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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 154 [04-23-1862]


  Farenhold�s House, on the York River, with part of Fede-
ral Battery, No 1.

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
turesque creek or stream with steep banks, beyond
which we could see the white tents of our troops
(where are they not on this peninsula, I wonder?) in
relief against the wet, green foliage.  Further on,
at the verge of the fields, the shot and shell and can-
non piled there reminded one of a navy yard.  Be-
hind, all was flat, open country, stretching away to
the York River.
  Under the fickle April sky, with a huge slate-col-
ored cloud growing darker every minute on the 
western horizon, and �looking like a foul bombard
that would shed its liquor,� the prospect was cheer-
less enough.  The earth seemed drenched; at every
step through the swampy fields our horses plashed
fetlock deep in water.  The fences were broken or
removed for firewood; the corn-stalks rotten; great
and small pools lay here and there and everywhere.
I observed that only about half an acre of land had
been plowed.  Straight across this dreary land-and-
water-scape, the road led directly to an ugly, formal
house, beyond a blossoming cherry orchard, the
ground of which had been further utilized by the
planting of corn.  This house was the goal of our 
  A wooden building (like all the houses hereabout),
painted of a reddish brown, under a sub-structure of
whitewashed brick, with a tall chimney and protect-
ing lightning rod at either end, it stands upon the
shore of the York River, its rear commanding a
distant view of Gloucester and Yorktown.  From the
porch, or better still, from the upper windows, we
saw both distinctly by the aid of a field glass, even
to the houses, the Rebel flags, and a wharf and long
building at Gloucester Point, from which locality as

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
from its besieged neighbor on the nearer shore, we
were about two miles distant.  To the left, close
by, and between us and Yorktown, was Wormley
Creek, a pretty stream, with several green islets in
it, almost worth of the name of river.  I have
alluded to its picturesque appearance inland in a 
preceding paragraph.  On the other side of the York 
River the shore presented a mere woody fine, with
tall trees, pre-eminent in one particular spot.
  The river looked broad and black and lonely, on
the occasion of our visit, with only a few rods visible
in it, denoting the existence of oyster-beds, and far
away to the right five Union gunboats.  As we
gazed, the threat of the huge slate-colored cloud was
fulfilled, and a smart shower drove us into the house
for shelter; nor us alone, for the place and grounds
swarmed with Uncle Sam�s blue-coats.  We found
the house quite dismantled; a skeleton four-poster in
the hall, broken hoops, barrels, tools, a rusty old
safe and a tree in a tub, huddled together in the
basement, and soldiers� names scrawled in pencil or 
charcoal over the whitewashed walls of the disfur-
nished chambers.  There were also loyal inscrip-
tions, coarse anti-Secession cariatures and a Goddess
of Liberty (of worse anatomical symmetry than
those ornamenting our National currency) executed
in a similar medium.  To which artless performances
the aforementioned blue-coats immediately applied
themselves, reading, laughing at, admiring or increas-
ing them.
  After strolling through the house from attic to
basement, I directed my steps to one of the adjacent
negro huts of which there were many�those for
house-servants on the right, there occupied by field-               
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