Wharf At White House Landing, Help Explain That Train Please?

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JPK Huson 1863

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bridge white house landing.jpg

Cropped version of one of a series ID'd on LoC as a temporary bridge across the Pamunkey. I'm not sure it's just a bridge given activity on it- seems more a wharf/bridge. None of the ' White House Landing ' images on LoC identify a photographer but what interests me is what on earth he captured here?

bridge wharf landing men boat.jpg

The ' Men in dinghy ' shot. It's taken from the same spot as quite a few other. This one is described as a ' landing '.Object of my question can be seen in both images above- that train!

bridge white house  landing crop.jpg


Photographers had some kind of photo-fest at White House Landing on the Pamunkey, Virginia. When I first became immersed in the war these images baffled me. Like a good blond I was trying to figure out how in heck a river got anywhere near the Executive Mansion. It took awhile for both geography and history to catch up.

Plenty to photograph! Ships and men and relief organizations and camps- the church where Martha may have said " I do " and the ruins of the house where her grand daughter left a note for men she considered invaders. " Please don't burn the house down " ( paraphrasing badly ). It was burned down when McClellan withdrew. Someone didn't get the memo.
bridge white house landing boat 2.jpg

Every image features that darn boat- between that and a swimmer or two in successive ( or previous? ) shots you can get distracted.

Crazy cool images- you can get lost in them. One well known series from White House Landing is of a wharf- no pontoons here, it's a high bridge-landing affair. I'm always distracted by a guy in the water and a beached dinghy - men in it, one man in it, no one in it while another scene unfolds on top. It's the scene on top I can NOT figure out.

What is happening with that darn train please? It doesn't seem as if this was a RR bridge and the fact we can see it from the side instead of pointing across the wharf means it wasn't crossing it- and there do not seem to be tracks anyway?

It's not ON the bridge, train wheels are a little lower. On a ship? How'd anyone get an entire train engine on board a ship?
white house train close crop.jpg


bridge white house landing crop2.jpg


Images from this series has always driven me a little batty. Ideas?
 

DaveBrt

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View attachment 321444
Cropped version of one of a series ID'd on LoC as a temporary bridge across the Pamunkey. I'm not sure it's just a bridge given activity on it- seems more a wharf/bridge. None of the ' White House Landing ' images on LoC identify a photographer but what interests me is what on earth he captured here?

View attachment 321446
The ' Men in dinghy ' shot. It's taken from the same spot as quite a few other. This one is described as a ' landing '.Object of my question can be seen in both images above- that train!

View attachment 321441

Photographers had some kind of photo-fest at White House Landing on the Pamunkey, Virginia. When I first became immersed in the war these images baffled me. Like a good blond I was trying to figure out how in heck a river got anywhere near the Executive Mansion. It took awhile for both geography and history to catch up.

Plenty to photograph! Ships and men and relief organizations and camps- the church where Martha may have said " I do " and the ruins of the house where her grand daughter left a note for men she considered invaders. " Please don't burn the house down " ( paraphrasing badly ). It was burned down when McClellan withdrew. Someone didn't get the memo.
View attachment 321442
Every image features that darn boat- between that and a swimmer or two in successive ( or previous? ) shots you can get distracted.

Crazy cool images- you can get lost in them. One well known series from White House Landing is of a wharf- no pontoons here, it's a high bridge-landing affair. I'm always distracted by a guy in the water and a beached dinghy - men in it, one man in it, no one in it while another scene unfolds on top. It's the scene on top I can NOT figure out.

What is happening with that darn train please? It doesn't seem as if this was a RR bridge and the fact we can see it from the side instead of pointing across the wharf means it wasn't crossing it- and there do not seem to be tracks anyway?

It's not ON the bridge, train wheels are a little lower. On a ship? How'd anyone get an entire train engine on board a ship?
View attachment 321447

View attachment 321443

Images from this series has always driven me a little batty. Ideas?
White House was a station on the Richmond & York River RR, 26 miles east of Richmond. The Union army brought five locomotives and some cars to use on this road to supply the army and to use in moving siege artillery toward the Richmond defenses. With McClelland's defeat, the locomotives were captured and most put to use on Confederate railroads.

 

mikekj

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Shipping train engines during that period was done quite frequently. Given that track gauges were not standardized at that time, it would be easier to ship it from one place to another.

Also, if one were to order an engine form a builder up north, they might ship it to Charleston or Savannah.

Though to be sure some were lost at sea in storms, and have been found on the bottom.

 
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John Hartwell

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1566243986548.png
The photograph shows the transfer bridge at Alexandria. In the right foreground is a barge with several sets of rails. It is about to be maneuvered up to those inclined ramps, which will then be lined up with the rails on the barge. Once locked in place, the locomotive in the background can be driven right on to the barge, & towed away. Usually used to move loaded railroad cars, but also for locomotives.
Single transfer bridge at City Point:
1566244430080.png


Photos are from the interesting USMRR blog, regarding the making of a model railroad layout of Aquia Creek. There's a lot of solid research in that blog ... along with detailed analysis of period photographs.
 
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DixieRifles

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On a ship? How'd anyone get an entire train engine on board a ship?
There was a train ferry boat that operated at Helena, Arkansas in the early 1900's. This continued up through the 1940's until they built a RR bridge. I don't know if they did this back during the war or not.
Train Ferry.jpg


I wondered if the train was on a track that ran down to the river so cargo could be transferred to or from that wharf.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Thank you! It's such a crazy concept thinking something that size and weight could be loaded onto a ship! NOW more of those images make sense! We're nothing if not inventive, gee whiz. I'm sorry to sound too amazed, it's just a train engine!

Better snip from another photo. You have to love the guy making the trip inside his engine. Just another day at war.
white house landing train2 pamunkey.jpg

 
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Lubliner

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Here is a report from Alexandria concerning wharves in use October 17, 1861.
"The wharf of the American Coal Company, the Fish Wharf, the Steamship, and adjoining wharves, are used by the Government. Large sheds will, it is understood, be erected on the American Coal Company's Wharf, for storing provisions, &c., and a switch from the Railroad on Union Street is to extend out on the wharf to facilitate the transportation of articles to the camps of the Federal soldiers beyond the western limits of the city." https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025008/1861-10-17/ed-1/seq-2/

It helps explain some of the activity.
Lubliner.
 

Robert Gray

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Thank you! It's such a crazy concept thinking something that size and weight could be loaded onto a ship! NOW more of those images make sense! We're nothing if not inventive, gee whiz. I'm sorry to sound too amazed, it's just a train engine!

Better snip from another photo. You have to love the guy making the trip inside his engine. Just another day at war.
View attachment 321755
I would love to know who the picture is of on the tender.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Steam engines from that era are not as heavy as you might assume, especially when all the water has been removed from the boiler and tender. Sealed up, they've been known to float in water. Like a battleship. Heavy, but still able to float.

No way! You'd think those things would sink more swiftly than boulders. Battleships have always baffled me too- but I'm constantly reminded by this stuff that I really should have taken physics.
 

Southern Unionist

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No way! You'd think those things would sink more swiftly than boulders.
During the great flood of 1916, a steam engine drained of all water, scheduled for maintenance and repairs in the Asheville, NC yard, floated away down the French Broad River and was NEVER FOUND! Experts assume that it eventually took on enough water that it sank in a deep part of the river, out of sight, and rusted away.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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During the great flood of 1916, a steam engine drained of all water, scheduled for maintenance and repairs in the Asheville, NC yard, floated away down the French Broad River and was NEVER FOUND! Experts assume that it eventually took on enough water that it sank in a deep part of the river, out of sight, and rusted away.

I'll bet scuba divers find some awfully interesting stuff. We had a friend dive the lake in Maine we've gone to for 40 years. His most notable find among the usual fishing lures, tin cans and general rubbish was a stove. A stove! It may have been a bright idea by one of the ice fishermen who drag shacks out onto the ice then the ice got thin.... . Can't imagine being the guy to discover a train engine, before rust got it.
 
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rebelatsea

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Steam engines survive a remarkably long time underwater Some on a freighter sunk by a u boat in the Bristol Channel are still intact and in New Zealand, engines which were deliberately used to reinforce river banks and flood defences have been recovered and restored too working order.
 

Southern Unionist

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Can't imagine being the guy to discover a train engine, before rust got it.
I'll bet there's still enough of some of the larger parts left to be identifiable, such as the cast drive wheels. The big problem is, nobody has a clue where to start looking. It's a long way by water from Asheville to New Orleans, and it could be anywhere. Also, the debris would likely be covered by mud. Large, protruding parts that would be closer to the surface were made from the thinnest metal, and are the most likely to have rusted away completely, or at least collapsed nearly flat.

Water destruction of metal is often a slow and complicated process. Salt water does the job faster than fresh water. I've seen recovered Spanish Navy cannons that have become little more than giant blobs of iron. It takes a bit of imagination to visualize what they used to be. And you may have heard, the wreck of the Titanic is getting shorter. There are ongoing structural collapses, due to corrosion of structural steel, and the entire ship is eventually going to go flat, some say sooner rather than later.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Titanic is getting shorter. There are ongoing structural collapses, due to corrosion of structural steel, and the entire ship is eventually going to go flat, some say sooner rather than later

Remember all the hair ball plans to raise it? Read of one environmental disaster inclusive if filling it with ping pong balls, thankfully never attempted. I'm really glad they seem to have abandoned all efforts. All those people deserve to rest in peace, hauling what amounts to a large cemetery to the surface would be appalling.

restored too working order.

That's amazing, isn't it? Restored to working order! They made things to last. You can't let your phone get rained on in 2019 without having it refuse to work. Yes, tech isn't quite the same thing but really, what doesn't break?
 
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The photograph shows the transfer bridge at Alexandria. In the right foreground is a barge with several sets of rails. It is about to be maneuvered up to those inclined ramps, which will then be lined up with the rails on the barge. Once locked in place, the locomotive in the background can be driven right on to the barge, & towed away. Usually used to move loaded railroad cars, but also for locomotives.
Single transfer bridge at City Point:View attachment 321680

Photos are from the interesting USMRR blog, regarding the making of a model railroad layout of Aquia Creek. There's a lot of solid research in that blog ... along with detailed analysis of period photographs.
It's fascinating to see the combination of two of the U.S.Army's greatest advantages--trains and riverboats/barges--combined in action. I tend to overlook how creative engineers could be in their problem-solving skills.
 
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