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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Smithfield in Isle of Wight County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Historic St. Luke's Church

War Comes to the Old Brick Church

 
 
Historic St. Luke's Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
1. Historic St. Luke's Church Marker
Inscription. Early in the war, Confederate authorities were concerned that Union forces might advance up the James River from Fort Monroe. As a precaution, they constructed waterfront artillery batteries along the river, including in Isle of Wight County, and posted infantry regiments nearby to protect them. This brought the war to the sleepy grounds of St. Luke's Church, when Col. W. Dorsey Pender's 3rd North Carolina Volunteers (later reorganized as the 13th North Carolina Infantry) camped here. Pender's regiment was part of Gen. John Pemberton's brigade, and supported a North Carolina battery located at the mouth of Jones Creek north of the church. In July 1861, Pender wrote his wife, "You will see that I call this place Camp Ruffin. … The location and appearance of the camp are anything but agreeable in looks and or in comfort. … We have three camps stretching over about three and half miles.”

Union Assistant Adjutant General William Whipple reported in November 1861 that escaped slaves told him of a large Confederate force on the grounds of the “old brick church near Smithfield." In the spring of 1862, Confederate forces crossed the river to oppose Union Gen. George McClellan's advance up the Peninsula toward Richmond. A subsequent article in Harper's Weekly reported that after the camp was vacated, the church "was
Historic St. Luke's Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
2. Historic St. Luke's Church Marker
left entirely despoiled of everything movable or destructible.”

(captions)
Confederate camp, 1861 – Courtesy Library of Congress
Pvt. John L. Wood, 3rd North Carolina Volunteers, 1861 Courtesy Library of Congress
St. Luke’s Church, ca. 1920 photo – Courtesy Isle of Wight County Museum
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 56.352′ N, 76° 35.186′ W. Marker is in Smithfield, Virginia, in Isle of Wight County. Marker can be reached from Benns Church Boulevard (Virginia Route 10) south of Casper Circle, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in the church parking lot. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14477 Benns Church Blvd, Smithfield VA 23430, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. St. Luke’s Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Saint Luke's Church (about 500 feet away); Benn’s Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Josiah Parker (approx. 1˝ miles away); Missile Magazine and Launch Operations
Historic St. Luke's Church image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
3. Historic St. Luke's Church
(approx. 2.1 miles away); People and Places, circa 1957 at N-75L (approx. 2.1 miles away); 1954 Nike-Ajax Missile Site N-75L (approx. 2.1 miles away); Nike-Ajax Missile Radar Control Site N-75C (approx. 2.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Smithfield.
 
Also see . . .  Historic St. Luke's Church. (Submitted on May 29, 2017.)
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 76 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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