Drawing of the destroyed railroad bridge at White House on the Pamunkey

Drawing of the destroyed railroad bridge at White House on the Pamunkey
From the Story of Thirty-third New York Volunteers

Saturday, September 24, 2016

County Directory 1882 Edition

- The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Directory, Containing an Illustrated History and Description of the Road ...
Compiled by J. Henry Chataigne  1882

Monday, September 19, 2016

                                             Farmers View of Roads.

                                       To the Editors of the The Times-Dispatch:
Sir.- As we see it who travel over dirt roads almost abandoned by the road-working force, it would be far more advantageous to country people to distribute the road money and repair the broken down bridges and worn out roads even in places, than can concentrate the whole amount on a few miles of road for a certain class to travel. I will take for example the half mile of road between the Chickahominy River and Providence Forge. The bridge over the Chickahominy, at this place, is the first crossing from its mouth, possibly a distance of twenty or thirty miles. Consequently all travel by vehicle from the eastern and central part of Charles City county in going to the railroad station, post-office and express office have to cross on this bridge, necessarily making the traffic very heavy. Mails for several post-offices in Charles City County are taken across here dally, and one would imagine that such an important bridge and road would have a little attention, but on the contrary the bridge is in a deplorable condition. The abutment on the north side has been born away for months making it necessary to plunge down, I cannot say into the road, but ravine as the road is mostly in the river. Over a year, ago I called the attention of the supervisor to the fact that the teamsters were driving into the river at this place to water their team, of course with every trip taking the road out to the river. Just the felling of one small tree across the ford would have put a stop to this lawless procedure, but nothing was done. I spoke to others who I thought might have some influence, and while they express, a proper amount of regret at the deplorable condition of the road and bridge that ended it. When we reach Providence Forge we get a glimpse of the so-called highway, all fixed up smoothed down with signboards at every turn, and the autos of tourists, joy riders and city folks gliding along without a jolt, en route from city to city. Now this may be very satisfying and gratifying to some but as we see it, it is very unjust. The farmers pay a very high tax and every year the tax moves up higher and higher, and why should they have to plunge off old dilapidate bridges and drag through miles of mud when others travel in such comfort?                   I. E. J. 
Providence Forge, Dec. 26, 1922

-Richmond Times-Dispatch, 30 December 1922

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

With the Second Pennsylvania Reserves

The next morning at five o'clock we weighed anchor, and again started on, accompanied by the ferry boat Chancellor Livingston, and about one p.m., came to anchor near the mouth of the river, where the rest of the flotilla soon afterwards arrived. The day had been a stormy one, but as the wind lulled in the course of a few hours, we again got under way, and passing into Chesapeake bay, headed to the south and at sunset entered the York river, passing by Yorktown and Gloucester City and coming to anchor during the night off West Point at the confluence of the Pamunkey and Mattapony rivers. 

Early on the 11th we again got under way and entering the Pamunkey, steamed rapidly up it. This river winds through a low, flat country, and on account of its exceedingly crooked course, it was interesting to watch our flotilla with their bows sometimes pointing in every direction. In fact when a strange steamer was discerned, it was impossible to tell whether she was going up or down the river, and when one was but a half mile from us in a direct line she was many times that distance off  by the river. A "dark," who had resided in the neighborhood, it was said, answered that it was so crooked in some places that it was impossible to cross it, as no matter how often one rowed over, he would invariably find himself on the same side. We soon commenced meeting Government transports, mostly steamers and schooners laden with forage for the cavalry and artillery. The farther we ascended the more numerous they became, until they numbered hundreds lining the banks of the river for a long distance and obstructing the navigation. About nine o'clock we arrived at the White House, where we landed and stacked arms, awaiting orders.

The boys having had time to wash themselves and replenish their stock of tobacco, the brigade formed and marched up the railroad about two miles, passing an establishment "for the embalming the dead," whose proprietors distributed to their anticipated customers a bountiful supply of handbills. Moving into a field to the left, we bivouacked for the night. Here our baggage was reduced to the lowest possible amount, the officers being required to send to the landing ill but a small valise or knapsack, and the companies being allowed their cooking utensils only. Orders were issued to cook three days' rations, we borrowing from the First and Fifth kettles for the purpose.

At nine o'clock the next morning, we formed and marched off up the railroad which runs nearly due west from here, passing Tunstall's Station. The country through which we moved was mostly low, heavily wooded, and interspersed with numerous swamps. In some places where there were deep cuts, there were large deposits of marine shells and corals that indicated that at one time this portion of the Peninsula had been the bed of the sea. The same formation was found in other portions of the Peninsula. The day being excessively warm many of the men threw away their overcoats and blankets to lighten their loads. About four o'clock we passed Dispatch Station and moved to the right of the road and encamped on the edge of a heavy wood near the Chickahominy river, we having marched ten miles. Through the day we heard the slow fire of heavy guns.

- - - -

The only communication between the two banks of the Chickahominy were Bottom's, New and Mechanicsville bridges, the two latter being completely enfiladed by the enemy's batteries upon the commanding heights opposite, supported by strong forces, having numerous rifle-pits in their front, which would have made it necessary to have fought a sanguinary battle, with not a certain prospect of success, before a passage could have been secured. Therefore, to have advanced on Richmond soon after the battle, it would have been necessary to march the troops from Mechanicsville and other points on the north bank of the Chickahominy down to Bottom's bridge and thence to Fair Oaks, a distance of twenty-three miles, which in the condition of the roads would have required two days to accomplish with artillery, by which time the enemy would have been secure within his entrenchments, but five miles distant.

On the 13th of June we rested. In the afternoon orders were received to be prepared to move at daylight the next morning. Soon after orders were issued to move immediately, then orders came to draw five days' rations, three of which were to be cooked and two put in the knapsacks. By the time we had got through, about eleven, news was received that an attack had been made upon "Tunstall's Station," in our rear, and our brigade was ordered out. The night was a beautiful moonlight one, and after a march of eight miles we reached there, but the enemy had left. The "Bucktails," Fifth and Eighth were posted on the different roads, and we ordered to occupy a commanding position and hold the station.

It appears that two squadrons of the Fifth United States Cavalry, under the command of Captain Royall, stationed near Hanover Old Church, were attacked and overpowered by a force of the enemy's cavalry, numbering about one thousand five hundred men, with four guns, who pushed on towards the White House in hopes of destroying the stores and shipping there, but the fortunate arrival of the Third Brigade of Reserves frustrated their design. Upon the enemy's arrival at the station a portion of them dismounted and awaited the arrival of the tram, upon which they fired, killing one man and wounding several others. The engineer immediately put on steam and succeeded in running the train through. After this they set fire to the station-house and a car loaded with grain, and then tearing up a rail retired to a neighboring wood to await the arrival of another train now due. Upon the arrival of our brigade, however, they skedaddled.

The next morning a number of laborers, who had escaped and hid themselves in the woods came in, as also Colonel Gr. B. Hall, Second Excelsior Brigade, who fell from a platform car and was captured by the enemy. They bound his hands together and tied him to the stirrup of one of the men, but during the confusion of their skedaddle upon our arrival, he managed to give them the slip. The bodies of two or three poor laborers who had been wantonly killed were found and buried. Near the station they captured and burnt a number of Government and sutler wagons, from which they got considerable liquor, and some of them indulging rather freely, they were found lying around loose in the woods next morning and brought in. A Dutch butcher of Richmond came riding in, in a most glorious state of felicity, tickled half to death with the fun of the night before, which he related to us with great gusto, and proposed taking a drink with any one who had liquor, and shooting the Yankee prisoners. The terror of the poor devil upon discovering his mistake, almost instantly sobered him, and the boys, after frightening him to their hearts' content "bucked and gagged" him, and turned him over to the guard.

The day being excessively hot, we were moved across the railroad to a wood upon a hill, where we remained until the next morning. During the night companies K and H, Captain Smith and Lieutenant Kennedy were sent on picket, and Lieutenants Jack and Black were sent out with detachments to scour the woods, the latter returning with five prisoners.

On Sunday the 15th, the enemy having all disappeared, we returned to our former camping ground, the weather being oppressively hot and the men straggling much. The entire damage done by the enemy, besides that referred to above, was the killing of several of the guard and teamsters at Garlick's Landing, and the burning of two schooners laden with forage, they making the entire circuit of the army, repassing the Chickahominy at Long Bridge. It is somewhat remarkable that this raid was commanded by Fitz Hugh Lee, and executed a few days after the return of his mother to Richmond, from a visit to the White House, where she had been furnished with a pass and escort by General Fitz John Porter, who was a welcomed guest to her hospitalities prior to the war.

More effectually to conceal from the enemy our positions and numbers, orders were issued prohibiting the sounding of all calls, and ordering the tying to trees of any who discharged their pieces. Every morning early the enemy opened on our fatigue parties at work on the bridges, which the boys said was "Jeff calling the roll."

On the afternoon of the 6th the division was formed at five o'clock to receive General McClellan, but we were disappointed, and after waiting an hour we returned to our quarters. The next day we formed at nine, A.M., to receive the general, and remained in position until twelve, P.M., and reformed at six, when orders were read to us to march the next morning, which were received with enthusiasm. During the evening we were busy cooking rations, and at throe the next morning, companies B and A, Captains McDonough and Neidé were recalled from picket. At five o'clock we moved off in a northwesterly direction parallel with the Chickahominy, and after marching eight miles encamped about noon near Gaines' House, and about three hundred yards from the river.

 -Our Campaigns: Or, The Marches, Bivouacs, Battles, Incidents of Camp Life and History of Our Regiment During Its Three Years Term of Service
 Evan Morrison Woodward* 1865

*The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant & Adjutant Evan M. Woodward, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 13 December 1862, while serving with 2d Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry, in action at Fredericksburg, Virginia. First Lieutenant Woodward advanced between the lines, demanded and received the surrender of the 19th Georgia Infantry and captured their battle flag.
General Orders: Date of Issue: December 14, 1894
Action Date: December 13, 1862

Monday, September 5, 2016

Hunting Duck and Sora

Richmond, Va., Jan. 20. -Andrew Krouse, veteran hunter and Confederate veteran, the only surviving member of the original Blues, has just returned from Holtz Creek Club, on the Pamunkey River, where he and his nephew, Edward W. Krouse, Sr., bagged sixty-four Mallards and two geese in two days' hunting. 
For twenty-five years president of the Holtz Creek Club, in New Kent County, Andrew Krouse has hunted since boyhood and probably is the oldest duck hunter in Virginia. Mr. Krouse hunted with President Grover Cleveland. For the past sixty years he has never missed hunting sora.

-Southside Sentinel(Urbanna), 30 January 1925

The Holtz Creek Club should be the Holts Creek Club after the tributary of the Pamunkey at Cumberland Marsh.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

MAY 20-23, l862.- Operations about Bottoms Bridge, Chickahominy River, Va- VI

Peck & Staff, Tennallytown, DC, 1862

Report of Brig. Gen. John J. Peck, U. S. Army, commanding brigade, of operations May 20.

                                                            HEADQUARTERS PECKS BRIGADE*,
                                                      Near Providence Church, Va., May 20, 1862.

In obedience to instructions, my brigade and two batteries were held in readiness until about 12 m. this day to support a reconnaissance to be made by General Barnard. On receiving an intimation that the general had passed on, I pushed forward my command with all speed to the front. From the time of leaving camp, artillery fire was heard at intervals in the direction of the railroad bridge.

On joining General Barnard, I stated that I had my brigade and two batteries ready to support him in his reconnaissance, and requested him to state the dispositions he desired to make. After a consultation, I gave the general two companies of infantry and Lieutenant Comstock two more, and established some eight companies on the flanks for observation, screened by the woods. The balance of my command, including Colonel Gregg's cavalry, I placed in close proximity, but out of view of the enemy's pickets, in accordance with my own judgment and directions received personally from General Keyes.

While making these dispositions the firing was continued on the right by troops of General Casey's division. A section of one of his batteries was advanced down into the Bottom's Bridge road with infantry supports. This battery kept up a rapid fire, with but little or no response from the enemy, until after the close of the reconnaissance. This movement of General Casey's on to my front was wholly unnecessary, inasmuch as the ground was already occupied with Colonel Russell's Seventh Massachusetts Regiment, placed there by General Couch, and the whole of my command being in hand. In my judgment the fire of the artillery must have in some degree embarrassed the reconnaissance of General Barnard.

At the conclusion of the generals examination I reported to General Keyes, and in accordance with his directions brought away my command a little after 5 p.m., save the Ninety-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, which was left in support of the front.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                          JOHN J. PECK,

                       Capt. C. C. SUYDAM,
                          Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters Keyes Fourth Corps.

 -  The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume 11 (Part I)

* 98th Pennsylvania: Col John F. Ballier
  102nd Pennsylvania: Col Thomas A. Rowley
  93rd Pennsylvania: Col James M. McCarter
  62nd New York: Col John L. Riker
  55th New York: Col P. Regis de Trobriand

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

MAY 20-23, l862.- Operations about Bottoms Bridge, Chickahominy River, Va- V

Report of Brig. Gen. Henry M. Naglee, U.S. Army, commanding First Brigade, Casey's division, of operations May 20-23.

                                           BOTTOMS BRIDGE, May 23, 1862 -5.45 p.m.
GENERAL: I have just returned after a hard days work. Under the within extraordinary order I marched my brigade to the point designated. Took the two companies of cavalry and a detachment of 170 of the Fifty-sixth New York. Went out the main road from the bridge toward Richmond to the road parallel with the Charles City road, and between it and the Chickahominy. Found nobody knew anything of it. With one company of the cavalry and 30 men I explored it, the above road, and found the road clear. Driving off detached portions of 10 to 30 cavalry, joined the balance of the detachment, which I had sent directly out from Bottoms Bridge. I then went out that road leading from Bottoms Bridge across the and finally to the Charles City road; thence by it to the crossing with the Quaker road, leading to the James River. Went down this to within 3 miles of the James River. Returned and pursued the Charles City road 2 miles beyond the intersection with the Quaker road to a point 10 miles from Richmond.
By this time it was 4 p. m. We had accumulated such a force of cavalry before us that, with the fatigue, lateness of the hour, and distance from our supports, I considered it prudent to return. The country through which I passed is evacuated most literally. The roads have no new wagon-tracks since the rains of last night, and until we crossed the road from James River few marks of the passage of cavalry.

                 Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN.

The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume 11 (Part I)

Friday, August 12, 2016

MAY 20-23, l862.- Operations about Bottoms Bridge, Chickahominy River, Va- IV

Report of Brig. Gen. Henry M. Naglee, U.S. Army, commanding First Brigade, Casey's division, of operations May 20-23.

                                                HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., CAMP ON RICHMOND ROAD,
                                                             Three Miles from Bottoms Bridge, May 21, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I would respectfully report that in accordance with the order of General Casey, at 9 a.m. yesterday I proceeded with the One hundred and fourth Pennsylvania, Colonel Davis; Fifty-sixth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Jourdan; one company, under Captain Harvey, of 50 selected men, from the Eleventh Maine; two companies, commanded by Captains Davis and Silver, of 100 men, selected from the Fifty-second Pennsylvania, and two batteries of the Eighth [?] New York*, Colonel Baileys, to make a reconnaissance of the railroad bridge and the left bank of the Chickahominy from that point to Bottoms Bridge.

We arrived upon the ground at 10 a.m. Twenty men of the Eleventh Maine were ordered to proceed cautiously along the northern side of the embankment of the railroad until they should get under cover of the woods and thence to the bridge, with instructions to drive away the pickets of the enemy which were within the cut at the railroad guard-house on the left bank as well as those on the other side. The other 30 were deployed obliquely to the right and rear of the 20, and ordered to clear the woods and hold the bank of the river above the railroad bridge. Captain Orem, of Company B, of the One hundred and fourth, was placed in their rear to support them and protect our right flank. At the same time 20 selected men were started along the left side of the railroad embankment with 80 others, ordered to deploy diagonally to their left and rear and gradually, after clearing the woods, to hold the bank of the river. Behind these Captains Marple and Pickering, Rogers and Harvey, Companies A, E, F and K, of the One hundred and fourth, were placed at proper intervals to support them, and the remaining five companies of Colonel Davis One hundred and fourth followed as a reserve. The Fifty-sixth were placed on rising ground parallel with the river and about three-quarters of a mile in rear.

A few shots at the pickets at the railroad bridge made them disappear. We had but scarcely entered the wood south of the railroad before we found ourselves in a thick jungle, the ground covered with water from 2 to 5 feet in depth, intersected in many directions with small currents. We soon found the main channel, which was from 30 to 50 feet in width, with from 4 to  feet water. After we had waded slowly along for some 400 yards several shots from our front and right indicated the presence of the enemy. Our men, accustomed to hunting, picked off four of the enemy from the right bank and soon after several others from the border of the creek.

We then proceeded along the creek until about 300 yards of Bottoms Bridge, where we found the enemy in more force, and firing became more frequent. We gradually advanced, however, until we came up to the point of woods at the turn immediately in front of Bottoms Bridge, which we found was the center of a converging fire from the entire circumference of the circle made by the creek below the bridge. Here we maintained ourselves, but at a great disadvantage, the least exposure by any one drawing a dozen shots from the enemy. Our arms were superior, and we kept them at long range. They had before opened upon us with three pieces of artillery from a battery on rising ground at some distance from the creek, but their shot passed over the skirmishers in the swamp and over the One hundred and fourth, which had been gradually moved along parallel with the wood as they proceeded, and struck upon the ground occupied by the Fifty-sixth. Three other pieces had been brought down by the enemy to the railroad and opened upon our sharpshooters at the bridge. General Casey, who had come upon the ground in that vicinity, ordered down four pieces of Colonel Baileys battery, which soon silenced and drove them off.

Some time prior to this four pieces were ordered to open from the ground to the left and slightly in rear of the Fifty-sixth, and two others from a point on the Bottom's Bridge road within 500 yards of the bridge, the skirmishers there for the time being withdrawn. With these dispositions of our forces the work was accomplished, the enemy were silenced, and the reconnaissance completed.

We had but one man badly wounded. We found the railroad bridge to be 600 yards long, extending over a swamp through which the Chickahominy runs, the latter crossing the railroad bridge 30 yards from the east end of it, the river being at the crossing over which the bridge has been burned 75 feet wide, with a depth of 5 feet. The width of the swamp decreases very rapidly, so munch so, that at a short distance below the bridge a point was found where the width of the river was but 35 feet and where the causeways on both sides to connect with the bridge would not exceed in length 30 yards, and the whole, of a width of 40 or 50 feet, could be made in one day. The bottom of the river, of the swamp, and of the currents that intersect each other in every direction is hard, and the depth of water averages from 2 to 5 feet. We found the average width of the river to be but 35 feet, and that with the exception of the swamp at the railroad bridge it is seldom more than 100 yards wide, and that at many points between the bridges crossings can be made with but little difficulty. The right bank of the river we found to be firm above the water and gradually rising, until at a half a mile from the river the ground becomes quite elevated. The ground between the railroad and the road to Bottom's Bridge is swampy, and from the river to the rising ground behind Watson's house is too boggy and cut by ditches to allow the passage of horses, but infantry may get over it. The railroad bridge should be saved from further destruction, for which purpose General Casey, confirming my order to the sharp-shooters that 100 of them should hold the abutment on the west side, also ordered a sufficient number of experienced axmen from the Eleventh Maine to repair the bridge during the night. When we arrived in the morning we found the bridge still burning, but finding their canteens too slow a process, the men passed the water in their caps and extinguished the flames. By observation we found the stream had overflown its banks, that it was rapidly falling, and actually fell 6 inches during the day.

I cannot conclude this very satisfactory report without referring, in terms of unqualified commendation, to the gallant conduct of all present at the reconnaissance of the railroad and Bottom's Bridges. Our troops, driving the enemy back from the railroad bridge, repulsed the cavalry and artillery sent to retake it, and examined the ground 600 yards beyond the western end. Up to their middle in water, they drove the enemy from the railroad to Bottom's Bridge, where, becoming concentrated, our artillery opened upon and scattered them. A complete and thorough description of the river and the surrounding country was obtained. The location of two of their batteries was discovered, and the enemy was so much disheartened that the bridge and river were abandoned during the night. Ten or twelve of the enemy were reported killed by our infantry. The number killed by our artillery it is impossible to ascertain.

I regret exceedingly to close so very satisfactory a report with a notice of the conduct of those detailed from the Second Division to guard the bridge at night, and who in the most unceremonious manner ordered away the troops above referred to, who after taking the bridge from the enemy volunteered to remain and hold it and to rebuild during the night the portion that had been destroyed.

All of which is respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,           
                                                         HENRY M. NAGLEE,

                 Capt. Henry W. Smith,
                             Assistant Adjutant General

The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume 11 (Part I)

* Col Guilford D. Bailey commanded the artillery of Gen. Casey's Third Division, one of which was the 8th New York Independent Battery.