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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Varina in Henrico County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Deep Bottom Park

Captain John Smith’s Adventures on the James

 

—www.johnsmithtrail.org —

 
Deep Bottom Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 25, 2009
1. Deep Bottom Park Marker
Inscription. Fourmile Creek flows into the slender oxbow of the James River here. Oxbows, successive curvatures in the river’s course, forced Smith and his men to row long distances on their exploratory trip upstream. Navigating the sharp turns was very difficult when sailing because some portion of every turn required sailing against the wind. The force of water scouring the land as the river changed direction dug deep, narrow channels that left ships vulnerable to attacks by land.

Marshes producing plants with edible tubers and seeds are often found in the vicinity of oxbows, like the breadbasket marsh along the mouth of Fourmile Creek. This marsh may have supplied arrow arum, spatterdock and wild rice for the Arrohateck Indians who lived nearby.

Capt. John Smith’s Trail
John Smith knew the James River by its Algonquian name: Powhatan, the same as the region’s paramount chief. Smith traveled the river many times between 1607 and 1609, trading with Virginia Indians to ensure survival at Jamestown. What he saw of Virginia’s verdant woodlands and pristine waters inspired him to explore the greater Chesapeake Bay, chronicling its natural wonders.

(sidebar)
Deep Water Pockets
Deep Bottom was named for the many unusual, deep water pockets scattered in the James River here, one of which
Deep Bottom Park & Deep Bottom Landing markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 25, 2009
2. Deep Bottom Park & Deep Bottom Landing markers
has a depth of 35 feet. Fourmile Creek’s flow helps form a rich river delta that supports sycamore, oak and pine trees. Birdlife abounds, with common species ranging from blue grosbeaks to bald eagles. The tiny, bright yellow prothonotary warbler also finds its home in tree cavities here.

During the Civil War, a pontoon bridge here linked Federal troops located north and south of the James River. Its steady use began in June 1864, and the Union’s Army of the James continued to use this key river crossing until the end of the war.
 
Erected by Captain John Smith’s Trail, James River Association, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. (Marker Number 11.)
 
Location. 37° 24.446′ N, 77° 18.31′ W. Marker is near Varina, Virginia, in Henrico County. Marker is on Deep Bottom Road 0.3 miles east of James Street, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. This marker is located near the Deep Bottom Boat Ramp on the James River. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9525 Deep Bottom Road, Henrico VA 23231, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Deep Bottom Landing (within shouting distance of this marker); First Battle of Deep Bottom
Deep Bottom Boat Ramp image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 25, 2009
3. Deep Bottom Boat Ramp
(approx. 0.9 miles away); Pleasants V. Pleasants (approx. 1.3 miles away); New Market Road (approx. 1.4 miles away); Nathaniel Bacon (approx. 1.5 miles away); Curles Neck and Bremo (approx. 1.5 miles away); Captain Thomas Harris (approx. 1.5 miles away); The War of 1812 / Richmond's War of 1812 Defensive Camps (approx. 1.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Varina.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a depiction of the exploration of the James River by English colonist. The photo carries the caption, "“The New World” © MMV, New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Merie Wallace. Photo appears courtesy of New Line Productions, Inc."

On the upper center is a sketch of an English shore party with the caption, "Drawing by Marc Castelli for the James Smith Four Hundred Project. © 2006”

On the upper right is a map of Captain John Smith's Trail with the caption, "Capt. John Smith’s Trail on the James is a 40-site water trail and auto tour for modern explorers."

On the bottom of
Transport Linda of Philadelphia and a monitor on the James River. image. Click for full size.
1864
4. Transport Linda of Philadelphia and a monitor on the James River.
Library of Congress [LC-B811- 2466]
the sidebar is a photograph with the caption, “Transport Linda of Philadelphia and a monitor on the James River. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress."
 
Also see . . .  Captain John Smith’s Trail. (Submitted on November 25, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. ExplorationNative AmericansNatural FeaturesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,569 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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