Credit: HarpWeek
Original Author: William Ludwell Sheppard, artist; John Dalziel, engraver
Created: March 16, 1872
Medium: Wood engraving

Mine Oyster—Dredging-Boats in the Chesapeake.

This engraving, published in the March 16, 1872, edition of Harper's Weekly, depicts a crew of Black oystermen harvesting oysters from the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay. Their sail-powered dredging boat remains in one position while the oysters are scooped from the bottom of the bay. The standing men gather oysters with hand tongs—long, scissor-like wooden poles with rakes on the end—and then deposit them onto a platform in the center of the boat; meanwhile, the boy at center uses a hammer to split apart clumps of oysters, as they attach themselves to one another in the wild.