History of the Potomac River Crossing at Berlin/Brunswick
Among the first acts of [the Civil] War was the Confederate troops‘ burning of the strategic bridge that linked Lovettsville with its neighboring town Berlin across the Potomac in June 1861, an event described by Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner as ―a fine bridge that connected (Berlin) with the Virginia shore until June, 1861 when the Confederates sacrificed it to the spirit of destruction that ruined Harper‘s Ferry and laid waste the border.‖36 The Potomac River was long recognized as one of the primary critical boundaries and physical barriers between North and South and not being able to carry on regular commerce with Berlin and other points north of the river was a serious blow to Lovettsville, particularly given its location some distance from other population centers. The B&O Railroad that ran through Berlin was also important to Lovettsville residents, only two-and-one-half miles away. Stonewall Jackson destroyed that important rail link between Berlin and Point of Rocks in 1861.37 (Section 8, page 55).
With the successful incorporation in 1876, Lovettsville took its formal seat among the substantial and thriving towns in Northern Virginia. Since the 1850s, Lovettsville was the name associated with the voting and census districts for that region. The loss of the bridge only two-and-one-half miles north of Lovettsville across the Potomac at the outset of the war did not impede their trade with Maryland and communities in Frederick County, Maryland. Ferries operated regularly, except during the years of the war. In the absence of the destroyed bridge, ferry service resumed after the war, and by 1888 there were two ferry services in operation. Long time residents of Lovettsville, the Wenner family, operated ferries during the quarter century following the war. Finally in 1898, a new bridge was completed. The position of ―toll collector‖ was an important one and was listed prominently in the census returns. The new 1898 bridge was constructed on the piers of the old bridge.47 Again, because there was no rail service to Lovettsville, residents were forced to depend primarily on the C&O Railroad that ran through Berlin, Maryland. (Section 8, page 58).