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“ [383] occasion, to and from the Euxine Sea. After this, upon the land on both sides, they drove large piles into the earth, with huge rings fastened to them, to which were tied six vast cables, which went over each of the two bridges: two of which cables were made of hemp, and four of a sort of reeds called βίβλος;, which were made use of in those times for the making of cordage. Those that were made of hemp must have been of an extraordinary strength and thickness since every cubit in length weighed a talent (42 pounds). The cables, laid over the whole extent of the vessels lengthwise, reached from one side to the other of the sea. When this part of the work was finished; quite over the vessels from side to side, and over the cables just described, they laid the trunks of trees cut for that purpose, and planks again over them, fastened and joined together to serve as a kind of floor or solid bottom; all which they covered over with earth, and added rails or battlements on each side that the horses and cattle might not be frightened at seeing the sea in their passage.”

Compare this bridge of Xerxes with that hereinafter described, and note the points of similarity.

One of the earliest pontons used in the Rebellion was made of India-rubber. It was a sort of sack, shaped not unlike a torpedo, which had to be inflated before use. When thus inflated, two of these sacks were placed side by side, and on this buoyant foundation the bridge was laid. Their extreme lightness was a great advantage in transportation, but for some reason they were not used by the engineers of the Army of the Potomac. They were used in the western army, however, somewhat. General F. P. Blair's division used them in the Vicksburg campaign of 1863.

Another ponton which was adopted for bridge service may be described as a skeleton boat-frame, over which was stretched a cotton-canvas cover. This was a great improvement over the tin or copper-covered boat-frames, which had been thoroughly tested and condemned. It was the variety

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Xerxes (1)
Francis P. Blair (1)
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