State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On the Pamunkey January 1863, part 1

The Yankee Raid on the White House.


White House, January 9, 1863.


About 500 U.S. cavalry, and a like number of infantry, landed at West Point at 12 o'clock Wednesday night. The cavalry came to the White House. Ten crossed the river, burnt the depot two stoops, about 1,000 bushels of grain, one old Yankee barge, two pontoons, set fire to the little steamer, which soon sank, but will be raised to morrow. She is about one horse power. They also burnt Mr. Taylor's shanty, with a quantity of goods and some liquor; a house of Gen. Lee's, occupied by Captain Kimble as an eating-house; set fire to the wharf, which was soon put out by Mr. Taylor; stole several articles; waited (hid behind the bank) for the cars to arrive, which they would also have taken but for Galba Valden, engineer of the little steamer, and Capt. Gage, who went up the railroad, met the cars, and stopped them about three miles of the White House, thus serving the engine we had taken from the Yankees, and cars, worth about $25,000. They had three pieces of artillery with them, but did not use them, only firing their small arms.

Two gunboats and one came up the Pamunkey within about four miles of the White House, the same night, and returned next morning, firing as they went down. One shell fell in the New Kent Court-House yard, bursted, and knocked out part of brick in the clerk's office. Several others fell near. The Court House is about two miles from the river.

A shell also fell near Captain Sparrow's house. The gunboats had two masts each, and carried six guns on a side; the lug had one gun. The Yankees--gunboats, cavalry, and infantry — all left West Point last night at twelve o'clock. In passing through King William county they stole all Mr. William Johnson's , carried off one of his men, and made all it a darkles (sic) they met go with them. Several made out to get away from them as West Point, and is turned to their masters. The whole of the troops nearly wore drunk, also the slaves would not have a gotten away. They stole several geese from William New, at the Point, the gallant officer killing two at a lick with his sword. And now, strange to say, we had no pickets, on the Pamunkey, nor have we had any for several weeks, to my knowledge, as I have been all the way down the river in the night, to within four miles of West Point; and also twice in the day time, and I never saw or heard of a picket. If there is one river in this State easily defended it is the Pamunkey. In several places the banks are seventy feet perpendicular above the river and a steamer is compelled to go within one hundred and fifty set of these banks. Whose fault is it that a trade of half a million bushels of grain is not protected? The Yankees said when they came up that they intended to put a stop to the grain trade.

-from the January 10, 1863 Richmond Daily Dispatch

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