August 6, 1864
From Northern accounts we learn that Early has thrown a body of men over the Potomac, who advanced rapidly across the State of Maryland into Penn, appeared suddenly before Chambersburg, & demanded $500,000, threatening if their demand was refused to burn the town instantly. During the conference, however, on the subject the town was fired in several places & reduced almost to ashes, the rebels retiring no one knows where, but Averill the ubiquotous followed, “whipped them handsomly,” when they retreated across the Potomac. Nothing from Early himself, so we take the liberty of doubting all the latter part of the Yankee news. Their own newspapers cannot heartily condemn the act, say that it was in retaliation for outrages committed by their army at the South & clamour loudly that the war be henceforth conducted on the principles of enlightened Christianity & civilization. They say that a large body of the Northern people condemned the barbarity of burning Alexandria, La, Washington, N C, Bluffton S C, & many other places, but the act having been committed at such a distance from them they did not feel the enormity of it — as they now do — when brought to their own doors. What unblushing impudence! I am glad that Mr Davis has at last brought these followers of the Golden Rule to a realing sense of its importance.
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html