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Since the appearance of the first edition of this work,
kind friends and strangers from abroad have been prompted
to send contributions for the sufferers of our town, some-
times specifying who shall be the recipients, sometimes
leaving it discretionary with myself, and sometimes de-
signating the particular denomination of Christians to
whose most needy members the gifts should be applied.
In order to afford an opportunity to all, to avail themselves
of such methods as may be most acceptable, I will here
say, that contributions to the General Eelief Corhmittee
may be sent to the Treasurer, G. R. Messersmith, Esq.,
Cashier of the Bank of Chambersburg.
Those wishing to make the pastors of the different
churches (all of which have suffered very greatly) to be
the almoners of their bounty, can send as follows :
First Reformed Church, Rev. P. S. Davis.
Second " " (German,) Rev. B. S. Schneck.
Presb3rterian, Rev. S. J. Niccolls.
Lutheran, German (without a pastor). Money can be
sent to Rev. F. W. Conrad.
Methodist, Rev. Mr. Barnhart.
United Brethren in Christ, Rev. J. Dickson.
Roman Catholic, Rev. John Gerdeman.
Bethel (Church of God), Mr. W. G. Mitchell.
THE BURNING OF CHAMBKRSBURG.
BY KEV. B. S. SCHNECK, D. D.
Single copies sent by mail, free of postage, at the usual retail
price, 40 & 60 c<s.
By the dozen, in cloth, $5 40
(If sent by express, the receiver pays charges — if by mail, 72
cents per dozen copies added to the above price,) or . . 6 12
By the dozen, in paper, ........ 3 60
Postage per dozen copies, 40c., 4 00
By the hundred, in cloth, 40 00
*' " " in paper covers, 26 67
I^^o books given on commission.
Agents wishing to canvass particular sections or counties, can apply
to the author at Chambersburg.
Agents wanted for a number of counties in the eastern and western
portion of Pennsylvania, and also for Ohio, Indiana, etc.
A German edition, in a condensed form, will shortly leave the press,
■which will retail at 30 cents in paper, and 50 cents in cloth.
By the dozen, in paper.
Postage per dozen copies.
By the dozen, in cloth.
By the hundred, in paper,
" " in cloth,
OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.
The following are a few of the notices given by the public press to
this work in its first edition :
"It is invaluable as the only account of the most fiendish act of the
war that is in a form to be preserved." — Colonel A. K. McClure, in the
Chambersburg ^'^ Franklin Repository,''^ Sept. 28, 1864.
" To readers of every class we take great pleasure in commending this
truthful narrative as a valuable contribution to the history of the war.
. . . The incidents of the burning are detailed by Dr. Schneck with a
vividness which makes his account of that barbarous transaction as
graphic as it is authentic." — Editor of Washington "-National Intelli-
gencer,^'' Oct. 6
" The source from which it proceeds carries with it sufficient authority
as to the correctness of its statements. It will be read generally with
interest and will doubtless receive a large circulation." — " German Re-
formed Messenger,"' Oct. 5.
" This little book should be read by every Pennsylvanian. The scenes
therein so simply and yet so touchingly depicted, have no parallel for
horror in any war among civilized nations except our own," — Pittsburg
'■'■ Evenirig Climntcle,''' Oct. 14.
"I rejoice that this little book has met so rapid a sale, though I anti-
cipated nothing less, as it is cei'tainly one of the most thrilling narra-
tives I have ever read. I shall send for a number of copies to be dis-
tributed here." — Rev. Dr. W B. Sprague, Albany, N. Y., in a letter io
the author, Nov. 1, 1864.
MAP OF THE PORTION OF CHAMBERSBURG
Burnt "by order of Greneral Early, Jialy 30, 1864.
1. Diamond or Square.
2. Mansion House (Publication
Office Ger. Ilef. Church.)
3. Franklin Hutol.
7. Town Hall.
8. B. Chambers.
9. Col. McClure.
10. Edgetool Factory.
n. Town Mills. Tannery and
12. Paper-Mill and Brewery.
14. Dr. Fisher, &c. (Four houses
on Main Street not burnt.)
BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG,
REV. B. SCHNECK., D. D.,
AN EYE-WITNESS AND A SUFFERER.
REV, J. CLARK, HON. A. K. McCLURE, J. HOKE, ESQ., REV. T. G. APPLE,
REV. B. BAUSMAN, REV. S. J. NICCOLLS, AND
J. K. SHRYOCK, ESQ.
IN LETTERS TO A FRIEND.
SECOND EDITION, REVISED AND IMPROVED,
A PLAN OF THE BUENT PORTION OF THE TOWN.
LINDSAY & BLAKISTON
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by
LINDSAY & BLAKISTON,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District
STEREOTYPED BY J. PAGAN t SON. PRINTED BY SHERMAN & CO.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The first edition of this work having been exhausted in a sin-
gle month, my worthy and enterprising publishers have encour-
aged the preparation of a second without delay.
It is hardly necessary to say, that the first edition was prepared
under exceedingly unfavorable circumstances. Mind and body
were in a state of exhaustion. For a month, and longer, the
hours of each day were so much taken up with new and exciting
cares and duties, as to unfit one in great measure for either mental
or physical effort. Hence the unpretending little book was ushered
into existence with a felt sense of its deficiencies.
An honest efi'ort at improvement has been made in the present
edition. No small portion of redundant matter has been left
out, thus afibrding room for various statements which were not
at hand before. I may here direct special attention to the mas-
terly " Vindication of the Border" by Mr. Apple, the spirited
contribution from the facile pen of Mr. Bausman, and the excel-
lent article by Mr. Shryock. I have with forethought chosen to
introduce other witnesses, besides myself, to testify in regard to
the matter in hand, rather than to have the public rely upon my
The list of names, with the amount of losses by those who owned
houses, were to have been omitted in this edition ; but so numer-
ous were the protests from valued friends against such a course,
that it has been allowed to remain. The space occupied by these
details has, however, been reduced nearly one half, partly by em-
ploying smaller type, and partly by condensing the matter.
The engraving prefixed to the present edition, representing the
burnt portion of the town, will, it is hoped, be acceptable to the
reader. A steel plate engraving of the ruins of the town would
have been given, if any satisfactory representation in so small a
compass could have been furnished. But the judgment of the
artist decided against its feasibility, and in favor of that herewith
B. S. S.
Chambersburq, Oct. 31st, 1864.
* I take great pleasure in this connection to direct attention to a large photo-
grapliic view of the Ruins of Chambersburg, by Mr. C. L. Lochman, of Carlisle, as
the most satisfactory picture I have yet seen. The same artist has also prepared
a number of smaller pictures and a series of stereoscopic vieics, embracing general
views and the most prominent local objects of the town.
BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG,
My dear Friend :
Your request to give jou a succinct and, as far as may
be, detailed account of the terrible calamity with which
our town was visited on the 30th day of July, is received.
You are pleased to ^y, that not only my long residence
in the place, but t^e:4aiit-tha;t I-ha4^_as- on former occa-
•sionspBG also during the present one, remained at home,
gives me a right to speak on the subject, without fear of
cavil or sneer from those who are ready, either from ignor-
ance or something worse, to misrepresent the facts ^^ th^
ease, or apply the ill-timed weapons of ridicule and sar-
casm against statements which have appeared in print.*
Passing by your other remarks, which I may be permitted
to set down as emanating from personal partiality, I shall
proceed to give you, as perfectly as I can, and as briefly
* Reference is here made chiefly to the New York Herald and the Tribune,
both of which sh"!ets have manifested a spirit towards our deeply afflicted
sufferers akin to that of our worst enemies. The Tribune, instead of allowing
itself to be corrected by the Hon. A. K. McClure, in the Philadelphia Press,
turns aside from the subject with miserable jokes, as trivial as they are heart-
less. And these are our //teHO?*.'
6 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
as the subject will allow, a somewliat detailed account of
the terrible disaster, with an honest endeavor to avoid all
special pleading and overdrawn statements, dealing only
in simple matters of fact, as far as I have been able to
gather them, either from personal knowledge or unques-
The Military Situation on the Border.
Before proceeding directly to the narration of the terri-
ble catastrophe, it may be well to glance at the military
situation on our border. This seems the more necessary
from the fact, that a very large portion of the public
prints have been misled into the belief, and consequently
have unwittingly led their readers to believe that, " if the
citizens of Chambersburg had turned out to resist the
enemy, the burning and pillage of the town could have
been averted," inasmuch as the rebel force, according to
some statements, was very trifling, "scarcely numbering
two hundred men." You, my dear friend, are laboring
under this erroneous belief yourself. Allow me, therefore,
to turn your attention to the following facts, which are
well established, and which can be corroborated by any
amount of evidence.
General Couch, the commander of this military division,
had under his control a company of about one hundred
men at Mercer sburg, sixteen miles southwest from here,
and a section of a battery of artillery in this place. This
was the entire military force in the Cu.mberland Yalley,
under the control of our military commander, at the time.
Several Pennsylvania regiments which had previously
been organized for the defence of the border, through the
efforts of our vigilant Governor, had been summoned by
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURa. 7
the General Government to Washington and the Potomac
Army. One hundred men and two small cannon — that
But you ask : ^' Was not General Averill near enough
to have prevented the rebels from executing their nefari-
ous design upon your town? and, if so, why did not
General Couch inform him of the situation of affairs, and
urge him forward ?" The answer is at hand. General
Couch did attempt to inform General Averill in time of
the fact that the enemy, with a force about three thousand
strong, had crossed the Potomac west of Williamsport,
and was moving by way of Mercersburg and St. Thomas
directly on Chambersburg. Averill was encamped one
mile from Greencastle (ten from Chambersburg) on Friday
night, July 29. The first two messengers with despatches
from General Couch, could not find him. The third mes-
senger succeeded accidentally in finding him after mid-
night in a field. Averill only now discovered that he
had been flanked by the enemy, and expressed himself
greatly surprised and chagrined to the messenger at
this state of things. Whether he was to blame, it is not
for me to say. It is sufficient for my purpose just now
to know that, beyond two small cannon and one hundred
men, we were without any military protection. And could
the few hundred citizens of the place, most of them with-
out firearms, be expected to make a resistance against
such a force, and with six cannon planted on the hills
overlooking the town ? To ask the question is to an-
In reading over the two preceding paragraphs it oc-
curred to me that the impression might have been made
on your mind, that I wished to find fault with the General
8 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
Government for removing froin us all military protection
on our border. I have no wish to do so in this letter. I
am no military man, and hence am not so positive in my
opinions as many other men, who are doubtless far more
capable of forming a judgment in such matters. I merely
mention the simple facts as they are patent to all who had
the best opportunities of knowing the true state of things.
So, too, in regard to both the Generals named. There is,
since the burning of our town, a very strong feeling of
disapprobation in our community and elsewhere against
both, especially against General Couch. I cannot as yet
share this feeling. I know how apt we are, especially
when smarting under severe personal losses or grievances,
to look around for some object upon which, or some per-
son on whom, to lay the blame. For my part, I would
rather err on the side of charity than on the side of unjust
fault-finding and denunciation. I prefer, until better ad-
vised, to endorse the views of my friend Colonel A. K.
McClure, himself one of the sufferers, and well posted in
such matters. He says :
'' General Averill possibly might have saved Chambers-
burg, and I know that General Couch exhausted himself
to get Averill to fall back from Greencastle to this point.
I do not say that General Averill is to blame, for he was
under orders from General Hunter, and not subject to
General Couch. He had a large force of the enemy in
his front, and until it is clearly proved to the contrary, I
must believe that he did his whole duty."
These two sentences are guardedly worded. " General
Averill possibly might have saved Chambersburg." The
enemy, under McCausland, Bradley Johnson, and Gilmore,
let it be recollected, had at least three thousand cavalry,
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 9
with artillery at command, eight hundred of the latter
being in town, the rest within supporting distance. John-
son's command occupied the high eminence one mile west
of the town with a battery. No better position could
have been desired. They were flushed at the prospect of
plunder and pillage ; their horses were fresh and sleek ;
their men resolute and defiant. On the other hand, Averill
and his men had been worn out and jaded by long and
heavy marches in Western Virginia for a number of con-
secutive weeks. Their horses were run down, and many
of them ready to die, so that two hundred and fifty of these
last could not be taken any farther, but were left here to
recruit. It is therefore only possible, scarcely probable,
that, even if Averill's force of less than two thousand five
hundred men had been here, a successful resistance could
have been made nnder these circumstances. But Averill
and his men were not here until several hours after the
work of destruction was accomplished, and the enemy,
gloating over his vengeful deeds, was miles away on the
Western Turnpike, towards McConnellsburg.
Judge then, dear sir, how keenly we must feel the
unjust reproaches heaped upon us by professed friends,
after our houses are in ruins, our goods despoiled, and
our hearts saddened at every step we take in beholdino-
continuous squares of desolation in our once beautiful
town. And reproaches for what? Because a picket
guard of one hundred soldiers and a small number of
citizens did not successfully resist more than three thou-
sand* veteran cavalrymen, with cannon eligibly planted
to lay waste the town without even coming into it. That
* Since the foregoing was written it has been ascertained to a certainty, that
there were three thousand men, exclusive of the eight hundred and thirty-one
10 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
commanding position once gained by tlae enemy, and the
town was at his mercy, no matter Avliat force of cavalry
or infantry might have been in Chambersburg.
Eeproaches — and from whom and whence f From cer-
tain newspaper editors of New York ; that same New
York, which, with its population of half a million, could
not quell its rabble mob last year, without having a part
of the Potomac Army brought thither to guard some of
the very newspaper of&ces from which those reproaches
upon a helpless town in a neighboring State are now so
unjustly heaped ; those identical newspapers which have
ever and anon sent forth paragraphs of bitter invective
against Pennsylvania in general, and Chambersburg in
particular, for the " ill treatment of the New York mil-
itia" at the hands of our citizens * New York is a great
State, and counts its noble and good men by hundreds of
thousands ; but like every large State with large towns
and cities, she also counts her thousands of depraved
creatures in human shape. And I speak from personal
knowledge, for they were quartered for weeks near my
late residence, when I say that of all the soldiers who
were in this community since the commencement of this
war, none have left behind them such a bad moral odor
as have many of these men. Drunkenness, wanton
destruction of property, thieving, fighting and stabbing
who were in the town; almost as large a force as that which, one j^ear ago,
routed Milroy's whole military force, cannon and all, at Winchester.
* Among the many thousands who have been quartered and encamped here,
I have never heard of a single soldier who did not speak in the most grateful
terms of the universally kind treatment towards them from our citizens. For
proof I appeal to these thousands among the living, wherever they may now be
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 11
each other, (in some cases to death outright,) were fre-
quent occurrences. And yet such men are not only
allowed to vilify and abuse the people whom their mis-
conduct has outraged, but certain Kew York sheets take
up their cause and pour forth wormwood and gall upon
the town, the community, and the State. Let a virtuous
public pronounce its verdict.
Let me illustrate what kind of " defenders" these two
regiments of New York militia were. On their arrival
in the town, and whilst marching through it on their way
to camp, about one mile south from here, some of the
men received the hearty cheers of our citizens with sneer-
ing remarks about the necessity of coming " all the way
from New York to protect Pennsylvania !" Just as if the
protection of the border was not at the same time a pro-
tection of other States — perhaps, in certain contingencies,
even of New York. But mark the sequel. They went
to camp the same day of their arrival, with liberal sup-
plies of everything. The border was known to be imper-
iled a second time, and a large portion of our citizens
were armed and marched out with these regiments. During
the night our scouts brought information to camp that the
rebels were moving from the Potomac this way. And now
a scene of confusion ensued which beggars description. In
the greatest conceivable consternation, these " defenders"
made for Chambersburg in " double-quick," and took seats
in the cars, "homeward bound." Two interesting little
circumstances, in connection with this allegro movement,
must be added, of which hundreds of our citizens were
eye-witnesses. The first is, that these "defenders," in
their hasty retreat, did not forget to provide for them-
12 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
selves as safe a retreat as possible. To this end they
ordered our citizen soldiers to keep in the rear — in mili-
tary phrase, "to cover their retreat" imtil the militia-men
had reached the cars in safety ! The other little circum-
stance is, that in their hasty retreat, they left the whole
of their camp equipage behind. At daylight the follow-
ing morning you might have seen a score of wagons from
the town returning with loads of tents, boxes, trunks,
packages, and all sorts of military fixtures, and conveying
them to the cars, in which they were sent as far as Ship-
pensburg, by military orders. As the militia thought
proper to hasten on farther to the north instead of pro-
tecting their own property, the wary rebels took unmo-
lested possession of the whole of it on the same day !
I think you will agree with me in the remark that these
men had not much capital to boast of in the way of
bravery, although Pennsylvanians should not perhaps
complain, when these " defenders" did no worse for us than
they did for themselves, namely, beat a hasty retreat, and
leave all their valuables to the enemy, even before they
had a sight of him.
I would not have troubled you with this unpleasant
chapter, if it were not necessary, in order to understand
the animus of the splenetic course of the papers referred
to. These editors, under the pretext of " defending the
citizens of New York," have most unaccountably, un-
justly, and without the shadow of provocation, except it
be the desolation and ruin of hundreds of homes and
hearths, assailed and sneered at a deeply afflicted commu-
nity, which has poured out of its former means to the
soldiers of our armies at home and abroad without stint
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 13
and with clieerful alacrity, and by night and by day
watched and ministered at the sick and dying beds of
our soldiers without distinction of nation or State.
My dear Friend :
You are aware that the late incursion of the enemy was
not the first visit we had from our Southern "friends."
In the fall of 1862 we had Stuart's cavalry raid, and in
1863 the invasion by Lee's army. Since the first of July
of the present year, up to the time of McCausland's advent,
the entire community, especially the farmers, were kept
in constant uneasiness. Twice before had they been
robbed of horses, wagons, and grain. The wheat harvest
had just commenced, and now the enemy was again on
the border. During the first three weeks of July, the
farmers felt it necessary to remove their most valuable
personal property. Merchants packed up and sent away,
at least a portion of their goods, eastward. But in each
case the rebels did not come, and some degree of apathy
in the community was the result. But this did not last
long. On the morning of July 29th, unmistakable evi-
dence of the crossing of squads of rebel cavalry over the
Potomac, reached us. The citizens of Chambersburg,
with very few exceptions, remained. Indeed, early in the
evening we were assured that a considerable force of our
troops were on their way from Harrisburg, which, how-
14 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
ever, like many previous assurances, telegrams, and ru-
mors, was not realized. Our scouts soon reported the
near approach of the rebels, and by three o'clock on the
morning of Saturday, the 30th, the citizens who had gone
out with their arms and a section of the battery, having
satisfied themselves of the overpowering strength of the
enemy, fell back to town. Three shells were now thrown
over the town by the rebels from the hills beyond, and as
these did not elicit any reply, eight hundred and thirty-
one of their number came to town, their skirmishers
simultaneously investing every street and alley, gradually
moving forward, and then halting until the signal or for-
ward command was again given. We were once more in
subjection to rebel rule. The centre of the town was
filled with them. They called together several of the cit-
izens who were on the street, requesting them to collect
some of the prominent inhabitants, with a view to enter-
ing into negotiations. To this end the Court-House bell
was rung. The summons to the citizens was very par-
tially obeyed. It was felt that nothing could be done by
negotiation, and that they must submit to pillage — the
most they anticipated. The few who did come together
were approached by Captain Fitzhugh, one of McCaus-
land's staff, who produced and read a written order, signed
by General Jubal Early, directing the command to pro-
ceed to Chambersburg, demand a tribute of $100,000 in
gold, or $500,000 in Northern currency, and, on the fail-
ure to secure this sum, to proceed to burn the town, in
retaliation for the burning of six or eight houses specified
as having been burned in certain counties in Virginia by
General Hunter. The citizens stated that it was utterly
impossible to pay the sum named either in gold or cur-
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 15
rencj, and that the demand could not be made in good
faith. They further remonstrated against the monstrosity
of burning a whole town of six thousand inhabitants, in
retaliation for the six or eight houses named. So utterly
incredulous were they as to the threat being actually car-
ried out, that they expressed their incredulity without
reserve. Captain Fitzhugh replied with a clinching oath,
that these orders would be carried out very quickly. He
immediately issued his orders to his men, a barrel of ker-
osene and matches were secured, and in less than twenty
minutes the town was fired in a dozen places, and they
continued the incendiary work for about one hour. I
may here say, that most of the store-goods had been
removed, and a few prominent citizens had left, but that
no families, women, or children had departed. The burn-
ing was executed in a most ruthless and unrelenting
"A squad of men would approach a house, break open
the door, and kindle a fire, with no other notice to the
inmates, except to get out of it as soon as they could. In
many cases, five, ten, fifteen minutes were asked to secure
some clothing, which were refused. Many families escaped
with only the clothing they had on, and such as they could
gather up in their haste. In many cases they were not
allowed to take these, but were threatened with instant death
if they did not cast them away and flee. Sick and aged
people had to be carried to the fields. The corpse of at
least one person who had recently died, was hastily inter-
red in the garden, and children, separated from their pa-
* This and several following paragraphs are quoted, with a few slight modi-
fications, from a brief and well-written article by the Rev. Joseph Clark, in
the Philadelphia " Presbyterian" of August 6.
16 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
rents, ran wildly screaming through the streets. Those
whose stupor or eagerness to save something, detained
them, emerged with difficulty from the streets filled with
the sheeted flames of their burning homes. I should say
here, that no provocation had been given ; not a shot was
fired on them in entering the town, and not until the full
crisis was reached, did desperation, in a few instances, lead
to desperate acts.
"As to the result, I may say that the entire heart or
body of the town is burned. Not a house or building of
any kind is left on a space of about an average of two
squares of streets, extending each way from the centre,
with some four or five exceptions, where the buildings
were isolated. Only the outskirts are left. The Court-
house, Bank, Town Hall, German Eeformed Printing Es-
tablishment, every store and hotel in the town, and every
mill and factory in the space indicated, and two churches,
were burnt. Between three and four hundred dwel-
lings were burned, leaving at least twenty-five hundred
persons without a home or a hearth. In value, three-
fourths of the town was destroyed. The scene of desola-
tion must be seen to be appreciated. Crumbling walls,
stacks of chimneys, and smoking embers, are all that
remain of once elegant and happy homes.
"As to the scene itself, it beggars description. My
own residence being in the outskirts, and feeling it the
call of duty to be with my family, I could only look on
from without. The day was sultry and calm, not a breath
stirring, and each column of smoke rose black, straight,
and single ; first one, and then another, and another, and
another, until the columns blended and commingled ; and
then one vast and lurid column of smoke and flame rose
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 17
perpendicularly to the sky, and spread out into a vast crown,
like a cloud of sackcloth hanging over the doomed city ;
whilst the roar and the surging, the crackling and crash
of falling timbers and walls, broke upon the still air. with
a fearful dissonance, and the screams and sounds of agony
of burning animals, hogs, and cows, and horses, made the
welkin horrid with sounds of woe. It was a scene to be
witnessed and heard once in a lifetime."
To you and other friends, more or less familiar with
Chambersburg, it will be interesting to specify a little
more particularly the localities which have been laid waste.
Beginning on East Market street, the one leading from
Gettysburg to Pittsburg, directly through the centre of
the town from east to west, the burning commenced simul-
taneously with the Court-house and Mansion-house (Print-
ing Establishment of the German Eeformed Church).
Facing the west from the Franklin railroad, the first build-
ing to the right is the residence of the Misses Denny, in a
somewhat isolated position. This stands in its freshness
and beauty, solitary and alone. Passing down two squares
to the centre of the town, not one building and only two
or three stables or barns remain on either side of this
street of private residences, my own with all of my library
and manuscripts, among the number. Passing further on
westward for more than three squares in length, to the top
of "New England Hill," five or six more or less isolated
houses remain. The large Franklin Hotel, the Arcade
Buildings, John B. Cook's houses and tannery, Eiley's
Hotel, the late Matthew Gillan's large dwelling, J. M.
Wolf kill's store and dwelling, G. W. Brewer's and Mrs.
Joseph Chambers's beautiful residences, are among the
many valuable properties on this street, in ruins.
18 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
Then from North Main street (the street from Carlisle to
Greencastle), beginning with Mr. Benjamin Chambers's
new residence, at the Falling Spring, and Mr. W. G. Reed's,
on the corner, and from here on every honse on both sides
up the square, on to the centre, across it to Queen street,
and up to Washington street, with the exception of Rev.
Dr. Fisher's, Mr. Reineman's, Lehner's, and Feltman's
dwellings, every house, shop, stable, &c., is gone. This
street, as you know, contained more than three-fourths of
all our stores, ware-rooms, and shops of business. Then
comes Queen street, at the intersection of Second street,
beginning at Brandt's (now Brown's) hotel, which was only
partially destroyed, sweeping every building (except Mrs.
Brandt's dwelling), on both sides down to the creek, over
two squares, including Dr. Culbertson's, N. Snider's, Bar-
nard Wolff's, Mr. Wallace's, and other valuable dwellings
and stores. Between eleven and twelve squares of the
best part of the town are, therefore, in ruins, among them
houses of many, inhabitants, whom you knew in former
years as among your dearest friends, and in comfortable
or af&uent circumstances, many of them now reduced to
penury and want.
After I had written the preceding pages, I found a minute
and well- written statement of the subject now in hand in
the " Franklin Repository," of this place, of August 24. I
take pleasure in giving the following extracts from the
same, instead of my own, as the matter was evidently pre-
pared with judgment and care, under the supervision of
its editor. Colonel McClure. He says :
" It seems inexplicable to persons and journals at a dis-
tance that General Couch, a Major-General commanding a
department, with his border repeatedly invaded, should
THE BUENING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 19
have no troops. The natural inclination is to blame the
commander, for it is reasonable to suppose that lie would
endeavor to have an adequate command, and also that
ample authority would be given him to have sufficient
force. Just where the blame belongs, we do not choose
now to discuss; but we do know that it was no fault of
Greneral Couch that he was unable to defend Chambers-
burg. He organized a Provost Guard regiment, some
twelve hundred strong, expressly for duty in his depart-
ment ; the men were enlisted under a positive assurance,
based on the order authorizing the organization, that they
were to be kept on duty in the department. They were
ordered to General Grant after the battles of the Wilder-
ness. He organized six regiments of one hundred days'
men before the advent of McCausland, and they were
ordered to Washington as soon as they were ready to
move. We are assured that Governor Curtin, fully two
weeks before the burning of Chambersburg, formally
pledged the State to make provision for arming, organ-
izing, and paying the entire militia force of the border
for home defence, if the General Government would simply
give the uniforms ; and we believe that General Couch
pressed it upon the Washington authorities to uniform
the entire force of the southern counties, assuring them
that the people were willing to defend themselves if en-
couraged by granting them uniforms, so as to save them
from inhuman butchery, but it was denied. We do not
speak advisedly as to General Couch's correspondence
with the Washington authorities ; we give no statements
at his instance, or based upon information received from
him or his officers; but we do write whereof we know,
when we say that every effort was made to carry these
20 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
measures into effect, and that they were not sanctioned at
Washington. While we do not assume to fix the respon-
sibility of this terrible disaster, we do mean that it shall
not fall upon a commander who was shorn of his strength
and left helpless with his people.
The Rebels Enter Chambersburg
" The rebels having been interrupted in their entrance
into the town until daylight, they employed their time in
planting two batteries in commanding positions, and get-
ing up their whole column, fully three thousand strong.
About 4 o'clock on Saturday morning they opened with
their batteries and fired some half a dozen shots into the
town, but they did no damage. Immediately thereafter
their skirmishers entered by almost every street and alley
running out west and southwest ; and finding their way
clear, their cavalry, to the number of eight hundred and
thirty-one, came in under the immediate command of
General McCausland. General Bradley Johnson was with
him, and also the notorious Major Harry Gilmore.
Plundering Promptly Commenced.
"While McCausland and Gilmore were reconnoitring
around to get a deal with the citizens for tribute, his sol-
diers exhibited the proficiency of their training by imme-
diate and almost indiscriminate robbery. Hats, caps,
boots, watches, silverware, and everything of value, were
appropriated from individuals on the streets without cere-
mony ; and when a man was met whose appearance in-
dicated a plethoric purse, a pistol would be presented to
his head with the order to "deliver," with a dexterity that
THE BUENING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 21
would have done credit to the freebooting accomplish-
ments of an Italian brigand.
" General McCansland rode up to a number of citizens
and gave notice that unless five hundred thousand dollars
in greenbacks, or one hundred thousand dollars in gold
were paid in half an hour, the town would be burned ; but
no one responded to his call. He was promptly answered
that Chambersburg could not and would not pay any ran-
som. He had the Court House bell rung to convene the
citizens, hoping to frighten them into the payment of a
large sum of money, but no one attended. Infuriated at
the determination of our people. Major Gilmore rode up
to a group of citizens, consisting of Thomas B. Kennedy,
William McLellan, J. McDowell Sharpe, Dr. J. C. Eichards,
William H. McDowell, W. S. Everett, Edward G. Etter,
and M. A. Foltz, and ordered them under arrest. He said
that they would be held for the payment of the money,
and if not paid he would take them to Eichmond as
hostages, and also burn every house in town. While he
was endeavoring to force them into an effort to raise him
money, his men commenced the work of firing, and they
were discharged when it was found that intimidation
would effect nothing.
Burning of Chambersburg.
" The main part of the town was enveloped in flames in
ten minutes. No time was given to remove women or
children, the sick, or even the dead. No notice of the
kind was communicated to any one ; but the work of des-
truction was at once commenced. They divided into
22 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBUEG.
squads and fired every otlier house, and often every house,
if there was any prospect of plunder. They would beat
in the door with iron bars or heavy plank, smash up fur-
niture with an axe, throw fluid or oil upon it, and ply the
match. They almost invariably entered every room of
each house, rifled the drawers of every bureau, appro-
priated money, jewelry, watches and any other valuables,
and often would present pistols to the heads of inmates,
men and women, and demand money or their lives. In
nearly half the instances they demanded owners to ransom
their property, and in a few cases it was done and the
property burned. Although we have heard of a number
of persons, mostly widows, who paid them sums from
twenty-five to two hundred dollars, we know of but few
cases where the property was saved thereby. Few houses
escaped rifling — nearly all were plundered of everything
that could be carried away. In most cases houses were
entered in the rudest manner, and no time whatever was
allowed for the families to escape, much less to save any-
thing. Many families had the utmost difficulty to get
themselves and children out in time, and not one-half had
so much as a change of clothing Avith them. They would
rush from story to story to rob, and always fire the build-
ing at once in order to keep the family from detecting
their robberies. Feeble and helpless women and children
were treated like brutes — told insolently to get out or
burn ; and even the sick were not spared. Several inva-
lids had to be carried out as the red flames licked their
couches. Thus the work of desolation continued for two
hours ; more than half of the town on fire at once, and
the wild glare of the flames, the shrieks of women and
children, and often louder than all, the terrible blasphemy
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 23
of the rebels, conspired to present such a scene of horror
as has never been witnessed by the present generation.
No one was spared save by accident. The widow and
the fatherless cried and plead in vain that they would be
homeless and helpless. A rude oath would close all hope
of mercy, and they would fly to save their lives. The
old and infirm who tottered before them were thrust aside,
and the torch applied in their presence to hasten their de-
parture. In a few hours, the major portion of Chambers-
burg, its chief wealth and business, its capital and elegance,
were devoured by a barbarous foe ; three millions of pro-
perty sacrified ; three thousand human beings homeless
and many penniless ; and all without so much as a pre-
tence that the citizens of the doomed town, or any of them,
had violated any accepted rule of civilized warfare. Such
is the deliberate, voluntary record made by General Early,
a corps commander in the insurgent army.
Incidents of the Burning.
We find it impossible to make room for all the many
touching incidents which occurred in the burning of the
town. The house of Mr. James Watson, an old and fee-
ble man of over eighty, was entered, and because his wife
earnestly remonstrated against the burning, they fired the
room, hurled her into it and locked the door on the out-
side. Her daughters rescued her by bursting in the door
before her clothing took fire. Mr. Jacob Wolf kill, a very
old citizen, and prostrated by sickness so that he was ut-
terly unable to be out of bed, plead in vain to be spared
a horrible death in the flames of his own house ; but they
fired the building. Through the superhuman efforts of
some friends he was carried away safely. Mrs. Lindsay,
24 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
a very feeble lady of nearly eighty, fainted when tliey fired
her house, and was left to be devoured in the flames : but
fortunately a relative reached the house in time, and lift-
ing her in a buggy, pulled her away while the flames
were kissing each other over their heads on the street.
Mrs. Kuss, wife of the jeweller on Main Street, lay dead ;
and although they were shown the dead body, they plied
the torch and burned the house. Mrs. J. K. Shryock had
Mrs. Kuss's sick babe in her arms, and plead for the sake
of the dead mother and sick child to spare that house, but
it was unavailing. The body of Mrs. Kuss was hurriedly
buried in the garden, and the work of destruction went
on. When the flames drove Mrs. Shryock away with the
child, she went to one of the men and presenting the babe,
said, " Is this revenge sweet .^" A tender chord was touched,
and without speaking he burst into tears. He afterwards
followed Mrs. Shryock, and asked whether he could do
anything for her ; but it was too late. The houses of
Messrs. McLellan, Sharpe and Nixon, being located east
of the Franklin Eailroad, and out of the business part of
the town, were not reached until the rest of the town was
in flames, and the roads were streaming with homeless
women and children. Mr. McLellan's residence was the
first one entered, and he was notified that the house must
be burned. Mrs. McLellan immediately stepped to the
door, and laying one hand on the rebel of&cer. and point-
ing with the other to the frantic fugitive women and chil-
dren passing by, said to him : " Sir, is not your vengeance
glutted f We have a home and can get another ; hut caii you
spare no homes for those poor^ helpless people and their chil-
dren f When you and I and all of us shall meet before the
Great Judge, can you justify this act V^ He made no reply,
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 25
but ordered bis command away, and that part of tlie town
was saved. Mr. Holmes Crawford, an aged and most
worthy citizen, was taken into an alley while his house
was burning, and his pockets rifled. He was thus de-
tained until it was impossible for him to get out by the
street, and he had to take his feeble wife and sit in the
rear of his lot until the buildings around him were burnt
down. Father McCallom, Catholic priest of this place,
was robbed of his watch. Colonel Stumbaugh was arrested
near his home early in the morning, and, with a pistol
presented to his head, ordered to procure some whiskey.
He refused, for the very good reason that he had none and
could get none. He was released, but afterwards re-
arrested by another squad, the officer naming him, and
was insulted in every possible way. He informed the
officer that he had been in the service, and that if General
Battles was present, they would not dare to insult him.
When asked why, he answered, " I captured him at Shiloh,
and treated him like a soldier." A rebel Major present,
who had been under Battles, upon inquiry, w^as satisfied
that Colonel Stumbaugh's statement was correct, ordered
his prompt release, and withdrew the entire rebel force
from that part of Second Street, and no buildings were
burned. Mr. John Treher, of Loudon, was robbed by the
rebels of $200 in gold and silver, and $100 in currency.
Mr. D. R. Knight, an artist, started out to the residence
of Mr. McClure when he saw Norland on fire, and on his
way he was robbed of all his money by a squad of rebels.
He reached the house in time to aid in getting the women
away. Rebel officers had begged of him, before he started,
to get the women out of town as fast as possible, as many
26 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
rebel soldiers were intoxicated and they feared the worst
Colonel McClnre's beautiful residence, one mile from
the centre of the town, was evidently marked out for des-
truction, for no other house between it and the burnt por-
tion of the town was fired. The Colonel was known as a
prominent man in National and State affairs, and, after
the raid of General Jenkins and the succeeding invasion
by General Lee's army, he had spoken of Jenkins and his
men in no complimentary terms in the paper of which
Colonel McClure is chief editor. And although no house
in the community was more coveted by rebel officers to
be quartered in than his, and for the reason, doubtless,
that every comfort and luxury could be had in it, and
although Mrs. McClure had, with her well known generosity
and kindness of heart, ministered to the necessities and
comforts of the sick and wounded insurgents, which were
left during General Lee's invasion, for which she has since
received the most touching acknowledgments from some
of them — yet, his property was doomed, irrevocably
doomed to be burnt. Captain Smith, son of Governor
Smith of Virginia, with a squad of men, passing by all
the intervening houses, entered the devoted mansion with
the information to Mrs. McClure, then and for some time
before an invalid, that the house must be burned by way
of retaliation. Ten minutes were given her in which to
leave the house, and in less than ten minutes the flames
were doing their work of destruction, and Mrs. McClure
and the other members of the family at home, started on
foot, in the heat of one of the hottest days I have ever
known, in order to escape the vengeance of the chivalry.
Whilst the flames were progressing in the house as well
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 27
as the large and well-filled barn, the Captain helped him-
self to Mrs. McClure's gold watch, silver pitcher and other
valuables. The gold watch and other articles were easily
concealed, but the silver pitcher was rather unwieldy,
and could not be secreted from profane eyes as he rode
back through town from the scene of his triumph. He
resolved, therefore, to give a public display of his gene-
rosity. He stopped at the house of the Eev. James Ken-
nedy, and handed the pitcher to his wife, with the request,
"Please deliver this to Mrs. Colonel McClure, with the
compliments of Captain Smith."
Humane Rebel Officers.
Fiendish and relentless as were McCausland and most
of his command, there were notable exceptions, who
bravely maintained the humanities of war in the midst
of the infuriated freebooters who were plying the torch
and securing plunder. Surgeon Abraham Budd was con-
versing with several citizens when the demand for tribute
was made, and he assured all present that the rebel com-
mander would not burn Chambersburg. In the midst of
his assurances, the flames burst forth almost simultane-
ously in every part of the town. When he saw the fire
break out, he wept like a child, and publicly denounced
the atrocities of his commander. He took no part in it
whatever, save to aid some unfortunate ones in escaping
from the flames. Captain Baxter, formerly of Baltimore,
peremptorily refused to participate in the burning, but
aided many people to get some clothing and other articles
out of the houses. He asked a citizen, as a special favor,
to write to his friends in Baltimore and acquit him of the
hellish work. Surgeon Richardson, another Baltimorean,
28 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
gave his horse to a lady to get some articles out of the
burning town, and publicly deplored the sad work of
McCausland. When asked who his commanding officer
was, he answered, " Madam, I am ashamed to say that
General McCausland is my commander ! " Captain Watts
manfully saved all of Second street south of Queen, and
with his command aided to arrest the flames. He said
that he would lose his commission rather than burn out
defenceless people ; and other officers and a number of
privates displayed every possible evidence of their hu-
manity. After the rebels had left, the following note was
received by Eev. S. J. Niccolls, Presbyterian pastor, writ-
ten on an envelope with a pencil :
Eev. Mr. Niccolls :
Please write my father and give him my love. Tell
him, too, as Mrs. Shoemaker will tell you, that I was most
strenuously opposed to the burning of the town.
B. B. Blair,
Chaplain, and son of Thomas P. Blair, Shippensburg, Pa.
That there was a most formidable opposition to burning
the town in McCausland's command was manifested in
various ways. In the morning before daylight, when
McCausland was at Greenawalt's, on the turnpike west of
Chambersburg, a most boisterous council was held there,
at which there were earnest protests made to McCausland
against burning anything but public property. McCaus-
land was greatly incensed at some of his officers, and
threatened them with most summary vengeance if they
refused to obey orders.* Many, however, did openly dis-
* McCausland had also insisted upon burning the town in the night, to which
Johnson persistently objected. Mrs. Greenawalt, a most worthy and intelligent
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 29
obey, and went even so far as to give the utmost publicity
to their disobedience.
The Order to Burn Chambersburg'.
Captain Fitzhugh exhibited to J. W. Douglas, Esq., an
attorney of this place, a written order, with the name of
Jubal A. Early to it, directing that Chambersburg should
be burned, in retaliation for the burning of six houses in
Virginia by Hunter. The burning of Chambersburg was
therefore by an order from one of the corps commanders
of General Lee's army, instead of the work of a guerrilla
chief, thus placing the responsibility squarely upon the
shoulders of General- Lee. We have in support of this
the statement of Rev. Mr. Edwards, Episcopal clergyman
of Hagerstown, who was taken as a hostage after Cham-
bersburg had been destroyed. He was brought to General
Early's headquarters at Williamsport, and there paroled
to effect his exchange. General Early there informed
him that he had directed Chambersburg to be burned, in
retaliation for the destruction of property in Virginia by
Grant, Meade, and Hunter, and that the account was now
Several of the thieves who participated in burning
Chambersburg were sent suddenly to their last account.
An officer, whose papers identify him as Major Bowen,
8th Virginia cavalry, was conspicuous for his brutality
and robberies. He got too far south of the firing parties
woman, overheard this consultation of the officers in an adjoining room. The
increased horrors which must have resulted if McCausland had not been over-
ruled in his determination, may be imagined. B. S. S.
30 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
to be covered by them, and in his desire to glut bis thiev-
ish propensities, he was isolated. He was captured by
several citizens, in the midst of his brutal Avork, and was
dispatched promptly. When he was fired at and slightly
wounded, he took refuge in the burning cellar of one of
the houses, and there, with the intense heat blistering
him, he begged them to spare his life ; but it was in vain.
Half the town was still burning, and it was taxing hu-
manity rather too much to save a man who had added the
boldest robbery to atrocious arson. He was shot dead,
and now sleeps near the Falling Spring, nearly opposite
Mr. Thomas H. Doyle, of Loudon, who had served in
Easton's battery, followed the retreating rebels towards
Loudon, to capture stragglers. When beyond St. Thomas
he caught Captain Cochran, quartermaster of 11th Vir-
ginia cavalry, and as he recognized him as one who had
participated in the destruction of Chambersburg, he gave
him just fifteen minutes to live. Cochran was armed with
sword and pistols, but he was taken so suddenly by Mr.
Doyle that he had no chance to use them. He begged
piteously for his life, but Mr. Doyle was inexorable ; the
foe who burns and robs must die, and he so informed him
peremptorily. At the very second he shot the thief dead,
and found on his person $815 of greenbacks, all stolen
from our citizens, and $1750 of rebel currency. His
sword, belt, and pistols were brought to this place by Mr.
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 31
My dear Friend.
Allow me in this letter to send you part of an article
which appeared in the German Eeformed Messenger of
September 7, in vindication of the border. It is from the
pen of the Eev. T. Gr. Apple, of Greencastle, in this
county. Mr. Apple is a corresponding editor of that
paper, and one of the most cool, honest, and sagacious
writers within the range of my acquaintance. The article
referred to is as follows :
A Vindication of the Border.
"We have lived in the most exposed portion of the
Pennsylvania border ever since the commencement of the
war, and therefore feel that we have some right to speak
in its vindication. It is very easy and somewhat natural
for persons living away from the scene of danger to say
what they would do under certain circumstances, if their
homes were invaded. But for those who are willing to
give the subject a little calm thought, the following con-
siderations ought to be sufficient to show the error into
which many seem to have fallen :
" 1. The border counties are required, whenever a call is
made, to make up their quotas for the national army.
Their men are sent away to fight for the maintenance of
the Government. Can it be expected, then, that these
counties, after filling their quotas and paying their taxes,
will be able still to turn out and maintain in the field an
additional force, sufficient to protect them from invasion ?
32 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
Is not the Government pledged, after it has taken their
men and their money, to afford them protection, so far as
it has ability ? And have not these border counties a
right to expect such protection ? Is not the State under
obligation to use all its power to afford protection to the
remotest portion of its territory, so long as it demands
the support of all its citizens ?
" 2. It has generally been conceded in the North, during
this war, that what is called hushwhaching is contrary to
the rules of war. A private citizen has no right to enjoy
that protection and immunity which is accorded him by
the armies, and then take his gun and shoot down a sol-
dier. This, we think, is conceded, and it has been urged
all along that private citizens who do so deserve summary
execution. Suppose now that private citizens should em-
ploy violence against rebel soldiers, is it not plain that
they would expose themselves to the vengeance of the
rebel army, and that the end of it would be a war of sav-
age butchery on both sides, a war of destruction and des-
olation ? Would it not invite to pillage and arson and
" 3. But even if this had been attempted in the cases of
invasion that have occurred, it would have been of no
avail. Take the recent case of the capture and burning
of Chambersburg. General Averill was not far from the
place, with twenty-five hundred cavalry, when a detach-
ment of Early's corps, under McCausland, entered and
burned it. If, then. General Averill felt himself too weak
to interfere to prevent the rebels from entering the town,
what could the unarmed citizens of such a place, without
any one to lead them, have been able to do ? It has been
said by papers that ought to know better, that two or
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 33
three hundred rebels captured and burned the town. Is
it not to be supposed that General Couch would know
what could be done, and Avhen he despaired of being able
to hold the town and left it, would it not have been sheer
madness for the citizens to have provoked the rebel sol-
diery to shoot them down in the streets, without being
able to effect anything ?
" Besides it must be remembered that the citizens of
Chambersburg did not know, and had no right to expect,
that the rebel force intended burning their town before
they entered it. As unarmed private citizens they sub-
mitted to what could not be averted, and expected to be
treated according to the rules of war, under which pri-
vate citizens are protected from personal injury by sol-
"That farmers should send away their horses, and mer-
chants their goods, at the approach of the enemy, is not
only natural, but eminently wise and proper. Allowing
them to remain at home, without the ability to defend
them from capture, would be giving aid and comfort to
"As against New York, the city whose leading papers
have been vilely slandering the border counties of Penn-
sylvania, the case would seem to need no explanation or
vindication. It is still remembered how that city found
it necessary to have regiments from our armies to come
to their rescue in putting down a riot caused by opposi-
tion to the draft. It is known, too, how anxiously they
clamor for the Government to provide ample defences for
their harbor against some rebel iron-clad that might slip
in unawares and destroy their city. If New York needs
monster guns to protect it from the enemy, is it wrong
34 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBUKG.
for Pennsylvania to expect arms and men to be furnislied
by the Government, to protect her borders from inva-
" As to the kind of philanthropy that would thus vilify
and slander a town lying in ashes, and its inhabitants
houseless and homeless, what terms can characterize it?
It is not only unchristian but inhuman. These things are
past, but they are not forgotten.
" Chambersburg had a right to claim help in its calamity,
not as a charity, but as a right. But in these times rights
are not always accorded. Some sections have to suffer
more than others, who do fully as much in men and
money to support the government. This is to be expected.
Let us try at least to be just in our judgment."
The following is from the graphic pen of the Eev. B.
Bausman, late pastor of the German Eeformed congrega-
tion here, now of the city of Beading, likewise a corre-
sponding editor of the paper referred to, and author of
" Sinai and Zion," an interesting volume of Travels in the
Holy Land. Mr. B. hastened to the scene of ruin as soon
as the telegraph informed him of the fearful calamity.
After a suitable introduction, he furnishes the following
incidents and reflections:
" Persons were fired upon, who attempted to extinguish
the flames. A rebel soldier threatened a young man to
' blow his brains out ' if he would not let the fire burn.
With a revolver in hand, his sister rushed out of an ad-
joining room, her eyes flashing with a more terrible fire
than that of rebel kindling : ' Begone, thou brutal wretch !'
said the heroine, as she aimed with precision at the rebel's
head, who scampered away in a terrible fright.
" Three sides around a lady's home (Mrs. Denig's) are
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 35
on fire. The fourth is enclosed with an iron fence. An
attempt to cross the fence burns her palm into crisp.
She sits down in the middle of her narrow lot. Around
her she folds a few rugs, dipped in water, to shelter her
person against the heat. An old negro crouches down by
her side, and helps to moisten the rugs. Her face, though
covered, is blistered by the intense heat. Now and then
God sends a breath of wind to waft the hot air away, and
allows her to take breath. Virtually, it was a martyrdom
at the stake, those two hours amid the flames. Only after
she was rescued did the sight of her ruined home open
the fountain of tears. ' Don't cry, missus,' said Peter, the
old negro; 'de Lord saved our lives from de fire.' In a
few hours two thousand people are scattered through the
suburbs of the town, in the fields, on the cemetery, amid
the abode of the dead. A squad of rebels seized a flag,
which a lady happened to have in her house. With some
difficulty, she wrested it from their grasp, folded it around
her person, and walked away from her burning house,
past the furious soldiery, determined that the flag should
become her shroud ere it should fall into the hands of the
"Never was there so little saved at an extensive fire.
Sixty-nine pianos were consumed. The most sacred family
relics, keepsakes and portraits of deceased friends, ofd
family Bibles, handed down from past generations, and
the many objects imparting a priceless value to a Chris-
tian home, and which can never be replaced, were all des-
" In the dim moonlight we meditated among the ruins.
Chimney-stacks and fragments of walls formed the dreary
outline of ruined houses. Not a light was left but tli-
36 THE BURNING OF CH AMBEESBURG.
fitful glowing of embers, amid the rubbish that fills the
cellars. The silence of the grave reigns where oft we
have heard the voice of mirth and music, of prayer and
praise. Now and then some one treads heavily along in
the middle of the street ; for the pavements are blocked
up with fallen walls,
" Here we must pause a moment. More than fifty years
ago, a happy young man brought his bride into yonder
house, now in ruins. One room sufiiced, on the second
floor. A happier pair could not be found in the halls of
afiluence. The first day they said : ' We will build an
altar here.' Around it they daily knelt. In 1812, the
husband tore himself away from his weeping bride, to
drive the British foe from our soil. From that day to
this, his heart was aglow with the fire of Christian pa-
triotism. Children were born to them, and children's
children. By industry, thrift and piety, they acquired a
competent fortune, meanwhile giving much to Christ and
His kingdom. Their children, too, they gave to Him.
The first room continued a sacred 'upper room.' There
were portraits, books and family keepsakes of fifty years'
gathering. Mementos of sorrow and joy were treasured
up therein. Some years ago, the once happy bride, then
an aged matron, died. Her death was like the falling of
a great shadow on a sun-lit home. By this time the sil-
very locks of age adorned the brow of the bridegroom.
Sorrow had made his home doubly sacred ; trials riveted
his heart to it. Still he prayed and read his old family
Bible in the room where first he built the altar. With
what a cheerful, buoyant spirit he bore the burdens of
age ! Under this room was a store, with a considerable
quantity of powder. The fire is already hissing around
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 37
the kegs. Still he lingers in his dear chamber, as if pre-
ferring death there to safety elsewhere. The violence of
friendship forces him away just before the fatal explosion.
Every domestic memorial, which piety and affection have
gathered for more than half a century, are in the ashes.
Two cases these, out of three hundred. Thousands of do-
mestic and social ties bind the members of communities
and of families together. To tear up and sunder all in a
few hours, and cut hundreds of hearts loose from the moor-
ings of past generations — who can fathom such a sorrow!
'' The Eev. P. S. Davis, who lately entered upon the pas-
torate of the First Reformed Church, sustained a serious
loss. A great portion of the clothing of his family and
his manuscripts, the literary fruits of an earnest, laborious
ministry, were consumed. Dr. Schneck vainly contended
with the flames. His cozy, substantial house, with all
that it contained — the costly relics borne home from tAvo
European tours, his valuable library, all his manuscripts,
precious domestic keepsakes and furniture — all are a heap
of undistinguishable ruins. To begin the world anew at
his time of life, presents a cheerless prospect. Dr. Fisher's
is one of the four fortunate homes that were saved in the
My dear Friend:
In your last letter, you ask me what are the feelings of
our people, especially the immediate sufferers, under the
severe stroke which has befallen them ; whether despond-
38 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
ing or otlierwise, and whether the spirit of " retaliation
for the bitterly severe losses and deprivations does not
largely manifest itself among them."
In regard to the first, I am enabled to say, that during
the whole course of my life, I have not witnessed such an
absence of despondent feeling under great trials and sud-
den reverses of earthly fortune, never such buoyancy and
vigor of soul, and even cheerfulness amid accumulated
woes and sorrows, as I have during these four weeks of
our devastated town. And I leave you to imagine the
many cases of extreme revulsion from independence and
affluence to utter helplessness and want. The widow and
fatherless, the aged and infirm, suddenly bereft of their
earthly all, in very many instances, even of a change of
clothing. Large and valuable libraries and manuscripts,
the accumulations of many years ; statuary, paintings,
precious and never-to-be-replaced mementoes — more valu-
able than gold and silver — gone forever. And yet amid
all these losses and the consequent self-denial and the ne-
cessity of adapting themselves to another and almost en-
tirely different state of things, to which the great majority
of the people were subjected, you seldom see a sad or
sombre countenance on the street or elsewhere. Excep-
tions there are doubtless, traceable in part to feeble physi-
cal constitution, in part also to an inordinate love of and
dependence upon transitory objects. But in a general
way the sufferers by this wholesale devastation are among
the most patient, unmurmuring, cheerful, hopeful people
I have ever known. God really seems to have given
special grace in a special time of need. When, on the
morning after the burning and pillage (God's sweet day
of rest) I attempted to preach to an huml^le flock of Ger-
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 89
mans, wliom I serve once a Sabbatli, a godly woman be-
longing to tlie little congregation wept nearly during tlie
whole service. On the way to my lodging-place, I over-
took her and found her still in tears. Fearing I had been
misinformed as to her safety from the recent calamity, I
asked for the cause of her grief. "I weep for others,
my dear pastor," she replied, " and not altogether and en-
tirely for others either, for I fear me that if my little all
had been burnt before my eyes, I should not have had
grace to bear up as you and the rest are enabled to do."
And then with an outburst of irrepressible emotion, she
added : " And you can yet exhort us to forgive these our
enemies, and not murmur and repine under all this, as
not only you yourself but others have said, we should do.
It's this that makes me weep."
I freely confess that I have never experienced in my
own case, nor in the case of others, even under compara-
tively light and trifling losses and deprivations, such
resignation, such quiet, gentle submission, and such calm
endurance, amid the loss of all things, as in this instance.
To such an extent have been these manifestations, that
persons from neighboring toAvns, and strangers from a
distance who in great numbers have visited the place,
almost universally remark upon it. A highly intelligent
and pious woman in a remote part of the county, a few
days after the burning, called at the house in which a
number of the homeless ones were kindly cared for. The
large dining-table was surrounded by those who, a few
days before, were in possession of all the comforts and
many of the luxuries of life. Pleasant and cheerful con-
versation passed around the board. The visitor alone
seemed sad and out of tune. Tears stood in her eyes as she
40 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
looked around upon us. " I am amazed beyond measure
at you all," slie said. ''I expected to see nouglit but tears,
hear only lamentations and sighs, and here you are as I
have seen and known you in your bright and happy days,
calm, serene, and even cheerful !" When one of our num-
ber replied, that no tear over the losses sustained had yet
been shed by herself, but many tears at the numerous
tokens of Christian sympathy and generous aid from far
and near to relieve the immediate necessities of the suf-
ferers, she added, " God be thanked for your words ; they
flow like precious ointment, deep down into my heart.
Oh, what a commentary on the promised grace of God !"
And we all felt, I am sure, that among the many gifts of
our heavenly Father, not the least was
"A cheerful heart,
That tastes those gifts with joy."
And in regard to the feeling of revenge, so natural to
the human heart, I have been gratifyingly disappointed.
Among the heaviest sufferers, by far the largest propor-
tion have not only expressed themselves decidedly opposed
to the spirit of retaliation, but have used their best efforts
to dissuade our soldiers from carrying their threats into
execution when an opportunity should offer. They have
gone farther, and have drawn up a petition in which they
earnestly implore the Government in Washington to pre-
vent to the utmost anything of the kind on the part of
our arm}^ They believe it to be morally wrong, no mat-
ter what may be the provocation from the other side, and
have always condemned the destruction of private prop-
erty by our troops in the South, whenever isolated
instances of the kind were reported. They believe, more-
THE BUENING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 41
over, witli our wise and judicious Governor, that retalia-
tion "can do no good to our own people, but a great deal
of harm, because we have more towns, villages, flouring
and other mills to be destroyed in three counties than our
enemies in the Southern States have in fifteen or twenty
Such a wholesale, premeditated, and cruel work of de-
struction as the burning of Chambersburg, was never
perpetrated by Union troops, and when Eichmond papers
have said so, they have said what the facts in the case did
not warrant. It must be admitted, however, that in too
many instances. Union troops did destroy private property
■unnecessarily and wantonly. We hope in God it will
never be done again. We trust our commanding officers
in the army will not allow passion to set aside moral prin-
ciple, military rule, and military honor. Within sight of
our charred and desolated homes, we implore and beseech
them not to bring reproach upon our Government, trample
upon all law and order, inaugurate cruel barbarity instead
of civilized w^arfare, and be guilty of such accumulated
horrors as have been enacted here. And yet all this, and
much more, will follow with unerring certainty, if the
immoral, dishonorable, and unmilitary spirit of retaliation
is carried into eftect. God in mercy forbid it !
In this connection, and for the purpose of showing that
I am not alone in the views expressed as regards the
destruction of private property by Union troops on the
one hand, and the exaggerated or untrue statements of
the Southern press on the other, I will quote the follow-
ing paragraphs from the pen of Colonel McClure, in his
paper already referred to. I suppose his statements come
as near the truth as can well be ascertained. He says :
42 THE BUENING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
" Jacksonville (Florida) was fired at a single point when
our troops were retreating from it, because citizens fired
on onr men from the houses, and unfortunately most of
the town — composed of wooden structures — was destroyed.
The firing was in accordance with a well-recognized rule,
that civilians who shelter themselves in their houses to
fire upon troops, shall not only lose their property but
suffer death. In Alexandria an accidental fire, resulting
from a party of intoxicated soldiers, threatened the de-
struction of the entire town, owing to its inflammable
buildings and unfavorable winds; but it was arrested
before one-third of the village — the poorest portion of
it — was burned. At the head of the force detailed to put
out the fire was Major- General Banks in person, and by
his orders and efforts the town was saved. Jackson (Mis-
sissippi) was partially destroyed by our guns when it was
defended by the rebels, but it Avas not fired and burned
by our troops after possession was gained. Wrongs, even
atrocities, may have been committed by individual sol-
diers or isolated commands; but no such thing as delib-
erate and wanton burning and robbing of houses was
practised by the Union army. Colonel Montgomery com-
mitted gross outrages on private citizens in two raids in
South Carolina, which we have never seen reason to jus-
tify ; but he was deprived of his command, or at least
subordinated, and it may be dismissed, as he should have
been. Kilpatrick burned mills unwarrantably, as we have
ever believed, and other Union commanders may have
done the same ; but it was some excuse that they were
filled with rebel supplies. While McCausland was on his
way to Chamber sburg to lay it waste. General Kousseau
was penetrating the richest part of Georgia, and not a sin-
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 43
gle private house or building of any kind was destroyed,
nor were Ms soldiers permitted to enter a residence on
the route. When private property was near to Govern-
ment stores, which he had to fire, he detailed men to save
all but the buildings belonging to or used by the rebel
government. General Stoneman enforced the same rules
rigidly in all his raids, and so did Grierson. The Union
troops have captured and occupied hundreds of rebel
towns since the war has commenced, and they have yet
for the first time to demand the freebooter's tribute, or
destroy a town by order of a commanding officer. Ee-
peatedly have our troops been fired upon and murdered
by skulking rebels who protected themselves in their
dwellings; but in no case has a town been destroyed
My dear Friend :
After my last letter was beyond my control, I became
acquainted with some additional incidents which may
A lady, well known to me, the mother of a large fam-
ily of children, was ordered to leave the house in five
minutes, as the house must be burned. She collected
them all around her to obey the cruel summons. Prepa-
rations were at once made to fire the building in the rooms
above and below, and as the family group walked out of
the large and beautiful mansion, the children burst into
44 THE BURNING OF CHAMBEESBURG.
loud weeping. "I am ashamed of you," said the tenderly
loving, yet heroic woman, " to let these men see you cry,"
and every child straightened up, brushed away the falling
tears, and bravely marched out of the doomed home.
An elderly woman, of true Spartan grit, gave one of
the house-burners such a sound drubbing with a heavy
broom, that the invader retreated, to leave the wftrk of
destruction to be performed by another party, after the
woman had left to escape the approaching flames of the
The wife of a clergyman succeeded in preventing one of
the enemy from firing her house, by reminding him that
she had fed him during Stuart's raid in 1862, and that she
also ministered to him when he was in the hospital in this
place in the summer of 1863. The man recognized her,
and frankly declared that he could not be so base as to
destroy her house, now that he remembered her kind
offices. He had been wounded and made a prisoner at
the battle of Gettysburg, was brought to the hospital here,
and afterwards exchanged.
Mr. Jacob Hoke, one of our most worthy and enter-
prising merchants, has furnished the following statement
'of facts and incidents for publication in the Eeligious
Telescope, of Dayton, Ohio. As his residence and store
were located in the centre of the town, he had an oppor-
tunity of witnessing the scenes of the day to greater ad-
vantage than most others. I may as well inclose the
principal part of his article, as it explains more fully
several general statements before given, whilst, at the
same time, it brings out some points not alluded to be-
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 45
Mr. Editor : Not having seen in any published report,
a satisfactory account of the late rebel raid on Chambers-
burg, and being a resident here, and an eye-witness, I will
hastily sketch what came under my own observation, and
what I have from reliable persons. In Thursday's Phila-
delphia Inquirer, the correspondent at Frederick stated
" that our troops were in such numbers, and so situated,
that for the first time in the history of the war, glorious
news might be expected from the Shenandoah Valley."
Yery high military authority, but a few days prior to the
raid, assured us "that every ford of the Potomac was
strictly watched ; that it was impossible for the enemy to
cross ; that if they only would cross it would be the best
thing that could happen, as they could never get back
again." In this way our community was lulled into com-
parative security, until on Friday noon, July 29th, it was
announced that the rebels had crossed in considerable
force at Williamsport, and also at Cherry Eun. No one
could depict the scene of excitement which then occurred.
Merchants and others commenced packing, shipping, and
otherwise disposing of their valuables.
At eight o'clock in the evening General Hunter's large
wagon train commenced passing through our town toward
Harrisburg, and continued passing during the greater part
of the night. At least fifteen hundred cavalry and two
hundred infantry passed through with that train as guards
and as stragglers. That these men were not stopped here by
General Couch, who did not leave town until three o'clock
in the morning, is explained by the assertion that they
were under orders from General Hunter to guard his train.
That train was entirely safe after it had passed through
Chambersburg, and that body of men, judiciously posted,
46 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
could, with the artillery in town, and the citizens, have
held the enemy in check until Averill could arrive, who
was then ten miles distant, and threatened in his front by
a force of rebels who, it is now evident, were only making
a demonstration to hold him until the other and heavier
column under McCausland and Gilmore, could eft'ect their
object in Chamber sburg.
I sat at my window on the corner of the Diamond and
saw them enter. Skirmishers, dismounted, led the ad-
vance, followed by cavalry. They came in simultaneously
in all the streets and alleys, and called to each other as a
signal, when they reached the centre of the Diamond. In
five minutes after, a force of about five hundred cavalry
filed around the Public Square, and immediately com-
menced the work of plunder. The first building broken
open was Mr, Paxton's shoe and hat store ; then the liquor
stores adjoining my residence. I met them at my store
door and unlocked it, when about twenty entered and
commenced a thorough search. Finding it empty, they
inquired where I had my goods, to which I replied, I had
shipped them to Philadelphia. Keturning from the room,
I locked the door, and sat down by it, and entered into
conversation with a gentlemanly-looking man, who in-
formed me he was the Chaplain to McCausland's com-
mand. He gave his name as Johnson, born in Fayette
County, Pennsylvania, and said he was a Methodist
preacher. During our conversation an officer dismounted
at my door, tied his horse, and listened to our conversa-
tion, where he remained until the circumstance occurred
to which I shall presently refer. The Chaplain said to
me, "Do you reside in this house?" I replied affirma-
tively. He then said they were rolling several barrels of
THE BURNING OF CUAMBERSBURG. 47
combustible matter into the Court House, near my resi-
dence ; that they were going to burn it, and I had better
try to save something from our house. Leaving these
two men at the door, I ran up stairs and carried a load of
precious articles from the parlor table, consisting of a
valuable family Bible, books, photograph album, &c., to a
neighbor's house, where I presumed they would be safe.
They were all burned there, however. Next, I carried
some bed-clothing to a different part of the town, and they
were saved. Eeturning to the house, I encountered a
rebel officer in one of the rooms. Said he : " Do you be-
long to this house?" On my replying in the affirmative,
he said : " My friend, for God's sake, tell me what you
value most, and I will take it to a place of safety. They
are going to burn every house in the town." I told him
if that was the case, it was no use to remove anything, as
they might as well burn here as elsewhere.
By this time my wife and two other occupants of the
house came down stairs each with a carpet-bag packed
Avith clothing. The officer followed us to the door and en-
treated one of the women to mount his horse and ride him
off, as he declared he did not want him any more in the
rebel service. Another man unbuckled his sword and
put it in our house, in disgust at the scene before him. It
was afterwards found among the ruins. At the door I
found the officer previously referred to, weeping bitterly.
The flames were bursting from buildings all around us.
''See," said he, "this is awful work. O God! O, my God,
has it come to this, that we have to be made a band of
thieves and robbers by a man like McCausland !" I have
seen many men weep, but never did I see a strong, robust
man hide from his sight, with his handkerchief, the ap-
48 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
palling scene, and cry at the top of his voice, " O God !
mighty God ! — See, see !"
Imagine the feelings of my famil}^, when an hour before
this, without intending to select any particular passage of
God's Word, I read the 138th Psalm, in which the follow-
ing words occur : " Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
Thou wilt revive me : Thou shalt stretch forth Thy hand
against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand
shall save me." We knelt in prayer and surrounded the
breakfast-table under the conviction that it was for the
last time in that dear home. Then came the hasty snatch-
ing of precious relics of dear departed ones, passing hur-
riedly from room to room, leaving clothing, beds, furni-
ture, library, pictures — all to the devouring flames. In
our parlor hung the photographs of several of our bishops,
with many others. These were either carried away by the
rebels or burned. At the door we encountered the inci-
dent previously narrated. Leaving the weeping officer,
we pressed through flame and smoke, amidst burning
buildings, to the suburbs of the town, where we sat down
and watched four hundred buildings in flames, two hun-
dred and seventy-four of which were dwelling-houses, the
afirighted occupants running wildly through the streets,
carrying clothing and other articles, while screams of
anguish from lost children in pursuit of parents, the fee-
ble efforts of the old and infirm to carry with them some
endeared article from their blazing homes, the roaring
and crackling flames, falling walls and blinding smoke,
all united to form a picture of horror, which no pen could
describe, no painter portray. For three hours the fire
raged. At about 11 o'clock, the rebels left town, as Ave-
rill's scouts captured five rebels within one mile of the
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 49
town. In three hours after their exit, Averill filed through
In our flight through the streets, the rebel officer alluded
to followed us half a square, entreating one of the women
to mount and ride off his horse, declaring that he was
done with the rebel service. No sooner did he turn away,
than another rode up and demanded our carpet-bags; we
ran on, and he turned back without them. Brother Win-
ton, while fleeing with his wife and little children, was
stopped bv a cavalryman and compelled to deliver his
shoes and hat. Hundreds of robberies occurred of hats,
shoes, watches, money, &c. An old and very estimable
lady, who had not walked for three years, was told to run,
as her house was on fire. She replied that she had not
walked for three years. With horrid curses, the wretch
poured powder under her chair, declaring that he would
teach her to walk ; and while in the act of applying fire
to his train, some neighbors ran in and carried her away.
The burning mass appeared to converge toward the
Diamond, forming fearful whirlwinds, which at times
moved eastwardly along the line of Market street. At
one time an immense whirlwind passed over where a large
lot of bedding and wearing apparel had been collected.
Large feather beds were lifted from the ground. Shirts
and lighter articles were conveyed with fearful velocity
high in the air, alighting at a great distance from where
they lay. It was grand and fearful, adding to the horror
of the scene. In many cases soldiers set fire to houses,
and to the tears and entreaties of women and children
they said their ''orders were to burn. We will fire; you
60 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
can do as you please after we go away." An officer rode
up to our parsonage, and thus addressed Mrs. Dickson :
" Madam, save what you can ; in fifteen minutes we will
return and fire your house." They did not return. Our
church and parsonage were saved. The printing estab-
lishment of the German, Reformed Church was completely
destroyed, with all the valuable presses, books, the bind-
ery, (fee. Dr. Fisher estimates the loss to the Church at
over forty thousand dollars. Those of our readers who
know the town will understand the extent of this destruc-
tion from the following :
Beginning at the Presbyterian lecture-room on the
north, the fire swept every building on the west side of
Main street, except four, up to Washington street, four
squares; from King street on the north, every building
on the east side of Main street up to Washington, three
squares ; from the Franklin Railroad to nearly the top of
New England Hill, five squares, on both sides of the
street ; also eight or ten dwellings over the top of Kew
England Hill ; from the Market-house down Queen street,
both sides, to the edge-tool factory, and several buildings
on the street running parallel with the creek, up to Mar-
ket street, with many buildings on Second street from
Market, up near the Methodist Church. The Methodist,
German Reformed, and Lutheran churches saved the parts
of the town in which they were situated from being in-
volved in the general conflagration. The Associate
Reformed and Bethel churches, the latter belonging to
" The Church of God," were burned. The Associate Re-
formed was used as headquarters for drafted men ; hence
its destruction. The '' Bethel " — so marked on a stone in
the front — was supposed by the fiends to be a negro
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 51
cliurcli. In most cases fire was kindled in beds or bu-
reaus by matches, and in balls of cotton saturated in alco-
hol or kerosene.
I saw men and officers drinking liquor as it was carried
from the hotels, the doors of which thej broke open.
Many were drunk. Women were insulted ; cruel taunts
and threats were repeatedly made.
I have thus hastily sketched the foregoing facts, for
such they are. The reader will remember they are written
by one who lost heavily by the fire ; is now surrounded
by the extended ruins ; is aware of the sufferings and
heart-breakings of over two thousand men, women, and
children, many of whom have been reduced from affluence
to poverty, are now dependent for the bread they eat, the
clothes they wear, and the houses that shelter them, upon
others more favored.
Chambersburg, August 10, 1864.
I also append to the foregoing the following graphic
letter in the Pittsburgh Evening Chronicle, afterwards
copied in the Chambersburg Franklin Eepository. It is
from the pen of the Rev. S. J. Niccolls, the esteemed pas-
tor of the Presbyterian congregation in this place •
' So much misapprehension exists in many quarters
concerning the facts connected with the burning of Cham-
bersburg, that it has become a matter of justice to a
wronged and suffering community to state them fully to
the public. Many things have been written concerning
this calamity, true in themselves, but disconnected from
52 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
their attending circumstances, and so the most injurious
impressions have been made on the minds of those who
live remote from the border. A connected and truthful
narrative of this sad event, it is hoped, will correct these.
" The history of the past month commences with the
advance of Early up the Shenandoah, and the invasion
of Maryland. The enemy, about fifteen hundred strong,
soon occupied Hagerstown, and it was believed that they
intended a raid on Chambersburg. At this time there
were three hundred soldiers in the place, under command
of General Couch, the whole number available in his
department. The citizens rallied around these, and determ-
ined to defend the town. Barricades were thrown across
the streets, cannon planted, houses occupied by sharp-
shooters, and every preparation made for defence. Soon,
however, the enemy fell back across the Potomac, and the
invasion was declared to be ended. The small body of
troops under General Couch were withdrawn to protect
the national Capital, and we were left defenceless. "We
were assured, hoAvever, that the fords of the Potomac
were well guarded, and a large army lay between us and
the rebels. The very papers in New York which now
condemn "us for our apathy were daily assuring us that it
was "all quiet on the Potomac," and that the enemy had
fallen back. We were soon startled from our dream of
security by the announcement that General Crooks had
been defeated, and the rebels were again advancing to
" We did not then take arms, because it was plain to
every one that if the forces of Crooks and Averill could
not resist their advance, it would be folly in a few citizens
to attempt it. W^e had seen an invasion once before, and
THE BUKNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 53
knew what it meant. Anticipating a repetition of the
scenes of last year, the people of the county began to
remove their stock and valuables. In the midst of con-
flicting rumors nothing could be learned of the move-
ments of the enemy until Friday, July 29th. In the after-
noon of that day it was known that they had crossed the
Potomac, and were advancing rapidly on Chambersburg.
We also learned from Mercersburg that the invading force
was three thousand strong, or as it afterwards appeared,
by actual count, thirty- one hundred, with six pieces of
artillery. To meet this force there were in the town one
hundred soldiers, with two pieces of artillery, and the
citizens capable of bearing arms. The number of the
latter would not reach three hundred, a large portion of
the population being already in the army, and quite a
number absent, attending to the removal of their horses
and valuables. The citizens who remained were willing
to defend the place, had it been deemed practicable by
General Couch ; but with this small and inadequate force
at his disposal, it seemed like courting destruction for the
town to attempt its defence. A show of resistance, which
none could hope would be successful, would only give
them a pretext for burning. No word could be obtained
from General Averill, who was then near Greencastle,
though the most earnest efforts were made by General
Couch to obtain his assistance.
"At four o'clock A. M. on Saturday the military author-
ities left, and soon after the combined forces of McCaus-
land and Bradley Johnson were placed in line of battle
upon the range of hills commanding the town. The
Eighth Virginia regiment, numbering about five hundred
54 THE BUKNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
men, was thrown forward into the streets. These were
detailed to burn the place.
" The scene that speedily followed is indescribable in
its horrors. The soldiers went from house to house,
bursting open the doors with planks and axes, and enter-
ing, split up the furniture to kindle the fire, or else scat-
tered combustible materials in the closets and along the
stairways, and then applied the torch. In a little over
half an hour the whole town was fired, so complete were
their arrangements to accomplish their hellish designs.
No time was given the inhabitants to save anything.
The first warning of danger most of them had was the
kindling of the fire in their houses, and even the few
artijcles that some caught up in their flight were seized by
the soldiers and flung back into the flames. Many such
instances have come to the writer's knowledge, that in
their dark malignity almost surpass belief. The aged, the
sick, the dying, and the dead were carried out from their
burning homes ; mothers with babes in their arms, and
surrounded by their frightened little ones, fled through
the streets, jeered and taunted by the brutal soldiery.
Indeed their escape seemed almost a miracle, as the streets
were in a blaze from one end to the other, and they were
compelled to flee through a long road of fire. Had not
the day been perfectly calm, many must have perished in
" The conflagration in its height was a scene of surpass-
ing grandeur and terror. A tall black column of smoke
rose up to the very skies; around it were wrapped long
streamers of flames, writhing and twisting themselves
into a thousand fantastic shapes, while through it, as
though they were prayers carried heavenward by the in-
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 55
cense of some great altar sacrifice, there went up on tlie
smoky, flame-riven clouds tlie cries and shrieks of. the
women and children. But the moment of greatest alarm
was not reached until some of the more humane of the
rebel officers warned the women to flee, if they wished to
escape violence to their persons. We cannot, in this
letter, describe the scenes of the sad flight which fol-
"The ferocitv of the rebel soldiers durinsr this affair
seems almost incredible. With all their fierce passions
unrestrained, they seemed to revel in the work of destruc-
tion. An aged elder of the Presbyterian church was taken
from his house and robbed ; the building was fired while
his wife, aged and infirm, was still in it. Upon his return,
it was with the utmost difficulty she was saved. Escape
by the street was impossible, and they were compelled to
flee to a little garden in the rear of the house, where they
sat for hours, surrounded by fire. The rebel Gilmore for-
bade a lady to remove her trunks from her house, and
upon her telling him to his face what she thought of his
conduct, he drew his pistol and declared "he would blow
out her brains if she did not take that back." Many such
instances, and worse, might be recorded. There were, in-
deed, some among them who acted humanely, refusing to
do the work assigned them, but they were exceptions.
" As soon as the town was thoroughly fired at all points,
the rebels fell back. On their way out they burned the
residence of the County Superintendent of Public Schools,
because, as they told his family, ' he had taught negroes.*
Two hours after their departure. General Averill entered
the town, and we were once more inside the Union lines.
"Such is the story of the burning of Chambersburg.
56 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
These outlines, however, form a poor picture of the reality.
The blackened ruins of this once beautiful town must first
be seen before the calamity can be understood, and not
then, for it is only by looking at it in detail, by under-
standing the peculiar sadness there is in each separate loss,
and seeing the strange diversity of sorrow there is in this
common woe, that one can realize the full extent of the
ruin. Eleven squares of blackened ruins and over three
millions of dollars in property consumed is the outward
estimate of the loss. But who can write the history of
two thousand people suddenly made homeless, dashed
from afftuence to poverty, torn violently from the sacred
associations of the past, and driven forth houseless wan-
derers among strangers ?
" The question is often asked, ' Who is responsible for
this calamity ?' Many coldly and unhesitatingly lay it
upon the citizens themselves ; but surely it is not neces-
sary to argue that a few hundred citizens could not have
resisted successfully three thousand veteran soldiers with
six pieces of artillery. Many, too, have blamed General
Couch, and false representations have gone forth that the
citizens were greatly incensed against him. The writer
of this letter has had peculiar opportunities of knowing
the true state of the case, and would ask attention to the
following facts. When General Couch took command of
this department one year ago, he urged upon the citizens
the necessity of forming organizations for home defence.
His appeal was readily responded to, and all the citizens
in the borough capable of bearing arms enrolled them;
selves in some organization. General Couch then made
application to the War Department, asking that we might
be uniformed and enrolled in the general service, so that,
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBUEG. 57
if we were ever overpowered, we would be treated as pri-
soners of war and not as guerillas. This request was de-
nied. He then proceeded to organize a cavalry force,
from what was known as the ' six months' men,' for the
defence of the border. Many of our citizens enlisted in
this force. It was kept on the border until their term of
service expired, when they re-enlisted for three years.
But their new organization was scarcely completed, before
they were taken from this department and sent to the
Army of the Potomac. General Couch then proceeded to
organize the ' Provost regiment, for special service in his
department.' This was filled up to 1200 men, and then,
as with the rest, taken from him by order of the Secretary
of War. These gone, scarce a corporal's guard was left
under his command.
" Two weeks before the advance of Early up the valley,
General Couch renewed the request of last year, asking
that the citizens might be armed and enrolled ; stating,
also, that they were ready to attempt their own defence.
This was again denied. Then followed the request made
by Governor Curtin, and endorsed by General Couch,
which is already published in the Governor's Message.
At the time of the invasion of Maryland the whole of the
available force in the Department of the Susquehanna did
not exceed three hundred men; and during the raid on
Chambersburg, General Couch had but one hundred and
thirty-five men under his command. Nor is he to blame
for the smallness of this number. He had during this
month of alarm organized six regiments of one hundred
days' men ; but these, as soon as equipped, were ordered
to Washington by the Secretary of War. Such are the
facts in the case. We make no comments on the pro-
58 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
priety of leaving the border thus defenceless. Its security
is perhaps a small matter compared with the strengthen-
ing of our armies elsewhere. We only say, General Couch
is not to blame. He did everything a brave, earnest and
faithful of&cer could do to avert this calamity.
" Many also are under the impression that this place
"was disloyal, and consequently they have no sympathy
with us in our affliction. Nothing does greater injustice
to our suffering community than this. No town of its
size in Pennsylvania has fewer "sympathizers" with the
rebellion than Chambersburg. Its quotas have always
been filled by volunteers, and many of its best citizens
have fallen on the field of battle. Such was and such is
the spirit of the inhabitants. The affliction into which
they have fallen is so great that, were it the result of their
own neglect, common charity should teach others to speak
of them kindly. But they do not wish to be excused ;
they only ask to be judged by the facts in the case. The
writer has stated such facts as he knows to be true, and
subscribes his name to them.
S. J. NiCCOLLS."
My dear Friend :
A gentleman has just handed me the "Lutheran and
Missionary" of Philadelphia, of August 11, in which I
find the following^ excellent article, which, with a few
omissions, is here subjoined. It is from the pen of our
worthy townsman, Mr. John K. Shryock, who, as well as
THE BURN-IN"G OF CHAMBERSBURG. 59
his brother, Samuel S. Shryock, have for years carried on
a large business in the " Mansion House" as booksellers,
and were among the many heavy sufferers by the fire.
After alluding to the circumstances attending the advent
of the insurgents, he says :
" I was in my house with my wife and two little chil-
dren, and also a lady whose husband was taken to Eich-
mond last summer, her little boy, and sister. The earliest
warning we received was from the stifling smoke that
poured through the house, and from some one knocking
at the door and crying : ' If there is any one in this house,
for God's sake leave, for it is all on fire.' I gathered my
family together, and left with nothing but the clothes I
had upon my person, two of the ladies not having time
even to get their bonnets. Having gotten them out of
the house, I ascended the stairs to see if any had been
left behind in the haste. After having examined all the
rooms, I met two of the infuriated wretches rushing up
the stairs as I hurried down. At this time the house was
filled with blinding smoke. I locked the front door,
hoping that the unwelcome visitors would not be able to
find their way out.
"I immediately hurried after my charge, and found
them struggling their way through the streets, thronged
with homeless women and children, the pavements blocked
up by the rebels, who had ridden their horses in every
imaginable way to hinder the course of the fugitives.
The streets were filled with smoke and flame, and almost
impassable. After we had reached a temporary shelter,
my wife returned to the scene of destruction, as a bird to
its nest, and on her way was stopped before a burning
house, in which a corpse was lying, and a little child at
60 THE BURXINa OF CH AMBERSBURG.
the point of death. The dead woman was gotten out with
difficnity, and buried in the garden without shroud or
coffin, and the child was barely rescued and placed in her
arms, when an officer in front of the house called out to
his men: 'Boys, remember Hunter!' She ran up to him,
uncovered the child, and said : ' Here is a dying baby we
have saved from the house you have fired. Is your revenge
sweet ? ' Shocked, the fellow burst into tears, and an-
swered, 'No, madam.' He followed her some distance,
and leaning down, asked her earnestly, ' Madam, can't I
save something for you ? ' Her answer was, ' No, it is too
late: I have lost all!' Warned to leave the house in
which we had taken refuge, a party of us left, but soon
became separated, and I lost my little boy, aged about
ten, and did not find him till the next day, at Shippens-
burg, whither he had walked, a distance of eleven miles.
The rest of us kept upon the edge of the burning town,
and for three or four hours watched the progress of the
" One of the saddest sights I witnessed was the burning
of the old Academy. I watched it burn, timber by tim-
ber. Fifteen years of associations as scholar and teacher
were annihilated in the course of one short hour. My
attention was then drawn to the flag- staff in the centre of
the public square, and we all, of our party as well as
others, expressed an ardent hope that it might stand, from
which the American flag might wave, even over the ruins
of the town. At noon we returned to the uninjured
house of a friend, and spent the night in gazing upon the
ruins of our once happy and beautiful town.
" The conduct of the rebel soldiery was barbarous m
the extreme, though there were many honorable exeep-
THE BURNING OF CHAMBEESBURG. 61
tions. Bundles were fired upon women's backs ; ladies
were forced to carry back into the houses articles of
clothing they had saved from the flames ; drunken
wretches danced upon the furniture and articles of value
and ornament; women's persons were searched in the
most indecent manner ; oaths and foul language abounded ;
aged women were locked in their rooms while their
houses were on fire ; trunks were rifled after being
dragged by the owners from the ruins ; promises of pro-
tection were made to be instantly broken. Everything
was done to add to the terror and confusion of the panic-
stricken women and children. Soon the hunger of the
little ones added new horror to the scene. Families were
separated, and distracted fathers and mothers could be
seen everywhere, seeking amid the confusion for those
that were missing. And yet no selfishness was apparent ;
every one was willing to aid and sympathize with his
neighbor. No one complained, no one lost hope. A
rebel officer stopped me, saying: 'Sir, cannot a little
money be raised to satisfy that brute, McCausland ; a very
little money would save this end of the town.' My an-
swer was : ' If ten cents would do it, it would not be forth-
coming.' One rebel came running towards me, wringing
his hands, saying, ' Horrible, horrible ! I did not think it
could be so bad as this !' Another told me that they had
received orders, before they entered the town, to burn
every house in it ; and yet another informed me that their
object was to effect an entrance during the night, and then
burn it. In some cases the women attempted to extin-
guish the fire, and were prevented by threats and personal
violence. Some were thrust from their houses, others
were struck, and in some instances pistols were drawn
62 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
upon til J 111. One lady had a bucket of water, wliicli she
had brought to extinguish the fire, thrown in her face.
In almost every case the sick and the infirm were hindered
from leaving their homes. There appeared to be a desire
to have some burned, if possible, hy accidtnt ! One rebel,
who helped a lady to save some of her clothing, w^as seen
led out of the town handcuffed. An ofiicer who suffered
himself to be persuaded to save some property, said, as
he left the house he refused to fire, ' Madam, you have
saved your house, but have cost me my commission, and
perhaps my life.' A negro saved his life by dressing
himself in woman's clothes, and carrying on his head a
feather bed, thereby hiding his face and hands. Little
children cried to ' go home' — the home that was destroyed ;
old men wept over the town in which they had lived for
three-quarters of a century ; citizens looked on Avith dis-
may upon the destruction of their life-long labor and
industry. Many fled to the cemetery for refuge, and
there, in the midst of death, was one little life added to
the wretched throng. The words of our Saviour, with
regard to the destruction of Jerusalem, were forced upon
us: 'Let him which is on the house-top not come down
to take anything out of his house ; neither let him which
is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe
unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck
in those days !'
'' The town soon became one mass of smoke and flame,
which ascended straight up to heaven, as if to call doAvn
the vengeance of God upon the incendiaries. Here and
there whirlwinds went up like gigantic corkscrews, car-
rying paper and clothing high into the air, and miles into
the surrounding country, as if to bear witness of the foul
THE BURNING OF CHAMBEESBURG. 63
outrage. I saw more than one rebel soldier weeping like
a child over the desolation he had made. Hardened as
they were to the horrors of war, this was too terrible even
for them to bear. One cried out to me in an agony of
remorse : ' Oh, I never enlisted for this !'
" For miles around, the frightened inhabitants fled, they
knew not whither ; some continuing their flioht until
they dropped to the ground with exhaustion. Pocket-
books and watches were taken by wholesale; bundles,
shawls and valises were snatched out of women's and
children's hands to be thrown away. Cows and dogs and
cats were burned to death, and the death-cries of the poor
dumb brutes sounded like the groans of human beings.
It is a picture that may be misrepresented, but cannot be
heightened. One young girl was crying ; but, meeting a
squad of the marauders she controlled her tears, saying :
' They shan't see me cry !' Full grown men, forgetful of
themselves, sobbed over the destitution of those they
loved, and self-sacrificing women strove to comfort those
of weaker hearts, who had lost no more than themselves.
We know of instances where persons had saved money
and valuables of others, with which they had, in the ex-
citement, been entrusted, to the exclusion of their own.
In the midst of this awful scene, the symfjatlnj and encour-
agement we had all along received from our loyal friends
of a sister State, through the columns of the Tribune,
Times and Independent, arose before us like a dense cloud,
and, for the time, we hesitated which was most our enemy,
— New York or Virginia. Five hundred of the enemy in
our streets, two hundred as guard outside, three thousand
within supporting distance ; this, too, with more than two
thousand effective United States cavalry only nine miles
64 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
off; for hours. Oli, for one-half of the brave Franklin
County bojS; that were then far away from their homes,
fighting the battles of the Union ! We blame no one.
Our loyalty, as strong as ever, forbids us ; but there is
an awful responsibility somewhere.
" One scoundrel accepted five dollars from a frightened
female, to carry her trunk to a place of safety, where he
coolly hroke it o^jen, and helped himself to the most valuable
part of the contents. A little dead child was enclosed in a
chest, and buried by the terrified parents in their garden,
for fear it would be burned in their house.
" A lady in delicate health was watched by one of the
robbers, and allowed to drag her trunk outside of the
town ; after which he searched it, and appropriated the
valuables it contained. She asked, whether that was
Southern chivalry, and received for reply : " Take that
back, or I'll blow your brains out." She did not retract,
and did not have her brains blown out. It was sad to see
ladies escaping from their houses Avith nothing but a few
photographs or an album.
"In the evening of that dreadful day, it was overpower-
ing to witness the change in circumstances. One of our
prominent citizens went with his family to the house of
his hostler ; another to the residence of his negro servant.
On the next day it was a still more sorrowful sight to see
refined ladies flock to the church to draw Government
rations, and receive articles of second-hand clothing, sent
up by the spontaneous charity of persons residing along
the line of the Cumberland Yalley Eailroad. It was hard
to eat the bitter bread of charity, but this mortification
was borne with the same heroism with which they looked
upon the sacking and burning of the dear old town. To
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG. 65
see the grey -haired men and women, the middle-aged, the
youthful, and childhood, all represented in the destitute
but uncomplaining throng, was one of the most solemn
sights the world ever saw. Wyoming and Chambersburg
will live in the history of Pennsylvania, and the infamous
names of Butler and McCausland, will be handed down
to posterity, as the types of savage barbarity.
"At 2 P. M., the Union forces advanced through the
town. The citizens cheered the dusty and jaded warriors,
but no soldierly huzzas came from their parched and suf-
focated throats, as they rode through smoke and flame
and the intense heat of the smouldering ruins. One re-
peated exclamation of, ' My God !' was all that was heard,
and then, as they passed the flag-staff, each one shouted,
^Eemember Chambersburg!' And so they exclaimed,
and so they shouted, as they dashed at a trot through the
town. I may live to be an old man, but never, never
shall I see such sights again, as I saw that day in the
stricken town of Chambersburg.
J. K. Shryock."
Aug. 6, 1864.
The following is a correct list of tlie buildings burned
by tbe rebels in Cbambersburg, with their estimated
value by a committee of disinterested gentlemen appointed
for that purpose :
South side of Market Street.
Jacob Wolfkill — Two-story frame and brick building,
Patrick Campbell's heirs — Two-story brick building,
Peter McGaflSgan — Two-story building, ....
James C. Austin — Two-story brick building, new,
R. Austin — Two-story brick building, ....
William H. McDowell — Two-story stone front and brick back
building, brick stable, ........
James M, Brown — Two-story stone front and brick back build
ing, stable, .........
Jacob Sellers — Two-story brick front and back building, stables
and ice-house, (hotel,) .
J. W. Douglas — One-story frame building,
Martin Brown — Frame front and log building, .
J. A. and J. C. Eyster — Log front and back building,
Mrs. Jordan — Two-story brick front and back building,
L. S. Clark — Two-story frame building and stable, .
C. M. Duncan — Two-story building, law-ofl&ce, stable,
E. Culbertson — Two-story brick building, office, stone barn,
Mrs. Bard — Two-story brick building, and row of law offices,
Gehr & Denny — Two three-story brick buildings, and one two
story, (dwellings and "Franklin Repository" office,) .
C. M. Duncan — Three-story building, (Franklin Hotel,) three
story brick arcade, brick stables, &c., .
Aug. Duncan — Three-story brick building,
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
Henry Monks — Three-story brick building,
Edwai-d Aughinbaugh — Three-story brick building
Dr. William H. Boyle — Three-story brick building,
Mary Gillan — Three-story brick building, .
T. J. Wright — Three-story brick building, .
S. F. Greenawalt — Two-story brick building, stable,
A. H. McCulloh — Two-story brick building, stone stable.
Rev. Mr. Nelson — Two-story building, stable, .
J. P. Culbertson— Three brick buildings, .
Mrs. Riddle — Two-story brick building, stable, .
E. Finfrock — Two-story building, stable, .
W. F. Eyster & Bro. — Two buildings, (foundry,) stable,
R. E. Tolbert — Two-story brick building, stable,
M. Gillan' s heirs — Two three-story brick buildings, log house
brick stable, ........
Alex. Fritz — Two-story brick building,
Mrs. Frederick Smith — Two-story brick building,
J. Burkholder's heirs — Two-story brick building, barn.
Hunter Robison — Two-story brick building, stable, .
Jacob B. Miller — Two-story brick building,
John Bigley — Three small dwellings,
Thomas Cook — Three wooden buildings, .
N. Pierce — Two-story building, ....
Barnet Wolff — Two-story frame building, .
J. M, Wolf kill — Two-story brick front and two back buildings
Jacob Shafer — Two-story brick building, .
Richard Woods — Two-story brick building,
John King — Two-story buildings, ....
Christ. Pisle — Two-story brick building, .
Mrs. Elizabeth Stouffer — Two-story brick building, .
A. Banker — Brick shop, house and barn, .
Mrs. Butler — Two-story building and stable, .
Mary Rapp— Two-story log building,
James Nill's heirs — Two-story brick front,
Josiah Allen — Two-story brick building, .
North side of Market Street.
C. Stauth — Two two-story log buildings,
Samuel Brant — Two-story brick building.
John M. McDowell — Two two-story brick buildings, (hotel,)
barn, shop, etc., .
D. Trostle — Two-story brick building, and brick barn,
Mrs. Radebaugh — Stone and frame barn, .
Mrs. Jos. Chambers — Two-story brick building, stable,
G. W. Brewer — Two-story brick building, barn,
Mrs. Jacob Smith — Log stable, .....
John Miller — Two-story brick building, hotel, stables, shops,
J. B. Cook — Two-story stone and four two-story buildings,
bark-house, stable, etc., .....
C. W. Eyster — Two three-story brick flouring mills and two-story
brick dwelling, .......
Lambert & Huber — Four-story stone and frame paper-mill and
C. W. Eyster — Two-story brick building, stable,
S. M. Shillito — Two-story brick building, .
James King — Two-story brick building, frame shop,
P. Brough — Three-story brick building, .
John Noel — Three-story stone building, stable, .
Court House — Three-story brick, ....
Engine-house — Two-story brick, ....
D. 0. Gehr — Two-story brick building, and brick stable;
B. F. Nead — Two-story brick building, brick stable,
A. D. Caufman — Three-story brick building and stable,
Mrs. Goettman — Two-story brick building, brick stable, etc.,
Peiffer's heirs — Two-story stone house, (old jail,) smith
frame shop, stable, ......
T. B. Kennedy — Large two-story brick building, etc.,
Rev. B. S. Schneck — Two-story stone and brick building,
L. Humelshine — Two-story building,
S. Etter — Two-story brick building, - . - .
Dr. N. Schlosser — Two-story building,
S. Eckert — Two-story stone and brick building.
West side Main Street to Square.
Benj. Chambers — Two-story brick building,
W. G. Reed — Two-story brick building, stable,
Mrs. C. Snyder — Two-story brick building,
Allen Smith — Two-story brick building, stable, .
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
C. Flack — Two-story building, stable, ....
J. Schofield — Two-story building, brick shop, stable,
M. P. Welsh — Two-story brick building, ....
C. StouflPer (machinist) — Two-story brick building, stable,
Geo. Chambers (residence) — Two-story brick building, stable,
G. Chambers (Female Seminary) — Three-story stone building,
G. Chambers — Two-story brick building, law office, &c,, .
A. J. Miller — Two-story stone building, &c.,
James Watson — Two-story brick building,
11. Austin — Two-story brick building, ....
East side Main, from Square to King Street,
Franklin Hall — Three-story brick building,
Jacob Hoke & Co. — Two-story brick building, stable,
Dr. Langenheim — Two-story brick building, stable, .
Widow Montgomery (hotel) — Three story brick building, stable
Daniel Trestle (hotel) — Two-story brick and stone buildings
sheds and stable, ........
Miss Susan B. Chambers — Brick shop, house and stable, .
A. P. Frey — Two-story building, coachmaker-shed, shop, stable
A. S. Hull — Two-story brick building, ....
Mrs. Geo. Goettman — Two-story building, shop,
West side Main, from Square to Washington Street.
Chambersburg Bank — Two-story brick building, stable, . . 8,000
Mrs. Gilmore — Two-story brick building and shops, . . . 5,500
Jacob B. Miller — Two-story brick building, etc., . . . 3,000
Dr. Richards — Two-story brick building, stable, . . , 5,500
C. Burkhart — Three-story brick building, ice-house, stable, . 4,500
J. M. Cooper — Three-story brick buildings, ("Valley Spirit"
office,) stone stable, etc., ....... 15,000
James L. Black — Two-story brick building, stable, . . . 5,000
Dr. J. Hamilton — Three-story brick building and stable, . . 7,000
John A. Grove — Frame shop, ....... 250
Jacob Hutton — Three-story brick and two brick back buildings, 4,500
John McClintock — Two-story brick building, shop, etc., . . 3,500
Lewis Shoemaker — Two-story brick building, etc., . . . 4,200
Samuel Greenawalt — Two-story brick buildings, . . . 5,500
J. Allison Eyster — Two-story brick building, .... 5,000
J. Allison Eyster — Two-story brick building, .
J. Allison Eyster — Three-story brick buildings, brick stable,
Wm. Heyser's heirs — Two story brick buildings, brick stable,
Rev. S. R. Fisher— Brick stable,
Geo. Lehner — Log stable, .......
George Ludwig — Two-story brick front and five back buildings
C. F. Miller — Two-story brick building, &c., .
Adam Wolff — Two-story frame and brick building
John Forbes — Two-story building, &c., ....
John Dittraan — Two-story brick building,
J. Deckelmayer — Two-story brick building and bakery, .
Samuel Ott — Two two-story brick buildings, .
B. Radebaugh — One-story frame shop, ....
Samuel Ott — One-story frame shop, .....
B. Radebaugh — Two-story brick front building.
East side Main, from "Washington to Square,
F. Spahr — Two-story brick building, ....
Miss Hetrick — Two-story brick building, . . . ,
John A. Lemaster — Two-story brick building, , . .
Aug. Reineman — Two-stoiy brick building,
Samuel M. Perry — Two-story brick front and back building,
David L. Taylor — Two-story log (weather-boarded) front and
frame back buildings, .....,.,
J. W. Taylor — Two-story brick building, stable, hay scales.
George Ludwig — Two-story brick building, tin-shop, stable, ,
H. H. Hutz — Two-story brick building, stable,
D. Reisher — Two-and-a-half story brick building, bake-house
M. Kuss — Two-story brick building, stone stable,
I. Hutton — Two-story brick building, brick shop, stable,
John P. Culbertson — One-story frame shops, ...
Dr. J. Lambert — Two-story brick building, stable, .
Mrs. R. Fisher — Two-story brick front building,
William Wallace (hotel) — Three-story brick building,
D. Reisher — Two-story brick buildings, stable,
J. A. Eyster (Nixon's drugstore) — Two-story brick building
THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURa.
J.Hmes Eyster — Two-story brick building, brick stabie,
Eyster & Bro. — Two-story stone and brick building,
Eyster & Bro. — Three-story brick warehouse, stable,
Brand & Flack — Two-story stone and brick building, ware
A. J. White — Two-story stone and brick building, .
Hiram AVhite — Three-story brick front, and back building
John Jeffries — Two-story stone and brick building, &c., stable,
A. B. Hamilton — Two-story stone and brick buildings, stable,
Mansion House (German Reformed Publication House) — Three-
story brick front and back building, livery stable, &c.,
Academy — Large three-story brick, ......
Queen— South Side.
J. W. Reges — Two-story brick building, ....
W. Cunningham — Two-story brick building and granary,
John Mull — Two-story brick front and back building,
J. T. Hoskinson — Two-story brick building,
Jacob Flinder — Two-story frame building.
Jacob Flinder — Two-story frame building, stable,
W. Wallace — Two-story brick building, spring-house, &c.,
Mrs. John Lindsay — Two-story brick building,
Barnard Wolff — Two two-story brick buildings, warehouse
shop, brick stable, &c., ......
J. Allison Eyster — Two-story brick building, .
Mrs. Blood — Two-story brick and two back buildings,
Mrs. Clark — Two-story brick front and back building,
Mrs. R. Fisher — Two-story brick building,
Mrs. Sarah Stevenson — Two two-story brick buildings, .
J. D. Grier — Two-story brick building, ....
Mrs. Susan Nixon — Two-story brick building, .
Robert Davis — Two-story brick building,
John Cree — Two-story brick building, ....
Samuel Myers — Two-story brick front, two back buildings,
Mrs. Porter Thompson — Two-story log building,
Mrs. George S. Eyster — Two-story brick building, .
Andrew Banker — Two-story log building and smoke-house,
Clueen— North Side.
Huber & Co. (edge-tool factory) — Five brick and frame build
Brick blacksmith shop,
"Bethel" (church) — brick, ....
G. Ludwig (brewery) — Two-story stone and brick building, &c..
Widow Grove (of William) — Two-story building, smoke-house,
Thos. Carlisle — Two-story brick, and one frame building,
Kindline's heirs — Two-story brick, two-story log and brick back
Widow Grove (of Alex,) — Two-story building, stable,
John Huber — Two-story brick building, stable,
Abraham Huber — Two-story brick, and frame stable,
H. Sierer — Two-story building, wareroom, stable, &c., .
Thos. Carlisle — Two-story brick front, and back buildings,
W. Wallace — Three three-story brick buildings, brick stable,
N. Snyder — Two-story brick building, wash-houses, stable,
Dr. S. D. Culbertson — Two-and-a-half- story brick building.
stable, ... .....
Mrs. Samuel Brand — roof slightly damaged.
J. P. Culbertson — Two-story brick building, stable.
P. Henry Peiffer — New two-story frame stable.
Associate Reformed Church — One-story brick building,
Benjamin Rhodes — Two-story log front and one-story brick back
J. Allison Eyster — One-stoi'y log shop, ....
Charles Croft — Log building and frame kitchen,
J. P. Keefer — Two-story brick building and kitchen,
John Reasner — One-story log bakery, ....
J. S. Brown — Roof and upper floor (hotel)
John Doebler — Two-story brick building, .
Holmes Crawford — Two-story brick building, .
S. F. Armstrong — Two-story brick building, stable, .
Aug. Reineman — Three one-story frame shops, &c.,
74 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
Martin Cole — Two-story brick and log buildings, . . . $1,500
Philip Evans — Two-story brick building, . . . . 1,200
Dr. A. H. Senseny — Two one-story log buildings, . . . 200
N. Uglow — Three one-story log buildings, .... 250
George Kindline — Brick wagonmaker and blacksmith shop, brick
Widow Palmer — Frame stable, 150
Nicholas Gerwig — Frame stable, 100
Henry Greenawalt — Brick stable, 300
George Chambers — Three two-story brick buildings,
Upton Washabaugh — Two-story building, stone brewery, gran
ary, brick stables, and shed,
C. Herman — Stone shop, dwelling, and stable,
A. K. McClure — House and barn ("Norland")
Jacob Eby — Large brick barn, ....
Andrew McElwaine — House, ....
The following is the aggregate of buildings burned :
Residences and places of business, ....
Barns and stables, .
Out-buildings of various kinds, ....
Total buildings burned, 559
The aggregate valuation of the real estate, as made by
a committee of upright and disinterested citizens, consist-
ing of Messrs. Wm. McLellan, C. M. Burnet, Rev. Jo-
BUILDINGS BURNED. 75
seph Clark, D. K. Wunderlich, and John Armstrong, is
$783,950. The loss in personal property greatly exceeds
that of the real estate, but it is difficult, if not impos-
sible, even to approach to anything like a satisfactory
In regard to the foregoing estimates of real property, I
will merely add that they are low, generally speaking,
very low. I say this, not because I find any fault Avith
the judicious committee of gentlemen who made those
estimates. I rather commend them for it ; but for the
purpose simply of mentioning the fact that the actual loss
was much greater than the figures indicate. Thus, for
instance, the Court-House is put down at $45,000, whereas
an experienced builder has stated to me it could not be
rebuilt for less than $80,000. The Mansion House (the
printing establishment of the German Reformed Church),
with a stone livery stable in the rear, is put down at
$10,000, whereas $15,000 would not replace them as they
were. Colonel McClure's large and beautiful residence,
with his spacious model barn, are put down at $9,500, but
they could not be restored for less than $20,000. The
banking house is put down at $8,000, but not less than
$20,000 would be required to replace it. And so with
most of the buildings. A million dollars will not suffice
to restore them, and twice as much more will not cover
the losses of such personal property as money can re-
Many heavy sufferers are among those who had no
real property, and hence their names do not appear in the
above list. Some of the large business shops were in the
front rooms of houses belonging to other persons. Thus
the Mansion House, besides containing the printing and
76 THE BURNING OF CHAMBERSBURG.
binding establishments of the Eeformed Church, was
occupied bj Shryock's large bookstore, Mr. Metcalf s dry
goods store, dentists' rooms, saddler's shop, &c. In many
instances there were two, three, and even four private fam
ilies living in one house. Many families also, whose
dwellings were not burned, were nevertheless very heavy
sufferers, having been plundered and robbed of their most
valuable articles of plate, jewelry, clothing, &c. Hence it
is perhaps not too much to say that the number of families
who are sufferers is more than double the number of houses,
as well as that the loss is double the amount in value, as
compared with the loss of the houses enumerated in the list.
In conclusion permit me to add, that if our border is
protected hereafter, and some reasonable assurance is
given to our people that incursions by the enemy will be
rendered impossible, our town will be rebuilt — gradually,
but surely. If, however, no such assurance is given, and
no effective aid for border defence is afforded ; if our
people are coolly told that the Cumberland Yalley is to
be '' a trap in which to catch the rebels, and which must
therefore be left open," then, alas ! there will be no heart
to remain and rebuild the town ; but, imitating many of
our disheartened farmers, our citizens will sell out their
realty and leave, regretfully indeed ; but rather than be
in constant dread and apprehension, leave they will, and
allow the ruins of their houses and hearths to remain be-
hind them, seeking some more sheltered or sequestered
spot, where they may live and die in ^'quietness and
peace," though it be away from the graves of their fathers
and their childhood's " sweet home."
Very sincerelj^ yours,
B. S. S.
MISS M'KEEVER'S NEW STORY,
BY MISS HARKIET B. McKEEVER,
AUTHOR OF "EDITH'S MINISTRY," "SUNSHINE," "THE FLOUNCED ROBE,"
IN ONE VOLUME, 12mo., PRICE $2.00.
The scene of Miss McKeever's new story is laid principally in New England.
The hero, a Scotch hoy, taken from the humbler walks of life, is a type of that
struggling class that thrive best in our country. By his moral and intellectual
worth, sustained by an unfaltering trust in God, he rises step by step, triumph-
ing over every difficulty, until he attains a commanding position among his
fellow men. The power of personal influence is illustrated by the acts of his
daily life, moulding a peculiarly untutored child of noble impulses, and guiding
her aspirations after the good and true. Roland Bruce and Madeline, or Mad-
cap Hamilton, as she is sometimes familiarly called, the hero and heroine of
the story, give a freshness and vigor to it, which, with the high moral incul-
cated, commend it to the favorable attention of all classes of readers.
ALSO, JUST READY,
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THE FLOUNCED ROBE, AND WHAT IT COST.
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THE REV. SAMUEL A. PHILIPS' NEW BOOK,
THE VOICE OF BLOOD,
SPHERE OF NATURE AND OF THE SPIRIT WORLD.
REV. SAMUEL A. PHILIPS, A. M.,
PASTOR OF THE REFORMED CHURCH, CARLISLE, AND AUTHOR OF "GETH-
SEMANE AND THE CROSS," "THE CHRISTIAN HOME," ETC.
IN ONE VOLUME, DEMY Svo., PRICE S3.00.
"No reader of the Bible can have failed to discover the prominent place
occupied by blood-^heildinj:^ in the Levitienl services, and in the grand funda-
mentals of Christianity. The blood typical was the precursor of the blood shed
on the cross. "While some of the 'voices of blood' considered by the author,
may be considered as only retnotelj^ bearins:^ on the great subject of atonement,
yet they are all designed to illustrate it. The atonement by blood is the marked
feature of the gospel, without the shedding of which there could be no remission
of sin, and the vitality of the gospel is lost where it does not stand forth promi-
nently. It is the author's design to illustrate this blessed truth, and he does it
Scripturally and practically, that all may see the h:irin(my between the voice of
blood from the altar, and the voice of blood from the cross. The volume com-
prises much precious truth in various respects, and may be profitably read." —
" In this work, the author first analyzes the voice, its structure, functions,
capabilities, as a material organ of the spirit; then the blood in which is the
life; then blood as the voice which utters mighty truths and testimonies; then
* the voice of accusing blood from the ground,' beginning with the blood of
Abel ; the * voice of typical blood from the altar,' comprehending the Jewish
sacrifices; 'the voice of atoning blood from the cross;' 'the voice of martyr-
blood from the church;' of 'sacramental blood from the Christian altar;' of
'pleading blood from the mercy-seat;' of 'witnessing blood from the judgment
throne;' of 'avenging blood from hell;' and, finall3% of 'glorifying blood in
heaven.' These topics are treated in a fervid and impassioned style which sel-
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