To conclude, I feel wounded in my heart as a bishop in witnessing such incomprehension of the Church’s definitive teaching on the part of my brother priests.
I cannot allow myself to imagine as the cause of such confusion anything but the insufficiency of the formation of my confreres. And insofar as I am responsible for the discipline of the sacraments in the whole Latin Church, I am bound in conscience to recall that Christ has reestablished the Creator’s original plan of a monogamous, indissoluble marriage ordered to the good of the spouses, as also to the generation and education of children. He has also elevated marriage between baptized persons to the rank of a sacrament, signifying God’s covenant with his people, just like the Eucharist.
In spite of this, there also exists a marriage that the Church calls “legitimate.” The sacred dimension of this “natural” dimension makes it an element awaiting the sacrament, on the condition that it respect heterosexuality and the parity of the two spouses when it comes to their specific rights and duties, and that the consent not exclude monogamy, indissolubility, permanence, and openness to life.
Conversely, the Church stigmatizes the deformations introduced into human love: homosexuality, polygamy, chauvinism, free love, divorce, contraception, etc. In any case, it never condemns persons. But it does not leave them in their sin. Like its Master, it has the courage and the charity to say to them: go and from now on sin no more.
The Church does not only welcome with mercy, respect, and delicacy. It firmly invites to conversion. As its follower, I promote mercy for sinners – which all of us are – but also firmness toward sins incompatible with the love for God that is professed with sacramental communion. What is this if not the imitation of the attitude of the Son of God who addresses the adulterous woman: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and from now on sin no more” (Jn 8:11)?
Robert Cardinal Sarah, L’Homme Nouveau, 21 November 2015.
Ut commentata reiicienda sunt folia, et libelli, in quibus promittitur fidelibus unam alteramve precem recitantibus liberatio unius vel plurium animarum a Purgatorio: et Indulgentiae quae dictae promissioni adiici solent ut apocryphae habendae sunt.
AAS 32, Decretum de regulis seu normis ad dignoscendas veras Indulgentias ab apocryphis ex S. C. Indulgentiarum (10 Aug. 1899), Regula viii.
Sept. 2  — Pass down to Groveton, where fearful fighting was done last week, August 28, 29 and 30. Horrid scenes! Many dead Federals still on the field, though a squad of their men, under flag of truce, has been some days caring for wounded and burying dead.
I found a wounded Federal sitting on the field – a broken thigh, a rifle ball through his arm and a bruised shoulder made him right helpless. His undressed wounds were sore. He asked me if I thought our surgeons would care for him. I assurred him they would. He said he had a wife and two little children in his northern home. His parents were pious and had raised him piously, but he had neglected his own soul. I said: “Brother, Jesus loves you. You came down here to kill my brothers, but I love you.” He broke down and sobbed aloud: “You don’t talk like one man that came here. He upbraided me.” He told me our men had been very good to him during the three or four days he had been there. As one hurried by he would give him water and food, and raise him up to rest certain tired muscles. Another would stop to give him more food and water and lay him down.
They had just taken the last Confederate wounded from that part of the field. He was on the surgeon’s table a few yards away. I trust this Federal was soon taken to that table. As I was about to hurry away to overtake my regiment he asked me to lay him down! How could I? Where could I take hold? I did the best I could. As I took him by the hand and commended him to God, I think my heart was as tender as it ever was. His bones may be in that field now. I hope to meet his soul in Heaven in a few years. Hurry on ten miles and overtake our regiment. Sleep cold and take cold. Frost next morning.
Alexander Davis Betts, D.D., Experience of a Confederate Chaplain 1861-1864.
West point and secession.
By General D. H. Maury.
I wish I could have seen Dr. Curry before he sent his letter vindicating General Lee from breach of faith in returning to his natural allegiance to Virginia when that State withdrew from the Federal Union; I would have given him some facts which were very strangely unknown to our people, and were always ignored by our enemies.
When Mr. Calhoun was Secretary of War, in 1822, I believe, he caused a text-book to be introduced into the course of studies at West Point, known as Rawle on the constitution. This Rawle was a Northern lawyer of great ability, one of the very few who seem to have understood the true nature of the terms and conditions of the compact between the States constituting the Federal Union. His work–Commentaries on the constitution of the United States–breathes the very essence of States’-rights, and the right of secession is distinctly set forth by him. When we remember that only seven years had then elapsed since New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and, perhaps, other Northern States asserted this right, and threatened to exercise it or make dishonorable terms of peace with Great Britain unless the war was stopped, we can understand that Mr. Calhoun was not violating Northern sentiment in introducing Rawle on the Constitution at West Point. It there remained as a text-book till 1861, and Mr. Davis and Sidney Johnston, and General Joe Johnston and General Lee, and all the rest of us who retired with Virginia from the Federal Union, were not only obeying the plain instincts of our nature and dictates of duty, but we were obeying the very inculcations we had received in the National School. It is not probable that any of us ever read the constitution or any exposition of it except this work of Rawle, which we studied in our graduating year at West Point. I know I did not.
I am told that in 1861 the text-book was changed and the cadets are now taught out of a treatise on the constitution which teaches that secession is a crime.
And if any one of the present generation should resign on the secession of his native State, he will be in danger of being lawfully hanged.
Dabney H. Maury.
Richmond, VA. 1878.
The authorities of Washington College having tendered to Mrs. Lee the college chapel as a burial-place for General Lee, the offer was accepted; and 1 1/2 o’clock P. M. on the 14th of October was the time fixed on for the removal of the remains from the residence of the deceased to the chapel, where they were to lie in state until Saturday, the 15th of October, the day appointed for the burial. At the hour named, the procession to convey the body was formed under the charge of Professor J. J. White as chief-marshal, aided by assistants appointed by the students. The escort of honor consisted of Confederate soldiers, marshaled by the Hon. J. K. Edmondson, late colonel of the Twenty-seventh Virginia Regiment. Following the escort came the hearse, preceded by the clergy, and attended by twelve pall-bearers, representing the trustees, Faculty, and students of Washington College, the authorities of the Virginia Military Institute, the soldiers of the Confederate army, and the citizens of Lexington. Just in the rear of the hearse, Traveler [sic], the noble white war-horse of General Lee, with saddle and bridle covered with crape, was led by two old soldiers. Then came in order the long procession composed of the college authorities and students, the corps of cadets with their Faculty, and the citizens. The body was borne to the college chapel, and laid in state on the dais; the procession passing slowly by, that each one might look upon the face of the dead. The body, attired in a simple suit of black, lay in a metallic coffin, strewed by pious hands with flowers and evergreens. The chapel, with the care of the remains, was then placed in charge of the guard of honor, appointed by the students from their own number. This guard kept watch by the coffin until the interment, and gave to all who desired it the opportunity of looking once more upon the loved and honored face.
On Friday morning, October 14th, the college chapel was filled at nine o’clock with a solemn congregation of students and citizens, all of whom seemed deeply moved by the simple exercises. Rev. Dr. Pendleton read from Psalm xxxvii. 8-11 and 28-40, and with deep feeling applied its lessons to the audience, as illustrated in the life and death of General Lee. The speaker had for forty-five years been intimately associated with this great and good man as fellow-student, comrade-in-arms, and pastor; and testified to his singular and consistent rectitude, dignity, and excellence under all the circumstances of life, and to that meekness in him that under the most trying adversity knew not envy, anger, or complaint. ‘The law of God was in his heart,’ therefore did ‘none of his steps slide.’ ‘Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.’ The minister powerfully illustrated the text of his discourse in the career of this great and good man, and urged his hearers to profit by the example of this servant of the Lord.
The venerable Dr. White, Stonewall Jackson’s pastor, and the Rev. John William Jones, of the Baptist Church, who had served as chaplain in the Confederate army, and had since been intimately connected with General Lee, followed with brief but interesting remarks on the Christian character of the deceased.
On the 14th of October, General W. H. F. Lee, Captain Robert E. Lee, and other members of the family, arrived; and on this and the following day delegations from the Legislature of Virginia and from various places in the Commonwealth reached Lexington over roads almost impassable from the ravages of the recent great flood. The flag of Virginia, draped in mourning, hung at half-mast above the college, badges of sorrow were everywhere visible, and a general gloom rested on the hearts of old and young.
Saturday, October 15th, was the day appointed for the funeral. A cloudless sky and a pure, bracing air made a suitable close to the splendid and unsullied career of the man who was now to be consigned to the tomb. It was desired to avoid all mere pageantry and display, and that all the honors paid should accord with the simple dignity of the dead. This spirit prevailed in all the proceedings, and gave character to the ceremonies of the day.
It was thought proper that those who had followed his flag should lay the honored body of their chief in its last resting-place, and the escort of honor of Confederate soldiers, much augmented in numbers, and commanded by General B. T. Johnson, assisted by Colonel Edmondson, Colonel Maury, and Major Dorman, was assigned the post of honor in the procession.
The following account of the ceremonies is taken from a newspaper letter, written at the time, by Rev. J. Win. Jones:
‘The order of the procession was as follows:
Escort of Honor, consisting of Officers and Soldiers of the Confederate Army.
Chaplain and other Clergy.
Hearse and Pall-Bearers.
General Lee’s Horse.
The Attending Physicians.
Trustees and Faculty of Washington College.
Dignitaries of the State of Virginia.
Visitors and Faculty of Virginia Military Institute.
Other Representative Bodies and Distinguished Visitors.
Alumni of Washington College.
Cadets Virginia Military Institute.
Students Washington College as Guard of Honor.
‘At ten o’clock precisely the procession was formed on the college-grounds in front of the president’s house, and moved down Washington Street, up Jefferson Street to the Franklin Hall, thence to Main Street, where it was joined, in front of the hotel, by the representatives of the State of Virginia and other representative bodies in their order, and by the organized body of the citizens in front of the courthouse.
‘The procession then moved by the street to the Virginia Military Institute, where it was joined by the visitors, Faculty, and cadets of the Institute, in their respective places. The procession was closed by the students of Washington College as a guard of honor, and then moved up through the Institute and college grounds to the chapel.
‘The procession was halted in front of the chapel, when the cadets of the Institute and the students of Washington College were marched through the college chapel past the remains, and were afterward drawn up in two bodies on the south side of the chapel. The remainder of the procession then proceeded into the chapel and were seated under the direction of the marshals. The gallery and side blocks were reserved for ladies.
‘As the procession moved off, to a solemn dirge by the Institute band, the bells of the town began to toll, and the Institute battery fired minute-guns, which were kept up during the whole exercises.
‘In front of the National Hotel the procession was joined by the committee of the Legislature, consisting of Colonel W. H. Taylor, Colonel E. Pendleton, W. L. Riddick, Major Kelley, Geo. Walker, Z. Turner, H. Bowen, T. O. Jackson, and Marshall Hanger; the delegation from the city of Staunton, headed by Colonel Bolivar Christian and other prominent citizens; and such other delegations as had been able to stem the torrents which the great freshet had made of even the smaller streams.
‘It was remarked that the different classes who joined in the procession mingled into each other, and that among the Boards of the College and Institute, the Faculties, the students and cadets, the legislative committee, the delegations, and even the clergy, were many who might with equal propriety have joined the soldier guard of honor; for they, too, had followed the standard of Lee in the days that tried men’s souls.
‘Along the streets the buildings were all appropriately draped, and crowds gathered on the corners and in the balconies to see the procession pass. Not a flag floated above the procession, and nothing was seen that looked like an attempt at display. The old soldiers wore their ordinary citizens’ dress, with a simple black ribbon in the lappel of their coats; and Traveler [sic], led by two old soldiers, had the simple trappings of mourning on his saddle.
‘The Virginia Military Institute was very beautifully draped, and from its turrets hung at half-mast, and draped in mourning, the flags of all of the States of the late Southern Confederacy.
‘When the procession reached the Institute, it passed the corps of cadets drawn up in line, and a guard of honor presented arms as the hearse passed. When it reached the chapel, where an immense throng had assembled, the students and cadets, about six hundred and fifty strong, marched into the left door and aisle past the remains and out by the right aisle and door to their appropriate place. The rest of the procession then filed in. The family, joined by Drs. Barton and Madison, the attending physicians, and Colonels W. H. Taylor and C. S. Venable, members of General Lee’s staff during the war, occupied seats immediately in front of the pulpit; and the clergy, of whom a number were present, Faculty of the College, and Faculty of the Institute, had places on the platform.
‘The coffin was covered with flowers and evergreens, while the front of the drapery thrown over it was decorated with crosses of evergreen and immortelles.
‘Rev. Dr. Pendleton, the long intimate personal friend of General Lee, his chief of artillery during the war, and his pastor the past five years, read the beautiful burial services of the Episcopal Church. No sermon was preached, and nothing said besides the simple service, in accordance with the known wishes of General Lee.
‘After the funeral services were concluded in the chapel, the body was removed to the vault prepared for its reception, and the concluding services read by the chaplain from the bank on the southern side of the chapel, in front of the vault.
‘There was sung, in the chapel, the 124th hymn of the Episcopal collection; and, after the coffin was lowered into the vault, the congregation sang the grand old hymn,
“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord.”
‘This was always a favorite hymn of General Lee’s, and was, therefore, especially appropriate upon this sad occasion.
‘The vault is constructed of brick, lined with cement. The top just reaches the floor of the library, and is double capped with white marble, on which is the simple inscription:
ROBERT EDWARD LEE,
BORN JANUARY 19, 1807;
DIED OCTOBER 12, 1870.
‘This temporary structure is to be replaced by a beautiful sarcophagus, the design of which has been already committed to Valentine, the gifted Virginia sculptor.’
The simple services concluded, the great assemblage, with hearts awed and saddened, defiled through the vaulted room in which was the tomb, to pay the last token of respect to the mighty dead. Thus ended the funeral of General Robert E. Lee.
— Account of the funeral of General Robert E. Lee by Col. William Preston Johnston.
One of the most melancholy features of the horrible and bloody strife into which this country is about to be involved consists in the fact that the very best portion of the population of the South will be required to meet in mortal combat, in great part, the very worst population of the North. Whenever the South shall lose a soldier, it will lose a valuable citizen, whose loss will be sensibly felt, whereas the North would be benefitted if a large portion of its soldiers would never return from the battle-field. The flower of Southern honor and chivalry will cross swords with rowdies, cut-throats and burglars from the corrupt cesspools of Northern cities.–the South sends into the field honorable, honest, moral and virtuous soldiers, the North such desperadoes, and dangerous men as she is afraid to keep at home. As an illustration of the spirit of our people, and the kind of men who are volunteering their services to the State, we will mention the fact that a number of Minsters of the Gospel who are distinguished for talents, cultivation, eloquence and piety, have exchanged the “sacred desk” for the soldier’s tent.
The Rev. Dr. B. M. Smith and Rev. Dr. R. L. Dabney, Professors of the “Union Theological Seminary,” Rev. Dr. Moses Hoge, Pastor of the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Richmond city, and Rev. Dr. Pendleton, Rector of the Episcopal Church in Lexington, all of whom are well known in this county, have connected themselves with volunteer companies. Dr. Pendleton is now Captain of an Artillery Company in Lexington, being elected to supply the vacancy caused by the promotion of Capt. McCausland to the post of lieutenant Colonel of Volunteers. As Dr. Pendleton is a graduate of West Point, and has served several years in the army, he will no doubt make a good and efficient officer.–Though the conflict may be terrible, we do no doubt that, in time, the Northern “Apollyon” will succumb to the Southern “Christian,” and that our brave soldiery who go forth clad in the panoply of a just cause, will return with their banners–though “tattered and torn”–wreathed with the laurels of victory.
Staunton Spectator, 14 May 1861, p. 2, c. 3.
How to Enjoy the Springs and Stay at Home
Now that the tide of summer absentees is returning, the following racy burlesque upon the leading Springs, taken from the Southern Literary Messenger, will be keenly relished:
White Sulphur.–Tie a roll of brimstone under your nose, and drink freely of thick warm water. Break some doubtful eggs in your pocket, and run round till you are exhausted. Procure a second-hand diabetes, change your linen six times a day, and strut loftily under a tree.
Old Sweet.–Get a large tub, and put some white pebbles in the bottom. Sit down in it and blow soap-bubbles. Dress your best, and don’t know anybody.
Red Sweet.–Obtain some iron fillings, paint ’em red, put ’em in a tin-pan or pitcher, and look at ’em in solitary silence. Eat much mutton, and go to bed early. Whisky julep eight times a day.
Salt Sulphur.–Call yourself a South Carolinian, and take things easy. Live well. Stay in one place a long time. Tincture of brimstone occasionally.
Montgomery White.–Wear a loose sack coat and look at mulattos frequently. Eat a great variety of raw meats and undone vegetables. Play at faro and draw poker.
Yellow Sulphur.–Get good living on the top of a hill, where you can’t see anything whatever. Dominoes, draughts and backgammon.
Alleghany.–Sit down in a hard chair in a deep, hot hole, and drink citrate of magnesia and epsom salts. Gamble some with dyspeptics.
Coyner’s.–Take the Lynchburg papers, and gaze with melancholy pertinacity at the side of a naked hill. Whist and religious tracts.
Rockbridge Allum.–Select some cases of cancer on the face, with a few necks scrofulously raw, and dine with them daily on indifferent victuals. Then catch the drippings of the caves of a very old house, in a tin cup with a long handle, thicken the drippings with powdered nutgalls, and drink three times a day.
All Healing Springs.–Throw a green blanket in a shallow pond, and wallow on it. Cut off a strip of blanket and clap it to your ribs. Read old novels and talk to pious old ladies about deaths and chronic diseases of the digestive tube.
Warm Springs.–Diet yourself on the unadulterated juice of the tea-kettle.
Hot Springs.–Wear a full suit of mustard plasters, and walk about in the sunshine at noon day, swearing you have got the rheumatism.
Berkley Springs.–Keep your shin [skin?] clear, and know nothing but Baltimore ten pins.
Peaks of Otter.–Climb a high pole on a cold day at sunrise. Shut your eyes and whistle.
Weir’s Cave.–Go into the cellar at midnight–feel the edges of things, and skin your shins against the coal scuttle. Sit down on a pile of anthracite, with a tallow candle, and wonder.
Old Point Comfort.–Build a hog pen in a mud-puddle; fill it with cockle-burs and thistles, and call it surf-bathing. Drink bad brandy. Don’t sleep. Lie down with your windows wide open, and no clothing on. Come home with a fishbone in your throat, and oyster shell in your head, a pain in your stomach, and ten thousand mosquito bites in your body.
Cape May.–Penetrate an immense crowd of male and female rowdies, drop some salt water in both eyes. Shoot pistols. Eat some ice cream and claret, and send up one sky rocket every night. Have yourself insulted often by niggers. At mid-day smell of an oven with a dead pig in it. Fill your pockets with cut glass broken into minute fragments.
Yankee Watering Places Generally.–Keep a stale codfish under each arm, live on onions and pumpkins, go in strong for the Union and freesoil, and dance the round dances in big breeches.
— Charleston Mercury, 6 October 1860, p. 4, c. 2.
When the South declared in consequence of all these things they would leave the Union unless something was done to assure their protection and justice within it, the whole air resounded with the taunts of Northern members of Congress and the Northern press, taunting them for their weakness and impotence, and threatening to overwhelm them by their superior power, until State after State fell from them in utter despair. Let it be told how a Confederacy was thus formed, small in point of numbers, consisting of eight millions of whites, and about four millions of slaves, without commerce, without manufactures, and almost without accumulated capital, and without allies — which Confederacy staked its all upon an issue of arms with a union of more than twenty millions of men homogeneous in character and pursuits, and which, abounding in all those things of which the others were so much in want, and although nominally without professed allies was yet substantially assisted by the whole world, which, although professing to be impartial, respected a paper blockade, which of itself was almost fatal to a people without ships of war, and to which they had not quietly submitted heretofore. Nor could they have done so then but for the idea that they were indirectly assisting in a war against slavery. What was to be the effect of all this, foreigners did not then understand, or their course might have been different; nor did the North foresee the terrible nature of the contest in which they were about to embark, or they might have paused before entering into it. But let the whole story be told, that the world and the country may behold the entire consequences of such a strife before they provoke another like it. Let us hear the history of that famous day at Bull Run, when Northern men and Northern women, as if upon some review or gala occasion, followed their army out from Washington to see it overwhelm the poor, despised South, whose sons were recklessly assembled together, as they supposed, to be routed and ruined by the superior forces which they stood up to encounter. Let all mankind hear how bloody was the reception which they met, until they broke and fled in wild despair, even more surprised than frightened, if possible, to find the men in gray capable of such stern resistance. Let the course of these heroic men be followed after they fell into the master-hands of Lee, for more than four years over the soil of Virginia, as they trod in triumph with feet red with the blood of their enemies, and as they hurled back the invading forces, sometimes four, sometimes three, and never less than two to one, reeking with their own blood and red with carnage; now driving McClellan into the James River and clear away from Richmond; now hurling Burnside across the Rappahannock river in bloody repulse from the good town of Fredericksburg. Let it be told how these same men in gray flanked the superior hosts of the North under Hooker, and drove them away in wild and bewildering flight, having lost their confidence in numbers, and believing it impossible to make themselves superior in strength so long as there was a Lee to plan, or a Jackson to lead these brave men in the charge, whose wild cheer always betokened courage and victory so long as they had food and clothing, and maintained heart and hope; or still following them in their bloody march, let us pause with them at Cold Harbor, where they repulsed Grant’s assault and piled so high the Federal dead that, as the rumor runs, the authorities at Washington despaired of success, and resolved to abandon the contest and agree to a division of the Union, a determination which they only revoked upon the receipt of encouraging news from the Southwest. But we must not leave the story there; we must follow it to the last sad results, until the tapestry is quite reversed. We must follow it to its final close, when without food, without clothes, and an unsufficient supply of arms, Lee surrendered his hardy and battered regiments with eight thousand muskets in their hands, whilst the rolls bore twenty-two thousand upon their face. And thus when it was impossible to maintain any further contest upon even plausible terms, the army was surrendered and the cause was lost.
— Hon. R. M. T. Hunter in an address to the Southern Historical Society (as reorganised), at the Capitol, Richmond, 27 October 1874.
In quatuor rebus similis fuit Moysi Patricius:
I. Primo, anguelum de rubo audivit:
II. quadraginta diebus et quadraginta noctibus ieiunavit:
III. quia annos centum viginti peregit in vita praesenti:
IIII. ubi sunt ossa eius nemo novit.
Duo hostes duodecim diebus corpus Sancti Patricii contenderunt et noctem inter se duodecim diebus non viderunt, sed diem semper et in duodecima die ad praelium venierunt, et corpus in grabato duo hostes viderunt apud se, et non pugnaverunt. Colombcille, Spiritu Sancto instigante, ostendit sepulturam Patricii, [et] ubi est confirmat, id est in Sabul Patricii, id est in aecclesia juxta mare proxima, ubi est conductio martirum, id est ossuum, Coluimb Cille de Britannia et conductio omnium sanctorum Hiberniae in die judicii.
(Two hostile hands contended during twelve days for the body of the blessed Patrick, and they saw no night intervene during these twelve days, but daylight always; and on the twelfth day they came to actual conflict; but the two hosts seeing the body on its bier with each party, gave up the conflict. Columcille, inspired by the Holy Ghost, pointed out the sepulchre of Patrick, and proves where it is; namely, in Saul of Patrick; that is, in the church nigh to the sea, where the gathering of the relics is — that is, of the bones of Coluincille from Britain, and the gathering of all the saints of Erin in the day of judgment.)
Book of Armagh, fo. 15, b. 2. from Whitley Stokes, Tripartite Life of Patrick, London, 1887.
The grave slabs here represented are in the ruined chapel at Keills, Knapdale. Both of them are early and interesting specimens of the class to which they belong. In each case the two-handed sword is obviously a portrait of the real weapon. On the first there appear on one side of the sword a harp, comb, shears, and mirror, besides an object which may be a case or cover, and a smaller figure which may be meant for a box containing some toilet appendage. A surrounding inscription is almost entirely defaced.
The second slab has on one side of the sword an inscription, and on the other a deer-hunt and some grotesque creatures, with a galley at the bottom.
The simple, rectangular Keills Chapel, dedicated to St. Cormac, served as the parish church of Knapdale until the parish was split into two in 1734. It is one of few churches from the 1100s and 1200s surviving in Argyll. What sets it apart is what it contains: a sculptural feast of almost forty carved stones, ranging in date from the 8th to the 16th century. Pre-eminent among them is the 8th-century Keills Cross.
[I]n the absence of a home I wish I could purchase Stratford. That is the only place I could go to, now accessible to us, that would inspire me with feelings of pleasure and local love. You and the girls could remain there in quiet. It is a poor place, but we could make enough cornbread and bacon for our support and the girls could weave us clothes. I wonder if it is for sale and how much.
Letter of Robert E. Lee to his wife, Christmas Day, 1861.
The Harnsberger House, built in 1856, is a rare Rockingham County example of the mid- 19th-century octagonal building fad. While most country builders were constructing single- and double-pile, Georgian-plan houses, Stephen Harnsberger chose the octagonal shape espoused in Orson Fowler’s A Home for All, or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building (1853). Although the facade and shape clearly reflect an awareness of new styles, the interior retains the traditional arrangement of spaces in a double-pile, Georgian design. Harnsberger’s brother, Robert Samuel Harnsberger, apparently became intrigued by the new fashion as well; he had an octagonal barn constructed on his farm in neighboring Augusta County. The house, together with the barn, reflects local interpretations of the pattern book styles in this conservative agricultural area — both insert traditional plans and ideals into octagonal shells.
The Harnsberger octagonal barn was built ca. 1867 under the direction of carpenter William Evers. The unusual structure is possibly a unique example of its type in Virginia and reflects the penetration of popular architectural ideals into the vernacular cultural patterns of rural Augusta County after the War of Northern Aggression. While most local carpenters were constructing the familiar bank barns, a form which derived from the Pennsylvania region and spread into the Valley of Virginia, Robert Harnsberger drew inspiration from the octagonal building styles popularized by Orson Fowler’s A Home for All, or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building (1853). The Harnsberger barn did not copy Fowler’s pattern book designs directly, however. Augusta builders combined these new ideas with more traditional barn building concepts, integrating the new shape with the older bank barn form. Several older residents recall that the basic octagonal shape posed many problems for the local carpenters, who failed to get the barn to fit together correctly and called in others, specifically William Evers of Centerville, to complete it.