THE BALTIMORE and OHIO RAILROAD in the CIVIL WAR Let us turn back to an April day about 80 years ago, and imagine ourselves at Apoomattox Court House, about to witness the surrender of the Confederate Army to the Federals. The staff officers of both the Grand Army of the Republic, nnd the army of the Confederate States of America were assembled awaiting the meeting of General Lee and General Gra Now to most readers, the story from this point is commonly accented fact. Lee surrendered his army, his arms, and his equipment to Grant, so the history goes. However, according to some of the stories which I have gathered ctions of the coun 4 - where I have snent much time, General Lee never surrendered to General Grant. Lee immaculately attired in Confederate full dress, met Grant, the latter taring a sloppy T nion field unifc: , ad General ,, thinking Grant to be the butler, handed him his sword. The foregoing is based on heresay, and not on historical fact, and for that reason, I am 2. desirous of not being Quoted. On the other hand, as of which version of the ending of the war the reader prefer?, the fac^ re a that the exc f the fl"ord ended four years bitter struggle and conflict of the War Between the State?. Any student of American history will readily agree that there is a multitude of reasons and causes of this y/ar offered by the historians and other authorities, however, since I profess no excertional knowledge of the cause, I will simply Ignore any and all motives which may have precipitated the conflict. Regardless of the causes, or effects of this war, there Is one conclusion which can definitely be de as a result of the struggle. This- war was first one i^ which railroads were used as a means of tr" .-tation of troops anr° materials, and the fir here the telegraph aided, speedy communication. From the use of this new, quicker means of transportation, the absolute feasibility and necessity of rapid trooo movement was shown, TCo greater proof of this statement Is needed than L re events cf the past three years of war. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad had t] distinction of bping no J le first railroao, also the ^aln railroad to take part in the Civil War. ears followi fcs founding were uneventful. Frederick was reached in 1R32; Harpers Ferry, in 1834: Washington, In 1835: and finally, In 1853, almost twenty-five years after the first 3. ground "breaking, the Baltimore and Ohio reached its first objective; the Ohio River, at Wheeling. Two years after reaching Wheeling, trains were ng from Baltimore through to Cincinnati. This was the end of expansion for some time, for the next years were very hard and trying ones for the new road. On October 17, 1859, the first rumblings of the approaching conflict were heard when John Brown made - raid on Warners Ferry. On that night, Brown storned and eastbound express at Harners Ferry Station, held it up all night and csn?f sat discomfort to its nassenrjers. In the confusion, a sorter and the telegraph operator were billed, and several others injured. Colonel Robert E. Lee was sent to Harpers Ferry with the entire Tarine Corns, then ninety strong. snuffed t v :e revolution, and hung John , but the first snark of Civil War had been struck. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, the Main Stem of the railros capt >ed by the Confedera 4 - ter the Federal forces arpers stroyed t 1 and rifle woi-*.s there, and hastily fled the to' eneral St 11 Jackson helned himself t four engine 1- , small € t, at Harpers Bm over a brarch line to Winchester; from t , down the '. way. The s ■•■-■- laced on the rails of t .assa? ay, which connected Lth the Virginia Central, and in turn, entire railway system of the" Co. y. "lowing this, Ja r took the troying the railroad pre artlnsbu. . consisting of fort;, ] ' es d three and rive cars. a was a terrific waste, is ! Confederacy sor^lj ed rolll stock. Bed in Jackaon's mi: ( , ' ce b sre little that could be tie, salvage u sslble, and Jackson ordered ^ugh Lonsust, vetero rail - ~ Richmond, to tinder se half-burned locoi er ^f it mile? of turnr ^trasbur . l" : e engines were atA-Inned a: one bj one, d< He valley b; ms c C horses. At tiroes, the i =;re forced to help the hi -imep, all mov id to be stopped whi" orkers foug] be Yankees. At Strasburg, the e ' ss were re a? ed, . " he /id. was blunder In i~ done by bo 4- ' °s on K ain St" . hey took rails, t*e^s, .Tikes, plat*^, cars, In fact everything wl Ich would move, or could be ad put It In service, )nly to of r side down and take 11 back. If it cor jt be moved, it was destroyei d ^11 use. J burned, and used to h< etal to be out of recognition, % culverts, <=nd .leral right- of- way received special attention from the wreckers. One of their favorit- ie bridge; acx'oas the Potomac at Harpers poyed I'snj l! p ? b. not only by ' armies, by t^e unruly Fotomac, >uld si; enl; swell it? b« and tg everything in Its path. Tel- "ions, and other property were destroyed. The tiain S ; crossed many a by both armies In the cou~ of the four year's struggle. e Baltimore and Ohio was vital to the life of the Union, for it was the only line from the West with a direct line into Washington. The orownii ent of the system in the way of service to the n was the transportation of the Eleventh and Twelth Army Corps from I Rappahannock River Line, -ittanooga, Tennessee, a distance of fourteen hundred miles. In eleven days. However, even this was eclipsed fifteen months later, when the Twenty-third Army Corps, seventeen thousand strong, i on the banks of the Tenessee River, was needed i-o help drive the last spike into the coffin of the Confederacy. They were brought over t v, e route as before, and in spite of flood, blizzard, broken- down motive power, cars, and trackage, this job was accomplished in less time than before. The Baltimore and Ohio had one more serviee to perform for the great war-time president, Abraham Lincoln. Thi s was Indeed a very sad service, for it is the Baltimore and Ohio that carried the President's body from Washington. This untimely death was greatly mourned, and the ranks of the mourners did not stop at the imaginary Mason- Dixon Line. 6. In 1865, the War Between the States was brought to a close, and the entire nation was faced with the unpleasant task of reconstruction. The Confederate soldiers returned to a ruined and bitter South. Its great plantations were devasted, the few small industries were snuffed, its public offices were overrun with corrupt politicians, and its rails were retarded for twenty years. Dixieland was destined, even to this day, not to regain the position it had enjoyed previous to the war. From this sad conflict, many lessons were learned; as already mentioned, the advisability, if not necessity of troop and supply transportation by rails, at that time the only quick means. In addition, the merit of the telegraph as a speedy method of communication was proven. Indeed the truth of the statement of Nathan Buford Forrest , Confederate cavalaryman, was definitely borne out. He said, and rather crudely so, "The feller that gits thar fustest with the mostest men, wins the battle'. 1 However, more important than any of these results is the one which we all look to pride with today. From the ruins of a nation, practically torn apart by internal strife, rose a new movement - to the West, and it was soon shown that the United States was a confederation of states , bound from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf to the Lakes, into one inseperable union, and one of the greatest binders was the steel rails of the trans cont- inental railroads.