The real gap between the two railroad systems.

wausaubob

Colonel
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Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The slow down was because of the uncertainty of the political and therefore economic situation. Would there be a return to normal? War? Two nations with tariffs? Who would accept what money? Would cross border contracts remain valid? Etc.

There were no troops movements until February/March and they were not enough to sustain an entire railroad system.

With reduced income from reduced freight shipments, railroad Supers let men go to keep expenses down to match the reduced income.
The same thing happened in the US. See page 335:
1617201923192.png

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1888813?seq=12#metadata_info_tab_contents
 

LetUsHavePeace

Volunteer
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
I think that is correct. The recession caused by the end of the California gold rush hit the middle 8 states too. The cotton revenue states were not impacted as severely, but the slow down in the US economy was going to have an impact there, also.
The slow down was because of the uncertainty of the political and therefore economic situation. Would there be a return to normal? War? Two nations with tariffs? Who would accept what money? Would cross border contracts remain valid? Etc.

There were no troops movements until February/March and they were not enough to sustain an entire railroad system.

With reduced income from reduced freight shipments, railroad Supers let men go to keep expenses down to match the reduced income.

I think we are crossing over into the land of "everybody knows" history. There was no "recession caused by the end of the California gold rush"; the Midwest was booming in the middle 1850s; so was the South. What brought things to a screeching halt was the completely unexpected financial default of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company - the largest mortgage broker/lender (the 19th century equivalent of a modern S&L). They announced one morning that "oh, by the way, we don't have any coin with which to redeem our notes, and all of you account holders are out of luck."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1857#Failure_of_Ohio_Life_Insurance_and_Trust_Company

I defer to DaveBrt and his heritage. My question was guilty of the same kind of "everybody knows" ignorance that I am so quick to criticize. Cotton shipments were far more important than I implied. There is an excellent PhD thesis on the subject:
Organizing the South: Railroads, Plantations, and War. Steven Gedson Collins. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College. It is available on the web through LSU's Digital Commons site. Collins has a bibliography that is comprehensive:
John F. Stover, The Railroads of the South. 1865-1900: A Study in Finance and Control (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1955); Maury Klein, The Great Richmond Terminal: A Study in Businessmen and Business Strategy (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1970); Allen W. Trelease, The North Carolina Railroad. 1849-1871. and the Modernization of North Carolina (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1991); Kenneth W. Noe, Southwest Virginia's Railroad: Modernization and the Sectional Crisis (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994); Scott Reynolds Nelson, "Public Fictions: The Southern Railway and the Construction of the South, 1848-1885," (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina, 1994); George R. Taylor and Irene D. Neu, The American Railroad Network. 1861-1890 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956); U. B. Phillips. A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860 (New York, 1908); Robert C. Black, The Railroads of the Confederacy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1952); Franz Anton Ritter V on Gerstner, Early American Railroads: Franz Anton Ritter von Gerstner's Die Innem Comm unicationen (1842-1843) ed. Frederick C. Gainst, trans. David J. Diephouse and John C. Decker (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997);
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
I think we are crossing over into the land of "everybody knows" history. There was no "recession caused by the end of the California gold rush"; the Midwest was booming in the middle 1850s; so was the South. What brought things to a screeching halt was the completely unexpected financial default of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company - the largest mortgage broker/lender (the 19th century equivalent of a modern S&L). They announced one morning that "oh, by the way, we don't have any coin with which to redeem our notes, and all of you account holders are out of luck."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1857#Failure_of_Ohio_Life_Insurance_and_Trust_Company

I defer to DaveBrt and his heritage. My question was guilty of the same kind of "everybody knows" ignorance that I am so quick to criticize. Cotton shipments were far more important than I implied.
I know nothing of the economy of the North, but the South felt a huge drop in economic activity. It, and the loss of men as income dropped, is mentioned in several 1861 annual reports by the southern railroads. It is also noted in several letters to the Secretary of War and the head of the Railroad Bureau regarding securing details of the men that had been laid off earlier. This is NOT the 1857 Panic.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I think we are crossing over into the land of "everybody knows" history. There was no "recession caused by the end of the California gold rush"; the Midwest was booming in the middle 1850s; so was the South. What brought things to a screeching halt was the completely unexpected financial default of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company - the largest mortgage broker/lender (the 19th century equivalent of a modern S&L). They announced one morning that "oh, by the way, we don't have any coin with which to redeem our notes, and all of you account holders are out of luck."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1857#Failure_of_Ohio_Life_Insurance_and_Trust_Company

I defer to DaveBrt and his heritage. My question was guilty of the same kind of "everybody knows" ignorance that I am so quick to criticize. Cotton shipments were far more important than I implied. There is an excellent PhD thesis on the subject:
Organizing the South: Railroads, Plantations, and War. Steven Gedson Collins. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College. It is available on the web through LSU's Digital Commons site. Collins has a bibliography that is comprehensive:
John F. Stover, The Railroads of the South. 1865-1900: A Study in Finance and Control (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1955); Maury Klein, The Great Richmond Terminal: A Study in Businessmen and Business Strategy (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1970); Allen W. Trelease, The North Carolina Railroad. 1849-1871. and the Modernization of North Carolina (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1991); Kenneth W. Noe, Southwest Virginia's Railroad: Modernization and the Sectional Crisis (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994); Scott Reynolds Nelson, "Public Fictions: The Southern Railway and the Construction of the South, 1848-1885," (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina, 1994); George R. Taylor and Irene D. Neu, The American Railroad Network. 1861-1890 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956); U. B. Phillips. A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860 (New York, 1908); Robert C. Black, The Railroads of the Confederacy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1952); Franz Anton Ritter V on Gerstner, Early American Railroads: Franz Anton Ritter von Gerstner's Die Innem Comm unicationen (1842-1843) ed. Frederick C. Gainst, trans. David J. Diephouse and John C. Decker (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997);
There was a dramatic decrease in railroad building after 1854.
https://alfred.stlouisfed.org/serie...tm_term=related_resources&utm_campaign=alfred
 

LetUsHavePeace

Volunteer
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
It is definitely not the Panic of 1857; but wouldn't the decline in earnings for the Southern railroads be entirely a function of Jefferson Davis' own embargo, which he put in effect with his inauguration on February 18, 1861?

You wrote earlier: The slow down was because of the uncertainty of the political and therefore economic situation. Would there be a return to normal? War? Two nations with tariffs? Who would accept what money? Would cross border contracts remain valid? Etc.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
It is definitely not the Panic of 1857; but wouldn't the decline in earnings for the Southern railroads be entirely a function of Jefferson Davis' own embargo, which he put in effect with his inauguration on February 18, 1861?

You wrote earlier: The slow down was because of the uncertainty of the political and therefore economic situation. Would there be a return to normal? War? Two nations with tariffs? Who would accept what money? Would cross border contracts remain valid? Etc.
Davis' statement was an indication of the uncertainty, but the feelings had surfaced right after South Carolina made good on their threat to leave the Union. This was a wide spread feeling of uncertainty, not a reaction to one speech.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Why was the contract for the piedmont railroad given to the Richmond and Danville, most of the line from Greensboro to Danville is in Carolina. Giving the contract to the north Carolina railroad may have sped up the project by getting state big wigs onboard with the project and ensured it was 5 gauge track.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
Why was the contract for the piedmont railroad given to the Richmond and Danville, most of the line from Greensboro to Danville is in Carolina. Giving the contract to the north Carolina railroad may have sped up the project by getting state big wigs onboard with the project and ensured it was 5 gauge track.
The North Carolina RR did not want the connection since it was likely that shippers would take the shorter route from western North Carolina north on the new RR rather than going east on the NC RR (and paying them the freight charge) and then going north. That is also why the gauge was not allowed to be the same as the R&D road -- to delay shipments using the shorter route so that traffic would stay on the NC RR. The big wigs owned most of the stock in the NC RR and wanted income to pay off the construction bonds and pay dividends.

The Richmond & Danville RR had pushed for this connection for many years and was anxious to get it completed.
 

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Concerning those early layoffs in the south, I was earlier browsing the O. R. Series 4, Volume 1, Section 1, dealing with late 1860 to June 1862, Confederate correspondence. By March 1, 1861 a resolution had been passed by the directors of the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad Company and it stated; " That we tender to the Government of the Confederate States of America and to the State of Mississippi, free of charge, the use of the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad for military purposes;...." [page 120]. Reading further, most of this correspondence is between L. P. Walker, the Secretary of War, and the Governors of the southern States. It is visible through these documents that many of the working class had left occupations to enlist early and train at camps. By the end of March, these men began to complain about being left behind. They were not being used due to filled quotas, and some started running rumors that all the richer men (slave-holders) were exempt by substitutes, and the lower-class was fighting for the slave-owners to keep slaves. These events caused problems with the morale early on among the troops, and possibly a deficit in the workforce that was never replaced after the southern draft took affect.
Lubliner.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
To aid our discussion of the Confederate railroad system/network, I compiled a table of the railroads east of the Mississippi River, excepting the roads in Florida east of Pensacola, and grouped them by road lengths (0-75 miles, 76-150 miles, and above 150 miles). Your thoughts and insights are invited:

http://csa-railroads.com/Essays/Confederate_Rails_and_Rolling_Stock.htm
You have about 1,400 locomotives available, which seems reasonable given the known ratio of locomotives to lines that can be determined from historical time series from about 1889-1890.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Keeping in mind the limited number of locomotives available to the railroads of the Confederacy, and the limited number of places in which they could be repaired would lead to a better history of the US Civil War. For instance it would explain why the capture of Atlanta by the US Army at the end of August 1864 changed the pattern. The US occupied or had occupied all the railroads radiating from Atlanta with infantry. As a consequence they were all inoperable or unavailable to the Confederacy. The trains and locomotives were destroyed, along with a significant amount of munitions.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
For instance it would explain why the capture of Atlanta by the US Army at the end of August 1864 changed the pattern. The US occupied or had occupied all the railroads radiating from Atlanta with infantry. As a consequence they were all inoperable or unavailable to the Confederacy. The trains and locomotives were destroyed, along with a significant amount of munitions.
Changed what pattern?

Locomotives were repaired by almost every road over 75 miles long. The shortage of mechanics slowed the repairs, but everyone could do them --- IF they could get the required parts. Tredegar, Charlotte Naval, Atlanta Iron, Etowah Iron and a couple of the largest railroads could make many of the parts needed -- IF they could get the raw material. Only Tredegar could have made boilers from scratch (and had during the 1850's).

The major loss to the South, railroad wise, from the fall of Atlanta was the occupation of the traffic hub. When Sherman headed to Savannah, the loss was of the iron, ties and bridges over very long distances and covering both main west-east lines (the Georgia RR and the Central (of Georgia) RR). The loss of rolling stock was painful, but not nearly as serious as the loss of rails that could only be replaced by removing otherwise useful roads.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
The confederate locomotive works, its purpose and was it effective in meeting that purpose.
The Locomotive Works was to repair and maintain Confederate Government rolling stock. The Secretary of War finally gave in to the railroads and sold off the Confederate rolling stock and closed the Works. It had met the purpose for which it was created, but (if supplies could have been run through the blockade) it could have helped maintain nation's rolling stock if it had been kept.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Changed what pattern?

Locomotives were repaired by almost every road over 75 miles long. The shortage of mechanics slowed the repairs, but everyone could do them --- IF they could get the required parts. Tredegar, Charlotte Naval, Atlanta Iron, Etowah Iron and a couple of the largest railroads could make many of the parts needed -- IF they could get the raw material. Only Tredegar could have made boilers from scratch (and had during the 1850's).

The major loss to the South, railroad wise, from the fall of Atlanta was the occupation of the traffic hub. When Sherman headed to Savannah, the loss was of the iron, ties and bridges over very long distances and covering both main west-east lines (the Georgia RR and the Central (of Georgia) RR). The loss of rolling stock was painful, but not nearly as serious as the loss of rails that could only be replaced by removing otherwise useful roads.
Up until then they had in the main been able to evacuate their locomotives and rolling stock southward or eastward, at Atlanta they were not able to do that.
 

Lubliner

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
I found an interesting report yesterday of an expedition into northern Mississippi from Memphis in early March of 1865. After thorough reconnaissance he returned without damaging the Mobile and Ohio Railroad there due to an agreement worked out between Forrest and Thomas that if it was being used strictly in support of civilians and not militarily, it should be saved, which it was, by order of General Steele.
Lubliner.
 
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Joined
Jun 27, 2017
A few years ago, I came across one of John Keegan's books about the CW. One chapter in particular intrigued me. I discussed the South's RR's. There was a map that at a single glance explained the South's deficiency. What we would think of as a simple route from a to b was anything but.

When Longstreet was dispatched to reinforce Bragg, you would assume a simple direct route due south to Augusta Ga then straight over to Atlanta and finally straight up to Chattanooga. There were gaps which would have necessitated detraining and marching to pick up the rail again. At least some of the troops and equipment would have swung all the way to Charleston on the coast. Not to mention that due to the differences in track gauges, even if there was rail coming into and out of a given town necessitating completely unloading and reloading all the men and supplies.
 
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