of a bonnet,’ long braids of hair, and quantities of powder and rouge completed her toilet, and in her hand she flirted coquettishly a fan of huge dimensions. Colonel Brien was admirably disguised as an Irishman dressed in holiday clothes, with a flaming red nose, Billycock hat, a short pipe, and a short, thick stick stuck under his arm. The absences of these two had been accounted for on some plausible pretext, so that when they made their appearance in the ballroom the surprise was complete. Both acted their parts to perfection. Paddy entertained the fair girl on his arm with loud and humorous remarks as they sauntered around the room, to which she replied with simpering affectation that was irresistibly ludicrous. No one had the faintest conception as to who they were, so perfect was the disguise.

Before the company recovered from the surprise of their appearance the music struck up a lively waltz, and ’round and ’round the couple went, faster, and faster went the music, and faster and faster flew the strangers. It was not until in the fury of the whirling dance with hoop skirts flying horizontally, that twinkling amid the white drapery beneath, the well-known boots of Von Borcke betrayed the first suspicion of who the lady was. As suddenly as they had come they vanished, waltzing out through the open door and followed by convulsive roars of laughter from the delighted audience. Nothing would satisfy the company but their reappearance and in they came arm-in-arm to enter into conversation with their friends. The skill of their disguise and their acting was now even more remarkable than at first. It was really difficult to detect their personalities even then. – (10).

Von Borcke gives his own first-hand account of the same masquerade described by Blackford:

On the 7th, a grand ball was to take place at The Bower, to which Mr D. had invited families from Martinsburg, Shepherdstown, and Charlestown, and in the success of which we all felt a great interest. As an exceptional bit of fun, Colonel Brien and I had secretly prepared a little pantomime, ‘The Pennsylvania Farmer and his Wife,’ in which the Colonel was to personate the farmer and I the spouse. Accordingly, when the guests had all assembled and the ball was quite en train, the immense couple entered the brilliantly lighted apartment – Brien enveloped in an ample greatcoat, which had been stuffed with pillows until the form of the wearer had assumed the most enormous proportions; I dressed in an old white ball-dress of Mrs D.’s that had been enlarged in every direction, and sweetly ornamented with half-a-bushel of artificial flowers in my hair. Our success greatly outran our expectations. Stuart, exploding with laughter, scrutinized me closely on all sides, scarcely crediting the fact that within that tall bundle of feminine habiliments dwelt the soul of his Chief of Staff. Again and again we were made to repeat our little play in dumb show, until, getting tired of it and wishing to put a stop to it, I gracefully fainted away and was carried from the room by Brien and three or four assistants, amid the wild applause of the company, who insisted on a repetition of the fainting scene. When, in a few moments, I made my appearance in uniform, the laughter and applause recommenced, and Stuart, throwing his arms around my neck in a burlesque of pathos, said, ‘My dear old Von, if I could ever forget you as I know you on the field of battle, your appearance as a woman would never fade from my memory.’ So the joyous night went on with dancing and merriment, until the sun stole in at the windows, and the reveille sounding from camp reminded us that the hour of separation had arrived. – (11).

Sunday, October 26, 1862 – Stuart’s born-in-the-saddle horsemen play “double-dare-ya” – Von Borck’s Revenge.

Von Borcke challenges Blackford and Stuart to riding derring-do. This occurred two weeks after Blackford and Stuart led 1800 cavalrymen in a madly dangerous ride around Federal Gen. George McClellan’s entire army, driving deep into Pennsylvania and coming back triumphantly to the Bower. Von Borcke was specifically ordered to stay behind at Bower and not join the expedition, possibly due to his reputation for running horses hard to exhaustion with his considerable size and weight. The following might have been Von Borcke’s defiant answer for the subtle insult. – (12).

On Sunday the 26th of October, there was a grand review of Hampton’s brigade, which was attended by the ladies from far and near, and as the day was lovely, it proved a fine military spectacle. When the review was over, the officers of our own and Hampton’s Staff assembled to witness the trial of a diminutive one-pounder gun, which turned out to be of very little account, and afterwards we had some equestrian sports, matches in horse-racing, fence-jumping, &c. Captain Blackford, who, with a thoroughbred chestnut mare, attempted to take a high fence just in advance of Stuart and myself, had a severe fall, which was fortunately unattended with serious consequences.

Remarking upon it, that, in my opinion, the fault lay not so much with the horse as with the rider, Stuart said, “Hear Old Von, how grand he talks!” Then turning to me, he added, in a banter, “Why don’t you jump the fence yourself, if you know how to do it better?” I had never leaped my heavy-built Pennsylvanian as yet, and I was in doubt whether he was equal to the lofty barrier, but as there was no possible escape from Stuart’s challenge, I struck my spurs into his sides, and over he went like a deer, amidst the loud applauses of the General himself and other spectators. I had now the laugh on my side, and very soon afterwards the opportunity of bantering Stuart, when he could say and do nothing in reply. Returning to camp, we took, as a short cut, a road that led through a field of Indian corn; upon getting to the farther end of which, we found that the fence, usually pulled down at this place, had been recently put up, making a formidable barrier to our farther progress. Stuart and others observing this, turned off to the right, towards the main road; but seizing my opportunity, I cried out to him, “General, this is the way;” and clearing the five-barred fence in a splendid leap, I arrived at headquarters several minutes in advance of my comrades, whom I welcomed upon their approach, rallying my chief very much for not having followed my example.

Our long and delightful sojourn now drew rapidly to its close. Guest after guest departed, and every day the indications of a speedy departure became plainer. At length on the 29th of October, a hazy, rainy autumn day, the marching orders came, and the hour arrived for the start. A number of the staff did not fail to indulge in the obvious reflection that nature wept in sympathy with us at the separation.

With heavy hearts indeed, we left the beautiful spot, and bade adieu to its charming, kindly inhabitants. Silently we rode down the hill, and along the margin of the clear Opequon stream, musing on the joyous hours that had passed away – hours which those few of our dashing little band of cavaliers that survived the mournful finale of the great war, will ever hold in grateful remembrance.

General McClellan, the Federal Commander-in-Chief, having largely reinforced his army with regiments from the new levy of 300,000 volunteers called out for nine months, and having brought it to a strength of 140,000 men, well equipped in every respect, had at last determined upon a forward movement, all unknowing at the time that the supreme command was soon to be taken from him by the Government at Washington. The right wing of the Federal forces, by a strong demonstration towards Harper’s Ferry, made a show of invading Virginia from this point, but the great bulk of the army crossed the Potomac about fifteen miles lower down, near the little town of Berlin. General Lee, having been opportunely informed by his vigilant cavalry of the enemy’s operations, had commenced, in the mean time, a movement on the opposite side of the Blue Ridge, in a nearly parallel direction towards Front Royal, being about a day’s march ahead. Longstreet’s corps was in the advance, Jackson’s troops following slowly, covering the rear, and still holding the passes of the Blue Ridge, Snicker’s, Ashby’s and Chester Gaps. The cavalry under Stuart had orders to cross the Ridge at Snicker’s Gap, to watch closely the movements of the enemy, retard him as much as possible, and protect the left flank of our army.

So we rode quietly along in the tracks of our horsemen, who, before the Staff, had left “The Bower,” had proceeded in the direction of Berryville. Our mercurial soldiers were as gay as ever, and even the most sentimental members of the Staff had rallied from the despondence incidental to departure from our late encampment, when during the afternoon we reached en route the little town of Smithfield, where, under Bob Sweeney’s direction as impresario, we managed to get up a serenade for the amiable widow who had entertained me with such hospitality.

Meanwhile the rain, which had been falling when we rode off from “The Bower,” had ceased, a keen north wind had set in, and it had begun to freeze hard, when, late at night, we reached Berryville, chilled, wet, and hungry. The provisions of the country had been more or less consumed by the troops who had preceded us on the march, and it was therefore regarded as exceedingly apropos that we were invited to supper by a prominent citizen, at whose pleasant house we greatly enjoyed a warm cup of tea, a capital old Virginia ham, and afterwards a pipe of Virginia tobacco before a roaring wood-fire.

Our troops bivouacked about two miles from town; and as on a march, for the sake of the example, we never took up our quarters beneath a roof, we left our hospitable entertainer about midnight, and established ourselves in an open field under some old locust-trees, near several large fodder-stacks, which furnished us with abundant food for our horses. It was a clear, cold, starlight night, and as we had no protection from the frost but our blankets, we kept in lively blaze several tremendous fires, the wood for which each and every one of us had assisted in collecting. General and Staff were all fast asleep, when, on a sudden, we were aroused by a loud crash, which startled even the feeding horses and mules. One of the old hollow trees, against the trunk of which our largest fire had been imprudently kindled, after smoldering for hours, had at last yielded to the force of the wind and fallen heavily to the ground, fortunately without doing any damage whatever.

In the early morning, when we awoke to the reveille, the fires had quite burnt out, a white hoar-frost lay thickly over every object around us, and the shivering officers of our military family expressed in every feature their ardent desire for a good warm breakfast. As we were discussing the probabilities of such a thing, we were most agreeably surprised by the kind invitation of a neighboring planter to satisfy ourselves at his hospitable board, an invitation which we did not hesitate to accept. To provide against a future want of breakfast, when a good Samaritan might not be so near at hand, our careful mess-caterer, the portly doctor of our Staff, availed himself of the opportunity of purchasing a quantity of hams and bacon, which, being deposited for safety in an army wagon, were stolen before two hours had elapsed by some of our rascally negro camp-followers.

The sun shone down with the warmth and glory of the soft Indian summer, a season of peculiar loveliness in America, when we reached the Shenandoah, our passage of which was extremely picturesque. The banks of this beautiful stream are often bold, and sometimes even majestic, the current breaking through gigantic cliffs which rise to the height of several hundred feet on either side, or flowing placidly along between wooded shores, whose stately trees, where the river is narrowest, almost intermingle their branches. The forests skirting the course of the Shenandoah were now glowing with the gorgeous hues of the American autumn, which the landscape painter cannot adequately reproduce nor the writer properly describe. The light saffron of the chestnut trees was in effective contrast with the rich crimson of the oaks and maples, while the trailing vines and parasites displayed every tint from the palest pink to the deepest purple. Upon the opposite shore, at a distance of only a few hundred yards from the margin of the river, rose the mountain-range of the Blue Ridge thickly covered with forest, within whose depths the head of our column was just disappearing as we arrived at the bank. The main body was passing the stream, while here and there a single trooper might be seen watering his horse or quietly examining his weapons. – (13).

Up to November 2, 1862 – Rezin Davis Shepherd Jr.’s Final Days

While The Bower was a scene of triumphs other than the fighting kind, quieter, poignant last days came and went for the family of Rezin, Lizzie, Fannie and Alexander Shepherd, as life ebbed away from their dying father’s body. Lizzie was also pregnant with their third child. Rezin’s health was ruined by his imprisonment at Old Capitol Prison, where he was taken for possessing maps given to him by a spy of the federal fortifications of Washington, D.C.

In these last days, the family anxiously travelled the few miles back and forth from Fountain Rock with support from Tippie Boteler and their own smaller abode, called the River Cottage. (located today off Shepherd Grade Road.-JS)

On one of these visits to his children at Fountain Rock, word came hurriedly there that their father, Rezin Davis Shepherd Jr. was dying and wanted to see the children. Then young Aunt Helen (Tippie Boteler), who had devoted herself to little Fanny and Alexander, took them to their father. The night was dark and cold and the drive long and lonely over a rough road. The Confederate sentinels halted the carriage just outside the village; the solemn-eyed and sleepy children leaned against their aunt while she hurriedly explained her errand.

The tragic ending of a brave, good life came the next morning, Sunday November 2, 1862. In the Trinity Episcopal church four miles away, Dr. Andrews and his devoted congregation were at the same hour offering prayer to the Father of Mercies and God of all Comfort that after this painful life ended he might dwell in Life everlasting. – (14).

References/Image Credits:

Chapterette 13: September-October, 1862 – The Bower – “If these walls could talk”

1. “Serena Catherine Dandridge Memoir.” p. 73 – Dandridge Collection – Jefferson County Museum, Charles Town, WV.

2. Hotchkiss, p. 85.

3. Von Borcke pp. 183-186.

4. Von Borcke p. 190.

5. Charles Aglionby’s Farm Journal, p. 34.

6. Netta Lee, p. 12.

7. Ibid.

8. Peggy Vogtsberger. “This Fine Music.”

9. Blackford, pp. 161-162.

10. Blackford, pp. 158-159.

11. Von Borcke, pp. 202-203.

12. Von Borcke, p. 204.

13. Von Borcke, pp. 221-222.

14. Elizabeth Stockton Pendleton, “A Wartime Tragedy,” The Shepherdstown Register, September 25, 1924.

Chapter 14: Click Here https://civilwarscholars.com/uncategorized/thy-will-be-done-chapter-14-november-14-1862-henry-k-douglas-writes-tippie-longingly-by-jim-surkamp/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 14 November 14, 1862 – Henry K. Douglas Writes Tippie . . . Longingly by Jim Surkamp

471 words




Friday, November 14, 1862 – Cold and Imprisoned, Henry Kyd Douglas persists in writing Tippie Boteler though she was having her head turned by Dudley Digges Pendleton, the Rockbridge artilleryman and family friend.

My Dear Miss Tippie –
You won’t. I will: which means if you are so extremely formal that you cannot write to me because you have seen me since I have written, you need not think you are thus to get rid of me. But I am in too good humor to quarrel or even to scold, and even now when I am disposed to write you a good humored and lengthy letter. Mr. Adams has sent thru special messengers to say that he is about to start immediately and can’t wait etc. So you must imagine these few lines to be “limited sweetness, long drawn out” and answer as I would have written. For it is just this moment I have returned from Winchester where I was summoned to Court (Martial not civil, I assure you). Yesterday I bid goodbye to Lieutenant General Jackson (for a while at least) and assumed command of Co. B. I hope if I remain here long enough, to regain some of the discipline and efficiency which used to characterize it. But I hardly hope to succeed as the material is far from being what it was when it just went into service. I must confess that it was with regret that I left the Genl. especially as he expressed an unwillingness to relieve me and was exceedingly cordial in his expression of good will at parting. But I thought it was my duty, under the circumstances, to take command of the company for a time, at least so expressed myself to the general and took my departure. So much briefly. I saw your Pa before he went to Richmond and thought he looked badly. I would express my sorrow with you in the recent bereavement of your sisters and family, but am not used to such things and have always had an idea that such remarks of condolence were generally ill-suited to allay or satisfy grief and consequently misplaced. But Mr. Adams is becoming impatient and won’t wait. Remember me to your Ma and family and please write soon and at length. Goodbye. Yrs., as always, Henry Kyd Douglas. I did not notice this until I had finished my letter. It will be sufficient excuse to say that it is the autograph of Lieut. General Stonewall Jackson, as it really is. HKD – (1).

After the Antietam Battle that September, and the month-long sojourn for both armies, the Federal army finally recrossed in large numbers into Virginia and wended its way south until the next great, tragic battle – Fredericksburg – took place, but with a new Federal commander, Ambrose Burnside.

References/Image Credits:

Chapterette 14: November 14, 1862 – Henry Kyd Douglas Writes Tippie Boteler . . Longingly.

1. Henry Kyd Douglas Papers, Duke University.

NEXT: Chapterette 15. Click Here https://civilwarscholars.com/uncategorized/thy-will-be-done-chapter-15-dec-1862-dudley-digges-pendleton-is-in-fredericksburg-fight-by-jim-surkamp/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 15 Dec., 1862 – Dudley Digges Pendleton Is In Fredericksburg Fight by Jim Surkamp.

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Chapter 15 – Thursday, December 11 – Monday, December 15, 1862 – Dudley Digges Pendleton, Tippie’s Future Husband, Vividly “Paints” the Battle of Fredericksburg, Va. including His Own Heroic Act.


It has been said that the soldier never sees a battle, but many of us both men and officers, saw that battle while participating in it. Many who repelled the fierce and wonderfully determined attacks on Marye’s Hill, and those who occupied that day the corresponding hill across the ravine, through which passed the country road into the town, had impressed upon their memories a scene not often equaled for its terrible grandeur. Nor did any other battle of the war offer such a scene; for Gettysburg and the fierce conflicts around Richmond, from the nature of the ground, gave a much less comprehensive view to any observer, no matter what his position.

I happened that day to have charge of a big gun, cast in Richmond, which was placed in an earthwork on the hill above spoken of, to the right of Marye’s Hill, facing the town. Before the plans of the enemy developed, this gun was employed in firing at the innumerable wagon trains, and any batteries that were within its range on the opposite side of the river. We soon drew upon ourselves a very heavy fire, many of the opposing guns being beyond our range. These guns would throw rifled shells far beyond us into the woods as well as many immediately around us. After the battle began it was evident to the Federals that Marye’s Hill must be taken. So masses of troops were concentrated under cover of a prodigious discharge of artillery upon the batteries on Marye’s Hill and upon the gun in this fortification, and the attack was made under this protective fire. This Hill was often a point of observation for General Lee and other officers, giving as it did, a full view of the opposing army in its efforts to cross. The earthwork in which this gun was placed was so faced as to enfilade the railroad cut leading into the town and across which the enemy’s infantry had to pass in the charge upon Marye’s Hill. Between the cut and the heights was a plane nearly level until nearing the height when it became quite steep.

As soon as the first advance of the troops occurred, and they descended the steep side of the deep cut, we brought the big gun to bear upon the trench, filled as it was with men struggling into it on one side and up in the direction of Marye’s Hill on the other side. It was not a difficult thing to get a range that would play havoc with this mass of men. The only hindrance was the tremendous fire which the gun drew upon itself from the opposite side. Smoke at every discharge obstructed the view for a time, but by stepping aside partly behind the fortification, I could avoid this and follow the huge shell in its flight.

Things strangely dissimilar may resemble each other, and this fearfully destructive shell, as my eyes followed it, remind me of nothing so much as the rapid disappearance of a dove when its line of flight is directly away from the observer. The dark object could be followed until it reached the mass of toiling soldiers, when, if it burst, it seemed to empty the cut of men, and if it did not, a long red lane was to be seen as it passed through. Sometimes I fancied I saw parts of human bodies rising as the explosion occurred and then dropping back to the earth. The scene of the explosion of the mine under our lines at Petersburg served to convince me that this was indeed a reality and not a fancy. Odd conceits sometimes possess us.

The long cut, the moving mass, the lanes mowed through it, reminded me of wanton dealing death to hosts of ants as they constantly advance, unchecked by the ever-increasing pile of dead comrades. Our gun became so hot that we were forced to cool it frequently, but after doing service, which was proved good by our own observation, it burst. I had stepped aside to observe the effect of the discharge, when, instead of seeing the dove-like messenger of death pass from it, as before, the entire forepart of the gun, in front of the trunnion, went whirling over and over, down the hill in front of us. Small portions flew to each side, and the entire rear took the back track for the woods, following the Union shells. Strange to say, no one was hurt. As soon as possible we brought “Long Tom” into position. This gun had been used in forcing observation balloons to shift their position or come down somewhat further up the river than Marye’s Hill. There it had caused some very precipitate descents but now it was needed for surer work.

Among the generals who occupied the hill for observation was General Barksdale, whose brigade occupied the line in front of this earthwork, and to its right down the river. After the enemy despaired of forcing their way across the river here and determined upon the move to Chancellorsville, we had a lull in the storm of shot and shell. I used it to examine the effect of the grand charges upon Marye’s Hill. Not an inch of the surface of the bricks on the front of the house exposed to this fire was free from the work of a minie ball. Bushels of flattened ones were to be seen on the ground, while the woodwork was torn to pieces by them, independently of the destruction wrought by the cannon.

The level between the house and railroad cut was covered with the dead and dying. The pieces of wood used between the powder and ball in cannon were as thick here as I ever saw them during the war, except at a point between the lines at Spotsylvania Court House, where the breastworks of the two lines had been run very close together and each gun seemed discharging its contents into the throat of another, which in one instance, actually occurred. We sent this ball back to the enemy, with our compliments, but they had ruined a Napoleon gun for us. General Barksdale’s troops held the line until the advance on Chancellorsville. He was upon the hill at the time that Sedgwick’s troops came in sight. It happened that he had no attendant, all his staff being temporarily absent with orders.

I said to him: “General those troops are yankees.” He said: “Oh, no! It is impossible!” Presently, recognizing the uniforms, he exclaimed: “My God! who will save my regiments down there?” The ground below this hill was impassable for a horse, owing to brush, high-cut stumps and bushes, while it was difficult for anyone not light and active to get over it. Not wondering at this question I told him that I would go and warn the men. Of my war experience, that run over such rough ground and back again was the most severe. The regiments fell back in time to hinder the advance, but were not sufficient to hold the enemy. Therefore other troops on their way to Chancellorsville had to be recalled. My horse had fortunately not broken away from where it was tied and I was sent after some of these troops. I passed two or three brigades whose commanders refused to return unless other orders brought them. Next, I reached General Gordon, who immediately reversed his column, on hearing of the passage of these troops asking only that General Early be informed of the necessity of the case. But for his promptness in taking in the situation though he had no orders from the commanding General, I have always believed that the enemy would not have been driven back and the Confederate success at Chancellorsville very materially lessened. – (1).

References/Image Credits:

Chapterette 15: Thursday, December 11 – Monday, December 15, 1862 – Dudley Digges Pendleton, Tippie’s Future Husband, Vividly “Paints” the Battle of Fredericksburg, Va. including His Own Heroic Act.

1. The Boteler Collection – courtesy Ms. Leslie Keller.

NEXT: Chapter 16. Click Here https://civilwarscholars.com/american-civil-war/thy-will-be-done-chapter-16-december-1862-june-1863-in-jefferson-county-the-calm-between-storms-by-jim-surkamp/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 16 December, 1862-June, 1863 – The Calm Between Storms by Jim Surkamp.

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Charles Aglionby Keeps Farming Amid War

Charles Yates Aglionby

December, 1862-June, 1863 – The Daily Struggle at the Charles Aglionby Farm, “Mt. Pleasant” in Jefferson County.

In the early part of 1863 the Federal troops picketed the area and horses were stolen from the farms from time-to-time, but there was little local military activity until June. Then Confederate forces moved northwards. On the 14th the Federals evacuated Charles Town. Charles Aglionby watched Confederate forces advancing, A. P. Hill’s “corps d’armee” along the Shepherdstown road on the 23rd and Heth’s division next day. Many soldiers called in for milk and food. On the 30th, a little before noon there was a report “between a cannon and thunder.” It was caused by the Federals blowing up the magazines at Harper’s Ferry before evacuating it. These troops movements preceded the Battle of Gettysburg which was fought 1-3 July. On the 4th of July, Charles went to Harper’s Ferry which “looks truly like a deserted village.”

Wednesday, December 24, 1862

The day has been cloudy & chilly, the wind blowing mostly from the south. A little rain fell at intervals but not enough to intercept business. Frank, Howard and Davy and I were engaged before noon in opening the drain from the road. In the afternoon they hauled a load of the old refuse hay into the rack. Zacary was tending Ralf by hauling flagstones & dirt assisted by John. I beat some sandstone to throw over the pavement. Johnny was mostly with Will Downey and went home with him. R. Bowler was here. He split the large stone that was at the horse rack and dined. I settled with him for cleaning and deepening the woods pool.

There was but one soldier seen to pass here today. The Federals are said to be on the railroad towards Duffields laying the telegraph wires. Nothing more from the war.

Thursday, December 25, 1862 – Christmas

Not all times clear but quite pleasant. Pretty much holiday with all hands. Fare better than common and a greater variety. I went to Halltown and took Mrs. Creamer’s on the way. Mr. Dixon’s dinner was ready and after taking a little of his blackberry wine sat down to a very nice dinner, but as I had promised Mrs. A. to be home to her dinner I had to reserve some space. Our dinner was dinner and supper in one. The report of soldiers is that the Federals were at Duffields’ and went thence to Charlestown behind our farm. They did not remain long in town. There was right smart firing in different directions seemingly by citizens as well as soldiers. Credit cash by amount paid servants Sarah and two boys $4.00, Letty $2.00.

Friday, December 26, 1862

A little cloudy and mild throughout the day. John and I started to Mrs. M. Moore’s to dinner by invitation. After we were there a while Mrs. A. came with Mrs. H. Moore. John Moore, Jno. C. Wiltshire and Smith S. Crane were there also and after a while. Mr. G. D. Moore came. Frank rode down to his aunt Janet’s. Ralf, Will and some of the boys took the wagon with some wheat and flour casks. Rumors of Federals being about Winchester and other places. The day quiet.

Wednesday, December 31, 1862

The last day of the year 1862 has passed and the last night is passing off. May peace dawn on the coming year and each section do for itself what they could not do together, i.e. live in peace.

Saturday, January 3, 1863

Was quite a pretty day. The hands shucking corn. I went to Mrs. Striders and dined at Sml. S. Moore’s. Mr. Allen called in the morning and we settled our accounts. Mrs. Aglionby, Frank and Ralf went to Harper’s Ferry marketing. They called by Mama’s and Mrs. Dougherty’s. They succeeded in getting some goods and brought back some goods with them in the rock-away and the cart.

Monday, January 5, 1863

A pleasant winter day. The hands hauled the corn they shucked last week, also some fodder.

Wednesday, January 7, 1863

Cold and blustery. We commenced threshing.

Thursday, January 8, 1863

58 Yankee cavalry passed by. The morning was red. It soon clouded up and a little before noon it commenced snowing.

Saturday, January 10, 1863

Last night was very clear and starry above. Now about eight stars are shining above. We covered up our wheat in the pen and in the stack. The boys hauled a couple of loads of straw, shucked some corn in the barn. In the afternoon they cleaned one of the stables.

Wednesday, January 21, 1863

A real winter day, rain, hail and snow. The chimneys were burnt. Some corn run through the fan. Corn house over shilling room leveled so as to hold more corn. The stables cleaned and racks filled with straw and chaff. My hands and wrists pretty sore from shucking corn.

Saturday, January 31, 1863

A mild and pleasant day. I went to a shoemaker’s and was halted at the crossroads going towards Flowing Springs by a Dutch (German) cavalryman. He wanted to know who I was, where I was going and did I know a Mr. Leavell. Giving him answers he told me I might go. He had his revolver drawn. Mr. Sampson put a patch on my boots.

Saturday, February 14, 1863

The day raw and cloudy. I went over to Duffield’s after I had opened the trench around the west side of the corn house. Mrs. Aglionby returned from Baltimore in the train. Her trunk and some things were brought home in the cart.

Sunday, February 22, 1863

Sunday being the anniversary of the birth of Washington is also the Lord’s Day.

Snowy all day and best part of the day. The snow is about ten inches deep and cold and dry. We all stayed home today and read and improved ourselves according to our various tastes and sense of duty. After reading the Lessons etc. for the day I read the memoirs of Mrs. Anne Page by Dr. Charles Andrews.

Wednesday, March 4, 1863

This day two years ago Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated President of the United States. What a change has come over the face of this once happy country. How altered are the households and relations of every man in the country. What an expenditure of blood and treasure. For how long will it continue? The Lord save us from man. Make an end of this bloodshed and carnage. Forgive us if we have abused our privileges. Restore the land once more to peace and let us once more travel in the road leading to prosperity and happiness. Let the hatchet be buried, the sword turned into plowshare. Let the lion lay down with the lamb and let everyone lay down under his own vine and fig tree and no one to make him afraid or ashamed.

Thursday, March 5, 1863

It has been a very pretty day. The wagon and boys hauled four loads of fodder. Ralf at posts. John went to mill after dinner. Ralf and John hauled some straw and chaff. I stayed at home, fixed some physic for rats in the corn house, fixed the upper door under the shed in the spilling department and raked up when the hands were loading.

Wednesday, March 25, 1863

Last night much rain – heavy shower before breakfast. It cleared off handsomely. The hands went into the woods with their axes. In the evening, John went to the mill and the two other boys filled the racks. Ralf, the Madam and I trimmed the grape vines.

Tuesday, April 7, 1863

Last night, Mrs. Aglionby and I had a very anxious night about our little daughter – early in the morning we sent Frank off for the doctor. He and the Dr. came to a second breakfast. Doctor Mason seemed alarmed at her symptoms and cupped and blistered her immediately and left medicines to take until tomorrow morning. Her disease is bronchitis.

Wednesday, April 8, 1863

. . .The Dr. came to breakfast and found Nettie much better. . .

Thursday, April 9, 1863

This turned out to be a very pretty day. The hands hauled manure. Ralf mended the garden fence. I rode out to dinner with Col. Yates and called by my mother’s and sister Beall’s. Saw the town garrisoned with Union soldiers.

Saturday, April 11, 1863

The weather pleasant. The hands sowed clover seed in the forenoon, in the afternoon some manure from before the stable doors, and filled the racks. Mrs. Aglionby had her gang in the garden. I helped her to spin. She sowed some peas.

Tuesday, April 14, 1863

This has been a pretty day. We went on with plowing, spreading manure, etc. I walked out into the fields this morning and evening and inspected matters.

Friday, April 17, 1863

A little cloudy all day – the sun sometimes shining. We performed a little operation on the young colt this morning to give vent to his water.

Saturday, April 25, 1863

A very pretty, windy, clear, and drying day. The hands with myself pulled down the stake and cap fence on the upper side of the shop orchard and put up a plank fence in place of it. After dinner Ralf and I finished it and the others took a load of rails down to the low field and repaired the fence. Not much war news.

Sunday, May 24, 1863 (After the last enslaved person left Mt. Pleasant)

The boys (sons Frank and John) and their mother milked the cows and we all made ourselves generally useful.

Sunday, June 7, 1863

Today I blacked my shoes, a thing I had not done I know not when. Alas many who have been reared in the lap of luxury have done the same since this war began whether in the camp or domicile. – (1).

Sunday, June 21, 1863 – Henrietta B. Lee writes her daughter Ida Rust of the absence of enslaved persons and resulting, daily struggles in Shepherdstown: – (2).

My precious Child
It is the blessed Sabbath day, and I feel that I am not violating it in writing to you and expressing my joy and gratitude at the safe return of your dear dear – Father – O my heart indeed is full to overflowing “surely goodness and mercy have flowed to me all the days of my life.” I cannot dare utter that You did not come too. I was sadly disappointed and I write now to urge that you will get A’s (Ida’s husband, Armistead Rust) consent to come here and spend the rest of the summer. You can hear from A. just as easily from here as where you now are – and I know his heart is too great to refuse your mother’s so reasonable a request – beside for the sake of the future affection which is to exist between you and his children you ought to see them this summer before they forget you altogether. Children soon forget and I do not want your influence weakened, or a spark of their affection lost towards you. Come then my child to your house and your Mother’s heart. There is perfect safety here now.

Gen. Lee’s headquarters are in Winchester. Eight thousand of our troops passed through Shepherdstown on Thursday last and are with many other encamped opposite the Lawn in Maryland, there is no fear that you will encounter the wild beasts that have so lately infested these counties or that you will be where you cannot write or hear from your husband.

Your Papa thinks of sending Edmund with a nice covered wagon to Lexington, so you & Sue (daughter-in-law), and V.(niece Virginia Rust Bedinger) must come back in it.

This will be your best and least expensive plan. The house is full of soldiers of all ranks and grades – from the rank of General to the most humble private. I greet all as brother, and am willing to share every mouthful with them.

Your dear little babe’s likeness I hugged and kissed, but I am so sorry he has been baptized – I did so want to have it done here. I am going to Maryland tomorrow, and will finish out your list. I have long ago gotten everything you wrote for the shoes I will get tomorrow. These steel pens are so horrid I cannot bear to write with them. I wish I never had seen one. G. Robinson was here yesterday and took off the baby’s likening to show to Annie. Annie has a lovely little boy – and my little God daughter Nannie is the most lovely engaging thing I ever saw. I want you to be here while she’s in Town. A friend wrote to you but the yankees got the letters. Lila talks of you every day. Fred has just come to Sunday School. Sends his love and begs if you are ever coming you will come now. I am so sorry V. is not here as George (George Bedinger, Virginia’s brother) is and looks so well & happy. Tell her everyone of Mrs. Robinson’s servants have left her. Rosa has been cooking and last week I spent the evening there and the hot rolls R. had made was an elegant as any I ever saw.

There are no servants to be had – nearly all have gone off. I have been on the street for a washer every week since Old Kit decamped. Last week Milly Edward washed for me and if this old sow which is grunting around here, had whirled them about with her snout in a mud puddle, they would have looked as well. I hope you will bring your servant, and she can wash for you for it is dreadful that when things are as high as they are now they should be ruined in washing.

If I were only sure you would return with Edmund I would not send you things on because you would have them made up here so much cheaper. I am afraid I cannot send the bonnet lest it should be injured. When I was in Frederick I got Netta a most beautiful photograph album, and meant to have had my picture taken on cards and sent each of you one. I can have it done tomorrow. Netta has got that photograph taken of you and A. I think. Your precious father has just come in and read me his letter to you all, he has given you all the army news – Only to think of his having to sleep on the damp ground all night bless his dear heart – it is well I did not know it, I should have started in pursuit. All the Town seems mad with joy at the return of our soldiers.

We have been so long under yankee rule, It was perfectly dreadful for a while and if your men had not come, I do believe the Negroes would have made an effort to have changed places with us. I wrote a disguised letter to you last week, giving you an account of how Margie Boteler (daughter of Alexander Boteler’s brother, Charles) was insulted did you get it? When we would get a letter we would not dare to tell we had one or talk about it, for fear of being sent over the lines. I shall write to Sue tomorrow. God bless you my darling, send a kiss to dear A. for me, and tell him he must not “say me nay”. Kiss both the dear children for me, Netta, and N. Strider are surrounded with beaus, they do not know I am writing. Ever – Your Mother Henrietta Bedinger Lee. – (3).

References/Image Credits

Chapterette 16: December, 1862-April, 1863 in Jefferson County – The Calm Between Storms.

1. “The Day Book Kept By Charles Aglionby at Mount Pleasant, Charles Town, Jefferson County, Virginia.” 6 March, 1861 to 1 January, 1866.” – Jefferson County Museum, Charles Town, Wv.

2. Levin, p. 2.

3. Henrietta Bedinger Lee, Goldsborough Collection, Shepherd University Library.

Next: Chapter 17. Click Here https://civilwarscholars.com/uncategorized/thy-will-be-done-17-july-3-1863-george-bedinger-falls-at-gettysburg/