Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/275

This page needs to be proofread.

The Burning of Chamber sbury, Pa. 267

lived in the county of Jefferson, near Harper's Ferry, and was a relative of General Hunter. A. R. Botelerand E. J. Lee also lived in the same vicinity. No reasons that I have ever heard have been given for the burning of their houses. Governor Letcher's property was in Lexington, Va., and the Military Institute was also near Lexington. I do not think any better reasons can be given for the destruction of these houses than could have been given if General Hunter had destroyed every house, barn or other building that was standing and in good order upon his line of march from Staunton to Lynchburg.

The property of J. T. Anderson was in the county of Botetourt, and located near the banks of the James river, at Buchanan. Mrs. Anderson and a lady relative were the only occupants at the time. I destroyed the bridge across the James to retard Hunter in his march, and it did detain him for two days, during which time he occupied this house as his headquarters. He promised the ladies protection, and after his departure an officer and some soldiers re- turned with a written order from him to destroy everything about the premises. A few days later, as General Hunter was passing another Virginia mansion, a lady asked him why he had destroyed the magnificent home of Colonel Anderson. He replied that " Vir- ginia women were worse traitor^than their husbands, and he would burn the houses over their heads in order to make them personally and immediately experience some punishment for their treason;" and, on another occasion, he said to a Virginia lady that he " would humble the Virginia women before he left the State." I could enumerate many other acts of actual destruction, threats and wanton violence on the part of Hunter, all of which make up the public senti- ment that prevailed at that time in Virginia, and which required steps on the part of the military authorities to prevent their recur- rence in the future, as well as to stop the useless destruction then going onĀ ; but what I have given is considered sufficient to explain the reason why the city of Chambersburg, in Pennsylvania, was



It may be considered indispensable to give the location of the force composing the Federal and Confederate armies during the latter part of the month of July, 1864, in order to properly understand the raid that was made into the State of Pennsylvania which resulted in the destruction of Chambersburg.

Hunter's army was scattered along the northern bank of the Po-