barbarism and implacable personal animosities of that long period of cruel persecution, oppression, and outrage which, by the common consent of mankind, we denominate “The dark ages.”
These are strong expressions, but if the facts to be detailed do not justify them, then the people of the Shenandoah Valley, from whom General Hunter
sprung, as an offshoot-transplanted to New Jersey
--of one of the most honorable, numerous and distinguished family connections in Virginia
, have lost the high sense of justice and love of right which even political opponents and belligerent enemies have freely accorded them in peace and war. What I write is history-every fact detailed is true, indisputably true, and sustained by evidence, both Confederate and Federal, that no man living can gainsay, and a denial is boldly challenged, with the assurance that I hold the proofs ready for production whenever, wherever, and however required.
Perhaps no one now living was in a better.
position to know, at the time of their occurrence, all the details of these transactions than myself.
On the 21st of July, 1863, after General Lee
had withdrawn his army from the battle-field of Gettysburg
, he, by special order, assigned me to the command of “The Valley District,” in Virginia
The “district” embraced all that part of Virginia
west of the Blue Ridge Mountain
, and so far to the southwest as the James river
, in Bottetourt county.
It was created as a separate territorial command in 1861-2, for General Jackson
, and continued as such after his death up to the close of the war. I held the command of the district up to December, 1864, except at short intervals, when the exigencies of the service required a larger body of troops than I had to be sent into the Valley
, under officers of higher rank, who, of course, would assume command of me and the district till called away, when it would revert to me again.
The position I thus held in my native valley and among my own people, not only made me cognizant of all that transpired when in command myself, but when officers in higher rank and their troops were sent to defend the Valley
, they naturally looked to me for information about the enemy and his doings, and consulted freely with me; so that I knew everything that was going on on our side, and I had a hand in it.
's defeat at New Market
, on the 15th of May, 1864, by a force less than one-half his own, proved in the end a great calamity to the people of the Valley
, as it undoubtedly led to a change of Federal commanders; and the women and children of that country who experienced the mild military rule of the gentlemanly and