By Conrad Wise Champion

By Conrad Wise Champion
Camp of the 59th Virginia Infantry at Diascund Bridge, circa 1863

Monday, July 28, 2014

Some Virginia Indian Words- Addendum

 As you might have noticed from the posts entitled "Some Virginia Indian Words" and "Some Virginia Indian Words, 2", William Tooker and William Gerard did not seem to see eye to eye . . .

Along linguistic lines have been the personal studies of Mr William Wallace Tooker and Mr William R. Gerard, several of whose papers, which have appeared in the American Anthropologist, have elicited attention not only by reason of the general interest in the origin and meaning of aboriginal Virginian names that has arisen on the eve of the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Virginia Colony, but because of the apparently unalterable differences between some of the conclusions reached by these two students. For several years Mr Gerard has been engaged in compiling a dictionary of all the words that have entered English from the Indian languages of the three Americas and the West Indies. This work, which has grown to be very voluminous, gives (1) the various spellings of the Indian word; (2) a definition of the object named; (3) historical quotations from various authors, giving a history of the word; (4) the etymology of the word; (5) the combinations into which the word has entered.

-American Anthropologist, Volume 8
American Anthropological Association, 1906

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bridge Swept Away

Nearby State Ready for New Fall of Snow

Maryland and Virginia 'Dig Out' After Storm Fatal to Four.

By the Associated Press.
Recovering slowly from the effects of a howling snowstorm that resulted in the death of four persons, Maryland and Virginia were prepared yesterday for another fall on top of the 3 to 16 inches that already blanketed the State.
The weather forecast was for "increasing cloudiness, probably followed by snow Sunday."
The most tragic death in the storm was that of Sergt. Wilbert V. Hunter. State policeman who perished in the daring attempt of 15 men to carry food across the ice from Crisfield to Tangier Island in a Blinding snow. Three men died in Baltimore of heart attacks believed induced by overexertion after the heavy snowfall.
Falling temperatures Friday caused new ice to form on the Cheaspeake Bay and hinder shipping, while motor traffice moved slowly over the ice and snow covered roads.

Fall of Two Feet

The snowfall Friday on the Eastern Shore, which bore the brunt of the storm, reached 2 feet on the level in some places. Virtually every school on the shore was closed because buses could not negotiate the snow-choked roads.
While western Maryland escaped the heavy fall, it experienced sub-zero temperatures early Friday. Oakland had an official low of 20 degrees below zero.
Other low marks were 16 below at Keedysvill and ll below at chewsville, near Hagerstown: 12 below at Alta Mont, Garrett County 11 below at Frederick and 2 below at Cumberland.
The snow in Virginia will be light , only lasting a few hours, according to F.N. Hibbard, of the Richmond Weather Bureau. Meanwhile the temperatures will remain low, he predicted, with the cold wave now harrowing the Middle West sweeping in behind the snow to send the mercury tumbling tonight.

Thousands on Job

Between 5,000 and 10,000 workers Friday in the cities and on the highways of Virginia sought to restore communications crippled by the state's heaviest snowfall in years. The State highway department reported more difficulty with ice at West Point. About 200 feet more of the Bruce Bridge across the the Pamunkey was swept away, making some 350 feet altogether, and the Graham Bridge across the Mattaponi faces the prospect of similar damage.
Practically all Virginia roads were reported open late Friday and bus lines were maintaining their schedules.
The Eastern Air Lines reported at Byrd Airport, Richmond, that all their planes were snowbound. Planes from other fields were passing overhead on schedule, however.

-The Washington Post, Feb 9, 1936

Monday, July 21, 2014

Some Virginia Indian Words, 2

 My continuation of an abridgement of "Some Virginia Indian Words" by William R. Gerard . . .

Pamaukee, n— This was the general name for a tract of land in what is now King William county, beginning at the confluence of what are called the Pamunkey and Mattapony rivers, and, according to Smith's description, was characterized by numerous high hills composed of sand — probably drift-sand and hence sloping. Speaking of the religious observances of the Powhatans, Smith says that "their principall Temple or place of superstition is at Vttamussack¹ at [that is, in] Pamaunke." Mr Tooker, jumping at the conclusion that these words form a compound, hyphenates them and, in a former essay², thus proceeds to analyze them: Ut, he tells us, means 'at,' or 'in.' It really did have that meaning in some of the dialects of Massachusetts, to which the use of it was confined, and none of which was ever spoken on the Pamunkey. Mussa, he says, means 'woods.' The Virginia word mûssi designated a 'log' or 'billet of wood,' not wood or woods in the sense of a collection of trees. To the terminal -ack Mr Tooker ascribes the meaning of 'place,' probably having in view the word aki, 'land,' 'country,' 'earth.' The second element of his compound, Pamaunkee, Mr Tooker states to be a "form of a verb to hide [pamukque, Eliot)."
Uttamussack (= tämèsäck, with prosthetic û), which Mr Tooker has SO carefully analyzed, was the Virginia name for a knife³, a sharp edged piece of flint or quartzite, generally of triangular shape. The word is an apocopated form of tämèsâkän, meaning, literally, a 'sharp-edged cutting utensil' Uttamasack was probably the name of an Indian "workshop," where these implements were manufactured. The word may be an abbreviation of tämèsâkänikän, meaning 'place where knives are made.'
Never having seen in Eliot's translation of the Bible, or in any of his writings, such a word as pamukque, meaning 'to hide,' my curiosity led me to look it up. Upon examining the Natick Dictionary I found therein the inanimate passive verbal adjective assampamukquodt, which Eliot uses in the sense of 'hiding place,' although the meaning of the word is almost directly the reverse, viz., 'it is seen in a certain manner,' 'it appears so.'*  The word is formed from the adverb of manner, äs, 'so,' 'in such a way,' and the inanimate passive adjective (w)ompamukquodt, 'it is seen.' Eliot (as well as Cotton) was in the habit of irregularly and unnecessarily† 'forming another adjective from this class by rejecting the termination -at and substituting e (= i) therefor. His new word in the present case was assompamukque. Here, then, we find the origin of Mr Tooker's pamukque, which, as will be observed, consists of p, the characteristic of the root womp, 'to see' or 'be seen,' and the formative syllables amukque. To the above-mentioned remarkable compound its author ascribes the meaning of 'a place of secrecy in the woods'!
 As I have already stated, pämaunkee ( =päma"ki) means 'sloping hill,' or 'rising upland,' from pam (pem, pim, pum, according to dialect), ' sloping,' 'slanting,' 'oblique,' and -a'ki, 'hill,' 'mountain,' or 'highland'; = Ojibwe -aki, 'hill' or 'mountain,' in such words as nissaki, ' at the bottom of a hill,' ogidaki, ' on a hill,' awassaki ' beyond the hill.' The particle ak, a"k, a"g, denoting 'height' or 'elevation,' is used in several Algonquian dialects; e. g.: Abnaki pèma"kke, the 'high land slopes,' pnèka"ku 'sandy hill,' a"bagwa"ki, 'under shelter of a hill,' nèssa"ki'ré, 'he goes to the bottom of a hill,' usa"kuk,'on a hill'; Natick sóka"kwät, a height (lit. 'it is very high') ; Lenape mäna"gihleu (corrupt, to Monongahela), ' it (earth) separates from (man) the hill (a"g) and slides quickly (-ihleu) an impersonal adjective verb used substantively as a designation for a landslide. But why multiply examples, when the meaning of the word under consideration is so clear?

1. Utamussac was at the head of the second northerly bend of the Pamunkey, west of the fork, and was the site of a place put down on Jefferson's map as Quinlan.
2. Algonqnian Series, IX.
3. In Smith's vocabulary we find "Pamesacks. Kniues," where the terminal s is a sign of the English plural, and the inital P an error of the press for T. Strachey writes the word damassac.
 *. Blunders of this kind are not infrequent in Eliot's writings.
†. Unnecessarily, because the new adjective had precisely the same meaning (that of a passive participial adjective) for the reason that the kw (ku) of the suffix is a particle characteristic of the passive voice.

- American Anthropologist, Vol. 7
 The American Anthropological Association, 1905

Friday, July 18, 2014

"A Yell Was Raised Along the Entire Line"

 I continue now the account of the Samaria Church action, from the history of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, starting from the wounding of Pollard the day before(June 23, 1864) . . .

The next day we met the enemy near an old saw-mill in the vicinity of Nance's Shop, and had a spirited engagement, which was growing very interesting, when we were ordered back. One private was killed and several were wounded - E. F. Cox, of Company C, fatally so. Lieutenant Pollard was wounded in the ankle joint slightly, as was thought at the time, but the injury caused the loss of his leg.
Major Waller had been assigned at Ashland to the temporary command of another regiment, and Captain Swann¹ was now our acting major.
Not far from the field to-day we met the divisions of Hampton and Fitz. Lee returning after the heavy battle at Trevillian's. We bivouacked in the neighborhood of Nance's Shop.
Early next day (June 24th) the movement of troops indicated a fight on hand. The Ninth was sent to the extreme right to watch that flank. About noon we were recalled and ordered to the left to report to General M. C. Butler. General Chambliss, with the Thirteenth Regiment, was absent, and the author commanded the Ninth and Tenth regiments until he arrived. The position assigned us was immediately to the left of Butler's brigade, with directions to advance and assault a line of barricade in the woods held by the enemy, as soon as our line could be formed. After advancing about two hundred yards, driving the enemy's skirmishers before us, we were met by a very severe fire from a log breastwork in the woods, which curved considerably to the left. With a yell our line rushed forward to engage this unseen foe at close quarters. Such was the suddenness of our assault that the enemy seemed taken by surprise, and ran in confusion, not, however, without pouring a volley at us as we approached, and turning and firing as they retreated. The cool and brave Lieutenant Cecil Baker² fell dead at the breastwork from a random bullet, which diverted from its course, as was supposed, by a limb, and, ranging downward, passed through his heart. A number of the enemy retreating from the barricade, fell under our fire. The pursuit was rapid through the woods, until our right emerged from the cover into an open field. Our line of march being oblique to the edge of the woods and the formidable line of the enemy beyond, Company B became the first exposed to this second fire, and began to break and retreat. They were speedily halted and reformed. It was seen that the left and centre of our line would nearly reach the enemy's position before clearing the woods, whereupon the companies on the right were ordered to form in rear of the centre. When this was done the order was given to charge, just as General Chambliss rode up on the left
The men of the Tenth Regiment, supported by Colonel Robins, of the Twenty-fourth, on their left, had reached the barricade in their front, and as young J. Lucius Davis, the son of the chivalrous Colonel of the first-named regiment, leaped upon it, cheering his comrades, he received a bullet through the body and fell back lifeless. The works were carried, and the enemy's right turned. Our own direction was now somewhat changed, and, moving on a line nearly parallel with that of the enemy retreating before the Tenth Regiment, and somewhat in their rear, they found they must change front or be attacked in the rear. We soon found they were massing on their right to check us until their centre could be withdrawn. They had selected the crest of a gentle slope, and along the edge of a body of woods had formed a barricade, made hastily of logs, rails and earth. Our approach was chiefly through an open field, with about three companies of the. Ninth on the right moving through woods on the farther side of the road. Five companies, and the whole force of the Tenth Regiment, had a plain several hundred yards wide to cross. The march of these troops under a murderous fire could not have been excelled. With excellent alignment and orderly movement two hundred yards were passed at a double-quick. The barricade was well filled with the enemy, and their fire grew rapid, but as the first guns of our men on the right were heard, a yell was raised along the entire line, and, dashing at the works, they were speedily abandoned. The enemy's column defiling across the front of our right wing, got volley after volley as they retired, and presently broke and ran. Their rout was complete. With a mounted regiment at hand at this conjuncture, it seemed as if more than half of the whole Federal force might have been captured.
Conspicuous upon this bloody field was Major Clemens³, commanding the Tenth Regiment. At every stage of the fight his manly form might be seen, and his clear, ringing notes heard, now leading, now just in rear of his men, as they needed encouragement or restraint.
Some of the men having fainted from the excessive heat and exhaustion, after running a mile in pursuit, the regiment was halted, and the men; with the led horses, ordered up. We had suffered severely. Comparatively few of the commissioned officers were present. Of these, Lieutenant Love was painfully wounded. Company C lost five valuable men, who had become veterans, having been among the earliest to volunteer. They were Sergeant S. C. Hardwick, Corporal George B. Carroll, and Privates Henry Porter, B. B. Brown, and William Reamy. Other companies suffered as heavily.
The loss of the enemy must have been heavy for the numbers engaged. Two colonels were captured and one killed. At one point, near the last barricade, fifteen of their men were seen dead or nearly so. In general orders full recognition and praise were given the brigade for their part of the days work.

-History Of The Ninth Virginia Cavalry in The War Between The States
 Brig. General R. L. T. Beale
Richmond, VA
F. Johnson Publishing Company 1899.

¹Samuel A. Swann

² From the Catalogue of the Confederate Museum, Richmond, Va., 1898, "Tobacco Bag (leather), two Home-made Envelopes, and Military Orders, taken from the pocket of Lieutenant Cecil Baker after he was shot through the heart, June, 1864."

 ³William B. Clement

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pollard at Samaria Church . . .

  . . . or St Mary's Church, or Nance's Shop . . .

An excerpt from the post "South Carolina Cavalry Clash with "Sheridan's Raiders", 1864" of the          

"General Fitz Lee rode up to Butler's headquarters at the foot of a large oak tree, where the bullets were flying uncomfortably close. Upon being informed of the situation Fitz Lee dispatched his staff officer, Major Dug Ferguson asking to be allowed to take command in the field. The result was General Hampton granted the request, and wrote a note to General Butler to take orders from General Lee. (This correspondence ought to be in existence somewhere). The couriers and staff were fully advised of it at the time. However that may be, General Lee fully concurred with General Butler and ordered the Ninth Virginia, commanded by Colonel Beale, to report to Butler, who in the meantime increased the fire across the field to attract Gregg's attention.
 "Beale was sent off from Butler's left, guided by Cloud, Hogan and Miller and other scouts, under cover of a hill and thick woods, and as soon as he gained Gregg's right, made a vigorous assault, which compelled the latter to withdraw hurriedly and with a good deal of confusion. General Butler then rushed his line across the open field and Gregg's discomfiture was complete and amounted almost to a rout. General Butler ordered the Jeff Davis legion (of Young's brigade), mounted, under the command of that gallant officer and gentleman, Lieutenant-Colonel Waring of Savannah, to pursue with his mounted column, and right lustily did he carry out his orders."

This would seem to be the engagement of the Ninth Virginia in which  Captain James Pollard of New Kent, of Dalhgren Affair fame, lost his leg.

I respectfully apply to be furnished with an order on Wells Bro. Charlottesville Va., or whatever manufacturer may be designated, for an artificial limb. When a Capt. in Co. H. 9th Va. Cav. Regiment, on the 4th day of July 1864, at (Battle Field or Hospital.) Winder Hos.. My leg was amputated by surgeon Dudley* at (Seat of operation) Middle 3. on account of (Wound, accident or disease) G.S. receive in the service of the confederate States at (Battle Field, &c) Nance's Shop on the 24 day of June 1864.
 However, Beale's History of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry in the War Between the States states . . .

The next day we met the enemy near an old saw-mill in the vicinity of Nance's Shop, and had a spirited engagement, which was growing very interesting, when we were ordered back. One private was killed and several were wounded - E. F. Cox, of Company C, fatally so. Lieutenant Pollard was wounded in the ankle joint slightly, as was thought at the time, but the injury caused the loss of his leg.
Major Waller had been assigned at Ashland to the temporary command of another regiment, and Captain Swann was now our acting major.
Not far from the field to-day we met the divisions of Hampton and Fitz. Lee returning after the heavy battle at Trevillian's. We bivouacked in the neighborhood of Nance's Shop.
Early next day (June 24th) the movement of troops indicated a fight on hand.

. . . and so on, then describing the Battle of Samaria Church/ St. Mary's Church.

Which would seem to lead us to Pollard having lost his leg the day before the Battle of Samaria Church on June 23, 1864 at a separate engagement of Nance's Shop

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Chickahominy Sun, 1938- 1942

A great little piece from the blog of the Virginia Newspaper Project of the Library of Virginia,  about Providence Forge's first and only newspaper, The Chickahominy Sun. Extant from 1938 until the beginning of rationing in 1942, the paper was merged into the Tidewater Review.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Butler's Cavalry at White House, 1864

Of a Squadron from the Fifth Regiment, South Carolina Cavalry, of General M. C. Butler's Division.
On the 20th June, 1864, General Hampton conceived the idea of surprising and capturing the Yankee fort at White House, Virginia, situated on the Pamunky River. A large amount of supplies for Grant's Army were stored there. Hampton's object was to surprise the garrison, capture the fort and burn the supplies before the gunboats could land sufficient marines to defend same. The fort had a small garrison, but was further protected by several gunboats in the river.
In this attack, which was a surprise to the enemy, Hampton took with him portions of General M. C. Butler's division of cavalry, also of General Fitz Hugh Lee. After a night's march we struck their pickets a little after daylight ; they were stationed on the edge of a body of woods, about half a mile from the fort, an open field between them and the fort. Hampton's plan of attack was to make a feint in front of the works with Butler's command, while Fitz Lee was to make a detour and strike on flank. The Fifth South Carolina Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Zimmerman Davis, was in advance of Butler's command. This regiment struck the Yankee pickets, about twenty men, while they were cooking breakfast. All were captured, and they were promptly sent to the rear, their breakfast being devoured by the boys of the Fifth.

Colonel Davis halted his regiment, after the capture of these pickets, on the edge of the woods and sent a courier to notify General Butler. The general rode up to the front, and while looking across the field towards the fort the long roll was heard beating, and a body of men, about eighty, came out of the sally port, deployed as skirmishers, and advanced towards the woods where the Confederate cavalry were mounted. They were in easy reach of the Enfield guns of the Fifth, but not a shot had been fired. General Butler then said to Colonel Davis: "Colonel, as soon as those fellows get far enough from the fort for you to catch them, take a squadron of your regiment and charge them."
 The Fifth regiment had been much depleted by hard fighting, and, as a squadron only numbered about thirty men, it looked like certain death for all. If the Yanks had been veterans they could easily have emptied every saddle before the Confederate boys got within pistol shot of them. They were some new troops from New Jersey who had never been in a fight.
Again the order to charge was given, the squadron from the "fighting fifth" went after them with a yell, making a cloud of dust. The Yankees broke into a run to regain their fort, firing but one volley, hitting no one. We shot some of them, but as they surrendered as fast as we came up to them, we gathered them in as prisoners. Our men charged up so near the fort that its guns could not be depressed so as to rake us with cannister.
Colonel Davis gave the order. "Fall back, men, and bring out your prisoners." We brought out forty-seven "blue coats." While nearing our lines the guns of the fort killed four of the prisoners and one man and a horse of our squadron. General Butler, who witnessed the charge, complimented us and said to Colonel Davis,
"Well, Davis, that was a brilliant charge."
Fitz Lee, who was to attack the fort in flank and rear, through some mistake was delayed by taking a wrong road, and the gunboats landed men in the works and shelled us so vigorously that the attack was abandoned, as the place, if captured, could only have been held at a great sacrifice of life.
An interesting incident is connected with this squadron charge of the Fifth South Carolina Cavalry. Lieutenant John P. Deveaux and Glenn E. Davis, of Charleston, were both expert shots. The smoke from their pistols generally meant an empty saddle. They were riding together in this charge. "When the Yankee were caught up with they threw down their arms and cried that they surrendered. Our men shot all who retained their rifles. One of the Yanks held on to his gim, and Davis shot at him, his bullet striking the fellow's gun which was held across his breast. Seeing that he had surrendered, but was only too excited to throw his weapon down, he did not shoot at him again; but Deveaux, seeing the man still holding his gun, concluded to shoot him, having his pistol a few inches from his head. Glenn Davis saved the Yankee's life by knocking Deveaux's pistol up just before he fired, telling Deveaux not to shoot the man, as he had surrendered. The Yankee was very grateful to Davis for saving his life and so expressed himself. Davis told him it was all right, but he could just swap hats with him — he had a new one and the one Davis wore was rather the worse for wear.
Many years after the war Glenn Davis was in New York. One day riding on a car he sat next to a gentleman with whom he commenced to chat. When the gentleman found that Davis was a Southerner the talk drifted to the war. Davis told him that he was a veteran of Lee's army. The Northerner said that he was in the Union army, but his career as a soldier was a short one. He said he was taken prisoner in the first and only fight he ever was engaged in, and that it was in Virginia at a place called White House. He then related to Davis the incident of his capture and of his life being saved by a Confederate soldier, who knocked up the pistol of another who was about to blow his head off. He also told of the incident of swapping hats on the battlefield, and said that before he got to the prison at Richmond his hat had been exchanged five times, finally arriving at prison he had no hat; his shoes had been exchanged three times. He said it was fortunate Richmond was near, or he might not have had on anything on his arrival there. He was not kept a prisoner long, and when exchanged put in a substitute and never went back into
the army.

When Davis informed him that he was the man who saved his life, he was very much gratified to meet him and insisted upon his lunching with him. They had a mutually pleasant reunion.

Verily as the "Good Book" says, "Truth is stranger than fiction."

-Stories of the Confederacy by D. B. Rea
Editor: Ulysses Robert Brooks
State Company, 1912

Col. Zimmerman Davis