1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

Civil War Railroads

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Jimklag, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,567
    Location:
    Chicagoland, Land of Lincoln
    As a career mechanical engineer in the rail industry, the Civil War's stories relating to the railroads, North and South have always interested me.

    Rather than post a favorite story of my own about the railroads, I am going to throw this thread open to any member who wants to post a favorite railroad story about the Civil War - stories like The Great Locomotive Chase; transferring Longstreet's corps to Tennessee by rail; Haupt's bridge of "bean poles and cornstalks."

    Any story you want as long as it is strictly on the subject of railroads in the Civil War.
     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Major Silver Patron

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    8,367
    Location:
    England
    This is a great idea.

    Like I do, I'm going to start by asking a question, 'Bean poles and Cornstalks, what's that about?

    The first battle, more of a skirmish really that I read about was 'Battle of Vienna, Virginia, the first Ohio infantry were ambushed whilst they were making their way to the railhead, if I remember rightly the train was hit with cannon (Not sure if the engine was hit) by the confederate forces that were laying in wait for them, the Ohio Infantry jumped off the train and made a dash for some cover, meanwhile and quite sensibly the engineer decided to make a run for it and disappeared which left the Ohio men stuck in the middle of nowhere and feeling pretty vulnerable. I wonder what happened to that engineer!
    Having just looked up the actual location of the battle, I found that it happened at Park Street railroad crossing. It would be great to find a then and now picture.
     
  4. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,730
    Location:
    Houston,TX area
    I don't have many personal stories. Visiting Catoosa Station,on a guided tour,where Hood's Texas Brigade disembarked for Chickamauga was kinda cool.


    2016-06-08 08.17.37.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  5. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,567
    Location:
    Chicagoland, Land of Lincoln
    "Bean poles and cornstalks" are descriptive terms Lincoln used to describe the construction of the railroad trestle over Potomac creek designed by Herman Haupt.
    upload_2017-9-26_14-33-30.png
     
  6. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,730
    Location:
    Houston,TX area
    Read a lotta sad stories about soldiers dying in railroad accidents during the war.
     
    NH Civil War Gal likes this.
  7. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,567
    Location:
    Chicagoland, Land of Lincoln
    Feel free to post the stories.
     
    NH Civil War Gal and Waterloo50 like this.
  8. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Major Silver Patron

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    8,367
    Location:
    England
    Was that as a result of just getting in the way of a moving engine or similar to the accidents that we had in the UK during that period, lots of exploding boilers and people falling off moving trains.
     
    NH Civil War Gal likes this.
  9. truthckr

    truthckr 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,667
    Location:
    Waynesboro, Virginia
    I read in one of my "Forrest" books, that when he tore up rail roads it was especially difficult for the Union to repair. At present can't remember specifics, but I'll look and post when I have more info.
     
    NH Civil War Gal and Jimklag like this.
  10. Carronade

    Carronade 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,424
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Railroads were a dangerous business even in peacetime. Not quite our period, but I once saw an article from Railway Age magazine from 1921 congratulating the industry for having 'only' 6,000 deaths in the previous year.
     
    USS ALASKA and NH Civil War Gal like this.
  11. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,730
    Location:
    Houston,TX area
    Might take awhile. I'd have to dig into the books. I can think of about 3 books to look in off the top of my head.
     
  12. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,567
    Location:
    Chicagoland, Land of Lincoln
    I think the stories about tearing up the enemy's railroads or repairing them by both sides are some of my favorites.
     
  13. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Major Silver Patron

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    8,367
    Location:
    England
    I'm certain that those trestles were solid but they look flimsy, its hard to believe that they could hold the weight of an engine let alone a fully loaded train. They look like they have been thrown together, excuse my ignorance but I'm assuming that's a wooden structure. To be honest that looks a lot better built than some that I have seen.
     
  14. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,730
    Location:
    Houston,TX area
    Accidents mostly as I recall. One at Tunnel Hill,Georgia. I remember that from a tour there.
     
    NH Civil War Gal likes this.
  15. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Major Silver Patron

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    8,367
    Location:
    England
    ah yes, Sherman's Neckties.
     
  16. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,567
    Location:
    Chicagoland, Land of Lincoln
    The flimsy appearance is what led to Lincoln's comments. He was skeptical about the bridge's load-carrying capability until he watched a train crossover.
     
    NH Civil War Gal and Waterloo50 like this.
  17. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Major Silver Patron

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    8,367
    Location:
    England
    I expect that the death toll among the navvies was also high, especially when it came to blasting rock.

    Edit
    Just realised that I used the term 'Navvies' do you guys call the men that built the railroads 'Navvies'?
     
  18. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
    Annual Winner
    Featured Book Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2013
    Messages:
    7,209
    Location:
    East Texas
    Ask and ye shall receive... Here's my thread on that particular subject from a few years ago: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-andrews-railroad-raid-or.84448/

    dsc01622-jpg.15198.jpg
     
  19. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,567
    Location:
    Chicagoland, Land of Lincoln
    Derailments were common even on rails unmolested by Sherman or Forrest. Bridge collapses too. Bad brakes were also a culprit. George Westinghouse didn't invent the triple valve brake system until 1869. Here is a link to Westinghouse's story.

    http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/brakes/brake-types/air-brake1.htm
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  20. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,567
    Location:
    Chicagoland, Land of Lincoln
  21. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,567
    Location:
    Chicagoland, Land of Lincoln
    Navvies and coolies were both terms used to describe Irish and Chinese railroad construction workers. Gandy dancer and section hand were the generic, non-nationalist terms.
     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)