E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. (New York), Publishers:

"Bombproof Quarters of Maj. Strong, at Dutch Gap, 16th N. Y. Artillery"

Albumen Stereograph circa 1864


During the Siege of Petersburg, troops under the command of General Butler attempted to build a canal across the James River at Dutch Gap in Virginia. Work began August 15, 1864 and finished unsuccessfully with the explosion of six tons of gunpowder on January 1, 1865. The goal was to shorten the navigation of the James River by seven miles, bypassing an area where Union ships came within range of Confederate gunners.

The Fourth and Sixth Regiments of U.S. Colored Troops (Third Brigade, Third Division, Army of the James) were ordered to Dutch Gap, August 16, 1864 and remained there on fatigue duty until September 28. Perhaps the officer and soldier shown here belonged to one of those regiments.

About 180,000 African Americans enlisted in the Union Army, and others joined the Navy. Many units suffered heavy casualties: it's estimated that one-third of all African Americans in the Union military lost their lives in the Civil War. (For more information in a new browser window, click here . Close that window when done to return to this page.)

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