Historian Jim Surkamp To Read Accounts of the Burning of Fountain Rock
The Shepherdstown Community Club will host a potluck supper from to to 2-5 PM at the pavilion of Morgan’s Grove park on Route 480 that will feature historian Jim Surkamp reading from eyewitness diaries the burning of the home of the Boteler family, Fountain Rock, that stood precisely where the pavilion stands today.
“It will be very powerful to be placed - 184 years later - and feel the conflagration rising in your imagination all around you. The significance of this and two other homes burning in July, 1864 by a “rogue” order by then-relieved Union General David Hunter was that 1.) Confederate General Jubal Early got his own copy of a letter from Henrietta Bedinger Lee to Gen. Hunter, whose nearby home was burned, excoriating in famous terms; 2.) Early went to Chambersburg, PA and demanded some $200,000 in gold to pay for the burnings. The town thought it a bluff and Early burned some five hundred structures to the ground. 3.) Lincoln upon seeing this and the fearful alarm it caused in the upper South around Washington, D.C. was persuaded to put Gen. Phil Sheridan in charge of an unrelenting campaign to drive Early out of the Valley. 4.) THIS success just before the incredibly fateful Presidential election in November, 1864 - really clinched Lincoln’s re-election. His opponent would have negotiated a separation and end of war, but not slavery in the seceded states. The Civil War ended months later.”