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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

High Bridge: 1865

High Bridge: 1865

April 1865. "Farmville, Virginia, vicinity. High bridge of the South Side Railroad across the Appomattox." From photographs of the main Eastern theater of war, the siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865. Wet collodion glass plate negative, left half of stereograph pair, by Timothy H. O'Sullivan; from Civil War photographs compiled by Hirst Milhollen and Donald Mugridge. View full size.

 

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

That was what first came to my mind when I saw this photo.

I saw the story first on the original (and still the best IMO) Twilight Zone. I was so impressed by it that I searched until I found the story in a book.

Now I have it as an audio book also.

Thanks for your wonderful site.

Battle of High Bridge Veteran

It was great seeing this beautiful shot of High Bridge and the surrounding countryside. I am posting a related tintype along with this comment. It is a photograph of my great-great-grandfather Private Richard Cunningham, a member of Company "I", 1st Battalion, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry. He took part in the Cavalry Battle of High Bridge, 6 April 1865, in an effort to cut off Lee's retreat. His regiment took part in the savage, hand-to-hand combat that ensued. According to his own account, he was "the only one (of his regiment) to have escaped capture on the occasion of the High Bridge affair."

High Bridge now

The Norfolk Southern bean-counters pulled the rails out of Farmville and off High Bridge in 2004, on the 150th anniversary of its construction. The roadbed is being made into a Rails-to-Trails route, going across the steel bridge of 1914, which succeeded this one.

Notice the dip in the track where the track leaves the abutment. O'Sullivan also took a side view in which you can see the sag in the first span.

High Bridge.

This is one of those pictures that remind me of home and all the great people in what used to be a small town. God bless us each and every one.

High Bridge - 1865

I am a Farmville native, born & raised there, and now living in Pennsylvania. I did a high school paper on the very location in the photograph, and took some photos (sadly which were lost over the course of time, and because of moving several times since then). I added the Shorpy Historical Photos blog to my Google reader awhile back because I am a history buff, and I love photos of the past so much...NEVER thought I would see a photo of a location from my old hometown show up here...glad to see people recognizing the historical importance of rural Virginia, as it was a major staging ground for many of the battles and events that ultimately shaped the early foundations of the United States. Thanks for sharing this picture with us, and I look forward to every new post here (specifically been digging on the Krazy Kat Club series...sad to see you've reached the bottom of the barrel on that)....as well as generally ALL the content here. Kudos for a great site that presents the Art which accompanies the historical events we read about, but feel somehow disconnected from...the photos make the stories more real and accessible. After all, a picture INDEED is worth a thousand words!

Many thanks,
Heather

High Bridge

I was curious as to how high this bridge is (answer: 160 feet) so did a little searching and found a Wikipedia article on this bridge. Thought I'd post that link here in case anyone's interested.

Interesting to me about this photo: further out on the bridge, there appears to be a work crew, perhaps. Looks like they have a handcar and possibly tools of some sort alongside the tracks. I wonder if the gentleman in the foreground, who is quite nicely dressed, is their boss? Or if he just happened to be standing there? He looks a little out of place to me.

Iris Effect

The iris effect makes it resemble a silent film scene, maybe a silent film about the Civil War.

Battle of High Bridge

Also the site of a furious two-day endgame pitched battle (April 6 & 7, 1865) for control of this bridge in which it was significantly damaged by fire. This engagement occurred during Lee's retreat to Appomattox Station. Considered a tactical draw the Confederate Army nonetheless captured 800 Union troops. By April 9 the formal surrender had been signed at Appomattox Court House.

Farmville High Bridge

I went to Longwood College in Farmvillle and I am very familiar with this bridge. It is still in use by the railway companies. Over the years, many people have lost their lives from being on the bridge when the trains come through.....so...some people suggest it is haunted!

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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