away; and to prove his sincerity, he at once fired the house on each story. To convince Mrs. McClure that he was a chivalrous foe, he ordered her to open her secretary while the house was in flames around her, and, evidently ambitious to show his literary taste and acquirements, he commenced to read her private letters. Mrs. McClure informed him that he would doubtless be disappointed in her assortment of literature, as her husband had no papers or letters in the house; but as he seemed desirous to read something, she would commend to him a letter she had just received the day before from a rebel prisoner, invoking the blessing of Heaven upon her and hers for kind ministrations to a foe. The writer had been here with Lee, in June, 1863, and was on guard at the house, and was of course treated kindly. The sick of the same command, as well as those of McCausland's forces — then under Jenkins — were all humanely cared for, by Mrs. McClure ; and the author of the letter, having since been captured, and suffering from sickness and destitution, wrote her some time before stating his condition. That she had not turned a deaf ear even to a foe when suffering, is evidenced by the acknowledgment presented to Captain Smith, which was as follows:
Such a letter was not just the entertainment to which the imperious son of the South considered himself invited. Instead of retaliating for wrongs done, he found himself about to apply the torch where friend and foe had found solace in distress — even his own men having been mercifully ministered to there by the one over whose aching head and enfeebled limbs he was inviting the fury of the flames. He read the letter, and answered--“This is awful — it is awful to burn this house!” and in vindication of his contrition, he left Mrs. McClure to escape from the fire, while he proceeded to the adjoining room and, in a fit of remorse, stole Mr. McClure's gold watch and other articles of value which might adorn the elegant mansion of the Governor of Virginia at Warrenton. Fortunately Mrs. McClure had some of her own clothing in a trunk, and one of the squad kindly aided her in getting it out of the house, and it was saved, but nothing belonging to Mr. McClure was allowed to be removed. Rev. Mrs. Niccolls, who had rushed to the house, was caught on the stairs with a coat on her arms, and it was rudely taken from her, with the remark, “Saving anything belonging to him is expressly forbidden.” In five minutes the house was enveloped in flames, and Mrs. McClure, and the other members of the family at home, started on foot, in the heat of the day, to escape the vengeance of the chivalry. The torch was thrust into the large, well-filled barn, and in half an hour a few charred walls was all that remained of “Norland.” Captain Smith could conceal the watch and other articles he purloined at “Norland” as trophies of his valor, but the silver pitcher was unwieldy, and could not be secreted from profane eyes as he rode back through town from the scene of his triumph. He resolved, therefore, to give a public display of his generosity. He stopped at Rev. Mr. Kennedy's, and handed the pitcher to his wife, with the request--“Please deliver this to Mrs. Colonel McClure, with the compliments of Captain Smith.” The goblets were strapped to the saddle of one of his squad, and the watch could be pocketed to prevent the tell-tale qualities of the pitcher, and they were borne off to the land of heroic warriors and noble blood. The watch stolen by Captain Smith was presented to Mr. McClure by some friends as a testimonial for his services as Chairman of the State Committee in 1860; bears an engraving to that effect, and is worth five hundred dollars. The following card explains itself fully:Madam — It is with feelings of intense gratitude I acknowledge the receipt of your letter under date of twenty-first of June, enclosing-----dollars. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude for so kind, so benevolent and unexpected a favor. I can only simply say — many thanks, and may God bless you. I have a mother and sisters; and your letter I shall retain and convey to them in order that they may see the Christian kindness of one who is against us, and urge that they may emulate your example, and never be backward when an opportunity is offered in giving aid to a needy Federal soldier. As it may never be in my power to reciprocate the favor received at your hands, my prayer is that God may reward you for it. * * * With best wishes for your health and happiness, and trusting that this dark war cloud may soon be dispelled, and peace and happiness and prosperity once more smile upon us, I am, madam, with much respect, Your obedient servant,James B. Stamp, Company C, Ninth Division.
To the Editor of the New York Times:Your correspondent writing from the southern border of Pennsylvania, says in the Times of the fourth instant:I was informed by a gentleman on the train that Colonel McClure paid five thousand dollars as a ransom for his threatened property, and after all the scoundrels set the torch to his house, and it now stands a smoking ruin.The foregoing statement has not the shadow of truth. I paid no sum of money to ransom my property, nor did any one for me; and although my loss is scarcely less than fifty thousand dollars, not one dollar of tribute would have been paid to barbarous freebooters to save it. I was not present, but no member of my family would have entertained a proposition of any kind to ransom anything belonging to them or me.