Friday, 1864 January 8, New Kent County, Virginia: “Slave Ephraim . . . died . . . on the Coast of South Carolina . . . and worth thirteen hundred dollars”

[Deposition on the loss of a male slave who died while a conscripted laborer at South Carolina fortifications for the Confederate Army.]

State of Virginia
New Kent County, to Wit:
I, A. K. Tribble being duly
sworn before a Justice of the Peace in fore said State
and County Certify that I am well acquainted
with James B. Floyd of Newberry District South
Carolina, And that the said J. B. Floyd was the
owner of a Negro Slave named Ephraim and
that the said J. B. Floyd sent the said Slave
Ephraim to the Coast of South Carolina on
the 10th day of September 1862 under order
from the Governor of said State to work on the
public fortifications, that I took charge of said
Slave Ephraim with others, and had him under
my charge from the time he left home until
he died, To Wit, from the 10th day of September
to the 8th day of October 1862 and that he
died in the Service of the Confederate Government
on the Coast of South Carolina, that said Slave
Ephraim was placed under the care of Doctor
Wrag for Medical treatment but died
from the disease then and there contracted
and that the said Slave Ephraim was about
twenty three years old sound and healthy and worth
thirteen hundred dollars at the time he was impressed
and that the impressment was for one month
and the said Slave Ephraim was first under
[Lipscomb?] agent for the State aforesaid.
[signed] A. K. Tribble

State of Virginia
New Kent County, To Wit:
This day personally appeared
before me, E. C. Pollard a Justice of the Peace
in and for said State and County, A. K. Tribble
and made Oath in due form of Law that the
above Certificate is true and correct in every
particular[.] Given under my hand this the
8th day of January 1864. [signed] E. C. Pollard J. P. [Justice of the Peace]

State of Virginia New Kent County, To wit,
I, John D. Christian, Clerk of the Court of the County aforesaid in the
State of Virginia do certify that E. C. Pollard who has signed the foregoing
certificate of attestation is and was at the time of signing the same a Justice
of the Peace for the said County duly commissioned and admitted to said office
under the laws & Constitution of the said State and that his said signature
is genuine and that full faith and credit ought to be given to his
[aforesaid?] acts.
In testimony thereof I have hereunto set my hand (and would have
annexed the Seal of my office if the Seal of the Office had not have
been taken away by the enemy in their raid through the
County) this 12th day of January 1864.
[signed] John D. Christian Clerk
Ex Parte     Deposition
loss of Slave
James B. Floyd [Assessor?]
Filed 24th May 1864

[Editor: The cause of death for Ephraim, a male South Carolina slave (ca. 1839-1862), is unknown. Thousands of slaves and free blacks were forced/impressed to work as ill-treated military laborers for the Confederate Army. New Kent County is one of Virginia’s “Burned Counties”; its court records were destroyed in a county courthouse fire during July 1787 and records created after that date were lost in during an 1865 Richmond fire where they had been moved for safety. John Christian’s reference to a Union raid in the county could refer one of four: a May 1, 1862 skirmish; a June 23, 1862 operation; an August 25-29, 1863 expedition, and a November 9, 1863 expedition. The August 30, 1863 report of Colonel Benjamin F. Onderdonk, First New York Mounted Rifles, indicated his force had encamped at “New Kent Court-House” during August 27,1863; perhaps this is when the county clerk’s seal was stolen. In American law, ex parte is a legal proceeding brought by one person in the absence of and without representation or notification of other parties.]

MSS 12491

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