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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"Unamiable firmness" and General Isaac Wistar

Picture from the autobiography of Isaac Wistar, 1914

An incident at Yorktown during  April of 1864 gives, I believe, some idea of the mindset of Isaac Wistar, the general who so often chevauchéd his way through the Tidewater of Virginia.

In April, 1864, numerous regiments and batteries gathered from all parts of the Department, were sent me to be organized and Brigaded into the 18th Army Corps, which it was understood was to be commanded by the able and well-known General William F. Smith, then wearing his freshly-won Chattanooga laurels, at which place by rescuing the communications of the Western Army he had saved the army itself and thus rendered possible its subsequent success. Many of the regiments were old ones recently filled up with drafted or kidnapped men by certain iniquitous practices first made known to me by the following circumstance which, in the interests of humanity, one may hope could scarcely happen outside of a free (?) Republic. A New Hampshire regiment one night reported its arrival and was posted by one of the staff a couple of miles from the fort, to be inspected and provisionally brigaded next day. But early in the morning the Colonel personally reported that eighty of his men had deserted during the night! In reply to some sharp strictures on the quality and discipline of a regiment in which such things could happen, he explained that his command was an old and good one of long service, but having been reduced by various casualties to barely 150 men, had just been filled up with 600 drafted men. These were foreigners, mostly speaking foreign languages, who had been drugged and kidnapped in New York, there purchased by the 'quota agents' of his State, their muster papers regularly made out, then heavily ironed, confined in box cars, and shipped like cattle, to his regiment.
All this proved on inquiry to be true. One could not but sympathize with the poor wretches thus maltreated on their arrival in a land whither many of them had probably fled to escape a much milder military service at home; nevertheless their chains had been forged by experienced hands and were without a flaw. They came to me with all regular forms complete, as duly enlisted, sworn and mustered soldiers of their regiment, and I was bound by every consideration of oath and duty to treat them as such until discharged, regardless of their individual misfortunes. The deserters were of course trying to get to the enemy, but must all be retaken sooner or later by our pickets or patrols. Should their escapade be allowed to pass without special attention, as might have been possible under almost any other circumstances, the offense would be repeated indefinitely by them, as well as by the hundreds of similar unfortunates drafted like them into other regiments, and must at last be stopped at any cost, even by wholesale executions, if required.
It was therefore not merely in the interest of the Government, but of humanity as well, that I felt that such an example must be made of a few of those first caught as might serve to cut short the contagious and dangerous defection. The opportunity was not long delayed. Three poor devils were brought in that evening, immediately tried by special court martial, found guilty, condemned to death, and sentenced to be shot at sunrise next morning, in presence of their regiment. I approved the conviction and sentence, as plainly authorized to do by the Sixty-fifth Article of War; but to avoid all question of authority, telegraphed the facts and my intention to execute the sentence to the Department-Commander at Fortress Monroe. General Butler wished the execution deferred till he could receive and examine the record, but feeling very clear both as respected my authority and duty, I declined to so do on the ground that the efficacy of the punishment as a deterring influence, lay mainly in its immediate infliction, and plainly stated that if restrained in this exercise of judgment, I should decline further responsibility for the troops in this condition, and would ask the favor of an immediate assignment to the Army of the Potomac. Butler then contented himself with requiring the record of conviction to be telegraphed him, which process went on through the remainder of the night and was still being conducted long after the culprits had ceased to exist.
One reason for such unamiable firmness in the matter, was the prevailing feeling that among so many newly-drafted reinforcements, the prisoners could not be publicly executed without insubordination and perhaps mutiny. Even so good an officer as the colonel of their regiment, while concurring in other respects, begged that the execution might be private, or at least not in presence of his regiment, which he feared might not be controllable.
But his reason for privacy was mine for publicity, since the very existence of such doubts rendered it all the more imperative that the entire command should know by exhaustive public test, whether the Government with its officers, order and authority, was or was not stronger than the mutinous conscripts and drafted men, of whom the army was likely to become more and more composed.
The place of execution was selected near the center of a level plain south of the fortifications, extending from the high banks of the York estuary to a woods half a mile distant. Prior to the appointed hour, all troops having been first paraded in their respective camps, and the streets commanded by reliable artillery, the deserters' regiment was drawn up in line a few paces from the spot occupied by the prisoners, and a firing-party from their own regiment, closely watched by a picked detail of the provost guard. Opposite the flank of this regiment and at right angles with it, were posted two reliable regiments of my old brigade, one deployed in line of battle with a section of artillery in its center, the other in two columns each doubled on the center, in rear of the respective wings. A few squadrons of cavalry were drawn up at the edge of the woods, a quarter of a mile distant, a field battery, harnessed and mounted, was placed in position in the nearest bastion of the fort, and another was harnessed and standing ready on the road inside the nearest gate. It did not require a very experienced military eye to perceive that in case of any mutinous demonstration by the offending regiment, it could be mowed down by the enfilading fire of the regiment and guns on its flank, and if it broke, could be annihilated by the charge of the two infantry columns, and every straggler cut down or captured -by the cavalry in rear. The disposition being effectually, and therefore mercifully made, the ceremony was conducted deliberately and with perfect regularity. The men fell dead at the first discharge, and were buried where they fell, not another sound being audible from first to last, but the necessary officers' orders, till quick time beaten by the drum corps announced the ceremony completed.
The results justified the painful harshness of this measure. All the other deserters were captured and brought in within a few days and received less severe punishment, and not another desertion occurred except on a single occasion some weeks afterwards, when thirty-four of the same class of men deserted from a Connecticut regiment while in action at Drury's Bluff, but were mostly killed by our fire while running for the enemy's line. To say nothing of the necessities of the service and the interest of the Government and country, I believe that many lives were saved by this timely severity, and have always felt fully justified in it, even regarded as a measure of humanity alone. But it was none the less an infamous outrage not only on the poor ignorant victims, but on commanding officers constrained to such painful measures, that these should be rendered necessary by the base acts of those quota-hunting villains in northern cities, who, if justice could have been done, would have first felt the halter. Smarting under this feeling I wrote an indignant but unofficial letter to Major-General Dix, then commanding at New York, setting forth the violence and fraud by which emigrants and other friendless persons were dragged against their will into the service, by outrages committed in New York, worse than any acts of the old British naval press-gangs, and the responsibilities thus imposed on commanding officers charged with the duty of receiving such so-called recruits.

-Autobiography Of Isaac Jones Wistar 1827-1905, Vol. II
The Wistar Insititute Of Anatomy And Biology,
Philadelphia 1914

Here is where I pontificate.
That discipline is necessary for the ability of any military force to successfully carry out its mission goes without saying, however it also true that "discipline" and "firmness" can become the watchwords that cover a multitude of sins. That Wistar would try, convict, sentence and execute three members of his unit,  a) newly arrived conscripts, b) within 24 hours, c) not in the field but at his base of operations, d) without allowing any oversight by his superior officer, all the while admitting that the "draftees" had essentially been kidnapped off the streets of Northern cities is a black mark against him. That he then wrote "an indignant but unofficial letter" complaining of the prior treatment of the(now deceased) soldiers mitigates nothing, but instead smacks of a lethal hypocrisy. A hypocrisy all the more glaring, in that the war on the Virginia Peninsula, by 1864, had become one whose ostensible purpose was freedom and emancipation.

I will flesh out some of the details of the situation at Yorktown and its repercussions at my other site Thread the Rude Eye.

Monday, April 28, 2014

"In the long woods"- April, 1864

Wistar and staff, photo from the HR History site of the Daily Press

Expedition from Williamsburg and skirmish at Twelve-Mile Ordinary, Va.

Report of Col. Benjamin F. Onderdonk, First New York Mounted Rifles.

                                 HEADQUARTERS FIRST MOUNTED RIFLES,
                                     Near Williamsburg, Va., April 29, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report, pursuant to orders of the 27th instant, I marched at an early hour. Nothing of importance occurred until we reached the long woods beyond Twelve-Mile Ordinary, where we were fired on by scouts, one of whom (Davis) we captured. The next picket, near Slatersville, we charged to New Kent, capturing 3. The most reliable information I could gain was that there is no force at Tunstall's Station, on the Pamunkey. I could get no information. At Bottoms Bridge are 2,000 infantry and artillery, with Holcombe's battalion of cavalry. Nine field guns are constantly on duty. All the public fords on the river above Fords Bridge are blockaded and heavily guarded. A large force is stationed at a central point, from which re-enforcements can be thrown to any point above New Bridge in half an hour. Fifteen thousand can be brought to the defense of Bottoms Bridge in that time. Fords Bridge Ford, three days since, was only defended by a small picket. There is also a picket at Charles City Court-House. The camp of this force performing this duty (supposed to be the Forty-second Battalion) is 6 miles from the court-house, toward Richmond. At the latter place the people are in great excitement. The enemy are strengthening fortifications, and troops are constantly arriving from the direction of Charleston. I believe the Charles City Court-House road is the least defended. There is no force this side of Bottoms Bridge except one troop of the Holcombe Cavalry, at Cedar Hill, 2 miles beyond New Kent Court-House, to picket the roads, but they retreat at the shortest notice. We reached New Ken Court-House at 12.45; rested an hour and a half; returned to Barhamsville, where we halted two hours to feed and supper. Finding the horses very fresh, I decided to return.
In the long woods, 1 mile beyond Twelve-Mile Ordinary, we were attacked at 9 o'clock by an ambuscade (supposed to be the Peninsula Scouts); they had scattered torpedoes or shells, with friction fuses, in the road, six of which exploded in my column, the fire of the fuses making. a strong light, of which the enemy took advantage to fire on the men. I wheeled into line, and gave the enemy a volley, which caused them to leave, but they returned again and kept up a continuous fusilade on my entire column as it passed. I did not deem it advisable to follow them into the woods, as I had reason to suppose their infernal machines might do me more injury than the random fire. Although the shells exploded in the midst of the horses and men, strange to say but one man and two horses were slightly wounded with pieces of shell. My men behaved as coolly as on parade, although the uncommon style of warfare was sufficient to destroy the equanimity of the best troops. I should judge the machines to be about 20-pounder shells; they seemed to be charged with canister. Major Hamilton deserves particular notice for his coolness and gallantry through the entire trip. My thanks are due Maj. James N. Wheelan for volunteering to lead a small party around from Barhamsville to cut off the picket at New Kent Court-House, which only failed on account of the bad road, causing him to be half an hour late. I returned to camp 12.30 this morning.
Casualties: Corporal Feiling, Troop B, wounded in shoulder by shell (slightly).
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                        B. F. ONDERDONK,
                          Colonel, Commanding Mounted Rifles.

             Commanding Post.



                                  HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION,
                                                      April 29, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded.
 I further learn from deserters and prisoners (of which latter 4 were captured and sent down this morning) that there is a regiment of infantry (Fifty-third Virginia*) at White House; an accession of cavalry near Charles City Court-House; twenty pieces light artillery, both of brass and iron, at Bottoms Bridge, & c.; also that a wagon-load of torpedoes came down from Richmond four days since, in charge of Hume's Peninsula Scouts, for use on the Peninsula. road. They are not self-acting, but are discharged by cords attached, and managed by men concealed in the woods. The commanding general can infer from the above and the inclosed how far the enemy are expecting our advance by the Peninsula.
                                                    I. J. WISTAR,
                                                        Brigadier- General.

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

The Fifty-third Virginia Infantry* was of course the regiment  the Pamunkey Rifles(Co. B) and the Barhamsville Grays(Co. E) belonged to, as well as the Charles City Southern Guards (Co. K).

Twelve-Mile Ordinary would be in the general location of what is now called Anderson's Corner at the intersection of Routes 30 (New Kent Highway) and 60 (Richmond Road).

COMING UP- General Wistar and "unamiable firmness" . . .

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"Private advices"- April, 1864

War news.
We present our readers this morning with very little news of this character. We had yesterday morning a report of another raid on the Peninsula, which, however, dwindled considerably as the day wore away, and finally exploded on the arrival of the York River cars.

-The Daily Dispatch: April 27, 1864.

Reported advance of the enemy on the Peninsula.
Yesterday evening, just before the York River cars left Bromley's farm, below Tunstall's Station, a courier arrived, who reported the enemy within two miles of that place. When the train left, at half-past 2 P. M., the long roll was beating. They came into Barhamsville, in New Kent, early yesterday morning. We have private advices to the effect that the country last Saturday in the vicinity of Gloucester Point was dotted over with their tents, and feel satisfied that the advancing force came from that direction. From all that can be learned, there has been great activity both at Yorktown and Gloucester. The negro troops who were sent from Suffolk were debarked at Yorktown, and probably compose a portion of the advancing force of the enemy.
P. S.--Official information received since the above was in type is to the effect that our pickets were driven in near New Kent Court-House yesterday morning, and that the enemy appeared to be only in small force.

-The Daily Dispatch: April 29, 1864.

The news of the day.
From the Army of Northern Virginia we have intelligence that "all is quiet." If the present good weather continues the clash of arms will soon resound again over our once peaceful hills. The great struggle cannot be much longer deferred.
It was extensively rumored during the day yesterday that the enemy were landing near Westover or Harrison's Landing, on James river; but up to the hour of going to press we had no confirmation of the rumor.
The reported advance on the Peninsula turns out to have been a small affair. The party only numbered about 150, who came within two and a half miles of Tunstall's Station, on the York River Railroad. They also visited Cumberland, a point on the Pamunkey river, between the White House and West Point. We learn of no damage done by them while on this expedition.

-The Daily Dispatch: April 30, 1864.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Will meet in conclave at Soldiers' Rest Landing"

location of Soldiers Rest Landing, New Kent.

Chickahominy Indians and Their Descendants to Meet In Conclave.

Charles City County, May 29, 1900.
To the Editor of the Dispatch: The "Pamunkey Tribe" of Indians and their relations scattered through New Kent and Charles City will meet in conclave at Soldiers' Rest Landing, on the Chickahominy River, on Tuesday, the 5th of.June, in grand conclave, and give a barbacue of good things, from the water and land for which that historic section is famed.
The location is about the spot where Captain John Smith was captured by the indians so long ago. According to tradition, there are a great many places along the Chicahominy where the redoubtable Captain was caught. But this seems to be the locality for two reasons. First because it is near the head of navigation, and second, the sunken grounds just above are as good for Captain Smith to have been caught in as any other sunken grounds anywhere.
Of course, we have seen other places where he was captured. Mark Twain standing and peeping at the grave of Noah, his distinguished kinsman, said he knew it was the old man's grave because, he had seen it in so many other places in the East. 
The Pamunkeys, they say will  make this an interesting occasion. The public are invited, and invitations have been extended to Hons. Manly H. Barnes and L. M. Nance, and Judge Isaac Christian to address the conclave. The chief of the Pamunkeys, with his retinue from the Indian reservation of the Pamunkey river, will be there.
Confederate veterans  of the Charles City Cavalry and Infantry are invited to be present at Charles City Courthouse on June court-day to complete the organization of the Harrison Howard Camp of Confederate Veterans, and it is earnestly hoped that the old veterans will all come who can.
All soldiers, from the county who are in any command are included in this invitation. It is suggested that the cornerstone of the monument to the Confederate dead, erected by the Daughters or the Confederacy, will be laid in the  court-yard here sometime in July. They  have not yet decided, however.

-Richmond Dispatch, 31 May, 1900

M. H. Barnes, New Kent Commonwealth Attorney

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The First District of Columbia Cavalry

 Another unit we find passing through New Kent in the winter of '63-'64 is the not particularly well known  . . .

The First District of Columbia Cavalry was originally a single battalion, raised in the District of Columbia, for special duty at the seat of government under, command of Col. L.C. Baker (provost marshal of the War Department), and familiarly known as "Baker's Mounted Rangers." To this command eight companies were added in 1863, embracing about eight hundred men enlisted in Maine, so that it became, to this extent, a Maine organization.

-History of the First Maine Cavalry, 1861-1865
Edward Parsons Tobie
Publisher    Press of Emery & Hughes, 1887

Tobie also notes that the First District of Columbia was the only large unit in the Army of the Potomac equipped with the 15-shot Henry rife, which gave the regiment, where ever it came from, tremendous firepower.

An interesting aside on Sergeant Major and author Edward Tobie of the First Maine . . .

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major Edward Parsons Tobie, Jr., United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on March 29 - 9 April 1865, while serving with 1st Maine Cavalry, in action at Appomattox Campaign, Virginia. Though severely wounded at Sailors Creek, 6 April, and at Farmville, 7 April, Sergeant Major Tobie refused to go to the hospital, but remained with his regiment, performed the full duties of adjutant upon the wounding of that officer, and was present for duty at Appomattox.
General Orders: Date of Issue: April 1, 1898
Edward Parsons Tobie, Jr.

Monday, April 21, 2014

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

 It has been a while a since I touched on the Colonial period, so here is the new section to my New Kent House of Burgess biography file, which I last updated in August of last year . . .

Bassett, William, of Eltham, New Kent county, Virginia, was son of Col. William Bassett and Joanna Burwell. He was a  member of the assembly of 1742 and 1744, but died in 1744 before the termination thereof. He married Elizabeth Churchill, daughter of Col. William Churchill, and was father of Burwell Bassett I.

Littlepage, Richard, was son of Mr. Richard Littlepage who patented land in New Kent, Virginia in 1660. He was vestryman of St Peter's church, justice and burgess for New Kent in 1685. He died March 20, 1717, and was father of James Littlepage.

Leigh, William, probably a son of Francis Leigh of the Council was burgess for King and Queen county in 1696, 1697, 1698, 1699, 1700, 1702, 1703, dieing(sic) the last year 1704. He was in 1702 colonel commanding the militia of King and Queen county as well as judge of the vice admiralty court of the colony.

-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, April 18, 2014


Some background on a not very well known organization of the Confederate war effort . . .

The object of the Association for the relief of maimed soldiers, is to supply artificial limbs gratuitously to all officers, soldiers and seamen who have been maimed in the service of the Confederate States; and to furnish to them such mechanical compensation of other lost parts of the human body, as may be practicable. Previous to the present war, only the few who were maimed in consequence of accidents or disease, required these substitutes, and such were readily obtained in the Northern cities, where mechanical pursuits were more practised.
It is probably correctly estimated that more than 10,000 men have lost limbs by casualties of battle, during this war, and the sight of empty sleeves, and of men hobbling on wooden pegs, or swinging on the galling crutch, is now familiar, and should suggest to all observers the necessity for organization for the relief of these sufferers, and for the encouragement of proper manufactures. As is not known to all, artificial limbs can be made so perfect in symmetry, motion and color, that the loss endured, or the loss supplied, can scarcely be detected by the observer. Considerable sums are required to buy these, and thousands of the maimed have no means to purchase; others cannot obtain for want of necessary information, while many more manufactories than now exist, are required to furnish these substitutes of human contrivance to those needing them.
In consequence of the publication of an earnest appeal from the present President of the Association, in the Richmond papers, and in printed circulars of date January 12th, 1864, after a preliminary meeting, this Society was formally organized on Friday night, January 22, 1864, at a large public meeting, in the African Church, Richmond, Virginia, by the adoption of a constitution, election of officers for one year, and the collection of large subscriptions.
The constitution provides for the cooperation of all persons favorable to its object, and contemplated aid or countenance from Municipal, State, and the Confederate Governments, yet it was designed to appeal principally to benevolent and patriotic Confederate citizens, to unite and present to each of those deprived of their limbs, an artificial limb, not as an act of charity, but of esteem, respect and gratitude .
The constitution further provides for an annual meeting, reports and re-election of officers, on the 22d of January; the Directors being empowered to act during intervals, as the Executive of the Association. The Treasurer is required to collect and receive all subscriptions to the finances of the Association, and appropriately acknowledge them, make disbursements, and report monthly to the Directors, an report annually to the members, the state of the finances. The Corresponding Secretary is the organ of the Association, under the direction of the Directors, in communicating with applicants for the benefit of the Association, with manufacturers, and in conference with other societies and the public.

 . . .
In February, 1864, the Directors invited the manufacturers throughout the Confederate States, to send in specimens of their work, with proposals, stating the number they could furnish, their cost, and the time and place of delivery. The three first manufacturers above named having complied with this invitation; contracts were made with Wells & Brother, on February 10th, 1864, with Hanger & Brother, on March 12th, 1804, and with Spooner & Harris, on January 2d, 1865, at the following rates:

For leg below the knee, $150,
For leg at the knee, $175.
For leg above the knee, $200.
For shoes to correspond, $65.

Wells & Brother have been paid for 309 legs already made. —
Hanger & Brother for 97, but Spooner & Harris are not yet in operation.

. . .

The Corresponding Secretary will give or send to the applicant, an order on a contractor for an artificial leg, and a suitable pair of shoes; with a ticket for admission into the Way Hospital at the Post— where board, lodging, and all necessary attention will be given during his stay. Manufacturers will send, if desired, a blank form for measurement, with directions. If taken accurately, legs may be made to fit well by these measurements, and sent by Express — but it is much preferable to have the persons present, and, consequently, all legs made for the Association, must be examined and fitted by Inspectors, to ascertain definitely their efficiency, and the fitness of the stumps to bear them. In future, when the agents and con tractors. of the Association are multiplied, such measurements can be taken by any one of these agents; but now if legs are made and furnished only on measurements forwarded, the cost will not be defrayed by the Association. It is important for his future comfort also, that each wearer of an artificial limb, should receive certain preparations and instructions from the manufacturers and Inspectors. The mechanism should be explained to him, as it is frequently necessary to tighten or loosen screws, springs or axis— to adapt them to his peculiar step or gait, or to repair displacements, and injuries, which at first slight may become serious by neglect. He should be instructed how to tightly bandage the stump, so as to compress, solidify and adapt it to a conical socket, and to obtain free and perfect action of the stump and joint, by passive motion, and never allowing them to remain flexed or semi flexed, if avoidable.

 -Brief review of the plan and operations of the Association for the Relief of Maimed Soldiers

"Taken from the Hall in the Capitol at Richmond, Va. - lately occupied by the Rebel Congress"
- manuscript note at head of title, dated April 20, 1865

An interesting exhibit from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

James Pollard- "I respectfully apply to be furnished with . . ."

 James Pollard had less luck a few months after his run in with Dahlgren's troops . . .

I assume "G.S" stands for gun shot.

I respectfully apply to be furnished with an order on Wells Bro. Charlottesville Va., or whatever manufacturer may be designated, for an artificial limb. When a Capt. in Co. H. 9th Va. Cav. Regiment, on the 4th day of July 1864, at (Battle Field or Hospital.) Winder Hos.. My leg was amputated by surgeon Dudley* at (Seat of operation) Middle 3. on account of (Wound, accident or disease) G.S. receive in the service of the confederate States at (Battle Field, &c) Nance's Shop on the 24 day of June 1864.
My place of residence is New Kent Co., State of Va. and present address, In person

(signature) James Pollard
to Dr. Wm A. Carrington
Cor. Sec'y A.R.M.S.
Richmond, Va.

OFFICERS, SOLDIERS AND SAILORS desiring relief from the Association for the Relief of Maimed Soldiers, will fill up this form, make oath to the truth of it before a Justice of the Peace, Notary Public, or commissioned Officer, and forward to the corresponding Secretary at Richmond. An order will be returned for the desired limb, which will be manufactured as soon as possible.

* John Gibson Dudley. More on Dr. Dudley.

More on A.R.M.S. tomorrow. . .

Monday, April 14, 2014

In the News- Thomasina E. Jordan

In case you're wondering about why it's called the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act . . .
Offered January 18, 2000
On the death of Thomasina Elizabeth Jordan.

Patrons-- Davis, Albo, Baskerville, Bolvin, Grayson, Katzen, McQuigg, Moran and Morgan
WHEREAS, Thomasina Elizabeth Jordan (Red Hawk Woman), an internationally recognized American Indian activist, died after a long battle with cancer on May 23, 1999; and
WHEREAS, raised by her maternal grandparents in Mashpee, Massachusetts, Thomasina Jordan attended preparatory school at Mount St. Joseph's Academy in Newton, Massachusetts, and received Bachelor and Master degrees in Fine Arts at Bishop Lee College in Boston; and
WHEREAS, Thomasina Jordan studied at Harvard University, received an educational doctorate from Catholic University of America, and attended the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York City; and
WHEREAS, after meeting her husband, Wendell, Thomasina Jordan moved to Alexandria, Virginia, where she was a long-time member of the Alexandria Republican City Committee and the first American Indian to serve in the Electoral College in 1988; and
WHEREAS, Thomasina Jordan was appointed Chairperson of the Virginia Council on Indians by Governor George Allen, and was reappointed by Governor James Gilmore, III; and
WHEREAS, giving generously of her time and efforts, Thomasina Jordan was founder of the American Indian Cultural Exchange, served on the Board of Directors of Save the Children and the National Rehabilitation Hospital, was past president of Chapter I of the Capital Speakers Club, and was a recipient of the Medal of Honor of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; and
WHEREAS, Thomasina Jordan was instrumental throughout the years in bringing Indian issues to the forefront in the General Assembly, including legislation to correct birth certificates to identify Native Americans as such, allow animal parts and feathers to be used in religious regalia, and memorialize the United States Congress to grant historic federal recognition to Virginia’s state-recognized tribes; and
WHEREAS, Thomasina Elizabeth Jordan (Red Hawk Woman) leaves a lasting legacy of dedicated and effective service to the Indian communities and nations as well to the Commonwealth; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly note with great sadness the passing of a distinguished Virginia lady, Thomasina Elizabeth Jordan; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of Thomasina Elizabeth Jordan and to the Virginia Council on Indians as an expression of the great respect in which her memory is held by the members of the General Assembly.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pollard and Dahlgren- "Many of you may fall"

 Continued from here and here . . .

The papers and memorandum-book found on Colonel Dahlgren's body contained an accurate copy of the last field return of our cavalry made to General Stuart, with the location of every regiment. This last was furnished by the Bureau of Information at Washington. The rest were credited to no one. The following is a copy of the papers.
The address to the officers and men of the command was written on a sheet of paper having in printed letters on the upper corner, "Headquarters Third Division Cavalry Corps, 1864":

" Officers and men: You have been selected from brigades and regiments as a picked command to attempt a desperate undertaking— an undertaking which, if successful, will write your names on the hearts of your countrymen in letters that can never be erased and which will cause the prayers of our fellow-soldiers, now confined in loathsome prisons, to follow you and yours wherever you may go. We hope to release the prisoners from Belle Island first, and, having seen them fairly started, we will cross the James river into Richmond,destroying the bridges after us, and exhorting the released prisoners to destroy and burn the hateful city, and do not allow the rebel leader, Davis, and his traitorous crew to escape. The prisoners must render great assistance, as you cannot lea^'e your ranks too far or become too much scattered, or you will be lost. Do not allow any personal gain to lead you ofT, which would only bring you to an ignominous death at the hands of citizens. Keep well together and obey orders strictly, and all will be well, but on no accoun tscatter too far, for in union there is strength.
" With strict obedience to orders and fearlessness in the execution you will be sure to succeed. We will join the main force on the other side of the city, or, perhaps meet them inside.

" Many of you may fall, but if there is any man here not willing to sacrifice his life in such a great and glorious undertaking, or who does not feel capable of meeting the enemy in such a desperate fight as will follow, let him step out, and he may go hence to the arms of his sweetheart and read of the braves who swept through the city of Richmond. We want no man who cannot feel sure of success in such a holy cause. We will have a desperate fight, but stand up to it when it does come, and all will be well. Ask the blessing of
the Almighty, and do not fear the enemy.

" U. Dahlgren,
" Colonel Commanding."

The following special orders were written on a similar sheet of paper, on detached slips:

" Guides, pioneers (with oakum, turpentine and torpedoes), signal officer, quartermaster, commissary, picket, scouts, and pickets, men in rebel uniform.

"These will remain on the north bank and move down with the force on the south bank, not getting ahead of them. If the communication can be kept up without giving alarm, it
must be done; but everything depends upon a surprise. And no one must be allowed to pass ahead of the column. Information must be gathered in regard to crossings of the river,
so that should we be repulsed on the south side, we will know where to recross at the nearest point.

"All mills must be burned and the canal destroyed, and also everything which can be used by the rebels must be destroyed, including the boats on the river. Should a ferry-boat be
seized and can be worked, have it moved down. Keep the force on the south side posted of any important movement of the enemy, and in case of danger some of the scouts must
swim the river and bring us information. As we approach the city the party must take great care that they do not get ahead of the other party on the south side, and must conceal themselves and watch our movements. We will try and secure the bridge to the city (one mile below Belle Isle), and release the prisoners at the same time. If we do not succeed they must then dash down, and we will try and carry the bridge from each side.

"When necessary, the men must be filed through the woods and along the river bank. The bridges once secured and the prisoners loose and over the river the bridges will be secured
and the city destroyed. The men must keep together and well in hand, and once in the city it must be destroyed, and Jeff. Davis and Cabinet killed. Pioneers will go along with the combustible material. The officer must use his discretion about the time of assisting us. Horses and cattle which we do not need immediately must be shot rather than left. As General Custer may follow me, be careful not to give a false alarm. The signal officer must be prepared to communicate at night by rockets, and in other things pertaining to his department. The Cjuartermasters and commissaries must be on the lookout for their departments, and see that there are no delays on their account.

" The pioneers must be prepared to construct a bridge or destroy one. They must have plenty of oakum and turpentine for burning, which will be rolled in soaked balls and given to
the men to burn when we get in the city. Torpedoes will be used only by the pioneers for destroying the main bridges, etc. They must be prepared to destroy railroads. Men will
branch off to the right with a few pioneers and destroy the bridges and railroads south of Richmond, and then join us at the city. The line of Falling Creek is probably the best tO'
work along, or, as they approach the city, Goode's Creek, so that no reinforcements can come up on any cars. Men will stop at Bellona Arsenal and totally destroy it and anything
else, except hospitals; then follow on and rejoin the command at Richmond with all haste, and, if cut off, cross the river and rejoin us. As General Custer may follow me, be careful and not give a false alarm."

The following is a copy of a paper written in lead-pencil, which was, I suppose, a private memorandum which Colonel Dahlgren made for his own use:

"Saturday — Leave camp at dark (6 P. M.), cross Ely's Ford at lo P. M. Twenty miles, cross North Anna at 4 A. M., Sunday; feed. Three miles, Frederick's Hall Station, 6 A.
M.; destroy artillery, 8 A. M. Twenty miles, near James river, 2 P. M., Sunday; feed and water one and a half hours. Thirty miles to Richmond, march toward Kilpatrick for one hour, and then soon as dark cross the river, reaching Richmond early in the morning (Monday). One scjuadron remains on north side and one squadron to cut the railroad bridge at Falling Creek, and join at Richmond, eighty-three miles. General Kilpatrick, cross at i A. AI., Sunday, ten miles. Pass river at 5 A. M. (resistance). Childsburg, fourteen miles, 8 A. M. Resistance at North Anna, three miles, railroad bridges at South Anna, twenty-six miles, 2 P. M.; destroy bridges, pass the South Anna and feed until after dark, then signal each other. After dark move down to Richmond, and be in front of the city at daybreak.

" Return — In Richmond during the day; feed and water men outside. Be over the Pamunkey at daybreak; feed and water and then cross the Rappahannock at night (Tuesday night), when they must be on the lookout. Spies should be sent on Friday morning early and be ready to cut."

This is a correct copy of the papers found on Colonel Dahlgren's body, delivered to me and sent to Richmond.

JAMES Pollard,
Late Captain Company H, Ninth Virginia Cavalry.

Richmond, Va.

 -History Of The Ninth Virginia Cavalry War Between The States
Late Brig. General R. L. T. Beale.
Richmond, VA.: B. F. Johnson Publishing Company. 1899.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pollard and Dahlgren- "This drew a volley upon himself"

We moved on through Stevensville to the River road, intending to take position at an old mill-dam, but as I had some doubt about reaching that point before the enemy I put the men in position at Mantapike, the intersection of the Stevensville and River roads. In the mean time, we had fallen in with some citizens and Home Guards, who followed on, and continued with us until the enemy came up. It was now dark, and, after waiting some time for the enemy, I sent two of my men to make a reconnoissance, who soon returned and reported that the enemy had gone into camp a mile or so from us. When I put the men in line of battle in the edge of the woods, I ordered them to reserve their fire until the head of the column of the enemy should reach my left, where I had placed my first sergeant, Fleming Meredith,whose fire was to be a signal for the whole line. The enemy advanced about half-past eleven o'clock P. M. As the head of his column approached my line Colonel Dahlgren saw some of the men, and demanded their surrender. At the same time he attempted to fire his pistol, which snapped. This drew a volley upon himself, and he fell dead, pierced by five balls. When the volley was fired the enemy fell back in confusion and left the road, getting into a field, where we did not find them until morning. Captain Fox, Company E, Fifth Virginia Cavalry, being senior officer, had now taken command, and we fell back to a point which commanded a cross-road through Mantapike farm and waited until daybreak, when Captain Fox ordered me to take my company and find out the position of the enemy. I found them in a field, unsaddled and standing about in groups. We rode into the field, and they surrendered. The men had offered to surrender to an officer who had been captured by them in Louisa county, and was with them at the time. The enemy's officers had left and tied to the woods, but were afterwards captured by the Home Guards.
We captured about one hundred men and officers, and some forty negroes. Some of the men had silver pitchers, goblets, cups, etc., strapped to their saddles. I sent the silver to the War Department in Richmond, and it was returned to the owners. The number of horses captured greatly exceeded the number of men, and a good many were reclaimed by their owners. Just after we had fallen back William Littlepage, a boy about thirteen years old, who had followed on from Stevensville, with his teacher, a Mr. Hallbach, took from the body of Colonel Dahlgren the book and papers which contained the famous address and orders which excited such indignation among the Confederates. Mr. Hallbach gave me the papers, and, through Colonel Beale, they reached the War Office, at Richmond. The next day I was surprised to get an order from General Fitzhugh Lee to bring the body of Colonel Dahlgren to Richmond "for the purpose of identification." Colonel Dahlgren had been buried without a coffin, and as soon as a coffin was made his body was taken up, and put into it, looking as natural as if he had been dead only an hour. I went with the corpse to Richmond, and arrived there on Sunday evening (the 6th), reporting to General Elzey. I have since heard from an authentic source, that Colonel L W. Atkinson, provost marshal, had Colonel Dahlgren's body buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Afterwards the body was taken up, carried to Miss Van Lew's house, where a funeral service was held, then taken to the country,buried again, and since the war returned to his friends.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

In the News- Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2013

 Here is the Bill in full,
 . . . and here is the opening section on the Chickahominy, which has a lot of interesting historical background



    Congress finds that--

        (1) in 1607, when the English settlers set shore along the Virginia coastline, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe was 1 of about 30 tribes that received them;

        (2) in 1614, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe entered into a treaty with Sir Thomas Dale, Governor of the Jamestown Colony, under which--

            (A) the Chickahominy Indian Tribe agreed to provide 2 bushels of corn per man and send warriors to protect the English; and

            (B) Sir Thomas Dale agreed in return to allow the Tribe to continue to practice its own tribal governance;

        (3) in 1646, a treaty was signed which forced the Chickahominy from their homeland to the area around the York Mattaponi River in present-day King William County, leading to the formation of a reservation;

        (4) in 1677, following Bacon's Rebellion, the Queen of Pamunkey signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation on behalf of the Chickahominy;

        (5) in 1702, the Chickahominy were forced from their reservation, which caused the loss of a land base;

        (6) in 1711, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg established a grammar school for Indians called Brafferton College;

        (7) a Chickahominy child was 1 of the first Indians to attend Brafferton College;

        (8) in 1750, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe began to migrate from King William County back to the area around the Chickahominy River in New Kent and Charles City Counties;

        (9) in 1793, a Baptist missionary named Bradby took refuge with the Chickahominy and took a Chickahominy woman as his wife;

        (10) in 1831, the names of the ancestors of the modern-day Chickahominy Indian Tribe began to appear in the Charles City County census records;

        (11) in 1901, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe formed Samaria Baptist Church;

        (12) from 1901 to 1935, Chickahominy men were assessed a tribal tax so that their children could receive an education;

        (13) the Tribe used the proceeds from the tax to build the first Samaria Indian School, buy supplies, and pay a teacher's salary;

        (14) in 1919, C. Lee Moore, Auditor of Public Accounts for Virginia, told Chickahominy Chief O.W. Adkins that he had instructed the Commissioner of Revenue for Charles City County to record Chickahominy tribal members on the county tax rolls as Indian, and not as White or colored;

        (15) during the period of 1920 through 1930, various Governors of the Commonwealth of Virginia wrote letters of introduction for Chickahominy Chiefs who had official business with Federal agencies in Washington, DC;

        (16) in 1934, Chickahominy Chief O.O. Adkins wrote to John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, requesting money to acquire land for the Chickahominy Indian Tribe's use, to build school, medical, and library facilities and to buy tractors, implements, and seed;

        (17) in 1934, John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, wrote to Chickahominy Chief O.O. Adkins, informing him that Congress had passed the Act of June 18, 1934 (commonly known as the `Indian Reorganization Act') (25 U.S.C. 461 et seq.), but had not made the appropriation to fund the Act;

        (18) in 1942, Chickahominy Chief O.O. Adkins wrote to John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, asking for help in getting the proper racial designation on Selective Service records for Chickahominy soldiers;

        (19) in 1943, John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, asked Douglas S. Freeman, editor of the Richmond News-Leader newspaper of Richmond, Virginia, to help Virginia Indians obtain proper racial designation on birth records;

        (20) Collier stated that his office could not officially intervene because it had no responsibility for the Virginia Indians, `as a matter largely of historical accident', but was `interested in them as descendants of the original inhabitants of the region';

        (21) in 1948, the Veterans' Education Committee of the Virginia State Board of Education approved Samaria Indian School to provide training to veterans;

        (22) that school was established and run by the Chickahominy Indian Tribe;

        (23) in 1950, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe purchased and donated to the Charles City County School Board land to be used to build a modern school for students of the Chickahominy and other Virginia Indian tribes;

        (24) the Samaria Indian School included students in grades 1 through 8;

        (25) in 1961, Senator Sam Ervin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, requested Chickahominy Chief O.O. Adkins to provide assistance in analyzing the status of the constitutional rights of Indians `in your area';

        (26) in 1967, the Charles City County school board closed Samaria Indian School and converted the school to a countywide primary school as a step toward full school integration of Indian and non-Indian students;

        (27) in 1972, the Charles City County school board began receiving funds under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 458aa et seq.) on behalf of Chickahominy students, which funding is provided as of the date of enactment of this Act under title V of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 458aaa et seq.);

        (28) in 1974, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe bought land and built a tribal center using monthly pledges from tribal members to finance the transactions;

        (29) in 1983, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe was granted recognition as an Indian tribe by the Commonwealth of Virginia, along with 5 other Indian tribes; and

        (30) in 1985, Governor Gerald Baliles was the special guest at an intertribal Thanksgiving Day dinner hosted by the Chickahominy Indian Tribe.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pollard and Dahlgren- "We charged, and had a very pretty chase for about a half a mile"


(From the Philadelphia Times.)
In February, 1864, several of the cavalry regiments of the Army of Northern Virginia were temporarily disbanded and sent to their homes to recruit their horses. The Ninth Virginia Cavalry, to which my company belonged, was ordered to protect the transportation of supplies from the Northern Neck of Virginia, which was very much interrupted at that time by the enemy's gunboats on the Rappahannock, Mattaponi, and Pamunkey rivers. Besides, they would frequently land parties from the boats and make incursions into the country to plunder. Colonel R. L. T. Beale, commanding the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, fixed his headquarters in Essex county, near Boulware's wharf, on the Rappahannock river, and ordered me to establish a picket line across the county of King William from the Mattaponi to the Pamunkey rivers.
I moved over into King William county, quartered my men in the court-house, being a convenient point to both rivers, and established a picket post at West Point, the head of the York, and the junction of the two rivers. The distance by water to my camp was three times as great as by land, which would enable my pickets to bring me word of the entrance of a boat into the mouth of either river, and give me time to meet her with my sharpshooters on some of the bluffs.
Being on detached service, I did not require any other leave of absence or passport than my own. Having captured some Spencer rifles, I made several trips to Richmond to try and get ammunition for them, which I failed to do, and finally exchanged them for Sharp's carbines. During a visit to Richmond I was staying at the house of a friend, and a lady relative of General Lee's camp and told us that General Lee had telegraphed that the enemy's cavalry were on a raid in his lines. I immediately hurried back to camp, called in my pickets, sent them in the opposite direction, to watch the ferries on the Pamunkey, and stationed a courier on the road about half way to the upper ferries. The next morning (March 2d) I got information that they were crossing the Pamunkey river at Hanovertown ferry, about six miles below Hanover Courthouse, and twelve miles from Aylett's, on the Mattaponi river. I sent my baggage-wagon to a safe place and crossed the Mattaponi at Mantua ferry; had the boat concealed in the marsh, and the other boats higher up the river put out of the way. I next hastened to Dunkirk, in the upper part of King and Queen county, where was the only boat left on the river, and sent ahead to have that brought over to the side I was on.
Up to this time nobody in that section had a suspicion that there was an enemy nearer than the Rapidan river. I found two of Captain Magruder's company (Forty-second Battalion, Virginia Cavalry), at Mantau, and sent word to him to Join me at Dunkirk as soon as he could.
Dr. Fleet's son and William Taliaferro, two lads, the latter a nephew of the Hon. William Boulware*, formerly United States Minister to Naples, were riding along in King William, and came upon the enemy's column unexpectedly. When ordered to surrender, they attempted to escape, and young Taliaferro's horse was killed, and he captured, and Fleet was mortally wounded, but managed to keep his seat, and was carried by his horse some distance into the woods. He had his dog with him, which, after remaining with him all night, met his friends who were in search of him, and conducted them to the body. While I was waiting for the enemy at Dunkirk they found a flat-boat at Aylett's large enough to carry the men over and swam the horses, the river being narrow at that place. They thus got about twenty-five minutes' start of me. But I overtook them near Bruington Church, and attacked their rear-guard, killing one man. I am pretty certain that this man was killed by Dr. Richard Crouch, a member of my company. Crouch was dismounted and standing by my horse, when I called his attention to him, as his bullets were whistling disagreeably near to me. Although there was a rapid firing, I think the man dropped at the crack of Crouch's gun. One of my company got a fifty-dollar greenback out of his pocket, which afterwards proved to be a two-dollar bill, with " fifty " pasted on the figure two.
Just at that time I got information, which turned out to be false, that the enemy had sent a portion of his command by a road through the woods which came into the one I was on, two or three hundred yards in my rear. This detained me a short time, and when I overtook him again I saw that he had turned on the River road, where "Butler's Tavern " used to stand. I sent four men to follow him and annoy his rear, hoping by that means to prevent his finding out that I was getting in his front. After turning down the road towards Stevensville, I was again deceived into thinking that a part of the enemy's force had taken that road. After going a short distance I was hailed by a citizen about a hundred yards from the road, whom I understood to say: "They are just ahead of you." I ordered a trot and directly we heard two reports and a bullet struck just by my horse, splashing the mud on my foot. We charged, and had a very pretty chase for about a half a mile, when we ran into Captain Magruder, who had put his men in ambush on the brow of a hill and sent out pickets, having heard that the enemy had taken that road. He informed me that it was with difficulty that he could restrain his men from firing. Captain Magruder put his company (about thirty men) at my command, and I got him to send a courier to Major Waller, who was in command of the baggage-train and men with broken-down horses of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry (Colonel Beale had gone with his regiment to Ashland).


*pronounced "Bowler"

" He was the son of Lee Boulware of Newtown and a professor at Columbian College in Washington, D.C.. Later he was member of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary and a Minister of the United States to King Ferdinand II at Naples before the formation of the Republic of Italy"

- King & Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum \ Press Release \ Mary Macon Pendleton Gatewood Boulware Returns to King and Queen County (November 2003)

Monday, April 7, 2014

In the News- Recognition Of Virginia Indian Tribes

From the office of United States Senator Tim Kaine . . .

Kaine, Warner Applaud Committee Passage Of Bill To Grant Federal Recognition Of Virginia Indian Tribes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the “Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2013,” a bill introduced by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, was passed out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.  The legislation would grant federal recognition of six Virginia Indian tribes: the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond. These tribes have received official recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but have not received federal recognition. In October 2013, Kaine made a passionate case for passage of the legislation before the Indian Affairs Committee. The legislation will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.
The legislation was introduced by Senators Warner and Jim Webb in 2009. The House companion, introduced by Congressman Jim Moran,  has received strong bipartisan support from many members of the Virginia delegation. Kaine also testified on the tribes’ behalf before the committee as Governor of Virginia in 2008.
“Federal recognition of the Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Monacan, Nansemond, Rappahannock and Upper Mattaponi tribes of Virginia is long overdue,” Sen. Warner said  “Members of our Virginia Indian tribes are both part of the history of the Commonwealth and valued members of our present and should be recognized as such. Committee passage of this legislation is an important step forward and I remain committed to turning this bill into law .”
“Committee passage of this legislation is a critical step toward granting these six Virginia tribes the recognition they deserve,” said Kaine. “These tribes are an integral part of Virginia’s history and identity and it is both troubling and tragic that they have never been recognized by the United States, even when more than 500 other Indian tribes have been granted recognition. We will continue fighting for final passage of this legislation, so we can finally rectify this injustice.”

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pollard and Dahlgren- "the hero of the exploit"

Lt. James Pollard.
A friend writes to us correcting an error into which some of the city papers have fallen, in stating that the officer in command of the forces that killed Dahlgren was Lieut. Spotswood Pollard. Spotswood Pollard is a gallant private in Co. H., 9th Virginia cavalry, and bore his part well in the affair; but the hero of the exploit was Lieut. James Pollard, of New Kent county. He was in the city at the time the enemy approached it, and hurried to his company, then in King William, remarking that they might go that way, in which event he would endeavor to lay tithe tax upon them. He got there just in time to collect, with his own company and others, near one hundred men, with which he routed and captured a force of two hundred under Dahlgren.

-The Daily Dispatch: March 8, 1864

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pollard and Dahlgren- Well Endorsed

 In 1864 New Kent native James Pollard, son of James Camm Pollard of Roxbury and Caroline Nelson Pollard née Page, had a run in with history.
Or to be more precise he set a ambush for it on a cold March night in King and Queen county . . .

Reports of Lieut. James Pollard, Ninth Virginia Cavalry.
MARCH 7, 1864.

GENERAL: Early on the morning of the 2d I received information from my scouts that the portion of the column which attacked Richmond on 1st March were attempting to escape through King William and King and Queen Counties to Gloucester Point. I immediately sent a dispatch to Captain McGruder, Forty-second Battalion, to join me, and started in pursuit with the remainder of my company, about 25 men, having sent the rest to scout [and] picket the numerous roads and ferries. I overtook the enemy about 4 p. m. and attacked his rear, skirmishing with him for several miles. I then turned off on a by-road to head him, sending a few men to harass his rear. Was reenforced by Captain McGruder with about 30 men and a number of the home guard, and placed them in line of battle at a point that the enemy was obliged to pass. I then sent for Captain Fox, Fifth Virginia Cavalry, and he joined me with as many of his company as he had been able to collect (about 15 men) just in time to meet the enemy, who advanced upon our position about 11.30 p. m. The colonel commanding (Dahlgren) was killed at the first fire and several wounded. They then retreated in confusion, leaving the roads and taking to the fields. As soon as it was light we discovered them scattered about in a field dismounted, when we advanced and found that the whole force had surrendered to a Confederate officer who was a prisoner with them, except the commissioned officers and a few men who had dismounted and fled to the woods. The officers and most of the men have since been captured. The whole number captured will amount to about 175- 40 negroes and 135 soldiers.
I am indebted to Captains McGruder and Fox and the home guard for their cordial cooperation, as well as the coolness and bravery of their men in meeting the enemy.
I have the honor to be , general, your most obedient servant,
First Lient., Comdg. Co. H, 9th Va. Cav. (on detached service).
Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee

                                                 [First indorsement.]

Respectfully forwarded for the information of the commanding general.
Lieutenant Pollard deserves great credit for his gallantry, and his men and officers who so zealously co-operated with him should share the praise due them. Lieutenant Pollard is first lieutenant of Company H, Ninth Virginia Cavalry, Chambliss brigade, Lees division, Cavalry Corps.


                                                [Second indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS, March 11, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded for information of the Department, heartily concurring in the commendation of General Stuart.

R. E. LEE,

                                                  [Third indorsement.]

MARCH 21, 1864.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL: A gallant exploit, and one which exhibits what a few resolute men may do to punish the enemy on their marauding raids.

J. A. S.,

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

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Comes in Like a Lion- Timberlake, Young and Old.

Tuesday morning...March 15, 1864.

from the Peninsula — Kilpatrick attempting to go back by the Rappahannock.
. . .

On their route down from Richmond, after the failure of the raid, Kilpatrick's men acted in a most barbarous manner to the inoffensive and helpless people of New Kent and James City. From the Cross Roads in New Kent, where the vandals entered the stage road, down to Barhamsville, in the same county, they burnt and pillaged nearly every house. At Barhamsville, they destroyed the barn of Nelson Timberlake, burning all his corn and fodder, and stole every pound of his meat. A Mr. James Taylor, who remonstrated with them for their outrages, was knocked down, and beaten until he became insensible. Other citizens were most outrageously treated.

-The Daily Dispatch
: March 15, 1864

Map of New Kent, Charles City, James City and York counties.Gilmer collection

The map above gives you an idea of the area of easternmost New Kent in 1864; I've underlined the Timberlake and Taylor homesteads with blue lines. James R. Taylor was a farmer owning some 200 acres near the church at Barhamsville. I know rather more about Thomas Nelson Timberlake. A merchant and former postmaster of Barhamsville, the owner of  some 250 acres and 14 adult slaves, he was approximately 62 in 1864. At least one of his sons was in the Confederate army at the time(the plethora of "James Timberlake"s make things confusing.) James P. Timberlake had enlisted as a private in the Co. F, Third Virginia Cavalry in  May 1862, presumably at the age of 17, and served in that unit until March 1864. I do not know what brought him to New Kent in the winter of 1863-64, but he is listed in Union records as being captured by "Kilpatrick's cavalry" on March 2, 1864 at New Kent Courthouse.  It being winter and the time that Nineteenth Century armies would theoretically have been in camp he was perhaps on furlough. The records of the Confederate army list him as being "in hands of enemy since 15, Jan 1864." Whatever the date, young James Timberlake would spend the next year in Union prison camps before being exchanged in February 1865.