Another hand's down favorite photograph. White House Landing, Pamunkey, 1862- McClellan's Army in possession of a nearly sleepy scene. Camp on banks ( hospital there somewhere ), steamers, one of the ( twin? ) masted war ships ( Unadilla? ) - and canal boats bearing home town names from 100's of miles north.
OK, give up- been trying to find this answer for years. You'd think it would be possible given how many resources are out there- best resource available would be experts here.
Check census records through Schuylkill County and ' Boatman ' proliferates, pre and some, postwar. Men who worked the canal boats of the Schuylkill Canal, part of our short lived, legendary network. Cool stuff. Anthracite country here, hysterically, not a coal miner in over 300 years of gene pool. Boatmen showed up heavily, Swiss cabinet makers turning tools to building canal boats, instead. So we ' know ' them, and canals. Somehow missing this part.
Grgrgrandfather and brothers in the war, all these boatmen, from the yard- navy? Of course not. Cavalry, grgrgrandfather, 3 brothers, infantry. Mustered out in 1865, from cavalry, enlisted to be with brothers for a few months, to finish out on foot. No boats!
" Missouri " out of Schuylkill Haven tied up with other boats from PA and I think New York, and ( next photo ) ?
This photo from the Pamunkey's short lived ( and disasterous, if you were a Revolutionary War relic ), frenetic activity on the part of McClellan's army at White House Landing, 1862, defeats me. War ships- we famously see old Argo, steamers, transports and more of the fleet, an encampment on the bank, ( we know the Sanitary commission was there and 3 boats from another angle, including their creek-penetrating, saver of stranded wounded, tug " Elizabeth ", is further proof ), soldiers and civilians, black men and white in various leisure poses indicate an unalarmed army.
Unionville- was part of the Framingham system, Conn., Mass., New England! Further north!
It's this group in the foreground which has baffled me for years. These canal boats seem to be from states so many miles away you're a little staggered by their presence in Virginia? Unsure- some seem to have New York, Dutch ( genuine Dutch, not PA Deutch )names. One, the Missouri, hales from Schuylkill Haven, PA. Once again, the logistics in this war seem staggering. Heck, have no clue but could have come from the same boat yard left by the brothers when they trooped off to war. ( records are really hard to find ).
Richmond's era canal basin, and a far different boat, but we tend to forget how comprehensive these systems were.
Question is, what on earth is a canal boat from here- Schuylkill County, PA, doing at White House Landing, Virginia, much less perhaps one from New York? HOW, and what would they have carried, the anthracite this area mined? Pulled on river banks, in the same way they were on canals, by mules or draft horses? Were they sheer supply? Photo from elsewhere in Virginia, an entire pontoon bridge was composed of canal boats but seems a huge waste.
Canal boats were not naval. They did float. This is a question anyway; if there's a better forum, please would someone move the thread?