Once Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, Jacob Swartz, a cobbler, volunteered for Confederate service. While serving in the Confederacy's Western Army (in what is now West Virginia), a state proclamation passed deeming Jacob's cobbler trade invaluable. He was immediately sent home to assist in providing the boots and other leather goods so desperately needed by the Southern Army. Jacob was also supplying the Confederate troops the chemical, potassium nitrate, used in black powder. It was during one of his deliveries that intense fighting broke out Battle of New Market.
When the May 15,1864 battle reached the river bluffs across from the Swartzes, shells began to fall on their property. Not having seen Jacob for two days and fearing for his life, Lucinda and her four small children rolled down a hillside to safety (as told by Betty, the eldest of the Swartz eight children, before her death).
The family home and cobbler shop were both raided the following December by a free-ranging party of Federals under the command of General Custer, ending Jacob's chemical process. In addition to seized food and supplies, Jacob lists as missing one of "the best English Patent Lever watches...which cost $35.60".