State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hospitals on the Pamunkey


Interior of a Union hospital ship


An interesting Wikipedia article on a little known aspect of the Civil War- the hospital ships of the United States Sanitary Commission. The Commission was a privately funded and led relief organization run out Washington during the war. Some notable members of the organization include Frederick Law Olmsted and George Templeton Strong.


The Commission created and ran the Hospital Transport Service, a network of dozens of converted steamers that transported ten of thousands of Union wounded to hospitals out of the war zone.

Some of the vessels that operated specifically on the Pamunkey River were, the Elm City, Commodore, Louisiana, State of Maine, Kennebeck, Daniel Webster No. 2, John Brooks, Whilldin, Knickerbocker, St. Mark, and the Euterpe.*

Some other sites of interest on this topic:





*Note from A MEMOIR of the Embarkation of the Sick and Wounded from the Peninsula of Virginia in the Summer of 1862.-Compiled and Published at the request of the Sanitary Commission. 


"The St. Mark arrived about this time, a splendid clipper East-Indiaman, and, after her, the Euterpe, both first-class new sailing vessels, entirely reconstructed interiorly by the Commission, as model hospital-ships, and having their own corps of surgeons, dressers, &c. Drawing too much water to come up the Pamunkey, they anchored at Yorktown, and the sick were taken down on steamboats to them, and they made the voyage round to New York in tow of steamers."



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

1863: Sunken Mules and Quick-Pig

An excerpt from Thirteenth Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865: A Diary Covering Three Years and a Day by S. Millett Thompson (Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1888)


July 8(1863). Wed. Hot; heavy showers. Reg. marches at 6 a.m. to New Kent Court House and about six miles beyond. Distance twelve miles. Roads one mass of mud. Two wagons are mired in one place, cannot be extricated and are burned. The worst roads and worst mud we ever saw. As we march to-day over a bad corduroy road, old, rotten and strewn with army waste, a big darkey, leading a mule, gets off the road with his charge and into a deep slough. The darkey is rescued with a pole, but the mule goes down down, until his ears and sorry countenance are alone visible- a sudden struggle, a gulp or two, and a few bubbles are the last signs of the mule. The darkey's sole comment, given with a scared grin, was: "I, golly! Done gone forebber!" as he plainly saw how he himself might also have gone under, but for that pole and a few strong men. The Thirteenth are all placed on picket, tonight as rear-guard, and forage far and wide for something good to eat. 
During the first halt, near New Kent Court House, of scarcely half an hour and in a pouring rain, some of the men have a lunch of 'quick-pig.' They had caught him a mile or two back, had knocked him on the head and partly dressed him while they marched. Instantly upon halting the pig is cut into very thin slices and distributed, a fire is built- of dry wood found in some wood-shed by the way, rolled in a rubber blanket and lugged may be for a mile or more- the thin slices of meat are rolled in salt, put on a green stick, and broiled in the fire. When a dozen veteran soldiers start upon an affair of this kind, a halt of ten or fifteen minutes suffices to furnish them with a hearty meal.
After this first halt, the 13th moves a little way to drier land near some buildings, and remains there for nearly two hours. Then marches about four hours to make six miles; the teams in the train, we are guarding, sticking fast in the mud at every few rods. We are marching to Hampton as a convoy to the wagon train. 



Monday, May 8, 2017

"Regarded As One of the Most Interesting Seventeenth Century Structures . . ."

                                     



                                         Historical Markers Placed in New Kent

Historical markers are now being placed in New Kent County, particularly along Highway No. 451, which follows the old county road, according to Dr. H.J. Eckenrode, head of the history division of the State Conservation and Development Commission.
Among the places being marked are the "White House," once the home of Mrs. Martha Custis, who became the wife of George Washington, and later the property of General W.H.F. Lee, son of General Robert E. Lee; old St. Peter's Church, regarded as one of the most interesting seventeenth century structures in the state; "Eltham," once a famous estate; and Eltham's Landing, the scene of a skirmish in the War Between the States. A new marker is to be placed at New Kent Courthouse.

-Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 27, 1931



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

OIL IN NEW KENT.
Four Inch Stream Forced, Out of Limb of a Tree. 
(Special to The Times-Dispatch) 
ROXBURY, VA., April 4.— Near the famous Long Bridge that spans the historic Chickahominy Swamp, a quarter of a mile from Roxbury, is a huge cypress tree which leans over the swamp. About thirty feet from the ground is a large limb, which extends over the main stream, and forced through this limb by some hidden power is a four-inch stream of pure oil. The surface of the water is covered with oil, and fears for the fish are apprehended, as the oil floats down the stream for many miles. 
Mr. M.C. Talley*, who discovered it, says he attempted to get to the limb from which it spouted to catch some of the fluid to have it tested, but the water was so high that the attempt was futile. Were the oil comes from or what it will prove to be is a mystery. The tree stands over the land of Mr. Robert Taylor, who a few years bought it from the heirs of the late John T. Harris†. Mr. Taylor, who is an expert in coal mining, which business he followed in the far West before casting his fortunes in the Sunny South, believes there is coal oil on his farm. If such proves a fact, the farm that cost $3,000 a few years ago will go up into millions. The place where the tree stands is famous place for crowds of fisherman from Richmond, and it will be learned with interest by the anglers who frequent this place all summer and fall that the sport they love so well at this hallowed spot is a thing of the past.
The pressure that forces that oil up the tree through a hollow for thirty feet and out through the limb is necessarily enormous.

- Times Dispatch, April 5, 1904


* I believe this is actually Nathaniel C. Talley.

† In 1890 Robert Taylor bought the farm, "Soldier's Rest," from the heirs of John T. Harris.



A look at the time of year when this was published might shed light on this strange story. 😃