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Doc. 168.-the burning of Hampton, Va. August 7-8, 1861.

Statement of Mr. James Scofield.

Mr. Scofield, a native of Darien, Conn., and a resident of Hampton, Virginia, for the past five years, carrying on a general variety of business in that village, was there at the firing of the place by the rebels. At about half-past 11 o'clock on Wednesday night the rebels arrived at Hampton, and completely surrounded the place. The poor inhabitants, at least all that were left, were sound asleep, and awakened by the sharp firing of the rebel pickets and the Union troops of Colonel Weber, who were posted on the other side of the creek. It was now about twenty minutes past twelve o'clock on Thursday morning when Mr. Scofield noticed about six houses down town being fired through the weather boards with flambeaux or torches, apparently saturated with tar. An old female slave walked through the place and awakened those that had not heard the firing. All was bustle and confusion.

Mr. Scofield hurriedly dressed himself in a light suit lying handy to his bed, and by the time he had on his pantaloons and shirt he heard loud knocks at the front door, and before he could get out of the door his bed-room was already set on fire by one of the torches. In the confusion he escaped, but heard some one say, “We want you,” and Mr. S. asking who addressed him, was answered that it was a member of the North Carolina regiment. Mr. Scofield, however, escaped, having been fired upon once by a pistol shot, but fortunately escaped unhurt. On the outskirts of Hampton, going toward Old Point, he met an old acquaintance formerly of Hampton, belonging to the cavalry, who answered to a question why Hampton was fired, that the “cursed Yankees,” having had possession of the place once and evacuated it, they (the rebels) might not get another opportunity, and they would set fire to it at once and keep them from having the same for winter-quarters.

Mr. Wilson Jones, an old and gray-headed gentleman, and his wife, (Unionists,) the coroner of Hampton, Mr. Kennon Whiting and lady, and several other prominent citizens of Hampton, are at Old Point, under the protection of the old flag they were born under, being kindly cared for by Major-General Butler.

The village is a complete wreck; every house is gutted with the exception of about five at the north and south end of the town, which are the residences of Mr. Moody, the sutler at the fort; Miss Eliza Jones, (a brick building;) the Episcopal parsonage; the house of Joseph Phillips, H. Clay Whiting's store and warehouse, and one or two small frame houses on the outskirts. [486]

The reason of these being spared was that the rebels had no time to prosecute their hellish work further, being closely pressed by Colonel Weber's men, and the wind blowing southwest swept through the middle of the town, leaving these buildings untouched.

Mr. Scofield was endeavoring to save the bed of Mrs. Kenner, the lady with whom he boarded, and had already procured a wheelbarrow for the purpose of carrying it off, when within about three minutes five rifle balls struck within ten feet of him. These missiles came from the Turner regiment of Colonel Weber, firing at the rebels from the opposite side of the creek. Mr. Scofield estimates that there must have been at least five hundred rebel troops in the village, and, from what he can learn, a reserve of upward of five thousand were stationed on what is called the cross-roads, on the outskirts of Hampton.

The enemy was well supplied with a quantity of ladders, carried on wagons, which had ropes attached. This would appear as if the rebels intended to get inside of our lines and use the ladders in scaling. However, the rapid and well-directed firing of the Twentieth regiment skirmishers drove them back, and cautioned them that by further advancing they would meet with a well-prepared and resolute check.

One resident of Hampton was seen to set fire to his own dwelling, giving as an excuse that Gen. Magruder gave orders to destroy every thing they could not hold.

Mr. Scofield very much regretted to leave the place, having buried the wife of his bosom in the churchyard there, having lost every dollar he possessed in the world; and when the old church toppled over on her grave, his feelings may be better imagined than described. Being compelled to fly for his life, he had no opportunity to take any thing with him, and is now thrown on the world penniless, after a weary toil of eighteen years, having two motherless children to support. He estimates his loss at about eight thousand dollars. This morning he returns to Darien, Connecticut, to join his relatives.

The general impression was prevalent that the firing of Hampton was done by order of General Butler. Even such an opinion was expressed within our lines. But Mr. Scofield emphatically declares that the rebel General Magruder gave the order to burn and desert the village. The Union troops, when compelled by the necessities of war to burn a place, spare the inhabitants by giving them ample and timely warning, which the enemy in this instance did not do. Without a word of caution and warning, they set fire to the dwellings and stores, and that the entire number were not burned is no fault of theirs, but attributable to our gallant troops who so completely dispersed them.

Mr. Scofield, in getting away, fell in with five little children of a poor man, a resident of Hampton, sitting on the river bank, shivering in their night clothes, their mother being with them. She asked him if he had seen any thing of her husband, who had returned for some clothing. It was a pitiful sight to behold.

An English captain, arriving from Norfolk under a flag of truce, reports that among the rebels there the story was told that Hampton was fired by the troops of General Butler.--Baltimore American, Aug. 12

N. Y. Tribune narrative.

Fortress Monroe, old point comfort, August 8, 1861.
Another and a fearful scene has been enacted in the drama of Rebellion. Last night the village of Hampton was laid in ashes by the rebels. Mr. Mahew, formerly of Bath, Maine, who went to Georgia to live, and was there pressed into the rebel service, came into our lines yesterday afternoon as a deserter, and gave much valuable information concerning the movements of Gen. Magruder. On Monday morning last Gen. M. left Yorktown with two Tennessee, one Georgia, one Alabama regiment, and two battalions, and some cavalry, in all, five regiments, or between 5,000 and 6,000 men, with eight guns, one of which was rifled. The force reached Great Bethel about noon of the same day, and encamped on Tuesday night, when they proceeded to Newmarket Bridge, two and a half miles beyond Hampton, arriving there about 11 o'clock A. M. Wednesday. Gen. Magruder immediately formed his men in line of battle, expecting Gen. Butler would attack him, and waited some time. The impression among the men was that they were to be led to the attack of Newport News that afternoon. While awaiting the appearance of an opposing force, and while Gen. Magruder was engaged in taking observations from the top of a house, Mr. Mahew escaped into the woods, made his way to Hampton, swam the creek, and gave himself up to our pickets, by whom he was conducted to Gen. Butler's Headquarters.

Information of the movements of the enemy was immediately telegraphed to Gen. Phelps at Newport News, who had obtained corresponding intelligence from other sources. Measures were taken, in conjunction with the fleet, to defend our position here and Newport News from the combined attack which it was evident the enemy intended. This was about 6 o'clock P. M. The rebels had already reached the outskirts of Hampton, and an advance guard occupied the village about 4 1/2 o'clock, the force having left Newmarket Bridge about the time Mr. Mahew deserted. During the evening proper orders were issued to the force at Camp Hamilton, commanded by Colonel Max Weber, and a scouting party was sent to Fox Hill to watch the movements of the enemy in that neighborhood. At 10 o'clock General Butler, after visiting Camp Hamilton, went to Hampton Bridge and instructed the force posted there to hold the position, and resist any attempt either to destroy or pass the bridge. About 25 feet of the planks had been taken up, and the timbers [487] cut away on the Hampton side. At that point our force, consisting of a detachment of Max Weber's riflemen, erected a barricade. When Gen. Butler left, every thing was quiet in the village, and there was no appearance of any thing unusual. Shortly after a rebel force came to the bridge, and commenced a vigorous attack on our force there. A sharp contest ensued, which resulted in loss to the enemy and their retreat. The rebels then commenced to fire the town. Fire was first set to the buildings nearest to the bridge. Those who committed this act of Vandalism were, to a considerable extent, former leading citizens of Hampton and owners of property, and consequently among the greatest sufferers. They distributed themselves through the village, went to the residences of the few remaining white inhabitants, and warned them to prepare for the event that was at hand. No other reason was given than that they had orders to burn the village, and that it would be done. No time was given to remove furniture or other effects, and scarcely enough to allow the terrified people to dress and escape to the street.

At the house of Mr. Joseph Segar, who was absent, a faithful colored servant undertook to remove some valuables, when he was warned by the rebel charged with the duty of setting fire to the dwelling to desist. The negro, instead of obeying, kept on, only remarking that the things must be got out. The rebel then told him if he did not stop he would shoot him. “Can't help dat; massa's things must be got out,” was the reply. The chivalrous rebel fired, but missed his aim. The negro fled, and is safe, having done all that could be asked of any one. It is known that in not a few instances men fired their own property, and thus destroyed dwellings in which they had spent a good share of their lives.

After the first fire had been kindled, the attacking force returned to the bridge, where another sharp contest of about twenty minutes ensued, and which resulted as before in the repulse of the rebels. It is known that they lost quite a number, as they were seen carried away, picked off by the German riflemen, who took good aim in the light of the burning buildings. No one was was hurt on our side, though the planks and barrels of which the barricade was constructed were freely pierced by bullets.

Failing in the attempt to carry the bridge, the town was fired in every part, and by a little past midnight the village was a mass of flames lighting up the heavens, so that as far off as Newport News it was light enough to read a newspaper. It required no very vivid imagination to discern in the glare, smoke, and flame, the horrid features of civil war. Never before has our country furnished a scene calculated to suggest a thought like this. “Kill, burn, destroy,” was the injunction of the Charleston Mercury, and here it was literally obeyed. It was the first instance of the kind in the course of the war. How many more, and perhaps far more terrible, will there be before it is over I

There were probably from 20 to 50 white persons in the village, and from 100 to 200 negroes. Terror-stricken, as they well might be, at such a midnight visitation, they fled in all directions, not knowing what fate might overtake them at any turn. One old, half-dying, speechless, and utterly helpess man, Mr. George L. Massenberg, one of the oldest inhabitants of the place, surrounded by a few devoted servants, was taken by them from his house, near the bridge, and, while the fight was going on, the flames raging, the stifling smoke surging, and bullets whizzing all around, was removed on a wheelbarrow to a point on the creek, where a small boat was found, in which he was taken in safety to our side. To-day he found security and attention in the fortress hospital. He is an undisguised secessionist, and, though the fact was as well known as any other, he received neither mercy nor the manifestation of human feelings from the rebels. But for the devotion of his servants he, no doubt, would have perished in the flames that were the legitimate consequences of his own doctrines.

Mr.Jones and Mrs. Wilson Jones, two old and highly respectable people, known to sympathize with the rebellion, and about the only couple who could but did not flee when Hampton was deserted three months since, and who, notwithstanding the well-understood views of Mr. J., lived in undisturbed quiet, were roused from their slumbers and scarcely given time to dress. They did take out a very few things that were sacred in the household so long maintained, and now so rudely and suddenly set in flames, and retreated to the rear of the yard; and there they stood all night silent, solitary spectators amid the glare of conflagration, barely escaping the flames that almost lapped them in their folds. This morning, two gentlemen, old acquaintances, solicitous for their fate, set out from the fortress, and, at their own risk, went into the village and found the aged couple standing there still under the rays of the sun that were scarcely less scorching than the flames that all night had raged around them. The protection which was due to them from the rebels, but was worse than denied them, was given by the two loyal citizens, who by their acts evinced that fidelity to the Government was but humanity to man. Certain features of Mr. Jones' case are peculiarly aggravating.

In the afternoon, a relative, holding an office in the Secession army, came to his house, and after enjoying his hospitalities, informed him that the order was out to burn the village. So absurd was the statement that he did not credit it. In the evening he went into the streets, where all was quiet, and no evidence of such a purpose. Rebel guards were stationed; besides this, there was nothing unusual. About ten o'clock he returned to his house and retired. Scarcely had the aged couple fallen [488] asleep when they were aroused by a knock at the door, where a former neighbor, and, I believe, relative of Mr. Jones, awaited him, and informed him that he had been detailed specially to set fire to his dwelling. Hurrying back to the chamber of his wife and informing her of the message, they had barely time to dress themselves, and flee to the yard with a few articles, when the flames burst through the house.

So intense was the spirit of Vandalism, that no disposition was shown to spare even the old church, which is one of the landmarks connecting the past with the present — where Washington worshipped, and whose associations were sacred, and ought to have been respected, though we could scarcely expect so much from men intent on destroying the Government of which Washington was chief architect. The flames, as they ascended the steeple, seemed to spit and hiss spitefully at the traitors, who spare nothing, however sacred — neither age, sex, nor holy antiquity, if it stands in the way of their designs.

The destruction was nearly complete. Less than a dozen buildings remain standing. In most of them fire was kindled, but it did not burn in all. I visited the village to-day with a strong guard. The rebel pickets were to be seen skulking about, the main body having withdrawn, probably to Newmarket Bridge. Word has been given out that the remaining houses will be fired to-night, and the work of devastation rendered complete.

No adequate reason can be given for this extraordinary step. The only one that approaches to plausibility is, that the destruction of the village would deprive the Federal troops of quarters, not only at present, but more especially this winter. I will take the occasion to intimate to General Magruder, that the troops here have little idea of wintering in Hampton, but will seek a more genial climate, and, further, that it will be of small concern to him whether they do or not.

But few persons, white or black, remain in the town. The rebels do not seem to have carried away any negroes, most of them having taken refuge within our lines. Some few white persons, including three or four females, are not accounted for. It is not believed that any lives were lost except in the fight at the bridge.

When I visited the village this afternoon, so devouring had been the fire, that in only a few places the smoke continued to rise. It was a wilderness of naked chimneys and tottering walls. The old brick structures had burned out, leaving them standing empty shells — monuments to mark the footsteps of rebellion. A few negro women were scratching in the ashes, or guarding a few things of their masters saved from the conflagration. As our little steamer neared the wharf, an old woman thus occupied made violent motions for us to keep off, at the same time running toward us and shouting forth something which we made to mean: “De secesh ar comina.”

This is about the end of Hampton. One of the oldest, handsomest, and most aristocratic villages in the Old Dominion, it has been crushed utterly under the heel of rebellion, and nearly wiped out forever.

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 [489] others, Captain Sinclair fired his own home.

In the early part of the night, about 11 o'clock, a skirmish took place at the bridge, between a small detachment of our forces, composed of Capts. Young and Leftridge's companies, and a German regiment on the other side. The firing continued for about half an hour, the night being as dark as pitch, and only illumined by the flashes of the musketry. Our men were instructed to fire below the flashes of the enemy's guns, and the screams of his wounded told of the execution of our shots. Our men were uninjured, one receiving a bullet through his blanket, and another being grazed on the cheek by a musket ball.

A member of the expedition that fired the town relates evidences of some of the foulest desecrations of these houses and homes of our Virginia people by their former Yankee occupants. In many cases, the parlors of the houses were allotted to the filthiest uses of nature, while the walls of the rooms were garnished by the obscenest expressions and the vilest caricatures. We have been shown a number of caricatured letter envelopes of the Yankee soldiers, which were gathered as trophies. One is of an American eagle bearing aloft “Jeff. Davis” by the most available portion of his pantaloons. Another is of “Uncle Sam's Bantam,” threatening to “crow while he lives,” to which there is an addendum in pencil, “crows where no one can hear him, and very hard to find.”

The fortifications of Hampton, erected by Butler's troops, and left standing, are described as of the most complete kind, and as extending entirely across the town. A ditch 18 feet deep, with rampart and embrasures for the heaviest cannon, with other works of defence, had been constructed.

Newport News has not been evacuated. It continues in the possession of the enemy, who is about 4,000 strong. The defences are said to be complete, the only approach to the place being commanded by nine columbiads. The present force of the enemy at Old Point is estimated at 6,000.

Gen. Magruder was erecting strong fortifications at Bethel, 250 men being daily employed on the works.

It was supposed that a man of the name of Paschal Latimer had perished in one of the burnt houses of Hampton. There was no other casualty known to have occurred.--Richmond Examiner, Aug. 12.

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