CHAPTER 20a – A Boy Remembers Shepherdstown in the 1850s – then during wartime

Remembrances of DeWitt Clinton Gallaher who was a child in Shepherdstown and, in later life, the editor of the Charleston Courier. While Shepherdstown always had several dozens of households with a Unionist cast, Gallaher, like most of the young white men, chose what they initially believed would be a brief, successful and glorious war experience fighting in grey uniform.

Shepherdstown, Va. 1852 from map by S. Howell Brown –

Shepherdstown Sixty or Seventy Years Ago: Boyhood and Other Reminiscences by D.C. Gallaher

Shepherdstown Register April 19, 1923 (Then: “Search” for “Author”: type in “GALLAHER”- RETURN)

AccessID 1830
author Gallaher, D.C.
article Fragments of a Diary of Shepherdstown – Events During the War 1861-5
title Magazine of the Jefferson County Historical Society
editor Eby, Cecil D.
pub Place
Date 1/1/1996 12:00:00 AM
pub Date 1996
volume 62
page 83-96
found At
topic Civil War
note From “Fragments of a Diary of Shepherdstown. Events During the War of 1861-5.” Contributed by D. C. Gallaher, Shepherdstown Register, April 23, 1925.

3312 words

D. C. Gallaher

(Note: In my boyhood there was only a “Main Street” and nameless others. A kind friend has lately given me the modern names of the streets.)

Born in Shepherdstown, removing to the Upper Valley when quite young, spending a winter there later as a boy, and with several other visits, once as a soldier in grey, the writer has often given many somewhat affectionate thoughts to the good old town. These memories, let me say at the inception, are not claimed to be entirely free from the natural inaccuracy of so many years gone, but are submitted with the prayer in one of my early school books that the hypercritical “may pass my imperfections by, and not view me with a critic’s eye.” I may add that many named herein I first knew well during a visit in the summer of 1865, to which time I refer as to them.

Along the “fifties,” as I recall it, the German Reform Church and the Lutheran were on the hill opposite each other. The new church of the latter is now, I hear, down on King street. I do not recall any buildings then standing on the south side of the square on which the German Reform Church stood, and west of the church. But opposite, at the corner of German street and Rumsey avenue, formerly Mill street, lived the Parran family, whose beautiful daughters old residents will recall. Coming on that side toward Princess street was the handsome home of Mr. Jim Shepherd, and at the northeast corner of German and Princess streets was a saloon, mainly for “lager beer,” as it was then called. I think it was then or later kept by a Mr. Grice.

On the opposite (S.E.) corner Thomas Hopkins, an old bachelor, had a furniture and undertaking business, and next to and east of it was the family residence of Mr. George Byers, a somewhat distinguished school teacher. I recall two sons, Bill and Newt; the latter, after several years at the University of Virginia and four years of honorable service in the Southern Artillery, married, I believe, Miss Eleanor Rentch, an attractive belle in her [page 30] day and daughter of D. S Rentch, an honored and prominent citizen and merchant.

I do not recall just who then lived in the handsome brick home just beyond the Byers home in which the Hamtramck family later lived. The Selbys? Turning now into Princess street. It ran down a steep hill to the river, but I can recall only one family living below on Princess street, the Barnharts and Entlers living near the old yellow covered wooden bridge over the river one named “Ed.” They kept the toll house on this side. Following Princess street out towards Charles Town (now towards the N. & W. freight station) stood the residence of Wm. Bowen and Eli Conley on the north side, the Conleys owning a very large property with an extensive garden fronting on Princess street.

Returning to German street, on the northwest corner stood Entler’s Hotel. I hear it is still there and I expect that when McCauley’s “wreck of matter and crash of worlds” come, it will still be found surviving! Opposite stood the Lucas home, on the S. W. corner. The boys of about [page 31] my age, John and Frank, were great fighters as I soon discovered. Both, I believe, were good soldiers who wore the grey. Mrs. Line lived there later. Nearby, on the south side were Cameron’s shop and Moore Entler’s residence, and then the residence of Colonel or General Hamtramck, who had only a short while before returned with honor from the Mexican War. I recall as a leader in society, Miss “Folly,” later Mrs. Shepherd, and his son Selby, who was the keen envy of every boy, for his father had brought him a black Mexican pony with long mane and tail. His father rode a big bay — a striking contrast. Selby was a fine soldier, and I think was killed at the First Manassas July 21, 1861. Further up on the same side were McKendree’s store and residence. Never shall I forget my first pair of red-top boots, bought there! I recall Morgan McKendree and his sister, Miss Nannie, who was one of the town’s favorites and of charming personality.Near the corner was the Marmaduke home, whose tannery was at the corner of King and German streets, where I hear the Register office now stands. Leaving Entler’s Hotel, there was adjoining it a drug store, and across the alley was a stone-built store and further up was Lambright’s candy and ice cream place.

One soon came to the residence of Mr. Harper near the “run,” crossing the street in a culvert. There were in his window three big high bottles, three or four feet high, of red, blue and green colors, the prevailing sign in those days of drug stores. But the smell of drugs, etc., in that old store! When the door was closed it was a memory that for more than a half century lingered in one’s nasal organs. Mr. Harper’s daughters, named I think, Fannie and Ellen, were prominent in society. From Harper’s to the corner was, as I recall it, a vacant lot, on the rear of which I think the normal college now stands. Opposite this corner stood the old Odd Fellows Hall, which was right in the center of King street, a driveway on each side of it, the lodge using the second story, while below was the fire company’s engine, etc. This engine was about as big as an ordinary small motor truck of nowadays and was pumped by eight or ten men, two rows of them, using long parallel handles. “Bucket brigades” were the main reliance in those days. I shall never forget the building. It stood in the center of King street facing north. Nearly at the top in the front wall was a great big gilt-coated “all-seeing” eye. It inspired my boyish mind with awe. It seemed almost real and celestial. Whether it is still there or not, its sleepless eye will have seen very much.

Going up on the hill on the north side, one came soon to Adams’ store and residence. Oh! the candy and “squibs” (firecrackers), etc., in that store! His two sons, Billy and George, I think, of course were blessed, for they could get from the store all they wished; and then, too, they could ride in their father’s “hack” to Kearneysville, in which he carried people to the railroad trains. This brilliantly painted hack was one of the widest I ever saw. It carried ten or twelve people. Years afterwards I saw the splendid state carriages in London, Paris and Berlin, but none of them impressed me as grand as I, a little boy, used to think that hack was. Further up lived some of the Shepherds and at the northeast corner of German and Church streets was Billmyer’s big store. He dealt largely in canal boats and their supplies, etc. Some distance back and on the same side of Church street stand the old Episcopal Church, a small white structure. The much beloved Dr. Andrews was the rector. I remember a fashionable wedding there so many years ago, the church was packed and a big crowd on the outside, a lot of boys and the writer “among those present.” I may be mistaken, but I think the groom was a Mr. Livermore. I have an idea who the bride was, but will be pardoned in withholding the name, as I am not positive.

Returning now to the Odd Fellows Hall, going out south on King street, Joseph Welshans lived at the corner of New street. He was an exemplary and honored citizen and lived to a good old age, I hear. At the southwestern corner of German and King streets was the big store room of John K. White, and later a Mr. Mohler had a store there. Mr. White had a son of about my age, named Bob, and his boy playmates roguishly likened him and his name to a quail or partridge, which sometimes brought on a fisticuff. Further up I think Mr. D. S. Rentch lived; also Rightstine, Licklider and Stonebraker, and opposite Billmyer’s store was a tin shop on the southeast corner. On the northwest corner above Billmyer’s store, corner German and Church streets, lived the Towner family. That big brass highly polished door plate with the family name on it still shines in my memory. I do not recall any material object of my early boyhood, excepting that big gilt eye on the Odd Fellows Hall, that impressed me as that door plate. Further up one came to Dr. Quigley’s home, whose daughter was one of the favorites of society. Then the Rickards, who made those famous locks, and none better did I ever see.

Then at the northeast corner of German and Duke streets lived Jacob Hill, and there ran the road out to “Hardscrabble,” as it was then called, where recent letters in the Register from there show that literary style and quite good wit now dwell. Beyond Duke street going west on German street was known as “Philadelphia,” but I do not know whether some Quakers once lived out there, or only in derision it was so named. On the southwest corner of German and Duke I think Dr. Reynolds lived, one of the town’s first gentlemen and a fine physician. Nearly the whole square, where the hospitable home of Harry L. Snyder and the new Episcopal Church now stand, was occupied by the even then ancient hotel and caravansary of Joseph Entler. Here in its ample yard multitudes of wagons going west and east usually stopped, carrying merchandise west and products east. How well I remember my first circus, which was on this lot! It was, of course, one of those overland circuses, but it seemed immense to my childish mind.

A great storm suddenly arose, and the loud peals of thunder and blinding flashes of lightning, with a downpour of rain, simply terrified the audience. Men paled with fear, women screamed and children cried, when some fool (there are always in addition to the clown, some in every circus) cried out “the lion is loose.” (There was only one and he was only about as big as an airedale dog.) Everybody for himself, a sort of sauve qui peut mad rush it was. Everybody tried to get out of the tent at once and some cut holes in it to escape, and I was dragged out through one of them, full of mud and wet as a rat. I can now, but could not then, laugh over it all. Incidentally, there were many other families besides those named herein above that I recall, but I cannot now locate their then residence, such as Berry, Towner, Snyder, Pendleton, Reinhart, Zittle, the editor of the Register, Humrickhouse, etc.

I do not remember if Colonel Wm. A. Morgan, under whom I served in the cavalry, then lived at Morgan’s Spring. There was no braver man in the whole army than he, and withal he was a gentle and modest as a woman and loved by every soldier who knew him. At the northeast corner of Church and New streets lived the Boteler family, whose sons were Henry and Charlie, later gallant Confederate soldiers and daughter Miss Pink, a beauty and beloved by all, one of the sweetest nature I ever knew. Dr. Andrews lived nearby opposite and the Shepherd cemetery was nearby. Opposite his home stood a little frame school-house. A Mr. Pierce, the teacher, prepared boys for college, many of them sons of the wealthier class. The school-house was known as the “salt box,” it being in derision so called by many because its patrons claimed that the pupils were the “salt of the earth.” At least some claimed this was the origin of the nickname. Others claimed it was so called because it was not unlike a salt box in size and shape, etc. Traditions are uncertain.

In politics, A. R. Boteler, Sr., who lived out on the “pike,” whose daughter Lottie was a great belle and Charles J. Faulkner alternated to Congress from that district, and like two polished and keen Damascene blades, they often crossed in public debates, both eloquent and chivalrous. I think the ever genial and scholarly Joe McMurran was conducting a school about that time or a little later. The courtly and polished Henry Bedinger, minister to Denmark, lived out on the Kearneysville pike near town. Among those at the “salt box” school, I recall the gallant Henry Kyd Douglas and his brothers, John and Bob, who lived on the hill across the river in that beautiful home where I spent several days at different times; also Charlie and Jim Clarke, who lived near the canal lock. Jim fell at the first battle of Manassas and Charlie at Waynesboro in the fall of 1864. Among them also the Boteler boys, Henry, Charlie and Alex Boteler, Jr. I am not sure, but I think Towner Schley also was a scholar there, and some of the Pendletons. It was a fine classical school and Mr. Pierce, the teacher, was very popular in society. There were many other scholars whom I knew but their names I cannot definitely now recall.

Among the older people known as “men about town” were Jim Lane Towner and Rebo Staley, gallant beaux, debonair and faultlessly dressed always. There were of course the usual number of dandies and, as always in the town’s history, a multitude of pretty girls. At the head of the now called New street on the road to Kearneysville stood the little stone jail (all about twelve feet square). It was seldom occupied sometimes by an anti-Volstead disciple.

A somewhat regular occupant was an old fellow from out on the Charles Town road, who always walked in the middle of the street and came in or went out, or both, drunk. Unlike the Pied Piper of Hamelin, he was a holy terror to children, who fled from him affrighted. I remember his name well, but he may have left sensitive descendants. On the edge of town near the present cemetery was the toll-gate, near the foot of the E. I. Lee property. Mr. Lee was, I think, the only lawyer then residing in the town. A good lawyer, a handsome, aristocratic gentleman, of whose family I recall E. I. Lee, later a Confederate General, and Edmund, and daughter, Miss Nettie, and none more a general favorite in society. I do not recall any others of this family, except Rev. Harry B. Lee, some of whom, I understand, still live at “Leeland.” In a brick house nearby, I believe on the right hand side of the pike, Redmond Burke, was murdered during the war. Going down New street not far from the jail stood the Methodist Church, built, I think, just before the war. At the corner of the present Washington and King street was then, and may be still, the Presbyterian Church. The only ministers then that I recall were Rev. Mr. Andrews, Rev. Mr. Douglas and Rev. Mr. Bragonier.

On Washington below King, near the run, lived the Faymans, who had on the opposite or lower side of the street a felt or wool hat shop. I wore one of their make and still almost feel its weight on my brow, like all wool hat factories, the odors therefrom were simply fierce. And the brass band! Wasn’t it Criswell’s? What a deserved loyal pride all felt in its sweet music and how we boys followed it!

In 1855, aged 12, I was a student at Georgetown College, and about July first my younger brother Charlie and I came on the canal from that place to Shepherdstown on a little steamboat, the first, I think, ever run there. We left Georgetown about 8 a.m. and arrived about 3 a.m. next morning. A fearfully hot journey, but to a boy one of much novelty and pleasure. Weary and dead tired, we trudged up the hill in the night with the friends who had sat up nearly all night to meet us. No telegraph or phones were in use then along the canal.

July Fourth, 1858, was a big day. Big military parade and several bands of music, with a finely drilled company of young boys from Charles Town who won special admiration.

I remember Joe Crane as one of its officers. Later many of these boys were members of the Second Virginia and of Baylor’s Cavalry in the war. There was a grand barbecue that day in the woods just beyond. “Philadelphia,” with whole beeves roasted over pits of glowing fires, etc. Of course there were the usual addresses, one of which I think was by the favorite orator of that day, the Hon. Alex R. Boteler. How many thousands of our soldiers at different times passed through her streets, never to return especially on the night before the battle of Sharpsburg, September 17th, 1862, when all night long the tramp of passing battalions was heard. The Yankees had possession of the town nearly all of the war.

“Shepherdstown,” Aug 29, 1862. Guards and Pickets will pass this little boy to get his cow until further orders.


Captain and Provo Marshal

How dangerous a “little” boy on hunting his cow must have been to their armed forces and what a fearful spell this doughty captain had!

Well, dear Register, these memories may be somewhat inaccurate, as above stated, but infrequent visits, mainly in early boyhood, to the good old town some nearly three score and ten years ago, may have left dimmed impressions, for which I pray forgiveness and indulgent tolerance.

If some of your readers find any pleasure in their perusal, I shall share with them affectionate reminiscences of one of the best old town with some of the best people then and now living there, in the wide, wide world.

These memories, let me say, are not claimed to be entirely free from the natural inaccuracy of so many years gone, but are submitted with the prayer in one of my early school books that the hypercritical “may pass my imperfections by, and not view me with a critic’s eye.” I may add that many named herein I first knew well during a visit in the summer of 1865, to which time I refer as to them.

art work from map drawn in 1852 of Jefferson County, Va by S. Howell Brown –

Gallaher, D.C. Fragments of a Diary of Shepherdstown. Events During the War of 1861-5. Contributed by D.C. Gallaher. Shepherdstown Register, 4/23/1925.

The diary, so far as the fragments were found and shown to the writer, gives a somewhat inside view of those terrible days when the always good old town was torn and distressed with internecine bitterness, strife and sometimes bloody scenes and tragedy. The participants are pretty much all gone and but few now living can or will remember those unhappy days. I have omitted in the main the names of many for considerate and obvious reasons, and some of the names are indistinct. The mantle of charity of more than sixty years should and does hide the former animosity and ill feeling now in this year of grace and of a happy and united country, let us hope. – Dewitt Clinton Gallaher.

The contents of the diary contains many events that I have researched and read of from other reliable sources. The Confederate sympathies of the author and of Gallaher himself are evident and it should be understood that the town was very divided in sympathies throughout the war. – JS

5316 words

1845-1926 courtesy Mary Horton Marshall

“Fragments of a Diary of Shepherdstown. Events During the War of 1861-5.” Contributed by D. C. Gallaher, Shepherdstown Register, April 23, 1925. 5 October 2010 Web. 10 January 2017. (Then: “Search” for “Author”: “GALLAHER” RETURN)

Sunday, May 25, 1862. In the great stampede from Winchester the Yankee troops left everything behind them and made for the Potomac here and elsewhere. “Stonewall” Jackson was after them. Captain Kerl left Wade’s Depot and Captain John Harner left Kearneysville with their companies, all passing through the town to the north side of the Potomac, and many of the Union citizens of the town also fled for Maryland. (I omit their names, although he named many of these refugees.)

Monday, May 26, 1862. Sharpsburg rowdies and refugee Virginians brought a cannon to the Maryland river bank and made threats to fire across, but did not.

May 27. Today all the stores in Sharpsburg were by the military kept closed and the next day some boys from our town crossed over the river and came back with the cannon. Captain John Harner, who had fled across the river with his soldiers, appeared on the north river bank and demanded the cannon be returned, but it had already been sent to Winchester and he was told that if he would “apply to Colonel Ashby he might at least see the cannon.”

May 30th. Great cannonading at Harper’s Ferry.

May 31st. The Confederates fell back from Martinsburg and Harper’s Ferry and on the same day some three hundred Yankees passed through the town with a great many empty wagons. (He then gives a very long list of prominent Union men of the town, which I here omit.)

September 9th. Thousands of Confederates are marching through the town all day and night and across into Maryland.

September 14th. Battle at Boonsboro.

September 17th. Battle at Sharpsburg. (Sometimes called Antietam.)

September 20th. Battle at Boteler’s Ford, near town, where the Yankees were driven back across the river with bloody slaughter and many driven over the cliffs along the river and many drowned in their hasty retreat. Their dead lay thick on the sides and top of the cliffs.

September 25th. The Yankees crossed the river and captured E. W. Lee, and on the 27th they came over again and took all of Selby’s hay and went on up the Martinsburg road to M. Billmyer’s but were forced to retreat back across the river to Maryland.

October 2nd. Yankees crossed the river again, some twelve thousand cavalry, but left in great haste, with loss of men and horses in the fight here in town.

October 16th. About twenty thousand Yankees crossed the river and went up the Smithfield pike, and with heavy loss had to make quick retreat from Jackson’s forces.

October 19th. “Stonewall” Jackson burned the railroad shops in Martinsburg and tore up the railroad tracks. Elmwood Cemetery Shepherdstown courtesy El Merlo

October 24th. Redmond Burke, a famous Confederate scout, was today shot and killed before day at his home here, and his two sons and Lapold and Hipsley and one other man were captured. Some negroes had piloted the Yankee soldiers with two white citizens along (naming them) at their head. On the same day in large numbers they broke into private houses and plundered them and took some citizens prisoners, Dan Rentch among them, who wrote a note back saying that H. Kyd Douglas had also been captured and that, he, Rentch, and others would be sent to prison at some fort and among them would be Captain Burke’s men.

December 26th. The 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry the “Bull Run Racers” crossed over the river ford into town and the refugees all came back home from Maryland with fire in their eyes and revenge for Mort Cookus’s blood, who had been shot by Captain Burke’s men, and declaring that every Southern Man’s house should be burned down, etc.

January 12th, 1863. Captain Burke’s house was searched for Rebels by the Yankees, piloted by Bill Colbert, a Union man. (He then gives a list of what he calls Tories, deserters, refugees, bounty jumpers and conscripts from the town.)

January 16th. Captain James Glenn was arrested by the Yankees, who then robbed his home, stealing all of the plate, watches, jewelry, etc., of his wife. A military force took from the mill of Byers and Harris twenty-one barrels of flour and all of the meat in Byer’s smoke-house. Dan Rentch is now out of prison and free from arrest and is sending wheat to Georgetown and Billmyer is doing the same, and Rentch and Stonebreaker are sending wagons with tobacco to Baltimore. Rentch says that Rebo Staley is in Baltimore. Michael Cookus gathered up a wagonload of cartridges left by the army in September, 1862, after the fight on the river cliffs, and sold them in Sharpsburg.

January 6th, 1864. Captain Corbin Blackford was captured and shot by “Jessie Scouts,” who are Yankees who wear Confederate uniforms to deceive, in Newtown, near Winchester. They failed to relieve him of his arms and left him in charge of a guard and while alone with him he shot the guard through the body and then started to run away, but the guard shot him through the heart, when he fell dead. The wounded guard died on his way to a hospital in Winchester. George Byers, Sr., has discharged from his school all children who are not loyal to the Union side.

January 14th. A discharge by order of the military of various clerks in the stores, they not being “loyal.” From Baker’s store Jim Lane Towner and C. Huffman; from Cronise’s store Daniel Hill; from Kearneysville M. Stanley and G. Hinkle.

January 19th, 1864. Dan Hill, Dan Rentch and Jim Lane Towner are arrested and taken to Martinsburg, and all later released and returned home, and on the 27th J. L. Towner is again arrested by the military and again taken to Martinsburg.

Feb. 10th, 5 P.M. The town is again infested with Yankees, who picketed the river and streets for the night. All the stores were ordered to be closed and not to be opened until allowed by military orders. Reported that J. L. Towner had been sent through the lines south. January 29th. Some of Captain Kearney’s Yankee camp came to town and went to the “Baltimore Store,” where Mr. Woody refused to accept Confederate money offered him by the Yankees. They then helped themselves, taking what they wanted, and went to Cronise’s store and compelled him to acc[e]pt their Confederate money.

January 31st. James L. Towner under a strong guard was returned to town to get his clothes and then taken back to the fort at Baltimore. Snowden & Company are taking their goods to Baltimore and Cronise took his to Sharpsburg. Two companies of Yankee cavalry passed through and on to Martinsburg and the Rebels are said to be near that town.

February 6th. Other cavalry forces passed through town going to Martinsburg.

February 10th. The Yankees stopped James Adams from carrying the mail and passengers to and from Kearneysville. A Confederate force on a raid, “Mosby’s men,” stopped the up train at a point between Duffields and Kearneysville at night by aid of a red lantern, and entering the cars placed a guard over the engineer and fireman and took whatever things they wanted. From one good Union man they took $1,200.00 in money and from other Union men they took smaller amounts, and nothing from female passengers, whom they treated with respect. None now but Union men can travel and the military compelled Mrs. Jewett to prove her loyalty before she could travel to Baltimore to remain. A blacksmith, Andrew O——-, was refused travel to Baltimore to buy some plow points, iron, etc., because he could not prove his loyalty by John Boroff.

February 15th. The Lutheran clergyman from Winchester was arrested with two other men and taken to Harper’s Ferry because they were driving along without passes from the military and were charged with flanking the pickets, and for that great offense they were arrested, but finally released. A Union man of this town had seen them and informed upon these gentlemen.

March 24th. C. Baker brought his store goods back to town from Maryland.

March 26th. Captain Richie left with his company of Yankees and, Captain Johnson takes his place. William Marmaduke last week moved back to Virginia from Maryland, and while on his way Josiah Baker handed him a letter with request to deliver it to Captain Richie. Upon opening it, the Captain said to Mr. Marmaduke, “This letter tells me you have two barrels of whiskey in your wagon.” But upon examination only a little whiskey for the waggoner was found.

April 5th. Something new! Three hundred black Yankee soldiers come to town and some are quartered in the Jim Lane Towner store room, where they are in 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—.

April 7th. The black Yankees left hurriedly for Harper’s Ferry, for the river was up and they could not get back into Maryland and the Rebels were reported to be coming.

April 9th. Twenty-six negro soldiers and a white officer came to town and quartered in Mohler’s store.

April 12th. Twenty-four black Yankees and a white officer passed through, going to Martinsburg.

April 20th. Pickets at Smith’s shop on the railroad shot Alex Lemon, returning from a visit to Clarke county. He received three wounds, in the hand, leg and bowels, and the next day died. He was killed without warning.

April 25th. Some Rebel soldiers came in and went to C. Baker and demanded the key to his store, saying they wanted some goods, and took about $100.00 worth. On the same day, Mr. H. L— cut down in part the fence made by some citizens around the graves of Rebel soldiers, buried inside of Jacob Line’s field, adjoining the Methodist graveyard. The next day out of shame he put the fence back.

April 28th. Some ten or twelve Yankees came down from Martinsburg and arrested Virginia, daughter of Samuel Brooke, upon the charge of being a mail carrier through the lines. She was arrested upon information of —-, a Union man and informer.

May Some ten or twelve Yankees disguised in Rebel uniforms entered the store of William Cronise on the Maryland shore, placed guards over it helped themselves and left.

courtesy Horace Mewborn

May 30th. Andrew Leopold’s body, the Confederate scout, was brought from Baltimore, where he had been hung on the 24th at 5 a.m. His funeral was large, not less than 400 in attendance, in spite of the objection and threats of the Union men of the town, all of whom said they would back their leader, Mr. — in whatever he would order done. So they sent a man (naming him) to the graveyard to inform those in attendance that they had better go home and that the corpse would not be allowed to come across the river, but it was finally brought across and buried with the Confederate flag on the coffin. Some of the union citizens gathered in a group opposite Entler’s Hotel as the funeral passed up the street and made loud threats that those in the procession would be sent to prison, etc., etc., “for this day’s work.” The horse and hearse were taken from the owner by these Union men.

July 3rd. The Yankee army retreated from Martinsburg through town and across the river and some of the merchants and Union men (naming them) packed up and crossed with the army to Maryland.

July 4th 1864. The Rebels in full force passed through town into Maryland, fording the river.

July 15th. Some of the Union men are returning from Maryland.

July 18th. The refugees are fleeing back across the river, as the Rebels are reported coming.

July 19th. Some of the Yankee 1st New York Cavalry burned down the homes of Alex R. Boteler and E. I. Lee, together with all of the outhouses and the Potomac river is picketed at all points by the Yankees. The Rebels are in Martinsburg and reported to be coming here.

July 26th. Many Union men again refugeeing to Maryland, and the Rebels under General William L. Jackson, Cavalry Brigade, come into town.

July 30th. Jackson’s command are now occupying the woods at the west end of town. About 1 p.m. some Yankee scouts came across the river, but left in a great hurry, being informed by Mr. _ (naming him) that they were in danger of capture.

August 4th. A corps of General Early’s army crossed the river and are now in Hagerstown, while some crossed at Williamsport. General Imboden’s Brigade of Confederate Cavalry are encamped in the west end of town.

August 8th. The Rebels fell back to the railroad. Some three or four hundred Yankees came into town, but being warned, left in haste.

August 15th. General Averill’s Yankee cavalry came in, having crossed the river. Some of General Sheridan’s army made a forced march from Harper’s Ferry here, but left in a hurry for Winchester and were met by General Early, who repulsed them with heavy loss, and drove them back through our town, crossing the river at Boteler’s ford and at Knott’s ford.

August 27th. A skirmish between some Rebels and Yankees through our streets and out on the pike, the Rebels falling back to the railroad.

August 28th. About four thousand Yankees crossed the river at Boteler’s ford and went on to Charles Town and burned down some barns and haystacks of the Butlers, Browns and others. General Tolbert and staff came to town, but left in great haste when warned by some Union men that the Rebels were near and coming.

October 8th. Sam Martin, of Sharpsburg, was shot dead by a Yankee soldier. Martin was accused of horse stealing and robbing William Osborne in daylight.

October 13th. The Rebels came in, commanded by Colonel Mosby, and near Kearneysville above Brown’s shop they captured an express train and among others caught a Yankee paymaster with $150,000.00 in greenbacks!

October 27th. This is election day for the new State government, and some men professing to be Southern actually voted, and among them were (naming them.)

November 8th. Some men entered the house of John Snyder, who had a sick family, beat up the old man, shot his son Henry, who died from his wounds. From there they went to C. Reinhart’s, at 10 p.m., demanded his money, and after he gave them his pocket book struck him over the head, cutting and beating him badly. These men wore masks and blew out the candles while pilfering and robbing the house.

November 10th. The Confederate Major Harry Gilmore of the “Maryland Line” and some of his command came in. They did not rob or molest anyone, but paid for some hats at the store.

November 15th. Some of Mosby’s command came in and captured a Yankee scout named Alexander and at Mike Coleman’s house they found some Yankee horses and took them away.

November 24th. A party of two hundred and fifty or three hundred Yankees passed through town on their way from Martinsburg to Harper’s Ferry. Some of them went to Tom Butler’s and there arrested John Keplinger and then to Henry Shepherd’s and arrested and took him away. Some four hundred and fifty or five hundred Yankees passed through, going to Martinsburg. They said they were hunting Colonel Mosby and that if they found him in this town they would burn the whole town down.

December 1st. Henry Shepherd released and returned home, but they still hold John Keplinger a prisoner.

December 3rd. The Reverend Frary was robbed by and two other men out on the pike a half mile from town.

December 6th. The river picketed all along and nobody allowed to cross. Some twenty or thirty Yankees arrested and took away John Grant and Joe Stonebreaker and all of Grant’s things from his shop and some from Thompson and crossed the river, and also took off Ben Graves and all of his goods to Harper’s Ferry.

December 11th. William, son of Mike Coleman, blew himself up playing with a bombshell. He took it between his knees to get the powder out when it blew him to pieces and wounded several others.

December 13th. John Grant and Thompson are released. Three or four men piloted by a boy went to B. Lucas’ house at night and demanded entrance, and being refused left, and then went to H. Shepherd’s and there robbed John Shepherd of $40.00 and his gold watch. John recognized some of them and came to town and had the boy and one of the men arrested and taken to military headquarters.

December 16th. Stonebreaker released and returned home. Graves still held a prisoner.

December 17th. Mrs. Arthur’s house burned down at midnight by the Yankee soldiers. Some of these soldiers went to the house of Lucy Hedges a black woman and demanded supper, who gave them the very best she had. They then carried away all the sausage and pudding etc., that she had in the house, also several hams. They had already taken all of Mrs. Arthur’s meat and everything else they wanted.

December 18th. Soldiers from Kearneysville arrested Mrs. Arthur and young daughter and a man named Jarvis and took them all to Martinsburg.

December 21st. Some soldiers from Charles Town came over for the purpose of burning down Mrs. Arthur’s house, but found it had already been burned down.

December 29th. Two Yankee wagons passed through town with some of the Hooff family from Charles Town, taking them as prisoners to Fort McHenry. (NOTE: HOOFF, WILLIAM A.: POW at Salem Church, 5/12/64 (Pt. Lookout). Exchanged 3/14/65. Paroled 4/16/65 at Winchester).

December 30th. A wagon with the remainder of the goods of the Hoff family and some women and children passed through on their way to Pennsylvania, where they were sent by the military.

Jan. 6th, 1865. Baker opened his store, as did also Chapline and Hill their stores up-town. The Arthur family returned to town.

January 10th. James P. Conley and James Hamill were said to be captured on their way home from the army. Conley had been wounded in the thigh.

January 11th. A party of Yankees came in the night to capture Hamill and Conley, but not finding them they arrested some citizens instead and took them away.

January 13th. George Lucas was shot dead by J. VanMetre at the Tucker farm. His brother, Edward, while on his way to bring the body home, was arrested at Kearneysville.

January 19th. The Rebels made a raid at Duffields Depot, captured a train, took what goods they wished and left with no loss.

January 30th. About thirty Yankees came to town and entered the stores of William Chapline and Baker Brothers and took all they wished. Chapline had a guard, but he and the guard hid in the cellar. They left Henry Entler on the outside. Chapline from the voice thinks one of the raiders was Lampas, a Yankee scout in disguise. When they came to the door Lampas called out, “Come on, boys, hurry up, for I want to get across the river, for I have a dispatch for General Murray.” They forced the door and searched Henry Entler and told him they knew him. These were Yankees in disguise.

January 22nd. A wedding at West Myers’ house today.

January 27th. The Yankees arrested Joe Randall, James V. Moore and George Wilshire, who were required to give a bond of $1,500.00 for James Van Metre, who had killed George Lucas.

January 29th. Blockade on the river. No passage across. Chapline’s store guarded by twelve Yankee soldiers.

January 30th. Doctor Lucas arrested. Released the next day. Colonel R. Lucas arrested and required to go a bond of $3,000.00 in the Van Metre case. A party from the Maryland side came over and robbed Joseph Staley’s meat-house, and took forty chickens and then crossed on the ice and in their hurry dropped some of the meat and some of the headless poultry. Staley saw them but was told that if he came out of his house they would shoot him. —- —- piloted some Yankees to Mr. Atkinson’s house and they took a lot of tobacco from him. Tobacco is very rare and commands a big price. Dan Hill drew out of the Chapline stores because it is said Chapline would not agree to make the people of Shepherdstown pay for the goods taken out of the store by the supposed Rebels.

February 5th. The smoke-house of Philip Wintermeyer was set on fire by some unknown person. Some ten days previously, David Hout, James Hiser, Andrew Brantner and Wintermeyer received notices that their house would be burned down, but no name was signed to the notice, which was in a female handwriting.

February 6th. Some Yankees came in from Kearneysville, got drunk, mistreated some citizens and went across the ice on the river to Maryland. Some of the citizens crossed the river and secured a posse of Yankee soldiers, who arrested these raiders, and Kelly Osborne took them across the river to headquarters and from there they were sent to Kearneysville and put at hard labor and on bread and water.

February 13th. Douglas Bowers and Frank Licklider are arrested and sent to Hagerstown. A band of Yankee robbers came to town, entered the stores of G. Baker, William Chapline and J. V. Underdonk and John Keesecker, and after loading themselves up with goods left in the direction of the Yankee camp, but before leaving broke into a private house, and took money and watches.

February 23rd. John Davis arrested for telling Park Strode that all deserters from the army should be shot. Strode had come home without leave.

March 1st. A lot of Yankees from Martinsburg under a Captain Rider entered the home of Captain Reynolds and took two overcoats, five or six hundred dollars in money, various other clothing, etc., and also entered the homes of Mrs V. M. Butler and Jacob Miller, robbing the families of many valuables, such as clothing of all kinds, store goods, tableware, etc., and then went to Mr. Thompson’s and ordered supper and fires to warm by in two rooms and on their way back to Martinsburg robbed James Baner, living on the road, of $600.00 in money.

March 2d. A lot of Yankees came across the river and entering by force the house of Mrs. Drusie Ray broke open bureaus and carried most of her clothing and also all of her son’s clothing away.

March 15th. The members of the bogus court were sworn in today, judges, clerks, etc. The blockade guard has been removed to the Shenandoah.

March 30th. George Colbert and George Myers went to Summit Point to arrest a man named — on the charge of horse stealing, but they came back with bloody noses and had been disarmed by a strip of a boy, brother of the man accused. A second trip was made by them, calling in the military to help them. They got nobody on this second trip except the boy, and on their third trip they finally got the accused and our great (?) lawgivers not knowing what to do with him, turned him over to the military.

April 3rd. The news of the fall of Petersburg gives great rejoicing, also that of Richmond, to the Union people. Much shooting in the streets. All the church bells are ringing, loud and long all day and into the night. Flags waving from buildings.

April 5th. Flags were strung across the street, one from the Jim Lane Towner house to the Sheets corner, but when the Rebels were reported coming, the flags were taken down quickly.

April 8th. Flags hoisted again and some speeches were made by Joe Chapline and others. They are having quite a time in court. All loyal men can get Judgments but no one’s evidence is allowed who would not take the oath of loyalty. Some Yankees from Kearneysville entered a house of a negro man here in town named Jordan and took him out of his bed about midnight and made him go undressed as he was and nearly naked and chilled to death to the Episcopal Church and ring the bell for about two hours over the fall of Richmond, finally telling the poor negro to go home and put his clothes on.

April The news of General Lee’s surrender. The Tories (Unionists-ED JS) were all out again marching up and down the streets with drum and fife, ringing all the church bells, etc. A motley crew, many of whom had never seen a Rebel except from across the river. Some had deserted from the Southern army, some had been supplied with meat and bread by Southern people to keep them and their families alive and from starving, and thus they showed their gratitude! One fellow did his first day’s work for years by ringing a church bell. He and his family had been supported by kind Southern sympathizers for months and months.

April 11th. Some Yankees disguised in Rebel uniforms, a favorite deception of theirs, entered at night the shop of John Keesecker and carried away everything in sight.

April 15th. Long faces in town. Death of Abe Lincoln. Flags draped in morning. Store rooms hung with black cotton, etc., and all stores closed.

April 19th. Reverend Dr. Andrews, Reverend Mr. Miller, and Reverend Mr. Craiglow and Reverend Mr. Whisler were all arrested for not praying for the President of the United States and all were finally released upon taking the oath, but it was ordered that all of their churches be kept closed and they were. They were all arrested upon information given by a Union man.

April 22nd. A big love feast, for two thousand estimated, was in preparation, but they lacked about fifteen hundred. Soldiers from Harper’s Ferry and from along the railroad and about fifty loyal citizens and a lot of negro men and women and some boys form the big procession. One of the leaders and marshal had lost a brother in the Southern army. Another had lost a brother in the Southern army at Kernstown under “Stonewall” Jackson. There was a great uproar and the mob sang negro songs, etc. Many were drunk and there were many brawls and fights among themselves. Stores broken open, for all business had been ordered suspended and stores closed, etc. Some robbers entered by force the store of Colbert and carried away everything they wished and one struck Colbert on the head with a revolver and one struck down Mr. Lucas, and later Michael Sigler and shot and robbed of all his money.

April 23rd. A lot of Yankee scouts in town, arresting all paroled and returned Confederate soldiers. A granary of J. G. Unseld was set on fire, but was discovered in time to be put out. Some of the paroled Confederate soldiers who had been arrested were ordered to report the next day to the military at Kearneysville. They did so and were released. William Arthur was given a pass to Winchester, there to get his parole, and when on his way there he was seized and taken to Martinsburg and confined in the guardhouse, stripped of his clothes, boots, cap and money, and ordered to take the oath or go to the prison at Fort Delaware. He felt forced to do the former and came home with some old Yankee duds on. All of his trouble was caused by a Union man of this town.

April 28th. Yankees in town ordering all returned soldiers to take off their gray clothes or go to prison in some fort. Jacob Voorhees, a man with one arm, was arrested. He had lost the other at Bull Run. He was taken to Martinsburg and finally released. Arrested for wearing his old gray uniform.

May 4th. Major Henry Kyd Douglas, former member of “Stonewall” Jackson’s staff, was arrested today for wearing gray pants and taken a prisoner to Martinsburg and after some time released.

May 6th. John Hill and another Confederate got home today from prison at Camp Chase.

May 18th. A Yankee understrapper stuck up a notice ordering all Confederates from Maryland to return there and stay there. This was aimed at Major Henry Kyd Douglas, whose home is just across the river in Maryland and who has spent most of his life here in Shepherdstown. Robert Thompson was drowned while trying to regain a boat that got away from the wharf at the river.

June 1st. William Sprinkle was killed instantly by a log falling from a wagon, and his son also was badly injured. All business is suspended today. All churches are open and all persons forbidden to labor today under penalty of $5.00 and all informers of such violation to receive $10.00 reward, but some Union men worked all day with closed doors.

June 29. Major Henry Kyd Douglas again arrested today for remaining in town and not returning to his home in Maryland. Again released July 1st and returned to his home across the river.

July 7th. Major Douglas arrested for the third time and taken to Harper’s Ferry and later released. Wearing gray is treason!

July 17th. The first session of the Superior Court today under Judge Balch, who charged the jury to indict and convict all Rebels and to let none escape who had not been loyal. C. Thompson was charged with the murder of Snyder. Rebecca Spotts was charged with the murder of H. Unseld and released on bail. William Edwards was put on his way to the penitentiary within three hours after he had been indicted. Judge Balch would allow him no counsel. Captain James Hurst was indicted for contempt of court, though he was living at Kearneysville, five miles away, and was fined $10.00. Balch told Hurst that he was letting him off easy and that even if the President to the United States was living at Kearneysville or anywhere else and was guilty of contempt of his court by not coming there when summoned, he would fine and imprison the President himself.

December 25, 1865. Frank Jones fell from his horse in Sharpsburg and fractured his skull while attending the funeral of Mrs. C. Reinhart. Today is Christmas day and the usually sober men are pretty much all drunk, while the usual drinkers all seem pretty much sober.

The diary, so far as the fragments were found and shown to the writer, gives a somewhat inside view of those terrible days when the always good old town was torn and distressed with internecine bitterness, strife and sometimes bloody scenes and tragedy. The participants are pretty much all gone and but few now living can or will remember those unhappy days. I have omitted in the main the names of many for considerate and obvious reasons, and some of the names are indistinct. The mantle of charity of more than sixty years should and does hide the former animosity and ill feeling now in this year of grace and of a happy and united country, let us hope.

In Memoriam by Miss Sophie B. Steel –
The Thankful Poor by Henry Ossawa Tanner –