Sunday, January 12, 2014

The B&O Railroad in the Civil War

I am a frustrated reader and researcher. It's no secret that my personal favorite railroad is the Baltimore & Ohio. I grew up within 5 miles of the Old Main Line and a little further from the Metropolitan Branch in Maryland. I was and have now returned to being Archivist of the B&O Railroad Historical Society. I also grew up in the 1990s and caught the Civil War bug thanks to my great uncle and Ken Burns' documentary series. So why is it so hard for someone to write a good history of the B&O Railroad in the Civil War? I'm not sure, it kind of surprises me given the quality work that's been done on portions of the story. The military side has gotten some extensive research thanks to the presence of some A-List generals. But the social and political and economic side just hasn't gotten matched up. This needs to be fixed.


  1. Wide gauge railroads would save enormous amounts of energy because piggyback operations would become practical and railroads haul freight for a small fraction of the energy, truck and all, than trucks do. I thought you might find the following article about wide gauge railroads for much more efficient piggy back useful as a possible project to be advocated at; . Piggy back would take a lot of traffic from both trucks and cars off the interstate highways, make a backup for the Panama Canal in wartime, and be much more efficient for light bulk cargo like food and garbage.
    You also may find useful a similar concept for personal transport by Raymond Lashley at; .
    Maybe your country would find it profitable to build such a line in a corridor paralleling a region where there is a very high volume of truck traffic. It would be not only profitable for you, but would be a profitable for the truck companies, and considerable advantage to your country. Of course it would hurt the profits of motels and truck stations.
    Sincerely, Charles Weber

    1. Look for Dan Toomey's book, "The War Came by Train." It is an excellent history of the B&O during the ACW.