John Riddle Warner was the grandfather of the poet Marianne Moore and during the Civil War he lived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. George Eyster was his brother-in-law and lived in Chambersburg. These letters are preserved as part of Marianne Moore’s family papers.
Chambersburg May 28/62
In reply to your letter to Mary I would state that we have not been unduly excited. An earnest effort was made, to be sure, to raise troops in response to a call, and had the emergency continued, 500, or even more, could have been sent. Many of Banks’ retreating soldiers stopped not short of here; And numbers were turned back by policemen on request of the general by telegraph. A number of the Union citizens of Winchester are so joining here, whilst hundreds of negroes fleeing from the sacred soil have passed through. Of the latter quite a number have tarried. Many are women and are offering themselves as house-servants. Most seem to have fled from terror; few, inspired by the hope of freedom. The scene in Winchester on Sabbath morning is described as terrific. The atrocities of the rebels, perpetrated in the pursuit, as related to me by professed eye-witnesses, I forbear to relate, inasmuch as I cannot credit all. One will suffice: An Ohio soldier, belonging to Shield’s Division and left sick in the hospital at Strasburg when that officer was ordered to Fredericksburg, and also accompanied Banks Division in its flight, says he saw Wagons, belonging to Banks’ train, and containing sick and wounded soldiers, set fire to by the rebels after their capture, and consumed with their living freight!
Mother arrived a few minutes since. In regard to the inquiry you made on her behalf; I may say, in the language of the Newspaper correspondents: “All quiet along the Potomac.” Banks has been reinforced at Harpers Ferry with 20000 men, (True) and the rebels have ceased their pursuit, prudently looking to their rear
No newspaper office was disturbed here on Sabbath. The “Mail” office, in Hagerstown was robbed on that day.
Citation: George Eyster, autograph letter signed to John Riddle Warner. Chambersburg, Pa.; 28 May 1862. Moore VI:05:06