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Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Resiliency, or Lack Thereof, of Confederate Railroads

As I searched for something else in "Sixth Corporal," James Eldred Phillips' history of Company G, 12th Virginia Infantry, I came across something that I found very interesting.  In late December 1864, he took the cars of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac from Richmond to Guinea Station, near Spotsylvania.  The Federals had probably damaged that railroad significantly during the Overland Campaign.

The Richmond & Danville was up and running by mid-July after the Wilson-Kautz Raid, which saw that railroad torn up from June 23 through June 25.

Wilson and Kautz also tore up the South Side Railroad from June 22 through June 24 and that railroad was running again no later than early September.

Though Federal infantry and cavalry ripped up the Weldon Railroad in late June, it was running again by the time V Corps cut it for good in August.

Richmond had so many railroads that it was difficult to take even without their restoration.  To the southwest ran the Richmond & Danville.  West ran the Virginia Central.  North went the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac, northeastward ran the York River Railroad, and south went the Richmond & Petersburg, which connected with the City Point Railroad, the Norfolk & Petersburg, the Weldon Railroad, and the South Side Railroad.

Atlanta, where I spent this Christmas, had but three railroads running into it, and one of the was the Federal supply line, the Western & Atlantic.  That left two for the Confederates, the Macon & Western and the Georgia Railroad.  The siege began with the Federals wrecking the Georgia Railroad, which ran east.  The Unionists compelled the evacuation of Atlanta by cutting the Macon & Western.  The Confederates lacked the time to repair the Georgia Railroad when Sherman swept around to the west to cut the Macon & Western.

Atlanta needed more railroads, particularly one running southeastward.  She also could have used another river.  The Appomattox added to the difficulties the James caused the Northerners.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Please Pray for Dick Sommers

Please pray for Dick Sommers, author of the classic Richmond Redeemed.  He will be undergoing surgery tomorrow.