Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Spy

Here's a goose on the creek at sunrise a few weeks ago. This picture is one of those I'd never consider posting here because I find too much fault with it, except I have nothing better until I can load up all the pictures I took today after the sun finally came out after 5,327 days of rain. (If you feel that last sentence contained too many words, you'd be correct except what you don't know is I really wanted it to contain more words so this is actually an improvement.)

The book Virginia Folk Legends, edited by Thomas E. Barden, contains a couple of tales about Mathews, neither of which I've ever heard, but one of which I'd like to share. Of course I'd never heard of lacrosse and had never tasted salad dressing until I left Mathews to go to college, so chances are good that the stories existed but I never knew about them due to the fact that I lived under a rock.

Here's one of the stories.

A Confederate Spy
M. Smith, interviewed by H.G. Miller in an unknown location in Mathews County, no date given

"In an old home situated on the Bay, I heard an interesting tale of Civil War days. During the war a Confederate spy by the name of Bell came to the home of Mr. W. Hudgins near Fitchett's Wharf and asked for refuge. While he was there some Yankee soldiers prowling through that section of the county came upon a Confederate cap in the vicinity of the Hudgins' home. They immediately started to the house to search, but in the meantime Bell had gone out into a dense woods nearby to hide.

The mistress of the house saw the soldiers coming and ran up to Bell's room to see if any of his belongings had been left there. Nothing seemed to be in the room which would reveal his presence in the house except some letters, which she grabbed quickly and just had time to slip them inside of the dress of a doll which her little girl was holding.

As soon as the soldiers reached the porch, one of them picked the little girl up in his arms to talk to her. But she remembered her mother's warning and held her doll baby close to her side. So the letters were not discovered.

Mr. Hudgins took Bell in a sail boat at night to Gwynn's Island, where he hid in the woods. At times the Yankees were so near that they could hear them breathing. Later Mr. Hudgins took Bell to the Eastern Shore where he remained for a while. His mother was living in New York and he was very anxious to see her. It was during a visit to her that he was finally captured.

[John Wilkes] Booth, who was an old friend and school-mate of Bell's, sent word to Lincoln that if Bell were hung, he [Lincoln] would die. Bell was hung, but before he died he wrote a beautiful letter to the man in Virginia who had befriended him. In this letter Bell wrote about the beauty of the morning of the day before he died, and of how much he wanted to live. He also expressed beautifully his appreciation of the great kindness of Mr. Hudgins and his family. This letter was destroyed by mistake, greatly to the distress of the present members of the family, who would have liked to have preserved it.

Many people believed that the hanging of Bell was one of the causes of the assassination of President Lincoln."

Chesapeake Bay Woman. Again.

To prevent me from being sued for copyright infringement, please be advised that I did not write any of the above story and I fail to recall how to properly attribute a quotation from a book, but I sure do know how to make a sentence run from here to Argentina and back.


Grandma J said...

Great story, and since Bell isn't around to dispute the fact that you didn't give proper due to the right person, all I can say is, damn Yankees.

Annie said...

Well, I would say that the only thing you may have left out of your bibliography reference at the beginning is the publisher, the year it was published and the page numbers. Other than that you have done well!
Oh, and don't you usually put a number in brackets at the end of the quote, and then bibliographical details at the bottom against the same number (which include all of what you have given, as well as the ones I mentioned).
Sorry this is clear as mud...I must have been a librarian or a scientist in a former life. Now I am a jet lagged grandmother with a daughter scientist beside me at 3am writing a doubt with references. Well, at least the grandchildren should know how to write scientific papers, eh? Even if they do wonder why their mother's breast milk dried up suddenly after doing all night stints at the computer when they were 9 months old.
I was just trying to remember why I know about bibliographical references, and then I thought I must have learned it in Psychology..that would have been the only subject I needed to give references in papers.
Sorry for boring you.
Good to see Grandma J back on deck this morning.
I feel like I have heard the story before. Maybe not. Maybe it might have been in one of the trillion books I have read.

mmm said...


That was the best damned comment posted on this blog in sometime. There's something artistic in your rambling.

Were there any Confederate spies in Australia?

Mental P Mama said...

snort @ mmm

mmm said...

PS - I'm not giving Annie a hard time. I did enjoy reading her comment. She and Grandma J seem to have their own blog within a blog - I'm just jealous.

tj said...

...*giggle* at Annie & MMM up :oD

...Well I for one love those Argentinean ;o) And what an interesting story. How scary is that that the lil' girl was holding the doll w/the letters in the arms on that soldier? And what a shame that Booth was able to carry out his end of the bargain...

...CBW, I dunno if I'm gonna be able to make it to the BlogFest or not yet. My husband is supposed to have family coming in from Wisc. that same week and if so, some of 'em might be staying here. But we're still waiting to hear for sure... As soon as I know I'll let you know 'cause I'm chompin' at the bit to find out! lol... :o) And I dunno about ridin' with GJ up there, I don't think she'd want a "YAN-KEE" ridin' shotgun all the way ;o)

...Btw, love the photo too! It looks like a painting almost...

...Blessings... :o)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Before I say anything else, let me provide more info on the book. This blog doesn't pay one cent, I sure don't want it to have to COST me anything: Virginia Folk Legends, Edited by Thomas E. Barden, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville and London. Copyright 1991 by the Rector and the Visitors of the University of Virginia, second printing 1992. Story quoted is on page 72. The book is yellow and lives on my desk. My desk is cluttered but you can still see the book. Somebody at work gave me the book. I like it. The End.

There, that ought to cover all bases-and then some. Actually I think the bases are covered in two ball parks, one of which is really "out there."

GJ - Damn Yankees indeed. I think they might have been the ones who invented the methodology for citing references from books. (With all due respect to any Yankees out there. I'm an equal opportunity Southerner and do not hold nearly as many grudges against the North as others around here still do....)

Annie - Maybe it's your statistician's background. People like me need people like you to keep us straight. Grandma J. is similar, she's helping to keep me straight for this Blog Fest thing that BHE and I are hosting this summer and is reminding me of all the details I'd never even consider. Things like food and food, for example. And T-shirts and oh this thing called funding. And portapotties, for example. 3:00 a.m.? I prescribe another long nap for today.

MMM - You shouldn't be jealous of their blog within a blog (which I, too, love) because you have your own fan club from what you've written on the front pages of this blog. Speaking of which, ya got anything for me to post? I think I have one you sent me a while back, but I can't remember if I already posted it or not. (See? That's why I need people like Annie and Grandma J who remember details, facts and figures.)

MPM - Snorting is the best way to start the day, that's what I say.

I say all that after I have a pot of coffee, which I've not had yet, which only partially explains the length of this comment.

Oh - TJ's comment came in as I was typing this. Now I can make this comment even longer!

TJ - I really hope you can make it, we wouldn't be having a blog fest if it weren't for you. The next time I go to the blog fest web site I"m going to add your name to the guest list anyway. If I remember. And if not, please remind me. I forgot you are good at organizing and facts and figures too.

Annie said...

All very funny..and illuminating. Confederate spy....what's a confederate spy? Just Ned Kelly that I know of in Australia.


Yes, another nap today. Not sure whether I am meeting Daryl or not. Sent her a very late email, so she probably won't want to know me today! It is also raining and blah out, I think. Well, judging by looking out the window.
Hey the white tree out the window is looking amazing today. wow.

Better go back to sleep...before I write more boring stuff!

Anonymous said...

Wondering if it's significant that this man was hung, while executioned men are hanged.

Maybe it's a physical attribute? Possibly a trait of southern gentlemen?


Big Hair Envy said...

Damn, Yankees, INDEED!!! Bwahahaha! JK:)

What a great story...I thought I had heard them all!

foolery said...

As a descendant of Deep Southerners, I say, "Damn Yankees!"

As a descendant of Northerners, I say, "Join or die."

As a descendant of Mid-Westerners, I say, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

As a third- or fourth-generation Californian, I say, "Dude, who bogarted all the gold?"

I'm easy.