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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chesapeake, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Causeways

 
 
Causeways Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
1. Causeways Marker
Inscription. “There is great want of a bridge for horse and man over the swamp at the head of the Southern Branch of Elizabeth River…” Norfolk County Deed Book 5, part 2, Orders. page 4, 1686

In the mid-1600s, as the early settlers began to acquire land in the southern part of Norfolk County, a land route was needed to connect the area to people living on the north side of the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and its wide marsh. In 1686, the Norfolk County Court ordered “that Mr. Tho. Butt bee head Surveyor…and make the said bridge…and a clear road to and from it.” With neighbors from nearby plantations he constructed a half mile system of narrow “causeys” and four bridges. The longest bridge crossed the Southern Branch and became known as the Great Bridge. The “causeys,” or causeways, as distinguished from the bridges, were raised paths or roads crossing the marsh.

The bridges and causeways provided the only passage for landward travelers going to Norfolk via Kemp’s Landing. The passage led to the development of the “Great Road” that made possible the transportation of goods, supplies and livestock from North Carolina to markets in Virginia.

Governor Dunmore regarded the crossing as a “very essential pass into this part of the country.”
The Great Bridge image. Click for full size.
2. The Great Bridge
The passage was so important to both the American Patriots and the British that both sides were willing to fight a battle to the death to control it.

(sidebar)
Walk out on the exhibit and imagine how confined the British grenadiers must have felt as they started across the narrow causeway, limited to marching shoulder to shoulder in columns of only six men abreast in the face of enemy fire.
 
Erected 2012 by Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation.
 
Location. 36° 43.326′ N, 76° 14.376′ W. Marker is in Chesapeake, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of North Battlefield Boulevard (Business Virginia Route 168) and Watson Road, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Chesapeake VA 23320, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. At Dawn on December 9, 1775 (a few steps from this marker); Causeway Construction (a few steps from this marker); First Fire (within shouting distance of this marker); Liberty to Slaves (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of the Original Causeway (within shouting
Causeways Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
3. Causeways Marker
distance of this marker); The Day is Our Own! (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Murray (within shouting distance of this marker); Billy Flora (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Chesapeake.
 
Also see . . .  Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation. (Submitted on April 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsRoads & VehiclesWar, US Revolutionary
 
Causeways Exhibit image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
4. Causeways Exhibit
Crushed oyster shells cover the causeway. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
5. Crushed oyster shells cover the causeway.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 480 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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