Thy Will Be Done – Chapter 1 – 1850s – The Days That Never End – But That Did – The Day of the Horses – The Ring Tournament in Leeland Field by Jim Surkamp

1783 words

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The wheat harvest was gathered, and the heats of midsummer were beginning to drive all who had means and leisure to congregate about famous springs and cool places in the mountains.

It was really the discovery of printing that killed chivalry, soul and body. Then the power that comes of knowledge passed over to the unarmed people. The unlettered prince could no longer delegate the writing and reading of his letters to a hired valet.

Front field of Leeland, Route 480 Shepherdstown, WV Google Maps

Tuesday August 4th, 1857, Shepherdstown, Va.

The Day of the Horses – The Ring Tournament in Leeland Field.

On Tuesday last, a large assemblage of people, consisting of the youth and beauty of Jefferson, and Berkeley counties, Va., and Washington County, Md. collected at Leeland, near this place to witness the exciting scenes of a Tournament that came off there. – (1).

The tournament lists were staked out on a long level of evenly mowed turf some four hundred yards in length, guarded on either side by a railing of rope, and spanned near the further extremity by an arch of evergreen boughs, from the centre of which the ring was suspended. Outside of these lines were double rows of light wagons and carriages, regularly packed and filled with eager spectators.

Near the centre were several extensive pavilions, made of wagon covers, bolting-cloths, or more agreeably thatched with fresh green boughs, shading rows of rough plank seats already occupied by the elite of the company – rustic dames whose silks and ribbons, or maidens whose delicate cheeks, shunned the scorching sunshine.

Between this dress circle and the rope harrier the space was crowded with the undistinguished multitude of leather-faced mountaineers, squatting or lounging upon the grass, of lint-headed, bare-legged

children, and negroes full of eager hilarity and vociferous expectation. Behind all, barns, stables, sheds, fodder-racks, fence corners, and umbrageous thickets afforded shelter for the four-footed chivalry who were to play the leading part in the amusements of the day. – (2)

Prior to the tilting the Gallant Knights were addressed by the President, Mr. Henry K. Douglas, of Ferry Hill, Md. in the following neat and appropriate speech. His delivery was bold, clear and impressive for one so young:

Gallant Knights – You have assembled here today not for the purpose of provoking Iron Mars, but that you may exhibit your devotion to the fair daughters of Eve, and given them assurances that as you now make known your consciousness of their charms, so you will ever consider it your greatest duty and supreme pleasure, to protest those charms though death alone be your reward.

You need no allusion to Knights of ancient days to increase your valor, nor stories of bleeding champions and fainting ladies to arouse your gallantry. You possess that generous spirit which would welcome the sword as readily as the harmless lance, did the cause of love require it.

But even if you did not, you have before you a picture of loveliness that could change the hermit to a sprightly courtier, make the tottering sire forget his hoary hairs, and straightway as a boy again. And the merry hearts of these fair ladies are beating in unison with yours, for as your fleet steeds pursue their swift course, and you hasten towards the fatal ring, they wait an anxious sympathizing expectation and hail your success with a smile or announce your failure with a sigh. Knowing that you feel doubly inspired by the beautiful scene before you, and bearing on your banner the motto: “Cupid and the Ladies,” I bid your charge and may the God of Love grant you success and your reward the smiles of the fair with crowns of rosy garlands. – (3)

The hour had come, the trumpet call had sounded. The enlisted knights were already mustered behind the barn. The chief marshal of the tournament a handsome fellow, superbly mounted, with peaked beard and flowing locks cultivated expressly for the role, bobbing with plumes and fluttering with rosettes, with an air of egregious importance, was galloping to and fro, posting his guards, heralds, and pursuivants at their proper stations.

The ladies were lightly and gracefully dismounted, and their horses led away. Choice seats had been reserved in the green pavilion, and a sweep of the chiefs broadsword removed the rope barriers from their path.

As (one lady) ascended the steps all the men and boys within range jostled each other and stretched their necks to catch a glimpse, while all the rosy cheeks turned pale with curious envy. The music ceased, the vocal murmurs died away. The orator and knights remounted to join the muster behind the barn.

Again the signal bugle was blown, and a troop of horsemen burst into the lists at full gallop. They were received with a storm of drums, trumpets, brass-bands, cheers, and waving of handkerchiefs and banners. Charging through the whole length of the course, they executed some pretty military maneuvers, and wheeling, galloped back to their starting-place. The parade resembled the grand entree at a circus, or, perhaps, a fancy ball on horseback. The knights were attired variously, according to their whims and pretensions, each wearing some token – a glove, a handkerchief, a ribbon, or bouquet from the lady in whose honor he proposed to risk his neck and exhibit his skill. Two or three were masked, and wore no favors by which they might be distinguished unknown, perhaps, except to their lady-loves, with whom there had been a secret understanding. At length all the preliminary ceremonies were concluded, and the game commenced. Then the judges were posted beside the arch where the ring hung suspended.

Heralds to proclaim the count, grooms and attendants to replace the ring when taken off and to assist any cavalier in case of an accident. Others along the line kept back the eager and excited crowd with drawn sabres, while at the lower end the chief marshal called a roll of the knights, who took their places in line in order as they were named. – (4).

We never before saw such an array of female beauty and chivalry, as was there assembled:

The following are the names of the officers and Knights:

President – Henry K. Douglas
Heralds – James L. Towner, Samuel Moore


Judges – R. Davis Shepherd, Jr., Samuel B. Neil
George H. Murphy – Knight of Ivanhoe
Thomas Chapline – Hotspur
R. T. Berry Harvy Percy

E. G. Lee – Knight of Alhambra

George R. Bedinger – Saladin
Joseph T. Hess – Rienzi
Daniel Morgan – Long Star
Dr. P. Grove – Knight of Woodburry

(In a previous tournament held at Shannondale Springs, the president

had been Col. John F. Hamtramck of Shepherdstown; R. D. Shepherd, Jr. won three consecutive contests, allowing him to award the Queen of Love and Beauty to Miss Rosa Parran of Shepherdstown). – (5).

The riding at Leeland was very graceful and well done, exiting and animating, evidencing great proficiency in Equestrianism and abundantly showing that the chivalry of the Old Dominion is still in keeping with the world-wide reputation she has won in days of yore.

After three alternate charges by each Knight, R. T. Berry, George H. Murphy, and Dr. P. Grove, were declared the victors; after which the Knights were again marshaled in front of that array of beauty and love that could be with the many colors of the rainbow, when the coronation took place as follows: – R. T. Berry crowned Miss Julia J. Hays, of Sharpsburg, MD., Queen of Love and beauty; George H. Murphy selected Miss Mary Abbott of Georgetown, D.C., First Maid of Honor; Dr. P. Grove selected Miss Lillie Parran, Second Maid of Honor.

The coronation was performed by the President in a graceful and becoming manner and each was prefaced by a neat speech in the most beautiful language.

At night the exercises of the day were wound up by a magnificent Cotillion.

After the selection, the company repaired to the hotel where a most sumptuous feast was spread there with the flow of champagne and the

exchange of toasts consumed the afternoon. Every one then retired to their rooms to prepare for the fancy ball.

At about half past eight o’clock, the spacious ballroom was thronged with spectators awaiting entrance of the Queen and her Champion and cortege and attendants.

At the sound of music, the folding doors at the upper end of the room were suddenly opened, and the Queen and her Champion, richly

dressed in fancy costumes, the same wreath of such freshness . . . resting on his brow, appeared followed by the Knight and Maids of Honor and a long train of attendants all fancifully attired.

They proceeded to the far end of the room and took their stand when the crowds made their obeisance. Then the Queen and her Champion and three Knights and Maids of Honor took hands, formed and danced

a cotillion, and the ball was opened for the evening. I have been to many balls and have seen much in this way, but have never seen one so bright and beautiful as this. The many characters represented every nation, and flitted before you in such rapid succession that it was impossible to identify. A few, however, were very conspicuous.

There were some others whom we noticed were magically attracting much attention, and there was one, “the gayest in the revel, the lightest in the dance,” who “Like a fairy on a festival morning, She tripped in the merry quadrille, Bright blushes her features adorning, She conquered the crowd at her will.”

The dancing was kept up until the “wee hours of morning admonished them to part. And this ended a gala day long to be remembered by all.”- (6).

At an earlier ring tournament at Shannondale Springs in the County, an older generation prevailed.

“The president of the day, one Henry Bedinger addressed them in such eloquent tones and elevated and inspired sentiments that the dullest bosum was roused to the highest daring and the true spirit of ancient chivalry was revived. . . The speech of Mr. Bedinger was most appropriate and beautiful. When he had concluded, the knights repaired to the place of starting. Then began the most splendid contention that I ever witnessed. It is impossible to give a detailed

account of it, but the horses catching the spirit of the rider, flew like the wind and their flashing eyes and foaming mouths betrayed the high excitement . . .

Mr. Lewis Washington, as the English hunter of the 15th century, so superbly he filled the character so to very life, and Mr. John Pendleton Kennedy in the court dress of Louis the 14th looked remarkably striking and handsome.” – (7).

Main sources:
The Shepherdstown Register, August 8, 1857.

Crayon, Porte (Strother, D. H.). “The Mountains – X.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. Volume 51. Issue: 304 (September, 1875). pp. 475-486. Print.

The Baltimore Sun, September 1, 1849.

The Baltimore Herald, August 2, 1848,
(Thornton Perry collection, Virginia State Library).

Image Credits:

Col.John Francis Hamtramck http://www.wvculture.org/history/thisdayinwvhistory/1118.html

The Virginia Reel https://reallifeartist.wordpress.com/

19th Century Social Dance
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/dihtml/diessay6.html

Howe’s Complete Ball-room Handbook
http://www.kickery.com/civil_war_american/

An illustration of three American couples performing a Country-dance in the Longways Minor set, c. 1820.
The Granger Collection, New York, ID: 0048338.
http://testaae.greenwood.com

War – Newell Convers Wyeth (detail of horse)
http://www.militar.org.ua/foro/la-pintura-y-la-guerra-t18709-7455.html

By Wing-Chi Poon [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/33/Sanddunes_Sunrise.jpg

NEXT: Chapterette 2. https://civilwarscholars.com/american-civil-war/thy-will-be-done-chapter-2-working-jefferson-countys-peaceful-fertile-lands-by-jim-surkamp/

Thy Will Be Done – Chapter 2 Working Jefferson County’s Peaceful, Fertile Lands by Jim Surkamp.

556 words

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The highly profitable wheat fell to the scythe at The Bower where young tall, wiry Adam Stephen Dandridge took place in the line along with enslaved African-Americans John Pinco and “Levin.” – (1) (2).

Harvest crews helped from farm-to-farm.

If the neighbors had not finished their harvest, the force was allowed to go and help them out, receiving for themselves the usual wages. In all

the fields of corn, the outside rows were planted in a broomcorn for the Negroes’ use and they spent the long winter evenings in making brooms, baskets, hampers and split-bottom chairs all of which found a ready sale in the country stores. The chairs were of all sizes from the large porch chairs down to low, sewing chairs and chairs for children. They managed to make them very comfortable and they were substantial and lasted a lifetime. – (3).

The “cultural Congressman,” Alexander Boteler may have not been on the crew but the young men born of Philip and Hannah Thornton swung their scythes in unison at Fountain Rock farm near Shepherdstown

and when possible were part of Hugh Nelson Pendleton’s crew, farm and home at Westwood in the southern end of the County, even after ten of the African-American Thorntons in Jefferson County, opted, with support, to take passage on the barque “Cora” in May, 1855 and they sailed to Cape Palmas, Liberia Africa to start anew. – (4) (5).

Wheat was coming off Edmund and Henrietta Lee’s Oak Hill Farm on the Philadelphia Waggon Road opposite and to the immediate west of Boteler’s Fountain Rock, relying on Nace and others to harvest and get the shocks of wheat in to the barn.

September would bring more indoor work for the County’s farms.

In September, the cloth and yarn for winter work were brought home from the factory along the river and the work of making up began and was only finished at Christmas.

In every household there was a woman who could cut out the garments and all the younger girls had been taught how to sew and knit. During the year, all the girls in clean frocks assembled in some room in the great house every morning and the class of sewers and knitters was presided over by some bespectacled old Negro woman whose word was law to the girls. The work of making up the clothing and knitting yarn socks went on under her supervision, and at Christmas every man and woman on the place appeared in new clothes and new shoes and warm woolen stockings.

Every man had an overcoat every four years and a flannel hack jacket called by the Negroes the “warmus” to wear under his waistcoat in cold weather.

Tobacco was issued to each worker once a week. Sometimes it was bought in kegs of about 100 pounds and was called black-strap and one strap, sometimes two, was the ration. Some people chewed it and some of them smoked in their corncob pipes. This was before the days of fertilizers when tobacco was raised on virgin soil. Every year a farmer would clear a small patch of ground sufficient for the wants of his farm and plant it in tobacco. The fragrance of the Negroes’ corncob pipe was notorious and was due to the fact that no fertilizer had been used in growing his tobacco. – (6).

REFERENCES:

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

2. Adam Stephen Dandridge Account Books, Jefferson County Museum.

3. A. R. H. Ranson. “Reminiscences of a Civil War Staff Officer By A Confederate Staff Officer, First Paper: Plantation Life in Virginia Before the War.” The Sewanee Review. Vol. 21, No. (4 Oct. 1913), pp. 428-447.

4. Helen Boteler Pendleton, “A Nineteenth Century Romantic” The Shepherdstown Register, December 21, 1933.

5. 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 pp. 43-76.

6. A. R. H. Ranson. “Reminiscences of a Civil War Staff Officer By A Confederate Staff Officer, First Paper: Plantation Life in Virginia Before the War.” The Sewanee Review. Vol. 21, No. (4 Oct. 1913), pp. 428-447.

NEXT: Chapterette 3. https://civilwarscholars.com/uncategorized/thy-will-be-done-chapter-3-henry-bedinger-alec-boteler-the-creative-congressmen-by-jim-surkamp/

Thy Will Be Done – Chapter 3 Henry Bedinger & Alec Boteler – The Creative Congressmen by Jim Surkamp

1838 words

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Alexander “Alec” Boteler who had inherited Fountain Rock, married Helen Stockton and they had Helen (“Tippie”), Charlotte (“Lottie”), Elizabeth (“Lizzie”), and Alec Junior.

Preceding Boteler as the area’s Congressman in Washington, was Henry Bedinger who met Caroline (“Carrie”) Lawrence, the daughter of a fellow Congressmen who, only after he found the forces of love unstoppable, consented to the pact. Before the Bedingers accepted the honorable adventure of setting sail for Denmark and Bedinger being our first ambassador there for most of the 1850s, the two young fathers and husbands were friends, both young lawyers with families. Each also had a strong penchant for art – for Henry poetry, for Alec drawing and painting. – (1).

Alec’s love of drawing and art is not surprising given he was the great-grandson on his mother’s side to Charles Willson Peale, the leading portrait painter in early America, who painted General Washington.

Boteler himself would write:
Drawing is my great delight. If I could have my way. I would have been an artist. But my father threatened to whip me if he ever saw me painting anything. I was descended from a family of painters and my father wanted me to stick to something more material. When my house was burned down during the war it contained some excellent specimens of the Peales, which were heirlooms there. Among other paintings was one representing the artist, to whom my great-grandmother’s picture is being shown on the easel by my grandmother, while she also seeks to steal away the painter’s brush.

While a student at Princeton Boteler’s passion for drawing surfaced in fantastic irrepressible ways.

His daughter, Tippie Boteler much later wrote:

While his future wife was en route to Princeton in a carriage she heard of this Alec Boteler. The story she heard of her (future) husband was that he had thrown a farmer into the water to copy his expression of terror and that the man accidentally drowned; and the young student never recovering from his remorse, had become a gloomy, morose and changed man!

One afternoon soon after his arrival at college, in passing a large brick house, he noticed outlined against the window the profile of a beautiful girl who was evidently intent upon reading. He quickly drew out his pencil and sketchbook and made rapid outlines. On getting back to the college, he finished it and showed it to a fellow student in triumph as the prettiest girl he had ever seen. “Why, that is Miss Helen Stockton!” exclaimed his friend, who was A. S. Dandridge, who lived in Jefferson County and would own the Bower. “If you think she is up to your standard, I’ll take you to see her tomorrow night!”

But Alec Boteler’s meeting Helen Stockton inspired him out of the gloom his absurd behavior had wrought.

Once married and with responsibilities settling on their dreamy shoulders, Alec would love getting together with his creative friend and forever treasure their times together with the wives and children elsewhere.

Henry Bedinger was home at his ancestral home at Bedford nearby and just outside Shepherdstown around 1851 when he tossed off a limerick to his neighbor over the hill at Fountain Rock. The invitation, inspired by his recent readings of Robert Burns, went:

My wife’s awa;’ my wife’s awa’,
Na mair she can me tease;
She’s gan til her father an’ mither an’ a’,
And I can do as I please.

So if you’re in for a night of joy,
And gin grat fun ye wad see,
Just don your plaidie my merry boy,
And o’er the meadow to me.

A wee bit room in eastern wing,
A ceiling so love and snug,
A cheerfu’ bleeze in the chimney neuk
And ablains a bit of a jug.

A bit of jug wi’ the barley bree,
A jest and merry sang,
And twa, thra friends what helping me
To push the hours along.

The wind may roar an’ the rain may fa’,
My wife’s awa’, my wife’s awa’;
Na mair she can me tease,
She’s gan til her father an’ mither an’ a’,
An’ we can do as we please.

After serving in Congress for four years, Henry Bedinger left with his family for Denmark. Boteler, a self-admitted novice at business who pleaded with his uncle to not be given the responsibility of running his father’s prosperous cement mill along the river upon his father’s death, had a costly miscalculation. In 1852, a business calamity overtook Alexander Boteler in the failure of Willoughby R. Webb, a merchant of Shepherdstown, who built his woolen mill on the site of today’s Blue Moon Cafe with thirty employees and upon whose notes he had placed his name because of his friendship for Mr. Webb. He was thus called upon to pay nearly twenty thousand dollars, a large part of it his wife’s money, her father having left her considerable property. – (2).

That woe may have propelled him into the field of elected office with a steady salary, serving in Bedinger’s old Congressional seat from early 1859 until just before war broke out. In 1856, Congress had voted its first annual salary of $3,000.

Artist/Congressman Boteler created a cartoon of Charles Harper’s home and apothecary shop, still looking much the same adjacent on the eastern side of McMurran Hall on German Street. Sensing dark times ahead, Boteler added as its caption, the ominous words from Shakespeare’s Henry VI: “Heavy looks foretell some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue.” – (3).

In November, 1858, Ambassador Henry Bedinger finally returned home to Carrie and their three children who came back from Denmark two years earlier. Carrie disliked the card-playing of even the Episcopalian priest in Denmark. Henry was a favorite to King Frederick VII and many a late evening an excessively homely and sensitive man would materialize from the shadows looking for Henry for a chess game: Hans Christian Anderson, the famed children’s writer.

Carrie and the children marveled that the widespread Christmas custom they brought back from Europe – a decorated tree – was a completely new notion both in Long Island and Shepherdstown. The custom “caught on” in Europe when Prince Albert and Queen Victoria had one.

Fighting his homesickness, Henry wrote a long Shepherdstown-smitten poem to John Boroff, a blacksmith with a shop at the Washington and Princess Street intersection:

“To My Good Old Friend, Mr. John Boroff, of Shepherdstown, Virginia by the Exile.

I am walking on a Sandy Shore, hard by the Sound Sea,
And, to save me, John, I cannot tell why I should think of thee.
And yet, throughout this lengthened day, thy friendly face will come
To fill my soul with memories of happier hours and HOME.

Go where I will, do what I may, I cannot fail to hear
The roaring of thy furnace and thy hammer ringing clear.
What art thou forging now, John, that echoes such as those
Should cross the broad Atlantic from the thunder of thy blows?

My mind has run away, John, and all that I can do
Cannot coax it to come back again from Shepherdstown and you.
It is playing with those marbles, it is spinning the same top.
That often in your absence, John, I’ve spun within your shop.

Does the coulter of the plowman demand the glowing fire,
Or do thy sturdy strokes descend upon the wagon’s tire?
Art thou forming for the woodman’s axe an edge of perfect proof?
Or striking from the solid anvil strong shoes for horse’s hoof?

I know not and I cannot guess, but this I say to thee,
I would give a very pretty gift could I be there to see.
For I must confess the honest truth – my mind has run away
As limber legged Bill Russell did from you one sunny day.

It is wrestling with your prentice boy and tripping up his heels,
And shouting with a merry shout to find how cheap he feels.
It is moulding bullets at your forge, and yet with watchful eyes.
Lest your too sudden entrance should take it by surprise.

And when, with ears all wide awake, it hears your heavy stride.
Although the door is much too near, the window opens wide,
And with a bound away it goes, still leaving you to guess
What evil spirit could have left your tools in such a mess.

Homecoming, then tragedy:

In November, 1858, Henry Bedinger had indeed come home to Shepherdstown and his family to great joy. His daughter, Mary, watched from a window from their home at the southwest corner of Princess and German Street. In the center of the street that November night in 1858 was a huge bonfire, and her father’s joyous speechifying face shone in the hot blaze making them cheer more and more. Then, eight-year-old Mary noticed the adults in their house had become silent, huddled. Their father came home and, a great blow – suddenly was “called home.” Pneumonia took him. And Carrie sold Henry’s share of his ancestral home of Bedford back to his sister, Henrietta and her husband Edmund Lee, (a first cousin of the general, Robert E. Lee). Carrie then used the money to build a new, more modest home near town Carrie named Poplar Grove.

Carrie purchased the farm from Daniel Morgan with a brick house in the middle of a grove of great oaks and poplars. She built an addition to the old house with woodwork of black walnut so common in those days, and there she took her young family just before the storm of the war between the states took over their land. – (4).

The Bedingers’ writing genes continued to create through Henry and Carrie’s children.

Henry’s gifted youngest daughter, Caroline Bedinger, nicknamed “Danske,” was already a prodigious writing talent and even shared editing preferences in her poems with Mr. Boteler. Danske’s daughter, Serena, wrote in later years:

The Bedinger children seemed to have taken to writing books as ducks like to water. They all complained that paper was too scarce and too “hard to write on,” but they utilized every scrap that came to them. Danske’s foil was poetry with a few romantic stories for good measure. Mary’s (nicknamed “Minnie:), I’m told, was fairy tales, with which she could enthrall her younger brother and sister.

Of little Danske it can be said “the ink was in the baby. she was born to write a book” and she was. It was not long out of the cradle before she began to wield her pen. As she presented a book of original poetry, “A Present” to Hon. A. R. Boteler with a note in the book saying that he must excuse the writing, as the paper was hard to write on, and compared to Shakespeare and Milton were not so good either – another note calls attention to the fact that the “thee”‘s and “thou”‘s are customarily used instead of “you”‘s in poetry, and apologizes for a few “you’s that had slipped in. – (5).

REFERENCES:

1. Mary Bedinger Mitchell, “Memories,” edited by Nina Mitchell. Shepherdstown, WV: Printed privately.

2. Helen Boteler Pendleton, “A Nineteenth Century Romantic” The Shepherdstown Register, December 21, 1933.

3. Boteler Collection, Duke University.

4. Mary Bedinger Mitchell, “Memories,” edited by Nina Mitchell. Shepherdstown, WV: Printed privately.

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

NEXT: Chapterette 4. https://civilwarscholars.com/uncategorized/thy-will-be-done-chapter-4-the-war-storm-gathers-boteler-goes-for-the-southby-jim-surkamp/

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

2535 words

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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/

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 20 April, 1864 – U.S. Colored Troops Stop at The Lees’ Home by Jim Surkamp.

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https://web.archive.org/web/20180824020548/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-20-april-1862-u-s-colored-troops-stop-at-the-lees-home/

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Chapterette 20 – April 5, 1864 – The United States Colored Troops’ Company G of the 19th Regiment Knocks on Henrietta Bedinger Lee’s Door at Bedford, then Overnights in Charlestown.

April 5, 1864 – From a diary of a Shepherdstown resident, who lived there at the time:
Something new! Three hundred black soldiers came to town and some are quartered in the Jim Lane Towner storeroom and they are in the command of Colonel Perkins. Others with white skin and black hearts took Dan Rentch’s parlor for headquarters. These negroes were hailed with much joy by some of our loyal citizens and some five or six negro soldiers were invited to breakfast with her by Mrs. C__ (A leading Unionist family in town were the Colberts.-JS)

April 7, 1864 – The diarist continues: The black yankees left hurriedly for Harper’s Ferry, for the river was up and they could not get back into Maryland, and rebels were reported to be coming.

April 9, 1864 – The diarist continues: Twenty-six negro soldiers and a white officer came to town and quartered in Mohler’s store (Possibly “Moulder’s” Store at southwest corner of German and King Streets. – JS)

April 12, 1864 – Diarist continues: Twenty-four black yankees and a white officer passed through, going to Martinsburg.

Then twenty-year-old Netta Lee was living at Bedford outside Shepherdstown at that time with her mother Henrietta, her younger brother, Harry, and enslaved African-Americans: a worker named Nace; father and daughter, Tom and Keziah Beall; Peggy Washington and her three grand-sons – Thompson, William and George, and her grand-daughter Virginia, also called “Jinny.” Edmund Lee, Sr., Netta’s father, was away; son/brother Edwin Grey was in the Confederate army and Edmund, another brother, had enlisted the year before in 1863 when he became old enough to serve.

The United States Colored Troops organization was created by presidential order in May, 1863. In letters of Henrietta Lee and Tippie Boteler, they write that most able-bodied, enslaved African Americans left the County for good as of May, 1863, posing challenges in household upkeep and crop production for them. – (1).

Netta Lee wrote:

The months sped by and we were in the second (should be: “third”-JS) year of this terrible war. All of our men, including Edmund, the next to the youngest brother, had gone to join the army, leaving Harry, a boy of about thirteen, as our protector, and seized every opportunity to come home, or as near home as possible when our troops were in the Valley. Mother and I were seated on the portico one bright morning, playing a game of chess. So intent were we upon our play that not one word had been spoken, save an occasional monosyllable: “Check!” when Harry came running up the gravel walk toward us. The boy’s eyes seemed black with indignation, his face flushed with anger.

“What is it, Harry?” we both exclaimed in a breath. “What has happened – another battle? Tell us quickly!”

“. . . The white yankees, who were quartered here at the river to picket the town have been removed, and Heaven knows they were bad enough, but now a negro regiment has replaced them and will be here tonight!”

Our Mother’s face grew pale. She arose and placed her hands on Harry’s and my shoulders as we stood beside her, saying: “Through Captain Cole’s reign, our Father in Heaven has guarded us, my children: I do not believe the negroes can be worse than Captain Cole’s men were. . .”

(Netta to Harry): “A regiment of them, did you say, Harry?” I asked. “Yes, And we hear they are going to draft all the able-bodied men under forty-five years.”

“Have they white or negro officers?”
“Oh, white officers, all of them. And what is worse, I hear they are going to camp out of town in this lot of ours next to the meadow.”
“Oh, that is too outrageous,” exclaimed Mother.

Just at this moment was seen approaching from one of the servant’s cottages, a stately elderly negro woman with a tall white turban on her gray head and a red kerchief crossed over her chest. She was walking briskly and talking to herself.

“There comes Aunt Peggy (Washington),” I said. “Mother, she must have heard the bad news.”

“Yes,” continued Harry, ”for George was in town with me.”

Peggy Washington said: “Lord Miss Netta, is that so about the soldiers coming to this town and drafting everybody they can?”

Netta: “Yes, Peggy. Harry says they really are to be here tonight. I was just going to send for you and tell you to fix up something to eat for the boys, Bill, Thompson and George, and send them out to the farm (Oak Hill on the Kearneysville Pike) before sun up tomorrow morning. They must stay there all day tomorrow. Be sure they start very early.”

Peggy: “Yes, that’s so. I’ll get them off in time. The nasty trash. They aren’t going to get my grandsons, all the children I’ve got left, and make them fight against the ones they they played with all their lives.”

Netta: “Well, you see, Peggy, we don’t know what these new men will do; but the boys will be safe at Oak Hill.”

Peggy: “Yes, that’s so. I’ll get them off in time.”

Henrietta: They must hide during the day and return home at night for food; and none of them must go to town tonight,” said Mother.

“No m’am! They won’t want to go to town tonight!”

Netta Lee wrote:
Sure enough, it was well. Peggy got her boys off early to Oak Hill for the report was true and next day negro troops encamped in our fields; and Harry called to me: “Just come and see how they are shooting down all the hogs in sight.” And Mother added: “I am glad I made the boys lock up all the sheep, which are quieter animals than these hogs, though, no doubt they will soon follow, except (they will) love hog meat better than anything unless it is chickens.”

. . . (As he looked through a field-glass, his mother asked Harry): “What are they doing now, Harry?” “A squad of them seems to be coming this way.”

Mother hastily turned to the door, saying: “Come, let us go in. I don’t want them to see us looking at them.”

We went into the library, where I busied myself buckling the belt of my little six-shooter around my waist, taking care that its bright silver mounting could be seen. On a table near her was Mother’s larger one, similarly mounted. She was just about to lay her hands upon it when Jinny, her old Granny’s (Peggy Washington) favorite, came bursting into the room . . .

“Oh Mistiss, Granny says come down in the kitchen quick, please ma’am. Those soldiers are down there.”

Hastily Mother placed her pistol in her pocket, keeping her hand upon it. Then all of us started to the basement kitchen. There we found a party of six or seven stalwart negro soldiers insolent and swaggering. None however were actually inside the door; but two were on the threshold and swearing at Peggy, who had thus far kept them at bay with a large butcher knife and her tongue – the latter weapon being the sharper of the two. She was arguing manfully with them, saying: “I’m not afraid of yankees!”

“What does all this mean?” asked Mother, who met the two of them as they succeeded in pushing past Peggy, starting to come up the basement stairs. “What are you here for; who sent you?” asked Mother.

“We were sent here for your three young colored men,” the man replied. “We’re gathering up recruits.” (NOTE: William, Thompson and George were all draftable age in their late teens. – JS)

Peggy broke in with: “I told them, Miss Netta, that there weren’t any men here. Then they told me they were going to search my room and the house and see if I didn’t hide them.”

“Well,” said mother, “. . . and tell your officers there are only young boys. Go now, and don’t dare to come to this house and try to steal our young servants.”

“We’re only doing what we’ve been sent and ordered to do. We have to obey orders or get shot,” replied the spokesman.

“Yes,” said mother, “We heard before you came here that one of your officers shot a man for refusing to black his boots. Is that true?”

“Yes, ma’m, he did that very thing. ’Twas our Captain.” (NOTE: An in-depth review of service records shows no accidental death of men in Rickard’s company G, the company in Shepherdstown. In letters and speeches after the war, Rickard conveyed an attitude of an abolitionist on a mission when speaking of his role as a USCT officer. One might see this account as Netta Lee and Henrietta B. Lee projecting their perception of a cruel slaveholder in Virginia on the persona of a USCT officer.-JS)

“Well, now you obey my orders and go to your officers and tell them what I have told you: “There are no men here; and also tell them that Southern women know how to shoot as well as their men do. Go!” said Mother. (Netta wrote): I was not slow to let them see the hilt of my pistol, and Mother kept her hand on hers. Harry, too kept around, with his military belt and Confederate buckle, showing that he also might be carrying arms, as he was, for in that belt was hidden a sharp, two-edged dagger.

Only for a short time were the negro soldiers encamped near Bedford; they seemed to have been sent here to gather up negro recruits, and having accomplished their purpose, were soon replaced by a company of white men under the command of Captain Teeters.

George, Thompson, and Bill had kept well out of sight of the negro soldiers and Harry had kept his chickens in close confinement, too, up to the day of their departure. So the day the negroes marched across the Potomac, Harry came in saying: “Mother, I think I may as well let all those fowl out.” Those two game roosters have fought every day since I penned them in the chicken house and have nearly killed each other. Bill and I have named them Abe and Jeff.

“Well,” said Mother, “put one of them in the cellar and tell Peggy she can kill him tomorrow.” “All right!” says Harry, “I will imprison Abe. – (2).

There are records suggesting two of Peggy Washington’s three grandsons did, indeed, wind up in uniform with the U.S. Colored Troops.

Service records indicate enlistments into the U.S. Colored Troops by two men with the names of 56-year old (1864) Peggy Washington’s grandsons, both enlistees also born in Jefferson County. It should be noted that the Lees refer to enlistment men in their households as “boys,” creating a wrong impression of their age.

There is a record of a Jefferson County-born African American named William H. Washington, who was born in 1834 in Jefferson County, and who enlisted in 1864 in the 32nd USCT Infantry at Chambersburg, PA. He was at least the same generation of the Lee’s butler named “Bill.”

Service Records also show a Jefferson County-born African-American named George Washington, enlisting September 12, 1864 at Harper’s Ferry into the 37th U.S. Colored Troops in Company K. He deserted October 1, 1864.

There are no service records by the name of Ms. Washington’s third grandson, Thompson, but a 35-year old African-American by that name appears in the 1870 Census in the adjacent Loudoun County, Va. – (3).

Robert Summers, curator and webmaster for 19usct.com website gives details of men who were with Co. G of the 19th USCT at the time of the visit to the County in April, 1864.

Summers gives a brief biography of their white commander:

25-year-old James H. Rickard, from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, joined the 18th Connecticut Volunteers on August 7, 1862, fought at Winchester, Virginia on June 13-14-15, 1863, received an appointment as Captain in the 19th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops on March 12, 1864, and joined the regiment at Camp Birney, Baltimore, Maryland, on March 31, 1864. He was discharged from the Union Army by reason of physical disability (malaria) on March 26, 1866. After the Civil War, Rickard lived in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, working as a merchant. Captain Rickard died on May 5, 1914 and is buried in Union Cemetery, North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Summers provides the text of an 1894 lecture by Captain Rickard before the Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society.

. . . at least 186,097 black soldiers, mostly ex-slaves, fought for the United States government, and that 36,847 of this number (nearly twenty percent) were either killed or died in United States hospitals. That they took part in 449 engagements, and for soldierly bearing and heroism challenged comparison with their more fortunate white comrades.

Soon after joining my regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Perkins, in command, obtained permission to take the regiment up the Shenandoah Valley recruiting. Arrived at Harper’s Ferry, with much difficulty we obtained a four-mule baggage wagon and started up the Valley for Winchester.

Col. Perkins was a peculiar individual, and seemed bent on making some kind of a demonstration with his regiment of colored men. When about halfway from Berryville to Winchester our advance guard were fired upon, and returned the fire; for a moment some confusion prevailed, as it was expected we were intercepted by a rebel force. After forming a line to the left of the road in a rocky piece of woods, an officer was sent forward to ascertain the cause of the firing. It was found that a company of our scouts, dressed in gray, had opened fire on our men to see how they would stand. Our men then returned the fire and did not flinch. One colored man was struck on the forehead by a minie ball, and a piece of his skull as large as a silver half dollar knocked out, but it did not knock him down. He was assisted by his comrades, and when the wagon came up he was put in, and when after several days we returned, he was sent to the hospital, and came back healed, and did good service afterward. Our expedition continued to Winchester, where the Colonel intended to pass the night, but having served in this valley previously and knowing the danger of remaining there, I prevailed upon him to move on to Bunker Hill, where we might be within supporting distance from Martinsburg should we be attacked; and I had information that a superior mounted force of the enemy were present.

Rickard provides the larger context in which Company G came to Shepherdstown:

On the way to Bunker Hill that night we met about eight hundred of our cavalry passing up the valley from Martinsburg; they were attacked the next morning and entirely routed, proving the wisdom of my insisting that we move on and not stop over night there with our small force of less than 750 men, untrained and untried.

From Martinsburg we passed over into Maryland to Shepherdstown and back to Harper’s Ferry. I was then ordered to proceed with my company to Charlestown with three days rations, and “recruit vigorously.” My men had only five rounds of ammunition. I asked for 40 and was refused. I went under protest, as I knew that with less than one hundred colored men, ten miles away from any assistance, with only five rounds of ammunition, it was a foolhardy adventure, as Mosby with his guerrillas was scouring that country continually, and there were probably more Confederate soldiers in Charlestown at that time, well-armed, than my company numbered. It was a cold stormy night, about the first of April, when I arrived there. I quartered my men in a church, situated on the south of a square, the country to the south of the church being open toward a knoll where John Brown was hung. After seeing that the men were comfortably cared for, I found quarters near by in a cottage. The woman, whose husband was in the rebel army, was violently loyal to the Confederate cause. After much bantering and my offer to pay, I got a good supper, and a feather bed on the floor in front of a good fire. I was very anxious, and placed four or five pickets out and a sentinel in front of my door, with orders to report to me immediately any noise like the tramp of cavalry.

I was just getting into a doze, between one and two o’clock. The sentinel knocked on the door and said, “I hear cavalry.” Having removed only my sword and boots, I was outside in an instant. I could hear the heavy tramp of a large force of horsemen apparently entering the place from the northwest. I had the men quietly aroused, and knapsacks packed without lights, and held a hasty consultation with my lieutenant (Raymore) and decided that “discretion was the better part of valor.” It was raining and intensely dark. I moved down the macadamized pike towards Harper’s Ferry, where if attacked I might be within reach of assistance if necessary. We continued our march about four miles, when we reached a cavalry vidette, thrown out from Harper’s Ferry. I ascertained from him that a force of cavalry of our own troops had gone up the valley on a reconnoitering expedition, and on account of the muddy condition of the roads had gone up the road to the north, and entered the place from the northwest. Knowing now that there were troops between me and the enemy I was relieved of my anxiety, retraced my steps, and went back to the same quarters and slept soundly. – (4).

According to Summers’ research, these are some of the men who were active in Co. G. of the 19th U.S. Colored Troop in April, 1865, at the time the company participated in recruiting in Jefferson County and in Shepherdstown:

Alexander, James
39-year-old James Alexander enlisted in Frederick, Maryland on December 31, 1863. Older men were prized for their maturity, and Alexander was immediately promoted to 1st Sergeant of Company G. He served with the regiment throughout the war, and afterwards in Texas. He was mustered out with the rest of the regiment on January 15, 1867 in Brownsville, Texas.

Banks, Jenkins
30-year-old Jenkins Banks enlisted in Dorcester, Maryland on January 6, 1864, and mustered into the 19th Regiment on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Private Banks was taken sick on June 11, 1865 while the regiment was en route to Texas after the war, and taken to the New Orleans quarantine hospital. After recuperating, he joined the regiment in Texas. Unfortunately, Banks contracted dysentery while in Texas, and died of that disease on September 7, 1865 at Galveston, Texas. Other records show the date of death as July 22, 1865. Private Banks was originally buried in Galveston, Texas, but his remains were later transferred to the Alexandria National Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana.

Bond, John
30-year-old John Bond enlisted on January 7, 1864 in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and mustered into 19th USCT on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. In the early spring of 1864 Private Bond served as part of a Union Army recruiting party that recruited slaves from the farms and plantations He died of pneumonia five months later, on August 21, 1864, at the City Point, Virginia, Army Hospital. The hospital failed to report Bond’s death to the regiment, which carried him as sick for the balance of the war, and as a deserter after the war. Finally, in 1883, when processing his widow’s pension application, the Army discovered and corrected its mistake, removed the charge of desertion, and corrected Bond’s records to show that he had died in the line of duty.

Briscoe, James
18-year-old James Briscoe was a slave of Edward Wilkens of Kent County, Maryland when he enlisted on January 1, 1864. He mustered into the 19th Regiment USCT on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Wilkens was awarded $300 compensation for James Briscoe’s enlistment. Private Briscoe served with his regiment throughout the war, and afterwards in Texas. He died in the Post Hospital at Brownsville, Texas on July 31, 1865 of chronic diarrhea. He was buried in National Cemetery at Fort Brown in Brownsville, Texas. In 1911, National Cemetery was closed and his remains were moved to Alexandria National Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana.

Butler, John
23-year-old John F. Butler enlisted on January 7, 1864 in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and mustered into the 19th Regiment USCT on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Corporal Butler was wounded by a minie ball at Petersburg, Virginia on September 30, 1864 and sent to the Summit House Army General Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he died of erysipelas on March 20, 1865. Mr. Butler was survived by his wife Sylvia Butler.

Chambers, Samuel
20-year-old Samuel Chambers enlisted in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland on January 2, 1864, and mustered into the 19th Regiment on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Private Chambers died of pneumonia on August 1, 1864 at the Army hospital in City Point, Virginia.

Cooper, Lewis
30-year-old Lewis Cooper, a married man, enlisted in Cecil County, Maryland on January 2, 1864 and mustered into the 19th Regiment on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Private Cooper fell ill and was sent to the L’Ouverture Army Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia on October 14, 1864. He died there on November 30, 1864. The cause of death was listed as Ascites. He was buried at Alexandria’s Freedmen’s Cemetery, but subsequently interred at Soldiers Cemetery, now known as Alexandria National Cemetery.

Demby, Emery
26-year-old Emery Demby was married to Sarah M. Demby when he enlisted on January 6, 1864 in Talbot County, Maryland. He mustered into 19th USCT on January 10, 1864. Demby was with the regiment throughout the war, and in Texas afterwards. He died of cholera on November 20, 1866 in Brownsville, Texas.

Hackett, Thomas
23-year-old Thomas Hackett enlisted on January 7, 1864 in Dorcester County, Maryland, and mustered into the 19th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Private Hackett served with the regiment throughout the war, and afterwards in Texas. He became ill while in Texas and died of bone fever at the Post Hospital in Brownsville, Texas on August 10, 1865. He was buried in National Cemetery at Fort Brown in Brownsville, Texas. In 1911, National Cemetery was closed and his remains were moved to Alexandria National Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana.

King, Thomas
18-year-old Thomas King was a slave of Henry King in Somerset County, Maryland when he enlisted there on January 6, 1864. He mustered into the 19th Regiment USCT on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Private King fell ill with inflammation of the lungs and was sent to L’Ouverture Army Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia on April 26, 1864. He was released from the hospital on June 6, 1864 and returned to his regiment outside Petersburg, Virginia. Private King was killed in action at the battle of Cemetery Hill near Petersburg on July 30, 1864.

Kinnard, Charles
24-year-old Charles Kinnard enlisted on January 7, 1864 in Dorchester County, Maryland. He mustered into the 19th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Private Kinnard served with the regiment for the rest of the war, and went with the regiment to Texas after the war. He fell sick on February 25, 1865 and died in the Army hospital in Brownsville, Texas on November 12, 1865 from chronic diarrhea.

Lindsey, Stephen
21-year-old Stephen Lindsey enlisted on January 2, 1864 in Kent County, Maryland, and mustered into the 19th Regiment USCT on January 10, 1864. Private Lindsey was killed in action at the battle of Cemetery Hill outside Petersburg, Virginia on July 30, 1864.

Matthews, Judson
Matthews enlisted on January 5, 1864 and mustered into the 19th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops as a Sergeant on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. While the regiment was stationed in Texas, Sergeant Matthews was sick most of the time in the post hospital at Brownsville, Texas, suffering from pains in his stomach, legs, feet, and head. The common diagnosis for this illness at the time was bone fever. He was still sick when he mustered out of the Army on January 15, 1867 at Brownsville.

Murray, Henry
30-year-old Henry Murray enlisted on January 1, 1864 in Kent, Maryland, and mustered into the 19th USCT on January 10, 1864 at Camp Stanton, Benedict, Maryland. Murray was judged to have valuable leadership skills, as he was soon promoted to Corporal. Corporal Murray died during the regiment’s march to the battlefield at Petersburg, Virginia.

Captain Rickard wrote his widow:

To all whom it may concern

Camp in the field near Petersburg VA
June 19, 1864

Madam:

I have to announce to you the sad intelligence that your husband “Henry Murray,” a Corporal in my Company died this morning. He has not been well for some time & yesterday he accidentally fell into a small stream which we crossed on a march. He was brought along in an ambulance & died this morning. He was a good & faithful soldier. I regret his loss & sympathize with you in your bereavement.

Respectfully Yours,

J.H. Rickard
Capt., 19th U.S.C. Troops
Comd’g Co. G

It should also be noted that thirty-year-old free African-American William Spellman in Charlestown enlisted in the 19th USCT regiment in Frederick, MD, May 24th that same year, fought at the “Mine” and Petersburg and mustered out January 15, 1867 in Brownsville, Texas. – (5).

Overall, Service Records indicate that as many as 158 African-American men who were born within Jefferson County served in the United States Army with a rank of private up to major, which was the rank of Martin R. Delany, who was personally recommended by President Abraham Lincoln for appointment and promotion to major following an interview at the White House in early February, 1865.

Two other enlisting African—Americans from Jefferson County who may have also worked for the Botelers and or Pendletons were William Bunkins who enlisted July 13, 1864 into the 23rd USCT Infantry Regiment when he was about 24-years-old, and Randolph Thornton, who enlisted into the 3rd USCT Infantry Regiment on July 3rd, 1863, when he was twenty-three-years old.

William, who served as a hospital steward at Camp Casey in Virginia throughout the war and lived in Jefferson County in 1880, is a likely relation to a Wilson or Nelson Bunkins, who was born in 1841 and was the husband of Margaret Bunkins, a servant, along with their daughter Fanny, for the Botelers on the fateful day in July, 1864 when Fountain Rock burned.

Randolph Thornton, who mustered out in Jacksonville, Florida in 1865 and was living with his family in Charlestown in 1880, may have been a relation to the only African-American Thornton family in the County in the 1850s, a large enslaved family that worked for both the Pendletons and the Botelers, and some of whom emigrated to Liberia in 1855. – (6).

Referencecs/Image Credits;

Chapterette 20: The United States Colored Troops’ Company G of the 19th Regiment Knocks on Henrietta Bedinger Lee’s Door at Bedford.

1. Jefferson County Historical Society Magazine, Volume LXII. December 1996.
Fragments of a Diary of Shepherdstown – Events During the War 1861-5.

2. Netta Lee Diary, pp. 8-11.

3. Service Records, United States Colored Troops. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

4. Robert Summers – Curator/Webmaster for http://19usct.com

5. Ibid.

6. Service Records of the United States Colored Troops.

NEXT: Chapterette 21. https://civilwarscholars.com/shepherdstown/thy-will-be-done-21-tom-beall-kizzie-and-her-secret-society-by-jim-surkamp/