State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Sunday, July 31, 2016

MAY 20-23, l862.- Operations about Bottoms Bridge, Chickahominy River, Va- I

Today begins a lengthy and rather detailed examination of the operations of the Fourth Corps of the Army of the Potomac in the Bottoms Bridge area during May of 1862.

 Reports of Brig. Gen. Erasmus D. Keyes, U.S. Army, commanding Fourth Corps, of operations May 20-21.

                                                HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
                                              Camp near Bottoms Bridge, Va., May 20, 1862-11.30 a.m.

GENERAL: I have to report the result of a reconnaissance made by Major Harlow and party, of Colonel Russell's Seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, this morning. The party, consisting of Captains Holman1 and Whitcomb's2 companies, got into the skirt of the woods this side just before daylight. Captain Holman saw the bridge. It appeared to have been blown up in the center. They were fired upon on reaching the woods from rifle pits on the opposite bank. One sergeant is missing and one man wounded. It is thought that the sergeant had strayed off to the left. The river at the bridge is 10 yards wide; the swamp perhaps 60 or 100. I inclose a copy of a sketch sent in by Colonel Russell.*
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
                                                E.D. KEYES,
                               Brigadier-General, Commanding Fourth Corps.
            Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
                        A.A.G., Army of the Potomac.
*Not found

                                             HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
                                         Camp near Bottoms Bridge, Va., May 21, 1862- 6.45 a.m.
GENERAL: 1 have the honor to report that at daylight this morning Colonel Russell pushed one of his companies across at Bottoms Bridge. His companies on the railroad have also thrown a picket over at that point. He has at the former, besides his own four companies, a regiment to support him. He reports that during the night he partially laid the railroad bridge, so that infantry can pass, and that he can soon repair Bottoms Bridge.
I have already telegraphed to you for instruction in the matter of building the bridges. I can, if it is thought advisable, throw over a considerable force, but will not make any further advance movement until receiving instructions.
 Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                             E.D. KEYES,
                     Brigadier-General, Commanding Corps.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
                     Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.

P.S.- Colonel Gregg writes that his pickets also have crossed at Bottoms Bridge; that he has taken a deserter. He has not yet arrived, however, and I do not delay sending this to take his examination.

- The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume 11 (Part I)

Holman, George F. — 2d Lieut. — Res. Cambridge; lawyer; 23; comm. and must. June 15, 1861; comm. 1st Lieut., Aug. 1, 1861; comm. Captain, Oct. 11, 1861; disch. Sept. 9, 1862, on Surgeon's Certif. of Disability, as Captain of Co. "C." See Co. "D" 2d Mass. Cav.: disch. May 15, 1865.

Whitcomb, John R. — Captain — Res. Mansfield; blacksmith; 34; comm. and must. June 15,1861 ; must, out June 27, 1864. comm. Capt. Asst. Quartermaster U.S. Volunteers, June 30, 1864. must, out June 10 1866.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Hidden Costs of War

The Daily Press(Newport News) tells of the day in the Second World War when two fighters crashed over New Kent.

“All of a sudden, I heard a screeching noise as one of the planes was going into a dive.”

A P47-D

A not particularly well know fact of the war against the Axis from the World War II Foundation . . .

"According to the AAF Statistical Digest, in less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes — inside the continental United States. They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Farmers for Victory

                        We Farm for America 
New Kent's Answer to the Nation's Need 
OUR LAND A TRUST: We will treat our land as a heritage from the past which we hold in trust for future generations of Americans. The soil has taken thousands of years to build and we will hand it on richer and more productive than we received it. 
FEED THE NATION: We are called on to feed the nation now in time of war and maybe a starving world when the war is won. In a spirit of unselfish patriotism we will play our fullest part in the nation's war effort in her task of remaking the world.  
DEFEND THE NATION FROM THE FOE WITHIN: We can defend America from the foe within, while the men at the front defend her from the foe without. America has no more deadly enemy than those forces which work to break down her moral character, to destroy her faith in God and divide her by setting class against class and race against race. When the farmers stand firm, America will be proof against all "isms".  
SOUND HOMES FOR SOUND FARMS: We will make our home life a pattern for the nation. The home is the heart of the nation. A country is as strong, healthy and united as its home life. A sound home makes a sound farm, a home where everybody in the family plays his part.  
GOOD NEIGHBORING: We will pursue a good neighbor policy. Neighboring was once the secret of our democracy. Now is the time to bring that spirit back. We need each other today. "Each man for himself" will get us and America nowhere. Neighboring means sharing our tools and our time, knowing our neighbors' needs and doing our best to meet them.  
END PRIVATE WARS: We will end all private wars. Honest apology starts teamwork. National unity begins when you and the fellow you don't get along with straighten things out. Unity between the nations will only come through the same spirit.  
END WASTE: We will end waste in the kitchen, the cash-box, the machinery shed, the barns, the fields, the orchards and the forests.  
OUT TO GIVE—NOT TO GET: Whatever we do we will always think first of what we can give to the nation rather than what we can get from it. 
GUARDIANS OF NATIONAL CHARACTER: We, farmers of America, are guardians of the nation's character as well as of her soil. "In God we trust" was a reality to her founders — not just a catch phrase. With our dependence on Divine Providence we can make that faith live again as the secret of America's strength and greatness. 
Presented by C. Linwood Fisher for a                CLINTON L. WILLIAMS  
group of citizens and approved by              Chairman, Board of Supervisors
the  Board of Supervisors of New Kent              E. E. HARRISON
County,of April, 1943.                               County Clerk  

This is the text of a resolution recently adopted by the Board of Supervisors of New Kent County. If you subscribe to this creed, it is suggested that you cut this from your paper and hang it up in your home or office.

-The Virginia Farm Bureau News, 1 August 1943

Friday, July 15, 2016

Planning the York River Railroad - 1854

                                                  YORK RIVER RAILROAD
We have been furnished with a copy of the reports of Mr. DUDLEY, President of the York River Railroad, and of Mr. F.S. CLAXTON, Chief Engineer, on the subject of the location of the road, and the various lines that have been surveyed from Richmond to different points on the York River All the routes have not been fully surveyed, owing to sickness among the corps of Engineers and assistants employed upon them; but it is thought that the information obtained is quite sufficient for intelligent and proper conclusions as to the best route and the best terminus. The Engineer states that not only every member of the original party were obliged to succumb; but others who, from time to time, joined it, have been taken down, until the sick list amounted to fourteen. On one of the routes —that through King William—a party were engaged when the report was prepared, but the Engineer hoped their survey would be ready by the time of the assembling of the stockholders on the 9th instant—i.e., to-morrow.

The President, in his report, states that the Board of Directors have determined to establish their Depot immediately on the Ship Dock in this city, lying between 22d and 26th streets, fronting on Water street 924 feet (including cross streets,) and running back to Cary street. From the Depot, the road is to pass under Main street and in rear of Rocketts, around to Gillie's Creek; thence up the ravine of that Creek.

Without going into minute details, at present, we give below the results of the different surveys, and the merits of the different termini, as set forth in the Engineer's Report :

West Point
The best accommodation for shipping is at this point—i.e., the widest and most roomy harbour. The greatest draft to it at low tide is 18 feet. The distance from Richmond to West Point is 42.82 miles.
Cost of single track to W. Point. . $682,393.09
Grading for double . . . . . track 65,644.52
Cost of wharves . . . . .21,470.51 

The harbour from Parham's to Eltham is set down as "the most protected and safest," with 18 feet at low tide. Distance from Richmond 32.2 miles.
Cost of single track . . $606,134.55
Grading for double track . . 67,750.40
Cost of wharves . .18,999.60  

This landing is on the Pamunkey. West Point is in the fork of the junction of the Pamuukey and the Mattapony, which form the York.   

This is on York River; distant from Richmond 37.56 miles, with a draft at low tide of 22 feet.
Cost of single track . . $663,713.38
Grading for double track . .  63,714.15
Wharves and foundation for freight house . . 31,957.51  

Also on York River—46 miles from Richmond, with a minimum depth of 16 feet.
Cost of single track $748,404.00
Grading for double track 69,791.00.
Wharves and foundation for freight house 79,692.79

Stoney Point.*
This is very near Yorktown— distance from Richmond 58 miles, with any required depth of water, but harbour much exposed.
Cost of single track . . $749,930.36
Grading for double track . . .75,000.00
Cribbing and filling in for wharves . . .175 873.20  

It appears from this that Eltham or Parham's has the shortest route, cheapest road and safest harbor. West Point is the most spacious harbor of the two. The remaining three harbors have the advantage of deeper water; but are more exposed. Mr. Claxton publishes two letters, one from Mr. Blunt, Harbor Master of New York, and one from Lieut. Maury, in answer to letters from him. Mr. Blunt says if Mr. C. can get 18 feet water (which he says should be the minimum) a very large business will be done, as vessels trading to New Orleans can only carry 16 feet over the bar. He adds, not one vessel in fifty draws more than 18 feet.

Lieut. Maury advises that the depth be not loss than twenty-three feet, supposing the average draft of vessels in the York river trade will not be less than nineteen feet.

Mr. Claxton acknowledges his obligations to Assistant Engineers Atkinson, Myers, Mayo, Hendren and Lawson.

The President states that Mr. John Tabb, one of the State Directors of the road, having resigned, Major Wm. B. Taliaferro of Gloucester has been appointed in his place. The decision of the question of route is an important one and will attach much interest to the proceedings of the company.

-The Daily Dispatch, 8 August 1854

*Stoney Point Plantation apparently is now the site of the Marine barracks at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

You've Heard of a Fish Story, What of a . . .

                                                             HAWK STORY
New Kent. An accident and incident occurred near here a few days ago when two ladies were talking, as usual, of their nice broods of early chicks. One lady asked the other if she was bothered with hawks. "Yes," was the answer, "this morning I was out feeding my chickens, had them in my lap, admiring their beauty, one had got on my hand. I felt something tugging at my hair and thought it was my young husband. When I looked up, behold a large hawk. It had swooped down, caught my little chick, and in its efforts to get away it got entangled in my hair. It grabbed the little chick and my eye glasses at the same time and made off for the woods carrying both chick and glasses; could see my glasses dangling from its claws. I screamed and my husband came with his gun and went in pursuit of the thief. He had not gone long when I saw the old hawk hack again, and from its claws swung my glasses and chain. I screamed with all my might, but it did no good, as he got away with my glasses. They had just cost, me fifteen dollars."  
News was received here of a hawk being killed near Providence Forge by a colored boy with glasses and a little gold chain around its neck. The home of the boy was located, but the young man said the mother of the boy said her son had killed such, but had gone to Newport News the night, before, carrying the hawk and glasses with him. This ended the unusual incident, yet there remains sad hearts and weepings.- West Point News.

-Rappahannock Record, 18 March 1926

Monday, July 4, 2016

"Consideration the Proper Arrangement of Minute Men, to be Enlisted in this District"

The resolutions of the meeting September 11-12, 1775 of the deputies from counties of the Williamsburg military district.

Then the committee proceeded to the choice of officers in the regular service for this district, and nominated the following Gentlemen: 
George Nicholas, Esq; Captain; Mr. Beverley Dickson, 1st Lieutenant; Mr. Thomas Russell, 2d Lieutenant; and Mr. Merritt Moore, Ensign. 
Resolved, that it be recommended to the officers so appointed to proceed with the utmost expedition to inlist within this destrict [sic] one company of regulars, to consist of 68 men, rank and file; that they rendezvous with the said company in the city of Williamsburg, when enlisted, until further orders of the committee of safety.
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 1775. 
The committee proceeded to take under their consideration the proper arrangement of minute men, to be enlisted in this district, pursuant to an ordinance of the General Convention, and came to the following resolution. 
Resolved, that there be enlisted, in the county of Elizabeth City one company of 50 men, rank and file; in the county of Warwick one other company of 50; in the county of York two companies of 50 each; in the county of James City one company of 50; in the county of New Kent two companies of 50 each; in the county of Charles City two companies of 50 each; and in the city of Williamsburg one company of 50, to be commanded by their proper officers. The following Gentlemen were then appointed officers. 
Champion Travis, Esq; Colonel of the battalion; Hugh Nelson, Esq; Lieutenant Colonel; and Samuel Harwood, Esq; Major. Mr. John Cary, Captain of the company to be raised in Elizabeth City; Mr. John King, Lieutenant; and Mr. Joseph Selden, jun. Ensign. Mr. Richard Cary, Captain of the company to be raised in Warwick county; Mr. Thomas Haynes, Lieutenant; and Mr. Josiah Massenburg, Ensign. Mr. William S. Sclater, Captain of one of the companies to be raised in York county; Mr. Callohill Minnis, jun. Lieutenant; and Mr. Edward Howard, Ensign. Mr. William Goosley, Captain of the other company to be raised in York county; Mr. Thomas Harwood, Lieutenant; and Mr. Frederick Bryan, Ensign. Mr. John Walker, Captain of the company to be raised in James City; Mr. William Johnson, Lieutenant; and Mr. Henry Brown, Ensign. Mr. Furnea Southall, Captain of one of the companies to be raised in Charles City; Mr. Edward Marrable, Lieutenant; and Mr. John Bell, Ensign. John Tyler, Esq.; Captain of the other company for Charles City; Mr. Stith Hardyman, Lieutenant; and Peter Dunn, Ensign. Mr. Thomas Massie, Captain of one of the companies to be raised in New Kent; Mr. Henry Finch, Lieutenant; and Mr. Samuel Manning, Ensign. Mr. Andrew Anderson, Captain of the other company to be raised in New Kent; Mr. Walter Hopkins, Lieutenant; and Mr. William Armistead, jun. Ensign. Mr. Robert Anderson, Captain of the company to be raised in the city of Williamsburg; Mr. Humphrey Harwood, Lieutenant; and Mr. William Rowsay, Ensign. 
Resolved, that James Bray Johnson, Gentleman, be appointed Commissary of Musters for this district. Resolved, that the place of general rendezvous for the battalion of this district be in the neighbourhood of the city of Williamsburg. 
Resolved, that public notice be given, to such persons as may be willing to contract for supplying the battalion of this district with necessary provisions, to give in their proposals to the Chairman of this committee, in writing; and that the said Chairman, together with members of James City, York, and Williamsburg, or any six of them, do, in the mean time, as occasion may require, contract with proper persons to supply any company or detachment of minute men, who may, upon any emergency, be called out to actual service. 
It being represented to this committee, that a number of field-pieces have been lately brought to the city of Williamsburg; and the committee being of opinion, that it is necessary the same should be properly mounted and taken care of, offer it, as their opinion, to the Committee of Safety, that a proper person be appointed for that purpose; and take the liberty of recommending Mr. William Finnie, as a Gentleman who hath distinguished himself by his activity and zeal in the cause of the country."

 - The Virginia Gazette, September 16, 1775