Monday, February 28, 2011

Beautiful Downtown James City

Today at James City: February 28, 1864

Kilpatrick has left Stevensburg today on his ill-fated raid on Richmond. As part of the deception and attempt to confuse the Confederates south of the Rapidan, Brig. Gen. George Custer took portions of his command on a raid into Albermarle County. Along with these movements, infantry from the Army of the Potomac also made demonstrations across the Rapidan.

John Haley of the 17th Maine took part in this event. From his diary, he gives us a description and his opinion of James City.

"...we turned off toward Cedar Mountain and shortly came to James City. This busy metropolis consists of the following valuable real estate: two dwellings, one with barn attached, one old carpenter shop, and an old mill – all expecting to tumble to pieces soon. Why such a pigmy hamlet should be called a city is a mystery. The main avenue is a lane terminating in a pasture into which we marched. Another lane intersects this one and passes over hillock dignified by the high-sounding title of Thoroughfare Mountain.
We halted in the shadows of this hill and formed a line to of battle to support the 6th Corps, which has advanced to Madison Court House and Charlottesville. They crossed the Ravenna River near one of these places ...
We who were left here passed the day “seeing the town,” getting acquainted with the names of the streets and public buildings. At night a storm of sleet and rain set in, but we are provided for such an emergency and have tents up, well stockaded with boards from James City."

Haley's diary can be found in the book "The Rebel Yell and Yankee Hurrah: the Civil War Journal of a Maine Volunteer: Private John W. Haley, 17th Maine Regiment," Edited by Ruth L. Silliker

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