Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
January 13, 1862

Richmond Daily Dispatch
February 12, 1862

The Union Restorers in Hampshire county.

Hampshire county presents a spectacle of what the South is to expect from a restoration the Union by Federal arms: A portion of if was occupied for some weeks, until Gen. Jackson drove them out by a troop of knives from Ohio. They advanced fifteen miles on the sparsely settled road leading from Romney to Winchester. The Captain of a Jefferson company stated to our informant, that on that road he counted the smouldering ruins of thirty- nine houses : burnt not in the retreat, but in the advance of the invaders some weeks before, when there were but a few militia to dispute their progress. Not only were the houses and be as burned, but all the stock was killed.

A writer in a Northern paper says that the officers encouraged the men (so called) in this work. A negro woman begged for the privilege of taking her bed from a burning house, but it was refused. There were left but three houses on that road. One of these was occupied by a woman who told the soldiers that if they burned her house they would have to burn her in it, whereupon they proceeded to set it on fire in two places; but the heroic woman made her way through the bayonets of the savages and put the fire out Strange to say, the soldiers left. By what means the other two houses were spared, does not appear. The houses burned on the other roads near Romney brought up the number to fifty-five. The town itself, stripped of every fence and enclosure, and of fruits trees and sheds, for fuel, would have been burned but for the vigilance and energy of a more humane officer, (Col. or Gen. Lander, who happened to be there. Near Blues, where a large property was destroyed, there lived an old shoemaker, who stood in his door as the savages passed by; he was shot down where he stood, and his house set on fire, and his charred bones were found by our men among the ashes. Whether he was dead before the fire reached him, or whether he was burnt alive, is not known.

This is carrying out the programme laid down by the New York papers last spring, one of which pictured to his gloating imagination "the old man shot as he looked out of his window," and other atrocities which we need not name. We were laughed at by the better men of the North for believing that such things would ever be allowed or ever happen. But those who knew where the governing spirit of this invasion lay, and what it was, knew well enough at the time that these writers truly represented it. Murder, plunder, and fire, has characterized the whole war upon the border. That it is countenanced, if not encouraged, at headquarters, is fairly inferable, from the fact that the Northern Government is doing what no other Government ever dare--"making war on the hospitals and on the sick," as England denominated the proposal to withhold medicines from France when Napoleon threatened her subjugation and ruin. The humanity had seen-respect of England repudiated the measure, and history shows no other nation, except the Federal Government, which has ever been guilty of it.

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1862

West Virginia Archives and History