Archive for the ‘Conflict Sites’ Category

Kingsmill W-47: Not Erected

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012


Kingsmill Plantation, the home of Col. Lewis Burwell, was built in the mid-1730s and consisted of a mansion, outbuildings, garden, and 1,400 acres. The house burned in 1843. Only the office and the kitchen still stand; they are among the earliest brick dependencies in Virginia. Burwell, the naval officer (colonial customs inspector) for the upper James River, built his inspection station here at Burwell’s Landing, which included a tavern, storehouse, warehouse, and ferry house. In Nov. 1775, American riflemen skirmished nearby with British naval vessels; later, the Americans built two earthen forts here that the British captured in 1781.

Further Research

One of Remaining Houses on Kingsmill Plantation

Richard Kingsmill, who was granted one of the first land grants by the Virginia Company, initially purchased the land that Kingsmill Plantation was located. In the mid-1730s, colonial customs inspector and British Colonel Lewis Burwell III purchased 1,400 acres of Kingsmill’s original plot, and constructed a plantation with several other structures. The headquarters of his inspection station (Burwell’s Landing) was also located on the property along the James River, which included a tavern, warehouse, and ferry.

Kingsmill Archaeological Site

Kingsmill Plantation saw action in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. As Patriot forces began to assemble near Williamsburg in the fall of 1775, the Colonial Governor of Virginia Lord Dunmore ordered that British ships patrol the James River to stop potential ferry crossings of these rebels. On Sunday, November 5th, militiamen from Chesterfield County began to assemble near Williamsburg with intentions to embark upon Norfolk. The British vessel the Kingfisher patrolled the river with three other supporting tenders, but failed in stopping a thousands Colonial militiamen from crossing the river. Despite this, the Kingfisher exchanged fire with a Colonial vessel at Burwell’s Ferry without any decisive action. At the end of the War in 1781, French forces under the Marquis de Lafayette utilized Burwell’s Landing as they docked and moved inland from there. Later that year in January, Colonial General Thomas Nelson and his militia foiled Benedict Arnold’s plan to land at Burwell’s Ferry.

Lord Dunmore

Many battles in the Civil War were also fought in the vicinity of Kingsmill Plantation. Union General George B. McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign engulfed the plantation, as an army of 120,000 men landed and moved inland through the area with the task of reaching Richmond. Several Confederate defensive lines also ran through the property such as the Warwick Line, and the Williamsburg Line. On May 6th of 1865, the Battle of Williamsburg was fought here where the Confederates lost 1,682 men and the Union lost 2,283.

Present Day Kingsmill Plantation

Today resorts, theme parks, a brewery, and a golf course have enveloped much of the Kingsmill land. Busch Gardens, Kingsmill Resort, and the community of Kingsmill on the James are all located on this former plantation.


Further Reading

Russell, David Lee. The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies. McFarland, 2000.

John S. Salmon, compiler. A Guidebook to Virginia’s Historical Markers, Revised and Expanded Edition. University Press of Virginia, 2001.

Sears, Stephen W. To The Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign. 1st ed. Mariner Books, 2001.

Photo Credits

“One of remaining houses on Kingsmill Plantation,” National Park Service, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Kingsmill archaeological site,” National Park Service, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Lord Dunmore,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Present Day Kingsmill Plantation,” Golf Williamsburg, (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources – This marker has since been removed due to construction.

Green Spring W-36

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


On this road, five miles south, is Green Spring, home of Governor Sir William Berkeley. Bacon the Rebel occupied it in 1676. Cornwallis, after moving from Williamsburg by this road on July 4, 1781, was attacked by Lafayette near Green Spring on July 6, 1781. Anthony Wayne was the hero of this fight.


Further Research

Historic Green Spring

 Green Spring was the land given to Governor Sir William Berkeley in 1643. It was under a total of 1,000 acres, and he had borders to the North, South, and East. Should he want to expand his territory, though, the West was full of unclaimed land. There was high ground, drinkable water, timber, and water accesses scattered all across his land. He then built a house relatively close to the spring. This has been considered one of the “largest stately mansions of the day” (Billings, 59-60). By 1660, the amount of acreage had more than doubled, and an additional 3,000 acres had been set-aside as “Governor’s Land” (Cotton).

Marquis de Lafayette

 During the Revolutionary War on July 6, 1781, Green Spring was the site of an important military skirmish between the British and American troops. Both the Marquis de Lafayette and General Cornwallis were in Williamsburg. An attack from either side was near certain. Marshland surrounded the Green Spring plantation, and was hard to travel through. Upon the beginning of battle, the American forces began to push back the British into a near retreat. That would change; as it then came to light the General Cornwallis had set up a trap. It would end with the Americans in an organized retreat after some cool thinking and quick planning of Brigadier General Anthony Wayne under Lafayette. The final count of deaths as well as retreats would lead this battle to be considered a British victory. The final casualty numbers for the Americans and British were 140 and 75, respectively. (Clary, 311). Green Spring had been used to house the American Wayne and the Frenchman Lafayette, and to be a marshaling point for their troops (Cotton).

General Cornwallis

 Another thing present at Green Spring was Berkeley’s interest in horticulture. He used his land as an experimental farm for the production of unique crops. Some of the included plants would be the usual tobacco, as well as hemp, flax, cotton, rice, and fruits such as grapes and apricots (Cotton).

Further Reading

Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004.

Clary, David A. Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution. New York: Bantam Books, 2007.

Cotton, Lee Peltham. Green Spring Plantation: A Historical Summary (Accessed April 12, 2012).

Photo Credits

“General Cornwallis,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Historic Green Spring,” Historic Green Spring, (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “Green Spring W-36,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Marquis de Lafayette,” New World Encyclopedia, (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

Green Spring Road V-42

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


The 17th century road to Green Spring, home of Governor Sir William Berkeley, was the eastern part of the Great Road, the earliest-developed English thoroughfare in Virginia. The Great Road ran from Jamestown Island toward the falls of the James River. The road was an important thoroughfare used to transport goods and forward communications between settlements. Originally, the Green Spring Road followed close to the James River, linking Jamestown to Green Spring. On 6 July 1781, the Revolutionary War Battle of Green Spring was fought in the fields flanking this road. By this time, the lower portion of the road (a part of present day Rte. 614) had shifted eastward.

Further Research
Green Spring was known for numerous events in American history, such as a point in Nathaniel Bacon’s Rebellion as well as for the Battle of Green Spring during the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Green Spring was fought between the forces of the Marquis de Lafayette and General Charles Cornwallis on July 6, 1781. It ended in a rout of the Revolutionary troops, but was not a total defeat as General Cornwallis did not pursue the fleeing Americans (Clary, 311).

On that day, there were a number of Americans who recorded what they had seen firsthand. With the many viewpoints, the personal accounts range from strictly military to more personal views with biases. The first comes from Captain John Davis of the 1st Pennsylvania regiment, where he describes the events of July 6, 1781 with a strategic approach. He lists the numbers of units and casualties of that battle.

“At sun rise we took up the line of march for Jamestown; which place the enemy lay  at.   The Ist  Batt” was detached with some riflemen, which brought on a scattering fire that continued many  hours, when the  2nd  &  3rd  Batt’ with one  of  Infantry arrived in sight;  we formed & brought on  a  Gen’ Action.  Our advances regular at a  charge, till we got  within 8o  yds.  of their main body, under a heavy fire of  Grape shot,  at  which   distance we opened our musquettry at their line;  3 of  our artillery horses being wounded;  & then their right flanking our  left, rendered a retreat necessary, with the loss of  2  pieces of Artillery.” (Davis, 2).

William McDowell of the same regiment included more of a look on the aftermath of the battle, including the lists of those wounded and some of the events post-retreat (Rees, 6).

The most interesting accounts comes from the leading officer of the Advance Guard, Major William Galvan. His retelling is the only known detailed narrative of the battle by an American. He writes not only about the general statistics of Green Spring, but also about the battle from his own point of view. It is a good portrayal of the struggle from a commanding officer of a group of units when forced to retreat or forced into any tight position (Rees, 7-8).

Of the troops available to General George Washington before and after this battle, 542 of 830 soldiers remained as fit for duty (Rees, 9).


Further Reading

Clary, David A. Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution. New York: Bantam Books, 2007.

Davis, John. “Diary of Captain John Davis, of the Pennsylvania Line.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 1, No. 1. July, 1893.

Rees, John U. “A Smart firing commenc’d from both parties…” (Accessed March 12, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Green Spring Road V-42,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Quarterpath Road W-42

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


James Bray owned land nearby in Middle Plantation by the 1650s, and Quarterpath Road probably began as a horse path to one of Bray’s quarters or farm units. Over the years, the road was improved; it extended to Col. Lewis Burwell’s landing on the James River by the early eighteenth century. As Williamsburg grew, Quarterpath Road became one of the principal routes by which travelers and trade goods were brought into the colonial capital.

Further Research

Field school students excavating near a brick chimney foundation at the Quarterpath Road site

Very little remains in Williamsburg in regard to defenses during the Civil War. Quarterpath Road shows the placement of a Confederate line, however (Konstam, 91). It was located within site of one confederate fort named Fort Magruder. It was a highly defensible point which also had a view over the point where York and Hampton Roads met. The Confederate troops had set up earthworks of a sort to aid in defense, but the area had revolutionary works still remaining from years past. There were issues, though, such as the possibility of Williamsburg being completely bypassed via the James River (Dubbs, 69).

Depiction of a fight at Fort Magruder

General Magruder, of the fort, had requested for both reinforcements and a blockade of the James River with sunken ships. The second request did not happen, but Magruder and the Confederates did gain some reinforcements, as did the Federal troops under McClellan. Over the course of one month, the numbers of the Confederate and Union troops would increase to roughly 54,000 and 112,000 men, respectively. A series of small skirmishes would take place over the entirety of the Hampton Roads and Yorktown areas (Dubbs, 69-87). It was more or less a Union victory.

Middle Plantation was also an important place, though not for the same reasons. With the burning down of Jamestown when Nathaniel Bacon and his followers left, Virginia’s General Assembly met several times at the Middle Plantation. Of the members, one was James Bray whom served as a councilor that died in 1692. Two other major things that came about in Middle Plantation include the Bruton Parish Church, as well as the College of William and Mary (Morgan, 24).

Further Reading

Dubbs, Carol K. Defend This Old Town: Williamsburg During the Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Press, 2002.

Konstam, Angus. Fair Oaks 1862. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2003.

Morgan, Timothy E. Williamsburg: A City That History Made. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Photo Credits

“Depiction of a fight at Fort Magruder,” CWDG Online, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Field school students excavating near a brick chimney foundation at the Quarterpath Road site,” The African Diaspora Archaeology Network, (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “Quarterpath Road W-42,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.


View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

New Kent Road W-26

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


By the 1720s, several taverns stood on New Kent Road (also called the Old Stage Road) between Williamsburg and New Kent Court House. During two wars, the road served opposing armies as well as travelers. In June 1781, near the end of the Revolution, British commander Gen. Charles Cornwallis marched his army from Richmond to Williamsburg on the road, with the Marquis de Lafayette and his army in cautious pursuit. During the Civil War, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate army withdrew west on the road toward Richmond after the Battle of Williamsburg on 5 May 1862; Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac slowly followed.

Further Research

Old Stage Coach

New Kent Road has been an important pathway in both the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars. It had previously been known as the “Old Stage Coach Road.”

Around the later portion of the American Revolutionary War, General Cornwallis of the British army had used this road to move his troops between Williamsburg and Richmond in June of 1781. The Marquis de Lafayette had cautiously followed. Upon watching, Lafayette had a tactic of keeping a solid defense in the case of Cornwallis turning around and launching an attack against his pursuers. This was a focus on maneuvering and complete abstinence of any general engagement (Johnston, 54).

Bottom's Bridge

The exact date in which Cornwallis had passed along this road was on June 24, 1781, and a day later he passed by the American reconnaissance group at Bottom’s Bridge. Lafayette, who arrived two weeks prior and lied in wait for the British troops to pass by, had beaten him there. The primary reason for this surveillance tactic was to enable the General Washington to know if a surprise attack would be launched against the American troops (Harris, 19).

“My Dear Sir,
By the time you receive this you must have accounts from the enemy. Should they be near us, this would be the good time for the night attack; but I am afraid we shall not have the opportunity. Whatever road the enemy take, you will please to proceed in that route, and, if opportunity offers; to attack them. You will do for the best.
(Johnston, 54)

Along the way, General Cornwallis had destroyed American goods. Some of the goods included tobacco, food, uniforms, flour, and muskets (Russell, 261)

Further Reading

Harris, Malcolm Hart. Old New Kent CountyVol. 1. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2006.

Johnston, Henry Phelps. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1881.

McClellan, George B. Letter of the Secretary of War Transmitting Report on the Organization of the Army of the Potomac and of Its Campaigns in Virginia and Maryland Under the Command of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan from July 26, 1861 to November 7, 1862. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1864.

Rafuse, Ethan Sapp. McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.

Russell, David Lee. The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies. New York: AS Barnes, 1877.

Symonds, Craig L. Joseph E. Johnston: A Civil War Biography. New York: WW Norton and Company, 1992.

Photo Credits

“Bottom’s Bridge,” The National Archives, (accessed May 2, 2012).

Earle, Alice Morse, “Old Stage Coach,” The Project Gutenberg. Stage Coach and Tavern Days. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1900 (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “New Kent Road W-26,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

Department of Historic Resources

York County Z-266

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


York County. Area 186 square miles. One of the eight original shires formed in 1634. First called Charles River, which was named for King Charles I. The name was changed in 1643 to York for Yorkshire, England. Cornwallis’s surrender, October 19, 1781, took place at Yorktown.


Further Research

Captain John Smith's Map showing Kiskiack

A fort site was originally constructed on the Charles [York] River, and this site was selected by Captain Martinau and was subsequently named York.  “The Fort at Yorke” occupied a point on the river at the mouth of Wormley Creek, named for the first settler in that section, Colonel Christopher Wormley, and lies about two miles down the river from the present site of Yorktown (Trudell, 38).  In 1633, due to the safety of the fort, a settlement was built and York was selected as a crucial receiving point for goods.  A store was soon built to serve shipping and receiving needs of the settlers of both Yorke and Kiskiack, another settlement a few miles up the river that had preceeded the York settlement by about two years.

The Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown

In 1634, Virginia was divided by legislature into 8 counties, subsequently placing the fort at York in Charles County.  In 1642, the names of the river and county were changed from Charles to York in order to honor the Duke of York and Yorkshire.  As a result, Williamsburg came to be located partially in both James City County and York County, respectively (Trudell, 38).  The surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown proved the town to be immortal.  Through all of the battles fought between 1781 and 1862, the majority of the town was destroyed.  The Deneuvile Cottage is the only original colonial structure that still exists today.

Further Reading

Trudell, Clyde F. Colonial Yorktown. Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1938.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “York County Z-266,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Captain John Smith’s Map showing Kiskiack,” The Spanish in the Chesapeake Bay, (accessed April 30, 2012).

“The Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown,” Architect of the Capitol, (accessed April 30, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

Paspahegh Indians V-50

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


Located nearby was the main town of the Paspahegh Indians, tributaries to paramount chief Powhatan. When Jamestown was built in their territory, the Paspahegh consistently resisted the English settlement. In Aug. 1610, George Percy, on orders from Gov. De La Warr (Delaware), destroyed the Paspahegh town and its crops, killing 16 people and capturing the wife and children of chief Wowinchapuncke. On their return to Delaware’s ship, the English threw the children overboard and then shot them in the head, and later executed the chief’s wife-actions that changed the nature of warfare for the Virginia Indians. Wowinchapuncke was killed in a later skirmish near Jamestown. The remaining Paspahegh left the area by 1611.

Further Research

Paspahegh Native with a Colonist

The Paspahegh natives were an Algonquian-speaking nation that originally resided where the location of Jamestown was founded (Bridenbaugh, 10). They were closely associated with the Powhatan tribe, along with many other native tribes in the area, including the Pamunkey and the Chickahominy. By the time the English had first arrived in the Chesapeake Bay area in 1607, the Paspahegh natives had already taken proactive precautions and moved their village further up the James River to Sandy Point, in hopes of keeping a safe distance from the white intruders (Grizzard and Smith, 163).

Despite the Paspahegh tribes’ attempts to maintain a safe distance from the settlers, on May 26th, 1607, the Paspahegh attacked the settlers and this surprise attack led to a violent skirmish that resulted in about 10 to 12 men wounded, 1 to 2 Englishmen dead, and the capture of the Paspahegh chief, Wowinchapuncke. The Chief escaped, however his wife and children were later captured.

George Percy

On August 9th, 1610, the Paspahegh tribe was attacked by a siege of over seventy Englishmen whose primary objective from the governor was to destroy the village of the Paspahegh. George Percy led the combatants in killing and decapitating almost twenty natives, along with destroying the tribe’s crops and retaining the tribal queen and her children into custody. While their lives were spared initially, after arriving back at James Fort, the queen and her children were executed (Grizzard and Smith, 165). After this brutal conflict, the Paspahegh natives ceased to be a threat to the colonists.



Further Reading

Bridenbaugh, Carl. Jamestown: 1544-1699. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Feest, Christian F. Indians of North America: The Powhatan Tribes. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990.

Grizzard, Jr. Frank E. and D. Boyd Smith. Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007.

Photo Credits:

Historical Marker “Paspahegh Indians V-50,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Paspahegh Native with a Colonist,” Charles City County: State Historical Markers, (accessed April 29, 2012).

“George Percy,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, (accessed April 29, 2012).


View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Sir William Berkeley V-42-A

Thursday, March 29th, 2012


Oxford educated, Sir William Berkeley (1605-1677) was governor of Virginia from 1641 to 1652 and from 1600 to 1677, holding office longer than any other governor of Virginia, colonial or modern. Under his leadership, Virginia changed from a colonial outpost to a center of agriculture and commerce. His creation of the bicameral General Assembly helped establish the origins of American political self-rule. Nathaniel Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 threatened Berkeley’s legacy. After Bacon suddenly died on Oct. 26, Berkeley regained his authority as governor and ended the rebellion by January 1677. The site of Berkeley’s Green Spring House is north of here.

Further Research

Sir William Berkeley

William Berkeley was born on a wintry day in 1605 to Elizabeth and Sir Maurice Berkeley of Somerset, England.  After developing a close relationship with King Charles I, Berkeley was appointed to the titles of governor and captain-general of the colony of Virginia (Billings, 32).  On March 8th of 1641, Berkeley officially assumed his duties as governor of Virginia.  He arrived in Jamestown in the spring of 1642 and upon specific instructions from King Charles I, he was to “promote stability and patriotism and stimulate economic growth” (Grizzard and Smith, 27).

Chief Opechcancanough

In 1644, Pamunkey native Chief Opechancanough attacked the colony of Jamestown in what would  come to be known as the Indian Massacre of 1644.  Berkeley quickly assumed command of the armed forces and after about six weeks, the colonists were finally able to ward off the natives.  After a few more years of colonists and natives fighting, Governor Berkeley was able to capture Opechancanough and in October of 1646, Governor Berkeley was able to negotiate a treaty with the new Pamunkey chief, Necotowance (Grizzard and Smith, 28).  In this treaty, Governor Berkeley established a land boundaries and a peace settlement that would be understood as long as the natives stayed on their land and promised to pay an annual tribute to the Governor.

During the 1660’s, tensions had begun to rise once again between the colonists and the natives.  Colonists were having difficulties economically, mostly due to crops and in many cases these problems were being blamed on the natives.  More and more attacks and fights were occurring between the colonists and the natives and ever since the formation of the treaty the Governor had established between himself and the Pamunkey natives, Berkeley had developed a very “laissez faire” attitude.  He did not perceive smaller quarrels as being anything that would amount to a large-scale attack, so he did not react to these.  Disgruntled colonists and planters all throughout the colony were angry regarding Berkeley’s complicit attitude and in the summer of 1676, one planter was desperate to make some changes.

Nathaniel Bacon

Nathaniel Bacon was a 29-year-old planter who lived in the Jamestown settlement and harbored ill will towards the natives.  He was appalled by Berkeley’s complacency and in 1676 he led a rebellion against Governor Berkeley and his assembly.  Bacon led about 500 men into Green Spring and later Jamestown, before burning it down on September 19th (Grizzard and Smith, 29).  Embarrassed, Governor Berkeley was recalled back to England by Charles II to answer for his failure at protecting the colonists.  Governor Berkeley died on July 9, 1677 and was buried at Twickenham in Middlesex.

Policy towards Natives

“Forbid all persons whatsoever to receive into their houses the person of any Indian or to converse or trade with them” (Billings, 51). Initially, Governor Berkeley harbored no ill will towards the natives of the area and he encouraged the colonists to do the same. However, in 1667 after an attack by the natives and the consequential loss of slaves, an uprising of disgruntled planters led by Nathaniel Bacon Jr. occurred in an effort to revolt against Governor Berkeley. This skirmish that came to be known as Bacon’s Rebellion resulted in the loss of many lives and the embarrassed and shame filled governor was summoned by King Charles II to return to England and he was further reprieved of his duties (Grizzard and Smith, 29).

Bacon’s Rebellion

Bacon's Rebellion

In the mid to late 1600’s, tensions between the local natives of the Virginia colony and the colonists themselves were beginning to rise. Native attacks were occurring more frequently and they were becoming more violent as well. In 1676, natives attacked the home of Nathaniel Bacon Jr. and in doing so they stole his slaves. Being as Bacon was an established planter, slaves were the key to his trade and his livelihood, and this vicious act infuriated him. Immediately, Bacon contested to Governor Berkeley of Virginia, but with no avail as Governor Berkeley maintained a strict non-violence policy towards the natives. Outraged, Bacon commanded a rebellion against the Governor and his conformist policies towards the natives and he acted out violently, burning down various houses and other buildings. As a result, Governor William Berkeley was renounced of his position as governor of Virginia and he was forced to return to England by demand of King Charles II (Billings, 235).

Bacon’s Declaration to the People

The Declaration of the People, against Sr: Wm: Berkeley, and Present Governor’s of Virginia

For having upon specious Pretences of publick Works raised unjust Taxes, upon the Commonaltie, For advancing of Private Favourites. And other sinister Ends, but noe visibile Effect, in any Measure adequate.

Nathaniel Bacon's Declaration of the People

For having abused, and rendered Contemptable, his Maties: Justice, by advancing to Places of Judicature, Scandalous and ignorant Favourites.
For having wronged his Maties: Prorogative, and Interest, by assuming the Monopolie of the Bever Trade.

For having in that unjust Gaine, betrayed and sold, His Matie: Countrie, and the Liberties of his Loyall Subjects to the Barbarous Heathen.

For having, Protected, favoured, and Emboldened, the Indians against his Maties: most Loyall Subjects; never Contriving, requiring, or appointing any due or proper Meanes of Satisfaction; for thiere many Incusrsions, Murthers, and Robberies, Committed upon Us.

For having when the Armie of the English, was upon the Tract of the Indians, which now in all Places, burne spoile, and Murder, And when Wee might with ease, have destroyed them, Who were in open hostilitie.

For having expresslie, countermanded, and sent back, our Armie, by Passing his word, for the Peaceable demeanours of the said Indians, Who Immediately prosecuted their Evill Intentions – Committing horrid Murders and Robberies, in all Places, being Protected by the said Engagement, and Word passed by Him the said Sr: Wm: Berkeley having Ruined and made Desolate, a greate Part of his Maties: Countrie, having now drawn themselves into such obscure and remote places, and are by theire success soe Emboldened, and Confirmed, and by theire Confederates strengthened. That the Cryes of Blood, are in all Places, and the Terror, and Consternation of the People soe greate, That They are not only become difficult, but a very formidable Enemie Who might with Ease bin destroyed.

When upon the loud outcries of Blood, the Assemblie had with all Care, rasied and framed an Armie, for the Prevention of future Mischeifs, and safeguard of his Maties: Colonie.

For having only with the Privacie of a fewe favourites, without the Acquainting of the People, only by Alteration of a Figure forged a Commission, by I Know not what hand, not only without, but against the Consent of the People, for the Raising and Effecting of Civill Warr, and Destruction, which being happily and without Bloodshed prevented.

For having the second time attempted the same, thereby calling down our forces from the Defence of the frontiers, and most weakened and Exposed Places, for the prevention of Civill Mischeife, and Ruine amongst our selves; whilest the Barbarous Enemie in all places did Invade Murder and spoile us, his Maties: Loyall Subjects.

Of these the aforesaid Articles Wee accuse Sr: Wm: Berkeley as guiltie of Each and Everie of the same. As one who hath Traiterouslie attempted, Violated and Injured his Maties: Interest here, by the Loss of a greate Part of his Maties: Colonie, and many of his faithfull and Loyall Subjects, by Him betrayed in a Barbarous and shamefull Manner Exposed to the Incursion, and murder of the Heathen. And We farther declare the Ensuing Persons in this List to have bin wicked and Pernicious Councellours and Confederates, Aiders, and Assisstants against the Commonaltie in these our Civill Commotions.

Sr: Henrie Chicekly Wm.: Cole
Coll: Chritopr: Wormly Rich: Whitecar Jon: Page: Clerke
Phillip Ludwell Rich: Spencer Jon: Cuffe: Clerk
Robert Beverlie Joseph Bridges Hub: Farrill
Richard Lee Wm: Claybourne John: West
Thomas Ballard Thom: Hawkins Tho: Readmuch
Wm: Sherwood Math: Kemp

And we farther Command that the said Sr: Wm: Berkeley, with all the Persons in this List bee forthwith delivered upp, or Surrender Themselves, within foure dayes after the notice hereof, or otherwise Wee declare as followeth.

That in whatsoever place, House, or Shipp, any of the said Persons shall Reside, bee hid, or protected, Wee doe declare the Owners, Masters and Inhabitants of the said Parties, to bee Confederates, Traytors to the People and ye Estates, of them; as alsoe of all the aforesaid Persons, to be Confiscated, this Wee the Commons of Virginia doe declare.

Desiring a firme union amongst our Selves, that Wee may Joyntly and with one accord defend our selves against the Common Enimie, and lett not the faults of the Guiltie, bee the Reproach of the Innocent, or the faults and Crimes of the Oppressors, devide and sepperate Us Who have suffered, by theire oppressions.

These are therefore in his Maties: Name to Command you: forthwith to seize the Persons abovementioned, as Traytors to the King, and Countrie, and Them to bring to the Middle Plantations, and there to secure them till further Order and in Case of opposition, if yu: want any farther Assisstance, you are forthwith to demand It. In the Name of the People, in all the Counties of Virginia.

-Nathaniell Bacon Generall, by Consent of the People.
[30 July 1676]
(Grizzard and Smith, 21-22)

Interesting Facts

Governor Sir William Berkeley and Nathaniel Bacon Jr. were actually cousins by marriage.
Sir William Berkeley holds the title for the longest established governor of colonial Virginia, and any colony or state for that matter.

Further Reading

Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004.

Carson, Jane. Bacon’s Rebellion: 1676-1976. Jamestown: The Jamestown Foundation, 1976.

Grizzard, Jr. Frank E. and D. Boyd Smith. Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007.

Washburn, Wilcomb E. The Governor and the Rebel: A History of Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1957.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Sir William Berkeley V-42-A,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Sir William Berkeley,” Friends of Green Spring, (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Chief Opechcancanough,” Powhatan Museum of Indigenous Arts and Culture, (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Nathaniel Bacon,” National Park Service, (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Bacon’s Rebellion,” Friends of Green Spring, (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Nathaniel Bacon’s Declaration of Grievances,” Encyclopedia Virginia, (accessed May 1, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Church On The Main V-46

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012


Less than one mile to the east is the site of the Church on the Main, a brick Anglican church built by the 1750s to serve James City Parish as replacement for the church on Jamestown Island, which had become difficult for communicants to reach. The Rev. James Madison(1749-1812) was its best-known rector, serving the church from about 1777 until it fell into disguise after the American Revolution and the disestablishment of the Anglican Church. Madison became president of the College of William and Mary(1777-1812) and Virginia’s first Episcopal Bishop in 1790. By 1857 all aboveground traces of the church were gone.

Further Research

Rt. Rev. James Madison, D.D., first bishop of Virginia

Two miles south of Jamestown, an agricultural area known as “the Main” became home to an anglican parish sometime in the early 1750s. As the population of Jamestown and Williamsburg exploded, the Church on the Main became a popular place of worship.

The land on which the church stood was owned by Mr. Richard Ambler of Yorktown. Upon his death in 1766, Ambler left 301 acres of the Main property to his eldest son John. John died soon after his father, and the land then was given to John’s eldest brother Edward. The youngest Ambler brother Jaquelin, married Rebecca Burwell of the Kingsmill Plantation. All three brothers were prominent members of colonial Virginia society. Both eldest brothers held seats in the House of Burgesses, and the youngest served on the Council of State, was Treasurer of Virginia, and participated in the Revolutionary War.

Early Drawing of College of William and Mary

During the War, American forces serving under General Wayne met British regulars under General Cornwallis at the Battle of Greenspring. The battle took place on the property of the Church of the Main, where the American forces were outnumbered and strategically retreated towards Yorktown. Around forty total casualties were suffered in the foray, including French sodliers under General Lafayette.

In 1788, Edward’s share of the Main was purchased from the College of William and Mary by his son John.

Further Reading

Selby, John E., and Don Higginbotham. The Revolution in Virginia, 1775-1783. Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg, 2007.

Morgan, Timothy E. Williamsburg: A City That History Made. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Lytle, Richard M. The Soldiers of America’s First Army, 1791. Scarecrow Press, 2004.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Church on the Main V-46,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Rt. Rev. James Madison, D.D.” NYPL Digital Gallery, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Early Drawing of the College of William and Mary,” The American Cyclopaedia, (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Carter’s Grove W-50

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012


During the 17th century Carter’s Grove was part of the Martin’s Hundred Plantation. In the early 1720s, Robert “King” Carter purchased it and later named the tract Carter’s Grove. Between 1750 and 1755 Carter Burwell, grandson of Robert “King” Carter, built the Carter’s Grove mansion, a famous example of colonial Virginia plantation architecture. Burwell hired brickmason David Minitree to make and lay the brick; he brought Richard Baylis, an English joiner, to Virginia to execute the interior woodword, some of the handsomest of the era. The house stood almost unaltered until 1928 when it was renovated and enlarged by the architect W. Duncan Lee.

Further Research

On April 10th of 1606, James I of England established the Virginia Company of London with the purpose of colonizing the eastern coast of North America. The first permanent English settlement, Jamestown was constructed on May 14th, 1607. As the English began to expand beyond Jamestown, Sir John Wolstenholme provided funding for the Wolstenholme Towne, located on the Martin’s hundred plantation. Established in 1620, Wolstenholme Towne at first had a population of 40 settlers and was located seven miles downstream from Jamestown.

Robert "King" Carter

The Indian Massacre of 1622 effectively decimated the new settlement, and nearly drove English settlers completely off the east coast of Virginia. The massacre killed three to four hundred settlers, and was organized by the Powhatan Confederacy’s leader ChiefOpenchakemhaque. Later on in the seventeenth century, Robert “King” Carter purchased property on the former Wolstenholme Towne. After Carter’s death, his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Nathaniel Burwell. The son of Elizabeth and Nathaniel, Carter Burwell was the first to build the now famous mansion, which stands on the property. Carter’s son Colonel Nathaniel Burwell moved to the plantation in 1771 where he farmed corn and wheat. Carter’s Grove stayed in the Burwell family until 1838. The last owner of the plantation was the wealthy Pittsburg industrialist Archibald McCrea. McCrea purchased it in 1928, but died in 1937. His widow remained at

Carter's Grove Plantation

Carter’s Grove for another twenty-five years until her death. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation purchased the property in 1969 and was responsible for the grounds until 2007. On December 19th, of 2007 the founder of CNET, Halsey Minor purchased the estate and still lives there today.


Further Reading

Hatch, Charles E., and Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation. The First Seventeen Years, Virginia, 1607-1624. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1957.

Levy, Andrew. The First Emancipator: The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter, the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves. Random House Digital, Inc., 2005.

Morgan, Timothy E. Williamsburg: A City That History Made. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Gleach, Frederic W. Powhatan’s World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures. Nebraska: U of Nebraska Press, 2000.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Carter’s Grove W-50,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Robert ‘King’ Carter,” National History Education Clearing House, (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Carter’s Grove Plantation,” Virginia Runaways: Views of the Reconstructed Slave Quarter Houses at Carter’s Grove Near Williamsburg, courtesy of Tom Costa, (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources