Image is referred to as ' African Americans on barges, Richmond '. Using this photo from April, 1865 because yes, it is but it's also displaced civilians who fled flames and chaos, saving what they could. These Richmond citizens were some of the lucky ones.
Who knows how many households are represented here? Veritable bales of goods wrapped in sheets, kitchen hutches, blankets, baskets, beds and cookware crowd barge decks. Looters? Nope. Richmond citizens whose new home was an open air house boat.
Asking for leeway on this thread please. So many photos tell awfully long stories. It's genuinely difficult ascertaining how much of them to tell in the ' Period Photos & Examinations forum- we don't have huge, long stories here. The thing is sometimes the photos exist because of that story- as is the case with all those ruins we see at Richmond, Virginia.
Sign we see on a gaping, crumbled building by the canal is " McCarthy and Young ", a lumber and grocery wholesale business. Young had retired the year previously, bought out by another man. They hadn't changed the sign as of 1865.
Second disclaimer ( sorry ) is please please do not create more ruins of the thread. Richmond looks the way it does in these LoC and National Archives images because THE perfect storm of events occurred on top of THE perfect storm of conditions. It was a little inevitable.
By April, 1865 civilians had endured a grueling war. Blockaded deprivation, at first endured with patriotic teeth clenching and defiance had become onerous. The slowly emerging knowledge that while civilians suffered for sheer lack speculators sat on hoarded goods created resentment and a lot of it. You can't shame anyone into patriotic duty when it wasn't collective. The famous Bread Riots of previous years proved this although newspapers continued to mostly snark at any family not willing to suffer.
Add to this the chaos ensuing as two armies pretty much switched places inside Richmond, as much panic over enemy troops on the horizon as watching Confederate troops withdraw. Ewell, following orders, torched key warehouses and facilities, Breckinridge despairingly pleaded against this action. You get the idea he foresaw these the images taken later.
There's so much more. It was an awful night. The almshouse was burned with residents inside, so swiftly did the flames spread.