Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Hampton Is Burned
"… a bright light over by the bay."
As fire consumed the dwelling, it collapsed into the basement and created a burned layer strewn with molten glass. On the floor of the basement, archeologists unearthed a blackened pearl-ware pitcher—fractured, but brimming with ash and charcoal. This artifact alone probably best represents how the inferno altered the lives of Hampton’s inhabitants.
The rubble of the house was certainly ransacked by soldiers and the contraband slaves scavenging in search of building materials. Archeologists discovered that virtually the entire basement had been dismantled and removed brick by brick for the construction of temporary shelters. Damaged bricks were thrown back into the basement, which quickly filled with the refuse generated by troops and contrabands.
Large amounts of shoe leather were found, as well as fish and animal bones from numerous meals. An inkwell, of the
“Suddenly the flaming torches were seen dancing about wildly in all directions, like so many will-o’-the-wisps. … The houses were entered and fired, and soon the whole town was enveloped in flame casting a bright light over the bay.” – Pvt. William H. Osborne, 29th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1861
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Events • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1861.
Location. 37° 1.487′ N, 76° 20.627′ W. Marker is in Hampton, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Settlers Landing Road (U.S. 60) and South King Street, on the right when traveling west on Settlers Landing Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hampton VA 23669, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Twentieth-Century Hampton (within shouting distance of this marker); Langley Field: Creating an Air Force (within shouting Seventeenth-Century Hampton (within shouting distance of this marker); Langley Field: Discovering Aerospace (within shouting distance of this marker); Ninteenth-Century Hampton (within shouting distance of this marker); Eighteenth-Century Hampton (within shouting distance of this marker); The Magnolia Tree Inn (within shouting distance of this marker); Hampton (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hampton.
More about this marker. On the bottom center is a photograph of the “Ruins of Hampton” – Courtesy Library of Congress
On the upper right is center is an illustration of “The Burning of Hampton by the Rebel Forces under Colonel Magruder,” Harper’s Weekly, Aug.31, 1861
Credits. This page was last revised on July 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 1, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,367 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 1, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.