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[133]

Military commerce.

This view of the magazine wharf at City Point in 1864 reveals the immensity of the transportation problem that was solved by the North in support of its armies in the field. The Federal army in Virginia, unlike the armies of Napoleon, did not forage off the territory which it occupied. Rail and water transportation made possible the bringing of supplies long distances. Whatever point was chosen for the army base quickly became a bustling center, rivaling the activity of any great commercial city, and giving employment to thousands of men whose business it was to unload and forward the arriving stores and ammunition to the army in the field near by.

When Grant finally settled down to the siege of Petersburg, and City Point became the army base, the little village was turned temporarily into a great town. Winter quarters were built in the form of comfortable cabins for the reserve troops and the garrison, and ample hospital buildings were provided. The railroad to Petersburg was controlled and operated by the army for the forwarding of troops and stores. The supply base longest occupied by the Army of the Potomac, City Point, grew up almost in a night. With the coming of peace the importance of the post vanished, and with it soon after the evidences of its aggrandizement.

The magazine wharf at City Point in 1864

City Point, Virginia, July, 1864


 
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