« ZurückWeiter »
gether with Portsmouth, is the most important naval station in the Union. Population, is about 18,000. The harbor of Norfolk is spacious, easy of access, admitting vessels of the largest class to come to the wharves. The entrance between Old Point Comfort and the Rip Raps, is more than a mile wide, defended by Forts Monroe and Calhoun. The former, on Old Point Comfort, including the diteh or moat, covers 70 acres of ground.
View of the Harbor of Norfolk and Portsmouth. The Hospital Landing and Wharf appear in front; Norfolk Court House on the extreme left; the Custom House in the central part; the steam ferry across the river to Portsmouth, with the passing boats, on the right. This work, which is on a peninsula, is calculated for 335 guns of the largest class. Fort Calhoun on the opposite side of the river, covers about seven acres, for which a solid foundation was prepared by throwing stones into the flats, and suffering them to settle for several years before erecting the superstructure. This work will mount 265 guns. These fortifications completely command the entrance to the harbor from Hampton Roads.
On the 21st of June, 1855, the Ben Franklin arrived at the port of Norfolk, coming directly from the island of St. Thomas, W. I., where, on her departure, the yellow fever had prevailed. She was permitted to go to Gosport, where she underwent some repairs. It appears that two of the crew died of the fever, though the fact was not admitted by the captain. The first person who died at Portsmouth was a young man who, on the 3d of July, had assisted in the repairs of the ship. He was taken sick on the 5th, and died on the 8th of that month. Others were taken sick and died, and up to the 1st of August, with one exception, all these cases were traced to Gosport. This day, hot and sultry, was the gloomiest in the history of Portsmouth. “A single object arrested the attention. A wagon, covered with white, and having a mattress lying on its floor, attracted the gaze of the terrified inhabitants; and nothing was thought of, nothing talked of, but the
impending calamity, as this vehicle, freighted with its fevered occupants, passed slowly through the streets on its way to the hospital.”
The panic became general; and all who could possibly get away deserted business and home, and fled from the doomed city. The steamboats were crowded daily, and were compelled to leave hundreds behind. Every available shelter in the surrounding country was brought into requisition. Nearly two thirds of the white population had left the town before the middle of August. The surrounding inhabitants were so much alarmed that they established rigid quarantine regulations against the people of Norfolk and Portsmouth: at Suffolk, Isle of Wight county, Hampton, Weldon, and even at Old Point Comfort, the citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth were met on the wharf by armed sentinels, and precluded from effecting a landing."
The first case in Norfolk was on the 15th of July. The scourge reached its acme about the last of August, and continued without abatement until the middle of September. After this it gradually declined, probably for want of subjects, and was finally arrested by frost and ice on the 26th of October. About 2,000, or about one fourth of the population remaining in the city died. The greatest mortality in Portsmouth was on Sept. 2d. The last person died of the fever on the 10th of November. The disease existed as an epidemic nearly four months, and out of a population of 4,000, who remained in the city, nearly 1,000 died. Twenty-seven volunteer physicians came to Portsmouth; eight of these died, and only six escaped sickness. Five resident physicians and three clergymen of Portsmouth, and eight of the physicians of Norfolk died. Contributions for the relief of those suffering from this scourge were sent from various places in the United States. The "Howard Association of Norfolk " received for this purpose $157,237.72. The amount received at Portsmouth was upward of $86,000.
The following inscriptions are copied from monuments in the Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk: the last from the Elmwood Cemetery adjoining :
To the memory of the Rev. ENOCH M. LOWE, pastor of Christ's Church, who departed this life on the 26th day of Feb., 1823, in the 33d year of his age. The Flock of his charge, by whom he was admired and beloved as a faithful Shepherd, a zealous and able divine, a kind and good man, have deposited his remains in testimony of their respect and affection, and in honor of his worth.
No more his warning voice our ears shall hear,
If we would hope to follow him above. The church in which at first he was deposited having been destroyed by fire, bis remains were disintered and again buried beneath this spot on the 20th day of November, A. D. 1827.
In memory of JOAN COWPER, Esq., who died on the 11th of Feb., 1847, aged 84 years The deceased was a distinguished citizen of Norfolk for 50 years; he at different periods discharged the duties of Mayor, President of the Dismal Swamp Canal Company; Secretary of the Marine Insurance Co., etc., with fidelity and great ability. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."
In memory of Nathan COLEGATE WHITEHEAD, M. D., who was born in Southampton Co., Va., on the 8th day of April, 1792, and died in the city of Norfolk, on the 21st day of July, 1856. He was Mayor of Norfolk during the latter part of the pestilence of 1855, perform ing the duties of his office without fear and with consummate judgment, and was himself attacked by the fever, from the effects of which he died the following year. As a tender Husband and affectionate Father, as a Citizen, enterprising, firm and patriotic ; as a Magistrate, blending mercy with justice, and above all, a Friend to the friendless, he was universally lamented when dead; as a Sinner he knelt humbly at the foot of the cross. Gradoated at the University of Pennsylvania, on the 8th day of April, 1815. Intermarried with Elizabeth Grigsby, on the 16th day of Jan., 1817.
Erected by the Masonic Fraternity of the city of Norfolk, to perpetuate a remembrance of the many virtues of their amiable and distinguished brother, Past Master GEORGE L. UPBHUR, M. D., who while in the philanthropic discharge of his duties fell a viotim to the devastating scourge of 1855. Born in Northampton Co., V&., Jan. 14, A. L. 5822, A. D. 1822. Died in Norfolk, Sept. 19, A. L. 5855, A. D. 1855, aged 33 years and 8 mo.
Portsmouth is immediately opposite Norfolk, on the south bank of the Elizabeth River, here three fourths of a mile wide. It contains the court house of Norfolk county. The United States Navy-yard is situated in that part of the town known as Gosport, where has been constructed a large and costly dry-dock, and extensive buildings, work-shops, etc., used in the construction of naval architecture. The Virginia Literary, Scientific and Military Academy was established here in 1840. The United States Naval Hospital is situated a short distance from the navy-yard. Population about 11,000. The town was established in 1752, and located on the lands of Wm. Crafford. It is now composed of Portsmouth, Gosport and Newtown, the whole being under the same municipal government.
Norfolk and its vicinity was the scene of some important events in the revolutionary war. The British fleet, to which Lord Dunmore had filed at the outbreak of hostilities, made Norfolk harbor its principal rendezvous.
The administration of Virginia directed all their attention upon this part of the state, where they perceived the danger most formidable. Dunmore, alarmed at their preparations, constructed batteries and intrenchments at Norfolk, armed the blacks and tories, and forced the country people to drive their cattle and convey provisions to the town. The government of Virginia dispatched, with all speed, a detachment of minute-men, under the command of Col. Woodford into the county.
“Dunmore,” says Botta, '" apprized of this movement, very prudently occupied a strong position upon the north bank of the Elizabeth River, called Great Bridge, a few miles from Norfolk. This point was situated upon the direct route of the
provincial troops. Here he threw up works upon the Norfolk side, and furnished them with a numerous artillery. The intrenchments were surrounded on every part with water and marshes, and were only accessible by a long dike. As to the forces of the governor, they were little formidable: he had only 200 regulars, and a corps of Norfolk volunteers; the residue consisted in a shapeless mass of varlets of every color. The Virginians took post over against the English, in a small village at a cannon-shot distance. Before them they had a long narrow dike, the extremity of which they also fortified. In this state the two parties remained for several days without making any movement."
An ingenious stratagem precipitated the operations. A servant of Maj. Marshall's (father of the chief-justice), being properly instructed, deserted to Dunmore, and reported that there were not at the bridge more than 300 shirt-men, as the Virginians, who mostly wore hunting-shirts, were contemptuously called. Believing the story, Dunmore dispatched about 200 regulars, and 300 blacks and tories to the Great Bridge; who arrived there on the morning of the 9th of December, 1775, and, just as the reveille had done beating, made an attack upon the Virginians. They were signally defeated, and lost 102 in killed and wounded.
* Although the greater part of the loyalists of Norfolk and its environs had sought refuge in the governor's fleet, there had, nevertheless, remained a considerable number of them; either on account of their reluctance to leave their properties, or their dread of the sea and of famine, or perhaps because they hoped to find more lenity on the part of their fellow-citizens who made profession of liberty, than they had shown toward them when they had been superior in this country.
“But it is certain that the patriots, on acquiring the ascendancy, made them feel it cruelly, and overwhelmed them with all those vexations of which there are so many examples in civil wars, between men and different parties. The governor, transported with rage, and touched by the piteous cries of the loyalists, panted to avenge them. This reciprocal hatred was daily exasperated by the rencounters which took place very frequently between the two parties; the provincials, watch
ing at all points of the shore to prevent the royal troops from landing, in order to forage in the country, and the latter, on the contrary, eagerly spying every means to plunder provisions upon the American territory. The multitude of mouths to be fed, kept them constantly in a famishing state. A ship-of-war arrived in the meantime, in the bay of Norfolk. Lord Dunmore sent a flag on shore to apprize the inhabitants that they must furnish provisions, and cease firing, otherwise he should bombard the town. The provincials answered only by a refusal. The governor then resolved to drive them out of the city with artillery, and to burn the houses situated upon the river. He sent in the morning to give notice of his de sign, in order that the women, children, and all except combatants, might retreat to a place of safety.
On the 1st of January, 1776, "between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, a heavy cannonade from the frigate Liverpool, two sloops-of-war, and the ship Dan. more, opened against the town. Under cover of the guns, several parties of marines and sailors were landed, and set fire to the houses on the wharves. As the wind blew from the water, and the buildings were chiefly of wood, the flames rapidly spread. The efforts of the American commanders and their men to stop the progress and ravages of the fire proved ineffectual. The conflagration raged for nearly three days, and consumed about nine-tenths of the town. Scarcely can even the strongest imagination picture to itself the distress of the wretched inhabitants, most of whom, friends or foes, saw their homes, their property, their all, an indiscriminate prey to the irrepressible fury of the flames. The horrors of the conflagration were hightened by the thunder of cannon from the ships, and musketry of the hostile parties that encountered each other in sharp conflict near the shore, and on the smoking ruins of the dovoted town. In these encounters, the British were uniformly repulsed, and driven back to their boats with shame and loss. Of the Americans, by a singular good fortune, none were killed, and only five or six men wounded, one of whom mortally. Some women and children were, however, reported to have lost their lives. In this affair, the intrepid Sterens still added to his fame. At the head of his hardy, indefatigable, and irresistible band, he rushed with the rapidity of lightning to the water-side, struck a large party of British, who had just landed there, and compelled them to retire with slaughter and in dismay, to the protection of their wooden walls. In general, during the whole of this afflicting scene, both officers and men evinced a spirit worthy of veterans.
"Such was the melancholy event which laid prostrate the most flourishing and richest town in the colony. Its happy site, combining all those natural advantages which invite and promote navigation and commerce, had been actively seconded by the industry and enterprise of the inhabitants. Before the existing troubles, an influx of wealth was rapidly pouring into its lap. In the two years from 1773 to 1775, the rents of the houses increased from 8,000 to 10,0001 a year. Its population exceeded 6,000 citizens, many of whom possessed affluent fortunes. The whole actual loss, on this lamentable occasion, has been computed at more than three hundred thousand pounds sterling; and the mass of distress attendant on the event is beyond all calculation."
Williamsburg is situated on a level plain between James and York Rivers, 58 miles from Richmond, 68 from Norfolk, and 7 from Jamestown. It is the oldest incorporated town in the state. This immediate vicinity was first known as the Middle Plantations, and was settled in 1632, principally from Jamestown, and in 1698 the seat of government was removed here from that place. From this period until the year 1679, when Richmond became the seat of government, Williamsburg was the center of the fashion, wealth and learning of the "Old Dominion." William and Mary College, now the principal support of the town, was founded in 1692, in the reign of William and Mary, who granted it a donation of 20,000 acres of land. It is, with the exception of Harvard University, the oldest literary institution in the Union. It is distinguished for the large proportion of its graduates who have risen
to eminent station in the nation. On the 3d of February, 1859, the college building was destroyed by fire.
On the town square stands the old magazine, built about 130 years since, and memorable, as being the building from whence Lord Dunmore, in 1774,
removed the powder belonging to the colony on board the Magdalen man-of-war, which arbitrary act threw the whole of Vir. ginia into a state of ferment, and Occasioned the first assembling of an armed force in the colony in opposition to the royal authority.
At the head of a small but beautiful grassy court, called the Palace Green, are two small brick structures, the remains of the Palace of Lord Dunmore, the
last of the colonial governors. THE OLD MAGAZINE.
Here he resided in great state,
surrounded by the pomp and pageantry of vice-royalty. At that time the adjacent grounds, comprising 260 acres, were beautifully laid out, with carriage roads winding through them. Numerous lindens were imported from Scotland, one or two of which now remain, and are admired for their magnificence and beauty. The palace was accidentally destroyed by fire during its occupancy by some French troops immediately after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
On the beautiful green fronting the college, stands the statue of Lord Botetourt, one of the colonial governors. It is much mutilated, though still presenting a specimen of elegant sculpture. He appears in the court-dress of that day, with a short sword at his side. It was erected in 1774, at the expense of the colony.
Lord Botetourt was distinguished for love of piety and literature. His arrival as governor of the colony, in Oet., 1768, was greeted with public rejoicings becoming the loyal subjects of his majesty. "Immediately upon. his arrival the city was illuminated, and all ranks vied with each other in testifying their gratitude and joy, that a nobleman of such distinguished merit and abilities was appointed to preside over and live among them.” In the Virginia Gazette, of the time, the following "Ode of Welcome" was published:
VIRGINIA'S ODE OF WELCOME TO LORD BOTETOURT, OCT.,
VIRGINIA, see, thy GOVERNOR appears !