Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 209



Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

Page 209

to in a previous chapter from General Jubal A. Early, the Confederate general, in which he gave an explanation, never before fully given, of his reasons for the burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania:

  The town of Chambersburg was burned on the same day on which the demand on it was made by McCausland and refused. It was ascertained that a force of the enemy’s cavalry was approaching, and there was no time for delay. Moreover, the refusal was peremptory, and there was no reason for delay unless the demand was a mere idle threat.
  I had no knowledge of what amount of money there might be in Chambersburg. I knew that it was a town of some twelve thousand inhabitants. The town of Frederick, in Maryland, which was a much smaller town than Chambersburg, had in June very promptly responded to my demand on it for $200,000, some of the inhabitants, who were friendly to me, expressing a regret that I had not made it $500,000. There were one or more National Banks at Chambersburg, and the town ought to have been able to raise the sum I demanded. I never heard that the refusal was based on the inability to pay such a sum, and there was no offer to pay any sum. The value of the houses destroyed by Hunter, with their contents, was fully $100,000 in gold, and at the time I made the demand the price of gold in greenbacks had very nearly reached $3.00 and was going up rapidly. Hence it was that I required the $500,000 in greenbacks, if the gold was not paid, to provide against any further depreciation of the paper money.
  I would have been fully justified by the laws of retaliation in war in burning the town without giving the inhabitants the opportunity of redeeming it.

Bok wrote to Eugene Field, once, asking him why in all his verse he had never written any love-songs, and



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