Railroads in the Civil War
The Impact of Management on Victory and Defeat
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Title Page, Copyright
James M. McPherson, in his Pulitzer Prize–winning Battle Cry of Freedom, describes in two sentences the rail movement of the Union’s 11th and 12th Corps from Virginia to Tennessee in the Fall of 1863. Both his citations were more than forty years old: George...
Introduction: Development of an American Transportation System
In September 1863, Union General William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland slashed through eastern Tennessee, captured Chattanooga, and continued marching straight toward Atlanta. Even as Rosecrans entered Chattanooga...
1. The Challenge of War Management: Union and Confederate Government Responses
Neither the Confederacy nor the Union expected a long war, nor could they have anticipated the scale to which it would grow. As its harsh unfolding erased any expectations of a short and glorious war, both Union and Confederate...
2. The Confederacy: Crisis and Decision
War weariness drained the Confederacy in the summer of 1863. The would-be nation faced crises in all directions that tested its will to keep on. The endless casualty lists from Gettysburg vied with the dreadful news that General John Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg and thirty thousand soldiers on the..
3. Southern Railroads and the Longstreet Movement: The Effect of Confederate Mismanagement
Quartermaster General Alexander R. Lawton arranged the movement. ‘‘Everything turned on the question of transportation and supply,’’ he wrote, ‘‘and it all had to be decided and performed with telegraphic haste.’’ Lawton’s ‘‘haste’’ addressed General Lee’s fear that Rosecrans would strike Bragg, and...
4. "A Serious Disaster": The Federal Government Responds to Defeat at Chickamauga
September 20, 1863: Army of the Cumberland telegraphers began tapping out grim news. General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee, reinforced by part of James Longstreet’s command, crashed into General William S. Rosecrans’ Cumberlanders at Chickamauga Creek, southeast of Chattanooga...
5. The 11th and 12th Corps Movement: The Success of Northern Management
Although thrown together as a pick-up team, the railroad men demonstrated a thorough knowledge of their business, a creative flexibility with a gift for innovation, confidence, decisiveness, and phenomenal energy levels. The extreme urgency of their assignment fostered a strong spirit of cooperation...
6. The Failure of Confederate War Management
Generations of myth, romance, and historical perspective have left many Americans with the impression that Union victory in the Civil War was inevitable. Historians cite the Union’s vastly greater industrial resources and population four times larger than the southern whites’, the Union navy’s strangling...
Appendix: Units of Longstreet’s Corps and the 11th and 12th Corps