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[272]

Brides ovver the Potomac.

This famous “beanpole and cornstalk” bridge, so named by President Lincoln, amazed at its slim structure, was rushed up by totally inexpert labor; yet in spite of this incompetent assistance, an insufficient supply of tools, wet weather and a scarcity of food, the bridge was ready to carry trains in less than two weeks. First on this site had been the original railroad crossing — a solidly constructed affair, destroyed early in the war. After the destruction of the “beanpole and cornstalk” bridge by the Union troops when Burnside evacuated Fredericksburg, came a third of more solid construction, shown in the upper photograph on the right-hand page. The bridge below is the fourth to be built for the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad at this point. The United States Military Railroad Construction Corps by this time possessed both trained men and necessary tools. Work on this last bridge was begun Friday, May 20, 1864, at five A. M.; the first train passed over Sunday, May 22d, at four P. M. Its total length was 414 feet, and its height was eighty-two feet. It contained 204,000 feet of timber, board measure, but the actual time of construction was just forty hours. The photograph was taken by Captain A. J. Russell, chief of photographic corps, United States Military Railroads, for the Federal Government.

What Lincoln called the “Beanpole and cornstalk” bridge, built over Potomac creek

The Fourth bridge, built over Potomac creek, built in 1864.


 

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