June 17, 2010

Steamboats at Aquia Landing

These are views of two photos from the Library of Congress that show ships docked at Aquia landing.

The left photo shows members of US IX Corps under command of Maj General Baldy Smith embarking for a trip to Ft Monroe in 1863. The Corps later went back under General Burnside's command in the western theater. The IX Corps is usually associated with Burnside. Note the details of the ship, though the name is not discernible, the paddle wheel housing and walking beam engine is very clear. Modeling a ship loaded with soldiers like this would be a challenge.




The second photo shows the SS New York, a medium sized screw tug with faint markings for the Philadelphia and New York Express Steamboat Company on the conning tower. This ship is probably being leased by the US Army Quartemaster Corps for supply service, but I have not been able to dig up much more about it. The ship has a sail rigged on it's mast even though it is docked with a second ship alongside it. Even these simple tugs have interesting rigging that will be fun to model. Note the bent handrails, eagle and numerous other details. I believe the pilot house eagle was a traditional decoration for steam tugs and coastal craft, kind of like a sailing ship's figurehead.

Note the wagons, people, oil lanterns and cargo stacked on the dock. The oil lanterns provide and opportunity to add lighting to the layout. Also note the sailing barge in the background. All-in-all a scene definitely worth modeling.

His resolution versions of these images are available at the LoC website if you wish to study them in detail.

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