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taken to wake the Government to the necessity of obstructing the river; but either carelessness, or the confusion consequent on the retreat, had rendered them unavailing. Now at the last moment, every nerve was strained to block the river and to mount a few guns on Drewry's Bluff — a promontory eighty feet high, overhanging a narrow channel some nine miles below the city. On the 15th of May, the iron-clads approached the still unfinished obstructions. There was just time to sink the Jamestown --one of the wooden shells that had done such good work under the gallant Barney —— in the gap; to send her crew and those of the Virginia and Patrick Henry to man the three guns mounted on the hill above-when the iron-clads opened fire. Their cannonade was terrific. It cut through the trees and landed the missiles a mile inland. The roar of the heavy guns, pent and echoed between the high banks, was like continuous thunder, lit by lurid flashes as they belched out 13-inch Shrapnel <
d in the channel at Newport News, blockading the mouth of James river and cutting off communication from Norfolk. The Congress frigate was lying near her, off the News; while the Minnesota lay below, under the guns of Fortress Monroe. The Ericsson Monitor — the first of her class, and equally an experiment as her rebel rival-had come round a few days before to watch the Virginia, as the new iron-clad was now rechristened. The great ship being ready, Flag-Officer Buchanan ordered the Jamestown, Captain Barney, and the Yorktown, Captain Tucker, down from Richmond; while he went out with the Raleigh and Beaufort --two of the smallest class of gunboats, saved by Captain Lynch from Roanoke Island. This combined force-four of the vessels being frail wooden shells, formerly used as river passenger boats-carried only twenty-seven guns. But Buchanan steamed boldly out, on the morning of the 8th of March, to attack an enemy carrying quite two hundred and twenty of the heaviest guns in
General James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox, Chapter 5: Round about Richmond. (search)
d batteries, and rifle-trenches reaching to the right, connecting with those behind the Warwick. Yorktown is on the right bank of York River, which narrows at that point, with Gloucester Point on the opposite bank. This point was also fortified, and held by a strong garrison. On the south side of the James, General Huger held Norfolk, near its mouth, fortified and garrisoned by about ten thousand men, while the James River floated the Confederate vessels Virginia ( Merrimac ), Yorktown, Jamestown, and Teaser. McClellan's army, embarked from Alexandria and moved by transports to the vicinity of Fortress Monroe, as first collected, numbered one hundred and eight thousand of all arms, including the garrison at Fortress Monroe. Magruder was speedily reinforced by a detachment from Huger's army, and afterwards by Early's brigade of Johnston's army, and after a few days by the balance of Johnston's army, the divisions of G. W. Smith, D. H. Hill, and Longstreet, with Stuart's caval
at I die in the faith of Christ; her early instructions have been greatly blessed to me; and my last word is, Mother. This was said in extreme weakness. He soon slept, and never awoke in this world. One young soldier said to me that night, at Manassas: He was one of the bravest men I ever saw, and met death like a soldier. Another said: He died like a Christian. Scarcely had we buried him, when news was brought us that her younger, now her only son, was desperately ill on the steamer Jamestown, on James River-he belongs to our navy. She hurried to Richmond, and thence down the river to the steamer, but found him better. He was soon well enough to accompany her to this place. She had left her home suddenly, and must return to it; so, after a few days with her boy, who is now decidedly convalescent, she has left him in our care, and has set off on her weary way home. She will probably meet with no difficulties on her return, from officials, as she has passports through our lin
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 1., Chapter 15: siege of Fort Pickens.--Declaration of War.--the Virginia conspirators and, the proposed capture of Washington City. (search)
r the north entrance to the Custom House, was taken down and broken in pieces by the populace; and the National officers suddenly found their occupation gone. The flag of the Southern Confederacy, with an additional star for Virginia (making eight in all), was unfurled over the Capitol. It was also displayed from the Custom House and other public buildings, and from hotels and private dwellings. The Custom House was taken into the keeping of Virginia troops; and the packets Yorktown and Jamestown, belonging to the New York and Virginia Steamship Company, were seized and placed in charge of the same body of armed men. As the news from Richmond went over the land, it produced the most profound sensation. In the cities of Slave-labor States, and especially of the more Southern ones, there were demonstrations of great delight. At Charleston the event caused the wildest excitement. The news of the secession of the mother of Presidents and Patriots, said a telegraphic dispatch to P
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 1., Chapter 21: beginning of the War in Southeastern Virginia. (search)
town and Newport-Newce. There has been some discussion and considerable research concerning the true orthography of this locality and the origin of its name. The commonly received explanation is that, at one time, when the English colony at Jamestown was in a starving condition, the supply ships of Captain Newport were first seen off this point, and gave the beholders the good news of food at hand; hence the place was called Newport's News. History does not seem to warrant the acceptance orginia, after their long and perilous voyage, and was named by them Point Comfort. There the crew of a Dutch vessel, with negroes from Africa, landed in August, 1620, and a few days afterward sold twenty of their human cargo to the settlers at Jamestown. So negro Slavery was begun on the domain of the United States. That master-stroke of policy was one of the most effective blows aimed at the heart of the rebellion; and throughout the war the fugitive slave was known as a contraband. An epigr
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 2., Chapter 14: movements of the Army of the Potomac.--the Monitor and Merrimack. (search)
rection. Her main-mast was crippled by a shot sent from Sewell's Point when she was passing, and when within a mile and a half of Newport-Newce she ran aground. There she was attacked by the Merrimack and two of the Confederate gun-boats, the Jamestown and Patrick Henry. The armed vessels that assisted the Merrimack in her raid, were the Patrick Henry, Commander Tucker, 6 guns; Jamestown, Lieutenant-Commanding Barney, 2 guns; and Raleigh, Lieutenant-Commanding Alexander; Beaufort, LieutenaJamestown, Lieutenant-Commanding Barney, 2 guns; and Raleigh, Lieutenant-Commanding Alexander; Beaufort, Lieutenant-Commanding Parker, and Teazer, Lieutenant-Commanding Webb, each one gun. Fortunately, the water was so shallow that the Merrimack could not approach within a mile of her. She fought gallantly, and at dusk her assailants, considerably crippled, withdrew, and went up toward Norfolk. Commodore Buchanan and several others on board the Merrimack were wounded. The Commander was so badly hurt that Captain Jones, his second in command, took charge of the vessels. Two of her guns were broken; he
the frigate St. Lawrence, towed by the Cambridge, passed them, and soon also grounded, but was hauled off by the Cambridge, when she returned to the harbor of the fort. The Minnesota, Capt. Van Brunt, having, in passing Sewell's Point, received and returned a fire from the Rebel battery, which crippled her mainmast, had approached within a mile and a half of Newport News, when she grounded, with an ebbing tide, and was still hard at work trying to get off, when, at 4 P M., the Merrimac, Jamestown, and Patrick Henry, having finished their work at the News, bore down upon her. The shallowness of the water forbade the Merrimac to come within a mile of her, from which distance she fired for the next two or three hours, but once hulling the Minnesota by a shot through her bow. The Jamestown and the Patrick Henry, taking position on the port bow and stern of the Minnesota, where only her heavy pivot-gun could be brought to bear upon them, kept up a vigorous and effective fire on her, by
d by the celebrated Culpepper Minute Men — the united force under command of Col. Woodford, who subsequently fell in one of the battles of the Revolution. No spot in Virginia is invested with more thrilling romance and historic interest than Hampton and its immediate vicinity. It was visited in 1607 by Capt. John Smith, then an Indian town called Kccaughtan. Here Smith and his party were regaled with corn cakes, and exchanged for them trinkets and beads. The locality was settled from Jamestown in 1610, and was incorporated a century afterward as the town of Ye Shire of Elizabeth city. The Episcopal church, an ancient pile made of imported brick, is the oldest building in the village, and probably, from its isolated location, may have escaped the late conflagration. It is the second oldest church in the State, and is surrounded by a cemetery filled with countless marble marks of the dead. Scattered through it may be found, at intervals, stones with armorial quarterings, desi
Benjamnin F. Butler, Butler's Book: Autobiography and Personal Reminiscences of Major-General Benjamin Butler, Chapter 5: Baltimore and Fortress Monroe. (search)
until they reached a large and apparently primeval forest, were cultivated lands. This point was called Newport News from this incident: When the colonists at Jamestown, some twenty miles up the river, were in a state of starvation,--that is to say, in want of wheat, barley, beer, and roast beef, having almost everything else tohey sent word to England of their starving condition, like our Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth, who did the same thing under the same circumstances. These people at Jamestown then waited with anxiety for the outfit of a vessel by Lord Newport containing the coveted material for beer, and at the farthest point of all down the river theter days of watchfulness and anxiety the vessel came in sight. The watchers at the outpost were the first to know of its arrival, and this news they conveyed to Jamestown with the utmost speed, to the great delight of its people. And in honor of that occasion that point was named Newport's News. I saw that this point, if held
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