previous next

[197] Jenkins hoped for nine hundred dollars in “greenbacks,” but he had flooded the town with confederate scrip, pronouncing it better than United States currency, and the council evidently believed him; and, desiring to be accommodating with a conqueror, decided to favor him by the payment of his bill in confederate scrip. It was so done, and Jenkins got just nine hundred dollars worth of nothing for his trouble. He took it, however, without a murmur, and doubtless considered it a clever joke.

Sore was the disappointment of Jenkins at the general exodus of horses from this place. It limited his booty immensely. Fully five hundred had been taken from Chambersburgh and vicinity to the mountains, and Jenkins's plunder was thus made just so much less. But he determined to make up for it by stealing all the arms in the town. He therefore issued an order requiring the citizens to bring him all the arms they had, public or private, within two hours; and search and terrible vengeance were threatened in case of disobedience. Many of our citizens complied with the order, and a committee of our people was appointed to take a list of the persons presenting arms. Of course very many did not comply, but enough did so to avoid a general search and probable sacking of the town. The arms were assorted — the indifferent destroyed, and the good taken along.

On Tuesday a few of Milroy's cavalry, escaping from Martinsburgh, were seen by the redoubtable Jenkins hovering in his front. Although but thirteen in number, and without the least appetite for a battle with his two thousand men, he took on a fright of huge proportions, and prepared to sell his command as dearly as possible. Like a prudent general, however, he provided fully for his retreat. The shrill blast of the bugle brought his men to arms with the utmost possible alacrity; his pickets were called in to swell the ranks; the horses and baggage, consisting principally of stolen goods, were sent to the rear, south of the town; the surgeon took forcible possession of all our buildings, houses, barns, sheds, etc., to be used as hospitals, and especially requested that their wounded should be humanely treated in case of their sudden retreat without being able to take them along. The hero of two brilliant cavalry charges upon undefended towns was agitated beyond endurance at the prospect of a battle; and instead of charging upon a little squad of men, who were merely observing the course of his robberies, he stood trembling in battle array to receive the shock. No foe was nearer than the State capital, over fifty miles distant, and there the same scene was being presented. Jenkins in Chambersburgh, and the militia at Harrisburgh, were each momentarily expecting to be cut to pieces by the other. But these armies, alike terrible in their heroism, were spared the deadly clash of arms, inasmuch as even the most improved ordnance is not deemed fatal at a range of fifty miles. Both armies, as the usual reports go, “having accomplished their purpose retired in good order.”

As a rule, we believe that private houses were not sacked by Jenkins's forces; but there were some exceptions. The residences of Messrs. Dengler and Gipe, near Chambersburgh, were both entered (the familes being absent) and plundered of clothing, kettles, and other articles. Bureaus and cupboards were all emptied of their contents, and such articles as they wanted were taken. We have not learned of any instances of the kind in town.

A very few of our citizens exhibited the craven spirit of the genuine copperhead, but Jenkins and his men, in no instance, treated them with even courtesy. That they made use of some such creatures to obtain information, cannot be doubted; but they spurned all attempts to claim their respect because of professed sympathy with their cause. To one who desired to make fair weather with Jenkins, by ardent professions of sympathy with the South, he answered: “Well, if you believe we are right, take your gun and join our ranks.” It is needless to say that the cowardly traitor did not obey. To another he said: “If we had such men as you in the South we would hang them.” They say, on all occasions, that there are but two modes of peace — disunion or subjugation, and they stoutly deny that the latter is possible. Lieutenant Reilly had just returned from West-Point the day the rebels reached here, and of his presence and residence they were minutely advised, for they called at the house and compelled his sister to go with them into every room to search for them. General Jenkins also had the fullest information of the movements of the editor of this paper. He told at our own house, when we had left, the direction we had gone, and described the horse we rode, and added that there were people in Chambersburgh sufficiently cowardly and treacherous to give such information of their neighbors. When it was suggested that such people should be sent within the rebel lines, he insisted that the South should not be made a Botany Bay for Northern scoundrels.

Quite a number of negroes, free and slave — men, women, and children — were captured by Jenkins and started South to be. sold into bondage. Many escaped in various ways, and the people of Greencastle captured the guard of one negro train and discharged the negroes; but, perhaps, full fifty were got off to slavery. One negro effected his escape by shooting and seriously wounding his rebel guard. He forced the gun from the rebel and fired, wounding him in the head, and then skedaddled. Some of the men were bound with ropes, and the children were mounted in front or behind the rebels on their horses. By great exertions of several citizens some of the negroes were discharged.

The southern border of this county has been literally plundered of every thing in the stock line, excepting such as could be secreted. But it was difficult to secrete stock, as the rebels

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
B. W. Jenkins (10)
Reilly (1)
R. H. Milroy (1)
Gipe (1)
Dengler (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: