Plate 98. High Bridge, across the Appomattox

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.
The South Side Railway, between Petersburg and Lynchburg, crosses the Appomattox river and its broad valley, by what is now well known as High Bridge. With one exception, it is the highest structure of the kind on this continent, being one hundred and twenty-eight feet above the level of the river, and two thousand four hundred feet in length.
On the morning of the 7th of April, 1865, the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac, in pursuit of the enemy, came up with them at this point. The Confederates endeavored not only to burn the railroad bridge, but also the common road bridge, which crosses the river a short distance below. The latter was fortunately saved, and but three spans of the former were burned. The picture shows that this damage has since been repaired by the substitution of, a trestle bridge along the sections destroyed. Owing to the great height of the piers, and the haste with which the bridge was repaired, it is now rather insecure, rendering it necessary for the trains to pass over at a very slow rate of speed. At high water the river covered the whole of the flats, and extended above the stone base of the piers.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
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, Appomatox River
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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