Planning a Canal

Planning a Canal (HM116J)

Location: Chesapeake, VA 23320
Country: United States of America

N 36° 43.262', W 76° 14.349'

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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 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.
HM NumberHM116J
Year Placed2012
Placed ByGreat Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 4:29pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 389341 N 4064641
Decimal Degrees36.72103333, -76.23915000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 43.262', W 76° 14.349'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 43' 15.72" N, 76° 14' 20.94" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101-117 1775 Historic Way, Chesapeake VA 23320, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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