Page images
PDF
EPUB

costing Mr. Ireland his life. He was made extremely ill, and his constitution never recovered from the injury. He however bore up against these persecutions with Christian fortitude. He said, in giving an account of his persecutions:

My prison then, was a place in which I enjoyed much of the Divine presence; a day seldom passed without some signal token of the Divine goodness towards me, which generally led me to subscribe my letters in these words, "From my Palace in Cul. peper."

In a family burying-ground, half a mile N. of Culpeper C. H., is a monument bearing the following inscription:

IN MEMORY OF

GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS,

WHO DIED
AUGUST THE rpm, 1890,

At his Mat in Culpeper. in the Nth year of his age.
This gallant officer and upright man. had served his country with reputa-
tion in the Field and Senate of his native state. He took an active part, and
had a principal share in the war of the revolution, and acquired great dis-
tinction at the battles of Great Bridge, Brnndywine, Gernmnlown. Camden,
Guilford Court-House, and Siege of York; and although zealous in the
cause of American Freedom, his conduct was not marked with the least de-
gree of malevolence, or party spirit. Those who honestly differed with him
in opinion, he always treated with singular tenderness. In strict integrity,
honest patriotism, and immoveable courage, he was surpassed by none, and
h id few equals.

Gen. Stevens resided in the village of Culpeper C. H., in the house on the corner of Coleman and Fairfax streets, now occupied by Mrs. Lightfoot. Aside from the above, we have but little to add respecting this highly meritorious officer. The histories of the revolution make such honorable mention of him, that it is evident his epitaph is no fulsome eulogy. At the battle of Guilford Court-Housc, " the brave and gallant Stevens," animated his men by words, and still more by his example. Resolved to make even the timid perform their duty, he placed several riflemen in the rear, with peremptory orders to shoot down any of his militia that should attempt to escape before a retreat was ordered. In this action he received a ball in the thigh, but he enjoyed the reflection that his men had made a noble stand, and displayed an honorable firmness in opposing the enemy, by whom they were at last, after an obstinate conflict, driven back by an overwhelming force at the bayonet's point.

CUMBERLAND.

Cumberland was formed in 1748, from Goochland. It is 32 miles long and about 10 broad, with the Appomattox running on its S., the James River on its N. boundary, and Willis River through its NW. portion. The surface is undulating, and the soil productive. Pop. 1830, 11,689; 1840, whites 3,263, slaves 6,791, free colored 355; total, 10,399.

Cartersville, on the James River, contains a church and about 50 dwellings. Ca Ira, 5 miles w. of the C. H., has an Episcopal church and 10 dwellings. Cumberland court-house is in the southern part of the county, about 52 miles from Richmond. The village has not increased since the Marquis de Chasteliux was here, about the year 1782. In his travels, he says:

Besides the court-house and a large tavern, its necessary appendage, there are seven or eight houses, inhabited by gentlemen of fortune. I found the tavern full of people.

and understood that the judges were assembled to hold a court of claims, that is to say, to hear and register the claims of sundry persons who had furnished provisions for the army. We know that in general, but particularly in unexpected invasions, the American troops had no established magazines, and as it was necessary to have subsistence for them, provisions and forage were indiscriminately laid hold of, on giving the holders a receipt, which they called a certificate. During the campaign, while the enemy were at hand, little attention was given to This sort of loans, which accumulated incessantly, without the sum total being known, or any means taken to ascertain the proofs. Virginia being at length loaded with these certificates, it became necessary, sooner or later, to liquidate these claims. The last assembly of the state of Virginia had accordingly thought proper to pass a bill, authorizing the justices of each county to take cognizance of these certificates, to authenticate their validity, and to register them, specifying the value of the provisions in money, according to the established tariff". I had the curiosity to go to the court-house to see how this affair was transacted, and saw it was performed with great order and simplicity. The judges wore their common clothes, but were seated on an elevated tribunal, as at London in the Court of King's Bench, or Common Pleas.

Gen. Charles Scott, a distinguished officer of the revolution, and subsequently governor of Kentucky, was born near the line of this and Powhatan county. The present residence of Mr. Thomas Palmer, in the upper part of that county, was built by him.

Scott raised the first company of volunteers in Virginia, south of the James River, that entered into actual service; and so distinguished himself prior to 1777, that when Powhatan county was formed in that year, the county-scat was named in honor of him. When governor of Kentucky, he had some severe battles with the Indians, in which he lost two sons. Immediately after St. Clair's defeat, Gen. Scott, at the head of a body of Kentucky cavalry, reconnoitred the battle-ground. Finding the Indians still there, rejoicing over their victory in a drunken revelry, he surprised and fell upon them. Being totally unprepared, they were routed with great slaughter. About two hundred of them were killed, and he recovered six hundred muskets, and all the artillery and baggage remaining in the field. This, the most brilliant affair of the war, in a measure " dispelled the gloom occasioned by the misfortune of St. Clair, and threw, by the power of contrast, a darker shade of disgrace over that unfortunate general's miscarriage."

Scott was a man of strong natural powers, but somewhat illiterate and rough in his manners. He was eccentric, and many amusing anecdotes are related of him. When a candidate for governor, he was opposed by Col. Allen, a native of Kentucky, who, in an address to the people when Scott was present, made an eloquent appeal. The friends of the latter, knowing he was no orator, felt distressed for him, but Scott, nothing daunted, mounted the stump, and addressed the company, nearly as follows:

"Well, boys, I am sure you must all be well pleased with the speech you have just heard. It does my heart good to think we have so smart a man raised up among us here. He is a native Kentuckian, I see it good many of you here that I brought out to this country when a wilderness. At that time we hardly expected we should live to see such a smart man raised up among ourselves. You, who were with me in those early times, know we had no time for education, no means of improving from books. We dared not Uten go about our most crunmon affairs without arms in our hands, to defend ourselves against the Indians. But we guarded and protected the country, and now every one can go where he pleases; and you now see what smart fellows are growing up to do their country honor. But I think it would be a pity to make this man governor; I think it would be better to send him to Congress. I don't think it natures a very smart man to make a governor; if he has sense enough to gather smart men about who can help him on with the business of state. It would suit a worn-out old wife of a man like myself. But, as to this young man, I am very proud of him; as much so as any of his kin, if any of them have been here to-day, listening to his speech." Scott then descended from the stump, and the huzzas for the old soldier made the welkin ring.

Scott had the greatest veneration for Washington; and while governor of Kentucky, he visited Philadelphia during the session of Congress. Attired in the rough garb of the backwoods, with a hunting-shirt, buckskin leggings, and a long beard, he gave out that he was going to visit the president. He was told that Washington had become puffed up with the importance of his station, and was too much of an aristocrat to welcome him in that garb. Scott, nothing daunted, passed up to the house of the president, who, with his lady, happened to be at the window, and recognising the old soldier, tuned out, and each taking him by the arm, led him iu. "Never," said Scott, " was I better treated. I had not believed a word against him; and I found that he was 'old hoss'* still."

Major Joseph Scott, a brother of the above, was an officer of the revolutionary army, and was appointed marshal of Virginia by Jefferson, under the following circumstances: Major Joseph Eggleston, from Amelia, who had been a meritorious officer of Lee's legion through the whole of the southern campaigns, and a member of Congress in 1798-99, was tendered the office by the president. This he declined, but recommended his old friend and companion in arms, Major Scott, then a steward upon the estate of John Randolph. The first intimation Scott had of the matter was the reception of the appointment, which was extremely gratifying; he being at the time in necessitous circumstances.

DINWIDDIE.

Dinwiddie was formed in 1752, from Prince George, and named from Robert Dinwiddie, governor of Va. from 1752 to 1758. The surface is rolling, and its form hexagonal, with a diameter of about 28 miles. The Appomattox runs on its N., the Nottaway on its s. boundary, and the great southern railroad through its eastern portion. Pop. 1830, 21,901; 1840, whites 9,847, slaves 9,947, free colored 2,764; total, 22,558. The court-house is centrally situated upon a branch of the Nottaway.

The large, wealthy, and flourishing town of Petersburg, is situated at the northeastern angle of the county, on the south bank of the Appomattox, 22 miles s. of Richmond, and 9 s. W. of City Point, on the line of the great southern railroad, with which lastnamed place there is also a railroad communication. The harbor admits vessels of considerable draught, and even ships come upas far as Walthall's" Landing, 6 miles below the town, where there is a branch railroad about 3 miles in length, connecting with the Richmond and Petersburg railroad. It contains 2 Epis., 2 Pres., 2 Meth., 1 Bap., and 1 Catholic church, besides those for colored people. It exports largely tobacco and flour, and there were, in 1843, belonging to this place, the following cotton manufactories, viz: Merchants co., Matoaca co., Ettricks co., Mechanics co., Battersea co., Canal Mills, Washington Mill, and the Eagle Mill. The goods here manufactured have a high reputation. There is also a very large number of tobacco factories. There were inspected here in 1843, 11,942 hogsheads of tobacco. Petersburg contains branches of the Bank of Va., Farmers Bank of Va., and the Exchange Bank of Va. The tonnage in 1810, was 3,098. There were 6 commercial and 8 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, capital 8875,000; 121 retail stores, capital $1,026,250; 2 lumber yards, cap. $6,000; 1 furnace, 6 forges, 1 woollen factory, 1 pottery, 2 rope-walks, 2 flouring-mills, 1 grist-mill, 2 sawmills, 2 printing offices, 1 semi-weekly newspaper. Cap. in manufacturing $726,555. Pop. in 1830, 8,322; 1840, 11,136.

As early as 1645-6, a fort called Fort Henry, was established at the falls of the Ap

* "Old hut," was a term frequently applied by the soldiers of the revolution to their In-chief.

pomattox, where Petersburg now is, for the defence of the inhabitants on the south side of James river.

In 1675, war being declared against the Indians, 500 men were ordered to proceed to the frontier, and eight forts garrisoned. Among these was the one near the falls of the Appomattox, at Major General Wood's, "or over against him at one effort or defensible place at ffleets, of which Major Peter Jones be captain or chief commander."

In 1728, fifty-three years after, Col. Byrd, on his return from the expedition in which he was engaged as one of the Virginia commissioners, in running the line between this state and North Carolina, mentions the site of Petersburg, as follows: "At the end of thirty good miles, we arrived in the evening at Col. Boiling's, where from a primitive course of life we began to relax into luxury. This gentleman lives within hearing of the falls of Appomattox river, which are very noisy whenever a flood happens to roll a greater stream than ordinary over the rocks. The river is navigable for small craft as high as the falls, and, at some distance from them, fetches a compass and runs nearly parallel with James River, almost as high as the mountains."

By an act passed in 1646, it appears that 600 acres of land adjacent to Fort Henry, together with all the "houses and edifices" appurtenant thereto, were at that time granted to Captain Abraham Wood in fee-simple; yet he was not the earliest settler; for. by the same act, it appears that the land on which the fort stood, together with part of the adjacent 600 acres, had been granted to Thomas Pitt. He may, therefore, be considered the earliest proprietor of the site of Petersburg, it having been granted to him previous to 1646. The town derived its name from Peter Jones, who opened a trading establishment with the Indians at an early day, a few rods west of what is now the junction of Sycamore and Old streets. The locality was called Peter's Point, subsequently changed to Petersburg.

This Peter Jones was an old friend and fellow-traveller of Col. William Byrd, of Westover; and in 1733, accompanied the latter on a journey to Roanoke, on which occasion the plan of establishing Richmond and Petersburg was conceived. Byrdpr', in his journal, " When we got home, we laid the foundation of two large cities—one at Sacco's, to be called Richmond, and the other at the point of Appomattox River, to be called Petersburg. These Major Mayo offered to lay off into lots, without fee or reward. The truth of it is, these two places being the uppermost landing of James and Appomattox rivers, are naturally intended for marts, where the traffic of the outer inhabitants must centre. Thus we did not build castles only, but cities, in the air."

In the October session, in 1748, in the 22d year of the reign of King George II., the towns of Petersburg and Blandford were established. Four years later an act was passed, allowing a bridge to be built by subscription over the Appomattox, at Boiling's Point, " to the land of John Boiling, gentleman;" which was probably the first bridge ever built over the river. In 1762, in the preamble to an act enlarging the town, it is stated that it " had very greatly increased, and become a place of considerable trade." At that time Robert Bolling, Roger Atkinson, William Eaton, John Bannister, Robert Ruffin, Thomas Jones, Henry Walker, George Turnbull, and James Field, gentlemen, were appointed trustees for laying out the town. In 1784, Petersburg was incorporated, and Blandford, Pocahontas, and Ravcnscrofts, united with it.

In the war of the revolution, Petersburg was twice visited by the enemy. On the 22d of April, 1781, the British, under Gen. Phillips, left Williamsburg, sailed up the James, and on the 24th landed at City Point. "The next day," says Girardin's Hist, of Va., " they marched up to Petersburg, where Baron Steuben received them with a body of militia, somewhat under 1000 men. Although the enemy were 2,300 strong, Steuben opposed their progress. For two hours, he skilfully and bravely disputed the ground with them ; the assailants were twice broken, and precipitately ran back until supported by fresh troops. During the interval of time just stated, they gained but a mile, and that by inches. The inferiority of the Virginians in numbers obliged them to withdraw about 12 miles up the Appomattox, till more militia should be assembled. They retired in good order over a bridge, which was taken up as soon as the militia passed, so as to secure their retreat. The whole loss of the Virginians, in killed, wounded, and taken, amounted to about 60. .That sustained by the enemy, was conjecture.) to be more considerable."*

From an article entitled "Reminiscences of the British at Bot

* Item-Col. Bimcoe, in his "Journal of the operations of the Queen's Rangers," states the loss of the British at one man killed and 10 wounded, of the light Infantry.

lingbrook,"* published in the Southern Literary Messenger of January, 1840, we extract some interesting facts:

There is, perhaps, no house in Virginia connected with a greater number of military revolutionary recollections, than Bollingbrook, in the town of Petersburg.

On the approach of the enemy, a large portion of the people of the town made their escape. General Phillips took up his residence at Bollingbrook. He and the officers of his family are said to have treated Mrs. Boiling with a good deal of courtesy, and (some add) addressed her always as Lady Boiling. Arnold is recollected as a handsome man, that limped in his gaitt He was fond of caressing the children of the family, and dandled them on his knee.

Both the houses on Bollingbrook bill were occupied by British officers.t Mrs. Bolling was allowed the use of a room in the rear of the east building. Two sentinels were placed at each door of the house with crossed bayonets. The British soldiery repeatedly set on fire the fences about Bollingbrook, and frequently " all around was in a light blaze."§ Upon these occasions, Mrs. Bolling was obliged to send her servants to arrest the flames, and she was thus kept in a state of continual apprehension and alarm.

On the next day after his arrival, (to wit, the 26th of April,) General Phillips (according to Arnold's letter to Sir Harry Clinton) burnt 4000 hhds. of tobacco. The warehouses which belonged to Mrs. Bolling, at her solicitation, were spared on condition that the inhabitants should remove the tobacco from them, which was accordingly done, by extraordinary exertions, during the night of the 25th. This conflagration must have presented a striking and picturesque spectacle. The scarlet-dressed soldiers moving about amidst the flames, scattering the fire-brands, and officiating in the work of destruction—the burning of the shipping on the river, reflecting its lurid glare on Pocahontas and Blandford—heightened the effect of the scene.

Arnold, on dit, cautioned Mrs. Boiling to be careful in her intercourse with General Phillips, not to irritate him, as he was a man of an ungovernable temper. This lady, during that period of terror, suffered an intense solicitude and anxiety, which discovered itself in her unconsciously darning the needles, with which she was knitting, into the bed by which she sat. Her conduct during this trying crisis, displayed a heroism which doubtless won the respect of the British officers; who are in general " men of honor and cavaliers."

After committing devastations at Osborne's, Manchester, Warwick, &c, the enemy set sail, and proceeded down James River, until, receiving (near Hog Island) countermanding orders, they returned up the river. On the 7th of May, they landed in a gale of wind at Brandon; and on the 9lh, marched 30 miles, and entered Petersburg late in the night They came so unexpectedly as to surprise ten American officers, who were there for the purpose of collecting boats to convey the army of the Marquis de Lafayette across the James River.

General Phillips entered Petersburg this second time, sick of a bilious fever;—he arrived on the 9th of May, and breathed his last, on the 13th, at Bollingbrook. He lay sick in the west room front of the east building. During the illness of General Phillips, the town was cannonaded by Lafayette from Archer's hill,|| and it is commonly reported that he died while the cannonade was going on. It seems, however, more probable, that this cannonade occurred on the 10th, when Lafayette (according to Arnold's letter) "appeared with a strong escort on the opposite side of the river,* and having stayed some time to reconnoitre, returned to Osborne's." Cannon-balls fired upon that occasion, were preserved in the town some years ago, and may be yet extant. The Americans being aware that Bollingbrook was head-quarters, directed their shot par

* These reminiscences were written by Chas. Campbell, Esq., of Petersburg, a gentleman better informed upon the history of eastern Virginia than any one we have met in the course of our investigations, and to whom we are indebted for much valuable information. •

t From a wound received at Saratoga, where Phillips was made captive with Bur goyne's army.

t There was then a tavern somewhere near the corner of Old and Market streets, called the " Golden Ball," at which a number of the British quartered.

§ Chastellux says, speaking of the enclosure, " It was formerly surrounded by rail« and she raised a number of fine horses there, but the English burnt the fences, and earned away a great number of the horses."

D On the north side of the river opposite the town.

i The Appomattox.

« PreviousContinue »