A “Confederate” account.
We have full and interesting particulars of the burning of Hampton
, and of the series of events leading thereto.
The town was destroyed by order of Gen. Magruder, and by the forces under his-command
On Thursday morning last, about daybreak, Gen. Magruder
marched a considerable force in the direction of Newport News, and drew up in line of battle.
After waiting there for some time, the enemy declining to give battle, our forces were marched within a mile and a half of Hampton
, and again drawn up to give battle, if the enemy should show himself.
In the mean time, a copy of a late New York Herald
happened to be obtained by Gen. Magruder
, in which was a letter disclosing despatches from Gen. Butler
, received at Washington
, stating that it would be necessary for him to reoccupy Hampton
, in order to be able to retain the large force of “contraband” negroes that he had collected.
With this notice of the intended reoccupation of Hampton
by the Federal
forces, Gen. Magruder
decided to destroy the town.
Previous to the destruction of the town, information was received through a scout, and confirmed by the circumstance of an additional Federal steamer having arrived in the Roads
, that reinforcements had arrived at the fort, for the purpose, doubtless, of responding to Butler
's demand for the reoccupation of Hampton
It appears that Hampton
had been evacuated by Butler
's forces, in the first instance, on account of a panic originated by a balloon exploration.
About 700 of our men, under the command of Capt. Phillips
, had gone in the direction of the town, on a search for “contraband” negroes.
The balloonist reported to Gen. Butler
that 10,000 men were marching upon Hampton
, and in consequence of the report the town was hastily ordered to be evacuated.
Two sections of the bridge were torn up by the retreating party.
The town was burned to the ground on Wednesday night by the order of Gen. Magruder
The expedition for its destruction was composed of the Mecklenburg Cavalry
, Captain Goode
, Old Dominion Dragoons, Captain Phillips
, York Rangers, Captain Sinclair
, Warwick Beauregards
, Captain Custis
, and six companies of the Fourteenth Virginia regiment, the whole force being under the command of Col. James J. Hodges
, of the Fourteenth.
The town was most effectually fired.
But a single house was left standing.
The village church was intended to be spared, but caught fire accidentally, and was consumed to the ground.
Many of the members of the companies were citizens of Hampton
, and set fire to their own houses — among