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Bridge Out: 1865

Bridge Out: 1865

April 1865. "Richmond, Va. Ruins of Richmond & Petersburg Railroad bridge." Span over the James River, burned by Confederate troops before the advancing Federal Army. Wet plate negative by Alexander Gardner. View full size.


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Re: A Couple Near the River

It's very possible that they are paroled Confederate soldiers wondering how to get across so they can go home. Or they could be displaced workers from one of the mills or the Armory. There were a lot of people and soldiers from other parts of the state and other states as well as foreigners cast adrift in Richmond in '65.

A Couple near the river

Did anyone else notice the couple sitting near the river (approximately 25 feet or so) to the left of the burned out bridge?

[Looks like three people. -tterrace.]

The Great Conflagration

Looking at this one gets an idea of the mayhem and terror of a city in its death throes. Put this image with the many others taken of the industrial district and put them alongside those of Berlin or Dresden in 1945 and you can barely tell them apart. Although the occupation of Richmond was nowhere near as bad as was expected, the night the Confederate Army abandoned it held as much confusion and fear as any city in history left to hordes of invaders. Besides the columns of troops marching out, the streets were filled with half starved women and children looting government storehouses, unemployed prostitutes (at least temporarily), street urchins, deserters and gangs of released prisoners from the penitentiary stealing from everybody and drinking from the street gutters the whiskey poured out by the provost guards. During all this, munitions dumps were exploding and raining shrapnel all over the place. Several accounts from soldiers leaving the city recall the sight of the burning city and one described it as being "at once, both terrible and sublime". Another compared it to Dante's Inferno. By the grace of God, the yankee "hordes" were not as bad as feared and order was quickly brought to the city. But we have to remember that on that night, the citizens and soldiers (many of whom left loved ones behind) didn't know that. They didn't know that a day later Lincoln would tell the general commanding the occupying troops to "...let them up easy, General, let them up easy."

Well built

Well built, main arterial bridge support, I'm surprised it was never rebuilt for rail use.

The Rail Line

here is the Richmond & Petersburg. The brick structure the left is presumably the burned-out paper mill; to the right and behind the photographer was the railroad depot. This is less than a half-mile from the (then and now) State Capitol, but a bit farther because of the need to find a bridge across the James River and Kanawha Canal, that passed between.

Remains of the supports left of route 60.

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