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 type purchased by soldiers from a sutler, was recovered, as well as regimental Civil War buttons from the uniforms of Confederate soldiers from Georgia and Union soldiers from New York and Massachusetts.
“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.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
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.
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 distance of this marker); Seventeenth-Century Hampton (within shouting distance of this marker); Langley Field: Discovering Aerospace 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
Categories. • Notable Events • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 1, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,068 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 1, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.