Railroad Accidents Kill Soldiers During Civil War

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Barrycdog

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Railroad Accidents Kill Soldiers During Civil War
Railroad accidents were more common in the 1860’s than today. Many of these accidents were caused by poor equipment and a total lack of safety procedures. Many railroads were shoddily constructed and bridges were inadequate for the weight of trains. Trains were often on the same tracks without adequate safety warning or sidings and collisions were common. Maximum speed for trains was often 35 miles per hour or less due to ...poorly built lines.
One of the worst wrecks occurred at Shohola, Pennsylvania, on July 15, 1864 on the Erie Railroad in which at least 60 people were killed. Engine 171 an ‘extra’ was taking 833 Confederate prisoners and 128 guards from Point Lookout, Maryland to Elmira, New York. The extra was supposed to have the right-of-way but was running four hours late when it left Port Jervis, New York along a single line track with blind curves. The dispatcher at Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, mistakenly allowed a coal train to head east along the same line. The two trains collided at King and Fuller’s Cut, where forward visibility was only fifty feet. Frank Evans, a Union guard described the scene: "The two locomotives were raised high in the air, face-to-face against each other, like giants grappling...The front (car) of our train was jammed into a space less than six feet. The two cars behind it were almost as badly wrecked. There were bodies impaled on iron rods and splintered beams. Headless trunks were mangled between the telescoped cars.” The dead guards and prisoners were buried in unmarked grave next to the track until they were moved to Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York in 1911.
Trains also derailed on curves in spite of lower speeds than trains today. Near Fort Valley Georgia a train carrying Confederate wounded derailed on a curve, killing six and wounding 37. They were buried in unmarked graves with other Confederate soldiers at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fort Valley, where a memorial reads "Confederate dead here rest, known to God, more than 20."
Today there are numerous safety procedures and equipment that make the accidents so common in the 1860’s much rarer. The Federal Railroad Administration today attempts to maintain safety in our railroad system, but with increased speeds accidents may still occur on our rail lines.
‪#‎Civilwar‬ ‪#‎Shiloh‬ ‪#‎Findyourpark‬
Railroad accidents were more common in the 1860’s than today. Many of these accidents were caused by poor equipment and a total lack of safety procedures. Many railroads were shoddily constructed and bridges were inadequate for the weight of trains. Trains were often on the same tracks without adequate safety warning or sidings and collisions were common. Maximum speed for trains was often 35 miles per hour or less due to ...poorly built lines.
One of the worst wrecks occurred at Shohola, Pennsylvania, on July 15, 1864 on the Erie Railroad in which at least 60 people were killed. Engine 171 an ‘extra’ was taking 833 Confederate prisoners and 128 guards from Point Lookout, Maryland to Elmira, New York. The extra was supposed to have the right-of-way but was running four hours late when it left Port Jervis, New York along a single line track with blind curves. The dispatcher at Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, mistakenly allowed a coal train to head east along the same line. The two trains collided at King and Fuller’s Cut, where forward visibility was only fifty feet. Frank Evans, a Union guard described the scene: "The two locomotives were raised high in the air, face-to-face against each other, like giants grappling...The front (car) of our train was jammed into a space less than six feet. The two cars behind it were almost as badly wrecked. There were bodies impaled on iron rods and splintered beams. Headless trunks were mangled between the telescoped cars.” The dead guards and prisoners were buried in unmarked grave next to the track until they were moved to Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York in 1911.
Trains also derailed on curves in spite of lower speeds than trains today. Near Fort Valley Georgia a train carrying Confederate wounded derailed on a curve, killing six and wounding 37. They were buried in unmarked graves with other Confederate soldiers at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fort Valley, where a memorial reads "Confederate dead here rest, known to God, more than 20."
Today there are numerous safety procedures and equipment that make the accidents so common in the 1860’s much rarer. The Federal Railroad Administration today attempts to maintain safety in our railroad system, but with increased speeds accidents may still occur on our rail lines.
Expired Image Removed
Illustration of train wreck near Shohola, Pennsylvanian, where a train carrying Confederate POW's collided with a coal train on July 15, 1864.

Expired Image Removed

Memorial stone at Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York for soldiers killed in railroad accident at Shohola, Pennsylvania
Expired Image Removed
Historic marker in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fort Valley, Georgia where Confederate victims of railroad accident are buried.

‪#‎Civilwar‬ ‪#‎Shiloh‬ ‪#‎Findyourpark‬
 

Pat Young

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Went out to Shohola to see the site a number of years ago with my son. Really sad to think about those poor prisoners killed and maimed there.
 

DaveBrt

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Railroad Accidents Kill Soldiers During Civil War
Railroad accidents were more common in the 1860’s than today. Many of these accidents were caused by poor equipment and a total lack of safety procedures. Many railroads were shoddily constructed and bridges were inadequate for the weight of trains. Trains were often on the same tracks without adequate safety warning or sidings and collisions were common. Maximum speed for trains was often 35 miles per hour or less due to ...poorly built lines.
One of the worst wrecks occurred at Shohola, Pennsylvania, on July 15, 1864 on the Erie Railroad in which at least 60 people were killed. Engine 171 an ‘extra’ was taking 833 Confederate prisoners and 128 guards from Point Lookout, Maryland to Elmira, New York. The extra was supposed to have the right-of-way but was running four hours late when it left Port Jervis, New York along a single line track with blind curves. The dispatcher at Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, mistakenly allowed a coal train to head east along the same line. The two trains collided at King and Fuller’s Cut, where forward visibility was only fifty feet. Frank Evans, a Union guard described the scene: "The two locomotives were raised high in the air, face-to-face against each other, like giants grappling...The front (car) of our train was jammed into a space less than six feet. The two cars behind it were almost as badly wrecked. There were bodies impaled on iron rods and splintered beams. Headless trunks were mangled between the telescoped cars.” The dead guards and prisoners were buried in unmarked grave next to the track until they were moved to Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York in 1911.
Trains also derailed on curves in spite of lower speeds than trains today. Near Fort Valley Georgia a train carrying Confederate wounded derailed on a curve, killing six and wounding 37. They were buried in unmarked graves with other Confederate soldiers at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fort Valley, where a memorial reads "Confederate dead here rest, known to God, more than 20."
Today there are numerous safety procedures and equipment that make the accidents so common in the 1860’s much rarer. The Federal Railroad Administration today attempts to maintain safety in our railroad system, but with increased speeds accidents may still occur on our rail lines.
‪#‎Civilwar‬ ‪#‎Shiloh‬ ‪#‎Findyourpark‬
Railroad accidents were more common in the 1860’s than today. Many of these accidents were caused by poor equipment and a total lack of safety procedures. Many railroads were shoddily constructed and bridges were inadequate for the weight of trains. Trains were often on the same tracks without adequate safety warning or sidings and collisions were common. Maximum speed for trains was often 35 miles per hour or less due to ...poorly built lines.
One of the worst wrecks occurred at Shohola, Pennsylvania, on July 15, 1864 on the Erie Railroad in which at least 60 people were killed. Engine 171 an ‘extra’ was taking 833 Confederate prisoners and 128 guards from Point Lookout, Maryland to Elmira, New York. The extra was supposed to have the right-of-way but was running four hours late when it left Port Jervis, New York along a single line track with blind curves. The dispatcher at Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, mistakenly allowed a coal train to head east along the same line. The two trains collided at King and Fuller’s Cut, where forward visibility was only fifty feet. Frank Evans, a Union guard described the scene: "The two locomotives were raised high in the air, face-to-face against each other, like giants grappling...The front (car) of our train was jammed into a space less than six feet. The two cars behind it were almost as badly wrecked. There were bodies impaled on iron rods and splintered beams. Headless trunks were mangled between the telescoped cars.” The dead guards and prisoners were buried in unmarked grave next to the track until they were moved to Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York in 1911.
Trains also derailed on curves in spite of lower speeds than trains today. Near Fort Valley Georgia a train carrying Confederate wounded derailed on a curve, killing six and wounding 37. They were buried in unmarked graves with other Confederate soldiers at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fort Valley, where a memorial reads "Confederate dead here rest, known to God, more than 20."
Today there are numerous safety procedures and equipment that make the accidents so common in the 1860’s much rarer. The Federal Railroad Administration today attempts to maintain safety in our railroad system, but with increased speeds accidents may still occur on our rail lines.
Expired Image Removed
Illustration of train wreck near Shohola, Pennsylvanian, where a train carrying Confederate POW's collided with a coal train on July 15, 1864.

Expired Image Removed

Memorial stone at Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York for soldiers killed in railroad accident at Shohola, Pennsylvania
Expired Image Removed
Historic marker in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fort Valley, Georgia where Confederate victims of railroad accident are buried.

‪#‎Civilwar‬ ‪#‎Shiloh‬ ‪#‎Findyourpark‬
On my web site, Confederate Railroads, www.csa-railroads.com, I have identified over 500 accidents on Confederate Roads during the war. In addition to the causes mentioned in the article, accidents also came from: poor iron quality (broken wheels, broken couplings, broken rails), a generous dose of stupidity (trying to jump onto a train in motion, sleeping on the track, ridding on the platforms between cars) and poor maintenance (spreading tracks, rotten bridge supports, etc).
 
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I heartily recommend Dave's site on CSA railroads - he helped me a great deal with getting Snooks from Mrs Peters' clutches in Spring Hill to arrive in time to er.... make an unfortunate error at Chancellorsville that cost the South dearly. All errors in manipulating his excellent railroad data are definitely mine. An apropos excerpt:

Comber’s ticket was good only for travel from Decatur to Chattanooga and I would now have to apply to a quartermaster officer for my onward pass. Although that worthy was pleased to assist a colonel, he told me that the most expeditious route to northern Virginia was also the most dangerous, suffering as it did from Yankee raids that destroyed bridges and inconvenienced everyone.
Even without that, there were frequent accidents—why, just yesterday, Friday, some of the boys coming back from Yankee prisons had been killed when the train ran off the tracks. That was on the Virginia & Tennessee company side of the border mind you—there hadn’t been any fatal accidents on the East Tennessee & Virginia Company rails in at least four days. In fact, there were no trains leaving at present and he had no idea when they might resume.1
It was not difficult to tell that before taking the Confederacy’s shilling, the quartermaster had been employed by the railroad. Had I understood how important the northern line was to the rebels, I should have waited for it to be cleared. But I did understand danger and that this route was closest to it in all its forms. So I begged for a different road and the man obliged me and thereby added the extra days to my journey that, as you shall see, ensured my arrival in the right place at a very wrong time.

1. Probably a reference to an accident at Lowry’s Crossing near Lynchburg VA on April 10, 1863 when a train carrying 400 exchanged Confederate soldiers returning from captivity ran off the track, wounding eleven, five seriously (Richmond Dispatch April 11, 1863). An excellent source of information on Confederate railroads is David Bright’s comprehensive website at http://www.csa-railroads.com
 
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Barrycdog

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There was one in Emerson/Stegalls Station I had copies of the news article and it said they were buried in Marietta City Cemetery and they were in the 10th Tennessee
 
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Barrycdog

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The reason why I researched the Emerson story was I heard they simply tossed soldiers into a ditch to get the supply lines open to Chickamauga.
 
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lelliott19

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Do you have this one @DaveBrt ?

Cleveland, Tenn. Nov. 7, 1862

The following is a list of the killed on the train on the Cleveland and Chattanooga Railroad on the evening of the 4th inst., all of whom are buried at Cleveland., Bradley, County, Tenn. There are about 70 wounded, who are at the hospitals at this place, receiving all the attention that a well organized corps of army surgeons can give them: 33rd Regiment Alabama Volunteers Captain R. G. Cooper, Co. G; Private T. A. Pritchard, M. Noblin, L. M. Bush, John Hughes, L. G. Lewis, Wm. M. Watson, O. M. Broxton, H. Clark (died 6th), B. Lloyd, Co. H; Wm. M. Smith, G. L. Smith, T. Z. Nichols, Z. Chandler, Edward Nix, Co. C; Clinton Evans, Lieut. Scott, Co. E.
http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~alavols33rd/


And the list of injured survivors is here http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~alavols33rd/survivors.htm
 

DixieRifles

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It seems like all the journals I read lately mention a RR accident or boiler explosion.
Sgt. Moore mentions one outside of Knoxville in the book "A Life For the Confederacy".

I have a question about two accidents in Mississippi.

[A] In a genealogy publication on the Texas Cemetery in Enterprise, Miss., it mentions 5 soldiers of the 19 South Carolina Regiment were killed in a train accident at Enterprise on April 12 1862. I thought I had the year wrong but it does seem to be right.
Source: "Our Heritage", Vol 29, No. 3, April 1988

Another was an accident at Duck Hill, Miss.
" B. N. Conger was killed in a collision on railroad near Duck Hill as he was returning to his company from a visit home. "
Another quote from a source I did not record.
"Cpl. Benjamin N. Conger was killed in collision of two trains at Duck Hill at 2:30am on 19th October, 1862, which killed about 35 soldiers."

Any markers for those?
 
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DaveBrt

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Do you have this one @DaveBrt ?

Cleveland, Tenn. Nov. 7, 1862

The following is a list of the killed on the train on the Cleveland and Chattanooga Railroad on the evening of the 4th inst., all of whom are buried at Cleveland., Bradley, County, Tenn. There are about 70 wounded, who are at the hospitals at this place, receiving all the attention that a well organized corps of army surgeons can give them: 33rd Regiment Alabama Volunteers Captain R. G. Cooper, Co. G; Private T. A. Pritchard, M. Noblin, L. M. Bush, John Hughes, L. G. Lewis, Wm. M. Watson, O. M. Broxton, H. Clark (died 6th), B. Lloyd, Co. H; Wm. M. Smith, G. L. Smith, T. Z. Nichols, Z. Chandler, Edward Nix, Co. C; Clinton Evans, Lieut. Scott, Co. E.
http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~alavols33rd/


And the list of injured survivors is here http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~alavols33rd/survivors.htm
Yes, I have that accident. Thank you.
 

DaveBrt

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It seems like all the journals I read lately mention a RR accident or boiler explosion.
Sgt. Moore mentions one outside of Knoxville in the book "A Life For the Confederacy".

I have a question about two accidents in Mississippi.

[A] In a genealogy publication on the Texas Cemetery in Enterprise, Miss., it mentions 5 soldiers of the 19 South Carolina Regiment were killed in a train accident at Enterprise on April 12 1862. I thought I had the year wrong but it does seem to be right.
Source: "Our Heritage", Vol 29, No. 3, April 1988

Another was an accident at Duck Hill, Miss.
" B. N. Conger was killed in a collision on railroad near Duck Hill as he was returning to his company from a visit home. "
Another quote from a source I did not record.
"Cpl. Benjamin N. Conger was killed in collision of two trains at Duck Hill at 2:30am on 19th October, 1862, which killed about 35 soldiers."

Any markers for those?
I am unaware of the April 12, 1862 event. Any additional information would be appreciated.

The October 19th event is well covered -- a very full account is given here:

www.csa-railroads.com/Essays/Orignial%20Docs/NP/MAP/NP,_MAP_10-20-62.htm
 

DixieRifles

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I am unaware of the April 12, 1862 event. Any additional information would be appreciated.
I need to go back to my source and see what details it had. I am not sure if this means it was a RR accident such as a train wreck or an accident on the RR maybe while doing some track repairs.
 
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DaveBrt

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I need to go back to my source and see what details it had. I am not sure if this means it was a RR accident such as a train wreck or an accident on the RR maybe while doing some track repairs.
I'd be glad to get the information in either case. Original documents are preferred, if possible.
 

lelliott19

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At least two names on the Elmira monument are misspelled.

Corporal Wesley Bryan Langford,
Co K 16th Georgia Infantry He was captured at Gaines Farm June 1, 1864. Appears on a Roll of Prisoners of War killed and missing after R. R. accident at Shohola, Pa., July 15, 1864. His name is mis-spelled on the monument and he is listed as "W B Sangford"

1st Sergeant T W "Frank" McCurry, Co K 16th Georgia Infantry. Captured at Cold Harbor, Va. June 1,1864. Roll dated January 30,1865, last on file, shows him absent, a prisoner of war. No later record. His name is misspelled on the monument as "Pvt T W McCurvey"
 
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