Valley of the Shadow
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Also on this page are advertisements, a poem, reprints of various special orders concerning the command of Reserve troops in the Valley, the text of other special orders commending the performance of the Reserves and disbanding them, and other anecdotes and news items.

The Fort Pillow Affair

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The Fort Pillow Affair--Reputation of Federal Slanders.

(From the Atlanta Confederacy.)

From Governor Isham G. Harris, of Tennessee, who accompanied, and has just reached this city, in return from the expedition of Forrest into West Tennessee, we get the following true version of the late attack upon Fort Pillow. In view of the perverted accounts of the Yankee papers, this official narrative of the whole proceeding will be found as interesting as it is necessary to vindicate the truth of history.

Arriving in the vicinity of Fort Pillow, Gen. Forrest, having previously arranged his plans and issued his instructions for the attack, rapidly advanced his lines, and gained, after a brief, sharp contest, the outer-works of the enemy. Having possessed himself of this position, he threw forward a line of skirmishers in a sort of ravine between the outer-works and the fort, which line was protected from the Federal sharpshooters by his reserve line in the outer defences.

He then sent in a flag of truce to the commander of the garrison, demanding the unconditional surrender of the fort and garrison, with all the stores and munitions, stating the advantage of his position, his determination to carry the fort, and announcing that if his demand was not complied with he did not feel certain that he, himself, would be able to control his men when they entered the fort, after having been forced to take the risks of assault.

Hearing, after the note was dispatched and before an answer to it was received, that the Federals believed the demand for surrender a ruse de guerre, and that Forrest, in person, was not in command of the assailants--Gen. Forrest himself rode up within hailing distance, announced to the enemy in person that he was General Forrest, and verbally demanded the surrender.

A reply was sent back, couched in defiant language, declining to accede to the demand.

The assault was commenced, and in five minutes after the bugle sounded the charge the fort was in possession of our men. Our advanced skirmishers went over the works pell-mell, all around them, each man lifting his fellow by the leg, and mounting on the shoulders of their comrades until the fort was filled with Confederates.

Col. Booth, commanding the garrison, was the first man killed, and not an officer of the negro regiments was left alive.

It is true that a few, black and white, throw down their arms and made signs of of [sic] surrender--but at the same time the men on each side of them still retained their arms and kept up a constant fire and show of resistance. In the heat, din and confusion of a fire at such close quarters there was no chance for discrimination. In less than five minutes after our men cleared the esplanade, the fort was cleared of the enemy, the main body of whom fled to the edge of the river leaving the fort colors still flying. At the river they still kept up the firing until the number was fearfully reduced, and until, as General Forrest states himself, he absolutely sickened to witness the slaughter. He ordered the firing to cease, and dispersed his staff along the lines with orders to that effect. It was next to impossible to effect an immediate cessation of the firing, the enemy, themselves still fighting. General Forrest rode up and down the lines ordering the men to cease firing, and finally stopped the carnage. The survivors of the garrison were all taken prisoners.

The maximum aggregate force of the Federal garrisons was 800. About 500 were buried by Gen. Forrest's man. About fifty of their wounded were paroled and sent upon a gunboat to Memphis. Two hundred prisoners were brought away, and among the number about thirty negroes.

There is not the semblance of a shadow of truth in the Federal exaggerations of wholesale slaughter. The above are substantially the facts of the capture, coming directly and officially from the prominent actors in the bloody drama.

The Reserves

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Our last paper made its appearance on May 27th, 1864, and we were preparing as usual to issue on the next week and were nearly ready when the advance of Gen. Hunter to Harrisonburg rendered it necessary that all who could be serviceable in repelling the invaders should go forth to meet them. Together with the citizens of town and county my printers were called to arms and consequently the publication of the paper on June 3rd was impossible. Owing to the misfortune of June 5th at Piedmont, Augusta, the enemy in force occupied Staunton on the next day, Monday June 6th. They proceeded to my office to destroy it, when to their amazement they found the sole tenement in Washington Press, (the type having been removed to a place of security on Saturday previous to the battle of Piedmont,) which they damaged, as they thought, beyond repair. The repairing of the press occupied but a short time, but the movement of the reserves with the forces of Gen. Breckinridge, and their participation in the rapid and fatiguing pursuit of the robber Hunter and his plundering incendiaries, prevented the return of my hands until the latter part of last week, thereby rendering the publication of my paper at an earlier date impossible. We have not, as far as the office is concerned, suffered a very material loss, a few hundred dollars covering the amount. However, we regret exceedingly the annoyance the delay has occasioned our readers and hope to be able to make ample amends by a regular issue hereafter.

To the people of the county and valley we tender our earnest, fellow-feeling sympathy, (our house like theirs being plundered by the vandals,) for the losses they have sustained.

To our readers we have only to say that we hope they will appreciate the difficulties under which we labored and promise should the vandals ever come this way again, that, with a few hours notice, we will place our office beyond the power of their fiendish malice to destroy and thus preserve it for the convenience of our people, no matter what may be the desire of the enemy to the contrary.

To many of our people, who have heretofore not been connected with us as subscribers or readers, but who have congratulated us upon rescuing our office from destruction, and expressed their gratification on account of its being preserved, we return our most heartfelt thanks and hope by a steady adherence to the course marked out at the commencement of our editorial career, to retain their kind wishes, at least, so long as we are connected with the editorial fraternity.

To the enemies of our country, the vile Yankees, we desire, in closing to say that what they have done to us, in common with our neighbors, has not varied the tone of our feeling towards them one iota. We have always hated them and what we have seen (or felt), of them in their late raid through our valley could not possibly have lowered them in our estimation, but has served simply to prove conclusively to us that we were not wrong in the estimate we placed upon them many years ago. They have injured us permanently to some extent, but they have not accomplished their purpose. The Vindicator will make its regular appearance in spite of their attempts to annihilate it and will continue to speak its true sentiments of the Yankee fiends who rule the hour at Washington and their worthy emissaries, who, faithful to their masters, shun the glare of Southern muskets, but vauntingly advance upon and plunder the widowed hearth and fatherless home.


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Our neighbors of the "Chronicle" and "Register" have been informed and asserted, that during the stay of the Yankees in our midst, some one or two of our citizens took the oath of allegiance to the United States. We have made frequent inquiries from persons likely to know and can not hear of a single instance. On the contrary we hear of two instances of downright refusal to accept paroles not in the usual form, (the only approach to an oath of allegiance offered,) and the offices indi[c]ting were forced to change the form and make the parties subject to exchange. A few of our citizens, participants in the battle of Piedmont, were captured and paroled in the regular way, but no oaths of allegiance taken. Supposing that one or two only as reported had taken the oath, it would be a conclusive proof that our people are loyal, but when not one took the oath and those who were at all approached in that way by the offer of permanent paroles, indignantly refused them, we think the loyalty of our people an incontestable fact. Information, and no doubt a great deal, was obtained here, in reference to citizens of this town and county, but from whom did they get it? We have heard it currently reported that the names of some five who had given information and expressed union sentiments had been shown to a gentleman captured and paroled by the enemy, but upon inquiry we learn that there is nothing further to substantiate this report than the word of the Yankee who gave the names of the parties to the gentleman spoken of above. Knowing the Yankee character as well as we do we cannot conceive it a super human task for the officer, in order to make Unionism exist here, to lie about it and even give the names of parties, whose names he might have happened to have heard whilst here.

Their information we think, on account of the character and incorrectness of a great deal of it, was obtained from negroes, though there were some few whites who left with them, who might have reported many things to them. In every case, those who left were not natives, but residents since the war only and brought here by circumstances occasioned by the war, which adds another proof of the great dislike of our people for the Yankees.

No people under the sun are more loyal to their country and government than the people of Augusta. They have suffered much, but preserve the same heartfelt desire for the success of the Confederate Cause and intense hatred to the Yankee Nation and people they have ever felt. Then as a matter of justice simply we request our co[n]temporaries of the "Chronicle" and "Register" to state what we now know to be the fact and thus do away, as far as possible, with the injurious effect of their, as we consider, too hasty assertion of the disloyalty of some of our citizens. We are satisfied that the wrong done was purely unintentional, but the statement having been made requires denial through the same channel and we know that it will afford our brother Editors pleasure to contradict a rumor so false and damaging to a neighboring people.

As an illustration of the facility with which false statements obtain currency and are circulated as facts, we will state an instance: One of our farmers, residing about six miles from Staunton, on the Monday following the departure of Hunter and his vandal horde, brought several barrels of flour to town to relieve the suffering occasioned by the robbery of private citizens. The empty barrels were returned which he carried home with him. Forthwith the rumor was started that the farmer, thus manifesting a desire to alleviate those who were in need, had taken three barrels of flour home. Thus was an act designed as a kindness, and as such received, converted into a mercenary speculation when there was not even the shade of a suspicion to justify it. Doubtless, similar misapprehensions have been received as to the action of others, and is evidence sufficient to guard every right thinking and justice loving man against receiving any statement as veritable, which may have a tendency to bring into question the loyalty and fidelity of a people, who have attested their patriotism on every field of contest, as well as by the liberality of their disinterested service to accommodate those who have been so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of the Yankee plunderers.

The Enemy in the Valley

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The Enemy in the Valley.

The occupation of the Valley of Virginia has long been a much desired object with the Yankee Nation. Many have been their attempts to obtain full possession of it and as often have they been sent back howling to the banks of the Potomac. But a few weeks since they essayed it again and met an invincible host of heroes under Breckinridge, at New Market, whence they fled, whipped and demoralized, to their old retreat.

From some, to us, incomprehensible cause, soon thereafter, nearly all the forces who had gained this glorious victory over the army of Siegel, were withdrawn from our midst and as soon began the reorganization of Siegel's routed troops under the renegade Hunter. They advanced, and the handful of men under Imboden, left here to protect one of the richest and most important portions of the State, were compelled to fall back to a point in the rear, selected and fortified for the purpose of giving the invaders battle. The enemy attempted and nearly succeeded in flanking this position when the movement was discovered. Our small forces, then reinforced by Gen. Wm. E. Jones' command and the Reserves of this and adjoining counties, moved to meet them, and an engagement took place near Piedmont, about eleven miles distant from Staunton. The enemy's different charges had been repulsed and in a short time the victory would have been ours, (the enemy having commenced making preparations to retreat,) when, from some unaccountable cause, some of our forces gave way and lost both the day and the temporary possession of the Valley. Staunton was occupied by them the next day, our forces having fallen back towards Fishersville, when they commenced that incendiarism and thieving which has characterized this raid of Hen-roost Hunter and makes him as deservedly odious as Beast Butler. By Hunter's order the fine mill of J & B F. Walker, near Mt Meridian, was burned, also, the Woolen Factory of Crawford and Young, the Steam Mill, Steam Distillery Government Workshops, Stables and Forage-houses, the Stage Stables of J.I.A. Trotter together with twenty-six coaches, and the Railroad Depots, (all in Staunton,) and the large mill of W.F. Smith, in the town of Greenville.

They destroyed the track of Railroad west of this place, at intervals, to Goshen, burning the bridges at Swoope's, Craigsville and Goshen, and destroyed a number of culverts and small bridges at different points on the road. East of Staunton, they tore up the track, bending the rails, to Christie's Creek, burning the bridge over the same and the Depot at Fishersville.

They broke open the stores here, taking whatever they wanted and leaving the rest a prey to an accompanying rabble, cut to pieces and destroyed the machinery of the Shoe Factory, and broke the presses of the Spectator and Vindicator, throwing the type of the former into the street.

By an order from Gen. Hunter to take all the provisions from each family, leaving only three days rations, they robbed the man of means and widow with her mite of whatever their larder contained, leaving but a scanty supply, save where the humanity of some officer, to whom the execution of the order had been entrusted, prevented him from faithfully complying with it, in which few, exceptional cases something more was left. To particularize these robberies would more than fill our columns, hence we deem it sufficient to say that nearly every body in that part of the county occupied by the enemy, as well as the town, suffered in the same way. Some two or three who had been suspected of sympathizing with the enemy and who, report says, claimed protection on this account, suffered as did others, their unionism not being able "to save their bacon." In many instances, after the execution of Hunter's order, the plunderers returned at night and stole the remainder.

On their march beyond this county, they acted in the same fiendish way. At Lexington they burned the V.M. Institute and Professors' houses, save that of Gen. Smith, all the mills and manufacturing establishments on the point, near the bridge, the private residence of Ex. Gov. Letcher, and destroyed the office of the Lexington Gazette. They also burned the private residence and iron manufactory of John T. Anderson, Esq., in Botetourt, and as they proceeded towards Lynchburg left a track of desolation in their rear. We rejoice that by the timely arrival of troops in Lynchburg that city was saved the terrible ordeal of Yankee occupation. The enemy learning of the arrival of Earley, left that vicinity in hurried haste, and although our troops were anxious to overtake the invaders and moved with a vim, yet only occasionally could they get a meagre chance at the scared Yanks, many of whom were mounted on fresh horses stolen on their route, who rode and walked in turn with those on foot, and thus made it impossible to overtake them. Hunter is reported in Wheeling and has expressed his satisfaction at what he has accomplished. Nothing else could be expected from him. He has accomplished nothing as regards the overthrow of the Confederacy, having run away from the only point he could have materially damaged it, the immediate front of Earley, and is satisfied since he has robbed the people and burned their mills to starve them out. We consider him as mean, if it were possible, meaner than Beast Butler, having shown a disposition to surpass the latter's infamous course, but was forced to stop ere he had completed half the foul intent of his base and brutal mind.

War News

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William J. Gum, the subject of this notice was killed in the battle of New Market, May 15th, 1864. Age 20 years 8 months and 15 days.

About the 27th of August 1862 he enlisted as a soldier in Co. H, 62nd, Regt. Va. Vols. He was a brave and patriotic young man, and nobly did he fight in defense of his country, until the bloody battle of New Market where he was struck by a shell from one of the enemies guns and died in a very short time. Thus died a man in the vigor of his strength, but he died not as many do without the hope of future felicity. In February last he became much concerned about the salvasion [sic] of his soul and sought an interest in the blood of Christ, and he was enable to rejoice from a sense of his acceptance with God and of sins forgiven. He united himself with the M.E. Church of which he lived a consistent member to the time of his death. Thus he lived and died, not only a soldier in defense of his country, but also a soldier of the cross of Christ, and is now reaping the rewards of the faithful in the kingdom of heaven, where wars and rumors of war are heard of no more, but where the sunlight of God's countenance shall be upon him for ever and ever. To the bereaved friends we would say, "hard as the trial and sorrows may be" trust in that being who holds in his own hands the destinies of nations as well as of men, and the afflictions that you are called to pass through in this world will be sanctified to your temporal and spiritual good, and you may meet with your loved ones again in the kingdom of eternal felicity.

$200 Reward!

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$200 Reward.

Ran away from the subscriber, near West View, Augusta county, on Thursday night, the 10th of June, a Negro man named,


about 19 years old, copper color, a white speck on the ball of one eye. He had on when he left a green slouch hat and a pair of capped boots. No other clothing recollected.

The boy was raised in Petersburg and is likely making his way in that direction.

I will give the above reward if delivered to me or secured so that I get him.

John Keller, Jr.

July 8--2t.

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