State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New Kent as Fisherman's Paradise- 1897

A long article, but with all the references to the most important men of the day and their interest in hunting and fishing in New Kent it is a worthwhile one . . .


Many of the Most Prominent Men of the City Devotees of the Sport-
Most Popular Haunts About Here and Down on the Chickahominy.

"Our plenteous streams a various race supply.
The bright-eyed perch, with fins of various dye;
The silver eel, in shining- volumes rolled,
The yellow carp, In scales bedropt with gold;
Swift trout, diversified with crimson stains,
And pike, the tyrants of the watery plains."

If one were to look all the way from "Abacus" to "Zodiac" in the great encyclopaedias at the end of the Query editor's desk, it is doubtful whether he would find when and by whom fishing was Invented. A diligent search of the government records of the most ancient peoples have failed to show the exact date when the patent was taken out. That this trick of getting the finny "set" into trouble and atmosphere and sunshine is a very old one is shown by the fact that the ancient history of the most ancient lands abound in fish stories. Not only so, but the further one goes on the back-track of history the more interesting tho fishes become, and time was when a prince went alibiing for a mermaid fair.

Fishing is a fashion. The boys on the streets have their times for kites, for tops, for rope-jumping, for track-die," and for being bad the year around; just so it is with the devotees of the fishing science, except that there are some who are very much in their relation towards fishing as are the boys to the last of their fashionable items. They just as leave go every Sunday in the year as every other Sunday, if their wives and their tender consciences would let them.

The great principle upon which fishing is done can be stated best font this way: "Everything comes to him that waits." No fisherman who has ever really been fishing- everybody knows that most of those who have the richest fishy history haven't the faintest idea how to bait a hook- understands this old adage to mean that every good thing comes to him that waits but "everything"- why! the same boat has been known to bring back hunger, wetness, disgust, madness, gladness, and fish; sometimes all the rest, with the last two still overboard.

It has been shown In many ways- mostly by actual trial- and by wide and long experiences, that everybody can't catch fish. The little scaly rascals positively refuse to bite at some people's hooks, and, in congress assembled some years ago, the fish world, with one dissenting vote- that of the eel- took a most solemn pledge, never, "under any circumstance whatsoever, to bite at a bait extended by feminine hands." They agreed to leave that for the men to do. Of course, some of tho weak-kneed little fellows, the dudes of the tribe, have broken their pledges, but afterwards were very righteously penitent for it; others have been fooled, and so have the men.

But to be a successful fisherman one must chew tobacco and smoke, must be able to say "cuss words" to yourself, and get mad, but keep your temper in the boat.

That city people say you must spit tobacco juice on your hook; the country people say not. The city sports say that's because the country sports chew such vile tobacco.

Since spring has gotten out of the lap of winter, and has begun to go abroad In the land, smiling like, the fishes have had plenty to eat, and so have the people. To the brave and warlike, the noble "Jeems" is now their great line of battle. Any sunny day (or Sunday) the banks of this limpid stream present a picture very much like that of an old unused ice-pond, full of barkless, black gum logs on an August day- terrapins everywhere. A gentleman whose grand-father fought in the War of Independence, and who has inherited something of this great sire's admiration for the First In War, was heard to say that a few days ago, when he went down the river about half a mile, he counted, with-out even including himself, 140 boats, containing anywhere from one to five people, 400 on the banks of the Manchester side of the river, 700 on the Richmond side-men, women, and children- three races, Caucasian, Malay, and Negro, all warring on the innocent, guileless little sporters under the water. This is no fairy tale, but an actual count, and then there was much of the shore he said he couldn't see.

They are anywhere the fish will bite- anywhere from Mayo's bridge to the flats opposite where the monitors were stationed. A boat is a good thing when one can be gotten, but it isn't at all necessary, and a great many inconveniences always accompany it. Somebody will be sure to go in it whom no amount of frowning and wishing down among the fishes will stop from talking; some-body is always along who didn't bring any dinner with him, and who is always asking "isn't it time for us to take a bite now"; somebody is always along who will insist on throwing his hook just at the place from where you caught your last fish, and then that somebody is along who won't catch a minnow, but will have the profoundest admiration for your finest specimens, and who has a sick child at home, and who, if you divide with him, give him your largest in the goodness of your heart-a very reluctant heart-will tell every friend of yours that he caught them and you did not "get a smell." Next day when you go out and hunt up those friends and tell them of your great luck, you notice they only smile, and when your back is turned they put it down against you' as a "fish story."

But the best plan is to jump up from the table, get your hat already in your hand, and say: "Wife, I am going fishing to-day; look for me when you see me." She hasn't made any preparations to go herself, and so you are safe. Get a long, small twine, tie a piece of wood to one end, a piece of lead or iron spike to the other, suspend three hooks from this end, one above the other, and you are ready. Any other preparations will defeat you, except enough change to buy a good [mr at] fish from the little negro who fished just below you, for the subject matter of the story. On the way to the river turn over all the old lodge in the way and get a few worms- not many- in your pocket or a tomato-can, and go by yourself to a high bank, alt flat down in the mud, plant your heels in the mire below you to prevent sliding, and with three squiggling worms on the three hooks, swing out the iron spike as far as you can, holding the stick of the other end between your knees. In this way you make the announcement of your presence to the sculls of innocents abroad- and wait. Hundreds go just this way from Richmond every day, and they catch any where from minus infinity to seventy-five apiece.

Colonel J. Bell Bigger1 says that when the dogwood is in full bloom then the finny tribe are feeding, cannibal-llke, on those of their kind, and the poor little minnow, twisting and wriggling about on Aberdeen and Cincinnati bass hooks, attracts the southern chub, the swift pike, and the gentle silver perch. And with his eye sparkling the Colonel continued: "Judges and Jurors, ministers of the Gospel, postmasters, statesmen, parliamentarians, and other common folks rig up bamboo rods with nickel-plated reels and plaited silk lines, and providing themselves with sandwiches and an antidote for snake-bite, off they go to the calm mill-pond or the fast tidewaters of the Chickahominy, for the while not caring for the arbitration treaty with old John Bull or any other two-legged quadruped. and forgetting for a time Gomez and the Cuban patriots2, and feeling perfectly indifferent as to the fate Sanguilly if he shall violate his pledge by going back to the beleaguered island. What enthusiastic fisherman is there who cures what Hanna thinks of the protective policy of Dingley & Co. as long as they can't lay an embargo on the soul-inspiring bite of an eight pounder, and this sport can be indulged in [in habiliments] of Democratic simplicity, and not tortured by tight-fitting swallow-tails as worn when mixing at the White House, where McKinley is surrounded by an army of fishermen, fishing for official favors. This city is a good starting point to fishing grounds. In ante-bellum days there were not so many professional rod fishermen as now. There were then J.A. Cowardin5, father of Colonel C. O'B., Colonels Thomas B. Bigger, Sam Myers, and Joe Atkins, and Messrs. Daniel Trueheart, Joe Allen, Dick Lorton, and other well-to-do folks, who would take their outings- fixed for sport and ramp pleasures. There were many ponds to go to. Young's, Vandeventer's, Gherhearts, Staples, Woolridge's, Ryall's, Bassett's, and others, but these ponds have not afforded much sport in latter days. I was fishing at Ryall's one day, a lone fisherman, when, lo and behold, I found the dead body of a man floating on its placid surface. Who he was, where he came from, how he got there, and where he went to I have never been told. The county authorities burled the mortal remains close by the water's edge.

There are many Covers of fishing in our city, among them State-Librarian Scott3 Weather-Forecaster Evans, Colonel John S. Harwood4, Dr. Judd Wood, John Baseler. Captain Wingfield, Judge Witt, Moore brothers, William Wood and son. Harry Smith, Tom Hulcher, Tom Christian, Dan Talley, Thad Foster, McThorton, Hay Thornton, Mike Macon, Rev. Messr. Nash and Dennis, and others. The favorite fishing places are Providence Forge Lake, Garlick's, Lee's, Walden's, Goddin's, and other ponds, and in the Chickahominy at Roxbury. Windsor, and Walker's. Avoirdupois don't count for much in the art of fishing. Billy Cuillngworth, of vast bodily dimensions, puffs and blows to land a seven-pound chub, while Ashby Jones, small in stature, don't make much myration at getting in a 137-pound tarpon. Fondness for fishing is not confined to any special class or avocation- Judges Keith and Cardwell, who are expounders of law and render decisions of their court with solemn mien, can laugh as loud and throw Judicial dignity as far off when they are wrestling with a six-pound chub as can Joe Jefferson, the noted actor, whose facial variations and farcical utterances can set the house in a roar. Joe Jefferson has fished with the late Excellency, Grover Cleveland, both of whom have acted their parts- the first as the author and dramatizer had arranged for him, but the latter himself being- the author and dramatist of many of our dramatic misfortunes. Would it not have been better for the Democracy if Grover had been asleep on the Catskill mountains for the past twenty years, the period that Jefferson in the play of "Rip Van Winkle" sleeps on that promontory?

"The speckled trout are beauties, and our mountain streams abound with them. Salt water Inning is lively. The York, Rappahannock, and Potomac rivers and around Old Point and Ocean View, and in Mobjack Bay, and its several arms, you can find all the fun you want; but alas, for me! I cannot stand a rocking in a canoe or other skiff on the waves. My poor, weak, bilious, organic functions revolt, and I commence to cash up accounts at once. Have you ever been sea-sick? Don't look for any experience on that point. It is awful; take my word for it and let it alone. For sixteen successive days and nights did I toss and retch when I went across the briny deep to take a look at Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, and noted places on the Mediterranean Sea. I will never do it again. Old Virginia's quiet waters are good enough for me, and this, my native city, is queen of all."

            IN ONE HOURS RIDE.
There are as many places as one can count on the fingers of both hands in an hour's ride from Richmond which are the Olympias nearly every day in the year of stirring piscatorial feats.

Providence Forge, where the Jefferson Fishing Club has its grounds, and which is frequented by many transients, is, perhaps, best known. The fish caught here which afford the greatest sport and are most earnestly entreated to bite, are the "chub" and "rock," and with which the pools and deep places of the Chickahominy at this point and the old canal abound. The mill-pond is also in a short walk from the depot, and is much the retreat for bodies who like to be pretty sure of getting a string when they go out of chub, pike, and silver perch, with which it is stocked.

A few miles further down the river is Windsor Shades, with excellent accommodations always at hand, and where any quantity of fish can always be bought.

Still further on the way is Walker's, to which nearly every train carries men and minnows. A club-house has recently been built near the water, and is managed by Mr. Clarke. Here the fishermen come, and are soon dabbling among the wharves at and below Cypress Bank, in the coves and around the stumps below Rock-a-hock. The "old wharf" is a famous place, and the "island" with  its cypress knees and stumps.

Just a little further down are waters about Pottersfield. Hickory-Neck creek, and the "Old Wears"; Cloud's, on the other side of the river, and the water-fences and wharves attached to Orapax- all these places are household words in the mouths of Richmond fishermen. Beside these, "Uncle Billy" Cullingworth6 has leased Vaiden's pond and made it an excellent place.

While the fish are sportinng in the waters and expending physical energy on others of their kind whom nature has made smaller than themselves, such still larger fellows as Barney Frishkorn, Judge S.B. Witt, and P. M. Cullingworth have been dissipating mental energy in constituting clubs and other instruments of organized warfare upon them.

There are three prominent and very active fishing clubs in the city- Jefferson, Old Dominion, and Church Hill, The officers and members of the Jefferson, Barney Frischkorn, president; James H. Christian, Providence Forge, master of tackle, and members- Judges S.B. Witt, E.C. Minor, and Isaac Christian7. D.C. Richardson, Messrs. Lewis Frischkorn, Valentine Hechler, Jr., A.Y. Stokes, James Botts, William H. Cowardin, Henry Ricks, W.A. Dickenson, Andrew Krause, Conway R. Sands, Simon Solomon. Samuel P. Waddill, and H.M. Smith. Mr. Smith has the honor of entraining and landing the largest "rock" of any member of the club-weighing 32 pounds.

The Old Dominion Fishing Club has for its officers Messrs. John F. Mayer, commodore; E.B. Hotchkiss, executive officer; W.M. Williams, secretary and treasurer; D.C. Richardson, boatswain; P.T. Conrad, steward. and James F. Vaughan, assistant Steward. Its remaining members are E.B. Taylor. J.C. Addison, Waller Scott. Tazewell Ellett, and John Whittet. This is the oldest organization of its kind in the city, and embarks on its nine-teenth annual cruise July 16th.

The officers of the Church-Hill Club are: John Pitt, president; J. Rudolph Day, secretary and treasurer; William H. Deane, steward.

- Richmond Dispatch 9 May 1897 

 1 John Bell Bigger, was Clerk of the House of Delegate from 1865 until 1879, and then again from 1883 until his death in1899.

 2 this article was written in the midst of the Cuban War of Independence.

 3 William Wallace Scott, State Law Librarian and former Clerk of the House of           Representatives.

 4John Stubblefield Harwood was an advisor to then Gov. O'Ferrall.

 5James A. Cowardin, founder of the Daily Dispatch, later the Richmond Dispatch. His son was Charles O'Brien Cowardin who succeeded him at the Dispatch.

 6William H. Cullingworth Postmaster of Richmond.

 7Isaac H. Christian, long time County Judge of New Kent and Charles City


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Train-Car Collision 1945

Richmond, Aug. 28—Virginia’s highway deaths since the wartime speed limit of 35 miles was lifted last Friday rose to a count of 14 today for the five-day period. The most recent fatality occurred at midmorning yesterday at Windsor Shades, where Mrs. W.S. Dunn, of Bland, Va., was instantly killed when she drove across a track where a freight train had passed and was struck by a crack passenger train on the Chesapeake and Ohio line which had been obscured to her. Bystanders said Mrs Dunn had taken her husband and a friend to a bus and that, in order to reach it, the two had circled around the freight train to the other side while Mrs. Dunn waited in her car for the train to pass and that she failed to see the passenger train coming on the adjacent track.

-The Highland Recorder(Monterey), August 1945

Sunday, June 19, 2016

George and the Giant Peach

Mr. George Ives brought to Richmond a day or two ago a peach which weighs eleven ounces and a half. It was pulled from a tree on the premises owned by the Richmond Shooting Club, known at Libby Point, and is one of a number of the same sort seen there. The variety is unknown. 

-Richmond Dispatch, 5 September 1882

It is interesting that they use "Libby Point" rather than "Lilly Point."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bicycle Racing Comes to New Kent . . . A Hundred and Twenty Years Ago


Bicycles racing up and down the county roads has a longer history than most expect . . .



            Bicycle Record Broken

There have been numerous bicycle parties of late organized to make the run between this city and Richmond in one day. For one reason or another they have all become discouraged and returned home. Mr. Winder, the well known long distance rider, reached Norfolk Saturday night, and reported that the path along the Chesapeake and Ohio railway was in good condition. Nevertheless it required portions of two days for him to reach Norfolk from Richmond.
Dr. George D. Levy, the optician, and Mr. D.L. Jackson, a printer, determined to break the record, and on Sunday morning went via steamer Louise to Newport News. There they mounted their wheels and reached Richmond Sunday night. They describe their trip as being very fatiguing but seem to derive a great deal of satisfaction in being the first to make the run in one day.
Just before reaching Morrison's the pedal of Mr. Jackson's wheel was sprung by an unobserved stump. On reaching that station it gentleman whose residence was directly opposite, kindly gave the wheelmen valuable assistance. The pedal was straightened, and the bicyclists proceeded on their way. Willamsburg was reached at noon, and Mr. Spencer, the genial proprietor of the hotel, had dinner served an hour before the regular time so us not to delay the wheelmen. After doing justice to this repast they departed in the direction of Richmond. At Windsor Shades the bicyclists were furnished with a pitcher of cold butter milk. Which was greatly enjoyed. They were also offered lodging for the night by the very hospitable people,living at that place. This was declined with thanks.
At Providence Forge occurred the only unpleasant incident of the entire trip; The telegraph operator and station agent refused to give the wheel-men a glass of water, and informed them that he could not send a telegram to their friends until 7 o'clock. Roxbury was reached at half-past 5 o'clock and eighteen miles more had to made, it was impossible to do this before dark, but the wheelmen were too near Richmond to give up. At Fort Lee the railroad path was left and the Willamsburg road taken towards Richmond. After plodding through the sand on this road for nearly three miles the splendid road from the National Cemetery to Richmond was reached. Coasting down this road was a great relief after so many hours of hard riding. Soon Richmond was reached, and what had hitherto never been done was accomplished.

-The Norfolk Virginian, 29 October 1895

Saturday, June 11, 2016

"Could You Witness the Ruin That Has Been Wrought"- Part II

 The Surry Light Artillery along the Chickahominy . . . continued from the post of the 8th.

New Kent, Va.,
June 30, 1864.
My Dear Friend: — Since my last letter to you., and since Grant's army has left these parts and crossed over to the James, we have been on picket duty over here in New Kent county, which, you know, lies between the Chickahominy and the Pamunkey rivers. We are distant from Richmond about twenty-five miles, and directly east from the city. We forded the Chickahominy at the railroad crossing, first laying a corduroy of poles to prevent the horses and guns from sinking into the rand. There are no Federals hereabouts now, as many thousands as were here a week ago. All have crossed over to the James.
No, I mistake; there are quite a number of Federals here around yet. But they are dead Federals. Or, rather, the most of them are negroes that had joined the Federal army, and were fighting against their former masters. And they are unburied negroes. They were some of Sheridan's lawless gang, and were killed in a cavalry engagement between Wade Hampton and Sheridan, that occurred about ten days ago. They have been left unburied, and scores of them are lying here, festering and rotting under the rays of the hot summer's sun. It is a sickening sight. But there are no inhabitants, or, but very few, to be inconvenienced or endangered by the terrible stench, and so, as I suppose, they will lie and rot, and their bones will bleach here beneath the dews and suns of summer, even until "this cruel war," this heartless strife, is finally ended. Alas ! the poor negro ! how very little does the Federal army or the Northern people really care for him! In the army, they put him in the front rank, to be hewed down like sheep! — or they set him to work to dig trenches for the white soldiers to shelter under. We have several negro cooks, and I think the sight of their dead brethren here has opened their eyes a little.
This, indeed, and in very truth, is a battle-scarred country. Made desolate in the beginning of the war by the tread and the hate of two hundred thousand armed invaders, it has remained so, and will so continue, until Peace and Industry once more arise to cover it with the healing mantle of prosperity and repose. We all, my friend, have abundant cause to be thankful, yea, doubly thankful, that an invading host has not swept through Surry and Isle of Wight, with its besom of woe and destruction, as it has here in these counties on the east of Richmond, and on down to the bay and the sea. Could you witness the ruin that has been wrought wherever a Federal army has been, your heart, I know, would swell with gratitude that your section had escaped.
My heart goes out in sympathy and pity to the women and children and old men of New Kent and Charles City, and the other counties over here, who are forced refugees from their lands and once pleasant homes. But the ashes of a terrible desolation mark them now.
Do you suppose that the old soldiers of the South can ever forget these things? — that the picture of these blackened ruins will ever pass entirely from their memory ?
But there is another matter that is troubling us now — that of food, something to eat. Rations are fearfully short and have been for sometime. The men have no money, and if they had any, there is nothing in this part of the State to buy. There are no crops, no gardens, nothing of anything like vegetables, fruit, fowls, or eggs. It is a barren country. And since the arrival of Lee's army, which has to be rationed from the two cities, it seems that our commissary department is entirely unable to furnish anything like the proper amount of bread and meat to feed us. It has been three weeks since our Command — the Battalion — tasted meat. And flour we have not had in sometime. It is only corn meal now, a short pound per day to each man, and this has been our sole fare for more than two weeks. Corn-pone only, made into dough with all the husk and litter it may contain, three times a day! No; not three times. There is never enough of it for three meals a day, and many a time the men will cook the whole day's ration and eat it all at one time! Yea, and do not have enough then. These are literal facts.
It well-nigh makes our good-natured Commissary Sergeant weep to go to town for rations and have to return with nothing for the men but just plain corn meal. They say it is the best they can do for us now. But they could hardly do much worse.
Picture to yourself, if you can, a company of soldiers, all seated around in small groups, each group constituting a "mess," and all munching away upon corn bread only — nothing but corn bread to eat. It may be, there is some show at hilarity and mirth, for it is a dark day indeed in camp, if some soldier cannot evoke mirth out of something. But there is apparent an undercurrent of unrest, of dissatisfaction, of some want or desire unsupplied, which, if not expressed in words, is manifest in the faces and manner of the men. They cannot help it. Hunger will tell. And while bread alone will appease the appetite for a time, it will not continue to do so indefinitely. But we have passed through such dearths before, and fondly hope this one is nearly over.
Besides,. we have orders to return at once to Bottom's Bridge, and we like that much better than staying here. All is quiet about here. No Federals are near us any- where that we can hear of. They have left the mud and mosquitoes of the Chickahominy for the broader James and the turgid Appomattox. And Petersburg is to be now the storm-centre of the war in Virginia. May the cloud soon recede, spanned by the rainbow of peace.
Your friend, B.

-Under the Stars and Bars: A History of the Surry Light Artillery-Recollections of a Private Soldier in the War Between the States
By Benjamin Washington Jones
Richmond  1909

*On a personal note, this is the 500th post of this website-

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Could You Witness The Ruin That Has Been Wrought"- Part I

 The Surry Light Artillery along the Chickahominy . . .

Bottom's Bridge, Va.,
June 14, 1864.
My Dear Friend: — Since my last letter, three weeks ago, we have been on the march nearly all the time, on picket or in bivouac at seven or eight points— all places without name or inhabitant. Generally, we have been in close proximity to the enemy, but have exchanged no shots with them. Their gunboats, however, are constantly shelling the country right and left, night and day, and their big explosives oblige us sometimes to move further off.
Since the 6th of May, the Battery horses have been worked so hard, and the supply of forage often short, that the poor creatures are now low in flesh. Besides, in the several engagements, we have lost a number, so that we have not now the usual complement of six horses to a gun, the supply being reduced to four to some of them. It is necessary at times, therefore, for the cannoneers to have to spring to the wheels, and help the cannon out of a mudhole or up a steep hill.
Now, Drewry's Bluff hill, the one leading down to the pontoon from the Fort, is one of the steepest and hardest pulls the horses have had to encounter anywhere. And as we have been over it a good many times recently, and sometimes in rain, which makes the condition of the hill worse, the horses have had a hard time making their way up, with all the help the cannoneers could give them. And, of course, there are some men who complain heavily at having to help the horses. Some of them say, if the Government is going to make horses of them, they want a set of harness. I think the cannoneers will never quite forget that hill at old Drewry's Bluff, and the hard labor they have had there, pushing at the wheels to help the horses along, the wheels, in the meantime, encased in mud, and the clay of the hill made soap-like and slippery from rain. There is danger in it to the men, as well as hard and hand-soiling work.
The fortification of Drewry's Bluff is built upon the aforesaid high hill, the highest point of land, I suppose, on the banks of the James river anywhere below Richmond. The hill towers up high over the channel of the river, which here runs very near inshore, and it forms an admirable place for a strong defensive work. The old Galena and the rest of the Federal fleet found it too strong for them, in May, 1862, and the best ironclads that Butler has here now do not meddle much with the place. It is a strong defensive work, and the gate to the Capital of the Confederacy by water.
Grant, with his grand army of 150,000, all amply equipped for offensive warfare, has been trying his highest skill, and best strategic art, to overpower or out- general "Marse" Bob, from the 6th of May to the present, but about all he has been able to do so far, has been to execute a series of wonderful en echelons by the left flank— by the left flank from the wilderness to Cold Harbor and the muddy Chickahominy. A series of battles as terrible as any that have been fought during the progress of this war have occurred, and, with all his trying to pass Lee's flank, Lee keeps up with him, and his army is still between Grant and Richmond.
The last great battle was that of Cold Harbor, in which it is reported that the Federal army sustained an overwhelming defeat. All day long the noise of the battle— the roll of musketry and the booming of cannon— was plainly heard at our camp, and we were in constant expectation of orders to proceed in that direction. Since then Grant's army has apparently been taking a rest. But it is thought that Grant is about to change his base of operations, either to the York or to the James. Every crossing-place on the Chickahominy is being guarded by our forces, and Lightfoot's Battalion is scattered, by company or by section, at several points. Our Battery is now at Bottom's Bridge, thought to be the lowest fordable place on the upper or swamp-land portion of the river. There is one more crossing-place below us, between this point and Windsor Shade, at the head of tidewater navigation on this river. It is known as the Long Bridge, only no bridge is there now.
There is a Federal picket on the other side, in front of us here, but they keep very quiet. It is said that Sheridan's cavalry is over there, too. Wade Hampton's cavalry is just, above us at the railroad crossing and above that. But all the troops are constantly changing positions. A report has just come up that Grant is crossing the Chickahominy at the Long Bridge. If so, it is strange no fighting has been going on down that way.
This point is fifteen or eighteen miles from the city, the battlefield of Seven Pines lying between us and town. While all the cannoneers are required to stay near by the guns, the drivers are employed most of the time each day in hunting around to find grazing for the horses. General Lee has just passed us here.
May heaven defend you and us.
Your friend, B.

-Under the Stars and Bars: A History of the Surry Light Artillery-Recollections of a Private Soldier in the War Between the States
By Benjamin Washington Jones
Richmond  1909

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Tale of Two Advertisements

 A wealth of history can lie in the most mundane of sources . . .

ON WEDNESDAY, the 27th day of the present month, I will sell, at New Kent Court House, publicly, to the highest bidder, for cash, between twenty and thirty very likely slaves. The sale will be made under a decree of the Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond Circuit, pronounced on the 31st day of March, 1846, in the case of "Semple, &c., vs. Christian and others." Said sale will be made by me, as Commissioner for that purpose, appointed, in said decree.         JOHN B. CHRISTIAN.
May 7-ctds

-Richmond Enquirer, 15 May 1846

         50 Dollars Reward !
RAN  AWAY from the subscriber, at New Kent Court house. on the 27th day of May, 1846, a Negro Woman named JUDY. The said slave is about 23 years of age, five feet one or two inches high, and very black. She was purchased by the subscriber, at New Kent Court-house, on the 27th day May, 1846, and sold by John B. Christian, Esq., as Commissioner, under a decree of the Chancery Court of Richmond, in the case of Semple vs. Christian and others. I will give $50 for the apprehension and delivery of said girl to me, in Richmond.
Having to reason to believe that she is harbored between New Kent C.H. and Williamsburg, by a white man, I will give, in addition to the above reward, $50 for such information as will convict the offender.
Nov. 9 -cwtf             JOHN J. TOLER.

-Richmond Enquirer, 18 January 1848

You will notice that Judy escaped from the auction itself and that John Toler was still running ads a year and a half after Judy made her run for freedom.