Malvern, England and Malvern, Virginia
Around the year 1658 Robert Povall and Elizabeth Hooker both then children, were bound as indentured servants and brought from England to Virginia. Although bound to different people, they remained close and their friendship developed into love.
One day the state Governor Francis Nicolson, visited Shirley Plantation where Robert Povall was bound to Charles Carter. He carried a letter from a high official in England asking for his help in tracing Elizabeth Hooker. Elizabeth’s father Lord Hooker had just died leaving his large estate to her. Robert was eavesdropping and overhearing the conversation revealed that Elizabeth was a servant at Kibbs Farm.
The couple married and moved back to the estate in Malvern, England but after a few years became homesick for Virginia. They returned and bought a large farm in Henrico County, Virginia and named it Malvern Hill
Malvern and the American Civil War
Malvern Hill, Virginia – The Battles
Malvern Hill was a peaceful farm owned by the Cocke family, very prominent in the early history of Virginia but it became embroiled in no less than three battles. In 1781 in the Revolutionary War the Marquis de Lafayette camped on the hill and the Virginia Militia occupied it during the war of 1812 but the bloodiest battle of all was in the American Civil War.
It is believed the now completely ruined house sited on Malvern Hill was built by Colonel Thomas Cocke. His son Richard came from Pickthorne in Shropshire, England and hence the original name - Pickthorne Farms.
Richard Cocke’s plantation on the James River was known as Malvern Farm (now part of Curles Neck Farm).
The Battle of Malvern Hill Virginia (also known as Poindexter’s Farm.)
This bloody battle on July 1st 1862 was the sixth and last of what is known as “The Seven Days Battles” in the American Civil War and ended the Peninsula campaign.
Confederate General Robert E Lee’s army of North Virginia had forced the Unionists headed by Major General George B McClellan the leader of the Army of the Potomac, away from attacking Richmond and so they had moved to a new base on the James River.
Lee had not managed the major strike which he hoped would set up the destruction of the Army of the Potomac.
Malvern Hill had been prepared by the 5th Corps under Brigadier General Porter and presented them with good visibility and excellent artillery sites. Below, the terrain was tricky, thickly wooded and swampy.
Lee launched an ill conceived direct attack and hampered by muddy roads, swampy ground as well as inaccurate maps and incorrect instructions from the guides was defeated suffering 5,355 casualties dead or wounded against the Unionists 3,214. D.H.Hill wrote afterwards “it wasn’t war, it was murder”.
Herman Melville was moved to write a poem entitled “Malvern Hills”.