"The Banks of Richmond from Potterfield Bridge, standing on Potterfield Bridge, May, 2017
Black Bird Island sketched from Potterfield Bridge, Dec, 2016
Parking on southside is at the end of Semmes Ave at 7th St.
From the north, take Ninth Street Bridge (Manchester), get off the Semmes Ave exit, bear to the left, go under the bridge, turn left onto Semmes and you will see the Floodwall parking sign, to the left. Follow the path under the bridge, and eventually you come around to the River Rings, and then to the Potterfield Bridge.
The T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge (aka 'Dam Bridge') is an extension of the 'Three Days in April, 1865' Bridge.
On the north bank of the James River, the bridge is accessed from Brown's Island, just across Tredegar Ironworks. It is a short block from Tredegar's parking lot ($5, and you might need to pay with CASH some days). You can also try to park on 5th Street, or the parking lot for the pedestrian bridge that goes under the Lee Bridge, leading to Belle Isle (free). Both of the parking lots are accessed from Tredegar St.
A short footbridge crosses a canal (Haxall Mill Race) to Brown's Island, and leads right across to the 'Three Days in April, 1865' Bridge. This is built on the pilings of the last railroad bridge across the James (and the last way out of Richmond) that was burned by the evacuating Confederate Army. The Potterfield Bridge is the next part, that continues across the James.
The 'Three Days' bridge chronicles, throught civilian and military letters, the evacuation of the Confederate Army from Richmond as the Union Army approached.
It begins Sunday, April 2 with the note to Jefferson Davis from General Robert E. Lee: "It is absolutely necessary that we should abandon our position tonight."
It ends with Margaret Ellis to her husband: "You should be sadly grieved to see the desolation of our beautiful city."
Originally, the 'Three Days' bridge ended abruptly over the river just beyond Brown's Island, driving home the feeling of being cut off, abandoned. It was the last bridge from Richmond, burned by the Lee's army to prevent the Union Army from following. From it you could see the south bank of the James, and what was then known as Manchester.
The T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge continues at this point to bridge the James. It is a wide bridge, with pedestrians, runners, bicyle riders, and dogs, it provides a non-crowded leisurely walk across the river. On one end you can see the Federal Reserve Bank, the World War I Memorial, and the CNB building; on the other end, some of the train track pilings, and access to the climbing wall and the Flood Wall, as well as a park.
To access the bridge from Southside, park around Ninth Street Bridge: There is a parking lot for the Floodwall at the end of Semmes Ave and 7th St.