fencing, and a large quantity of grain.
In the town he burnt the Virginia Military Institute, and all the professors' houses except the superintendent's (General Smith
's), where he had his headquarters, and found a portion of the family too sick to be removed.
He had the combustibles collected to burn Washington College, the recipient of the benefactions of the Father
of his Country by his will; but, yielding to the appeals of the trustees and citizens, spared the building, but destroyed the philosophical and chemical apparatus, libraries and furniture.
He burned the mills and some private stores in the lower part of the town.
, an officer in General Hunter
's army, took supper with the family of Governor John Letcher
. Mrs. Letcher
having heard threats that her house would be burned, spoke of it to Captain Towns
, who said it could not be possible, and remarked that he would go at once to headquarters and let her know.
He went, returned in a half hour, and told her that he was directed by General Hunter
to assure her that the house would not be destroyed, and she might, therefore, rest easy.
After this, she dismissed her fears, not believing it possible that a man occupying Hunter
's position would be guilty of wilful and deliberate falsehood to a lady.
It, however, turned out otherwise, for the next morning, at half-past 8 o'clock, his assistant provost marshal, accompanied by a portion of his guard, rode up to the door, and Captain Berry
dismounted, rang the door-bell, called for Mrs. Letcher
, and informed her that General Hunter
had ordered him to burn the house.
She replied: “There must be some mistake,” and requested to see the order.
He said it was verbal.
She asked if its execution could not be delayed till she could see Hunter
He replied: “The order is peremptory, and you have five minutes to leave the house.”
then asked if she could be allowed to remove her mother's, her sister's, her own and her children's clothing.
This request being refused, she left the house.
In a very short time they poured camphene on the parlor floor and ignited it with a match.
In the meantime Miss Lizzie Letcher
was trying to remove some articles of clothing from the other end of the house, and Berry
, finding these in her arms, set fire to them.
The wardrobe and bureaus were then fired, and soon the house was enveloped in flames.
's mother, then seventy-eight years old, lived on the adjoining lot. They fired her stable, within forty feet of the dwelling, evidently to burn it, too; but, owing to the active exertions of Captain Towns
, who made his men carry water, the house was saved.
was in Lexington
, Captain Mathew X. White
, residing near the town, was arrested,.