Photographers at Belle Plain.

Robert Gray

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 24, 2012
Messages
1,423
#1
This view is usually described as wagons at Belle Plain Landing on the Potomac River. The rectangular object on the right is thought to be a photographer's darkroom tent. There are several variations of this image. This one, from the Massachusetts Historical Society, shows a group of civilians in the foreground. I am going to suggest that what we are seeing is a team of photographers picking up supplies before heading south and west to the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania area during the 1864 Overland Campaign. What do you think?

MHS1948_01_0472_a.jpg
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

chubachus

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
1,177
Location
Virginia
#2
NARA has the negative of this print mislabeled as being taken along the James River: https://research.archives.gov/id/529334

Here is my animation of the four photo negative taken nearby and the companion photo of this print:


I agree with darkroom observation, the identity of the men is harder. I think some of them could be the teamsters driving the (ambulance?) wagons seen in the middle-ground of the photo.
 

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
5,063
#3
I think some of them could be the teamsters driving the (ambulance?) wagons seen in the middle-ground of the photo.
I am going to suggest that what we are seeing is a team of photographers picking up supplies before heading south and west to the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania area during the 1864 Overland Campaign. What do you think?
I thought maybe I could figure out what they are holding. I thought maybe the the seated guy on the left might be holding a photography plate. Turns out he has a boot in his hands. It might be his boot? He is wearing an interesting looking hat. No idea what the other seated guys are holding. Maybe someone else can tell?
1552362205333.png
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
17,633
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#4
If the plethora of photographs from Belle Plain is any indication, would have to agree there would have been a plethora but- why no obvious wagon? I'm sincerely not shooting down the theory, we've just had several images from the war where their wagons with company signs were front and center? I'd assumed these were blacksmiths because the equipment includes a grindstone.
blacksmith maybe.jpg

Grindstone, top of snip and something ( officially known as a ' thingy ' ) , down next to the large covered thingy. Boy, the army could come up with better names than thingies. Could get confusing. Anyway, large covered thingy a traveling forge? Would they have been larger?

Tents to the right in above image are a hospital, enlarged images from another perspective show the writing on them. Hang on, will go look ( may have that...... ) Sorry- love this series of images. It flows in with ships in and out carrying wounded and mail, and the prisoners at the Punch Bowl.

hosp wagons.jpg

Have hospital wagons, have mules! Have forage, too.

hosp dept belle plain ).jpg

Wharf would be to left if I hadn't cropped it out.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
209
Location
Lima, OH
#6
I thought maybe I could figure out what they are holding. I thought maybe the the seated guy on the left might be holding a photography plate. Turns out he has a boot in his hands. It might be his boot? He is wearing an interesting looking hat. No idea what the other seated guys are holding. Maybe someone else can tell?
View attachment 296521
Looks to me like the 4 seated guys in the foreground are having a meal.
The boot you suggest the 2nd from right is holding...I think it belongs to, (and is being worn by) the fifth seated guy directly behind him. He is sitting with both legs extended straight out.
I could be wrong, but that’s my take on it.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
17,633
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#7
Great pics and always fun to examine. Wagons in an orderly line going towards the wharf and a gaggle going away, lol.

Was just reading one of the Sanitary Commission reports, from 1864? At one point there was what they described as a U shaped wharf, talk about orderly progression. Wagons just rumbled up, either loaded or unloaded or ( I guess? ) were taken on board, and could keep going. Never noticed it before, duh- some photos do show two pontoon bridges side by side.
 

Similar threads




(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top