John L. Heatwole

John L. Heatwole's book The Burning is a collection of stories about the burning of the Shenandoah Valley in the fall of 1864 during the US Civil War. The destruction of the valley was ordered by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to eliminate it as a major source of food for Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces in Virginia. This was effective military strategy, but it destroyed much civilian property: crops, livestock, mills, barns, outbuildings, and some homes. Heatwole has collected stories from many local sources and woven them into their historical context. The sources are well documented, although many of the stories have been conveyed only through oral tradition.

The stories contain many names that also appear in the history of the Good family: Beery, Brenneman, Fulk, Garber, Gochenour, Good, Hershberger, Shoup, Wenger and others. Before the war, our ancestors Jacob Good (GC22) and his son Joseph Good (GC229) lived in the valley in Rockingham Co., VA. Although they were gone before the war, they had lived in the heart of the destruction, and they probably still had relatives there. Abraham P. Good, for example, left Rockingham Co. for Ohio in 1864 only shortly before the burning.

Selected Works

John L. Heatwole, The Burning: Sheridan's Devastation of the Shenandoah Valley (Charlottesville, Virginia: Rockbridge Publishing, 1998)..

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