Tennessee Civil War Railroads
East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad
|Tennessee Civil War Railroad Map
|East Tennessee Railroads and the Civil War
The East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad was chartered in 1849 and completed in 1858 and extended 130
miles from Knoxville to Bristol, with a twelve mile branch line to Rogersville. Although nominally under Confederate control
during the early war years, the strong Unionist sympathies of many East Tennesseans led to railroad bridge burnings in November
1861. Courtesy Middle Tennessee State University.
See also Tennessee Civil War Railroad History:
Recommended Reading: East
Tennessee and the Civil War (Hardcover: 588 pages). Description: A solid
social, political, and military history, this work gives light to the rise of the pro-Union and pro-Confederacy factions.
It explores the political developments and recounts in fine detail the military maneuvering and conflicts that occurred. Beginning
with a history of the state's first settlers, the author lays a strong foundation for understanding the values and beliefs
of East Tennesseans.
He examines the rise of abolition and secession, and then advances into the Civil War. Continued below...
Early in the conflict, Union sympathizers burned a number of railroad bridges, resulting in occupation by
Confederate troops and abuses upon the Unionists and their families. The author also documents in detail the ‘siege
and relief’ of Knoxville. Although authored by a Unionist, the work is objective in nature and fair in its
treatment of the South and the Confederate cause, and, complete with a comprehensive index, this work should be in every Civil
Bridge Burners: A True Adventure of East Tennessee Underground
Civil War. Description: When the East Tennessee and Virginia Railway line
was completed, dignitaries gathered in celebration as the final spike was hammered into the last tie in Greene County. Opening new doors of growth
and economic development in the Region, the railroad would become a point of conflict only three years later. When the Civil
War began, the line became a vital link in transporting Confederate troops and supplies into Virginia. Continued below...
The railroad was vulnerable since many hostile Unionists remained in the region. Confederate authorities
were understandably worried about the rail lines and how to protect them. Inevitably the stage was set and on a cold Friday
night, November 8, 1861, the Unionists proceeded with plans to burn the key railroad bridges of East Tennessee; President Abraham Lincoln
had approved the plan. This thoroughly researched, easy-to-read narrative tells the incredible true story of the people
and events in the ‘insurrection gone wrong’.
The Railroads of the Confederacy (400 pages) (The University of North Carolina
Press: April 15, 1998). Description: Originally published
by UNC Press in 1952, The Railroads of the Confederacy tells the story of the first use of railroads on a major scale in a
major war. Robert Black presents a complex and fascinating tale, with the railroads of the American South playing the part
of tragic hero in the Civil War: at first vigorous though immature; then overloaded, driven unmercifully, starved for iron;
and eventually worn out—struggling on to inevitable destruction in the wake of Sherman's army, carrying the Confederacy
down with them. Continued below...
maps of all the Confederate railroads and contemporary photographs and facsimiles of such documents as railroad tickets, timetables,
and soldiers' passes, the book will captivate railroad enthusiasts as well as readers interested in the Civil War.
Recommended Reading: Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor. Description: "The Great
Locomotive Chase has been the stuff of legend and the darling of Hollywood.
Now we have a solid history of the Andrews Raid. Russell S. Bonds’ stirring account makes clear why the raid failed
and what happened to the raiders."—James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
On April 12,
1862 -- one year to the day after Confederate guns opened on Fort Sumter -- a tall, mysterious smuggler and self-appointed
Union spy named James J. Andrews and nineteen infantry volunteers infiltrated north Georgia and stole a steam engine referred
to as the General. Racing northward at speeds approaching sixty miles an hour,
cutting telegraph lines and destroying track along the way, Andrews planned to open East Tennessee to the Union army, cutting
off men and materiel from the Confederate forces in Virginia. If they succeeded, Andrews and his raiders could change the
course of the war. But the General’s young conductor, William A. Fuller, chased the stolen train first on foot, then
by handcar, and finally aboard another engine, the Texas.
He pursued the General until, running out of wood and water, Andrews and his men abandoned the doomed locomotive, ending the
adventure that would soon be famous as The Great Locomotive Chase, but not the ordeal of the soldiers involved. In the days
that followed, the "engine thieves" were hunted down and captured. Eight were tried and executed as spies, including Andrews.
Eight others made a daring escape to freedom, including two assisted by a network of slaves and Union sympathizers. For their
actions, before a personal audience with President Abraham Lincoln, six of the raiders became the first men in American history
to be awarded the Medal of Honor -- the nation's highest decoration for gallantry. Americans north and south, both at the
time and ever since, have been astounded and fascinated by this daring raid. Until now, there has not been a complete history
of the entire episode and the fates of all those involved. Based on eyewitness accounts, as well as correspondence, diaries,
military records, newspaper reports, deposition testimony and other primary sources, Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive
Chase and the First Medal of Honor by Russell S. Bonds is a blend of meticulous research and compelling narrative that is
destined to become the definitive history of "the boldest adventure of the war."
Recommended Viewing: American Experience - Transcontinental Railroad (2003) (PBS) (120 minutes). Description: Go behind-the-scenes
of one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century: the building of a transcontinental railroad across the United
States. Completed in only six years by unscrupulous entrepreneurs, brilliant engineers, and
legions of dedicated workers, the Transcontinental Railroad left a horde of displaced, broken Native Americans in its wake.
See how the railroad helped shape the politics and culture of mid-19th century America.
Tennessee Civil War Railroad History Battles Confederate Railroads Map, Tennessee Virginia Railroad
Battle, Union Bridge Bridges Burned Destroyed, Civil War Railroads Raids Unionist Bridge Burners