VIRGINIA, the chief of the 13 original States, the most southern of the Middle Atlantic group and one of the easternmost of all the States, lies on the Atlantic slope in lat 36° 31' and 39° 37' N. and long. 75' 13' and 83° 37' W.—half way between Maine and Florida. The extreme length from the At lantic to Kentucky (east to west) is 440 miles and the greatest width, from north to south, is 196 miles. Its land surface is 40,125 square miles and water area — rivers, land-locked bays and harbots —2,325 square miles. Vir ginia, called the Old Dominion, was certainly the mother of States. The colony included the territory of nearly every Southern State irt whole or in part, and that of every other State with the exception of Maine. In its present proportions Virginia's boundaries are Mary land and West Virginia on the north, Mary land and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, North Carolina and Tennessee on the south and Ken tucky and West Virginia on the west Capital, Richmond.
Topography.— Physiographically the State is divided into three provinces of widely dif ferent characteristics. The first ot these is the coastal plain, the most eastern of the provinces, constituting the area between the Atlantic Ocean and the higher-lying Piedmont country on its west, containing 9,500 square miles of surface, nearly one-fourth of the area of the State. It is known as Tidewater Virginia. The streams crossing this province are slow with deep channels. The Piedmont plateau is the middle province and stretches from the coastal plain westward to the southeastern base of the Appalachian mountains. Its width varies from 40 miles to nearly 175. From an altitude of nearly 1,000 feet it slopes gently eastward to an altitude of 200 to 400 feet. This province differs from the coastal plain in the nature and origin of its surface features and in the age, kinds and stnicture of its rocks. Here is the only area of free-burnin_g coal to be found in the eastern part of the United States contigu ous to tidewater. This section is known as Piedmont Virginia. Its extent is about 15,500 square miles.
From the southeastern slope of the Blue Ridge the Appalachian Mountain province in Virginia stretches to the western boundary of the State, but physically the province extends northeast and southwest far beyond these lim its. Within Virginia it covers about 16,250 square miles, with these characteristic di visions: (1) The Blue Ridge, easternmost range of the Appalachians, a mountain belt from 3 to 20 miles in width, extending from Harper's Ferry in a southwesterly direction across the State, advancing from an elevation of 1,200 to more than 4,000 feet. The rocks
are igneous pre-Cambrian, Cambrian, sand stones and shales and silicious sediments of the same age; (2) the Great Valley and (3) the Alleghany ridges, bounded by the Blue Ridge on the southeast and the Alleghany front on the northwest. The rocics are limestone, shale and sandstone ranging in age from Cambrian to carboniferous.
Five peaks in Virginia exceed 5,000 feet in elevation and 17 fall between 4,000 and 4,500. Nine thousand seven hundred square miles of the State's surface have an altitude from 0 to 100 feet above tide; 10,500 square mile.s from 100 to 500; 5,950 square miles from 500 to 1,000; 4,700 square miles from 1,000 to 1,500; 4,200 square miles from 1,500 to 2,000; 6,800 square miles from 2,000 to 3,000 and 600 square miles from 3,000 to 4,000.
Rivera.— The chief rivers in Virginia are the James, Potomac, Rappahannocic, York, Blackwater, New River, Holston, Mattapony, Pamunkey, North Anna, South Anna. Rapidan, Cnicicahominy and Shenandoah. All of them are historic, but the James is the best lcnown. Rising in the Afleghany uplands, .it passes through several mountain gorges into the Great Valley which it leaves at the beautiful water gap in the Blue Ridge at Balcony Falls. Thence it winds its way through the most his toric country in Virginia to the Atlantic. The Roanoke nses in Montgomery County, in Southwest Virginia, passes through the Blue Ridge by the Roanoke Whter Gap, where its name is changed to Stanton River, on to its confluence with the Dan, where it recovers its original name. New River rises on the Pied mont plateau, and, unlike the general trend of Virginia water courses, flows westward through the Blue Ridge, across the Valley of Virgima, through the Appalachians into the Great Kan awha and eventually iningles its flood with that of the Ohio. The eastern Virginia rivers — the Pamunkey, die Chickahommy, the York, the Blackwater — are sluggish, unpicturesque streams of great value to the country they drain. There are occasional fresh-water lakes.