Pamunkey River

Pamunkey River
The Pamunkey River in 1864

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Raid of August 1863. Pt. III : From the New York Times

OPERATIONS ON THE PENINSULA.; Particulars of the Recent
Reconnaissance to Bottom's Bridge. 
Correspondence of the New-York Times. 
CAMP NEAR WILLIAMSBURGH, Va., Saturday, Aug. 29, 1863.
The cavalry arm of the service in this Department has been kept in constant activity since May. Gen. FOSTER assumed command. Besides our raids toward Weldon. N. C., and through the counties east of the Chowan River, we have just returned from a reconnoissance to the very doors of Richmond. 
A cavalry brigade composed of the Fifth Pennsylvania and First New-York Mounted Rifles, commanded by Col. B.F. ONDERDONK, Of the latter regiment, moved from this point on the 25th inst. to discover, if possible, the amount of rebel force between our pickets and the intrenchments(sic) about Richmond. The Fifth Pennsylvania regiment, Lieut.-Col. LEWIS, took the advance. When at Burnt Ordinary, some twelve miles from this place, we came upon a rebel picket of five men, and a squadron of the Fifth charged -- following the rebels in a spirited chase for five miles. The following day the Mounted Rifles showed the way, charging into New Kent Court-house and driving a party of Secesh out of the place. The rebels lost one man killed and two wounded. 
We rested at the Court-house two hours, and pushed on rapidly. Our advance guard kept continually charging small squads of the enemy's cavalry who appeared at intervals on fast horses, running for dear life and the Chickhominy River. 
The command again halted to rest weary horses and men within seven miles of Bottom's Bridge. Toward evening the First and Third battalions of the Mounted Rifles, the advance commanded by Major WHEELLAN the whole under Lieut.-Col. PATTON, raced for Bottom's Bridge. When about two miles from our starting-point, a running fight occurred with a squadron of the enemy's cavalry. We kept up the run in the blinding dust and hot sun until we arrived at Bottoms Bridge, thirteen miles from the rebel capital. Here we found a force of rebel infantry wellintrenched. We dismounted skirmishers [???] some spirited sharp-shooting. 
The rebels had gained sufficient time on their fresh horses to tear up the planks of the bridge. The object of the expedition being accomplished, the column moved about and leisurely returned to bivouac with the remainder of the brigade. Not a sign of a rebel appeared in our rear, and our sleep was undisturbed. Our men were covered with dust, and our horses nearly worn out. The rebels lost one man killed near Bottom's Bridge. We left his body with people along the road. 
We have greatly the advantage of the rebel cavalry in the use of the breech loading rifle. They, of course, are obliged to load from the muzzle, and can shoot but one volley from their double-barreled shot-guns before we are on to them. 
We were not disturbed during our return until we arrived at a place called Slatersville, four miles this side of New Kent Court-house. At this place the pickets of the Fifth Pennsylvania were attacked, and one man killed and one wounded. A portion of the Fifth chased the rebels back to the Court House. Maj. WHEELAN, of the Mounted Rifles, then advanced beyond the Court House, deploying his battalion in a beautiful manner as skirmishers. We found a dead rebel sergeant on the field, the rest having precipitately. We returned to camp, at this place, without further occurrences of interest. 
The Mounted Rifles did not lose a man. The Fifth lost but(?) one. The rebel loss was three killed and three captured. 
An intelligent refugee, who has just arrived from Richmond, says that our raid created great excitement in the city, every able-bodied man being obliged to turn out and shoulder a musket. C.

-New York Times of September 6, 1863

Friday, August 30, 2013

Raid of August 1863. Pt. II

-from The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1 - Volume 29 (Part I)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Raid of August 1863. Pt. I

-from The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1 - Volume 29 (Part I)

Monday, August 26, 2013

The enemy on the Peninsula . . . again

The enemy on the Peninsula.

--The Yankees have appeared at the White House, on the Pamunkey river. Yesterday afternoon, as the train on the York River Railroad was about leaving there for Richmond, one of our cavalry pickets galloped up and warned them to hurry off, as the enemy was approaching. The train came off directly.
Couriers who arrived in Richmond last night report that the enemy in force had driven in our pickets at Bottom's Bridge, eighteen miles from the city. They consisted of two cavalry regiments, and it is supposed of eight infantry regiments, as eight regimental flags were counted. At last accounts they were this side of Bottom's Bridge.

-from the Richmond Daily Dispatch, August 28, 1863

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On the York River Railroad

Richmond and York River Railroad. – The sixth annual report of the President of this Railroad Company, Alex. Dudley, Esq., to the stockholders, furnishes all the requisite information as to the condition of the company and the progress of the work. The temporary track at West Point is still in use, but the embankment on the main track is rapidly approaching completion, and it is confidently believed that the trains will be running permanently over the main track to the Pamunkey wharves early in January next. The new and elegant steamer West Point, which commenced her regular trips in June last, was purchased in view of the absolute necessity of establishing a permanent connection between the road and Norfolk, and the intermediate landings; the Directory having been unsuccessful in their exertions to procure such connection by arrangement with steamboat owners and capitalists. Her cost, including everything, was $42,272.17.The necessity of the purchase was urgent, and the Directory confidently believe that it will meet with the approbation of the stockholders.

A passenger shed has been completed at the Richmond depot, and a brick building, 48 by 64 feet, for reception rooms for passengers and others awaiting the arrival and departure of trains, and for the offices of the company, is now nearly completed. Station and freight houses have been erected at Summit and Cohoke, and as soon as the wharf on the Pamunkey shall be completed, it is in contemplation to erect there large temporary freight and passenger sheds.

Although the road is now in good running order, a considerable expenditure will be required to place it in a permanent and satisfactory condition. The Pamunkey river bridge, and admirable structure, perfectly safe and reliable, and capable of sustaining any train that can be carried over it, ought, nevertheless, to be replaced, as soon as possible, by one of more durable material, either stone or brick for the water way, the costs of which, it is believed, in the absence of actual estimates, may be put down at $12,000.
A permanent passenger and freight house ought to be built at West Point within the next ensuing year, and an engine house and workshop at either Richmond or West Point. The costs of these, from an estimate of the Chief Engineer, will not be less than $20,000.
As it cannot be reasonably expected that the money necessary for these objects can be paid out of the earnings of the road, or the present means of the company, authority is asked for to apply to the next General Assembly for a State loan of $100,000.

The Treasurer’s statements also show that there has been paid or the steamer West Point, on account of transportation, the sum of $12,134.20, including the sum of $844 for repairs, occasioned by (a)n accident while running up the Pamunkey river at night, and that her receipts have been $9,978.10, showing a balance of $2,156.10 against the boat on her transportation account. But this sum should not be regarded as a loss to the company, for the reason that it appears, for the road’s transportation account, that the through travel and freight credited to the boat has been running, and which has obviously brought to the road by the boat, amounts to the sum of $3,225.70; and if this amount be carried to the credit of the boat, her’s would be a creditor, instead of a debtor account, on the business of the four months.

With regard to the proposed connection with the coal fields of the New York and Richmond coal fields of the New York and Richmond Coal Company, the report says it is in contemplation to organize a new company, the old one being now insolvent, and it is confidently believed that their plans will ultimately be carried into successful operation.
The success of the road thus far, under numerous disadvantages, is plainly apparent. - May we not, then, (says the report,) reasonably expect, when fully completed, with all its wharves, warehouses, depots and equipment in readiness for the reception and transportation of the passengers and freights, which must inevitably be concentrated at West Point when the advantages of York river as a harbor for foreign and coasting vessels shall become fully known and justly appreciated, an increase of receipts from transportation over and above its cost sufficient to pay the interest on the mortgage debts, and, within a few years a dividend on the stock. Of this the writer is absolutely confident. But, to attain this most desireable end, much, very much of energy and perseverance will have to be exerted to make suitable connections with the many rivers, creeks and inlets bordering on the lower Chesapeake Bay, and with Northern and Southern cities, and time will be required to consummate these connections.
-from the Richmond Dispatch, November 11, 1860

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tooker on the Name Pamunkey - Part Two

 - from The names Chickahominy, Pamunkey, and the Kuskarawaokes of Captain John Smith: with historical and ethnological notes by William Wallace Tooker

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tooker on the Name Pamunkey - Part One

- from The names Chickahominy, Pamunkey, and the Kuskarawaokes of Captain John Smith: with historical and ethnological notes by William Wallace Tooker

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Keyes Tries to Justify his Actions . . . and Inactions

Some final words on the July 1863 raid/diversion . . .

 . . . well I have to admit this is the first time I've heard New Kent compared to the Vendée
. . . but in the end his justifications did him little good.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Deer and More Deer

Actually the strange hunting adventure of 1912, deer intruding on the chase of a fox, had a precedent some fifty years before . . .
Deer Hunting, under the law, is at an end for the present season. In the eastern portion
of Henrico county, as well as in Chesterfield, Charles City and New Kent, deer have been more abundant the last season than for many years.— 
In New Kent last Wednesday, a party of gentlemen started from the neighborhood of the court house for a fox chase, but they had only gone a short distance when three fine deer broke cover before them, and led the pack off to the nearest water course.

-Richmond Daily Dispatch, January 18, 1858

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Kent's Members of the House of Burgesses - Bios III

West, Colonel John, son of Captain John West governor, etc. He was born at Bell Field on the York river in 1632, being the first child of English parents born on the York river, lived at West Point. He sat on the courts martial that tried the rebels in Bacon's time and was senior justice and colonel of the New Kent county militia. He married Unity daughter of Major Joseph Croshaw Burgess for New Kent county in 1685 and 1686. He had three sons John, Nathaniel and Thomas, and one daughter Unity who married Henry Fox of King William county. 
Foster, Joseph, nephew of Captain Will1am Bassett first of that name in Virginia, he came from Newport, Southampton county, England and was a justice of New Kent county and Burgess in 1688, 1696, and 1700 1702 vestryman of St Peter's parish New Kent and lieutenant colonel of the militia. He died about 1715 leaving issue.

-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.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

" . . . woe unto a soldier's life"

From the Enoch Pratt Free Library

    "I left New Kent Court-house, all in the month of May"

 I left New Kent Court-house, all in the month of May,
And from this great starvation I was glad to get away;
They led me down into the boat, and laid me on the floor,
I thought my soul I'd starve to death before I got to Baltimore.

When I was in the regiment, it was three crackers a day,
And, woe unto a soldier's life, I wished I was far away;
The ladies at Baltimore, they were so very kind,
And better people in the world you'll never, never find.

They gave us bread and butter, and sometimes chicken-meat -
You'll never wish in Baltimore for anything to eat;
There was a Quaker lady so very kind to me,
I often thought I'd live with her if ever I got free.

She had a very kind daughter, as you shall plainly see -
Could you have seen the boquet [sic] that she had sent to me;
She had a boy that lived with her, the people knew all round,
That a better boy than he, was never to be found.

She used to say, young Edwin, you are gaining very fast,
I wished my time at Baltimore, would never, never pass;
I was so sick at Baltimore, I could hardly get my breath,
And if the nurses had not fanned me, it would have caused my death.

Our nurses, here in Baltimore, are very hard to beat,
They are so very kind, and give you plenty to eat;
There is our faithful doctor, he is never behind,
He gives us very good medicine, and is so very kind.

We had as good a steward as ever trod the ground,
And often a good book, for me to read, he found;
Our kind ward-master, a kind gentleman was he,
He often came into the ward the sick ones for to see.

There was a Pennsylvania lady, the truth to you I'll tell,
For a month or more in Baltimore this lady she did dwell;
She used to fetch fresh fish, which was the dish for me,
I never shall forget this very kind lady.

For to eat fresh fish it was to me but fun,
But to repay their kindness it never can be done;
The ladies in Baltimore I never shall forget,
The kindest ladies I ever saw, live in Baltimore yet.

Now kind people of Baltimore, I must bid you all adieu,
For I have left the hospital, my journey to pursue;
Now my song is ended, and I will sing no more,
If you want to be treated kindly, just go to Baltimore.

-A broadside published in Baltimore in 1862 from the collection of the Enoch Pratt Free Library recounting the experiences of a young soldier of the 52nd Pennsylvania who returned wounded from the Peninsula.

Monday, August 5, 2013

"The new telephone line . . ."

-from the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette, December 5, 1908                     

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Report of D. H. Hill

-The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Chapter XXXIX - Operations in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Department of the East. June 3-August 3, 1863.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Depredations and Dear Vegetables

High prices.

--Vegetables of every kind continue to command exorbitant prices in the markets, notwithstanding the large quantities cultivated in the city and its vicinity. Choice articles are kept high by the demand for them in eating houses and other public places. Just now Hanover and New Kent are not furnishing their usual supplies; and the fact that hams are scarce, and some neighborhoods have no means of sending to market gives the speculators a good opportunity for keeping up prices.

 The Yankees on the peninsula.

We learn by the York River train yesterday that yesterday morning there was not a Yankee at the White House. The Yankees who were there have embarked, and a good many more from the other side of the Pamunkey. An officer who was scouting near the White House on Tuesday night heard a long train of artillery pass, to that place, accompanied by infantry. As this force had all disappeared yesterday morning, it is supposed to have embarked there in transports for Washington. 
A gentleman who resides in King William, and who has been a refugee in this city since the enemy entered his county, yesterday received information that they had left the county, moving down in the direction of the White House. Before they left they committed more than their usual number of thefts, and enticed and forced off a large number of negroes. In the neighborhood of Mangohick Church their depredations were more extensive than in any other part of the county.

-from the Richmond Daily Dispatch of July 9 & 10, 1863 respectively.

Friday, August 2, 2013

". . . was not paid"

The Ninth "on to Richmond."

The Federal in King William have fallen back from Mangohick Church to Acquinton Church, about 20 miles. They destroyed all the crops in their track. By the York River train, yesterday afternoon, we learn that it was supposed the Yankees were leaving and going down the Peninsula. A deserter from the 163rd New York regiment, who was brought to the city, slates that Getty's division embarked at the White House Tuesday afternoon, at 4 o'clock, in transports for Washington. Foster's troops from Newbern, he said, were also reported, in Dix's army, to have gone to the same destination. A division of brigade of Dix's troops had left for Portsmouth Colonel Spear's cavalry were still on the Peninsula. This is a deserter's story, which may be true of may not. The fellow very frankly said that the reason he deserted was because he was not paid.
-Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 9, 1863

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"All testimony corroborates the correctness of our decision . . ."

-The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Chapter XXXIX - Operations in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Department of the East. June 3-August 3, 1863.