After leaving Aquia Church they attacked the Stafford Courthouse area. Some newspapers reported Sickles’ men ransacked stores, houses, and stole silver, money, and clothing. “We have it on pretty good authority that while at Stafford C.H. the enemy destroyed [and] mutilated the records of the county.” The Richmond Daily Enquirer reported, “It is said that Sickles was drunk, and that among other excesses they dressed themselves in night caps and gowns, taken from private houses and danced through the streets.”
The county’s colonial seal, bearing the same motto that would be used in later versions – “We will not sell, deny, or delay justice or right” – and more outrageously, the county’s English Bible – were taken from the courthouse.
During this, and the previous Confederate occupation, Stafford became the first Virginia county to experience the ravages of modern warfare. Many courthouse records were stolen and destroyed. Most were never returned