THE YELLOW FEVER
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH,
as reported in the
Transcription by Donna Bluemink
Note: Correspondence usually dates from the previous day(s) so there may be repetition between news and correspondence of various dates.
October 6 to December 27, 1855,
January 9, 14, 16, 17, 1856.
Cedar Grove Cemetery
Possible Mass Grave Site,
Princess Ann Rd., Norfolk.
Photo by Donna Bluemink
October 6, 1855.
Though the fever has greatly abated in Norfolk and Portsmouth, it still lingers. New cases are occurring and a few deaths daily. There were eight deaths in Norfolk Thursday, and about eight new cases, among the latter is Dr. Wright, partner of the late Dr. Upshur. We very much regret to learn that Dr. Hargrove, who has done such noble service, is again down, and this time we fear of the fever. His former attack was only bilious.
Two of the eight deaths on Thursday occurred in the Woodis Hospital, in which there are only two or three patients. Most of the new cases occurred in the suburbs.—In Portsmouth, on Thursday, there were 8 deaths, all old cases.
We regret to learn that the Rev. Mr. Jackson of Norfolk is dead and was buried Thursday morning. He is the SIXTH minister dead and the SECOND of the Episcopal Church.—He was greatly beloved, and his death has deeply afflicted the people of Norfolk.
ARRIVALS FROM NORFOLK.
Among the passengers from Norfolk by the Curtis Peck yesterday, were Judge Olin, Treasurer of the Howard Association; Dr. Robinson, of the Woodis Hospital, the Rev. Mr. Armstrong, and Mr. Nimmo.
Judge Olin is a prominent citizen of Augusta, Ga., whose noble humanity prompted him to come to the assistance of the people of Norfolk. He arrived in the midst of their heaviest affliction, when the Plague was at its height. He has rendered the most active and important services and laid the people of Norfolk under lasting obligations. He remains here a day or two before returning home.
The Rev. Mr. Armstrong brings with him his two little daughters, all of the family that remain—his wife, a daughter and some of his relatives having died of the fever. He was very ill himself and narrowly escaped death.
Mr. Nimmo has also been very ill with the fever, but has rapidly recovered his strength.
CONTRIBUTIONS FOR NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—The following sums have been sent to the Relief Committee through the hands of Mr. London:
From Hebron Presbyterian Church, by Rev. J. D. Dudley, $135. From M. Hart, $15, and from D. Paul, $29. In all $179.
ARTICLES FOR THE ORPHANS.—A box of 68 pieces of boys' and girls' clothing, sent to the College by Miss Hatcher and the Misses Wayts.
LATEST MAIL NEWS.
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
Norfolk, Oct. 4, 1855.
I am pained to state that Rev. Wm. M. Jackson, the esteemed and faithful incumbent of St. Paul's church (Protestant Episcopal), died last night.—At the still hour of midnight his good man closed his eyes to death, and his freed spirit took its flight to the land of eternal rest, and today at noon his remains were conveyed to the cold grave. From the commencement of the fatal epidemic to the hour of his attack, he went diligently forth in the discharge of his pastoral duties, speaking words of consolation to the suffering and dying, comforting the bereaved widows and the weeping orphans; entering at night as well as in the day, the ample mansions of the rich, as readily, the humble cottage homes of the poor, and doing his duty as a faithful minister of Christ.
The death of this excellent divine has caused a deeper gloom to rest upon our citizens. At this time of distress and affliction, this sad bereavement is most sensibly and painfully felt by our community. He and his kind offices will be remembered long and fondly by a large number of our people, and the scattered members of his flock will be deeply pained to hear of the death of their beloved pastor.
Mr. J. is at least the fifth minister that has fallen at his post during the reign of this dreadful disease in Norfolk. The names of Rev. Messrs. Chisholm, Dibrell, Eskridge, and Jones, have been added to the list of the dead.
Mr. Dubbs, the master grave-digger for the cemeteries, is also dead. During the long and tedious days and nights of the pestilence, he has superintended the opening of the numerous graves and pits that have closed over the loathsome dead that crowded into the burial places; and now he too, and his wife, both are resting within the narrow limits of the tomb.
I have the following names to swell the long list of the departed:
Miss Kennedy; a son of Mrs. Boffits; a daughter of Wm. Clegg; William Loring; Miss Conally; Mr. Schleisinger; Sam'l Rains; and several servants, belonging to J. G. Wilkinson, Geo. Ott, R. D. Barker and others.
Several of the above died two days ago but I did not report them.
William Hawkins, the Keeper of the City Alms House, and several of the inmates of the establishment are down with the fever.
The occupants, I learn, are to be removed to the Julappi Hospital, four miles from the city.
I regret to inform you that Dr. D. M. Wright is still ill of the fever. He has been constantly going since the commencement of the fever, and has at last yielded like the rest to the power of the disease.
Dr. R. B Tunstall is out again, and will soon be able to enter upon the discharge of his professional visitations.
Dr. Hargrove, of Richmond, is also down again.
John Williams, clerk of the court, and his assistant, Mr. Thomas, are both well enough to be out again, giving good evidence of a fierce conflict with the fearful disease.
Dulton Wheeler is recovering from his relapse, after abandoning all hopes of recovery.
Jas. A. Saunders, W. T. Nimmo, E. T. Summers, E. A. Barnes, Dr. Whitehead, W. F. Tyler, Dr. Nash, Dr. Friedeman, E. Guy are out, and rapidly recovering from the effects of the fever.
The weather continues cool, dry and clear; but I occasionally hear of new cases; the disease is still very malignant in its attacks, and in many instances soon terminates in death.
A good frost, it is hoped, will put a final end to the existence in our city, and enable us to feel once more that the work of death has ceased. F.
Portsmouth, Oct. 4—9 P. M.
From 12 P. M. of the 2d to 12 P. M. of the 3d, there was not a single death. Up to 9 P. M. today there have been 8 deaths—all old cases. It is thought by most of the Medical faculty and the citizens of the town that this is very near the "winding up" hour of the dreadful scourge. We sincerely hope that it is so; we wish to hear no more the fevered maniac's howl, nor see him leap from his bed of pain to fall a corpse upon the floor; for many such scenes have occurred during the epidemic. The few that are now sick are residents of the outskirts.
Dr. Hungerford, of Baltimore, is now ill at the Hospital.
Dr. Thomas of Cincinnati, still improves.
There remains now but two well volunteer physicians: Drs. Covert and Rich, of Charleston, S. C.
I will name the deaths of today: John Richardson, negro boy of Dr. Williamson, child of John Jarvis, Mrs. Sarah Lockens and child, child of Jas. Emmerson, son of Wm. Ford, and Mrs. Wm. Tart.
October 5, 6 A. M.—But one death during the night—a child of Mr. Winters.
October 8, 1855.
The Howard Hospital.
The Howard Hospital of Norfolk, better known as the Woodis Hospital, was closed on the 5th inst. The following report of the mortality in that establishment is furnished by Dr. Charles Robinson, who was engaged in it. Dr. Robinson came up to this city on Friday last, and will go with Judge Olin and Dr. Bignon to Augusta, Ga. He is an Englishman, and has been for some eight years in the West Indies. He had come to New York with the view of proceeding to the Crimea; but, hearing of the severity of the Yellow Fever in Norfolk, generously repaired thither to render what assistance he could. He has been indefatigable, and while he has merited the gratitude of the people of Norfolk he has won the warm friendship of the physicians with whom he was associated.
Report of the Howard Hospital, from its
commencement to the final closing of the same
on the 5th October, 1855:
Admitted Deaths Discharged Adult white males 102 67 13 Adult white females 33 23 17 Children, white males 34 6 7 Children, white females 22 4 6 Males and females sent to the Orphan Asylum. 17 Totals 191 100 90
Remaining in the Hospital, one man very sick.
Average mortality among the whites, 51 per cent.
No. of colored patients admitted 84.
No. of deaths, 7; No. of discharged, 77; total 84.
Mortality among the blacks, only 8 per cent.
A true copy. CHAS. ROBINSON, Superintendent Howard Hospital.
Norfolk, Oct. 5, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—In Portsmouth Saturday, there were six new cases and four deaths. The weather was unpropitious, and showers of rain fell often during the day. Several persons who returned within the last ten days are among the dead. A telegraphic dispatch from Weldon, N. C., says that there was frost in Portsmouth yesterday morning. Master Wm. Collins, a son of the late Dr. Collins, President of the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad, died of the fever in the Western part of the State. (See Norfolk letter.)
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
Norfolk, 5th Oct.
There have been only three or four deaths today, and the disease seems again to have ceased its ravages. The weather has been cool, as before stated, for several days; some thought it was cold enough for frost; but as yet, I have no satisfactory evidence of frost either in town or country. Today the wind has changed to South again, and the temperature is much warmer. This, it is feared, will cause the fever to manifest itself again, and some who have not been attacked, may not after all, entirely escape the disease.
Many of the physicians and nurses, from the Southern cities, have gone home—their labors among the sick and dying have ceased, and they will have the pleasing recollection of having accomplished great good, and of relieving many a suffering man and woman here in our still deserted city, during the prevalence of the fever, that has been so furious in its attacks, and so fatal in its effects. Many of them have acted nobly, and deserve to be remembered by our citizens, with feelings of the profoundest gratitude.
Some of our people who refused at the earnest solicitation of their friends to leave the city before the fever raged so fearfully, and who have lost members of their household, reproach themselves severely, and bitterly regret that they did not fly, and thus save the valuable lives that are lost. And others deeply deplore the fact that necessity compelled them to remain to submit to the fury of the pestilence, and see their fondest relations die and conveyed to the grave.
A child at the Hospital, named John Williams, a servant of the late Josiah Wills, and one or two others are all that have died of the fever since my last letter.
R. H. Holt, a well-known merchant here, died yesterday, but not of fever.
There are many persons still sick, and a number convalescent, but it is earnestly hoped no new case may occur.
Yours, in haste, F.
Old Point Comfort, Oct. 4
Your correspondent is entirely misinformed as to the cause of the illness of Mrs. Taney, who recently died at this place. Her disease was not yellow fever. So declares Dr. Jarvis, the Port Surgeon, who attended her from the first of her indisposition.
Nor is it generally believed hereabouts, that Miss Alice Taney died of the prevailing fever—first, because from the peculiar location of Old Point, it is hardly possible that the fever could originate there; secondly, because there has been no other case.
Dr. Buckler, the elder, of Baltimore, the family physician of Judge Taney, also declares his belief, from his knowledge of the constitution and general health of Miss Taney, that she did not die of the yellow fever.
And while I am writing on the subject, I will embrace the occasion to say, that there has not been in the town of Hampton, or in the county of Elizabeth City, a single case of the fever among the native or resident population—a demonstration conclusive, it would seem, that the disease is not contagious, for many have come among us with the fever, have been nursed among us, and died among us. S. J.
October 9, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—The correspondent of the Petersburg Intelligencer, from Norfolk, says that Dr. Wright has been taken down with the fever.
Among the deaths are Mr. Michael Cullen, Rich. H. Holt, Isaac S. Wilkerson, and Mrs. Dray, James street.
The Weldon correspondent of the Express paid a visit to Portsmouth, Friday, and found everything wearing a lively appearance. Drays, hacks, baggage wagons, etc., were being driven rapidly through the streets, and numbers of persons were moving about the streets looking exceedingly cheerful.
CHARITABLE.—Seven little misses held a fair in Fredericksburg last week for the benefit of the Norfolk and Portsmouth orphans, by which $80 was realized.
THE ORPHANS IN NORFOLK.—Some time since a charter was obtained from the Legislature, for the establishment of a Home for Orphan Boys at Norfolk. Commissioners were appointed, and other preliminary steps taken; and now that the terrible scourge has augmented the number of destitute orphan children so greatly in that distressed city, the call for the immediate establishment of the Home is found to be imperative. About two thousand dollars have been contributed by a few benevolent citizens of Norfolk, and it is proposed through the aid of the people generally, to carry out the original intention of the act of the Legislature.
We find in the Northern Advocate a letter from the Rev. Beverly Waugh, senior Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to the Rev. Dr. Luckey, descriptive of the state in which he found his family on his recent return from an official visit to Western New York. The Bishop's letter is dated Baltimore, Sept. 17.
Mrs. Waugh had a sister, residing in poor stricken Norfolk; she, with three sons, had come to Baltimore a week before my return, and was immediately attacked by the yellow fever, and within three days she was in her grave! and in twenty-four hours was followed by her son, a young man about twenty-three years old! My dear wife was in her bed, sick, when her sister arrived. Our son, Alexander Townsend, had been quite unwell, having cold, clammy sweats, by which he was very much debilitated, and this gave rise to a report that he had been attacked with yellow fever.
You may imagine the situation in which I found my household. Our neighbors were too much alarmed to come in, and the hired woman became so alarmed that she went off. Fortunately, Mrs. Waugh's oldest sister was with her. She got to our house too late to see her sister, but in time to look upon her dying nephew. As soon after my return as my son was able to travel with safety, I got them all off for the country, and they are about one hundred and twenty miles from Baltimore, at the house of Mrs. Waugh's sister. Mrs. Waugh has received a great shock, and time will be requisite to her relief. My poor afflicted brother-in-law is still in Norfolk, if living. Since his wife left home, another of their sons, who remained in Norfolk, has fallen a victim to the epidemic, and an old servant likewise.
Norfolk and Portsmouth Orphans,
Meeting in New York.
A great meeting was held in the Metropolitan Theatre, New York, on Sunday night to raise funds for the benefit of the Norfolk and Portsmouth Orphans. A committee was appointed to dispense the fund that may be collected, and John Thompson, President of the Irving Bank was appointed its Treasurer. Speeches were made by Rev. Messrs. Milburn and Osgood, and Messrs. Greeley and Girard, and Dr. Reese. Mr. Girard handed in $1000, a magnificent donation from M'lle. Rachel, the French tragic actress.
Arrival of Nurses from Norfolk.
There arrived in the Curtis Peck, from Norfolk, yesterday evening, ten female nurses, all of Mobile, in charge of Dr. Ballantyne and Mr. Genet [Jennett], also of Mobile. They put up at the Exchange, and will leave this afternoon, on their return home. They look remarkably well, and very little like persons who had undergone the trials and fatigues of nursing and watching in Norfolk.
We give below the latest information from Norfolk in the letter of our correspondent. It will be seen that the fever is still abating, and that that most desirable of thing, a frost, occurred there Sunday night. Our Portsmouth letter is not of latest date, but gives an encouraging report. Business had at last begun again and the streets so long deserted, except by sick and dead wagons, and the physicians' vehicles, were gradually assuming the appearance of life and commerce.
Dr. Minor, of the Marine Hospital, arrived last night in the Curtis Peck.
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
Norfolk, Oct. 8.
I have the pleasure of stating once more, that the yellow fever seems at last to have ceased its attacks upon our citizens. I have heard of no new cases upon our citizens. There were but very few burials on Saturday, and I heard of none at all yesterday. The great calamity seems to be nearly over; the sickness, excepting some cases in the suburbs, has nearly ceased. The chastening hand of God is withheld, and the quick work of death and burial that has been going on so long, has almost terminated.
We certainly had frost today; there is no mistake about this now. I am ready myself, with many others who have seen it, to bear willing testimony to the appearance of a white frost this morning. It is now to be seen on the house tops, and upon the still unwilted grass and flowers, that will soon show it withering effects. As this will be death to vegetation, so I hope it will be to the fearful fever that has robbed our firesides, made our hearts desolate and peopled the grave yards.—It has trod on quietly, and proudly, and cruelly, like a mighty, merciless conqueror, regardless of the cries and prayers that came from bleeding hearts, crushing many of the best and the strongest and most lovely. But the reign of the unfeeling monarch is well nigh over.
Our city has been sorely afflicted, and a thousand hearts are sad; ten thousand bright hopes blasted.
May the living take the matter, properly to heart. May those who are mercifully spared, learn wisdom and be henceforth true to their souls' best interests and their high destiny!
P. S.—Mr. Hawkins, the keeper of the Alms House is reported worse.
Dr. Wright and others are rapidly recovering.
Portsmouth, Oct. 5, 10:30 P. M.
Affairs now commence to assume a cheerful aspect—although still dreadfully drear and lonely. At one time last month, there was not a store of any kind open in town—the Charity Store excepted—now, I can name from 10 to 15 large retail stores.
For seven weeks we had no market at all; now as good a one as we want for the present.
All we desire now to obliterate the disease entirely, is a good frost; its advent is looked for with intense anxiety. But neither frost or time can erase from the memories of the few that remain in town, the fearful scenes which have transpired within her limits, no tongue has the eloquence to tell, no pen could give the story its due. The names of the dead can never be fully ascertained until all the refugees return.
From 6 o'clock A. M. to the present hour, there has been one death, a child of Mr. Thomas.
Dr. Hungerford, of Baltimore, is very low. Dr. Thomas is improving.
October 6, 6 A. M. —A child of Mr. Foils died last night, the only death known.
I understand that next week the Bay line of boats will make their regular trips to the wharves of Norfolk and Portsmouth. The gas will be let on next week also. I can hear of no new cases of fever.
DISCONTINUANCE OF QUARANTINE.—The Board of Health of Philadelphia, in view of the abatement of the fever at the South and the approach of cold weather, discontinued the detention of vessels at quarantine on the 6th inst.
Richmond, Oct. 8th, 1855.
A writer, hailing from Old Point Comfort, in the Dispatch of this morning, under the signature of S. J. says:
"Your correspondent is entirely misinformed as to the cause of the illness of Mrs. Taney, who recently died at this place. Her disease was not yellow fever. So declares Dr. Jarvis," &c.
Now, if S. J. will only look attentively at the letter of your correspondent, he will find that so far from saying that the cause of the death of the venerable lady of Chief Justice Taney was yellow fever, he distinctly remarks that "her disease had none of the marks of yellow fever." It is true, as your correspondent to whose communication S. J. refers, remarks—that after death "the skin bore unmistakable evidence by its hue that the insidious destroyer had been lurking in the system." Your correspondent received this statement from gentlemen in Hampton, whose names can be given if required. As it regards the other portion of S. J.'s letter, in which he says: "Nor is it generally believed hereabouts, that Miss Alice Taney died of the prevailing fever," &c., I have only to say that the fact furnished by your correspondent was made known to him by gentlemen who had it from her attendant physician.
So that whether Old Point par excellence be the point where yellow fever cannot come, and Hampton the healthiest spot in the country, which I am not disposed to gainsay, your Hampton correspondent has authority of the best kind for every statement you may receive from him.
Very truly, yours, OATS.
October 10, 1855.
THE FEVER.—We learn from the Norfolk correspondent of the Petersburg Intelligencer that Mr. John Drury, Deputy Sheriff of Norfolk county, has recovered. John Gibbons, a nurse from New York, and the last patient in the Howard Hospital, was buried on Saturday. Mr. John Collins, oldest son of Capt. John G. Collins, is down with the fever.
THE HEROES OF NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.
The Rev. W. H. Milburn, formerly Chaplain to Congress, made an eloquent address to the meeting in New York on Saturday evening to adopt measures to relieve the orphans at Norfolk and Portsmouth. He thus spoke of the medical profession and the clergy:
Need I allude, upon an occasion like this, to the self-devotion, to the heroic self-forgetfulness of that profession which claims at our hands and at the hands of the world such unmixed praise and homage? I mean the medical profession. They may tell us of the heroes in the Crimea. They may tell us of heroes with their laurels dipped in blood from all the battle fields of the earth; but I tell you, sir, there have been scenes transpiring—there have been characters developed—there has been conduct displayed yonder at Norfolk and Portsmouth, and in all the cities of the smitten South, that, when justly and rightly viewed, should overwhelm, and distance, and darken all your heroes of battle fields, and all your conquerors in their triumphs. Let it be remembered that in those two smitten cities twenty-six members of that profession have fallen martyrs to humanity. But let me allude to another class. It is very much in vogue just at this time to speak with a sort of patronizing contempt of the clergy—to allude to them as a set of people whose characteristic is, as Sydney Smith expressed it, "decent disability." They are to be looked upon as a very well meaning and innocent set of men, who, if they are not doing much good, are certainly not doing much harm. Let those men, if they want to know what the clergy of this country are, go to those cities of the pestilence, and see them in the hovels of starvation and squalor—in the grave yards from sunrise till sunset, and sometimes from midnight till midnight—seeking to give the obsequies of religion to the dead, and comfort and consolation to the mourners, Catholic and Protestant, side by side, in that awful hour of extremity, and tell me whether "decent disability" is their characteristic?
More Orphans Arrived.
There arrived yesterday, by the Port Walthall line, ten orphans from Portsmouth, in charge of the Rev. Mr. Hume, that indefatigable laborer in the cause of religion and humanity. We give their names below. They were taken at once to the Catholic College, and comfortably quartered with those that had preceded them.
Josephine and Mary Jane, children of James and Mary Mayo, aged 14 and 12 years.
Margaret Elizabeth and Sarah Ann, children of Michael and Elizabeth Lynch, aged 14 and 11 years.
Martha and Wm. Edward, children of Bowden Melson, aged 3 and 6 years.
Hannah, child of Timothy and Hannah Cohen, aged 12 years.
Richard, child of ___ Purcell, aged 4 years.
Sylvester, child of Kinchen Turner, aged 6 years.
Daughter of Kinchen Turner, name unknown, aged 4 years.
Some of these children are very sprightly. It is believed that they are all except one (Hannah Cohen) without parents, and the parents of that one were in Ireland when last heard from. She came to this country with an uncle, who it is believed is dead.
Utility of Pestilence.
The Philadelphia Ledger avails itself of the abatement of the yellow fever in Norfolk and Portsmouth, to consider some of the good connected with such visitations, that render them eventually not an injury but a blessing to enterprising communities, such as those which constitute our Atlantic cities.
"If," says the Ledger, "the same number of deaths had been spread over a longer period, nothing particular would have been thought of them. The place might not have been considered very healthy, but few would have stayed away who could have made money, and fewer still have altered any of their habits. The suddenness and sweepingness of a pestilence coming one year and absent for many, makes it more useful and effective in calling attention to the laws of health. Norfolk, closely built in the lower parts of it, with many old wooden houses, was just the receptacle for yellow fever to revel in, and this notwithstanding the intelligence and refinement of a large class of its citizens, in which it is unsurpassed by any city in the Union. Any one who has visited the place within a few years will remember plenty of places that might form the nucleus of a pestilence. Before another season comes immense sanitary reforms may be expected, that no one would have dreamed of, if the deaths that have occurred had only been distributed over ten or twelve years.
"The impression on other cities is still more important. It is true every contiguous city is endangered, but we have reaped and shall reap on the whole, a benefit far greater, in an increased attention to regulations for cleanliness and wholesome food. Baltimore, Richmond, and all other cities in immediate contiguity to it, have doubtless derived much advantage. It is probable that so much care of health will be taken in Norfolk, that on a scale of ten years, the health of that city will be improved, counting this year of death as the first of the ten. Such has always been the effect of cholera and of plague in all communities in which social decrepitude has not preceded the physical disease. The great plague was the foundation of sanitary laws in London, and of much of its present greatness, and bad as the Thames is now, the bills of mortality show that a great improvement has taken place as a whole, even in the last fifty years, by converting it into the public sewer."
If the pestilence in Norfolk induces other cities to introduce proper sanitary regulations, it will not be an unmitigated evil. But will it have this effect? Will not the respite which the winter will bring quiet the apprehensions which the pestilence has roused? Certainly, if, after such a terrific warning, the authorities of any city fail to establish the most thorough system of purification, and thus open the door for the appalling scourge, they will incur an awful responsibility.
Contributions for the Orphans.
We have received from Mrs. T. A. Rust a large bundle of children's clothes; and from Mrs. Allen, a package of similar clothing, for the Portsmouth orphans, now at the Catholic College.
The very liberal donation of Miss Overton, of Hanover, noticed a few days since, was intended for these orphans. These gifts of the benevolent ladies, will receive the proper destination.
Reported for the Dispatch.
Our regular correspondent having failed yesterday, we are enabled to supply the deficiency by information which we have obtained from the Rev. Mr. Hume.
For the twenty-four hours ending Monday evening only one person died, viz: John Borum, whose was a relapsed case.
There were some new cases, two certainly of yellow fever, and a few of doubtful character.—There had been a few relapsed cases that were considered critical. Among the latter we regret to learn is Father Devlin, who had relapsed the third time and was extremely ill.
A few persons had returned; but it was considered highly imprudent yet awhile for the refugees to come back. There had been two frosts, and ice on Monday morning, and the health of the place was constantly improving; but it was by physicians and all considered highly dangerous for absentees to venture home yet.
By way of Petersburg, we learn that John Richardson and a child of John Jarvis died, we suppose, on Monday night.
Norfolk, 9th October, 1855. Monday night.
There were several burials today. The names of the deceased I cannot give you until my next. I regret to state that there were fourteen buried yesterday in Portsmouth. Several families having returned too early, most of the members were attacked with the fever, and as expected by many, they were soon dead and buried. Some have returned to Norfolk today, and I fear the same sad fate awaits the larger portion of them. The danger of returning before cold weather has been fully stated, and is perhaps quite well understood now by the absentees and temporary exiles from their homes.
Mr. Hawkins, Drs. Wright and Williman are recovering.
I have visited all the cemeteries—Cedar Grove, Elmwood, the Catholic, and Potter's Field, and seen the numbers of new-made graves that are there—the "footprints of the angel of Death." I expected to see very many; but I had no conception of the number, no idea of witnessing so strange and melancholy a sight. In Cedar Grove they are to be seen interspersed in every direction, impressing the mind most sensibly and painfully with the fearful and rapid work of death that has been going on in the city for ten weeks. The fresh-shoveled earth rises to view in whichever way the eye turns within the spacious grounds. Some of the private lots are full. In others there are two, three, four, five, six, &c. I counted fifty within a circular space of a very few rods from the centre, where I stood, and so it was in every part of the grounds. But looking further, and a wider area within the range of vision, brought hundreds to view. Lots that have been vacant for many years, untouched by the shining spade of the sexton, have been almost filled up, and there is but little if any room for more—indeed there are few if any more to lie there. Husband, wife, children and friends, are resting side by side. Sometimes two or more went in company, and often but an interval of a few days occurred between the visits of each member of the household to the "sad city of the dead." It is painful to say it, but the records of pestilential visitations, death and burial, furnish scarcely a parallel. Mournful thought! Who, in his wildest dreams of death's doings, ever conceived the idea of a destruction of human life so appalling, in so short a time, and in so small a population.
Passing on to Elmwood, where the greater portion of strangers of note who have died, are placed, the graves are close together in regular consecutive order, row after row, thickly and compactly arranged side by side, a melancholy evidence of the frailty of man, and the rapidity with which life closes, when God's mandate goes forth. Affection's tears were being shed there; bereaved hearts were there. Turning off to Potters' Field, the portion of the grounds occupied by the colored people who have died, presents a regular succession of graves, also arranged in many rows of equal length. Then upon the banks of a stream that glides quietly by, the graves of the poor and friendless are seen ranged along and occupying a large space beneath the umbrageous foliage of a beautiful natural grove of oaks, among whose green clad branches the winds sigh and moan in sad keeping with the death silence of the numerous stirless sleepers below.—And then upon the gentle slope of the bank, were those pits dug in whose ample limits are crowded the loathsome bodies that could not wait for separate places of interment, if indeed they could have been opened. Side by side, and back to face, they are closely packed in. Their bones will co-mingle and crumble in close companionship, till roused up to life again by the echoing roar of the "trumpet that shall sound." Some were placed in coffins, some in mere shapeless boxes, hastily and roughly sawed and nailed together. But at one period the sweeping pestilence raged with such appalling violence, that even these could scarcely be had in time for the accumulating, putrefying corpses.
Verily, it is no wonder the heart sickens and shudders at the recollection of so astounding a visitation. Nor could the dead be buried sufficiently rapid. The coffins, with their contents, were piled up in the burial places, awaiting the opening of the earth, to hide them from the sight, and secure them from the reach of the offended senses of the living. Enough of this awful picture of the death scenes that have been witnessed here during this calamitous period. There are deeper and darker shades that could be added; but these would thrill the sensitive heart with horror. There were scenes that were calculated to affect and torture the hardest and most callous heart. "Forever undescribed, let them remain."
We have another frost here this morning. W. S. F.
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
Baltimore, Oct. 8—P. M.
Miss Ellen Taney, daughter of the Chief Justice, who was taken with yellow fever at Old Point, where her mother and lovely sister, Alice, died some time ago, is now at her home here, and recovering from the terrible malady. The Chief Justice bears his deep affliction with becoming fortitude, though bowed in grief. His health is good as could be expected, though very feeble. There are apprehensions that his life, though now well advanced, may be shortened by this sore bereavement.
I learn that the death scene of Mrs. Taney and her lovely daughter was peculiarly affecting. The family at the time were residing in a small cottage. When Mrs. Taney was sinking fast, no serious fears were entertained for Miss Alice, who lay in an adjoining room. As the vital spark was about dying out from the mother, a noise was heard in the daughter's apartment. The attending physician stepped in, and observed that she had been overtaken by black vomit. From this time on she became delirious, requiring several person to hold her in bed, until physical strength gave way for its peaceful repose in slumbers of death.
The female circle of Baltimore has lost one of its most brilliant and accomplished ornaments, by the early death of this sweet flower. Her young heart lies motionless in the tomb, but many a tear bedews her hallowed memory.
Quite a large number of refugees from Norfolk and Portsmouth, are still in our city, and do not expect to return for some weeks. They purpose exercising extreme caution.
Several hundred dollars are already subscribed to the Ferguson monument. It will probably be erected in Green Mount Cemetery.
October 11, 1855.
Norfolk and Portsmouth.
Neither our Norfolk or Portsmouth letters came to hand last night, and we are without our usual details from either place. Dr. Williman, of Philadelphia, is convalescent. There were four burials in Norfolk Tuesday. Among them Chas. Waterman, of Liberty street, and Wm. Forbes. In Portsmouth, Tuesday, there were no new cases. Rev. Mr. Devlin is better.
MESSRS. THOMAS BURKE, driver of the dead wagon of the Norfolk City Hospital, and Henry Carr, driver of the sick wagon of the same establishment, were yesterday in our city. They have passed through scenes of horror, such as men rarely witness, and faithfully performed their trying and solemn duties.
CONTRIBUTIONS FOR NORFOLK.—We have received through the hands of Messrs. Smith & Maddux, $5, contributed by Miss Mildred Wood, of Lunenburg, for the benefit of Norfolk and Portsmouth.
We acknowledge also, $10 contributed by a member of the Henrico Troop, for the same benevolent object.
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
New York, Oct. 9, 1855.
The city hotels begin to be less crowded. Nearly all the families from Norfolk and Portsmouth have either gone, or are going, to points further south. The Black Warrior, which starts Wednesday for New Orleans, will go out full of passengers for that quarter. The southern steamers, on every trip now, go out full, but bring but few on their trips north.
The board of councilmen last evening ordered the comptroller to draw from the city treasury $3,000, to be appropriated to the Howard Association for the relief of the Norfolk sufferers.
October 12, 1855.
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
Norfolk, 9th October, 1855, Tuesday morning.
But few, if any new cases of the yellow fever have occurred since my last communication. I have not heard of one; and am glad to state that those who are sick, as far as I can hear, are convalescent. Matters of business are gradually and slowly getting back into the usual course. More than a dozen stores are open during the greater portion of the day on market Square and a portion of Main street, which will soon exhibit their wonted life, activity and bustle. Some time will be required, of course, to fill the great vacuum that has been made by the pestilence that has been here; but the great calamity has passed—the period of terror is over at last; and, although Death has removed many men of enterprise and fine character from our city, and inflicted a powerful blow at our best and dearest interests; claiming, too, many of the best and loveliest from the family and social circle. Time, the greatest antidote to the deepest anguish of the heart, will heal the wounds; "the world will go on" as heretofore, and even fearfully afflicted Norfolk and Portsmouth will recover and rise to their legitimate sphere among the commercial cities of the sea-coast.
I notice many persons out now, who have been down with the fever. They will improve rapidly in this fine dry and healthful weather, and soon be ready to enter fully upon their accustomed duties again. I occasionally meet with those, however, that are inconsolable on account of the great loss they have sustained. Their countenances showing the deep grief that is prying upon the heart, and depriving them of every joyful emotion.
"I know not what to do," said a gentleman a few days since, "I am left alone and wretched in the world." His wife, child, friends, all are gone, and woe and despair seem to be pressing him down, and may hurry him too to the grave. Another told me he had lost eleven of his family, including his wife and five children. But many have been rendered sad and desolate, who were but recently happy and joyous amid the delightful endearments of a peaceful home, with affectionate relatives and true friends who are now in the grave.
The disease that has left us so deeply distressed, passed on in its desolating course, and swept off the good with the bad, the most useful with the drone in society. Going into almost every house, where man and woman resided, it fastened its deadly fangs upon the victims and left them cold and still in death.
On the street in what is considered the most healthful part of the city, on which there were only 8 houses occupied, there were twenty-four deaths; and so it was, in the same fearful proportion in every direction. Disease and nature's painful dissolution, want, wretchedness, alarm, and intense excitement, have been our portion; but the storm is nearly over—the dreadful crisis passed, and who does not hope we shall never be thus afflicted again? F.
P. S.—10 o'clock.—I regret to inform you that Rev. Mr. Devlin, the Catholic Priest in Portsmouth, died yesterday. He had been ill of the fever, and exposure to inclement weather caused a relapse, which hurried him to the grave. He was unwearied in his attentions to the sick and suffering during the prevalence of the fever, and his death will be regretted by many citizens.
Mr. John Colley, a son of the late Col. Colley, died last night of the fever. His age is 21. The residence is a short distance beyond the limits of the city.
Norfolk, Wednesday evening, Oct. 10.
There has been today in our long forsaken and deserted city more life and activity than I have witnessed for ten weeks. Quite a large number of persons, and among them a few ladies, have appeared on the streets. There were three or four dozen carts and wagons at market, a good supply of fine fish; and even a few oyster boats at one of the wharves. Supplies of poultry, potatoes, fruit and vegetables are coming in. Our people are anxious for the return of their relatives and friends, to occupy the vacant houses, engage in their accustomed business, and gather, on these cool evenings, around the fireside.
Many dwellings and stores were thrown open today; bedding and articles of clothing were exposed to the dry wind and the purifying influence of the warm sunshine.
The happy school boys that are left, are gathering on the play grounds, and their cheerful voices of mirth and joy are heard again.
Christ Church was open and service held therein on Sabbath last. No sermon was preached, but an appropriate address was delivered by Rev. Mr. Walke, who administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to about fifty professors, belonging to several Christian denominations. One of the Methodist Churches was also opened in the afternoon, and a few members assembled for prayer and praise.
I regret to hear that there are many cases of bilious fever in the surrounding counties, among the numbers who sought refuge from the severer attacks of the fever that has killed so many here. I hear occasionally, too, of deaths occurring. Many who fled from the pestilence, have been as certainly overtaken and claimed by death, as if they had remained at home.
Hastily, yours, W. S. F.
P. S.—I have no cases or deaths to report, excepting 2 new cases in the city Alms House. I learn from Dr. Gordon, the physician to this establishment, that among the seventy inmates there have been a large number of cases and only 9 deaths.
THE AGUE AND FEVER is prevailing to some extent among those persons who have encamped around town. Dr. Minor, of the Naval Hospital, is in Lynchburg, whither he went for the purpose of carrying a little niece, who was suffering from the effects of the fever. Rev. Mr. Devlin was buried on Wednesday.
We have received the Portsmouth Transcript of Wednesday afternoon. The only deaths, not heretofore published by us, which we find in its columns, are those named in the following list of patients who died at the Naval Hospital, during the month of September:
William Condry, Eliza Bains, William Murphy, William Ashton, William C. Rives, Lyden Harper, Josiah Hodges, L. S. Allen, John Powers, Miss Sarah Mince, Alonzo Harper, George Carey, Mrs. Ward, D. Cooper; Nancy Steel Gray, Dr. Howell, Miss Cooper, John Collins, Miss Linscott, ___ Meyers, D. R. Graven, Dr. Marshall, Dr. Smith, Wm. H. Jordan, Singleton Mercer, Richard Eskridge, Bryan Corchran, and Allen Lynch, Clarity child, Robert Totterdel, Mrs. Boyd, Ashton Miller, Miss Dennis, Allen Lynch, Thos. Totterdel, Mr. John Covert, Baines Boy, Frederick Mosefelt, Jesse Brittingham, Thurlus Pratt, Thos. Clagerty, Ellen Aeson, Wilson Barrett, Mrs. Toyler, Patrick Boy, Mr. Chisholm, James Shannon, Daniel Boyle, Miss Gondkop, O'Donald Boy, Mrs. Wrenn, Mrs. Whittier, Nimrod Donald, Wm. Hatzell, Thomas Owens, Leroy Brown, Bridget Clarity, Mary Waller, Miss Patsey, Richard Jones, Julia Boyle, Chas. Rand, Lucy Blackburn, Mulligan Child, Willis Creekmore.
The editor of the Transcript warns the citizens of Portsmouth not to return until Dr. J. N. Schoolfield, the Chairman of the Sanitary Committee, shall make a publication, advising them of the safety of such a course.
Mr. S. T. Hartt has left for a short trip to the North to recruit his health. Whit Ashton, the Deputy Postmaster, has also gone on a visit to Washington.
October 13, 1855.
Rev. Devlin.—The Portsmouth Transcript pays the following tribute to the memory of Rev. Mr. Devlin, the Catholic minister who recently died there:
"From the commencement of the sad times from which we are emerging up to the period of his attack, he had been actively and faithfully engaged in ministering to the sick and dying, since which time he has mostly been confined to his bed. He was an exemplary, mild, humble and Godly man, and has no doubt gone to reap the reward of his firm adherence to duty under the most appalling circumstances. His course formed an example worthy of all imitation; and it affords us sincere gratification, as it enables us to exercise a sweet privilege, thus to do homage to a character which we have always esteemed. Such, we estimate, was the compeer [godfather] of Chisholm and of Eskridge."
Meeting of the Citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth.
A meeting of the citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth now in this city was called this morning at the gentlemen's parlor in the Exchange Hotel, at 10 o'clock. This meeting is, we suppose, chiefly to consider the proper time for the return of those who have been absent during the fever. This is a very interesting subject, not only to these citizens, but to all who feel interest in their welfare. It would be a matter generally to be deplored that those who have avoided the plague until now by leaving their homes, should yet swell the number of its victims by returning too early. A correspondent from Norfolk gives it as the opinion of the physicians that the absent cannot safely return "until there is ice in the gutters." Some who have ventured back have died. He adds: "We can hardly believe the elastic air which we are breathing is laden with death to new-comers; but, alas! 'tis even so."
The Portsmouth Orphans.
The Committee of our citizens having these interesting little guests in charge have determined, after a full and frank conversation with the Rev. Mr. Hume, to act upon the cases of a few of them, in which there is no doubt about the propriety of disposing of them. Some very favorable propositions to take some of them have been received and the committee deemed it really a duty not to postpone action upon applications which were considered so fortunate for them. This was especially the case with regard for "the Captain"—who is certainly without father or mother, and, as far as can be ascertained, relations. It has been decided to surrender him to a most worthy citizen of an adjoining county, who will do, we are sure, a good part by him, and make a "Captain" of a man of him.—Other cases are under consideration. There is at the College a very intelligent girl some fourteen or fifteen years old, who is the daughter of a worthy and industrious woman of Portsmouth who died of the fever, leaving several daughters. She desires to go to some employment, and the committee are advised to surrender her to some proper person, who will treat her kindly and learn her some vocation. They will be glad to receive an application of this kind.
Mortality among the Volunteer Physicians.
A Norfolk friend informs us that the number of the dead among the volunteer physicians according to Capt. Clack's list was correct. The Dr Howe set down as from Richmond, was a Homeopathic physician from Philadelphia. So that twenty-two of the eighty-two volunteer physicians died! The mortality among the Norfolk physicians was much greater. Ten of them died; being nearly all that remained in the city. The same correspondent estimates that two in three of the whites who remained in Norfolk during the plague died!
Aid to Norfolk and Portsmouth.
Learning from the gentlemen who came up from Norfolk, and especially from Judge Olin, that there was great want of fuel in Norfolk, and that some deaths, it was supposed, had occurred for want of fire, the Relief Committee at once chartered a vessel and sent it off to Port Walthall for a load of coal. Learning that from the Rev. Mr. Hume, there was also considerable want of fuel in Portsmouth, but that the poor of that city chiefly consumed wood, the Committee sent $500 by that gentleman, to purchase wood for Portsmouth, it being more readily obtained for that city on the Seaboard Railroad, than elsewhere.
Norfolk and Portsmouth.
There were seven new cases reported in Norfolk Thursday. Among them were Ann Bourne, a boy named Hopkins, a servant of Mr. Hosier, and two at the Alms House.
Another son of the late John G. Colley, George E. Binford and Joseph Wilkerson are all three ill with the fever. A German Jew named Stahl, residing at the corner of Church and Charlott streets, was found dead in his house Thursday. A son of Mr. Robert Hosier also died on Thursday.
Portsmouth, Oct. 11, 10 P. M.
The refugees who, since the epidemic commenced, have dwelt in stables, barns, &c., throughout this and the adjoining counties, have commenced to return to their homes—many of them looking careworn and sickly, caused from severe attacks of "bilious fever," which prevails to some extent nearly every summer in the adjoining country around the city. They do assume much risk by so doing, as the "bilious" is of the "same stamp" as yellow fever.
We have only two physicians of any kind in town, and they strangers (Covert and Rich). All our resident Doctors are away on health recruiting expeditions. Covert and Rich have as much as they can well attend to.
The funeral of Rev. Mr. Devlin was the largest that has been seen in a long time. He was one much beloved and esteemed by all.
Night before last we had a very heavy frost in town, and in the country ice. Very cheering news.
The deaths up to this hour, from 5 A. M. yesterday, are four: Child of George Dills, son of Mrs. Richardson, Harriet Commings, negro woman of Dr. Silvester.
Philadelphia, Oct. 11.
Drs. James T. McDowel, W. H. Webster, W. B. Thompson, G. S. Harnill and J. D. Bryant, have arrived here from Portsmouth. The two last were the first volunteers from this city and the last to leave the city of death.
October 15, 1855.
Proceedings of Norfolk and Portsmouth Citizens.
We publish in another column the proceedings of a meeting of Norfolk and Portsmouth citizens, held at the Exchange Hotel Saturday last. We were surprised to learn that there appeared at the meeting some seventy or more gentlemen, and that from their representation, there are now in our city about 350 citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth
Contributions for Norfolk and Portsmouth.
We have received $113.54, the sum contributed at a collection in St. Peter's Catholic church in this city (in compliance with the request of the relief Committee,) for the benefit of the Norfolk and Portsmouth sufferers. The same church had on a former occasions contributed $195.
The county of Powhatan has sent to the Treasurer, Col. Munford, $332.50—of which Col. Philip St. George Cocke subscribed $100.
We have from Rev. Jas. B. Donellan, pastor of St. Mathews Catholic church, Washington, $100 for the benefit of the orphans from Portsmouth, now in this city. This sum is part of contributions of more than $500 by that church. The remainder has been forwarded to Norfolk and Portsmouth. From citizens of Waynesborough, Augusta, and neighborhood, we have $62 for the Norfolk and Portsmouth sufferers, by the hand of Mr. Wm. W. King.
Norfolk and Portsmouth.
We have received two copies of the Norfolk News, the first paper issued in that city since the epidemic. The Farmers' Bank is again opened for the transaction of business. The following members of the Howard Association have been appointed directors in the wards named, to attend to the wants of the poor: Ward 1st, Wm. D. Reynolds, Geo. Drummond; Ward 2d, Rob't Bales, Solomon Cherry; Ward 3d, L. Brickhouse, Col. S. Stone; Ward 4th, Ed. Delany, James G. Pollard.—Mr. Wm. D. Seymour has been appointed General Store Keeper, with authority to appoint four assistants, who shall receive $1 per day. Several citizens are now engaged in each [of the] Wards, taking a census, by which means, the names of all who have died, will be ascertained and published.
About 9 o'clock on Thursday night, an attempt was made to burn the Howard Hospital, which came near being successful, as fire was applied to two places in the building. It was discovered, however, and extinguished in time to prevent material damage. Had the incendiary succeeded, a large number of buildings in the vicinity must have been destroyed. Friday in Norfolk was clear and very cold, with a strong breeze from the Northwest. The Howard Association have advertised the fact, that all nurses under pay, are discharged after October 1st, and notified them to call for their wages. All sorts of business is reviving, and we see in the News, the announcement of the opening of the "City Eating House," and the customary notice of "Lunch, as usual at 11 o'clock."
Hampton, Oct. 12, 1855.
I had the pleasure of taking by the hand today at the "Kichotan House," my quondam [former] friend, Dr. Wm. J. Moore, who, after nobly periling his life in his exalted profession among the fever patients in Norfolk and passing through the fiery ordeal of the terrible disease in his own person, left this afternoon in the Baltimore boat, en route for New Hampshire, where his family are temporarily residing.—Dr. Moore is an ornament to his profession; and his native city, Norfolk, has just cause to reflect with pride upon her son. He speaks in the very highest terms of the devotion of Father O'Keefe, the Roman Catholic Priest, the Rev. Dr. Armstrong, and the Rev. Lewis Walke, all now living, and the lamented William M. Jackson, the late Rector of St. Paul's.—Speaking of the latter, he says, that during the raging of the pestilence, Jackson would stand for hours upon the damp earth, "by the struggling moonbeam's misty light", and the cold pale stars, committing one after the other to the grave. He met him over and often by the couch of sickness, in the hall and the hovel, proclaiming to the suffering and the dying "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." But noble champion of the cross, he has gone! the militant armor, and the militant church have been merged with him, in the white robe worn by those who have overcome in the church triumphant.
The fever has not but a nominal existence in Norfolk, yet it is still highly imprudent for the refugees to return until a good freeze shall have banished the pestilence to its native darkness.
The tents at Camp Falls will all be struck tomorrow, and the Chairman of the Hampton Relief Committee has notified the Mayor of Baltimore, that they will return on Wednesday next. Twenty-five refugees continue still at Muzzy's Bowling Saloon, which is a very acceptable retreat, being kept warm and comfortable, and water tight. They are supplied with every necessary and comfort, and are most grateful for the kind attention they have received. I understand that Mr. Charles L. Collier, our health officer, has been appointed the Deputy Marshall of the District, in place of Mr. William B. Sorey, of Norfolk, who died of the fever. The appointment is a good one, and the duties of the office will doubtless be efficiently and faithfully performed.
. . . . The News is first in the field after the scathing pestilence which caused the suspension of all the Norfolk papers, and I understand the Argus will make it re-appearance on the 20th instant. The venerable veteran of the Herald, who has had the fever, Thomas G. Broughton, sr., "is himself again," and though almost an octogenarian, has as much vim as a man of forty.
The leading editorial of the News is sad, but hopeful; and its editor, while he drops a tear over the story of the past, speaks cheeringly of the future.
There are no fever cases in Hampton. Miss Heath and Miss Briggs have so far improved as to remove from the Afton, to the Kichotan House, and Miss Mary Jones left on day before yesterday for Baltimore, accompanied by her brother-in-law, M. P. Robertson, Esq., and family.
Whatever theory, as to the cause of fever may be the true one, the fact, that among all the individuals who had it, no resident citizen [of Richmond] took it, speaks volumes in favor of this town, and must give it prominence as a place of health among the summer resorts in our State. *** OATS.
Norfolk, 12th, Oct., 6 A. M.
I have no deaths by the fever to report, and I think there have been no new cases for nearly a week. There are of course, quite a number of persons still sick, but they are nearly all convalescent. I believe there will be no more of the disease here except among those who have returned too early.—After several days of delightful weather, we have this morning, a cold damp and almost wintry atmosphere, with rain and a piercing wind from N.—There will soon be a great rush of our citizens back to their homes. It is time now to prepare for cold weather, to lay in winter supplies of coal, wood, &c. The anxiety of hundreds who are away, and their desire to be at home and settled once more, are only equaled by the privations which many already feel, and the want and necessity to which they will be compelled to submit when they return. The instinctive love of life, and the fear of death, caused many to hurry off, whose means were quite inadequate to the undertaking. Their funds have been exhausted, and some will find it exceeding difficult to return, unless they depend entirely upon assistance from others and receive it. Those will perhaps, think their fate a hard one, and deplore the distress and trouble which have been brought upon them by reason of the destroying agent that had been so long at work here. But those who return, in health, who have probably saved their lives, and those of their wives and children, by the hasty removal, should feel thankful, and patiently submit to want and difficulty for a while. They have escaped the attacks of the dreadful disease; they have not been compelled to witness the awful scenes of death, suffering and affliction that have occurred here; they have not been depressed by the silence and desolation that have reigned here, and the groans of the dying, and the cries of the bereaved have not fallen upon their ears.
Let all whose lives are spared be determined to make the best of life hereafter; to go diligently to work again, and strive in every way to lessen the remaining force and effects of the great storm of distress that has swept by and borne off the people by its resistless power.
But our city will recover rapidly from the blow she has received. Men of enterprise, character and capital are left, and others are coming. Bold schemes of loval advancement will be put forth and carried out to completion; enterprises for general commercial good and advancement will soon go on with renewed activity; the wide vacuum created by death will be soon filled up, and the bright sun of prosperity will beam down upon our city after the dark night of gloom and sorrow that has now passed to its shortest hours.
October 16, 1855.
Norfolk and Portsmouth.
George W. Munford, Treasurer of the Relief Committee of Richmond, acknowledges the receipt of the following sums, in addition to those heretofore published for the relief of the suffering communities of Norfolk and Portsmouth:
Heretofore acknowledged $8,791.53
From St. Paul's Church, Richmond, Rev. Mr. Totten 90.00
From St. James Church, Rev. Joshua Peterkin, Richmond 167.00
Centenary, Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. J. Edwards, Richmond 100.62
Leigh Street Baptist Church, Richmond 16.75
Union Station Methodist Church, Rev. F. J. Boggs, Richmond, 4th collection 20.05
First Baptist Church, Richmond, by Charles Wortham 84.29
Monumental Church, Richmond, by Geo. D. Fisher 84.29
African Church, Richmond, by Rev. Robert Ryland 1.50
Proceeds of a Fair in Richmond, held by Misses Mary Ann Purcell, Ellen Dwyre
and Eliza Purcell, (little children) 61.58
Grace Street Baptist Church, by Thos. J. Evans 29.13
From St. Peter's Cathedral, Richmond, Rev. Bishop McGill 113.52
St. Matthews Catholic Church, in Washington, Rev. James B. Donallan 100.00
From Powhatan co., (of which Philip St. Geo. Cocke subscribes $100) 332.50
St. John's Church, King George co., by Ed T. Taylor 23.00
Disciples' Church, at Horeb, King and Queen co. 40.46
Cave Springs Presby Church, Roanoke co., by Frederick Johnson 30.00
Presbyterian Church, in Staunton, by Rev. Jos. R. Wilson 93.00
From Brown's Church, upper part of Cumberland, balance of contribution 14.50
From Disciples of Rappahannock Congregation, in Essex co, by Muscoe Garnett
From Buffalo Meeting House, in Prince Edward, by T. T. Tredway 85.00
Presbyterian Church of Orange and Madison, Rev. D. B. Ewing 72.00
From the Tabor Presbyterian Church, in Albemarle, by Mr. S. W. Blain 12.00
Episcopal Church, Port Royal, Caroline co., by Rev. Wm. Friend 100.00
Tussekiah Congregation (Lunenburg) Rev. Thos. W. Sydnor 81.63
Church in Goochland, by Rev. M. Dudley 135.00
Bethel Presbyterian Church, in Augusta co., Rev. Francis McFarland 87.06
From citizens of Staunton, by J. A. & L. Wadell, Jr. 27.00
Children and others at Slash Cottage, in Hanover, by Rev. Richard E. Nolly 15.00
County of Wythe, by C. C. Tate 36.50
From Cumberland co. 310.16
Louisa co., by Jas. L. Gordon 55.00
Citizens of James City Co., by Cyrus A. Branch 166.00
From Roanoke co., by Clifton G. Hill 60.00
From the neighborhood of St. Peter's in Hanover, balance of contribution, by N. C.
Citizens of King George co., by William S. Brown 444.50
Citizens of Caroline, by P. Woolfolk 61.75
Jurors and other attending US District Court at Staunton, by Jefferson T. Martin
County of Powhatan, balance of subscription, by Dr. Skipwith 10.00
From citizens of Romney, in Hampshire, and its vicinity, by David Gibson 130.50
From citizens of Amelia county, by W. F. C. Gregory 134.00
From sundry persons, by J. W. Randolph, Richmond 72.18
Wm. Pannill, of Pittsylvania 7.57
"From a Friend," Richmond 50.00
Two gentlemen, unknown, by J. A. Cowardin 15.00
From a "Free Mason," of Lunenburg 6.00
From a gentleman, who desires his name withheld, Richmond 25.00
Little children of Miss Morriss' School in Cartersville, Wm. Holeman 5.00
From a friend in Columbia, Fluvanna 50.00
From citizens of Gaston, North Carolina, by D'Arcy Paul 29.00
Members of Henrico Troop of Cavalry 10.00
From Gov. Johnson, for Portsmouth orphans, additional subscription 10.00
Jonathan Cowherd, of Louisa co. 10.00
Dunlop, Moncure & Co., Richmond 100.00
Kent, Paine & Co., Richmond 50.00
Willingham, Ellett & Co., Richmond 100.00
Brooks, Bell & Co., Richmond 100.00
Wadsworth, Turner & Co., Richmond 100.00
Mrs. Ann Smith, by Mr. Sands 20.00
Buckler Towney, of Albemarle 10.00
Maury & Co., Richmond 20.00
Miss Mary Jane Overton, Hanover 18.00
Richard Haskins, of Brunswick 10.00
Robert Douthat, by D. H. London 25.00
From Frank G. Ruffin 10.00
A. Miller, of Amelia co. 6.00
M. Hart 15.00
In sums under ten dollars by persons, most of whom request their names may
not be mentioned 91.85
Heretofore acknowledged 8,791.55
Grand total $13,252.01
THE FOLLOWING LETTER has just been received:
Office of Howard Association, Norfolk, Oct. 9, 1855.
Geo. W. Munford, Esq., Richmond, Va.
Dear Sir:— It gives me pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your esteemed favor of the 9th inst. containing a check on the Farmers' Bank for one thousand dollars.
Permit me to tender the sincere thanks of the members of this Association to you, and through you to the kind and generous people of Richmond, for their continued manifestation of sympathy for our afflicted people.
I am glad to say the fever has almost entirely subsided. There are very few cases now, and with the aid of a few more frosty mornings, I think we shall be entirely clear of it.
We have still a great many very destitute people. At least two-thirds of the whole now receive support from the Association.
Solo. Cherry, Corres'ding Sec'y.
From Norfolk and Portsmouth.
Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Henry Myers, returned from Norfolk, there being no need of keeping the Howard Hospital open any longer. Mrs. Seyferselle, one of the nurses, who went down from this city, returned with him, and Miss Andrews will pass through here Thursday, on her way to her home in New York. The Norfolk Herald has commenced publication, and will issue tri-weekly until its hands can return, when it will appear daily.—The Herald has "a retrospect," in which it reviews the sad scenes which have just passed away, and pays Baltimore and Richmond a high compliment for the active part they have taken in relieving the sufferers. It says that nine-tenths of the poorer class of citizens were forced to remain through the epidemic and among them now there is great privation and suffering. In the Alms House record, 1204 deaths are noted between the 1st of August and 1st of October, and the Editor of the Herald estimates the total number of deaths at 2,000
The Herald publishes the following correct list of resident physicians who have fallen during the epidemic: Dr. Francis L. Higgins, Dr. Henry Selden, Dr. R. W. Silvester, Dr. George I. Halson, Dr. Thomas N. Constable, Dr. Junius A. Briggs, Dr. R. G. Sylvester, Dr. Geo. L. Upshur, Dr. Richard Tunstall, Dr. Thomas Nash and Dr. Cannon, the two last Thompsonians.
The following is a correct list of the ministers who have fallen: Rev. Dr. Jackson, of the P. E. Church; Rev. Mr. Dibrell, of the M. E. Church in Granby street; Rev. Mr. Chisholm, St. John's P. E. Church, Portsmouth; Rev. Vernon Eskridge M. E. Church, Chaplain U. S. Navy; Rev. Mr. Jones, M. E. African Church in Bute street; Rev. W. Cadogan Bagnall, Baptist Church; Rev. Mr. Devlin, Catholic Priest in Portsmouth.
The Argus also appeared yesterday, and has an editorial on the late calamity. It comes out with very neat typographical arrangement.
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
Norfolk, 14th Oct., 10 P.M., 1855.
It has been sufficiently cold today for fires and thick winter clothing; and unless there is a change there seems but little reason to fear an attack of the yellow fever. I still hear occasionally, however, of new cases. Mr. G. W. Bluford is very ill. Miss ___ Garrow, residing on the suburbs died of the fever today. There are some severe cases in the Alms House. Our remaining physicians still hesitate to recommend the return of our citizens before about the first of November. Several persons who returned home have sickened and died within a few days past. Notwithstanding this, many will no doubt return next week; and it is earnestly hoped all who do may escape.
I will venture some facts in connection with the progress of the mysterious and fatal epidemic that has remained here so long, and made so many houses vacant, and so may hearts sad.
It is quite certain that the rapid and precipitate flight of nearly two-thirds of the people was a fortunate and wise movement; for in the small population that remained, how extraordinary and fearful the mortality! The few remaining white citizens would no doubt have gone from the city, or the greater part of them, had they expected a visitation so swelling, indiscriminate and fatal in its attacks upon health and life.
Among those who have fallen, the Mayor, Hunter Woodis, has naturally excited the deepest interest and sympathy of this and other communities. Actuated by the noble impulses of his mature, he labored in behalf of the sick and suffering, till compelled himself to yield his health and life. But before the disease had spent its power upon the people, how many good and useful residents were taken, how many of our most estimable citizens, both male and female, were victims of the desolating scourge! Ten of our own physicians—men of great skill and experience in their profession, and some of them of extensive literary acquirements have fallen. No one imagined when the fever first broke out, that so many able physicians would fall.
In the two cities, seven ministers were taken, 3 Methodist, 2 Protestant Episcopal, 1 Catholic, 1 Baptist. The three other members of the resident clergy who remained in the city were ill; two lost their wives, and one an only son. Some of those who died were soon followed by other near relatives, including a daughter and a son.
Among the large number of ladies who died, there were some who were noted for their piety, usefulness and good works.
The churches have sustained an incalculable loss, a great bereavement, in the death of female members, who were immensely useful, and whose deeds of love and benevolence will be remembered long and fondly by those who are left to mourn.
The representative elect of the city is dead. A number of offices are left vacant. The president and teller of one of the banks are dead; the first and second accountants of another; the tell and discount clerk of another; the proprietor, chief clerk and book keeper of another; and the cashier of still another, are in the grave, and the wives of at least three of these are also dead.
The president of the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad, and the treasurer of the Norfolk and Petersburg Road, (and his wife,) are gone. The presidents and the members of the Select and Common Councils, and several of the Board of Health, are dead. The Postmaster and one of his clerks, the senior editor of the Beacon, the associate proprietor, and the foreman, and several connected with the city papers, were taken.
Three of the Custom House officers are dead.—The Deputy U. S. Marshall of the District, and the physician to the Marine Hospital, are gone. The Superintendent and Instructress of the City Orphan Asylum is dead. The Inspector General of Lumber, and the gentleman who held the offices of Treasurer of Christ Church, the Norfolk Military Academy, and Secretary of the Norfolk Provident Society, are dead. The jailor, who was also one of the Sergeant's deputies, and several of the city constables, together with others, whom I have not mentioned, are among the deceased office holders. All the hotel proprietors died. In Portsmouth, too, many offices have been rendered vacant by death.
Among those who have not had the disease are some of the oldest citizens. There is one 87 years of age, and another 76, the former a native of Scotland, but for nearly fifty years a resident of this city, and still active, who have not had the fever.—The younger of the two is a native of England.
There were, doubtless, many whose sickness was aggravated, and whose death was hastened by alarm. The disease, aiming its deadliest blows at the nervous system, and aided by fright, and the fear of death, it prostrated completely, in a day, some of the strongest, as well as many of the frail and infirm. Those who were addicted to intemperance and other habits of dissipation and irregularity generally fell an easy prey to the destroyer.—But, as I have before stated, no particular class was favored; persons of every description, of all habits, and every shade of moral character, all grades of physical constitution, swelled the list of the dead. The greatest personal precaution, the most able medical skill, the most vigilant watching, the most tender and careful nursing; the prayers and tears of devoted relatives and friends, the most heart-rending shrieks and lamentations of women, the loud shrill cries of sons and daughters of tender years, suddenly aroused to a full dread sense of the loss to be sustained—all, all were unavailing. Beating hearts grew still, eyes closed on all earthly things, and death would have the victory.
P. S.—I was informed, just before writing my last, that Mr. Chamberlane, the Cashier of the Farmers' Bank, had the fever. He is indisposed, but is not down with the disease.
Mrs. Dalrymple, wife of Mr. D., Master Stone Mason, who died ten days ago, expired today of the fever, at 12 o'clock, and was buried this afternoon.
Portsmouth, Oct. 14, 10 P. M.
Today's (Sunday's) sun came forth to shine with unusual brightness upon our town; its early rays erased a heavy frost which had collected the previous night, and sent it in a fluid form trickling through the gutters to the ground.
The Rev. Mr. Hume delivered three sermons today, the first in his own, the Court street Baptist Church; 2d, in the 2d High street Presbyterian Church; and the third in Norfolk. He is the only remaining minister of the Gospel in town. The Rev. Mr. O'Keefe, of Norfolk, officiated in the Catholic Church this morning.
The town has commenced to brighten up a little, and will soon be "itself again." Many well known forms and familiar faces are seen on our streets, all eager to return to their business, and seeming fond of their native, although deserted town.
The Crawford House, which was opened for the accommodation of doctors and nurses, by the Sanitary Committee, was closed yesterday.
Tailors are looked for with great anxiety by the remaining citizens, as overcoats, in fact clothing of every kind, is in great demand.
During the last 48 hours there were no deaths at all, and we could hear of no cases of fever—yellow fever. There are a great many cases of bilious, and it seems to be very fatal, among children particularly.
October 15, 6 A. M.—Another heavy frost last night. No deaths from yellow fever.
Norfolk, Oct. 13, 1855.
I regret to state that Richard H. Chamberlaine, Esq., Cashier of the Farmer's Bank, was attacked with the yellow fever today. I hear, too, that another very valuable and estimable citizen has been taken down, but as this needs confirmation, I will not now venture the name of the individual alluded to. I had hoped that the last case of the fever had been reported; but the enemy has not yet left our borders, and the shafts of death may yet strike some shining marks; other fond and devoted hearts may be wrung with anguish by the fell and merciless destroyer that has wasted so vast an amount of life, and made so may homes desolate, and left so many houses unoccupied, dark and still.
Miss Jane Lee, a very estimable lady, is exceedingly ill, and it is said cannot recover. There are several severe cases in the City Alms House, and a number of colored persons are down; but these latter, with very few exceptions, will probably recover. The fever has been much less fatal among this class of our population than among the whites; hundreds have had the disease and recovered.
The City Hotel, which was used as the Woodis Hospital, was set on fire last night in two places.—There were no cases of the fever in the establishment, and only two or three individuals were in at the time. The fire was extinguished very soon after the discovery was made. Had this large building been destroyed, no doubt a vast amount of valuable property would also have been consumed. The wind being high at the time, it is difficult to tell where the flames would have ended their destructive progress. This is evidence that there are some great rascals in our city ready for the perpetration of acts of the most heartless villainy; and the police officers are on the look-out for them.
After a cloudy and stormy night, which succeeded one of the most balmy and delightful autumnal days that ever smiled on the world, we had again today, a clear sky and bright sunshine; and the temperature is lower than on any other day of the season thus far. This induced our citizens to hope that we should have no more cases of the fever—and surely healthfulness and freedom from disease will very soon take the place of sickness and death.
I was requested a few days ago by a person in the country, to enquire about a highly respectable family on one of our principal streets. I called at the ample mansion this morning, and found it closed, locked and vacant! All was silent and gloomy. On enquiry I learned that all the family had died of the fever. The household consisted of four persons—the mother, a sister and two interesting daughters. They are all in the grave. How unsparing has been the furious disease that has spread over the entire limits of our city.
The orphans that occupied the Lecture Room of Christ Church, have been removed to the spacious building on Freemason street, formerly used as a boarding school by the lamented Mrs. Baylor—. Last Sunday, they were in attendance at Christ Church, during the service, and excited the interest and sympathy of all who saw them. They were neatly dressed, and generally looked well. There were bright eyes, blooming cheeks, and active graceful forms. The parents who had loved and nursed them had been taken from them by a mysterious Providence, but kind friends care for and watch over them. They will not feel again the mild and endearing influence of a mother's love and affection, or a father's devotion and protecting care, but true hearts feel for them, willing hands will save them from want, and care will be taken to render them comfortable and happy.
October 17, 1855.
The Norfolk Herald.
We announced yesterday that the Norfolk Herald has resumed publication, and will issue tri-weekly until its compositors are able to return, when it will again appear daily. We make this announcement with unusual pleasure. The Norfolk Herald is the oldest of the newspapers of Virginia, with the exception, perhaps, of that excellent journal, the Fredericksburg Herald. It is edited by Mr. Thos. G. Broughton, the veteran of the Virginia press, whose name is as intimately and honorable associated with the Herald and with Norfolk as was that of the late Thomas Ritchie with the Enquirer and with Richmond. The good sense, sound judgment and unvarying dignity which have ever characterized the Herald, have always given it an elevated position among the newspapers of Virginia, and commanded the profound respect of all political parties.
It has labored long and faithfully in the interests of Norfolk, and to no citizen was that town more indebted for its advancing prosperity, ere the pestilence visited it, than to the venerable editor of the Norfolk Herald. We can imagine his sorrow at the dark shadows which have been cast upon the city for which he has labored with so much zeal and ability. Alas, they have been deepened into darker shadows by the gloom which the angel of death has cast over his own beloved household! Yet, he still survives the wreck, and with manly courage, prepared once more to give his canvass to the breeze, and set sail again upon the stormy sea. Whilst many a garden flower has been blighted, and many a young tree uprooted, the aged oak has been spared, and is still able to battle with the tempest. We feel assured that the generous people of Norfolk fully appreciate the long and valuable services of the able editor and noble gentleman who has devoted his long life and his best talents and energies to their service. The absence so long of that old established journal from the galaxy of the Virginia press, has been like missing one of the familiar planets of our system. We hail its return as the Herald of health and joy, the morning star of Norfolk's returning prosperity.
We advise refugees to be cautious in returning to Norfolk. Mr. Henry Myers, who came from that city on Monday, says there has been nothing yet like a heavy frost—not enough to kill a rose. Mr. Myers went to Norfolk on Thursday and returned on Monday evening. Of three young men from Baltimore, who arrived in Norfolk the same evening with Mr. Myers, two are sick with the fever and one is dead. Mr. Myers, who is an experienced nurse and has remained in Norfolk throughout the whole of the dreadful visitation, says he considers it perilous in the extreme for families to return at this time to that city.
From Norfolk and Portsmouth.
The Norfolk Argus records the following deaths: Mrs. Robert Dalrymple, Miss Jane Garreau, (at the Alms House,) and Miss Jane S. Lee; also Francis Colley, a youth, (son of the late Col. John G. Colley) in the country.
October 18, 1855.
THE YELLOW FEVER.—Mr. Pickett has published a letter in which he endeavors to show the fallacy of the idea that the yellow fever was conveyed to Gosport by the steamer Ben Franklin. He denies positively that there were any cases of yellow fever on board, and states, moreover, that she discharged no cargo there, unless that term can be applied to some heavy articles of passenger's luggage. He thinks that the producing causes must be sought for elsewhere than in the visit of the Ben Franklin.
Mortality in Norfolk.
The Norfolk Argus, which has lately resumed publication, says that in the short space of less than ninety days, out of an average population of about six thousand, every man, woman and child (almost without exception) has been stricken with the yellow fever, and about two thousand have been buried, being not less than two out of three of the whites and one out of three of the whole abiding community of Norfolk, white and black. One-half of the Norfolk physicians who continued there are in the grave, and not less than thirty-six physicians, residents and visitors, have fallen in Norfolk and Portsmouth.
The records of pestilence may be searched in vain for such mortality.
NORFOLK.—We learn from the Norfolk Argus of yesterday that the first day of November has been fixed upon as the earliest day at which the refugees may return to Norfolk with safety. That action by the Board of Health was based on the following opinion, given by the resident and visiting physicians of the city:
"We, the undersigned, give it as our opinion, that it would be unsafe for them to do so before the first of November, or until such time as the thermometer shall indicate freezing weather. In support of the above opinion, we would state that there are now in the city several cases of fever among those who have returned within the past week."
Among the signatures to this opinion, we find that of Dr. John T. Hargrove, of Richmond.
Dr. Campbell, of New Orleans, has decided permanently to locate in Norfolk.
The Argus says that nearly half of the business houses of the city have been re-opened.
The Norfolk News learns that nuptials were celebrated a few days ago, between a widow and widower—the husband of the former having been dead just two weeks—and the spouse of the latter deceased five weeks previous. Quick work.
The Aid fire company has called a meeting for re-organization, many of its members having been swept off by the epidemic.
October 19, 1855.
Later From Norfolk.
The following letters, though behind-hand in reaching us, contain some things of interest, especially to the refugees:
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
Norfolk, Oct. 15th, 1855.
The return of warm weather, and also of some of the refugees, has caused the yellow fever to develop itself again in some new cases. Mr. Bean painter, and several others, among those who have come back, are down. Another son of the late Col. John G. Colley died today, and also Miss Jane Lee. These have been ill for several days, and have not been from home. The wind having changed to the south again, the temperature is warm, and it is probable there will be several days of mild, spring-like weather.
Let those who are absent beware how they return to this poisoned atmosphere, which, though apparently not injurious to those who are there—and who have gone through the ordeal—would no doubt be fatal and deadly to those who would come from abroad.
The progress of the yellow fever here has been very singular, and those who have been careful and thoughtful observers of its progress have not only been impressed with the malignity and rapidity of its attacks, but with its steady, gradual progress, in a northerly direction from its commencement. Manifesting itself in Gosport, a few rods from the massive gate of the U. S. Navy Yard, it soon spread desolation and dismay among the people, who fled panic-stricken in every direction. In a week or two it reached Portsmouth—treading on slowly, silently, invisibly, and fearfully. Soon Portsmouth was in alarm—the monster was there striking down some of the best of the citizens.—Five, six, seven, &c., died in a day. Then the citizens hurried away by the thousands, leaving but few to contend with the enemy and submit to its attacks. Twenty, and as many as thirty died daily, and there were four hundred cases in the town. Disease, suffering and death combined to render Portsmouth one of the most intensely afflicted communities in the world.
But the epidemic slowly strode on to Norfolk, and in a week or two the alarm was given that the yellow fever had broken out in Barry's Row. The number of cases increased, the people hurried away in consternation; but enough were left to feed the voracious cravings of the destroyer. Soon it appeared on Main street, then marching quietly on, in six weeks it had spread in almost every part of the city. Now, after the lapse of ten weeks, it still lingers about the suburbs. Satisfied at first with three or four victims per day; no less than 80 would appease the violence of the monster when its power was exercised to its full force.
Then the mortality gradually subsided to 50 per day; which continued for a week. After which there were reported 10, 25, 30, &c., every 24 hours, until nearly every remaining citizen, had either died or recovered from the disease.
Hastily yours, F.
Norfolk, Oct. 16th, 1855.
A press of business today prevented me from ascertaining definitely the facts with regard to the fever in the city. But I can state on authority that seems reliable, that there are several new cases, and that there have been four or five burials today. The new cases are, with one or two exceptions, among those who have returned. I shall be prepared to give the names in my next.
Matters are assuming a much more encouraging aspect. I will mention several things that are calculated to excite hope and relieve the hearts of the people of a portion of the burden of sorrow that has oppressed them so long: The appearance on the streets of many who are rapidly recovering from sickness; the opening of some of the stores; the increase of the number of carts and wagons at the market; the arrival of a schooner in port, loaded with coal; the re-issue of three of the daily papers; a full supply of wood in the dock; the appearance of ladies down town on some of the principal business streets, and a much greater noise made by drays and carts passing from place to place loaded with goods. But Norfolk is still a dull, gloomy city—a mere wreck compared with its former activity, bustle and advancement.
Signs of life and returning vigor appear, however, and the effects of the powerful blow that was inflicted are gradually passing off. Like a strong man, who had been overpowered and deprived for a while of his ability to act and move with his accustomed strength and force, our city is still sadly deficient in all those characters of active business, advancement and prosperity. Hundreds of the stores are closed, and hundreds of our most enterprising and extensive merchants are absent; and they dare not return to the city. And, alas, a number of the best of those who remained are silent in the grave. It is believed, however, by men of intelligence and sound judgment, that after the return of the citizens, and after the lapse of a few weeks, required to bring the various departments of business into their wonted channels, a new impulse will be given to commerce and local enterprises of every description, and that the progress of the city will be retarded but little, if any, in business and general prosperity. Some, however, are not of this opinion, and are discouraged, improperly asserting that many years will be required to place Norfolk and Portsmouth in the position in which they were found by the raging pestilence that has blasted so many bright hopes and arrested the progress of so many enterprises of importance.
Almost every interest of the city was in a prospering condition. A heavy business was transacted by many of our merchants and tradesmen; manufactories were busy and flourishing; a large number of vessels rode at our wharves; public and private buildings were being erected in different parts of the city; men of enterprise, character and capital were hastening hither, and settling among us, and the least visionary of our citizens thought their hopes of rapid advancement to increased wealth and greatness, were based upon a sure foundation. But suddenly all were appalled; commercial transactions were soon at an end; the ponderous wheels of machinery ceased to revolve, and were soon neglected, silent and rusty; the vessels of every class, the ocean ships, the noisy steamboats, and the slow-moving canal boats left our waters; buildings, large and small, were left half finished on every street, and the panic-stricken populace fled precipitately away by thousands—men, women and children, of every age, class and condition. So it has been with these afflicted towns.
But the pestilence has passed, and it is hoped, will return no more, for many long years, if ever. Let those, therefore, who are here be hopeful and active—those who are absent be patient till prudent to return, and then engage in the work of restoring our lost energies, and establishing our former character of commercial importance and rapid local advancement.
The physicians have decided that the absentees should not return until freezing weather. There is good reason for this decision. Let it be heeded by our absent people; anxious as they may be to return and delighted as their friends here would be to see them. *
Norfolk and Portsmouth.
We received yesterday evening by Mr. Hill, the polite and obliging Clerk of the steamer Augusta, the Norfolk Herald of yesterday morning, in advance of the mail. The Herald contains not a word about the fever; from which we conclude that there was neither a new case nor a death the day preceding its appearance. Indeed, there is not an obituary notice in the paper. It is grateful and refreshing to regard the face of our old friend, the Herald, thus without a paragraph of a funeral character. It looks like the return of its wonted good health to the venerable city.
We learn from the Herald, that the steamer Augusta, Capt. Smith made her first trip through to Norfolk, on Wednesday, and that she will now continue to run through to her wharf in that city. * * *
October 20, 1855.
Curious Facts Connected with the Norfolk Pestilence.
There are some curious facts connected with the progress of the late terrible visitation to Norfolk and Portsmouth, which seems to confirm the theory of Dr. Nott that this fever is of a traveling character and moves from South to North. It commenced in Rio Janeiro; reached New Orleans in 1853, where its ravages were terrible; in 1854 it scourged Savannah. It reached Portsmouth in 1855. In all previous visitations of yellow fever, Norfolk was first attacked, and from thence that disease was transmitted to Portsmouth. But this year the disease started in Portsmouth, which lies South of Norfolk, and its whole march from the beginning was Northward. Its progress through the whole period was always greater in a North and North Easterly direction, than West and North West. Thus it crossed the water to Norfolk, a mile distant from Portsmouth in a few days after its appearance in Portsmouth; whilst it did not reach the U. S. Naval Hospital, which lies nearly West of Norfolk and Northwest of Portsmouth, for two months. When it did appear there, there were very few cases, and these generally manageable. Old Point is in the due North line of its track, and it will be remembered that at a late period of the season there were one or two cases there. It is some consolation to know, if this theory be true, that Richmond lies nearly due West from Norfolk, and that we are consequently not in the track of the pestilence.
A very intelligent gentleman, who adopts the idea that the plague is caused by animalculae, mentions a statement which he has heard, that soon after the interment of a corpse in a vault adjoining a church, in England, the communion was administered in the church, and nearly all who partook of the elements were taken sick and some died.—The wine merchant from whom the wine had been procured was arrested on a charge of poisoning.—While the subject was in agitation, some persons on entering the church, saw by the rays of the sun streaming through a partly opened window shutter millions of animalculae floating about in the light. These animalculae seemed to have an affinity for fluids, especially for wine, some of which was placed in the church, and it was soon filled with animalculae, and upon a test being applied, the wine was found to be poisoned. The animalculae were afterwards proved to have emanated from the above ground vault where the dead body had been recently buried.
Our informant also refers to the curious appearance of the plague fly. It is a fact, established beyond contradiction, that after the plague had culminated in Portsmouth, this curious fly appeared. It is between the size of a mosquito and ordinary fly; and changed its color from red to yellow.—Where did the plague flies come from? They seem to have escaped the observation of natural historians. Our friend suggests that they may be the animalculae, generated by the dead bodies, in a certain stage of their being.
In this connection, a singular fact is stated by an eminent Judge of this State, which seems to sustain the theory of Dr. Nott and of our Portsmouth friend. It is that the great pest to the agriculturist, the Joint Worm, travels from South to North always in a certain line, and never exceeding a certain breadth. So uniform are its movements that if he only knows when it has reached the North Carolina line, or any given point whatever South of his residence, he can estimate with considerable exactness the time when it will reach his own plantation.
We are not prepared to advocate any particular theory on the subject, but the facts stated seem to us worthy the consideration of men of science.
Norfolk and Portsmouth.
We have the Herald and Argus of yesterday and the News of Thursday __ __. The News __ the following paragraph:
"We learned that there were some five or six __ cases of fever in Newtown, Gosport, yesterday, all of them returned citizens.
The Herald notices the arrival in the Augusta of a considerable number of refugees who had been scattered along the river. The Herald calls upon the absentees to wait longer before they venture back. Thursday, it says, was a warm day, and cases of sickness were still occurring though there had been no death by fever since Monday.
October 22, 1855.
Norfolk and Portsmouth.
The Norfolk Herald and Argus of Saturday morning are received. Neither of them mention any new cases. The Argus speaks of the increase of the signs of business and returning activity; but it abjures absentees to remain away a little longer.
The Portsmouth Transcript of Friday evening states that there have been recently a number of cases of fever, mostly bilious, and chiefly confined to those who have returned home. Within five days there had been seven or eight cases of yellow fever, some of which it was thought would prove fatal.
Dr. Williams, of Charleston, one of the volunteer physicians, has determined to take up his residence in Norfolk. He was very successful with the fever.
October 23, 1855.
History of the Fever in Norfolk.
The Charleston Standard has a long article, giving a history of the rise and progress of the yellow fever in Norfolk. The reminiscences of its earlier stages, are not without interest.
The steamship Ben Franklin, (Capt. Buynam,) which it is generally supposed brought the disease, arrived at quarantine, direct from St. Thomas, on the 7th of June last, with no case of fever on board, and with but two deaths reported since leaving the last port, one of which occurred from apoplexy, and the other from exhaustion. She was detained at quarantine until the 19th of June, when no evidence of disease occurring, she was allowed to come up to Gosport, and to the ship yard of Messrs. Page & Allen, next the Portsmouth Navy Yard, for repairs. It is stated that here, in violation of his obligations, the captain opened his hold. Hands from the Navy Yard and elsewhere were employed in and about the vessel, but no sickness occurred until the 4th of July. On that day one of the hands was somewhat exposed, by participating in the festivities of the occasion, and on the night of the 6th of July, was attacked by a disease, attended with pains in the back and limbs and high fever, which was pronounced by the attending physician yellow fever. The attack terminated fatally seven days after its commencement.
Another man who was employed on the vessel at quarantine, and up to the 11th of July, was taken down on that day with the disease, but after nine days recovered. Another hand, who left before the hold was opened, did not take the fever until August, after it had become epidemic; but his sister, who lived in the same house with him, took the fever on the 15th of July, and died on the 21st. Every effort was then made to isolate the infected district from Portsmouth, but it was too late. Other cases were reported in that place on the 24th, and on the 1st of August fifteen or twenty cases were reported in Norfolk, after which the disease increased and raged with a destructiveness unparalleled in the history of pestilence.
The last appearance in those cities of yellow fever, to any serious extent, was, it is said, in 1852, and it seems that the same thermal and atmospheric phenomena were witnessed during both seasons. In both, the season was unusually hot and sultry during the months of July and August, and though there were frequent showers there was an unusual absence of lightning and thunder.
It is also mentioned among facts of general interest connected with the pathological characteristics of this disease, that the fever assumed more or less of a typhoid form, as was evinced by the length of time that was necessary to a recovery—that persons of plethoric temperament were the greatest sufferers—that those laboring under chronic disease, or constitutional debility, seldom survived. The mode of practice adopted by the medical gentlemen of Charleston is believed to have been most successful. They left nature to fight out the battle with the disease, giving the constitution only that assistance and support that it truly needed. The Standard adds that this system of practice has been developed by long experience in Charleston, and reduced the deaths in the last epidemic which visited that city to less than five per cent. of cases.
Negroes, though liable to the disease, were much less so than whites. Thus, for instance, the white population remaining in Ward No. 1 was 640, and there had been in that ward 550 cases; while the blacks remaining in that ward amounted to 249, out of which there had been only 70 cases.
Of the sixteen resident physicians ten died. Of forty physicians who came from the North, principally from Pennsylvania, twenty-six died. Those from Southern latitudes were not so liable to the disease. Of seventy physicians and nurses from Charleston, only two died.
The Standard notes as one of the most painful circumstances attending the epidemic, the almost utter isolation of those who were compelled to remain in the city. The clouds did not begin to brighten until about the 30th of September, but even now they have not entirely broken away nor will they till a heavy frost. Deaths are still occurring among the refugees who losing sight in their impatience of the dictates of prudence, have returned too soon.
NORFOLK.—The Norfolk Argus of yesterday chronicles three new cases of fever, which occurred on Saturday, among those who had returned from abroad. On Friday night there was a heavy rain storm, which left the streets of the city well washed and clean. * * *Dr. Samuel K. Jackson, brother of the late Rev. Wm. M. Jackson, is about to leave Loudoun county and become a resident of Norfolk. Speaking of the late Dr. Thos. F. Constable, who died during the epidemic, the Argus says that, for fear of exciting alarm among his friends, he conversed with his attending physicians in Latin, and assured them that he knew his condition, and would soon be in another world. The Norfolk Herald says the epidemic still exists in the city, and cites the case of a daughter of J. Odendhal, who, since the epidemic, has been living out of the city, but recently came back, and though staying but a short time, is now quite ill of the fever.
October 24, 1855.
Norfolk and Portsmouth.
We have the Norfolk Herald of yesterday, but it has not a word about the fever. We learn that on Friday Bob Butt, the grave digger of Portsmouth, stated that on Friday he buried five, and had orders for four graves on Saturday.
Dr. Hargrove of this city arrived yesterday evening from Norfolk. He is in good health. He has done good service in Norfolk, where he was through the severest period of the epidemic. His success was very remarkable. Citizens of Norfolk award to the Doctor the highest credit for his indefatigable attentions to the sick, as well as for the skill and success with which he treated the disease of yellow fever.
REV. S. S. BRYANT.—This able minister of the Methodist church, preached a few days since at Madison, N. C. Besides the recent affliction of losing an intelligent boy by drowning, both his parents died of the fever in Norfolk.
October 25, 1855.
FROM NORFOLK.—The Norfolk Argus of yesterday chronicles the names of the following refugees, who returned and are now lying ill with the fever: James Warren, York street; T. Conrad, Allyntown; Mrs. Bew and Mrs. Jacobs; Mrs. Sexton, Barraud Court, and child of Mrs. Jacobs.
October 26, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—The Norfolk Herald notices the death by yellow fever of a servant of Mr. Thomas Gatewood, who returned there on the 15th inst.
The Argus notices two new cases of fever in Norfolk.
The papers of both Norfolk and Portsmouth warn refugees against returning home yet.
October 27, 1855.
REMARKABLE CASE OF DEATH FROM FEVER.—The Norfolk Argus states that Richard Keeling, a colored man, who returned a few days since and opened the book and music store of Messrs. C. Hall & Co., for the purpose of airing it, was taken sick and died on Wednesday. He was a valuable and trustworthy servant, who was hired by Mr. Hall, and belonged to Thos. Gatewood. His death is a warning to absentees to be cautious and not to be in a hurry to re-enter their houses.
NORFOLK.—The Norfolk News of Thursday evening says that a large number of citizens returned the morning of that day. The bracing northwester was driving them home.
October 29, 1855.
ASTONISHING EFFECTS OF GUANO.—The Norfolk News says that a gentleman in Portsmouth, a believer in Capt. Cocke's preventative of yellow fever, (guano) purchased a bag of it, which he sprinkled around his dwelling. The fever being pretty hot in his neighborhood, he fled to the country. Returning a few days ago, he proceeded to ventilate his premises, when, to his utter astonishment and agreeable surprise, he found that his house had grown a story higher.
NORFOLK.—The Argus of Saturday reports two new cases of fever there—both returned refugees. One is Mr. Thos. Standard, and the other a child of Capt. John Gaylord. George Finner, reported sick, is dead. The Argus, speaking of Dr. Jno. T. Hargrove, of Richmond, says: "He has done good service here, where he was through the severest period of the epidemic. His success was very remarkable. Our citizens award to the Doctor the highest credit for his indefatigable attentions to the sick, as well as for the skill and success with which he treated the disease of yellow fever."
There was a frost in Norfolk Friday night.
October 30, 1855.
NORFOLK.—We are indebted to the kindness of Purser Hill of the Augusta, for Norfolk papers in advance of the mail. The Argus says that an unknown man was found Monday, lying ill of the fever, on Myers' wharf. He was taken up and properly cared for. The steamer Louisiana arrived from Baltimore, Monday, for the first time since the commencement of the fever. The store of Mr. Wm. B. Stewart, on Bank street, was broken open during the epidemic, and some articles of provisions taken out. The theft was discovered Monday. Dr. Horwitz, of New York, has sent a receipt to Norfolk, of a compound, for the fumigation of the stores and dwellings which have been closed. The "United" Fire Company paraded Monday, in attendance on the funeral of a deceased member. The Herald notices the largely increased size of the congregations of the different churches, last Sunday.
November 1, 1855
NORFOLK.—The steamer Curtis Peck, from Richmond, touched at her wharf at Norfolk on Tuesday, being laden with a large number of the returning refugees, a portion of them being persons who had encamped at Sandy Point. * * *
The Argus notices a remarkable case that happened there. It says:—A few months before the yellow fever broke out, a minister who was not a resident of the city, while preaching in one of our churches, and urging his hearer to repent, remarked that he was impressed with the idea that Norfolk would soon be visited with some great calamity, and declared that he would not be in the condition of many of the citizens for the whole world. A gentleman present on the occasion, noticed particularly the strange prediction, and when the fearful disease commenced its ravages upon the people the remarks of the preacher were recalled to mind with singular force and appropriateness.
After the fever had made its appearance on Wide Water street and seemed to be subsiding, and while the citizens were vainly hoping that the mysterious and subtle agent of destruction would spend its force in a week or two, the resident minister of the church alluded to, signified his belief with strange and startling earnestness, that the disease would rage with extraordinary severity.
"I shall not be surprised," he continued, "if thousands of our citizens are carried off by the pestilence that has already commenced its work of death." It is a singular fact that the pictures of death that he drew, seemed to uncalled for, and were so unexpected by some of his hearers, that remarks were made in regard to their alarming and exciting nature.
November 5, 1855.
FOR THE ORPHANS.—We have received from Mr. Thomas J. Adams, of Charlotte, through the hands of Messrs. Booker & Watkins, $5, for the Portsmouth orphans.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—The Herald of Saturday, says that new cases are still occurring in Norfolk. The latest are two Germans on Newton Street—one of whom expired Wednesday and the other Friday. The fever which carried them off, was of the genuine African type, and very violent. The churches of all the denominations were to have been open yesterday for divine service.—The Herald acknowledges the receipt of $24.50 from the public school of Newark, Ohio, for the Orphans. Upon the arrival of the steamship Roanoke at her wharf Thursday evening, the News says a large number of citizens, who were assembled to see her come in, welcomed her with cheers, which were answered by those on board. The list of uncalled for letters published in the News, fills over three columns of that paper. Many of the persons to whom they are directed, are numbered with the dead. . . . .The Portsmouth Transcript thinks that in another week, all the "refugees" from that city will have returned and commenced business. The admissions at the naval hospital from the 25th of July to the 10th of October, amounted to 587, of which 379 were discharged, and 208 died. Of those who died, 73 were in a hopeless condition when application was made for their admission. The Transcript publishes a list of uncalled for letters remaining in the post office at that place, in which we recognize many names of the dead.
November 7, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—The papers in Norfolk and Portsmouth record no new cases of fever. The Argus says that business is at a dead stand in Norfolk but the prospects for better times are cheering. * * *
The Macon House in Portsmouth, which has been closed during the epidemic, is to be opened today.
November 8, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—The Argus of yesterday announces that the Howard Association of Norfolk closed their depot, at Ashland Hall, for the distribution of provisions, on the day before. The Herald notices the reviving trade of the city, and mentions the fact that the spot where a pile of goods for shipment stood on Tuesday, had been occupied but a few weeks before by a grim pile of coffins sent from Richmond.
November 10, 1855.
Virginia Medical and Surgical Journal—
Drs. Selden, Upshur and Gooch.
The November number of this capital medical journal, one of the very best in the United States, is promptly before us.
Among the able editorials, we observe just and touching tributes to some of the heroic and noble-hearted physicians who fell bravely battling with the pestilence which has lately scourged our sister cities of Portsmouth and Norfolk. The sketches of the lamented Selden, Upshur and Gooch are highly interesting. Dr. Selden was one of the most thoroughly educated men of his profession in the United States. As a physician, he was noted for his skill in diagnosis and judicious management of disease. His mechanical dexterity and calm temperament alike fitted him especially for surgery. He had determined to go last spring for his health to the Virginia mountains, but when the yellow fever appeared in his city, he stood firm at the post of duty and honor, and for two months battled with the pestilence, until he himself fell, one of its noblest victims. An unselfish, affectionate and generous man, all who knew Henry Selden loved him. He perished in his early prime, being just thirty-eight years of age.
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 that 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 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 36th year of his age.
The following graceful tribute to the memory of the lamented Gooch, of Richmond, is copied by the Medical Journal from the pages of the Stethoscope, 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, 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 and 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 discouragement of a pioneer in that sphere of labor.
"Perhaps his characteristic trait was a bold, 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."
November 13, 1855.
PORTSMOUTH AND NORFOLK.—A letter from a gentleman who had just returned to Portsmouth, dated Saturday, states that there were two cases of fever there, which must terminate fatally.—They were the cases of Joseph Reynold and Charles Snead, two young men who had returned, one two weeks since and the other three. The writer states that had he been aware of the condition of things there, he would not have gone back to soon.
During the month of October there were 50 interments in Cedar Grove, Elmwood and Potter's Field Cemeteries, of which 29 were of yellow fever. This does not include the burials in the Catholic burying ground.
November 14, 1855.
AID FOR THE AFFLICTED.—We are informed by the Grand Secretary of the Grand Grove of Virginia U. A. O. D., that he has received through __ Henry Hart, Esq. of Williamsburg, L. I. __ York, from the Groves of New York and Miss__ the handsome sum of $339.15, for the benefit of __ widows and orphans of deceased members of __ order in Portsmouth.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—We learned from a gentleman who reached this city Monday afternoon, that the fever has again appeared at Portsmouth, and that there were twenty-one cases there Sunday. There have been four deaths since Saturday, among them young Reynolds and Snead, whose illness we mentioned yesterday. He says the weather in Norfolk and Portsmouth is damp and disagreeable, and the very worst during which cases of fever could occur. The Transcript of yesterday does not mention these facts, but our informant is perfectly reliable, and we fear the sad news is too true. The Norfolk papers mention no new cases of fever there.
November 15, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—In the Norfolk and Portsmouth papers of yesterday we find no statement confirming the publication in regard to the re-appearance of yellow fever in those cities. The Petersburg papers of yesterday, however, state that a number of new cases had occurred in those cities, and the Southside Democrat says that Capt. Samuel Watts is down with it. A citizen of Richmond who had gone to Portsmouth to reside, returned yesterday afternoon in consequence of the numerous cases of fever which have appeared there in the past few days. He report four deaths there Sunday. The telegraph office in Portsmouth opens today.
November 16, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—The Portsmouth Transcript of Wednesday afternoon contradicts the statements put forth in regard to the re-appearance of yellow fever there, and denies that any case has occurred recently. The Norfolk Argus asserts that that city is perfectly healthy.
November 17, 1855.
FROM PORTSMOUTH.—The following is the first message received in this city, since the opening of the Portsmouth line:
"PORTSMOUTH, Friday, 10 A. M.
"This line is now in operation, and the office here is ready to receive all business offered. The report that there had been several cases of yellow fever here in the last week, is untrue. The Macon House is now in full blast. Thanksgiving day was solemnly observed here yesterday, and all business was suspended. Everything looks quite lively this morning. J.W.C.
November 19, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—The Howard Association of Norfolk has officially announced that there has but one case of fever occurred there since the 26th of October among persons who were not in the city prior to that date. The last case was that of Wm. R. Vail, who returned prior to the 26th. The association state positively that the fever is now at an end. * * *
The Portsmouth Transcript positively denies the existence of the fever in that city. The Common Council of Portsmouth have requested the Mayor to call a meeting of the citizens to consult on the propriety of some manifestation of gratitude to those who aided them during the late epidemic. * * *
November 21, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH AFFAIRS.—At a meeting of the City Council of Norfolk, on Monday evening, Ezra T. Summers, Esq., is chosen Mayor of the city.
. . . . The Transcript notices the advent of a large number of strangers in the city in search of employment, but thinks they will be disappointed, as the vacancies occasioned by the fever have been filled.
November 24, 1855.
NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH.—There was ice in Norfolk quarter of an inch thick on Thursday. * * *
The Argus published a fact in connection with the pestilence not mentioned. It says that when the steamer Ben Franklin was lying in the outer harbor, and before she was unfortunately allowed to go to the ship yard in Gosport, two dead bodies, in a very bad condition, floated up to the wharf at Fort Norfolk, and they were seen by reliable individuals, in a horrible state of decomposition.
Two corpses also floated ashore in another direction, and it is believed they had all been thrown overboard from the Ben Franklin. It learns from the same source that several individuals, supposed to be seamen, jumped overboard from the ill-fated steamer, swam ashore, and made their escape.—There were no doubt, cases of fever of a very malignant type on board, and these were the causes of the singular conduct on the part of some of the ship's crew.
Is Yellow Fever Migratory from South to North?
We find in the National Intelligencer, several articles upon this subject copied from a New Orleans paper, entitled the Creole, which states that they are from the pen of one of the ablest physicians in that city. That may possibly be the fact, but if he is not more accurate in his practice than in his articles we should extremely dislike to be one of his patients.
He refers to an article in the Dispatch, giving the statement of a citizen of Portsmouth that the disease moved in that city from South to North, and upon this narrow foundation he builds the astounding assertion that the Dispatch not only affirms that the yellow fever is to proceed North, but in a direct line, and that it instances Portsmouth (double commas and italics his own) being "attacked before Norfolk, because it was in the direct line south of Norfolk." "Norfolk was in a direct line from Portsmouth, where it first struck in its line North, and hence the great mortality there." "The United States Naval Hospital was Northwest of Portsmouth, and hence its escape for two months." Not one single sentence thus quoted, and put into our mouths by this learned New Orleans doctor, did we ever utter. He might, therefore, have spared those oracular exclamations of "Ridiculous," which, from the awful eminence of his great knowledge, he has cast upon our humble heads. The article in question was simply a statement of the progress of the fever in Norfolk, which traveled there from South to North, and this, we remarked, "seemed to confirm the theory of Dr. North [Nott]," but we expressly added, "We are not prepared to advocate any particular theory on the subject, but the facts stated seem to us worthy the consideration of men of science."
Hence, we have no controversy with this New Orleans doctor either as to the theory of Dr. North [Nott], or his own theory in regard to the causes of yellow fever. Heaven forbid that we, unlearned and miserable laymen, should undertake to explain mysteries which physicians themselves, the New Orleans doctor included, know no more about than the child unborn. If "the great public is alarmed," we are glad to hear it, and hope it will put its household in order. Disclaiming again the adoption of any particular theory, the "great public" ought not to forget the fact that in 1852 this malignant disease attacked Rio, in 1853 New Orleans, in 1854 Savannah, in 1855 Norfolk—a steady migration Northward, which may or may not be checked in 1856. At all events, the city or community which does not take warning from this movement, and adopt every precaution of thorough purification, exhibits a criminal and unpardonable neglect of its own welfare and of the dictates of humanity. These precautions may be unavailing, but, in that event, if yellow fever once makes its appearance in any city or town, there is no safety, as the whole history of that terrible plague attests, but in the removal of the entire population.
November 26, 1855.
We gave on Saturday a statement from the Norfolk Argus, respecting dead bodies, putrid and decomposed, thrown over from the Ben Franklin, to which some attribute the origin of the fever in that city. Others speak of the offensiveness of the wharves and yards, and of the digging up and exposure by the United States government of a large amount of offensive debris from the bottom of the shallow stream at Portsmouth, and of the filling numerous hollows with it during the warm season. These in combination with the hot and humid weather, and the stagnant air, are supposed by many to account sufficiently for the calamitous visitation of the pestilence. Others, at the head of whom is Dr. Nott, maintain that the present disease is migratory in its character, and that it is proceeding from South to North, and will run its race without reference to any preparations that human skill or caution may exercise against it.
December 1, 1855.
THE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR NORFOLK.—A letter writer from Portsmouth to the Petersburg Express, says that the contributions for yellow fever sufferers in Norfolk and Portsmouth, reached $310,000, of which Portsmouth received $80,000.
December 4, 1855.
* * * There has not been but one circumstance to mar our felicity, and that I am happy to say is at last passing away. The pestilence which has prevailed for the last three months in the city of Norfolk and town of Portsmouth has cast a gloom over the whole state. We sincerely lament with our fellow citizens the ravages and desolation which death has wrought among them. It has awakened the deepest sympathy throughout our own borders, and proved that the kindly ties of brotherly affection pervade our sister states, who, with our own people, have contributed largely to relieve the wants and minister to the comfort of the afflicted. We can but entertain the hope that with the return of the citizens to their homes, and the restoration of their health, business and commerce will revive, and renewed prosperity may attend them. Viewing this visitation as a subject for humiliation, and a suitable opportunity for acknowledging our dependence upon a kind Providence, I thought it a proper occasion for setting apart a day of thanksgiving, and recommending its observance throughout the state, under a sense of gratitude for the removal of this impending affliction, and for the unnumbered blessings hitherto bestowed upon us as a people. In accordance with this recommendation, the day was observed. * * *
Correspondence of the Dispatch.
Portsmouth, Dec. 2d, 1855.
The fever has disappeared entirely, leaving us mysteriously as it came, but leaving also an aching void in many a heart, and sad vacancies around many a hearth. But withal there is much apparent cheerfulness, and among some a show of absolute levity. The levity is exhibited chiefly by those who saw the most of the disease, who were in its midst helping and consoling, but who became at length, perfectly callous to any impression death beds are capable of making. One hears every day numerous unprinted episodes in the history of the scourge, some of which are painful, some melancholy or pathetic, and others ludicrous. You have heard of the incident at the hospital where one victim was willing to bet another that he, the other, would be alive in the morning. It actually occurred, and the betting gentleman is still alive, hale and hearty, ready to make a wager on any probable contingency. An instance occurred at the Hospital, which evinced the most perfect coolness and nonchalance in the face of death. The individual concerned was a particular and intimate friend of the writer. A fit of black vomit came on him and rising up in the bed and relieving himself by a copious discharge, he remarked: "Them's the slides that take the boys off," and lying back, his breath soon left his body. "Slides," you remember are the planks or platforms used aboard ships to slide the coffins containing the dead out into the sea.
There has been a manifest overlooking of the claims to notice a portion of the heroes and heroines of the late epidemic. Dr. Virginius Bilisolly has been most cavalierly and unjustly ignored. I risk nothing in saying he attended more cases than any other one physician, and rarely did he retire any night before 2 or 3 o'clock, to be up again in a few hours, and out again. His success was equal to his exertions, as he lost but a small per centage of his patients where he got to them in time. His medicine, his time, his energies were extended with a free hand wherever there was a call upon them. In his labor of love he was assisted by his brother, Dr. Augustus Bilisolly who was very energetic and attentive, and by his heroic wife, who, late and early, assisted in putting up his prescriptions and others that came in. In the hearts of the Portsmouth people there is erected a monument of gratitude to this family that will last as long as the tearful remembrance of the desolating scourge. In this mention of Dr. B. there is no intention to be invidious. All did their parts nobly and unselfishly, but I think there has been much less said of him than he richly deserved to have been said in both a grateful and complimentary spirit. * * * NEWTON.
December 7, 1855.
CREDIT FOR HONORABLE SERVICE.—The Secretary of the Navy has addressed a complimentary letter to the U. S. Medical Corps, attached to the Naval Hospital, near Norfolk, expressing the appreciation in which the Department holds their self sacrificing spirit and acts of humanity to the suffering sick during the late terrible epidemic. The officers referred to are Surgeons Lewis W. Minor, T. B. Steele, James F. Harrison, Randolph Harrison, John C. Cleman, and Francis H. Walker.
December 8, 1855.
NORFOLK AFFAIRS.—Dr. Robert M. Gordon, Health Officer of Norfolk, publishes a card disproving the statement published in a Northern paper to the effect that he received a bribe to pass the steamer Ben Franklin into port. He also says that he only received $133 for health certificates given to refugees, and took the fee from none who he did not think were fully able to pay it.
December 25, 1855.
NORFOLK AFFAIRS.—The Howard Association have rented a commodious building on Church street, for the orphans.
December 27, 1855.
NORFOLK AFFAIRS.—* * * Seventeen members of the Free Mason Street Baptist Church fell during the epidemic, and the Rev. Tiberius Jones, the pastor, preached an eloquent sermon in memory of them on Sunday.
January 9, 1856
Dr. Charles Robinson, the Superintendent of the Howard Hospital in Norfolk during the epidemic, died in Charleston, S. Carolina, last week, while on his way from Augusta, Ga., to Norfolk, where he intended to reside. Dr. R. was an Englishman, and came to this country from the West Indies, intending to go to the Crimea. While in Richmond he heard of the epidemic in Norfolk, and went there to aid the suffering inhabitants. After the close of the epidemic there he went to Augusta, Ga., and took charge of a hospital, but was returning to Norfolk when he died suddenly in Charleston, S. C.
January 14, 1856
The Yellow Fever vs. Figs.
The Norfolk Argus states that not more than about 25 per cent. of the fig crop in that vicinity came to maturity; and assign the yellow fever that prevailed there during the summer as the cause. It says:
A large portion of every kind, except a small white variety, called "the celestial fig," exhibited signs of decay before they were fully ripe. A small soft spot was first observed, generally on the fig towards and nearest the ground. This increased rapidly until the whole fig was a mass of very offensive and disgusting putrid matter. It may be worthy of note, too, that portions of the leaves on some of the shade trees changed to a dark color, and withered as early as the middle of September.
January 16, 1856
The Late Pestilence in Portsmouth.
Some accounts of the ravages of this disease in Portsmouth have been lately published, while we learn from the most reliable sources are much exaggerated. It was bad enough in all conscience, but not as bad as those accounts represent. So large a portion of the population had left Portsmouth during the fever, that it was impossible for the disease to have made such ravages as are represented in the accounts referred to. The whole number of deaths in that city, according to Dr. Schoolfield, one of the most accurate of statisticians, could not have exceeded nine hundred. Yet there was scarcely a family that remained that escaped, and it is the calculation of Dr. Schoolfield that 96 per cent. of the remaining population suffered from the disease.
Portsmouth is now enjoying its ancient proverbial health, and will soon regain its old prosperity. It is a beautiful and true-hearted Virginia town, and has a future before it brighter than its past. It has never been subject to visitations of yellow fever, and the late pestilence may be regarded rather as one of those exceptional visitations to which all the seaboard cities are at long intervals exposed. If the theory be correct, that the late yellow fever is of a migratory character, traveling from South to North, it may be half a century before Portsmouth is again visited with such a scourge.
January 17, 1856.
We derived no little pleasure, the present week, from meeting with Messrs. Holt Wilson and J. G. Holliday, of Portsmouth, who distinguished themselves during the prevalence of yellow fever in that city last summer and fall, by their active exertions to relieve the sufferings and wants of their fellow-citizens. When we remembered what they endured, and what perils they survived, that they had, as it were, traversed "the valley of the shadow of death"—it seemed strange that we beheld them in health and cheerfulness, again engaged in the busy scenes of life. Men who have given such proofs of moral courage—such readiness to sacrifice themselves for the good of their fellow creatures, deserve the respect and applause of mankind.