City Point (Hopewell, Va.) 1864
Many of the Union wounded from the battle of the Crater were brought to field hospitals that had been established at City Point. A once thriving river port that was well in decline when it was occupied by Federal troops in early May, City Point had become the logistical hub for all operations against Petersburg and Richmond.
A Federal officer who viewed the busy scene decribed it: "Steamboats and sailing vessels, transports and lighters of all kinds, encumbered the river near the improvished wharves on which they were still working......
The river bank, rising up high, had been cleared and leveled, so as to make room for storehouses for supplies, and for a station for the railroad. All this had sprung out of the earth as if by magic, in less than a month." City Point itself soon became crowded with barricks, stables, repair shops, a hugh bakery, numerous sutler's stores, and even a prison for Union troops known as the Bull Pen.
This activity made City Point a tempting target. A sortie by warships of the C.S. James River fleet was attempted on January 23, 1865, but the Rebel boats were unable to pass sunken obstructions and never made it within cannon shot of the place.
A far more successfull blow was delivered on August 9, 1864, when a Confederate operative named John Maxwell planted a time bomb (which he called a "horological torpedo") aboard a munitions barge docked near the shore. The resulting explosion destroyed several large buildings, 180 feet of wharf, two million dollars of munitions and supplies, and killed more than forty workers.
The blast rained potentially lethal debris all across City Point, including U. S. Grants headquarters. Grant was not injured, but one staff officer was struck and an orderly killed.
City Point after the Explosion.
For additional photos taken at City Point Click Here