Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Bridge on Orange and Alexandria Rail Road, as Repaired by Army Engineers under Colonel Herman Haupt

Artist:
Andrew Joseph Russell (American, 1830–1902)
Former Attribution:
Formerly attributed to Mathew B. Brady (American, born Ireland, 1823?–1896 New York)
Date:
1865
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1933
Accession Number:
33.65.278
Not on view
This view by Russell documents the engine Fire Fly testing the stability of a new wooden trestle bridge built quickly by the United States Military Railroad engineers to replace a masonry bridge destroyed by the Confederates. Atop the box car trailing the engine is a pair of armed sentries; others are on the rail tracks and bridge foundation. The top-hatted figure in the foreground is unidentified, but he may be the photographer himself or a civilian railroad engineer working for General Herman Haupt, commander of the United States Military Railroad. President Abraham Lincoln was so impressed with Haupt’s work that on May 28, 1862, he observed: “That man Haupt has built a bridge four hundred feet long and one hundred feet high, across Potomac Creek, on which loaded trains are passing every hour, and upon my word, gentlemen, there is nothing in it but cornstalks and beanpoles.”
Loyal Legion, Boston Chapter, Commandery of the State of Massachusetts

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