Tag Archives: Revolutionary War

- “Lafayette, we are here!”


Twenty years ago, a small group of businessmen and former diplomats conceived a plan to build an authentic replica of the French frigate Hermione, the ship that carried Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, to America in 1780 with the news of French support for the American Revolution.  The group hoped that this project would rekindle close ties between France and the United States, create a lasting educational legacy, and bring life to both Lafayette’s memory and the spirit of liberty that he embodied.  The reconstructed Hermione is now a reality and the tall ship is currently en route to the United States, where it will visit twelve ports along the Eastern Seaboard over the course of the summer.  Hermione will be docked at Yorktown from 5-7 June, and Alexandria from 10-12 June, and the public are invited to the festivities.  A schedule of tours and events can be found at http://hermione2015.com/voyage2015/.

Marquis de LaFayette

Lafayette played a crucial role in American and Virginia history.  Without his dedication to the cause of independence and his ability to persuade others to provide much needed financial and military resources, the outcome of the American Revolution might have been very different.  “The moment I heard of America, I lov’d her,” Lafayette recalled in 1778, a year after he set sail from France to … read more »

- Independence didn’t come cheap


The American Flag: A New National Lyric sheet music cover, 1862. (Imaged used courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection.)

The fledgling United States of America found that a considerable public debt had been generated by the struggle for independence against Great Britain. Such was the price for liberty, and the new country lacked a sufficient tax authority to secure any revenue. Various Congressional requisitions between 1781 and 1787 to the American states attempted to raise the money to pay off the debt. In addition, the states had accrued debts of their own and enacted various state laws to collect and settle both these debts and those of the federal requisitions.

Rescued from some badly damaged records from the Accomack County clerk’s office attic is a unique item that appears to be related to Virginia’s contributions to war debt settlement.

The Accomack County Tax List Related to Revolutionary War Debt, circa 1786, records the names, more or less in alphabetical order, of various persons from Saint George’s Parish, including those of women.  Three additional columns are labeled Specie Warrants, Tobacco, and Indent.  An indent was a certificate issued by the government of the United States at the close of the Revolution for the principal or interest of the public debt.  Numbers in pounds, shillings and pence are recorded in the Specie Warrants and Indent columns, with the Specie Warrant numbers always being roughly double that of the numbers in the Indent columns. No … read more »

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- Prince Edward Co. Declarations for Revolutionary War Pensions

While examining Prince Edward County court records for chancery suits, former Local Records Archivist Catherine OBrion found a group of declarations to the justices of the peace of Prince Edward County.  The declarants were Revolutionary War veterans seeking to obtain pensions under an act of Congress passed on 7 June 1832. The applicants present detailed testimony of their time of service during the Revolutionary War. Information found in the declarations include date and location applicants entered into service, names of military companies they served in, names of military commanders they served under, names of fellow soldiers they served with, length of service, their ages, and their places of birth. The declarations also include affidavits from witnesses who could verify information provided by applicants.

The predominant portion of the declarations consists of narratives of the veterans’ tours of duty during the Revolutionary War.  William Hines, age 78, presented an account of his service under General George Rogers Clarke in present-day Kentucky.  Clarke’s army was pursuing Native Americans along the Ohio River.  Hines shared how, during the campaign, he was severely wounded by two musket balls which broke both bones of his right arm below the elbow.  Hines was personally assured by General Clarke that he would receive a pension.  William Worsham, age 80, presented an account of his service from the time the war began in 1775 to the British … read more »

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- Accomack and Fluvanna Chancery Now Available Online!

Plat, 1780, Fluvanna Co. Chancery Cause 1812-007 William I. Stone vs. William Galt &c


The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce that the Accomack County chancery causes, 1727-1805, and Fluvanna County chancery causes, 1779-1882, are now available on the Chancery Records Index.  The Accomack County material consists of chancery suits recovered from court records found in the attic of the clerk’s office in 1996. Additional chancery from Accomack County will be added at a later date. The Fluvanna County chancery causes were separated from court records housed at the Library of Virginia. Additional Fluvanna County chancery records are available at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

A number of the Accomack County chancery causes for this date range concern the division of slaves. An example is Accomack County chancery cause 1799-019. This suit includes a report of a division of slaves (image # 7) among the heirs of William Taylor.  Accomack County chancery cause 1783-013 (image # 13) contains a September 1777 letter that references British losses at the Battle of Brandywine.  Accomack County chancery cause 1801-005 is a freedom suit filed by a slave named Mary claiming freedom on the basis of her mother’s Native American ancestry. She argues that her mother, Mall Cook, was “one of the native aboriginal Indians of this country” (image #2).

Transcript for Report of division read more »

- That’s Some Magic Bullet: Thirty-Eight Years After Revolutionary War, Bullet Exits Louisa Man’s Arm. Surfaces in Library’s Vault

Bullet removed from Edward Houchins' arm, Jamestown Exhibit Papers, Accession 42098.

Transcript of documents shown above.

Edward Houchins, a veteran of Captain Edmund Curd’s Company of Goochland Militia, petitioned the General Assembly on 10 December 1818, requesting an increase in his forty-dollar-a-year pension. According to the Louisa County resident, he was severely wounded in the arm at General Horatio Gates’s defeat at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina, in 1780. It was this very wound that allowed Houchins to successfully petition the Assembly in 1805 for his current pension. In the 1818 petition, Houchins complained of unusual pain from the lead ball that had become lodged in his arm thirty-eight years earlier. An affidavit from Richard Sandidge accompanying the petition asserts that he saw Houchins’s wife take a poultice of her husband’s arm, thereby producing the bullet. Upon further examination of the bullet, Sandidge determined that it contained pieces of bone from Houchins’s arm. As a result of this evidence, the General Assembly decided favorably on Houchins’s petition for an addition to his pension. Houchins later relocated to Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1821, collecting his pension until his death on 14 April 1846.

Edward Houchins’s petition is just one example of the more than twenty thousand legislative petitions included in the Library’s Legislative Petitions Online Database. According to a note filed with the 1818 petition, the affidavit of Richard Sandidge (containing the extracted projectile) was removed … read more »

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