Richmond, Virginia - Encyclopedia

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RICHMOND, the capital of Virginia, U.S.A., the countyseat of Henrico county, and a port of entry, on the James river (at the head of navigation), about ioo m. S. by W. of Washington, D.C., and about 125 m. by water from the Atlantic Ocean. Pop. (1850) 27,570; (1860) 37,910; (1870) 51,038; (1880) 63,600; (1890) 81,388; (1900) 85,050, of whom 32,230 were negroes and 2865 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 127,628. Richmond is served by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Chesapeake & Ohio, the Seaboard Air Line, the Southern and the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac railways, and by the Old Dominion, the Virginia Navigation and the Chesapeake steamship lines. The city has a beautiful situation on the hilly ground (maximum elevation, about 250 ft. above sea-level) along the north and east banks of the James, at a bend where the river changes its south-easterly course for one almost due south. It occupies seven "hills, from which fact it has been called " the Modern Rome." The western stretch of the river, opposite the city, breaks into rapids which have a fall of about 116 ft. in 9 m. and provide abundant water power. Belle Isle (the site of a Confederate prison camp during the Civil War), about a m. long by about 4 m. wide, is in this part of the river; a little farther down stream are a group of small islets, and opposite the south-eastern boundary of the city is Mayo's Island. Within the city's lines the river is crossed by two bridges (to Manchester) for vehicles and pedestrians, and three railway bridges. The river has been improved by Federal engineers since 1870; in June 1909 (up to which time $ 1 ,799, 0 33 had been expended for improvements) there was a channel ioo ft. wide and 18 ft. deep, nearly continuously from Hampton Roads to the Richmond wharf, and the maximum draft at low water was 16.1 ft.

About three-fourths of the city's total street mileage (120 m.) is paved, Belgian block or macadam being used on the principal thoroughfares. About 637.8 acres are devoted to city parks, among which are William Byrd Park (300 acres), in the western part of the city, Joseph Bryan Park (262.6 acres), Chimborazo Park (29 acres), near its eastern boundary, Gambles Hill Park (8.8 acres), Monroe Square (72 acres), Jefferson Park (6.3 acres) and Marshall Square (7 acres). The State Capitol Square (to acres) is not owned by the city. Half a mile N.W. of the city are the Fair Grounds, where a state fair is held annually.

Of Richmond's public buildings, several have great historic interest. St John's Episcopal church, built in 1740 (and sub sequently much enlarged), is noted especially as the meetingplace of the Virginia Convention of March 1775, before which Patrick Henry made a famous speech, ending, " I know not what course others may take, but as for me, Give me liberty, or give me death !" The Capitol (begun in 1785 and completed in 1792 - the wings were added in 1906) was designed from a model and plans of the Maison Carree, at Nimes, supplied by Thomas Jefferson, while he was minister to France. Aaron Burr was tried for treason and then for misdemeanour in this building in 1807, the Virginia secession convention met here in 1861, and during the Civil War the sessions of the Confederate Congress were held here. In its rotunda is Jean Antoine Houdon's full-length marble statue of Washington, provided for by the Virginia General Assembly in 1784, and erected in 1796; its base bears a fine inscription written by James Madison. In a niche is a Houdon bust of Lafayette, a replica of the original presented to the city of Paris by the state of Virginia. The Old Stone House (the oldest building in the city) was erected as a residence in 1737, and is now used for a museum. Masons' Hall, whose corner-stone was laid in 1785, is said to be the oldest exclusively Masonic building in the United States. The Executive Mansion of the Confederate States of America, built in 1819, purchased by the city in 1862, and leased to the Confederate government and occupied by President Jefferson Davis in 1862-65, was acquired in 1890 by the Confederate Memorial Library Society, and is now a Confederate Museum with a room for each state of the Confederacy and a general library in the " Solid South " room; it has valuable historical papers, collected by the Southern Historical Society, and the society has published a Calendar of Confederate Papers (1908). The former residence of ChiefJustice John Marshall, built in 1795, is still standing; and the Lee Mansion, which was the war-time residence of General Robert E. Lee's family, has been occupied, since 1893, by the Virginia Historical Society (organized 1831; reorganized 1847) as the repository of a valuable library and collection of portraits of historical interest. Libby Prison, which stood on the northern bank of a canal, near the river, in the eastern part of the city, was taken down in 1888-89, and its materials removed to Chicago, where it was reconstructed, in as nearly as possible its original form, and became the Libby Prison War Museum.' The Valentine Museum is in a house on Eleventh and Clay Streets, in which Aaron Burr was entertained while he was on trial, and which with $50,000 and his collections was devised to a board of trustees in 1892 by Mann S. Valentine. The museum includes 3300 books, many being of the 15th and 16th centuries, a department of engravings, a Virginia Room with portraits and relics, some tapestries, an excellent collection of casts and valuable American archaeological specimens.

The more modern buildings include the City Hall, a fine granite structure (completed in 1893), with a tower 180 ft. tall; the Library building which houses the state library (about 80,000 volumes, with many portraits and a valuable collection of old manuscripts), the State Law Library and also the offices of most, of the state officials; the Post-Office and Customs House; the State Penitentiary; the Chamber of Commerce; and, among the religious edifices, the Sacred Heart Cathedral (Roman Catholic), presented to the city by Mr and Mrs Thomas F. Ryan; the Monumental Church, built on the site of the Richmond Theatre, in the burning of which, in 1811, ActingGovernor George W. Smith and fifty-nine others lost their lives; and St Paul's Church, where Jefferson Davis was attending services, on the 2nd of April 1865, when he received news from 1 As built in Richmond in 1845 by Luther Libby, it was a brick structure, three storeys high in front and four in the rear. It had six rooms, each about 100 X45 ft., was used as a tobacco warehouse and a ship-chandlery until 1861, and then until the capture of Richmond was used as a prison, chiefly for Federal officers. Frequently it was terribly overcrowded (by as many as 1200 prisoners at a time), the inmates often suffered great privations, and many died or were physically disabled for the remainder of their lives.

General Lee that General Grant had broken through the lines at Petersburg and that Richmond must be evacuated. Rose mary Library was given to the city by Thomas Nelson Page in memory of his wife, who died in 1888.

Richmond has many fine monuments and statues of historic interest and artistic merit, the most noteworthy of the former being the Washington Monument, in Capitol Square. In 1850 the commission accepted the model submitted by Thomas Crawford (1814-1857), an American sculptor, the corner-stone of the monument was laid in that year, and the equestrian statue of Washington, with sub-statues of Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, was unveiled on the 22nd of February 1858. Thereafter were added sub-statues of Chief-Justice John Marshall and George Mason (1726-1792) by Crawford, and statues of Andrew Lewis (1730-1781) and Thomas Nelson (1738-1789), and six allegorical subjects, by Randolph Rogers (1825-1892), the monument being completed in 1869, at a cost of about $260,000, of which about $47,000 represented private gifts and the interest thereon. The greatest height of the monument is 60 ft., and the diameter of its base is 86 ft. In Capitol Square are also a marble statue of Henry Clay, by Joel T. Hart (1810-1877), a bronze statue of Stonewall Jackson, by John Henry Foley (1818-1874), an English sculptor, " presented to the city by English gentlemen " (Hon. A. J. Beresford-Hope and others) and unveiled in 1875; a statue of Hunter Holmes McGuire (1835-1900), a famous Virginia surgeon; and a statue of William Smith (1796-1887), governor of Virginia in 1846-49 and in 1864-65. In Monroe Park is a statue by E. V. Valentine of Brig.-General Williams Carter Wickham (1820-1888) of the Confederate army. Another noteworthy monument is the noble equestrian statue of General Robert E. Lee, surmounting a lofty granite pedestal at the head of Franklin Street. This statue, by Marius Jean Antonin Mercie (b. 1845), was unveiled in 1890. Adjacent is an equestrian statue of General J. E. B. Stuart, by Frederick Moynihan, and at the west end of Monument Avenue is the Jefferson Davis Monument, by W. C. Nowland, in front of which is a statue of Jefferson Davis, by E. V. Valentine. On Libby Hill, in the south-eastern part of the city, is a monument to the private soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy.

In Hollywood Cemetery (dedicated in 1849) are the graves of many famous men, including presidents James Monroe and John Tyler; Jefferson Davis, John Randolph of Roanoke, the Confederate generals, A. P. Hill, J. E. B. Stuart and George E. Pickett; Commodore Matthew F. Maury (1806-1873); James A. Seddon (1815-1880), Secretary of War of the Confederate States in 1862-64; and John R. Thompson (1823-1873), widely known in his day as a poet and as the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in 1847-59. Here, too, are buried about 16,000 Confederate soldiers (to whose memory there is a massive pyramid of undressed granite, 40 ft. sq. at the base and 90 ft. high). In the north-eastern part of the city is Oakwood Cemetery, in which are the graves of about 18,000 Confederate soldiers. Two miles north-east of the city is the National Cemetery, with graves of 6571 Federal soldiers (5700 unknown) most of whom were killed in the actions near Richmond.

Richmond is the seat of Richmond College (opened in 1832; chartered in 1840; and co-educational since 1898), which in 1909-10 had 21 instructors and 341 students, of whom 55 were in the School of Law (established 1870; re-established 1890); the Woman's College (Baptist; opened in 1854), which in 1909-10 had 20 instructors and 275 students; the Virginia Mechanics' Institute (1856), including a Night School of Technology; the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (Presbyterian; opened in 1824 and removed to Richmond in 1898 from Hampden-Sidney), which in 1909-10 had 7 instructors and 80 students; the Medical College of Virginia, (founded in 1838), which has medical, dental and pharmaceutical departments, and in 1909-10 had 50 teachers and 253 students; the University College of Medicine (1893), which has departments of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, and in 1909-10 had 57 teachers and 220 students; the Hartshorn Memorial College (Baptist), for women; and, for negroes, Virginia Union University, founded in 1899.

Many periodicals (including several religious weeklies) are published in Richmond. The principal newspapers are the Times- Dispatch (Democratic; Dispatch, 1850; Times, 1886; consolidated in 1903) and the News-Leader (Democratic, 1899). Among the city's clubs are the Westmoreland and the Commonwealth.

The city's charitable institutions include the Memorial (1903), Virginia Sheltering Arms (1889) and St Luke's hospitals, the Retreat for the Sick (1877), the Eye, Nose, Ear and Throat Infirmary (1880), the Confederate Soldiers' Home (1884), supported jointly by the state and the city, a Home for Needy Confederate Women (1900), the City Almshouse and Hospital, and several orphanages and homes for the aged.

Richmond is the leading manufacturing city of Virginia, the value of its factory products in 1905 being 828,202,607, an increase of 22.4% since 1900 and nearly 19% of the value of the state's factory products in this year. The chief industry is the manufacture of tobacco for smoking and chewing, of cigars and cigarettes and of snuff. There are large iron and steel works here, notably the Tredegar Iron Works. Other important manufactures, with their product-values in 1905, are lumber and planing-mill products, $5 08 ,953; fancy and paper boxes and wooden packing boxes, $432,522; coffee and spices, 8245,689; foundry and machineshop products, $238,576; and saddlery and harness, $235,839. Richmond is the port of entry for the District of Richmond; in 1907 its imports were valued at 8913,234 and its exports at 8158,275; in 1909, its imports at $693,822 and its exports at $ 2 4,39 0. The city has a large jobbing and retail trade.

Richmond is governed under a charter of 1870 with amendments. The mayor is elected for two years and has the powers and authority in criminal cases of a justice of the peace. The city council is composed of a common council (five members from each ward, elected for two years) and of a board of aldermen (three members from each ward to be elected for four years). Other elective officers are the mayor, city treasurer, city sergeant, commonwealth attorney, city collector, city auditor, sheriff and high constable, elected for four years; and clerks of the various courts elected for eight years. The commissioner of the revenue is appointed for a term of four years by the judge of the corporation court. Three justices of the peace are elected from each ward for a term of two years. The city council appoints an attorney for the corporation, a city engineer, a city clerk, a police justice, a board of fire commissioners and a board of police commissioners, one from each ward, who have control of the fire and police departments, respectively, and a number of other officers. The city owns its gas works, water works and an electric-lighting plant (1910) for municipal lighting. The debt limit is set by the city charter at 18% of the assessed value of the taxable real estate of the city. In 1909 the taxable real estate and personal property was valued at $108,663,716, and the city had no floating debt; on the 1st of February 1910, there were 810,706,318 worth of bonds outstanding, and the sinking fund was 82,011,857.

An exploring party from Jamestown, under command of Captain Christopher Newport (c. 1565-1617), and including Captain John Smith, sailed up the James river in 1607, and on the 3rd of June erected a cross on one of the small islands opposite the site of the present city. The first permanent settlement within the present limits of the city was made in 1609 in the district long known as Rockett's. Later in the same year Captain Smith bought from the Indians a tract of land on the east bank of the river, about 3 m. below this settlement, and near the site of the present Powhatan. This tract he named " Nonesuch," and here he attempted to establish a small body of soldiers who had occupied a less favourable site in the vicinity; but they objected to the change and, being attacked by the Indians, sought the protection of Smith, who made prisoners of their leaders, with the result, apparently, that the settlement was abandoned. In 1645 Fort Charles was erected at the falls of the James as a frontier defence. In 1676, during " Bacon's Rebellion," a party of Virginians under Bacon's command killed about 150 Indians who were defending a fort on a hill a short distance east of the site of Richmond in the " Battle of Bloody Run," so called because the blood of the slain savages is said to have coloured the brook (or " run ") at the base of the hill. Colonel William Byrd,' who owned much land along the 1 The Byrds and their ancestors, the Steggs, were conspicuous in the early history of Virginia. The first of the family was Thomas Stegg (or Stegge) (d. 1651), born in England, who became an Indian trader on the James river as early as 1637, and had his home near what is now the village of Westover, Charles City county. He left his estate to his son Thomas (d. 1670), who settled at the falls of the James in 1661, and was auditor-general in 1664-1670. He was succeeded by his nephew, William Byrd (1652-1704), who was born in London, went to Virginia about 1670, became a successful Indian trader, was a member of the House of Burgesses in 16 771682, was a supporter of Nathaniel Bacon at the beginning of James river, at the falls, visited: the tract in September 1733, and decided to found there the town of Richmond, at the same time selecting and naming the present site of Petersburg. The name Richmond was suggested probably by the similarity of the site to that of Richmond on the Thames. The settlement was laid out in April 1737 by Major William Mayo (c. 1685-1744), and was incorporated as a town in 1742. The public records of the state were removed thither in 1777 from Williamsburg, and in May 1779 Richmond was made the capital. On the 5th of January 1781 the town was partly burned by a force of about Boo British troops under Gen. Benedict Arnold, the 200 or 300 Virginians offering little resistance, and much of the damage being done by Lieutenant-Colonel John G. Simcoe's celebrated Rangers. Richmond was first chartered as a city in 1782, and in 1788 it was allowed a representative in the House of Delegates.

The importance of Richmond during the Civil War was principally due to its having been made the capital of the Confederate States (by act of the Provisional Government on the 8th of May 1861). Its nearness to Washington, the material and manufacturing resources concentrated in it, and the moral importance attached to its possession by both sides, caused it to be regarded as the centre of gravity of the military operations in the east to which the greatest leaders and the finest armies were devoted from 1861 to 1865. (See American Civil War.) The city's system of defences, which began to take form in May 1861, included a line of 17 heavy batteries, completely encircling it at an average distance of about 2 m.; another line of smaller batteries and trenches, from about a mile (or less) to about 2 m. beyond the heavy batteries, and practically unbroken from the north bank of the James (west of the city) to about 1 m. west of that river (south of the city); and the outer works, approximately paralleling the inner line, at distances of from 2 to 3 m. from this line north and east of the city. There was much confusion and lawlessness in Richmond during the earlier stages of the war. The city's police force was unable to cope with the situation created by the influx of soldiers, gamblers and adventurers, and on the 1st of March 1862 President Davis (by authority of a secret Act of the Confederate Congress passed on the 2nd of February) declared martial law in the city and the country within a radius of io m., suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and appointed General John H. Winder (1800-1865) to enforce military rule. General Winder's arbitrary exercise of his power was, however, resented so vigorously by the citizens that on the 19th of April the Confederate Congress materially modified the law under which he received these powers from the president. The opening of M'Clellan's Peninsula Campaign (see Yorktown; Seven Days, &c.) in 1862 caused great apprehension in Richmond, and in May 1862 some of the government records were packed up and preparations made to ship them to a place of safety. The approach of the " Monitor " and the Union gunboats up the James river caused a partial and temporary panic; President Davis appointed a day for prayer, and the families of some of the cabinet secretaries and many citizens fled the city precipitately; but confidence, restored by " Bacon's Rebellion," was auditor-general of the colony from 1687 until his death, and was a member of the committee which founded the College of William and Mary. His residence, within the limits of the present city of Richmond, was preserved until about 1850. His son William (1674-1744), the founder of Richmond - and above referred to - was educated in England; returned to Virginia in 1696; succeeded his father as auditor-general of the colony, and was receiver-general in 1705-1716. In 1727 he was appointed one of the commission (of which William Fitzwilliams and William Dandridge were the other members) to mark the boundary between North Carolina and Virginia, concerning which undertaking he wrote (probably in 1737) The History of the Dividing Line. This with his other publications, A Journey to the Land of Eden and A Progress to the Mines, was published at Petersburg, Va., in 1841, and again (New York, 1901) as The Writings of Colonel William Byrd of Westover in Virginia, edited by John S. Bassett, and including an extended sketch of the Byrd family. Concerning Byrd's style as a writer, Professor Bassett says: " It would be hard to find before Franklin a better master of the art of writing clear, forceful and charming English." the checking of the fleet at Drewry's Bluff (Fort Darling), about 8 m. below the city, on the 15th of May 1862, was increased by the battle of Fair Oaks and the Seven Days, after which the Army of the Potomac retreated. Unsuccessful attempts were made in February and March 1864 to free the Federal prisoners in Richmond by means of cavalry raids. The most important of these was that of General H. Judson Kilpatrick, a portion of whose force, under Col. Ulric Dahlgren (b. 1842), was annihilated, Dahlgren being killed (2nd March).

General U. S. Grant began the final campaign against Richmond in May 1864 (see Wilderness and Petersburg). Sheridan's cavalry, during the " Richmond Raid," carried the city's outer defences (May 12), but found, the river line too strong to be taken by assault and moved away. In June Grant's army crossed the James and attacked Lee in Petersburg. Then followed many months of unintermittent pressure upon both Petersburg and Richmond. General Benjamin F. Butler captured the southern outer line of the Richmond defences on the 29th of September 1864. On the 2nd of April 1865 Petersburg fell. Richmond was evacuated that night, after the ironclads, the bridges and many of the military and tobacco store-houses had been set on fire by order of General R. S. Ewell, so that when the Federal troops, under General Godfrey Weitzel (1835-1884) entered the city on the following morning (3rd April) a. serious conflagration was under way, which was not extinguished until about one-third of the city, including several of its historic buildings, had been destroyed. During the war the principal iron foundry of the Confederacy (Tredegar Iron Works) was in Richmond, and here most of the cannon used by the Confederate armies were cast. In 1910 the city of Manchester was annexed.

See William W. Henry, " Richmond on the James " in Historic Towns of the Southern States (New York, 1900), edited by Lyman P. Powell; and Samuel Mordecai, Richmond in By-Gone Days (Richmond, 1856; 2nd ed., 1860).

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