Virginia History

Incidents of Hospital Life in 1864

By Phoebe Yates Pember

There were long discussions among those responsible during the war, as to the advisability of the frequent amputations on the field, and often when a hearty, fine-looking man in the prime of life would be brought in minus an arm or a leg, I would feel as if it might have been saved, but experience taught me the wisdom of prompt measures. Poor food and great exposure had thinned the blood and broken down the system so entirely that secondary amputations performed in the hospital almost invariably resulted in death, after the second year of the war. The blood lost on the battlefield when the wound was first received would enfeeble the already impaired system and render it incapable of further endurance.

The Beginning, Progress, and Conclusion of Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia, In the Years 1675 and 1676

By T.M., a planter and representative from Stafford County

But to return from this digression, the Susquehanoughs were newly driven from their habitations, at the head of Chesepiack bay, by the Cineca Indians, down to the head of Potomack, where they sought protection under the Pascataway Indians, who had a fort near the head of that river, and also were our ffriends.

The Death of John Wilkes Booth

By Lieutenant Edward Doherty

The Account of the Officer in Charge

On April 24, 1865, Lieutenant Edward Doherty sits on a bench across from the White House conversing with another officer. The arrival of a messenger interrupts the conversation. The messenger carries orders directing Doherty to lead a squad of cavalry to Virginia to search for Booth and Herold. Scouring the countryside around the Rappahoneck River, Doherty is told the two fugitives were last seen at a farm owned by Richard Garrett. Doherty leads his squad to the farm arriving in the early morning hours of April 26.

"Miss Hale is a slim, puny silent Virgin…."

By Philip Vickers Fithian

From the Journal and Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion, 1773-1774

Editor's note: the spellings are to period and from Mr. Fithian's diary.

Fryday 24.

La[s]t night we had a Gust of Rain & Thunder; very acceptable—To Day in course Mr. Christians Dance happens here--He came before Breakfast—Miss Jenny Washington came also, & Miss Priscilla Hale while we were at Breakfast

Diary of the Battle of the Wilderness

CAMPAYNE OF THE 151ST N. Y. V.
THROUGH THE WILDERNESS IN VA.
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
COMMENCING MAY 4TH 1864

 May the 7th 1864
Arose at daylight, we had our breakfast about half cooked when the battle commenced. The rebels came out of the woods in 4 lines of battle, then Our artilery opened on them with Grape & Canister causing them to retreat in confusion & were glad to get out of sight. Very heavy fighting down the left of the line near Chancelorsville. It was reported we had captured between 4 & 5000 prizoners today. Heared good news about dark and Great Cheering prevailed the whol length of the line. We recd orders to be ready to move at dark. We marched 3 or 4 miles and halted untill 2 O clock in the morning by the side of the road. We slept with our knapsacks on our backs. Was aroused from our slumbers by a pack of mules running away. We sprung to our feet, grabbed our muskets & got ready for action. We considered it an attack from the rebels. In a moments time we were all quiet and down we laid until daybreak.

 

Runaway Servants

Virginia Gazette
(Parks), Williamsburg,
From August 7 to August 14, 1746.

RAN away from the Subscribers on the 31st of July last, Three Servants, viz. Daniel M'Craw, a Scots-Highlander, of a short Stature, speaks broken English, about 5 Feet 2 Inches high, of a swarthy Complexion, with short curl'd Hair: Had on when he went away, a coarse Bear-skin Coat, with Brass Buttons, a Pair of brown Linen Trowsers and Shirt. He belonged to Mr. Charles Dick, in Fredericksburg. John Ross, a Scots-Highland Boy, about 16 Years of age, of a ruddy Complexion, full-fac'd, speaks broken English, and has his Hair cut: He carried with him an Oznabrig Shirt, a Pair of Oznabrig Trowsers and Breeches, a Tartan Waistcoat without Sleeves, lin'd with green Shalloon, a brown Holland and a white Linen ditto, a Silk Handkerchief, a Felt Hat, and a Leather hunting Cap. He belonged to Mr. John Mitchell, in Fredericksburg. Thomas Haily, an Irishman, about 36 Years of Age, of a fair Complexion, about 5 Feet 8 Inches high; had on when he went away, a dark colour'd Broad-Coath Coat, double-breasted with Metal Buttons, a Pair of Trowsers, an Oznabrig Shirt, a white Linen ditto, and a fine Beaver Hat. He belonged to Doctor William Lynn, in Fredericksburg. Whoever apprehends the said Servants and brings them to their Masters aforesaid, shall receive a Pistole Reward for each, besides what the Law allows. Witness our Hands this 21st Day of July, 1746. Charles Dick. William Lynn. John Mitchell.

 

Recipes and Remedies in Her Own Hand

Vanilla Drops

This is the recipe I always use. Good.

Cream 1/2 cup butter and 2 cups sugar, add 2 eggs well beaten, 3/4 cup cold water, 2 heaping teaspoonfuls yeast powder, enough flour to make a stiff batter. Flavor with vanilla. Drop on well greased pans and bake in a moderately quick oven.*
This takes about 1 pt flour.

*about 375º

This recipe comes from a fascinating little book, Annie Flora Myer, Confederate Daughter of Fredericksburg: Recipes and Remedies in Her Own Hand, edited by her great grandniece Anne Ligon. It is available for reserve and check out through the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Her Wedding Gown

By Anonymous

Town Topics of May 1 says: Miss Marion Murchison, who last week married the young southerner, "Charlie" Hurkamp, wore one of the most exquisite bridal gowns that has been seen this season. It was composed entirely of point lace over chiffon, and had a long rounded train over which fell the bridal veil, also of point lace. The effect would have been too heavy and stiff for anybody but a girl of Miss Murchison's slight graceful figure. As it was, she made a most attractive picture in the costume. The veil was fastened to her dark hair by carelessly arranged gardenias, which also formed the bridal bouquet. The wedding took place at the Murchison residence, on Fifty-seventh street [New York City], about fifty guests being present.

Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier

 

"We are all boys between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one."

Louis Leon joined North Carolina's Charlotte Grays in April 1861. He was to serve throughout the war and spent considerable time in Virginia. Captured at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864, he spent the war's last months imprisoned at two notorious facilities: Point Lookout, Maryland and Elmira, New York. He published his war-time diary in 1913.

May 5—Moved this morning, feeling for the enemy, and came up to them at noon, five miles from the Run, in the Wilderness. It certainly is a wilderness; it is almost impossible for a man to walk, as the woods are thick with an underbrush growth and all kinds of shrubbery, old logs, grapevines, and goodness knows what. My corps of sharpshooters were ordered to the front. We formed in line and advanced to the enemy. We fought them very hard for three hours, they falling back all the time. Our sharpshooters' line got mixed up with Gordon's Brigade, and fought with them.

Sounds Spooky: Watchmen Weaken on Their Job at Chatham.—Strong Armed Guard There Tonight

By The Daily Star—10 August 1921

In an advertisement on the second page of this issue it will be noted that all trespassers on the grounds of Chatham Manor between the hours of sunset and sunrise will be there at their own risk. Watchmen employed by the architect and contractor declare that ghosts invade the domain during the midnight hours and five individual watchmen have tendered their resignations after staying at the historic mansion one night. The watchman on duty Tuesday night declares that a stumpy black figure, accompanied by a grotesque shape in white passed within a few feet of him at midnight. He fired a double-barreled shot gun at them point blank and was greeted by a hollow guttural laugh as they continued their rounds about the manor. This was too much for the guard to stand and he left the premises for good. Another watchman relates that he saw three women in white roaming around the estate exactly at 3 a.m. a few mornings ago, while others tell of strange noises and strangling sounds.