Gods and Generals - SANDIE PENDELTON

General Grant gave an order—approved by President Lincoln—to burn parts of the Shenandoah Valley. This sketch, by Alfred R. Waud, depicts a scene from what is called “The Burning.” The title of this sketch, which is maintained at the Library of Congress, is: “Custer’s Division Retiring from Mount Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, October 7,1864.” See a story about “The Burning” at the National Park Service.


Alexander ("Sandie") Swift Pendleton was Stonewall Jackson’s Assistant Adjutant General. It was said the General loved him like a son.

On the day Jackson died, Pendleton sent a note to his own father:

My Dear Pa

The General died at 3:15 pm this afternoon. I go tomorrow with his remains.

Eleven days after Jackson’s death, Pendleton (then 22 years old) wrote a letter to Major Wells J. Hawks. His sadness is still acute:

I shall leave here. It is terrible almost makes me sick.

By the end of the year (in December of 1863), Pendleton married Kate Corbin whom he had met at Moss Neck during the winter of 1862-63. His wife was expecting the couple’s first child, a boy named Sandie, when Pendleton was wounded at Fisher’s Hill on 22 September 1864. He died the next day.

His son, born two months after his father’s death, contracted diphtheria and died in September of 1865.

Pendleton did not live to witness what happened after the battle at Fisher’s Hill. Union forces, determined to remove the Confederacy’s ability to fight, burned so many mills and barns their actions were referred to as the “Burning” or “Red October.” They were following the instructions of General U.S. Grant who had issued the following orders:

Do all the damage to railroads and crops you can...If the war is to last another year, we want the Shenandoah Valley to remain a barren waste.

And ... in the summer of 1864 ... Grant instructed his men to make sure that even the birds in Virginia had nothing to eat:

If the enemy has left Maryland, as I suppose he has, he should have upon his heels veterans, militiamen, men on horseback, and everything that can be got to follow to eat out Virginia clear and clean as far as they go, so that crows flying over it for the balance of this season will have to carry their provender with them.

Such orders gave new meaning to “scorched earth” policies.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Jul 07, 2019

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"SANDIE PENDELTON" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2003. Jun 03, 2020.
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