Part 1 (note - FOC - I have run this through the spell checker in FrontPage, which may have modernized some spelling)
REPORT Wm. Whaley Esq.
Dear Sir, - As chairman of the commission "appointed by the governor under a joint Resolution of the General Assembly of South Carolina, to ascertain the value of property on the seaboard which has fallen into the hands of the enemy lost or destroyed, either by the enemy or our own soldiers:" - every thing being now quiescent upon the coast, and no change, either for the better or worse, being likely soon to take place, I now proceed to make my report to you, as far as my individual property is concerned, agreeably to the Resolution.
I know of no better way of approximating - if not of getting at the real value of the property on Wadmalaw Island, S.C. of which I have become dispossessed by the War, than by referring to the estimate put upon it in the summer or autumn preceding the War, by the Officer appointed to take the United States Census. My negroes were then valued at $800 round. My plantation was by him estimated to be then worth at least $70,000, which was afterwards much improved and enhanced in value by the labor of field hands, in collecting and in the preparation of manures & in the improvement of fences, roads, bridges, & & By the almost continuous employment of from 8 to 10 first rate Mechanics in building, repairing and improving the dwelling house, the numerous out buildings, negro houses & including whitewashing, color washing and painting - to the number of about Sixty. The building and repairing of carts, - various kinds of machinery and of plantation tools, including blacksmith's and painter's work. And this process was actively going on, not only before but from and after the time of taking the Census, up to the memorable 18th of December 1861, when I was suddenly and unexpectedly warned off - virtually driven off by a message from Col. Branch, at 4 o'clock in the morning, - who was represented by the officer first, as being then on the retreat from Rockville, with his Regiment, and that he with his command were on their way to the Episcopal Church on John's Island, 12 miles from Rockville, - and then a mile in advance of my gate, leaving me, save one perhaps, the only white man on the Island. At 2 o'clock the previous afternoon I visited Col Branch at his encampment at Rockville. He told me that no enemy was near - none was expected - and that nothing was to be apprehended. That I was going on very well with my packing and sending off my goods and chattles; - to continue to do so, - and that I had a plenty of time for all necessary purposes. Judge of my surprise - to be awaked from a sound sleep at 4 o'clock in the morning by an officer sent by Col. Branch, informing me that "two great four masted steamers were coming directly up the Bohicket River to my landing; - and that one or more gun-boats were ascending the Wadmalaw - sound upon the other side of the Island; - and that I must get up and be off - and remove my negroes as best I could.
I did get up, - sent for my three Frivers - my Coachman, my Butler, some of my most faithful and trustworthy house servants, my Cockswain and several of my most trust mechanics. All of whom were informed of the purport of Col. Branch's message, and directed to prepare to get off according to previous arrangements in case of such an emergency. All indicated a cheerful compliance, - leaving, however, I am constrained to say, from previous symptoms, some doubt of thier loyalty - and of their faithfulness in the execution of orders.
My horses and carriage were ordered to be got ready. My gig and horse - also my plantation horses mules and carts, - and my boats were all ordered to be got ready for the exodus which was to follow.
Having made all the specific arrangements which the occasion required; about three hours after the notice was given, I stepped into my carriage, taking with me one servant only - and as many small articles (including gems, swords, pistols &) as I could conveniently carry and drove off. My long tired and devoted servant James, (the Doctor so called,) was directed to follow me in a few hours, or as soon as convenient in a gig, and to take with him a lame female house servant (seamstress) if practicable. Other servants in the carts were directed to follow him, - whilst a certain number of oarsmen were directed to proceed up the Bohicket river, in the boats, with as many women and children as they could carry. The rest, except a few old and infirm people, together with two pregnant women and their families, nurses & - were to proceed on foot to the Church bridge, by a short rute, where I would endeavor to procure some assistance from the Military in getting them on to Stono- Ferry. There my own boats were expected to ferry them across the river to Mr. Barker's place in St. Andrew's Parish, where arrangements had been previously made for their reception, - and where my son-in-law Mrs. Osma Bailey had temporarily removed his people.
At the Church, where the Military had halted, I had an interview with Col. Branch, the commanding officer, to whom I made application for assistance in getting off my negros. He replied, "that he would furnish none" - for said he, "It is as much as we can do to take care of ourselves." He had already destroyed Bugby bridge, and threatened to destroy the Church bridge, and I feared he would do so before I could get those of my people across, who were on foot. I requested him to secure and to protect my boats in the neighboring marsh, whence my people would walk to the ferry, *- as they were essential to me, not only in getting the negroes off - but in the removal of my goods and chattles. He said "he could not think of (attend to) such things," and declined any assistance whatever. As the government wagons, loaded with tents, camp equipage, stores & were pushing on for the ferry, I was advised to hasten on, lest I should not be able to get across without much delay, if at all, they having precedence.
(*provided that it shoud be deemed unsafe for them to continue on by water down the Church Creek)
I arrived in Charleston in the course of that day, together with a few of my servants, - and a number of others arrived at Mr. Barker's place that evening.
The details of all that transpired at Rose Bank would be to prulix(?) - and perhaps unnecessary for the objects of this report. Suffice it to say, that however taciturn, mysterious and peculiar my negroes may have appeared from their surroundings, - (for all negros then, and ever since, have appeared to me to be a little crazy, from the reports which they from time to time obtained of the progress of the War, the booming of cannon, which they so frequently heard, and from being employed as mine and many others were, in building forts;-) nevertheless, I very much doubt whether any of mine intended to abscond up to the time I left Rose Bank, and some of them not until long after. They were tampered with by our officers and soldiers. Some of the officers and soldiers came to my plantation at night in disguise; - representing themselves as their friends from the U. S. Fleet; - which my man James, (my coachmen, commonly called the Doctor, occupying the overseer's house,) "if he would not like to be free? Asked him to go with them to the fleet? Told him how well he would fare. That he would have a plenty to eat and drink and no work to do." To the questions James gave evasive answers, - and the conversation terminated by his being invited by the party "to meet them down at Bailey's Bridge, on the road to Rockville." It should be mentioned in this connection, however that the leader of the party, a Capt. Hayward, inquired of James "where his Master was?" Using the language, as he supposed of the Lincolnites, asking, "Where is the proprietor of this plantation?" On being told that he was not on the place, Capt. H's reply was, "that he lied, put a pistol to his breast and said, "he would shoot him if he did not tell him. To which James nobly answered, "that he might shoot him if he pleased, but that he would tell the truth, - his Master was not on the plantation." This was about 4 o'clock in the morning. I will not undertake to say what influence this conversation this invitation and this treatment had upon my people, nor to how many it was expressed; - but if we trace the natural connection between cause and effect, - what followed would seem to be the result of this interview.
At 8 o'clock the same morning, when my son G. R. W. (who went up from Charleston expressly to look after the negros,) was entertaining and giving breakfast to four of the officers in my house, and my servants were giving breakfast to about twenty of the soldiers in my kitchen, - my large fourteen oared boat slipped out from the boat house creek, loaded with my negros, - proceeded down the Bohicket River, and have never been certainly heard of since. They are supposed to be now at, or near, Hilton Head, if not carried away by the enemy.
Some time after this, hearing that Col. Branch contemplated destroying my boats setting fire to my forest and to my negro houses, I wrote to him remonstrating(?) against the measure, and at the same time inquiring of him as to the expediency and propriety of my visiting Rose Bank, - requesting him to use his power and influence, by some effort, to bring back my affrighted and abandoned negros. He wrote me in reply, "that he did not consider it safe for me to visit my plantation," - for the reason I suppose, that it is situated about half way between John's Island and Rockville; - there being then, neither troops nor inhabitants upon the Island. "That neither my age nor infirmity (being then unwell) would protect me from the enemy for one moment."
Soon after Col. DeTreville was ordered to the rescue, - and who with his Regiment, was encamped upon Wadmalaw Island.
I then wrote to him as to the propriety of my visiting my plantation. His reply was, to come if I wished to, - that there was nothing to apprehend. I stated in answer, that I should immediately do so; - and went up accordingly - and passed a week at Rose Bank. But, in such a dilapidated and reckless state as I found every thing - can hardly be imagined. The conduct of the most relentless foe, could scarcely exceed in wantonness the destruction of our own ruthless soldiery.
A portion of my negros who had been directed to remain, as before stated, did remain until about this time, but from the mal-treatment received at the hands of our soldiers - they too went off. They were not only robbed of their poultry, and whatever else they had which the rascals wanted, including a large quantity of bees, honey, - one dropsied old woman in particular - because she endeavored to conceal her fowls - instead of giving them up at their bidding. They not only carried off the negro's poultry, but stole all my beautiful variety of fancy poultry of every description; - my entire crop of peas, rice a part of my crop of corn, a portion of my crop of potatoes which the negros had not used before their departure - including the destruction (by opening the mounds) of a large and beautiful variety of choice seed potatoes which I had carefully put up.
Of cattle, exclusive of what the government took, and accounted for, sixty head, which the officers in command from time to time would not allow me to drive off; (for I sent butchers there three time for them, - some of whom were willing to pay a very high price;) these 60 head were represented to be captured by individual or small squads of soldiers, (taken out at the back door, as it was called,) or strayed away, and were to me lost. Also, a fine mare and a jack. A large quantity of rough fodder was either taken away or wasted. Two of my thoroughly built horse carts were carried off, and never heard of since. One heavily iron bound ox-cart was thrown into the river, and two other vehicles carried off, together with saddles, bridles and quantity of harness.
Such of my agricultural implements as they took a fancy to, or such as could be easily removed, were purloined, including not only spades, exes, hoes, shovel, pick aces, whip and cross-cut saws, a variety of chains & but three plantation pumps with their leaden pipes. My blacksmith's and carpenter's shops(?), besides being themselves more or less torn to pieces, were robbed of all their extensive and complete variety of tools. My wier and other fences were very much broken to pieces - and all my out buildings more or less injured; my cotton gins ejected, (frame but to pieces and thrown out,) to make room for the accommodation of cavalry horses, - a purpose, to which the gin-house, the cotton house, the cotton arbors and several other buildings, besides the stables, were made subservient - for the convenience of about 100 government horses. Two bales of cotton, ginned and cleaned for market, were distributed among the soldiers for beds, who were so unceremoniously quartered upon my premises and occupying my house. Besides the buildings and the fences which were so much injured the fruit trees in the orchard, the shrubs, and plants in the garden, the ornamental trees upon the lawn and along the avenues, to say nothing of the license taken with the forest, - did not escape more or less depredation.
And now for the house and furniture, - the office and its contents, - the store room - the dairy house and kitchen. All these were rifled of their contents; the eatables, of course, first, together with the jars, caes and other furniture which contained them. A large and beautiful variety of shells in a case, with suitable compartments prepared for them, were, most of them stolen,- the rest of them wantonly destroyed. + My anatomical preparations, of which I had a fine collection, - some of them rare and valuable specimens, were rudely exposed, - many of them destroyed - and all lost to me.
My office furniture and medicines - which were extensive, containing an unusual quantity and variety for individual and private use, - were many of them carried away in a wagon, by Col. Branch's Quartermaster's Sergeant, for the use of the Regiment, and only those paid for by the Purveyor which were not used, but nevertheless retained, - leaving but little to tempt the cupidity(?) of individual soldiers.
The greater part of my library of about 2000 volumes had been removed before the panic of the 18th of Dec. but that portion of it which was partly packed up, but not removed, became the prey of the soldiers. Many of the books were carried off - many of them destroyed, - and when I returned to Rose Bank, I found the whole house strewed with mutilated books, (such as the officers and soldiers had not carried off,) valuable pamphlets and papers, - trodden over the floors and mixed up with fragments of my beautiful stationary - most of which had been broken to pieces, including a case of about 200 casts of persons and things, (temples &) both ancient and modern - all trodden to dust and spit upon with tobacco spittle. Several large and valuable maps were carried off, which have never since been heard of. Very little of the house furniture had been removed prior to the 18th of Dec., and no means of transportation could be afterwards obtained, so that the soldiers had full opportunity for the exercise of their selfishness and their malevolence in carrying off or destroying whatever they pleased.
All that was portable, they took away, and the rest, when I last heard from the mansion, was in a dilapidated and broken state, among which were a large drawing room mirror - and a $600 upright English piano, rifled of its silk front & some of its wiers - keys broken & The wall of the house were much marred - and some of the doors broken off the hinges. Common soldiers as well as officers, having for a long time quartered there. Thus it appears, that from the demoralizing effects of War - were upon our own soldiery - (to say nothing of the enemy, who are said to have visited my plantation several times without committing any depredations-) the accumulations of a life time and of a long life too - have been destroyed in the course of a few weeks,- the people driven off - it is feared, irrecoverably gone - probably lost forever! -
The number of negros who left Rose Bank - their quiet peaceful and as far as I could perceive and judge, - their happy home, - for parts unknown, and for Masters untried, was one hundred and eighty-two. Of that number, two only have been taken and returned to me. Those were captured on neighboring plantation, and state that they have not been to the enemy - and never left with any intention of doing so. They seemed rejoiced to get back, - have behaved remarkably well since they returned, and now appear perfectly happy. They are, at present, employed upon the Greenville Rail Road.
Of the amount of the losses above referred to - independently of lands and negros, it is difficult to state with accuracy, - but, I think I should be justified in putting them down at twenty thousand dollars. The plantation with its appurtenances - now entirely lost to me but which may perhaps, hereafter be recovered, - should the war ultimately prove successful on our part; - regarding it as it was in its improved condition in the Autumn of 1861, might, I think, with propriety be down at $ 75,000 One hundred and eighty negros valued by the U.S. Assessor at $800 each, of whom there is little or not probability of recovering 144,000 Other loses as above state 20,000. $239,000
All which is respectfully submitted by
J. B. Whitridge, M. D.
September 10th 1862
· In addition to this fine comologrial(?) collection, there was also a tolerable minor ologiral collection, - and a great many curiosities which had been gathered together, during a series of years; - all abstracted by the soldiers, - either for their interest or amusement.
Book no 2 pg 14 - 36 -134
This statement to be returned to this office J. Russell Baker Clerk
At the time of the anticipated attack on Charleston - which resulted in the battle of Secessionville, JUne 11th, 1862, I requested my Factors, Messrs. O'Hear, Roper & Stoney, to send up to Greenville, (for safety) such negroes as I then had, remaining in Charleston. They did send up several, - but five very valuable house servants, who were employed in the city, made excuse that they were not ready - but would be ready the following Saturday, (three days after;) one of them who controlled the family (a washwoman) having, as she said, clothes on hand which she not complete sooner, - promised to report herself, in time for the RailRoad cars on Saturday evening. They have never been seen nor heard of, to my knowledge, since, - although due effort has been made to recover them, - so that, it is not now certainly known, whether they have followed their companions, and kinsfolk, - and gone to the enemy - or elsewhere, - or, are so secreted in Charleston, as to elude the vigilance of the Police Officers. These five absentees added to the other eighty, before reported, exclusive of the two who were captured, make the aggregate One Hundred and Eighty - five negros, now to be accounted for.
In addition to the above, it should be stated, that, besides the Fourteen oared cypress canoe boat referred to in the forgoing report, my negros absconded in two other valuable boats, (which I borrowed of my son-in-law, Mr. Osma Bailey) and the other, a fine eight oared cypress canoe boat, - neither of which, have since been heard of, - and are doubtless, with the negros, in the hands of the enemy. The fourteen and the eight oared boats had just been thoroughly repaired and painted, with each a new set of oars, to facilitate the escape of the negros from the adversary - in case of invasion, - instead of furnishing the means for so stupid an act as the abandonment of so many comforts and such a home, - for the untried scenes(?) to be passed through - and the treatment to be endured from a relentless foe. -
All which is respectfully submitted, by
J. B. Whitridge, M.D.
October 6th, 1863
Personally appeared before me Doctor J. B. Whitridge, who deposes and says, that, however difficult - and perhaps impossible it may be for him, a refugee - at this distance of time and place, to affix the precise value of every article referred to, and more especially those not named in the foregoing Report, - but, that the aggregate - according to the best of his judgement and belief, is just and true.
Sworn to and subscribed J. B. Whitridge
before me October 6th, 1863
T. Q. Donaldson
Personally appeared before me Mr. Osma Bailey, who deposes and says, that for many years his father-in-law Dr. J. B. Whitridge, while in the practice of his profession in the city of Charleston, was in the habit of employing Overseers upon his large estate, on Wadmalaw Island, S.C., but finding them, in general, inadequate to the duties required of them - and consequently unprofitable servants; - and when in 1846, he retired from the practice of his profession, he undertook the sole charge of his plantation himself, - and conducted the affairs of it, unaided, until the marriage of this deponent with his daughter in 1847. From that period, until the Autumn of 1861, this deponent has had the superintendence and control of the Doctor's plantation and negroes, every Summer and Autumn during the absence of teh owner and his family. Of course, no one except the proprietor, is so well acquainted with the conduct - internal arrangement - and property of the plantation, - and of the losses sustained, as this deponent, - no white person - remaining on the place during the long period of the Doctor's absence, - and Rose Bank (the name of the highly cultivated and beautiful place) being sufficiently near the deponents own plantation (called Oak Grove) to permit his giving the former all necessary attention.
Having carefully read the Report, he is prepared to confirm its statement - and believes the same to be just and true.
Sworn to and subscribed Osma Bailey
before me, October 6, 1863
T. Q. Donaldson
The State of South Carolina
Greenville District I T. Q. Donaldson a magistrate in and for the said District and state do hereby certify that Dr. J. B. Whitridge & Mr. Osma Bailey, who subscribed to the foregoing affidavits in my presence are reliable witnesses, and that full faith and credit is due to them as such -
Given under my hand and seal the 6th Day of October 1863
T. Q. Donaldson
The State of South Carolina
Greenville District I W. A. McDaniel Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions for Greenville District, in the state aforesaid, do hereby certify that T. Q. Donaldson Esq. before whom the preceding affidavits were made, as appears by his own handwriting attesting the same, was at the date thereof, a magistrate for the District aforesaid, who had been duly appointed and qualified and had signed the roll kept according to law in my office.
In Testimony which of I have here
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