Tuesday, February 12, 2013


February 11, 1863

Sacking of Fredericksburg Va.

                                                                                          Camp Near Fredericksburg, Va.        
                                                                                         Jan. 1st, 1863.                                   
Hood's Texas Brigade took up a collect-
for the ravaged people of Fredricksburg
as seen in this letter from a soldier in the
Co. A, Bayou City Guards, 5th Texas Inf.
Above is General John Bell Hood.
(Library of Congress)

Editor of the Galveston News
                Sir: We have read of sacked towns, and have witnessed such scenes in Europe, but none have seen such destruction, vandalism, ruin and vindictiveness as that which was displayed in the sacking of Fredericksburg, Va.
                This old venerated town, bearing a world wide reputation for good order, good morals, and the high tone of its citizens was doomed to suffer the horrors of a devastation which I will endeavor to describe though satisfied that I shall be only capable of giving but an outline of all that happened at that eventful period.
                The enemy shelled the town all day Thursday, December 11th, and at night crossed his forces on pontoon bridges, and from that moment until Monday night 110,000 men had control of that defenceless town, without restraint or hindrance.
                Having a great curiosity to see what could be the damage done to Fredericksburg, I obtained permission to visit the town.  Leaving our camp to the right we reached the railroad and followed it to within one mile of Fredericksburg, turning to the left, we came upon the battle field on the left of our line where Jackson (or Stonewall) met the enemy with terrible slaughter, a description which you have ere this received.  Continuing down the main road we pass by houses whose chimneys had been knocked down by shells, walls by balls and ruins of burned houses which had set on fire by combustible fluids.
                We now come to the more thickly populated portion of the city, elegant mansions and those less pretending were entered by the ruffianly troops under Burnside—furniture is broken or thrown out of the windows—feather beds cut open and the feathers blown throughout the house, books, papers and records defaced, medicine chests, libraries and private writing desks rifled or broken, ladies clothing cut to pieces, mirrors smashed and in most instances the house entirely emptied of its former contents.
                We reach the business streets we find the store doors open and nothing on the shelves, the street's gutters being filled with the debris of a cities contents.  The fine building of the Bank of Va., was burnt to the ground, $30,000 stolen, and all its papers and correspondence laying scattered in the streets.  In conversation with one of the citizens I learned that at one time the Yankees were so huddled together after the first repulse that they could not find room to lie down.
                That there were not less than one hundred hospitals in the city, including the churches—which to the disgrace of the 19th century had been riddled the day previous with shells, even to destroying the steeples.
                I enclose an extract from the New York Tribune upon the subject, which places the wicked scenes upon history, so that Europe may read from the abolition oracle itself how totally bereft of principle and honor is that army which has so often shouted the strain "On to Richmond."
                Gen. Lee's army fully commiserating the sufferings of the people has raised a subscription list for their benefit, and I have the pleasure to announce that the Texas Brigade comprising the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 3d Arkansas have contributed the munificent amount of $5,930.  I see by the papers that amounts are being contributed throughout the Confederacy for this devoted city.  May we not hope that the Lone Star State which so far has been but little disturbed by the calamities of war, will of her plenty, give much to her impoverished sisters, the ladies of Fredericksburg.
 Yours respectfully,
 Arthur H. Edey,
Co. A, 5th Texas Volunteers. 

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