What A Messy, Boring Affair War Can Be

JPK Huson 1863

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#1
city point shambles.JPG

It didn't take much browsing through this public access LoC image from City Point to catch a whole lot of mess. Between the disorganized dockside arrangements, supplies apparently tossed randomly onto barges, what looks like a floating homestead someone threw away and someone's compacted household stacked on a roof ( is that a legless table? ) how did any of this get cleaned up by 2019? I looked. It's not there.

Here's a favorite, Steamer Wenonah at White House Landing, Pamunkey.
whl shen nap resized.jpg

I ' think ' Wenonah had just come from trying to pull another steamer free, having run aground. This crop is wonderful, waiting or unloading? Tough to tell.

whl shen waiting feet.JPG

Bored? There's not only a man looking like he's given up ever, ever going anywhere again sitting hand to face, there are legs and feet attached to an unseen napper. Lumber piles, a hay bale, men and horses, barge wonderfully tied to a tree. Dead tree in the foreground seems a kind of statement.

whl shen hay.JPG

Canal Boat Corn Exchange seems awfully over loaded with hay. It got there, which was the point of these landings. Supplies, wounded, soldiers transport, one ship could have had a very varied war.

It seems despite all efforts by the Sanitary Commission to improve hygiene ( and it took awhile for the coin to drop on why " Sanitary " . Duh. ) no one could be persuaded to just, plain clean things up. Without knowing this as fact it's a little safe thinking military neatness prevailed in some places. A few camp photos show us pristine order, taut tent ropes, straight rows, smartly uniformed men and raked ground. Other places? Tents apparently pitched at random, collections of shack apparently built in a state of fall-down disorder and mysterious heaps of debris we may not wish to poke around in.

it's not just wharfs and landings, they just provide a very good indication of some general seediness in spots. You know those elegant ' saloons ' depicted inside some luxury steamers? Try a transport.
shoes between decks steamer.JPG

Bring your own chair, saddled ( box on floor in foreground ) and newspaper.

steamer winamissett.JPG

Winnisimmet, looking like several abandoned warehouses nailed on a raft, boards nailed across the window, You can see a bench inside that rickety door. And some floating debris we probably wouldn't like to smell. What I love is the neatly coiled rope- a sailor sticking to it.

wharf city point columia mess.JPG

Also City Point, Columbia tied up at one wharf, wagons waiting to unload in the background, an old wharf catching more debris and the chaotic cluster of war.


Possibly the chaotic mix of civilian enterprise and military presence was just too much who knows? I'm always struck by the plain, old mess prevailing especially on various wharfs at landings. City Point's wharf could be such a shambles it can be difficult ascertaining which on earth photos are of the explosion's aftermath and which are just a collective mess composed of supplies, debris, building materials and ( you just know ) rats dead and alive. How'd anyone not trip over the war?

Disclaimer here is no, I didn't say all. It's just not as much fun poking around tidiness.

I'm not sure if this tidy wharf is one of the U-shaped a nurse wrote of? Order prevails in this part of City Point's landing , steamer Silver Star and X A. MoXXX taking on coal?
wharf u shaped city point neat.JPG


After the tragic explosion there, it can take awhile ascertaining what we're seeing. I've seen it listed understandably as ' loading supplies '. These are all Library of Congress images in public access. Thank you LoC.
explosion aftermath city point.JPG

The explosion is a whole ' nother story. Sophronia Bucklin was there, nearly hit by falling debris. Her account is more than chilling and like I said, a whole 'nother thread.

There's more ( there's always more ). If it's of interest, ' in ( messy ) camps ' tomorrow.
 

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Patrick H

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#3
You always find the most interesting photos, and you always find interesting detail within the photos. When I look at busy harbors of the wooden boat era, I am always fascinated by the skiffs and tenders. They were like the taxis and delivery trucks of their era. Some of them are rudimentary and some have extremely elegant lines.
 

bdtex

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#5
You always find the most interesting photos, and you always find interesting detail within the photos.
I agree.

"Bored? There's not only a man looking like he's given up ever, ever going anywhere again sitting hand to face, there are legs and feet attached to an unseen napper. Lumber piles, a hay bale, men and horses, barge wonderfully tied to a tree. Dead tree in the foreground seems a kind of statement."

I had to look at that picture several times before I saw all the things she described.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#9
Hah! You know as well as I do that the messiest creature on God's earth is a teenaged girl. I wonder if teenage girls were messy back in the 1860s?

Yes, and it was a little maddening when my daughter went to school- visiting her dorm? Room was spotless, tidy and organized. She's still like that, a little anal about housekeeping. You can't believe it's the same person whose clothing and soccer cleat strewn room was a little terrifying. What was in there?
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Joined
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18,385
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#10
When I look at busy harbors of the wooden boat era, I am always fascinated by the skiffs and tenders. They were like the taxis and delivery trucks of their era. Some of them are rudimentary and some have extremely elegant lines.
Yes, it's one of the things that I always look for- came across an account by a Union officer describing the wharfs and surroundings ( I think at ) City Point. Speaks of a genuine community of displaced people, in this case referred to as contraband living on an assortment of small boats. Some of these really interesting, cluttered and unique boats seem likely candidates.

city point houseboat shack.JPG

This could be a small cottage with the outhouse in the yard. LOVE it although it does remind me of the always fascinating Chillicoath.

chillicoath 2.jpg

Isn't she wonderful? Not an elegant line in sight, just seems a misplaced village.

Barge that might have been lived on seems to have luggage and what looks like a dismantled table on the roof.
city point transports jp luggage.jpg
 



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