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Sunk by a Confederate shell — Butler's dredge — boat Here is the dredge-boat that had deepened the southern approaches to the Dutch Gap canal, as it lay after being sunk by a Confederate shell on Thanksgiving Day, 1864. It was later raised and bomb-proofed to insure its finishing the work. This view is to the east, showing a Union lookout-tower on the north bank of the James River, and some monitors in the right distance. The digging of the canal was begun on August 10, 1864, and was intended to enable Union monitors and gunboats to pass up the James to Richmond. The bend of the river which it cut off was filled with obstructions placed there by General Butler himself, and was commanded by the Confederate Battery Dantzler. After September 29th, when the Confederate Fort Harrison, north of the James, was captured by the Union troops, the canal was not needed, but work was continued until some four months afterwards it was ready. After the war it was a welcome channel for vessels on the James. January 1, 1865, when the bulkhead at the northern end of the excavation was blown up with twelve thousand pounds of powder, the fallen earth and debris obstructed the entrance. It could be entered by small boats, but it was never used for the passage of armed vessels. The size of the dredge-boat can be judged by the figures of the two men beside it.

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