Plate 25. Pontoon Bridge, Across the Potomac at Berlin

Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Alexander Gardner, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
Berlin is a quiet little village on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, twelve miles from Point of Rocks. A fine bridge connected it with the Virginia shore until June, 1861, when the Confederates sacrificed it to the spirit of destruction that ruined Harper's Ferry and laid waste the pleasant places of the border. Its inhabitants, numbering about five hundred, are dependent principally for support upon the business of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which passes the place, and during the war, from the interruption of navigation necessarily suffered much hardship. The bivouac of the Army of the Potomac in its vicinity in 1862 first introduced its name to the country, and it has fallen again into the partial oblivion that has hidden much more pretentious villages. Here McClellan had his headquarters after the battle of Antietam, and the troops crossed into Virginia, marching down through London to Rectortown and Warrenton, and thence to Fredericksburg.
The Photograph only shows the village and a small portion of the Maryland shore, from which no adequate impression can be formed of the beauty of the surrounding scenery. The river at this point is obstructed by scattered rocks, and with the wooded hills that slope precipitously to the water's edge, forms one of the most charming pictures of the Potomac. Game and fish abound, many objects of interest are close at hand, and the summer fugitive from the ills of city life finds here a pleasant halting place in his journeyings for recreation.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 7 in x 8 15/16 in; 17.78 cm x 22.64842 cm
place made
United States: Maryland, Berlin
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Gardner's Sketchbook
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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