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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
August 18, 1861


Staunton Spectator
August 27, 1861

SKIRMISH AT HARPER'S FERRY.---Col. Turner Ashby, of Fanquier, arrived at Boliver, near Harper's Ferry, about two o'clock last Sunday week with 200 troops. He sent forward 10 men to reconnoitre, who reported 400 Abolition soldiers in Harper's Ferry. He proceeded, intending to attack them. On arriving at Camp Hill he ascertained that they had found out his design, and crossed the Potomac on a bridge of boats. After Ashby and his men got to the Ferry the enemy commenced firing on the enemy being killed and five wounded. The Lieutenant's horse was replaced by a better one taken from the enemy.---The latter have wholesome dread of Ashby and his men, who are encamped two miles south of Charlestown, Va. Banks has a considerable force two miles from Harper's Ferry. There is now, so far as known, no Yankees in arms on the Virginia side of the Potomac from Martinsburg down to Harper's Ferry, and but few between that point and Alexandria.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
September 5, 1861

Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.

Affair in Jefferson County.

Charlestown, Jefferson Co., Va, August 31, 1861.

The invasion of our town by the vandal hordes of the North, and their near proximity to us now, have not subdued or subjugated as in the least. We are more resolute in the cause of liberty, and more vigorous in our efforts to achieve it than ever. It is true we have, like other unfortunate parts of our State, some traitors in our midst, but since our glorious victory at Manassas their position has by no means been an enviable one. Despised and contemned by all true and loyal citizens, they are condemned to an irksome seclusion from society or are obliged to intrude their presence where they are not welcome, but tolerated for the sake of politeness. It is of course not to be supposed that they possess much sensibility or refinement of feeling; such are entirely incompatible with political policy or miserable cowardice. Still, there is something human in all natures, and some portion of the heart not entirely ossified by selfishness, and we may hope that are long they may be able to feel the humiliation of their position. Before leaving this subject I cannot forbear mentioning more particularly one of these traitors. I refer to David H. Strother, better known as "Porte Crayon" --he who, though bore and reared on Southern soil, has, uninfluenced by any principle but mere selfish policy, embraced the side he supposed to be the strongest, asserting that the "North would crush the South like an egg;"and under this delusion he, in this town, where he has near relations distinguished for pure patriotism and devotion to the Southern cause, dared to ride through our streets at the head of the Federal army, with a huge white rag tied around his arm the badge of his treachery and disgrace, and the result of his artistic labors, for their benefit enclosed in a portfolio carried in his hand. Were they not fortunate in having such an able guide through the labyrinths of our poor little insulted town? Well, traitors always receive their reward. Perhaps Harper allows him double prices for his able plans and sketches. I presume he will be compelled to make his future home in the country of his adoption; he certainly never will be permitted to remain here, and I trust that if he survives the war he will drag out his dishonored life in perpetual banishment from this, his native State.

Ever since the departure of our army from this valley we have had in this county a gallant little band of cavalry few, but fearless under the command of Capt. Henderson, who have been very efficient in keeping the Goths and Vandals at Harper's Ferry in check, thus protecting our property from their depredations. They have taken a number of prisoners and sent them on to Richmond. Last Sunday week they were joined by a part of Col. Ashby's Cavalry, who immediately proceeded to the Ferry, and drove the Federalists entirely across the river, killing and wounding several. Banks has removed his headquarters from Sandy Hook to Hyattstown, and the Sun, of yesterday, mentions that there had been much hiring across the river at various points between Conrad's and Harper's Ferry since last Saturday.

There are two classes of persons here, as I fear there are in all parts of the State, to whom I wish to call attention: one is, those who, although not suspected of political treachery, or even the fear of meeting the enemies of our country in battle, are nevertheless engaged in a very mean and dishonorable employment, that of speculating in the necessities of our soldiers, and availing themselves of their wants to realize wealth; if possible, this thing should be utterly and entirely discouraged. The other class are those young, strong and able-bodied men, who, without the shadow of an excuse, are remaining at home totally regardless of the construction which may be put upon their conduct, liable to be interpreted as wanting in manhood and courage or in fidelity to their country. A Jefferson Lady.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: August 1861

West Virginia Archives and History