Pamunkey River

Pamunkey River
The Pamunkey River in 1864

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The 10th Massachusetts from Williamsburg to Bottoms Bridge I

Capts of the 10th Mass.- Newell is bottom center

An account of the 10th Massachusetts in New Kent during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. The regiment was part of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the Fourth Corps. The regiment consisted of men from western Massachusetts and the Connecticut Valley of that state. The regimental history was edited by Joseph Keith Newell, the 24 year old captain of Company I.


THURSDAY, May 8. In camp near Williamsburg. Several officers of the Regiment were permitted to take a stroll through the town. Visited the William and Mary College, which was used as a hospital for the wounded. It was mostly filled with rebels, they having been carried there during the engagement. The ladies of Williamsburg were present in large numbers, tenderly caring for their wounded soldiers. 


FRIDAY, May 9. At half-past six this morning started again; marched as far as James City. We took a long roundabout way, and after marching ten miles, were only three miles from Williamsburg. 


SATURDAY, May 10. Marched as far as Barhamsville, and encamped upon the edge of a beautiful grove, the Seventh Massachusetts on our right, and the Fifty-fifth New York in the rear of us. Reached this camp about three o'clock in the afternoon. By shiftlessness in our quarter master s department, our baggage train is not up. While the officers of every other regiment in sight are luxuriating in clean changes of clothing, we are waiting for our baggage as usual. 


SUNDAY, May 11. In camp at Barhamsville. Dress parade at five o clock, by all the regiments. This drew, as visitors, quite a crowd of first-families, and some that were not first. One couple footed it five miles to see the soldiers. They hadn't seen any of "youuns" before. The woman said she never before saw the American flag, and we didn't doubt her word. 


MONDAY, May 12 Still in camp at Barhamsville. Dress parade at five o clock. 


TUESDAY, May 13. Broke camp at seven o clock, taking the direct telegraph road to Richmond. Marched until midnight, reaching New Kent Court-house, a distance of only ten miles from where we started. The long line of baggage train impeded our march, and we could move but a short distance at a time. Halted for the night much fatigued. Bivouacked on a sand-bank. 


WEDNESDAY, May 14. Whole Regiment detailed for picket; rained all night; the men soaked through and through. 


THURSDAY, May 15. Still raining hard; the whole Regiment on picket all day and all night. A cavalry picket, from the Eighth Pennsylvania, are attempting vidette duty in our front, but during the night, they were all the time coming in with cock-and-bull stories of whole squadrons of the enemy just ready to charge, and managed to keep us up and in line, all night. In the morning, found out that one company had been scared all night by another company of the same regiment. 

The able-bodied men of this region are all in the rebel army; we see some of their maimed and crippled, who have been discharged from the confederate service, and have returned to their homes. They have but little to say, and answer but few questions. 

All the houses we pass have little white flags of truce hanging out of the windows, or stuck up in the door-yard. Flags of mercy, the boys call them, and the property so marked, is generally protected and respected. At James City, we protected a poor lone widow, saved her fences for her, and allowed no one to molest her. Next morning, found out that her husband was in the rebel army, and she was secesh through and through. 

 - ' "Ours" of 10th Massachusetts Volunteers, in the Rebellion.' 

Edited By: Captain Joseph Keith Newell, Historian of the Regiment,
Published by C. A. Nichols & Co., Springfield, Mass. 1875- 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Frightful Degree - Death of an Old Soldier 1825

Richmond, Nov. 20.— We understand that Mr John Brown, a venerable old man, one of the door-keepers of the House of Delegates, for a great many years, was killed on Saturday last by an unfortunate son, who is said to be deranged. What particular provocation could have induced him to attack the life of his father, we have not understood; but he first shot his father, and not haying dispatched him in this manner, he struck him with an axe, separated -the head from the trunk, and horrible to tell! cut and mangled the head of his victim in a frightful degree. Another of his brothers hearing of the murder, came up with a gun; and the wretch attempting to escape, he shot at him, only one small shot striking him on the cheek. The calamity does not terminate here. For, the destroyer of his father, being thus wounded, fired in his turn at his brother, and lodged the contents of the gun in .his thigh. The life of the brother too is said to be in jeopardy Some negroes who were by, no longer fearing bis gun, came up and seized him he was committed to New Kent jail on Sunday morning.  [Compiler.

-Phenix Gazette (Alexandria), 3 December 1825

Thousands in the Commonwealth are acquainted with John Brown, an old Revolutionary Soldier, who has served so many years aid so faithfully as Door-keeper to the House of Delegates. The unfortunate man has fallen by the hands of his own son. On Saturday last, the son shot the father; but as the old man did not fall dead, the son seized an axe struck him on the head, perhaps nearly separated it from the body, and mangled it in a most distressing manner. Another of the sons hearing of the terrible catastrophe, approached his brother with a gun, who immediately attempted to fly; but the irritated son shot at him, and merely grazed him on the cheek with one partridge shot. The parricide then stopt, and returned the fire, which unfortunately took effect on the body of his brother, whose life is despaired of; some negroes, who had been prevented from interfering by the fear of his gun, then stept up and arrested the murderer. On Saturday morning, he was committed to the jail of New Kent County. Our informant states that the unfortunate Parricide is supposed to have been for some time deranged.

-Richmond Enquirer, 29 November 1825

John Brown
John Brown, 2nd (File No. S. 39,319; certificate no. 4732). May 15, 1818, when he was 55 year of age John Brown, 2nd, of New Kent County, Va., made affidavit in open court that he enlisted in James City Co., Va., in May 1778 as a private in Colo. Porterfield's regt*., and served to the end of the war. He was in the battle when Gates was defeated, and received his discharge at Little York, Va. 
The signatures of the presiding judges of New Kent County Court appear on this paper and are: Robert Warren, Robert Graves, Seaton W. Crump, Wm. Douglas and Beverly Crump. Bartholomew Dandridge signed as Clerk of Ct. 
The pension of $8 per month was granted Oct. 21, 1818 commencing May 15, 1818. This was dropped Nov. 26, 1819 upon information that Colo. Porterfield's was a State Regt. and not Continental.

* I assume this to be the Virginia State Garrison Regiment, meant to guard various sites along the coast of Virginia. It was sent south and was decimated at the American defeat at Camden.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Vandalism as History, from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources . . .

  . . . or how to tell if your state's Department of Historic Resources is possibly a bunch of political hacks.

Curiosity drove me to see what our state Department of Historic Resources thought of our iconoclastic times. 

And so from the Department's own website under "DHR Guidance Regarding Confederate Monumentswe find this statement- that the "DHR offers these guidelines to support the removal of monuments in a manner adhering to best preservation practices", which, if you think about it, is an odd statement coming from an organization whose supposed mission statement is "to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship of Virginia's significant historic architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources."

In these "guidelines" we find . . . italics are my own.

Paint removal: The owner of the monument should decide if the paint is now an important part of the history of the monument that should be preserved before the decision for removal is made. Please keep in mind that while paint and other forms of vandalism may be disfiguring to the monument, it may also now form an important part of the history of the monument. If it is decided that the paint removal is necessary.

. . .

Conservation/Preservation of damaged monuments: The owner of the monument should decide if the damage is now an important part of the history of the monument that should be preserved before the decision for repair is made. Please keep in mind that while vandalism may be disfiguring to the monument, it may also now form an important part of the history of the monument. 


Sunday, August 2, 2020

"Of Choice Fruit" - 1804


Offers for Sale, at his Nursery in New Kent county near the cross roads*—Five Thousand 
Grafted Apple Trees, 
Of choice fruit, at 6d per tree. He believes they are not excelled if equaled by any in this state, either In thriftiness or quality, having at considerable trouble collected the most approved kinds, agreeable to the following list. 

     Winesop.                         Golden Wilding,
     Bellflower,                      Rawel’s Jenneats,
     Summer Cheese,             Lowry Apple,
     Winter Cheese,                Summer Pearmain,
     Clopton’s Hangfast,        Winter do.
     May Apple,                     Freeman’s do.
     June do.                           Cannon do.
     July do.                            Ligbtfoot’s do.
     Sheep's Nose,                  Longstem,
     Harvest Apple,                Long Crab,
     Sweet Russett.                 Red do.
     Sept. 29th, 1804.             Flat do. 
Having seen many orchards set out by Mr, Samuel Bailey, and particularly two set for us, we believe him to be bettor acquainted with that business than any other person that we know.
  Wm. Chamberlayne—     Thos. Frayser.
Sept. 29th, 1804.
Mr. Bailey has set out an orchard for me, which I think is done in a superior manner to any I ever saw.   w4t    Ro. Christian.

Virginia Argus, 6 October 1804

* 'The cross roads" typically refers the cross road at Rt. 249/Airport Rd./Tunstall Rd
NB: 6d is 6 cents

For more information on some of the apples mentioned I suggest Old Southern Apples: A Comprehensive History and Description of Varieties ... -Creighton Lee Calhoun

Sunday, July 12, 2020

 Frayser's Tavern— For Sale. 
The subscriber being desirous to retire to private life, offers for sale that tract of land known  by the name Frayser’s Tavern, lying in New Kent county, 16 miles below Richmond, on the main stage road leading from Richmond to Williamsburg, and containing 183 acres of land. The situation is healthy, and is surpassed by no country stand in the lower country as a Tavern, which the subscriber will sell on reasonable terms.  
I deem it unnecessary to say any thing more respecting the said land, as it is presumed that any person wishing to purchase will first view it, and judge for himself. 
             Sept. 25      40—tf         RICHARD FRAYSER

 -Richmond Enquirer,  12 October 1821

I particularly like the last sentence of this advertisement. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

4th of July 1811 — "May it Continue to Draw Order out of Confusion"

This celebration was held just one year before the beginning of the War of 1812 when tensions between the United States and Britain and just five years after the First Barbary War.


At a numerous and respectable collection of the citizens of New Kent county, assembled at Mrs. Frayser’s tavern on the 4th of July, for the purpose of celebrating the birth day of our Independence, John Clopton, Esq. was chosen President, Southey L. Savage, Esq. Vice-President, and John Massie, Esq. the secretary. Dr. David Glass delivered an elegant, and appropriate oration on the Occasion, which received the applause of the auditory.
The following toast were drank: 
1. The Day we celebrate— May each succeeding anniversary increase the ardor of virtuous patriotism— 3 cheers.  
2. The Heroes who fell in defense of American Independence— May the recollection of their magnanimous achievements arouse the energies of their descendants, which have too long Slept under the scourge of foreign aggression— 9 cheers.  
3. George Washington— 9 cheers.  
4. The Constitution of the United States— May its progress in perfection be rapid as the conception of the human mind, and commensurate with time itself— 7 cheers.  
5. The Laws of the United States— May they never be so construed as to shield the traitor or  to oppress the innocent— 9 cheers.  
6. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial Departments of the United States— May virtue be the spring and justice the result of all their actions— 9 cheers.  
7.  Thomas Jefferson— May the benign influence of his retiring virtue, ever illuminate the Executive Department— 9 cheers.  
8. James Madison— 9 cheers.   
9. The American Fair— Politico-Philosophers would place them last, but we assign them the middle station, that their virtuous influence may pervade the whole system— 13 cheers.  
10. The Militia of the United States— A well regulated militia the only safe-guard of nations against the encroachments of tyrants— 13 cheers.  
11. The American Flag—May it ever wave triumphant— 20 cheers.   
12. The American Eagle—May he soar superior to every opposing influence— 20 cheers.  
13. The State cf Virginia—As she ranks in population, so may she stand in patriotic  virtue— 13 cheers.  
14. The Twelfth Congress—May their united councils be directed by wisdom, and energy, and guided by patriotism, to the vindication of their country’s violated rights— 20 cheers.  
15. The State Legislatures of Virginia, Pennsylvania, New-Jersey and Kentucky— May their memories he embalmed in the gratitude of their country—They have contribute to rescue the nation from the baneful effects of a monied institution— 15 cheers.  
16. American Literature, and the Freedom of the Press— May the one never be clouded, nor the other cramped, by the blind ignorance of tyrants— 15 cheers.  
17. The Citizens of the United States— in peace may they imitate Aristides, in war Alexander— 15 Cheers  
18. American Genius— May it continue to draw order out of confusion— 24 cheers. 

By the President. The American States —May the bands of their union never be loosened—the true principles of their government never be violated. 
By the Vice-President. Wadsworth, Somers and Israel, the unfortunate victims of Tripoli— perpetual be their memories— long live their services with a grateful country.  
Mr. John Massie. May the voice of Republicanism be superior to that of despots or tyrants.  
Mr. Joseph Jenkins. Those Patriots who celebrate this day in sincerity—be their memories ever revered.  
Mr. William E. Clopton. Commerce with all the world; but war rather than dishonor.  
Mr. Annistead Russell. May future generations be astonished that such beings as kings ever lived.  
Mr. George Savage. The Great Council of the Nation, the Congress of the U. States— May they at their next session adopt such energetic measures as the crisis calls for and the American Nation expect.  
Mr. John R. Waddill. The fall of despotism, the rise of freedom.  
Capt. Seaton W. Crump. The memory of George Wythe 
Mr. John Crump. The memory of General Mercer 
Mr. John B. Clopton. The People of the United States—may all party-spirit be done away, and only one voice be heard throughout the nation; the British Lion he be chained to his den and the Gallic Cock to his roost 
Doct. David Glass. Giles and Brent, our federal Senators— Their speedy advancement to the station of private citizens.  
The President having withdrawn.
By Mr. George Savage. John Clopton, our Representative in Congress, and President to day—-whose unshaken political virtue has stood the test of every concussion. 
By the Company. Commodore John Rodgers— he deserves the confidence of his country— 6 cheers. 

 -Virginia Argus, 15 July 1811

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Improving the Chickahominy- 1818

Notice-- That a petition will be presented to the next General Assembly of Virginia, praying that a law may pass for the clearing out the course of Chickahominy Swamp from the Mechanicsville turnpike road in the county of Henrico, to Windsor Shades in the county of New Kent. 
All person interested in and desirous of encouraging this very useful scheme of internal improvements, are invited to meet at Park’s tavern (formerly Mrs. Frazer's) in the county of New Kent, on the second Saturday June next, at 12 o'clock.  
The attendance of the members of the legislature of the counties of Hanover, Henrico, Charles City, New Kent, James City, and the city of Richmond, is particularly desired.

To the honorable the Speakers and Members of the General Assembly of Virginia. 

The petition of a number of the inhabitants of the counties of Hanover, Henrico, Charles City, New Kent James City, and of the city of Richmond, most respectfully represents, 
That the Chickahominy Swamp or Creek as a stream which furnishes a greater portion of bottom land in proportion to its size, than any other water course in the state of Virginia; that the lands are generally capable of being rendered very productive both in Indian coin, oats, and a variety of grasses, as well natural as artificial, and that great quantities of most valuable timber will be found to be the growth of those wide portions; but that all the advantages which this extensive and fertile tract of country presents, have heretofore been engaged in a very limited degree, in consequence of obstructions to the free passage of the water, causing a general overflowing of the low grounds to the immense injury of crops and to the impossibility of taking out the superfluous timber. 
Many Individual and spirited attempts have been made to remove such obstructions as were contiguous to the property of such individuals; but the experience of more than forty years has evinced that such attempts must ever prove abortive, unless a general and voluntary co-operation of all the property holders, in conducting the work can be established, an event which the most sanguine of your petitioners can never expect to see realized. Believing as we do that all the land on both sides of the Chickahominy river, from Windsor Shades in the county of New Kent, to the Mechanicsville turnpike road, where the same crosses the swamp, will be essentially benefited by a successful attempt to remove the obstructions in the run, that a convenient boat navigation maybe thereby formed for the greater part of the above mentioned distance, and that both effects will very much add to the growing importance of the capital of the state your petitioners indulge the hope that your honorable body will most cheerfully pass a law authorizing the county courts of Hanover, Henrico Charles City and New Kent, once in every year each to appoint a director holding land on the Chickahominy Swamp, which four, when so appointed, shall choose a fifth to act as their president; that the five directors shall have power to perform all maters relative to the widening, straightening and deepening the Chickahominy, which they may consider conducive to the general good; and that they shall have power, with the aid of the county surveyor of each county, to make an exact and connected survey of all the bottom land belonging to each person, bordering on or being a part of said swamp, or low grounds: which survey, together with the probable estimates of the expenses in the incurred in each year, shall be made in the several county courts before mentioned. And your petitioners further pray that the four county courts before mentioned shall have full power and authority to make assessment in each year upon all the lauds so reported to them by the directors, of a sum not exceeding twenty five cents per acre, to be collected and distrained for by the sheriffs of the respective counties, in like manner as county levies are directed by law to be collected and to be paid, when collected, by the order of the board of directors, and that the powers so to be granted to the courts shall continue to be exercised for ten years, if in the opinion of the directors it shall so long be required. And your petitioners will, as in duty bound, pray, &c. 
May 22.

-Richmond Enquirer, 26 May 1818