June 10, 1863
Beverly, W.Va, June 1.
Since weeks have elapsed since we were gladdened by the sight of your ever-welcomed pages. To us it has seemed a very long time. Perhaps the moments are longer in the Southern Confederacy than they are anywhere else. I am inclined to think they are, as the inhabitants of that delightful region accomplish in days, that which it would take weeks, for some of their northern brethren to do. Be that as it may, I know it seemed a long while to do without seeing a blue coat or a newspaper, or indeed scarcely any other article that we really wished to see; but a kind Providence so willed, that a month from the evacuation of Beverly found the dear 2nd Virginia, (with the almost adored Latham still at its head, despite the prevalent opinion that he should be a little higher,) again the occupants of our quaint old town.
Since then, the Fourteenth Penn. Cavalry and Ewing’s Battery have come in; and now the mails (with the newspapers) are coming in regularly, and we begin to feel as if we had really “come in out of the cold.”
But let me tell you of our sojourns in the peaceful regions, where the “chivalry” reign. I shall not tell you of the fight or retreat, as it would of course be stale news. But I will tell you that Col. Latham has the gratitude and respect of every loyal person in the place, for his excellent management in defending the place so long against so greatly superior force, and in keeping his stores out of their hands; and especially for not burning the bridge. We all think the Second is hard to beat. I feel myself unequal to the task of describing the “appearance” of the Southern army, as they came into Beverly, on the evening of the 24th of April. It was equal to Robinson’s circus, horned horse and all, for if they had no horned horses, they had every other kind. Such a lot of bones have not been seen in this country since the flood. And their riders – dirty, ragged, starved and dissatisfied. Poor fellows! The first feeling excited, was merriment, the next, pity. Talk of our army being discontented! I never felt half so sure of conquering the seceded States, as I did when talking to the privates of the Southern army. Imboden had twenty desertions while at Beverly.
Of course their sympathizers gave them a cordial welcome; and why shouldn’t they, since they have been sending writing for them to come for almost two? But I can tell you they soon got tired of them. Their friends cursed them and they cursed their friends. I suppose that if their provision and sustenance trains had been so long as the Yankee trains were, it would have been different. But, unfortunately, the third day after the arrival of Mr. I. found the hitherto plenteous town of Beverly without a yard of cotton or calico, a grain of coffee, sugar, or salt, and indeed almost out of flour. May be we did not enjoy their chagrin, although we felt that it was rather dear fun; but we still kept up a brace face, for we felt sure that Uncle Sam would not desert his infant State entirely. But O, how angry it did make us to see our best property going to give the starving Confederacy another meal. The butcher of their army publicly declared that there was but thin veil betwixt them and starvation. But the West Virginia cattle will strengthen that veil a little. We could not help wondering if Gen. Roberts lacked means, bravery or sense. We suppose a “little of each.”
Had Latham been in his place, we can’t help thinking yet, that Imboden would never have crossed Middle Fork Bridge. –
But I fear I’m trespassing to much upon your pages! However, before I close, let me tell you an incident of Mr. Imboden, the famous Imboden. A gentleman living near Beverly (Mr. Harper,) had an old family riding horse; some of the chivalry captured him. Mr. I. had put up bills assuring all citizens who had never been in arms, that their private property should not be molested. So Mr. H. called upon him and politely told him the circumstances, telling him that a horse twenty-seven years old could not be of any use to him, that if he would let him have the old horse, he would say nothing about his team which had been taken also. Intelligencer! Dear Intelligencer! Don’t forget what the mighty Imboden said. He said: He’ll do till we can get a better.
Little West Virginia.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: June 1863