tv The Civil War Cumberland Valley Railroad CSPAN September 21, 2019 6:00pm-6:46pm EDT
his contribution to and hisamerican theater pulitzer-prize winning play "fences." p.m., reel america features a 1919 u.s. army film transcontinental motor convoy. how the '81 vehicle started near house and traveled to terrific to assess road conditions. ride, lieutenant dwight eisenhower, led him to sign announcer: that is what is coming up on american history tv. >> a little bit about our speaker. we have scott mingus. i did not know him until i reviewed his bio. consultantentist and in the pulp and paper industry.
holds patents and self adhesive postage stamps and barcode labels. i never knew that. graduateohio native, of miami university. for averying dennison, he was part of the team that set up the first successfuly self-adhesive poaching stamp. he has written 20 books. won multiple the a prizeuding for confederate history. he has written several articles for the gettysburg magazine and other historical publications. scott and his wife debby reside in north pennsylvania. scott? welcome. thanks for coming today.
i want to talk about the railroads in pennsylvania. i have written three books on the railroads. , thewere from east to west philadelphia-wilmington baltimore railroad. the northern central railway, harrisburg to baltimore. the third key railroad that ran between maryland and pennsylvania during the civil war. railroadrland valley will be the subject of our talk today. all three railroads were targeted by the army during the civil war. had their bridges burned near baltimore from 1861, 1864. the, there were attacks on northern central bridges. 31 destroyed in york county,
pennsylvania. no rep. dent: pennsylvania saw attacks asursions or the cumberland valley railroad, hence the title of our book, targeted track. railroadrland valley ran during the civil war years from harrisburg, pennsylvania to chambersburg. there it met the franklin railroad, a subsidiary, later owned by the cumberland valley railroad. consisting ofbe the entire line of the franklin railroad that ran from hagerstown north to the susquehanna river. president's agenda named frederick watts. he is important in the history of pennsylvania state university.
he was one of the leading proponents of agricultural education in the united states, and it is recognized that the father pennsylvania state university. before that, he was the father of the cumberland valley railroad. one of the early proponents to get the railroad built. he served on the board of directors, and later as the president of the railroad during the civil war. frederick watts had a vision to turn the cumberland valley from a small, regional railroad to something of national importance. little did he know that his armye was the confederate and the publicity has railroad would get. probably the first time the cvrr plays any role in the conflict between north and south is during john brown's raid on harpers ferry in 1862.
most of the raiders arrive on the cumberland valley railroad, having traveled to harrisburg. they set up their headquarters in downtown chambersburg. boardinghousea owned by a widow of one of the abolitionist governors of pennsylvania. that was governor joseph wittner. the boardinghouse would see numerous people coming and going throughout the summer of 1859, including john brown. douglass would come on the railroad as well. he would meet with john brown. some accounts suggest john brown tried to sweettalk frederick douglass into joining the attack on harpers ferry. doesn't do it, of course. throughout the summer in particular, brown and others are bringing in large shipments of goods on the cumberland valley
railroad. he calls himself dr. isaac smith. is looking for possible ion ore mines. axes, whenng in pix, in reality they are muskets and pikes. they were used to go down to maryland and set up headquarters at the farm, and then in october 1859, john brown and his men will raid. some of the raiders come back to the cumberland valley and tried to catch the river to get out of the valley. some of them will be captured nearly cumberland valley railroad station, were some of the raiders are captured. one will manage to escape on the railroad and end up in north pennsylvania, where members of the underground railroad will torontoa free black to
in canada at that point. comp hasroad, the cvrr a starcrossed background. it gained a lot of national role.ity for the some of the members are investigated as collaborators. charges are never brought, but it leads to speculation. watts tends to be a middle-of-the-road person. as the clouds of four start with the election of abraham lincoln, the secession of states, then war breaks out in april 1861, following the confederate bombardment of fort sumter. judge watts goes to a political rally in carlisle and is in
favor of the compromises that are trying to hold the union together, perhaps allowing the south to keep slavery. he is the most vocal person immediate in once abolition and immediate war against the south. sees theyland valley will become a critical part of the war effort. this is a quick snapshot, a small, regional railroad. they don't have a lot of hardware and equipment, 12 cars,tives, four baggage 79 freight cars. this is a one track railroad through the heart of the cumberland valley. for those in the audience, the cumberland valley is the name applied to the shenandoah valley
in southern pennsylvania. the cumberland valley is very important, and this railroad moves a lot of freight, particularly iron ore, timber, into harrisburg for distribution around the country. somerailroad has interesting pieces of rolling stock, one of which is the pioneer, one of the most powerful locomotives built in 1851. by the time of the civil war, it is outdated. it is a lightweight locomotive designed for passenger service. the railroad does not have a lot of heavy freight locomotives. handle nothey can more than a four-car passenger train, and some maximum speeds. more by the time
the war begins. they believe it will be a short war. a lot of these people are thinking we will win the war in theays, so throughout valley, they will show up in places like carlisle, chambersburg, and then they will cvrr station the and brought by train to harrisburg. the chambers artillery -- they don't have cannons, but they have enthusiasm. these brightd on yellow distinctive railroad cars. took its most powerful
locomotive into harrisburg. en forma company of the second pennsylvania. this is the harrisburg of then, one few in the north that handled many different railroads. the northern central came in here from baltimore through york , as did the pennsylvania railroad that ran east-west to pittsburgh to philadelphia, and the cumberland valley railroad. at times, the station was hectic. there are lots of accounts of people getting on the wrong train because you have four distinctly different railroads serving it.
the cumberland valley would remind people to get on the yellow cars. that will remind you to get on the right train. a lot of the early traffic through the cumberland valley is distinctly related to the civil war. down in history as one of the very first railroads ever used by the military of the united states to move troops into position. stonewall jackson has taken harpers ferry. he will be superseded by joseph johnson, who takes command of the confederate forces at harpers ferry. the yankees don't like this because there is a lot of ferry, itat harpers is easy to launch an invasion into the north, particularly pennsylvania. that is something pennsylvanians are worried about early in the war from because they are
bordered by slave state maryland and slave state virginia, which at the start of the war, neither are aligned with the confederacy , but there is significant concern in harrisburg that perhaps the commonwealth and its railroads will end up being targeted by confederates. they decided to go on the offense and started recruiting pennsylvania soldiers and moving them into chambersburg as a launching point for a potential thrust in towards harpers ferry. they will go after the confederates before the confederates can come after him. the cumberland valley railroad will bring significant quantities, thousands, fresh, untrained union volunteers into chambersburg. chambersburg becomes the assembly point for what later is going to be called the army of the shenandoah, robert
patterson, an elderly gentleman who was a veteran of the war of 1812 is assigned command of these volunteers. he comes down in a brightly bedecked railroad car into chambersburg with the band playing, has a parade on sunday wasn't something you didn't chambersburg, pennsylvania. town. a very conservative this guy shows up with marching bands and military escorts on a decked out train and assumes command of the troops in chambersburg and tells people that we are going on to virginia. patterson within a few days after the arrival manages to get the troops, organized and begins to move the troops out. thereoblem with that is is one person in his way.
for those familiar with the campaign will know that patterson's number one role in all these volunteers, mostly pennsylvanians, but other states as well, their goal is to keep joseph johnson bottled up inside the cumberland valley, or shenandoah valley in this case. it is a task patterson fails miserably. johnson is able to get his rails intoide the manassas junction, and we all know the story. his men will arrive in time to correct the balance of the first battle of manassas and lead to a confederate victory. everyone realizes the war will not be over so quickly. you have all kinds of problems, and now they started raising troops for three years, one year, different terms of service, and the cumberland valley railroad brings the first group of boys home and start
shipping the larger groups out of the cumberland valley back into harrisburg to be recruited. fast-forward forward to 1862 from all those rumors, the confederates are going to come to harrisburg from a finally start coming true. rumors abound that the confederate army is marching on earlylvania, late august, september, 1862. ,he governor of pennsylvania republican, a close friend of the president of the united states abraham lincoln, he says we need troops. he calls out the pennsylvania state militia. pennsylvania has a standing militia before the war, but in general the prerogative is a cloud to activate the national guard and raise these men into regiments to respond to emergencies. they weren't allowed to leave the commonwealth borders. it was only for the defense of pennsylvanians that you could
activate this militia. they are going to get thousands of these new state militiamen and the cumberland valley railroad will be pressed into service to bring them to chambersburg. by the why, general patterson left in an unmarked car without a military escort and was out of town in the middle of a nondescript business day. was johnfficer in 1862 fulton reynolds. , veryds takes command military-like, arrives on a train with troops into chambersburg, no pomp and circumstance, very businesslike. reynolds takes charge of the pennsylvania state militia. will serve men throughout the antietam campaign. they are not ever going to see combat, for which reynolds is somewhat grateful, not quite sure how the men will do,
confides to his sister in a letter, his doubts about the quality of the pennsylvania state militia. nevertheless, the militia ends up moving back through the cvrr. by the way, the cumberland valley ran through downtown chambersburg, downtown greencastle, through mechanicsburg, downtown shippensburg. the major hotels and businesses lined the railroad tracks. it is the main streets and most of these towns, and these boys uniforms soldier gators are thrilled because the townspeople, particular the pretty girls of the cumberland valley, turn out lavishly to cheer these men. thene point, they go by female academy, to which one soldier says, i think we need to
stop the train right here and make this our camp the rest of the war. well, they will obviously not stop at the female academy. you can see what these young men are -- it is all really good at that point in time. later later,few weeks another problem occurs. by the way this is his letter to his sister basically saying there is nothing in the valley that will stop the rebels. if the rebels want to come to harrisburg come in fact, we have a problem. now, just a few weeks, a few days after reynolds makes the declaration, on the day after the battle of antietam, perhaps the cvrr's finest moment in the civil war. is out ofclellan ammunition and orders more from washington.
they're going to load it up on it to baltimore, and transfer it to northern central. the northern central will leave baltimore in the train of ammunition will arrive in hagerstown in four hours and 31 minutes. i can't do that today on the highways with all the traffic. withtrain loaded incredibly explosive ammunition careens at speeds up to 54 miles per hour on tracks never designed for cars going more than 40 miles per hour, and the standard working speed for a freight train in those days was 2225 miles per hour. 20 toe doubling that -- 25 miles per hour. you doubling that. these cars get so hot they worry about it catching on fire. they have to stop twice and physically cool the train off so it won't catch on fire.
anybody can guess what a boxcar of ammunition would have done in downtown carlisle, pennsylvania? it wouldn't have been pretty. it is a stunning example of mcclellan's generalship in those days. he needs ammunition. even though these railroaders have risked their lives and set a speed record the cvrr has ever will run during the civil war, not a single one of these rounds is fired at the confederates during the maryland campaign, at least up to that point in time. as the becomes known amazing antietam ammunition run. it is the finest hour. it gets a lot of national press. they are really happy. the militia starts coming home. reynolds starts bringing them back, and the darkest hour for the railroad soon follows. 26, heavy fog along
the susquehanna river, a train barreling through the fog filled with the 20th volunteer militia from philadelphia smashes into the bridge locomotive called utility and 30 soldiers are killed or permanently maimed. now the cumberland valley is in the press again, but not for a reason they want. it is one of the worst losses of u.s. soldiers at that point in the civil war on civilian run railroads. that will change. unfortunately, there will be worst tragedies yet to come. , justatch though terrified about the possible legal ramifications for what is going on come and more importantly, the loss of potential lucrative military business. they managed to avoid any kind of legal reality and the cvrr
keeps their contract. the cvrr has another problem looming, that is jeb stuart. the four weeks later after disaster where the utility is slammed into the train, jeb stuart comes to pennsylvania. what else would he be doing? you can see on the maps on the screen the location of mcclellan's army still sitting idle in maryland doing very little. stuart decides i'm going to break apart the cvrr, the main supply line that will feed mcclellan's army. other two, the more volatile is the cvrr, so he takes three brigades of calvary and comes across the mason-dixon line into chambersburg. he ends up wrecking the cvrr at chambersburg. they will destroy the turntable and destroy most of the offices and whatever rolling stock is still there, the warehouse is in
and around the train station. chambersburg sees flames on the north side of town for hours and as the areaurs immediately around the railroad station burns to the ground. , to turnng to go on the bridge that can't be burned. he believes that story and here's the state militia is coming after him, then here's the union regulars are coming after him, so he will head towards gettysburg, comes within six miles of gettysburg in october of 1862 before he turned south and heads back into virginia. stuart alarms the railroads in pennsylvania. they realize exactly how vulnerable they are. they have already lost bridges, now rolling stock, and the confederates have proven a well-planned raid can reach the very heart of some of these
northern railroads. taken ofhe photographs the confederates, they raid the warehouse is first but then burn ,hambersburg, so rolling stock this is what the town would've looked like an 1862, as stewart's men arrived. governor curtain is alarmed by this, frantically starts dispatching with washington about how candy cumberland valley be better protected. 1863, the reverend has another problem. they rebuilt the depot, the warehouse in the turntable, rebuilt just about everything just in time for the gettysburg campaign. in the confederates come back to pennsylvania again. , it istead of jeb stuart jenkins from the western virginia area.
he will lead his calvary into chambersburg and they will start raiding the railroads and find out the scotland bridges not made of iron. it is made of wood. we can burn it, and they do. they destroyed the largest bridge southwest of the susquehanna river along the cvrr . along the way, greencastle the and his mennkins are destroying railroad tracks, burning railroad buildings. they are working on the small , the small little facilities that lined the tracks as well. they devastate the franklin all the and the cvrr way up into the heart of the cumberland valley. one more time, they organize a state militia under governor
curtin's direction. the state militia will start riding the rails to get into position. has anmeantime, the cvrr influx in ticket sales because refugees for hagerstown from a from the shenandoah valley, refugees from southern pennsylvania are jumping on the trains and trying to put the susquehanna river between him and robert e lee. ticket sales are quite strong and hundreds and hundreds of refugees, many african-american are coming into chambersburg to try to escape the onslaught of the oncoming rebels. militia, thete pennsylvania state militia is not very well organized. forrnor curtin has asked 10,000 volunteers from new jersey and new york, so a number of new york standing militia
regiments have arrived in harrisburg. the new york state national guard, put them on the cvrr trains, and they had south to shippensburg. with chambersburg cut off, shippensburg is the new central organization point for the pennsylvania state militia. you can't get to chambersburg because it is south of the bridge of scotland. they have to walk from shippensburg to scotland, guard bridge crews that are definitely trying to put cvrr's bridge back into place so that the army can use this if they need to. jenkins hears about the militia boring down the tracks heading towards his position. jenkins withdraws into west virginia. actually maryland, sorry. jenkins moves back into pennsylvania on june 22.
yorkers now fearing infantry is coming with artillery abandon ship and head back to harrisburg, now leaving the cumberland valley unprotected. other than a few scattered calvary units, units of the first new york calvary, for example. there are some local units floating around there. but most of the calvary in these units are not very experienced with the exception of the first new yorkers. they thought the rebels are coming into the cumberland valley. railroad.llows the they go to mechanicsburg. he will set up shop. again, the map shows you the railroad tracks on the main streets of mechanicsburg, and this is the largest hotel, one of the most important hotels in town during the civil war years. that is the railroad hotel,
appropriate named, and was also a ticket office. it had the unheard-of rooms for women and an indoor powder room for men. and an indoor powder room for men. it had indoor plumbing at least for a while. a very nice hotel. jenkins takes over the hotel, makes it his personal headquarters and starts selecting new york and pennsylvania and other newspapers that have been brought into the gift shop of the railroad. theins puts his feet on table and starts collecting yankee intelligence, including we believe statues from harrisburg. on, behindis going them comes the rest of the army of northern virginia, including george pickett bringing up the rear. themtt's men, many of
destined to die or be captured in gettysburg, any of his men will spend the last weeks or days of their free lives or lives entirely wrecking the cumberland valley railroad. they will duplicate what stuart was doing in 1862. long before sherman's neckties, taking rails and heating them over bonfires and letting the rails group so they are not valuable anymore. in some cases, they are wrapping bowties around trees. inkett's men are doing it 1863 in the cumberland valley. shrug in chambersburg -- show up in chambersburg and burn everything. the railroad had already rebuilt all of its facilities here and better than they were before, and now george pickett has arrived with infantry.
these guys do a very thorough job on the cumberland valley railroad, particularly on july 1. , whilers ago today battles are raging at gettysburg, george pickett is destroying the cumberland valley railroad in chambersburg, pennsylvania law -- pennsylvania. on this very day, the reason for this talk in utility as far as the anniversary celebrations in gettysburg. pickett has a jolly old time. i outline a lot of this in the book, what his boys are doing as this is going on. in the harrisburg area, especially the west side of the river, the new york state militia is still guarding what is left of the cumberland valley railroad. the yankees pretty much control the railroad from camp hill north. not much. the rebels control the rest of the railroad from mechanicsburg all the way through carlisle,
shippensburg, chambersburg, greencastle. 90% of the railroad in confederate hands good -- hands. this is one of the few drawings done during the campaign that showed the railroad tracks of pennsylvania. you can see the 22nd new york state national guard camping. also in the sketch is the susquehanna river. those would be the bridge abutments. on the left is the river running into downtown harrisburg. the state militia is going to take over many of the railroad buildings, including house near bridgeport, and they will convert it into block houses and try to protect the railroad as best they can. the new york state militia barely in the background. my co-author did this, you can
barely see the train. the cumberland valley railroad still operational, at least in taking troops and refugees who can still make it into union held territory, they are still running trains for a little while. all of that is finished up in the battle of gettysburg is over. hermann hot appears on the scene. there are 31 railroad ridges that have been destroyed and -- in york county alone. gettysburg to hanover and hanover junction, many of those have been destroyed as well as the railroad bridges on the spur from york to wrightsville, and the longest railroad bridge in wrightsville has been burned by the pennsylvania state militia -- silva noons -- actually
civilians under orders from the militia. the job is to rebuild the railroads. we need to get ammunition income of the wounded out, relief supplies in and they become crucial. he would spend most of his personal time in york county, he would come to the cumberland valley on one or two occasions and they would rebuild the railroads. there is a critical decision, the rebels were supposed to come in 1861 and they didn't. stuart destroyed much of the chambersburg railroad facilities. then, jenkins destroyed it. he makes an interesting decision not to rebuild the railroad facilities. they rebuild the tracks, but they don't rebuild the
turntables, warehouses, ticket , oiling stations until after the war. it's a big decision, because does anybody know what happens in 1864 in chambers big? john mcconnell and shows up on the scene. -- ands yet another pennsylvania aimed at chambersburg. the third time in three years chambersburg has been targeted. he is coming under the guise of orders from joe worley. he is upset about the destruction in virginia by david hunter and union troops, and he has made the decision that somebody is going to pay for this. ransomingu can start northern towns. they are going to ransom hagerstown. by the time they get to
chambersburg, the s for $100,000 in gold. ransomedjoe worley has york, pennsylvania for $100,000 in cash and three days worth of supplies, 1000 pairs of shoes. he gets almost all of that. the stunt of ransoming people works. so they ransom chambersburg. the chambersburg citizens are like, they did not bill down york or gettysburg, they did not burn down carlisle. the last two times they were in chambersburg, they only burned down the railroad. we don't have railroad buildings to burn, we are safe. is the union away regular calvary. not regular, volunteer calvary. telleople of chambersburg him to count salt.
he says he wasn't kidding and he orders the town torched. the confederate officers protest, he puts them under arrest in extreme cases, and the confederates porch chambersburg. they don't have railroad buildings, but they have the town itself, and they lay waste to it. manyve probably seen pictures of what chambersburg looks like after this devastating raid. littlelroad suffers damage but railroad employees are devastated. there are a lot of railroad employees who live in and around chambersburg, that is the war.oad home before the operationalstill and can still haul refugees out of chambersburg, and they do it. men and women who have lost their homes, they had no charge, they will call you to harrisburg
if you want a fresh start. a lot of residents will ride cvrr a final time and never return to chambersburg. some do, but many start all over somewhere else. makes its final shipment of troops into chambersburg, the 201st pennsylvania in two police the town and restore order. anticipating the war will still last a while, there are two powerful new locomotives but the war ends before they can use them. cvrr makes its final contribution to the war. they bring northerners from the cumberland valley to carlisle, particularly -- remember it's the same station as the northern central train that is bringing
avery and lincoln's body from washington, d.c.. of northern -- the northern central train arrives at the alreadyand the cvrr has brought in mourners. the final act is to bring back to places whichhambersburg, some of only some know their homes are gone. to rebuild with their wives. on behalf of my publisher and the gettysburg heritage center, thank you for your time and attention today, and hopefully you know a little more about one of the three key railroads in pennsylvania that ran between maryland and the commonwealth during the civil war. thank you for your time and attention. [laughter] -- [applause]
we have time for a couple of questions, does anybody have anything? any questions on the railroad? this was a pretty important railroad the most people don't realize. how many of you that george pickett spent that time wrecking railroads? that's one of the revelations that people reading the book have not realize that was his main role for pickett's charge, to wreck the railroads. i will turn it back over to tammy. thank you, we appreciate it, scott. >> learn more about the people and events that shaped the civil war and reconstruction every saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern, only on american history tv here on c-span3. on "reeleekend america," a 1919 silent film
documenting a transcontinental motor convoy. the century-old journey that changed america. here is a preview feud -- preview. >> it was a century ago from early july to early september of 1919 that a u.s. army convoy of about 80 vehicles made its way from washington, vc -- washington, d.c. to san francisco. this depicting what happened, the map showcasing the journey from washington, d.c. to san francisco, documented into 25 minute silent film. first, joining us is and michael ike."the author of "after your book explains -- your book. explain the genesis of your research. >> it was an important trip in
the history of the u.s. and i was interested in the fact that eisenhower went along. he was only 28 years old at the time. later, i think partly because of the inspiration from the trip, he was the driving force around the interstate highway system. i wanted to see the route that they followed, i was able to follow their exact route. >> this is just west of lexington, nebraska. muddy ands are difficult to make their way through. >> yes, you can see the trucks slipping and sliding. tractor,one artillery which was able to pull them out in most places, but sometimes it was really slow going. on this particular day according to the log, they traveled 34 miles in 10 hours.
[no audio] >> you can watch the entire film documenting the 1919 transcontinental convoy this america" sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. >> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years, c-span has provided america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public-policy events from
washington, d.c. and around the country, so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> we are outside the r.e. olds transportation museum in lansing, michigan. we are learning about the city's history. it was here that olds started oldsmobile corporation. next, we take you inside the museum to learn more. bill: car manufacturing in the city is very important. that industry is one of the backbones of lansing with michigan state university and state capitol and we have automobile manufacturing. those three components have kept lansing a very successful town. it started with r.e. and building