[special correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Hampton, Va., May 21, 1861.
There seems to be considerable activity at Old Point
; in fact, the arrival of troops during the past few weeks — the stopping of vessels of all classes — the frequent movement of large bodies of men — the numerous vessels taken and now at anchor at that place-- gives it an importance, which we have never before known Old Point
"’ is there, and numbers of transport vessels are arriving and departing every week.
Nine regiments are expected every day, which will give a force of 13,000 at that place.
Why so large a force at Old Point
The readers of your paper will be curious to know.
They are not necessary for the defence of that post — from three to five thousand would be infinitely better.
The supply of water has been small, and with 13,000 soldiers stationed there, very soon there would be a great want.
The troops are, doubtless, intended for two or three points of attack.
This peninsular of country between the York
and James rivers
, will soon be in the possession of the enemy, unless something is done to prevent it. The great importance of possessing this section is well understood by officers at Fort Monroe
--better than by some of our friends.
I refer you to an article in the Tribune,
written by some one, probaby an officer at Old Point
There are five volunteer companies organized in this county, (Elizabeth city
.) We hear of the noble deeds of other counties, but we must let the public know what has been done by the patriots here.
Counties having as some have--12 and 15,000 inhabitants, have furnished five, six, and seven companies; little Elizabeth City county, with less than 6,000 inhabitants, has now five companies.
We have been at work, and in good earnest, though under the guns at Old Point
, which now threaten destruction to our property and our lives, and the lives of those near and dear to us. We have worked on and will continue to labor for the freedom of our own soil, our homes, our State.
Well done old Elizabeth City
Prond am I of my old — my native county.
Though the enemy in great numbers is at our doors, we must, we will stand up and defend our firesides, though no assistance has been or probably will be sent us. Let our brave volunteers make this peninsula ‘"the Thermopyla"’ of Virginia
We have no Leonidas
to lead us, but let every man be himself a Leonidas, rather than give up the fairest portion of the Old Dominion to Lincoln
's myrmidons.--The very idea of ‘"falling back"’ 20 miles before we make a stand, is sufficient to stir the blood of every true man in our midst.
What! desert our homes and leave behind us defenceless women and children, and not strike a blow?
It will not do.
We hear it rumored that armed men from Old Point
will probably be at the polls next Thurday.
Should it be so, you will hear of the commencement of the fight in true earnest.
We now have the mortification of seeing soldiers from Old Point
in possession of certain parts of our county; but to see the polls in their possession, would be beyond all endurance.
Our guards have been driven back, and we have had to place them some distance this side of Mrs. Clopton
's residence, on Mill Creek
The guard on the Bay
shore, composed of a number of the Old Dominion Dragoons, resisted the approach (stealthily) of soldiers from Old Point
to the place where the guard was picketed.
They have, therefore, advanced nearly one mile on Virginia
Step by step, they are coming towards us.
The battle which took place between the U. S. vessel Monticello
, two tug-boats, and the battery at Sewell's Point
, on Sunday evening, was witnessed by large numbers of our citizens.
A great many guns were fired, all in full view of this town.
On the house-tops, the wharves, and various other places, large crowds were seen anxiously awaiting the result.
All seemed cool.
Very little of wild excitement was manifested; but every one looked on calmly, hoping to see the vessels well whipped.
We could not ascertain the damage done the Monticello
They keep their secrets well at Old Point
She moved slowly back, under the guns of the Minnesota
, having given up the fight about 7 o'clock.
We are expecting every day to see it removed.
You will then hear of larger ships being brought into action.
Our troops here will go into camp in a few days, or as soon as the tents are ready.