Pamunkey River

Pamunkey River
The Pamunkey River in 1864

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Scouring the Chickahominy- 1864

                        Fort Pocahontas, VA., September 26, 1864.

Lieutenant-Colonel PATTERSON:
I desire that you will take 200 men from the Second New Hampshire and Sixteenth New York Heavy Artillery and twenty mounted men of the First U.S. Colored Cavalry, with two days rations and forty rounds of ammunition per man, and embark at 3 o'clock to-morrow morning on the gun-boat Mosswood and a barge, which she will take in tow. You will then proceed up the Chickahominy to Hog Neck and disembark on the left bank about ten miles above the mouth of the river. You will then push into the country some four or five miles and sweep down to Barrett's Ferry, near the mouth of the Chickahominy, gathering such horses, mules, cattle, and sheep as may be useful to the army, and taking along with you such colored men and their families as desire to come within our lines. If you find any considerable amount of corn you may seize that also if you can find means to transport it to your boats. You are required particularly to examine the country, and especially along the river for torpedoes, which it is believed are concealed there, and to make diligent inquiry of all the people whom you may chance to meet in relation to a party of soldiers who, on the 19th instant, came from Richmond with torpedoes, as it is believed. You wilt not allow officers or men to enter the dwellings of the people for the purpose of disturbing the occupants, and you will take no other property but animals and grain which will be useful in subsisting the army and affording it transportation. The Mosswood, after you have disembarked, will drop down the river to Barrett's Ferry, where you will re-embark your command when you deem that nothing useful can be accomplished by prolonging your stay. At furthest, you will not remain absent more than two days.

                    GILMAN MARSTON,

-The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1- Volume 42 (Part II)

A description of the Mosswood from the following January . . .
"Propeller Mosswood, drawing nine feet of water; new and excellent boat (chartered by Government); mounts two 30-pounder Parrotts; crew, thirty-four men."

 -The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. / Series 1- Volume 46 (Part II)

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Double Wedding- Part Four

In New Kent county, on the 7th instant, by the Rev. Mr. Caroway, Mr. Chas. E Yeatman, of Gloucester, and Miss Harriet R. Royster, of the former place.
At the same time and place, by the Rev. T.V. Moore, Mr. Robert P. Southall, of Richmond, and Miss Ellen Royster, of New Kent.

-The Daily Dispatch: November 8, 1860.

It wasn't too hard to find out about the groom, the young Mr. Yeatman of Gloucester, he has a nice little write up in Clement Anselm Evans' Confederate Military History . . .

Lieutenant Charles Edward Yeatman, of Norfolk, who held official rank in both the army and navy of the Confederate States,- was born in Matthews county, Va., April 26, 1828. He was of a. family of honorable record, both in Virginia and in England. The head of the family in the old country at present is Hayshe Yeatman, bishop of Southwark, the late major-general, Sir Yeatman Biggs, K. C. B., head of the British military in Calcutta, having died without issue. Charles C. Yeatman's great-grand-father, John Patterson, of Poplar Grove, Matthews County, Va. was a Revolutionary soldier, and fought at the battle of Monmouth, where his brother lost his life in the cause of freedom. His grandfather, Thomas Muse Yeatman, a lawyer of repute, being a graduate of William and Mary college, and a law student in the office of William Wirt, married Elizabeth Tabb Patterson, daughter of John Patterson, of Poplar Grove, who served for many-years as clerk of Matthews county, an office in which he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Thomas R. Yeatman. Lieutenant: Yeatman was reared after the age of six years in Gloucester- county at the home of his guardian and brother-in-law, Josiah L. Deans, and was educated at the Virginia military institute, and graduated in 1849. He was of the "49ers" who went to California, being one of a party of seventy-five who purchased the sailing ship Glenmore and sailed via Cape Horn to California. After three years in the land of gold he returned via the isthmus, and in 1854 began a career in railroad employment by becoming a baggage master on the old Virginia & Tennessee railroad. Promoted to passenger conductor, he served on different roads, being the first passenger conductor on the Richmond & York River road. Early in 1861 he was appointed lieutenant in the Virginia army but was instructed by General Lee to continue his duties upon the York River road, then used chiefly for military purposes. After the secession of the State, he was appointed acting master in the navy of the Confederate States, in which capacity he served about two months under Capt. Thomas Jefferson Page at the West Point navy yard. Subsequently and until the evacuation of Norfolk, and the consequent reduction of the naval commissions, he served as purchasing agent for the navy yards in Virginia, under Capt. John Maury. After this he was commissioned a lieutenant in the army and served under Col. T. J. Page as ordnance officer at Chaffin's bluff, until May, 1863, meanwhile participating in the first engagement at Drewry's bluff, one mile above them on the James river.
In May, 1863, being commissioned a lieutenant in the Confederate States navy, he reported to Admiral Buchanan at Mobile, and was assigned to the steamer Baltic, commanded by James Douglas Johnston, where he served as executive officer four months. Subsequently he served several months on ordnance duty under John R. Eggleston, and then took part in the effort to complete the new gunboat Nashville in time to participate in the defense of Mobile. The work progressed night and day for a fortnight, and the officers and crew, seeing they would be too late, begged to be given fighting orders, but the admiral insisted that the completion of the Nashville would be the greatest aid they could render. The work was finished, but on the evacuation the Nashville was destroyed and Lieutenant Yeatman, with the other officers and crew, escaped up the Tombigbee, subsequently surrendering at Owen's bluff to Admiral Thackeray. This body of prisoners was transported from Mobile to Old Point Comfort on the Rhode Island. Just before reaching their destination they learned from a passing boat that President Davis had been captured and was a prisoner at Old Point. The applause of the Federals on board was promptly suppressed by the officers out of respect for their prisoners. On reaching the Point they found that President Davis had not yet landed, and they were disembarked first. They then, some three hundred strong, selected General Ruggles as their commander, and marched in files to a point which Mr. Davis would pass on the way to prison. As he walked by, with irons upon his wrists and head bowed, the Confederate prisoners bared their heads and gave him a silent salute. Subsequently Lieutenant Yeatman was paroled at Richmond, and in 1866 he found' employment at Baltimore with a prominent commission house. A year later he became connected with the Baltimore steam packet company, and continued until 1874, first as collector at Baltimore and then as agent at Portsmouth and Norfolk. In 1874 he became general freight agent of the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad company, and was the first agent of the company at Norfolk, serving from 1875 until 1889. He then engaged in insurance and brokerage until 1894, when he was appointed harbor master for the city of Norfolk. Charles E. Yeatman was gifted as a conversationalist, and in his youth was a prominent feature in a social circle, noted for the graceful charm of a day that is passed. Through his checkered career his unblemished honor and his tender heart and genial manners attracted hosts of friends who were devoted in life and death. He was a member of St. Luke's church, Pickett-Buchanan camp, C. V., the Masonic order and several other fraternal organizations. He was married November 7, 1860, to Harriet R. Royster, of New Kent county, and died in Norfolk, Va., February 15, 1898. He leaves two children, Philip Edward, a graduate of the Virginia military institute, who entered the volunteer army of the United States in the war of 1898 with the rank of captain in the Fourth regiment of Virginia volunteer infantry, and Susan E., now Mrs. John F. Egerton.

Note his pre-war occupation as first conductor on the York River Railway, which ran right through the Royster plantation.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Double Wedding- Part Three

In New Kent county, on the 7th instant, by the Rev. Mr. Caroway, Mr. Chas. E Yeatman, of Gloucester, and Miss Harriet R. Royster, of the former place.
At the same time and place, by the Rev. T.V. Moore, Mr. Robert P. Southall, of Richmond, and Miss Ellen Royster, of New Kent.

-The Daily Dispatch: November 8, 1860.

Harriet Royster, 24, and Ellen Royster, 22, were the daughters of John W. Royster and his wife Susan B. Royster. They resided at the Rose Cottage estate on the eastern end of the county, which ran along the York River Railway between Dispatch and Tunstall's Stations. John W. Royster was already deceased by the time of the double wedding.

Of parenthetical interest, November 7, 1860 was a Wednesday, the day after the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Double Wedding- Part Two

 As I said, some more facts on the marriage announcement of the Royster sisters . . .

In New Kent county, on the 7th instant, by the Rev. Mr. Caroway, Mr. Chas. E Yeatman, of Gloucester, and Miss Harriet R. Royster, of the former place.
At the same time and place, by the Rev. T.V. Moore, Mr. Robert P. Southall, of Richmond, and Miss Ellen Royster, of New Kent.

-The Daily Dispatch: November 8, 1860.

First the vicar.
T. V. Moore, was the eminent Presbyterian divine, Thomas Verner Moore, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Richmond.

Here is a little selection from his Fast Day Sermon of November, 1861, discussing the rise of  Abolitionism   . . .
Against this institution[slavery], and thus both the races that are connected with it, has been waged a hostility whose steady course has never faltered nor turned aside. There is something portentous in the rise and growth of this anti-slavery Hydra with which we are now struggling. Spawned in the huge Serbonian bog of French infidelity and radicalism, it was a fitting coincidence that the same year which witnessed the first development of the one in the French Revolution, should have witnessed the first development of the other in the seizure of that magnificent North-Western territory, which the credulous generosity of Virginia bestowed as a free gift to the Federal Government, to rear up on her border a deadly enemy, by the Ordinance of 1787. Again did the Hydra demand and receive a fresh accession to its bulk in the Missouri Compromise, where rights that were solemnly guaranteed by the Louisiana treaty were ruthlessly disregarded, and yielded to the clamors of this voracious and growing monster. Again and again was it swollen by new gorges of new territory, purchased by the common blood and treasure of all the States, and, therefore, rightfully belonging to the whole, and not to any of its parts. Grown by these enormous meals, and stimulated by the secret working of foreign emissaries, who saw in this agent the serpent that might strangle this mighty Republic in its infancy, it planned a more deadly assault on the object of its hate.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Double Wedding- Part One

In New Kent county, on the 7th instant, by the Rev. Mr. Caroway, Mr. Chas. E. Yeatman, of Gloucester, and Miss Harriet R. Royster, of the former place.
At the same time and place, by the Rev. T.V. Moore, Mr. Robert P. Southall, of Richmond, and Miss Ellen Royster, of New Kent.

-The Daily Dispatch: November 8, 1860.

More to come . . .

Friday, September 12, 2014

To the Farmers' Register- 1834

I find the 4th and 5th paragraphs, with the correspondent's candid observations about slavery, to be most interesting. 1834 was three years after Nat Turner's Rebellion and some two years after the great slavery debate in the General Assembly of 1831-32.

The Farmers' Register was the publication of Edmund Ruffin.

                                             New Kent December 14TH, 1833.

A few days ago the "Farmer's Register," Vol. 1st; No 7th, fell into my hands, being the first No. I had ever seen: although the publication itself is highly spoken of by the best practical farmers in this and the adjoining counties, yet, the Register is not so widely diffused as (I believe,) it ought to be. It should be in every man's house, there to be read and studied, and such improvements as are therein recommended, should be put in immediate practice.
I very much regret, that when you were James City county, at Mr. Archer Hankins', did not come into New Kent, before you returned home. New Kent abounds in what is generally termed marl and your very presence on that score alone, would have roused numbers of us from that supine, lethargic state, into which we have unhappily fallen in regard to the improvement of farms. Man is an imitative animal; and because father and grandfather never raised manure any sort- never used any other plough except trowel-hoe passing through a pole like a cart tongue- the son, nor the son's son will not do otherwise. It is recorded, that a certain race of men formerly made their beasts of burden draw by their tails; and it required the force of the bayonet to make them alter their mode of gearing, &c. so strong is education.
The different marls beds that I have examined are mostly exceedingly rich. The one owned by Mr. A.W. Hockaday, is imbedded in a red sand, with some red clay between that and the marl. The shells are all entire, and of one kind only, the clamshell: the very same species of animal that may be now taken in a abundance at York Town. The bed owned by Mr. A. Mitchell is, in my opinion, by far the richer of the two, and is composed of shell, chiefly of cockle shells, with here and there an oyster shell. In this bank about four feet from the surface, I discovered a rib-bone, petrified, that must have belonged to some enormous animal; the kind can now no where be seen. It must have belonged to the mammoth, if the Indians are right in their notions of the existence of such an animal formerly. This rib was six feet long, nearly three inches broad, and two thick, and this appeared to be but a part of what it was originally. Mr. Mitchell's marl is surrounded, (except at the bottom) by a red, dark, soapy clay: in the centre of the marl may be seen a stratum of marl so calcined, or so pulverized, as to resemble cheese in the cutting; and at what I term the bottom of the marl, is a stratum greatly resembling ready made mortar for plastering, except that it is not so wet. Under this is a stratum of marl petrified, from one to four inches in thickness, rough and uneven. This last we throw aside as useless; although if burnt, I believe it would make good rock lime. The best marl I have ever seen is owned by Mr. Archer Williams of this county; and I speak advisedly, when I say that he owns a sufficient quantity to cover every foot of level cleared land in New Kent, one half inch in depth. If analyzed, I believe there would be found ninety parts of pure lime to the one hundred, with perhaps some magnesia To the credit of Mr. W., I speak it, that: he freely gives to all persons what they may choose to haul away.
One insuperable barrier, there is, however to improvement in Virginia; one that I fear, will remain till "tongues shall cease, and knowledge shall vanish away"- to be plain, I mean slavery. It has tainted our morals, manners and language- corrupted us in a thousand ways, and yet we cling to the accursed thing, and hold it dearer than life itself! Slaves are not intrinsically worth more than half what they were some twenty years ago. They are by far less governable, tractable and obedient- will do only what they choose, and when they choose. They are daily more insolent, thievish and lazy, and if punished they may abscond, and be protected in Philadelphia or New York- or possibly remain to do worse.
I verily believe, not one farmer in ten, clears one per cent on the cost and charges of his slaves. The owners barely can breathe, and not unfrequently are compelled to sell one or more every year to square their accounts. But like the Jew of Bristol, who lost seven teeth by order of the King of England, and was to lose one per day, till he paid or advanced the needy king 10,000 marks, these same men had much rather sell their teeth, than their slaves. Unhappy inglorious state of things.
I pray you, sir, recommend in strong terms, that an agricultural society be formed in every county of the state. New York is seventy-five years a head of us in agriculture. The Flemings one hundred and fifty years. The British one hundred. New York has an agricultural society in every county, and the great benefits arising therefrom are seen and felt to an astonishing degree.     
Our lands for the most part are sandy, and any information in regard to the improvement of this kind of soil, will be of great benefit to most persons from the head of tide water to the Atlantic?
Query.- If we were to sow oats, and roll them when ripe, and marl on them, would it not be a more speedy and cheaper way of improving than hauling leaves, &c. from the woods?
Query.- Is there no grass that we could profitably sow, to take the place of hog weeds and carrot weeds, with which our fields that lie fallow, abound?
Query.- How is wire grass to be destroyed?
Query.- If every citizen were compelled by law to keep his own stock on his own farm, and not permit them to roam at pleasure on every man's land, for a scanty subsistence, would it not be better for one and all? Would it not be a saving of limber for ship building, house building, &c. a great saving of labor and time,(it requires three years in every ten,) in making dead fences?
If these desultory remarks are worthy of your attention it is well- otherwise it is well. If they appear in the Register for January, perhaps some of your correspondents may furnish some information to satisfy the querist.

                Yours with respect,  W.X.Z.

- The Farmers' Register, February, 1834
Vol. I, No. 9

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Little Tragedy in a Big War

. . .
At the residence of her father, in New Kent county, on the 29th of August, of typhoid fever, Emma J. Davis, daughter of John A. and Mary J. Davis, aged eight years five months and nine days.

Dearest Emma, thou has left us,
We thy loss most deeply feel;
But 'tis God who hath bereft us,
He can all our sorrows heal.

-The Daily Dispatch (Richmond) August 31, 1864. 

John Davis, age 29, was a small landowner in the Dispatch station area of the county. I assume this is the same John A. Davis who was postmaster at Tunstall's 1873-75,78-81, and 1885-88. And presumably the same John A. Davis in 1864 serving in Co. F of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry, New Kent Troop.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Smuggling Along the Pamunkey- 1863

When the train from Richmond on the York River railroad neared the site of the White House, on the Pamunkey, yesterday morning, it was fired into by small body of Yankee cavalry, perhaps seventy-five or a hundred in number, who had visited that point as an escort of a gunboat. The train was at once backed off and returned to this city.
The only damage known to have been done by the marauders was the destruction by the gunboat of two oyster pungies, which were lying at the White House wharf. On of these pungies was the property of Mr. WILLIAM BROWN, a fishmonger of this city.

-The Richmond Examiner, January 9, 1863

THE CONTRABAND TRADE- AN INCIDENT.- The visit of the Yankees to the White House last Wednesday night, and their destruction of the oyster craft then lying in the Pamunkey River have already been mentioned. But no notice has been made of the most important capture effected by them on that occasion.
On the morning of Thursday, January 8th, Mr. _____, of Baltimore, a well known blockade runner, having with him four wagons loaded with assorted merchandise, was in the county of King William, making his way to the White House, from which point he designed to ship his goods to Richmond by the York River railroad. When within three miles of the White House, being chilled by the night air, Mr.____ got out of the wagon in which he had been riding and walked ahead of the train. He had walked but a short distance when he was met by a horseman, who, reining his horse to the side of the road, halted to survey the wagons. Mr.____, not liking the appearance of this apparition and presuming him to be a soldier, enquired of the man to what regiment he belonged. Without making any reply the unknown wheeled his horse round and rode quickly off in the direction from which he had come. This conduct excited the worst apprehensions in Mr.____, and he at once began to revolve in his mind what it was best for him to do, but before he could come to any conclusion his fears were realized by hearing someone in the road twenty yards in front of him, say in a voice of command, "Bring these wagons in front of the troops." The word troops satisfied him that he had fallen into the hands of the Yankees, as one which they invariably use in speaking of their voices great or small: Thinking the he might possibly save himself if not his property, Mr.____, without a moment's hesitation, crept over a fence by the road side, and throwing himself into a ditch drew a blanket carefully over his head. In this position, fearing every moment to be pounced upon he heard his wagons driven off, and a few moments after the road scoured by Yankee horsemen, who he felt certain were in search of himself. In the course of an hour everything having become quiet, he ventured to peep forth from his hiding place. It was then broad daylight and at first there seemed to be no enemy in the neighborhood; but on approaching the road carefully and looking up and down, he discovered a villainous blue coated cavalryman half concealed in the skirt of wood not fifty yards distant. Dropping back on his hands and knees he crawled to a neighboring thicket and started for Richmond. After a terrible tramp through swamp and woods he reached the York River railroad just as the train was retreating from the White House.
Mr.____ estimates his loss by this adventure at forty thousand dollars. He had many goods which are needed by the government, beside others which were bought on private orders. This is the third time since he embarked in smuggling that this gentleman has lost his goods and himself barely escaped capture. The profits of the business are so great, however, that there is no reason to believe that the dangers attending it will ever lead to an abandonment of the business.

-The Richmond Examiner, January 12, 1863


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Body Found! Mysterious Case!

 . . . but first, lets hear about this dogs running loose case.

                                               New Kent Notes

ROXBURY, VA Dec. 12.- There is being tried today a case in which much interest is manifested. Mr. E.J. Clopton of Quinton has issued a warrant against his son-in-law, Mr. G.C. Tate, for damages done his sheep by the dogs of Mr. Tate, as he claims. This Mr. Tate denies.
Mr. Tate is a prosperous well-to-do farmer and lumber merchant. He has employed Hon. R.T. Gregory, of Tunstalls, to defend the case, which will be heard by Squire Charlie Tunstall.
There are no developments in the mysterious murder case. Mr. Roy Ford found the body of a young white man near Roxbury on November 29.
Murder most foul was undoubtedly committed by some party or parties unknown. No doubt the mysterious persons- two women and one man, who frequently visited the section where the body of the young man was found have some clue, as days were spent in digging along the banks of the main stream. They had a chart and followed it closely going in 20 rods of the body. When there they came to a stream of water and stopped. Had they crossed this little stream, ten feet from the stream was the body of young man, covered with leaves, a log, resting on each arm and one leg, to keep the limbs down. Had he recovered from the murderous blow he was so pinioned down that nothing was left but slow agonizing death.
One dozen hair pins, a little gold ring and little faded photographs of some girl, a little ribbon bow was all that was found on the body.
A rural route will soon be established from Quinton as the inspector has been here.Mr. W.R. Ruckles will apply for the place of carrier and will no doubt be appointed as no one opposes him.

-the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette, December 16, 1905

One of the most strange(strangely?) written articles I have ever come across.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fog of War

Another Rumor.
It was currently reported yesterday that the enemy had landed a force at the White House, on the Pamunkey river, twenty-four miles from Richmond, and that their advance had reached Tunstall's station. The numerical strength [ of ] this force is not mentioned, but those who credit the report believe that it is a body on raiding purposes intent. A well informed gentleman, who left King William county yesterday morning, gives it as his opinion that the story is entirely without foundation.

-The Daily Dispatch (Richmond) August 29, 1864.

The rumor that the enemy had landed in force at the White House, on the Pamunkey river, is without foundation. There might have been a small party in the vicinity on Saturday morning, though this is doubtful. An official dispatch, received on Sunday evening, states that there was no enemy there at that time.

-The Daily Dispatch (Richmond) August 30, 1864.