Martha Thornberry and Federal Prisoners

11 01 2023

An Incident of the Retreat. – The Richmond correspondence of the Columbia South Carolinian relates the following:

On the retreat, a tired Yankee stopped at a farm house and begged for water, Mrs. Thornton, the owner handed him a tumbler, pouring a little brandy into it, as he seemed very exhausted. As she offered it, he shrank back for a moment, but took it and drank it. She asked him why he did, and he replied, “to be candid with you, I feared you had put poison into it. She replied, “Sir, you do not know you are speaking to a Virginia lady; to be equally candid with you, you go no further.” She then called two of her servants and directed them to disarm him which they did. Another coming up for water, she made the servants treat him similarly, and this took two prisoners. A few minutes after another Yankee went to the spring, and a servant girl gave him water. He said, “Good-bye, girl;” when she said, “No, you must go to my mistress, and thank her, not me.” She marched him up, and as she got near the party, cried out, “Mistress, here is my prisoner,” and this another was bagged, and the three guarded until a squad of cavalry came and marched them to headquarters.

An aid of Gen. Beauregard told us that he had just been over to thank the lady, in the General’s name. for her heroic conduct.

The Vicksburg (MS) Weekly Citizen, 9/2/1861

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