A bustling port in the heart of the city.
Map showing the fully developed City Dock complex of pools, locks, drawbridges, and basins just before the Civil War [Adams, I.H. Map of the City of Richmond, Virginia, 1858, published 1864] – Courtesy of Urban Scale Richmond
Urban Scale Richmond has an intensive piece on the history of the docks in Richmond. He looks at the founding, the various plans implemented and imagined, the companies involved, and a ton of pictures and maps. A great read to see the history of Shockoe and Manchester.
The James River Company, chartered in 1785, ensured that tobacco, iron, coal, wheat, stone, lumber, and pork from the plantations to the west could be brought by boat directly into the heart of the city at the Great Basin. The canal permitted direct transport around the Falls of the James River for the special cargo boats called “batteaux”.