Letters From The Civil War
The poor old lady

Last update
Jul 13, 2005

Richmond Daily Dispatch
Sept. 25, 1861

The Poor Old Lady at Manassas
One of the correspondents of the Daily gives the following account of the poor old lady who was killed in her house amid the [   ] of the contending armies at Manassas.

There, near the spot where the last desperate struggle was made, is the house of Mrs. Henry, the central point in the field of the combat. We participated in the natural curiosity of all who visited the spot. It was the scene of one of the most interesting incidents of the battle, which is doubtless familiar to all your readers.

Here had lived for a half century an old woman who had been long crippled by age, and was now bed-ridden; she was attended by a son and daughter, both quite old and infirm. Remaining quietly in this house, in the midst of the conflict around them, the red wave of the battle at last swept around the house, where, under its cover, the guns were loaded and then run out to be fired at our troops, formed at a distance of two or three hundred yards in front.

Some kindly person notified the son of the danger of remaining in the house, and made a vain effort to induce his mother to consent to a removal into an adjacent hollow; but she declined, saying that it was time enough for her to die. The son and daughter, therefore, left her, and placed themselves in a safe place. The batteries then opened with great fury upon the old house, riddling it from top to bottom.

When the combat was over, the old woman was found quite dead, and dreadfully mutilated. Several balls had struck her, and a cupboard which was doubtless as old as herself, had fallen upon and crushed her. When the house was entered by our troops, after the repulse of the enemy, the old man was found sitting by the mangled remains of his mother.