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9. Natural Curiosities. The Rock Bridge, over Cedar Creek, a little streain running into the James, consists of an enormous chasm, 200 feet in depth, nearly perpendicular, through which the stream passes. A huge rock is thrown across the chasm at the top, forming a natural bridge, 80 feet in width, and covered with soil and trees. Jefferson describes it as follows : “ Though the sides of this bridge are provided in some parts with a parapet of fixed rocks, yet few men have resolution to walk to them, and look over into the abyss. You involuntarily fall on your hands and knees, creep to the parapet and peep over it. Looking down from this height about a minute, gave me a violent headache. If the view from the top be painful and intolerable, that from below is delightful in an equal extreme. It is impossible for the emotions arising from the sublime, to be felt beyond what they are here ; so beautiful an arch, so elevated, so light, and springing as it were up to heaven ! the rapture of the spectator is really indescribable! The fissure continuing narrow, deep, and straight, for a con
siderable distance above and below the Natural Bridge, in Virginia.
bridge, opens a short but very pleasing view
of the North Mountain on one side, and Blue Ridge on the other, at the distance, each of them, of about 5 miles. This bridge is in the county of Rockbridge, to which it has given name, and affords a public and commodious passage over a valley, which cannot be crossed elsewhere for a considerable distance.”
The greatest natural curiosity in Virginia, is Weyer's Cave, in Augusta county, among the mountains. It was named after its discoverer, who, in 1806, when hunting, was led by his game to a small hole in the earth ; this being dug into, was found 10 be the entrance to an immense grotto, which was explored for more than quarter of a mile. It has a great number of branches or apartments, abounding with sparry concretions, and from the description given by visiters, seems to equal, in the singularity and splendor of its contents, the celebrated grotto of Antiparos.* Near the town of Port Republic, on the south branch of the Shenandoah, is Madison's Cave. It is in the side of a hill, 200 feet petre. Near it is another and larger cave, half a mile in extent, with various apartments and windings. It contains many stalactitic columns, 10 and 12 feet in circumference. In another part is a cavern called the Blowing Cave, out of which rushes a stream of air sufficiently strong to prostrate the grass and weeds at the distance of 60 feet. There are numerous other caves, in this region. Near Estillville, in the southwestern part of the State, is a long, winding passage,
in height, and contains a great deal of Weyer's Cave.
earth which is used for manufacturing saltThe following description, by an eyewitness, is taken above, there are found thousands of stalactites and stalagfrom the Boston Daily Advertiser.
mites, of the most uncouth figures; these were anciently “ More than half way up the acclivity of the hill, we en- supposed to be petrified water, but after later researches tered boldly, first into the vestibule or ante-chamber, the we find them to be various kinds of earth, carried down &rch of which is 8 or 10 feet high, abounding in spar, thence in solution with the water, and, by the attraction of compothrough a rock of petrifaction, into the Ďragon's room, sition, collected into bodies, which are congealed after where, by the percolation of the water through the roof the evaporation of the water, by the cementing qualities
in the form of an S,
extending quite through a hill; Madison's Cave.
it is 450 feet in length, 70 to 80 in height, and from 50 to 150 in breadth ; it is called the Natural Tunnel.
of the lime which constitutes a part of the composition of Recluse Candlestick. About the centre of this beautiful earths. This petrifaction is also of different kinds; there apartment, there is an imitation of a sideboard, furnished are yellow, white, reddish, marble-colored, transparent, and with decanters and tumblers. Besides those in the Ball crystalized. Yet the greatest quantity of spar has the room, there is'a sheet extending up the side of the wall, color of red clay. In the Dragon's room there is an imi- called Tragical Soundboard, remarkable for its sound; a tation of the Dragon, facing a stupendous vault, under gentle thump with the foot will produce a wonderful and which there is a projecting rock, called the Devil's galle. astonishing sound, resembling distant thunder, which ry, surrounded by many soniferous spires. We proceed sound pervades the whole cave; yet articulation can ed through a short and narrow passage, descended a lad- scarce be understood 200 yards. From the Ball room we der, partly hewn out of rock, to Solomon's Temple, which passed through a narrow and difficult passage to Jacob's is the most sublime scene I ever beheld. To attempt to Ladder, which is hewn out of a sort of calcareous rock, describe what is here imagined, in entering this Jurid, supposed by many people to be natural, which causes it scarce half-illumined recess, is quite in vain! nor can any sometimes to fall under the appellation of natural steps; person form even the faintest idea of the sublimity and but I think it hardly probable." At the foot of this ladder grandeur of this subterraneous abode, until he witnesses there is a very low and dreary place called the Dungeon. its magnificence ; nor then can he find language copious Next we came to the Senate Chamber, which contains a enough to express his sentiments It was justly observed variety of beautiful spar; in this place there is a magnifiby an English painter, who was here some time, ihat a cor- cent gallery projecting over one half of the room, called rect delineacion or description would require years with the Music Gallery, on which there is a small apartment the pen. In Solomon's Temple there is a wave-like fold- remarkable for the reverberation of sound; the voice can ing of incrustations, from the ceiling to the floor, exactly be heard to re-echo in this room with such astonishing ve representing water tumbling over a precipice which had locity as to render speech unintelligible. We then went conglaciated in falling, called the cataract or Falls of Ni- through an open and grotesque passage to Washington's agara. In front is a large sofa called Solomon's Throne ; Hall, the most splendid, extensive, and beautiful room in on the left is a large, transparent, fluted column, called the cave; where the grandeur of its height, the diversity Solomon's Pillar; a few paces further, there are thousands of its representation of the works of art, the reverbera. of white pieces hanging to the ceiling, of a spiral form, tions of the voice, and the splendor and brilliancy of its called the Radish Room; beyond which it is difficult to spar, is not only calculated to keep the sublime emotions traverse, on account of the huge masses of rocks which in a constant state of excitement, but strikes the mind have fallen over the floor. We then took a retrospective with almost repressed curiosity. The curious explorer view of the pillar, and returned to the cataract, ascending now witnesses something amazingly sublime; the walls the ladder about ten feet high, and went through a long are strung with musical columns, which, by running a passage to the Tamborine or Drum room, which is extra- stick over them, will produce a profusion of discordant vagantly decorated with a variety of beautiful drapery, va- sounds. The drums, the tamborine, the piano, and each riegated and diversified ; throughout the room there are note, discordant heard alone, aid the full concert, while also a number of semi-pellucid curtains, of different col- the soundboard roars a melancholy murmur through the ors and forms. Besides these in the Tamborine or Drum whole. On the right side of this apartment, there is a coroom, there are large sonorous sheets, called the drums, lonnade of marble statues ; over which there is an imperwhich sound very much like the kettle drum ; also a semi- fect imitation of a rake ; as we advanced further we saw circular column with pedals about it, of different lengths, an incrustation on the side of the wall, which extended and of course different toned, called the Piano Forte. from the floor to the ceiling, representing a streak of light
“We then proceeded up a natural and elegant stair-case. ning: banistered suitably to rest the hand on, and passed Patter- “We now look forward and see Washington's Statue, son's Grave, (a hollow rock, into which a gentleman by which at this distance represents a gigantic figure: and that name fell,) and by descending a ladder we entered from a closer view assumes the appearance of a large perthe Ball room ; which is about 40 yards in length, and 10 son, veiled with white. Directly to the left is Lady Wash. in breadth, and the floor quite level. At one extremity ington's Drawing room, in which there is a variety of there is a small room called the Lady's Dressing room, beautiful drapery, the most edged with white, and some which, in addition to the Ball room, appears to have been entirely white, hanging in the form of curtains. On the constructed by nature for that purpose. At the other there right side of this apartment there is a declining rock, is a stalactite of spar, about 4 feet high, and 12 inches in placed like a looking-glass, with a canopy above it, and circumference, on which inay be fixed a candle, called the bureau just before it'; on which there is a solid rock, a
8. Geology. The geological formations of this vast region, have as yet been but very partially explored, and many erroneous notions have been entertained respecting them The low country is called by the State geologist the tertiary marl region, and it consists of horizontal beds of sand and clay, abounding in fossil marine shells and the remains of large marine animals ; a band of the New Jersey greensand, or upper secondary formation, traceable across Maryland, also appears here, but its limits have not been defined. West of the tertiary plain, is a belt of primary rocks, the eastern edge of which is marked by a ledge of gneiss, which forms the lower falls of the eastern rivers ; gneiss is the prevailing rock, but granite also occurs ; and what is singular, a coal-field is here found, with the coal-measures resting immediately upon the primary focks. Still proceeding westward, we come upon a region of hornblende, micaceous, talcose, chlorite, and argillaceous slates, containing veins of auriferous quartz, succeeded by a belt limestone, yielding, in some localities, a fine white marble, between which and the western base of the Blue Ridge, are strata of altered sandstones and conglomerates, indurated by beds or dikes of trap rocks. The floor of the great valley consists of limestone, sometimes organic, and calcareous sandstones, and the vast region beyond is composed of numerous alternations of various sandstones, slates, and limestones.
9. Minerals. The mineral wealth of Virginia is almost boundless ; gold, copper, lead, iron, coal, salt, limestone, marls, gypsum, magnesia, copperas, and alum earths, excellent marbles, granites, soapstones, freestones, &c., are among the treasures as yet, for the most part, lying idle in the bowels of the earth ; and to this list must be added the thermal, chalybeate, and sulphuretted springs, unrivaled in number, variety, and powers, even by the famed brunnens of the Rhine. Mining industry has, however, recently received an impulse, and will doubtless ere long give lucrative employment to thousands. The first coal-field has been traced from the South Anna to Prince Edward, south of the Appomattox ; the thickness of the seams ranges from 4 or 5 to 30, 40, and even 60 feet ; the coal is bituminous, and of an excellent quality.
; There are extensive workings in this field, chiefly in the vicinity of Richmond. Anthracite is abundantly disseminated in the mountainous tract beyond the great valley. On the North Branch of the Potomac, there is a valuable bituminous coal-field, with 5 tiers of coal-seams, having an aggregate thickness of 35 feet, and alternating with iron-ore. West of the Alleghany, there are some of the most extensive and valuable deposits of bituminous coal in the world, which derive additional importance from their being associated with not less valuable deposits of iron-ore and rich salines. The seams are often laid bare by the excavations made by running waters, so that the coal can be discharged from the river-cliff's directly into boats or arks, and thus transported with as little expense as it is quarried. At Whecliny, and for 14 miles down the river, the bank presents an uninterrupted bed of coal, upwards of 16 feet thick. Another vast field stretches from above Clarksburg, on the Monongabela, to Pittsburg, and far beyond, northeastwardly, in Pennsylvania ; in some places the seams in this field are from 10 to 12 feet thick. There are also coal-seams associated with salt springs on the Little Kanawha, Great Kanawha, Guyandotte, and Sandy rivers.
very striking imitation of the opossum, which could not floor; the representation of a Church Steeple, Jefferson's be surpassed by the most exquisite artist; we then return. Salt Mountain, the Chandeliers, and height of the arch, in ed, passed Washington's Statne, and came to 2 large pil- this room, present the eye with sublime spectacles. lars of a conical form, about 30 feet high, called the Pyra- "We then passed through a rugged passage, called the mids ; also another rather declining and about the same Wilderness, into Jefferson's Hall. This passage forms a size, called Pompey's Pillar Washington's Hall is about wild, grotesque scene, and whence the numerous broken 91 yards in length, and 211 feet wide, the arch is about 50 pillars came, appears to be a question unanswerable, and feet high, the floor is level but gravelly. In the room I excites much astonishment. in Jefferson's Hall, we first fired a pistol, wirich, when its contents first exploded, pro- saw a massive body of spar, which would weigh, probably, duced a sound equal to the most severe clap of thunder, thousands of tons, full of flutings regularly formed round and for some time there was a rumbling noise resounding its front, which is semicircular, called the Tower of Babel. throughout the different apartments; we repeated it seve- Facing this magnificent monument of supernatural agency, ral times; the earth apparently shook. We then proceed is something that much resembles the new moon surrounded through a difficult passage, by a numerous quantity of ed by stars. The Lantern, in this room, is also worthy crystalized spar, and entered a small apartment, that con-' of notice; it is a projecting rock, with a number of small tains an excellent and useful spring, with water pure and sheets hanging to it, not much unlike saddle-skirts, which limpid, and supplied with a tumbler. Next is the Diamond emit the rays from the candle, when placed between them. Room which derived its name from the brilliancy of its Next in our view, is the most beautiful piece of spar anyspars, and its resemblance to diamonds. We were here in where to be found in the cave, called the Lady's Toilet ; view of, but at some distance from, a small white stalagmite about 50 yards further is Elijah's Mantle, where this wonof petrifaction, resembling a pillar of salt, called Lot's derful scene finally terminates. We were now upwards Wife; which is difficult of access, on account of the irre. of a quarter of a mile from the entrance, and our candles gularity of the room. The Dining Room comes next, and nearly consumed, which induced us to return." it is very lengthy; the arch is about 80 feet above the
Salt springs occur on the Holston, Sandy, Guyandotte, Great and Little Kanawha, on the New River, the Greenbriar, and the Monongahela. But the most important works are on the Great and Little Kanawha. On the Holston, the salt-wells are from 200 to 300 feet deep, and yield at the rate of 1 gallon of salt to 10 or 16 gallons of brine. On the Great Kanawha, the borings are from 300 to 500 feet deep, and extend along the river on both of its banks, for the distance of about 12 miles. The water is raised by steam-engines, and boiled in cast-iron pans, about 25 feet long by 64 wide, the furnace being from 50 to 100 feet long. On being boiled, the water turns red, and is drawn off into the brine-troughs to cool and settle ; it is next returned to the “grainers,” in which it is boiled down into salt, and then lifted out upon a platform for the purpose of draining off the bitter water, or muriate of lime. The manufacture of alum-salt, as the coarse salt is here called, has but lately been introduced ; the brine, in this case, is carried into large, shallow, wooden vats, and kept at a moderate temperature by steam, instead of being boiled. The quantity of salt at present made in this part of Virginia, is about 3,000,000 bushels annually, 70 gallons of brine yielding, on an average, a bushel of salt.
Gold is at present the most important of the metallic minerals of Virginia. It occurs throughout a belt on the western side of the primary district, stretching from beyond the Rappahannock to the Appomattox. Scientific processes of mining and separating the metal, have been only very recently and partially introduced. Most of the gold hitherto obtained, has been procured by washings from the deposit mines; but several veins have yielded rich returns. The material of the veins is a variegated quartz, sometimes translucent, at others opaque. It is generally of a cellular structure, and fractures without much difficulty. The cavities are often filled with yellow ochre, which generally contains gold in a state of minute division. Sulphuret of iron (pyrites) is another accompanying mineral, which in many mines occurs in considerable quantities. Silver is occasionally found in connexion with the gold, and the sulphurets of copper and lead have been discovered in a few instances in the auriferous rock. The rocks forming the boundaries of the auriferous veins vary ; talcose and chlorite slates are the most usual. They are commonly of a soft texture, yielding readily to the blast, and even to the pick or spade. The rocks adjacent to the quartz are often auriferous, and in some instances have been found as productive as the quartz itself.
10. Mineral Springs. Mineral springs are numerous. The tract west of the Blue Ridge contains an unrivaled profusion of mineral waters of the most varied virtues, comprising thermal waters impregnated with free carbonic acid and nitrogen gasses, and holding also in combination a large amount of carbonic acid, chalybeate waters, and sulphuretted springs, abounding in sulphuretted hydrogen gas and various sulphates ; many of these fountains have acquired celebrity for their curative powers, and the freshness and salubrity of the air, and the alternate beauty and grandeur of scenery, add to the attractions of this region as a summer resort. The Botetourt, Augusta, Rawley, Shannondale, Yellow, and Alum springs, break forth from a pyritous slate, and are chalybeates or sulphuretted waters, according to the prevalence of the sulphuric acid or the iron. Further west, thermal springs issue from calcareous rocks, as in the Warm Spring and Sweet Spring Valleys; the Hot Springs of the former, have a temperature of 106°; the Warm Springs, of the same valley, of 980; and the Healing Springs, within a few miles of Hot Springs, are also of a high temperature. In the Sweet Spring Valley, the Sweet Springs have a temperature of 73', and, with the Red Springs of the same quarter, hold in combination so large a proportion of carbonic acid, as to have a decided acidulous character. The celebrated
group of sulphur wells, which have their distinctive names from the color of the various organic matters mixed with sulphur, which they deposit round their reservoirs, or in the channels of the issuing streams, lies beyond the Alleghany range, within a compass of about 30 miles ; these are the White and Blue Sulphur of Greenbriar, and the Red and Gray, with the Salt Sulphur of Monroe ; among which, the White Sulphur is the only thermal water, being of the temperature of 640
1. Divisions. This State is divided into 116 counties, * comprised within two districts, the Eastern and Western.
* Eastern District. Accomac Albemarle
2. Cities and Towns. Richmond, the capital, stands on the north side of the James River,
. at its lower falls, and at the head of tide water. The town rises gradually from the water, and has a fine, picturesque appearance. The western division occupies an eminence called Shockoe Hill, overlooking the lower town. The capitol is built upon the highest summit, and has a delightful and commanding prospect. Two bridges cross the river to Manchester, on the opposite bank. Most of the houses are of brick, and many are elegant. The public buildings, beside the capitol, which is an elegant structure, are a court-house, a city hall, a State prison, 16 churches, the State armory, in which are manufactured 4 or 5,000 muskets and rifles annually, &c. The James River Canal here empties into a basin containing a surface of two acres. There is a boat navigation for 220 miles on the river, above the city. Richmond has a very Aourishing trade, both inland and by sea, and enjoys extraordinary advantages by communication with a rich and well cultivated back country, abounding in tobacco, grain, hemp, lumber, iron, coal, &c. The annual value of its foreign exports is about 3,000,000 dollars ; that of its coastwise exports, probably exceeds that amount. The falls in the river afford an almost unlimited power, which is pretty largely applied to economical purposes. There are here 10 flour and grist mills, several iron-founderies and rolling-mills, cotton-mills, tobacco-factories, &c. About 800,000 bushels of wheat are ground here annually, and the Richmond flour bears a high price in foreign markets. The city is supplied with water from the river, by waterworks. Population, 20,000.
Norfolk, once the greatest commercial town, stands on an excellent harbor, at the outlet of the James River, where a branch called Elizabeth River joins the main stream. The town is built on low ground, and the land in the neighborhood is marshy. The principal streets are well paved and clean, but the others are less commodious, and more irregular. The buildings are not distinguished for elegance, but some of the churches are neatly built. Here are a theatre, an athenæum, a marine hospital, &c. The harbor is a mile wide, and strongly defended, , and is 8 miles from Hampton Roads. At Gosport, in Portsmouth, on the opposite bank of Elizabeth River, is a navy-yard of the United States, with a dry dock. Population of Norfolk, 9,800. Portsmouth has a pleasant situation, and is regularly built.
Petersburg stands on the south bank of the Appomattox, 12 miles above its junction with