Westford, Va. – May 2, 1863
UNION SOLDIERS BURN SOUTHERN HOME
A band of renegade Union deserters set fire to a Southern home and terrorized private citizens living in Westford, early this morning. Fleeing for their lives, the Barton family saw their large home completely demolished by flames. Young Billy Barton probably saved his family by picking up a rifle he kept hidden in the barn and firing at the soldiers. Jumping onto a buck- board, the Barton clan raced to the center of town for protection. The soldiers were drunk according to eye-witnesses who passed them on the road. Shooting their guns off at passersby, the deserters had the entire town living in fear. The inhabitants were saved when a passing troop of Southern soldiers arrived and halted the activities by capturing the hostile band.