Boat and Place Identity?

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Lubliner

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
The boat is apparently USS Saugus

If you mirror the image to the correct position, you can read the writing at the top
1513 Gun Boat in the James nea[r?] ___ Sunday 1513
398

Here is another shot of LeHigh very close to the same location on the James...

View attachment 343995
It amazes me how much deforestation has taken place, from this second photo earlier on, to the first photo. No doubt at all as to it being the same place. When I was a very young child we lived about 1 1/2 miles from James River in a new development (1954) where Dad built a house. It was all woods, swamps and fields until the river overlook, about 6 to 8 miles above Newport News Point and Hampton Roads. The river was very wide there. There was a single path that went straight while an old dirt road dog-legged deeper into the woods and swung around eventually to a huge plantation house with a gazebo, old barn, stone fences, etc. No other soul lived down that way, and by 1959 or 1960 the river was still wild at that point, with yellow and red clay bluffs, pines and hard woods, and a very narrow beach at mid-tide. It was a paradise that was sold and taken to the contractors about 1967, and James Landing Estates was built up. The river now has unbroken seawalls, a dammed marsh that turned into a lake and built up on all sides. I hunted snakes back there until 1972-3. Just a vague memory of tidal creeks, with unbelievable tidal rises and drainages, black sand and yellow, and downed trees among the upright is all that remains.
Lubliner.
 
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Lubliner

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Looks like a supply path from a landing up to the tower. I am not sure how many men would be detached to occupy and defend the signal station, but that could also account for the removal of trees, making bivouac. The river vessels may have used wood for their steam propulsion as well, and anything near the shore would be gathered.
Lubliner.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
My guess is that John Littlefield is correct. I further venture to say that the photographer is standing on the north bank of the James River at Deep Bottom with his aim across the James River looking somewhat south at Bermuda Hundred on the opposing bank. You see near the monitor's funnel and across to Bermuda Hundred a point of land whereupon the River is making a bend. On my maps thereof I can see a likely spot with one standing near the Federal pontoon at Deep Bottom (should be out of sight of the photo to the right) and looking toward that point of land at Bermuda Hundred. A possible point made is that both sides of the river is likely under Federal control. I seems to me that only place has to be Deep Bottom. The monitors worked the area to protect the pontoon and block the Confederate warship upstream.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Hard to say but they might have cut it to improve visibility even.

That would be my guess? Meaning when control of the river is vital, good not to have cover from which the other side could operate unseen? Area that's cut seems not ideal ground, fairly steep slope, can't have been as easy job clearing all that. If it was just for wood, would have been more accessible spots.

Then there's corduroy roads? Can't imagine how many trees it took to build one- I'm not saying that was it, just that anywhere the engineers built one may have had scars.
 

Lubliner

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
That would be my guess? Meaning when control of the river is vital, good not to have cover from which the other side could operate unseen? Area that's cut seems not ideal ground, fairly steep slope, can't have been as easy job clearing all that. If it was just for wood, would have been more accessible spots.

Then there's corduroy roads? Can't imagine how many trees it took to build one- I'm not saying that was it, just that anywhere the engineers built one may have had scars.
The clay in that area of Virginia was horrendous for clinging to boots. It could be slick too. That hillside exposed to run-off erosion would have to be time-limited on how long it remained in that condition. I can not see a single footprint or drag mark along that whole frontage. The near side does show boot activity, and it is possible a skirting of sand was at the shore line. Tidal action regulated the amount.
Lubliner.
 
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Lubliner

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
View attachment 344668

Hey, @Lubliner, check this out, another ironclad at the same spot. This is a captured Confederate ram, the Atlanta, I believe.
Thanks for that. I was beginning to doubt that second photo being of the same spot. Maybe it is the camera lens, but the size of the vessel and the width of the river, with the height of the men seems a bit further off. Anyone see what I mean?
This sandy shore is the same. I am thinking it is the vantage point of the camera making me question the center photo.
Lubliner.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
The middle photo appears when the river was at flood stage with the photographer standing further back. The other two seem to be at a low seasonal stage level of water. The first photo is more upstream from the others. The others are almost same spot. Different time seemed by the different vegetation cover or lack of. I remain convinced it is at Deep Bottom. The tower is the same and likely Army of James observation towers as there were a number of them around face of Bermuda Hundred fortress. They actively recorded Confederate troop movements at their front lines and roads plus their vessels in their part of the River.
 
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JohnDLittlefield

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Location
Charlestonian displaced to Bodrum,Turkey
I have no doubt at all that the images are taken from the same area, they just aren't taken from precisely the same location. Therefore we are not seeing deforestation, but two views taken from several hundred yards apart.
What I am seeing is that the Lehigh image was taken several hundred yards closer to the tower than the Saugus image and that one is looking at a hill (the deforested hill with what appears to be a road leading over it) that obscures the trees on the other side.
In photoshop I overlaid the images to test this and see that this is most likely the case, although that needs to be confirmed with meta-data of the archives holding these images.
Here are the two images side-by-side and showing the differences in the tower size, thus position of the photographers...

James River ironclads.jpg
 

bekosh

Private
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Location
WI
Here is another photo taken at the same location. Probably at the same time as the others above. You can clearly see the small dory on shore near Saugus.
The title at the LOC is
"Fleet of monitors in Trent's Reach, James River, Va. Butler's "Crow's Nest" signal tower on bank of river"

Right to left I believe we have Saugus, Mahopac? (in the distance), Sangamon, Atlanta?, Lehigh and Onondaga? (hidden behind Lehigh). I am using the color plates in this pdf Modeling Civil War Ironclad Ships (p129-139) for my ID attempt.
Larger photo file can be downloaded from LOC. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2013649046/
Fleet of monitors in Trent's Reach James River Va (Large).jpg
 

bschulte

Corporal
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Trent's Reach was to the east of Drewry's Bluff on the James River. It was basically the "No Man's Land" between the two navies on the James during the entire Siege of Petersburg. If this is Trent's Reach, the image above was taken from Farrar's Island, also clearly labeled on the map. Dutch Gap is a short distance away, off to the left of the camera. The Union generally held control of Farrar's Island, especially later in the Siege.

JamesRiverFromChaffinsBluffToDeepBottomAreaMap.png
 
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Aug 4, 2019
I remain having trouble with the Trent Reach situation. I seem to be seeing in the background the river making a sweep bend to the right. In the new map presented I can not find that suppose river bend. The one on the map has a bend turning left. Assuming the fleet has their bows pointed upstream toward the enemy. Is this wrong what I think I am seeing! I would like to ask: Is Trent Reach obstruction line or area around it within long range heavy rifled artillery fire of the Confederates? Surely the fleet would not park in the possible firing range? What is that (chain barricade?) that seems to go across the river in front of the fleet? That thing hardly seems like the historical Trent Reach obstruction barrier of history.
 

Will Carry

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
The Tar Heel State.
What about the small smoke stack behind the turret in the OP's photo? It is missing in the other photo. Plus the main smoke stack in the OP is noticeably thicker than the one on the second pic. The more I look at these two ships, the more differences I see. It's probably that the two photos shows the ship at different angles......Great stuff! Great post!
 
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