Civil War Railroads – Introduction

Railroad iron is a magician’s rod, in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

During the American Civil War, railroad iron evoked and moved more than natural energies. Along the iron tracks rattled engines and cars taking soldiers to battlefields, officers to their new commands, supplies to waiting armies, wounded to hospitals, letters to and from camps, veterans to their homes, or fallen to final resting places. Trains and tracks were objectives of attack of defense because of their important part in military logistics.

Emerging Civil War is pleased to present our 2018 autumn blog series: Civil War Railroads. In the coming days and weeks, you’ll find a variety of daily articles focusing on aspects of business, logistics, travel, campaigns, and attacks related to railroads. From “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops riding the rails to First Bull Run in 1861 to Lincoln’s journeys by train to campaigns capturing tracks or rail-hub cities to the destruction and rebuilding of America’s 19th Century transportation infrastructure, we have some great articles to share from our members and guest authors.

One of the exciting aspects of this topic is the different perspectives presented by our researchers; railroads influenced the military, business, economy, and society of Civil War America, offering much to learn about the history created or destroyed on gravel beds, wooden ties, iron rails, and long spikes.

Almost like the actual railroad tracks, the history hammered together and unified under the theme “railroads” is varying in it’s angles and purposes. Still, when these historical facts are viewed and studied together, a new look at a Civil War complexity emerges. Transportation has always been a key part of American society through the ages, and the clattering wheels of the engines and cars in the 1860’s echoed in the background or foreground of battles, aftermaths, and objectives during the conflict.

Ready for a new look at the war at the railroad tracks? Join us for the next few weeks and gain a new appreciation for the technology, management, and power behind Civil War railroads. All aboard?

4 Responses to Civil War Railroads – Introduction

  1. We’ll definitely be looking forward to this. For me it’s likely to fill a large knowledge void.

  2. Confederate Railroads — History, Maps & Equipment… for the best resource on railroad lines, rolling stock and company personnel operating on behalf of the South during the War of the Rebellion. If for no other reason, the detailed maps of rail networks and location of stations inside major towns is worth a visit. Site operated by David L. Bright.

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