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Railroads In Civil War

Powerful Essays
The Civil War was the first war to use railroads and turn them into a weapon of war. During the Civil War railroads became the vital new technology for both the Union and Confederate forces. The great distances separating armies, the need for supplies, and quicker troop movements all increased the need for the railroad. Without this new weapon the Civil War may have lasted until the last man was literally left standing. The ability to implement and use the railroads in the Civil War would play a crucial role in the North’s victory and the South’s defeat. Those who controlled the rail lines controlled the war. From the film, Civil War-America: The Story of Us, Lincoln is the first to realizes the railroads could modernize the speed of troop…show more content…
Union General, David Hunter, reports destroying arms, supplies, factory buildings, and railroad tracks in and around Staunton. In this account from 1864, Hunter reports his summer operation in the Shenandoah Valley. He had the Virginia Central Railroad entirely destroyed for several miles east and west of the town, burning all the depot buildings, shops, and warehouses belonging to the road. The forces under General Crook and Averell then joined Hunter. “This command, returning from a successful raid on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and moving to join Hunter at Staunton, had struck the line of the Virginia Central at Goshen and had totally destroyed this road as they marched to the point of junction, making in all a total destruction of the road for a distance of fifty miles” (Hunter). Hunter’s diary also contained information about General Duffie demolishing the Charlottesville and Lynchburg railroad from Amherst Court-House to Arrington Station. Hunter and his men would move southeastward and cross the James River below Lynchburg, destroying the South Side Railroad for a short distance, and burning two trains at Concordia Station. A major task of the Union soldiers was to pull up every stretch of Confederate track. By destroying railroads the supply lines to the Confederate troops were cut…show more content…
The Confederate Army did there best to protect their railroads and to intercept the Union’s shipments. M.C. MEIGS, Quartermaster General reported on October 12, 1862 that supplies were intercepted and destroyed by the Confederate Cavalry behind the army at Chambersburg. General Lee learned that the operation of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Harper's Ferry west was viewed by the Union to be of great importance. “He planned on breaking up the Harper's Ferry and Winchester Railroad to increase the obstacles to their advance up the Shenandoah Valley” (Lee). General George Pickett received orders from the lieutenant general in 1863. He was to send out a party from that portion to take position south of Chambersburg to destroy the railroad south of the town. He was ordered to burn the cross-ties, the iron injured as much as possible, and complete destruction. In April 1865, Col. Franklin A. Stratton marched to Lynchburg and occupied the town. He found military stores, quartermaster’s property, 25 locomotives and other railroad property. This property was all turned over to Lieut.-Col. Potter; 56 field pieces, 6 heavy guns, 41 mortars, 7 forges, 75 caissons and gun carriages, 15,000 muskets, several hundred sabers, and a large quantity of ammunition. Scenes like this occurred throughout the war. Both side were trying to use, capture or defend the railroads. Many of the dairies
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