A Yankee, named Stephens
of one of the Vermont Regiments, thus speaks of his exploits while on the road to Great Bethel:
On reaching the bend of the road I took a survey of the rear, to ‘"see what I might see,"’ and discovered a single soldier coming toward me, and waited for him to come up.--I found it was Clark
, of the Bradford
Before he reached me, I observed a horseman coming at full speed towards me.--On reaching the house he turned in, which induced me to think him a Secessionist.
I ordered Clark
to cover him with his rifle, and, revolver in hand, ordered him to dismount and surrender.
He cried out, "Who are you?" answer, "Vermont
!" ‘"Then raise your piece, Vermont
; I am Col. Duryea
, of the Zouaves;"’ and so it was. His gay looking red boys just appeared turning the corner of the road, coming towards us. He asked me the cause of the firing in the rear, and whose premises we were on. I told him he knew the first as well as I did, but as to the last could give full information; that the house belonged to one Adjutant Whiting
, who, just before, had sent a bullet whizzing by me, and shot one of my boys, and that my greatest pleasure would be to burn the rascal's house in payment.
‘"Your wish will be gratified at once,"’ said the Colonel
‘"I am ordered by Gen. Butler
to burn every house whose occupant or owner fires upon our troops.
Burn it."’ He leaped from his horse, and I upon the steps, and by that time three Zouaves were with me. I ordered them to try the door with the outs of their guns; down went the door, and in we went.
A well packed traveling-bag
lay upon a mahogany table.
I tore it open with the hopes of finding a revolver, but did not. The first thing I took out was a white linen coat; I laid it on the table, and Colonel Duryea
put a lighted match to it. Other clothing was added to the pile, and soon we had a rousing fire.
Before leaving I went into the large parlor in the right wing of the house; it was perfectly splendid.
A large room with a tapestry carpet
, a nice piano, a fine library of miscellaneous books, rich sofas, elegant chairs with superior needle-work wrought bottoms, what-nots in the corners, loaded with articles of luxury, taste and refinement, and upon a mahogany centre-table lay a Bible and a lady's portrait.
The last two articles I took, and have them now in my possession.
I also took a decanter of most excellent old brandy from the sideboard, and left the burning house.
The last number of the Winchester Virginian
contains the following:
's thieves crossed the Potomac river
, at Williamsport
, they visited the house of a wealthy gentleman, of Berkeley county
, named Cunningham
, who, with his family, (except a large number of negroes,) left the premises.
The rogues ransacked the house from top to bottom, taking everything that suited their fancy.
In the eating line, they went so far as to take old hen turkeys off their nests (poor as Job's) and cooked the eggs which had been set on for weeks.
A large tub of sour milk, in which the ladies had been soaking petticoats, for whitening purposes, the starved puppies drank up as voraciously as ever famished hounds lapped butter-milk.
They endeavored to persuade the negroes to leave their master, but the Africans were so disgusted with their conduct and filtby appearance, that they scorned to have anything to do with such trash.
One of the blacks stole off some valuable papers belonging to his master and hid them, to save them from spoliation by the wretched vandals.