16 April 2009

Yankee Soldier Stole Book

A Union soldier stole a book from Washington College during David Hunter's raid of Lexington, Virgina in June of 1864. It's now been returned. (Not by the soldier, he's dead.)

A note the soldier inscribed in the book reads: "This book was taken from the Military Institute at Lexington Virginia in June 1864 when General Hunter was on his Lynchburg raid. The Institution was burned by the order of Gen. Hunter."

All fines have been waived. I'm a little confused by the story though as the soldier claims he stole it from the "Military Institute" but the article claims it was stolen from Washington College.

Story here.

(Now, if we could just get them to return all the family silver they stole.)

14 comments:

Justin said...

The fact that the soldier was Union clearly indicates the book was liberated, not stolen, as the federal forces had rightful jurisdiction.

By inscribing that the book was "taken" the descendants of the Union soldier are remembering the historical events inaccurately.

Despite the fact that most Confederates were illiterate they were in fact fighting, getting maimed, and dying, in order to keep possession of a book they otherwise would have no interest in.

And by using the word "stolen" you further perpetuate a false history. ;)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thank you Justin.

cenantua said...

Richard,

We know he took a book, but really, is the comment about taking silver necessary? I know you probably did it in fun, but really...

I'm tracing info on Gates right now. As most of the news reports indicate, he was a member of Co. E, 54th Pa. Infantry and he was relatively new to the regiment having only enlisted in April 1864. So, in all likelihood, he saw service at New Market and Piedmont. I just can't get my hands on the service record right now to find more details. He received a pension as an invalid Union veteran in years after the war and died in Nebraska in 1929.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert:

Yes, it was necessary as there is much truth in the comment, though it was said in jest. However, don't you think it would be a great thing if some of the family heirlooms and silver were returned to their rightful owners? Lighten up a little bit. Besides, that comment is mild compared to some of the snide, sarcastic South-bashing comments on Kevin's blog.

I'd be interested in what you find out on Gates. I had an ancestor wounded at Piedmont and then taken to Camp Morton.

cenantua said...

Richard,

Not meaning to go on and on about this, but let me clarify.

You said "Now, if we could just get them to return all of the family silver they stole."

I think this might be read two ways, depending on how someone would read it.

To me, the first thing that struck me was that it sounded like this is a carry-over from the story about directs and infers that his family should return the silver that they took. I could actually imagine how somebody might read this and ask, "Did Gates steal silver? Then most certainly, the family should return this as well."

cenantua said...

Speaking of Piedmont, have you figured out about where your ancestor was on the battlefield? Was he in the line near where Jones was killed or closer to the river on the left flank? What regiment was he with?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert:

No intent in suggesting that Mr. Gates stole any silver. His interest in thievery was apparently confined to a scholarly pursuit.

Grandpa Crutchfield served in the 60th Virginia Infantry, Company F. I have several articles on the Battle of Piedmont, but am not that familiar with movements, etc. so I'm not sure Robert.

cenantua said...

No different than the thievery of Confederate soldiers at places like Chambersburg, Pa. and Hancock, Md., I suppose.

I will look-up the information on the 60th to tell you where he was and what units he faced. Did his service record reveal which unit captured him?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Robert, I appreciate that. It may, I'll have to look in my regimental series on the 60th. I also have his prison records from Camp Morton. I'll check there too.

I dare say that the volume and relative % of thievery is weighted in the Federal's "favor", wouldn't you?

cenantua said...

I look forward to the Piedmont info. Piedmont is of interest to me, but for another reason. Two of my Union kin were there. Haven't seen that any of my Confederate kin were there, however.

Sure, you see it more documented in the South than in the North, and I think it only goes to show that "opportunity" was the leading issue in it all. For example, for their short stays in the North, some Confederates certainly took the chance to partake in the practices. I personally found it rather shocking considering the honor and integrity issue amongst Southerners and all that I had learned growing up. For that matter, I have several documents that show that they were quite liberal in their partaking of goods from Southern families as well. It didn't just happen in the late war either. Respect for property of the Southern brethren was not as great as we might think.

cenantua said...

By the way, what happened to my comment about Union soldiers being appalled over the conduct of some of their comrades in taking goods? Whether Union or Confederate soldiers, I find this same level of shock in soldiers from both sides. They witnessed comrades doing it, but all did not partake.

cenantua said...

The 60th Va was on the right flank of Jones' main line and was overwhelmed by Thornton's flank attack, pretty much while Confederate cavalry on the far right watched the flank attack develop and was prevented (and not by Union forces, by the way) from doing anything to curb that assault. Some reading about the ordeal with the inaction of the Confederate cavalry in that battle might be worth your time.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Robert! What source would you recommend?

cenantua said...

The Forgotten Fury by Patchan is the only complete work on the battle. However, our old friend of the Valley, JH, found problems with the book.