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Hunter's Disastrous Retreat
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Hunter's Disastrous Retreat.
It really seems as if the justice of Heaven followed the retreat of Hunter's vandals. Taking from women and children the last morsel of food they possessed--in fact, wantonly destroying what they could not use-in the long retreat over the mountains the inhuman villains themselves suffered from hunger, and numbers died of starvation on the wayside. We published yesterday a paragraph from an Ohio paper, stating that Hunter had lost 8,000 men in his advance and retreat. The facts relative to Hunter's losses, and the just punishment that befell his followers, are making their appearance in the papers of the United States.
The following extracts are taken from the Columbus Statesman. After giving an account of their march through the Valley, the writer, a member of the 12th Ohio regiment, proceeds as follows:
On the morning of the 18th nothing occurred but skirmishing, except a demonstration of the enemy eleven lines deep made on our centre. Averill at the same time made an unsuccessful effort to burn the bridge in the vicinity of the city. On the evening of the 18th the army was ordered to retreat, and the line of march was taken up for the Kanawha Valley. Whether or not it was a retreat the narrator was not advised. The army marched about one hundred and fifty-eight miles to Gauley bridge, meeting a supply train some few miles before reaching the latter place. On the evening of the 17th, the army, while before Lynchburg, received its last rations.
During the retreat the soldiers received nothing except once each a handful of shelled corn. The report was current that twenty-seven men died from hunger on the march, three dying after receiving supplies, but from exhaustion unable to eat. The men marched the first night after leaving Lynchburg twenty-five miles, and continued to march night and day until reaching Gauley Bridge. A large number of men, unable to bear the fatigue, dropped down exhausted by hunger, hard marching and went to sleep. The number the writer could not ascertain, but it was very large. Nothing was found on the road to eat. Fruit was not ripe, not even whortle berries. The corn, if any in the country, could not be found. The cavalry horses had nothing but grass to subsist upon, and, as a consequence, a very large number of them fell down on the march exhausted. It was understood to be the order of Gen. Averill to shoot all exhausted horses, preventing them thus from falling into the hands of the enemy.
The army burned the Military Institute at Lexington, after rifling it of its library which was found to be very fine. He had in his possession one of the books. The railroad in the vicinity of Lynchburg was destroyed to a considerable distance, though the important bridge aimed at to be burned was too well guarded.
[This is the bridge across James river at Robinson's Mill. It was guarded by a section of the Lynchburg artillery and battalion of infantry. Two different movements were made against it--Ed. Virgn]
The Soldiers thought if General Hunter's intention was to take Lynchburg, he failed. If it was to destroy a portion of railroad and burn the Military Institute, he succeeded. The loss of men from all causes was very large. The loss of horses felt not short of four thousand.
While marching from Lynchburg, some two thousand or more of the soldiers became barefooted, and had to wrap up their feet with pieces of blanket. A number of negroes were taken on the route. A very large proportion of the negroes were furnished with horses, or were carried in wagons or ambulances. A soldier, whose feet were wrapped with pieces of blanket and exhausted from the march, halted a negro on a horse and took posses[s]ion of the animal. Gen. Hunter hearing of the fact, rode up to the soldier, ordered him to dismount, and horse-whipped him, placing the negro again upon the horse.
The retreat from Lynchburg was not in any order, General Crook told the men to make their way back as best they could. The whole army straggled, rather than marched, all the way from Lynchburg to Gauley.
The time of service of the 12th regiment expired while at Lynchburg. A portion of the regiment re-enlisted last winter. The larger portion have retur[n]ed home to be mustered out of service.
The Washington Repu[b]lican says:
An officer who accompanied Gen. Hunter in his recent raid in the direction of Lynchburg, informs us that the sufferings and adventures of the soldiers are scarcely paralleled in the history of warfare. On the return march hardly a blade of grass was seen for three days. The soldiers fed their horses with corn out of their hands, and ate only the grass that dropped to the ground. One informant saw men eating common tallow candles with a most extraordinary relish. Others dug up roots out of the ground and plucked buds from the trees for food.
Over Two and A Half Millions of Men, and Still Want More
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Lincoln's Late Call
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Lincoln's Late Call.
The calls of Lincoln for more men with which to strengthen his power in the North by subjugating, if possible, the people of the Confederate States have long since ceased to cause even a thrill of alarm in the Southern breast. We receive and repeat it as any other news from the North which is of but small moment to us, of which the Northern papers present a superabundance. The fact nevertheless exists. Lincoln has called for half a million more men. If these men are not forthcoming in fifty days a draft will be resorted to. But will they be forthcoming in the fifty days? It can scarcely be supposed that they will. The ardor of the North has been chilled by stern facts. According to their own showing, over two and a half millions of men have been raised to subdue the South, and now three millions, at least, ate acknowledged to be necessary to accomplish the work which was to have been completed by 75,000 in 90 days. It is and can be viewed in no other way by them than as a grand slaughter pen into which they will have entered, from which there is little hope to escape save by torturing disease or who death-dealing Southern rifle. The Governor of Massachusetts knows that from his state the men will not be forthcoming (and when Massachusetts, strongest for the war, will not furnish the men, what state will?) and has already ordered, in pursuance of an act of Congress of July 4th, 1864, that agents be sent to the States in rebellion to "find" and recruit negroes to be credited to that state. This would be a very humiliating confession for a Southern Governor to make by such an act, but it may save the lives of some of the people of Massachusetts and that is all he cares for Pride like honor has fled from them.
Lincoln himself has no idea of succeeding but consoles himself by saying that "if he fails he, at least, will have the satisfaction of going down with the colors flying."
We hope ere the fifty days expire such may be our success that the enemy may be perfectly willing to retire from the contest and leave us in undisturbed peace--but should they then attempt to drag forth the number of men called for, we have an abiding faith in the strength and valor of our noble armies and believe they will hurl back, discomfited and dismayed, all the vile hordes who may be driven at the point of the bayonet against them.
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The same quiet for some days past, continues on the lines in front of Petersburg. Occasional shells thrown at the City, to gather with some picket firing constitute the total of recent hostilities in that direction. The report is current and is believed that the enemy has crossed a portion of one corps to the north side of James River near City Point for the purpose of preventing our artillery, firing upon their transports. It seems now to be a well ascertained fact. [illegible] resting upon the [illegible] road. This, like all former attempts of Ulysses, to take the [illegible] will prove a failure, and will only demonstrate more fully his utter incompetency to cope with Gen. Lee.
The news from Georgia as far as received is cheering. Gen Hood, scarcely installed as Commander in Chief, made a discovery not thought of heretofore by a commander of that army, that the enemy have flanks and a rear as well as himself. He very promptly took advantage of this discovery and the result proves, the driving them from two lines of their entrenchments, the capture of 2000 prisoners, 13 pieces of artillery and 18 stands of colours. Very good for a beginning, and augurs well for the future success of that gallant army. The Yankees commenced shelling the City without any notice being given to remove the women and children to places of safety. This barbarous violation of civilized warfare enabled him to murder only a few noncombatants.
Gen. Hood issued the following order to his troops.
Headquarters Army Tennessee,
In the Field, July 25.
Soldiers--Experience has proved to you that safety in time of battle consists in getting into close quarters with the enemy. Guns and colors are the only unerring indications of victory. The valor of troops is easily estimated, too, by the number of those received. If your enemy be allowed to continue the operation of flanking you out of position, our cause is in peril. Your recent brilliant success proves your ability to prevent it. You have but to will it and God will grant us the victory which your commander and your country so confidently expect.
(Signed) J.B. Hood,
(On the 20th inst., Gen. Ramseur whilst on the move to attack the enemy beyond Winchester, his men at the time resting, was surprised by a large force of the enemy about 4 miles beyond that place, and compelled to fall back with the loss of four pieces of artillery and between 200 and 300 prisoners. Gen. Lilly of this place was wounded and fell into the enemy's hands.)
After Ramseur's unfortunate affair our army fell back this side of Winchester. On Sunday the 24th inst., General Early fought the enemy numbering 15,000, commanded by Gen. Crook, on the old Kernstown battle ground, in which he completely routed them, driving them through Winchester and five miles beyond. The streets of Winchester were again the scene of severe fighting. We learned that the enemy burned all their wagons, about 400, to prevent their falling into our hands and that we killed a great many and captured a large number, estimated by persons just from Winchester, as high as 2000.
The Yankee Gen. Mulligan, was mortally wounded and fell into our hands. Gen. Lilly, together with the other officers and men captured by the enemy on the 20th inst., was recaptured.
Schedule of Prices
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Schedule of Prices.
Such has been the opposition to the recent schedule of prices established by the Commissioners for Va. throughout the State, that the Commissioners feel constrained to meet at an early day to revise the schedule by a reduction of prices. We trust that they may this time consult common sense, as well as persons from various portions of the State, who may or may not be interested, and give us a schedule which will be just and fair to all parties and will not destroy the effect of Congressional legislation by lowering the standard of Confederate Currency, but will rather aid it by appreciating the value of our money. We append the letter of the Commissioners:
July 22, 1864.
"The Board of Commissioners for Virginia will meet at an early day to revise their schedule of prices in regard to grain, flour, meal &c., with the intention of reducing prices. At our last meeting it was almost impossible to obtain reliable data upon which to found prices. In advising with gentleman from various portions of the State, we defer to the general opinions expressed by those we consult; nor do we derive our information alone from one class of our fellow-citizens, however respectable."
In this connection we call attention to the resolutions passed at a meeting of farmers and citizens held at the Court House, on Monday last, court day, published in another column.
Vandalism of the Yankees
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A number of the Farmers and Citizens of Augusta County, having assembled at their Court House to take into consideration the schedule of prices recently established by the Commissioners for the State of Virginia, do hereby declare their earnest and unqualified disapproval of the notion of these commissioners. If that schedule be adhered to, it will lead to the Bankruptcy of the Confederate Government, or the repudiation of the debt for which its faith is solemnly pledged. Whilst the schedule is ostensibly, for the benefit of the fairness its advantages are altogether illusory. The extravagant prices in a depreciated currency, which are allowed for the present crops must be followed at an early day, (if the debt is over paid) by a system of taxation, which will, in the end, prove ruinous to the agricultural interest.
The publication of the schedule has already been fruitful of injurious consequences. Gold has risen, or in other words, Confederate money has been depreciated, fully 25 per cent and the feeling of distrust and insecurity has been greatly increased. As a necessary consequence, the prices of all provisions, and domestic supplies, have been enhanced, and in some parts of the state, farmers and others, refuse to receive the notes of the government on any terms. This single set of the Commissioners, has more than counterbalanced all the patriotic efforts of Congress and the Executive, to ameliorate the currency, and revive the credit of the government.
Its operation on the families of soldiers, and on all persons of fixed or moderate incomes, will be in a high degree, oppressive. Whilst Congress, by a recent law, sought to advance the interests of the soldiers, by increasing their pay about fifty per cent, the Commissioners have frustrated the beneficent purposes of Congress, by increasing the price of corn, flour and other necessaries of life, five hundred per cent!
An adherence to this schedule, must, soon swell the Confederate debt to an amount beyond the capacity of the people to pay. The debt of the government, is the debt of the people, and must be paid (if paid at all) by the people. But how can the people expect to discharge the debt, if more is paid for a single crop, than fee-simple value of the land which produced it. Examples can be found, in this county, in which the crops of the present year, will bring, at schedule prices, more than six times the original cost of the land on which they were raised!
Such a condition of things is well calculated to inspire, and has inspired, distrust and alarm, in the public mind, and no reverse that has yet befallen our arms, has caused as much despondency, or proved so injurious to the public credit, as this unwise and short-sighted act of the Commissioners.
The schedule may swell the nominal profits of a few large landed proprietors, but its effects on the non producers, and middle classes, will be sad indeed. The necessaries of life will be placed beyond their reach, and starvation and misery must be their lot, unless timely relief is afforded by its repeal.
The farmers, and other citizens of Augusta, do therefore, most earnestly protest against this extravagant, and ill advised schedule of prices. They believe that it would be better for the farmers to accept one third or one fourth of the schedule prices for their productions in the currency as it was before the schedule was adopted, than the full amount, in Treasury notes depreciated as they have been by than unfortunate measure, because they would then feel some assurance that the money would ultimately be of value.
What the farmers need, is not ex[h]orbitant prices, but a sound currency--exemption from unnecessary interference with their labour--protection from the lawless conduct of petty officers and a proper regulation of the rail roads so as to afford them ready access to market with their crops. If these are afforded--they hazard nothing in saying that the Valley counties can furnish all the breadstuffs, and a large portion of the other provisions and forage for the supply of the army of Northern Virginia.
In conclusion they earnestly invoke the President of the Confederate States to cause the commissioners, to be called together as promptly as possible, to set aside their extravagant schedule.
J. Marshall McCue, Pres't.
Hugh W. Sheffey, Sec'y.
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Ranaway from the Subscriber, living in Waynesboro, Augusta County, Virginia, on the morning of the 25th July, my negro woman
she is about 24 years old, quite short in statue and [illegible] cable heavy set no marks known (though she may be marked,) she may be known, certainly by her speech, which is sharp, quick, almost unintelligible, particularly when excited.
She took with her a Cotton and two Calico dresses, a Calico sun bonnet and shaker bonnet trimmed with blue and white fig'd goods.
I will give the above reward to any persons who may secure Mary, so that I get her again.
Wa[y]nesboro July 20--1 mo.
Office Recorder Virginia Forces
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Office Recorder Virginia Forces.
Office Recorder Virginia Forces,
Richmond July 15, 1864.
The Worshipful Justices of the County Court of Augusta.
Gentleman: The accompanying circular will explain the prominent object for which this office was established. Another duty has been committed in it, and to that I ask your attention.
For some time past the newspapers of the county have been filled with accounts from every part of the Confederacy penetrated by the invader, and especially from the different sections of the State of Virginia, charging that the enemy's soldiery, and particularly, their raiding parties, are making war upon the unarmed and defenceless of this community, ravaging the country, and inflicting upon the people every species of insult and injury. Among the offences thus charged are, so devastating the country as to render it unfit for the habitation or sustenance of its resident population, abducting our negro slaves, and arming them against us; burning dwellings, mills, factories, records, seminaries, printing offices, libraries and works of art; breaking up fences, roads and bridges; desecrating churches; taking such private property as can be carried off and destroying what cannot be; stripping families of the necessaries of life; imprisoning and inflicting personal injury upon unarmed citizens--and worse than all, offering insult, outrage and violence to defenceless women.
These accounts have recently become so numerous, come from so many different quarters and the offences charged are so flagrant, that the Governor of Virginia, considering it necessary to have them fully investigated, has instructed this office to carefully ascertain what wrongs and injuries, contrary to the rules of war, have been committed upon the people of Virginia, prepare a properly verified narrative thereof, and preserve it among the records of this office.
This is a work which can be properly performed only by the people who are injured, and each country should make up and sent to this office a record of the wrongs committed within its limits, preparing its narrative carefully, sustaining each item by proper and sufficient evidence, and putting it into such shafe [sic] that it can be readily referred to. The county authorities should see that this record is promptly and properly made, and the people generally should ascertain all the facts and obtain all the evidence within their reach.
The county court is the custodian of the business interest and welfare of the county--the assertor of its rights, and the vindicator of the wrongs done to its people. Its members, usually the best business men of the county, come from its every section--are familiarly acquainted with all the people, are the friends and advisers of most of them in matters of business and periods of trouble and distress, and aggregate a greater influence and more general knowledge of all, whether of good or evil, which concerns the county people, than any other equal number of its citizens. The county court, then, is clearly the source from which this action should spring.
These views and the plan herein after set out, are approved by His Excellency Gov. Smith, and under his instructions I lay them before you, with the request that you will make such orders and take such action as will instruct the prompt preparation of such a record in your county.
Should no better plan occur to you, permit me to suggest the following: By the proper order of court assign to the magistrates of each district the duty of preparing the record, and taking the evidence of all outrages committed by the enemy within that district. Let them notify the people of the district when and where to come before them what is to be perpetuated, and by what testimony, so that before the time appointed facts may be collected, citizens can write out what they know and can prove and what is known to and can be proved by their neighbors. At each term of the court let each district send in what has been prepared, and directly after each term let all so sent in be so copied as to admit of being made into a book here, be certified by the clerk under the seal of the court, and forwarded to this office. If you will pursue this course, the work can rapidly and surely done with little labor for any one person, and all that relates to your county will be made into a separate book and preserved here, while the originals will remain among your county records.
Within your limits are many refugees from counties now in possession of the enemy and likely to remain so for a considerable time. Many of these are said to be the victims of wrong, and to know of many other cases. Let me request that those [illegible] and their evidence be also taken and certified by you and the originals forwarded to this office.
As reclamation may hereafter be made for property taken or destroyed by the enemy, it will be for the interest of the owner that the taking or destruction should when possible, be also proven by other persons that the owner.
In making up these statements, wherever it can be done, please state the company, regiment or force by which these wrongs have been committed, and the officer commanding the force, so that they may be fixed upon their immediate perpetrators.
In some cases the enemy has been guided, aided or encouraged by persons who then or previously resided in the state. In such cases please set out all the facts distinctly, with such description of the person as will thoroughly identify him.
In meeting these acts of the enemy many evidences of heroism, devotion and courage have been exhibited, especially by disabled soldiers, clergymen, old men, women and children--and many such have in various ways, during this war, often at great personal hardship and peril, rendered signal service to their country, and entitled themselves to a high niche in the temple of fame. These are jewels in the coronal [sic] of Virginia's honor too bright to be lost, and I beg that you will carefully ascertain and faithfully record all the details of these noble acts. Please send them to me separate from the history before desired, for such a bright record should not be bound in the same book with any thing disgraceful or unworthy.
I shall be pleased to hear from you that this work has been commenced, and will be happy to see any one interested in the subject at the Record Office, and furnish all the aid in the matter which it can render.
Your most ob'dt serv't,
Jos. Jackson, Jr.
Recorder Va. Forces.
Virginia: At a court held for the county of Augusta, at the Court-house on Monday, the 25th of July 1864.
The court having had read to it a communication from Jos. Jackson, Jr. Recorder of the Virginia Forces in respect to the perpetuation of testimonies proving outrages committed by the public enemy and other matters, it is ordered, that said communication be published in the newspapers printed in Staunton for the information of the justices; and the court approving the suggestions contained in said communication it is further ordered, that each justice be requested to take the testimony and statements indicated in said communication and to report the same as promptly as practicable to the Clerk of this court who is hereby directed, in such form as may be suggested by said Recorder, to copy or have copied the evidence, statements and matters so reported to him; and the said clerk is authorized to purchase the paper necessary for the purposes aforesaid on account of the county; and the court will hereafter appropriate the money necessary to pay the Clerk a reasonable compensation for his labor and expenses in executing this order.
A Copy, Teste,
William A. Burnett, Clerk.