A Contrast — a civilized and Barbarous enemy.
The sad tidings of the wanton destruction of Hampton
by the Black Republicans
has been confirmed.
It has shared the fate of Fairfax
and other Virginia
villages, but without the pretext of military necessity which was pretended in those cases.--This old Virginia town had suffered severely enough before this conflagration.
Its families, many of them helpless women and children, were driven from their homes, with, sometimes, no other shelter than the woods.--Their furniture was destroyed, pianos broken to pieces, dresses taken off. All along that coast, for twelve or fifteen miles, every farm house is deserted.
Their luxuriant fields of wheat, and the neat white-washed houses gave every external indication of happiness, but the doors and windows are closed, the fences broken down, and cattle trampling down and rioting amid their grain.
Everywhere in that region, once so happy and innocent, silence reigns.
It looks as if some great plague had depopulated their land. --Gen. Magruder
, who, in a late tour, beheld these deserted homesteads, declared that his eyes were ‘"unused to the melting mood,"’ but that he could scarcely restrain his tears.
No object has been too sacred for the hand of vandalism.
The Old Church of Hampton
, one of the oldest in American, was entirely desecrated, before it was destroyed; the walls partially demolished, the organ broken up, and fires built over the graves of the dead, who found not even the tomb a place of refuge from insult.
The sensibilities of the living were as little respected as the ashes of the dead.
The invaders broke into the house of a gentleman who has lost his wife, destroyed his furniture and took off with them washstands and other little mementoes, which the bereaved husband was keeping, and the very clothes which had been packed away, scarcely to be viewed by the eyes of affection even, except in solitude and tears.
, the course of these men has been the same — in some instances, even worse.
We have heard of an outrage perpetrated upon one of the most respectable married ladies of Fairfax
, in the presence of her children, which has no parallel except among the atrocities of the Sepoys and Druses.
Even the Church
of the living God in Fairfax
, as in Hampton
, was not spared, the walls being covered with obscene inscriptions and indecent figures !
We have repeatedly said that the British
committed no such atrocities in the late war as our Northern enemies, nor indeed any civilized nation that we have ever heard of. Apropos
to this remark, a distinguished gentleman of South Carolina
has just placed in our hands an original letter from Hon. Bushrod Washington
, nephew of Gen. Washington
, written during the last war with England
, to Chancellor
de Soissen, of South Carolina
, from which we make the following extract.
Look on that picture and on this:
"Mount Vernon, Nov. 29, 1814.
‘"I return you, my dear sir, my sincere thanks for your favor of the 6th ult., and particularly for the kind and friendly interest which you are so good as to take in the safety of myself and family during the late invasion of this part of the country by the enemy.
I am happy to have it in my power to say that Escaped in person and property all kind of injury and loss.
The squadron lay off this place some days in its ascent and on its return, and yet I do not believe that during the whole time a single barge approached this shore.
This distinguished forbearance I owe to the generous feelings of Commodore Gordon
, for a place which had once been the residence of my venerated uncle.
He expressed to one of the Alexandria Commissioners
, who was deputed to stipulate for the safety of that town, an anxious desire to visit this spot, but was so delicate as to declare his resolution not to do so, presuming that my official situation would render such a step peculiarly embarrassing and disagreeable to me. He further added that he would commit no act of hostility injurious to this place, even although the militia should make their appearance on it. I have much reason to thank him for such sentiments and conduct, and should it ever be my good fortune to see him in peace, here or elsewhere, I should be proud to give him proof of my gratitude."’