“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Hampton Courthouse

“Roofless and Thoroughly Gutted”

Hampton Courthouse CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 31, 2010
1. Hampton Courthouse CWT Marker
Inscription.  “The courthouse, roofless and thoroughly gutted. … [Its] chimney served oar cooks well in getting supper. The Telegraph tent was soon up and the operator at work on the newly strung wire to Fort Monroe.” – Pvt. Robert Knox Sneden, March 24, 1862

Hampton’s courthouse was one of more than five hundred buildings that Capt. Jefferson C. Phillips’s Confederate troops burned on August 7, 1861, during the Civil War. The courthouse area was chosen as headquarters for Union Gen. Samuel Heintzelman’s III Corps during the Peninsula Campaign. Heintzelman and his staff pitched their tents nearby.

The American Missionary Association soon erected a school and church here amid the ruins of the old courthouse to demonstrate that freedmen could live independently. This school was the most important one that the A.M.A. established. Attended by 250 students, it contained a primary school on the first floor, while more advanced pupils on the second level were taught multiplication, division, penmanship, and elementary reading. The missionary teachers were ecstatic at the progress of their pupils, and they conducted their
Hampton Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 31, 2010
2. Hampton Courthouse
religious work in concert with their efforts in education. C.P. Day, an A.M.A. teacher, defined the organization’s motto as teaching “In order to do justice to the children.” Schools such as this one helped escaped slaves define their lives as they adapted to freedom.

The courthouse that stands today dates from 1876. Remodeled in 1910 by C. Taylor Holtzsclaw, it has undergone several subsequent additions.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionEducationNotable BuildingsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 37° 1.598′ N, 76° 20.677′ W. Marker is in Hampton, Virginia. Marker is on Kings Way 0.1 miles south of Lincoln Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 Kings Way, 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. The Courthouse (a few steps from this marker); Hampton Baptist Church (a few steps from this marker); The Northeast Corner (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Sclater Building (about 300 feet
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away); McDowell's Inn (about 500 feet away); The Magnolia Tree Inn (about 600 feet away); Historic Hampton (about 600 feet away); Elizabeth City Parish (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hampton.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a painting with the caption: William McIllvaine painting, “The Ruins of Hampton” – Courtesy Library of Congress

On the upper right is a painting with the caption: Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman’s headquarters, painting by Robert K. Sneden – Courtesy Virginia Historical Society
Credits. This page was last revised on July 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 1, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 979 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 1, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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Oct. 1, 2020