November 25, 2015

USMRR Pile Driver

In an earlier post I had discussed the pile driver at Aquia Landing. Rich Hochdel alerted me to a photo at the US National Archives that shows the pile driver in close up detail. This photo will prove invaluable when I start building a model of it for Aquia Landing. High res version is available here.

I found a two other images of ACW era pile drivers in my files. Both of these shots show scenes near the railroad wharf in Alexandria. 
The first shows the railroad wharf with the pile driver on the south side of the wharf.  The men in the foreground are constructing one of Haupt's "Arks."

The second shot shows the railroad wharf  from Battery Rodgers later in the war. We know this because the car ferry transfer gallows have been reinforced with additional posts and beams. In earlier shots there is only one row of posts. The sheds on the wharf are also considerably improved from the earlier images. 

Also note that there are two pile drivers visible in the image, but both are on the north side of the wharf. Also of interest is the box car and caboose on the wharf. I need to build a couple of those cabooses (also called conductor cars).



  1. Hmmm. That photo raises some questions: 1. Is the driver on the raft behind it, or is it built on the decking? 2. What raises the weight?

    1. The pile driver is mounted on a barge. It moves to where it needs to be. The steam engine on board drives the weight.

      At Aquia Landing, the pile driver was operated by a contractor. I have have copies of some of the records showing how much he was paid for pile driving.

  2. Bernie,

    Too bad this needs to be Proto-48. That pile driver sure looks like the old HO-scale Fine Scale Minatures pile driver! Ah well, you will do a great job scratch-building. Enjoy!

    Bill Decker

    1. Yes, I am looking forward to scratch building it.