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


Hero Physicians


The resident physicians—Drs. Silvester—Higgins—Upshur—Constable—Selden.

The brave band of physicians belonging to our city, suffered fearfully from the onslaught of the enemy. Not one of those, who were at home during the epidemic, escaped a fierce attack, and ten were laid in the dust—martyrs in one of the holiest of causes.

Drs. Wm. Selden, Wm. J. Moore, Robert B. Tunstall, E. D. Granier, Herbert M. Nash, G. W. Cowdery, F. S. Campos, Thos. I. Hardy, Robert H. Gordon, D. M. Wright, V. Friedeman, and D. W. Todd, were all severely ill of the fever, and recovered. Dr. J. J. Simkins was compelled to leave during the fever, on account of his own ill health; and he was also detained to attend a sister who was dangerously ill of the disease at Hampton, after leaving this city. He was one of the first to offer his services to the Board of Health, when the fever broke out. Dr. Wm. M. Wilson escaped an attack, having had the disease in the South in 1852. He [232] was appointed physician-in-chief, at the Julapi Hospital, at Lambert's Point, where his superior skill, and judicious official conduct were manifest; and his efforts there were spoken of in terms of the highest praise. Though he had retired from the profession of medicine for a not less lucrative calling, our valued fellow-citizen, Dr. Robt. W. Rose, is deserving of prominent mention among the gallant surviving ones. Disregarding all selfish considerations, and actuated by the pure desire to bring aid in the day of trial, he went into the arena where his former companions were engaged in the death struggle, and continued his zealous work till the latest moment when it could avail. He was ill of the disease; but the attack was not a severe one. We give a list of the resident physicians, who died, in the order in which they fell: 1. Richard W. Silvester; 2nd. Thos. F. Constable; 3rd. George I. Halson; 4th. Rich. J. Silvester; 5th. Francis L. Higgins; 6th. Junius A. Briggs; 7th. Thomas Nash; 8th. George L. Upshur; 9th. Richd. B. Tunstall; and 10th. Henry Selden.

"Dr. R. W. Silvester was born in Princess Anne County, in the year 1801, and received his academic education in Norfolk, in which city he [233] studied medicine under Dr. Fernandez and Andrews, with great zeal and success; and after attending the lectures at the University of Pennsylvania, entered upon the practice of his profession in Norfolk County, admirably prepared to discharge its high and varied responsibilities. Here he rapidly acquired a high professional reputation, and won, in an extraordinary degree, the affection and confidence of the entire community for a circle of many miles. After a practice of eighteen years of great labor and success in the country, he was induced to abandon his large and lucrative business, in consequence of declining health, which had suffered severely from constant exposure in a miasmatic district. He removed to Norfolk to regain his health, and to educate his children in the best schools which the city afforded, and resumed his professional duties in the year 1843.

"His was a character pure and unselfish, gentle and amiable—constant in his attachments, and inflexible in the discharge of duties. As might have been expected from one of his exalted worth, when the recent epidemic made its appearance in our midst, he did not abandon his post, but went where duty called—and nobly fell."

"It is to be supposed that, among medical men, those who went into the dens of the enemy for the purpose of grappling with him in his strength, there must have been proud victims. Among the foremost of those who thus fell, was the late Dr. F. L. Higgins.

"It was announced in August, that this gentleman was convalescent from his sharp attack of fever, and that he had gone to Philadelphia to recover strength for renewed labors in the cause in which he was disabled. His friends expected to see him return to duty in a short time, with renovated strength and skill—but alas, the treacherous disease fully maintained its character in his case. He experienced, in his retreat, the well-known, and almost surely fatal 'relapse'—and Death 'flapped its funeral wing' over the frame of the skillful physician and heroic devotee.

"Dr. Higgins was about forty-five years of age. He was born and reared in Norfolk, and laid the foundation of his medical attainments under the training of his relative, the celebrated Thomas F. Andrews, who retired from the profession a few years since, to enjoy the affluence and fame which he had acquired in his practice in Norfolk. Dr. Higgins was 'the nephew of his uncle,' in the [235] proudest sense of the term. The mantle of ability and success seemed to have fallen upon his shoulders—and many will hear testimony that he was cut off in the midst of a noble career.

"As a surgeon, he was eminently successful. Many very delicate and skillful operations were performed by him with the happiest results. He had won a reputation to he envied. In his death, our medical constellation lost one of its fixed stars."

"Dr. George L. Upshur, although he had not been in practice more than twelve years, had gained, by his untiring energy and earnest thirst after knowledge, a well-deserved and honorable position with his professional brethren. He was endowed with remarkable physical and intellectual activity. He was called to see the first cases in Norfolk, and was, for some days, the only physician in the city who witnessed the disease. His labors, during the prevalence of the plague, were immense; yet, during them all, he continued to take a series of careful notes for future publication, and was to have prepared for the pages of the Medical Journal a history of the fatal epidemic. He fought with the pestilence, unscathed, almost up to the [236] hour of its retiring from the field, and then, struck by a Parthian arrow, the hero fell. He was calm and firm in death, as in life; prophesied the time of his dissolution, and appointed the hour for his funeral, which he selected to suit the convenience of his brethren, whom he desired all to surround his last resting-place. He died in the thirty-sixth year of his age."

"Dr. Upshur's loss will not soon be made up," wrote Dr. Freeman, of Philadelphia. "I saw him three hours before his death: he had just called his wife to his side, and essayed to speak to her, but could not. He died 'the death of the righteous.' Only two days before his decease, his wife remarked to some friends standing at his bedside, 'We are both prepared.' Never can I forget the instructive lesson I learned at that death-bed. 'May my latter end be like his.'"

"We had all seen him day by day, in his usual round," said another, "ministering to the unceasing call of suffering humanity, and bestowing his professional aid upon the poor and the humble, as readily as upon the proud and exalted. There was a peculiar cheerfulness and sympathy in his tone, that struck the chord of hope in many an anxious sick one's breast; and we were almost disposed to [237] think that his enviable temperament rendered him invulnerable."

At the time of his melancholy demise, the following appropriate tribute appeared in the Petersburg Express:

"Dr. Upshur was as true a moral hero as the world ever saw, and his course, during the present epidemic, has fully established the truth of our assertion. Like the gallant Woodis, he commenced with the fever when it was in Barry's Row; and, without even the hope of reward—except that which an approving conscience bestows—he battled manfully with the disease, and tendered his services alike to all the suffering. So untiring was he in his exertions, and so wholly regardless of self in all that he did, that an eminent physician remarked that he believed it was scarcely possible for Dr. Upshur to take the fever; for while others had been seized with it and died, he, notwithstanding the risk incurred, was still alive and well, and grappling with it more manfully than ever. He was truly one of nature's noblemen, and lived for the good of others.

"'He had a tear for pity, and a hand
Open as day for melting charity.'"

[238] Dr. Thomas F. Constable was another of the resident physicians who fell at his post, after battling faithfully and skillfully with the monster-malady that swept through our city and deprived it of so many men of usefulness and sterling character. His age was about thirty-nine. He, too, was a favorite student of Dr. Thomas F. Andrews, deservedly celebrated as a man of extraordinary skill and success in his profession. Dr. C. subsequently repaired to Philadelphia, where he was noted for his correct deportment and studious habits; and he was soon graduated.

He was a careful and thoughtful observer of whatever tended to increase his knowledge in the different branches of his useful profession. By a judicious and systematic course of reading, he had stored his mind with valuable scientific information, was consequently successful in his practice, and had gained the confidence of the community as a wise and judicious practitioner. Unpretending and unostentatious in his general deportment, and in his intercourse with men; deliberate and cautious in the performance of his official duties; conscientious and honorable in his dealings with others, he possessed a weight and force of character, and an influence in the circle of his acquaint- [239] ance, that were known, acknowledged, and appreciated.

A few weeks before he was attacked, he accompanied his estimable and devoted wife and two lovely children to the salubrious mountain regions of our State, where he could have remained, breathing the pure and healthful atmosphere, far away from the pestilence that reigned here, and surrounded by friends and relatives who esteemed and loved him. But his idea of duty called him home to the scenes of death and wretchedness that were witnessed in this afflicted city. As a member of the Board of Health, he was punctual and faithful in the discharge of his duties, and until seized by the unmistakable premonitory chill, he was constant in his professional visitations to the abodes of disease, death, and woe.

Soon after his attack, it was too evident that his name would swell the long list of the dead. Calmly watching the fearful inroads of the fatal malady, and after patiently submitting to the remedial efforts that were deemed requisite in his case, he told his friend and attending physician, in Latin, that his remedies would prove unavailing, and came to the conclusion that the progress of the disease could not be arrested by human power, and [240] that he must soon be in his grave. Then he quietly awaited nature's dissolution, and the eventful moment when he would exchange this for another and an unending state of existence.

On being told by one who watched at his bedside, that he must soon enter upon the untried realities of another world, and on being asked if he felt ready for the awful change, he simply and pleasantly remarked, "I prepared for this long ago." He had been faithfully instructed in his childhood and youth, by pious parents, in the saving principles and doctrines of the Bible, and had learned and embraced the all-important lesson: That faith in Christ alone was the only hope of salvation. As peaceful and calm as the setting of the summer's sun, he closed his eyes in death. His active form sleeps quietly now, like the rest of the great company that were hurried out to the silent burial place; and his redeemed and happy spirit has returned to the great and merciful Creator, doubtless to be glorified, peaceful, and joyful, during the ceaseless and ample sweep of eternal ages.

"The professional education of Dr. Henry Selden was a fair model for aspirants to skill and fame in [241] the useful and honorable vocation of the practice of medicine. In his studies he neglected nothing which could add to the stock of his already well-stored mind. His private preceptor, Dr. W. W. Gerhard, was one of his firmest friends and warmest admirers.

"After taking his diploma at the University of Pennsylvania, he was elected resident physician to Blockley, the largest and best conducted hospital in the city of Philadelphia. Here he showed the most untiring industry, and his attainments were constantly brought into view, and became the theme of daily admiration on the part of his associates.

"After a residence of eighteen months in the hospital, he went to Paris to complete a professional education which seemed already finished. His associates there awarded him the credit of being one of the most industrious and intelligent of the American students then in that great medical emporium. He remained in Paris three years, returned to his native city, and commenced his career, which promised to be so brilliant.

"Clear and decided in diagnosis, firm and self-relying in practice, his success was such as might [242] have been expected from one who, with talents of [242] a superior order, had cultivated and trained his mind in a most judicious manner. His success commanded the admiration of his patients and friends—and his generous, kind, and charitable conduct won the love of all who were brought within the sphere of its bearing. Though young, having a little more than completed his thirty-seventh year, his reputation was already great; and yet, in his death, and in the midst of his usefulness, was he taken from us. Truly, the ways of Providence are inscrutable, and past finding out."


Drs. Halson, Nash, Briggs, Tunstall, Silvester, Jr., and the resident
physicians of Portsmouth.

"Dr. Geo. I. Halson was one of those who, knowing his duty, had the courage to stand at his post, and with the heroism of gallant soldiery in his profession, did he labor day and night to relieve the suffering of his fellow-citizens. His physical strength was inadequate to the task necessarily imposed upon him in the condition of things in our devoted city. He was among the first in the profession to take the disease: the worst fears of his friends and relatives soon became a reality. He fell a speedy victim, after bearing the sufferings of his malady with the resignation and submission of a true Christian. He was about thirty-seven years of age.

"From his early boyhood to the time of his death he displayed such qualities of heart and mind as to endear to him a large circle of friends. His moral and scholastic education was conducted by his father with the utmost care. The progress [244] and promise of an only boy made glad the heart of his aged parent, who felt justly proud of such a son.

"He read medicine in the office of Dr. W. B. Selden, where his fidelity as a student won the
warm regard of his preceptor. His professional education was completed in Philadelphia. After taking his diploma, he remained as a resident physician in the Blockley Hospital for eighteen months, thereby securing all the advantages which that great school could give.

"He practiced medicine in this city fifteen years, during which time his attention and skill won the confidence and regard of his patients and none enjoyed the respect and esteem of his brother physicians more than he. His high tone and sense of professional courtesy were acknowledged by all who knew him. He was incapable of any violation of professional etiquette. His conduct was a code of medical ethics. His morality was proverbial, yet he had a claim still higher in being a consistent Christian—having united himself to the Protestant-Episcopal church in the spring of 1851.

"His death is a great affliction to his aged mother who loved him with all the devotion and pride due a good, affectionate and noble son."

[245] Dr. Thomas Nash was a gentleman of much intelligence and experience. He was highly respected for his urbanity and consistent piety. A large circle of relatives and friends mourn his loss. His last hours exhibited a, triumph over Death.

Dr. Junius A. Briggs also fell a victim to the scourge. He was quite a young man, of pleasing manners, fine personal appearance, and a liberal education, having enjoyed superior facilities, in Europe as well as in this country, for acquiring an extensive acquaintance with the different branches of his profession. His father, A. Briggs, merchant, and a sister, were also cut down by the unsparing hand of the destroyer.

"Dr. Richard B. Tunstall, the subject of this notice, was one of the many who fell victims of the yellow fever while diligently and constantly engaged at his post during the epidemic.

"He was a young man when thus suddenly and unexpectedly cut off in the midst of usefulness; but it needs not gray hairs to give proper weight to character. Even upon the young will moral worth and devotion to the nobler duties of life bestow a capacity to influence, and a power to charm, [246] which demonstrate that virtue's ways are those in which we should delight to move—onwards and upwards.

"Dr. Tunstall, after having received a good preparatory education, attended the lectures at the University of Pennsylvania; and so faithfully had he availed himself of the opportunities there offered, that, before taking his diploma at that school, he appeared before the Naval Board for the examination of candidates for admission to the medical corps of the United States Navy, and passed the examination with credit to himself. He afterwards continued his studies, and graduated at the University of Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1849.

"His first and only cruise was made in the United States ship St. Mary's, with Captain Geo. Magruder, during which he became the special favorite of all the officers and ship's company. The service, however, did not suit his taste, and he, therefore, resigned his commission. During the fever, he faithfully kept his post, to which duty, humanity, and heroic inclination called him. It was here he fell. On the 19th of September, he was seized with the disease, and died on the 24th, after five days of patient suffering.

"As an officer, he was loved and respected for the [247] sterling qualities of his character, and his faithful and energetic performance of every duty. As a civilian, he had the warmest personal regard of the citizens of the place where he was born and reared. In his deportment, there was no air of pretension; but there was a simple and dignified candor in his address, which, like 'the window in the breast,' gave insight to the promptings of a pure nature."

Dr. Richard J. Silvester, the oldest son of Dr. R. W. Silvester, by nature delicate and frail, and worn down by fatigue and distress in the death of his father, and the approaching dissolution of his brother, Wm. H., could hold out no longer against accumulating afflictions—and, after a feeble resistance, yielded to the disease.

He was born in Norfolk County, in 1828; his education was conducted, with great care, in Norfolk, at F. W. Coleman's, and at the University of Virginia, where he attained great distinction for his acquirements, not only in the classics, but also in the sciences, especially in pure mathematics, in which, we have been assured by his associates, he had very few equals. He graduated at the University of Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1854, and immediately entered upon the practice of his pro- [248] fession, in which he gave abundant promise of distinction. He, too, like his father, fell a victim to that high sense of professional duty and honor that would not suffer him to desert his post in time of danger.


Drs. J. N. Schoolfield, C. Spratley, G. W. O. Maupin, James L. Hatton, and Wm. J. Cocke, had the fever, and recovered.

Drs. J. W. H. Trugien, R. H. Parker, M. P. Lovett, and L. P. Nicholson, died of the disease.

Drs. Bilisoly and Hodges escaped, or were not attacked.

We regret that we cannot present some brief biographical sketches of the worthy martyrs who fell, the noble victims among the physicians of Portsmouth. The omission is, however, unavoidable; suffice it, therefore, to say, that they behaved heroically, generously, and ably in that fearful battle with the unseen and insidious foe to life and health. Day and night they were seen in the performance of their labors of benevolence in the cause of suffering humanity; doing more than ordinary men could bear, till, worn down by fatigue. the disease found them easy and ready victims. They who survived, and the fortunate two who escaped, are not less entitled to the gratitude and honor of their fellow-citizens. Those who witnessed that period of death and suffering, can alone appreciate the services of the heroes who strove to stay the destructive progress of the fearful disorder.


Visiting physicians and others—The roll of honor—Drs. Gooch, Capri, etc.

The following is the list of physicians and others who came to the relief of our suffering people, with their places of residence, and the date of their arrival. It will be observed that twenty-five of those who came met the fate which they sought to avert from others. Honored be their memories and green be their graves!

Dr. W. Stone, New Orleans, August 16,1855.
Dr. Thos. Penniston, New Orleans, August 17.
Dr. Wm. H. Freeman, Philadelphia, August.
Rev. T. G. Keen, Petersburg, August 20.
Dr. De Castro, Cuba, August 21.
Dr. John F. Carter, Richmond, August 23.
Dr. John Morris, Baltimore, August 24.
Capt. Nathan Thompson, Philadelphia, August 24.
Dr. A. A. Zeiglefuss, Philadelphia, August 25.
Dr. Jas. McFadden, Philadelphia, August 26.
Dr. J. T. Hargrove, Richmond, August 25.
Dr. E. D. Fenner, New Orleans, August 25.
Dr. C. Beard, New Orleans, August 25.
Dr. E. T. Worl, Philadelphia, August 25.
Dr. St. J. Ravenel, S. C, August 27.
Dr. N. J. Crow, Richmond, August 28.
[251] Dr. A. B. Williman, S. C., August 28.
Dr. J. Hitt, Georgia, August 20.
Dr. W. H. Huger, S. C. August 29.
Dr. T. C. Skrine, S. C, August 29.
Dr. F. M. Garret. N. C., August 29.
A. M. Loryear, S. C, August 29.
A. R. Taber, S. C., August 29.
Dr. Bignon, Georgia, August 29.
Dr. Donalson, Georgia, August 29.
A. J. Gibbs, Philadelphia, August 30.
Dr. Marsh, Philadelphia, August 30.
Dr. E. C. Steele, S. C., August 30.
W. Porcher Miles, S. C., August 30.
Dr. Campbell, New Orleans, August 30.
D. I. Ricardo, New Orleans, August 30.
Dr. J. B. Read, Georgia, August 30.
Dr. Godfrey, Georgia, August 30.
Dr. Skinner, Georgia, August 30.
Dr. Charlton, Georgia, August 30.
Dr. McFarland, Georgia, August 30
Dr. Nunn, Georgia, August 30.
Capt. Thomas J. Ivy, New Orleans, August 30.
E. E. Jackson, S. C., August 30.
Dr. Williams, D. C, August 31.
Dr. G. S. West, N. Y., August 31.
Dr. J. B. Holmes, S. C. August 31.
Judge Olin, Georgia, Sept. 1.
John Taliaferro, Georgia, Sept. 1.
Dr. Freer, N. Y., Sept. 1.
Franklin H. Clack, New Orleans, Sept. 5.
Dr. Robinson, N. Y., Sept. 3.
Dr. R. M. Miller, Mobile. Sept. 3.
Wm. Ballantine, Mobile, Sept, 3.
Dr. W. B. Thompson, Georgia. Sept. 6.
Dr. Baker, Key West, Sept, 7.
Wm. T. Walthall, Mobile, Sept. 7,

[252] Dr. R. R. McKay, Georgia, Sept. 9.
Dr. A. B. Campbell, Philadelphia, Sept. 9.
Dr. Wilson, Cuba, Sept. 11.
Wm. C. Miller, Mobile, Sept. 12.
Wm. N. Ghiselin, New Orleans, Sept, 12.
Mr. Rucker, Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 13.
Mr. Clowes, Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 13.
Dr. Fredericks, N. Y., Sept. 14.
Dr. John Vaughan, London, Sept. 17.
Dr. McFarlane, New Orleans, Sept. 18.
A. H. Jennett, Mobile, Sept. 18.

The labors of the following physicians were confined principally to Portsmouth.
Drs. Riser, Briggs, Mierson, Kennedy, Bryant, Azpell, Molle, Hammill, McClosky, and Randall, of Philadelphia.
Drs. Webster and Hungerford, of Baltimore.
Dr. Thomas, of Cincinnati.
Dr. Flournoy, of Tennessee.
Dr. Baker, of Key West.
Drs. Rich and Covert, of Charleston.
Dr. McDowell, of Richmond.
Dr. Thomson, of Virginia.

All of the above had the fever and recovered, excepting Drs. Randall, McClosky, Baker, and McDowell, who escaped.


Dr. Leon Gilbardt, of Richmond.
Dr. P. C. Gooch, of Richmond.
Dr. Walter, of Baltimore
Dr. Robert Thomson, of Baltimore.
Dr. T. H. Craycroft, of Philadelphia.
Dr. Fliess, of Baltimore.
Dr. T. Booth, of Baltimore,
[253] Howe, of Baltimore.
Dr. Howie, of Richmond.
Dr. T. Mierson, of Philadelphia.
Dr. Richard Blow, of Sussex,
Thomas W. Handy, of Philadelphia
Dr. A. C. Smith, of Pa.
Dr. Jackson, D. C.
Dr. Dabershe, D. C.
Dr. Schell, of New York.
Dr. Obermuller, of Georgia.
Dr. R. B. Berry, of Tennessee.
Dr. Dillard, of Montgomery, Ala.
Dr. Capri, of New York.
Dr. Hunter, of New York.
Dr. Cole, of Philadelphia.
Dr. Walter, of Baltimore.
Dr. Marshall, of Baltimore.
Dr. Crowe, of Richmond.

The services of the five last named were rendered principally in Portsmouth.

The following tribute to the memory of the lamented Dr. Gooch, of Richmond, is from the pages of the Stethoscope, Richmond, the journal which he founded, and which was the child of his fondest love:

"It is but seldom that we have been called to a more melancholy duty than this record of the death of Dr. Philip Claiborne Gooch, of this city. "When cries of distress were borne on every breeze from our sister cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, [254] he repaired to the scene of woe; and, having been an eye-witness to the dreadful havoc of the pestilence, he hastily returned to his home, and, after completing some business arrangements, with characteristic heroism and self-devotion, he repaired again to the scene of suffering, determined to peril all in the cause of humanity. But, alas! he had scarcely entered on his humane mission, when he became the victim of the invisible foe.

"Dr. Gooch was just entering upon the career of matured manhood. Possessed of decided talents and unusual energy of character, he had before him the prospects of fame and fortune. As a physician, he had a high appreciation of the dignity and duties of his calling, and was a zealous co-worker for the maintenance of its respectability md progress.

"Having spent several years abroad, in the prosecution of his professional education, his views were liberal and enlarged. He was a punctual attendant on all conventions of medical men, and labored efficiently for their thorough organization. He was the founder of this journal, and bravely and successfully encountered all the discouragements of a pioneer in that sphere of labor.

"Perhaps his characteristic trait, was a bold, [255] independent outspeaking of his honest convictions. He sought no advancement or preferment by the arts of the sycophant. Brave, generous, just, possessed of a genial disposition—few men have left behind them fewer enemies, or more attached friends.

"During his illness, which lasted some time, he had the very best attention that could have been given him under any circumstances. Two young physicians, who had been companions of his while in France, were with him almost every moment of his sickness; besides whom, he had, among other nurses, a colored female from Charleston, who is regarded as one of the best of the troop who came. Everything was done for him that kindness and skill could suggest. His attack was a severe one, and, though possessed of a powerful constitution, he sank under it. He retained the possession of his senses to the last, and died quietly and calmly. Mr. Henry Myers, of Richmond, a most active and efficient nurse at the hospital, was sent for a few moments before his death; and Dr. Gooch, upon being aware of his presence in the room, attempted to say something to him, but could only pronounce the words, 'Tell my mother ____." He was too far gone to say more, and expired im- [256] mediately afterward. Thus died one of nature's noblemen, who gave up his life for the good of his fellow-men, and whose memory will long be cherished by all who delight to dwell on the blooming spots in this desert world, through which we are traveling onward to eternity."

"Amongst the many noble hearts and gallant spirits who fell victims to the terrible pestilence which desolated Norfolk and Portsmouth, was Dr. Richard Blow, of Sussex. To those that knew him well, this occasioned more regret than surprise. It was only a short time before, when, deaf to the remonstrance of friends, and to the calls of even duty and affection, but true to the impulses of his nature, he left his native county (where his practice was extensive, and where his reputation was well established), on that voluntary mission of mercy from which he never returned. But this was in character with the man, and with the whole tenor of his life. For him, danger had always a sort of charm, and death had no terror. A kinder heart, a warmer friend, a manlier foe, a braver and more generous spirit, never lived, than Richard Blow. He died as he lived, without fear or reproach— [257] without one particle of selfishness—an enthusiast in feeling and in principle—an ultraist in the cause of humanity."

"Dr. Capri was a Hungarian, and physically one of the handsomest specimens of the genus homo that was ever seen. He came over to this country in the suite of Gen. Kossuth, and followed him in his tour of the United States. When he reported himself to Judge Olin, at the Howard Office, that gentleman strongly advised him to leave the place immediately, assuring him that he would most certainly fall a victim to the disease; that there were already physicians enough here who were acclimated, or came from a southern climate, to attend to the sick, and that it was needless for him to peril his life hopelessly. Indeed, so far from doing any good himself, he would only be in the way of others, as, by getting sick, he must require attendance and nursing. But to this his response was: 'I shall not leave; I am resolved to stay.' He then appealed to some of the prominent physicians, who all gave him the same advice, and to whom he made the same responses as to Judge Olin. He had only been here four days when he took the fever, and, although he received every aid from [258] the best physicians and nurses, in four, days more he was under the sod."

Where so many acted bravely and efficiently, and died gloriously, of course it is impossible to present sketches of all, or even the greater portion. We have added these brief tributes with no intention of giving undue credit to a few, to the neglect of the rest. Many noble men fell. These tributary remarks suffice as a fair exhibit of the character of those who sank beneath the power of the pestilence. To write out even a short account of each, would require a volume of, perhaps, a thousand pages.


Mrs. Baylor—Miss Herron.

The terrific, pestilential storm that swept so furiously by, deprived our city of many of its brightest and most valued ornaments. Manly forms, brave hearts, beating with nature's noblest impulses—men and women of intellectual strength and culture, were hurried with the rest, from our midst, in the overwhelming ruin.

Our city suffers a sad and incalculable loss in the death of a number of ladies of superior mind, rare accomplishments, and most estimable character. Among those who were thus suddenly called away from a sphere of usefulness, was Mrs. Catherine B. Baylor.

Possessing, naturally, uncommon mental endowments, and having enjoyed the advantages of careful and skillful intellectual training, with an innate fondness for study, for the acquisition of knowledge, and, indeed, for the pursuit of the beauties of literature and science, she was deservedly distinguished [260] as a lady of high mental cultivation, and refined literary taste. She was noted as a linguist, and especially as a Latin and French scholar.

Mrs. Baylor was remarkable, too, for firmness and decision of character, which, with her varied attainments, a naturally judicious mind, and, withal, a mild and amiable disposition, admirably fitted her for the discharge of her responsible duties, as principal of the Female Seminary, to which she devoted many years of her life, and whose success and popularity were the surest evidences of her faithfulness and ability in the highly honorable calling she had chosen.

The great calamity that desolated our city, and spread over its entire limits, as it were, a pall of deep and deepening sorrow, found few, if any, more interesting families than that of which the lamented subject of this notice was the respected head; and with few, alas, was the destroying agent more unsparing and relentless. She had watched, with all the anxiety and tender solicitude of a devoted mother, at the death bedside of three interesting daughters. The deceitful and treacherous malady had appeared in its most virulent type, and attacked, one after another, the members of her happy and united household. The roseate [261] blush of health and beauty gave place to the sallow hue, deeply imprinted upon the cheek by the dreadful African fever, and forms of gracefulness lay powerless, cold, and still. Death hushed the soft, familiar voices of the most loved, and, with his "skeleton finger," closed the eyes that had beamed with the native light of love, and joy, and intelligence. The young hearts that had beat in unison with hers—pulsating with the fondest emotions of reciprocal and filial affection—had ceased to move with the gentle throbbings of life; and her strongest ties to this "vale of tears" were rudely severed.

Oppressed with a weight of affliction too heavy, even for her disciplined mind, to sustain, and exhausted by overtaxing her physical energies, the mysterious foreign malady found her a ready, though bereaved, and chastened victim. Her spiritual eye gazed far beyond the limited bounds of time and earth. Faith plumed and lifted its wings for the upward flight, as if weary of the unequal earthly strife, and anxious to soar heavenward—to rise triumphant to the blissful land of unclouded brightness, and re-unite with those whom Death's palsying touch had spoiled—and God had taken—to part no more. Thus exulting with hope, and cheered on in the "dark valley," [262] by the priceless faith of the Gospel, she uttered, in feeble, but distinct accents, while yet lingering upon the verge of time: "Rejoicing and praising the Lord forever and ever!" And thus she sank into the chill arms of Death. She was a member of Christ Church—Protestant Episcopal.

"MISS ANN P. B. HERRON was one among the brightest and purest of those who were wrecked in the common ruin of hopes in our late afflictive visitation. Her works live after her; and the memory of her exalted character and her self-sacrificing spirit, her Christianity and charity, constitutes a monument endeared to the hearts of thousands who felt and prized her worth.

"No one could have left the miasmatic hold with more convenience than Miss Herron. Possessed of a noble fortune, and of a refined nature, she had every incentive to participate in the attractions which are presented to the taste and fancy, in more populous portions of our country; but with the united firmness and benevolence which were her characteristics, she decided to remain amidst desolation and disease, though the sky was laden with portents of her fate. Miss H. was a Roman Catholic."

[263] The following extract is from a touching letter, written by one who well knew her rare virtues. "We will not mar its beauty by any other remarks than to call for its careful perusal by the reader:

"It seems as if God demanded the purest victims, the noblest of his creatures, in these dismal days of sacrifice. Alas! I had so confided in his considerate mercies, so fondly clung to the merits of that excellent heart, which, through long years, had served him well, that I could not persuade myself that he would recall from earth, which she sanctified and adorned, our dear Ann Herron. And now, when the reality of her death stares me in the face, I am stunned by the unexpected blow, and seem bereft of power to think and feel as I ought. Oh! it is a very sad visitation! I know that she has merited and received a very great reward in Heaven. Therefore, it is not for her I mourn. But for the friendless, the poor, the fatherless, the timid, the pusillanimous whom she protected, succored, edified, and strengthened; ah! these are the objects of my compassion; these are the true sufferers whose lot is to be deplored."


The editors of the Beacon, Messrs. Cunningham, Gatewood, Robertson, Etc.,—
Wm. D. Roberts—His will—Wm. D. Delany—True Heroism—Jas. H. Finch, and others.

"The cases of Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Gatewood, of the Norfolk Beacon, were particularly harrowing. They were well-connected in Norfolk, both single men, and both could have left; but their connections began to be seized, and they would not fly and desert them. Mr. Cunningham attended upon and buried a dear friend and relative, Mrs. Commander Barron, in her day one of the most brilliant of the Southern belles at the Ballston Spa. Almost alone, and in the dead of night, he buried her in the Barron family graveyard; and subsequently her daughter; Captain Starke, of the United States marine corps—a relative by marriage—and then his wife and her daughter; and then a near and dear cousin, Mr. Starke's sister—all of whom he nursed and cared for with the tenderest interest, and with whom he would remain, in spite of the most earnest solici- [265] tations from relatives abroad, to abandon the pestiferous place. But while nursing the last of them—the favorite cousin—the disease, seized him and hurried him to the grave. Another cousin—R. Gatewood, his partner—doubtless, waited upon and nursed him; but Mr. Gatewood died, and only the old and worthy father and mother remain of a once large circle of relatives. The branches are withered, but the trunk remains in Norfolk. Death so interlaced the destinies of one with another, that no one could leave without deserting some other, on the bed of disease and death."

But there were many victims who merit more than a passing notice. Joseph H. Robertson, Esq., a talented lawyer, and attractive orator, and the efficient Register of the city, having been deprived by the scourge of his accomplished lady, retired to the beautiful country-seat of Hon. F. Mallory, in Elizabeth City County, where he, too, was prostrated by the disease, and soon sank, a ready and easy victim, beneath its wilting power. On a calm and beautiful evening, when the moon looked serenely down, and lighted up the charming landscape, and Nature seemed in silent contemplation, his remains were conveyed to the quiet grave-yard, in a beautiful rural spot, [266] where the closing ceremonies attending a burial by moonlight are represented as having been solemn and impressive to an extraordinary degree.

"Among the many valuable citizens who had contributed by their industry, their enterprise, and their means, to the prosperity of Norfolk, and who were swept away in the whirlwind of the pestilence, Wm. D. Roberts, jr., was one of the most prominent. Bred to a mechanical occupation, he began the world with no other resources than those which sprung from his own native energy and perseverance, directed by a strong mind, a sagacious judgment, and strict moral principle. Upon these, however, he soon laid the foundation of success, and, ere he passed the meridian of life, had completed the superstructure of an ample fortune. Yet he never practiced a niggard economy in his acquisition of wealth, but showed, by his many acts of private generosity and public spirit, that he had a noble and a generous heart, that was a stranger to all narrow and sordid impulses. His fellow-citizens saw his merits, and honored him with their confidence in various public trusts in the affairs of the city, in which he took an active and a useful part." At the time of his death he was the member elect, for this city, of the Virginia House of Delegates.

[267] His age was forty-seven. He was a man of strong and active frame, and of fine constitution. On his death-bed he bequeathed to his aged mother all his stocks, amounting to a handsome interest, besides $300 per annum during her life-time, and two new buildings. To an only-surviving brother, (Another brother, Thomas, who was a partner in business, having died of the fever.) he gave $1000 per annum; to the Norfolk Female Orphan Asylum, four three-story brick buildings, and an interest (in remainder) in another valuable dwelling on one of the principal streets. To his surviving partner, Mr. D. S. Cherry, he gave a large and handsome warehouse and lot on Roanoke Square, all his interest in a valuable stock of goods, and all debts due the firm. To Mr. Sol. S. Cherry, who ministered to him in his illness, he gave a valuable warehouse and lot, and to the journeymen in the employment of the firm, a valuable house and lot.

On the 17th September, Wm. D. Delany, Esq., formerly mayor of the city, fell a victim to the fever, at the age of forty-five. He was first elected to the office of Mayor on the 24th June, 1843, and was annually honored with a large majority of the votes of his fellow-citizens for eight years. He discharged the duties pertaining to the office faithfully [268] and firmly, and, as a citizen, was respected for his amiable qualities and obliging disposition. He possessed a fine physical constitution; was active, "strong, and vigorous, with a well-developed frame. Only a day before his attack, he told the writer that his health was never better; but he was a fair specimen of the many healthful, strong, and powerful who fell before the terrific tread of the dreaded fever-monster. After a conflict of only two or three days, he was laid in the grave. At the time of his death he held the office of cashier of the Merchants and Mechanics' Savings Bank.

"Chas. H. Beale, Esq., also fell a victim. For many years of his brief career he was editor of the Daily News, which ably-conducted journal was founded by himself, and which sufficiently attested his merits as a man of enterprise and talent; but while his literary reputation rests chiefly upon his ability as a journalist, there are yet other productions of his pen which justice to his memory, justice to surviving relations, and justice to the lovers and appreciators of true genius, should bring to light—that a discriminating public may receive those testimonials of worth and talent which those who knew him best needed not—to which he, alas! in the land whither he is gone, is all indifferent."

[269] The death of Mr. James H. Finch, the intelligent and gentlemanly foreman of the Argus office, was greatly lamented by all who knew his sterling worth of character. He well deserves all of the many tributes that were offered to his memory by the press.

The writer might be induced to consider much of what has been said and written, of the brave though unassuming and unpretending Finch, mere superfluous praise, if he had not known him—if he had not been an eye-witness of his noble and self-sacrificing acts—his true heroism and genuine benevolence, especially in the alarming and memorable time of the pestilence. In addition to his extraordinary labors in publishing the Argus, with insufficient help, he was active in visiting the sick, and assisting in burying the dead—going fearlessly in the hottest of the battle, and acting his part bravely. After feeling the symptoms of the fever, he accompanied his wife and child to Petersburg, and his attack being a violent one, he soon, calmly and resignedly, breathed his last.

Good deeds, equivalent to those of an ordinary life-time, are sometimes crowded into the short space of a few weeks or days—when mind, heart, soul, and body are all exerted to their utmost [270] capacity, in the holy cause of benefiting and relieving suffering, perishing, dying men, women, and children; and the reward is in proportion to the good effected, the sorrow relieved, the blessings conferred, without regard to days or years. "I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: . . . I was sick, and ye visited me."

"These are trying times," wrote a talented lady of Petersburg. "Many are heroes who were not heroes before, and many are no longer heroes who were apotheosized before. It is during such soul-trying periods that men spring up, as if by magic, to meet emergencies, which the vain-glorious hero of prosperity's glittering days flies appalled. True heroism shrinks from display, and scorns to cringe unto the powers that be—bares its noble breast before the pestilence, and lo, a hero falls! Many are the noble, self-sacrificing spirits which have fallen before the pestilence; but there were none more noble—none more self-sacrificing—none more deserving of a tribute from lip and pen—than he, whose name adorns the head of this article. And we esteem it a privilege—and we glory in the privilege, which enables us this day to pay a tribute to such a hero. We have no compli- [271] ments for the leaders of the allied armies, who, with columns of dauntless men, fight for a despot's crown. We have no pean for the conqueror whose path is strewn with the slain, and no flourish of our pen shall exalt the bloody hero of a battlefield; but for James H. Finch we would weave a garland of immortelles, and with our hand place it upon the pallid brow of the man who, through all the terrors of the awful scourge, 'tried to do his duty.' Such, dear readers, are the men whom our columns shall honor—such the actions that, with all the powers we can invoke from Heaven, we shall endeavor to exalt.

"No sectarian feeling—no tinge of bigotry is wanting here. Closer are the ties uniting us, now that disease stalks unchecked, and the great and the small are falling at each terrible stroke. When brother calleth unto brother for help, and all petty creeds, and prejudices, and modes of worship, shrink into insignificance in the terrible hour of His wrath. Now is the time to visit the widow and the orphan, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Now is the time for heart to encourage heart, and for the living to smooth the path of death. Now the religion of the Most [272] High—that religion which is of the heart, and not of this church or that, or this tenet or that, or this jealousy or that unchristian pride— shines forth like a beacon in a very dark hour. And while we do not unite with those who deride the weak-hearted, who deserted their post, we say all honor to those who, through pestilence and famine, sickness and death, and infection and the horrors of the unburied dead, and all the awful scenes and soul-harrowing incidents of this unprecedented visitation, 'tried to do their duty!' (Among the last words uttered by the deceased were: "I tried to do my duty.") We have no sneer for those who fled; but for those who, like Mr. Finch, walked unterrified through the awful ranks of death, we have honor, and praise, and plaudits from the heart."

And we might, if time would allow, allude in merited terms to the benevolent and kind-hearted Walter H. Taylor; the skillful and facetious Bernard; the well-known and gentlemanly B. B. Walters; the indomitable Dalrymple; and a number of others; but, as before stated, too much space would be required by a suitable notice of all the meritorious who fell.

Messrs. O'Brien and Quick, undertakers, both [273] died of the fever. They worked heroically to the last.

Wm. H. Murphy and I. R. Robertson, at Salusberry's cabinet and furniture establishment, both survived. R.'s duty was in the extreme unpleasant and dangerous, but he stood at his post from the beginning to the end, always courteous and obliging, laboring night and day among the dead and the dying, and, as he says, "working off the symptoms of the fever."

Among those who rendered themselves conspicuous for faithful services in the trying times of the pestilence, John Jones, a mulatto slave, employed by Messrs. O'Brien and Quick, in his humble, but highly important capacity of hearse-driver, by the diligent and faithful performance of his laborious duties, won for himself the esteem and regard of the entire community. From the commencement of the disease, he was actively employed, night and day, in driving the hearse with the ill-fated fever victims to the cemetery; in many instances having to shoulder the coffins in which were the bodies of the dead, place them in his hearse, and unload, without any assistance whatever. He had a severe attack and survived.



(From the Alexandria Gazette.)

Oh! why this mournful wailing,
Amid the city's gloom?
Ye men with footsteps failing,
Whom bear ye to the tomb?
For manly eyes are weeping,
That never wept before,
O'er him, who softly sleeping,
Shall wake to earth no more.

Fell he on field of glory,
Insensible to fear?
And shall he live in story—
A name to freemen dear?
Did thousands fall before him,
When flashed his sword on high,
That thus ye now deplore him, A
With wild, funereal cry?

[275] 'Twas not mid sabres flashing,
Or cannon thundering loud;
'Mid hostile squadrons dashing
On ranks of foemen proud;
'Twas not 'neath banners waving,
O'er gallant hearts, though few—
The battle's fury braving—
That fell our hero true:

But in the silent dwelling,
W here pestilence and woe,
With tenfold fury telling,
Laid many a victim low;
'Mid weariness and watching,
'Mid desolation deep,
The last sad accents catching,
Where none were by to weep.

No crown of laurel moved him,
No music cheered him on;
But deep affliction proved him,
When every hope was gone.
Amid the dead and dying,
Unmoved, he knew no fear,
But checked the orphan's sighing,
And dried the widow's tear.

Then pause, and o'er him, weeping,
Your last fond tribute pay,
While to the cold earth's keeping,
We give his lifeless clay.
We lose him not forever,
For his spirit lives above,
Where death can enter never,
In the home of light and love.

By Fanny Falls.
Written at Plymouth, Mass., during the prevalence of the yellow fever in Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Thy children, with clasped hands, O God, look up,
Pleading with tears, thy smiting hand to stay;
Take wholly from their lips the fearful cup.
Hear us, O God, we pray!

Coffins lie piled at corners of the streets;
The dead-cart rumbles on its gloomy way;
The bravest heart with pallid terror beats;
Spare them, O God, we pray!

Touched by the yellow demon, maid and sire,
Mother and babe, with white lips closed for aye,
Sleep side by side—the pestilence is dire—
Spare them, 0 God, we pray!

Angels of pity, o'er the suffering bend,
And yet, alone, some gasp their lives away
Dreaming of cooling waters none extend—
Spare them, O God, we pray!

Pale orphans shudder by the hearth-stone dark;
Gather in tearful groups, from day to day,
Where all is strange, on this wild storm the Ark,
Spare them, O God, we pray!

In Death's black shadow the doomed cities lie;
Night with no star—night with no silver ray;
Thou who art enwrapped in awful mystery,
Spare, for Christ's sake, we pray!

Sprinkle the lintels of each door, Most High,
That Death may turn his muffled feet away;
Seeing thy token—mightily we cry—
Hear, for Christ's sake; we pray!

[277] (From the Boston Courier.)

Virginia's ocean shore sends forth
A cry of wailing sorrow;
To-day but gluts the greedy earth.
To crave the more to-morrow.
When hath such woe unheeded been?
Joy not our full hearts ever.
To pour the wealth of oil and wine
O'er wounds that bleed and quiver?

Let trait'rous miscreants stand aloof,
The sister States who'd sever;
Our outstretched hands to them are proof
We'll heed their vile arts never!
In party strife we sometimes rave,
And choose our words but blindly;
The touchstone of our faith we have,
In deeds that speak more kindly.

Our noblest son no party knew;
Pure patriot and statesman!
"No North—no South," the words were few—
Resistless as the ocean.
There are, who breathe his spirit yet,
Whose watchword is the "Union;"
Who feel that words of love beget
Kind acts in rich profusion.

Virginia! once a gallant band,
We braved the foe together;
Close now as then we clasp thy hand,
The storm of grief to weather.
Pulse beats to pulse, as with one heart,
Our great Exemplar heeding,
We pant to act a God-like part.
All common love exceeding.

[278] (From the York Sun.),

Peace in our palaces has been,
And health within our gates been seen;
But wailings on the southern winds.
Have touched our hearts, and led our minds
To sympathize with those who knew
The "pestilence" and the "arrow" too.

Norfolk and Portsmouth! cities doom'd!
Your streets were still'd, your people tomb'd!
For the death angel rode the blast,
And broke his vials as he pass'd.

Scourge of the tropics! backward turn
To where fierce Cancer's summers burn.
Can'st thou not in thy proper place,
Find victims for thy dread embrace,
To satisfy thy hunger fell,
But northward roam to wake the knell?

How blest the sons of mercy! they
Who sought thine awful course to stay,
And periled life and its delight?
Through lonely days and fearful nights,
To nurse thy victim, smitten low;—
And fair and gentle woman, too,
E'en braved thy foul, polluting breath,
To dress and smooth the bed of death.

Thou'rt gone, thank God! but yet we see
A tablet to thy memory,
In many hearts by anguish torn,
And orphans unto sorrow born.

By W. S. F.

The slow and regular strokes of the old bell of Christ Church were, distinctly heard in every part of the town, and for miles around. The measured notes sounded strangely and sadly, and fell upon the ear like the melancholy toll of a funeral knell—another evidence of the work of death that was going on. The song of the stevedore was hushed; the tools of the artisan lay unused and rusting upon the workbench; the roar and clank of machinery were not heard; but the familiar sound of the old clock waked the sleeping echoes in every street and lane, in every deserted hall, in every vacant house, while Death ruthlessly swept his scythe into the ranks of the remaining citizens.

Death held his cruel, frightful sway,
In that dread time of woe,
And fearfully, by night and day,
He laid his victims low.

The doors were closed, the merchants gone,
Or sick, or lying dead,
While nurse and doctor hurried on
To the suff'rer's dying bed.

And on the streets and river side
Had ceased the city's din;
The grave-yard gates were open wide,
And the dead were crowded in.

And still thy voice, "old belfry bell,"
Rang out both sad and drear,
Like the tolling of a funeral knell,
To the lonely mourner's ear.

But soon the church was vacant, too;
For the pastor lingering lay,
And the sexton ceased his work to do—
The sexton old and gray.

[280] Thy tongue, at last, was still, old bell,
But the pond'rous chain was wound,
And the hammer of the old clock fell,
And still kept up the sound.

In every vacant thoroughfare—
The river's surface o'er,
The echoes floated in the air
And reached the southern shore.

And dolefully and solemnly,
In measured notes and slow,
Thy voice still wakes the memory
To the fearful time of woe.

By W. F. S.

The tropic scourge walked forth in pow'r,
To quench the vital flame;
In the darkness of the midnight hour,
In the light of day it came.

The summer breeze was charged with death,
And saint and sinner fell
Alike before its venom'd breath—
Their doom the Book can tell.

Affection's tears, the doctor's skill,
The scourge disdained to heed;
The cup of sorrow Death would fill,
Tho' a thousand hearts must bleed.

Youth's blushing cheek soon lost its hue,
The brightest eye grew dim;
The strength of manhood yielded, too,
To the monster stern and grim.

[281] He crush'd the old, the young, the gay,
The beautiful, the fair;
The tender babe a victim lay,
All sallow, dark, and sear.

A grave-like gloom around was cast,
A silence to be, feared,
Unless the pale physician passed,
Or the wail of woe was heard.

The orphan's cry, the widow's scream.
Rang out by night and day—
That time of terror seemed a dream,
When the plague had ceased its sway.

'Twas then the Christian's faith was tried,
Its pow'r to save and shield;
True faith in Christ, the, Crucified.
The death-test then revealed.

"I'll ne'er desert my post, and fly!"'
A faithful "watchman" cried;
Nor feared the hero thus to die,
And thus, brave Dibrell died.

And so did Jones and Eskridge fall,
In the hottest of the fight;
And Jackson, Chisholm, Bagnall, all—
They scorned the thought of flight!

"Rejoicing, yes, and praising there,''
A dying mother said.
Whose three fond daughters, young and fair,
Were sleeping with the dead.

"We're both prepared," a meek one cried,
Whose dear companion lay,
All faint and gasping, at her side,
And soon to pass away.

[282] "For this I long ago prepared,"
A man of God replied;
That day his blood-bought spirit shared
The joy of the glorified.

"'Tis blissful thus to pass away,"
A pious son averred;
And soon, both son and mother lay
Among the dead interred.


Contagiousness and portability of the yellow fever—It's origins—Type—prevention—Cause—Epidemics at night—The fever supposed by some to be migratory.

"Contagiousness and portability of yellow fever.—This is a knotty point, and I can here do no more than express my conclusions. Under the term contagion are compounded two distinct questions, viz.: Contagiousness proper, or the communication directly of yellow fever from one human subject to another; and, secondly, the portability of the cause or germ by vessels from one port to another. Although my mind leans at present towards a belief in the contagiousness of this disease in certain instances, I still doubt, and my judgment is in suspense; but with regard to its portability by vessels from place to place and by rail-roads, I do not see how any human being familiar with its history can doubt, and I should advise our Northern friends to quarantine rigidly against it. THE DISEASE HAS GONE TO EVERY POINT WITHIN A CERTAIN DISTANCE OF THE GULF WHICH [284] WAS FREQUENTED BY STEAMBOATS AND RAIL-ROAD CARS, and I believe would have entered New York in 1853 had it not been stopped at the quarantine.

"Its origin.—Whether this epidemic was really imported from Africa, or not, is a point which cannot be settled from any data yet made public, and I shall not offer you any speculation on it. One fact, however, is certain: that this disease has traveled steadily on, since its first appearance in Rio Janeiro five years ago, along the Caribbean Gulf and Atlantic coasts, until it has at last reached Norfolk. No mortal of our day is endowed with the spirit of prophecy; but still we can often, from the lights of history and observation, predict, with tolerable certainty, coming events; and it was on such data that I ventured to foretell that yellow fever would go as far as Norfolk, which is about the boundary of the yellow fever latitude, and also suggested the strong probability that it would visit our Northern cities, where it does occur at long intervals. Now, the grounds upon which I made these predictions were as follows:—Yellow fever has at long intervals, not only in the Mediterranean, along the Spanish and French coasts, but in the United States (about [285] fifty years ago), taken on this traveling character. About the time alluded to, yellow fever extended from Southern ports to Norfolk, and thence to Winchester, in the interior; to Philadelphia, to New York, and thence to Catskill, on the North river, and to Hartford and Middleton. The epidemic in question had steadily progressed, for three years, from Rio to Mobile, and on to Key West; and with all these facts before me I did not hazard much in predicting that its progress was onward in the direction it had been traveling.

"Type of the disease.—Few men in the United States have seen more of yellow fever than I have, and I have no hesitation in saying that this is substantially the same disease as the yellow fever which occurred in Philadelphia in 1793, and which has appeared from time to time since. It is the fact with typhoid fever, cholera, plague, scarlet fever, smallpox, and all epidemic diseases, that they appear in different grades of violence at different times, and occasionally have a greater tendency to travel over a large extent of country. This has been the case with the yellow fever in question; but its mode of attack, its course of symptoms, including yellow skin and black vomit, its average duration, etc., are the same as other yellow fevers, [286] and, though it may have been somewhat more virulent, it is still the same."—Dr. Nott, of Mobile.

Prevention of Fever. —Dr. Wood, an eminent physician of Philadelphia, says that the prevention of the disease is more important than its treatment. He states that persons who frequent places where the disease prevails, "should sleep preferably in the highest part of the house; should avoid the night air; should abstain from fatiguing exercises, exposure to alterations of temperature, and excesses of all kinds; should endeavor to maintain a cheerful and confident temper; should use a nutritious and wholesome but not stimulating diet; and if compelled to enter any spot in which the atmosphere is known to be infected, should take care not to do so when the stomach is empty, or the body exhausted by perspiration or fatigue. Attempts to guard against the disease by low diet, bleeding, and purging, or the use of mercury, are futile, and even worse than futile. The feebler the system, the less it is able to resist the entrance of the poison, or its influence when absorbed."

"In the great plague of London," says another writer, "four thousand perished in one night. At Hamburg, during the cholera, stoves and open fires [287] were kept burning through the night, and at Sierra Leone the natives have a practice, in the sickly season, of keeping fires constantly burning in their huts at night; not that they have been prompted to do so by the aid of chemistry; but they assert that the fires keep away the evil spirits to which they attribute fever and ague. It is said that, latterly, Europeans have begun to adopt the same practice, and those who have tried it assert that they have entire immunity from the tropical fevers to which they were formerly subject."

"As there is much speculation with regard to yellow fever, and as much has been said, and much more will be said, we may venture to state the cause and its remedies. The cause of yellow, broken bone, bilious, intermittent, and the congestive fevers, are nearly akin, only of different types, and brought about by the same general cause. Fevers in general are caused by congestion, or stoppage of the various secretions of the human system. When the vessels, absorbents, capillary, or lymphatic, become filled with foreign matter, the healthy organization cannot be carried on in the human physical system. A congestion of the liver will derange the whole economy of the [288] system, and produce a similar effect upon the other organs, which will be shown in a natural chemical action, termed fever. The different types depend upon the amount of the absorbent of foreign matter the system has taken up. It may be that all vegetable life is connected with animal life, as when vegetables are decomposed in water it will yield a large amount of animalcula. It may be that the yellow fever originates from the reception of animalcules into the human system, and the various secretions are stopped, or rather clogged, by this foreign matter; after which an action takes place of a chemical character—an action upon the part of the system to throw off the foreign matter; and this is styled the fever, from the heat and frequent beating of the pulse. When vegetable matter is put into water, such as roses in bloom, or lilies, or any other flowers, it produces, in twelve to twenty-four hours, in the summer season, animalcules, as will be seen by a microscope of 2500 to 5000 diameter. These animalcules can be taken into the system in three ways: by changing the venous into arterial blood, by the absorbent vessels of the skin, and with the food we take into the system.

"A person dying with yellow fever or bilious [289]fever, and having died in June to November, hermetically sealed, in tin or other metal, after remaining in the coffin fourteen days, when open it will be found to contain millions of larvae; but if the patient should die in our climate, in November to March, by examining in fourteen days, it will be found only to be returning to its native elements. The germ of the existence of the animal, in the first case, must have been there, and brought about by deposition of ova by an animalcule: hence, in the future decomposition of the body, the existence of the larvae."—Correspondence Baltimore American.

The Westminster Review gives the following simple explanation:

"It is at night that the stream of air nearest the ground must always be the most charged with the particles of animalized matter given out from the skin, and deleterious gases, such as carbonic acid gas, the product of respiration, and sulphuretted hydrogen, the product of the sewers. In the day, gases and vaporous substances of all kinds rise in the air by the rarefaction of heat; at night, when the rarefaction releases them, they fall by an increase of gravity being immediately mixed with the atmosphere—while the gases [290] evolved during the night, instead of ascending, remain at nearly the same level. It is known that carbonic acid gas, at a low temperature, partakes so nearly of the nature of a fluid, that it may be poured out of one vessel into another; it rises at the temperature at which it is exhaled from the lungs, but its tendency is towards the floor, or the bed of the sleeper, in cold and unventilated rooms.

"In the epidemics of the middle ages, fires were lighted in the streets for the purification of the air; and more recently, trains of gunpowder have been fired and cannon discharged for the same object; but these agents, operating against an illimitable extent of atmospheric air, have been on too small a scale to produce any sensible effect. It is, however, pronounced by the best authority quite possible to heat a room to produce a rarefaction and consequent dilution of any malignant gases it may contain; and it is, of course, the air of the room, and that alone, at night, which comes into immediate contact with the lungs of a person sleeping."

The Mystery Deepens.—In the fall of 1853, a physician, well known in the city, arrived here on a visit to his relations, after having passed [291] safely through the fever that raged so fearfully in Pensacola, in the summer and fall of that year. He had noticed the symptoms of the fatal disease, assisted in relieving the sick, and had previously witnessed its progress, and studied carefully its nature, which he thought identical with that which had appeared along the coast of South America.

He remarked, with prophetic certainty, while here, that it would make its appearance in Charleston and Savannah in 1854, and, as in Pensacola, sweep off the people almost by the thousand; and that it would visit Norfolk and Portsmouth in 1855, and rage with extraordinary malignity and severity. He, therefore, advised his friends to remove, and remain absent from the city during the summer and fall months.

His predictions proved, alas, too true in every particular; and although his remarks were little regarded when uttered, they were of course considered as possessing singular interest and force, when our citizens were realizing the truth of the strange prediction.

This circumstance favors the theory that the disease is migratory, and is slowly moving northward; while some are arraying facts to prove it of [292] local origin, and others that it was brought by the Ben Franklin.

We may appropriately remind the reader here, that Wilmington and other towns in North Carolina were not visited by the fever. If the disease is migratory, the question may be reasonably asked: Why it should pass over a space of hundreds of miles without stopping, and without manifesting itself in any of the towns or villages between Norfolk and Savannah?


General character of the disease—Treatment—Different symptoms—Remedies—
Lightning and epidemics.

"Although there were a great number of mild attacks that yielded readily to treatment, I think the epidemic may be said to be one of the severest and most fatal ever witnessed. Black vomit was commonly observed in fatal cases, though there were numerous recoveries, especially in young persons, after the appearance of this usually fatal symptom. Uterine hæmorrhage was exceedingly common; but other hæmorrhages were more rare than we usually see in New Orleans.

"Suppression, of urine was exceedingly common in the latter stages, and almost invariably a fatal symptom.

"The febrile excitement was generally of a low grade for yellow fever, and sanguineous depletion was but seldom strongly indicated; yet I have no doubt that many cases would have been benefited by the more free use of cups and leeches than was practiced.

[294] "The pains of the head, back, and limbs were less severe, I think, than we commonly observe in New Orleans.

"There was a general tendency in the old, or those who had passed the meridian of life, to sink after reaching the critical stage, although the symptoms had been mild from the beginning. There appeared to be a want of recuperative energy in the system, which could not always be acted on by stimulants and nourishment in the hour of need. Delirium was often observed, and, generally, a bad symptom. Yellowness of the eyes and skin commonly appeared at the critical stage, and was most intense in severe and fatal cases.

"I may mention one marked discrepancy between the physicians of New Orleans and Charleston. The former recommended the treatment to be commenced with a hot mustard foot-bath, and a dose of castor oil, or some other mild purgative, merely to evacuate the intestinal canal, and the patient to be covered with a blanket, so as to keep up a continued, though not excessive perspiration, from the beginning of the attack to the end of the critical period, cold applications to the head, and local depletion, if indicated by the severity of the pain; whereas the latter pursued a cooling plan [295] of treatment from the beginning:—the bowels to be gently evacuated, but febrile excitement was to be kept down by the free application of cold water over the head and body, and the use of very light covering; the object being not to keep up a sweat, but only a gentle perspiration, or merely a soft skin. For severe headache, they recommended the free and frequent use of the cold douche. They also advised the use of cold drinks throughout. Such, is the general plan pursued by the physicians of Charleston, as far as I learned from my friends, Drs. Ravenol and Huger, two highly intelligent and accomplished physicians; and I must say, it was approved by Dr. Wilson, of Havana, a physician of extensive experience in this disease. We all, however, concurred more fully in recommending mild remedies in the second and third stages of the disease.

"I have only mentioned one discrepancy as worthy of special notice, because it relates to a general plan of managing yellow fever patients. I stated to my professional brethren that, whilst almost every possible variety of practice was pursued by some one or more persons in New Orleans, yet, if there was a single point in which there was greater concurrence amongst the regular and ex- [296] perienced physicians than any other, it was the propriety of keeping the patient covered with at least one blanket, and sweating freely, though not immoderately, throughout the attack.

"In this epidemic, the physicians of Philadelphia and Baltimore, as far as I learned from conversing with Drs. Freeman and Morris, pursued a mild course of treatment. The same may be said of Dr. Reid, of Savannah, and Dr. Miller, of Mobile. Of one thing I am pretty sure, which is, that whatever practice was pursued, no one, so far as I learned, had reason to boast of any extraordinary amount of success."—Dr. Fenner, N. O.

An eminent physician, who has had very extensive experience in regard to this fatal disease, remarked to the writer, that the patient should be very carefully examined, before prescribing for the case—his general constitution, the severity, and peculiarities of the attack.

The disease attacks persons differently. Some are prostrated at once; others but slightly affected, while some, who imagine themselves not very ill, walk about—and sometimes they are dying upon their feet, and they suddenly sink down, and die, as if struck by some deadly blow aimed at their vitals by an unseen hand. In all cases, prompt [297] and judicious action and careful nursing are very requisite, and highly important.

Captain Jonas P. Levy, late of the U. S. transport ship American, who has had hundreds of cases of yellow fever under treatment, says he never knew of a case terminating fatally, after observing the following directions:—Dissolve in a wine glass of water a table-spoonful of common salt, and pour the same into a tumbler, adding the juice of a whole lemon, and two wine glasses of castor oil. The whole to be taken at one dose, (by an adult). Then, a hot mustard foot-bath, with a handful of salt in the water—the patient to be well wrapped in the blankets until perspiration takes place freely. On removal to bed, the feet of the patient to be wrapped in a blanket. Afterwards, apply mustard plasters to the abdomen, legs, and soles of the feet. If the headache is very acute, apply mustard plasters to the head and temples. After the fever has been broken, take forty grains of quinine, and forty drops of elixir of vitriol, to a quart of water. Dose—wine-glassful three times a day. Barley water, lemonade, and ice water, may be used in moderation.

We subjoin a letter from a Savannah physician to the Washington Globe, on the treatment of yellow [298] fever. The course of treatment advised can assuredly do no harm, even if it should not possess all the merits claimed for it:

Savannah, June 14, 1856.
Messrs. Editors:—I perceive, by the papers, that much apprehension of the yellow fever and black vomit is now felt by the citizens of Washington, and of the surrounding neighborhoods. As it is generally supposed here that you will be visited this summer by the fell destroyer, allow me to make a few remarks, which may, perhaps, prove of some benefit to the people.

During the fatal visit of the fever to this city in the year 1854, on account of the scarcity of medical aid, I attended a great number of sick, composed of men, women, and children; and I believe that I gained much correct information of its first approaches, its symptoms, and the treatment best calculated to lessen its hold upon the human frame, and at the same time afford to the sufferer a chance of life. To accomplish this, it is of the utmost importance that the mind of the patient should be kept quiet, and not frightened.

I will not describe the vast amount of suffering I witnessed, nor the many scenes of horror which came under my observation. My motive is simply [299] to relieve human suffering; and as I, with the help of God, proved very successful in the treatment of this frightful disease, I think it, my duty to impart my mite of acquired knowledge for the benefit of others who may shortly have to encounter this terrible visitor.

I will first describe the symptoms which foretell the insidious approaches of the disease. First. Symptomatic feelings.
1. A pain, either in the head, back, or all the limbs, similar to a, broken bone fever.
2. A general weakness of the system; the eyes and skin of a greenish yellow, eyes sunk, with fever. This is a very bad symptom.
3. A sick stomach, with light fever, pain in the back, head, and limbs.
4. Chilly sensations, very much like chills and fever; a bad symptom.
5. A constant pain in the lower part of the bowels. This indicates inflammation, and is a very fatal sign.

These are the prominent symptomatic feelings.
Secondly. The appearances of the tongue.
1. A nearly natural tongue, clean-looking, with a slight tinge of a watery blood red, binding the tongue all around. I look upon this stage of the disease as its mildest form.

[300] 2. The tongue heavily furred with white, with an increase of the "watery blood-red" appearance around it; patient very restless.

The tongue thickly coated with brown, and hard to the touch; the "watery blood-red" ring which encircles it very much inflamed and largely increased in size, attended with hot fever, drowsiness, and great pains in all parts of the body.

The last I consider the worst stage, and the most dangerous period of the yellow fever. Much depends on the rapid use of proper medicines, assisted by injections freely given. The sick crave for drinks, which, given too often, generally bring on the vomito. The patient's life depends, in a great measure, on the close attention of the nurse—a good nurse being equal to the best medical aid. You will generally find the "symptomatic feelings" and the "appearance of the tongue" more or less blended together. I never mistook the disease when I saw the tongue, which I found my best guide.

I have furnished you with the most prominent symptoms of the yellow fever which came under my observation; and, with very slight variations, every case was treated alike by me. My treatment was very simple. My medicines everybody knew, [301] and were taken with great confidence. The success of my efforts arose from quick action on the bowels, and the bringing about a profuse perspiration, within sixteen hours: for within that time the fate "of the patient was decided. Time is precious in this epidemic, and should not be wasted.


Take two ounces of Epsom salts, half ounce of snake root, and a quarter ounce of senna, boil them in a pint of water; strain the mixture, and, when cold, give to the patient, every fifteen or thirty minutes, according to the urgency of the case, a large-sized wine-glassful, until the bowels are well operated upon, and the operations entirely lose their dark, tarry, greenish appearance, and regain a healthy, bilious look. To do this is to accomplish much for the patient. Also, place the feet in hot mustard foot-bath. Put mustard plasters on the chest, bowels, arms, and legs.

During the first and second days, I allowed only iced gum-arabic water, and small lumps of ice. The fever generally left my patients in fourteen to eighteen hours, very much prostrated in bodily strength. Then careful nursing becomes valuable. The moment the fever leaves, give, every [302] two hours, for eight hours, five grains of quinine; the patient to be kept quiet, in bed, and to be allowed only gum drinks.

Second day.—Should there be no fever, give gum drinks.

Third day.—A half tea-cup of salted corn-meal gruel every half-hour, and gum drinks, iced.

Fourth day.—Small quantities of chicken broth.

Fifth day.—Weak black tea, pilot bread, soft fresh eggs, and well-cooked hominy.

Be extremely careful with the patient for the next two weeks.

I invariably kept my sick five days in bed to keep them out of danger, or of doing imprudent things.

I attended upwards of one hundred sick persons during the epidemic, and lost but three, who were strong, hearty, bilious Irishmen—their very health having proved their worst enemy.

I send you the foregoing statement, in the belief that it may prove of some benefit, should your part of the country have the misfortune to be visited by Yellow Jack.
Yours, respectfully, L. N. F.

N. B.—Rubbing the body, from head to foot, with whisky and strong red pepper, I found of [303] great effect. I used for children, mustard and saltwater baths, immersing the body.

Mr. Merriam, of Brooklyn, wrote to the New York Herald: "The records of the yellow fever at Norfolk and Portsmouth, last year, compared with the records of temperature and lightning, show that the most appalling mortality by the pestilence was when the thunder-storms were the most active. When Dr. Barton, president of the Sanitary Board of New Orleans, called upon me to examine my meteorological record of 1853, for that portion of the year in which the yellow fever prevailed so fearfully in that city, I said to him, 'if you will refer to your record for the day in which the fever was most fatal, I will refer to my record and see what was the state of the atmosphere on that day.' He said: 'the 20th of August—on that day more than three hundred were numbered with the dead.' Our record says, '20th August—great thunder-storm at New Orleans, reaching to Mobile.' Here the two records met and united in their testimony.

"It is admitted by all who have experience, and the opportunity of observation, that the yellow fever will not remain for a single day in a frosty atmosphere; then, why not in the commencement [304] of the pestilence, refrigerate the district? I can, with pounded ice, and salt mixed, cut down a field of vegetation in a single night, by strewing its surface with refrigerating mixture. That which will destroy vegetation will destroy yellow fever poison.

In reply to this statement, an intelligent gentleman, of Portsmouth, wrote as follows:

"I was in this place until the 30th of August, and am confident that there was not a flash of lightning seen, or peal of thunder heard, during that month, and very little during July, June, and May. The most fatal day in August was the 25th, when the wind changed from S. W. to E. N. E., and continued in that quarter about five days, the barometer being unusually low. On the 28th, there was a cool, drizzling rain, but no thunder. It is well known that where the cholera has appeared, the electrical tension of the atmosphere has been lower than usual, and from good authority I assert that the disease has disappeared where the electricity of the air has been restored to its ordinary condition."

Without entering into the controversy, we will just state, for the information of those interested in the matter, that the latter statement is some- [305] what incorrect, and the writer is mistaken with regard to lightning in August and other months. This location was visited on Friday, 17th August, 1855, with a very severe and exciting electric display. There were some brilliant flashes of lightning, and the peals of thunder were very loud and startling. A large and handsome building at the Fair grounds, not half a mile from the city, was struck by the fluid, and with it another structure took fire and was consumed. On the 31st of July, there was one of the most terrific thunder-storms at Hampton and Old Point ever witnessed, and extending thence a considerable distance south, in the direction of this city, though spending its violence and fury before reaching our immediate locality. Vessels in the Roads were struck by the lightning, and one or two persons killed. There were, also, thunder-storms in Norfolk and vicinity on the 10th and 12th of September.

There was no remarkable increase in the fever cases, or deaths, when the storms occurred. The number of deaths, however, gradually increased in Norfolk from about the middle of August till the first of September; from which time there was, as before shown, a diminution till the disease left the place.


The yellow fever in New York—The fever in Philadelphia.

Since its foundation, the yellow fever has appeared in New York no less than ten times. Its first visitation was in the summer of 1702. The mortality was dreadful; and almost every one who was seized with the fever died. The period was distinguished as the "time of the great sickness." It appeared a second and third time in the summer and autumn of 1741 and 1742. An interesting account of the disease was drawn up at the time by Dr. Colden, an eminent physician, who pointed out the local circumstances which existed in different parts of the city, as evident causes of adding to the violence of the distemper, and recommended means for their removal, and measures for the general health, which were adopted, and followed by the most salutary effects.

In 1791, the fever again broke out in the vicinity of Burling Slip, where it was probably introduced by vessels from 'the West Indies. In 1793, [307] Philadelphia suffered terribly from the yellow fever—4,041 persons having died in that city from the commencement to the termination of the disease. The New Yorkers being greatly alarmed, a proclamation was issued prohibiting the fugitives from Philadelphia to land in New York till after an absence from Philadelphia of a certain number of days. The prohibition could not be enforced. Many of the Philadelphians entered New York, and some of them sickened and died there; but the city remained fully as healthy as usual during the whole season.

In 1798, the fever again appeared in New York, carrying off 2,086, out of a population of 55,000, more than one-third of whom had left the city. It appeared again, though not in so malignant a form, in 1799, 1800, 1803, 1805, and 1822, which was its last visitation. In 1804, the disease appeared in Brooklyn, between which and New York there is only the East River, about three-quarters of a mile in width. Several of the inhabitants of Brooklyn fled to New York, and died in the houses of their friends; but the New York Board of Health knew of no instance in which it proved contagious. The city remained exempt from pestilence during that season.

[308] In the disease of 1805, one-third of the whole population fled; and in the first four wards, two-thirds of the inhabitants fled. In the eighth and ninth wards the citizens remained, pursuing their usual avocations, well knowing, from the purity of the air, that they were as safe from danger of the pestilence, which prevailed in the other wards, by following their business at home, as if they had resided in the Western wilderness.

An account of the prevalence of the yellow fever in Philadelphia, in 1793, was written and published by M. Cary. We make a brief extract.

After describing the symptoms of the disease, viz.: the chill, fever, prostration, yellow tinge, black vomit, hæmorrhages, etc., precisely as manifested in the disease in Norfolk (by which description our idea as to the identity of the disease is confirmed), the writer goes on to say:

"The first death that was a subject of general conversation, was that of Peter Aston, on the 19th of August, after a few days' illness. Mrs. Lemaigre's, on the day following, and Thomas Miller's, on the 25th, with those of some others, after a short sickness, spread an universal terror.

"The removals from Philadelphia began about the 25th, or 26th of this month: and so great was [309] the general terror, that, for some weeks, carts, wagons, coaches, gigs, and chaises, were almost constantly transporting families and furniture to the country, in every direction. Many people shut up their houses wholly; others left servants to take care of them. Business became extremely dull. Mechanics and artists were unemployed; and the streets wore the appearance of gloom and melancholy.

"The consternation of the people of Philadelphia, at this period, was carried beyond all bounds. Dismay and affright were visible in almost every person's countenance. Most of those who could, by any means, make it convenient, fled from the city. Of those who remained, many shut themselves up in their houses, being afraid to walk the streets. The smoke of tobacco being regarded as a preventive, many persons, even women and small boys, had cigars almost constantly in their mouths. Others, placing full confidence in garlic, chewed it almost the whole day; some kept it in their pockets and shoes. Many were afraid to allow the "barbers or hair-dressers to come near them, as instances had occurred of some of them having shaved the dead, and many having engaged as bleeders. Some, who carried their caution pretty [310] far, bought lancets for themselves, not daring to allow themselves to be bled with the lancets of the bleeders.

"Many houses were scarcely a moment in the day free from the smell of gunpowder, burned tobacco, nitre, sprinkled vinegar, etc. Some of the churches were almost deserted, and others wholly closed. The coffee-houses were shut up, as was the city library, and most of the public offices—three, out of the four, daily papers were discontinued, as were some of the others. Many devoted no small portion of their time to purifying, scouring, and whitewashing their rooms. Those who ventured abroad had handkerchiefs or sponges, impregnated with vinegar or camphor, at their noses, or smelling-bottles full of thieves' vinegar. Others carried pieces of tarred rope in their hands or pockets, or camphor-bags tied round their necks.

"The corpses of the most respectable citizens, even of those who had not died of the epidemic, were carried to the grave on the shafts of a chair, the horse driven by a negro, unattended by a friend or relation, and without any sort of ceremony. People, uniformly and hastily, shifted their course at the sight of a hearse corning towards them. Many never walked on the foot-path, but went into the middle of the streets, to avoid being infected in passing houses wherein people had died. Acquaintances and friends avoided each other in the streets, and only signified their regard by a cold nod. The old custom of shaking hands fell into such general disuse that many shrunk back with affright at even the offer of the hand."


The monumentAble report.

Proposed Monument

A popular movement having been made, and measures having been taken, with regard to a suitable and lasting commemoration of the virtues and efficient services of the heroes who nobly fell at their posts, during the late terrible visitation, the wishes of the people will, no doubt, be carried out by the erection of a handsome monument, in a suitable location.

At a meeting of the citizens of Norfolk, held at Ashland Hall, on Thursday, the 15th of May, according to previous adjournment, to take into consideration suitable measures to commemorate the names of the illustrious dead who fell at their posts, during the pestilence of the past summer,

Major George Blow in the chair, and William Lamb, Secretary,

The Chairman of the Committee, appointed for the purpose, Charles A. Santos, Esq., presented and read the following able report:

"Mr. Chairman:—In the performance of our [313] commission, to report a suitable mode of commemorating the virtues and service of those who sacrificed their lives in the cause of humanity, during the late terrible epidemic,' words are inadequate to express the feedings of intense interest which have actuated your Committee, and the unanimity with which they recommend that a lofty and time-enduring monument should be erected, as an evidence of the gratitude which they and every member of our community feel for the self-sacrificing devotion of the noble souls who laid down their lives for us.

"Our city is now gay and populous, and all outward traces of the late sad visitation are removed; but if the mind is permitted to dwell upon the terrific days of August and September, and to learn from an eye-witness the heart-rending details of the pestilence, we conceive that the most indifferent would be excited to the keenest sympathy, and the most intense anxiety to indicate his appreciation of the martyrs.

"As the first civil officer, the noble, high-toned Hunter Woodis should stand first upon our proposed Monument. Those who witnessed his untiring zeal at the commencement of the fever, and his subsequent incessant toil in relieving the sick, [314] burying the dead, and carrying out sanitary regulations, will rejoice in seeing his name and noble deeds handed down to posterity.

"In the language of the 'just and eloquent tribute,' paid him by the Rev. Mr. Hitselberger, who, by reason of the triple relationship of 'spiritual father, guide, and friend, knew him so well:'

"'He thought of others, not of himself. Like the soldier of the forlorn hope, who marched to the mined breach, he rushed to the van of havoc, to fight for the common good; and like him he offered up his life, with all the honors and endearments of that life, a sublime sacrifice to the, cause of humanity and official duty. Smitten by the hand of the destroyer, in the exercise of the noblest charities of our nature, in the very act of administering to the dying and the dead, the chivalrous Woodis, un-appalled by danger, and unwearied in beneficence, was ravished away, in the flower of his age and the vigor of his usefulness; honored, loved, bewailed in the purity of that affection which virtue inspires, with the intensity of that grief which only true hearts can feel.'

"The name of William B. Ferguson, the active, zealous and indefatigable President of the Howard Association, who, actuated by the inherent bene- [315] volence of his heart, labored so assiduously and effectually to alleviate distress, should occupy the next position.

"In the words of the resolution adopted at our previous meeting, 'he forgot himself in his desire to save others, and he has left in our affections an imperishable monument of disinterested usefulness and true courage.' We are sure that we speak the sentiments of our fellow-citizens, when we say that we feel it especially a sacred duty to perpetuate his memory. He, sir, was not connected with us by the ties of birth, which bound our lamented Woodis, and our obligations are, therefore, greatly enhanced. But a few years have elapsed since he came a stranger among us, and the devotion which he displayed for his adopted city during her prosperity was only increased with her adversity.

"The magnanimity of his soul was revealed at the beginning of our late affliction, in being among the first to establish the Howard Association. Called unanimously to preside over this noble band, he threw his whole energy, zeal, and industry into the work, and but for the aid afforded by its organized system of supplying food, medicines, and nursing, hundreds, who now live, would be in the cold and shunned yellow-fever grave.

[316] "The names of our clergy who, actuated by the noblest and highest sense of duty, remained in our plague-stricken city to point many a wretched sufferer to the Lamb of God, and who sealed their faith with their lives, shall be deeply engraven upon the handsome shaft we intend to erect. The friends, kinsmen, and admirers of the Rev. Wm. M. Jackson, Anthony Dibrell, Stephen Jones, and Wm. C. Bagnall, will experience a melancholy pleasure in seeing their memory thus perpetuated.

"The heroism displayed by our resident Medical Faculty—the sagacious Silvester, the calm and scientific Henry Selden, the bold and able Higgins, the frank and indefatigable Upshur, the estimable and pure-minded Nash, the quiet but brave and efficient Halson, the unobtrusive but reliable Constable, the assiduous and talented Tunstall, and the youthful and manly Briggs, and the magnanimous and self-sacrificing volunteers, Doctors Blow, Gebhard, Gooch, Walker, Thompson, Craycroft, Fleiss, Booth, Howe, McDowell, Kierson, Smith, Jackson, DeBerche, Schell, Obermuller, Dillard, Berry, Capri, and others—should also be commemorated.

"If it were possible to elevate the character and standard of the noble profession of medicine, it [317] would be done by the self-devoting disposition and perfect indifference to danger displayed by this intrepid corps, in the discharge of duty in the late pestilence. Time and language would fail, were we to attempt to mention in detail the aid they afforded, to describe the distress they alleviated, and the scenes of horror in which they daily acted.

"The names of Robert S. Bernard, John S. Lovett, Thos. Handy, F. Schleisinger, E. Perry Miller, M. M. Cannon, and others, who prompted solely by duty, remained at their posts, and performed the arduous duty of dispensing medicine, should be deeply engraven upon our proposed monument. Exhausted by superhuman exertions, and by daily and nightly toil, in the exercise of their responsible and important profession, death found them an easy prey.

"The members of the Howard Association, who so heroically toiled and finally yielded up their lives for us, should have a conspicuous position upon our elevated Italian obelisk. If we recollect the terror existing at the time, the harsh quarantines established by our neighbors, and the malignant character of the fever, we may have some idea of the stern courage required to become a member

[318] of this Association. In the eloquent language of the able report of the Philadelphia Relief Committee: 'if there was heroic courage shown in storming the Malakoff, and in the attempt on the Redan, it required yet more to minister to the sick and dying in the plague-stricken cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth.'

"Finally, let the memory of all nurses, public officers, and others, who lost their lives in obedience to the calls of humanity or promptings of duty, be perpetuated. Let our children gaze upon their names, coupled with deeds requiring more courage than the mightiest, on the battlefield, and learn our gratitude for and appreciation of them.

"Actuated by a desire to carry out the noble design of honoring the memory of those heroic spirits, your Committee, immediately after their appointment, addressed themselves to the work, and proceeded to procure from the principal monument-builders in the country a number of designs and plans.

"In answer to their communications, a great variety, embracing every style, were submitted, and received a careful examination.

"Conceding elaboration of style to majestic [319] proportions, they have selected the plan of Mr. John Baird, of Philadelphia, which is now submitted, and they trust it will be acceptable to all.

"The cost of the Monument will be less than six thousand dollars, and your Committee are of the opinion, that on the part of Mr. Baird, as well as others who have presented plans for their consideration, the reputation to be acquired by building so large and important a monument has been considered of more consequence than any profit arising therefrom.

"From well-derived information, they recommend that the monument be built of Italian marble, as possessing greater beauty and durability than American, with very little, if any, advance of cost, in the large blocks required for the plan adopted.

"The dimensions of the respective parts are as follow: The stone which will be laid upon the foundation will be ten feet square, six inches thick. The first base will be of blue American marble, and ten feet square, two feet six inches thick. The second base, of Italian marble, nine feet four inches square, and one foot nine inches high. The die and buttresses will be eight feet [320] square, and four feet six inches high, and will be of sufficient size for three hundred names. The base of obelisk with brackets, three feet nine inches square; and on the four sides of this massive block of marble will be carvings of a bust of Hunter Woodis; Hygeia, emblematic of the science of Medicine; Charity; the Good Samaritan, or any other deemed more appropriate. The base of the shaft will be two feet eight inches square, and one foot ten inches at top. The shaft will be twenty feet high, ornamented with wreaths representing the tobacco leaf, the oak, the ivy, and the laurel, and surmounted by a gracefully draped urn. The work to be executed in the best style of art. The whole height of the monument will be forty feet, and will contain fifty-six tons of marble, or about 575 cubic feet.

"The location of the monument next occupied the attention of your Committee; and after due deliberation, and care, and industry, in ascertaining the sense of the community, they recommend that it be placed in the Court Green. In this opinion they were confirmed by the sentiments expressed by the committee of physicians appointed to confer with them. The daily view of the magnificent structure will ever keep alive the [321] recollection of the nobility of soul developed in our midst, and the deeds of daring performed by devoted strangers, who rushed to our aid, unappalled by one of the most fearful calamities that the world has ever witnessed."


Page 323, A -Desc
Page 324, Deso - O'B
Page 325, Of - Vic
Page 326, Vis - W


* * * * * *
Table of Contents
General Index