The Ruins of Hampton village.
a few days since allowed several visitors at Fortress Monroe
to cross over to the village of Hampton
, or what remains of it. One of them has furnished the following account of its present appearance to a Philadelphia paper:
The first objects that strike the eye of the beholder are scores of blackened and tottering chimneys, standing like mournful monuments of the desolation and ruin beneath.--Passing the outer picket guard of the Union
troops at the opposite end of the bridge, we followed a scouting party to the distant end of the town, and observing that the coast was clear, proceeded to explore the ruins.--Hampton
was a place of some importance; there is the Richmond turnpike
which went through the heart of the place and formed the principal street.
On this are the ruins of a bank, fine brick residences and spacious hardware, grocery, and other stores.
On the outskirts of the town, on this street, stands the old Episcopal church, of which we give a full account herewith.
This main street is intersected by others at right angles.
The sidewalks of the former were payed with bricks like those of Philadelphia
, with wooden curbs; the sidewalks of the latter were neatly graveled.
As is customary in the South
, each brick or frame residence had a beautiful garden; some had bowers and some summer houses, covered with climbing roses, blooming even now, and wasting their fragrance upon their veritable desert air that fills this vacuum of the Old Dominion.
In walking over the ruins, we found tin pans, kettles, stove-plates, and parts of every description of housekeeping articles lying around in the ashes.
Each house had its well of pure water, bricked up to the surface; these are now about half filled with dirty water and rubbish, and as they are mostly covered up with ruins, one is as apt to step into as over them; so, should any other person visit Hampton, Virginia
, we would advise them to be as careful of these wells as they are told to be of the lizards that infest the ruins of Jerusalem
The Baptist Church is in ruins, although only built in 1846.
It must have been quite a spacious edifice for a country town.
It has a graveyard, but the gravestones are of modern make, and our "Old Mortality," did not linger long.
Almost in the centre of what was once Hampton
are the ruins of the Episcopal Church of "Elizabeth City
If, in the scene of desolation, there is any one object more prominent than its associates, it is this relic.
The walls yet remain, but the interior is a blackened mass of rubbish.
The owl and the bat may perch at night upon the spot where for a century and a half the minister proclaimed the word of God.
Ashes are the only remains of roof, floor, pulpit and pew, and the moonlight steals in through the windows, devoid of glass, and lights up the cross-shapen ruin — as silent and dead as the bones that lie in the adjoining church-yard.
At night the lone shores of the desert are not more inhospitable for the stranger.
Winds whistle through the crevices — worms and insects revel in the most secret places, and the silence, if ever broken, is only by the wing of some bird of darkness, or the sharp crack of the rifle of a distant picket.
It was almost sunset as we strolled into the antiquated ruin.
At that time, it happened that small parties of soldiers had ventured to Hampton
Some were seated upon the graves near the church, some climbing to almost inaccessible places on tottering walls, and some seeking for roses in the deserted gardens.
This task seemed like a mockery, yet we joined in the pursuit, and plucked many buds from the flower beds that now have no owners.
There was but little evidence of care on the part of the old residents.
Some of the choicest plants had doubtless been removed, but the beds were without symmetry or form, and in all of them the thistle was springing up green and luxuriant, thriving only as only ill weeds can thrive.
A few white snow drops reared their modest heads, and seemed to brave the storm of desolation which had swept around.
At the western end of Hampton
there are a number of frame sheds standing, which are said to have been occupied by the rebels before they burnt the dwellings.
Our troops are making use of all that the rebels have left at this point, and a little dry wood makes a quick and comfortable fire these cool nights.
Ducks and oysters plentifully abound in Hampton creek
The soldiers amuse themselves occasionally by shooting the former, and the contrabands dredge for the latter.--Oysters are caught in great abundance, and are of excellent quality.
To the west and north of the deserted village of Hampton
we can see nothing but woods and rolling lands.
In these woods the rebels are posted, and occasionally they come in sight with a small body of infantry and a couple of howitzers, headed by a squadron of cavalry.
When this is the case, our skirmishers are sent out to meet them; the enemy delivers a round and then falls back (some five miles, it is supposed,) and our troops return.