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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Vindicator: July 22, 1864

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Description of Page: Also on this page are advertisements, a series of special orders, a poem, and war news.

The Ohio "Copperheads"
(Column 5)
Summary: Reprints a synopsis of resolutions passed recently at a Democratic convention in Hamilton, Ohio. These resolutions state that the present American government is corrupt and unworthy of the confidence of the American people. The delegates argued that restoring the Union by force is contrary to the principles of the Constitution. They called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in order to take measures to restore peace.
The Burning of Gov. Letcher's Residence
(Column 6)
Summary: Describes the burning of former Governor Letcher's residence in Lexington, Virginia, by enemy forces.
Full Text of Article:

The Burning of Gov. Letcher's Residence.

We print below a document destined to become historic. The calm, dispassionate and truthful recital it gives of one of the most wanton and barbaric acts of the war needs no comment to awaken the indignation of every manly bosom. Our soldiers in Maryland, who are reported to have had in ashes the residence of the Yankee governor of that State, by way of retaliation, have given practical expression to the feeling of our people, and anticipated the judgment of mankind and the verdict of history. It is due to Gov. Letcher to say that this letter was written with no view to publication, and in response to a private communication addressed him by the Mayor of this city. The passages omitted relate to personal matters--Whig:

Lexington, Va., July 5th, 1864.

Finding the Yankees would take the town on Saturday (11th) I left home near midnight Friday night and went to Big Island, in Bedford, where I remained until Wednesday morning following, when, hearing the vandals had left, I returned I had previously heard that my house had burned, with all its contents. The threats made by the Yankees against me, for the past two years, satisfied me that they would destroy my house when they came to Lexington; but I always supposed they would allow the furniture and my family's clothing to be removed. In this, however, I was disappointed.

When the Yankees took possession of the town, Dr. Patton, medical director for Hunter's army, and who hails from Marion county, Va., went to my house, told my wife he was unwell, and said he must have a room in the house. He took the room, supped and breakfasted, and, when breakfast was nearly over, remarked, in a manner half-jocular, half-earnest, is Lizzie, that it was the last meal she would take in the house. Shortly after, he left, without taking leave of any of the family, nor was he again seen by any of them.

The threats made by soldiers on Saturday evening, induced my wife to fear the house would be burned, and she expressed her fears in the hearing of Dr. Patton and Capt. Towns of New York. Capt Towns very promptly said, that I, being a private citizen and the house being private property, burning it would be an inexcusable outrage, and proposed at once to go to Hunter's headquarters and ascertain. He went, and was directed by Hunter to assure my wife that the house would not be distur[b]ed--The sequel shows that the sole object of this assurance, was to quiet her apprehensions, and thus prevent anything from being removed. About half-past 8 o'clock A.M. (Sunday) Capt Berry and his Provost Guard rode up, and the officer called for my wife. She came to the door, when Berry informed her that he was ordered by Hunter to fire the house. She replied there must be some mistake, and asked for the order. He said it was a verbal order. She then said to him, "Can it not be delayed until I can see General Hunter?" The order is peremptory, he replied, and you have five minutes in which to leave the house. She then asked leave to remove her mother's, sister's, her own and her children's clothing, which was insolently refused. Immediately thereafter camphene was poured on the parlor floor and ignited it with a match. In the meantime, my daughter had gathered up an armful of clothing, and was going out when he discovered her, ran forward and fired the clothing in her arms. He then poured camphene in the wardrobes, bureau drawers, and ignited the clothing--taking out my clothing, which he said he intended to take North.

Every house on my lot was burned save a small grannery over my ice house. Not a particle of flour, meat, or anything edible was left, all having been carried off on Saturday.

My mother, now in her 78th year, lives on the lot adjoining my own having with her one of her grandchildren and a servant. After my property had been fired, the fiends fired her stable, located about forty feet from her house, with no other view than to burn her out also. The house caught twice, and would have been consumed but for the untiring effeorts [sic] of Captain Towns, who made his men carry water and extinguish the flames. This Captain behaved like a gentleman towards my own and my mother's family.

Generals Averill, Crook; Sullivan and Duffee denounced the whole proceeding as an outrage, in violation of all the principles of civilized warfare, and stated that Hunter alone was respo[n]sible for these atrocities.

I feel grateful to you and other kind friends in Richmond for their generous sympathy and kind tender of a home--There are no people on the earth who have been more uniformly kind than the good people of your city, and I assure you I appreciate their kindness, as does also my family. Accept our thanks for it. So soon as I can visit Richmond I will do so perhaps this month.

I am truly and in haste, your friend,

John Letcher

Joseph Mayo, Esq. Richmond, Va.

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Description of Page: Also on this page are advertisements, notices, including a number of estray notices, assorted war news, and recipes for roasting food.

War News
(Column 1)
Summary: Provides miscellaneous news from Pennsylvania, Petersburg, and Georgia. The article states that the Confederate army has recrossed the Potomac from Maryland and is once again in Virginia. The front at Petersburg has been quiet, with the exception of the enemy's shelling of the city.
Full Text of Article:

War News.

The interest that has occupied the public mind for some days past, in regard to our army invading Maryland and Pennsylvania, has entirely subsided with the announcement that it had recrossed the river and is now on Virginia soil. What will be the future programme of this army, we do not know but feel perfectly satisfied, that Gen. Early will not remain inactive, but will, (after securing the booty obtained, and resting his troops for a short time) be on the march, in pursuit of the Yanks, ready and anxious to meet them where ever found.

From the army Gen. Lee in front of Petersburg, we learn all has been quiet for the past week with the exception of the enemy employing their pastime in throwing shells into City. The shelling thus far, has only resulted in the disfigurement of a few houses, and the annoyance of non-combatants. The Federal force sent by Grant direct to Washington is believed to be Hancock's second and Wright's sixth corps, together with Rickets 4th army corps, from Louisiana intended for Grant. The whole together according to Yankee accounts numbers between 30 and 40 thousand.

Whether they will remain in Washington, to guard the sacred personage of Abram Lincoln or return to Grant's army, time alone will determine.

The Atlanta papers of the 11th, state that our army crossed the river on the night of the 9th, and their lines are now about 4 miles north of Atlanta, extending to the right and left [illegible] the City, in order to protect it. The enemy were also engaged in crossing at two points on our right and left, and a battle was thought to be imminent, as it was supposed Gen. Johnson would attack Sherman before he could entrench on this side of the river. It is not expected that Atlanta will be given up without a fight. The impo[r]tance of the place as a base of operations and a depot for supplies, together, with the large amount of machinery located at that point, fully w[a]rrants this conclusion.

Since the above was in type, we learn that a part of the 6th and 19th corps with a portion of Hunter's force, pursuing Early, were allowed to cross the Shenandoah at Castleman's Ferry, when Gen. Early fell upon them driving them into and across the river. We lost about 300, the enemy lost about three times that number.

Schedule of Prices
(Column 1)
Summary: The recently published schedule of prices as established by the Board of Commissioners for Virginia for July and August is dissatisfactory to everyone because of the huge increases, some of which are as great as 500 percent. The editor calls upon the commissioners to reassemble immediately and redo the price lists.
Full Text of Article:

Schedule of Prices.

The schedule of prices established by the Board of Commissioners for Virginia for the months of July and August, just published, gives great dissatisfaction to every class in the community. This dissatisfaction arises not from a reduction in the established prices but from a most extraordinary and ex[h]orbitant increase.

Just at the time, when money was more scarce than it had been for many months, owing partly to taxation and partly to the change in the currency, and a greater confidence was felt in the ability to reduce the volume and bring its value nearer to the gold standard, when the prices of produce were on a visible decline, not only here but throughout the Confederacy, and consequently every thing else was tending downward in price, the Commissioners, without even a plausible excuse, increase the prices, on some articles, 500 per cent.

It was presumed that the farming plans would have been delighted at the increase in the prices of their produce and that only non-producers would complain, but we have heard the greatest complaints from the farmers themselves. This increase, as the pretext is, was simply to stimulate the farmer to an early delivery of his grain, which is needed, and is only intended for the months of July and August and can be changed even for these months. We undertake to say that not 10,000 bushels of grain will be delivered over and above what would have been at the old schedule rates, since it could not generally have been thrashed before the middle of August, and large quantities of wheat had already been sold to the Government at from one fourth to one third the increased rates, deliverable when thrashed. This inducement so far from acting as a stimulus to speedy delivery will we fear have a contrary effect, (we hear of several who will not deliver their crops at the present rates,) for the farmers know that altho' the schedule may be altered after the expiration of August, yet prices once fixed, no matter for what purpose, are very ha[r]d to reduce, and the rise in the price of provisions is but the signal for the rise in other things. With the prices to continue six times as great as they were, the indebtedness of the Government will become six times as great also, and a more than proportionate tax must be levied to pay this increased indebtedness. They feel satisfied that this tax must be levied on the real and personal property, since the tax on businessmen now almost amounts to a prohibition, and a future tax on them will not only close their doors, but also deprive the Confederacy of the revenue accruing from this source, which is enormous, and throw the whole burden of taxation upon the producing lass, which increase in taxation they would not be able to meet with the advance received upon their produce.

The commissioners should assemble at once and remodel their schedule. It is an imperative duty they owe to the Confederacy and the farmers to do so. Both will be greatly gainers thereby.

Movement into Maryland
(Column 2)
Summary: The editor notes that Valley people eagerly await news from Confederate forces in Maryland, particularly news of any acts they may have commented in retaliation for the enemy's treatment of the Valley and its people recently. The editor tries to explain why Confederate forces did not attempt to capture Washington D. C.
Full Text of Article:

Movement into Maryland.

Our people have been eagerly on the alert for news from our forces in Maryland since they entered that State and great has been the desire to see retaliation for the acts of Vandalism committed by Hunter in our lovely Valley. The destruction of the residences of Gov. Bradford and Post Master General Blair in retaliation for the burning of the house of Ex-Gov Letcher and Colonel Anderson, meets with universal approbation.

While all were delighted at the near approach of our forces to Washington, not a little regret is felt by some on account of the failure to capture the city. The prey was surely in the grasp of Gen. Early, had he desired to seize it; but we presume, from his course, that he did not intend it.

It can not be doubted that, when the enemy were menacing our capital, and believed that all our available forces were defending it, and a column of thousands were rapidly thrown into Maryland, so quietly as to completely deceive their vaunted Grant, and threaten seriously the capital of our enemies, if it had been captured it would have redowned greatly to our credit abroad, but was not this credit gained by the movement made and the acknowle[dg]ment of the enemy that Washington could have been taken? However, would not the seizure Washington have enabled Lincoln to raise the vast number of men called for by an appeal to the people to rescue their capital?

As it is, our forces having withdrawn to this side of the Potomac, at leisure and of their own accord, the enemy being routed in the only instance in which they made a positive resistance, bringing off large supplies of grain, many horses, cattle and several hundred prisoners, &c., &c, without even a repulse, makes it one of the most successful raids of the war, and in the character of a raid fails to give that rallying cry for raising troops for Lincoln, which doubtlessly their authorities would have much desired.

We have amply paid them for Hunter's raid in the Valley and at a time when they had not forgotten the former. Our movement has made the enemy tremble throughout their dominions. It has given them an idea of what they may expect at any and every point. The secrecy with which it was conducted is commendable and should characterize any and all others.

The movement was a glorious one, may its consequent results be equally so!

Reported Death of Gen. Grant
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that General Grant was wounded in battle and died during an operation to amputate his arm. Union ships on the James River supposedly are flying their flags at half mast.
Melancholy Occurrence
(Column 2)
Summary: Two sons of James A. Fitch of Augusta County drowned in the South River last Saturday evening. The boys, ages eight and sixteen, went to the river to bathe and did not return at bedtime when their father called for them. He thought they had gone fishing with the neighbors and went on to bed himself. When they had not returned the next morning, he searched for them, finding their clothes on the bank of the river. Their bodies were found about two hours later close together.
(Names in announcement: James A. Fitch)
(Column 3)
Summary: Mary Catharine Woodward, 68, wife of Samuel M. Woodward, died in Staunton on March 17, 1864. She had a large number of children, was a member of the Episcopal Church, and served as matron and mother to many patients at the Lunatic Asylum.
(Names in announcement: Mrs. Mary Catharine Woodward, Samuel M. Woodward)
Flag of Truce Letters
(Column 4)
Summary: The War Department in Richmond provides instructions on how to send correspondence to the North.
(Column 4)
Summary: John D. Brown advertises that two African Americans left with Yankee troops on June 10. Brown offers a reward of $150 for Bob, between 25 and 30, dark brown, five feet eight or ten inches, with a scar on his breast, with "rather a down look when spoken to." Anderson belongs to the estate of D. Fishburn of Waynesboro, is stout, black, about the same height as Bob, and about 20. Brown offers to pay legal expenses for Anderson's return.
(Names in announcement: D. Fishburn, John D. Brown)
Full Text of Article:


Left the subscriber on the 10th of June, with the Enemy, two negroes,

Bob and Anderson,

Bob is of dark brown color, between 25 & 30 years of age, 5 feet 8 or 10 inches high, with a scar on his breast, has rather a down look when spoken to. I will pay one hundred and fifty dollars for the apprehension and delivery of said negro to me.

Anderson is stout made, black and about the same height of the other boy and about 20 years of age. He belongs to the estate of D. Fishburn, of Waynesboro. I will pay all legal charges for the delivery of him to me near Staunton, or in jail so that I get him again.

John D. Brown.

July 23--4t.

(Column 4)
Summary: Someone from Hillsborough, Pocahontas County, Virginia, advertises that an African-American man, about 25, "tolerably dark complexion," about five feet tall, of "pleasant countenance, smiling when spoken to," was wounded in the knee and is at the home of Mr. Kennerson. The African-American man seems familiar with the people and place of Staunton but claims to be free. The advertiser supposes he belongs to someone in the Staunton area. The advertiser notes that the man was armed when wounded and that the area around Hillsborough is not safe.
Full Text of Article:


A negro man supposed to be about 25 years of age, tolerably dark complexion, about 5 feet in height and of pleasant countenance, smiling when spoken to, was wounded slightly about the knee and is near Hillsborough, Pocahontas county, Va. When wounded he was armed. He seems to be very conversant with persons and things professing to be free, is supposed to be the property of some one in that locality. The owner can get him by going to Hillsboro'. He is at the house of Mr. Kennerson, which is by no means in a safe locality. The owner is expected to pay for this advertisement.

(Column 4)
Summary: An advertiser states that two African-American children were left at the house of William Swadley, in Hightown, Highland County, by the Yankees when they were on their way to Beverly. The boy is about five, dark, with a large scar from the elbow to the wrist on his left arm caused by a burn, and calls himself Hugh. The girl, about the same age and color, no marks, calls herself Lue. The advertiser believes the children belong to someone near Middlebrook and requests that the owner come get the children and pay charges.
Full Text of Article:


Left at Hightown, Highland county, at the house of Wm. Swadley, by the Yankees on their way to Beverly,

Two Negro Children.

One boy about five years old, dark color, with a large scar reaching from the elbo[w] to the wrist on the left arm, caused by a burn, calls himself Hugh. One girl about same age and color, no marks, calls herself Lue, supposed to belong to some person near Middlebrook. The owner is requested to prove property, pay charges, and take them away.