James W. Hunnicutt.

The conspiracy unveiled online

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States in and for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


The author of this unpretending volume being a Southern
man by birth and education, by marriage and location, by
every sacred tie and interest, political, religious, social, and
domestic, which makes life desirable, but, by force of cir-
cumstances, driven from his home and all the endearing and
hallowed associations of life, and thrown into communities
in which all faces are strange and all eyes look with in-
difference on the heart-crushed refugee as he passes by in
sad, silent, and lonely meditation, and presuming under
circumstances so inauspicious to appear before his country-
men in the unenviable character of an author, it may be due
to himself, as well as to a virtuous, intelligent, and patriotic
public, to briefly give a few incidents connected with his
past life.

He was born in Pendleton district, South Carolina, on
the 16th day of October, 1814. His parents were pious and
respectable, and both his father and mother, James and
Nancy Hunnicutt, were natives of South Carolina.

In the month of February, 1834, he came as a student to
Randolph Macon College, Virginia, at which institution he
remained until the spring of 1836.

In the month of June, 1836, he married Miss Martha
Frances Smith, the only surviving daughter of Dr. Charles
Smith, deceased, of Lunenburg county, Virginia.

In the month of April, 1847, he moved to Fredericks-
burg, Virginia, and located in that city, in which he re-


mained a resident up to the 29th of August, 1862, at which
time the city was being evacuated by General Burnside.

On the 3d of April, 1850, his wife departed this life; and
a better woman and a more devoted Christian never lived nor
died. Her precious remains lie at rest in the Fredericks-
burg (Va.) Cemetery. She was the mother of six children:
three are in heaven, and three were living last June.

In the month of August, 1854, he married Miss Elvira
M. Samuel, of Fredericksburg, Va., his second and present
wife. She has no child.

On the 4th of December, 1848, he commenced the pub-
lication of the "Fredericksburg (Va.) Christian Banner,"
and was the editor and proprietor of that journal until the
9th of May, 1861, at which time, by force of circumstances
which he could not control, as the subsequent pages of this
work will explain, he suspended its publication, and re-
mained a quiet, but anxious, observer of passing events
until the 18th of April, 1862, at which time Fredericks-
burg was delivered over to the military authorities of the
United States Government by the civil authorities of that

On the 9th of May, 1862, he resumed the publication of
the "Christian Banner;" but, owing to the scarcity of
paper, and wanting other facilities, occasioned by the rebel-
lion against the Government of the United States, the
"Christian Banner," of necessity, was reduced to half its
original size. When he closed his office in May, 1861,
there was a small quantity of paper left on hand, which
served for the first issue in May, 1862. TKere being at
this time no facilities of transportation of goods by which
citizens could obtain them from the North, and being
unable to obtain white paper in Fredericksburg, he was
advised to continue its publication on brown paper, — which
he did.

Prior to the commencement of the publication of the


"Christian Banner" in 1848, he published several small
works, principally, however, of a religious and controversial
character, which, for the most part, were circulated in Vir-
ginia and the Southern States.

His prominent position before the public for the last
thirteen years of his life as the editor and proprietor of a
widely-circulating newspaper, and being a minister of the
gospel for more than thirty years, should, in his humble
opinion, entitle him to some share of public confidence,
although a stranger and a refugee in the midst of strangers.

In politics, he has always been a Constitutional Democrat,
according to the true political and etymological meaning of
that term. He is now an uncompromising Southern Union
man, which it is presumed no one will question after read-
ing the subsequent pages of this volume. He is no office-
seeker, — has never asked for, nor held, any office, either
under the Government of the United States, in any in-
dividual State, county, corporation, or neighborhood. His
highest aspirations are to serve his God and country and
advance the cause of true Christianity and promote the
happiness of his fellow-man. Prompted by a sense of duty,
which he feels that he owes to his God and country, his
wife and children, to his churches and to himself, has
induced the publication of this volume.

On Friday, the 29th of August, 1862, about five o'clock
p.m., a friend of the author came in full haste on horseback
to his house, to advise him to leave Fredericksburg without
a moment's delay, as the Confederate troops were supposed
to be rapidly advancing in great numbers and were nearly
in sight of the town. On receiving this intelligence, he
hastened to take leave of his wife, who, on taking the part-
ing hand, said, " Farewell, my dear husband; take care of
yourself, and I will pray constantly for you, and I will
pray to the good Lord to watch over you and to take care
of you. Farewell, farewell, my dear husband."


And with a spirit crushed to earth, and a heart over-
whelmed with grief, the author was driven out from his
house, his home, his wife, and from all that makes life de-
sirable on earth, to wander in solitude and sorrow among
strangers. And, to add to the poignancy of indescribable
grief which already preyed upon his deeply -throbbing heart,
he was insulted and treated with contempt by secessionists
as he left his house and walked through the streets to the
car-bridge across the Rappahannock River, over which he
had to pass. And thus, after having been watched, sus-
picioned, persecuted, proscribed, ostracized, and having his
very house eavesdropped by contemptible scoundrels and
damnable traitors for more than twelve long months, was
at last driven from his home, his wife, his all on earth,
amidst the taunts, indignities, and insults of the worthless,
the vile, the God-forsaken, and the hell-deserving.

On arriving at the head-quarters of General Burnside,
which were on the north side of the Rappahannock River,
as the author stood on the hill and looked over upon the
devoted city, as the sun threw back his golden hues on the
towering steeples, the tops of the beautiful houses, the lofty
hill-tops in the far distance, and the lovely valley of the
Rappahannock, and contrasted these with the awful gran-
deur of a mighty army with guns planted and all drawn
up in battle-array, skirting the hills and bank of the beau-
tiful Rappahannock River, as it laved the base of the hills
on which the army was stationed, — as he stood and viewed
the beautiful, sublime, but terrible melancholy scene before
him, thoughts of the past, the present, and the horrible
prospects of the future crowded his mind in such quick
succession, that, for the first time in his life, he felt in good
earnest as if he ■wanted to taste the sweets of death. His phi-
losophy wellnigh forsook him. And for what was all this?
Had he committed murder or larceny? Was he flying
from justice? No: nothing of the kind. What then?


Because of his undying devotion to his country, his detesta-
tion of secession, traitors, and treason. This reflection nerved
him to the resolve to meet the very worst issue that might
be forced upon him.

On Saturday night, the 30th of August, 1862, he arrived
in Washington City, where he remained, secluded from
nearly all society except his dear friends and fellow-suf-
ferers in tribulation, his fellow-refugees from Fredericks-
burg and its vicinity, of whom there were a goodly number,
until the 5th of November, 1862, at which time he left
Washington City, and on the night of the same day he
arrived with his little son, in the city of Philadelphia, Pa,,
where he has remained in peaceful retirement up to the
hour of writing this brief introductory sketch. To say less
than this, is hardly possible ; to say more than this, may be

In conclusion, the author would respectfully offer a few
brief remarks in relation to the present volume which is
now offered to the American people. In preparing this
work for the press, the author has labored under the most
unfavorable circumstances, as the intelligent reader may
readily allow when he is informed that every word in this
book has been written and copied by the author's own hand
since he has been a refugee. Having no documents to aid
him except the files of the "Christian Banner," he was
forced to copy every extract which is introduced into this
work. The deeply afflicting circumstances, also, under
which the author has labored while preparing this volume
for the press, will, no doubt, be taken into consideration by
the intelligent reader.

This book, as the reader will observe, is divided into two
parts. The first part contains sundry editorials which were
published in the "Christian Banner," beginning as far
back as the month of March, 1860, and continued until the
9th of May, 1861. From these editorials, and the matter



contained in the first part of this book, the reader will
learn some of the agencies, influences, intrigues, &c. &c.
which were used by the arch-traitors of this rebellion to
consummate their plot of damnable treason against the
Government of the United States. These editorials having
been published during the time of the great national ex-
citement, and in the very heart of the rebellion, entitle
them to more than ordinary consideration, as they were
written and published while the scenes were being acted
out, and, therefore, are certainly more accurate and correct
than if written simply from memory. From March, 1860,
to May, 1861, the eertainty of a dissolution of the Union,
in the event of certain contingencies, and the horrors of
secession, revolution, and civil war, were kept prominently
before the readers of the "Christian Banner," to deter
them from committing the suicidal act which the author
knew, if committed, would inevitably plunge the whole
country into ruin. Writing so repeatedly on the same sub-
jects — the Union, secession, the intrigues of politicians, the
certainty of a dissolution, and the horrors of civil war, &c.
&c. — of necessity causes a sameness of language and ideas
in some articles, which it is hoped by the author will be
excused by the patriotic and intelligent reader. During
the time these editorials were being published in the
"Banner," some said they would "lock them up, and keep
them," for the purpose in after-years "to prove the editor
a false prophet." Let them now do it.

The circumstances connected with this deep, dark, and
damnable conspiracy against the United States Government
are gradually unfolded to the mind of the reader, until he
reaches the culminating-point, the sacrifice of Virginia,
when the testimony becomes overwhelming, and every
doubt is irresistibly swept from the mind, however skeptical
that mind may be.

The second part of this work embraces all the leading


editorials of the "Christian Banner" during its publication
from the time of the occupancy of Fredericksburg by the
United States troops to the time of the evacuation of the
town by General Burnside in August, 1862. From these
editorials the reader will learn something of the condition
of affairs in and about Fredericksburg during the time that
that ill-fated city was held by the Federals.

There is one fact connected with this subject which is of
great and vital importance to the author, and one which
the intelligent reader cannot fail at once to appreciate. It is
the following. The editorials of the "Christian Banner"
before the war, and the editorials of the " Christian Banner"
since the war, which are published in this book, were pub-
lished in the same town, in the same office, by the same
hands, and circulated in the same community : if, there-
fore, the author had written falsely, every man, woman,
and child in that community could and would have risen
up and denounced his editorials as falsehoods and a base
imposition on the public. This fact alone is sufficient to
carry conviction to the mind of the intelligent reader as to
the truth and correctness of the statements of the author.
Moreover, the author hopes to be able to secure for this
work a large circulation among the people of the South,
believing as he does that the facts and truths contained in
it would be heartily endorsed by thousands of the Southern
people, if they could only throw off the iron yoke which
the arch-traitors of this diabolical conspiracy have forced
upon their necks. We join issue with the leaders in this
rebellion, and not with the people. The leaders forced the
war upon the people, and then have the unblushing impu-
dence to say, "It's the people's war;" "the people got it
up, and the people must fight it out." It is an infamous
libel upon the people. The people never wanted war; the
people never got it up: the accursed leaders got it up, and
make the people fight it out. Just as if a tyrant, with a


loaded pistol pointed at the head of his servant, says,
"Thrust your hand into the fire, or I'll blow your brains
out;" when in goes the hand; and when it is burned to a
crisp, the demon tyrant says, "You did it; it was your
own act; you have no one to blame but yourself." But we
must close these remarks.

That this unpretending volume may serve some humble
part in helping to put down this ungodly rebellion, and in
restoring peace, order, prosperity, and happiness to the
country; that the leaders in this rebellion may receive
punishment commensurate with their crimes ; that the
people who have been deceived by them and led into ruin
may see their error, renounce their leaders, and return to
their former loyalty to the Union ; that refugees everywhere
may be blessed of God and cared for by their fellow-citizens;
that their wives and children may be provided for and pro-
tected by Heaven from all harm ; that the time may speedily
come when the "Star-Spangled Banner" shall be thrown to
the breeze from the top of every Capitol and State- House
in the Union; that tyrants and despots may be crushed;
that liberty and freedom may triumph over slavery and
despotism ; that secession, with all its horrible train of
curses, may be eternally damned; that the Union may
continue "one and inseparable, now and forever;" that
God in mercy may overrule all things for the ultimate
good of the whole people ; that the reader may be blessed,
the country redeemed, and the world saved, — is the sincere
wish and constant prayer of the





Chapter I. — The Author's Devotion to the Union — Terrible Results
of a Dissolution foreshadowed — Editorial of March 8, 1860 13

Chapter II. — Signs of Dissolution — Charleston Convention — Se-
ceders jubilant — Corruption of Politicians, etc. etc 15

Chapter III. — Political Changes — The Author Democratic — War
Spirit, etc. etc 19

Chapter IV.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of June 28, 1860... 25

Chapter V.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of July 26, 1860 27

Chapter VI. — Fusion of Political Parties urged — If they do not,
they are reprehensible — Peaceable Secession impossible — Separa-
tion of the Democratic Party — Separation of the M. E. Church 30

Chapter VII. — The "Nigger!" "Nigger!" "Nigger!" — War-Cry
for Political Purposes — Politicians Great Knaves, etc. etc 37

Chapter VIII. — Terrible Revolution predicted — Fusion of Political
Parties urged — Why the Author attends Political Meetings — In-
fernal Plot of Treason — Are Wise, Smith, Seddon, etc., Traitors,
etc.? — Servile Insurrections predicted, etc. etc 42

Chapter IX. — The Election of Abraham Lincoln no Just Cause for
the Secession of any State, etc 58

Chapter X. — Political Parties in North Carolina — The State for the
Union — Certainty and Horrors of Civil War predicted, etc. etc 59

Chapter XL — The "Banner's" Fidelity to the South and the Union
— Importance of Preserving the Union, etc. etc 65

Chapter XII. — Shall the former Glories of a Nation's Greatness be
annihilated? — Dissolution of the Union cannot better the Con-
dition of the Country — Property depreciating — Confidence de-
stroyed, etc. etc 74

Chapter XIII. — Horrors of a Dissolution of the Union— South Caro-
lina passes an Ordinance of Secession — The Secessionists jubilant

— General Remarks, etc ■ 86




Chapter XIV. — Extract from " Christian Banner" of January 3,
1861 95

Chapter XV. — Extract from " Christian Banner" of January 10,
1861 100

Chapter XVI. — Extract from " Christian Banner" of January 24,
1861 105

Chapter XVII. — Extract from "Christian Banner" of January 31,
1861 115

Chapter XVIII. — There's Hope for the Union — Union Candidates
elected to the State Convention by a Large Majority — General
Remarks, etc. etc 140

Chapter XIX. — Extract from " Christian Banner" of February 14,
1861 145

Chapter XX. — Hope for the Union wanes — Jeff Davis's Speech in
Montgomery — General Remarks, etc. etc 151

Chapter XXI. — Secesh Caucus Cliques — Great Secesh Meeting and
Union Meeting in Fredericksburg — Imposition of Secesh Orators —
Secesh Remarks, etc. etc 163

Chapter XXII. — Extract from " Christian Banner" of March 21,
1861 178

Chapter XXIIL— Saint Paul and the Gospel, and the Rev. Dr.
George W. Carter and Secession — a Contrast 186

Chapter XXIV. — Extract from "Christian Banner" of March 28,
1861 203

Chapter XXV. — Extract from "Christian Banner" of March 28,
1861 213

Chapter XXVI.— Extract from "Christian Banner" of April 4, 1861. 216
Chapter XXVII. — Everybody in a Fog — Stampede — Raising Seces-
sion Flags— Petition of R. Thorn, Esq., for Post-Office— What
then ? — Let the North and South be heard — Secession Conven-
tion 233

Chapter XXVIII. — The Conspiracy Unveiled — Virginia Sacrificed. 241
Chapter XXIX. — Extract from " Christian Banner" of April 25,

1861 289

Chapter XXX. — The Last Editorials of the " Christian Banner" of

1861 — General and Closing Remarks 291




Chapter I. — Extract from "Christian Banner" of May 9, 1862 SOI

Chapter II.— "The Crisis on us" 303

Chapter III.— Heart-Rending Thought 306

Chapter IV. — Secession like the Devil 307

Chapter V. — Why dethrone Reason? 311

Chapter VI. — Reflections 312

Chapter VII. — A Word of Admonition to the Citizens of Fredericks-

hurg 314

Chapter VIII. — The Confederate Army leave Fredericksburg 316

Chapter IX. — Federal Troops take Possession of Fredericksburg.... 319
Chapter X. — Federal Troops landing on the Wharf of Fredericks-
burg „ ...„ ^ r ~.~. 320

Chapter XL— Extract from "Christian Banner" of May 17, 1862... 321

Chapter XII.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of May 27, 1862.. 332

Chapter XIII. —Extract from "Christian Banner" of May 27,1862. 339

Chapter XIV.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of May 27, ld62. 342
Chapter XV. — President Lincoln and Hon. E. M. Stanton visit

Fredericksburg 343

Chapter XVI.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of May 20, 1862. 344

Chapter XVIL— Extract from " Christian Banner" of May 31, 1862. 349
Chapter XVIII. — Extract from " Christian Banner" of June 7,

1862 351

Chapter XIX. — Colored Population of Fredericksburg 354

Chapter XX. — Extract from " Christian Banner" of June 14, 1862... 355

Chapter XXL — Then and Now 357

Chapter XXII. — The Great Battles near Richmond 360

Chapter XXIIL— Getting our Rights 361

Chapter XXIV. — God will prosper the Right , 362

Chapter XXV. — A New Era will dawn upon the Old Dominion 363

Chapter XXVI. — Extract from "Christian Banner" of June 18,

1862 363

Chapter XXVII. — Negro Stampede 369

Chapter XXVIIL— Ring-Leaders of Secession 370


Chapter XXIX.— Extract from "Christian Banner" of June 26,
1362 370

Chapter XXX. — Practical Secessionists 375

Chapter XXXL— Extract from "Christian Banner" of July 2,
1862 37 6

Chapter XXXII.— Won't Patronize You 383

Chapter XXXIIL— Extract from "Christian Banner" of July 5,
1S62 383

Chapter XXXIV.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of July 14,
1862 387

Chapter XXXV.— Secession 396

Chapter XXXVL— True to One's Own Section of Country 405

Chapter XXXVIL— Lying 406

Chapter XXXVIII.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of July 30,
1862 407

Chapter XXXIX.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of July 30,
1862 416

Chapter XL.— Extract from " Christian Banner" of July 30, 1862... 418

Chapter XLL — Privileges Abused.— Sundries 421

Chapter XLIL— Guerrilla Bands , 422

Chapter XLIII. — Examine the Logic 423

Chapter XLIV. — "Can't disgrace Ourselves and our Children by

taking the Oath of Allegiance" 424

Chapter XLV. — Fredericksburg Three Years ago, and Fredericks-
burg now 426

Chapter XLVI. — Virginians, Prepare for the Worst ! 427

Chapter XLVIL— Wonderful to Tell 430

Chapter XLVIII. — " I never expected it would come to this" 432

Chapter XLIX. — Respectability 435

Chapter L. — Poor Whites Loyal 436

Chapter LI. — The Union as it was.. 437

Chapter LII. — Order in Fredericksburg during the Time the Town

was occupied by our Troops ,. 439

Chapter LIII. — Slaves Seeking Freedom 444

Chapter LIV. — Union Element of the South 443



OF MARCH 8, 1860.


Of all the terribly wild and wicked infatuations that
has ever befallen any nation since the creation of man,
surely the most awfully reckless and ruinous has seized
the American people.

To dissolve the Union in thought is wicked, in
word it is treason, in act would be to damn «a nation
wholly. Dissolve the Union ! And then, what ? Then
may holy angels weep, and all the sainted patriots who
fell in freedom's cause on American soil veil their faces
at the departed glory of the happiest and most highly-
favored people to be found on the pages of the world's
great history ! Then may devils damned laugh at the
finished folly of man, and chant in fiendish anthems
the utter annihilation of the purest form of govern-
ment the world has ever known ! Dissolve the Union,
and civil war begins ; fire and sword, carnage, blood,
death, pestilence, and woe, like a fearful, desolating
avalanche from heaven, would sweep over " the land of

2 13


the free, and the home of the brave," involving all in

Online LibraryJames W. HunnicuttThe conspiracy unveiled → online text (page 1 of 31)