THE SEIGE OF SUFFOLK
June 21, 2003
On June 21, 2003, The Pickett Society sponsored a one-day tour of the Suffolk area with particular emphasis on the Siege of Suffolk, which occurred during 1863. We began the day with a walking tour of Cedar Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of many Confederate soldiers and their families. Suffolk Chapter No. 173 UDC was most gracious in providing the group with coffee and doughnuts as we began our walk.
Other sites viewed and visited include Suffolk's old train station (now a museum), Riddick's Folly, Skeetertown Cemetery, Battery Onondaga, and Col. John Phillip's 1840's home (private residence).
One of our first stops was in the cemetery in Skeetertown. It is located in what was once a thriving community of free black people. Katheryne Hamilton stands at the grave of her great grandfather, Jason Boone, who served with the Confederate Army. The old gentleman lived until he was 106 years old and was the father of 30 children by two wives.
The Nansemond River Golf Club allowed our group to use golf carts to transport us the one-half mile from the club to Hill's Point Battery, also known as Fort Huger. Captain Robert M. Stribling of the Fauquier Artillery, all soldiers, and guns located at Hill's Point Battery were captured April 19, 1863. Captain Stribling's grandson, William C. Stribling, and his sons, Jim and Henry, were with us during the tour.
These earthworks on the Nansemond River known as Battery Onondaga have been preserved by the forward-thinking people in the Suffolk community. Within a stone's throw of this site are hundreds of condominiums and construction of a new five-star hotel.
Cypress Vale, Sallie Ann Corbell's home place, as seen from Chuckatuck Creek. Pilings from the orginial dock can be seen in the water to the right of the standing dock. The sun porch and siding are modern additions.
The Nansemond River Golf Club is built near the site of several military actions during the Siege of Suffolk. After a tasty meal and door prizes, the distinguished speakers took over.
(L-R) Steven A. Cormier (author of "The Siege of Suffolk"), Kermit Hobbs (co-author of "Pictorial History of Suffolk"), Lee Hart (Pickett Society member and tour organizer), and Brian Steele Wills (author of several books, including "War Hits Home").
The Captain Latane, owned by Buddy and Jack Eure, Jr., is a 50-foot buy boat, so named because it was used to buy the day's catch from smaller boats that came alongside of it. The engine house is raised to allow the deck to be underwater, just in case the day's catch is particularly plentiful.
Underway on board the Captain Latane on the Nansemond River, we set a course for the mouth of the James River to view the site of the battle of the C.S.S. Virginia and the Monitor.
As our tour came to an end, the participants were greeted back onshore by Lynn Pope, who had used an old recipe to bake dozens of sumptuous sugar cookies, all decorated by hand. Liquid refreshments also were provided to the tired, but happy, group.
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