Transcription by Donna Bluemink

Being an Historical Account of the Origin,
General Character, and Ravages of the
in Norfolk & Portsmouth in 1855,
Together with Sketches of Some of the Victims,
Incidents of the Scourge, Etc.
By William S. Forrest,
New York: Derby & Jackson.
Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1856



The weather. Physicians and nurses leaving. Regret. The victims. Alarm.
The disease impartial. A family swept off. The orphans. The fever disappearing.
The absent citizens reflections weather the flight some of the victims. Progress
of the fever. A change. The city before the scourge, etc.

"Oct. 5.—There have been only, three or four deaths to-day, and the disease seems again to have ceased its ravages. The weather has been cool, as before stated, for several days; some thought it was cold enough for frost; but, as yet, I have no satisfactory evidence of frost either in town or country. To-day the wind has changed to south again, and the temperature is much warmer. This, it is feared, will cause the fever to manifest itself again, and some, who have not been attacked, may not, after all, entirely escape the disease.

"Many of the physicians and nurses, from the Southern cities, have gone home—their labors, among the sick and dying, have ceased, and they will have the pleasing recollection of having accomplished great good, and of relieving many a [119] suffering man and woman here in our still deserted city, during the prevalence of the fever, that has been so furious in its attacks, and so fatal in its effects. Many of them have acted nobly, and deserve to be remembered by our citizens with feelings of the profoundest gratitude.

"Some of our people who refused at the earnest solicitation of their friends to leave the city before the fever raged so fearfully, and who have lost members of their household, reproach themselves severely, and bitterly regret that they did not fly, and thus save the valuable lives that are lost. And others deeply deplore the fact that necessity compelled them to remain, to submit to the fury of the pestilence, and see their fondest relatives die and conveyed to the grave.

"Oct. 11.—After a cloudy and stormy night, which succeeded one of the most balmy and delightful autumnal days that ever smiled on the world, we had again to-day a clear sky and bright sunshine, and the temperature is lower than on any other day of the season thus far. This induced our citizens to hope that we should have no more cases of the fever—and surely healthfulness and freedom from disease will very soon take the place of sickness and death.

[120] "I was requested, a few days ago, by a person in the country, to inquire about a highly respectable family on one of our principal streets. I called at the ample mansion this morning, and found it closed, locked, and vacant! All was silent and gloomy. On inquiry, I learned that all the family had died of the fever. The household consisted of four persons —the mother, a sister, and two interesting daughters. They are all in the grave. How unsparing has been the furious disease that has spread over the entire limits of our city.

"The orphans that occupied the Lecture Room of Christ Church, have been removed to the spacious building on Freemason Street, formerly used as a boarding-school by the lamented Mrs. Baylor. Last Sunday, they were in attendance at Christ Church during service, and excited the interest and sympathy of all who saw them. They were neatly dressed, and generally looked well. There were bright eyes, blooming cheeks, and active, graceful forms. The parents who had loved and nursed them had been taken from them by a mysterious Providence; but kind friends care for and watch over them. They will not feel again the mild and endearing influence of a mother's [121] love and affection, or a father's devotion and projecting care; but true hearts feel for them, willing hands will save them from want, and care will be taken to render them comfortable and happy."

"Oct. 12. — I have no deaths by the fever to report, and I think there have been no new cases for nearly a week. There are, of course, quite a number of persons still sick, but they are nearly all convalescent. I believe there will be no more of the disease here, except among those who have returned too early. After several days of delightful weather, we have this morning a cold, damp, and almost wintry atmosphere, with rain and a piercing wind from the north. There will soon be a great rush of our citizens back to their homes. It is time now to prepare for cold weather, to lay in winter supplies of coal, wood, etc. The anxiety of hundreds who are away, and their desire to be at home and settled once more, are only equaled by the privations which many already feel, and the want and necessity to which they will be compelled to submit when they return. The instinctive love of life, and the fear of death, caused many to hurry off, whose means were quite inadequate to the undertaking. Their funds have been [122] exhausted, and some will find it exceedingly difficult to return, unless they depend entirely upon assistance from others, and receive it. They will, perhaps, think their fate a hard one, and deplore the distress and trouble which have been brought upon them by reason of the destroying agent that has been so long at work here. But those who return in health, who have probably saved their lives, and those of their wives and children, by the hasty removal, should feel thankful, and patiently submit to want and difficulty for a while. They have escaped the attacks of the dreadful disease; they have not been compelled to witness the awful scenes of death, suffering, and affliction that have occurred here; they have not been depressed by the silence and desolation that have reigned here; and the groans of the dying and the cries of the bereaved have not fallen upon their ears.

"Let all whose lives are spared be determined to make the best of life hereafter; to go diligently to work again, and strive in every way to lessen the remaining force and effects of the great storm of distress that has swept by and borne off the people by its resistless power.

"But our city will recover rapidly from the [123] blow she has received. Men of enterprise, character, and capital are left, and others are coming. Bold schemes of local advancement will be put forth, and carried out to completion; enterprises for general commercial good and advancement will soon go on with renewed activity; the wide vacuum created by death will be soon filled up, and the bright sun of prosperity will beam down upon our city after the dark night of gloom and sorrow that has now passed to its shortest hours."

"Oct. 14.—It has been sufficiently cold to-day for fires and thick winter clothing; and, unless there is a change, there seems but little reason to fear an attack of the yellow fever. I still hear occasionally, however, of new cases.

"I will venture some facts in connection with the progress of the mysterious and fatal epidemic that has remained here so long, and made so many houses vacant, and so many hearts sad.

"It is quite certain that the rapid and precipitate flight of nearly two-thirds of the people was a fortunate and wise movement; for, in the small population that remained, how extraordinary and fearful the mortality! The few remaining white citizens would, no doubt, have gone from the city, or the greater part of them, had they expected a [124] visitation so indiscriminate and fatal in its attacks upon health and life.

"Among those who have fallen, the Mayor, Hunter Woodis, has naturally excited the deepest interest and sympathy of this and other communities. Actuated by the noble impulses of his nature, he labored in behalf of the sick and suffering, till compelled himself to yield to the power of the destroyer. But before the disease had spent its power upon the people, how many good and useful residents were taken? How many of our most estimable citizens, both male and female, were victims of the desolating scourge? Ten of our own physicians—men of great skill and experience in their profession, and some of them of extensive literary acquirements—have fallen. No one imagined, when the fever first broke out, that so many able physicians would fall.

"In the two cities, seven ministers were taken: three Methodist; two Protestant Episcopal; one Catholic; one Baptist. The three other members of the resident clergy who remained in the city were ill; two lost their wives, and one, an only son. Some of those who died were soon followed by other near relatives, including a daughter and a son."

[125] Among the large number of ladies who died, there were some who were noted for their piety, usefulness, and good works.

"The churches have sustained an incalculable loss—a great bereavement, in the death of female members, who were immensely useful, and whose deeds of love and benevolence will be remembered long and fondly by those who are left to mourn.

"The representative elect of the city is dead; a number of offices are left vacant; the president and teller of one of the banks are dead; the first and second accountants of another; the teller and discount clerk of another; the proprietor, chief clerk, and book-keeper of another; and the cashier of still another, are in the grave, and the wives of at least three of these are also dead.

"The president of the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad, and the treasurer of the Norfolk and Petersburg Road and his wife are gone; the presidents and other members of the Select and Common Councils, and several of the Board of Health, are dead; the Post-master and one of his clerks, the senior editor of the Beacon, the associate proprietor, the estimable foreman of the Argus, and others connected with the city papers, were taken.

"Three of the Custom-house officers are dead; [126] the Deputy U. S. Marshal of the District and the physician to the Marine Hospital are gone; the Superintendent and Instructress of the City Orphan Asylum is dead; the Inspector-General of Lumber, the gentleman who held the offices of the Treasurer of Christ Church, of the Norfolk Military Academy, and Secretary of the Norfolk Provident Society, is dead. The jailor, who was also one of the Sergeant's deputies, and several of the city constables, together with others, whom I have not mentioned, are among the deceased office-holders. All the hotel proprietors died. In Portsmouth, too, many offices have been rendered vacant by death.

"Among the few who have not had the disease, are some of the oldest citizens. There is one eighty-seven years of age, and another seventy-six—the former a native of Scotland, but for nearly fifty years a resident of this city, and still active—who have not had the fever. The younger of the two is a native of England.

"There were, doubtless, many whose sickness was aggravated, and whose death was hastened by alarm. The disease, aiming its deadliest blows at the nervous system, and aided by fright and the fear of death, prostrated completely, in a day, [129] some of the strongest, as well as many of the frail and infirm. Those who were addicted to intemperance and other habits of dissipation and irregularity, generally fell an easy prey to the destroyer. But, as I have before stated, no particular class was favored; persons of every description, of all habits, and every shade of moral character, and all grades of physical constitution, swelled the long list of the dead. The greatest personal precaution, the most able medical skill, the most vigilant watching, the most tender and careful nursing; the prayers and tears of devoted relatives and friends; the most heart-rending shrieks and lamentations of women; the loud, shrill cries of sons and daughters of tender years, suddenly aroused to a full, dread sense of the loss to be sustained—all, all were unavailing. Beating hearts grew still; eyes closed on all earthly things, and death would have the victory."

"Oct. 15.—The return of warm weather, and also of some of the refugees, has caused the yellow fever to develop itself again in some new cases. Mr. Beane, painter, and several others, among those who have come back, are down. Another son of the late Col. John G. Colley died to-day, and also Miss Jane Lee. These, have been ill for several days, [128] and have not been from home. The wind having changed to the south again, the temperature is warm, and it is probable there will be several days of mild, spring-like weather.

"Let those who are absent beware how they return to this poisoned atmosphere, which, though apparently not injurious to those who are here, and who have gone through the ordeal, would, no doubt, be fatal and deadly to those who might come from abroad.

"The progress of the yellow fever here has been very singular, and those who have been careful and thoughtful observers of its progress, have not only been impressed with the malignity and rapidity of its attacks, but with its steady, gradual progress in a northerly direction, from its commencement. Manifesting itself in Gosport, a few rods from the massive gate of the United States Navy Yard, it soon read desolation and dismay among the people, who fled panic-stricken in every direction. In a week or two it reached Portsmouth—treading on slowly, silently, invisibly, and fearfully. Soon Portsmouth was in alarm—the monster was there striking down some of the best of the citizens. Five, six, seven, etc., died in a day. Then the citizens hurried away by the thousand, [128] leaving but few to contend with the enemy and submit to its attacks. Twenty, and as many as thirty, died daily, and there were four hundred cases in the town. Disease, suffering, and death combined to render Portsmouth one of the most intensely afflicted communities in the world.

"But the epidemic slowly strode on to Norfolk, and in a week or two the alarm was given that the yellow fever had broken out in Barry's How. The number of cases increased, the people hurried away, in consternation; but enough were left to feed the voracious cravings of the destroyer. Soon it appeared on Main Street, then marching quietly on, in six weeks it had spread in almost every part of the city. Now, after the lapse of ten weeks, it still lingers about the suburbs. Satisfied at first with three or four victims per day, no less than eighty would appease the violence of the monster when its power was exercised to its full force.

"Then the mortality gradually subsided to fifty per day; which continued for a week. After which there were reported forty, thirty-five, thirty, etc., every twenty-four hours, until nearly every remaining citizen had either died or recovered from the disease."

"Oct. 16.—A press of business to-day prevented [130] me from ascertaining definitely the facts with regard to the fever in the city. But I can state on authority that seems reliable, that there are several new cases, and that there have been four or five burials today. The new cases are, with one or two exceptions, among those who have returned. I shall be prepared to give the names in my next.

"Matters are assuming a much more encouraging aspect. I will mention several things that are calculated to excite hope, and relieve the hearts of the people of a portion of the burden of sorrow that has oppressed them so long. The appearance on the streets of many who are rapidly recovering from sickness; the opening of some of the stores; the increase of the number of carts and wagons at market; the arrival of a schooner in port, loaded with coal; the re-issue of three of the daily papers; a full supply of wood in the dock; the appearance of ladies down town on some of the principal business streets, and a much greater noise made by drays and carts passing from place to place loaded with goods. But Norfolk is still a dull, gloomy city—a mere wreck compared with its former activity, bustle, and advancement.

"Signs of life and returning vigor appear, however, and the effects of the powerful blow that [131] was inflicted are gradually passing off. Like a strong man, who had been overpowered and deprived for a while of his ability to act and move with his accustomed strength and force, our city is still sadly deficient in the usual characteristics of active business, advancement, and prosperity. Hundreds of the stores are closed, and hundreds of our most enterprising and extensive merchants are absent, and they dare not return to the city. And, alas, a number of the best of those who remained are silent in the grave. It is believed, however, by men of intelligence and sound judgment, that, after the return of the citizens, and after the lapse of a few weeks, required to bring the various departments of business into their wonted channels, a new impulse will be given to commerce and local enterprises of every description, and that the progress of the city will be retarded but little, if any, in business and general prosperity. Some, however, are not of this opinion, and are discouraged, improperly asserting that many years will be required to place Norfolk and Portsmouth in the position in which they were found by the raging pestilence that has blasted so many bright hopes, and arrested the progress of so many enterprises of importance.

[132] "Almost every interest of the city was in a prospering condition. A heavy business was transacted by many of our merchants and tradesmen; manufactories were busy and flourishing; a large number of vessels rode at our wharves; public and private buildings were being erected in different parts of the city; men of enterprise, character, and capital, were hastening hither, and settling among us; and the least visionary of our citizens thought their hopes of rapid advancement to increased wealth and greatness were based upon a sure foundation. But suddenly all were appalled; commercial transactions were soon at an end, the ponderous wheels of machinery ceased to revolve, and were soon neglected, silent, and rusty; vessels of every class—the ocean ships, the noisy steamboats, and the slow-moving canal boats—left our waters; buildings, large and small, were left half finished on every street.

"But the pestilence has passed, and it is hoped will return no more, for many long years, if ever. Let those, therefore, who are here be hopeful and active—those who are absent be patient till prudent to return, and then engage in the work of restoring our lost energies, and establishing our [133] former character of commercial importance and rapid local advancement.

"The physicians have decided that the absentees should not return until freezing weather. There is good reason for this decision. Let it be heeded by our absent people; anxious as they may be to return, and delighted as their friends here would be to see them."


Correspondence—The business of the undertakers and grave diggers—
Nature beautiful—Mourning—Number of deaths diminishing—The fever
subsiding—The change—Desolation—Symptoms of the disease—Death and
burial— Weather—Physicians and nurses—A night in the pestilence—
Norfolk during the scourge—The sick and the dead— Incidents of the pestilence—
The victims—A memorable week— The epidemic—Death's fearful work—
The weather and the fever— Return of refugees—The career of the pestilence and its victims.

Extracts from the special correspondence of the Southside Democrat, Petersburg:

"Sept. 12.—The business of the undertakers and grave-diggers still goes on flourishingly here and in Portsmouth. Verily, it is terrible to contemplate the gloom and desolation that reign here.

"The sun shines on as brightly, the breezes are as gentle, the gay birds sing as sweetly, the insects hum as merrily as ever. But yonder go the death-wagons with the corpses, hurrying on to the silent repository.

"I have seen strong and stout-hearted men weeping in our streets to-day. It is a time of sor- [135] row and woe, and death, and sad, sad bereavement. Widows are weeping and refusing consolation; helpless orphans are uttering their heartrending and piteous cries; and there are tales of woe that reach down deep in the heart, and cause the whole frame to shudder and tremble."

"Sept. 14.—The number of new cases and deaths, I am happy to state, is still diminishing, and a ray from the star of hope has gleamed down at last upon our forlorn city. This is, indeed, some relief from the constant panic and dread that were so observable but a day or two ago. There are still many cases, however, and death claims his victims by the dozen."

"Sept. 15.—I am glad to say, the rage of the fever begins at last to subside—a brighter day has dawned upon us, and we feel some relief from the ponderous weight of woe that has crushed us down so long. Our citizens that are well, breathe easier, and there are even some cheerful, smiling countenances. The feeling caused by the change, may be akin to that produced by the probable escape from shipwreck, when hope had plumed her wings and flown, when the sea yawned to receive its helpless, hapless victims; after the battle with the wild fury of the howling storm-spirit had ceased, [136] and the frail bark had careened hopelessly to the play of the winds upon the surging billows. The fearful dread of disease, the vomito, delirium, gangrene, death, and the cold, damp grave, has measurably passed away from the minds of some. The people, some of them, again think of health and returning friends; of fond caresses, joyful greetings, and happy, peaceful firesides. But alas! how many are desolate, inconsolable, gloomy, heart-broken? And as they attempt to tell of the great loss they have sustained, tears bedim their eyes, and their utterance is choked—they turn away in deep, heart-felt, inconsolable sorrow and distress.

"I have gone in the infected room, and witnessed the fearful disease in all its various stages—the chill, the pains—pains in the head, the back, the limbs, the breast, the bowels, and sometimes all over and through the entire system. One told me that the flesh seemed to be torn from his limbs. But in some cases the pains are not very severe. And then, the fiery, yellowish or reddish, and melancholy eye; the saffron tinge of the cheek; the parched, dry skin, and the dozy, drowsy, sleepy feeling that comes over the sufferers, and precedes dissolution, and the black vomit, and often the [137] blood vomit, when the patient throws up quarts of pure, blood, and it comes from his nose and his mouth in a stream. Then death has marked his victim, and youth, loveliness, goodness, nothing is respected; the man, the woman, the child, the friend, the parent, the dearest companion, must die, and be buried, and buried quickly, or else fill the air with the hateful pestilential stench, as has been, sad to say, but too often the case during the fearful time of woe, almost unequaled, and death and desolation without a parallel, in this recently prosperous and happy city.

"The weather is damp and sultry; wind east, but only a very light breeze during the day. Heavy showers this morning, deluging the streets, and filling up all the low places from which the water cannot run off.

"There are a number of valuable nurses here from New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, and a dozen able physicians, etc., and they are invaluable and indispensable. It would be difficult to tell what the people would do without them. Many persons have died for the want of proper and efficient nursing.

"It is now half-past nine o'clock, P.M. (Saturday). The young pale moon has just gone peacefully [138] down behind the tall mountains and dense verdure of the west. The tramp of the horses of the physicians, and the rumbling of the hearses, with the dead, over the dull stones, and the wagons with the sick for the Hospital, have nearly ceased for the night. The lowering clouds have passed away, the twinkling stars look down smilingly upon us; the bright gas-lights are sending forth their rays, and, in hundreds of houses, dim lights are seen from the windows, while the fever scorches, and burns, and kills its victims in the infected chambers.

"To see Norfolk as it is now, causes the most strangely sad and doleful feelings. Few, if any, at a distance, can realize the desolation that now reigns, the mournful aspect of all things visible, notwithstanding the seeming abatement of the pestilence.

"Let us step in that house, where the fever rages; almost every window is dimly illuminated. Here are father, mother, children, servants, all suffering from the treacherous, fatal, mysterious, malignant distemper, that parches the skin, crazes the brain, crushes the spirits, feeds upon the heart-blood, and paralyzes all the vitals. Can the scenes that are witnessed here ever be obliterated from the mind?

[139] "This hurried letter is now long enough, and I must throw down my pen, and try to rest. But the sorrow, the alarm, the disappointed hopes, the desolate homes, the loss of dear friends, the death of so many noble men, elegant women, and lovely children—the thought of these will drive the necessary sleep from my couch, or dreams of death and coffins, and ghastly corpses, and death-struggles, may cause a night of trouble and restlessness."

"Sept. 21.—After four or five days of damp, cloudy and rainy weather, this morning, at nine o'clock, the lowering vapors passed away, and the sun shone out brightly and cheeringly, affording some relief from the long days of darkness and gloom.

"The physicians are still actively engaged in various parts of the city, and especially in the northern and northwestern sections, where the disease is still at work, finding its way in almost every house, large and small, and leaving few families, if any, without sufficient cause of mourning and grief.

"A faithful history of this fearful pestilence would be one of the most heart-rending productions ever written. There have been events during the continuance of the scourge, and con- [140] nected with the doings of Death, that would answer well the foundation of the most thrilling romance.

"A few short weeks ago, there were many families here—father, mother, and children—all in the enjoyment of health, happiness, and plenty, and looking forward to long and peaceful years to come; but who are now, all, or nearly all, dead and slumbering in the silence of the grave, while their spirits have entered upon their eternal destiny.

"In very many happy homes, the fairest, the loveliest have fallen, the roseate blush of health upon the full cheek of youthful beauty has suddenly changed to the sallow hue of the fatal disease, the cheerful countenance has assumed the ghastly look of death; and then the cherished object of fond affection has been borne away quickly to the charnel house.

"How many houses of mourning there are here, and how quickly made!—the symptoms follow each other quickly—and then the stillness and ghastliness of death, the coffin, the hearse, the damp grave. The physician's skill, nursing, watching, prayers, and tears have all proved unavailing.

"How many pleasant and familiar countenances have gone! How many voices hushed! What [141] numbers of graceful, active forms have been palsied by the touch of Death's cold finger, since the commencement of this frightful scourge!

"I will allude to one family, well and favorably known. There were nine members. All had the fever, and one only recovered. The father, mother, daughter, sons, and other members of the household have been cut down in two short weeks. The spacious house is left unoccupied: the single one spared has gone sorrowing from the scene of death—the chambers where his dear relatives met their fate."

"Sept. 22.—Another week of sickness, suffering, and painful death-scenes in this infected city, has passed, and, during its progress, upward of two hundred more of our citizens have gone to the grave.

"This is a week to be remembered with sorrow for many a long year to come; for numbers of our most esteemed, worthy, and useful citizens have died of the terrible fever that has so long been at its cruel work in our midst. The loss of them cannot be estimated to their families, their relatives, and friends, and to this intensely afflicted city. An epidemic of a more fatal type was scarcely ever known in any part of the world—on any con- [142] tinent in either hemisphere. It has baffled the skill of the physician, and rapidly run its course till it has terminated in death, in spite of medicine, watching, or the most careful nursing.

"How many of the loved and loving ones have been snatched away by the fell destroyer! Alas! they are dying—dying in the spring-time of life, as well as in the ripe maturity of manhood and womanhood, and in the winter-time of age and decrepitude; and homes are left so cheerless and comfortless, that long, monotonous years will not suffice to give back the wonted comfort and happiness, or to relieve the sorrow, that cruel Death has caused."

"Sept. 24.—The weather is getting cool. September will soon be gone, and we are beginning to think of frosty mornings, healthful air, and the return of our scattered people to their homes and firesides. The wind, for a day or two, has been blowing from the northeast, and this morning the tide is quite high. What effect the change in the weather may have upon the plague, remains to be seen. Up to one o'clock to-day, the fever continues its fearful havoc, and deaths are occurring every hour. I have to report, since my last, the death of other prominent and useful citizens."

[143] "Sept. 25.—At last the mighty angel of destruction seems to be less rapid and terrible in the appalling work of death. The change in the weather has, no doubt, had a favorable tendency with regard to the fever. The number buried to-day was only about fifteen. On Saturday there were about forty interred, and on Sunday, twenty-five or thirty."

"Sept. 26.—With feelings of the highest gratification, I have to inform you of the material abatement of the yellow fever in Norfolk.

"The cool, dry weather seems to have stayed the onward march of the destroyer of life and happiness, and we may confidently hope now that health and prosperity will soon return. I hear of but few new cases, and the number of burials yesterday did not exceed a dozen in all the cemeteries."

"Oct. 3.—During the damp, cloudy, and rainy weather, which has prevailed for several days past, many persons were severely attacked, and deaths have regularly occurred every night and day, although the number, on account of a lack of subjects, has been comparatively small.

"I heard an eminent physician say to-day, that our scattered population should not return until the weather is cold enough at night to cause the [144] formation of ice. A few have already returned, and several have quickly sickened and died since they came."

"Oct. 7.—There were only three or four burials yesterday none, as before stated, on Sunday; and, as I have heard of no new cases, and learn that those who are ill, are, for the most part, recovering, I hope to be able to inform you in my next, that deaths here by the yellow fever have entirely ceased to occur. The anxiety to return, however, has induced some, who were absent, to hazard their lives, and run the risk of coming in contact with a disease that proves fatal in a majority of cases; and on this account, I have no doubt that here, as in Portsmouth, more will die of this disease, before the weather is sufficiently cold to put a stop entirely to its attacks upon the lives of the people.

"The career of this pestilence in our city has been as mysterious, eccentric, and singular, as it has been fearfully rapid and fatal. While many families have been deprived of several of their most loved and valued members, and others have been entirely swept into the grave, every member in a few—all or nearly all have survived an attack of the disease, and are now almost recovered. In a [145] large family on Bute Street, all died. In one on Church Street, ten in eleven; while in another on the same street, consisting of twenty-one persons, though all were down with the fever except one, only one died. The individual who escaped in this family, attributes his exemption to an attack in 1821. But some who were ill of the fever in'21, have been dangerously ill here during its present visit to our city.

"In some families, the strongest have been taken, and the most frail left to deplore their sad loss. In others the weak only have fallen, and the robust and active spared. Only children have died in many families, and in some they have escaped, while both parents have died and left them desolate orphans, to be cared for by sympathizing strangers, who came on the mission of love and mercy to the scenes of woe, that were going on here, when Death held his sway, and transformed our beautiful city almost into a mammoth charnel house


Correspondence—Decrease in the number of patients—The convalescents— The weather—
An aged victim—Death holding his sway— The refugees—The destroying angel— The calamity—
Death of a minister— The patients recovering—Stories opening— The vacuum—The severity of the disease— The grave-yards—Death of a printer— A week of suspense— The physicians—The
disease disappearing—Reflections—The scourge.

Extracts from the special correspondence of the Baltimore Sun:

"Sept. 17th.—There is a manifest decrease in the number of deaths, but many valuable citizens are still dying of the fatal and alarming epidemic that has spread desolation, consternation, and terror throughout our city and our neighboring town across the water. There are many pale and sallow faces, and emaciated forms in our streets, of those who have nearly recovered. They show the sad effects of the ravages of the scourge; but there are often happy, joyful greetings between many who meet after the terrible ordeal has been passed, and the sufferers have escaped death and the grave. There are thankful as well as sad hearts; for, some [147] have been restored nearly to health, that did not expect to withstand the fierce attack of the death-dealing agent of destruction that has stalked abroad through every street of our city, in the bright face of day, and in all the dark and gloomy hours of the night.

"Of the small number of whites that are still here, a few have thus far escaped an attack of the disease; but there is scarcely a family that has not suffered, and, as before stated, in some instances all are gone, every member has been taken to the grave, and within a few short days, heads of families, children, and all, have been laid, side by side, in the burial-place.

"We have had very heavy rains recently; and today (Monday) the air is cool and pleasant, wind northwest. Some excellent citizens died yesterday and to-day, and since my last letter was written.

"Mrs. ____, a lady of some property, died to-day, and, all of her relatives having died, numbering some half a dozen, others had to attend to her burial. She stood like a forlorn stranger amid the death and desolation around her—the last of the family—trembling with the weight of seventy-two years; but soon she will sleep quietly with her children, and grandchildren, who went just before. [148] There were tears shed at her grave, but by the faithful servants who had watched at her bedside, while the disease preyed upon her frail and aged form. The family are all buried, and as in other cases, it may be difficult to find the legal heirs to the property that has been left."

"Sept. 22.—Death is still fearfully at work here, and there is a considerable increase in the number of cases. Those who have been attacked this week have nearly all died; scarcely one in ten survives. The fatality is absolutely awful to contemplate, and our remaining population are still in great distress, and oppressed with feelings of the deepest grief and sorrow."

"Sept. 26.—The weather here is now delightful; the wind has changed to the South, and it is feared we may have it warm and sultry again, and the consequent increase in the fever cases. But it is most earnestly to be desired that there will continue to be a rapid diminution of the new cases, and of the victims of the pestilence; that we soon shall be free from the wasting and devastating scourge, and be healthful and prosperous again.

"The thousands of our citizens who are scattered about in various parts of this and other States, are very anxious to return to their homes. This, how- [149] ever, it will be hazardous to do until the appearance of frost, which, we trust, may not be delayed more than a week or two longer; although we may not have it in three or four. A strange as well as a sad state of things they will find when they return to this plague-stricken city, and long years will be required to restore it to its wonted prosperity and happiness. Wives who are absent have lost their husbands, who remained at home; mothers, their children; sisters, their brothers; and hundreds of relatives and friends, who separated a few weeks ago, will meet no more in this world. The friends and acquaintances of some families will look in vain for a single member of the household.

"The destroying angel, in the execution of his awful commission, and in the exercise of his stupendous power, has gone in among many a happy family circle, and in a few brief days made it desolate by the removal of the fairest and the best, striking down, and removing one, two, three, and, in some cases, all of the inmates of the once joyous and peaceful home.

"It is painful, indeed, too, to reflect upon the many men of mind, genus, enterprise, and character that have been swept away. How great a vacuum [150] has this calamitous visitation caused in a few weeks? Certainly a large number or our most valuable citizens are gone from our midst. We should bow submissively to the decree of the Great Ruler and Creator, but sadly and awfully, indeed, is our city afflicted.

"I regret to add to the list of recent deaths the name of Benjamin Charles, the printer in the Argus office, who stood firmly and fearlessly at his post by the side of Mr. Finch, the lamented and intelligent foreman, and toiled with him night and day, when the fierce destroyer had attacked the rest, or caused them to fly. The writer noticed this young man at his work, striving faithfully to give the desired information of the progress of the disease to our scattered people. He seemed as calm, amid the storm of excitement that prevailed, as he ever was. He deserves to be kindly remembered, as one who was faithful and fearless when thousands were hurrying away in alarm.

"In looking back, as it were, upon the widespread desolation which the fell destroyer has left in its track, the heart is pained at the sad vacuum which has been made in many an excellent family."

"Sept. 29.—Another week of painful excitement and activity has come to a close, and with it seems [151] to have nearly ended the cruel and merciless career of the destroying agent, that has held its sway in Norfolk for so many long and tedious weeks.

"There have been but very few new cases today. The disease may now be said to have almost entirely ceased its furious attacks. But some are still contending painfully and severely with the enemy.

"Physicians have fallen rapidly and numerously. Ministers, merchants, editors, mechanics, bank officers, clerks, and so on, have gone one after another to the silence of the grave. Old men and tender infants, men of cultivated minds and unlettered laborers, masters and servants, prisoners and their keepers, friends and enemies, the strong, the weak, the halt, and the maimed, have died off with amazing rapidity. Before the familiar sound of their voices had been forgotten, or it was known by many that they were ill, they were sleeping in their 'narrow beds.'

"We may hope now, however, that the fearful commission of the angel of death has well nigh been executed in this ill-fated and unfortunate Atlantic city; that the wails of the bereaved, and the heart-rending cries of the orphan, may soon be unheard, and our wonted healthfulness and happiness [152] return, and take the place of this silence and desolation."

"Oct. 6.—The great conflict with the monster malady is almost over, and those who retreated may soon return, as they are anxious to do, to the battle-field; but the dead are removed, and buried, and the wounded are recovering. The proud and powerful monarch, Death, that has held sway here so long, has nearly finished his fearful work upon friends and foes, good and bad, great and small, treading down all alike, regardless of station or influence. The dim lights that burned in five hundred infected chambers no longer give forth, through the half-closed windows, their sickly, melancholy glare upon the few that ventured out upon the deserted streets by night.

"The people now seem relieved; their countenances give evidence that a great burden has been measurably removed—that the good angel of hope has taken the place of the dread angel of death, and gives joy to hearts that have known only sadness and sorrow for dreary months that have passed.

"The flight of souls immortal, at the rate of five hundred per week, from the afflicted cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, has nearly ceased, and the [153] deserted streets, stores, dwellings, and public buildings will, ere long, present scenes of life and animation, social greetings, and active business. The proud and noble ocean ships that have left our deep waters, will come into our capacious harbor again; the gay steamers that are gone will return and appear with their human freight, all anxious and active with life and hope; and merchant vessels will crowd our docks and wharves, now rendered silent and vacant, by the fearful work of death that has oppressed and afflicted us. But the recollection of the scenes of suffering and woe that have been witnessed here, will remain for months and years, and deep grief will sadden and weigh down many a heart; for numbers of the loved and the loving, the noble-minded, the beautiful that were here, are gone, to return no more. A long night of sorrow will be the portion of many a true soul. But Father Time will work a mighty change and a cure in many a bleeding heart.

"There have been but three or four burials to-day. No prominent citizen has died since Wednesday, and I hope to be able to inform you in a few days that the fearful scourge has passed by, and gone entirely from among us—and may it never return hither again—never!

[154] "A child died at the hospital yesterday, and another at the Orphan House to-day; and five or six colored persons have died during the last forty-eight hours, and others, who are sick, are recovering rapidly."

"I hear of but few deaths now in either Norfolk or Portsmouth. I regret to state that Rev. Mr. Devlin, the Catholic priest in the latter place, died yesterday. He had the fever a few weeks ago, and, after having nearly recovered, exposure to inclement weather caused a relapse that soon closed his earthly career. From the commencement of the fatal epidemic at Gosport, almost to the termination of its fearful ravages, Mr. Devlin was unceasing in his pastoral visitations and kind attentions to the sick, the suffering, the needy and the dying. He is the seventh minister who has fallen during the frightful reign of the merciless destroyer that has devastated the two adjacent towns.

"We have had two frosts, which will, no doubt, soon stop the progress of the scourge entirely. The weather is perfectly charming—the temperature just such as to make the healthy feel more vigorous, and the invalid better and stronger.

"Most of the cases now under treatment are [155] rapidly recovering, and many who were sick appear on the streets, and will soon be able to attend to their accustomed duties again.

"More than a dozen stores are open, during the greater part of the day, on Market Square and Main Street; and business matters will soon get into their accustomed course again. The wide vacuum that has been made by Death will be gradually filled; the deep wounds that have been inflicted will be healed by time, and many long and happy years of prosperity are before us. Some will probably never recover from the effects of the fearful calamity that has crushed so many to death, and sunk them into the grave; but rising suns and bright and healthful days, and the excitement of business and news, will dissipate the dark clouds of gloom and despair that Death has caused to gather over and around us, and many who are now sad will be happy and joyous again, in spite of the sad remembrances of the sting of Death and the victory of the grave.

"I heard one of our citizens regretting his great loss during this pestilential visitation. Eleven of his relatives, including his wife and five children, were taken. Another spoke in terms of the most inconsolable grief and despair. He had but re- [156] cently removed to the city with a lovely wife and a young child. They are in the grave, like the rest, and he looks as if a weight of sorrow will soon press him down, and close his joyless earthly career, too.

"The grave-yards present a strange sight. In Cedar Grove, Elmwood, the Catholic and Potter's Field, the graves are interspersed in every direction over the grounds. I never expected to see so large a number of new-made graves—a sad sight, indeed, a melancholy evidence of the fearful and rapid work of death that has been going on. The pits, which contain from fifteen to more than thirty bodies, are upon the banks of a stream that glides peacefully and quietly by, while the winds moan and sigh deeply among the thick branches of some noble trees that throw their shade upon the sleeping dead below. Their bones will mingle promiscuously, and crumble together in close union, till roused to life by the archangel's trumpet, with the countless millions who sleep the death-sleep, and who must hereafter submit to the common fate of man."


Miscellaneous correspondence—Letter from T. G. Broughton, Esq.,—Removal
of the citizens generosity of of Richmond—Letter from Rev. T. Hume—The Rush
for food—Increase of deaths—Drs. Capri, Craycroft, Upshur, and Crow—The
supply of coffins exhausted—Desolation and death—Josiah Wills—John Tunis—
No abatement of the disease—The grave-digger—A beautiful Sabbath morning—
The clergy suffering—The familiar work of death and burial—The return of the absent—Correspondence—Acting Mayor of Norfolk and F. H. Clack, Esq., of Mobile.

"Norfolk, Sept. 11.—My dear sir: I have received your letter, earnestly pressing our few remaining citizens to flee to Richmond, where, you say, I well know they would be received with open arms—everything being provided to make them comfortable. But to me it seems impossible. There is no means by which the appeal you suggest could be made to reach them. Few, indeed, are at leisure to bring about what you propose. Indeed, I may say, all who could be useful in promoting that object have their minds entirely [158] engrossed by their duties to their sick families, connections, and friends; and I could not name the individual who is not thus engaged, far beyond his desire to do good in any other way. Those who are not thus circumstanced, of course, continue to obey the instinct of self-preservation, by fleeing to a purer atmosphere.

"Being, in my position of Secretary to the Board of Health, about the only one of our city authorities present and fit for duty, I take the liberty to tender you the thanks of the city for your benevolent proposition. Nobly has Richmond used the liberal means with which a kind Providence has endowed her, in ministering to the relief of her poor, afflicted, heart-broken sister; and may the same Providence continue to increase those means, since she has so well proved that she knows how to use them. Heaven bless you and her, is the sincere prayer of your friend,
"Thos. G. Broughton."

"To the Editor of the Richmond Dispatch.
"Portsmouth, Sept. 17.—I have confided the receipt of the articles mentioned by you to my friend Holt Wilson, who will make you a due acknowledgment. I must tender to you and your [159] kind-hearted fellow-citizens my unfeigned and fervent thanks for this renewed token of your benevolence towards us. The sufferings of our people are greatly relieved by the gifts thus generously bestowed upon us, while the tender interest in our behalf which they revive cheers us amid the gloom which gathers around us.

"What an affecting sight is presented during the whole day at the office of the Relief Committee? There a crowd is almost constantly gathered, seeking supplies for their destitute families. The press has been so great to-day, that we have been compelled to close the office door, and require them to wait without at the window. If we could raise the requisite force, we would open another office, and another store, but we are unable to do so.

"Last night and to-day, the proportion of deaths and new cases (compared with the three or four previous days) among us has been sadly increased. This is, I learn, the fact also in Norfolk.
Yours truly,
"T. Hume."
—Richmond Dispatch.

From Dr. W. H. Freeman, of Philadelphia. "Norfolk, Sept. 21.—My last visit, less than [160] half an hour ago, was to Dr. Julius Caesar Capri, of the Sixth Avenue, New York. He now lies dangerously ill at the"Howard Infirmary," whither he was carried from the hotel on the morning of the 10th. He has black vomit, and lies in a comatose condition.

"This gentleman, and three nurses who accompanied him, arrived in this city only this day one week ago; now he and Mrs. Wallace, a female nurse, lie dangerously ill of the disease. I saw them on the afternoon of their arrival—was introduced to them by Mr. Cooke, of the Howard Association; and most earnestly did I implore them to return home, stating that they would add to the number to nurse, and perhaps to bury. His reply vas a noble one: 'I came here to attend the sick, and I would rather die than return.' He brought with him high recommendations from Dr. Mott, of New York, and is a man of very superior attainments. He has been under my charge, in the private wards of the hospital, where he has been nursed most faithfully by Vincent Torras, sent by you from Philadelphia. Yesterday and to-day, I have had the valuable assistance, in consultation, with Professor J. B. Read, of Savannah, Georgia, both of us have seen him some half a dozen times [161] a day, and the greatest interest is manifested in 'poor Capri,' by all here.

"This recalls to mind one who hails from our goodly city—I mean Craycroft. I knew him well while here, and twice had I obtained his consent to go home, and for which he had made preparation; but each time he was induced to forego the promise, because, being exceedingly useful and active, he was urged to remain by a gentleman of the Howard Association, who knew his value. He became thereby a martyr; and while his friends and family may mourn his loss thus early in life, they are at least consoled by the reflection that he fell in a holy cause, and that nothing was wanting that could in any way contribute to his comfort, during his brief illness. Dr. Wm. J. Moore (one of only three of the resident physicians left on duty here) had him at his residence, and not only was with him constantly, but he availed himself of the skill and attention of Dr. Huger, of Charleston, S. C.

"Dr. Upshur died the night before last, and Dr. Crow to-day. Over one-half of the resident physicians now sleep beneath the sod. Is not this a fearful mortality, and does it not speak volumes for the moral courage of the remnant?"

[162] "Norfolk, Sept. 22.—The malignity of the disease has not abated, but, owing probably to the moist, oppressive condition of the atmosphere this week, has rather increased. It is said that scarcely a case taken since Monday has recovered. Thirty orders for coffins were in waiting this morning at ten o'clock; and although the supply is large, not enough can be obtained. One hearse passed by, containing three bodies sewed up in canvas. Last Sabbath, not a church was open in the place; and for a long time all houses of business have been closed. Not a person is to be seen in the streets, save here and there a servant, or the physicians hurrying to and fro.

"Sept. 24.—Dr. Upshur, whose death was mentioned yesterday, was a most excellent citizen and physician. Foremost in the fight, he has fallen a prey to the fell disease that in nowise abated his zeal in the contest, until exhausted nature compelled him to retire, and await that summons which no human skill can avert, and which all must, sooner or later, obey. He filled the office of surgeon of the Marine Hospital, at this port, had an extensive practice, was a pious and a good man, and had a heart ever open to the claims of "melting charity." Josiah Wills, one of our most eminent [163] merchants, also died this morning, after a brief illness. His loss will also be deeply deplored by all the various business men of the place, to whom his extensive concerns gave much employment. Able and liberal, he was foremost in good works, and was always engaged in every scheme that promised to advance and improve the trade and commerce of the place. John Tunis, also, is no more. One of our wealthiest, most intelligent and liberal citizens, full of enterprise, and possessing a large share of sound practical wisdom, he leaves a vacuum in society which will be difficult to fill. Cases of all classes are occurring, without any favorable signs of modification or abatement.

"Portsmouth, Sept 26.—Uncle Bob Butt, the noted grave-digger, was up to the city yesterday. The sight of that personage in town is considered a good omen, as he has been seldom seen since the epidemic commenced. He alone has had nine or ten men employed, night and clay, burying the dead, outside of the city. He is a slave, and deserves great credit for his attention to this important part of the debt due the dead."

"This is a beautiful Sabbath morning. The atmosphere is clear, cool, and invigorating. Several [164] of the Norfolk churches are open for worship, but few of the congregation are in attendance; others are closed. In some instances the faithful pastor, who, like the lamented Dibrell and Jackson, preferred death to desertion, has been summoned from the scene of his labors, to receive his reward. In other cases, the surviving pastor discovers most of his congregation either exiles from home, or occupying the silent sepulcher.

"Much suffering and distress have existed in Norfolk and Portsmouth during this epidemic, but the end is not yet. The excitement and absolute necessity for constant activity have afforded but little time for reflection.

"I have seen husbands consigning their wives to the tomb, wives their husbands, parents their children, and children their parents, with an apparent callousness, that to me was truly painful. In fact, they appeared, in many instances, entirely incapable of appreciating their loss, and even now they do not realize it. To this, it is true, there have been exceptions. I have witnessed some outbursts of emotion which irresistibly excited the sympathy of the spectators.

"But when those who are absent return, attired in the habiliments of mourning—when the social [162] circle is formed, and the surviving members of the respective families surround the domestic hearth—then will the truth, with all its horrors, become apparent. Then will the eye in vain search for the absent wife or husband, father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister. The scenes of intense mental suffering which will then transpire, no pen can depict, nor pencil portray.

"Norfolk, 10 A. M. —I learned this morning, from a reliable source, that several families who have been residing in the adjacent country for some weeks past, have recently returned to Norfolk. The result has been (as one would naturally expect), every family has one or more of its members down with the fever."

Extract from a correspondence between N. C. Whitehead, Esq., Acting Mayor, and F. H. Clack, of Mobile, who acted as Chief of Police during the continuance of the fever.

"Norfolk, Va., Sept. 27.
"Acting Mayor of the City of Norfolk:
"Sir:—By your appointment of the 4th inst., I was placed at the head of the police of this city, with full authority to direct and govern all police [166] matters within the corporation limits. In entering upon the discharge of these important duties, I felt all the responsibility entailed upon me by such a position, and I trust I have properly fulfilled its duties.

"The exigency which required, in your opinion, such an appointment, has now passed; and I beg leave to resign into your hands the authority and office received from you. I am induced to take this step by the belief that there is no longer occasion for the exercise of any such extraordinary authority, as the violence of the epidemic has abated, and affairs here are beginning to take their usual regular course.

"I have realized, sir, from the beginning, the delicacy of my position, and determined, as soon as I could do so with prudence and safety, to resign my office.

"And yet, sir, I did not feel as a stranger would, in acting in the capacity I have filled. In visiting those scenes where I had passed my days of childhood, I felt that Norfolk had a right to claim from all her children every aid they were able to give. In this spirit I have acted, and striven to do my best."
[167] F. H. Clack, Esq.

"That you, though young in years, have more than fulfilled the expectations of myself, and a community to which you are in a great degree affiliated, is proved by the universal testimony of those who have experienced protection from your vigilance; by the efficacy, peace and good order which have prevailed under your management; and by the regret which we personally feel, that your resignation is prefatory to your departure from among us in common with other gallant associates who have also officially notified me of their purpose to leave.

"The early day which you have fixed upon for departing, and the forlorn condition to which our remaining families are reduced, prevent the majority of our citizens from making more than slight individual manifestations of the profound gratitude which they cannot fail always to cherish; and from giving such united expression to their feelings as would be agreeable to them, and, I trust, not unacceptable to yourself.

"Be please to accept, sir, for yourself and the [168] bands of heroes whom you represent, the assurance of my warmest gratitude and high personal esteem.

"Yours, very respectfully,
"Acting Mayor of Norfolk."


Sisters of Charity—Woman at the bedside of the sick, dying, and dead—
The period of terror—A procession with forty coffins—The female nurses
—Capt. Boyd—The Mayor and Ex-Mayor—Reminiscence—A fearful reality—Help
from abroad—Baltimore, Richmond, Etc.,—The Bay Line Company—
Philadelphia and New York—National Munificence—Liberality of New York—
The epidemic—Alleviating circumstances—Acknowledgments—Gratitude—
Liberality of Philadelphia—F. Webster, Jr.,—The orphans—Statement
of the Howard Association—The orphans—Richmond—Rev. D. P.
Wills—The little ones bereaved.

Soon after the fever was first announced, the Sisters of Charity, connected with St. Patrick's Church of this city, received a note from a physician informing them that their services had been offered by a friend to attend the sick, if desired. They replied with commendable promptness, and in terms expressive of a self-sacrificing devotion to the cause of suffering humanity, and stated their readiness to enter at once upon the work of love and mercy. They added, that their force would probably be divided between Portsmouth and Norfolk, and if so, aid would immediately be pro- [170] cured at Emmetsburg; so that, in case the fever should unfortunately spread in our city, the public might not want for careful and experienced nurses to attend at the bedsides of the sick, the suffering, and the dying.

Woman, in almost every land, and of every religious persuasion, has cheerfully and nobly engaged in the merciful and angel-like work of alleviating human suffering—has stood firmly and heroically by the bedside, amid the pestilential breath of fever, and cholera, and plague; nor retired until the patient gave unmistakable signs of returning health, or the hapless victim was held fast in the unyielding embrace of the "king of terrors," when, with big tears of heart-felt grief, she has left to repeat her efforts beside other couches of suffering and death. But here was an association of ladies, holding themselves ready, at the first startling cry of alarm—the first call for aid to the suffering, the first announcement of a fatal and dreaded pestilence—to go to the rooms of the diseased and do the kindly offices so greatly needed there—to whisper words of encouragement, administer the remedies, and wipe the death-damp from the sallow brow of the dead. Surely, the harsh and discordant voice of bigotry [171] and sectarianism should be hushed now, and the meed of praise freely awarded to those who justly merit it, without regard to party or creed. And there were many others, whose generous deeds and works of love are known, remembered, and acknowledged.

We will not attempt to express now the high appreciation and the deep sense of gratitude of our citizens for so noble and whole-souled benevolence. Here, and in our sister city, we wanted aid—we needed nurses and helpers on every hand. We speak not in terms of censure, but fifteen thousand of the people had fled. They were scattered among the beautiful hills and luxuriant valleys of our State; were safe in the healthful cities of the North, where the breezes were balmy and fresh, or elsewhere far away from the sickening and tainted air; and their relatives, their friends, their neighbors, their faithful servants, their sick and dying townsmen wanted help; they wanted familiar and friendly hands to smooth out the pillow for the aching head, to wipe off the cold death-drops that collected upon the pale brow and the sunken cheek. But strangers came to their assistance; and let this be proclaimed to the honor of humanity, and to the lasting fame of [172] the great souls that sacrificed the comforts of home and the society of loved ones in the endeared family circle—let it be inscribed in indelible letters of gold. But it is deeply graven in the hearts of our people; and whether these moral heroes and heroines fell beneath the stroke of Death, or came out of the ordeal unhurt and pure, their benevolence and kindness will be remembered, and their deeds of love will descend far down in the track of Time, and be known and acknowledged in vast Eternity.

"However natural it may be," says the Argus, 'to seek to relieve our memory from the burden of that day, in the midst of which we were, and especially of that dark Sabbath morning when we saw forty men, each bearing a coffin on his shoulder, sent in saddest mercy from abroad, and seized as soon as sent, that the corrupting remains of those dearest to them might be removed from their sight forever; however natural it may be to seek forgetfulness of such scenes, still we should not forget the silent, and almost unobserved, and wholly unrewarded services of the strangers who came among us, to do for us, or to die with us. It is true that the names and deeds of some of those have been borne upon the trembling wires, and filled the gazettes of all parts of our country, and [173] will be known for long years as angels of mercy; but there were scores of patient, tender, self-devoting nurses, who served without notice, and, thoughtless of observance, to whom our highest gratitude is due.

"We are led to these remarks by our recollection of the services of the many excellent female nurses who chose to be humane, even at the peril of their lives. They have left us, and their names are as unknown to our citizens as if they had never made any sacrifice.

"There were men among them, too—men indeed—whose advent cheered many death-beds, and saved survivors from despair. Among those was the modest, unobtrusive, and intelligent Captain Boyd. At the gloomiest period of the epidemic, Hunter Woodis led him to the bedside of the Ex-Mayor of the city; the fever had prostrated the whole family. His services were at first declined, because one of less respectable deportment, who could wait upon females, was most to be desired. But he would not be refused; and, as a menial, doing the duties of the humblest servant, and most faithful nurse, to master and slave, for weeks, without disrobing himself, without necessary food, without rest, and without the desire of reward, [174] save what conscience brings, did this stranger work in his Samaritan office."

"When we look back upon our city"—wrote the senior of the Herald, after passing unhurt through the storm of death—"as it was a little more than two months ago—in the enjoyment of more than its wonted share of health; smiling in the midst of peace and plenty; prosperous in all its various departments of business, commerce, and mechanical industry; looking into the future with high hopes and bright anticipations from its works of internal improvement; its inhabitants, happy in themselves and their families, and mutually happy in one another, as a community in which were combined the elements of reciprocal good-will, social harmony, and a common interest—when we recall to mind this painful portraiture of the condition which our city so recently presented—and contemplate the scenes of horror and dismay which so suddenly followed it, as with the rush of a whirlwind, appalling, bewildering, stupefying, and stunning all the faculties of mind and sense, and steeping them in a vortex of woe unutterable—we find it difficult to assure ourselves of the reality of what we have passed through in that brief space of time; and we feel as if it were all a frightful [175] dream—a vision of woe which, still haunts and terrifies us, while we would fain persuade ourselves that it is an unreal mockery. Oh, that it were so, indeed! But no. We wake to a dread reality of all the horrors of a sweeping calamity which has spared neither sex, nor age, nor condition; which has widowed and orphaned hundreds; swept whole families entire into the grave; torn asunder the strongest ties of kindred, love and affection; stricken down the strongest and most ornamental pillars of our social fabric, and caused a general disruption in the frame-work which held us together as a business community.

"Sad and gloomy as the picture is, Oh! how infinitely more so would it have been but for the prompt, the generous, the almost super-human benevolence interposed in behalf of our stricken communities by all portions of our beloved country, in every city, and in almost, every county and village in our own State, and in her sister States, from the sea-board to the interior, by their populous commercial marts and smaller communities, not only in pouring in upon us the means for mitigating our sufferings, but in sending us their Good Samaritans, their noble corps of medical volunteers and nurses—an immortalized host of moral chival- [176] ry, to battle with the destroyer at the bedside of the sick, and rescue its victims from its remorseless grasp. Would that it were in our power to rehearse the almost countless instances of these noble benefactions, and to command adequate language to express the sense of gratitude which they have indelibly impressed upon the hearts and minds of the people of both communities. To name even the most prominent agents in the merciful work of their preservation, might seem ungracious.

"But Baltimore and Richmond—our nearest neighbors—what would the condition of the plague-smitten cities have been without their ever ready aid, and their lines of steamboats bringing daily supplies for the wants and sufferings of these afflicted communities? When the panic from the pestilence had scattered abroad more than the half of our population, and suspended all the operations of commerce, industry, and labor—leaving hundreds of families, dependent thereon for their daily support, in utter destitution; when not even the munificent donations in money from abroad, added to the contributions at home, could procure subsistence for the needy while in health, nor the necessary provision for the accommodation of the sick who were to be a public charge; and when [177] all intercourse with our sister-cities, North and South, and with the neighboring country, was cut off by a general and rigid quarantine—and famine was thus threatened to be added to the pestilence that was raging in our devoted cities; then Baltimore, with a heart ever throbbing responsively to the calls of humanity, and with that generosity in which she cannot be excelled, through her whole-souled Relief Committee, promptly sent forward all that was required to supply the wants of the famishing poor, and ameliorate the condition of the sick—food of every description, medical stores, mattresses, bedding, clothing, and even coffins— which, as we have before shown, were, for some time, among the most pressing of our wants. And Richmond gloriously followed the example of Baltimore, and entered into a friendly competition with her in the race of benevolence, anxious for opportunities to render assistance.

"And here let us, in the name of our twin sisters in affliction, acknowledge the incalculable obligations they are under to 'the Baltimore Bay Line Company'—of which the Monumental City may well be proud, for it has on this occasion proved itself one of the brightest gems in her 'crown of rejoicing.' For weeks the Company continued to [178] run their boats daily, after the travel by their route had so fallen off as to make it a losing business to do so, in order that the sick and indigent might receive the supplies which their wants daily called for. Nor did they change the daily to a tri-weekly run, until assured by the Howard Association that the former was no longer necessary. This great accommodation was rendered still more effectual by the considerate courtesy of the Baltimore Board of Health, in sending a medical agent by each boat, under whose supervision the communication was kept up, and those of our citizens who were permitted to do so, could take passage for Baltimore free of quarantine. It was through this channel that the ever-active Relief Committees of Philadelphia and New York were also enabled to forward supplies of various articles. The boats were permitted to approach as near the city as is deemed by the agents of the Board consistent with safety, and were there met by the Norfolk ferry-steamer Princess Anne, which received the welcome offerings of our kind Baltimore friends, and conveyed them to the Howard depot for distribution. But even this caution was not observed till an advanced period of the epidemic; for late as the 1st of September one of the line boats [179] (the Georgia) continued to pass through our harbor to the upper wharf, and land the supplies sent by the relief committees. The value of the services thus rendered by the Bay Line Company, under circumstances of so much danger, cannot be adequately estimated or appreciated. May they receive the reward of their noble and disinterested benevolence in a never-failing stream of prosperity flowing from the well-earned approbation of an appreciative public."

"We know of no more gratifying theme of contemplation for the lover of humanity," wrote an observant citizen, "than the success which, has recently attended charitable appeals of various kinds.

"No sooner does distress break out anywhere—be it an epidemic in a southern city, or a famine in so distant a region as Madeira—than donations of ten, twenty, and fifty dollars pour into the hands of relief associations, and in a marvelously short period of time a, fund is collected, which effects what money can avail to heal the suffering. New York has always been preeminent among the donors on such occasions.

"The Norfolk epidemic is one of the severest calamities with which any portion of our country [180] as been afflicted for many years; but among the alleviating circumstances attending it, the heart softens at the spontaneous manifestations of aid and sympathy from every quarter of the land. It is under such powerful appeals that the nobleness of human nature spontaneously bursts forth."

"When the pestilence commenced its ravages in Portsmouth and subsequently in this city," wrote another gentleman, "the spirit of benevolence and heaven-born charity (before an appeal could go forth from the afflicted cities), in anticipation of their sufferings, awakened in every bosom throughout the length and breadth of our country those sympathies and benevolent impulses which were calculated to relieve them—and they were relieved, as far as ample provision for the wants and necessities of the sick and the destitute could relieve them. Norfolk and Portsmouth will ever recur to this 'tempering of the wind to the shorn lamb' with feelings to which language fails to give utterance. But while they cherish one common sentiment of gratitude to all who aided in alleviating the horrors of their dread visitation, it behooves them to render special reverence to the city of Philadelphia for an act that deserves an imperishable record. Philadelphia was among the [181] foremost in signalizing her benevolent action in behalf of the sufferers. The contributions of her citizens in money, in provisions, in medical stores, and in the ready aid she rendered by sending them physicians and nurses, were unsurpassed. Nor should we overlook the deep interest which her generous, self-sacrificing son, Thomas Webster, jr., took in their sufferings, and his noble efforts to relieve them; but let his memory be perpetuated in the grateful remembrance of the citizens of both towns. As soon as it was ascertained that the disease must become epidemic, he, with other benevolent spirits, caused a public meeting to be called in Philadelphia, by which a Committee was appointed to solicit contributions for the relief of the victims of the pestilence in Norfolk and Portsmouth, and a very large amount was soon collected, and from time to time remitted or disbursed by the Committee, for the benefit of the sufferers. When the pestilence ceased its work of death, there remained of the fund contributed for the relief of its victims, in the hands of the Committee, the sum of three thousand dollars. The Committee submitted to Mr. Webster to decide what should be done with this surplus; and he promptly proposed that it should constitute a fund, to be called [182] the 'Philadelphia Fund,' invested in Philadelphia city scrip, the interest accruing from which to be divided between the towns of Norfolk and Portsmouth—the former receiving interest on $1,600, and the latter on $1,400, of the fund, for the benefit of the orphans of persons who died of the fever. The proposition was unanimously concurred in by the Committee, and a deed in trust, appointing Thomas Webster, jr., trustee of the fund for the Norfolk orphans, was transmitted to Messrs. Aug. B. Cooke, President, and Solomon Cherry, Secretary of the Norfolk Howard Association, with the power of attorney from the trustee to them, to receive the semi-annual dividends on the fund thus set apart for the benefit of the orphans in charge of the Howard Association. The scrip for $1,600 (a beautifully engraved document) also accompanied the deed in trust.

"The deed in trust provides, that in case of the redemption of the scrip by the city, the $1,600 shall be re-invested in some other stock paying the lawful interest; and the three thousand dollars, thus dividing its product between the two towns, will continue to be held in trust, under the designation of the 'Philadelphia Fund'—the portion awarded to Norfolk being drawn semi-annually by [183] the President and Secretary of the Howard Association—Augustus B. Cooke, and Solomon Cherry, Esqrs., and their successors in office.

"This disposition of the surplus of their contributions, is honorable alike, to the citizens of Philadelphia, to the Committee who had the disposal of the fund, and to Mr. Webster, their estimable agent in the transaction; and, as generous and disinterested friends of the orphan and of humanity, we render them the homage due to noble deeds, and invoke the protection of an over-ruling Providence to shield them from the dread pestilence, and shower its choicest blessings on them and their beautiful city."

"While the heart of the country is throbbing with sympathy for the unfortunate sufferers of our sister cities," wrote the able, editor of the Petersburg Southside Democrat, "the sad condition of their hundreds of orphans should not be overlooked. The shaft of death has not been hurled with half so distressing effect; as when, in the very ruthlessness of its nature, it has sundered the sweet ties which bind the, parent to the child. The husband who has lost his wife, though afflicted to his heart's inmost core, can stem the rude current of life, and breast the fierce waves of the world's [184] contentions. The wife who has been bereft of her husband, though realizing the acutest anguish of soul, can find peace and enjoyment in the days to come, with the darling objects of affection bequeathed to her by a fond and devoted father. But who will care for the orphan? Who will generously assist it up the rugged mount of life? No one is left to love it now. Father and mother are swept away by the awful storm of death, which is brooding darkly over the cities of the sea-board. Who will be a friend to the fatherless—a mother to the motherless? The cold world may dole out its sympathies and its comforts to this noble little army; but no tenderness, no affection, can be like that of a parent—no attention, however unremitting, can compensate for the loss of a mother. That heart is not to be envied, which does not mingle its sympathies with the orphans made by the fell scourge at Norfolk and Portsmouth."

A statement showing the amount of receipts of, and disbursements by, the Howard Association:

Total amount of receipts,. . . $179,288.30
Remitted to Portsmouth, . . . 20,619.98
Disbursed in Baltimore, for provisions, etc., . . .26,000.00
Paid to doctors and nurses, . . . 3,500 00
[185] Paid in Norfolk, . . . . 62,481.95
Balance on hand in bank, and invested for the support of the Howard Asylum, . . 66,686.37
Total, . . . $ 179,288.30

"Early in September, the orphans were first collected together in Christ Church Lecture-room, under the sanction of the lamented Ferguson, then President of the Howard Association, by our fellow-townsman, Capt. (at that time Lieut.) James L. Henderson, U. S. N. (who, we are glad to see, has since obtained his well-merited promotion). They were visited and ministered to at the instance of Capt. H., by the martyr Jackson, and all the resident clergymen, without discrimination, and without any intention of exclusive control; and by Nicholas W. Parker, Esq., and other citizens of different denominations.

"We regard this asylum, which we trust to see properly founded sooner or later, as the best monument of those noble charities which the people of our various counties and towns contributed in the holy cause of relieving abject suffering, and providing remedies against its inevitable consequences. Those one hundred and twenty hapless children will, through its fostering care, ever have cause to feel that their lot has been cast in a day of love [186] and tenderness, as well as in a region swept pestilence and death.

"About sixty children, of both sexes, were conveyed from Portsmouth to Richmond. Some of these children were so young as to be unable to give any intelligible account of themselves, and nothing whatever is known of their parentage or history. They were accompanied by the Rev. D. P. Wills, the Methodist clergyman who suffered so keenly from the fever, and whose death was announced more than once in the public prints. Ample preparations were made in Richmond for the reception of the orphans, and the generous heart of the city was moved with compassion for their sad condition."

"There are eight among the number," wrote a Richmond editor,"that are mere infants, and one or two of them are teething and feeble. The rest are cheerful, and one week only has been sufficient to increase the red of their cheeks. The 'captain' is fine, and the oak grove resounds daily with the merry laughter of the joyful children, who reek not of their afflictions, and the departed ones whose last moments were embittered by the reflection, that their little ones were to be left to the care of stranger and the charity of the world."


Incidents of the pestilence—Strange predictions and their fulfillment—
Happy death of a pious young man—Death disarmed of its ting—A
thrilling scene during a thunderstorm—Woman's love and devotion—
Death prevents a matrimonial alliance.

A few months before the yellow fever broke out, a minister who was not a resident of the city, while preaching in one of our churches, and urging his hearers to repent, remarked, that he was impressed with the idea that Norfolk would soon be visited with some great calamity, and declared, that he would not be in the condition of many of the citizens for the whole world. Gentlemen present on the occasion noticed, particularly the strange prediction, and when the fearful disease commenced its ravages upon the people, the remarks of the preacher were recalled to mind with singular force and appropriateness.

After the fever had made its appearance on "Wide Water Street and seemed to be subsiding, and while the citizens were vainly hoping that the mysterious and subtle agent of destruction would spend its force in a week or two, the resi- [188] dent minister of the church alluded to signified his belief, with strange and startling earnestness, that the disease would rage with extraordinary severity. He said the apparent decrease in the number of deaths was deceptive, and would probably prove to be like the calm upon the ocean, which induces the unskilled seaman to hope that the storm would not rise and rage, and sweep over the bosom of the deep in the wild fury of its resistless power. But the experienced mariner could see the foretokening of the cruel and defying reign of the howling storm-king. "I shall not be surprised," he continued," if thousands of our citizens are carried off by the pestilence that has already commenced its work of death." It is a fact that the pictures of death that he drew seemed so uncalled for, and were so unexpected by some of his hearers, that remarks were made in regard to their alarming and exciting nature. Alas! the tornado of destruction, as it were, that soon swept away two thousand of our people, was a sad and awful reality of what existed in the imagination of the clergyman alluded to.

Among the large number of the sick and the dying, a pious, intelligent, and gentle young man [189] was suddenly prostrated by the overwhelming power of the deceitful and treacherous malady. He was unassuming in his manner, quiet, unpretending and retiring in his deportment, and possessed a well-cultivated mind of a thoughtful and decidedly poetic turn. Though not generally known as a poet, he wielded a ready pen, and his productions are chaste, beautiful, and descriptive. For correctness of sentiment, and appropriateness of expression, they are creditable alike to his mind and his heart, and would bear a favorable comparison with, the writings of some far better known in the literary world. The writer had known him, and observed him for years; had never seen him do an unchristian act. But "how now," in the hour when the king of terrors demands admittance to his chamber, and he languishes on the pestilent bed, soiled with blood pressed from his vitals by the unyielding grasp of the relentless yellow fever monster—when the dreadful disease is rapidly changing to putridity, death, and corruption?

A friend whispered in his ear— soon to be dull, deaf, and cold—that nothing more could be done for him, and that he was dying. "What! is this death?" said the meek and quiet sufferer; "Is this death?" His countenance was lighted up with [190] a joyful smile, implied more than he could tell. His mild, blue eye assumed a look of surprise, mingled with love and delight; and he continued: "If this be all—if this be death, then it is a very pleasant thing to die." Thus he spoke, and thus he felt, just before the skeleton finger of "the last enemy" was placed upon his frail and youthful form. His heart suddenly ceased its feeble beat; his eye grew dim; his small and almost transparent hand lay motionless upon the pillow; he was stirless in death's chilly embrace, and his pure spirit passed upward to the unspeakable regions of glory—eternal glory—saved by simple faith in the Crucified—and his sallow corpse was soon on its way, with the rest, to the sad and crowded "city of the dead," whither he was followed on the succeeding day by a fond mother whom he loved and revered.

"Hardened as I thought I was," wrote a gentleman to his friend, "by two weeks' residence among the dying, and the dead, I could not resist thrill of horror that overwhelmed me on one occasion, when attending a dying man, who was a living maniac, who threatened my life, because I would not let him get up; and, to raise an alarm, [191] would every now and then cry fire, with a most unearthly yell. And, to add to all this, just as he was breathing his last, a tremendous thunder-cloud came up, accompanied by the loudest clap of thunder I ever heard. I assure you my feelings were anything but pleasant at that time, during which, his poor mother, eighty-five years of age, was wringing her hands and walking the floor in the greatest agony. It would have required a man with a heart of stone to resist shedding a few tears of sympathy with this poor woman, whose heart seemed to be breaking."

One of those attacked in the noted Row had obtained his license to be married; but the fever interfered, put a stop to the proceedings, and the nuptials were not celebrated. The man was taken exceedingly ill, and the intended bride nursed him day and night, with woman's unflinching devotion, till the fearful struggle with the monster was over. Then, after being forced away from the bedside, she, too, was taken with the fever, but recovered from the attack.


An afflicted family— A daughter's devotion—Sudden death—An infant sufferer—A minister's
son wrecked by the scourge—A frightful and pitiable object—Some of the victims—The
birds and the pestilence—Bill, the cake boy—The fire bells—The gas-lights and the lamp-
lighter—The city at night—Music in the pestilence—A fair sufferer.

"After the death of Dr. R. W. Silvester and his son William H. Silvester, Mrs. Silvester, weighed down by the accumulated afflictions with which an all-wise Providence had seen fit to visit her family, was seized with the fever a few days after the attack of her son, R. J., and only survived him one day. Thus, in a fearfully brief period, were four members of this interesting household swept from time to eternity.

"The unwavering devotion and earnest solicitude," wrote a friend, "with which the four were watched and nursed by a young lady of fifteen years of age, the only surviving member of the family who was in town, was one of the most intensely interesting spectacles to which the epidemic [193] gave rise. Such devotion and attention displayed a strength and beauty of character rarely witnessed in maturer life, and give evidence of an affection worthy of the warmest admiration and emulation."

About 2 o'clock, August 14, a stranger, carrying an oil-cloth bag in his hand, was soon staggering in Main Street, opposite Bunk, it was supposed from the effects of liquor; but on turning into the entry to go up a flight of stairs to a physician's office, he fell, and in less than fifteen minutes expired. Upon inquiry, it appeared that he was one of several boarders at a house which had been closed, and he was left in it sick with the fever, without attendance or necessaries of any kind; that in the last stage of the disease, when the victim is mocked with the deceptive consciousness of returning health, he went out in order to procure a permit to go to the hospital; but had just strength to reach the spot mentioned when he became exhausted, and death closed the scene.

Passing through the hospital one day, we saw an infant, about two months old. The little fellow was sitting alone upon one of the mattresses in the infected room, where there were men and [194] women in all the different stages of the dreadful disease. The child, too, had the fever. His soft, tiny hand was hot, and his fever high. It was a beautiful baby, and a patient, quiet little sufferer. The mother had been taken from him, and from the room, along with others, to the grave, and no one could tell of the father or any near relative. It was alone in the world, and among strangers, but kind strangers, from far-distant cities; and they admired the child, spoke gently to the little one, and took pleasure in watching and nursing it faithfully and fondly. The melancholy expression of this lovely infant's blue eye, its light, silken hair, the beauty of its full, round face, and its bereaved, its fatherless and motherless condition, excited the most painful interest, and tears were shed—tears of deep and heart-felt sympathy.

We noticed, also, in one of the rooms, a young man, whose face we thought it barely possible we had seen before. He was certainly one of the most sad, emaciated, and forlorn-looking beings we ever looked upon. He called our name, and we recognized him. He was the son of a minister of the Gospel, of good standing and character. Having been attacked with the fever here, he was taken to the [195] hospital and attended to. We knew him well; but really, the fearful disease had so changed and disfigured him, that he did not seem the same individual. He was a complete wreck. His sunken and yellow cheeks and melancholy countenance excited the sympathy of those who saw him. But his eyes gave him the most singular and unnatural appearance—one being perfectly yellow, and the other as red as blood could make it. He was a frightful as well as a pitiable object to behold; and yet we saw still worse effects of this awful scourge among the sick and the dying; and fortunate and blessed, indeed, are they who escaped with their lives, while so many died and went to their long homes.

When the fever broke out, and the people were scattering in every direction, four young men went down to the Bay Shore, some eight or ten miles from the city. Having exhausted the small amount of funds which they had jointly raised to supply their wants for a few weeks, and fearing to return to Norfolk, they pawned their watches and other valuables. But the fever continuing to rage week after week, they held a consultation, and three of them determined to return to town and hazard [196] their lives with the rest amid the pestilential air of the plague-stricken city. The other resolved to try his luck in Baltimore, and they all acted according to the decision to which they came in the hour of want and distress. The three who came to the city were soon attacked with the fever, and are all in the grave; the other, who sought refuge in Baltimore, had the fever, but is still among the living.

It was gravely announced by some person, and readily believed by many, no doubt, that the swallows and other birds suddenly took their departure from Norfolk and Portsmouth, as soon as the pestilence made its appearance. We are not quite prepared to deny that the swallows did follow the example of the panic-struck citizens; but very certain are we that numbers of the noisy and innocent species of the sparrow kind, known as the wren, remained fearlessly at their posts, or rather upon the pendulous branches of the shade and fruit trees. Right merrily and busily did they go on, too, attending to their accustomed duties, gathering worms and insects for their newly-fledged young, and pouring forth from their tiny throats their joyous mating songs, as perfectly unconcerned about [197] the sad havoc the yellow fever was making around them, as the public in general was about the terrible slaughter among the Russians and Allies at Sebastopol. There was one little fellow, about half a mouthful for the hungry old grimalkin that watched and longed for a taste of him, that seemed to think it his special business to sing pro bono publico. While the first red rays of the sun, returning from his nightly march, tinted with golden hues the eastern horizon, he would come forth from his retirement as self-confident as Lola Montez, take his position near the window at which we sketched the doings of Death, and almost split his throat in the effort to deliver himself of his pleasing though monotonous morning carol.

Some of those attacked with the disease, when under the influence of the fever, which often greatly affected the brain, became frantic and raved like madmen. Some were almost unmanageable, and it became necessary, as before mentioned, to confine them upon the bed with strong cords. The case of Bill, the well-known cake boy (colored), presented a remarkable instance of this kind. Soon after he was taken to the Howard Hospital and put to bed, be insisted on getting [198] up, and succeeded in the night, notwithstanding the vigilance of the nurses and other attendants, in finding his way out in the street, where he wandered wildly about in his madness, uttering loud and unintelligible words, and greatly disturbing some of the citizens. After being well drenched with a bucket of water from the upper window of a house, by some person who took him to be a noisy inebriate, he was found, and several men succeeded, with much difficulty, in getting him again in the appropriate ward of the Hospital, where he was confined with cords. He became so restless, however, that he was allowed to get from his bed upon the floor, where the writer noticed him in the agonies of death.

Shortly after the fever commenced its havoc in the city, the deaths among the members of the fire companies were very frequent; and as the lifeless remains passed out to the grave-yard, one of the large fire-bells, which has a melancholy sound, was tolled dolefully. Every day, during the lapse of nearly a week, this bell sent forth its sad notes, announcing the departure of some unfortunate fireman, and causing a deeper shade of sorrow and gloom to come over the citizens. Its [199] iron tongue seemed to cry out incessantly and mournfully, death, death, death! The Board of Health very properly caused the unpleasant and injurious sound to be discontinued.

During the continuance of the pestilence, the streets were generally lighted up as usual. Night after night, the lamp-lighter wended his solitary way up and down the deserted thoroughfares, with his ladder, quickly ascending to the lamp, applying his match to the snake-like gas-burners, dispelling the surrounding darkness—though causing many a gloomy shadow—and then hurrying on apace, as if well aware that he was breathing an active poison. It was fortunate that the lighting of the streets went on, for the death-like silence was sufficiently oppressive without the unpleasant addition of midnight darkness.

One night, we found some of the principal, and hitherto crowded thoroughfares, not only as silent, dreary, and deserted as a village church-yard—save the dashing to and fro of the physicians and nurses—but enshrouded in darkness, thick, gloomy, and dismal. The deep stillness was occasionally disturbed by the winds, which were "playing at their pastimes" with the loose sash [200] and unfastened shutters, and an occasional dim light shone from the windows of the infected rooms where loathsome disease was rioting, and death was thinning out the suffering inmates. But soon the belated lamp-lighter came along, the burners sent forth their rays, and a brilliant light drove away the sombre darkness and gloom, to the great relief of those who were out on errands of duty to the abodes of sickness and distress.

The regular lighting of the streets also tended greatly to the security of the vacant dwellings and the protection of property. There were but few robberies of consequence committed during the progress of the epidemic, and not even a single alarm of fire, excepting on the occasion of the burning of Barry's Row.

We were surprised, and almost startled, on a bright pleasant morning, during the rage of the fever, by the soft and distinct sound of a piano-forte, in a dwelling on one of the most fashionable avenues. Although these instruments are, of course, very numerous in the city, and are played upon by hundreds of its fair daughters, with great skill, correctness, and gracefulness, for weeks the fa- [201] miliar sound of one had not been heard, nor was it expected. The soothing strains of instrumental music, or musical voices, in melodious tones, were not heard. Alas, many a sweet voice, familiar and attractive in sentimental song and social converse, had been suddenly silenced by the stifling, crushing pressure of Death's bony hand; and the wondrous human instrument lay worthless, shattered, and broken; not to be returned till the coming day of glory, to join in the universal and triumphant song of "Moses and the Lamb;" and the soft, tender, and practiced fingers had been rudely spoiled by the fatal palsying touch of the "last enemy," and were motionless, and stiff, and cold, beneath a heavy covering of damp clay—thus to remain till the golden harps are ready for incorruptible hands, that shall cause soul-thrilling music to flow out in
heavenly strains.

What could have prompted any one to press the keys of a piano, so softly, slowly, skillfully, and charmingly, at a time of so much sadness, silence, gloom, and death? Who wanted music then? We had heard that a fair one lay sick of the fever, in hearing of those full, rich tones, that were so ingeniously and stealthily flung out upon the pestilent morning air. There she lay, uttering low [202] moans, with the fevered brain, weak, powerless, and languishing, upon her couch, feebly contending with the frightful monster-malady; and we imagined that some dear friend of hers, with a full heart beating with sympathy, was performing the favorite air of the sufferer, fondly hoping thus to soothe her sorrow, calm her shattered nerves, or charm away her fears. But, verily, the familiar notes fell strangely on the ear, and broke in upon the silence of that solemn hour in sad keeping with the distinct rustle of the foliage in the breeze, and like the sweet, soft whisperings of Faith and Hope in the still room, when the last hours and minutes are breathing away, when disease is preparing the victim for death, or death for the grave.


The Southern Argus—A. F. Leonard, Esq.,—Eloquent sketch of the pestilence—
The grave-yards—The buried—The bereaved—The remembered horrors
of the scourge—The quietly-sleeping dead— Condition of the city—Day and night—
Life and activity returning— Words of encouragement—Prospects of Norfolk and Portsmouth.

The publication of the Daily Southern Argus was resumed after a suspension of thirty-nine days. We present some eloquent extracts from the pen of the editor, A. F. Leonard, Esq., whose labors among the sick, the dying, and the dead, are well-known.

"Once more upon the waters!"

"The storm is over, and again our good ship lays her course. Her sails are swelled to fullness in the crisp October wind, and, anon, her flag is given to the breeze. But that flag floats sadly at half-mast; and the call to quarters reveals that wide havoc has been made in our crew. Our deck has been swept by the pestilential billow. All have been disabled, from the quarter-deck to the forecastle; and one-half of our white complement will never more greet us with the once-familiar smile.

For nine and thirty days have our editorial labors been suspended. To us, it has been no interval of holiday, but of participation in the miseries of as dire a visitation as was ever made by the plague-spirit, in fulfillment of the Almighty behest, to a region of doom and devastation.

"We have looked Death full in the face, in its most hideous form. We have seen the proud, the humble, the young, the aged, the lovely, the unseemly, the timid, the brave, the weak, the strong, the foe, the friend, alike fall by the swoop of the destroyer. We have seen a population melt away like snow before the noon-tide sun. We have seen science at fault, and triumphant pestilence claiming relentlessly its chosen spoil. We have seen— but why bring to light the sire deserting the infectious bedside of the son of whom he once boasted; why speak of the daughter leaving the imploring mother, who gave her being, to yield up her forlorn spirit amid the revolting filth of the plague; why awaken the memory of the unutterable horrors of a calamity that cannot be realized description? There is a brighter side to this dark picture, to which we can, and will often recur; there is a ray of mercy tempering the night of agony, which makes us feel that man (and angelic [205] woman) has that in his nature, which, when called forth, assimilates to the mighty heaven from which he derived existence.

"We have seen our lately flourishing mart reduced to the scanty number of 4,000 surviving souls. In the short space of less than ninety days, out of an average population of about 6,000, every man, woman, and child (almost without exception) has been stricken with the fell fever, and about 2,000 have been buried—being not less than two out of three of the whites, and one out of three of the whole abiding community of Norfolk, white and black. One-half of our physicians who continued here are in the grave, and not less than thirty-six physicians, resident and visitant, have fallen in Norfolk and Portsmouth.

"Long will the day of visitation be remembered in the afflicted cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth. They are now sisters in sorrow, as they have always been in interest and prosperity. The present generation will ever retain sad reminiscences of the plague among us; and the page of history that will contain the record of our sufferings must be melancholy, for the unmitigated rage of pestilence which it will recount.

"Is there a special chastisement in this dispen- [206] sation? If there be, we cannot fathom it. We do not regard it as a direct rebuke of abolitionism, know-nothingism, or fanaticism of any sort. It is one of those mysteries that we cannot solve, and which we do not think it is intended for man to solve. If we must wield the weapon of inscrutability, we should not point the inculcation towards any but ourselves. And it should prove to us a full lesson of humility and benevolence; for God knows, in this poor era, we have great need of both. 'Those eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell—think you that they were more wicked than these?'"

"In yonder suburb lie near two thousand festering corpses of those who, but a few days since, were moving in our midst in hope, and engaging intently in their various avocations. The green of the quick-springing grass is wanting upon their new-made graves, and the vacancy of desolation which they have left among us has not begun to be filled.

"No; turn where we may, we find heart-breaking indications of the dispensation which we deplore. The neighboring fireside lacks its proper element, and the bright lineaments that once reflected happiness in its glow are no longer there—the round of daily duty has ceased for ever—the [207] household key is rusted on the stained floor where it has dropped—the dark mould has collected in the vacant boudoir, and the soft flowers, formerly so carefully tended, have withered in the frosty night. The sun rises, ay, smiles through the livelong day upon comparatively empty streets; and the silent counting-room, in many cases, can be entered only by authority of law.

"The solitary foot-fall that approaches, is awaited as betokening the bearer of a greeting smile; but, no, the band of crape and the grave mien tell of thoughts that hover around the precincts of a buried household. The orphaned child meets you at each turn of your daily path—the dying wail still rings with distinctness in the dreams of the night, and the picture of motley bodies packed unwitting of color, sex or condition, is ever present to the mind without effort of memory or imagination.

"For deliverance 'from plague, pestilence and famine, and from sudden death,' are prayers to be found in all well-ordered litanies. If we have never before felt the need of such petitions, we have spontaneously offered them under our recent affliction. The helpless dead, in their promiscuous groups, have proved monitors of awe and condem- [208] nation to hearts that were callous to other teachings. And there, in their quiet graves, they will continue, as time rolls on, to inculcate those same solemn lessons, which all can appreciate, and none can disregard, and which should prompt the offering up in due season of fit prayer for deliverance."

The condition of our city might have been appropriately compared to a busy day, after a night of darkness and stillness. A long night of death and sorrow we had. Day after day, and night after night, the still work of disease and death went on. Weeks and months passed, and yet silence reigned. The sun rose, and shone, and set in beauty and glory, as usual, but the stores and work-shops remained unopened, dark, and damp. The moon looked down brightly and clearly, and revealed a city, in the pleasant quiet eve of summer time, with vacant streets and unoccupied houses. Family mansions, that had been noted for social gatherings, gayety, and happiness, were as silent and cheerless as a deserted and haunted castle in the depths of a wilderness.

In the first week in November, there was a vast difference. Indeed, how striking the contrast! To one who had lived through the long and dreary night of stillness and death, it seemed [209] like a resurrection of the dead. Hundreds and thousands of familiar faces appeared in the streets.

The people were again hurrying in crowds, as formerly, up and down Main, Church, Bank, and other streets. They swarmed in the market-places, and at the ferry landings. The returned refugees were rather careful about going out at night; but there were many to be seen after the shades of evening fell around. And then, the ding-dong of the steamboat bells, the lumbering of the express wagons, the rattle of the heavy dray wheels, the loud and careless laugh of the laborer, the voices of buyers and salesmen, the musical jingle of gold and silver, the ring of the hammer on the smooth-faced anvil, the puff and hiss of steam—in short, the noises usual in a city, sounded strangely here, and formed a striking contrast to the stillness that pervaded the city during the long night of death that had just passed by.

"We rejoice sincerely," said an able writer,"that the bitter cup has at last passed from the lips of those afflicted cities, and we trust that, with returning health, there may be a restored energy amongst the people. We have testified an interest and sympathy during the prevalence of the pestilence; we will now add some words of [210] encouragement. The recurrence of the yellow fever as a periodical disease, is not at all apprehended, and we may suppose the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth—which are in fact one—again offering their attractions to the enterprise and capital of the Union. Those who will look at the importance of their port in a commercial point of view, as the terminus of a great system of works which is fast turning the trade of the middle of the Mississippi valley to the Atlantic sea-board, will see that their progress and prosperity are inevitable. Whilst Virginia, therefore, mourns because of the afflictions of the land, let her take courage in the prosperous career which opens upon this future mart of commerce. Already, the enterprise of the Union must have marked the vacancies caused by the lamented loss of merchants, professional men, and practical mechanics; and just as New Orleans is annually filled with thousands who wish to fill the vacuum occasioned by the ravages of the annual epidemic, so will population and capital seek Norfolk and Portsmouth, because, whilst the attraction and inducement to immigration are very great, the danger of a regular visitation of the pestilence is not to be apprehended."

"We say unhesitatingly," says an observant [211] writer, "that if Norfolk were razed to its foundations, and all her people laid low in the dust, there is an outside influence at work along Southside Virginia, that would still build up a mart here of which the entire southern country might be proud. Let us not discourse ruin, when we can grasp fortune if we will; but let every man, as far as in him lies, push on the advance in his particular path of duty, and we may live to rival the palmiest days of proud emporiums."

Portsmouth, as well as Norfolk, is admirably located for trade. The water-front is spacious,"bold, and deep, and but little outlay, comparatively, would be necessary to improve the wharf property to the greatest advantage to the owners thereof. The town is admirably planned, the streets wide, level, and at right angles.


Mayor Woodis—William B. Ferguson—Mayor of Norfolk.

The earthly career of His Honor, Mayor Woodis, closed on Sunday morning, August 25th, at half-past eleven o'clock, and a deeper gloom than ever settled over the remaining portion of our population. A darker shade was added to the great sombre pall of sorrow that seemed to enshroud our city, as it were, in its darkening folds. Elsewhere, as well as at home, many a heart was made sad, and many a cheek felt a tear at this melancholy intelligence. Our city lost a friend indeed. He would not spare himself; repose, rest, comfort, health, and even life itself, he sacrificed to the good of his suffering fellow-citizens. Night and day, he was out in almost every part of the city, striving, with the most determined and unyielding perseverance, to alleviate the sorrow and woe of the people; to have the sick attended to, or removed to the hospital, and the wants of the poor supplied. He sought [213] out the sick, the dying, and the dead. He visited the most infected districts , entered the most filthy hovels; stood at the bedside of the diseased; went into the desolate habitations of poverty and distress; relieved the disconsolate inmates, and did all that man could do to lessen the force and power of the desolating scourge that was sweeping off the citizens. But he, too, fell a victim, and the shaft of Death ne'er struck a nobler mark. Deep were the pangs of sorrow that thrilled the hearts of our people.

Hunter Woodis was a gentleman of fine talent and education, a faithful friend, an agreeable companion, an attractive and impassioned speaker, and an able lawyer. In the midst of a career of usefulness, and in the prime of life, he was suddenly cut down. Our people will revere his memory, and mourn for him as one loved and honored—as an officer tried and found faithful; and the best monument to his worth will be the enduring sentiments of love and deep respect enshrined in the hearts of his friends and fellows-citizens.

One of the shafts," wrote Mr. Lee, of the Daily News, "which the King of Terrors has been sending thick and fast among the good, the gifted, and the beautiful of our ill-fated city, has at length pierced [214] the heart of one whose loss is a public as well as a private calamity, and will be deeply felt, deeply mourned by every heart capable of a throb of sympathy for philanthropy and heroism. Our noble and beneficent Mayor is dead—Hunter Woodis, around whose memory will cluster the admiration and regret of his fellow-citizens, and whose enduring monument—loftier and firmer than sculptured column or painted dome—will be the tribute of esteem and reverence which living witnesses delight to pay to deceased worth and virtue.

"From the commencement of the dread disease, which is fast filling the grave-yards with tenants, up to this last and splendid trophy of its triumphant ravages, Hunter Woodis was indefatigable in his exertions to afford succor and hope to the poor, the sick and the dying. Not content with performing the mere duties of his office, he was everywhere where the least chance existed of doing good, and ever prompt at the faintest call for relief. Once before, overcome with fatigue and anxiety, he was forced to cease awhile from his labors of love, and the whole community then stood aghast, fearful he had been stricken. But hardly two days elapsed, before he assumed the arduous and self-sacrificing duties in the discharge of which he has fallen a [215] victim, alas! but a victim crowned with flowers of perennial bloom and fragrance."

He was confessedly bold, energetic, intelligent, and affable. During his service as Mayor, the condition of the city, in all its departments, would favorably compare with that of any preceding administration. The Police Department was controlled with vigor and vigilance; the sanitary regulations of the town effectively enforced; a wholesome supervision was exercised over all the various branches of our municipal matters; and, in addition thereto, the business of the Hastings Court, in which so many of our citizens are immediately interested, was presided over with a degree of intelligence, decision and dignity, that elicited the applause of all concerned in the transactions of that tribunal.


Soon did he follow his daily companion in benevolence, the self-denying Woodis, to the tomb; and not only do our people weep for him, but his native city, Baltimore, divides with us the privilege of grief, and will honor his name with a commemorative monument.

The Patriot said: "The announcement of the death of Mr. Ferguson, the President of the Howard Association at Norfolk, fell upon our citizens yesterday with all the weight of a public calamity, and excited a keenness of regret which spoke at once of the high merit of the individual, and the heavy loss which the suffering city of Norfolk has sustained in his decease. A true estimation of those who act worthily, places Mr. Ferguson among the heroes of the highest stamp. From the breaking out of the pestilence at Norfolk he was assiduous, untiring, and unceasing in his endeavors to mitigate the evils of disease and death by which he was surrounded. He seemed to have fallen naturally into the position of President of the Howard Association, from the general recognition of that indomitable courage and unvarying perseverance of purpose, which fitted him to assume responsibilities and undergo labors that would have appalled and discouraged others.

"In that position, he was the animating spirit of the noble efforts of those who battled the pestilence with an ardor and courage that almost seemed to bid it defiance, and challenge its approach. Exposed hourly to the contagion in its worst forms, living amidst the miasma which sur- [217] rounded the sick and the dying, Mr. Ferguson labored on from day to day, until hope grew strong that he would escape the contagion, and live to enjoy the rich return which the estimation of his fellow-citizens would award to such self-devotion. This expectation was sadly disappointed, and to the names of those who so nobly proved their devotion by the sacrifice of their lives in the cause of humanity, we have to add that of William B. Ferguson."

Says the American:
"Mr. Ferguson was a native of Baltimore, and, until about four years since, resided in our midst. In the year 185I, he served in our City Councils, was, for a considerable period, an efficient member of the First Baltimore Fire Company, and, in all the relations of life, won the affectionate regard of those who were best qualified to judge of his merits. After his removal to Norfolk, he was appointed Agent of the Baltimore and Norfolk Steamboat Company, and in the performance of the duties which were thus devolved upon him, his estimable qualities were not less appreciated by his new friends than they continued to be by his earlier associates, he was taken from us at the early age of thirty-one years; but, though the [218] term of his existence was brief, indeed, when compared with the usual period allotted to man upon earth, it was so crowded, within the past few months, with acts of beneficence and charity, with heroic self-sacrifices and unwearied devotion to others, that the measure of his life should be calculated rather from the good deeds he has done, than from the calendar of his years."


Resident clergy—Rev. William M. Jackson—Rev. Anthony Dibrell.

Of the four ministers of the Gospel, who remained in Portsmouth during the pestilence, three died—Christian heroes — in the performance of their Master's duty—the Rev. F. Devlin, Catholic; Rev. Mr. Chisholm, Episcopalian; and Rev. V. Eskridge, Methodist, and Chaplain in the U. S. Navy. Mr. Handy, of the Presbyterian Church, remained until he was stricken down by the fever, and attempted to resume duty after a protracted illness, but was urged by his medical attendant to leave.

In Norfolk, Rev. Wm. M. Jackson, Protestant Episcopal; Rev. Anthony Dibrell and Wm. Jones, Methodist Episcopal; and Rev. Wm. C. Bagnall, Baptist, all died of the fever. Rev. D. P. Wills, Methodist Episcopal; Rev. Mr. O'Keefe, Catholic; Rev. Dr. Armstrong, Presbyterian; and Rev. Louis [220] Walke Protestant Episcopal, were dangerously ill of the fever and recovered. They were busily and usefully engaged in their efforts to give consolation to the sufferers. Some of them were in regular attendance at the hospital; and none of those mentioned manifested a desire to fly from the scourge—preferring to die in the faithful discharge of their known duty, rather than to leave the suffering and afflicted members of their flocks in the midst of disease and death, without those words of comfort and consolation which it becomes the Christian minister, especially, to impart in the hour of extraordinary calamity and trial.

''Among many others, the estimable, the talented, the noble, the heroic of our city, in the all-wise and inscrutable providence of Almighty God, the Rev. William M. Jackson, Rector of St. Paul's Church, was numbered a victim of the dread fever. 'Mid the blossom of his holy labors, he died, conquering a deathless name upon the field of pestilence; and over his tomb the tears of the church and of the community have been shed. It is the dear privilege of the writer to offer a feeble tribute to his memory; to the memory of him, the beloved pastor, who, as a [221] minister of the Gospel of Christ—a title which no rank ennobles, no treasure enriches—stood forth undisguised by anything of this world's decoration, resting all temporal, all eternal hope, on his sacred labors, his talents, his attainments, and his piety—the highest honor, as well as the most imperishable treasures of the man of God. Rich the inheritance of his spotless reputation! Pious the example, it testifies; pure, precious, and imperishable the hope which it inspires.

"By the death of this distinguished servant of Christ, the Diocese of Virginia—the Church in Norfolk city especially—sustained a sad, severe, and, to human view, an irreparably loss; and although, over his very sepulchre, where corruption sits enthroned upon the merit it has murdered, a voice is heard vindicating the ways of Providence, and proving that even in its worst adversity there is a might and immortality in virtue, yet it is a privilege to mourn over our sad bereavement; and to record on the innermost shrine of our hearts, the memory and worth of the departed."

"Soldier of God! thy conflict's o'er, thy Captains voice obeyed,
And now, the conqueror's crown for thee, mid angel bands displayed;
[222] The victor's palm within thy hand, the wreath upon thy brow—
The suffering one of earth, we feel, is Heaven's blest one now!"

Mr. Jackson was the pastor of honored "Old St. Paul's;" but, when the demon of pestilence had stalked into our city, he did not confine his active labors to those specially under his charge. When the sustaining hand of the holy father in God was wanted, he did not ask "to whose church" the lone sufferer might belong. It was enough for him that he was needed, whether by saint or sinner.

What adds melancholy interest to his fate, is the poignant fact, that, like the Rev. Mr. Devlin, of Portsmouth, he survived till the ravages of the epidemic had nearly ceased, and his friends, both at home and abroad, had begun to encourage the hope that, as the day was breaking, and he yet spared, God intended him to survive the night, and speak his solemn messages in the ears of men. But the day dawned, and the faithful pastor was no more.

"The Rev. Anthony Dibrell commenced his ministry in 1830. He was then of mature years, had spent some time at the University of North Carolina, and had studied the law, to which it had [223] been his purpose to devote his life. Under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. William A. Smith, then stationed in Lynchburg, he embraced religion, and, soon afterwards, offered himself as a candidate to the Conference. He entered upon his work with flaming zeal, resembling a blazing torch, ready to be cast into dry stubble.

"He stood deservedly high in the estimation of the Conference, and by their suffrage was successively a member of the Louisville Convention, and of the General Conferences at Petersburg, St. Louis, and Columbus, Georgia. His last appointment was to the Granby Street station, in Norfolk, which he received under peculiar circumstances, and where he terminated his useful life. He labored there with his usual fidelity, until the approach of the yellow fever. While others debated the question of flight, he solemnly resolved, in the strength of God, to stand by his charge, let the issue be what it might. He remarked in an official meeting, that this was his purpose, and that he felt prepared for the trying ordeal. He did remain, and consecrated his time to the offices of his holy vocation, visiting the sick and burying the dead.

"His preaching, while it evinced a masculine grasp of thought, had two peculiarities: first, its [224] propositional, rather than its discursive character; secondly, its perpetual tinge of terror. More than any preacher we ever knew, he dealt to his hearers the dreadful thunderbolts of Sinai, and it seemed to be the principal part of his commission to do it."


Rev. James Chisholm—Rev. Francis Devlin—Rev. William C. Bagnall—
Rev. Vernon Eskridge—Rev. William Jones.

"Who, that knew the Rev. James Chisholm by sight, would have dreamed that that frail body of his held such a lofty spirit! Weak and delicate, with a degree of modesty that almost amounted to bashfulness, as shrinking and retiring as a young girl, thousands would have passed him in the crowd unconscious that they were in the presence of a ripe scholar and an able divine. His look a personification of meekness; and, to the superficial thinker, he would seem to have been one of those who would quietly have retreated to his solitude, far away from the noise and bustle of an excited community. But the disease came—Chisholm's flock nearly all left—and he, too, was preparing to spend a portion of his summer in the mountains—but stern duty said 'Stop.' And then it was that this pale, delicate, frail, retiring man came forth to the struggle, and the great and noble soul which was, after all, the stature of the man, rose in its [226] God-given strength, and he was here at the bedside of suffering, and there by the fresh-made grave; here pointing the sinner to the cross of Christ, and there carrying food and drink to the needy; now in the pulpit, seizing upon the circumstances of the visitation, to warn men to prepare for death, and then in the hospital whispering peace to the penitent and departing soul. Death came to him, and he met him as one who,

. . . 'Sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approached the grave;
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.'"
On the 15th September he wrote as follows, to the Christian Witness:

"It probably occurs to you, that in the present appalling condition of our plague-smitten community, but one alternative presents itself to the consideration of every one. Shall I regard personal safety alone, and flee with all speed from this atmosphere of poison and death, or shall I look the question of my relations to society, to humanity and to God, fall in the face, and decide accordingly? The question of duty, as a minister of Christ, has determined me to stand at the post to which, I believe, all along the providence of God [227] called me. Up to this moment, for the period of seven weeks that the desolating scourge has been doing its remorseless work amongst us, I have been perfectly well; not one uneasy or uncomfortable feeling—and never in my life have I had a finer appetite. For five weeks of this time I have been a daily and sometimes a nightly attendant, as occasion may call me, at the sick and dying beds of the sufferers and victims by this malignant fever. My present condition surprises myself; and I trust that I more than ever realize the 'Eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms.' I am in his hands to do with me what seemeth Him good.

"The wards of the United States Hospital, temporarily granted for the use of our Portsmouth people, are crowded to the number of one hundred and fifty or two hundred with yellow fever patients, and I pay these wards a daily visit, endeavoring to administer, as far as desired or needed, the blessed resources of our holy religion. It is some comfort, amid these dreary walks of duty, to reflect that I have aided some poor creatures to seek and find that peace which the world can neither give nor take away.

"I also visit wherever in town I am called for. [228] As to the details of woe presented by our present condition, I do believe that it is utterly incompetent to any descriptive power to convey a picture of them. Never since the continent of America was settled (I speak calmly, and with reference to what I have read or heard of), never has so terrible a calamity overwhelmed the same amount of population. You will find it extremely difficult to lend credence to some statements which I could make to you from knowledge and observation.

"Yesterday a communication was received from that city of human beings with human sensibilities and sympathies in their souls, Baltimore, offering to convey the entire remaining and surviving population of Norfolk and Portsmouth to any salubrious point that might be selected, or could be obtained by them, and likewise guaranteeing to them, so long as they might be thus detained, all things in the way of provisions, furniture, bedding, etc., which they should stand in need of. The very fact suggests to you some idea of the horrors of our position."

Rev. Francis Devlin, pastor of St. Paul's (Catholic) Church, also fell a victim to the fever. The Transcript, in recording his death, said;—

[229] "He had partially recovered from an attack of the fever some weeks ago, but suffered a relapse from which he never entirely recovered. We saw him out and spoke to him on Friday afternoon, and though he looked very much reduced, we had cherished the fond hope that he would be spared. From the commencement of the sad times from which we are emerging, up to the period of his attack, he had been actively and faithfully engaged in ministering to the sick and dying; since which time he has been mostly confined to his bed. He was an exemplary, mild, humble, and godly man, and has, no doubt, gone to reap the reward of his firm adherence to duty under the most appalling circumstances. His course formed an example worthy of all imitation, and it affords us sincere gratification, as it enables us to exercise a sweet privilege, thus to do homage to a character which we have always esteemed. Such, we estimate, was the compeer of Chisholm and of Eskridge."

"Rev. Wm. C. Bagnall was a young gentleman of fine promise. He became a member of the Cumberland Street Baptist Church, in 1854, when he commenced studying for the ministry, under the Rev. Mr. Winston. He was, after a short time, [230] licensed to preach, and he displayed talent which showed that if his life had been spared he would have made an eminent minister of the Gospel. His sermons would have done credit to an older head than his. He was untiring in his visits to the sick and dying, during the whole time that the fever made its appearance amongst us, reading and praying with them, and giving them all the consolation in his power—thus showing an example for older ministers to follow. But he is gone to his reward, having fallen in the spring-time of his life."

Rev. Vernon Eskridge (Methodist Episcopal), Chaplain United States Navy, and Wm. Jones, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, were both men of great worth of character; devoted, faithful, and zealous. They were highly esteemed as ministers of deep-toned piety, sound judgment, and extensive usefulness, and their loss is sadly felt.


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