The canal boat bridge


By this date 150 years ago, the canal boat bridge at Fredericksburg was in full operation.  On May 23, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln would cross it during his tour of Fredericksburg.  We wrote extensively about the bridge a couple years ago, and you can find our posts here and here.

Photo courtesy Marc Storch.

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2 thoughts on “The canal boat bridge

  1. I want to thank the Park Service and John H for a wonderful tour on Saturday retracing Lincoln’s footsteps. All of us felt that we were back in May, 1862. A fascinating story along with the other Presidents that have visited Fredericksburg. Thank you!

    Just a really small correction(?) though it depends on one witness. Lincoln according to John T. Goolrick in Historic Fredericksburg: The Story of an Old Town did eat lunch with Patrick at the National Bank building according to his text:

    “They rode immediately to the provost marshal’s headquarters in the building on the corner of Princess Anne and George Streets, which the National Bank now occupies. After taking lunch with General Patrick and in response to the calls of some troops present, President Lincoln from the front steps made a short but splendid address. The writer of this, sat on the steps of the St. George’s Church, on the opposite side of the street and heard President Lincoln’s speech.”

    Time must have been longer than 30 minutes to have lunch. But where did Lincoln speak ?

    There is a painting done by Sidney King (1989) in the National Bank building that shows Lincoln speaking on the George Street side. Since he was going toward Marye’s Heights that would be logical. King depicts the 4 gray horses and they are facing in that direction. If you sit on St. George’s steps as I did today you could not have seen Lincoln except if he spoke on the front steps. However, Goolrick only said that he heard Lincoln not that he saw Lincoln. He was age 19. May 23, 1862 was a Friday. Speaking on Princess Anne Street in the middle of Friday around lunch. Maybe not ?

    • Ben: Thanks for the kind words and the additional information. As for the location of Lincoln’s speech, Goolrick refers to the “front steps” of the bank, which would put Goolrick on the steps of St. George’s, across the street.

      As to the question of what went on in the bank building during Lincoln’s visit, Union general Marsena Patrick says simply that Lincoln “stayed half an hour….” No reference to lunch….

      For those of you out there reading, Ben is the keeper of history at St. George’s Episcopal Church on Princess Anne Street, and has written over the years a regular column on history for the church newsletter. Pay a visit to the church’s history site and poke around a bit:
      http://www.stgeorgesepiscopal.net/about_us/history

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