The official records of the navies have a report showing a number of warcraft stationed in the James River on December 5th, 1864. Since I am modeling December 4th, this is useful in terms of what ship might be in the area of City Point. Once identified, further searches on Wikipedia show some details and images of these vessels.
|Alert||64||1 24 lbr how||screw|
|Canonicus||225||2x15" Dahlgren||single turret monitor|
|Commodore Barney||143||1x100 lpr rifle 3x9" smoothbore||sidewheel|
||1x100lpr rifle 1x9" smoothbore 4x24pdr howitzer||sidewheel|
|Commodore Perry||143||2x9" 2x32pdr smoothbore 1x12 pdr howitzer||sidewheel|
|Daylight||170||4x32 pdr smoothbore||screw|
|Delaware||161||4x32 pdr smoothbore 1x12pdr rifle||sidewheel|
|Eutaw||205||4x9"Dahlgren 2x100 pdr Parrot||Sassacus class
|General Putnam||1x32 pdr 120pdr Parrott 2x24 pdr howizer 1x12 pdr||sidewheel|
|H Brinker||82||1x30 pdr||screw|
|Hunch Back||179||2x9" Dahlgren, 1x100 pdr Parrott||sidewheel|
||205||2x100 pdr 4x9" Dahlgren 2x24 pdr 2x12 pdr||Sassacus class
|Mendota||205||2x100 pdr 4x9" Dahlgren 2x24 pdr 2x20 pdr||Sassacus class
|Miami||208||1x80 pdr Parrott 1x9" Dahlgren 2x24 pdr||sidewheel/double ender|
|Mahopac||223||2x15" Dahlgren||Canoicus class monitor|
|Osceola||205||2x110 Parrott 4x9" Dahlgren 1x12 pdr 1x12 pdr rifle 1x24 pdr||Sassacus class
|Picket Boats - Alpha Gamma Delta, Epxilon Zeta||72||spar torpedo||screw|
|Saugus||225||2x15" Dahlgren||Canoicus class
When modeling the James River and vessels on it, it can be helpful to understand the nature of the river. The river runs fromthe Appalacian Mountains to near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The head of navigation is at the falls at Richmond. This is what made Richmond so important. Though the head of navigation is at Richmond, navigating to that point, involves following a narrow channel. Much of the area of the river is actually shallow flats, with depths of only a few feet.
Take a look at this natical chart of the area around City Point. It is a crop of a civil war era US Navy chart of the James River, found in the Library of Congress digitized online archives.
It should be clear that any boats that draw more than a few feet, have no choice, but to stay in the channel that brushes alongside the wharfs at City Point. The accounts of the Battle of Trent's Reach in January, 1865 are as much accounts of the groundings of the Confederate attackers when they strayed from the narrow channel as anything else. Finally, period photographs of City Point, show the that the shoal areas are indeed, devoid of vessels.
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