City Point Research Resources

Special Interest Groups

There is also a yahoo group in which the participants have been doing a lot research and sharing a lot of information.  This URL is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Civil_War_RRs/.  Searching the archives, files, photos and links section of this group can yield a lot of information.  

Official Records

Also some information can be found in the official records, including year end reports and a summary of railroad operations of the entire war.  Both Cornell University and Ohio State university have online searchable copies.  The URLs are http://digital.library.cornell.edu/m/moawar/waro.html and http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/records/.  

For information on the Maritime aspects of City Point, also take a look at the Official Naval Records, also available from the Cornell web site.  The naval division in charge in the area, was the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Historic Photographs

Both the Library of Congress and National Archives have online digitized photographs of City Point taken during the war.  The URLs for the online search engines are http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/ and http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/cwpquery.html.  Be aware that finding useful search criteria can be challenging at times and that some images are misidentified in terms of date and location.

Books and Papers

The City Point story seems like it should be told in detail in a book with a number high quality photographs reproduced within.  Most Civil War books I've seen have extremely poor reproduction of the originals   Many surviving civil war photos actually have amazing resolution and contrast.  Take a look at the high resolution scans available for download from the Library of Congress.

Here is a detailed National Park Service report on the buildings at City Point.  Great information for the City Point modeler.  The bibliography is worth checking out, also.

"Civil War Railroads & Models" by Edwin P. Alexander has a number of photos of City Point.  Most of these photos are from the National Archives. Except for the jacket, the images are not of great quality, but are better than the thumbnails found on the National Archives site.  The text is limited.  I was able to borrow this book through inter-library loan from my local library and have scanned the City Point relevant pages for future personal reference.

"Death in the Trenches Grant at Petersburg"  This is a Time-Life picture book authored by William C. Davis.  Though the text is not of much value, there is a section on City Point, with images not found online.  Sources for these photos are identified and include the Western Reserve Historical Society and the Boston Anthenaeum.  There are overall and  detailed views of Edward Lansom Henry's painting, "Headquarters of General Grant" in this book.   The painting was done a few years after the war and shows what was going on in great detail.  A detailed, zoomable image of this painting can be found on the Addison Gallery's website.

"Civil War Weather in Virginia" by Robert K. Krick is invaluable, if you are planning on modeling a particular date in Virginia.

"Three Years with Grant"  by Sylvanus Cadwallader has a significant section recording the newspaper reporters view of what was going on at City Point.  It's funny that I have had this book for years, but completely forgot about how it may have interesting information on City Point, until reminded by the bibliography in the National Park Service report.

Bernard Kempinski  has put information about City Point and several track plans into his book "Mid-Size Track Plans for Realistic Layouts".  It is available from Alkem Scale Models at this link http://www.geocities.com/bkempins/ASMMain/TrackPlanBook.html.

I have searched through a number of  regimental histories, particularly those of the Sixth Corps, who passed through City Point when going to and from the 1864 Shenandoah Valley.  Sometimes you can find the names of the transports used, and get an idea of the number of transports it took to move units and learn a little about how troops are loaded onto trains and ships.  So far, the best example that I have found, is this history of the Second Connecticut Heavy Artillery.  Most of the time, the details of moving from one place to another by train or boat are omitted.

The 18th New Hampshire and a few other newly recruited regiments were temporarily assigned to Benham's engineer brigade and assisted in constructing the City Point defenses in the fall of 1864.

For a description of what it was like for troops to travel by train, check out this short story by Henry Hilton Wood, of the 121st New York Infantry.

I have found that other overview histories of Railroading during the Civil War have limited usefulness, as far as modeling goes, but can provide some good overall background information.   Many references to the hospital and hospital duty can be found, including these Letters of a Civil War Nurse, letters from Cornelia Hancock, who worked at the City Point Hospital.

Period colored lithographs of locomotives can be found on the Boston Anthenaeum website.

National Archives

The ultimate resource would be a trip to the National Archives itself.  Though I haven't made such a trip Bernard Kempinski has provided some tips and information on his blog pages.  The URL for his blog is http://usmrr.blogspot.com/search/label/Archives.  There is a nice writeup on Civil War resources at this link: http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2011/summer/usmrr.html

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