Encyclopedia Virginia: Cities and Counties http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/img/EV_Logo_sm.gif Encyclopedia Virginia This is the url http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org The first and ultimate online reference work about the Commonwealth /Williamsburg_during_the_Colonial_Period Fri, 07 Feb 2020 16:29:27 EST Williamsburg during the Colonial Period http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Williamsburg_during_the_Colonial_Period Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia colony from 1699 until 1779. Plotted on land first used by Virginia Indians, it was settled by the English during and just after the Second Anglo-Powhatan War (1622–1632) and called Middle Plantation, for its location equidistant between the York and James rivers. In subsequent years, wealth and political prestige gradually shifted upriver from the first seat of English government, at Jamestown, and talk of moving the capital gained momentum during Bacon's Rebellion (1676–1677), when rebels burned the statehouse. The Crown did not agree to move the capital until after the establishment of the College of William and Mary at Middle Plantation, in 1693, and another fire at the statehouse, in 1698. In 1699, Middle Plantation became Williamsburg, after King William III, and the colony's new capital. At the behest of the General Assembly, officials laid out streets and began building a new statehouse. Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood oversaw the construction of a powder magazine (1715), the enlargement of Bruton Parish Church (1715), a public theater (1718), and the completion of the Governor's Palace (1722). When the statehouse burned and smallpox hit in 1748, officials briefly considered, but then rejected, the idea of moving the capital, paving the way for a boom in building and population growth. During the American Revolution (1775–1783), Virginia's royal governor dissolved the General Assembly and fled the city. After British troops invaded Virginia in 1779, Governor Thomas Jefferson moved the capital to Richmond.
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/City_Point_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 02 Oct 2018 13:04:57 EST <![CDATA[City Point during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/City_Point_During_the_Civil_War City Point (now Hopewell), located in central Virginia at the confluence of the James and Appomattox rivers, was the site of Union general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant's field headquarters during the Petersburg Campaign at the end of the American Civil War (1861–1865). Founded in 1613 and incorporated as a town in 1826, City Point was a tiny, out-of-the-way place before the war, with few homes or businesses. But once the Union Army of the Potomac fought its way south to Petersburg late in the spring of 1864, City Point became a crucial Union port and supply hub. At least 100,000 Union troops and 65,000 animals were supplied out of the town, and in August 1864, a member of the Confederate Secret Service detonated a time bomb on a docked barge, hoping to disrupt work at the port. As many as fifty-eight people were killed, but the wharf was soon rebuilt and service to the front continued. City Point also was the site of the sprawling Depot Field Hospital, which served 29,000 patients. After the war, the United States government established City Point National Cemetery, and in 1983, the National Park Service reconstructed a cabin that had served as General Grant's headquarters on its original location.
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/Cities_of_Virginia Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:27:35 EST <![CDATA[Cities of Virginia]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Cities_of_Virginia Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:27:35 EST]]> /Amendments_proposed_by_the_Council_to_the_Bill_Entituled_an_Act_continuing_the_Act_directing_the_building_the_Capitol_and_the_City_of_Williamsburgh_with_additions_1705 Tue, 11 Oct 2016 10:27:20 EST <![CDATA[Amendments proposed by the Council to the Bill Entituled an Act, continuing the Act directing the building the Capitol and the City of Williamsburgh, with additions (1705)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Amendments_proposed_by_the_Council_to_the_Bill_Entituled_an_Act_continuing_the_Act_directing_the_building_the_Capitol_and_the_City_of_Williamsburgh_with_additions_1705 Tue, 11 Oct 2016 10:27:20 EST]]> /An_Act_Continuing_the_Act_directing_the_building_the_Capitol_and_the_city_of_Williamsburg_with_additions_1699 Tue, 11 Oct 2016 10:24:34 EST <![CDATA[An Act Continuing the Act directing the building the Capitol and the city of Williamsburg; with additions (1699)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/An_Act_Continuing_the_Act_directing_the_building_the_Capitol_and_the_city_of_Williamsburg_with_additions_1699 Tue, 11 Oct 2016 10:24:34 EST]]> /Richmond_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 22 Mar 2016 09:31:03 EST <![CDATA[Richmond during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Richmond_During_the_Civil_War Richmond, Virginia, was the capital of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War (1861–1865). It also served as the capital of Virginia, although when the city was about to fall to Union armies in April 1865, the state government, including the governor and General Assembly, moved to Lynchburg for five days. Besides being the political home of the Confederacy, Richmond was a center of rail and industry, military hospitals, and prisoner-of-war camps and prisons, including Belle Isle and Libby Prison. It boasted a diversified economy that included grain milling and iron manufacturing, with the keystone of the local economy being the massive Tredegar ironworks. From the start of war, Confederate citizens flocked to the capital seeking safety and jobs, leading to periodic civil unrest, manifested most notably in the Bread Riot of April 1863. Because of its economic and political importance as well as its location near the United States capital, Richmond became the focus for most of the military campaigns in the war's Eastern Theater. In a sense, its success—especially in mobilizing, outfitting, and feeding the Confederate armies—predestined it to near-destruction in 1865. Just as ironic, that destruction was largely caused by Confederates, although images of the city's ruins have become iconic representations of the cost of war.
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/Richmond_During_the_Colonial_Period Fri, 08 Jan 2016 17:31:16 EST <![CDATA[Richmond during the Colonial Period]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Richmond_During_the_Colonial_Period Richmond was the most prominent of the towns that emerged at the fall line of the James River during Virginia's colonial period. As early as 1608, the English settlers eyed a community near the seven-mile-long series of rapids that divided the head of navigation at the river's downstream end and the calm stretch of water upriver from it. The area provided a series of strategic advantages: as a port, as a location for mills, and as a transitional territory between the Tidewater-based Powhatan Indians and the Monacan Indians of the Piedmont. The English attempted to settle there with limited success in the first half of the seventeenth century, but the establishment of Fort Charles after 1644 and the end of the Third Anglo-Powhatan War (1644–1646) brought increased English settlement. In 1679 the General Assembly expanded William Byrd's landholdings around the falls, hoping to stabilize the area further. Within a few years Byrd transformed the location into an international trading center. Byrd's son of the same name established the town of Richmond on the north side of the James River in 1733; the General Assembly formally recognized the town in 1742. Benefitting from its prime location and strengthened by nearby communities such as Westham on the west side of the falls and Rocky Ridge across the river, Richmond served as a key port for Virginia's interior and emerged as an industrial location by the advent of the American Revolution (1775–1783).
Fri, 08 Jan 2016 17:31:16 EST]]>
/Charlottesville_During_the_Civil_War Thu, 19 Nov 2015 10:20:34 EST <![CDATA[Charlottesville during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Charlottesville_During_the_Civil_War Charlottesville provided the Confederate war effort with swords, uniforms, and artificial limbs during the American Civil War (1861–1865). It was also home to a 500-bed military hospital that employed hundreds of the town's residents, cared for more than 22,000 patients, and was superintended by Dr. J. L. Cabell, a professor of medicine at the nearby University of Virginia. In the summer of 1861, the 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment was organized, recruiting most of its members from Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The unit served with the Army of Northern Virginia all the way through to the Appomattox Campaign (1865), including at Pickett's Charge (1863), where it lost 60 percent of its men. African Americans, both enslaved and free, who composed a majority of the town and county's population, were the subject of heightened white fears of violence, their movements controlled by a curfew. In 1863, black members of the biracial First Baptist Church established the Charlottesville African Church. Although the war's fighting stayed mostly to the east and west, a raid led by Union general George A. Custer was stopped just north of the city in the spring of 1864. Early the next year, town leaders surrendered Charlottesville to Custer, preventing the community's destruction.
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 10:20:34 EST]]>
/Gordonsville_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 16:26:49 EST <![CDATA[Gordonsville during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Gordonsville_During_the_Civil_War Gordonsville, Virginia, in Orange and Louisa counties, was founded as a stop on a stagecoach route and the site of a tavern. By the time of the American Civil War (1861–1865), it was a key railroad stop connecting the Shenandoah Valley and the Confederate capital at Richmond, and as such, it attracted attention from both Confederate and Union troops. The Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville was also used by the Confederacy as an important military hospital.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 16:26:49 EST]]>
/Lexington_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 16:23:59 EST <![CDATA[Lexington during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Lexington_During_the_Civil_War The town of Lexington is the seat of Rockbridge County in the Shenandoah Valley. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), it was home to Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) and the Virginia Military Institute. Although not of great strategic importance, the town nevertheless smoldered in the atmosphere of war long before many other Virginian communities felt the conflict. In November 1859, a detachment of its resident corps of cadets from the Virginia Military Institute was deployed to Charles Town (in what is now West Virginia) to provide security at the execution of the infamous John Brown for his raid on Harpers Ferry. Unionist sentiments prevailed, however, until U.S. president Abraham Lincoln's call for troops, when many of Lexington's male citizens enlisted in service of the Confederate States of America. Events such as the burial of Confederate general Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and Union general David Hunter's fiery raid brought the quiet mountain town momentary attention from the wider world, but the demands of the Civil War also siphoned its resources on a daily basis.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 16:23:59 EST]]>
/Martinsburg_Virginia_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:48:47 EST <![CDATA[Martinsburg during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Martinsburg_Virginia_During_the_Civil_War Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), the county seat of Berkeley County, was in 1860 the Shenandoah Valley's second largest town, with a population of 3,364. Located in the northern portion of the valley, Martinsburg enjoyed a booming economy because of its location along the paved Valley Pike and because it was a major depot along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The same strategic location that made Martinsburg economically prosperous prior to the American Civil War (1861–1865), however, also spelled its wartime demise. The town changed hands between Confederate and Union forces thirty-seven times, was the site of two battles, and played host for a time to the intrigue of Confederate spy Belle Boyd, who was born there.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:48:47 EST]]>
/Culpeper_County_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:41:23 EST <![CDATA[Culpeper County during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Culpeper_County_During_the_Civil_War With a population of 12,063, Culpeper was the forty-seventh largest of Virginia's 148 counties in 1860. More than half of that population was African American, including 6,675 slaves. The majority of citizens in this prosperous community—its principal commercial crop being wheat—had wished to avoid war. The county voted by a margin of one vote for John Bell and the Constitutional Union party over John C. Breckinridge and the Southern Democrats in the U.S. presidential election of 1860. Like most of Virginia, however, Culpeper endorsed secession on May 23, 1861, a month after U.S. president Abraham Lincoln called on the state for volunteers to put down the rebellion. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the men of Culpeper served most prominently in five Confederate regiments: the 7th, 11th, and 13th Virginia Infantry, and the 4th and 6th Virginia Cavalry.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:41:23 EST]]>
/Lynchburg_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:35:15 EST <![CDATA[Lynchburg during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Lynchburg_During_the_Civil_War Lynchburg, Virginia, is located just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the banks of the James River, where its founder, John Lynch, established a ferry service in 1757. On the eve of the American Civil War (1861–1865), Lynchburg was Virginia's sixth-largest city and a major transportation center, with access to the James River and Kanawha Canal, as well as the Virginia and Tennessee, the South Side, and the Orange and Alexandria railroads. In addition, the city was a major manufacturer of plug tobacco and, by the 1850s, the second-wealthiest city per capita in the United States. During the war, Lynchburg women established the Ladies' Relief Hospital, and the Confederate military made the city a major hub of supplies and transport, which Union troops attempted to disrupt at the Battle of Lynchburg in June 1864. After the fall of Richmond in April 1865, the state government relocated to Lynchburg briefly, only to return after Robert E. Lee's surrender a few miles to the east at Appomattox.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:35:15 EST]]>
/Winchester_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:34:15 EST <![CDATA[Winchester during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Winchester_During_the_Civil_War Located in the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester was the most contested town in the Confederacy during the American Civil War (1861–1865), changing hands more than seventy times and earning its reputation (in the words of a British observer) as the shuttlecock of the Confederacy. Three major battles were fought within town limits and four others nearby. In 1862, Confederate general Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson won a victory there during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign that solidified his reputation as the Confederacy's first hero. Following Jackson's death in May 1863, Richard S. Ewell took over his corps and, on the way to Gettysburg, scooped up the Union garrison at Winchester, suggesting to many that he might have the stuff to replace the fallen Stonewall. The Third Battle of Winchester (1864) was a Union victory, part of Union general Philip H. Sheridan's successful Valley Campaign against Jubal A. Early. The war, meanwhile, brought huge changes for the town's residents, including rampant inflation, often harsh measures imposed by occupiers, and the destruction of slavery. By 1865, the town was largely destroyed.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:34:15 EST]]>
/Staunton_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:33:22 EST <![CDATA[Staunton during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Staunton_During_the_Civil_War Staunton, Virginia, the seat of Augusta County, was a key target in two major campaigns during the American Civil War (1861–1865), and remained strategically important throughout the entire war. With a population of about 4,000 in 1860, Staunton was situated at a vital transportation crossroads in the Shenandoah Valley, and the Confederacy sought to utilize and protect its infrastructure and wealth from the recurrent threat of destruction by Union forces. Various Confederate leaders, including the generals Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and Richard S. Ewell, used the town as their headquarters, and it served almost continuously as an army depot, quartermaster and commissary post, and training camp. Union troops targeted Staunton for more than two years before they were able to break the Confederates' protective hold and lay waste to much of the town and miles of nearby railroad track.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:33:22 EST]]>
/Danville_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:30:21 EST <![CDATA[Danville during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Danville_During_the_Civil_War Danville, Virginia, in Pittsylvania County, is situated on the banks of the Dan River just three miles from the North Carolina border. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), its relative remoteness spared its citizens from many of the hardships experienced by other Virginians. It successfully converted its pre-war tobacco industry–related buildings into a variety of facilities that supported the Confederate war effort, such as hospitals, factories, and prisons. Because of their relative prosperity throughout the war years, Danville's residents extended charitable assistance to the families of soldiers and other needy individuals. The same isolation and wealth that protected Danville throughout the war made it the object of widespread interest at the end of the war. After the fall of Richmond on April 2, Confederate president Jefferson Davis and his cabinet relocated to Danville, and following Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, many homeward-bound Confederate troops found the town an attractive passing-through point. Union forces occupied the town briefly at war's end, leaving by the end of 1865.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:30:21 EST]]>
/Centreville_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:29:22 EST <![CDATA[Centreville during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Centreville_During_the_Civil_War Centreville is an unincorporated community in Fairfax County, Virginia, settled by the English in the 1720s. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), its elevated topography and its proximity to Washington, D.C., made Centreville attractive to both the Union and Confederate armies. So, too, did the junction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad with the Manassas Gap line, a few miles to the southwest, which allowed the village to be used as a supply depot throughout the war. The First Battle of Manassas (1861) and the Second Battle of Manassas (1862) were fought nearby, and the Confederate partisan John S. Mosby used the village as a base during the war.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:29:22 EST]]>
/Petersburg_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:28:03 EST <![CDATA[Petersburg during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Petersburg_During_the_Civil_War Petersburg, located in south central Virginia, was the second-largest city in the state at the outset of the American Civil War (1861–1865). Originally sharing the conservative political stance of most business-oriented cities in the Upper South, Petersburg's white citizens eagerly embraced the Confederate cause after Virginia's Convention of 1861 voted to secede in April 1861. The city hosted a variety of Confederate installations, particularly hospitals, and served as headquarters for a number of Confederate military departments that bore responsibility for southern Virginia and eastern North Carolina. Petersburg experienced its first nearby combat in the spring of 1864 during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign and then became the focal point of the Petersburg Campaign between June 1864 and April 1865. The city capitulated to Union forces on April 3, 1865, initiating the Appomattox Campaign and just six days before Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House, ninety miles west of Petersburg.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:28:03 EST]]>
/Saltville_During_the_Civil_War Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:25:47 EST <![CDATA[Saltville during the Civil War]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Saltville_During_the_Civil_War Saltville is a small town that lies mostly in Smyth County in southwestern Virginia, between the Holston River and the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), Saltville was of strategic importance for two reasons: the railroad provided an important link between the eastern and western theaters of the war, and the town's salt mines were crucial in supplying provisions for the Confederate army. As such, Saltville was the target of numerous Union raids. It was also the site of a battle on October 2, 1864, when outnumbered Confederate cavalry troops repulsed the advance of Union troops, including members of the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry, under the command of General Stephen G. Burbridge. The next day, according to some accounts, Confederate soldiers killed a number of the wounded black troopers, who were being held as prisoners of war at nearby Emory and Henry College. The notorious and still-disputed incident is known as the "Saltville Massacre."
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:25:47 EST]]>
/Reston_Virginia Thu, 29 Nov 2012 16:06:29 EST <![CDATA[Reston, Virginia]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Reston_Virginia Reston is a community in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area located in western Fairfax County, Virginia. Conceived as an alternative to ailing cities and sprawling suburbs, Reston, along with Columbia, Maryland, was among the first post–World War II "new towns" in the United States. Founded in 1964 by Robert E. Simon Jr., Reston took its name from Simon's initials and represented a kind of urban utopia—a place with swimming pools, community centers, and tennis courts in every neighborhood and no restrictions based on race. Control of the project was taken over first by Gulf Oil—Simon's major lender—and then Mobil, but the community grew steadily. Its 2007 population was approximately 60,000; the town, meanwhile, enjoys a strong economy based on high technology and information.
Thu, 29 Nov 2012 16:06:29 EST]]>
/County_Formation_during_the_Colonial_Period Thu, 30 Aug 2012 16:47:25 EST <![CDATA[County Formation during the Colonial Period]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/County_Formation_during_the_Colonial_Period While it has traditionally been held that Virginia's first counties were not formed until 1634, when the "country [was] divided into 8 shires," subsequent research has shown that progress toward county formation had begun at least by 1622. An act passed early in that year provided for lower courts to be held in the various settlements throughout the colony to help relieve the governor and Council "from [their] vast Burthen of Business, and to render Justice the more cheap and accessible." Although a large-scale attack on the English colonists by a group of Powhatan Indians in March 1622 halted progress for a while, an emergency system of military commanders set up a quasi-military structure over the local populations that included monthly courts. By 1634, when the eight original shires, or counties, were enumerated, five localities were already named for five of the shires and were sending burgesses to the General Assembly at Jamestown. In 1642, the assembly passed a law to call the monthly courts "countie courts," thus concluding a twenty-year progression toward county government in Virginia. At the close of the colonial period, Virginia was home to a total of sixty-one counties, its population growth having moved north, south, and west from the original eastern settlements around Jamestown.
Thu, 30 Aug 2012 16:47:25 EST]]>