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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sheridan March 1865- The Last Campaign III

Brevet Major-General Wesley Merritt

        YORKTOWN,  March 18, 1865.
General RAWLINS,
                Chief of Staff:

I left General Sheridan at White House 12 m. His command is all there. I have telegraphed to Captain James for twenty-five portable forges and shoeing tools, & c. If Captain James cannot fill the order at once General Ingalls had better send them. General Forsyth is with me. We shall be at Fort Monroe by 5 p.m. and at City Point before morning.

                    O.E. BABCOCK,
            Lieutenant- Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.

 No. 15.                White House, Va., March 18, 1865.
I. Division commanders will at once have each regiment in their respective commands inspected, and turn out all the negroes who have joined the cavalry during the expedition. This inspection will be most rigid.
II, There are many negroes employed by both officers and men on the march who cannot be allowed to remain with the command.
III. All negroes who have joined the command during the expedition will be at once collected by the provost guards of the different commands and sent to the north end of the railway bridge, where they will be taken in charge by the provost-marshal of these headquarters.
By command of Brevet Major-General Merritt:
                    J. SPREADBURY,
                Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

FIELD ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY, No. 17. - White House, Va., March 18, 1865.
I. The command will cross the Pamunkey River to-morrow morning at 6 o'clock. The First Division will move in advance, the trains will follow, and the Third Division cross in rear. The command will mass on the south side of the river, when camps will be assigned them. The pickets will remain as at present until the entire command crosses, when they will be withdrawn.
By command of Brevet Major-General Merritt:
                    J. SPREADBURY,
                Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sheridan March 1865- The Last Campaign II

YORKTOWN, March 14, 1865.
General LUDLOW, Fort Magruder: GENERAL: Three hundred cavalry and 1,500 infantry, with gun-boats, have gone up the York River this morning. They proceed to White House, on Pamunkey, and will throw forward a cavalry force to meet Sheridan. Colonel Roberts commands party.
                     THOS. MULCAHY,
              Lientenant- Colonel and Provost-Marshal.

CITY POINT, VA., March 14, 1865.
Commodore RADFORD, U.S. Navy: (Care of Major-General Ord.) Will you please have a few gun-boats, say six, including four already gone, sent into the York and Pamunkey Rivers to keep open free navigation between White House and the mouth of York River. I have a large force now on its way to White House. When it is withdrawn, the navy can withdraw also.
        U.S. GRANT,
             Lieutenant- General.

Col. S. H. ROBERTS, Commanding Expedition:
Immediately on receipt of this you will embark your command and proceed up the York and Pamnukey Rivers to the White House, taking with you all your infantry. Your cavalry may be returned to its place on the James. It is expected that General Sheridan with a large force of cavalry will arrive at the White House near the same time with you; if he does not you will remain there until he arrives. Take with you the army gun-boats accompanying your expedition, and also request the navy gun-boats to go and remain with you. Rations and forage will be sent to you immediately, not only for your force but for the command under General Sheridan.
Lieutenant- General.

            YORKTOWN,  March 16, 1865-2 p.m.
Commander F.A. PARKER,
     Saint Inigoes, Md.:
General Roberts occupied White House 14th instant. Was in-trenched. Sheridan had not arrived at 12 yesterday. His camp fires in sight. Pamunkey is patrolled by army gun-boats Mosswood and Jesup.
                         PETER HAYES,
                             U.S. Navy.

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sheridan March 1865- The Last Campaign

                                                         No. 1.
Report of Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, U. S. Army, commanding expedition.

             New Orleans, La., July 16,1865.
GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of my command in the campaign from Winchester, in the Shenandoah Valley, to the armies in front of Petersburg, beginning February 27 and ending March 28:
 . . .
At daylight on the morning of the 16th we leisurely resumed the march to White House, encamping at Mangohick Church; on the 17th we marched to and encamped at Prince [King] William Court-House; on the 18th we reached Indiantown; and on the 19th crossed the Pamunkey at White House, on the railroad bridge which had been repaired by Lieutenant-Colonel Babcock, of Lieutenant-General Grants staff. We here found supplies in abundance.
The amount of private and public property collected for the use of the enemy and destroyed, and the destruction of lines of communication and supplies, was very great and beyond estimating. Every bridge on the Central railroad between Richmond and Lynchburg, except the one over the Chickahominy, and that over the James River at Lynchburg, and many of the culverts, were destroyed. The James River Canal was disabled beyond any immediate repair.
There perhaps never was a march where nature offered such impediments and shrouded herself in such gloom as upon this; incessant rain, deep and almost impassable streams, swamps, and mud, were overcome with a constant cheerfulness on the part of the troops that was truly admirable. Both officers and men appeared buoyed up by the thought that we had completed our work in the Valley of the Shenandoah, and that we were on our way to help our brothers-in-arms in front of Petersburg in the final struggle.
Our loss in horses was considerable, almost entirely from hoof-rot. After refitting at White House, until the 24th [25th] instant, we resumed our march, crossed the Chickahominy at Jones Bridge, arriving at and crossing the James River on the evening of the 25th [26th] of March, and on the following day [27th], by direction of the lieutenant- general, went into camp at Hancocks Station, on the railroad, in front of Petersburg.
. . .

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sheridan- March 1865 II

 Section from "Grant's and Sheridan's campaigns, 1864 [and 1865]" LOC

The Richmond and Petersburg lines.
Everything was unusually quiet on this side of the James yesterday. Sheridan has made his hasty raid from Staunton to the White House, passing through the counties of Augusta, Albemarle, Nelson, Fluvanna, Goochland, Louisa, Hanover and New Kent, and leaving some desolation in his track. It is reported that he destroyed a large quantity of subsistence in his route. We have heard of many individuals who were robbed by his brigands. From the White House it is conjectured his forces have proceeded to Grant, either across the country or up James river in transports.
There was a very considerable bombardment near the Jerusalem plankroad, on the Petersburg lines, about daylight on Saturday morning. The firing was begun by our troops. The results, if any, are unknown.
-The Daily Dispatch: March 21, 1865

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sheridan- March 1865

Further intelligence from General Sheridan reports that, on last Monday, a portion of his cavalry was engaged in tearing up the railroad between Richmond and Hanover Junction, while the main body was pushing on towards the White House, on the Pamunkey river, where it was expected that supplies would reach him, to enable him to continue his work.

-The Daily Dispatch: March 20, 1865.

Monday, March 16, 2015

100 Years Ago: "All This Hue and Cry About Education . . ."

 Hmmm . . . sounds sort of familiar . . .

The Voice of the People
Against Higher School Taxes.
To the Editor of The Times-Dispatch:
 Sir.- Since the two proposed tax bills seem so defective, why can't the present method be improved. If the counties draw too much why can't the State limit their drafts? In all these pauper counties the people are almost taxed to death, while schools are allowed to raid their treasuries. New Kent has always been in this list. In 1904 her tax rate jumped from $1.15 to $1.55 and has hovered around $1.45 ever since. The two assessments add each. The two railroads, telephone and telegraph lines pay about $7,000, it is said. I suppose conditions are about tho same in the other counties.

If schools are to get all they want, a confiscation will not suffice. All this hue and cry about education comes from those who live by the system. Paying little or nothing them selves, they care not what a burden taxation becomes. Half the land in the State produces income. It is like a vacant house in town. At the last census hardly a county showed any gain to brag about, while thirty declined. When riding on the cars, I wonder if our legislators ever think how it is possible to live on much or the land passed. To squeeze the last cent from the taxpayer seems their only thought.

Last year a rate of 20 cents per $100 on bank deposits was thought ample. Now the same men would give the State officials unlimited power regarding such deposits. A criminal can't he made to testify, but a depositor is to be forced to do so, while bank clerks are to become spies- a fund having been provided to pay for such work. In 1900 just such a bill slipped through. It was denounced everywhere and soon declared unconstitutional on account of some little technicality.
                H.T. FAUNT LE ROY
        New Kent, Va., February 3, 1915.

-Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 05, 1915

Friday, March 13, 2015

"No Wind To-day."

 It didn't take much to get one's home of a lifetime burned in 1865 . . .

      FORT MAGRUDER,  February 21, 1865- 7.35 p.m.
 Assistant Adjutant-General:
I have just received notice that the telegraph line has been cut between this and Jamestown Island by bushwhackers. It could not have blown down, as there is been no wind to-day. Have I the authority, under the Order No. 196, dated December 1, 1864, from your headquarters, to burn all the houses in the vicinity, say within one mile? I did not get this information until after dark- too late to repair it. I will see that it is repaired by daylight tomorrow morning. Please answer.
                J.C. HICKS,
            Major, Commanding.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Poliomyeletis- 1935

To put a human face on Monday's posting about the 1935 Polio outbreak, here is another entry from that same session of the Board of Supervisors . . .

    The Clerk exhibited a letter from office of Dr. Riggan, State Department of Health stating that it was necessary to purchase a steel brace for this child at a price of approximately $40.00. The Chairman of the Board, upon motion duly made and seconded, was authorized to contact the authorities in Richmond, and secure such an appliance at minimum cost, and report his action to the next meeting of the Board.

 To put that in perspective, the Sheriff's monthly salary in 1935 was $83.33

Some information on Infantile Paralysis in Depression Era Virginia . . .

  "To summarize,in 1935 up to November 1, 674 cases of poliomyelitis, including 37 deaths, were reported to the State Department of Health. The disease reached almost every section of the state though it was unusually prevalent in only a few counties. It is remarkable how readily these cases, occurring mostly in a little over 2 months, separate into two distinct groups having marked differences. The paralytic cases, appearing first in the counties bordering on North Carolina and spreading along the routes of travel throughout the state, . . ."

-American Journal of Public Health, Feb., 1936

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"Notice- Pursuant to authority of Section #1492, Code of Virginia, 1930 . . ."

                 MONDAY AUGUST 12TH 1935.
     The Clerk exhibited copy of resolution dated Aug. 2, 1935, as above, certified copy of which was mailed State Department pf Health on August 5, 1935, and stated that he had personally prepared in the office a number of copies of said resolution, and given them out for posting at places frequented by the public, and posted others personally at remote points. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Clerk was directed to incorporate same in minutes of this meeting together with letter of acknowledgement from Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, dated August 8, 1935, approving action taken. It was so ordered.

                                                           "N O T I C E

    Pursuant to authority of Section #1492, Code of Virginia, 1930, relating to County Boards of Health, a meeting of the County Board of Health, New Kent County, Virginia, was held on August 2, 1935, at Quinton, Virginia, at which meeting the following resolution was adopted by unanimous vote:
RESOLVED:- That inview of the prevalence of infantile paralysis in Counties adjoining New Kent, and the fact that this epidemic is found to follow main lines of highway travel and to be spread by group meetings:-
It is hereby ordered that all group meetings or gatherings together of people in New Kent County, Virginia, such as such meetings, protracted church meetings, dances, traveling circuses, entertainments of all kinds where people congregate in groups, and all similar meetings, are hereby prohibited from being held in in New Kent County during the month of August, 1935, and until further notice of this board.
It is further urged that all children under 16 years of age remain at home as far as possible for their own protection and the protection of other children in the community.
            BY ORDER
                By DR. M.H. EAMES,
                    Acting Secretary.
New Kent, Va.,
 August 2, 1935

                        August 8,1935
Mr. S.W.Lacy, Clerk,
New Kent County,
New Kent, Va.
Dear Mr. Lacy:
    I have your letter of August 5 containing copy of the resolutions passed by the New Kent County Board of Health. Owing to the peculiar circumstances in your county, I think this is a very good resolution.
 Assuring you of our cooperation at all times, I am,
            Yours very truly,
                E.L. McQUADE, M.D.
                Director of Rural Health

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On the York River- 1865

The Philbates Creek/ Terrapin Point area from the Gilmer Civil War map at the Library of Congress website.

                                Expedition from Yorktown to West Point, Va.

Report of Capt. William B. Hedges, Sixteenth New York Heavy Artillery, commanding expedition.

                Fort Magruder, March 1, 1865.
Brigadier-General TURNER,
    Chief of Staff:
Sir: The expedition, of which the inclosed is a report from the officer commanding, was ordered by the verbal command of Major-General Ord during his visit to Yorktown. I therefore transmit the report for his information. I have disposed of the prisoners in the manner I considered best for the interest of the Government.
        Very respectfully,
                    B. C. LUDLOW,
            Brevet Brigadier- General, Commanding Post.


FORT MAGRUDER, VA., February 28, 1865. Sin: I have the honor to make the following report of the expedition which left Yorktown, Va., on board U.S. gun-boat Mystic, Thursday, February 23, in obedience to orders from Lieut. Col. Thomas Mulcahy, who placed me in command of the same:
My force consisted of forty-five men from Company M, Sixteenth New York Volunteer Artillery, and thirty marines, commanded by Acting Ensign Leonard, of the gun-boat Crusader. The Mystic proceeded up the river immediately after dark, grounding opposite Green Point, distant only ten miles from Yorktown. Captain Wright, her commander, made every effort in his power to get her afloat, but did not succeed until 9 a.m. Friday, the 24th instant (which circumstance so delayed the expedition as to render it impossible for me to fully carry out my instructions as was intended). As soon as she was afloat I proceeded up the river, landing the force just above West Point. Skirmished the woods in the vicinity, and, meeting with no resistance, extended the skirmish line across the neck of land between the rivers, and in this manner entered the town. Prior to my advance, and while preparing to land, I discovered three mounted men escaping through the woods, one of whom I afterward learned to be Colonel Richardson, of General Lees staff, at home on sixty days leave of absence. I found but three men in my advance upon and search through the town, two  of whom I have every reason to believe are spies, from the fact of their leaving Yorktown the same night of the expedition, running the blockade in a small boat, and undoubtedly informed the enemy of our approach. (The fact of the gun-boat getting aground afforded them ample time to warn Captain Richardson and others of our supposed intentions.)
Before leaving West Point I received information in regard to important movement of the enemy, which I have heretofore communicated. Having accomplished all that could be done here the force crossed the river and burned a store-house and barn, containing at least 15,000 bushels of grain and 1,000 pounds of bacon, the property of Beverly Anderson, a contractor for the so-called Confederate Government. We then embarked. and proceeded down the river to Queens Creek, hoping thus to deceive the enemy in regard to our intended movements for that night. Soon as darkness would hide our movements the vessel moved up the river until nearly opposite the residence of Andrew Richardson, where the wedding was to take place and where I expected to find Capt. Theodore Richardson, the murderer of the oysterman.* After considerable difficulty we succeeded in landing (it being dark and rainy), and proceeded five miles to Andrew Richardson's house (skirmishing the woods and arresting two citizens on the way), which I immediately ordered to be surrounded. As soon as this was accomplished I demanded admittance; upon being refused forced my way into the house, making a complete surprise. . Shots were, however, fired by the occupants, in returning which I wounded Richardson. Searched thoroughly the premises, and finding nothing more I retraced my way to the landing, arriving there about daybreak; crossed the river and burned the buildings from which the decoy signal was shown and from which the oystermen were fired into; also a barn containing about 8,000 bushels of grain. The force went on board the gun-boat; landed on the opposite shore and eight miles below the last point of embarkation. I here burned the residence of Captain Richardson, consisting of two dwellings, barn, and a store, all his household furniture, and 2,000 bushels of grain, his family having made their escape while the gun-boat was aground.
Having executed my orders as far as possible, I again embarked and returned to Yorktown. Reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Mulcahy, who ordered me to report to brigadier.general commanding post. The persons arrested are Andrew Richardson (whom I left wounded in charge of surgeon, gun-boat Mystic), Thomas Davis, B. W. Powells, and James Gwin (whom I had at first suspected but I found nothing against), Richard Pippin (who has promised to assist me in apprehending Richardson and other guerrillas), J. W. and Harley Cole (the suspected spies found at West Point). The wedding spoken of is to take place Thursday, March 2, at Tabernacle Church†. It is reported that there will be a party of guerrillas attending.
Hoping I may have the opportunity of again attempting the arrest of this noted band of guerrillas, I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                    WM. R. HEDGES,
    Captain Company M Sixteenth New York Volunteer Artillery.
Brigadier-General LUDLOW,
                    Commanding Post.           

-The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1- Volume 46       

* I know nothing of the story of the killing of any oysterman, however I believe the Capt. Theodore Richardson referred to is, in fact, Captain T.W.T. "Tom" Richards so recently active in the area. I believe the Union authorities have confused him with one of the numerous Richards living on the New Kent/ James City border.

† . . . See map