Richmond Dispatch, 6/7/1862

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From the Richmond Dispatch, 6/7/1862, p. 2, c. 3

Freshet in James River. – The river rose yesterday to a height beyond many freshets of former years. Up to last night it was still rising, with a fair prospect of carrying away the excellent frame work of Mayo’s Bridge. Should it so happen, it would not be strange if it should float down to the obstructions in the stream below our batteries and span the narrow channel there from shore to shore? Many years ago, (1847,) the old frame work of this bridge was borne off by the current with one or two persons aboard waving their hats, not in signal of distress, but in glowing triumph. The writer of this was one of several urchins who was caught thereon, and recurs with pride to the exciting scenes which there and then transpired.

To afford some idea of the extent of the inundation we may cite a few facts. All of the islands in James river, above and below the falls, were submerged. The low grounds on the Manchester side were all under water. The dock and James river were thrown into one. Cary street and Dock street, between 20th and 15th streets, were rendered unfit for navigation by dry land craft. The Confederate machine shop, (late Tolbott’s,) had three or four feet of water in the lower work shop. The water came nearly to Main street on 17th, between Main and Cary, and the inhabitants of Hughes’s row had to adjourn to the upper stories of their dwellings. On Franklin street the water was in and around Garlick’s drug store and up to market arch, and filled Franklin street at that point so as to render it nearly impassable. All the flat between Franklin street and Broad was one expanse of water. There was two feet in the cook room (lower story) of Libby’s building, used as a C. S. Military Prison. A house near the draw bridge on 17th street, used for stowing lime, caught fire. Several small wooden structures between the river and dock were washed away. A good deal of lumber was also swept off by the flood. Some seem to think the fresh of 1847 higher than the present one, but on consultation with the oldest inhabitant the reporter came to a different conclusion. It is impossible to estimate in money the damage done, but we should presume it was considerable.

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