Virginia Mourning Her Dead. 235
back into West Virginia to save your army.' 'If Hunter can- not get to Gordonsville and Charlottesville, to cut the railroads, he should make all the valleys south of the Baltimore and Ohio Road a desert as high up as possible. I do not mean that houses should be burned, but every particle of provisions and stock should be removed and the people notified to move out.' He further says 'that he wants your troops to eat out Virginia clear and clean as far as they can, so that crows flying over it for the balance of the season will have to carry their provender with them.'
H. \Y. Halleck, Major-General and Chief of Staff."
On the day of the date of this letter, Major-General Hunter issued Special Order Xo. 128, from his headquarters, by which he directed "Captain F. G. Martindale, 1st New York Cavalry, to burn the dwelling house of Andrew Hunter, of Charleston, with all the outbuildings, not permitting anything to be taken therefrom except the family" ; and by the same orders directed the same officer to burn the dwelling house and outbuildings of Charles James Faulkner, of Martinsburgh. The house of Mr. Hunter, with all its contents, was burned under this order, and General Hunter, in his report of August 12th, says: "On the 12th I burned also the Virginia Military Institute and all the buildings connected with it" ; and also he burned the dwelling house of Governor John Letcher, of Lexington.
Here, then, it appears that the wanton and cruel destruction of private property was not the act of irresponsible marauders, but was in pursuance of explicit orders from the General com- manding the armies of the United States, who declared it to be his purpose to convert the Valleys of Virginia into "deserts" ; to strip them of provisions and stock, and to make all the people living there "move out." Did any alternative remain to placing the Cadets in the field, with their arms in their hands, to defend themselves ? Their mothers and sisters were fugitives ; their homes in the Valley were stripped and tenantless. Pillars of smoke by day and of fire by night marked the advance of the invading armies. Xone doubt now, not even her whose only son gave up his life in that charge of the Cadets at Xew Market,