August 6 1862 - Vandalism of the rebels
Vandalism of the Rebels
Some persons in Washington County are disposed to complain with unnecessary bitterness, when they lose a chicken, hog or the grass of a few acres of ground in consequence of the presence of Federal troops, forgetting that these troops are here to protect their homes from an enemy who would despoil them in less that forty-eight hours.
If ever the rebels should set their feet upon our soil, they would rob it of everything valuable, and make us in reality feel the terrible horrors of the war. They are daily threatening to do so, and are only prevented from accomplishing this hellish object by a wall of bayonets in the hands of the brave Union troops who have, left their far distant homes to avert from its wars desolation. Look at the vandalism which the rebels have perpetrated upon their own people, and then yourselves what they would do to each of you. See what the Richmond Examiner, one of their own origins, says of their conduct:-—
"But what will the people of the South and the world think when we tell them that whilst the Yankee invaders were laying waste the land, destroying the crops and butchering the stock of our former's on the north of the Chickahominy, our own troops, the men who had rushed to defend from capture and spoliation of the Capitol of the Confederacy, were engaged in a precisely similar business in the country on the south side of that stream? This would seem incredible, but it nevertheless, a sad and humiliating fact, the truth of which is susceptible of ocular demonstration. To-day a stranger travelling over the devastated country lying between Richmond and Cold Harbor would fail to distinguish where the lines lately occupied by our army ceased and those of the Yankees began. With the exception of the farm occupied as headquarters by General Lee, and two or three other farms occupied by the Majors Generals under him, the whole country has been ruined and literally laid waste. We will particularize one instance where we might as easily cite fifty. Col. Robert Morris owns a farm on the Mechanicsville turnpike, four miles east of this city. At the time of the falling back of our army from the peninsula this place was well fenced and stocked, and provided with all the machinery usual on the farms of men of means. No sooner was it occupied by our troops than they, apparently unrestrained by discipline or any orders from their officers, commenced the work of spoliation and destruction.
“They burnt up every panel of his fence, even to his garden pailings; smashed his machinery and agricultural implements: ransacked his garden, pulling up and destroying every growing thing, and wound up their operations by entering his cabins and stealing the negroes’ clothing. In consequence of this wanton destruction of everything perishable, the place was left as bare and desolate as if it had been occupied by the whole Yankee army, and indeed, it is in no respects differed from farms occupied by them on the opposite bank of the Chickahominy"
Herald of Freedom & Torch Light
Washington County Free Library
Hagerstown (Md.), Newspapers; Maryland, History, Civil War, 1861-1865
Washington County (Md.), 1861-1865