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Plate 66. Chesterfield Bridge, across the North Anna

Plate 66. Chesterfield Bridge, across the North Anna

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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 bridge is on the road known as the Telegraph road to Richmond. On the 23d of May Gen. Hancock found it defended by earthworks, manned, and offering a spirited resistance. These were speedily carried by a brilliant assault of the old "Berry Brigade," and the bridge taken before damage had been done it by the defenders. The 93d New York, in the heat of the charge, carried their colors to the centre of the structure, the enemy still holding the opposite bank. The bridge and its approaches remained exposed to the fire of a battery of the enemy, so posted that the Union artillery could not silence it as long as we held possession. Everything crossing it had to run the gauntlet of a wicked fire, rapidly delivered, and at good range. Pouring over at the double-quick, those commands that were obliged to cross, offered a capital mark to the rebel gunners. In this way several large regiments of New York heavy artillery went over, not without serious casualties, the shells bursting about their heads with deafening explosions. Captain Bleeper's battery, the 10th Massachusetts, crossed it about this time, the rebels redoubling their efforts in hope of blowing up the ammunition, but the captain only passed over one piece at a time, thus materially diminishing the target; and as the rule is to go no faster than a walk, (unless at the risk of severe pains and penalties at the hands of the local authorities), the aforesaid captain passed over with each piece in turn, enforcing the observance of the law, and proving the discipline of his battery. The ridge in the distance was the position held by the Second Corps, till it was determined not to advance any further in that direction.
It is a curious fact that this bridge received hardly any damage from the continual fire of the rebel battery; nor was the loss among the troops exposed to it anything like what might have been expected, owing to the fire of the Second Corps artillery, which must have considerably confused its aim.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, North Anna
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 7 in x 9 in; 17.78 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Civil War
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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