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Colonel William Lamb

Elmwood Cemetery
1st Alley West, Lot 26
(1835 – 1909)

 Colonel William Lamb picture

Colonel William Lamb was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia.  He was brought up in a wealthy military family and became a newspaper publisher and was the delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Virginia in 1856 before becoming an officer in the Confederate army. 

Colonel Lamb was later called “The Hero of Fort Fisher” because of his steadfast leadership during a Civil War battle that took place there on December 25, 1864. His command of Fort Fisher, North Carolina (currently Pleasure Island, North Carolina) began July 4, 1862.  Right from the start he and his builder and planner, General W.H.C. Whiting began remodeling the fort to better withstand attacks by land and sea.  The constant threat of Union blockade runners sitting offshore made it a necessity to keep Fort Fisher as protected as possible.  The entire fort measured 682 yards across by 1,898 yards long.  It was well fortified with 44 heavy cannons along with 125 additional cannons and 1,500 soldiers. Although Colonel Lamb was defeated on January 15, 1865, surrendering to the Union army’s General Alfred H. Terry, Confederate loss of lives was far less (500 of 1500 soldiers vs. 1300 of 10000 soldiers) than Union loss thanks to the integrity of the fort and the men who fought for it.*

Lamb was seriously wounded in the battle of Fort Fisher but was still able to carry on his political dreams as the Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia from 1880 to 1886 following his father and his grandfather.  He was also Presidential Elector for Virginia in 1860, Virginia Republican State Chair from 1895 to 1897 and the Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1896.  In 1900 he was knighted into The Order of Wasa for his services in Sweden and Norway. ** 

As discussed, Colonel Lamb’s father and grandfather both served as Norfolk Mayors before him.  William B. Lamb, the Colonel’s grandfather, served as Mayor in 1810, 1814, 1816 and very briefly in 1823. He is interred at Cedar Grove Cemetery, 1st Alley East, Lot 27. 

William W. Lamb, Colonel Lamb’s father, served as Mayor in 1858, 1860, 1862 and 1866.***  When Union forces occupied Norfolk in May of 1862, Mayor Lamb hid the Norfolk Mace under a hearth in his home at 420 Bute Street. Union troops occupied the home, but the Mace was never discovered.  The Mace was presented to the Norfolk Common Council by Royal Lt. Governor Robert Dinwiddie on April 1, 1754 as a colonial-era symbol of authority bestowed by English royalty. Today the Norfolk Mace is considered “a precious reminder of and witness to much of Norfolk's nearly 400 year history.” **** Mayor William W. Lamb is interred in Cedar Grove Cemetery on the same lot as his father. Both were Democrats. 

*** The Ordinances of the City of Norfolk and Acts of Assembly of Virginia Relating to the City Government,1885.

Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries.

Visitor Information

Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Free parking inside cemetery.

Admission Cost: Free

Address: 238 E. Princess Anne Road , Norfolk, VA 23510

Official web site for more information: www.norfolk.gov/cemeteries

Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation Web Site: www.norfolksocietyforcemeteryconservation.org