previous next


from the border — skirmish at Shepherdstown.



Shepherdstown, Va., Sept. 11, 1861.
Yesterday, the tenth of September, will be a day long remembered by the citizens of Shepherdstown, and the ‘"stranger within its gates."’ The events of yesterday will be as memorable as the famous battle of Erie, in 1813, which was fought on the tenth of September, forty-seven years ago.

Our usually quiet and peaceful town was yesterday, between the hours of three and four P. M., thrown into a blaze of intense excitement, alarm and consternation, produced by a sudden and unexpected arrival of a banditti of Federal mercenaries into the place. Two companies of Baltimore ‘"Plug Uglies,"’ numbering in the aggregate about one hundred rowdies, crossed over the river at the fording — a mile from town — and boldly marched into town to perform the object of their mission. Were it for the fact, (which is to be regretted,) that we still have ‘"frogs in the net"’--traitors on this side who surreptitiously give information to the enemy; keeping them fully posted as to the movements of our troops, and would be almost willing to accord to them an act of gallantry in thus invading our town. But they were well aware that no troops were in town: hence their invasion with impunity.

Thanks to a fortuitous circumstance, they are not permitted to proceed with impunity with their ‘"protection"’ (?) Shortly after the arrival of these uninvited and unwelcome visitors, a squad of cavalry, under command of. Orderly Sergeant Thrasher, numbering thirteen, came into town, en route to their camp near Duffield's depot. Of course they were apprised of the presence of the enemy on our soil, who were down near or at the river shore, safely ensconced behind large stone warehouses and high-projecting cliffs, out of harm's way. However, nothing daunting, this gallant little squad, with more valor than discretion, and in opposition to the earnest entreaties of the citizens not to hazard their lives, charged recklessly to the brow of the hill, and discharged the contents of their pistols at the ‘"foe's haughty host;"’ not, however, until first recceiving a brisk fire from a company of the ‘"Plugs,"’ statined on the abutment of the burnt bridge, on the other side of the river. This company, of course, was placed there to cover the invaders on this side and guard them from a surprise, having full view and command of the town-hill leading to the river.

Our little band gallantly assailed them and kept up the fire as long as ammunition lasted. But a word about our own citizens. They seconded the efforts of Thrasher's men, and gave them ‘"aid and comfort"’ by arming themselves with rifles, shot- guns, blunderbuses, pistols, and every available instrument of death for the purpose of defending their homes and firesides from the taunts and insults of the insolent foe. Every one seemed animated with one desire — that was to drive the Hessians from our soil. In the hands of the ‘"lively lad,"’ and also the grey-headed veteran, could be seen guns, with resoluteness stamped upon every face--‘"to do or die."’

Well, it is with pleasure that I make the denouement. We were successful, as we ever shall be, in driving them from our sacred soil. Being too smart, or rather afraid to go the way they came, they recrossed at this place in two skiffs. As to the mortuary results, nothing is definitely known at yet; as for our side, I can, in fact, use the Lincolnism--‘"nobody hurt."’

It is an established logical fact and philosophical truth that there can be no effect without a cause. The events of yesterday originated from this cause: Mr. William Shearer, (lately a subscriber to the Dispatch,) was looked upon with suspicious eye, for what cause is not known, as some two or three of our citizens have been similarly arrested and discharged for want of proper evidence. But Mr. Shearer was possessed of a friend, who ill- advised him by an anonymous note to leave town, because his arrest was sure. Mr. S. acted upon this hint; and he and his son — a lad of about 18 years--left on Monday night. A squad or cavalry, the next day, came to ‘"see after him,"’ and, lo! he was over the river and far away.

Yesterday his family and friends endeavored to move his household chattels across the Potomac; and, for the better success of that undertaking, companies of rowdies came over to render that assistance and protection they have proclaimed as a part of their mission to the border. But the enterprize failed, and the philanthropic protectors ‘ "vamoosed the ranche."’

During the fight, the leaden messengers of death flew into town in a perfect hailstorm style. Many houses and trees bear marked ev-

idence of the fierceness of the skirmish.--The ‘"scene"’ presented among the inhabitants beggars all description.

Before the commencement of hostilities a courier was speedily dispatched to Colonel McDonald's encampment, at Duffield's Depot, five miles from this place, for reinforcements, and about twilight Lieut. Col. Ashby, at the head of some two hundred mounted men, appeared in town; not, however, until after the ‘"varmints"’ were chased back to Maryland. Our men immediately proceeded to the river's fordings and stayed all night. It is to be hoped that they will now remain near the scene of danger and afford us that sense of security and protection we are justly entitled to.

Skirmish at Hardscrabble.

Prior to the fracas here, this same gallant little band under Sergeant Thrasher, (an ommous name,) had a pretty brisk fight at Hardscrabble, in Berkeley county, about five miles distant from this place, yesterday morning. They were up there ‘"with a view to business," ’ and were attending to it, when their pickets were fired upon and driven in by a company of ‘"Feds."’ Immediately our men charged upon and fired at them, driving them back. But whilst our men were returning, it appears that the Federals were reinforced by another company, and at the forks of the road again attacked our men, firing a broadside into them; but by some unaccountable luck, not a man was ‘"hurt."’ Not being able to contend against such powerful odds, Sergeant Thrasher deemed it prudent to retire. And it was whilst en route to their quarters, that they were unexpectedly called into action here, with but a short allowance of ammunition. I understand that they killed one ‘ "Fed"’ at Scrabble.

Before closing, your correspondent deems it his duty to write a word relative to Mr. William Shearer. A strict regard for truth enables me to say that this man, who has resided here for the last seven or eight years, was regarded as a gentleman of respectability, and sustained the character of an honest, upright, sober and steady man; a member of the Methodist Church; a miller by trade; in disposition quiet and taciturn; and, unless he verified the old adage that ‘"still waters run deep,"’ why he might have been looked upon as having ‘ "no harm in him."’ So far as I am enlightened on the subject, I know of no serious charge against him; and why he should run off and send over Federal soldiers to remove his chattels ‘"puzzles the mind."’ If he was guilty of no crime against the Confederate Government, as his most intimate friends assert, no earthly reason can be assigned for his leaving and occasioning the scenes enacted yesterday, which at first threatened to deluge our village in human blood.

Potomac.

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (1)
Erie (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Berkeley County (West Virginia, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Sergeant Thrasher (4)
William Shearer (3)
William McDonald (1)
Duffield (1)
Ashby (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September 10th (2)
September 11th, 1861 AD (1)
1813 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: