The Hammond House is located on Hammond Mill Road, Route 901, at Spring Mills directly across from the Falling Waters Presbyterian Church. Hammond House Marker Headquarters and Hospital Erected By: West Virginia Civil War Trails Inscription reads as follows: Dr. Allen C. Hammond constructed this Greek Revival-style house about 1838. During the Civil War, both sides used it periodically for a headquarters or a hospital. The war ruined Hammond, a strong Southern sympathizer. In October 1859, Hammond’s son George Newkirk “Kirk” Hammond (1833-1864), a Virginia Military Institute graduate, rushed to Martinsburg to join the county militia when he learned of John Brown’s Raid at Harpers Ferry. Capt E.G. Alburtis led his company to the town, where the men freed some of Brown’s hostages and forced the raiders to withdraw into the Armory engine house (now called Brown’s Fort). One of the Brown’s men wounded Hammond during the action. When the Civil War began, Hammond joined Co. J.E.B. Stuart’s 1st Virginia Cavalry and became captain of Co. B, the Berkeley Troop. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern on May 11, 1864, as was Stuart, who died six days after the battle and is buried in the Confederate Officers’ section of Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. During the Antietam Campaign in 1862, Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s men camped here on September 11. They had just captured the Federal garrison at North Mountain Depot north of Martinsburg, cutting the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and thereby preventing the Union forces at Harpers Ferry from escaping by rail. Confederate Gen. John McCausland began his July 1864 cavalry raid into Pennsylvania from his house. He burned Chambersburg in retaliation for the Federal destruction of houses in the Shenandoah Valley—one of many such retaliations on both sides. (Sidebar): After the war, Dr. Hammond asserted that Union forces often used his 22-room mansion as a hospital. An excerpt from a report written by Lt. Richard G. Prendergast, 1st New York Cavalry, appears to support Hammond's claim. Prendergast had attacked and pursued a detachment of the 7th Virginia Cavalry, wounding and capturing 13 of them: "Headquarters Cavalry Picket, Hammond's House, Va., December 11, 1862. ... I pursued them to the base of Bunker Hill, when, seeing that they were supported by the rest of that regiment, drawn up on the crest of that hill, I halted, and returned unpursued, by Martinsburg, here. My only casualty is the slight wounding of one horse. Two of the prisoners [presumably lodged in the house] are wounded with the saber, one very seriously." The house burned in 1978, but recently has been reconstructed within the original walls.
Backstory and Context
The Hammond House is located at 2919 Hammonds Mill Road (WV 901) directly across from the Falling Waters Presbyterian Church. The house is now privately owned and the property has been posted (no trespassing). Despite the fact that you can no longer tour the house and property, it is still an interesting stop on the Civil War Trail. The old Mill building is also still standing and sits along the creek on Hammonds Mill Road, roughly 1/4 mile past the house.
Dr. Allen C. Hammond
Allen C. Hammond, of Berkeley County
Virginia (now in West Virginia), was born in Frederick, Maryland. He was a
physician and settled in Berkeley County sometime before 1833. Dr. Hammond
served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1849 to 1851. As a
delegate from Berkeley County in the State Convention, he voted against
secession both on April 4 and on April 17, but he later changed his vote from
“nay” to “aye.”
Dr. Hammond reportedly purchased the property in 1939 from Alexander Stephen, the son of Adam Stephen, who founded the town of Martinsburg. The property was described in an ad that appeared in the Martinsburg Gazette on January 2nd, 1839. The property consisted of 400 acres with three dwelling houses, a corn house, wagon shed, a mill that was three stories high and constructed of stone. The mill included three runs of stone for grinding and all labor saving machinery with metal gearing from the basement to the garret, all nearly new. Within 30 yards of the mill was a stone distillery with operational full patent stills. A spring passed thru a stone dairy and under the floor of the distillery.
After Dr. Hammond purchased the property, both the mill and the distillery were kept in operation. Following the Civil War, Dr. Allen Hammond sent several letters to the federal government in an attempt to recoup his losses from the war. He stated that the Union Army had taken from his distillery, 10,000 bushels of corn and 50 barrels of whiskey. They also allegedly took 75,000 brick from the kiln, they killed his cattle, sheep and hogs, used two crops of wheat, 100 tons of hay, cut down his timber and used the brick and lumber to build shanties. Dr. Hammond also reported that his wagons were taken and that he lost 5o slaves due to President Lincoln's proclamation. In this same letter, he also proclaimed himself a good union man who had been loyal to the cause. Hammond stated that all told, the war had cost him in excess of $168,000.
Needless to say, he did not receive any reimbursement for his losses. Based on this financial hardship, Dr. Hammond was forced to sell his property in 1866. The property, to include the mill and house was sold to Joseph Duvall for the price of $50,000. The property remained in the Duvall family until 1945, when it was sold to Mr. Max Oates. Following a fire in 1978, the Oate's family has since restored the exterior of the home to reflect its former prominence. The home was later sold and is now privately owned.
Legend has it that during the Civil War the ladies of the house shot, sniper-style, several Union soldiers. As a result, the ladies were reportedly captured and locked into the brick, windowless slave shack on the property. The order was given to get rid of the women, meaning to take them out of the area, but the order was allegedly misinterpreted, and indeed, the women were gotten rid of. Fire was set to the slave shack, killing them all. Some believe that the Hammond House is haunted.