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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Lady of the Peninsula - Sheridan on the Chickahominy.

Summit Station, Dispatch Station and Bottom's Bridge in relation to each other




From the Richmond Daily Dispatch . . .
 We give below two letters furnished by correspondents, one of them a lady, describing the conduct of the marauders under Sheridan before arriving at, and after leaving Richmond. They show the character of the war which is being waged against us:

To the Editor of the Dispatch:
Amongst the farms that suffered most during their late trip was that of Mr. Alfred Winston, on the Mountain road, in Henrico county. This fine farm has been entirely dismantled of fencing and crops; nearly all the former was burnt. The fine wheat and clover crop was completely destroyed by their horses, which they kept on the place during the whole day and night. They had all their artillery and wagon train parked on the premises. The dwelling they used as their division hospital, and in the passage they performed all their amputations, scattering cut off limbs indiscriminately over the yard. They stole from the family two fine gold watches and chains, one pair ladies' bracelets, and several smaller articles of jewelry; all the money in the house; also all bonds, receipts, and in fact every paper they could find. The wardrobes and bureaus were opened and their contents scattered over the rooms — not the smallest drawer was left unsearched. Every article of provision and horse teed was taken. They defaced the carriage by tearing off the silver mountings and cutting up the trimmings. They killed all the fowls and several hogs. They also pilfered the negroes of every particle of jewelry and clothing; also took with them two fine mules. This I think may be taken as a fair specimen of the way in which the people of this neighborhood were treated by the vandals.



New Kent County, Summit Station,
May 15th, 1864.

To the Editor of the Dispatch:
If you feel disposed, you can give this a space in your columns, which have so often entertained us. We had heard the Yankee raiders were at Dispatch Station and were expecting them, but such an indescribable feeling came over us when we saw them leaping the enclosure, and in a second surrounded the house with pistols cocked to face five defenseless women; our smoke house, fowl-houses, collars and closets seemed to fly open by magic. They must have pick-locks attached to their fingers; every part of the place completely sacked, and not an article of food left; everything taken that they could carry off — butter taken and given to their horses, cows milked, calf killed and every fowl, even sitting hens, with their eggs, along with sick chickens that even hogs refuse.--No entreaties availed, or touched their conscience — it was like idle words. When taking the last piece of bacon, we begged for some; they replied "no, it is the only plan we can subdue you"--when my sister had life enough left to say, "no never," The most humiliating thing they ordered was her trunk to be opened which they searched effectually. [ Daguerreotypes ] and combs they pocketed, and indeed everything were taken. They were very anxious to hear the news, and offered boastingly $500 for a Richmond paper — said we were dreadfully whipped; they were just from Richmond; the citizens fought them; saw "old Jeff." running with his budget on his back; the city being surrounded, he did not know which way to take. Finding we did not credit this, they told us they were surrounded three times, and served badly in the rifle-pits, where they were carried by their guide, for which he was shot. The servants shared our fate; their clothes and provisions were stolen. We appealed to an officer, and found him a rude, ignorant, plebeian, unfeeling creature, having no control over his men and no respect for ladies. At night we supped on guard-house fare — bread and water; but even that was choking. Our hearts were bursting.--No place was sacred, not even my mother's sick chamber, which we denied admittance to. A man, searching for the harness, even turned up the bed she was on, and pulled me off, and the touch of his hand I can never forget. I told him "to desist; his touch was contaminating." He replied, "Well, I don't like it myself," and dragged the harness out with a most defiant air, and went off with the carriage, he said, for a legless officer. But the keenest blow of all was, when we hoped all were gone, two came back and took our mules, that had done us so much hard service all this winter and spring. We plead, with tears, but nothing availed. Our neighbors shared the same late. None were spared.

A Lady of the Peninsula.

- The Daily Dispatch: May 20, 1864

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