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To distant plains, where pond'rous mountains rise,
The LORDLY PRIZE the Atlantic waves resign,
To cheer VIRGINIAN plains !
And sing your loftiest strains.
Triumphant wreaths entwine ;
Enter dirgins with flowers, laurels, etc.
Health to our GOVERNOR, and GOD save the KING! It was in the "old capitol," at Williamsburg—destroyed by fire in 1832— that Patrick Henry made his debut in the House of Burgesses. It was here, also, that occurred that touching incident in the life of Washington, who, having been complimented in glowing terms by the speaker, Mr. Robinson, for his gallantry in the French and Indian war, rose to give his acknowledgments for the honor, but was so overcome by modesty that he could not utter a single intelligible word, when the speaker, observing his embarrassment, relieved him by a masterly stroke of address, saying, with a conciliating smile, “Sit down, Mr. Washington; your modesty is equal to your valor, and that surpasses the power of any language that I possess."
The first newspaper printed in Britsh America was in Boston, in 1704, and in 1719 the second was issued, in the same city. In 1725 a newspaper was first printed in New York; from this time they were gradually extended through the continent.
“In 1671, Sir William Berkeley 'thanks God there are no free schools nor printing [in Virginia]—and hopes we shall not have these hundreds of years to come.' The first printing press erected in Virginia, in 1682, was shortly after put down."
The first newspaper published in Virginia, was the Virginia Gazette, the first number of which was issued August 6, 1736. From the Virginia Gazette of 1776, are extracted the following marriage notices, which, according to the custom of the times, are accompanied by some poetic lines :
Mr. WILLIAM DERRICOAT, of Hanover, to Miss SuckeY TOMKIES, of Gloucester, daughter of Col. Francis Tomkies.
Her's the mild luster of the blooming morn, Long may they live, and mutually possess, And his the radiance of the rising day. A steady love and genuine happiness.
On Sunday last, Mr. BEVERLY Dixon to Miss POLLY SAUnders, a very agreeable young lady. Hymen, thy brightest torch prepare,
Sprightly graces too descend,
And the beauteous bride attend.
Combined unite their spotless minds,
And seal their vows above.
Captain Samuel Denny, of the artillery, to Miss FALLEN, of Northumberland.
May peace and love the sacred band unite,
Jamestown, the first settlement in British America, was settled by Capt. John Smith and his companions, May 13, 1607. The site of the place was a point of land projecting into James River, but now, by the encroachment of the water, it is changed into an island. This interesting spot is about 60 miles E. S. E. from Richmond and 7 from Williamsburg. Near the point of the island are the ruins of an ancient church. “This crumbling pile, sur
rounded by shrubbery, brambles and tangled vines, and the old church wall of English brick, inclosing a few broken monuments, half buried in earth or covered with a pall of ivy and long grass, are all the tangible records that remain of the first planting of an English colony in America."
Every year the current of James River is changing its banks; a large portion of it whereon the ancient town was erected has been washed away,
and the channel of the river is gradually approaching the old church tower, and if its progress is not arrested in a few generations more, not a vestige of Jamestown will remain.
Yorktown is situated, on a high bluff, on the south bank of York River, 11 miles from its mouth and 70 É. S. E. from Richmond. The peninsula on
RUINS AT JAMESTOWN.
which the town stands is level, and is embraced on each side by deep ravines, which almost meet in the rear. The ground is the highest upon either the York or James rivers below Richmond. It was first settled in 1705, and was once a flourishing village. The town will ever remain memorable on account of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, which took place here, October 19, 1781. The following narrative of this important event, which decided the revolutionary contest, is from "Holmes' Annals:"
“Yorktown is a small village on the south side of York River, whose southern banks are high, and in whose waters a ship of the line may ride with safety. Gloucester Point is a piece of land on the opposite shore, projecting deeply into the river. Both these posts were occupied by Lord Cornwallis, and a communication between them was commanded by his batteries and by some ships of war. The main body of his army was encamped on the open grounds about Yorktown, within a range of outer redoubts and field works; and Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton, with a detachment of six or seven hundred men, held the post at Gloucester Point. The legion of the Duke de Lauzun, and a brigade of militia under General Weeden, the whole commanded by the French General De Choise, were directed to watch and restrain the enemy on the side of Gloucester; and the grand combined army, on the 30th of September, moved down to the investiture of York. town. In the evening, the troops halted about two miles from York, and lay all night on their arms. Causeways having been constructed in the night over a morass in front of the British works, the continental infantry marched the next morning in columns to the right of the combined forces. A few cannon shot were fired from the British work on the Hampton road, and some riflemen skirmished with the pickets of the Anspach battalions on the left. The two armies cautiously observed each other, but nothing material occurred until evening, when an express boat arrived at Yorktown with a letter from Sir Henry Clinton to Earl Cornwallis, giving him assurance that joint exertions of the army and navy would be made for his relief. To this letter is attributed an order for the British troops to quit the outward and retire to the inner position, in compliance with which that movement was effected before daybreak." The next morning Colonel Scammell, with a reconnoitering party, falling in with a detachment of picked dragoons, was driven back, and in attempting a retreat was mortally wounded and taken prisoner. He was an officer of great merit, and his death was deeply lamented. In the course of the forenoon, the allies took possession of the ground that had been abandoned by the British.
On the 9th and 10th of October the French and Americans opened their bat teries. On the night of the 11th the second parallel was opened within three hundred yards of the British lines. Two redoubts, advanced in front of the British works, annoying the besiegers in their trenches, it was proposed to carry them by storm. The reduction of one redoubt was committed to the French, of the other to the Americans. The Marquis de Lafayette commanded the American detachment of light infantry against the redoubt on the extreme left of the British works, and the Baron de Viominel led the French grenadiers and chasseurs against that which was farther toward the British right and nearer the French lines. On the evening of the 14th the two detachments moved firmly to the assault. Colonel Hamilton led the advanced corps of the Americans, and Colonel Lawrence, at the head of eighty men, turned the redoubt, in order to take the garrison in reverse and intercept their retreat. The troops rushed to the assault with unloaded arms, and in a few minutes carried the redoubt with inconsiderable loss. The French were also successful. The redoubt assigned to them was soon carried, but with less rapidity and greater loss. These two redoubts were included the same night in the second parallel, and facilitated the subsequent operations of the besiegers.
On the 16th a sortie was made from the garrison by a party of three hundred and fifty, commanded by Lieutenant-colonel Abercrombie, who forced two bat teries and spiked eleven pieces of cannon, but the guards from the trenches immediately advancing on them they retreated, and the pieces which they had hastily spiked were soon rendered fit for service. In the afternoon of the same day the besiegers
opened several batteries in their second parallel, and in the whole line of batteries nearly one hundred pieces of heavy ordnance were now mounted. The works of the besieged were so universally in ruins as to be in no condition to sustain the fire which might be expected the next day. In this extremity Lord Cornwallis boldly resolved to attempt an escape by land with the greater part of his army. His plan was to cross over in the night to Gloucester Point, cut to pieces or disperse the troops under De Choise, and, mounting his infantry on the horses belonging to that detachment, and on others to be seized on the road, to gain the fords of the great rivers, and, forcing his way through Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Jersey, to form a junction with the royal army at New York. In prosecution of this desperate design, one embarkation of his troops crossed over to the Point, but a violent storm of wind and rain dispersed the boats and frustrated the scheme.
In the morning of the 17th several new batteries were opened in the second parallel, and, in the judgment of Lord Cornwallis, as well as of his engineers, the place was no longer tenable. About ten in the forenoon his lordship, in a letter to General Washington, requested that there might be a cessation of hostilities for twenty-four hours, and that commissioners might be appointed to digest terms of capitulation. The American general in his answer declared his "ardent desire to spare the farther effusion of blood, and his readiness to listen to such terms as were admissible," and granted a suspension of hostilities for two hours. The general propositions stated by Lord Cornwallis for the basis of the proposed negotiation being such as to lead to an opinion that the terms of capitulation might without much difficulty be adjusted, the suspension of hostilities was prolonged through the night. Commissioners were appointed the next day to digest into form such articles as General Washington had drawn up and proposed to Lord Cornwallis; and early the next morning the American general sent them to his lordship with a letter, expressing his expectation that they would be signed by eleven, and that the garrison would march out by two in the afternoon. Lord Cornwallis, submitting to a necessity absolutely inevitable, surrendered the posts of Yorktown and Gloucester Point, with the garrison, and the shipping in the har. bor, with the seamen, to the land and naval officers of America and France. By the articles of capitulation, the officers were to retain their side arms and private property. The soldiers, accompanied by a due proportion of officers, were to remain in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and the officers, not required for this service, were to be allowed to go on parole to Europe, or to any maritime port occupied by the English in America.
The garrison marched out of the town with colors cased, and General Lincoln, by appointment, received the submission of the royal army precisely in the same manner in which the submission of his own army had been previously made at the surrender of Charlestown. *
General Washington, on this very joyful occasion, ordered that those who were under arrest should be pardoned and set at liberty, and closed his orders in the following pious and impressive manner:. :Divine service shall be performed tomorrow in the different brigades and divisions. The commander-in-chief recom
* The army, with the artillery, arms, accoutermonts, military chest, and all public stores, were surrendered to General Washington, the ships and seamen to the Count de Grasse. The prisoners, exclusively of seamen, amounted to 7,073, of which number 5,950 were rank and file. Garrison of York 3,273 Sick and wounded
4,017 Total of rank and file 5,950 To the 7,073 prisoners are to be added 6 commissioned and 28 non-commissioned officers and privates, taken prisoners in the two redoubts, and in the sortie made by the garrison. The loss sustained by the garrison during the siege in killed, wounded and missing amounted to 552. The loss of the combined army in killed and wounded was about 300. The allied army to which that of Lord Cornwallis surrendered has been estimated at 16,000 men. The French amounted to 7,000, the continental troops to about 5,500, and the militia to about
mends that all the troops that are not upon duty do assist at it with a serious deportment, and that sensibility of heart which the recollection of the surprising and particular interposition of divine Providence in our favor claims.' Congress resolved to go in solemn procession to the Dutch Lutheran Church, to return thanks to Almighty God for crowning the allied arms with success, and issued a proclamation appointing the 13th day of December 'as a day of general thanksgiving and prayer, on account of this signal interposition of divine Providence.'"
Yorktown contained about sixty houses at the time of the siege in 1781. A fire which occurred in 1814 destroyed much property, and from this blow the place never recovered. At that time its old church, built a century and a half before, was destroyed; nothing but its stone walls were left standing. It remained thirty years in ruins, when it was repaired, or rather rebuilt, and is now used as a place of public worship. In the old burial-ground adjoining it are the tombs and monuments of the Nelson family, situated a few yards from York River. One of the monuments is the work of “Mr. Saunders, Cannon-street, London.”
Upon one end are sculptured two angels' faces, one of which is breaking out from a cloud, on which is written “All glory be to God." The other face below, with trumpet in mouth, is heralding the above inscription. Upon the other end are also two angels' heads; one is about receiving a crown from the hand of an invisible body hidden behind the clouds. This monument is that of the progenitor of the Nelson family in Virginia, and the grandfather of Gov. Nelson. He emigrated from Penrith, Cumberland county, Eng. land, which county had been transferred by Henry III to the crown of Scotland, and upon failure of heirs reverted as a base fee to England. He was from this circumstance called Scotch Tom. On top is the Nelson coat-of-arms, then follows the inscription:
“Hic jacet, spe certa resurgendi in Christi, Thomas Nelson, generosus, Filius Hugonis et Sariæ Nelson de Penrith, in Comitatu Cumbriæ, natus 20mo die Februarii Anno Domini 1677, vitæ bene gestæ finem implevit 7mo die Octobris 1745, ætatis suæ 68.”
[Translation.] “Here lies, in certain hope of a resurrection in Christ, Thomas Nelson, gentlemen, son of Hugo and Sarah Nelson, of Penrith, in the county of Cumberland: born February 20, A. D. 1677, died October 7, 1745, aged 68."
The other monument, that of Gov. Nelson's father, is also beautifully ornamented by carved work. Below is the inscription:
Here lies the body of the Hon. William Nelson, late president of his Majesty's council in this Dominion, in whom the love of man and the love of God so restrained and enforced each other, and so invigorated the mental powers in general, as not only to defend him from the vices and follies of his age and country, but also to render it a matter of difficult decision in what part of laudable conduct he most excelled; whether in the tender and endear. ing accomplishments of domestic life, or in the more arduous duties of a wider circuit; whether as a neighbor, gentleman, or a magistrate; whether in the graces of hospitality, charity or piety. Reader, if you feel the spirit of that exalted ardor which aspires to the felicity of conscious virtue, animated by those stimulating and divine admonitions, perform the task and expect the distinction of the righteous man. Obit 19th of Nov., Anno Domini 1772, ætatis 61.
The Nelson mansion is a large two-story brick building, fronting the river on the main street of the town. It is built on the old English model. In the war of the revolution it was the residence of Gov. Thomas Nelson, by whose father, the Hon. William Nelson, it was erected. Portraits of this last named gentleman and wife, which were mutilated by the British at Hanover, where they were sent for safety, adorn its walls. During the siege of York, the house was bombarded by the American army, and now bears marks of cannon shot. Gov. Nelson, then in Washington's army, had command of the first battery which opened upon the town. Rightly supposing it was occupied by British officers he pointed the first gun against his own dwelling, and offered a reward to the artillerymen of forty guineas for every bomb shell that should be fired into it.
Fredericksburg is situated on the south side of the Rappahannock River, 62 miles from Richmond and 56 from Washington, at the head of navigation on the river, 152 miles from its mouth. Population about 4,000. The town was