Posts Tagged ‘James City County’

Jamestown V-44

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Inscription:

Nearby to the east is Jamestown, the original site of the first permanent English colony in North America. On 14 May 1607, a group of just over 100 men and boys recruited by the Virginia Company of London came ashore and established a settlement at Jamestown Island. They constructed a palisaded fort there within the territory of the Paspahegh Indians, who with other Virginia Indians had frequent contact with the English. In 1619 the first English representative legislative body in North America met there, and the first documented Africans arrived. Jamestown served as the capital of the Virginia colony from 1607 to 1699. Historic Jamestowne preserves this original site and the archaeological remains.

Further Research

An Aerial View of Jamestown

The founding of Jamestown in 1607 was England’s first successful colonial effort.  The colony, founded by the Royal Virginia Company, was the first permanent settlement in the New World.  After they received the charter from King James I, the Englishmen embarked on their long journey across the Atlantic on December 20th, 1606 from England to the New World.  They finally reached their desired destination around May of 1607.  They sailed on a total of three ships, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery. The veteran sea captains Christopher Newport, Bartholomew Gosnold, and John Ratcliffe

Replicas of the Discovery, Susan Constant and Godspeed

commanded these ships. As if the long, treacherous journey across the Atlantic for months wasn’t enough, upon arriving in the Chesapeake the colonists were attacked by Paspahegh natives that resulted in the injuries of at least two Englishmen.

Before embarking on their journey across the Atlantic, the colonists established a form of government and all power was divided amongst 7 councilors: President Edward Maria Wingfield, Captain John Smith, Christopher Newport, John Ratcliffe, John Martin, Bartholomew Gosnold and George Kendall (Schuricht, 18).  Among a group of 105 eager, prospecting settlers, only one nobleman was present: Sir George Percy.  Although Percy was a nobleman, he was never elected to the original Virginia Council; however, he did become chief executive of the colony after the dismissal of Captain John Smith.

Original charter for the Virginia Company of London

The summer of 1607 proved to be disastrous for the colonists.  A series of illness plagued the settlement, most likely due to improper dieting in addition to the tremendous heat and high humidity and the lack of a purified water supply.  Unfortunately for the colonists, conditions such as these harbor diseases such as scurvy, pellagra, dysentery, typhoid and beriberi (Grizzard and Smith, xxvi).  As the seasons began changing, more colonists became ill and died from pneumonia or

Map of Jamestown Fort

influenza.  The colonists neglected to cultivate the soil upon which to harvest crops, and in many cases the settlers were preoccupied with the prospects of finding gold (Schuricht, 21).  Because many of them were used to ways of life in England, the colonists were ill equipped to deal with the harsh realities of the wilderness, and this  ultimately led to their demise.

 

Interesting Facts

Christopher Newport (to which the school of Christopher Newport University is named in Newport News) lost his right arm in 1591 battling a Spanish merchant.

 

Further Reading

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

Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Schuricht, Herrmann. The History of the German Element in Virginia. Baltimore: Theo. Kroh & Sons Printers, 1898.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Jamestown V-44,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Aerial View of Jamestown Island,” Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Colonial Williamsburg, www. colonialwilliamsburg.com (accessed April 29, 2012).

“Replicas of the Discovery, Susan Constant and Godspeed,” Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center, www.historyisfun.org (accessed April 29, 2012).

“Original charter for the Virginia Company of London,” America’s Story From America’s Library, www.americaslibrary.gov (accessed April 29, 2012).

 “Map of Jamestown Fort,” Historic Jamestowne: The Dig, www.historicjamestown.org (accessed April 29, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Pocahontas V-45

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

Matoaka, nicknamed Pocahontas (“mischievous one”), the daughter of Powhatan, was born about 1597. She served as an emissary for her father and came to Jamestown often in 1608. In 1613, Samuel Argall kidnapped Pocahontas while she visited the Patawomecks on the Potomac River. Argall hoped to exchange her for English prisoners and brought her to Jamestown. During lengthy negotiations, Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614, credited with developing Virginia’s first marketable tobacco crop. Pocahontas took the baptismal name Rebecca. In 1616, she traveled with Rolfe and their son, Thomas, to England where King James I and Queen Anne received her. She died at Gravesend, England, in March 1617.

Further Research

Portrait of Pocahontas

Pocahontas was born sometime between 1595 and 1597 to the chief of the Powhatan tribe, which was a division of the Algonquian natives. She was known publicly as Amonute and privately as Matoaka, and she gained the nickname “Pocahontas” which roughly translates to “little mischievous one”.  Despite false historical narratives, Pocahontas was never romantically involved with Captain John Smith nor does any proven historical documentation exist that cite Pocahontas as being a savior to John Smith.  If anything, she could have been performing a ritual of the tribe when it seemed as if she was saving his life.  In 1610, Pocahontas was married to a native warrior named Kocoum.  As far as the historical record shows, the couple never had any children together.

Smith Rescued by Pocahontas

Over the next few years, tensions began to rise between the natives and the colonists all throughout the newly settled areas.  In 1613, Englishman Captain Samuel Argall devised a plan to kidnap Pocahontas and hold her for ransom in exchange for English weapons her father Chief Powhatan possessed.  Argall frequently traded with the tribe of the Patawomecks, and as soon as he received word that Pocahontas would be visiting a neighboring tribe nearby, he persuaded the sub-Chief Iopassus to join him in an alliance against the Powhatan tribe.  With the help of Iopassus and his wife, Argall successfully kidnapped Pocahontas and took her back to Jamestown where she would remain for months while waiting for her father to submit to the ransom demands.

A Depiction of Pocahontas being Kidnapped in 1612

          During her captivity, she was treated well and remained unharmed.  Her captors saw to it that she learned the ways of the Anglican Church and in sometime in 1614 she was baptized and given the name Rebecca.  While in Jamestown, the historical record shows that she met and married John Rolfe, with whom she would later travel to England and bear him one child.  (The record does not indicate which side of the Atlantic Thomas Rolfe was born on).  Pocahontas died while she was in England in 1617, roughly around the age of 21.  She was taken to St. George’s Church in Gravesend, where she is buried.

Interesting Facts

Pocahontas’s account is the first recorded act of interracial marriage, although many white men viewed native women as exotic creatures and exotic princesses.

Further Reading

Barbour, Philip L. Pocahontas and Her World: A Chronicle of America’s First Settlement in Which is Related the Story of the Indians and the Englishmen- Particularly Captain John Smith, Captain Samuel Argall and Master John Rolfe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970.

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

Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Mossiker, Frances. Pocahontas: The Life and the Legend. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1976.

Rountree, Helen. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005.

Rountree, Helen C. Young Pocahontas in the Indian World. Yorktown: J&R Graphic Services, Inc., 1995. http://encyclopediavirginia.org/Pocahontas_d_1617 (accessed March 13, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Pocahontas V-45,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Portrait of Pocahontas,” APVA Preservation Virginia: Historic Jamestowne, www.apva.org (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Smith Rescued by Pocahontas,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Depiction of Pocahontas being Kidnapped in 1612,” Williamsburg Private Tours, www.williamsburgprivatetours.com (accessed May 1, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Eastern State Hospital W-40-b

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

Eastern State Hospital is the oldest psychiatric hospital in the United States. It was established on 12 Oct. 1773, when Virginia was still a British colony, with the mission of treating and discharging the curable mentally ill. In 1841, under the leadership of John Minson Galt, the hospital initiated new reforms characterized as “moral management,” a self-directed form of rehabilitation that changed the social perception and treatment of mental illness in America. Beginning in 1935 and ending on 28 Jan. 1970, the entire institution gradually moved to Dunbar Farm.

Further Research

Eastern State Hospital

The eighteenth century in Europe brought upon great cultural change through the Enlightenment movement. Also known as the age of reason, people began to reject popular negative connotations regarding the mentally ill. Instead of deeming them fools, the mentally ill were seen as people with a disease of the mind. Royal Governor of Virginia, Francis Fauquier acknowledged these newfound sympathies while addressing the House of Burgesses of Williamsburg on November 6th of 1766; “a legal Confinement, and proper Provision, ought to be appointed for these miserable Objects, who cannot help themselves.” Fauquier’s idea directly led to the foundation of the Eastern State Hospital in 1773, but the Royal Governor did not live to see the patients institutionalized, as he died in 1768.

Eastern State Hospital

James Galt, the previous keeper of the Williamsburg Public Gaol, was the first administrator of the hospital and his wife was the hospital’s matron. During this time period conditions in the hospital were horrendous as the patients were only provided a straw mattress and chamber pot, in their small cells. It wasn’t until 1841 when Dr. John Minson Galt II became the superintendent, which conditions improved. In 1845, patient’s rooms resembled small apartments as opposed to the previous small cells. Dr. Galt also provided social activities for his patients in the form of lectures, concerts, visits into town, and carriage rides. In addition to these, Dr. Galt also created a patient library, shoemaking shop, game room, sewing room, and carpentry shop.

During the Civil War, Union General George McClellan’s massive Peninsular Campaign overwhelmed the Williamsburg area, and the Eastern Lunatic Asylum was captured by Union troops on May 6th of 1862. This marked a period of transition for the hospital, as Dr. Galt’s improvisations were largely forgotten. On June 7th of 1885, a fire destroyed the original 1773 hospital building.

Eastern Lunatic Asylum

In 1894 the Eastern Lunatic Asylum’s name changed to Eastern State Hospital. Due to the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg around 1937, the hospital moved to the Dunbar Farm where it remains functioning today.

 

 

 

Further Reading

Jones, Granville Lillard. The History of the Founding of the Eastern State Hospital of Virginia. Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1954.

Drewry, William Francis, Richard Dewey, Charles Winfield Pilgrim, George Adler Blumer, American Medico-Psychological Association. Committee on a History of the Institutional Care of the Insane, and Thomas Joseph Workmann Burgess. The Institutional Care of the Insane in the United States and Canada. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1916.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Eastern State Hopsital W-40b,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Eastern State Hospital,” Eastern State Hospital, www.ancestry.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Eastern State Hospital,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Eastern State Asylum,” Colonial Williamsburg Digital Library, www.research.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

 

Church On The Main V-46

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

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 http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=257721&imageID=em14526&word=Madison%2C%20James%2C%201749-1812&s=3&notword=&d=&c=&f=2&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=65&num=0&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=2

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 http://chestofbooks.com/reference/American-Cyclopaedia-3/College-Of-William-And-Mary.html

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, www.digitalgallery.nypl.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Carter’s Grove W-50

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

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, www.teachinghistory.org (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, http://people.uvawise.edu (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

Samuel H. Yonge, Civil Engineer (1843-1935) V-440

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

Near this location in 1901, Samuel H. Yonge, a civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spearheaded the design and construction of a seawall/revetment that halted the rapid erosion and loss into the James River of the most historic part of Jamestown Island. His efforts saved large portions of the island including Jamestown Fort, making possible continued significant archaeological finds at Jamestown. Yonge located, unearthed, and published many of his findings on the Island. Another one of his achievements included the dredging of the James River from Richmond to Norfolk. He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.

Further Research

The area of and around Jamestown is very historically important.  However, the James River was quickly eroding the most historic part of Jamestown where historical celebrations would take place.  During the Civil War, Confederate forces constructed earthworks around Jamestown and discovered pieces of armor and weaponry.   Shortly after the

Col. Samuel Yonge of the Army Corps of Engineers discovered and mapped the foundations of Jamestown's best-known row house about 300 yards west of New Town.

war, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities began to explore foundations around the 22 & ½ acres of Jamestown that they owned.  Samuel H. Yonge, a revetment’s engineer, proposed that the old Fort at Jamestown was buried in the very island that the river was eroding (Lindgren, Encyclopedia Virginia online).

In 1901, he supervised the construction of the concrete seawall that was built in order to prevent further erosion of the riverbank.  Furthermore he located many archaeological discoveries such as the foundations of the country house, the Ludwell house, and the third and fourth statehouses.  He also was able to save the Jamestown Fort.  Yonge argued that the 1861 discoveries by Confederate soldiers indicated that the fort was

"The Site of Old James Towne" book

extremely close to Confederate earthwork at the end of the island (NPS, Jamestown National Historic Site).  After his finds, he was able to use the evidence he had discovered and Yonge was able publish his work The Site of Old “James Towne,” 1607-1698, which is still in circulation today (NPS, Chronology of Archaeology).  It is thanks to Yonge’s brilliant ideas that many historical buildings in Jamestown are still safe from erosion by the James River.

 

 

Further Reading

Lindgren, James M. “Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.” Encyclopedia Virginia. Ed. Brendan Wolfe. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (Jan. 18, 2012). http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Association_for_the_Preservation_of_Virginia_Antiquities (accessed March 9, 2012).

Lindgren, James M. Preserving the Old Dominion: Historic Preservation and Virginia Traditionalism. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1993.

Lindgren, James M. “‘Virginia Needs Living Heroes’: Historic Preservation in the Progressive Era.” The Public Historian 13 (1991 Winter): 9–24.

National Park Service. Chronology of Jamestown Archeology. http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/chronology-of-jamestown-archeology.htm (accessed March 9, 2012).

National Park Service. Jamestown National Historic Site. http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/hh/2/hh2c.htm (accessed March 10, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Samuel H. Yonge, Civil Engineer (1843-1935) V-440,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Map of James City,” APVA Preservation Virginia: Jamestown Rediscovery, www.apva.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“The Site of Old James Towne,” Dancing Eye Books, http://dancingeyebooks.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Battle of Williamsburg W-43

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Inscription:

To the east of the road here, centering at Fort Magruder, was fought the battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1862. The Union General McClellan was pursuing General Johnston’s retiring army. The rearguard of which was commanded by General Longstreet. Johnston ordered Longstreet to hold off McClellan’s attacking forces until the confederate wagon trains, bogged down in mud, were out of danger. This mission was accomplished and Johnston continued his retirement.

Further Research

The Battle of Williamsburg Map

The Battle of Williamsburg, also known as the Battle of Fort Magruder, was one of the largest battlefield encounters between Union and Confederate forces during McClellan’s famous Peninsula Campaign.  After having been delayed for around a month at the Yorktown defenses, General McClellan moved his troops in hot pursuit of Johnston and his fellow Confederate soldiers, who had started to retreat for more defensible positions closer to Richmond (Rickard).  At Williamsburg, Confederate soldiers aimed to hold up parts of the defense line simply to hinder the Union forces advancement into Richmond.

The Battle of Williamsburg

Confederate forces had positioned themselves in front of For Magruder, which served as their key point during the battle.  Because of muddy conditions, the Confederate retreat was hindered and thus James Longstreet had to hold the line at Williamsburg while fellow forces moved towards Etham’s landing.  General Sumner and General William F. Smith launched the first assault on Confederate lines on May 4th; but this had to be abandoned because of the woodland between the two forces that hindered them.  The next day, however, General Hooker started the battle facing Fort Magruder, which continued most of the day (civalwar).  The fighting was tremendous and eventually General Winfield S. Hancock was able to push back the Confederate forces with heavy losses.

Battle of Williamsburg--Gen. Hancock's charge, May 5, 1862

McClellan decided that Hancock’s actions were “brilliant” and that this battle was a superior victory for the Union forces – while this fact may be slightly skewed.  Both sides had gained something from this battle in that the Union perceived it as having pushed the Confederates from a defensive line with seriously outnumbered odds.  The Confederates saw the battle as a success because it was seen that General Longstreet had successfully held off Union attack and allowed for the Confederates to withdraw with precious supplies (Rickard).

Further Reading

Civil War Trust. The Battle of Willamsburg. http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/williamsburg.html (accessed March 9, 2012)

Rickard, J. Battle of Williamsburg, 5 May 1862. http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_williamsburg.html (accessed March 9, 2012)

Salmon, John S. The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide. Harrisburg: Stackpole Books, 2001.

Sears, Stephen W. To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Battle of Williamsburg W-43,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Battle of Williamsburg Map,” Civil War Trust: Maps of Williamsburg, Virginia, www.civilwar.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“The Battle of Williamsburg,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Battle of Williamsburg- Gen. Hancock’s Charge,” Library of Congress, www.loc.goc (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

Peninsula Campaign W-37

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Inscription:

During the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, both Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan led their armies west toward Richmond on this road. Johnston evacuated Yorktown on 3-4 May and withdrew up the Peninsula, with McClellan in pursuit. On 5 May, two Federal divisions clashed with the Confederate rear guard east of Williamsburg in a bloody but indecisive battle. Johnston’s army continued its march west and on 6-7 May eluded McClellan’s forces at Eltham’s Landing on the York River opposite West Point. By mid-month the Confederates were secure behind the Richmond defenses.

Further Research

Major General George Brinton McClellan, often called “Little Mac” or “Young Napoleon”

The Peninsula Campaign took place during the American Civil War as a major Union operation in southeastern Virginia from March 1862 through July 1862.  The first large-scale offensive, the campaign was head by Major General George B. McClellan and was an attempt to capture Richmond.  While at first successful against Joseph E. Johnston, Robert E. Lee soon emerged and the campaign turned into an Union defeat.

McClellan’s Army of the Potomac consisted of 50,000 men in the beginning but quickly grew to 121,000 before the campaign took place (Sears 361). The amphibious campaign started in Alexandria on March 17 (Sears, 168).  In response to McClellan’s campaign, Magruder set up deceptive defenses, which were actually weaker

Joseph E. Johnston

than they appeared.  In response, McClellan began the siege preparations at Yorktown with a variety of heavy artillery (Sears, 58).  It continued to be a constant battle of the Confederates improving their defenses and McClellan increasing his artillery.  In early May, McClellan found out that the Confederate defenses were deceiving and thus McClellan began to pursue Johnston up the York River (Salmon, 80).

The Peninsula Campaign also included the Battle of Williamsburg, which occurred on May 5, 1862.  This was the first battle of the Peninsula Campaign, which was spearheaded by Major General George B. McClellan. This battle was the result of General Joseph E. Johnston’s shocking evacuation of the Yorktown-Warwick River line just two days prior (Salmon, 80).  As a result of Johnston’s evacuation, McClellan hastily pursued him.  McClellan sent Brig. General George Stoneman to pursue Johnston’s rear guard, which was headed by Brig. General J.E.B. Stuart’s Calvary and with whom his men skirmished many times.  Furthermore, McClellan had ordered Brig. General William B. Franklin to sail up the York River to cut Johnston off and thus prevent him from escaping.  Weary because of foul weather, Johnston decided to wall up his troops at Fort Magruder.  While McClellan considered this battle as an amazing victory, many southerners saw it as allowing the Confederate army to escape towards Richmond (Sears, 82).

The Peninsula Campaign

The campaign continued to Etham’s Landing where McClellan hoped that Franklin would hinder Johnston’s escape.  However, it turned out that the Confederates were prepared and Union troops were forced to seek cover in the woods.  Franklin could not intercept the Confederates and thus allowed them to pass (Salmon, 85).  The next event to mark

Map of Peninsula Campaign

the Peninsula Campaign occurred at the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff.  This amphibious battle resulted in the stagnation of the Union advance and took place on May 15, 1862 at Fort Drewry (Sears, 94).  The armies converged in Richmond but the next major battle did not take place until May 27.  Also known as the Battle of Slash Church, the Battle of Hanover Court House resulted in a small Union victory but allowed for McClellan to be more prepared at Seven Pines or Fair Oaks.  Furthermore, McClellan’s reactions made him look like a weak target to Johnston (Sears, 117).  The final battle occurred at Seven Pines on May 31 and June 1.  It was the end effect of the offensive by McClellan when he finally reached the outskirts of Richmond.  This battle is considered the biggest battle of the time with both sides attempting to claim victory.  Union soldiers called it the Battle of Fair Oaks because that’s where they were most successful whereas Confederates fought best at Seven Pines, hence the name (Sears, 149).  However it was not long before Robert E. Lee drove McClellan from the Peninsula and it took around three more years before the Union army finally captured Richmond.

Further Reading

Eicher, David J. The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.

Miller, William J. The Battles for Richmond, 1862. National Park Service Civil War Series. Fort Washington: U.S. National Park Service and Eastern National, 1996.

Salmon, John S. The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide. Harrisburg: Stackpole Books, 2001.

Sears, Stephen W. To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.

Warner, Erza J. Generals In Blue: Lives of Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Peninsula Campaign W-37,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Major General George Brinton McClellan,” Civil War Trust: The Peninsula Campaign, www.civilwar.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Joseph E. Johnston,” Civil War Trust: The Peninsula Campaign, www.civilwar.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“The Peninsula Campaign,” Lee Hall Mansion: 1862 Peninsula Campaign, www.leehall.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Map of Peninsula Campaign,” Civil War Trust: Maps of the Peninsular Campaign 1862, www.civilwar.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

Hot Water/Centerville V-47

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Inscription:

Royal Governor William Berkeley, owner of nearby Green Spring Plantation, purchased the land here by 1652, then known as Hot Water. After Berkeley’s death, the Hot Water tract passed to the Ludwell and Lee families. William Ludwell Lee inherited the property in 1796 and died in 1803. Lee’s will specified that his slaves be freed when they reached the age of 18. They were allowed to live on the property for ten years at no charge and “comfortable houses” were to be built upon the tract for them. Lee’s philanthropy gave rise to one of Virginia’s early free black settlements located at Centerville.

Further Research

Governor William Berkeley

Governor William Berkeley, also owner of Green Spring Plantation, purchased this tract of land, known as Hot Water, in 1652.  The land also served as the ancestral home of the Ludwells and Lees.  The Plantation itself housed many African American slaves who also took part in Bacon’s Rebellion and in the American Revolutionary War.  After Berkeley died, he passed the tract to the Ludwell and Lees.  When William Ludwell Lee inherited the estate, he had it assessed and completely tore down the aging mansion to build a new house (Cotton). After William Ludwell Lee died, he decreed that all of his slaves be freed and also made provisions for their continued support and education.  More than thirty slaves were freed and received farmsteads in the Hot Water Tract, which consisted of more than 8,000 acres.  They were allowed to live on the property for ten years at no charge in horses built on the property.

The Hot Water tract soon became a part of Centerville and served as the site for many

The final of three recreated cabins was completed in 2008 in Freedom Park. On this original tract is a purposefully established community whose inhabitants consisted of Free Blacks.

battles in the future. Because of Wiliam Ludwell Lee’s generosity to his former slaves, the descendants of those freed slaves were able to create one of the first Free Black communities in Centerville during the antebellum period.  Furthermore, Centerville also served as a hub for colonial activity as a central port for trade of tobacco and produce (Knight).

 

 

 

Further Reading

Cotton, Lee Pelham. Green Spring Plantation: An Historical Summary. http://www.historicgreenspring.org/plantation_history.php (accessed March 7, 2012).

Knight, Priscilla. History of Centreville and Virginia Run. http://www.virginiarun.com/system/files/CentrevilleHistory.pdf (accessed March 7, 2012).

African American Historic Sites Database. Green Spring Plantation and the Hot Water Tract. http://www.aaheritageva.org/search/sites.php?site_id=262 (accessed March 7, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Hot Water/Centerville V-47,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Governor William Berkeley,” Historic Green Spring, www.historicgreenspring.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Recreated Cabin,” Freedom Park- James City County, www.williamsburgoutside.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available

Chickahominy Church W-32

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Inscription:

 Two miles south is the site of the colonial Chickahominy Church, now destroyed. Lafayette’s forces camped there, July 6-8, 1781. The church was used as a hospital after the battle of Green Spring, July 6, 1781.

 

 

Further Research

General Cornwallis

James City County saw several Revolutionary War battles during the year of 1781.  The Battle of Green Spring took place near Green Spring Plantation.  In June, General Cornwallis pursued Lafayette who was attempting to parallel the British Army’s movements (Wickwire).  On July 6, one of Lafayette’s generals, “Mad” Anthony Wayne, was ambushed with his forces by General Cornwallis near Green Spring, as he lead a troop of 500 men (Johnston).

Portrait of "Mad" Anthony Wayne

General Lafayette had joined Wayne at Green Spring and noticed British guards and decided to attack which lead to minor skirmishes.  Lafayette soon realized that something was wrong and began to hold back some of his battalion and camped at Green Spring Chickahominy Church – able to observe the maneuvers of the battle.  Both the Marquis de Lafayette and Anthony Wayne used the estate as a marshaling area before engaging the British forces (Cotton). Meanwhile, Wayne continued to administer significant casualties to the British.  However, Cornwallis had tricked hem and had lured Wayne into a trap.  Fortunately, Wayne was able to charge on the British and halter their advance until Lafayette returned with his forces in order to aid in American retreat.  The American forces retreated the Green Spring where the Chickahominy church was used as a hospital to administer to the wounded forces but was eventually burned down during the Civil War (Mason, 528).

Further Reading

Cotton, Lee Pelham. Green Spring Plantation: An Historical Summary. http://www.historicgreenspring.org/plantation_history.php (accessed March 7, 2012).

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

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

Mason, Geoge. “The Colonial Churches of James City County, Virginia.” William and Mary Quarterly, Second Series 19, no. 4 (October, 1939), 510-30.

Nelson, Paul David. Anthony Wayne, Soldier of the Early Republic. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.

Wickwire, Franklin and Mary. Cornwallis: The American Adventure. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970. http://www.jccegov.com/pdf/news/jcc-historical-map_web.pdf (Accessed April 12, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Chickahominy Church W-32,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“General Cornwallis,” The Colonial Willamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Portrait of ‘Mad’ Anthony Wayne,” Archiving Early America, www.earlyamerica.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources