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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Matthews, Edward 1729-1805 (search)
9. They plundered and spread desolation on both sides of the river to Norfolk. They seized that city, then rising from its ashes and enjoying a considerable trade, and also Portsmouth, opposite. These were the chief places of deposit of Virginia agricultural productions, especially tobacco. They captured and burned not less than 130 merchant vessels in the James and Elizabeth rivers, an unfinished Continental frigate on the stocks at Portsmouth, and eight ships-ofwar on the stocks at Gosport, a short distance above Portsmouth, where the Virginians had established a navy-yard. So sudden and powerful was the attack, that very little resistance was made by Fort Nelson, below Portsmouth, or by the Virginia militia. Matthews carried away or destroyed a vast amount of tobacco and other property, estimated, in the aggregate, at $2,000,000. Afterwards he assisted in the capture of Verplanck's and Stony Point. Appointed major-general, he was stationed at or near New York, and returne
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Norfolk, destruction of (search)
, that it might not afford shelter for the enemy. Thus a flourishing city was temporarily wiped out. Almost the only building that escaped the perils of that day of terror in Norfolk was the ancient St. Paul's Church, cruciform in shape and built of imported bricks. On the street front of the church, near the southwest corner, was left a large cavity made by a cannon-ball hurled from one of the ships during the attack. In Civil War days. What is known as the Norfolk navy-yard is at Gosport, on the bank of a deep and sluggish stream flowing out of the Great Dismal Swamp, and opposite the city of Norfolk. At the beginning of the Civil War this station was one of the oldest and most extensive belonging to the government, and covered an area three-fourths of a mile in length and one-fourth of a mile in width. In the river the largest vessels of war might float, and everything for building and finishing such vessels was seen there in greatest perfection. The quantities of arms