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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Brother:

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

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

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

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

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

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

They Meet George Slow.

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

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

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

NEXT: Chapterettes 12-13. Click Here.

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

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

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

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

NEXT: Chapterette 15. Click Here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT: Chapter 16. Click Here.

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

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Charles Aglionby Keeps Farming Amid War

Charles Yates Aglionby

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

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

Wednesday, December 24, 1862

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

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

Thursday, December 25, 1862 – Christmas

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

Friday, December 26, 1862

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

Wednesday, December 31, 1862

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

Saturday, January 3, 1863

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

Monday, January 5, 1863

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

Wednesday, January 7, 1863

Cold and blustery. We commenced threshing.

Thursday, January 8, 1863

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

Saturday, January 10, 1863

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

Wednesday, January 21, 1863

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

Saturday, January 31, 1863

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

Saturday, February 14, 1863

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

Sunday, February 22, 1863

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

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

Wednesday, March 4, 1863

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

Thursday, March 5, 1863

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

Wednesday, March 25, 1863

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

Tuesday, April 7, 1863

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

Wednesday, April 8, 1863

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

Thursday, April 9, 1863

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

Saturday, April 11, 1863

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

Tuesday, April 14, 1863

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

Friday, April 17, 1863

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

Saturday, April 25, 1863

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

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

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

Sunday, June 7, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next: Chapter 17. Click Here.

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

1467 words

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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

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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.