Pontoon Bridge Over the James River
Original Author: James Gardner
Created: June 1864
Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative
Publisher: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Pontoon Bridge Over the James River

A pontoon bridge—the longest one built during the Civil War—crosses the James River at Weyanoke Point in 1864. Union engineers working from both sides of the river put 101 pontoons in place to construct a bridge that spanned some 700 yards. The current was so strong at this point in the river that several schooners were placed midway across the bridge to provide needed support. The bridge was built in about seven hours on June 14, 1864, and for three days after that a line of ambulance and supply wagons that stretched some fifty miles rumbled over the bridge. Troops were also shuttled across the bridge before it was hasitly dismantled on the morning on June 18. This glass-plate photograph by James Gardner was taken from the north bank of the river.