Richmond.com takes a look at darker past of Belle Isle

Beneath the concrete expanse of the Robert E. Lee Bridge sits a small island with a bloody past.

Credit: Anna Waddelove, Richmond.com

Richmond.com has a story from Anna Waddelove who lists herself as a newcomer to Richmond and someone that is “interested in all things Richmond.” I love to see newcomers discovering the history of Richmond and especially history when it involves the James River:

Beneath the concrete expanse of the Robert E. Lee Bridge sits a small island in the middle of the James River. Waist-high grasses shift in the wind, while southwestern flowing rapids rush on either side, cascading over rocks. Remains of stone and metal from long forgotten bridges peek from the water’s surface. It is hard to reconcile this desolate, untended island and the ghosts of its past, with the thrum of traffic overhead.

The island is probably most ignominiously known because it housed Union prisoners-of-war during the Civil War from 1862 until 1865. The number of prisoners, the conditions and the political vitriol that surrounded the POW camp were at the root of the problems here, causing widespread controversy.

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