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Monday, February 18, 2019

A Friendly Post . . .




. . . to remind you it is actually Washington's Birthday not some advertisers-day bastardization known as President's Day and that the Commonwealth celebrates today as George Washington Day. So for our edification, I serialize Washington's Farewell Address. Serialized because we seem to have rather short attention spans compared to the Eighteenth Century.


George Washington's Farewell Address
FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS:
The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.
I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.
The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea.
I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety; and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.
The impressions, with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say, that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the outset, of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied, that, if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.
In looking forward to the moment, which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it.
Here, perhaps I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.
Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.
The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.
But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those, which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.
The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds, in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connexion with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.
While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.
These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of Patriotic desire. Is there a doubt, whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope, that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to Union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands.
In contemplating the causes, which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by Geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavour to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren, and connect them with aliens?
To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

To be continued tomorrow . . .


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Another Bird Story

EGGS SCARCE.

A New Kent Lady's Plan to Increase Energy of Lagging Hens.  
(Special to The Times-Dispatch.) 

ROXBURY, VA., Jan. 14.-There are not quite so many happy homes in New Kent as usual. The cause of all the trouble is nothing more than  that the hens been three months one general strike. Eggs at thirty cents wholesale.  No not more than three or four eggs per day out of a large flock is more than the housewife can stand. The verdict of death will be read to whole flocks of fowls in the near future unless they do
better.  
One lady near this place hit on a happy plan. Her fowls were well fed and sheltered but would not lay. She had a load of manure hauled. No sooner had the wagon been unloaded than the Whole bank of manure was covered with the fowls. The lady went out some time later,to her surprise she found thirty-two eggs laying nil around where the hens had been feeding. The lady was delighted, and the news soon spread all over the neighborhood. Then the husbands had to come out from their warm roosts, hitch up and go after manure.


 -Times Dispatch, 15 January 1904


Monday, January 28, 2019

A Bird Story

A LARGE EAGLE KILLED.

-Mr. S. J. Chandler, of this city, exhibited at the State office on Monday an immense gray eagle that was killed last week by his brother. Mr. O.M. Chandler, on the old Wm. Dandridge estate, in New Kent county. The bird was probably the largest ever killed in this section. It measured 7 feet 6 1/2 inches from tip to tip. The talons were 1 1/2 inches in length and the beak was of great size and apparent power. Those powerful birds of prey are reported as very plentiful in that county, and Mr. Chandler thinks this huge fellow has carried off at least a hundred lambs. He reports that eagles destroyed about 200 lambs in his neighborhood last spring. They are reported as being able to fly away with a young sheep as easily as a hawk with a chicken. Mr. Chandler, who is quite a successful hunter, was out with his gun and dog when the bird flew over him and he shot it. He killed another eagle the same day. The skin will be stuffed and preserved. -Rich. State


-Alexandria Gazette, January 31 1893


A brief review of present ornithological works as well as those contemporaneous with this article confirm that indeed "gray eagle" is another name for Bald Eagle.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Holly Fork Festivities - January 1892



New Kent Gayety. 

[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.) 

HOLLY FORK, NEW KENT COUNTY, VA, January 15.-The hospitable home of Mr. A. P. Richardson was the scene of conviviality and enjoyment last Friday evening. A most enjoyable leap-year party was given by Miss Lulu Richardson in honor of her guests. Misses Dele Richardson and Lula Atkinson, of Richmond. The spacious building was a blaze of  light from the hickory back-log in the fire-place and from beautifully-colored lamps. The guests assembled early, and until a late hour participated in the unrestrained but refined enjoyment of the pleasures to be found in an old-fashioned country home. Music, instrumental and vocal, lent its charms, amusing games were played with zest by young and old, and to the music of the piano, harp. and violin the younger of the guests danced until morning light.  
A SUMPTUOUS FEAST 
At 11:30 o'clock the party was invited to a sumptuous feast, where all the most tempting viands were spread. In accordance with the time-honored leap-year custom the gentlemen were escorted to the table by the ladies, and their wants supplied by their fair servitors. 
The genial host and hostess wore most assiduous in their efforts to contribute to the enjoyment of their guests, and the occasion was pronounced one of the most enjoyable ever known in old New Kent, a county noted for its hospitality. 
There were about thirty ladies and gentlemen present, among whom were Misses Richardson and Atkinson, of Richmond; Messrs. Woodward, Barnes, Frayser. and Wright, of New Kent; and Messrs. C.A. Branch, R. Henley, and N. Henley, of James City county; Farinholt, Woodward. Jones, Richardson, and others, of New Kent


-Richmond Dispatch, 17 January 1892


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Judson Knight: A Chase along the Pamunkey 1864 - Conclusion



Serg't Knight's Adventures In the Swamps of the Pamunkey.
(Continued from last week.)

THE tension on my nerves, which had been considerably strained for the last 24 hours, had become relaxed, and I felt more like having fun than anything else. When the Lieutenant said he would have to keep me until morning, it put a stop to all funny business, as far as I was concerned, and I told him it was his duty to either send or take me to Gen. Smith at once, and I also said that he would be very apt to get blamed for not doing it. A Sergeant in the party settled it when he said: "Yes, Lieutenant, you will get into trouble if you don't take him to Gen. Smith at once." 
A guard was detailed, who surrounded me, and we set off across the fields. I don't know how often we were tripped up by the running blackberry or dowberry(dewberry) vines, but as near as I remember every one of the party were down more than once before we made the mile that separated us from the "White House." On our arrival Smith's tent had been pitched, and he had just lain down, when the Lieutenant went in, mid told him who I said I was, and he ordered him to bring me in immediately. When I came in he said: "Who are you?" After rolling him, his next question was: "When did you leave Gen. Grant?" Upon answering this his next was: "When did you leave his Headquarters?"
"At noon yesterday." 
"What have you been doing since " 
I gave him an outline of my experience, and said I came out of the swamp since dark.
"I heard the first whistle about four miles up the river. Here are three dispatches for you; the remainder go to Yorktown; please to look at this," handing him Col. Ingalls's order on Quartermasters.
"Capt., roared he. Capt. come into the tent. Give this man the fastest boat you have got, and don't wait to unload anything." 
Then to me: "I trust the remainder of your trip will be much pleasanter then the first part. Good-night."
In a few minutes not to exceed 20, I think I was sound asleep on the steamer, and remained so until we reached Yorktown. The steamer landed me and went back immediately. Going first to the telegraph office I delivered the dispatches that had to be telegraphed; then to the post office and got rid of the remainder, together with the letters. The next thing in order was to find an eating house, where I ordered a breakfast regardless of expense. After breakfast I concluded to replenish my wardrobe. Socks, drawers, and shirt had suffered in the swamp, and they were replaced by new ones. The shirt was gorgeous, French cashmere. I could not burden myself with anything except what I could wear, consequently only one article of a kind was purchased, with the exception of paper collars.They were something that one had to make some sacrifice for, and I laid in a supply of at least a dozen of "Gray's patent molded collar." After going to a barbershop and getting my hair cut and a shave, I made my appearance in the streets of Yorktown. My wide-brimmed straw hat and purple coat made me a conspicuous object, even without the extra adornments. I had mounted, and I was immediately surrounded by a crowd of both soldiers and officers, all eager for news, Somehow they had learned from the telegraph office that one of Grant's Headquarters scouts was in town, and they picked me out immediately as the man. No certain news for some time had they heard, and I was literally besieged. It happened that I had seen most of the fighting at Spotsylvania Courthouse; had seen Johnson's Division when they were taken out of the works, and could give a pretty good description of the operations in that neighborhood for several days which culminated in the fight of the 12th of May, 1864. I entertained them to the best of my ability for over an hour. I never saw men in my life so eager for news. I was really glad about 2 p.m. when the Quartermaster came and told me he had signaled a steamer going up the river to run in. She came and I went aboard the steamer Wyoming, Capt. Lyttleton S. Cropper, of Havre De Grace, Md. Capt. Cropper was as whole-souled, genial a man as I ever met, and his boat, which had double engines, was fitted up as a hospital boat. When Capt. Cropper learned who I was, there was nothing on board too good for me. My name, as well as all of the scouts at Headquarters, was entered on his log-book, and a signal was agreed upon by which he would know any of the boys who might signal him from the shore, and he requested me to inform them that he would always be pleased to have any of them come on board and make themselves known to him at any time. 
Some of them did go aboard of the Wyoming later, but who they were I have forgotten now, but I can remember they were loud in their praise of Capt. Cropper. There was a number of soldiers on board who were detailed as guards and nurses, under the charge of a Surgeon, whose name has escaped my memory. I met the Surgeon afterward, several months subsequent to the close of the war, and one of the men who was detailed, and serving on board on that trip. His name was Jones, and he belonged in the town of Marcy, N. Y. 
The next day, early in the morning, I found the Wyoming fast to the wharf at the White House, and found that the Eighteenth Corps had gone forward the day before. Leaving the boat, I started on foot up toward Tunstall's Station. By the time I had gone three or four miles I came upon one of our cavalrymen, and from him learned that Gen. Gregg was not far away. Gen. Gregg was a man I was very anxious to see, and I took a good many steps in various directions, as I was told by several cavalrymen where they thought he could be seen. At last I found him. Showing him my pass, to let him know who I was, I asked him to loan me a horse, and to tell me where Army Headquarters were to be found.
"See here," said he, "I have loaned you scouts horses before, and never saw them again."
"Well, General, you never loaned me one, did you?" 
"No. I never did, and don't think I ever will. You people got a horse, and that is the last of him."I could see by a twinkle in his eyes that he intended to let me have one, and pressed the request, saying: "You acknowledge you never let me have one. How is it possible for you to say you will never see him again. I will promise that he shall he returned as soon as it is possible to do be in four or five days at the farthest."
"Well, I suppose I will have to try you. Now, if I don't get this horse back, it is the last time a scout over gets one from me." 
Calling a man he ordered him to furnish me with a certain horse that I thought to myself would be a small loss if he should never see again. On asking him where I would be apt to find Army Headquarters, he replied that he had no idea, but the night before they were at Old Church Tavern, which was several miles off. I saw no one that could give me the desired information until I arrived at the tavern. The landlord was very surly, and would scarcely give me a civil answer, until my patience became exhausted, when I asked him which of two roads both in sight (I had come in on a third one) they took when they left his place that morning, at the same time intimating that a civil and quick reply would be conducive to his well being. Ho very graciously pointed to the road that he said they had taken. I followed that road into the woods probably four miles, when shell began tearing through the tree-tops, and the farther I went the worse it got, until I became satisfied that the landlord had lied.
I remembered seeing a road about two miles back, leading to the left, and concluded to go back and try it. I had not gone far before I saw an infantry regiment come out of the woods and take the same direction on the same road that I was on. My horse soon overtook them, and turned out of the road of his own accord, and commenced passing them. We had passed over half the regiment before anyone bestowed more than a casual glance at us. At last a young fellow took a good look at the whole outfit, left the ranks, and ran toward the head of the regiment. Just before I came up I saw him speak to the Colonel. When I attempted to pass, the Colonel stopped me, and wanted to know who and what I was. I rode along by his side, and showed him my pass, which was written on a printed form; explained to him that I had just got back to the army, and was looking for Headquarters. The young soldier meanwhile was on the other side of the Colonel, and as soon as he discovered that his Colonel was satisfied with my explanation, he attempted to sneak back to his company. I saw the move and stopped him, and said: "I want to have a few words with you, young man." A half-sullen look name to his face as I began.  I thanked him for what he had done, and told both him and the Colonel that I was frequently disgusted with the way men could go through the army without being stopped by anyone; that it appeared to us sometimes that they did not care whether a man was a spy or not, nor whether he found out what was going on, and wont direct to the enemy and reported. I also told them that frequently I had heard other scouts make the same complaint, and I said:
"Now, my young friend, I am glad to see that one man, at least, in this regiment cared enough to put himself to some trouble to find out whether I was a friend or an enemy." The sullen look had disappeared; he had expected a cursing, which I am sorry to say was what a private soldier got more of than was good for him.
I found Headquarters in the course of a couple of hours after leaving that regiment, which was an Ohio one. The battle of Cold Harbor was fought that next day, I think; if not on that day, within 4 couple or three days", at all events. How long the army stopped here after the 4th of June I can't remember. My old regiment (2d N. J.) went home from Cold Harbor, and a day or two afterward one of the guards at the "bull-pen," a member of the 20th N. Y., came to me and said: "There is a man in the bull-pen who says he belongs to your old regiment, and wants to see you."
I went back with him, when a young fellow who was on the inside of the line of guards pressed forward as far as the guard would let In in, and said: "Don't you know me, Sergeant?" I took a good a good look at him, and answered: "No; I can't say that I do."
Said he: "Sergeant, I used to belong to your old regiment"
"What company were you in?" 
"G, and yours was H." 
"Yes; that is right So you were in Capt. Close's company. How did you get in here? The regiment has gone home, and I can't see how you should be in the bull-pen." 
He then told me that he was in one of the Wilderness fights, and was wounded; had been sent to Washington to a hospital, and as soon as no could leave it applied to be sent to his regiment; had come down the Potomac to Port Royal, and had helped to guard a wagon-train from there to Army Headquarters; when he got there his regiment was gone. His story had not been believed, and he had brought up in the pen. After listening to his story he said:
"You remember me now, don't you, Sergeant?" I could not recollect him, and said so. Tears came into his eyes as I turned away and walked to Col. Sharp's tent, who at that time was Deputy Provost-Marshal-General of the Army of the Potomac. I went in and told the story to Sharp, and when I got through he said: Do you remember him?" 
"Hardly; but I know he tells the truth." 
"Well," said he, "it is a shame, and we will have him out."
He then wrote an order to turn the boy over to me, and told me to go and get him. When he came the Colonel questioned him a few minute, gave him an order for transportation and the papers he would need to keep him out of trouble with military authorities, and turned him loose. He was one of the most grateful boys I ever saw. He was not over 21 years old, and lived in Bloomfield, N.J. His name had escaped my memory. Within a few days I got a chance to send the borrowed horse to Gen. Gregg, I'd did so.

JUDSON KNIGHT, Washington, D. C.
(The End)


-The National Tribune, January 26, 1893




Thursday, January 17, 2019

In the News

Part of plantation in New Kent sells for $3.4 million to a group of 'high net-worth individuals' from the Richmond region

A small group of “high net worth individuals” in the Richmond area have paid $3.4 million for a portion of the historic White House Plantation along the south banks of the Pamunkey River in New Kent County. Rockahock LLC, the legal entity . . .

- Richmond Times-Dispatch, Greg Gilligan,  Nov 30,2018

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Judson Knight: A Chase along the Pamunkey 1864 - II

The adventures of Judson Knight, Chief of Scouts of the Army of the Potomac, along the Pamunkey River in the summer of 1864 continued . . .


WITH THE SCOUTS
Serg't Knight's Adventures In the Swamps of the Pamunkey.

(Continued from last week)

BEING in fear of some kind of an ambush, it struck me forcibly that the best thing to do was to keep quiet until dark. I had lain still all day, so as not to move the tops of the bushes, and came to the conclusion to still continue the same tactics, although it would have been a great relief to me to change My position, for it seemed to me as though every bone and muscle in my person was aching, so that it appeared as if I never would ct over it. Added to this was hunger and thirst, I tried to dip up some water with my hand?, but could not quite resell it, and would not move for fear they were watching and would see the tops of the bushes shake and give me a volley.
It was a terribly long afternoon, but at last the sun went down, and very soon afterward I emerged from my hiding place and very carefully made my way out to the solid land, coming to it with my head held as low as possible, and sweeping the circumference of half-circle, to see if I could discover anything that looked like my Confederate friends or hordes between myself and the sky. After looking and listening for sometime, I could neither see nor hear anything suspicious, and so emerged from the swamp. As soon as I reached the solid ground I took off my boots and emptied them of the water that had been in them all day. Thinking what I should do myself if the position was reversed, and I the hunter instead of the hunted, I concluded not go to Pamunkeytown by the road, hut make my way to the river, and, in case no boat could be confiscated, swim to the other side and make my way down to the White House as best I could.
I soon found the river, and it was much nearer the road than where I had crossed the night before, owing to a bend in the stream at the place where I came to it. On reaching the river I discovered three men doing something on the shore, and leaving my dispatches hidden in a safe place I "fetched a traverse and snaked my way" up to where I could hear what they were saving and see what they were doing. A short observation showed me they were negroes, tangling up a seine on stakes along the shore. I soon satisfied myself there were no white men among them, and walked right up to them, saying: "Good evening, boys; what luck?"
They showed me two sturgeon they had caught, one of which was the largest I ever saw. After speaking of the size as being something uncommon, I said: "Boys, have you seen any of our soldiers around to-day?"
A tall mulatto, who appeared to have charge of things, said: "Yes; Lieut. Rodgers¹ and three men swam their horses across here three times this evening; they went over first, then came back again, and just before dark went over again."
"Can you tell me where they are now?"
"Just at dark they were over there," pointing with his hand, "by the old mill."
"I wish I had been here before they crossed the last time; I should have been glad to have met them. Do you know of any more of our men on this side of the river?"
"Look yere, maussa; you aint one of our men, you aint."
"I aint? Well, tell me what I am, if I aint."
"You's a Yankee, you is."
"What makes yon think so?"
"Oh, you don't talk like our folks does."
Up to this time had imagined I was playing the part of a Confederate rather successfully, and to be detected by this fellow so easily made me ashamed. I had played the part of a Confederate Surgeon only the previous Winter, and knew that there was no suspicion on the part of several families of white people of my being any thine than what I represented my self to he. It lowered me several pegs in my own estimation. The thought instantly came to me. You had better own up; these people will tell you more if they see you trust them.
So I said:
"Suppose I were a Yankee, would you betray me?" 
"No, sah."
"Well. boys, you are right; I am a Yankee, and a very hungry one, too. Can you get me something to eat? I have got plenty of money and will pay you well for anything you do for me."
"Don't want no pay, maussa. I will go right away and get you something," said the mulatto. When he left I walked into the bushes, from which I had listened to their conversation, and the two who were left began asking all kinds of questions, one of which I remember well. They wanted to know if, when we got hold of any negroes, we cut off one of their arms. I told them no, of course, and asked why they asked such a question as that. They said the white folks told them so.
Much sooner than I expected, the mulatto came back, bringing with him two pones of hot corn bread, a large pitcher of buttermilk, and some of the fattest, rankest bacon I ever saw. Buttermilk I always detested; bacon, even the best of it, never was a favorite; but I got away with everything buttermilk and all. After eating, I began inquiring in my turn, and found that I was about eight miles above the White House; that no launches had come there that day. they felt certain, as they would have heard the steamers' whistles; for they had been on the river all day. In looking at their boats, I found one about 10 feet long, made of five pieces of boards. The bow was about four inches wide; stem, 14 inches; sides and bottom made of half-inch stuff; bow and stern pieces of inch boards. In the center, the boat was about 20 inches wide. When I found the mulatto knew the channel of the river, I offered him $10 to take me down and land me at Pamunkeytown. Before getting through I offered $50, but soon discovered that money was no inducement to him. While friendly to me personally, and Yankees in general, and he hoped they would be successful, he thought more of himself than anything else. He also knew that Lieut. Rodgers and his three men were on the south side of the river; how many more might be there he could not tell. lie also knew that in rowing he would make considerable unavoidable noise, and that a pistol-shot, even, fired from the shore, would kill, provided it hit, and his belief was that be would be killed if he went. He would sell the small boat and throw in a paddle for $3. He also had something that he had found on the south side of the river in 1862, after McClellan had gone from there. "There was glass in both ends, and there was two of them fastened together, side by side," he said, and that if I would wait he would "go to the house and get it." He went, and brought back a field glass, that, as near as I could judge after dark, was a tolerably good one, and I gave him $5 for that. I then made him the offer of $50 again to go down the river with me, and told him that I had lost all of that day, and that was the reason why I would give him that amount.
Said he: "You is the man that Lieut. Rodgers run in the swamp this morning soon after gun up. Well, sir. Lieut. Rodgers cussed like the dobil for bcin' a d__d fool for to holler at you. Shore you carry dispatches, and he bay be have you shore befoh you git two miles from dis place."
When I saw there was no further use in endeavoring to overcome the timidity of the mulatto, I stepped into the boat, and seating myself in the stern, I began using the paddle, and soon discovered the tide was against me, and that my progress was altogether too slow to reach Pamunkeytown or the White House in any reasonable time. The idea came to my mind to run in close to shore and use the paddle as a "setting pole." When I put it in practice it -worked to a charm. By using the blade so that I could draw it edgewise through the water, I soon found that I was going faster than I could walk, and making no noise that could be heard even at a short distance. Keeping along the north shore for a mile or more I found a bayou, and concluded, as I knew nothing of the channel, to follow the shore even if it did increase the distance considerably, believing that in this case "the longest way around is the shortest way home."
I had just got into the channel again, and was close in-shore, under an almost perpendicular bluff, when I heard voices on shore that sounded above me. Looking upward I discovered, silhouetted against the sky, a man and woman on the top of the bluff. Scarcely had I discovered them when a stone thrown, no doubt, by the man, as large as he could conveniently hold, struck the water not a foot from the boat, barely missing it. Had it struck in the boat it would have gone through the bottom like a shot, and stopped my trip by water. An instant's thought satisfied me that I had not been seen, which was confirmed immediately by the voice of the woman saying: "What a splash!" Giving several vigorous shoves with the paddle, I was soon out of reach of any more "dornicks,² " should the notion take the stranger to make another splash.
There were plenty of bayous, which I followed the configuration of until I felt certain that the distance to the White House could not be over four miles, when the sweetest music that ever struck mortal ears was plainly borne to mine. It was the shrill, and, at the same time, hoarse whistle of a steamer. I was making good progress when the sound first came to my ears, but when I heard it and knew, as I did, that Baldy Smith must have arrived at the White House, new vigor was imparted to my muscles, and the cockle-shell I was in fairly flew.
Before going over a mile from where I was when the first whistle sounded five or six more were heard, which did not cause me to lesson my exertions. At last the whistling became almost continuous. I knew that there was a large house on the south side of the river, one mile above the White House, called Eltham³. When I got there I concluded to land and sneak around to the negro quarters and wake one of them, and get him to guide me through the fields to the landing. Crossing the river and running my boat ashore, I stepped out and listened a moment, and could hear no noise of any kind, except the cries of insects. Following a path that was plainly to be seen by the white sand where the grass had been trodden out by constant use, I passed around to the rear of the mansion and knocked on the door of one of the quarters. Immediately came a coarse, low growl from a dog that was some where outside, whether fastened or loose I could not tell. I got no response to my first rap, and tried it again. This time a louder growl, and one that very plainly showed me the dog was a large one, came from the same direction as the first. After thinking the matter over a moment, it struck me that the most sensible thing to do would be to go back to the river and resume the boat, cross over to the north bank, and escape being fired at by our own pickets, which I imagined would be close to the shore immediately below Eltham. I had nearly reached the shore when a startled voice rang out, "Halt! Who goes there!"
"Who are you?" said I.
"Who are you?" said the challenger.
"Do you belong to the Union army?" said I.
What the answer was I don't remember, but I do know that it was such as convinced me I was parleying with a Northern man, and I said, "It is all right ; I can tell you are a Union soldier."
Without saying whether this was true or not, he insisted on knowing who I was, and I told my mission. While the sentry and myself had been trying to ascertain each other's status, men had been rising from the ground all around me; three or four rose within a yard of me, and when I declared that I was carrying dispatches from Gen. Grant, one man, who had risen from the ground within two feet of me, said, "I will take this," and put his hand on the paddle which I was holding, with the blade resting on the ground. It looked to him in the darkness like a gun. They huddled around me, and wanted to know how I got there. I answered that I had come down the river; which did not satisfy them at all.
"How did you come here, right where you are standing now?"
"As I told you before, I came down the river in a boat, and landed at the foot of this path; came up this path, and went to the rear of the house yonder to see if could find a negro to guide me through the fields to the landing. When I knocked on the door, I heard a dog in the yard growl; the more I knocked the worse he growled. I did not know how many Johnnies might be around, for they are always prowling around just on the outskirts of any of our forces. In 1862, when we landed here under McClellan, two or three pickets were found the next morning with their throats cut, within a mile of this place. Knowing their nocturnal habits, and having a lively desire to keep my hide whole, I concluded to go back to my boat and resume by journey by water.
It took some time to make them believe that I had passed through them and they had not heard me, hut it was more astonishing to think I had not heard anything of them. I took them down to the boat and got the dispatches, which were rolled up in my coat in the bow. When they saw the boat they began to believe me. The Lieutenant in charge said he would have to keep me until morning. There was not a match in the party, and there was no way of verifying my story until daylight.
Judson Knight, Washington, D. C.
(to be continued.)



-The National Tribune., January 19, 1893



¹ Most probably Andrew J. Rodgers of the 42d Virginia Cavalry Battalion.

²  a rather obscure name for a rock, perhaps implying the couple were dull and unobservant.

³ He is quite off here; Eltham and the White House are 10 miles from each other in direct line and twice that by river.