State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Artillery Duels and Cherry Picking- Forge Bridge 1862



Johann August Heinrich Heros von Borcke

The following day the work of saving, and destroying what could not be saved, out of the spoils at the White House, was continued, and then we moved off to join the army of General Lee, at that moment pursuing the enemy on his retreat to Harrison's Landing, on James river. We left behind one regiment as a guard over the property, estimated at millions of dollars in value, which we had collected to be transported to Richmond and the military depots of our army. While the operations I have just detailed had been going on under Stuart at the White House, General Lee had been very active-engaging the enemy and driving him further back every day. That we might regain the main body as speedily as possible, we marched for the remainder of the day without stopping in the hot sun, and encamped at nightfall upon the exact spot on the Chickahominy where, a few weeks before, we had made so narrow an escape. At daybreak next morning we received orders to move as rapidly as we might eight miles higher up the river, to ford it in the neighbourhood(sic) of Bottom's Bridge, and, falling upon the flank of the Federal army, to intercept its hasty retreat; but upon reaching this point we received counter orders, as the Federal army had already passed, and we rode back in full gallop to Forge Bridge, our starting-point. Here we found that the enemy, anticipating our movement, had posted artillery and sharpshooters in advantageous position on the river-bank, and we were accordingly received with a very determined resistance. Soon, however, Pelham came up with his horse-artillery, and, by a well-directed fire, opened a passage for us. The enemy retreated in precipitation, leaving their dead and wounded all along the course of their flight, and we were able to take but a very few prisoners. The sun was now pouring down with intense fervour(sic), and as our horses were wellnigh exhausted with our rapid marching and counter-marching, we were compelled to take a few hours' rest on the roadside. We lay down in a corner of the fence beneath the shade of some cherry-trees hanging full of their delicious fruit, the bunches unfortunately just a little too high to serve our parched mouths with grateful refreshment. Stuart and I were standing on the highest rail of the fence, trying with difficulty to pluck some of the cherries, when he laughingly said to me, “Captain, you charge the Yankees so well, why do you not attack this cherry-tree and bring it down?” Without hesitation I jumped from my elevated position, grasping the higher part of the trunk, and breaking down the tree, amid the loud cheers and laughter of the Staff and the soldiers around, who finished the spoil, now so easily to be gathered, in an incredibly short time.

-Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence, Heros von Borcke,


This was NOT during Stuart's famous ride around McClellan, but the later sweep through the county in late June of 1862 after McClellan's "change of base."





Saturday, June 8, 2019

He . . .

HAD HIS COFFIN READY

The Richmond correspondent of the Petersburg Index-Appeal, in the Sunday edition of that paper, says: A strange story was brought here to day from New Kent, the truth of which is vouched for. Last week Mr. J.H. Christian, an eccentric old gentleman, was taken very ill, and he thought he could not recover. He sent to Tunstall's for and undertaker to come and take his measure for a coffin, which was done. The casket was made and taken to Mr. Christian, who approved it. He is now much better and will recover, but will keep the coffin until he needs it.

 -Times (Roanoke)August 20, 1895


Interestingly, there are two "J. H. Christian"s buried at Emmaus Baptist Church. There is  John Harris Christian Jr. who died July 30, 1897 but who was only 42 in 1895 and so you would not think would qualify as "an eccentric old gentleman." The other is John H. Christian( John Harris' father?) who passed at 73 . . . on October 12, 1895.
So he was off by 50 days?