The Brutality of the enemy while in Stafford — murder of a man and his mother.
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
During the last invasion of Stafford county, Va.
, by the vandal hordes of Burnside
, some of the deepest tragedies were enacted, which our Southern papers ought to hold up before the eyes of indignant humanity in their most glaring colors.
Time and space will not allow me to mention all; but one or two instances I will notice to show what the poor, suffering people have had to endure.
Some time about Christmas a poor, laboring man named Shackleford
, with a large and helpless family dependent on his exertions, was working at a neighbor's, when, seeing some desperadoes pass in the direction of his home, he hurried there to protect his wife and helpless little ones.
He found the villains busily engaged in searching and stealing everything valuable he owned.
At first he expostulated; but they were deaf to every remonstrance, and listening to no argument, he tried force, and, seizing an axe, ordered the wretches off, or he would strike.
Still persisting in their search, be aimed a blow at one of them, which inflicted a slight wound on his shoulder.
They instantly made their escape, and thinking himself happily rid of them, his wife hastened to prepare his frugal supper.
While eating this meal they were startled by the sound of many footsteps at their door, and ere he could realize his situation the house was broken open and he, torn forcibly from his family, was hurried into the yard.
Thirty men, headed by an officer,
then took deliberate aim at him, and his body was literally riddled with balls, in the sight of his distracted wife and shrieking children.
His aged mother, who implored his life, was shot at by a ruffian, and now lies low and suffering with the enemy's ball in her breasts.
Not contented with their fiendish revenge, they buried the poor mutilated body where it fell, and driving the mother and children into the woods, that bitter winter's night, see fire to the house and burnt it to the ground.
The above record is a solemn truth, and any citizen in Stafford
can bear witness to it. The foul deed was perpetrated by me from Sigel
's Grand Reserve Division of the Army of the Potomac, and under the superintendence of an officer.
Not content with destroying the things of time, these soldiers of "the best Government in the world" make a mockery of the solemn ones of eternity.
At a little country church, near Chappawamsic creek, some Pennsylvania
soldiers entered, and having found a dead hag in a state of decomposition placed it in the pulpit, and putting its paws upon the sacred desk bade it preach to the Secessionists.
It there no Nemesis
, no avenging God, for such as these?
Cannot our brave Confederate leaders, nerved by a hatred of such detestable crimes, grant protection to citizens, who, devoted to the Southern
cause, are so unfortunately situated as to be in the lines of the insolent adversary?