Friday, March 6, 2015

Civil War Views: Lower Battery at Chain Bridge

As readers may have noticed, things are a bit "quiet along the Potomac" here on the blog! With a newborn and increased responsibilities on the home front, the time I have for research and writing each night has dwindled considerably. That said, I have many new topics in the pipeline, and much of the related research is substantially completed, so I hope that I will be able to post some original, in-depth content here as we head into the spring and summer. In the meantime, I am launching a new visual series on the blog called, "Civil War Views."

I've recently come across some amazing drawings and photographs of wartime Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. It seems that every day that the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other institutions are making more and more visual content available on the Internet. Rather than just post a newly discovered image on Facebook or Twitter, I felt it would be nice to offer a little context about the photograph, sketch, or engraving in a good, old-fashioned blog post! So now, without further ado, here is the first installment. . . .

I've written extensively about Chain Bridge over the years. Many of my posts have focused on the defenses that the Union Army erected to protect this key Potomac River crossing. I particularly like this relatively obscure photograph of the Lower Battery at Chain Bridge:

"Battery at Chain Bridge, Washington, D.C. 1862" (courtesy of the Library of Congress).

The photograph shows the battery that was established in 1861 on the Washington side of Chain Bridge. Gun crews pose next to a 12-pounder howitzer (l) and 24-pounder howitzer (r). (Thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Craig Swain for helping to verify!)  The artillery is positioned to fire through embrasures in the earthwork. A few soldiers stand guard, while others mill around at the end of the bridge. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is visible to the right side of the photograph. Incidentally, another gun emplacement, known as Battery Martin Scott, was located on the bluffs above the battery pictured here. More on that one in a future Civil War Views post!


Benjamin Franklin Cooling III & Walton H. Owen II, Mr. Lincoln's Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington (2010 ed.).

No comments: