The James River is formed by Jackson's and Cowpasture rivers, which rise in the Allegheny Mountains and united in the northernmost part of Botetourt County
. It flows in an east-south-east direction and at Richmond
falls 100 feet in six miles. For the latter part of its length it is an imposing estuary flowing through Hampton Roads
into Chesapeake Bay
. Its chief tributaries at the Appomattox and the Chickahominy.