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Friday, June 28, 2013

Raiding along the Pamunkey Pt. II

The Yankee advance — a change of Base.
. . .
Our scouts were busy during the day in the country below the city, but did not gather much information that we have had access to. At one time the report was that the enemy were at Diascund bridge and numbered 23,000. This report, it was said, might be relied upon. We conversed with an intelligent gentleman, who was a prisoner within the enemy's lines on Friday, but, after being paroled, made his escape and walked to Richmond. He was captured Friday morning while within a short distance of the Pamunkey river, near Cumberland. The Dutch Yankee who arrested him carried him to the headquarters of General Keyes, who was in command of the division which landed at the White House. The division was drawn up in line of battle. He reached the headquarters near New Kent C. H., and upon being carried before the commanding General was closely questioned. During the examination, Gen. Keyes spoke several times in a very boastful manner of the ease which he would enter Richmond.--He said that Wise was "a d — d old coward," that Wise had challenged him for a fight anywhere between Williamsburg and Richmond, and that now he had come Wise had run away. The officers at headquarters participated in the confidence of their braggart chief, with the addition of the lie that they had 50,000 men. Our informant, who is a soldier himself, says he thinks they had about 15,000 men — cavalry, artillery, and infantry. He counted sixteen pieces of artillery. They claimed to have a brigade of cavalry, but he only saw two regiments. The infantry was composed chiefly of foreigners, the Dutch predominating. After being paroled the prisoner was allowed to go at large, and escaped by way of Charles City county, arriving in this city yesterday morning.

By the evening train on the York River road we have the latest intelligence of the movements of the enemy. Saturday evening the force from Diascund bridge, in James City county, arrived at the White House, after a march of 15 miles. That evening a Lieut.-Colonel, who was with McClellan while he occupied that point, made a visit to the farm of a lady near by and stated in conversation that the Federal force on the Peninsula numbered about 11,000, and was under the command of Gens. Keyes and Gordon, the former being chief. Persons who saw them at the

The Yankees have committed very few depredations in New Kent, but on Friday a raid was made by them across the Pamunkey into King William, during which they destroyed a good deal of property and carried off a large number of negroes. The soldiers making this incursion into the country were carried over from the White House in gunboats, and returned with their plunder by the same conveyance.

A report was in circulation here on Saturday that a body of Federal had been seen or the Mechanicsville road, nine miles from Mechanicsville.

From all the facts, we conclude that Keyes, with about 5,000 men, came up the Pamunkey, landed at the White House, and proceeded to the vicinity of  New Kent C. H., from whence his cavalry raid on the Central Railroad at Hanover C. H. was made. Gordon marched from Yorktown and took up his position at Diascund Bridge with about the same number of men, and on Friday advanced and formed a junction with Keyes's division, after which on Saturday, both divisions marched to the White House. What will be their next move it is of course impossible to know, but the general opinion of those who came up on the York River train yesterday evening was that they intended to embark for Yorktown.
. . .

-from the Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 29 1863

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Raiding Along the Pamunkey

The Yankee raid near Richmond.
bridges burnt
capture of Gen. W. H. F. Lee.

The reports of the progress of the Yankee raid from the White House yesterday came into the city fact and furious, and it is remarkable to note that they were in very few cases exaggerated, except with regard to the numbers of the foe. There was no excitement, and we may safely assert that there never was a duller day here. Everybody was cool, and everybody, except those who were in militia organizations, were attending to their every day business as usual. The day has passed when Richmond can be stirred up by the news of a Yankee raid.

On Thursday evening a portion of the Federal troops — about 1,200--left the White House on the road to Hanover Court-House, and upon arriving camped for the night on Colonel Wickham's farm. Thursday night, at a late hour, the rest of the troops at the White House left in the same direction, and passed Old Church about breakfast time. It is believed by some that both parties met near Hanover Court House, and, on the other hand, it is supposed that the two divisions took different routes.--This latter supposition is strengthened by the fact that our pickets at Mechanicsville, four miles from Richmond, were driven in early in the day, and three of them captured.

Before leaving the White House they tore up the track from there to Tunstall's Station a distance of four miles. The rumor yesterday that they brought two locomotives and cars with them on their gunboats, and had put them on the road, is of course unfounded, as they did not leave the track down to use. They also burnt the store of Mr. Dabney, at Tunstall's Station, with a full stock of goods, which the proprietor had only received the day before. The excuse for this vandalism was that the building contained the Post Office. They did not rob the money drawer of the store, something most remarkable for a Yankee.

Late last evening a train arrived at the depot from Dispatch Station, and we learn by it that a gentleman during the day rode down to within 500 yards of the White House, and found there were but two wooden gunboats lying there. Not a Yankee soldier was to be seen. Those who saw the troops land from the gunboats say there were not more, and probably less, than 5,000. It is more than likely that the Yankees will attempt to get through to Aquia Creek, and there embark in safety on their gunboats. Yesterday afternoon there was not even a Yankee picket to be seen from Tunstall's to the White House.--The two gunboats there are probably left to cover their embarkation at that point, should they be intercepted in their way through by our troops.

There has been very little damage done by the Yankees in the vicinity of the White House and Tunstall's Station, they being restrained, perhaps, by the knowledge that our army is in their country now. They burnt some straw at the White House before leaving.

Still Later
The train which took out the troops on the Central road returned at 11 o'clock last night. Front the officers on board this train we have some fuller particulars of the raid upon the road yesterday afternoon. Before attacking the bring over the South Anna, the enemy destroyed the trestle work on the road near Han over Come House, and tore up the track for some distance. They then attacked the bridge which was guarded by only 80 men, belonging, we are informed, to the 44th North Carolina. Perhaps there has not been more determined and desperate gallantry exhibited during this whole was then was exhibited by these gallant men in defence of the bridge. For upwards of an hour they contended with twelve hundred of the enemy's cavalry and two pieces of artillery, and only yielded when completely over-powered. The Lt. Col. commanding this guard refused to surrender his sword, even after being overpowered, and it was not until he was ruthlessly knocked down with the butt of a market that it was wrested from him. According to one account we had eight men killed in the action, whilst another states that we lost but three. Our wounded, half dozen in number, were left at Hanover Court-House. The enemy is known to have had three killed and a number wounded.

After firing the bridge, the Yankees started in the direction of the bridge on the Fredericksburg road, but on being informed by a citizen, who was a prisoner of theirs, that we had two brigades at that point and Hanover Junction, they turned their course, and marched back in the direction of the White House, passing Hanover Court House only a few minutes before the arrival of our reinforcements. The gentleman who gave them the information with reference to our forces at the Junction, says they told him they had a cavalry force of 1,200, and a large infantry force at the White House and neighborhood, and they boasted of their intention to take Richmond last night or to-day.

Whilst in Hanover they went to the residence of Col. Wickham, where they captured Gen. W. H. F. Lee, who has been there since he was wounded in the battle of Brandy Station on the 9th. They conveyed him away in the carriage of Col. W., which they stole. They also burned the line barn of Col. Wickham, and one or two other out-buildings.

Seeking shelter.
--Large numbers of farmers in New Kent and King William are fleeing from their homes, with their servants and stock, and seeking shelter in the neighborhood of Richmond. The Yankees are said to be committing all sorts of depredations in the neighborhood of the White House, thus rendering that fertile section a desolate waste.

-from the Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 27 1863

Monday, June 24, 2013

New Kent's Members of the House of Burgesses- Bios Part. I

Abrahall, Robert, came to Virginia about 1650 and settled in New Kent county which he represented in the house of burgesses in 1654 and 1660. In the first year he was captain in the New Kent militia and in the last he was lieutenant colonel. He used a seal having the arms of Abrahall of Herefordshire.

Hammond, Mainwaring, who had been an officer in the royal army during the civil war came to Virginia early in the year 1650. Col. Henry Norwood also a cavalier officer says in his Voyage to Virginia that when he landed in York county Feb 13, 1650 he found that Capt. Wormeley of his majesty's council had guests at his house feasting and carousing that were lately come from England and that most of them were of the writer's intimate acquaintance. These guests were Sir Thomas Lunsford, Sir Henry Chicheley, Col Philip Honeywood afterward Sir Philip and Col Hammond. So far as the records show Col. Hammond held no public office until Gov Berkeley was restored to power in 1660. Soon after his arrival in Virginia however he acquired by patent a large tract of land On March 15 1649 probably 1650. Manwaring Hammond Esq. was granted 3,760 acres on York River on the south side called Fort Royall, 600 acres of which he purchased from Captain Marshall and the remainder of which was due for the transportation of sixty persons to Virginia. On Nov 11 1659 as Col. Mainwaring Hammond he was granted 600 acres adjoining the above. As soon as Sir William Berkeley was reelected governor Hammond who seems to have been one of his favorites was brought into the public service. At the session of March 1659 60 the assembly ordered that Colonel Mannering Hammond according to the desire of Sir William Berkeley Knt, Governor and Capt General of Virginia be constituted authorized and made Major General of Virginia. In Oct 1660 the governor and assembly employed Maj Gen Hammond and Col. Guy Molesworth another distinguished cavalier officer to go to England and procure from the King pardon for the Virginians for submitting to the parliamentary authority. In their lack of knowledge as to what might be the policy of the restored royal government this was no act of mere sycophancy on the part of the colonists but may have been necessary to secure them from fines or other legal penalties. It was ordered that the two agents should be paid 11,000 pounds of tobacco apiece out of the levies of that year and 11,000 more the next year. It was in 1660 also that Gen Hammond was appointed to the council but few references to his services as a member of that body have come down to us. On Feb 3 1661 he and Col Edward Hill sat with the court of Charles City county as itinerant judges and on Nov 6 of the same year he was present as a councilor. It is likely that he soon after sailed for England and never returned to Virginia He had a brother in Virginia named Francis Hammond. 
Blacky, William, was a burgess from New Kent county in the general assembly of 1657 58 that convened March 13th. He is evidently the William Blacke, burgess from New Kent in the succeeding sessions of 1658 59.

- This follows the list of June 15, 2013 and will be a series. Most of this information came from Stanard's The Colonial Virginia Register, Cynthia Leonard's The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978, A Bicentennial Register of Members and Gardiner's Encyclopedia of Virginia.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Warning the Train at Tunstall's

The Yankees at the White House.

Yesterday morning, about 7 o'clock, the Yankee gunboats appeared in the Pamankey river at the White House. The advance boat commenced shelling the woods, and in a short time nine other boats appeared. After a brief shelling of the woods, they proceeded to land cavalry and infantry; but we have seen no one who saw the landing, and therefore no one who could form an estimate of the number of troops who were put ashore. About 10 o'clock the Federal appeared  in considerable force at Tunstall's Station, four miles from the White House and twenty miles from this city. Here the infantry deployed into the woods, and the cavalry, after coming past the station some distance, also got into the woods, for the purpose of catching the down passenger train, which was nearly due there. The section master at the station, however, had, upon the approach of the force, promptly set off to meet the train, and stopped it before it got to Tunstall's. The train returned to this city. We conversed with several gentlemen who had been the Yankees on the railroad, but none of them could form or give any idea of the force they had. One informant assured us that "for half a mile the railroad track looked black with them" and that was as near as we could get to their strength. Another said there were about 17,000, but upon being asked why he thought so, said he didn't know, as he hadn't seen any but he "reckoned" there were that many. A third, who was near the station when they approached, made a very liberal discount of 10,000, and said he thought there might be 7,000. Of course none of these statements can be relied on. One of our pickets, had he gotten here, might have thrown some light on the subject, but as he was riding up to notify the train two Yankee dragoons rode out of the woods and gobbled him up. This operation was witnessed by some citizens a short distance off who rapidly fled from so dangerous a locality.

Many of the farmers in King William, New Kent and Charles City counties started their cattle and horses for Richmond as soon as they got wind of the rail, and a number of them arrived last night. The crops along the road were very fine, and about Monday next the oat crop would have been harvested. Of course much of this will be destroyed, and it is likely that pillaging is after all the object of this advance.

With regard to the security of Richmond we feel authorized in saying that the preparations by the Confederate and State authorities are ample to ensure it against even 50,000 Yankees, were so many to move upon it. Several calls are published to day for meetings of the different organizations of Militia. Let them be promptly attended to.

-from the Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 26 1863

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cavalry Scouts and Corner Talkers . . .

The Peninsula.

There are no movements on the Peninsula. Our cavalry are scouting below Barhamsville, in New Kent, and on Sunday killed a Yankee picket and wounded another. This occurred between Barhamsville and the Brick House. The Yankees are clearing out the country below there. They burned the house of Mr. Pinckney Walker last week, and are carrying off all the negroes they can lay their hands on. The York River train last evening brought up about fifteen men and one woman, who were caught trying to get through our lines to the enemy. Most of the men had been employed in the Government workshops here. The citizens on the Peninsula took the parties in custody and sent them up to Richmond. All hands of them were sent to Castle Thunder. There are no gunboats lying off Yorktown.

-from the Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 23 1863

Yankee Raiding.

The corner-talkers and the reporters had a busy time yesterday afternoon. As usual, a raid on Richmond was the cause. It was rumored on the streets, and the rumor repeated in public by a high State official, that the Yankees had landed at the White House, on the Pamankey river, 20,000 strong, and also at Lower Brandon, on James river, 7,000 strong. Our people have become so accustomed to raid rumors that very little excitement is caused by them. Everybody seems cool, and seem to understand just what is expected of them — that to arm and to fight. The militia, to the number of about 3,000, had their usual turn out on the Square yesterday evening, and if there had been any use for so large a number, we suppose 5,000 men, armed and equipped could have been mustered before this morning. This number could have been thrown in the fortifications, independent of the Department and workshop organizations, which are all, more or less, drilled in the use of arms. The true statement of the case, as we learn it and which may be relied on, is this:

On Tuesday evening, a gunboat and two transports came up to West Point, the transports having timber on board, to be used, it is supposed, in rebuilding the wharf there which was burnt by our forces. The fact was promptly reported by our pickets. Yesterday morning, at 9½ o'clock, the same vessels were still there, and had not been reinforced by any others. There had been no Yankees at all at the White House up to 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, when the York river train left for Richmond. So much for the twenty thousand at the White House.

Of the landing at Lower Brandon, situated 90 miles from Richmond, on James river, we have fewer and less reliable particulars. It was signaled to Drewry's Bluff yesterday that the enemy's gunboats had appeared and were landing troops there. The number is put at 7,000 by rumor, and is probably about as correct as the estimate of the 20,000 at the White House. This landing is probably a thieving raid to carry off the negroes from Upper Brandon, there being a considerable number there.

From the fact that the Federal are about to rebuild the wharf at West Point it may be inferred and reasonably, too, that they intend to make that a base of operations for a feint, if not a real attack, on this city, with the hope of diverting a position of Lee's army from its march Northward. It behooves us, therefore, calmly to make preparation for the contingency. Let the militia be properly organized, so that every man, and every company, and every regiment, may assemble at the proper place at a signal without the confusion and disorder which unfailingly attend the movements of unorganized bodies of men. With this precaution, and with the large number of regular troops around Richmond, no one need feel the least fear of a "raid."

-from the Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 25 1863

Saturday, June 15, 2013

New Kent's Members of the House of Burgesses

1654         Robert Abrell* (or Abrahall)

1656        ----------------

1658         William Blacky (or Blacke)

1659         William Blacky

1660         Robert Abrahall    William Claiborne    Manwaring Hamond

1661-76    Robert Abrahall(1661 sess.- Mar. 1662)    William Blackey
                 William Claiborne

1680-82    John Langston
                 Charles Turner
                 George Morris(Jun. 1680)    John West

1684         John West    Joseph Foster       

1685-86    John West    Richard Littlepage

1688         John West    Joseph Foster

1691-92    John West(1st sess.)    William Leigh
                  David Crawford    John Lydall

1693         William Bassett    John Lydall

1693         William Bassett    Gideon Macon*

1695-96    William Bassett    Daniel Parke(1st Sess.)3    Joseph Foster

1696-97    William Bassett    Gideon Macon     William Crawford

1698         William Bassett                Gideon Macon

1699         William Bassett                Gideon Macon

1700-02    William Bassett                Gideon Macon

1703-05    Joseph Foster                    Gideon Macon5        William Bassett

1705-06    Nicholas Merriwether       Nathaniel West

1710-12    Nicholas Merriwether        John Stanup

1712-14    Nicholas Merriwether        John Stanup

1715         Nicholas Merriwether        John Stanup

1718         Nicholas Merriwether        John Stanup

1720-22    Nicholas Merriwether        John Thonton    Thomas Massey

1723-26    John Thornton                    Thomas Massey

1728-34    Richard Richardson    ______ Bacon   
                  William Chamberlayne     William Bassett

1736-40    William Macon                   William Chamberlayne6    ____ Doran

1742-47    William Bassett                   William Gray

1748-49    William Hockaday              William Massie

1752-55    Richard Adams                    James Power

1756-58    Richard Adams                    James Power

1758-61    Richard Adams                    Lewis Webb

1761-65    Richard Adams                    Gill Armistead        Burwell Bassett7  

1766-68    William Clayton                   Burwell Bassett

1769         William Clayton                   Burwell Bassett

1769-71    William Clayton                   Burwell Bassett

1772-74    Bartholomew Dandridge8    Burwell Bassett

1775-76    Bartholomew Dandridge      Burwell Bassett

1- Disallowed for participating in Bacon’s Rebellion
2- Represented New Kent in 1st session than new county of King and Queen
3- Elevated to Governor’s Council
4- Represented New Kent at one day April session
5- Died during session
6- Died during session
7- The senior and brother in law of General Washington
8- Brother of Martha Washington

- Chiefly from The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619 - January 11, 1978

I will be following this up with brief bios of the members over the next few weeks . . .

Friday, June 14, 2013



--Large numbers of farmers in King William, New Kent, and Charles City, are removing their stock and negroes from their farms, to prevent them from [ from ] falling into the hands of "Yankee raiders." 

-Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 15, 1863

The Peninsula.

It was stated in the city early yesterday morning that information had been received of the landing of a heavy column of troops by the Federal at some point on York River West Point is the safest base of operations on that river, and we learn that yesterday, when the train on the Richmond and York River Railroad left the White House, there were no Yankees at the point below. The train brought up one Yankee deserter, who had left his comrades during the recent Chickahominy raid.--The rumor mentioned may be baseless, though the Fortress Monroe correspondent of a Baltimore paper, writing on the 18th, says that "important movements are in progress" in that vicinity. With the forces from Suffolk the Peninsula Yankees might risk a feint on Richmond, with the hope of turning Gen. Lee's attention from Washington.

 -Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 23, 1863

 The Peninsula.

There are no movements on the Peninsula. Our cavalry are scouting below Barhamsville, in New Kent, and on Sunday killed a Yankee picket and wounded another. This occurred between Barhamsville and the Brick House. The Yankees are clearing out the country below there. They burned the house of Mr. Pinckney Walker last week, and are carrying off all the negroes they can lay their hands on. The York River train last evening brought up about fifteen men and one woman, who were caught trying to get through our lines to the enemy. Most of the men had been employed in the Government workshops here. The citizens on the Peninsula took the parties in custody and sent them up to Richmond. All hands of them were sent to Castle Thunder. There are no gunboats lying off Yorktown.

  -Richmond Daily Dispatch, June 24, 1863

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

USS Western World

- Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. ; Series I - Volume 9: North Atlantic Blockading Squadron (May 5, 1863 - May 5, 1864)

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Occupation of West Point: "Successful Removal of Troops"

-The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Chapter XXX - Operations in North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia. Aug 29, 1862-Jun 3, 1863.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Occupation of West Point: "Attack on the Swan, another View"

Yankee outrages in New Kent.

On Saturday afternoon last, between 5 and 6 o'clock, a portion of the command of Gen. Wise, consisting of artillery and infantry, went down in New Kent county as far as the York river. A few miles below West Point they fired on a Federal mail boat that was passing, striking her some two or three times--one shell exploding on her decks. What injury was inflicted is not known, but considerable confusion was created on board. The fire was not returned.

Later in the evening the enemy's gunboats came down the river from West Point, and, after shelling the woods in the neighborhood and finding that our troops had retired, their crews landed, and, in a spirit of vindictive retaliation, burned the residences of three gentlemen in the neighborhood. The sufferers were Messrs. E. B. Lacy, W. T. Blassingham, and — Drake — the latter overseer on the farm of Mr. James Woodhouse, of this city. None of the parties upon whom these injuries were inflicted saved any of their household effects, and Mr. Lacy had not even time allowed him to secure his money, which was, with everything else that he had, destroyed.

-from the Daily Dispatch, May 27, 1863

A map of the described area

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Occupation of West Point: "Attack on the Swan"

-The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Chapter XXX - Operations in North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia. Aug 29, 1862-Jun 3, 1863.