Letter from Martinsburg.
October 6, 1863
Letter from Martinsburg.
Martinsburg, West Va., Oct. 2.
As is the custom when anything transpires to us soldiers out of the ordinary routine of duty, to send a “brief account” of the transaction to our favorite dailies for publication; so I propose giving you and “our many friends” such an account of the presentation of a beautiful flag to us, “Rowan’s Cavalry,” by the loyal ladies of Martinsburg.
This memorable event in our history took place on Tuesday, September 29th, on a beautiful plateau of ground lying a quarter of a mile northeast of this town; a more appropriate time or place could not have been selected, the sun which had looked down upon us with such splendor all day was just sinking to rest in his couch of glory, making even the rugged mountains presentation aspect of loveliness, which could not fail to impress one with the joyousness of the occasion.
In behalf of the donors, a list of whose names would be too lengthy to enumerate, G. H. Bargor, Lieut. 122 Ohio, and Judge Advocate at this post, presented the flag with a short but eloquent address, dwelling principally on the causes that brought us all together as soldiers, our duty as such to defend the Stars and Stripes, the banner of American liberty, against all enemies and hoped with this splendid banner, the gift of the loyal ladies of Martinsburg, floating in our lead, that we would prove as true and efficient as in times past.
L. B. Whitham received the flag and returned the thanks of his comrades in a very few words, remarking that it would be our aim to so guard it that the fair donors need have no cause to regret their action.
But one incident transpired to mar the harmony of the occasion, and that, emanating from the source from which it did, should have been passed by unnoticed. – While the company was maneuvering previous to the presentation, a gentleman, or a person calling himself such, in authority at this point, rode past and by his boisterous merriment over some slight mistake which had been committed, but soon was rectified, caused considerable ill feeling and not very pleasant countenances on the part of the boys, but which soon passed over when they recollected the occasion; but it has not from memory. Barring this everything passed off pleasantly.
After three cheers for the ladies of Martinsburg and three for the Stars and Stripes, we returned to camp, feeling proud of the honor conferred upon us, an honor of which few can boast, and may our right arms prove that it is deserving.
Should it ever be our lot to uphold our country’s honor on the battlefield but a single glance at this silent memento, this beautiful banner, will suffice to serve us for the contest; and may our blood in this glorious cause prove that we are not unmindful of the trust reposed in us.
With many wishes of long life, but not ones of single blessedness, and happiness to the loyal ladies of Martinsburg, I close.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: September 1863