State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Monday, March 31, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- "a matter of great anxiety"

The Departure of the raiders.
The fate of Kilpatrick's command was a matter of great anxiety to the Yankees on the Peninsula. On Wednesday last Col. Spears, 11th Pennsylvania cavalry, cause up to Tunstall's Station three times to meet Kilpatrick, and finding he had not arrived went back. The last time they came up they met him, and falling in with him protected his rear on his way down the Peninsula.--Col. Bradley Johnson, with his gallant body of men, who had been hammering at Kilpatrick's column, then found Dahlgren in his own rear wills a largely superior force, and turned upon him. Had he had a larger force he would have captured them, as they were much dispirited. When they found Johnson in their front, they seemed to be consulting about giving up. One of them was heard by our men to say, "We had better go to than to go back to Richmond." This opinion seemed to prevail, and they determined to force their way through. Of course, Col. Johnson, will his handful of men, could not stop them, but he cut into their rear and brought off twenty-one of them as they got by. With the exception of Lieut. Pollard's attack this was the last time they were "operated" upon.

Arrival of Dahlgren's body.
Yesterday evening Lieut. Christian, of Co. H. 9th Va. Cavalry, with an escort, arrived in Richmond by the York River train, with the body of Col. Ulric Dahlgren, the leader of the Yankee, raiders, who was killed at Stevensville, King and Queen county, on Wednesday night.

-The Daily Dispatch: March 7, 1864

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- "A mountain of prejudice was removed in an instant"

The first sight the Army of the Potomac had of colored troops was on the occasion of Kilpatrick's raid in March, 1864. The Times correspondent wrote: "Near New Kent court house the command came across the first colored troops they had ever seen. Here was a full brigade which had been marched up; and as the cavalry passed by cheer, after cheer was given by both commands. No brigade ever made a better appearance or a better impression upon those who for the first time saw colored troops. A mountain of prejudice was removed in an instant."

-War Papers, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Commandery of the State of Maine
Publisher    Thurston Print, 1908

Friday, March 28, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- "particularly obnoxious on account of bushwhackers"

 The rest of the New York Times article. . .

 . . .
The expedition upon which Col. DAHLGREN went to create a diversion was one of the most desperate undertakings of the war. The officers with him were selected for their well-known daring and invincibility in desperate circumstances. The second in command was Maj. COOK*, of the Second New-York Cavalry, and next came Capt. MITCHELL, of the same regiment -- officers well known in the service for their gallant conduct. It was Capt. MITCHELL who cut his way through with the bulk of Col. DAHLGREN's party, and joined the main command. Col. DAHLGREN and Maj. COOK, with about one hundred men, are still missing, but there is some hope that the bulk of this command will yet reach our lines. Of one thing the public may rest assured, that these officers will escape if such a thing is within the region of possibilities.
The Peninsula seems to be overrun with temporarily disbanded Virginia troopers in the rebel service, who prowl about in small parties in the capacity of bushwhackers, for the purpose of picking up straglers(sic) with horses. In this way they have, it is alleged, obtained many horses for STUART's cavalry, and they profess still to have large expectations in this direction. Gen. KILPATRICK's body guard, while moving down the Peninsula Thursday, succeeded in capturing several of these fellows while hovering on his flanks, and the column under Gen. DAVIES succeeded in capturing several more, but not until after one of our men had been killed and several wounded, and two or three horses had been shot. These men select positions where the woods are so thick as to render a pursuit by cavalry impossible, and deliberately fire into the column. One, at least, of this class was captured, and he will doubtless be turned over to the tender mercies of Gen. BUTLER, a man whom, while they hate him with a relish, fear him just as much. Turn loose KILPATRICK's Cavalry Division upon the infected counties, and, in a very short period of time, the bushwhackers will all disappear. The boys of the Third Division, when permitted to do so, have a wholesome way of suppressing this kind of warfare.
Several prisoners taken in front of Richmond while our cavalry was engaged within the defences of that Capital, state positively that Gen. BRAGG was on the field during the action, and was furious at the audacity of the Yankees. The panic in Richmond was undoubted. Citizens who left the City at 8 o'clock and were taken into custody between 10 and 11 o'clock, said that they heard nothing of the approach of our forces. It is believed that they first knew of the presence of a cavalry force by a messenger who went across the fields soon after crossing Brook Creek.
All things considered, no better weather could have been asked for the consummation of the object of this raid. The first night -- Sunday -- was cloudy; the next day there was no sun, so that the column could not be seen at a distance by the enemy. That night there was a slight fall of rain, refreshing to the horses, and doing the men of the command no particular harm, as it was not very cold. Tuesday night was the only really disagreeable time -- just when the camp was shelled -- then there was a fall of rain which gradually turned into sleet, and subsequently snow. The mud was deep, nevertheless the command had to move on through the mud and slush six inches deep to a defensive position some ten miles distant. If it was disagreeable for the men on horseback, let the reader imagine how much more disagreeable it was for a hundred or more dismounted men, whose horses had been shot or stampeded in the night attack. Bravely did these dismounted troopers plod on through the mud hour after hour, mile after mile. All the led horses were brought into requisition -- a few stray animals were picked up in the morning -- so that nearly all of the dismounted were remounted the next day. Wednesday, for the first time, the sun shone forth -- never at a more welcome moment - - making every one forget the hardships they had undergone, and the perils by which they were then surrounded. The bottom lands of the broad Pamunkey never looked more tempting, and the whole command was halted thereon, and neighboring corn cribs and farm houses furnished food for horses and men.
Up to this time -- Wednesday evening -- no one knew of the approach of a force from Gen. BUTLER's Department, and the first intimation of it was when Lieut. WHITAKER, with a small detachment went out to burn Tunstall Station and destroy the railroad track, and found that the station was in flames, and that a Union force had preceded, Thursday morning, a few miles south of the railroad, the advance met Col. WEST's command. The gratification of the troops at meeting such a force so unexpectedly can only be imagined by those who have been similarly situated.
Near New-Kent Court-house a brigade of colored troops was standing at ease in column by regiments, and certainly no troops ever made a better first impression. Cheers filled the air, given with a cordial good will by both commands.
The Peninsula seems to be almost entirely abandoned by all its former residents, and given over to bushwhackers and roaming bands of lawless men. North of Williamsburgh bushmen hang upon the flanks and rear of any column of troops that may pass, to pick up stragglers, secure horses, and not unfrequently, apparently, for the sole purpose of gratifying a morbid spirit of revenge, firing into a column indiscriminately, with no hope of securing any immediate advantage thereby. Occasionally a poor family is found at home, but they manifest no particular feeling either for or against the Union cause. Their sons and brothers capable of bearing arms are in the rebel service, and therefore it is supposed their sympathies are in that direction. The locality between Burnt Ordinary and New Kent Court House is particularly obnoxious on account of bushwhackers. On Tuesday last four colored soldiers of Colonel WEST's command, were captured in this vicinity, and one was shot through the arm. I have before recorded the experience of Gen. KILPATRICK's command while passing through the district indicated.
The rebels have evidently obtained a supply of railroad iron from some source within the last year. The writer hereof while on Gen. STONEMAN's raid in the Spring of last year, had his attention particularly called to the condition of the tracks of several roads. It was badly worn and pealed off in many places so as to be dangerous for cars to be run at any great speed. Since that time these roads have been relaid -- at several points, certainly -- with a first quality of T rail, and several piles of new rails were destroyed last week by our troops, laid by the roadside for use when necessary. All the cars seen were next to worthless.

-The New York Times: March 7, 1864

Here are a few words from Rantings of a Civil War Historian on the need to take the work of Civil War correspondents with a grain of salt. It specifically mention Mr. Paul, who seems to have been the "Boswell" of the Army of Potomac's cavalry.

A digression on the fore mentioned Maj. Cooke* of the Second New York Cavalry, from the Sacramento Daily Union of October 1, 1867.

General Cooke's Death— Dispatch from General Kilpatrick. Washington, September 11th.— The following has been received at the Department of State:

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,  Santiago (Chile), August 1, 1867. 
William H. Seward, Secretary of State— Sir:
I have the honor to communicate the painful intelligence of the death of the Secretary of this Legation, Brevet Brigadier General Edwin F. Cooke, of New Jersey.
General Cooke entered the service of the  United States at the outbreak of the rebellion  as a Captain in the Second New York (Harris) Light Cavalry, and by distinguished gallantry rose to the command of his regiment and afterward to the responsible post of Chief of Staff of my Cavalry Division. With the lamented Colonel Dahlgren he was placed in charge of the picked command of 500 men I sent to enter Richmond from the south on the occasion of my expedition for the release of our prisoners in 1863, and had his horse killed under him by the same volley which terminated, Dahlgren's heroic life. He was taken prisoner and confined in one of the dark underground cells of Libby Prison, where deprivation of food, light and warmth completely broke down his vigorous constitution. From Libby Prison he was sent to other points in South Carolina and Georgia, and finally, after enduring for eighteen months the cruelty of rebellion, returned home a wreck of his former self. He accepted the position of Secretary of Legation by the advice of his physicians, who thought that this salubrious climate might restore his ruined health; but as time elapsed he sank into a gradual decline, and after a year of constant illness and great suffering he expired on the 6th instant, a victim to treason and rebellion.
The funeral exercises were very impressive. The Government authorized the ceremonies to I take place in the daytime, and furnished a large escort of cavalry, with music. The citizens sent their private carriages for the use of the; friends of the Legation, and the bells of the churches tilled as the cortege, consisting of cavalry and fifty carriages, passed through the streets. As the laws of Chile prohibit the conveyance of the dead through the city in the day time, and Protestants are regarded with most intense disfavor by the masses, these attentions on the part of the Government and people of Chile are very significant, and merits our most grateful appreciation.
I have availed myself of the opportunity, in response to the fending letter of condolence addressed to the Legation by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to express my deep gratitude for this great proof of friendship for the United States, and to assure the Government of Chile that its kind consideration and the generous sympathy of its citizens on this melancholy occasion shall be communicated to the people of my country, as an additional bond of union between the two republics.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, 
your obedient servant, J. Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick at the time was the American Minister to Chile.

Brevet Major General Edwin F. Cooke was not quite 32 years old.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- "Additional Particulars" from the New York Times

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
 Gen. Kilpatrick(in high boots) and his staff at Stevensburgh, Virginia before the raid.

(Language warning)

 FORTRESS MONROE, VA., Saturday, March 5, 1864.
By referring to the account of Brig.-Gen. KILPATRICK's cavalry raid within the enemy's lines in Virginia, which I forwarded yesterday, and taking a look at the map, it will be seen that our forces traversed nine different counties now occupied by the enemy, viz.: Spottsylvania, Caroline, Hanover, Goochland, Henrico, Louisa, New-Kent, James City and York. These counties embrace nearly all of the most aristocratic in the State -- peopled before the war mainly by families who boasted of their long line of ancestors, the number of their negroes, their broad acres -- in fact, where the feudal lords reigned supreme both over the white trash and the negro in bondage. The condition of this section of the country which has been under almost uninterrupted rebel sway for three years cannot be otherwise than interesting. In riding through these counties the stranger is painfully impressed with the Sunday-like stillness that everywhere prevails; at the large number of dilapidated and deserted dwellings, the ruined churches with windows out and doors ajar, the abandoned fields and workshops, the neglected plantations, and the ragged, dejected and uncouth appearance of the few people who are to be seen at home; the almost entire absence of men and boys, everything indicating a condition of affairs which nothing but civil war could produce. Our troops as a general rule when within the enemy's lines, I feel proud in being able to say, conduct themselves as becomes soldiers, only doing that which they are allowed to do by the recognized rules of war by all civilized nations; destroying nothing but what is used as a direct agency in sustaining the bogus Confederacy, and taking so much provisions only and forage as may be required for immediate use; no attempt is made to intimidate the inhabitants who are quietly at home attending to their legitimate business, and hence they never think of running away from an invading Yankee column. In no other country, in no other war, in the history of the world, I will venture say, has there been shown so much confidence of a people in the honor of those whom they look upon as invaders as the people of the South when visited by the Union troops -- the Southern newspaper press to the contrary notwithstanding. Neither men, women or children run away at our approach, and however much animosity they may manifest openly or indirectly, they seem to realize that they have an honorable foe to deal with.
But your bitter, vindictive secesh is a rare object to find; the persons met with in the recent raid, for the most part, profess to have no interest in the rebellion -- it came without their aid, and they have no desire to aid in its continuance any more than they are forced to do by what they feel to be the despotic rule of JEFF. DAVIS. All the real secesh capable of bearing arms are already in the army, together with many others whose hearts are not in the cause. I had frequent opportunities to converse with both of these classes. One of the most bitter rebels in his talk I ever met with, when captured, commenced a tirade of characteristic Southern braggadocio. He talked of "our best men in the field;" the South "could never be whipped;" "never had been whipped;" "it was a shame that Southern gentlemen were compelled to fight nigers;" and a whole series of the usual twaddle made use of by braggarts of the negro school, leading every one who heard him to suppose that he was a perfect pink of perfection -- a pure F.F.V. This man, who is the type of the so-called chivalric sons of the South, was caught bushwhacking, shot at a man after he had surrendered, told half a dozen lies in almost as many minutes, admitted that he never owned a negro in his life, and that his family is both poor and illiterate -- the poor white trash of which TOOMBS so picturesquely set off once in the United States Senate. This is no fancy sketch; and, when the fellow was exposed, he very cooly(sic) fell back upon the rights of a prisoner of war -- that is, in his opinion, a prisoner of war should not be exposed in his arrogance and falsehood. Of such is the Southern army to-day made up. That they will fight well all do know -- and that is about all the redeeming quality there is in the race. Their very pride and conceit makes them recklessly brave. This same fellow, after some conversation, volunteered the remark, "If we do come together again we can whip the whole world."
In the counties visited, there are but a few field-hands left of the black class; and a respectable resident asserts it as his belief that not one-fourth as much land will be cultivated this year as there was the last, when the crop was much less than the year before. January and February is the time for preparing the ground for sowing and planting in this part of the State, but it was a rare sight to see a plowed field on the 1st of March.*
At several points white men were seen working in the field, and occasionally a large plowed field could be seen; but, as a general rule, however, the farms are running over with weeds, the buildings are out of repair, fences are down, and the Virginia wild hog, heretofore seldom seem, except in pine forests, overruns the land. Particularly is this the case with the manorial estates to be seen as you approach the Pamunkey.
There is an abiding faith both with soldiers and citizens, that the war will end this year in one way or the other. Your sanguine secesh, of course, (who is generally ignorant or stupidly blind to what is going on in the outside world,) is quite confident that the "Southern cause," as he calls it, will triumph; but from what I saw and heard, I do not believe a majority of the people outside of the army would give the turn of a copper to secure the success of that cause. The people generally do not hesitate to say they are heartily tired of the war; and well they may be, for every branch of industry, except that to aid the Confederate Government, is at a stand still; families are broken up and scattered, and the whole country is flooded with a species of paper money so nearly worthless as to scarcely be believed. This stuff is thrown about carelessly, and is to be found everywhere stowed away in houses as carelessly as a prudent Yankee housekeeper does paper rags. For a $10 greenback I was offered at one place a pile of Confederate scrip large enough to fill an ordinary saddle bag. In the use of this money we had some experience. At a little oyster saloon, about six miles from Richmond, Gen. DAVIES and a party of friends numbering eight in all, partook of a supper which cost $85.40 in Confederate money, and the proprietor readily took $32 Confederate and a $2 greenback for the amount. The fare consisted of eggs, bacon, honey and bread. I obtained a bill of items from the gentlemanly owner of the place to adorn the books of some Antiquarian Society. A few years hence it will be much more of a curiosity than now.
As to the question of food. Every family seemed to have a little. Halting for an hour at a house, the occupant was asked if he had any corn, to which he gave a most positive negative reply. The proper officer was not satisfied, and, by a little searching, forty or fifty bushels was found stored away in a loft of the house. He denied also having bacon, and said that neither corn nor bacon could be bought for love or money, but "the boys" somehow managed to find quite a little pile of the hog meat concealed in an out-of-the-way place; and this was the experience along the whole route in the different counties. At nearly every occupied house was to be found a lot of chickens, and occasionally more or less turkeys, ducks, geese and drakes, and not unfrequently small grunters were to be seen roaming through the fields at will. It was quite evident that there was no superabundance of food, but a good supply of applejack somehow could always be obtained at $125 per gallon -- a price frequently paid. Confederate scrip was floating about so plentifully that the price of the liquor made but little difference to the purchaser -- $150 per gallon would have been paid just as willingly.
These people at home pretended that they had no choice as to which troops visited their plantations. The Confederates took all they could find in the shape of provisions, and while they hoped to be excused from receiving visits from either, they thought they could be treated no worse by the Yankees. As you move toward the heart of rebeldom, the feeling of animosity is more intense in hatred toward Yankees, and is more openly manifested. Around the outer borders, where the people have more frequently seen Union troops, and know more of what is going on in the outside world, they seem to have enlarged and more liberal ideas; as you approach the centre more bigotry and intolerance, more outspoken hatred is met with. Until a point near Richmond was reached there was but little on the part of the people to indicate that we were moving among a united mass of enemies. On the Brook pike, within a few miles of Richmond, quite a number of very respectable-looking young women came out to the roadside and made use of some taunting expletives -- such as no real lady would be guilty of -- but judging from the surroundings, I suppose they were considered ladies at home. One of these women was almost frantic with indignation. "I never thought," said she, raising her hands in holy horror, "that you would be mean enough for this." This she repeated frequently as the column moved along. No one offered any disrespectful remark in reply. The boys were simply amused at her eccentric conduct. This course of conduct seemed to exasperate her; to have Yankee soldiers come there was bad enough, but to be laughed at by them seemed to her the very height of the intolerables.
Much has been said of the publicity given to this raid before the movement was commenced or immediately thereafter. It is undoubtedly true that a great many people knew that there was a movement on foot of some kind, but what of kind, or which way it was to go, or its destination, it seems nearly every one was in ignorance. The enemy knew nothing of the matter, and the corespondents in the field and at Washington, from the different publications in the papers, it is quite certain knew but little more than the rebels. One paper recounts, in fearful terms, how that owing to the indiscretion of some nameless person, the enemy had met KILPATRICK in superior force at the very inauguration of the movement, and fears were entertained for the safety of the command. This class of correspondents show how much knowledge they had of the affair by still persisting in the statement that KILPATRICK left Stevensburgh on Saturday evening, when, without much trouble, they might have known that he did not move until Sunday night. Old sores are always tender, and a newspaper in the habit of being beaten in news is frequently stirred up to commit indiscretions. The truth of the matter is that whether any of the newspapers did or did not act prematurely in publishing the movements of Gen. KILPATRICK, the enemy did not take advantage of it. The picket at Ely's Ford knew nothing of it, and the column moved to Beaver Dam on the Central Railroad, before hearing a hostile shot. So skillfully managed, indeed, was the whole affair, that the announcement of Gen. KILPATRICK crossing the Rapidan was made in the Richmond papers on the very day he arrived before that city. The pickets within 3 1/2 miles of Richmond were captured before they were aware that an enemy's force was near them; and wherever the column moved before reaching Richmond, the enemy were taken by surprise and were entirely unprepared to resist the movement. This fact is confirmed by extracts from Richmond papers published in the TIMES to-day.
Too much cannot be said in praise of the officers and privates who took part in this raid. A movement within the enemy's lines, setting aside the extra personal risk incurred, is always and necessarily attended by hardships and privations of which few who have had no experience in the matter can form any adequate conception. In the saddle night and day, until nature is exhausted physically from being over-tasked; exposed to almost all degrees of heat and cold -- sometimes freezing, again too warm, one hour dry, and the next wet through to the skin; partaking of food at irregular intervals, and getting little or no sleep at all, except what is secured in the saddle, or for a half hour while the animals are feeding. Add to this the constant strain upon the nervous system; the hopes and fears excited by the constantly varying surrounding circumstances, while picking a way through a strange country without proper guides; the liability to be deceived willfully or otherwise by those who assume to have a knowledge of the country, the possibility and almost probability that you may be attacked at any moment by a superior force in some unexpected quarter, and under disadvantageous circumstances; the vexatious delays, marches and countermarches occasioned by bad roads and false information received often from those whom it is reasonable to suppose know whereof they affirm, all combined, go to make up a state of things which requires the greatest resolution and pertinacity of purpose not to sink under. The Commander of such a force must not only have all these qualities, but he must be promptly and ably supported by the whole command. This was the case in this movement in an eminent degree, and to this fact may be attributed much of the measure of success attained. The conduct of Gen. DAVIES and Col. SAWYER, commanding brigades, is particularly worthy of notice. Of the non-combatants accompanying the expedition, who rendered important service by acting as aids, were Dr. HACKLEY, with Gen. KILPATRICK, and Dr. WOOD and Rev. Mr. ROE with Gen. DAVIES. The staff officers generally were prompt and efficient.
Capt. ARMSTRONG, of the Commanding-General's staff, besides his regular duties, had charge of the distributing of the President's Amnesty Proclamation. -- Printed in small pamphlet form, this production was scattered broad-cast everywhere. It was placed in the hands of the people, left in their houses, churches and shops; stowed away in books and in every conceivable nook and corner, so that if any large portion of the people are disposed to suppress the only public document emanating from Mr. LINCOLN which has not been reproduced in the Richmond papers, they will hardly be able to accomplish their purpose.
The negroes everywhere, as usual, manifested great delight at seeing a column of Yankees, and acted unreservedly, as though they expected to find them all friends, and aided the expedition in various ways. They could always tell where corn could be found for the horses, and where provisions and horses had been concealed. They frequently gave valuable information as to the location of the enemy's pickets, of the presence of scouts in the neighborhood, and could tell when the last Confederate soldier had passed along the road. These services were rendered freely and without hesitation, often without the asking. Their services were brought into requisition in destroying railroads, and in one instance, at least, continued the work of destruction after the troops had left the spot, saying as the column moved off, "We'll catch up." Nearly all asked permission to come along, and many did so without asking the privilege, seeming to take it as a matter of course they were expected to join the command. There was no large number of negroes in any one place -- but there were a few found in every locality -- just enough, the whites said, to raise crops for the local population to consume. Only about one million dollars worth of this kind of property was brought away. Many of the negroes and negresses gave out on the long marches, and were left on the road. One squad of stout-limbed and stout-hearted women marched for two days with the command, and were finally rewarded by reaching Gen. BUTLER's lines, where they have some rights that white men are bound to respect under the present regime.
Only a few cattle were seen on the whole march. Everything large enough for beef has been confiscated for the use of the army. The same may be said of horses. The few to be seen -- except here and there an exception, are poor in flesh and in spirit. Not more than three hundred horses were obtained probably throughout the whole command -- all having been pressed into the rebel service.


-The New York Times: March 7, 1864

*possibly a reference to seedbeds for tobacco which were normally prepared in January and February.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- Col. Spear at Tunstall's

Col. Samuel P. Spear

Report of Col. Samuel P. Spear, Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, commanding Cavalry Brigade.

Near Williamsburg, Va., March 4, 1864.

SIR: In accordance to instructions received from the colonel commanding, I formed my brigade, leaving one squadron at Gloucester Point and one squadron at Lebanon Church and vicinity, also the pickets and a relief, in all about 800 effective men, in front of Fort Magruder, at 11 o'clock p. in. on the 1st instant, and proceeded in  the place in column assigned me to New Kent Court-House, at which point I arrived at 7.30 a. m. on the morning of the 2d instant. Resting till 11 o'clock a.m., I proceeded with 300 men to Tunstall's Station, on the Richmond and West Point Railroad. Here I found the enemy's pickets had been drawn in the previous night. I destroyed the railroad track, some cars, the switches, culverts, depot store-houses, a large and valuable saw-mill, & c., all of which were of great value and use to the enemy.
Small detachments were also sent out in different directions and continued until the advance of General Kilpatricks command was found, when all returned to New Kent, covering his rear, when found, which was at a point near the White House, on the morning of the 3d instant. My command encamped at New Kent on the nights of the 2d and 3d, and took up the march for Williamsburg on the morning of the 4th, arriving at Fort Magruder and reporting to the commanding officer at 4 p.m.
At White House and vicinity 12 prisoners were captured and brought in, and on my return the notorious Robert Corton, a well-known guerrilla, was pursued near Six-Mile Ordinary, and killed in attempting to make his escape. inclosed I forward papers found upon his person, which are of the most treasonable character.
My command will be ready in a day or two for any duty or emergency.
I am, sir, with high respect, your obedient servant,
Col. Eleventh Pennsylvania Vol. Cavalry, Comdg. Brigade

Commanding Fort Magruder.


Yorktown, Va., March 5, 1864.

Most respectfully forwarded.
I gladly bear testimony to Colonel Spears cheerful and hearty cooperation throughout the recent expedition. He omits the mention in his report of the destruction of a new steam engine in the saw-mill which he destroyed. This alone was a loss to the enemy which he cannot easily replace.
Colonel, Commanding.

Photograph of Col. Spear from The Photographic History of The Civil War In Ten Volumes, Vol. 10, the Review of Reviews Co. 1911

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- "Tunstall's had been a station on the York River and Richmond railroad"

An officer of the 5th Cavalry relates the following:
"On General Kilpatrick's retreat from Richmond after his unsuccessful attempt on that place, the command had bivouacked for the night, expecting to be attacked at any moment, being almost entirely surrounded, as Pickett's division of infantry were following in rear, with Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry on the right, and Hill's cavalry on the left. At 1 o'clock A.M Kilpatrick held a council of his officers, explaining their condition and stating that he was unable to decide what road to take, not being able to recognize any known land mark. All realized their dangerous position and were most anxious for a 'Pathfinder,' which, providentially, soon made an appearance in the person of an old negro. As he approached the camp-fire, one of Kilpatrick's aids said to him, 'Uncle, can you tell us where Tunstall's Station is?' He replied, 'Bress your heart Cap'n, you are within half a mile of it. Tunstall's had been a station on the York River and Richmond railroad, but over a year before had been, with all the surrounding buildings, burned and the rails and ties carried off, and with one year's growth of vegetation could hardly be found by any person not familiar with the locality.
When the colored man pointed out the cross roads there was a universal shout in camp.
The command started for Louisa Court House* and upon arriving there found, with joy and surprise, a division of Butler's colored troops. The boys were then all glad to shout again for the 'darkey.'"

-Michigan in the War
Michigan. Adjutant-General's Department
Editor    John Robertson
W.S. George & Company, State Printers, 1882

*Most likely meaning New Kent Court House

Monday, March 24, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- The last of the raiders

The last of the raiders — their retreat down the Peninsula.

In concluding our report yesterday we stated that the raiders had succeeded in effecting their escape by crossing the Pamunkey at Pining Tree. Subsequent information has satisfied us that this statement was erroneous, and that only a small portion of the enemy's forces crossed the Pamunkey in their retreat. The main body, after passing Old Church, in Hanover county, moved down into New Kent, on their way, doubt less, to Williamsburg.
Yesterday afternoon Col. Bradley T. Johnson, with about forty of his Marylanders, assisted by a detachment of the 9th Virginia cavalry, which had joined him, came up with their rear guard near Tunstall's Station, when a skirmish ensued, resulting in the capture of seventy of the raiders. This is probably the last heavy pull that will be made upon them, as it is understood that the remainder of the party had pushed on beyond New Kent Court House.
Thus ends the great raid which was designed for the destruction of Gen. Lee's communications and the liberation of the Yankee prisoners in Richmond. The injury to the communications with the Army of Northern Virginia can be repaired in three days, and, instead of releasing the prisoners already in our hands, they have added not less than two hundred and fifty to their numbers.

The Yankee Losses in killed and wounded.
It is somewhat difficult to ascertain the exact loss of the raiders in killed and wounded. It is thought that in the fights on Hick's and Green's farms they had seventeen killed, and it is known that they had not less than twenty wounded. In Hampton's night attack upon them, near Atlee's, he killed four or five and wounded as many more. In the several engagements which occurred they must have lost, at a low estimate, twenty five in killed and seventy wounded.

The loss in prisoners.
Their loss in prisoners will reach two hundred and fifty. Up to 7 o'clock yesterday evening one hundred and seventy had been booked at the Libby, and these did not include the seventy captured by Col. Johnston in the neighborhood of Tunstall's.
Their loss in horses and Equipments.
What their nett loss in horses will amount to cannot, of course, be estimated, as the number they stole in their line of march will go far to make up the number captured from them. They did not loss less than five hundred in killed and captured. Besides the horses they lost a Napoleon gun, many saddles, carbines, sabres, pistols, blankets, &c. Altogether the expedition was rather an expensive one to Kilpatrick's Government, taking into consideration the results accomplished

-The Daily Dispatch: March 4, 1864

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- "The infamous Butler seems disposed to play his part . . ."

 The raid around Richmond — Capture of parties of the enemy — the fighting on the Brook road and on Green's Farm.
Since our yesterday's issue, some additional particulars have reached us of the operations of the enemy on Tuesday. Kilpatrick's division, marching by the mountain road from Louisa, reached the Brook about 9 o'clock A. M., and quartered upon Mrs. Hillyard's farm. They sent forward a detachment with eight pieces of cannon along the Brook road to the vicinity of Battery No. 9, and formed a line of battle on Mrs. Taylor's farm, about one mile and a quarter from the battery. The line was formed of cannon, supported by dismounted sharpshooters. The latter approached during the artillery duel which ensued to within 175 yards of the battery, being shielded by Col. J. A. Parker's house, near the turnpike From this point they succeeded in killing one and wounding three of our men, belonging to the command of Col. Stephens, at the battery. They were finally driven off by a charge of a body of our men, led by Col. James Howard.
After the artillery duel had terminated, about 4 o'clock P. M. the whole body retreated in the direction of the Meadow Bridge road — moving with considerable haste — passing by Mr. Grant's and Mrs. Gooch's, and crossing the Chickahominy at the Meadow Bridge, six miles from Richmond. At night they encamped on Mrs. Eliza Crenshaw's farm, about a mile beyond the Bridges, and two miles from Mechanicville. Their camp-fires were visible for some distance from the surrounding country.
They were not permitted, however, to rest in peace during the night, notwithstanding their rapid marches and excessive fatigue. About 11 o'clock a part of Hampton's Legion, which had been following in their wake, directed some shells into their illuminated camp, the effect of which is left to conjecture, except that it is known to have greatly expedited their departure. They did not stay to finish their nap, and stood not upon the order of their going, but quitted the place at once.
Our informant thinks they marched towards the Old Church, in Hanover, with the view of ultimately reaching the White House. They avoided Mechanicville, however, taking the route by Hawe's shop.--Their subsequent movements must be developed by further news, which, if it comes to hand, will be added to this account.
 . . .

-The Daily Dispatch: March 3, 1864

 Movement of the enemy on the Peninsula.
The infamous Butler seems disposed to play his part in the Yankee raiding around Richmond, designing no doubt a cooperation with the redoubtable Kilpatrick. At a late hour last night we understood that a small body of the enemy's cavalry of the Peninsula command made their appearance at Tunstall's Station during the day yesterday. It is also stated upon pretty good authority that twelve regiments of Yankee infantry are at the Burnt Ordinary, in New Kent county, moving in this direction. It is likely that Butler, when he hears of Kilpatrick's adventures, will deem it prudent to withdraw to a safer distance.

-The Daily Dispatch: March 3, 1864.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- Colonel West Moves

                             HEADQUARTERS, March 4, 1864.
                                    (Received 2.15 a.m., 5th.)
Upon being notified of the intended movement of General Kilpatrick, I ordered Colonel West to take 2,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, and a battery of artillery, and to march to New Kent Court-House, and remain there to render such aid as might be necessary to General Kilpatrick. Colonel West reports to me his return, as follows: 
We captured going and coming a few guerrillas. Colonel Spear met General Davies at Tunstall's Station, and I met General Kilpatrick about 4 miles beyond New Kent Court-House. My outpost reported heavy musketry firing in the direction of the York River Railroad, and I was on my way out with cavalry, infantry, and artillery to render such assistance as I could when we met the two columns coming in. My instructions did not authorize me to go beyond New Kent Court-House, but as they were not very definite I thought the circumstances justified, me in exceeding them to the extent I did. Duncan's colored brigade* performed a march of 42 miles in twenty-two hours, the first part of which was made during a heavy rain-storm. The roads were thus rendered very bad for foot-men. No loss is reported save the slight wounding of 1 colored soldier by a bushwhacker. The cavalry did well. Colonel Spear reports the destruction by him of a large saw-mill, containing new engine and about 20,000 feet of lumber; also a large baggage-car, some trestle-work, and a portion of the railroad track. This at Tunstall's Station, on the York River Railroad, on the 2d instant.

                                                                 ROBT. M. WEST,
                                                                 Colonel, commanding.

                                                              B. F. BUTLER,
                                                        Major- General, Commanding.

           Secretary of War. 

 -The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1- Volume 33

* the 4th, 5th and 6th United States Colored Troops

A New Kent Museum?

 From the Website of the New Kent Historical Society . . .

The Historical Society plans to purchase the Martha Dandridge Woman's Club building, which was originally a two room school house built in 1870, and then create a museum to preserve the history of our county. Please send your donations (tax deductable) to:
 New Kent Historical Society
 P.O. Box 24
New Kent, VA 23124 .

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- Beginning

                                March 16, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 26th of February I received the following order, dated-
                                                   February 20, 1804.
Brigadier-General KILPATRICK,
         Commanding Third Cavalry Division:  
GENERAL: Your command, increased to 4,000 men with one battery, will be placed in readiness to move on a raid to Richmond for the purpose of liberating our prisoners at that place.
You will start on Sunday evening, the 28th instant, and will proceed by such routes and make such dispositions as from time to time you may find necessary to accomplish the object of the expedition. You will not be confined to any specific instructions in reference to such matters. Col. Ulric Dahlgren is authorized to accompany you, and will render valuable assistance from his knowledge of the country and his well-known gallantry, intelligence, and energy. Important diversions will be made in your favor, the particulars of which you have been already advised. That these may be more fully and completely carried out you will direct Brigadier-General Custer to report in person to these headquarters until further orders. With my best wishes for a perfect success, and the assurance that every effort will be exerted by the service here to insure it,
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

                                                    A. PLEASONTON,
                                             Major-General, Commanding.

In accordance with the above instructions, I left my camp at Stevensburg at 7 o'clock Sunday evening, February 28, with 2,375 men and Captain Ransom's battery U. S. Horse Artillery (six pieces), and detachments from the First and Second Cavalry Divisions, under Majors Hall and Taylor, in all 3,582 strong.

- The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1- Volume 33

Monday, March 17, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- The Plan

 Kilpatrick's and Dahlgren's Raid to Richmond
By George E. Pond
His object was to move past the enemy's right Bank, enter the Confederate capital, and release the Union captives in its military prisons. This bold project had grown out of President Lincoln's desire to have his amnesty proclamation circulated within the Confederate lines; and General Kilpatrick, with whom Mr. Lincoln directly conferred, had reported to General Meade, on this officer's application, a plan which included the release of the Richmond prisoners and a raid upon the enemy's communications and supplies. His force was to be chosen from the cavalry corps, mostly from his own - the Third - division; and Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, separating from him near Spotsylvania, with five hundred picked men, was to cross the James, enter Richmond on the south side, after liberating the Belle Isle prisoners, and unite with Kilpatrick's main force entering the city from the north at 10 A. M. of Tuesday, March 1st. General Meade aided the enterprise with simultaneous demonstrations of the Sixth Corps and of Birney's division of the Third against Lee's left, and of Custer's cavalry division toward Charlottesville.

- Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. IV, Being for the Most Part Contributions by Union and Conferderate Officers. Based upon "The Century War Series." Edited by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel, of the Editorial Staff of "The Century Magazine." 
Copyright, 1884, 1888, By The Century Co.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Reassessment- Conclusion

I have never done this before, so consider this a bit of a test. I have embedded a PDF of the pages 192 and 193 of the New Kent County Court Order Book, 1860-1867 with the Order relating to the Property Tax reassessment of 1864.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Reassessment- III

A few more notes, this time dealing with the people on the list . . .

2) George Timberlake. Why is he on the first list, but not the second?

2) Susan Toler. Married to Henry Toler she held Cumberland plantation in her own name as an inheritance from her first husband. In the 1860 census schedule she is listed as holding 60 slaves of all ages. The 1860 Property Tax book lists 29 slaves over 12 years of age( but some more were very close to that age according to the census) so 34 would represent virtually all of the adult Toler slaves. The Toler slaves will prominently figure in some upcoming posts.

3) There are several large owners of human property in New Kent who are totally unrepresented: George Brumley(24 slaves in Property Tax books), Henry M. Sherman(36), Isaac Vaiden(27), Richmond T. Lacy(33), Braxton Garlick(41), and of course W. H. F. Lee(78).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Reassessment- II

A few explanatory comments on yesterday's post.

First some background on the tax itself . . .

In 1782 the General Assembly of Virginia enacted a major revision of the commonwealth’s tax laws. The act provided for statewide enumeration on the county level of certain personal property and land. It also created a permanent source of revenue for the operation of government in Virginia.
 . . .
Various revenue acts passed by the General Assembly established the tax rates and procedures for the collection of personal property taxes. At first, justices of the local court were designated to collect the taxes. By 1786, the county courts were directed to divide each locality into precincts and to appoint commissioners to collect the taxes. Taxes were assessed between March and April of each year and were payable by the end of December.
The commissioners prepared four “fair and correct” copies of the personal property tax books. Copies were prepared for the commissioner, county clerk, sheriff, and auditor of public accounts.
-Using Personal Property Tax Records in the Archives at the Library of Virginia
by Minor T. Weisiger
Library of Virginia 2010

So with that in mind . . .

1- It appears then that the losses of slaves occurred between Spring 1863 and December of that year.

2- The total number of escaped slaves mentioned is 213. Valued at some $134,472 Confederate dollars.

3- Only slaves over twelve years of age were usually counted on the Property Tax books so I assume only slaves over twelve were counted here.

4- The 1860 Property Tax book,the closest to 1864 of which I have full scans, counts some 1808 slaves. The slaves referenced here would then make some 12% of that total.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Reassessment- I

Even in the Nineteenth Century people complained about their tax assessment, but this request for adjustment is a bit different . . .
(sorry about the crooked columns- it's properly aligned in my editor)

New Kent County                                              New Kent County
At a Court of Quarterly session begun and held for said county on Thursday the 10th day of March 1864 at the Courthouse of said County.

                                Elijah Ball                      Presiding Justice
                                John C. Apperson
                                Wm W. Taliaferro
                                Benj. Timberlake
                                Robert F. Carter

On the application of the following named citizens of the County that they are erroneously assessed by Edmund W. Allen the Commissioner of Revenue with taxes for the year 1863 on slaves, who, since their lists were rendered to the said Commissioner have escaped to the enemy, namely

Thomas W. Atkinson                   1 slave valued at                                     $ 866.00
Wm F. Atkinson                           1                                                              633.00
Ira L. Bowles                               4                                                             1500.00
John Ball                                      6                                                             3315.00
Sarah T. Crump                            4                                                             3600.00
Bat. D. Christian                           6                                                             3858.00
D. P. Chandler                              1                                                               600.00
James I. Drake                             1                                                             1000.00
Ann M.V.Farinholt                        7                                                             4200.00
A. C. Farinholt                             7                                                              4830.00
Geo. L. Timberlake                       2                                                             1466.00
Ro. A. Farinholt                            4                                                             2544.00
James M. Goddin                        17                                                           12750.00
Mary H. Howle                             2                                                             1600.00
John A. Hockaday                        1                                                               675.00
Roland Jones                                4                                                              2400.00
Martha A. Jones                           1                                                                700.00
Burwell B. Jones                           6                                                              3300.00
Vernon P. Jones                            3                                                              1725.00
Thomas S. Morris                         6                                                              3000.00
Thomas S. Martin                         1                                                                700.00
Wm B. Merry                               1                                                                462.00
John Parrish                                 14                                                              8400.00
M.C. Poindexter                           6                                                              2940.00
J.L. Poindexter                              9                                                              5000.00
John A. Richardson                       5                                                              3000.00
Wm P. Richardson                         1                                                              1200.00
Wm T. Ratcliffe                             1                                                                600.00
Richard G. Smith                           4                                                              2908.00
P.F. Taylor                                     1                                                                800.00
Frs H. Timberlake                          1                                                                550.00
Susan Toler                                  34                                                             21080.00
Ro. L. Timberlake                          4                                                               2844.00
Wm F. Timberlake                         1                                                                 600.00
John M. Timberlake                       6                                                               5000.00
Thos W. Timberlake                    14                                                             10560.00
Nathl J. Turner                              8                                                               4640.00
R.B.  Weisiger                               3                                                               2040.00
Wyatt S. Woodward                     7                                                               3010.00
Jno R. Williams                             2                                                                 776.00
Mary C. Williams                          6                                                               2800.00

And that they desire to be relieved from the payments of the taxes so imposed; and John P. Pierce esq, the attorney prosecuting on behalf of the Commonwealth in this Court being  present and defending said applications, and the Court being satisfied that the said applicants are erroneously charged upon the Books of the said Commissioner of the Revenue for  the year 1863 for the slaves so escaped,
Doth order that the said applicants

Thomas W. Atkinson from the payment of $                       8.66                      
Wm F. Atkinson                                                               6.33
Ira L. Bowles                                                                  15.00
John Ball                                                                         33.15
Sarah T. Crump                                                               36.00
Bat. D. Christian                                                              38.58
D. P. Chandler                                                                   6.00
James I. Drake                                                                 10.00
Ann M.V. Farinholt                                                           42.00
Avery C. Farinholt                                                            48.30
Geo. L. Farinholt                                                             14.66                                    
Ro. A. Farinholt                                                               25.44
James M. Goddin                                                           127.50
Mary H. Howle                                                               16.00
John A. Hockaday                                                             6.75
Roland Jones                                                                   24.00
Burwell B. Jones                                                              33.00
Vernon P. Jones                                                               17.25
Tho S. Morris                                                                  30.00
Tho S. Martin                                                                   7.00
Wm B. Merry                                                                   4.60
John Parrish                                                                    84.00
M.C. Poindexter est                                                        29.40
J.L. Poindexter est                                                           50.00
John A. Richardson                                                          30.00
Wm P. Richardson                                                           12.00
Wm T. Ratcliffe                                                                  6.00
Richard G. Smith                                                              29.08
P.F. Taylor                                                                          8.00
Frs H. Timberlake                                                               5.50
Susan Toler                                                                     210.80
Ro. L. Timberlake                                                             28.44
Wm F. Tmberlake                                                               6.00
John M. Timberlake                                                          50.00
Thos W. Timberlake                                                        105.60
Nathl J. Turner                                                                  46.40    
R.B.  Weisiger                                                                   20.40
Wyatt S. Woodward                                                          30.10
Jno R. Williams                                                                    7.76
Mary C. Williams                                                               28.00

each, be and they are hereby exonerated of the said sums have not been already paid and if  paid that the sums so paid be refunded to them respectively ordered that the following named persons, Thomas W. Athenson,Wm F. Atkenson, Ira L.  Bowles, John Ball, Sarah F. Crump, Bat. D. Christian, D.P. Chandler, James I. Drake, Ann  M.V.Farinholt, Ro. A. Farinholt, Avery C. Farinholt, James M. Goddin, Mary H. Howle, John A.  Hockaday, Roland Jones, Burwell B. Jones, Vernon P. Jones, Tho S. Morris, Tho S.  Martin,Wm B. Merry, John Parrish, the estates of Martha C. Poindexter and J.L. Poindexter  John A. Richardson, Wm P. Richardson, Wm T. Ratcliffe, Richard G. Smith, P.F. Taylor, Frs H.  Timberlake, Susan Toler,  Ro. L. Timberlake, Wm F. Timberlake, John M. Timberlake, Thos W.  Timberlake, Nathl J. Turner, R.B.  Weisiger, Wyatt S. Woodward, Jno R. Williams, and  Mary  C. Williams, be and they are hereby released from the assessment of thirty per cent upon so  much of the Revenue tax assessed against them and from the payment of which they have been exonerated by an order of this Court entered on this day, on account of slaves escaped to  the enemy.
And the sheriff is hereby ordered to credit the said person by the thirty per cent assessed against them for County purposes, on the sums of money from the payment of which they have been released.

-New Kent County Court Order Book, 1860-1867

#2719104 10/8/2013