“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 18 Tippie Recalls the Fight Near Fountain Rock in July, 1863. by Jim Surkamp.

1467 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20180824022036/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-18-tippie-recalls-the-fight-near-fountain-rock-in-july-1863/

Tippie_Cameo


It was in July, 1863, a time of so much interest to all Virginians, when the tide of battle ebbed and flowed like an angry flood over our lovely Valley leaving desolation and sorrow in its path. Our home, known as Fountain Rock, was about one mile from the Potomac river, directly on the turnpike between Shepherdstown and Kearneysville, a point on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

July 16 was an unusually quiet day. No Federal soldiers were to be seen riding over the country. Consequently our fears were aroused knowing, as we did from experience that a calm always came before a storm. The next morning we found that our fears were not groundless, for a large force under General Gregg had crossed the Potomac and some were encamped on the turnpike and some on the road leading to Martinsburg.

UNWELCOME VISITORS

Stragglers, mostly from Col. Gregg’s regiment, began to swarm all over the place. Numerous and outrageous were the depredations they committed. Hearing a thumping at the back of the house, we went in and found two men in the pantry. “What are you doing here?” said my mother, with dignity. One of them impudently answered: “Oh, we just came to see what sort of style you lived in.” and added mockingly, “I’ll take that ham, if you please.” Turning around, she found he had already done so. He then reached over and said: “I’ll take these preserves too.” “No,” she said, “I don’t think you will.” He said: “I’d like to know who in the hell will prevent me?” “I will,” she said, very quietly and leaning forward, she put out her hand and gave a little push, which sent the preserves to the floor with a crash. He looked startled for a moment, but quickly recovered and sneered: “Oh, that’s your style is it?” “Yes, and you walk out of the house. It is a pity you had no mother to teach you not to break into houses and steal.” The reference to his mother seemed to rouse him and he said: “ I have a mother, and as good a one as you, if you are a right good-looking woman.” Nevertheless, he walked very meekly off.

ASKING FOR A GUARD

So great were the ravages committed that my young sister and cousin from Baltimore went into town to ask for a guard. When the complaint was laid before General (David) Gregg, he turned to an officer and said, “Tell Colonel (John) Gregg that I have nothing but complaints of his regiment this morning, and if needs be, he must take one-half-his men to keep the other half in order.” I doubt if the order was ever delivered, for while he was speaking a courier came in and reported “a large body of rebels advancing on the turnpike from Leetown.”

The girls now anxious to be at home, asked for an escort, for the soldiers had been very impertinent to them on their way into town. An escort was readily granted, and although our house was near the outposts, he came all the way to the door and there received my mother’s thanks for his courtesy. She also asked him his name, which at first he refused to give, but upon her reminding him that he knew what a day might bring forth, he gave Major Gaston of General Gregg’s staff. None but those who have seen and felt it can realize our feelings as we saw the enemy advance in such order and numbers, knowing as we did that only a few miles further on they were to meet our forces, among whom were many friends near and dear. Soon a few stray shots were heard, then the drumbeat and all stragglers were drawn in and quiet reigned for a little while. Then came the whir and shriek of the shells as they passed over the house, and the villainous little “zip:” of minie balls as they cut leaves from the hedge around the door. All of us retreated to the cellar. The family consisted of my mother, her two daughters, her niece, her two little grandchildren, whose mother was in Baltimore, a negro woman, and a terror-stricken dog.

A FIGHT TO BE REMEMBERED

All that evening the battle raged. The Federal wounded were brought from the field and laid upon the lawn before and under the protection of the of the house until they could be taken away, some few in ambulances, others on horses or on stretchers. I shall never forget the sight of a white horse, his whole fore-quarter stained with the life-blood of whom who was lying dead across his back. The firing never ceased until late in the night. Our house was kept closed and perfectly dark. The troops had no time to tarry and I heard them, as they passed to-and-fro from the spring, wonder where the women of the house were. All night we waited in the darkness, each with a candle, a few matches, and a piece of chocolate in our pockets. These had been kept for a time of need, and we thought that time had come. It was truly a night of horrors. By two or three o’clock all the Federals had gone and we heard the smooth canter of the Southern horseman take the place of the sharp ring of the steel shod horses of the Northern cavalry. Daylight found me with a pale face and hollow, but a hearty welcome for the Confederates, who rode into say that they would be back to breakfast. Our friends from town, alarmed for our safety , came almost as soon. Seeing a soldier and being anxious to know who of our friends had come, my young sister asked him to what regiment he belonged, to the great amusement of all around, for it proved to be General Fitzhugh Lee himself. Among the first questions asked was, who was in command of the forces opposed to us. When General Lee was told that it was General Gregg, he instantly said: “I wonder if he knew I was in command on this side?” and I gathered that they had been either classmates or friends before the war.

Oh, the contrast between two days divided by one single night! The day before terror and gloom prevailed and today the house filled with joy and gladness. We had little or nothing to give them to eat, all having been taken from us the day before and the garden trampled by the troops.

While rations that had been sent from the camp were being prepared, we gathered around the piano to entertain our guests with music and to deliver to General J.E.B. Stuart some music that had been in our keeping for several months, sent to him by an admiring friend in Baltimore. “Soldier Boy Nineteen Years Old,” “Benny Havens, Oh” were sung with a hearty good will. Impromptu verses to the latter air were composed by nearly all present. General Stuart’s contribution, written on the back of a piece of music was the following:

STUART’S IMPROMPTU

To the bonnie lass, Miss Lottie,
Our adoration’s due;
She soothes our hearts in times of woe,
With music soft and true.
May she rule her beau of nineteen,
The gallant Brigadier,
Who, though he vanquish men, I ween,
Her own command must fear.

To our jolly friend, Fitz Lee,
A health before we go.
He has a heart all full of glee,
A strong one for the foe.
May his triumphs long continue,
And Miss Lottie always know
The number of his regiment
And smiles on him bestow.

Later in the day a Baltimore American newspaper was gotten hold of by some means and the portico rang with merriment as the account of the battle from a Federal point of view was read out, and its inaccuracy wondered at and commented on. I heard General Lee say: “Well, I have not been in a hotter place since the war began than that fight was at one time yesterday.”

It was indeed a hard-fought fight, though it had had but small mention in the “Annals of the War.” it was here that Colonel Drake of the First Virginia Cavalry (formerly Stuart’s) was killed. When we congratulated Colonel Morgan on his promotion, he said feelingly: “Not yet! Not yet! Too late have I paid my last tribute to poor Drake.”

But this was no abiding place for either army. When the Federals were driven across the river, the Confederates retired beyond the railroad and so it was with us until peace settled down over the whole land and the war became as it now is, a thing of memory only. – (1).

NEXT: Chapterette 19. Click Here.

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 19 Henry K. Douglas Writes Tippie From a Cold Island Prison by Jim Surkamp.

690 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20180824031612/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-19-henry-k-douglas-writes-tippie-from-a-cold-island-prison/

henry-kyd-douglas

Chapterette 19 – December 17, 1863 – Imprisoned Henry Kyd Douglas writes Tippie Boteler from his deep-frozen island prison on Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie.

Douglas wrote another: “Johnson’s Island is just the place to convert visitors to the theological belief of the Norwegian that Hell has torments of cold instead of heat. (This winter) two men would squeeze into one bunk so as to double blankets, would wrap themselves up heads and feet, and in the morning break through the crackling ice, formed by the congealing of the breath that escaped, as one has seen on the blankets of horses at sleighing time. – (1).

Needing a woman to dream of in his adverse state, Douglas continues to write Tippie from his freezing and harsh prison. It is the kind of letter from a man who is pushing uphill against the gathering evidence that the woman he continues to write to has wearied of him, and even has become hostile to his very chiding, very – however contradictory – self-absorbed attentions. One senses that she has turned her heart toward her future husband, Dudley Digges Pendleton who is also away at war.

My Dear Miss Tippie
Circumstances have prevented my answering your last (letter) sooner but it makes no difference, for neither my precepts nor examples seem to have the slightest effect in making you more prompt. The fact is that on that subject you are perfectly incorrigible. And, moreover, who had riled you so thoroughly that you were compelled to vent some of your temper upon my unoffending head? In your last, you certainly laid aside your good humor and reminded me of a certain character in romance that I’ve read of lately who used to display his indignation by demonstrations that meant a great deal but did really little harm. He was a good-natured fellow withal. And here let the comparison stop. All this by way of preamble.

On his sub-freezing prison:
This is great country up here, – or at least that pent-up part of it that I inhabit – and of most remarkable climate. Snow, rain, ice, and winter generally. The normal condition of the thermometer is below “freeze.” I will mention an instance illustrative told me by the reliable gentleman himself. Several gentleman were engaged in rather an earnest conversation near the woodpile one day after sunset. The next morning, a cook collected chips, sticks, etc. and placed them upon the fire. Directly afterwards, there were heard to proceed from the stove disconnected fragments of oaths, cuss words, intermingled with several laughs and a few sneezes — all in the well-known voices of the two gentlemen aforesaid. What was it, think you? Nothing more than part of the conversation of the said gentlemen, which had frozen as it was spoken and was now being melted and dissolved into sound and space. Maybe you will doubt it? If you do and will come up here, I can show you the stove. I dare you to test the matter. Indeed I could tell you many similar facts, equally reliable and illustrative of this icicle isle . . .

Bravely, or maybe blindly, Douglas continues:
You call my effusions attacks and seem to imply that you think the muses are ill treated and imposed upon: next, you tell me that you have an “omnium gatherum” in which you keep all the absurd ridiculous productions that reach you and gravely ask me to contribute to it. No, I’m obliged to you. I have recovered from the scathing criticism you inflicted upon me in our salt-box days (referring to a small academy that was a salt box structure in Shepherdstown located on the north side of New Street between King and Church streets before the war.-JS).

Douglas continues concluding with a remark certain to achieve his demise with Tippie Boteler – he denies Christmas:
Xmas is apace. I always despised the time of year and shall in all probability drop it very pleasantly.

Yet he persists to the end:
Can’t you get me up an individual poem on the subject? When you next write, don’t forget to send me your carte de visite – please.
. . .Yours as usual Henry Kyd Douglas. . . Write! And at once! – (2).

NEXT: Chapterette 20. Click Here.

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

4403 words

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/

African_American_sergeant_Loc_Gov_FRAME_FINAL

.

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).

NEXT: Chapterette 21. Click Here.

“Thy Will Be Done” (21) – Tom Beall, “Kizzie,” and Her “Secret Society” by Jim Surkamp

1874 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20181024154226/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-21-tom-beall-kizzie-and-her-secret-society/

Chapterette 21 – Spring, 1864 – Netta Lee Remembers Tom Beall and Kiziah, and Kiziah’s “Secret Society.”

Spring, 1864 (estimated): Tom Beall and his daughter Kiziah at Bedford. “Kizzie” appears to work for the Federals, as remembered by Netta Lee:

“Uncle Tom” had been a member of my father’s family for many years and enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest person on the place. He was a cripple and Father had given him a tall bay horse for his own use. All the family at Bedford were devoted to him, with the possible exception of some of the younger negroes, whom he bossed around with his powerful voice. When he yelled at the little children, they ran to do his bidding or scrambled out of reach of his cane.

“Uncle Tom” was honest and reliable and (my father) often sent him to the county-seat on important errands, either to the bank or with papers to be delivered to the clerk of the court. Tom was proud of the trust reposed in him. Upon one occasion I happened to be in the kitchen when the old man came in from one of these Charlestown expeditions in order to warm himself and get his supper. Turning to Nace, a younger man, who had risen from his meal, Tom said: “Nace, what’s the reason Mr. Lee didn’t send you to Charlestown instead of me?”

“Because, Tom, Mr. Lee wanted me to help John to haul the logs from the farm.”

“Huh!” chuckled Tom. “No, Nace, that isn’t the reason! Mr. Lee had money he wanted to put in the bank; he doesn’t send that money in care of nobody but Tom! That’s why.”

Netta continued in her diary:
Upon one occasion, my father met him near his cabin and thought he looked very dejected, so he asked him: “Tom, how did you leave your daughter? I heard she had been sick.”

“Oh, she’s well; that is, she isn’t sick; but we are in great trouble.”

“What are you in trouble about, Tom? Tell me, and perhaps I can help you,” said my father.

“Well,” replied the old man, “you know all about Kizzie’s owner Mr. Moore, a dying a few weeks ago, and the home all broke up Kizzie will have to go so far away to live with one of their sons. I know I ain’t never gone to see her again. Mr. Lee, Kizzie and I have talked it over and we don’t know what to do. So I’ve come to ask you please to go over to Charlestown and see if they won’t let Kizzie come here to live with you-all and work for you-all and take over the care of me till I dies; and you know, Mr. Lee, that won’t be very long, for I’m most one hundred years old now. Kizzie isn’t young either for she’s clear lost the sight of her left eye.”

Father said: “I will indeed help you, Tom, if it is possible. You have always been a faithful, honest servant to me.”

“God bless you, Mr. Lee.” Tom said fervently.

Mr. Lee went to Charlestown and made some bargain by which Keziah was installed at Bedford, much to the delight of Tom and his daughter. Soon the tall, one-eyed cyclops became an established member of the family. Her chief work was in the laundry and in caring for her old father which for a time she did faithfully. Somehow she seemed to keep aloof from the other servants; when the war came on and old Tom grew more feeble keeping to his bed, Kizzie became restless, spending most of her evenings in town and not with her father. This led the other servants to look upon her with suspicion and one day Peggy came to her mistress, who had been in the habit of sending Tom some little delicacies from her own table and which she thought the old man might relish. Peggy said: “Mistess, Kiz has gone to town and I wish you would come and see Tom. He called me to give him some water, and said he hasn’t had anything to eat today.”

“I don’t believe a word of it, Peggy! You know I have sent his meals every day from the house by Kizzie. He doesn’t know what he is saying; I’ll go and see him.”

Mrs. Lee followed Peggy to Tom’s cabin and was astonished to see how feeble the old man had grown in the past three days. Giving him a glass of wine which she had brought and which he eagerly drank, she said:

“Why, Tom, Peggy tells me you say you have had nothing to eat all day. What do you mean?”

“I mean just that,” and lowering his voice and looking around, eh said: “Where is Kiz?”

“She’s gone to town to her society meeting,” replied Peggy.

“Well, don’t you all tell her, but Mistiss, she’s gotten tired of me and she wants me to hurry up and die. I begged her for vittles, but she said, “Mistiss said I mustn’t eat anything.”

“Why, Tom,” said Mrs. Lee, “I’ve asked her every day since I was last here how you are and she said you were up and about and better. That is why I have not been down for the last day or two.”

He continued: “Mrs. Lee, I’m afraid of Kiz. Please don’t tell her but I haven’t been up, and she wouldn’t give me a drink of water and took the cup away from the stool, cause she says I make trouble when I drink too much.”

Mrs. Lee continued: “Why, Tom, I have sent you three meals every day from the house.” “What did she do with them?”

“I don’t know for the Lord. She hasn’t given them to me. She put something in the stove.”

Peggy said: “Bless goodness, just look over here, opening the door of a large old ten plate stove, from which tumbled pieces of moldy bread and meat and other things.”

Mrs. Lee looked and found piles of good food, all hard and dry and moldy.

“Why Tom, what is the reason Kizzy didn’t give you these things or eat them herself?”

“Mistess, she gets plenty to eat up at the house and she said it wasn’t fit for me to eat, that it would make me worse.”

Mrs. Lee expressed her indignation, saying she would speak to Kizzy in the morning, but old Tom pled for her and seemed to fear Kiz’s wrath. Mrs. Lee and Peggy concluded it was wiser to shut their eyes for the time, as long as the old man lived, which could only be a few days; he was in his ninety-eighth year.

Under Mrs. Lee’s supervision, Peggy fixed him comfortably for the night and brought down a good supper from the house. Peggy told her mistress: “Kizz is going to leave as soon as he father dies, and upon my soul, Miss Netta, I believe she’s trying to starve him to death.”

“Well, Peggy, we will watch him and keep the breath in him as long as we can. You will have to take his meals to him yourself.”

“No indeed, Netta, I was afraid of Kiz too. When she rolls that one white eye at me, I won’t cross her path. You don’t know that woman.”

Netta continued:
I was standing near Mother and Peggy and said: “I will take all of Uncle Tom’s meals to him, Mother, and see that he eats them too.”

Next morning, Kiz was doubtless surprised to find that her fasting prescription had worked so well and that her father was much stronger. I took Uncle Tom a fine, hot breakfast and watched him eat it. Then he turned to his daughter:

“Kiz, Mrs. Lee says it won’t hurt me to eat all I want to,” Keziah gave him a sour look:

“Well, I didn’t say it would. You wouldn’t eat what I fetched you.”

Tom made no reply; perhaps he did not hear her; but each day he grew stronger.

For some time we had suspected that one of the servants was a traitor in our home; now we felt certain it was Kizzy. The house was constantly being searched by the yankees on one pretext or another. One day a squad came in and went from room-to-room; no one seemed to know what they were after. Finally, when they were in my room, adjoining Mother’s, she said: “This is my daughter’s room, what can you possible want here?”

“Well, Madam,” replied he officer, “I will tell you. We were told that there is a hole cut in this floor, beneath the carpet under the bed, in which you have hidden arms and ammunition.”

With great calmness and possession of mind, my mother said: “You have been misinformed. I assure you there is no hold in this room. But you can satisfy yourself; make the men take up the carpet and look!”

I stood aghast at Mother’s self-possession. Adjoining my room was Mother’s chamber, where just such a hole was to be found. In it were my father’s papers – he was a lawyer- as well as other things of value. While the officer stood undecided about ordering the carpet taken up, I said to him:

“Who could have told you such a thing?”

“One of your own servants, madam,” he answered.

“Oh, I know what you must mean!” said Mother. “There is no cellar under this room, but from the cellar proper a person can crawl under it. Come! I’ll lead you there. I see now what you mean; the cellar door is a hole cut in the floor, but it is the porch floor; I will show you.”

By this stroke of diplomacy, Mother led them from the house through another door, while I stepped behind and drew the portiere over the door to Mother’s room. At the same time, I turned the key and taking it out, I put a large chair against the door. The upper part of the door was glazed hence the effect of a large window was produced.

In the meantime, Mother led the men to the back porch,

“Yes, this is just what was described.” said the officer, “ a trapdoor in the floor.”

“Well, gentlemen, search to your satisfaction,” said Mother, “and you are welcome to any government supplies you can find.”

A look of intelligence passed between Mother and me, which the officer caught but misunderstood. He seemed at first determined not to enter, but now changed his mind, supposing he had a bonanza. Turning to a soldier, he said: “Go ahead and search that place thoroughly!”

The soldier entered but hesitated and drew back when he saw only a dark black hole. Mother said to her young son: “Harry get a lamp, that they may see the better, my dear.”

This produced a ripple of laughter among the men; but they waited for the light, though Mother assured them nothing was there to harm them, unless it was the rats. They looked rather sheepish when they came out, the office swearing at his captain for believing negro lies and sending him on a fool’s errand. – (1).

NEXT: Chapterette 22. Click Here.

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 22 Edmund Lee’s Horse-Snatching Caper by Jim Surkamp

2053 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710021020/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-22-edmund-lees-horse-snatching-caper/

EdmundLeeJr

Chapterette 22 – About April, 1864 Netta Lee Remembers Clever Horse-Snatching by Edmund, Her Brother.

Her brother and others almost get caught at their home while stealing Federal horses; A spy in the household is suspected.

One day Mother and I were playing chess on the porch when up came a ragged, barefooted little boy, who looked all around to see if he was observed, then pulled off his cap, turned the lining inside out and produced a crumpled piece of brown paper which he handed to Mother; on it was written:

“Clemmons, Jones and I will be with you all about dark. Keep the coast clear.”

The note was unsigned. The boy had vanished. Mother turned pale and said.: “Oh, how terrible it would be if Edmund and the others were captured here!”

We held council; it was agreed that about dark, if the coast was clear I was to whistle “Dixie” otherwise, “Yankee Doodle,” should be the air. Then Mother went to tell Peggy to have a good supper because Miss Virginia (Bedinger) and Miss Pink (Boteler) were coming out: I went into town to invite these girls and to gather up letters to be sent South. Later, the two boys, Harry (the youngest son) and Laurie (his cousin Lawrence Rust) went to the Charlestown road to watch, while I kept watch over the servants.

When it was quite dark, the boys returned with Edmund, who was taken upstairs to my room, where we had closed the shutters and pulled down the shades. We had had our supper downstairs and Mother had saved some for Edmund which she brought up. Clemmons and Jones had gone to their own homes.

“You see, Pink,” said Edmund, “we have no horses. Ours are just worn out and we had to turn them loose to pasture. We cannot buy others”

“But, Edmund,” said Pink, “your mother offered you her carriage horses.”

“I know,” he replied, “but they are old and unfit to ride, or the yankees would have taken them long ago.”

“This is very true,” said Pink, “but you see, so far only their infantry has been here to guard the river and the B&O Railway. And how vigilantly they do guard both.”

“How on earth did you boys manage to evade them?” asked Virginia.

“Well, you see, Cousin Virginia, we know this country much better than they do and we have friends on both sides of the line, who keep us posted, so we easily slip in between the pickets.”

Mother and Virginia were keeping tab on the time. A goodly supply of edibles had been prepared. Only too soon the hour of departure arrived. Harry and Laurie Rust went out with Edmund, leaving us to silent fears.

Next day, it was decided that Virginia and I should walk across the country to the farmhouse, from whence the crumpled note regarding Edmund’s arrival had concealed where we could leave the bundles of letters to be forwarded southward. These letters were carefully placed in a basket, that a neighbor had sent my mother at the time the note was delivered, which was then filled with peaches.,

Having arrived at the farmhouse, we did not ask for our soldiers but in a lowered voice, we stated that: “These are some of our peaches in return for the pretty yellow ones you sent mother.” The woman nodded looking from the corner of her eyes at at a man standing near us, whom we recognized as a Union sympathizer. “It is all right,” she said.

The second morning after our young soldier left, William Washington, our butler, upon coming into the breakfast room, said: “Marse Harry, Aunt Kiz says she heard in town that the rebel pickets attacked the union pickets out at Kearneysville and got two of the yankees’ horses!”

“You don’t say so!” exclaimed Harry, dropping the book he was reading. “What else did she say, Bill?” Was anybody killed or hurt?”

“Not as she heard, sir.”

“How many rebels attacked them, Bill?”

Bill gave a knowing toss of his head and replied: “Aunt Kizzie says they told her in town there were fifteen or twenty rebs and they cut their bridles and fired a volley and before the yankees could see which way they were, the rebels had gone!”

“I’m glad they didn’t get any of our fellows!” exclaimed Harry, with a sigh of relief.

“So am I, Marse Harry, because who knows who those rebels were?”

“That’s so,” agreed Harry.

“I don’t believe it, either, Marse Harry, they were more than three or four of our fellows. Those yankees always see them double and two can scare them as much as four.”

“Bring in some hot waffles, William.” said his mistress (Mrs. Lee). Upon his exit, she said: “Harry, do you think he suspects anything?”

“I verily do, Mother dear, but he will never betray what he knows. I’ll question him in a day or two, after I have seen some of our boys and learn that our fellows are well out of the county.”

There was a great deal of talk about the attack at Kearneysville, both in and out of town, and many surmises as to who the rebs might be. Laurie came over that night, as he did so often to stay with Harry. They went to bed early as they were going fishing next day. Virginia had gone home and Mother and I occupied her room in the western wing, while the boys slept upstairs in the main building. About two o’clock in the morning Mother was aroused by a fearful pounding on the front door. We sprang from the bed.

“What can it be?” I cried in a terrified tone.

Mother went to the window, raised it, and cautiously peered through the closed shutters asking: “Who is there?”

The pounding ceased upon the opening of the window.

“Who is it and what do you want?” again demanded Mother.

“I am Captain Teeter of the United States Army; open this door instantly or I will break it down,” a savage voice replied.

“I must know first,” returned my brave mother, “why Captain Teeters of the United States Army should be admitted into my house at this hour of the night.”

“Madam, open this door instantly, or I’ll break it down!” said the Captain, banging again. “Your house is surrounded by armed men and anyone trying to escape will be shot down. Open the door at once, do you hear me? I will tell you why when I get in.”

“Well, surely,“ said my mother. “You will give me and my young daughter time to dress?”

He replied: ”Yes, of course, but don’t keep me waiting, or I’ll break down this door.”

In the meantime my mother said to me: “Here, my child, is your pistol. If a man puts his hand on you, shoot to kill. I will do the same.”

With white lips, I caught up my “war-pocket” containing the letters that had come two days before to be taken South and tied them around my waist. I then followed closely behind Mother, each of us holding a light tallow candle in one hand, while the other grasped a loaded revolver, concealed in the folds of our dresses. As Mother unlocked the front door, Captain Teeters, followed by four armed men, pushed rudely by us into the room. Mother followed them and said: “Again, sir, I demand to know why have you come to my house at this hour of the night, with an armed force, to distress two defenseless women?”

“I will tell you now,” said the Captain, as he stepped closer to Mother, thrusting his face insultingly almost into hers as she stepped back indignantly and defiantly raised her head. She firmly clutched her pistol, while I stepped closer to her. Perhaps the officer remembered that a desperate woman is a dangerous one, for he moved back; then with his cold, green eyes fixed intently upon her face, he hissed: “Lead me to the room where those two rebel soldiers are sleeping.”

The sudden relaxation to our tense nerves was so great that we both heaved a sigh of relief. The yankees thought, no doubt, they they had trapped their game. Mother’s eyes danced with an unwonted light as she said:

“My soldiers? Yes, I’ll take you to my soldiers, follow me.” We two women mounted the stairs, while five armed men followed,. As Mother put her hand upon the knob of the door, five pistols clicked as the men cocked them. Mother threw open the door where the two young boys were sleeping, saying as she did so:

“Here, Captain Teeters, are my rebel soldiers, my men, my protectors, God bless them.”

The soldiers seemed astonished and for a moment, stood speechless. Then one man said: “Oh, Captain, don’t wake up the little fellows.”

But Harry had already sprung up. In a few minutes, he and Laurie were dressed and went in advance of Mother and me, with candles in their hands, leading the yankees from room-to-room. When they came to the garret, every soldier stepped back, holding the lights over their heads and allowing the boys to go first. Finding nothing, they slunk off, baffled, and ashamed, not even making an apology for their intrusion.

Of course there was very little sleep for the family at Bedford that night. We assembled in Mother’s room, talking over these events until dawn.

“Do you think, boys, that Bill could have betrayed us to the yankees?” asked Mother.

“No, that we don’t!” answered both boys emphatically, and Harry continued: “I am going to have a talk with Bill in the morning.”

(The next morning) Bill, when questioned, said: “I know Edmund was home the other night. George saw him and Mr. Billy Clemmons when they came over the orchard hill, but we didn’t say anything to no one because we were afraid Aunt Kiz would find out.”

“Why Aunt Kiz, Bill? Do you think she is not fond of us?” asked Harry.

“Yes, sir, but then she isn’t one of our family servants, you know. Besides that, she belongs to that Society in town.”

“What kind of society is it, Bill?”

“Oh, she says it’s a secret society.”

“What kind of secrets do they keep, Bill?”

“I don’t know, Marse Harry,” he said, chuckling. “I don’t think they keep any secrets, but they find out all they can about other people’s secrets and tells them.”

“Do you believe she knew about our boys, being home?”

“I don’t know Marse Harry; we never told her, but she never got home until almost daylight, Wednesday night.”

Harry told Mother what he had pumped out of Bill and we all agreed that Kizzie must have seen the boys as they were leaving and thought they were arriving; hence her report to the society was one night too late. This put us on our guard and each decided to watch Keziah closely.

Within a week, Mother received a note from Edmund; it came by the same boy who brought the first note inside the lining of his cap:

“Mother darling! I know how anxious you have been about us and I take this, our first chance to send you a letter. We found Jones waiting for us at the appointed place and as he had the only horse in the party, he carried all the belongings. And oh, we have enjoyed the good things to eat. We were well posted about the yankee pickets and their horses, tied at a fine place for us, near a clump of cedars.”

“We stole up on the sleeping fellows, and when the only one on guard had this back turned, we cut the halters of two find horses, mounted them and made for the briars. We were covered by a clump of pines and as the other horses were making a fuss, it was some moments before they found out what was the matter. Then they opened fire, but we had the start and the cover. Each of us let fire two pistols apiece in the air, as fast as possible so they thought us double their number and were afraid to follow. No one was hurt and two Confederates are well mounted. More than like our horses were stolen by the yankees from confederate farmers. – (2).

NEXT: Chapterette 23. Click Here.

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 23  July 17-19, 1864 – The Three Burnings by Jim Surkamp.

10,812 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710022425/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-23-july-17-19-1864-the-three-burnings/

24c_Bedford_4_flames

.

Chapterette 23 – July 17-19, 1864 – The Three Burnings; David Hunter Torches Hunter Hill, Fountain Rock and Bedford While their Families Watch and Become Homeless, Another Is Saved by Clever Dealings; Gen David Hunter Planned Widespread Burnings and Was Replaced.

Federal Gen. David Hunter’s raid on County homes, as viewed by David Hunter Strother. Strother, who was born in Martinsburg and whose wife’s family resided in Charles Town, was chief-of-staff to his cousin, Gen. David Hunter, when Gen. Hunter shelled the Virginia Military Institute in Lynchburg in June, 1864. Earlier in late May, 1862 under Gen. Banks’ command, he prevented the firing of structures in Charles Town by an unruly mob of Federal soldiers who had set some buildings alight.

Sunday, July 17th: An order arrived from Washington. Col. Strother wrote in his diary:
Received a telegram from General Halleck informing Gen. Hunter to follow (the enemy) to Chancellorsville if practicable and then fall back if forced toward Washington. He was to devastate the valleys south of the railroad as far as the crows flying over would have to carry knapsacks.

The exact wording of this order was: Captain Martindale, First New York (Lincoln) Cavalry will proceed with cavalry under his command to Charlestown, WV and burn the dwelling house and outbuildings of Andrew Hunter, not permitting anything to be taken therefrom except the family. – (1).

Strother’s diary rejoins: “This need not involve the burning of houses, dwellings. I have begged off Charles Town from being burnt for the third time. He continued: July 18, Monday: The house of Andrew Hunter was burned yesterday by Martindale. I am sorry to see this warfare begun and would be glad to stop it, but I don’t pity the individuals at all. A war of mutual devastation will depopulate the border countries which contain all my kindred on both sides of the question. (NOTE: Strother was a cousin to Gen, Hunter and Gen. Hunter a cousin to Andrew Hunter, who had been the prosecuting attorney in the John Brown Trial in 1859, apparently one reason for his being targeted). Strother goes on: I would fain save some of them but fear that all will go under alike in the end . . .Martindale returned and reports Hunter’s house and made prisoner of Hunter himself, who was concealed in the house. He (Hunter) snapped his fingers and told Martindale he would not care that for the burning if he were ten years younger. – (2).

Sunday, July 17, 1864 – The Charlestown home of Andrew Hunter’s family is burned by the First New York Cavalry on orders. Young neighbor Richard Rutherford describes what happened.

In Charlestown, 14-year-old Richard D. Rutherford, whose family lived on Washington Street and a very short walk from the home of Andrew Hunter’s family, wrote later:

General Hunter had been in command in the valley before Sheridan came . . .One Sunday (July 17th, the day the order was given to burn the Hunter home-JS) we were all at church (Presbyterian Church on Washington Street.-JS) except my father, who had stayed home. Some ten or fifteen of Baylor’s boys had come into town, and as all seemed quiet and peaceful, some of them had ventured to attend church. The minister was in the midst of his sermon when we were startled by several shouts out in front. All made a rush to get the soldiers out first. A squad of yankees had passed, shooting at some of our boys who were visiting at their homes, but who had fled at the first alarm of their picket. Those at church had their horses tied behind the church and so succeeded in getting away over the fence in the rear before the main body of yankees got as far as the church. One of our men, a friend of my fathers, Newton Sadler, had left his horse downtown and walked up to see my father. They were sitting on the porch talking when the yankees dashed by. My father put him up in the attic right under a slate roof, and as it was very warm through the day, he almost roasted to death. My sister took him ice water often through the day, which enabled him to survive the imprisonment.

These yankees had come from General Hunter to burn Mr. Andrew Hunter’s house. They were first cousins and General Hunter, I was afterward told, had on a very handsome ring which Andrew Hunter had given him before the war. Mr. Hunter was at home at the time, but they caught him and brought him to our house, where his daughters were so now we were in a tight place with Mr. Hunter and yankee officers downstairs and Nate Sadler hidden up in the attic. My mother talked to the officer in command and tried to persuade them not to burn the Hunter house, but to give her time to go to Harper’s Ferry to see General Kelley, who was of no use. The men carried great armfuls of hay into each room and put it all to the match. The beautiful home was soon in flames. Nothing was saved but the clothes the family wore. My mother and I, with the help of an old Irishman who lived with us dragged the piano to the door and would have gotten it out had the soldiers not made us let it alone.

When I saw that beautiful home in ruins, I thought no punishment too great for General Hunter. – (3).

THE FAULKNERS SAVE THEIR BOYDVILLE HOME IN MARTINSBURG FROM MARTINDALE’s TORCHES:

The orders also included that “Capt. F. G. Martindale, First New York (Lincoln) Cavalry, will proceed with the cavalry under his command via Charlestown to Martinsburg, W. Va., and burn the dwelling-house and outbuildings of Charles J. Faulkner, not permitting anything to be taken therefrom except the family.” At the last minute the Faulkners reached higher ups in Washington who countermanded the order to burn their beautiful home on Queen Street Boydville.

July 17, 1864 – Martindale is foiled from burning Boydville, the Faulkner’s home in Martinsburg:

As Captain Martindale was leading his cavalry contingent to Martinsburg from Charlestown to burn the estate of Charles and Mary Faulkner, called Boydville, Federal General Averell, commanding in Martinsburg, was working behind the scenes to sabotage the extreme order.

Mrs. Faulkner waited indoors and her friend Mrs. Pierce waited, sitting on the porch as Martindale’s cavalrymen appeared on their long lane coming from Queen Street around nine o’clock.

“I want to see Mrs. Faulkner,” Martindale said ascending the porch. “This is a fine old place,” he said as he was led into the drawing room to see Mrs. Faulkner.

“I have to inform you, Madame, that I have orders from General Hunter to burn Boydville to the ground.”

“Will you let me see your orders?”

“No, my order is a sealed one.”

“Perhaps, you will, however, let me see it.”

Martindale took the order from his pocket, reading: “You are ordered to burn the property of Charles J. Faulkner to the ground and everything in it.”

Mrs. Faulkner said: “Give me one hour’s notice. This is not the property of Mr. Faulkner and neither you nor General Hunter will dare to put a torch to this house. It was given to me by my father, General Elisha Boyd, who was an officer in the War of 1812.”

Martindale was busied with the conversation of Judge Edmond Pendleton and Dr. E. Boyd Pendleton, Mary Faulkner’s nephews and “Union” men. Soon a crowd grew outside antagonizing Martindale’s design. – (4).

Then at last a telegram from President Lincoln arrived:

To Franklin G. Martindale

[c. July 17, 1864?]
The property of Charles J. Faulkner is exempt from the order of General David S. Hunter for the burning of the residences of prominent citizens of the Shenandoah Valley in retaliation for the burning of the Governor Bradford’s house in Maryland by the Confederate forces. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
– (5).

Home Burnings Continue in Shepherdstown as Part of Federal Gen. David Hunter’s More Widespread Plan of Retributive Home-Burning.

Monday, July 18, 1864 – Gen. Hunter reportedly tells the railroad engineer at Harper’s Ferry that he planned to burn many homes, to the alarm of the head of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. B&O President Garrett wrote Federal Secretary of War Edwin Stanton:

Camden Station, Baltimore, July 18, 1864. (Received 8.30 PM)

Hon. E. M. Stanton: I have just received the following report from our engineer at Harper’s Ferry:

“I called to see General Hunter this morning and asked him to send a force upon the line of our road between Harper’s Ferry and Opequon, to enable us to relay the track and get road open. He replied: ‘Will send a force in a day or two.’ He also stated that he had burned Andrew Hunter’s residence at Charlestown, and had given orders to burn Faulkner’s house at Martinsburg, and, that it is his intention if he finds guerrillas at Charlestown to burn that town; and as Clarke County only polled two votes against the ordinance of secession, he will burn every house in the county.”

If this course is pursued I apprehend such retaliation will follow as will largely add to the losses and sufferings of our border. . . – John W. Garrett, president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. – (6).

General Hunter Issues More Orders to Threaten Home-Burnings and the Continued Imprisonment of Andrew Hunter In Charlestown.

Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., July 19, 1864.

Brig. Gen. W. W. Averell, Commanding Troops, Martinsburg, W. Va.:
GENERAL: The major-general commanding (HUNTER) directs that you release the citizens of Hedgesville, now in custody at Martinsburg, only upon the condition that they pay to Mr. Cookus, of North Mountain Station, double the amount of property destroyed for him during the recent rebel raid. If the money is not paid at once their houses will be burned, and their families will be sent across our lines south. He also directs that you keep Mr. Andrew Hunter, of Charlestown, in safe custody, not permitting him to escape under any circumstances. I am, general, most respectfully, your obedient servant, P. G. Bier, Assistant Adjutant. – (7).

Strother continues in his diary:
Tuesday, July 19: Orders given to burn the houses of E. J. Lee and Alex Boteler. Martindale went forward to execute it. His description of the women and the scene is heartbreaking. Saw Gen. Hunter at dinner . . . – (8).

JULY 19, 1864 – THE BURNING OF THE BOTELERS’ HOME – FOUNTAIN ROCK – OUTSIDE SHEPHERDSTOWN:

Recalled by Elizabeth Stockton Pendleton from the recollections of her mother, Tippie Boteler:

In the summer of 1864, a corps of fifteen thousand Federal soldiers entered the Valley of Virginia, and growing crops, railroads, mills, barns, and dwelling houses were destroyed by the order of the commanding general, David Hunter. Among the homes laid in ruins in this campaign was that of Alexander R. Boteler, at that time a member of the Confederate Congress at Richmond. His home, Fountain Rock, was situated a short distance from Shepherdstown and both armies had passed many times over the farm till there was little left to be taken by the raiders that could be of any value as munitions of war. The house itself, however, with its valuable library, pictures and furniture had until then remained uninjured. A magnificent spring of water on the place made it a favorite halting spot for soldiers on the march, and situated, as it was, at the junction of two important roads traversed constantly by Union and Confederate troops, it is no wonder that the little household of women at Fountain Rock passed through many terrible experiences and grew accustomed to dangers and mischiefs and fear of them.

I seem to be with the little group at Fountain Rock on that hot day in July – my mother, my widowed Aunt Elizabeth (Mrs. Rezin Davis Shepherd), with her little three children, and Margaret Bunkins, the only servant left upon the place. I can see my frail, white-faced aunt looking like death after a severe illness, just creeping about the house. It is easy to recognize my mother in the vigorous, cheerful charming young girl who has looked after her sister’s comfort, minded the babies, cooked the dinner, and at last goes wearily up to her room for a moment’s rest.

It is all as if I had been there in spirit. The oppressive stillness of the mid-summer afternoon, the loneliness of the place, the voice of the negro woman singing in the laundry room of the spring house coming faintly up through the lilac hedge to the upper chamber. The slight dark-eyed girl brushing out her auburn hair preparatory to her nap. And then the appearance of my aunt at the door and her startled whisper, “Don’t undress – come with me – a party of yankees is here.” They went down and were met at the end of the front porch by a small band of cavalrymen gathered before the house. The captain dismounted and came forward handing a paper without a word. The two sisters read it together. “You are ordered to proceed to the houses of A. R. Boteler and E. J. Lee and to burn everything under cover on both places with their contents. The order was addressed to “Captain Martindale, of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry” (CORRECTED: “1st New York Cavalry”-JS) and signed “David Hunter, Maj. Gen., U.S.A.”

As the sisters realized the meaning of the words in the border to burn their beloved home, everything grew black before Helen’s eyes, until her sister’s voice recalled her to her senses. “Don’t give way,” she said, “If you give way, I cannot act,” and they immediately separated to save what they could. The mother flew to her children and sent them at once with Kitty, Margaret Bunkins’ child, a capable young girl, to a safe place under the oaks at some distance from the house. The little ones started off hand-in-hand, six-year-old Fanny in her new flowered hat and her night dress under her arm, with four year-old Alexander clinging to her, and the baby in the nurse’s arms.

By this time the soldiers were scattering all over the place. Helen ran straight up to the garret, followed by several men, and nerved by grief and excitement pulled an immense box of linen to the top of the stairs. The box itself empty could with difficulty be moved by one person. She asked some of the soldiers to carry it down and they did so in a kind of dazed confusion of purpose. One man followed her everywhere, trying to help and doing everything she asked. Others were only intent on securing things for themselves. Sometimes the soldiers would take up an article. “Let that alone,” would come the order and they would hurriedly turn to something else.

Going to the pantry, Helen found Captain Martindale looking curiously around.

“Please put this china here,” she said to him, holding up her skirt by the hem so as to make a kind of bag.

He obediently piled in piece-after-piece of a beautiful, new flowered dinner set and other favorite pieces.

“Why, gir-r-l,” he said, at last poking her in the belt with his forefinger, “Your dress will give way, there, see.”

“Never mind my dress, but just do as I say,” she answered, and he put it in with the rest of the china. In the midst of the hurry and confusion it was amazing to see one of the men vainly trying to fasten a big Sheffield waiter to his saddle. He turned it in every possible way, but the thing was much too large to be adjusted to the situation, and at last he threw it down with an oath. Another soldier was found in a bedroom trying on a suit of Davis Shepherd’s clothes – Davis, who had come home from Old Capitol prison to die only a few months before. “Take those off,” he was commanded sternly. “You may burn them, but you shall not wear them.” He jerked off the coat and said, ”Certainly, certainly,” in hurried embarrassment.

A quiet young man came up to Helen with a small photograph on porcelain of Murillo’s Immaculate Conception. “I’m a Christian,” he said crossing himself, “and I cannot let this be burned.” He was responsible also for the preservation of an old steel engraving, the picture of the interior of a Capuchin monastery with the monks at their devotions.

Elizabeth saved Grandfather Stockton’s picture, and some other oil portraits and a few things for the children, and bundles of her father’s papers. But the soldiers threw her baby’s cradle back into the flames, and one of them kicked a hole in a toilet pitcher she had carried down the stairs. The soldiers’ task of firing the house was soon accomplished. Chairs were piled up in the centre of the rooms, some combustible fluid poured over them, and the men ran about from place-to-place with lighted brooms setting them ablaze.

The efforts made to burn the springhouse proved useless for the damp mossy roof and the stone walls were not very combustible material. It burned so slowly that by the time the soldiers left only a small hole had been made in the roof, and boys from the town put out the fire entirely. The library building, containing thousands of volumes and many valuable papers, autograph letters, and curios were set on fire last, and the townspeople who gathered on the scene tried to save some of the contents. Unfortunately they selected handsomely bound presentation volumes and congressional books of little interest for preservation, judging them by their size and dress to be the most valuable books.

“Aunt” Hannah’s cottage and the two smaller cabins where the family servants had lived were also entirely destroyed. Up to the last moment the sisters were absorbed in the practical business of saving a little store of necessities and a few cherished treasures, but when finally everyone was forced to leave the burning building, in a sudden uncontrollable impulse of passionate grief, Helen rushed back into the parlor and touching the keys of her beloved piano for the last farewell to her home, the young girl sang these stanzas of Charlotte Elliott’s beautiful hymn:

“My God my Father while I stray
Far from my home in life’s rough way,
Oh teach me from my heart to say
Thy will be done”

“Though dark my path and sad my lot,
Let me be still and murmur not
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught,
“Thy will be done.”

What though in lonely grief I sigh
For friends beloved, no longer nigh,
Submissive still would I reply–
Thy will be done.”

Should grief or sickness waste away
My life in premature decay,
My Father, still I strive to say,
Thy will be done.”

Let but my fainting heart be blest
With Thy sweet Spirit for its Guest;
My God, to Thee I leave the rest–
Thy will be done.”

Renew my will from day to day;
Blend it with Thine and take away
All that now makes it hard to say,
Thy will be done.”

Then, when on earth I breathe no more,
The prayer, oft mixed with tears before,
I’ll sing upon a happier shore,
Thy will be done.”

One of the soldiers seized her by the shoulder and tried to lead her away into safety, but she pulled away from him and sang again:

“If Thou shouldst call me to resign
What I most prize, it ne’er was mine;
I only yield Thee what is Thine,
Thy will be done.”

The soldiers looked at her in scared amazement, probably thinking her distracted with grief and terror, but with her music books and guitar she then quickly joined the little group outside watching the final work of the fire.

How often in the vivid story of this war-time tragedy have we pictured the scene. The cluster of white roses hanging over the porch as they were caught one-by-one in the climbing flames, and sent whirling upward shriveled and broken; the trembling black tracery of the window shutters outlined against the red flame within; and the sound of the clanging piano strings through the roar of the fire, as they snapped in the melting heat. – (9).

July 19, 1864 – Mid-day – The Near-Burning of the Morgan’s Home, Falling Spring

Anna Morgan Getzendanner wrote of the experience of the son of Col. William Augustine Morgan, the then very young Augustine C. Morgan:

One day (the day of the Shepherdstown burnings-JS) while roaming through the woods, I heard men’s voices, excitedly giving orders, and then a sound as of flames, roaring and soon I perceived the house of our good neighbor (Botelers’ Fountain Rock-JS) to be burning, the barn also was afire and as the roof fell there was a terrible crash which frightened me not a little, this fire was destroying a beautiful Southern home, the residence of an officer on Gen. R. E. Lee’s staff (NOTE: Alexander Boteler and Edwin Grey Lee of Bedford had close ties with Gen. Lee but were not on his staff for any appreciable time.-JS), I ran to tell Mother but already she had seen the destruction and had gathered the children and servants into a terrified group for we feared our home (Falling Springs) would be the next invaded and it was not long when we saw the soldiers in their blue coats, rapidly approaching; the foremost man doffed his cap and informed my Mother that he held an order, issued by Genl Hunter to destroy and burn our home. We all became panicky with terror but were permitted to save what we needed most for Mother and the children. Almost despairing of saving our home, my Mother interviewed the officer and asked if the order was correctly understood. The officer asked if our home were not “Bedford,” finding his mistake, he soon apologized and learning that “Bedford” was an adjoining farm, withdrew his men and repaired at once to the home of a near kinsman of Gen. R. E. Lee. Leaving Liza and old Ned to restore our belongings to their proper places, my Mother donned her war pockets and taking me by the hand, led me quickly to “Bedford” but as the soldiers had preceded us, already their fiendish work had begun. There was little one could do to save anything valuable from destruction, my Mother and a daughter of the house in attempting to save a feather bed found their efforts useless as the rear end of the bed was burning. So here was another old Southern home laid in ashes. I remember it as a long, low house with dormer windows and a spacious portico, its roof supported with columns taken from the old ship “Constitution,” the home set high upon a grassy slope and the grounds were terraced to the turnpike. The burning of a house was a terrible thing to me as I stood watching the destruction of the cruel soldiers; they had piled furniture in a central part of the house, sandwiched it with straw, and emptied jugs of kerosene over it all. When the match or torch was applied, the result was indeed a conflagration. Sadly we returned homeward and found things replaced with but little loss.- (10).

Henrietta B. Lee described Bedford, her ancestral home in Shepherdstown:

Bedford, a red brick residence built on a knoll, had a two-story central portico, flanked by rambling wings. The lofty front portico with its soaring pointed roof was supported by four huge white wooden columns whose bases and caps had been carved from the splintered, battle-scarred masts of the U.S. frigate Constitution. Daniel Bedinger, while commandant of the Norfolk Naval Yard had bought chunks of the historic wood when “Old Ironsides” had been brought there for re-fitting . . One entered from the portico by way of the parlor, a large room, furnished with high-backed sofas and chairs, with portraits lining the wall in such a manner to focus attention of a portrait taken from life of General Washington wearing gold epaulettes. A door led from the parlor into the spacious dining room with a crystal chandelier, imported glassware, and silverware. And the spacious well-stocked library. – (11).

THE BURNING OF BEDFORD

JULY 19, 1864, LATE AFTERNOON – THE BURNING OF THE LEES’ HOME, BEDFORD:

Tippie Boteler later recalled to her daughter Elizabeth how the soldiers then turned their sights towards, Bedford, the third target home in their orders:

In less than half an hour from the time the soldiers started their work of destruction, the company was filing down the avenue on its way to Bedford, the home of Edmund J. Lee.

Just as the soldiers started off, Virginia Bedinger and her little brother, Harry – they lived at nearby Poplar Grove – arrived at Fountain Rock their faces white with distress and sympathy. “Go back to your Aunt Henrietta, they are coming there next.” But the captain interrupted: “Not before we do” – and thus prevented their giving warning to the Lee household.. When the squad of men, however, had gone well over the hill, Virginia and Harry ran across the fields and reached Bedford first. Mrs. Lee and Netta were just starting on their way to Fountain Rock. Old Sally had brought them word of the burning of the house, and Mrs. Lee had gotten out of a sick bed to fly to her friend’s home. “Those children are all alone, Netta, their mother is in Baltimore. I must go. Tippie was with us when Leeland was burned in 1856. I must go,” she insisted. But Virginia’s frantic gestures made them pause, and when she came panting up and told of the orders to burn their own loved home, they turned back to the pitiful tasks of saving what they could. A number of negroes on the place and some of the townspeople dragged out the parlor furniture, and then secured Mr. Lee’s valuable law papers, which were hidden under the parlor floor. But Captain Martindale and his men came up in time to prevent further work. The soldiers were rougher in their behavior than they had been at Fountain Rock, but one man sat down in weary protest against the services required of him and declared that he would not lift his finger in such work. The pale-faced soldier who helped the two sisters at Fountain Rock helped at Bedford also, but after all was over the little store of rescued goods made but a pathetic showing for two homeless families. – (12).

Mrs. Lee (Henrietta Bedinger Lee) wrote the following month to a cousin her “exact account.” (The recipient was likely Benjamin Franklin Bedinger, who lived in Kentucky, with views more “Northern”):

August, 1864
My dear friend

According to your earnest request I will send you an exact account of the burning of my beautiful old home by the United States troops under Captain Martindale of the New York Cavalry, I perform the task with a sick heart as you can imagine.

The morning of that eventful day was calm and lovely – no one dreaming that such dire calamity and mischief was near. I with Netta, my young daughter, and little son, were all the members of my family at home. About four o’clock in the afternoon, Harry rushed into my sick room saying: “O mama, the yankees have burned Col. Boteler’s house.” At this startling intelligence I immediately rose and dressed; resolving to go if possible to Col. Boteler’s, as there were only two helpless ladies and three very young children there. I reached the yard when I met my niece Virginia Bedinger in breathless haste she told me that she had just come from Fountain Rock – Col. Boteler’s home – to inform me that Col. Boteler’s house was in flames and the Federal officers were coming to “burn my house also.” That she had read the order from Gen. Hunter to that effect. Of course the scene which followed was one of grief and consternation! in a few moments the enemy was upon us! I met the Captain on the portico; when the following conversation took place: “Is this Mrs. Lee?” the Captain asked. “It is,” I replied. “Well, I have come to burn your house,” he said cooly, ”by order of General Hunter.”

“Here! Read the order,” handing at the same time a printed order to “Burn the house, its content, and all out buildings” and signed by Gen. David Hunter.

“Surely,” I replied, “you will not – can not execute such a barbarous, infamous order! Do spare this house!”

“It was built by my father, a Revolutionary soldier and officer. O! have respect for his memory and his deeds! I implore you! Do not burn this home! An honorable house!” – (13).

(NOTE: Her father, Daniel Bedinger, was indeed a much-suffering hero in the Revolutionary War, as this account by Danske Dandridge about him shows, describing the moment he was rescued from death by a brother in a soldiers’ hospital:In January Henry Bedinger and his brother officers were sent to Flatbush and Gravesend, Long Island, and billeted on the inhabitants there, at the rate of two dollars a week, supplied by Congress for their maintenance. Daniel was, of course, separated from his brother, and was, at first confined in the infamous Sugar-house, where he saw his companions die from starvation every day, and where he was so reduced by famine as to have endeavored to sustain life by scraping the deposit of sugar left in some refining kettles in that place of torment. He, however, was young and healthy, and he made a brave struggle for existence. After some weeks he was removed to the hold of a prison ship, and there he seems at last to have given up the hopeless fight for life, and to have laid down to die.Fortunately for him an exchange of prisoners took place late in 1776, the exact date of which I have been unable to ascertain. When the officer who had the matter in charge came to select men to go on shore to be exchanged, he twice passed Daniel by as too far gone to be taken away. But Daniel had found a soft spot in the heart of a Hessian officer, whose name is unrecorded, and begged him so pitifully, in his mother tongue, to give him a chance for his life, that this man took compassion on him, and had him lifted into a boat, where he lay down in the bottom, being unable to stand or sit. The prisoners were conducted to a large church, where they were exchanged. It is said that the British were quite fond of giving up men who were almost sure to die on the way home for hale and serviceable English soldiers, who had not received such diabolical treatment at the hands of the Americans.Somehow or other Daniel and a few of his comrades in misfortune made their way to Philadelphia. Arrived at this place the boy completely broke down, and lay there in a wretched hospital, more dead than alive. What next happened to him a son of George Michael Bedinger has told so touchingly in a letter that he wrote in 1871 to one of Daniel Bedinger’s children that I will give the story in his own words. He says: “My father went to the Hospital in search of his brother, but did not recognize him. On inquiry if there were any (that had been) prisoners there, a feeble voice responded, from a little pile of straw and rags in a corner: ‘Yes, Michael, there is one.’“Overcome by his feelings my father knelt by the side of the poor, emaciated boy, and took him in his arms. He then bore him to a house where he could procure some comforts in the way of food and clothing. After this he got an arm-chair, two pillows, and some leather straps. He placed his suffering and beloved charge in the chair, supported by the pillows, swung him by the leather straps to his back, and carried him some miles into the country, where he found a friendly asylum for him in the house of some good Quakers. There he nursed him, and, by the aid of the kind owners, who were farmers, gave him nourishing food until he partially recovered his strength.

“But your father was very impatient to get home, and wished to proceed before he was well able to walk, and did so leave, while my father walked by his side, with his arm around him to support him. Thus they travelled from the neighborhood of Philadelphia to Shepherdstown, of course by short stages, when my father restored him to the arms of his mother. Your father related some incidents of that trip to me when I last saw him at Bedford (his home) in the spring of 1817, not more than a year before his death. “Our uncle, Henry Bedinger, was also a prisoner for a long time, and although he suffered greatly, his sufferings were not to be compared to those of your father. After your father recovered his health he again entered the service, and continued in it to the end of the war. He was made lieutenant, and I have heard my father speak of many battles he was in, but I have forgotten the names and places.” – (14)).

But Captain Martindale Dismisses Mrs. Lee’s Plea:

Mrs. Lee continued:
Martindale’s reply was in those coarse and unfeeling words: “Lord woman, you must be a fool. Can I help it? You are old enough to know that. And now I give you ten minutes to take out your clothing.” Ah! I saw from his cold cruel eyes and the iron hardness of his face; there was no more for me; and that farther appeal was useless! O, what could I do? My mind was too distracted to guide me: So many memories clustered round my childhood’s precious home! I left him and tried to collect some necessary articles. As I passed my pantry door Martindale stepped in and seized a decanter; which doubtless he thought contained brandy, but which proved to be black berry wine. How I did wish it had been drugged with “ipecac” I think this noble Captain would have been sick of that day’s work! But don’t suppose I include all his men in his heartless acts: no indeed; for some of the soldiers were far more merciful and noble than their leader. They offered to help me; and did behind their leader’s back. What they dared not do before his face! and their simplicity was sincere I know. They expressed themselves disgusted with the whole proceedings and several of them swore they would have nothing to do with burning the house. Seeing Netta’s grief at the thought of having her elegant Knabe piano burnt; six of these men said to her, “If you ask Capt. Martindale to spare it, we will move it for you.” With streaming eyes she pled with him for her instrument, which was a birthday gift from her father, but all in vain. It went to ruin with all else of the furniture. After the house was in full blaze, he turned to my niece Virginia Bedinger and said in the most insolent and scoffing tone. “Now go in and help yourself.” Nothing in nature could not have been more hard and cruel than that man’s whole bearing. A group of friends had hastened to me when they discovered what was going on and with them I was standing on the lawn gazing at the awful conflagration for all the outbuildings were burning at the same time. Then with the most self important and swaggering step Martindale approached me and dared to offer me his pity. “I scorn your pity,” I cried “You talk of pity, after such an act as this, it is mockery indeed, the qualities of mercy and pity are strangers to your heart.”

But dear it would make this letter too long to tell you all the burning words that fell from my tongue, let it suffice to say I was warm enough to give it to him in round numbers I assure you. One lady said to one “What did you say to that man? He went away looking like a whipped dog.” Well he was a whipped dog. But my home, my blessed lovely home! The fire ran from base to dome, and as the all devouring pitiless flames snapped each wire; the bell of that dear home tolled out its dirge. What is it now? The blackened walls, the frightful skeleton of what was once so fair looms up against the sky and the wind as it sighs around the ruin whispers: “Man’s inhumanity to man, Makes countless thousands mourn” The trailing vines are scorched and dead! The flowers bloom there no more; and the bright silver streams, which so added to its beauty and grace glides in its desolation murmuring a perpetual requiem for that dead home. My painful task is finished dear friend. How kind and soothing your sympathy is. We are refugeeing now miles away from that scene of sorrow and dismay – What we are to do without a home, and scant of clothing the future is too dark to penetrate. But He that feedeth the sparrows & clothed the lilies and in whom we all trust will I know provide. Ever truly and affectionately your friend and Cousin Henrietta B. Lee. – (15).

Netta Lee wrote her recollections of being at the burning many years later, first for The Shepherdstown Register Editor, H. L. Snyder for the paper’s July 16, 1914 edition (the event’s 50th anniversary), later in greater detail in 1928 for the Society of the Lees of Virginia:

It was the afternoon of July, the nineteenth, 1864. Mother had been ill in bed for some days; but on that date she was able to dine with us and later she came upstairs to my room, where I made her take a nap. Harry then fourteen years of age, was the only other member of the family home. He had gone to the dairy and with the assistance of two young negroes had made a freezer of ice cream. At the dinner table, Mother had given him permission to do this, provided he did not use up all of the one – and only – nutmeg to be found on our side of the Potomac, nor more than one cupful of the last of our sugar. She laughed as she said: “How can it be fit to eat?”

“Well, Harry,” said I, “you bring me a taste if it’s clean and you wash your hands.” So just as Mother awoke from her nap, Harry came running up bearing a cup and a saucer, each containing a helping of very presentable ice cream.

“Mother, I’ve brought each of you a taste of my cream. We thought it so good that maybe you would eat a little; just because I made it, you know.” Mother barely tasted hers, simply to please the boy, but I ate all of mine. Then Harry left us and Mother finished her nap. I had been writing a letter on my little mahogany lap-desk, purchased from the sutler’s store with money given me at Christmas by Mother, and purchased after paying a “duty” of ten per cent. The cup which had held my ice cream was on the floor. Presently a little mouse crept up to it, dipped his paw into the bottom and licked it, much as a child would have done. I was much absorbed in this performance, when Aunt Peggy appeared with a small basket of blackberries she had gathered along the Charlestown road. After bemoaning the scarcity of berries, Peggy continued:

“While I was there, a lot of yankees came along, more than a dozen and the Captain, he said: ‘Old woman, are there any rebs in Shepherdstown?’ “And what did you say Peggy?” I asked. “Oh I just told him I don’t know anything about it. Then he cussed and said: ‘When were the last ones in town?’ and I said: ‘I’ve told you once I don’t know anything at all about any rebels.’ Then he cussed again and said to the other soldiers: ‘Boys you just go ahead to the edge of town and I’ll slowly follow. Then you all can tell me what you can find out.’ Then he said, pointing to me: ‘That ain’t nothing but a damn old secesh negro anyhow.’ So they went on to town and I came onto the house, because they aren’t berries anyway and I was afraid they’d take those I had if I stayed ‘till they come back from town; and I didn’t want them yankees to cuss me anymore and call me names. Nasty poor white trash they are anyhow. I just know Miss Netta they are after some kind of deviltry, anyways.”

With this warning, Aunt Peggy departed, but a few minutes later she burst into my room, crying: “Oh! Oh! Oh! Miss Henrietta and Miss Netta! Look over to Colonel Boteler’s! Just look! The house is all on fire and those yankees are coming right here down the pike, as sure as I’m born. I knew they were after some deviltry just as I told you all! O Lord! Oh Lord! What can we do?”

Dear Mother, ill as she was, sprang from the bed and began to dress, saying: “I must to go Fountain Rock; Colonel Boteler is South, Mrs. Boteler is in Baltimore; Helen and Lizzie are there alone with Lizzie’s little children.”

We started down the yard, pursued by Harry, calling to us: “Oh Mother and Sister Netta! Don’t go over there. Those yankees are coming here. See how they are pointing and looking this way as they come through the toll-gate!” “And Mother,” I added. “there comes Virginia Bedinger, as fast as she can run. She would not be leaving them now unless she had bad news to tell us before our enemies arrive. She would stay and help them.” Mother paused and then turned back. I feared she would fall, she was so weak: “Run children, run servants and save what you can, but first of all, do not forget your father’s command: ‘Should the house ever take fire, save my papers first.’”

Before Father left home he secured extra heavy canvas bags with secure padlocks; children and servants knew where they were to be found. All did our Mother’s bidding; the negroes and Harry hid them in the weeds and bushes around the garden, far from the house.

“Run, run, all of you, save all that you can before the enemy arrive,” cried Mother, as Virginia arrived with the tidings that she had read General Hunter’s order to: Burn both houses and every out building, allowing nothing but wearing apparel.” My little maid, Margaret, followed at my heels as I rushed to my own sweet room for the last time. I put my gold watch and chain, which was Father’s wedding present to Mother, with a few other trinkets in my little writing desk and gave it to Margaret saying: “Here, you keep these, for the yankees will not take them from you, while they may from me.”

Captain Martindale and troopers from the 1st New York Cavalry arrived and dismounted. Ill as she was, Mother met the Captain bravely at her drawing room door.

“Madam,” he said. “ I have orders from General Hunter to burn this house and its contents and also every outbuilding.”

“But you surely will not carry out such a wicked order?”

“Yes, I will,” he replied emphatically.

“You shall not burn the house which my father, a soldier of the Revolution, built. What did he, or I, ever do to you?”

“Woman, you must be a fool,” he replied, “here are my orders; read them; I shall carry them out to the letter.” With that he thrust a paper, signed by General Hunter, before Mother’s eyes, signaling to his men to begin the work of destruction. Harry handed Mother a glass of wine which I had sent one of the servants to bring her. She then turned to the servants and to the friends who has hastened to help us, showing them what we most valued. But Martindale ordered them to put down the things they tried or remove, threatening to shoot them. Our handsome Knabe piano, a gift from my Father the previous Christmas, had been pulled onto the portico of the drawing room, when the gallant Captain made his men push back this bit of contraband, although I pled for it with tears in my eyes.

In a frenzy, I turned with dear little Harry and my cousin, the wife of Colonel William Morgan, who were standing near Martindale when he ordered the boys to desist, and said: “We defy you to shoot us, we will not take orders from you.”

The boys were trying to pull a featherbed through a downstairs window. We made a dash for the bed and pulled it out. Alas! A huge cloud of smoke and flames burst from it, compelling us to let go. With a Satanic grin of triumph, the Captain turned to Mrs. Morgan and myself: “Now you may go in and get out what you please,” he said.

Some of the soldiers were Dutch or German and did not appear to understand a word of English, for when I was in my room and pointed to my old black trunk, in which I kept my party dresses, old laces, and jewelry, and asked them to lift it down stairs, they did not seem to understand a word I said, but when I pointed through a window to the back-porch roof, they picked it up and allowed it to fall to the flower-beds below, where the lock and hinges were broken and most of the jewelry and trinkets were stolen.

There was one little, pale-faced, blond fellow whom I shall never forget. He followed me everywhere, trying to help me, when he could elude the vigilance of his Captain. One incident made me smile in the midst of my grief and terror. I was standing on the eastern end of the long back porch, on the servant’s side of the house, watching the train of straw, just lighted, as the flames crept towards me. I stepped back to the pavement; when this young man, with eyes full of tears, came up to me, and carefully wrapped my heavy fur cape, around my shoulders – on a hot July day, as I was standing between two blazing fires – as if it ’twas mid-winter and I was cold. Possibly I was shivering from nervousness. Both of us smiled, and I took the cape to add to the armful of clothing I had rescued.

It may be well to record the technique of house-burning. I was on the back porch, and, looking in the dining room window, saw the sofa and chairs all piled up where the extension table stood, with a large mantle mirror and pictures upon them. Straw had been thrown under and around the table and coal oil poured over all. The match must have been struck before I appeared, for no one was in the room yet the blaze was burning rapidly.

At last, when flames enveloped every part of the house and the seven out buildings were ablaze, Mother and I, with a group of kind friends, were standing near the eastern end of the portico, watching the four old columns which supported it, as one by one they tottered and fell to the ground. Mother was so weak that I was trying to make her lean on my arm, when we saw Martindale approaching with a swaggering air, as if he was proud of his accomplishments. Bracing herself, and looking very much the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier, our brave Mother faced the man, whose eyes quailed before hers. He began in a patronizing tone:

“Madam, I have come to tell you that I have been obliged to carry out my orders in burning your home; I also wish to offer you my pity.”

“Stop sir, I command you!” cried my Mother, stamping her foot. “You pity me? I scorn your pity. But listen to me! Do you see the one remaining column about to fall? That sir, is the last of the original masts of the Federal frigate Constitution, Old Ironsides. My Father, a brave officer of the revolution, built this home after that war. He went in as a boy, young and strong; he came out after serving seven years, weak and broken. He died at the early age of forty-five. Your grateful country has honored his memory by turning me, his daughter, and these, my children upon the world, homeless and destitute. Now you may go, sir. You have done all the harm of which you are capable; I defy you to do more, and I utterly scorn your pity. Be gone out of my sight!”

Mother was pallid, save for two red spots upon either cheek. Her eyes were ablaze with righteous indignation. The brave Captain quailed under their flash as he turned and slunk off like a whipped dog. They all left hurriedly, appearing to fear that the rebels might se the blaze against the twilight sky and pounce down upon them. – (16).

Recalled young Augustine Morgan:
The next day (July 20), two yankees rode up to our door, one being wounded, for his bluecoat, open at the throat, showed in the front of his shirt, marked with splotches of blood; he moaned with pain while the other soldier supported him. He asked Mother if she would not care for the wounded man who had been shot in the arm, but the maimed soldier proudly protested and insisted that no rebel woman should dress his wound, but my gentle mother quite won him over and I was sent for Liza who brought clean linen and fresh water. The arm was finally dressed, bandaged and the soldier made comfortable. – (17).

The following day Mrs. Lee writes a letter of protest to Gen. Hunter, the originator of the order to burn her home, a letter which unfortunately for many got into the hands of Confederate General Jubal Early who took revenge on the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The letter has been called by some “a masterpiece of sublime invective.”

She wrote:

Jefferson County, July 20, 1864.

General Hunter:

Yesterday your underling, Captain Martindale, of the First New York cavalry, executed your infamous order and burned my house [“Bedford”]. You have had the satisfaction ere this of receiving from him the information that your orders were fulfilled to the letter; the dwelling and every out-building, seven in number, with their contents, being burned. I, therefore, a helpless woman [age 54] whom you have cruelly wronged, address you, a Major-General of the United States army, and demand why this was done? What was my offense? My husband was absent, an exile.[Edmund Jennings Lee] He had never been a politician or in any way engaged in the struggle now going on, his age preventing. This fact your Chief-of-Staff, David Strother, could have told you. The house was built by my father [Lieut. Daniel Bedinger], a Revolutionary soldier, who served the whole seven years for your independence. There was I born; there the sacred dead repose. It was my house and my home, and there has your niece (Miss Griffith) who has tarried among us all this horrid war up to the present time, met with all kindness and hospitality at my hands. Was it for this that you turned me, my young daughter and little son out upon the world without a shelter? Or was it because my husband is the grandson of the Revolutionary patriot and “rebel,” Richard Henry Lee, and the near kinsman of the greatest of Generals, Robert E. Lee? You and your Government have failed to conquer, subdue or match him; and disappointment, rage and malice find vent on the helpless and inoffensive.

Hyena-like, you have torn my heart to pieces! for all hallowed memories clustered around that homestead, and, demon-like, you have done it without even the pretext of revenge, for I never saw or harmed you. Your office is not to lead, like a brave man and soldier, your men to fight in the ranks of war, but your work has been to separate yourself from all danger, and with your incendiary band steal unawares upon helpless women and children, to insult and destroy. Two fair homes did you yesterday ruthlessly lay in ashes, giving not a moment’s warning to the startled inmates of your wicked purpose; turning mothers and children out of doors, you are execrated by your own men for the cruel work you give them to do.

In the case of Colonel A. R. Boteler, both father and mother were far away. Any heart but that of Captain Martindale (and yours) would have been touched by that little circle, comprising a widowed daughter just risen from her bed of illness, her three fatherless babies—the oldest not five years old—and her heroic sister. I repeat, any man would have been touched at that sight but Captain Martindale. One might as well hope to find mercy and feeling in the heart of a wolf bent on his prey of young lambs, as to search for such qualities in his bosom. You have chosen well your agent for such deeds, and doubtless will promote him!

A colonel of the Federal army has stated that you deprived forty of your officers of their commands because they refused to carry on your malignant mischief. All honor to their names for this at least! They are men — they have human hearts and blush for such a commander!

I ask who that does not wish infamy and disgrace attached to him forever would serve under you? Your name will stand on history’s page as the Hunter of weak women and innocent children; the Hunter to destroy defenseless villages and refined and beautiful homes—to torture afresh the agonized hearts of widows; the Hunter with the relentless heart of a wild beast, the face of a fiend and the form of a man. Oh, Earth, behold the monster! Can I say, “God forgive you”? No prayer can be offered for you! Were it possible for human lips to raise your name heavenward, angels would thrust the foul thing back again, and demons claim their own. The curses of thousands, the scorn of the manly and upright and the hatred of the true and honorable, will follow you and yours through all time, and brand your name infamy! infamy!

Again, I demand why you have burned my home? Answer as you must answer before the Searcher of all hearts, why have you added this cruel, wicked deed to your many crimes? – (18).

Wednesday night, July 20, 1864 – Tippie Boteler wrote to her sisters, from the family’s second home in Shepherdstown (located today on the northeast corner of Church and New Streets) – about Bedford’s burning.

My precious sisters – Well my darlings I suppose that you have heard before this reaches you that our dear beautiful home is in ashes. Yesterday just after dinner 15 yankees of the 1st New York Cavalry under Captain Martindale came with orders from Mr. Hunter to burn everything under roof on the places of A. R. Boteler and E. J. Lee. They came to us first & in twenty minutes after their arrival, it would have been dangerous to enter the house. Of the furniture we saved were two little rocking chairs, Lizzie’s workstand & three other chairs including those on the porch. This is literally all except two tables & a chest of drawers that the boys got from the library after the fiends left – The barn in which was stored all the hay just out & the negro house & library are all gone. The meat house & Dairy are still standing as the wind blew from them. Writing this is harder work than I thought it would be after all I’ve gone through with. We saved all out clothes & have the poor comfort of knowing that we did all that anyone would have done & more than many could have done. We have many things that we all value yet. The men from the Capt. down obeyed my orders like subordinates & I kept them busy. They piled up the furniture & with camphine etc. built the fire that has branded deep in our hearts . . . and I am glad to say we were accounted worthy to suffer. Netta & I are both at Aunt Nannie’s tonight, Lizzie & children at the Grove. Mrs. Lee has found her husband & Fount Rock & Bedford are desolated.

I have my guitar with me. As the house was burning I sang my last hymn “Thy Will Be Done” at our dear old piano. It sent up one shriek afterwards as the ceilings fell on it & the bells all sang out as the flames reached them. They were rejoicing with us that no yankee had ever been entertained within those walls – tho’ Jackson, Stuart, Fitz Lee & Ransom had all used it as their headquarters. No Confederate soldier ever met with anything but a warm greeting & warmer welcome there. Oh how my heart aches for you all to have such terrible tidings of the dearest spot in all the world to you. I fear I loved it too much but my greatest grief is for our darling Pa & Ma. We are young & can bear such changes better but their life ties were formed & riveted there. I’ll write more in the morning when I’ll be fitter for it. Good night. – (19).

Thursday, July 21, 1864 – Tippie Boteler continued writing the next day to her sisters.

Thursday morning – I wrote my dear Lottie one of my long letters telling of the happy happy time that we had when our men were in here & whilst waiting for an opportunity to send it, it was burned. I am sorry for it will be hard for me to re-write it now. But I’ll do it for you all some day. It is such a comfort dear Lottie to me now to know that you have a husband’s heart & home to rest in. I have been selfishly grieving for you, ever since you left me but I was wrong. I wish George could have seen it in its beauty. I have said nothing of Ma because we have been expecting her home every day. Miss Griffith who takes this for me is going this morning via Hagerstown. I think we will have a home for her before she gets here and will be comfortably settled with our few treasures around us. Everybody is very kind to us indeed. I wrote to Pa yesterday morning if Ma comes home soon she can see him. This wholesale destruction would not go on if the enemy expected to hold this country. Thank God that we are all alive and can look forward to a happy reunion somewhere with our hearts chastened and our Land free we will be happier than ever. We received a letter from Alex written the 12th. He was well and said he hoped to bring his little family on to see us this summer. Every body speaks very highly of Alex. He has had some thrilling adventures during this last campaign. Alex, Henry, Charley & Henry G. won’t they be sorry to hear of the destruction of their home for it is theirs too. I have always felt that it was the home of the whole family. Give my love to Aunt Liney. Tell her we saved Grandma’s picture & Grand Pa’s for Ma. The trees nearest the house are burned to the ground & those standing will die from the effects. The lawn in front is a blackened mass, the grass was so dry it burned easily. How many in the army will be so sorry to hear of all this. I read Hunter’s order myself, had it in my hands & tried to keep it to send to them but it was taken out of my hands. We can all of us look back with nothing but pleasure to our home we had nothing but happiness there. The grounds can & will be kept as beautiful as ever so when you all come to us in the summer we can have picnics there. “Ah! there is life in the old land yet.” They may break they may burn but they cannot subdue. Lizzie was home yesterday & says that the head of Alexander the Great, you know that little medallion, is still hanging on the nursery walls. The walls of the old part of the house crumbled & fell very soon, their great age could not stand such a trial. Those which Grandpa built are still standing & good. The hen house burned though the shingles were saved. The wind was so high that Grandison Hall was with difficulty saved. The fences on & across the turnpike burned. One yankee had tied little Davis’ mug to his saddle. I quickly undid it & told him it wasn’t pure silver but that he shouldn’t have it. I made the Captain look at the fiercest flames & told him to tell Hunter for me that hot & fierce as they were it was not to be compared to the Hell that was being prepared for his heart. The boys saved some of Pa’s books after the yankees left, at Mr. Lee’s when some one brought out some chairs they pitched them back in the flames. It is all right and our cause is brightening under such conduct. Mrs. Lee is heart-broken. You know she was born at Bedford. I see and acknowledge a higher hand in all this and feel that it is all right. We saved Ma’s clock. I think I’ll fit up the pigeons’ house for my apartments. Thank brother Harry for the guitar strings they gave me a great deal of pleasure & will give me more. I know Mamie is so glad she was with us this summer. Oh the beautiful roses how the flames sported with them. The largest stone of the front steps is broken in many pieces. What a life little Fannie has led. Poor child she will never forget the scenes through which she is passing. She put her hat on & took her dolls under her arm. The yankees tore the feather out of the white hat – and one was decking himself out in poor Davis’ clothes but he quickly peeled them off. The barn was the most fearfully grand sight I ever saw. Lizzie told them that if Hunter had ordered his horses fed there it would have been trouble. Rather than that she would gladly see it burn. The dinner table burned as it was & they pocketed the spoons etc. that we were using. Lizzie has just come in & sends her best love to you all. I must go & dress myself & so must stop. God ever bless you my darlings and give you strength to bear this will be the prayer of your devoted sister’s heart. Give my warmest love to George & Henry – Ever yours – Tippie – (20).

Not yet 10-year-old Caroline “Danske” Dandridge, the precocious step-sister of George Rust Bedinger and Virginia Rust Bedinger, was probably home when Henrietta B. Lee, her aunt, took fresh refuge in their home, Poplar Grove, after the burning. Danske wrote:

To Hunter:
O cruel serpent. King of scorpions thou.
Curse on thy barb’rous act!
May never the Goddess of Pity send her smile
Upon thy blasted heart!
Behold on yonder verdant hill a house once stood.
It was the house of love, of peace and glee.
How soon that home was rendered desolate
By whom? Oh Hunter ’twas by thee! – (21).

“REFUGEEING” – HOMELESS BOTELERS AND LEES SEEK SHELTER, SUPPORT.

After the Burnings, the Botelers and Lees sought refuge with friends:

Wrote Elizabeth Pendleton of her grandparents, mother and Aunt Lizzie’s family:
Kind neighbors gave shelter for the night, and for many nights afterward until both families were again under a roof of their own. Tippie Boteler and her sister moved into a little house in the village. It is now the Methodist parsonage. Every fair Sunday until she left Shepherdstown, Tippie would take her Bible and go to Fountain Rock to read; there was peace there even in its desolation. – (22).

NEXT: Chapterette 24. Click Here.

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 24 Netta Lee Refugee by Jim Surkamp.

1893 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710015236/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-24-netta-lee-the-refugee/

NettieLee-copy-23

.


Mother spent the night after the burning of Bedford at Poplar Grove, the home of her sister-in-law, Mrs. Henry Bedinger. I went to that of my dear Pink and the servants were cared by other friends. On the following morning, Mother and Harry left quite early to drive to Clarke County, search for Father and acquaint him with our terrible loss. She promised to send Harry back with their plans. On the following day, he returned, telling me to collect the servants and the small remnant of household possessions and to go to Clarke, where arrangements to stay with some cousins had been made. That evening, my last in Shepherdstown. Pink and I walked out to Bedford to gather up any fragments that were to be found. We came upon an old blank ledger of Father’s, which we cut in half, each promising to keep a diary of our daily thoughts and nightly dreams for the other while we were separated, as we had rarely been apart for many days in our lives. I kept mine which forms the basis of his story. I am sorry to say that Pink’s was lost.

July 23rd, 1861 – Dunham, Clarke County
Well, here I am, my sweet Pink, at the home of our dear friends and relatives, the Pages. This is the very first opportunity I have had since we parted to fulfill my promise to write you every day in my half of the old black book which we cut in two as we stood so mournfully over the pile of debris left on the ground midst the still smouldering ruins of old Bedford. I have had but little time to write or even think, which is probably the best thing that could have happened to me. Mother is sick and very weak; I relieve her all I can and try to make her rest. Father is greatly distressed, but cheered and comforted at being reunited with Mother.

It was a great comfort to have Tippie come with me on the trip; I suppose she has now returned as she found her father sooner than she expected and told him of the burning of Fountain Rock.

I would like to read your description of how we appeared as our caravan moved off from Aunt Carrie’s (Caroline – Mrs. Henry Bedinger) gate at Poplar Grove. Harry, Tippie, and I seated in the old rockaway, with innumerable boxes and bundles packed around is, and old Fly hitched to it with harness made of parts and pieces rescued from the stable. I had wondered how the old rockaway escaped, when they burned all the other carriages. The boys tell me they had taken to the spring to be washed. Behind us came the big farm wagon from Oak Hill, with our fat tenant, Ray, driving his own sleek horses to it, loaded with servants perched on top of the remnant of furniture we saved. Aunt Peggy, with her high bandanna headkerchief, seated in a huge rocking-chair, which Mother gave her, saved from the Leeland fire years ago. Behind all came the horses and cows, with negro boys riding driven and leading them. That was all. – (1).

Netta Lee wrote Pink of encounters on the trip to Clarke County:

Well, I had a little excitement after leaving your house. You know your mother wanted to make one good bundle out of the packages of letters given me to take through the lines, but I told her I would do them up at Poplar Grove, and off I started. Just as I came in sight of the gate, there was an uproar and over the hill on the turnpike came a party of yankees, riding wildly. I ran to take the shortest cut from the road to the yard, which, as you know, is through Shindler’s field and over the stone fence. I got safely to the top of the fence, but when I jumped to the ground, lo, the string of my war pocket, tied around my waist, broke with a snap, and to the four winds blew all my letters. To my dismay, the yankees also left the pike, turning into the gate just below me. “Mercy,” I thought, “My time has come. They’ll send me and all the writers of these letters to the Old Capitol prison!” I tried to cover them with my hoop-skirts, like an old hen on her chicks. A silent prayer was in my heart, when, joy, oh joy, every yankee dashed past me at a furious rate, almost riding over me and the letters as they sped along in their mad career. Hurriedly I scrambled the letters together and back into the pocket, as I heard, other horsemen coming from the same direction as the first. But, again, oh joy! These men wore grey uniforms and began to fire right over my head at the fast retreating yanks, who were taking the shortest cut to the Potomac river, right through dear old Bedford. My, but it was exciting! I’m really glad though that none of the poor fleeing fellows got shot.

From whom, Pink, do you think I had parted on the turnpike, a few moments prior to the above occurrence? Lee Lysle and Captain Christian. I expect both of them are making soft speeches to you at this moment, for their faces were turned your way. Who do you do, Pink, to fascinate all these poor fellows the way you have? Captain Christian went on to town, while Lysle and I sat on a big rock under the locusts and talked about you.

I reminded that gentleman of a bet he made with me on November 24th, 1862, when you had not altogether blasted his hopes. The wage was this – his bet was: “I will never marry unless I get the girl who has my heart in Shepherdstown.” My bet was this: “You will marry as soon as the war is over or before, and not a Shepherdstown girl.” If I win, he is to give me a box of the best kid gloves to be found; if he wins, I am to get him a box of the best cigars to be had in the South. I asked him today if he had been saving up his Confederate notes, or otherwise arranging to capture or even smuggle those gloves for me. He looked very disconsolate and said: “Now, Miss Netta, you wouldn’t work against me for a pair of gloves, would you?”

“No, indeed, Mr. Lysle.” I replied, “but it is because I am your very good friend that I do not encourage you uselessly.”

Harry and I walked out to Oak Hill where our horse was left for greater safety and from there drove to Mr. Moore’s, a mile or so the other side of Kearneysville, where we found ourselves almost in General Imboden’s camp. I delivered a message for Mr. Moore from Father, and then asked Betty if there was a short-cut through her father’s farm to Dr. Gibson’s house, which would save a return to the turnpike.

“Oh yes,” she replied, “you can save at least a mile by going through that wood,” pointing to a dense forest between the two places. It looked to be a plain road until we had penetrated well into its depths, where we found that leaves had blown over the main track, making it undistinguishable from the many other tracks made by wagons hauling wood.

We wound around and around, going four miles out of our way and at one time I thought we would land in either Charlestown or Harper’s Ferry. I must confess I felt a bit uneasy at having only little Harry with me, though we both had our pistols, and then it was a tower of strength to know that we were within the Confederate lines. At last we found ourselves in Dr. Gibson’s yard, with soldiers scattered around under the fine old trees.

The first one to jump up and greet me was another of your special friends, Captain Lee Heiskell. He was very cordial and nice, begging us to get out of the rockaway. Hus aunt, Mrs. Gibson, also came and insisted on our taking dinner as they had just arisen from the table. I was sorry enough to decline, but there was a long drive before us and we had already lost so much time.

We were at Dr. Gibson’s an hour or more. We then continued our journey without interruption until we came to the last Confederate picket post, this side of Leetown, where there was a large squad of soldiers. One of them stepped to the side of the rockaway, saying: “Your pass, lady, please.

I could not help smiling, when I replied: “I have none, sergeant.”

“Oh my,” replied the man, trying to look stern, though his eyes twinkled mirthfully. He continued:

“We can never let ladies by without halting them. for you know some ladies cannot be trusted. So tell me where you are from and where you wish to go?”

“We are going to Clarke county, this side of Berryville, and are just from the banks of the Potomac at Shepherdstown. You see we have driven a long way and still have eight or ten miles to drive before dark, so please do not detain us.”

Just then another fine-looking man, with a pleasant mouth and beautiful teeth, stepped up. The first man addressed him as lieutenant.

“You must pardon us, little lady,” said the lieutenant, “if we ask you a few questions. Our orders are to let no one by without a pass. Where is your home?”

Then I grew serious and my voice changed as I repeated the word. “Home.” My eyes filled and I answered: “I have no home; I don’t live anywhere, but I stay in Clarke county. Our beautiful home in Shepherdstown was burned by the Federals only a few days ago.”

Then a bright lad looking chap came forward, clapping his hands and saying: “Oh, Shepherdstown! That is the place for me. Not in the whole South are Confederate soldiers treated better than in Shepherdstown. I just love that pretty little place on the river bank.”

I felt like patting the enthusiastic boy on his shoulder for that speech, but the lieutenant said: “Tell me your name and I will go and see headquarters.””

My name is Netta Lee and this young boy is my brother, Harry Bedinger Lee, my soldier and my protector.”

“Lee!” the officer exclaimed, while the first soldier lifted his hat with deference, saying: “Surely Miss Lee, your name should pass through all Confederate lines.”

“May I ask if you are related to our dear general,” inquired the lieutenant, lifting his hat.

“Yes, he and my father are first cousins,” I replied, my face flowing with pride and pleasure.

“Boys, that is enough pass. This lady and her brother can go anywhere through these lines she wants to go.”

Gratefully thanking those splendid Southern gentlemen, as each man took off his hat and bowed a farewell, we passed on our way.

In two hours we were safely at the Pendleton home, Dunham, but disappointed that Father and Mother were not there to greet us, they having accepted an invitation to dine at Wee Haw, the beautiful home of our old friends, the Blackburns. – (2).

NEXT: Chapterette 25. Click Here.

“Thy Will Be Done” – Chapter 25 July 30, 1864 The Burning of Chambersburg by Jim Surkamp

1470 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710014949/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-25-july-30-1864-the-burning-of-chambersburg/

JubalEarly

Chapterette (25) – July 30, 1864 – The Burning of Chambersburg
In retaliation for Gen. Hunter’s burnings, Confederate Gen. Jubal Early orders the same on the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania – but on an “industrial” scale, citing the burned homes in Jefferson County as a key motivation:

In an interview with a Richmond newspaper after the war Early was reported to have said:
The act was done in retaliation for outrages committed by General David Hunter in the Valley of Virginia. I thought it was time to try and stop this mode of warfare by some act of retaliation, and I accordingly sent a cavalry force to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to demand of the authorities of that town compensation for the houses of Messrs. Hunter, Lee and Boteler, upon pain of having their town reduced to ashes on failure to pay the compensation demanded. The three houses burned were worth fully $100,000 in gold and I demanded that, or what I regarded as equivalent in greenbacks. No attempt was made to comply with my demand and my order to burn the town was executed.

This was in strict accordance with the laws of war and was a just retaliation. I gave the order on my own responsibility, but General Lee never in any manner indicated disapproval of my act, and his many letters to me expressive of confidence and friendship forbade the idea that he disapproved of my conduct on that occasion. It afforded me no pleasure to subject non-combatants to the rigors of war, but I felt that I had a duty to perform to the people for whose homes I was fighting and I endeavored to perform it, however disagreeable it might be. – (1).

Eyewitnesses describe the burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania:

After the order to burn the town was given by the rebel commander, squads of four and six under command of proper officers, were detailed for the purpose, and within fifteen minutes the town was on fire in a hundred places, the flames spreading in every direction with fearful rapidity.

Confederate Gen. McCausland allowed his men to scatter in squads over the town, . . . Their first move was for the taverns in the town and here they drank to excess, and then visited private residences, and demanded of the occupants certain sums of money, threatening to lay their dwellings in ashes. Some of these citizens saved their residences by complying with their terms, others gave them to understand that they would suffer death rather than give them money. A guard of half a dozen men had been detailed by the rebel General to visit the residence of Col. Alexander K. McClure, situated about a mile and a half out of town. . . .They visited the splendid residence, ordered Mrs. McClure – who was very sick at the time- out of the house, stole everything that was of value, and burned the house. They next proceeded to the barn which was well filled with wheat and this structure shared the same fate. They were not aware that Mr. McClure had several other buildings and barns in the immediate neighborhood, or they would surely have been destroyed. Mrs. McClure, although sick, was obliged to walk nearly eleven miles. The Colonel had left the place before the rebels entered and had gone to Harrisburg. . . There were many aged persons whose sole support was derived from the rents of houses now in ashes. What these persons and the poorer classes are to do we know not. God help them! – (2).

Another account said: When orders were given to fire the Court House, a strong breeze was blowing which communicated the flames to the adjoining buildings; while their soldiers, who having sacked several drug and chemical stores, made turpentine balls and were throwing them in all direction, setting fire to various places in the city

These detachments, armed with axes and crow-bars, broke into every building as they progressed, and nothing escaped the torch. No notice whatever was given to the citizens until their doors were assailed, and women and children driven into the street, without being allowed time to save any article whatever.

The scene at this time was fearful and heart-rending beyond description, The streets were filled frantic women and children wild with fright, not knowing where to fly for safety, yet urged on by the lashing, roaring flames which enveloped both sides of the streets behind.
– (3).

Wrote another reporter: The roar of the flames – the screams of women and children – and the pitiful appeals of old helpless women, was an indescribable scene of horror. Two hundred and sixty-five of the most valuable and elegant buildings and private buildings were destroyed.

Men were rushing madly hither and thither, incapable of resistance, and only anxious for the safety of their families, while the shrieks and wailings of women and children filled the air, drowning even the dull roar of the raging fire.

The whole work of destruction was accomplished in a very short period. The burning of the town commenced at nine o’clock; at eleven o’clock the rebels had left and at two o’clock the best part of Chambersburg was in ashes. – (4).

Reverend Joseph Clark wrote in The Presbyterian, August 6, 1864:
Between 300 and 400 dwellings were burned, leaving at least 2, 500 persons without a home or a hearth. In value, three-fourths of the town were destroyed. The scene of desolation must be seen to be appreciated. Crumbling walls, stacks of chimneys and smoking embers, are all that remain of once elegant and happy homes. As to the scene itself, it beggars description. My own residence being on the outskirts, and feeling it the call of duty to be with my family, I could only look on from without. The day was sultry and calm, not a breath stirring, and each column of smoke rose black, straight and single, first one, and then another, and another, and another, until the columns blended and commingled; and then one vast and lurid column of smoke and flame rose perpendicular to the sky, and spread out into a vast crown, like a cloud of sackcloth hanging over the doomed city; whilst the roar and the surging, the crackling and the crash of falling timbers and walls broke upon the still air with a fearful dissonance, and the screams and sounds of agony of burning animals, hogs and cows and horses, made the welkin horrid with the sounds of woe. It was a scene to be witnessed and heard once in a life-time.” – (5).

None of the churches were burned with the exception of the Associate Reformed Church, on Second street.

The most lamentable feature of the affair is that all of the parties burned out have not saved not a single article, not even a change of clothing, children not having been allowed by the incendiaries to secure even a covering for their heads before being ejected into the streets. A very large proportion of the sufferers have lost their all, and much suffering must be the consequence, unless immediate aid is rendered them.

The number of homeless is not less than one thousand seven hundred or one thousand eight hundred persons, and nearly all are entirely destitute. In many cases citizens, after being driven from their burning homes, were relieved of their watches and pocket-books by the rebel soldiers.

The work of destruction was very speedy. The whole was done within about four hours. The value of the property destroyed is estimated at about a million and a half of dollars.

It is but just to say that many of the subordinate rebel officers were much opposed to McCausland’s order for the burning of the town, and earnestly but unsuccessfully remonstrated against it.

There were many honorable exceptions to this brutality and they spoke of this savage deed in appropriate language. They admitted that the Yanks have never been guilty of such wholesale destruction of private property. One of the declared that it would damn the Confederacy forever. – (6).

Slowly the men of Averell rode up the ruined street.
And warm were the cobble stones beneath their tir’d horses’ feet;
High o’er their heads and banners, upward in eddying whirls,
Above the blacken’d buildings the smothering smoke-cloud curls.
‘To their right and left lay ruins, the marks of rebel rage,
‘Twas a scene of desolation, a blot on history’s page.
Homeless were maid and mother, and houseless were son and sire.
No sheltering roof to shield them, surrounded all by fire;
And most harmonious music to those so helpless made
Were the sounds of Union trappings, the clatter of the blade.
Loudly they greeted the troopers with joyful shout and cheer,
But silently sat the soldiers, amid the scene so drear;
Warm were the stones beneath their steeds, and warm their welcome, too,
And warm with a thirst for vengeance each soldier’s heart then grew.
– (7).

NEXT: Chapterette 25a. Click Here.

“Thy Will Be Done” (25a) – Netta Lee, The “Refugee” – continued

2229 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710022414/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-25-netta-lee-the-refugee-continued/

EPSON scanner image

Chapterette (25a) – Netta Lee, The “Refugee” – continued

August 10, 1864 – Dunham:

Well, my dear Pink, when I wrote last night, while awaiting the return of Father and Mother from We Haw, little did I dream that this evening I’d be in the Yankee lines.

We thought this place was entirely out of the path of either army, but they are pouring down upon us like locusts from every quarter and making a road diagonally across this lovely green yard, coming from the direction of Charlestown and going to the Berryville turnpike. Thousands are passing; I am at Mother’s window; there are three or four officers on the porch below. I heard one say: “We have fifteen thousand men in this corps. I expect we will go on to Winchester tomorrow.” Another says: “We will likely go on to Lynchburg after we run the rebs out of Winchester.” Mother remarked, sotto voce, to me: “Yes, AFTER.”

Another officer is saying: “We cannot subsist upon the country entirely; so it will depend upon the result at Winchester whether they will send a wagon train from Washington or not.”

The children have just come running up to tell us that the yankees have broken into the smokehouse. “Goodbye,” I say to all our fine old hams, a dozen of which were saved from Bedford. They have begun “to feed upon the fat of our land.”

The party of officers, being sufficiently refreshed have departed.

Old Peggy called from the yard to me to “please come down.” I went and found an impudent young soldier had taken one of the two kerchiefs I have in the world from the clothesline. Aunt Peggy told me about it; so I boldly walked up to the man and remonstrated: “That kerchief around your neck, sir, is mine, not yours, as you can see by my name there in full. I will thank you to return it to me.”

“No,” he said, “I will not! I want it to keep my neck from getting sunburned.” Then glancing at my name: “I like the name, too ’Netta Lee.’”

“Insolence! I insist upon your giving it to me!”

“I will pay you for it,” he said. “So I told that old woman,” pointing to Aunt Peggy, who broke in:

“You know I told you that it belongs to my young Miss, and I couldn’t let you have it.”

Unabashed, Mr. Yankee turned to go off, when I said scornfully: “Of course, I might have known you would hardly be gentleman enough to give me what you have stolen,” and was turning to leave, when he jerked the kerchief off his dirty neck, tossing it toward me, saying: “Damn it, take your old handkerchief!”

I smiled as I picked it from the ground on the end of a stick. “Here, Peggy take this and wash it. Be sure to boil it well!” The Yankee looked daggers and left amidst a general chuckle from servants and soldiers nearby. – (1).

August 29th, 1864, Mansfield:

Dear Pink, With what joy I now write. We are within the Confederate lines. Just before sundown Sunday our men arrived. They drove the federals from two miles this side of Winchester to Rippon, three miles this side of Charlestown. With joy, not unmingled with anxiety we listened to the cannonading as it came near and nearer. At last it was on the farm. We could see the smoke from our men’s guns and the enemy retreating. You know too well, from the Antietam battle, what it is to be in this dreadful suspense . . .

August 31st, 1864 – Mansfield:

Yankees, Yankees everywhere,
Their shouts and curses fill the air.

You see darling every few days we change masters. Here comes one of the masters to demand something to eat. – (2).

NETTA LEE – BY CHANCE – ENCOUNTERS CAPTAIN MARTINDALE:

September 5th, 1864 – Mansfield:

I have had trials lately, but those of today have surpassed them all for I have just met face-to-face that creature, Martindale. Brevet Major General A.T.A. Torbert sent him here to ask Cousin Mann if he would object to his having his headquarters here in the yard at Mansfield. From my window I saw an officer in a Captain’s uniform walk up and introduce himself to Brother Charles. At the same time another officer of the same rank came from behind and greeted him: “Good day, Mr. Lee.”

“Why, Captain Prentiss,” exclaimed brother Charles, giving him his hand. ”Where did you come from?”

“General Wright’s headquarters, about a mile from here,” replied Captain Prentiss.

Then turning to the other officer, Brother Charles said: “I presume you gentlemen know each other?” and invited them to seats on the porch.

In a little while Cousin Edmonia came to my room. “Netta,” she said. “Captain Prentiss is down on the porch. Father sent to ask you to come down and meet him.”

“Certainly,” I replied, “I will be down in a moment.”

I bathed my face and went down to the portico. Captain Prentiss was seated on the bench near the door, talking to Cousin Edmonia. At the far end of the porch, Cousin Mann was conversing with a man whom I recognized as Captain Martindale of the First New York Cavalry. Introducing us, Cousin Mann said: “Miss Lee, Captains Martindale and Prentiss.”

I bowed low to Captain Prentiss, then I stood erect and faced Martindale, my hands clenched, head high and lips parted, though out of them not a word came. I held Martindale’s, looking steadily into his face, which at first turned crimson, then deadly, as he quailed before my gaze. All eyes were upon us. The craven moved uneasily, then dropped his eyes to the floor. Without uttering a word, I turned my back on him and stepped into the hall. Then my power of speech returned to me. I felt an irresistible desire to make him recognize me before all the company.

So I faced him a second time. His eyes couldn’t look me in the face; his color changed from crimson to a livid white. Before I could speak, I caught the beseeching look of poor, dear old Cousin Mann. Quivering with pent-up emotion and outrage, I could only curl my lips with with scorn and again turn my back on the man.

Oh, if I could only have said my say to Captain Martindale. But Cousin Mann had never been in Federal lines before and lived in daily dread of having his house burned, for be it remembered, he, too, is a near relative of our great general, though he has not his name, which seems to be our great offence. We all fear that his giving shelter to one of us may bring trouble upon him; therefore, I am most circumspect in my speech.

Cousin Edmonia told me that Martindale left a few minutes after I did. Then Captain Prentiss turned to her and asked: “Miss Page, are all yankees so obnoxious to your cousin that the sight of us affects her so strangely?”

“No, Captain Prentiss,” said Edmonia, “But that man,” pointing to Captain Martindale, who was mounting his horse, ”burned her beautiful home in Shepherdstown a couple of weeks ago. This is their first meeting since that occasion.”

“Is it possible,” he exclaimed, “poor little girl. No wonder her eyes flashed. She was superb. My! but I am glad she didn’t look that way at me!”

Edmonia told him all about Bedford. When she had finished, he remarked: ”Well, it is not likely that Captain Martindale will take any meals in this house while they camp on your lawn.

“I guess he will not,” said Edmonia, emphatically. – (3).

(Self-destructive acts have many causes and origins. While its sources are unknowable, it should be noted that many years later, this same Franklin G. Martindale, while residing at a veteran’s home near Los Angeles, California, on October 2, 1896, died. The cause according to the official report: “Strychnine taken with suicidal intent.” He was buried in Home Cemetery Section 2, Row 5-13.-JS). – (4).

September 7, 1864 – Mansfield:

Brother Charles told me that while conversing with General Torbert, he said: “I suppose, General, you heard of the disagreeable episode that occurred on the portico yesterday.”

His reply: “Yes, Captain Martindale told me that he had met Miss Lee, whose home he had been ordered by Major General Hunter to burn. Martindale said he had been compelled to obey the orders given to him, but had been as merciful as he could.”

“General,” my brother answered, “my sister tells me that he was neither merciful nor manly – he was brutal.”

“Of course, Mr. Lee, it was all brutal in that young girl’s eyes and war is brutal at best. Martindale said he let them save everything excepting the parlor furniture, while his orders were to allow the removal of nothing save wearing apparel.”

“General Torbert,” replied my brother, “I assure you it was just the contrary. The only things saved were a part of the parlor furniture, which were removed before the men reached my father’s house, and while they were burning Fountain Rock. Our servants had pulled the piano to the drawing room door, when Martindale arrived and made them push it back. Some small boys had pulled a feather bed through a down-stairs window. The captain ordered them to let do or he would shoot them. My sister watched Martindale select books from the shelves in the library. When the flames were pouring out of doors and windows, he jeeringly offered to let them go in and save what they could.”

General Torbert looked very grave as he replied: “It is useless to make war worse than necessary. I should never give or execute such an order. Captain Martindale does not belong to my staff; he was ordered to my service as a guide through this country, to which I am a stranger. – (5).

September 15, 1864 – Mansfield:

The army still surrounds us and General Torbert’s headquarters are still at Mansfield. He is such a good man and a gentleman. Some of his staff officers I like very much too – I mean, of course, as much as I allow myself to like Blue Coats. The General is quite young, good enough looking, slender, and soldierly in bearing, with an exceedingly pleasant expression. He is modest and has a quiet dignity that at once charms and commands respect. What is more important, he does not force himself upon us. He has done all within his power to help us and to make war less brutal. Then, too, he is from Delaware and not a Yankee in the full significance of the word; he is also an old army officer. There are also two brothers from Elkton, Maryland – Ellis – who are refined. They have shown us many kind attentions.

The other day, General Torbert came on the porch, wearing a pair of superb new riding boots; they reached ‘way above his knees. He was equipped for a trip. He said:

“I have come to tell you goodbye, Miss Lee. I am leaving camp for a day or two.

“Oh,” I said, “would it be treason to tell a Rebel whither?”

“Oh, no, not so long as she is in my lines,” he said. “I am going on a little raid to Winchester, and by the way, I may see your brother, and bring him back with me.” He continued. “At any rate, I’m going to look him up.”

September 17, 1864 – Mansfield:

Oh, Pink my darling. I feel so happy! For father and all of us are going back to live in Shepherdstown; and in the old Rectory, too, so near to you. All of this great joy I owe under providence to General A. T. A. Torbert. I wrote you that, at the first opportunity, I was going to tell General Torbert all about the way Father had been persecuted and driven away from home by the malignity and petty spite of the Union men in Shepherdstown. He listened with much interest to all I told him and I do him but scant justice when I say he is kind and good.

“Miss Lee,” he said, “my advice to you all is to go at once to Shepherdstown as all your father’s property and interests are there, even if your house is destroyed.”

”But General, while that is true, there is where his enemies, persecutors and slanderers are, and not in the Federal army.”

“Well, you tell your father I say: “Go back to Shepherdstown and as far as I am concerned he shall not be molested by any of those petty officers of whom you have told me”

“But suppose they do arrest him and send him to prison, General?”

“Well, if they do, let me know at once and I’ll settle them and see that they don’t try it again.”

“Oh, my darling Pink, I am so happy, I don’t know what to do. You may be sure I expressed my gratitude to General Torbert. Everything is for the best. If we hadn’t lost our house, Father and Mother would have been separated indefinitely; and both are old and growing feeble. Now we can go to Shepherdstown if not to our beautiful Bedford, and start a new home. I thank God for this though I have not told Father and Mother for fear something may prevent. – (6).

NEXT: Chapterette 26. Click Here.

Thy Will Be Done (26) Gen. Phil Sheridan Brings “Total War” to the Valley by Jim Surkamp

767 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710014900/https://civilwarscholars.com/2014/12/thy-will-26-gen-phil-sheridan-brings-total-war-to-the-valley/

-7-CEBE-Alfred-R-Waud

Made possible with the generous, community-minded support from American Public University System. Views in this video do not in any way reflect modern-day policies of the university. 

Within the next month, war would widen its wrath under Federal General Phil Sheridan leading war and devastation in the Shenandoah Valley, which was later taken to even greater vastness under Gen. Sherman in his march to the sea through Georgia. As time passed the Civil War became just warring, ever meaner and final, following the inevitable, insane calculus of all-out war.

Federal Commander U. S. Grant brought in Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, making him Hunter’s subordinate, but making it clear that Sheridan would lead the troops in the field and that Hunter would be left with only administrative responsibilities. Hunter, feeling that Grant had a lack of confidence in him, requested to be relieved. – (1).

The actual “depredation order” had come from Gen. Grant on July 14, 1864, before the burnings of the three local homes. The orders were amended under Sheridan to avoid the burning of homes, but targeting barns, mills and all other buildings, destroying fences, seizing livestock and freeing previously enslaved persons.

Grant wrote his order:
If the enemy has left Maryland, as I suppose he has, he should have upon his heels veterans, militiamen, men on horseback, and everything that can be got to follow to eat out Virginia clear and clean as far as they go, so that crows flying over it for the balance of this season will have to carry their provender with them. – (2).

Grant also told Sheridan: “Do all the damage to railroads and crops you can. Carry off stock of all descriptions, and negroes, so as to prevent further planting. If the war is to last another year, we want the Shenandoah Valley to remain a barren waste.” – (3).

Then, in a short, violent campaign known to this day among Valley folk as, simply, the Burning, Sheridan led his troops on a 13-day rampage through the region, beginning on Sept. 26. The swath of destruction spanned 70 miles long and 30 wide. The men were ordered to spare homes, empty barns, the property of widows, single women and orphans, and to refrain from looting – but everything else was fair game. – (4).

Sheridan wrote later in his Memoir:
In war a territory like this is a factor of great importance, and whichever adversary controls it permanently reaps all the advantages of its prosperity. Hence, as I have said, I endorsed Grant’s programme, for I do not hold war to mean simply that lines of men shall engage each other in battle, and material interests be ignored. This is but a duel, in which one combatant seeks the other’s life; war means much more, and is far worse than this. Those who rest at home in peace and plenty see but little of the horrors attending such a duel, and even grow indifferent to them as the struggle goes on, contenting themselves with encouraging all who are able-bodied to enlist in the cause, to fill up the shattered ranks as death thins them. It is another matter, however, when deprivation and suffering are brought to their own doors. Then the case appears much graver, for the loss of property weighs heavy with the most of mankind; heavier often, than the sacrifices made on the field of battle. Death is popularly considered the maximum of punishment in war, but it is not; reduction to poverty brings prayers for peace more surely and more quickly than does the destruction of human life, as the selfishness of man has demonstrated in more than one great conflict. – (5).

On October 7, Sheridan reported to Grant, “I have destroyed over 2,000 barns filled with wheat, hay and farming implements; over 70 mills, filled with flour and wheat; have driven in front of the army over 4,000 head of stock, and have killed and issued to the troops not less than 3,000 sheep.” While the agricultural devastation was important, Sheridan also assessed the psychological impact on the residents,”The people here are getting sick of war.” – (6).

Recalled Richard Rutherford in his memoir of the burning of Hunter’s Hill and the subsequent depredations of Gen. Sheridan through the County:
I have stood at our windows at night and seen fires all around the town, where barns, mills. wheat and hay stacks were burning as a result of his orders. Stock of all kinds were taken and, in several instances, houses occupied by only women and children and to our mind were burned for no reason other than that a father or son had been home to see them. This was nothing but warring on women and children and was to our mind shocking and uncivilized warfare. I don’t think there is any punishment severe enough for a man who gave orders for such depredations. – (7).