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

Planning a Canal

 
 
Planning a Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
1. Planning a Canal Marker
Inscription. The Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal did not exist at the time of the Battle of Great Bridge…

...but plans for a canal at Great Bridge were in place more than three years before the battle. In 1772, the need for trade and commerce with North Carolina led to legislation by the colonial assembly, presided over by Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, to approve the digging of a canal from the Elizabeth River to the North Landing River.

Dunmore authorized surveys and studies to determine if the route should run from the southern or eastern branch of the Elizabeth. Josiah Ives surveyed the southern route in 1772, and canal builder Isaac Hildrith was employed to compare the two routes. Hildrith’s 1775 report noted that the route from Great Bridge “…will pass chiefly through waste lands or such as are of small value, but from the Eastern Branch through such as are or may be cultivated…” The selection of the route was scheduled for “the next Session of General Assembly.” That session was never held. Hildrith later joined Dunmore’s volunteer regiment and helped construct Fort Murray at Great Bridge.

The outbreak of the Revolutionary War and the 1805 opening of the Dismal Swamp Canal delayed construction of the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal for more than 80 years. When completed in 1859, its course
Orientation Overview image. Click for full size.
April 28, 2012
2. Orientation Overview
A modern aerial view of the seven mile strip of “waste land” through which the A&C Canal was cut. *You are here.
generally followed the 1772 Ives survey.

The project would likely have failed if attempted in 1772 because the removal of an unexpectedly large number of petrified cypress stumps could not have been accomplished without the power of steam.
 
Erected 2012 by Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation.
 
Location. 36° 43.262′ N, 76° 14.349′ 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. Touch 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. Battle of Great Bridge DAR Monument (a few steps from this marker); The Marshall Family (within shouting distance of this marker); Great Bridge Marshall Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Billy Flora (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Murray (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle of Great Bridge (about 300 feet away); The Day is Our Own! (about 300 feet away); Liberty to Slaves (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chesapeake.
 
Also see . . .  Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation
Planning a Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
3. Planning a Canal Marker
. (Submitted on April 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsWar, US RevolutionaryWaterways & Vessels
 
Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
4. Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Bridge at Great Bridge opens to allow passage of a barge.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 464 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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