Affairs in the Valley — vandalism of the Yankees, &c.

From all the information we have, the enemy have now a considerable force in the Lower Valley, around Charlestown and Martinsburg, and it is the impression of parties who have recently escaped from that section, that they are making preparations for a movement up the Valley. In the portions of the country occupied by them they are treating the people with marked kindness, allowing their troops to cut and haul wood to the citizens of Charlestown and Martinsburg, and furnishing to many of the farmers a guard for their property. Still some of the fiends among them are perpetrating the most brutal acts of vandalism. Some three weeks ago, when the body of Captain Blackford, of the Confederate service, who was killed at Newtown, was taken to Jefferson, it was delivered over to his friends, who came to Charlestown for it. That night two farm houses, in one or the other of which they believed his body to be lying, were burned to the ground. Both of these houses belonged to and were occupied by widow ladies and their families--one of them a sister-in-law of Blackford.

A few days ago, some of our forces visited Winchester and arrested a Union man named Dooley, who had been acting as a detective in the Lincoln service. When arrested, he had in his possession about $3,000 in "greenbacks," which he was entrusted to use as a secret service fund. He offered $1,000 of this for his release. The next day the Yankees visited Winchester and arrested and carried off as hostages, Philip Williams and Robert Y. Conrad, Esq., the most influential citizens of the place.

Along the Shenandoah river, in Jefferson and Clarke counties, a regular band of robbers has been organized, composed of deserters from our army. This band employs its time and supports itself by plundering farmers and others, and their deeds of outrage cause them to be more dreaded than the Yankees. About two weeks ago a party of this band met two ladies in a rockaway, on the turnpike near Berryville in Clarke county, and robbed them of everything they had, stripping them of every article of clothing upon their persons, even to their shoes and stockings, compelling, them to walk a distance of three miles to their homes without clothing, on a bitter cold evening. They also stole the horse from the rockaway. A short time after this occurrence, the leader of the band, a men named Longerbeam, was captured by our scouts, who attempted to bring him through the lines. On the way he became obstinate, and finally made an effort to escape, when he was fired upon by the party guarding him, and pierced with three balls. He was taken to a house near by, where he died about two days after. Before his death, however, he made a full confession of his guilt, and gave the names of about twenty others composing the band. Among these, are the names of several who have heretofore been unsuspected.

In all the election districts of Jefferson county, enrolling and recruiting offices have been opened by the Yankees, and the names of negroes who had fled, and their masters who are in the Confederate service, are being recorded. In Charlestown the enrolling office is under the control and is conducted by a man named Robey, who at the commencement of the war was a captain of militia. When the militia from that county were called out and ordered to Winchester in the summer of '61, this fellow went with has company, but soon resigned because of the sport made of him by the boys in the regiment. Subsequently he ran off, but has now returned to do the filthy work of his Northern masters, and for such work he is about the best man that could have been found in that region.

When Gen. Imboden's command went down to Bunker Hill, about the first of January, a Yankee force was sent up from Harper's Ferry to intercept his movements. The night was very cold, a portion of the force got on a spree, and fifteen of them were so badly frozen as to require amputation of their limbs. Five of them afterwards died at Charlestown. Their troops are reported to have suffered terribly from cold on the march.

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Blackford (2)
Philip Williams (1)
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Imboden (1)
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Robert Y. Conrad (1)
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January, 1 AD (1)
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