Colonel George W. Bradley collection of Civil War photographs
Language of Materials
The Colonel George W. Bradley Collection of Civil War Photographs holds forty-nine albumen photographs that document military installations in Virginia. Photographs primarily depict the Army of the Potomac supply depot at City Point and the nearby Army of the James hospital at Point of Rocks, though the collection contains other military scenes in Virginia.
The Army of the Potomac's supply depot at City Point, Virginia, was located at the confluence of the Appomattox and James River, twenty miles southwest of the Confederate capitol at Richmond. The enormous complex of nearly three hundred buildings, eight wharves, and miles of attendant rail lines rose up in less than a month after General Ulysses S. Grant issued his June 18, 1864, order to create a local base of support for Union troops involved in the siege of the strategically important city of Petersburg. Consisting of repair shops, warehouses, rations commissaries, barracks, and hospitals, the City Point installation was critical to Grant's success in capturing Petersburg on April 2, 1865, and, days later, forcing the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.
The depot provided daily rations for a half-million soldiers and tens of thousands of their horses, ammunition for their rifles (stored on a special and isolated ordnance wharf), and repair of everything that they used, from wagons and ambulances to saddles and horseshoes. The Union Army's military railroad division built a network of rail lines that eventually surrounded Petersburg, eight miles to the southwest. The system, compete with turntables for quick redirection of locomotives, connected the City Point wharves directly with the front lines, ensuring efficient delivery of the fresh food and supplies that arrived daily from northern ports on nearly four hundred transport steamers and supply boats. On their return from the battlefront, the train cars carried sick and wounded soldiers out to the hospitals at City Point.
For a remote field operation, the facilities were fairly sophisticated, most notably the seven large hospitals built around City Point. One hospital alone had more than one thousand tents and nearly a hundred log buildings to provide for the care of up to 10,000 patients at once, in addition to its own warehouses, laundries, and dining facilities. Pipes carried water from the James River, supplying the hospital with running water to maintain sanitary standards, and for use by City Point's noted lemonade stand.
Colonel George W. Bradley (1836-1882), a New York native and a career military man, was commander of the City Point depot from November 7, 1864, until the closing and decommissioning of the compound in the summer of 1865. His job as commander was to oversee all river traffic and base operations, which included financial and administrative management of what was essentially a small independent city. Bradley's assignment in Virginia was followed with other Quartermaster Corps positions including one in Baltimore. At the time of his death, he was in charge of the Quartermaster's Department in Philadelphia. His widow, Agnes M. Bradley, returned to New York and was living there in 1889 when she donated her husband's collection of photographs to the New-York Historical Society. Her gift consisted of sixty photographs, which were generally described on the paper wrapper in Folder 14. Eight of the photographs were listed as "miscellaneous not marked," and their location is unknown. Forty-nine images are now held in the collection.
Photographs are arranged in four series:
Series I: City Point on the James and Appomattox Rivers, Virginia
Series II: Point of Rocks on the Appomattox River, Virginia
Series III: Aikins Landing on the James River, Virginia
Series IV: Miscellaneous Views by Bostwick Brothers
Scope and Contents
The Colonel George W. Bradley Collection of Civil War Photographs holds forty-nine albumen photographs that document military installations in Virginia. The photographs are primarily of the Army of the Potomac supply depot at City Point and the nearby Army of the James hospital at Point of Rocks, though the collection contains other military scenes in Virginia. The photographs are arranged in four series: Series I. City Point; Series II. Point of Rocks; Series III. Aikins Landing; and Series IV. Miscellaneous Views. Series I through III are in the same format, prints of approximately 8.5 by 11 inches fixed to heavy paper mounts of approximately 13 by 15 inches.
Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.
Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, email@example.com. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.
Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions
This collection should be cited as Colonel George W. Bradley Collection of Civil War Photographs, PR 218, Department of .
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Agnes Bradley (Mrs. George W. Bradley), October 1889.