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United States Military Railroad repairs to Confederate RR Infrastructure

Discussion in 'Railroads and Steam Locomotives' started by USS ALASKA, Mar 13, 2018.


    USS ALASKA 2nd Lieutenant

    Mar 16, 2016


    What was done post war with the non-mobile material used to repair Confederate roads? Reason I ask is looking at this map...


    ...this is just what the USMRR repaired in 1865.

    Act of Congress of 31 January 1862 authorized President Abraham Lincoln to seize control of the railroads and telegraph for military use in January 1862. In practice, however, the USMRR restricted its authority to Southern rail lines captured in the course of the war.

    ...by war’s end the USMRR exercised control over a network of more than 2,000 miles of military railroads and captured Southern rail lines.


    This thread was about the auctioning off of locos and rolling stock...


    After the war, what was done with these repaired lines? Was the trackage taken up? Were the repairs 'billed' to the original owning lines? Were USMRR efforts 'gifted' to them? If the last is what happened, it certainly gave those lines a leg up in returning their antebellum economic status.

    Thanks for your time,
    wausaubob and jgoodguy like this.

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  3. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt Sergeant Major

    Mar 6, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    The map above is highly misleading, appearing to give credit for repairing entire railroads when only small sections were repaired. At a glance, I see the North Carolina RR (which was actually operated only to Hillsboro, only 90 miles from Goldsboro) and the Mobile & Ohio RR (which was only repaired in two small parts on the northern end.

    USMRR repairs to specific roads are specified in OR 3/5/933 and OR 3/5/974.

    After the war, rolling stock was sold to Southern roads at decent prices. Some of it was put to immediate use, but much required repairs and overhauls before being useful. The iron of the track was also sold.

    Union repairs to railroads were "combat expedient." Only the roads that were going to see heavy use (like the lines that supported Sherman at Atlanta) got serious repairs. Bridges were never constructed to last more than a couple of years.

    The former Confederacy's railroads' biggest post-war problem was a lack of money in the South. Even when roads began to operate, there was so little cash that bills were paid by barter -- useful, but not the way to make northern or European creditors happy.

    The most fortunate roads were those that had purchased cotton and managed to keep if out of Yankee hands. Unfortunately, most such cotton was lost to theft, fire and capture.
    USS ALASKA and jgoodguy like this.

    USS ALASKA 2nd Lieutenant

    Mar 16, 2016
    Sir, that makes sense - the map has the entire road highlighted instead of just the repaired portions.

    Were there many of those invested in Southern RRs or is this why they were reluctant to invest?

    jgoodguy likes this.
  5. TomP

    TomP Sergeant

    Sep 29, 2015
    Corinth, MS
    I note a slight error in the map. The Mobile & Ohio, starting from the southern terminus in Mobile, Alabama appears to stop at the junction with the Memphis & Charleston in Corinth, Mississippi. Yet it goes no further to its northern terminus in Columbus, Kentucky. The Mobile & Ohio was indeed a southern railroad but did not see its potential filled as the last spike was driven at the Mississippi/Tennessee line just days after Mississippi seceded. The Confederates created periodic havoc on the M & O north of Corinth during the war and the USMRR was frequently called on for repairs.

    Sitting here in the visitor center of the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center I can see the tracks of what was once the M & C. A train went by about half an hour ago and an excited little girl ran up to me and said "Is that YOUR train?" The strategic rail crossing is about 800 yards to the east of us.

    USS ALASKA likes this.

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