The York River is arguably the most historically significant location for early colonial history found anywhere in America. European and Native American civilizations collided here. This was the land of Powhatan, Opechanacanough, Pocahantas, and the legendary explorations of Captain John Smith. No wonder this area’s colonial land patents (King’s grant lands) were so highly sought after by the first families of Virginia for the their Colonial plantations. The Washington’s, Lee’s, Anderson’s, Roane’s, Tucker’s, and Taliaferro’s settled its shores. History lives and breathes here. It is woven into the fabric of the estuary and its surrounding lands.

1864 March 2nd

The Dahlgren Affair

Anderson’s Neck is located in King & Queen County, which has plenty of Civil War history as well.  If you haven’t heard of the Dahlgren affair and love conspiracy theories, this is the story for you.

The twists and turns of this story involve a controversial, ultra-secret document supposedly containing a directive to assassinate C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet.  This document was purportedly found on Ulric Dahlgren here at King And Queen County after he was shot and killed by Confederate forces in a failed Union attempt to raid the Confederate capital of Richmond.  The directive was linked all the way up the Union chain of command to Abraham Lincoln, General  Ulysses S. Grant , and Secretary of War Edward Stanton.  The South reprinted this infamous directive en masse for European newspapers in a failed attempt to demonize Lincoln and gain support for the newly founded Confederate States of America.  The original version of that directive was supposedly negotiated to be returned by the South as part of the terms of the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse.

If you believe the legend, this secret document was purportedly destroyed personally by Secretary of War Edward Stanton in order to eliminate all evidence of its existence. The Dahlgren papers created such bitter resentment in the South it has been theorized that they directly led to John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Abraham Lincoln the next year.

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