Plate 68. Charles City Court-House, Virginia

Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
This place is the county seat of Charles City County, about twenty-five miles southeast from Richmond, and is a fair specimen of many Virginia Court-Houses. This neighborhood was the scene of a number of severe cavalry fights during the war, the Court-House, in 1862, being only three miles from the intrenched camp of Gen. McClellan, whose army marched past the village in its retreat from before Richmond to Fortress Monroe. Gen. Meade's army, in 1864, again occupied this section, and passed over its roads from Coal Harbor to Petersburg, when the building was sacked by the troops, and many of the records were destroyed. There were but two or three dwellings and a church composing the village, and a stranger might pass through the place without dreaming that it possessed a name. Its history dates from the early settlement of Virginia, and the cemeteries round about it contain the names of those who passed away one hundred years ago.
The return of peace has here failed to quicken the people, and everything is rapidly sinking to decay. The aristocratic families, impoverished by the war, and deprived of the labor of their slaves, barely manage to live, and the whole country along the James is rapidly becoming overgrown with scrub timber and chaparral.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 7 in x 9 in; 17.78 cm x 22.86 cm
place made
United States: Virginia, Charles City
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Government, Politics, and Reform
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
Additional Media

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