Sara B. Bearss, Editor
John Ruston Pagan. Anne Orthwood's Bastard: Sex and Law in Early Virginia. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 222 pp. $50.00 (hardcover); $19.95 (softcover).
In this highly readable account, John Ruston Pagan writes that his story is "almost operatic in its drama and pathos" and requires "a Verdi or Puccini" to do it justice. Pagan unfolds a tangled tale of four court cases that stemmed from a weekend of illicit sexual relations between an indentured servant and a young man of a powerful family. By examining the four suits that resulted from the resultant pregnancy, Pagan demonstrates how Virginians altered English law to fit their needs and situations. By presenting the histories of the principals of the tale - Anne Orthwood, John Kendall, William Kendall, Jasper Orthwood, William Waters - Pagan also demonstrates the claustrophobic closeness of Northampton County society and the structures of power in the 1660s.
Lured by potentially better opportunities, Anne Orthwood, an indentured servant, immigrated to Virginia from Bristol, England, in September 1662 with her master, Jasper Cross, a ship's surgeon. Arriving in Virginia in November, Cross sold his right to Orthwood's time (four years) to William Kendall, a former indentured servant who became one of the wealthiest men in Northampton County and who, still later, became Speaker of the House of Burgesses. The combination of a sizable inheritance from his former employer, an advantageous marriage to the widow of his former master, and good business instincts enabled Kendall to serve in the colonial government and to acquire property. Pagan argues that Kendall's status as a parvenu and his desire to achieve high social standing encouraged Kendall to remove Anne Orthwood from his household as soon as he noticed a budding romance between his nephew, John Kendall, and her. William Kendall sold Orthwood's indenture to Jacob Bishopp in the summer or autumn of 1663. Orthwood and another servant accompanied Bishopp to the November county-court session, where Orthwood met John Kendall again and the couple had sexual intercourse at least twice. Shortly after the session, Bishopp, perhaps to reduce his financial obligations in the face of falling tobacco prices, sold Orthwood's indenture to William Waters, a wealthy landowner. When Orthwood's pregnancy became noticeable, Waters, concerned about the loss of labor, sued Bishopp for breach of contract. Bishopp protested, saying that he was unaware of Orthwood's pregnancy when he sold the remaining two and a half years of her indenture to Waters.
In his suit against Jacob Bishopp, William Waters asked not only "to bee discharged" of Orthwood but also for Bishopp to return Waters' payment. Orthwood delivered twins, one of whom was either stillborn or died shortly after birth. Orthwood lived long enough to name her surviving son Jasper. During her delivery, she had, under interrogation by the midwife, named John Kendall as the father. After her death, Kendall launched a preemptive strike by filing a petition in the courts to establish his innocence and to deny paternity of Anne Orthwood's children. On August 29, 1664 the court met to decide Waters v. Bishopp and Kendall's petition. In Waters v. Bishopp, the court decided on behalf of Waters and directed Bishopp to repay Waters' purchase price and all costs related to the lawsuit. Pagan ably explains the decision: When the Virginians (long before the English courts) chose the principle of caveat venditor (seller beware) over caveat emptor (buyer beware), they shifted to pro-buyer rulings. In the case of Ex Parte Kendall, the court found John Kendall legally guilty of being the father of Anne Orthwood's children but morally innocent of having sexual relations with her. The legal ruling, Pagan demonstrates, was based on the English precedent that, when a woman in court or "in travail" named a man as the father of her illegitimate children, the court had to presume the authenticity of the claim. Kendall was charged with, and found innocent of, criminal fornication in a later case. Finally, in a case that involved two conflicting laws regarding the age of freedom for bastard children, Jasper Orthwood, Anne's surviving son, successfully sued for and received his freedom in a clear-cut case of Virginia law's superseding English law.
Anne Orthwood's Bastard is well written. With exemplary clarity, Pagan, a law professor at the University of Richmond, explains the finer points of English law and how Virginians manipulated the law to protect themselves and maintain order in their society. At the center of the story is Anne Orthwood, who came to Virginia hoping to find a husband and establish herself in a better social situation but instead bore two illegitimate children and died.
- reviewed by Barbara C. Batson, Exhibitions Coordinator
George C. Rable. Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! Civil War America Series. Gary W. Gallagher, Series Editor. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. xiv + 671 pp. $45.00 (hardcover).
Fredericksburg is rightly considered one of the most decisive Confederate victories of the Civil War. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia easily fended off the attack of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Ambrose Burnside on the heights just outside the Virginia town. George C. Rable's Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! examines this battle and how it affected both North and South and their conduct of the war.
Although conceding that Burnside fought his battle poorly, Rable convincingly argues that, had events gone differently, it might have been Lee who would have been criticized for his performance. Delays held Burnside up, one commander failed to exploit a breakthrough in Confederate lines, and terrible weather bogged the army down in the infamous "Mud March." Ultimate responsibility, however, lies with Burnside, mainly because of his inability to adapt to changing circumstances and his stubbornness in adhering to his original plan. In Rable's account, Lee figures less, mainly because he had less to do, having only to react to Burnside's mistakes.
Rable's account does not focus solely on the military aspects of the fight. The author also examines how politics affected and were affected by the battle. President Abraham Lincoln had removed George B. McClellan from command because of politics but had waited until after the presidential elections. This delay gave Burnside less time to get to know the army and its workings before he attempted his campaign. Conversely, Lee's success aided President Jefferson Davis in overcoming an adverse political climate caused by Confederate defeats in the West. It encouraged Davis and others to believe that if Lee could just follow up Fredericksburg with another smashing victory, Southern independence might be achieved.
Finally, Rable relates the stories of those most directly affected by the battle, the soldiers who fought there, and the inhabitants forced to flee their homes only to return to death and destruction. Rable examines how soldiers on both sides of Fredericksburg's stone wall attempted to cope with victory, defeat, injury, and death. He shows the immense human cost of the battle in dead and wounded, and in the shattered homes and lives of those inhabitants who returned after the battle. Rable's volume is not the first word written about Fredericksburg, nor will it be the last. He successfully retells an oft-told tale, and future authors face a difficult task in improving on his version.
- reviewed by Trenton E. Hizer, Private Papers Archivist
Gordon C. Rhea. Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26- June 3, 1864. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. xviii + 532 pp. $34.95 (hardcover).
In 1986 Gordon C. Rhea began an in-depth study of the Overland Campaign, a bloody episode during the Civil War that began on May 5, 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness and concluded 46 days later with the siege of Petersburg. During this violent confrontation, Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac and Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia pummeled each other in almost continuous fighting, clashing at Spotsylvania Court House, the North Anna River, and Cold Harbor, where Grant's tactics were later used as evidence of what his critics described as his callous disregard for the lives of his soldiers. Rhea has produced books on each of these major battles. His third, on the North Anna River operations, won the Fletcher Pratt Literary Award.
Cold Harbor, the latest in the projected five-volume series, deals with events leading up to and including Grant's grand assault at dawn against Lee's entrenched forces on June 3rd. The book offers some surprises that are at odds with the familiar interpretation of the battle and its participants. Quoting Edward Pollard's pronouncement in The Lost Cause (1866), that Grant "had no conception of battle beyond the momentum of numbers," Rhea revisits the popular depiction of Grant as an artless commander relentlessly driving his troops headlong into the musket and cannon fire from the thinning gray ranks until the sheer weight of a larger army carried the day. He argues that Grant's abilities far exceeded those of an unimaginative exploiter of superior numbers and matériel, and that he was, in actuality, a master at maneuvering his forces to advantage on the battlefield. Lee's generalship suffers by comparison, as Rhea points out what he considers to be critical mistakes in the Southern commander's anticipation of Grant's intentions and his failure at times to react appropriately to developing events.
Rhea dispels the popular belief that a massive Federal attack took place. He argues that the planned offensive by the entire army did not occur and that, of the elements that did participate, fewer than half of the troops were seriously engaged. He also rejects the long-held estimates that put the casualty rate during the first hour of the June 3rd attack at 7000 Union soldiers killed or wounded. Indeed, some calculations fix the toll at well above 12,000. After scrutinizing the incomplete records in the Library of Congress and the National Archives, he concluded that Union casualties probably did not exceed 3500, a figure far lower than those used during Grant's presidency to label him a "butcher." Although Lee's reputation was unsullied by such criticism, Rhea points out that he had a higher casualty rate than any other general in the war and that his attacks against Union lines at Gettysburg produced larger casualty rates than the Union attacks at Cold Harbor.
This provocative book is certain to spark debate and reassessment. The volume will whet the appetite of readers of military history for the final installment in the series that covers the remaining operations at Cold Harbor, Grant's crossing of the James River, and his march toward Petersburg.
- reviewed by Donald W. Gunter, Assistant Editor, Dictionary of Virginia Biography
Peter Wallenstein. Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law - An American History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. xii + 305 pp. $35.00 (hardcover).
For most of American history, a majority of the colonies and later states prohibited interracial marriage. The colonies and states where slavery persisted longest adopted their laws first, enforced them more rigidly, and kept them on the books the longest - until after 1967 - when the Supreme Court of the United States declared them unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia.
Legislatures dominated by men of European descent adopted all the laws, most of which prohibited persons of European and African origin from marrying each other. But some states also forbade marriages of Asians, Filipinos, and even Native Americans. Reflecting the values of the dominant European- American culture when adopted, the laws were often based on a belief in an inherent biological difference between the dominant whites and other racial groups, often considered ineradicably inferior.
The adoption, enforcement, and abandonment of those laws were attended with much human drama and individual tragedy. The laws broke up loving marriages and wrecked families. The ban on interracial marriage was one of the last of the legal legacies of slavery and Jim Crow to fall during the civil rights movement. The climactic case involved Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving. Virginia authorities arrested them in their bed, tried them, convicted them, and banished them from Virginia because he was white and she was not. They had married in the District of Columbia but lived in Caroline County until their arrest. The Supreme Court ruled that the right of Americans to marry whom they pleased was an individual liberty protected by the United States Constitution and that states could not prohibit persons from marrying solely because of their race.
This is a valuable history of the law on interracial marriage throughout American history and a concise treatment of the landmark, Virginia, legal dispute that brought one aspect of legal, racial discrimination to an end.
- reviewed by Brent Tarter, Editor, Dictionary of Virginia Biography
Suzanne W. Jones and Sharon Monteith, eds. South to a New Place: Region, Literature, Culture. Foreword by Richard Gray. Southern Literary Studies Series. Fred Hobson, Series Editor. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. xxiii + 394 pp. $85.00 (hardcover); $34.95 (softcover).
This wide-ranging book explores the many ways that Southern writers, historians, and cultural critics have reconceptualized the twentieth-century South. The opening section, "Surveying the Territory," "theorizes definitions of place and region," something that scholars have been working on for some time. The many-layered "Souths" that emerge from this exploration defy easy definition and reflect the obvious breakdown of monolithic ideas about Southern place, history, and literature that have been a hallmark of recent work. Particularly interesting is Carolyn M. Jones's exploration of the hybrid nature of the American South in Albert Murray's jazz- and bluesinflected South to a Very Old Place (1971). As Jones explains, Murray's travelogue featured interviews with noted writers and historians and incorporated his musical aesthetic in the narrative. This attention to Southern popular arts and culture presages other essays that move beyond formal literature, such as Jon Smith's look at the band Southern Culture on the Skids, and Amy J. Elias's lively trip through Southern vacation literature and advertising, courtesy of the pages of Southern Living magazine.
Most of the 18 essays are, however, literary in nature, using familiar Southern authors and works to explore regional and Southern themes, especially in Part II, "Mapping the Region." For example, Martyn Bone probes the image of the "Post-Southern 'International City'" through Tom Wolfe's vision of Atlanta as described in A Man in Full (1998), and Wes Berry uses Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon (1977) as an example of "nature writing." Other essays are more synthetic, covering a range of works to explore themes of Southern place, space, and culture.
The book also tests geographical boundaries with a final section (Part III) entitled "Making Global Connections." These essays link Southern literature, regional concepts, and culture to British, East German, Italian, and Spanish American literature and society. One of the most entertaining pieces, Helen Taylor's "The South and Britain: Celtic Cultural Connections," discusses the recent rise of historical and nationalist works devoted to establishing the American South's Celtic credentials vis-à-vis the supposedly Anglo-North. She then links this development to the controversy over Scarlett (1991), the authorized sequel to Gone with the Wind. Alexandra Ripley's account of Scarlett O'Hara's return to her Irish origins brought harsh criticism from British commentators, who saw her imagined Celtic home as even more mythical than Tara. And when Taylor's essay describes the controversy over Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone (2001), a parody that critiques both Margaret Mitchell's and Ripley's effacing of black characters, we clearly see how literature, memory, politics, and place can intersect across regions and even oceans.
- reviewed by Gregg D. Kimball, Director, Publications and Educational Services
Alison Weiss, ed. It's Just a Way of Life: Reminiscing about the Family Farm. Sterling, Va.: Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum, 2002. vi + 146 pp. $15.00 (softcover).
Until the advent of World War II, the economy in Virginia was primarily agricultural, and most of the population lived in rural areas. Loudoun County was no exception. Of the county's total land area of 330,880 acres in 1935, 297,582 acres were farmland. By 1997 the number of acres in Loudoun used for farmland had dropped to 184,988, and the number of farms had decreased from 2,107 in 1935 to 1,032 in 1997. Loudoun's rural character began to change by the late 1950s with the construction of Dulles International Airport in the eastern part of the county and the subsequent spread of shopping malls, housing developments, and suburban dwellers into the county's eastern half.
Because of these changes and the continuing loss of farmland and farmers, a group of retired farmers met with the county Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Development late in the 1990s to preserve the county's farming history. From that meeting came the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum, and from the museum in 2002 comes It's Just a Way of Life, the heavily illustrated personal recollections of what life was like before technology, telecommunications, and rapid residential growth transformed Loudoun. Using as her starting point 18 oral histories gathered from farmers (including several women and one African- American man), some of whom had begun farming in the 1930s before mechanization, rural electri- fication, and indoor plumbing, editor Allison Weiss recounts in short excerpts their memories of becoming farmers and of the economics of farming. The farmers also discuss the social mores of sharing labor and equipment among farms, including those of the famous radio personality Arthur Godfrey, who owned several farms in the county. They recall their kids' chores and education in the local schools and describe farming practices, such as dairy farming, raising crops, operating orchards, harvesting, and threshing. In addition to farming practices, the farmers also recount the dangers of their occupation, especially after the advent of mechanization. Tractor accidents, for example, still remain the leading cause of farm-related deaths in the United States. Three of the farmers discuss the processes for curing hams and making scrapple, sausage, and apple butter. Finally, the farmers give the reasons why they think farming changed so much in Loudoun County and their ideas about how to preserve farming in the county for the future.
-reviewed by Emily J. Salmon, Copyeditor
Andrea Sutcliffe. Romantic Virginia: More than 300 Things to Do for Southern Lovers. Winston-Salem, N.C.: John F. Blair, Publisher, 2003. xix + 236 pp. $12.95 (softcover).
While there are plenty of champagne breakfasts and cozy bed-andbreakfasts in this guide to Virginia's many romantic locations, Andrea Sutcliffe's definition of romance is much broader. She considers romance as any activity that can be enjoyed by two people, away from the usual bustle of home, family, and job. This is the guide's focus. Instead of the geographic arrangement most writers of travel guides use, Sutcliffe arranges by activity and subdivides by region. The broad subject categories are "Arts for the Heart," "Fairs and Festivals," "The Great Outdoors," "Sports and Sporting Events," "Romancing the Past," "Wining and Dining," and "Romantic Lodging." Geographically the state is divided somewhat awkwardly, with central Virginia stretching from north of Culpeper to Danville, and eastern Virginia covering everything east of Fredericksburg and Richmond, along with the Eastern Shore.
Each activity section gives several brief entries for activities that might be pursued by romantics of all types. In the "Fairs and Festivals" section, there are six geographically diverse activities listed in the subcategory "Arts and Crafts": the Boardwalk Art Show in Virginia Beach, the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival, the Waterford Homes Tour and Craft Exhibit, and the Historic Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show. There is no effort to provide complete coverage; the author is aware that other guidebooks do this better and with more detail. Entries are extremely general, with an address, phone number, and Web site address, where available. Dates, admission fees, and other details are not included.
What this book does well is provide a jumping-off point for quick trips. "Romantic Getaways" are fourteen mini-guides listing things to do, places to eat, and places to stay in one geographic area, in a very brief format. Numerous highlighted sidebars offer advice on everything from good places to buy plants to a brief history of the horses of Assateague Island. The "Romantic Getaway" itineraries make this guide a handy addition to any personal travel collection. As a detailed travel guide, it is not a good choice, but it is a good choice for libraries with extensive travel collections or strong Virginiana collections.
- reviewed by Mary Sine Clark, Director, Government Documents Program
Richard A. Brisbin, Jr. A Strike Like No Other Strike: Law and Resistance during the Pittston Coal Strike of 1989-1990. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. xiv + 350 pp. $44.95 (hardcover).
Richard A. Brisbin, Jr.'s work gives due attention to an important event in the history of union and management entanglements occurring in the latter half of the twentieth century. A Strike Like No Other Strike offers a detailed analysis of the legal, historical, and political aspects of the Pittston coal strike of 1989-1990, which took place in southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southern West Virginia. Brisbin's thorough examination of legal issues encompassing the strike shows how workers, management, and government interpreted and manipulated the law to serve their respective interests. According to Brisbin, the coal miners were not only fighting for retirement compensation, health benefits, and improved working conditions, but also by striking and trespassing on the boundaries of the law, they were directly challenging the patriarchy of corporate control established by the American legal system during the twentieth century.
The first four chapters provide the legal and historical background for understanding union and management relations before the Pittston strike. Brisbin explains the significance of the 1950 Accord, the Wagner Act, and the Taft- Hartley Act, which define current labor-management relations. Brisbin also describes the United Mine Workers of America, which from its inception sought to establish itself as a legal entity improving working conditions, rather than as a union preoccupied with egalitarianism and morally inspired social movements. Although the latter part of the book focuses primarily on the events and the legal ramifications of the Pittston strike and its outcome, Brisbin touches on the significant role played by women during the strike and briefly examines cultural influences on union solidarity and identity.
Brisbin presents well-documented references for this critical legal study, and photographs of some of the major participants in the strike accompany the text. He uses legal cases, newspaper articles, court transcripts, interviews, television news footage, labor periodicals, and many other secondary sources to support his views concerning their political and judicial significance for labor rights. It is clear that Brisbin's personal experience with the "American worker" informs his interpretation of the Pittston coal strike, and he leaves the reader at once inspired and dismayed by the subjectivity of American law. Brisbin concludes that for the miners the law was not an unqualified good but rather a qualified good that ultimately left many of them with a "distrust of the law and politics."
- reviewed by Kelley Brandes, Project Cataloger, Newspaper Project
Firsthand accounts of dayto- day activities during the American Revolution in the form of diaries and journals covering significant periods of time are rare compared to those for more recent wars. The value of Marching to Victory: Capt. Benjamin Bartholomew's Diary of the Yorktown Campaign, May 1781 to March 1782 (ed. E. Lee Shepard. Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 2002. 44 pp. $7.95 softcover), then, is obvious from the beginning. The fact that it is also well edited without being drained of its personality is a plus. A company commander in the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental Line, Captain Benjamin Bartholomew (1752-1812), details the activities, events, scenery, and weather he witnessed as he marched his company south from Reading, Pennsylvania, to Yorktown, Virginia. Although the amount of detail provided only whets the appetite, this is a very valuable addition to the field and is strongly recommended for any Revolutionary War collection.
- reviewed by James Edwin Ray, Reference Librarian
New Yorker J. Fred Pierson (1839-1932) was an officer with the 1st Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He saw extensive service in Virginia, was captured at Bristow Station in August 1862, and was held briefly in Libby Prison until his parole. On March 13, 1865 he was brevetted a brigadier general. At the end of his life Pierson compiled a memoir of his war years, including contemporary letters and documents cobbled together. Ramapo to Chancellorsville and Beyond (ed. Alfred Scott and Elizabeth Scott. 2002. ii + 220 pp.) presents Pierson's previously unpublished recollections in a bare-bones transcription without annotation, divided into chapters, and heavily illustrated. Seven appendices reprint related articles, including the Pierson entry from the National Cyclopedia of American Biography and a feature article from the New York Herald Tribune marking Pierson's 93rd birthday. This document, along with a list of errata, is available at no charge in electronic format as a PDF file at http://www.talkeetna.com.
- reviewed by Sara B. Bearss, Senior Editor, Dictionary of Virginia Biography.
Sara B. Bearss is Senior Editor, Dictionary of Virginia Biography, for The Library of Virginia.