Friday, August 16, 2013

150 years ago in P.A. County, VA.


On this day in the history of Princess Anne County, Virginia, Union Commanding Brigadier General Henry M. Naglee, commander of the occupying Yankee forces in the area, sends a letter to the leading citizens of Princess Anne County urging them to put a halt to the Guerrilla activity in and around the vicinity of Princess Anne County or suffer the consequences. This after Naglee receives the following orders from the U.S. Provost Marshals office in Washington DC.

U.S. Provost Marshals policies on the arrest and killing of prisoners hostile towards the U.S. Government. This was a standard format that was sent out to all Provost Marshals in Union occupied Southern territory's, and all they would have to do is fill in the persons name that was to be arrested, and or killed. The policy read as follows.

"You will proceed to the residences of the persons herein named and deal with them in accordance with the following instructions. In all cases where the residences of the persons are ordered to be destroyed you will observe the following previous to setting them on fire. you will first search their houses and premises to see if they have any articles belonging to the U.S. Government or that are contraband of war, which you will bring away in case any are found. Also all or any of the following articles that  may be found belonging to aforesaid persons".

FIRST, All horses, hogs, sheep, cattle, and any other animals or articles of whatever description that may be valuable to the U.S Government especially that are valuable to the Quartermaster, Commissary and Hospital Department.
SECOND, All stoves and stove pipes of whatever description and all kitchen utensils, Queens (silver) ware, beds, bedding, knives, forks, & etc. also all chairs, sofas, sociable lounges and everything of the character of household furniture.
THIRD, All windows, sash, glass, looking glasses, carpets, & etc.
FOURTH, Every article of household furniture which you do not bring with you must be destroyed or burned with the house.
FIFTH, All barns, stables, smokehouses, or any other outbuildings of any description whatsoever or any building or article that could possible be of any benefit or comfort to Rebels or Bushwhackers, their friends or any person aiding, abetting or sympathizing with Rebels, Bushwhackers & etc. which could be used for subsistence for man or beast will be destroyed or burned.
SIXTH, All animals, forage or other articles brought in by you will be turned over to the AAQM (Acting Army Quartermaster) on this staff to be subject to the order of the General commanding to be disposed od as he may think proper, taking a receipt therefore from the AAQM.
SEVENTH, The wagon train accompanying will be subject to your orders, together with all the persons connected with it, whether civilians or soldiers and you will cause any of them who may be guilty of committing depredations upon Loyal citizens or their property to be arrested and you will not yourself or suffer those under your command to commit any trespass, or do any damage to persons or property except those specified in this order.
EIGHTH, You will burn the houses of the following named persons, take any of the articles named above that they may have, together with all forage and grain belonging to them that you can bring away which may be useful to the U.S Government for military purposes or otherwise and will give no receipt of any kind whatsoever.
NINTH, The following persons will be shot in addition to suffering in the manner prescribed in paragraph # 8.
TENTH, The following persons have committed murder and if caught will be hung to the first tree in front of their door and be allowed to hang there for an indefinite period. You will satisfy yourself that they are dead before leaving them. Also, their residences will be stripped of everything as per the above instructions and then burned.

Paragraphs 8, 9, and 10 had blank spaces following them in which the local Provost Marshal could insert the names of those who were to be robbed, burned, and killed. The letter from Naglee to the leading citizens of Princess Anne County reads as follows;

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, July 28, 1863.
Messenger, John Barnard, John Ackiss, James E. Bell, Malachi Moore, Clayton B. Ackiss, William L. Sanderson, John J. Burroughs, John Sanderson, Henry M. Woodhouse, John L. Cox, John Thomas Woodhouse, William O. Mercer, John Morgan, and others of Norfolk, Princess Anne, and Currituck Counties. Gentlemen, before entering on any hostile or severe measures, let us endeavor to avoid them; and with this spirit I would propose a friendly and reasonable understanding for the consideration of all persons living between Drummond Lake and the Ocean, South of Hampton Roads. I propose that as long as there is no necessity for any active legitimate warfare within the above limits, that there shall be cessation and removal of all disturbing and irregular warfare, and especially as no possible good can result or can be expected from the continuance of a course of conduct which falls entirely and mostly heavily upon the non-combatants on both sides, and which you can control. I would further propose, that with an understanding as above suggested, the people within the district above indicated will be permitted to sell their produce in Norfolk or Portsmouth, and purchase the necessary supplies for their families at the same places, it being expressly understood that no hostile act shall be committed against the Government of the United States, nor any attempt be made to carry information or supplies west of the line indicated. Requesting an early consideration of the above, I am yours respectfully, Henry M. Naglee, Brigadier-General Commanding.

The above letter was prompted by several recent skirmishes between Burroughs' Partisan Rangers and Yankee forces in and around the area of Princess Anne County.

Submitted by; Kenny Harris,
Historian & Author.