February 17, 2013

Waterlick in the Civil War

I posted a picture of this old church in Waterlick last year along with a little history. Recently my husband found an online copy of a claim that the church filed for reimbursement of damages and unpaid rent from the time of the Civil War. (In case you are not familiar with similar cases, there were numerous claims made to the U.S. Government after the war and it took years to resolve them. Not only did damages need to be proven but parties needed to convince the court that they were loyal to the Union and did not support the Confederacy during the war.)
Here is an excerpt from the claim:
During the late Civil War the military authorities of the United States took possession of the building and grounds of the Primitive Baptist Church of Waterlick, Va., used and occupied the same for various military purposes for a long period of time, by reason of which much injury was done to the same and that the reasonable rental value of said property during such occupation, including the repairs necessary to restore said property to the same condition in which it was before such occupation, was the sum of $1,000, for which no payment has been made; that said property, consisting of a church building about 30 by 36 feet in size, was occupied by federal military forces for a long penod of time, at least a year; that during said occupation the floor was torn out, weather boarding torn off, the seats and pulpit broken up, and horses were kept in the church building on several different occasions, and finally the entire building was destroyed by said forces; that the claimant has at all times borne true allegiance to the Government of the United States and has not in any way voluntarily aided, abetted, or given encouragement to rebellion against the said Government.
I don't know when the destroyed church was rebuilt but it looks like the trustees were awarded $100. It was common to award a much smaller sum than was requested. And while it seems disrespectful to shelter horses in a church, this was not rare. We heard a similar story at St. Thomas Chapel in nearby Middletown.

Our little town of Waterlick is also mentioned in accounts of the Battle of Front Royal as follows:
...after crossing the South Fork at McCoy's Ford, Ashby's and Lt. Col. Flournoy's (6th Virginia) cavalry rode via Bell's Mill and Waterlick Station to reach the Union outpost at Buckton Depot. Ashby made a mounted assault, which cost him several of his best officers before the Union defenders surrendered. Ashby cut the telegraph lines, severing communication between the main Union army at Strasburg and the detached force at Front Royal. He then divided the cavalry, sending Flournoy's regiment east toward Riverton to threaten Kenly's rear. Ashby remained at Buckton Depot astride the railroad to prevent reinforcements from being sent to Front Royal.
Railroad tracks are still in use here, seen on the embankment on the other side of Richardson Road across from the church.

A train station was listed at Waterlick and another at nearby Buckton. According to historian Gary L. Ecelbarger, Union troops were stationed here to protect the railroad. He tells the story in the book  Three Days in the Shenandoah. Wikipedia summarizes the results in a history of the Manassas Gap Railroad, telling us that On May 23, 1862 Colonel Turner Ashby and the 7th Virginia Cavalry, during the Valley Campaign of 1862, tore up rails in the direction of Strasburg, Virginia, while Colonel Thomas T. Munford's 2nd Virginia Cavalry "wrecked track and bridges as far east as Thoroughfare Gap."


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