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[182] sang her favorite hymn: “Thy will be done.” Then shutting down the lid and locking it, she calmly went out upon the lawn, where her sick sister and the frightened little children were sitting under the trees, the only shelter then left for them.

Martindale's written order from Hunter also embraced another Virginia home. He burned it, too. The story is told by the gifted mistress of that household in the following letter, which was delivered to Hunter. I have been furnished a copy, with permission to publish it. This letter will live in history for its eloquence and sublime invective:

Shepherdstown, Va., July 20th, 1864.
General Hunter:--
Yesterday, your underling, Captain Martindale, of the First New York Cavalry, executed your infamous order and burned my house. You have the satisfaction ere this of receiving from him the information that your orders were fulfilled to the letter; the dwelling and every out-building, seven in number, with their contents, being burned. I, therefore, a helpless woman whom you have cruelly wronged, address you, a Major General of the United States Army, and demand why this was done? What was my offense? My husband was absent — an exile. He never had been a politician or in any way engaged in the struggle now going on, his age preventing. This fact your chief-of-staff, David Strother, could have told you. The house was built by my father, a Revolutionary soldier, who served the whole seven years for your independence. There was I born; there the sacred dead repose. It was my house, and my home, and there has your niece (Miss Griffith), who has tarried among us all this horrid war up to the present moment, met with all kindness and hospitality at my hands. Was it for this that you turned me, my young daughter and little son out upon the world without a shelter? Or was it because my husband is the grandson of the Revolutionary patriot and “rebel,” Richard Henry Lee, and the near kinsman of the noblest of Christian warriors, the greatest of generals, Robert E. Lee? Heaven's blessing be upon his head forever! You and your government have failed to conquer, subdue or match him; and, disappointed, rage and malice find vent on the helpless and inoffensive.

Hyena-like, you have torn my heart to pieces! for all hallowed memories clustered around that homestead; and, demon-like, you have done it without even the pretext of revenge, for I never saw or harmed you. Your office is not to lead, like a brave man and soldier, your men to fight in the ranks of war, but your work has been to separate yourself from all danger, and with your incendiary band steal unaware upon helpless women and children, to insult and destroy. Two fair homes did you yesterday ruthlessly lay in ashes, giving not a moment's warning to the startled inmates of your wicked purpose; turning mothers and children out of doors, your very name execrated by your own men for the cruel work you gave them to do.

In the case of Colonel A. R. Boteler, both father and mother were far away. Any heart but that of Captain Martindale (and yours) would have been touched by that little circle, comprising a widowed daughter just risen from her bed of illness, her three little fatherless babes — the oldest not five years old-and her heroic sister. I repeat, any man would have been touched at that sight. But, Captain Martindale! one might as well hope to find mercy and feeling in the heart of a wolf bent on his prey of young lambs, as to search for such qualities in his bosom. You have chosen well your agent for such deeds, and doubtless will promote him!

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