This Civil War era photograph offers a glimpse into the two Shepherdstown communities that grew up along the river. The stone pilings in this photograph were all that remained of the covered bridge burned by Confederate troops led by Stonewall Jackson in 1861.
The river crossing was an important commercial stop along the C&O canal route. Canal boats left the lock on the Maryland side and navigated across the river to West Virginia. Once loaded with cement, flour, or grain they resumed their journey along the canal.
I was with the company that set fire to [the bridge], and when, in the glare of the burning timbers, I saw the glowing windows in my home on the hill beyond the river [I] knew my father was a stockholder in the property that I was helping to destroy.
- Henry Kyd Douglas, from his book, I Rode with Stonewall. Douglas's father lived at Ferry Hill, the residence that still stands on the hill overlooking this scene.