Like its counterpart at City Point, Broadway Landing was a major supply depot for the Union army at Petersburg, Va.
The history of Broadway Landing began soon after the establishment of the Virginia colony. A number of settlers who lived farther east explored down the James River and in 1619 established Bermuda Hundred on a peninsula between the James and Appomattox Rivers. They were the first Europeans to set foot in what would become the town of Broadway Landing. Later in the 17th century, a man named Thomas Broadway moved into the area and named his land along the Appomattox River after himself. The town he established consisted of no more than his home and a few surrounding buildings for his relatives and slaves, but it soon began to grow. It quickly became the largest town in Prince George County, and because of its size, the Virginia Assembly granted the town the right to have a ferry cross the Appomattox River at that point. This began a long tradition of Broadway Landing as a major transportation center for the area south of Richmond.
snip... the war...
Under Abbot’s watch, Broadway Landing would become a fully operational supply depot. When the depot was established, there was one wharf at Broadway Landing; eventually there would be three. There was also a laboratory on one of the wharves for combining artillery shells and gunpowder. This laboratory is shown in a number of Civil War era photographs of the landing, including one by the most famous Civil War photographer, Matthew Brady. Brady’s photograph, labeled “The Ordnance at the Depot,” shows a couple of buildings, along with guns, boats, wharves, and a pontoon bridge. Guns and shells of every kind passed through Broadway Landing on their way to the front, from Coehorn mortars to the 30-pound Parrot guns. The photo displays how extensive the weaponry was. Some 1,200 tons of ammunition passed through Broadway Landing in the month of July alone.
The Many Uses of Broadway Landing
Although not as big a contributor of arms as City Point, Broadway Landing did have one major accomplishment to show for its time—many of the materials used in the Battle of the Crater on July 30 passed through the town, including the explosives used to blast the famous hole beneath the Confederate line. Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, better known for his raids in the Shenandoah, created a diversionary raid to distract the Confederates from the Crater preparations massing at Broadway Landing. In all, the town served as an excellent supply depot, with goods being transported from the landing to almost any point on the various battlefields. From Bermuda Hundred to Five Forks, Union troops could take solace in the fact that they had a smooth-running supply depot behind them at Broadway Landing.