Other Union Waterborne Traffic

USS ALASKA

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
3,439
#1
While looking up some info on the B & O for another forum, ran across some something that spawned a question.

The B & O was very important to the war effort but the western part of the line kept getting swacked during the war, disrupting operations.

Running from DC to Cumberland, MD is the C & O Canal. Opened in 1850. In some areas right along side the B & O.

During the ACW, was this waterway used much or was it avoided because of it's proximity to the Confederacy? Was it attacked like the B & O? I would have thought that the locks would have made tempting targets. Much easier to destroy than infrastructure like the Paw Paw Tunnel.

'The canal deteriorated during the Civil War. In 1869, the company's annual report said, "During the last ten years little or nothing had been done toward repairing and improving lock-houses, culverts, aqueducts, locks, lock-gates and waste weirs of the Company; many of them had become entirely unfit for use and were becoming worthless, rendering it absolutely essential to the requirements of the Company to have them repaired." Still, some improvements were made in the late 1860s, such as replacing Dams No. 4 and 5.'

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesapeake_and_Ohio_Canal

Not sure if this is the right forum for this but since we don't have a Logistics forum...and it is about water and 'silly boats' as my vastly more significant other says about my fascination with Naval things...

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

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Tom Elmore

Sergeant Major
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2,190
#3
(The Alleghanian, July 2, 1863 (Ebensburg, Pennsylvania), referring to Cumberland, Maryland) On the west bank of the Potomac, the western terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, and has extensive trade. There are several flourishing mills in the vicinity.

(Journal of William H. Warren, Company C, 17th Connecticut, latter June 1863, at Edward's Ferry on the Potomac) Crossed a canal running parallel with the river. In the canal was a boat bearing the name “Flying Cloud,” of Georgetown.

As of late June 1863, barge traffic along the canal was thriving near Rowser's Ford. In fact, J. E. B. Stuart took precious time to disrupt it during his march north into Pennsylvania:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/j-e-b-stuarts-potomac-crossing.132323/#post-1494720

(Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson's Official Report of the summer 1863 Gettysburg campaign) June 16, marched to Shepherdstown, where Jones’ brigade was temporarily detached, with orders to destroy a number of canal-boats and a quantity of grain and flour stored at different points, and cut the canal. (I recall that the Confederates found the sturdy masonry construction of the aqueducts, etc. virtually impossible to damage.)

(John Cabell Early, A Southern Boy’s Experience) circa July 6/7, 1863, Williamsport, Maryland. The road to the river crossed a high bridge over the canal. ... After the fight (of July 6), cables were put to heavy boats in the canal and pulled them to the river, where they were converted into ferry boats.
 

USS ALASKA

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
3,439
#4
@Tom Elmore - thank you sir!

Was doing some looking around and was checking into the sources from the wiki document. The wiki link didn't work but found the pdf file on the web. 'Historic Resource Study: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal' by Harlan D. Unrau for the United States Department of Interior, National Park Service, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Hagerstown, Maryland, August 2007.

This is an 851 page monster but fortunately it has a
78 page section on the 'Canal in the Civil War' which I'm starting to read now. Hopefully it will help out.

Cheers,
USS ALASKA

 

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