A few days later the horse was returned to Mr. Bruce, along with a letter of apology from the general.
More troops came before the end of the war, and more of the horses were taken. This fact is affirmed by Alexander Bruce in a letter to his uncle, Edmund Wilkins, of Belmont, dated 18 September, 1865: "We are slowly recovering from the damage done us by the Vandals. Our greatest loss was in horses, not one being left on the plantation with the exception of a refractory mule, which they were unable to catch after repeated trials."
Alexander Bruce succeeded his father James Coles as master of Berry Hill, and under his direction, though the tenant system was then in effect, the plantation continued to run smoothly, if not prosperously. There were many years when he barely broke even, and some when he did not do even that well. Tobacco and grain continued to be the most profitable crops, due in large part to the richness of the land, in particular the Dan River lowgrounds.
A word here in regard to the emancipation of the slaves. It speaks well for the treatment they had received at the hands of the Bruces that, after the war, none of them left the estate. All elected to remain and work for wages.
A rare insight into life at Berry Hill in the decade immediately following the Civil War has come to us through the diary of a young Albemarle County girl, Anne Nelson Page,