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Fancy Farm

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By Doug Cooper

    The Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library celebrates Confederate History Month with a series of stories about Bedford County locations that played a role in the War Between the States.

    This week we feature the home “Fancy Farm.” The following appears in the book  “The Peaks of Otter, Life and Times” by Peter Viemeister:

    “So, Hunter’s plan was to follow the Buchanan-Liberty Turnpike up the western slope of the Blue Ridge, then pass between the Peaks of Otter, and then down. From Bedford County they would head east and take Lynchburg.

    As the first units descended toward Fancy Farm, the militia fired as they could, but were grossly outnumbered. The home force withdrew after three of their own were wounded by Union fire. First to occupy Fancy Farm was the Second West Virginia Cavalry of Gen. Averell. General Hunter arrived later. The forces were delighted to find considerable quantities of cornmeal and flour. There was also a full crop of ripe corn in the fields, and the horses and mules that had been hauling the federal wagons delighted in chomping on what they found. Hunter commandeered the house. Thousands of the troops camped nearby for the night. As some settled and camped, others were still climbing up over the mountain in their sixteen-mile trek from Buchanan.

    M. Hinkle, a correspondent for the Cincinnati Gazette traveling with Hunter, reported that, ‘We halt for the night at Fancy Farm. Our tents are set under the oaks in a beautiful lawn. The Peaks of Otter above us, the stars and silvery moon shine, while all around us the camp fires and signal lights add brilliance to the scene.

    About 700 of Averell’s cavalry, under Col. William H. Powell, went into Liberty, ripped up the train tracks, helped themselves to what they could, and destroyed any factories.’ Included in General Hunter’s command were two future presidents that would have spent the night at Fancy Farm, Col. Rutherford B. Hayes and Major William McKinley.

    Information used by permission of copyright holder Peter Viemeister.