|United States Military Railroad|
|Active||February 1862  –1865|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Role||Strategic movement, operational resupply|
The U.S. Military Railroad (USMRR) was established by the United States War Department as a separate agency to operate any rail lines seized by the government during the American Civil War. An Act of Congress of 31 January 1862  authorized President Abraham Lincoln to seize control of the railroads and telegraph for military use in January 1862.  In practice, however, the USMRR restricted its authority to Southern rail lines captured in the course of the war. As a separate organization for rail transportation the USMRR is one of the predecessors of the modern United States Army Transportation Corps.
The American Civil War was the first war where railroads were a significant factor in moving troops and supplying forces in the field. The United States Military Railroad organization was established to coordinate this new capability for the Union Army. The USMRR organization benefited from the appointment of experienced railroad men from the private sector. Thomas A. Scott, vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), served as an Assistant Secretary of War during the period 1861–1862.  In January 1862 Scott prepared a report on military transportation that anticipated the creation of the USMRR.  Daniel C. McCallum, former general superintendent of the New York and Erie Railroad,  was appointed as Military Director and Superintendent of U.S. Railroads.  Herman Haupt, former chief engineer of the PRR, was appointed as Chief of Construction and Transportation in the Virginia theater.  The departments in the USMRR tended to operate autonomously, although micromanagement from the Secretary of War and overlapping authority between departments did affect their operations.  Over time the USMRR would buy, build or capture 419 locomotives and 6,330 cars  beyond the rolling stock that was requisitioned from the various Northern railroads. When Col. McCallum was first appointed the USMRR system consisted only of 7 miles of the Washington and Alexandria Railroad;  however, by war's end the USMRR exercised control over a network of more than 2,000 miles  of military railroads and captured Southern rail lines.
The Virginia Central Railroad and Orange and Alexandria Railroad were the principal supply lines for the Confederate and Union forces, respectively.
In the fall of 1863 the Confederate railroads, acting as interior lines of communication, transferred two divisions and an artillery battalion of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s I Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, by railroad from Virginia to Georgia to reinforce General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee. The troops began arriving at the Catoosa Platform, Georgia on September 19,  having begun their journey from Virginia on September 9.  Ultimately, only 5 of Longstreet’s 10 infantry brigades arrived in time to participate in the Confederate victory at Chickamauga.  Following their defeat, the troops of MG William Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland fell back to Chattanooga, Tennessee where they were surrounded by the Confederates who occupied the heights surrounding the town.
On the evening of September 23, 1863, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton convened a meeting with President Lincoln, Major General Henry Halleck, Secretary of State William Seward and Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase  to review plans to reinforce and relieve the Army of the Cumberland with troops from other Union departments. Major General William T. Sherman, with 4 divisions of the Army of the Tennessee, was already moving east from the vicinity of Vicksburg, Mississippi and expected to arrive in about 10 days.  Stanton proposed that reinforcements be sent from the then idle Army of the Potomac, his initial recommendation was to move 30,000 troops in just 5 days to the vicinity of Bridgeport, Alabama.  Much debate surrounded the proposal. Halleck opined that such a movement would require at least 40 days  and even the President doubted that the troops could reach Washington in 5 days.   Daniel McCallum of the USMRR was summoned to the meeting and given a basic outline of the plan. After making some quick calculations McCallum declared that the proposed operation could be completed within 7 days.  The President ultimately gave the order to begin the transfer of troops from the Army of the Potomac to the west, starting the largest troop rail movement of the war. In 12 days the USMRR moved approximately 25,000 men over 1,200 miles overshadowing the Confederacy's earlier movement of 12,000 men over 800 miles in 12 days. 
On September 24 the men summoned to plan the rail movement arrived in Washington to work out the details. Secretary Stanton telegraphed them asking for their assistance even before the President approved the plan: John W. Garrett, President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O); Thomas Scott of the PRR; S. M. Felton, President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad; William P. Smith, Master of Transportation for the B&O; and McCallum.    The men at the conference worked out the detailed route planning, a task complicated by the different gauges of railroad track in use at the time. The initial movement of troops from Virginia was allocated to the USMRR under McCallum's direction. Garrett and Smith would supervise the movement from Washington, D.C. to Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Scott would travel west to supervise the move from Louisville, Kentucky, to Bridgeport, Alabama.  As finally settled, the movement involved 9 different railroads in order get the troops from Virginia to Bridgeport. The USMRR, operating on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from Bealeton, Virginia to Washington, passed the movement off to the B&O from Washington to Benwood, West Virginia.  At Benwood, the troops crossed the Ohio River via a pontoon bridge  and boarded Central Ohio Railroad trains to move from Bellaire, Ohio to Columbus. From Columbus, troops moved via the Columbus and Xenia Railroad, Little Miami Railroad, and the Indiana Central Railroad to reach Indianapolis, Indiana. From Indianapolis the route used the Jeffersonville Railroad to return to the Ohio River.  The troops crossed the Ohio River to Louisville and boarded trains using the tracks of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to reach Nashville, Tennessee. From Nashville the final leg of the trip used the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad to deliver the troops to Bridgeport. 
While the railroad men planned the movement of reinforcements to the west, Halleck began issuing the orders that assigned actual units to the move. Major General Joseph Hooker, former commander of the Army of the Potomac, was assigned to command the eastern reinforcements. Major General George Meade, the commander of the Army of the Potomac, was directed to prepare the XI and XII Corps for movement beginning September 25. At the time the XII Corps’ two divisions were on picket duty along the Rappahannock River and had to be relieved by the I Corps before it could move to the railroad. The XI Corps’ remaining two divisions were deployed to the army's rear guarding the Orange and Alexandria railroad which simplified their preparations to move.  Meade initially ordered the XII Corps to march to Brandy Station, but the corps was directed to march 10 miles further up the railroad to Bealeton where there were better arrangements for loading the trains.  McCallum directed the XI Corps infantry to move to Manassas Junction, Virginia, to board trains, but had the corps’ artillery march to Alexandria, where the best facilities to load the guns were located. 
By the end of operations on September 25, 1863, 5,800 of the 7,500 soldiers in the XI Corps were on trains headed for Bridgeport.  By the morning of September 27, 12,600 men, 33 cars of artillery and 21 cars of baggage and horses were in motion.    By 10:30 PM September 30, the first 4 trains of troops reached Bridgeport.  By October 3 Major General Hooker was able to report that all of the XI Corps’ troops were at Bridgeport and the XII Corps was passing through Nashville to begin the final leg of the trip.  Moving the troops and artillery did not complete the job. On September 27 the railroads began loading the camp baggage, wagons, ambulances, horses and mule teams that were part of the corps. The XI Corps had 261 six mule teams, 75 two horse ambulances, 3 spring wagons and the XII Corps needed 150 four horse teams and 156 six mule teams moved.  The last regiment of troops passed through Indianapolis on October 6 and reached its destination October 8, 1863, ending the 1,233 mile troop movement.  By October 12, the USMRR and civilian railroads completed the movement of both corps and all of their artillery, transportation, and baggage.  From Bridgeport, Hooker marched his force towards Chattanooga to participate in the fighting to relieve the Army of the Cumberland.
At the conclusion of the Overland Campaign in 1864, Lt. General Grant directed Major General Meade to transfer his Army of the Potomac to the south side of the James River in effort to capture the Confederate rail center of Petersburg and sever Richmond’s supply lines. The Union did not capture Petersburg before the city's defenders were reinforced by troops from General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The continual Union movement towards the Confederate flanks gave way to digging as siege operations to isolate the Confederate capital began in earnest.
Grant established his headquarters on the grounds of Appomattox Manor overlooking the confluence of the Appomattox and James rivers. City Point, Virginia, modern day Hopewell, became the principal logistical base for the Virginia theater supplying the troops of both Meade's Army of the Potomac and Major General Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James. In all the United States Military Railroad supplied more than 100,000 troops and more than 65,000 horses and mules with food, equipment and supplies from the waterfront docks on the navigable portion of the James River at City Point. 
Initial railroad operations began when the USMRR rebuilt and restored service along 9 miles of the Petersburg and City Point Railroad’s line.   As the Union Army steadily extended its siege lines to the south and west, the USMRR construction corps followed in the Army's wake extending rail service from City Point to positions behind the new Union left flank. Eventually the USMRR added 21 additional miles of track which partially encircled Petersburg from the east to the southwest.  Parts of the USMRR extension are preserved today within the borders of Fort Lee, Virginia, where a series of four historic markers show the route that the railroad followed behind the Union lines.  When Petersburg was eventually abandoned in 1865 the 25 engines and 275 pieces of other rolling stock had logged a grand total of 2,300,000 operating miles. 
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In the battle, Union Major General George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, halting Lee's invasion of the North. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point due to the Union's decisive victory and concurrence with the Siege of Vicksburg.
The Richmond–Petersburg campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War. Although it is more popularly known as the siege of Petersburg, it was not a classic military siege, in which a city is usually surrounded and all supply lines are cut off, nor was it strictly limited to actions against Petersburg. The campaign consisted of nine months of trench warfare in which Union forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assaulted Petersburg unsuccessfully and then constructed trench lines that eventually extended over 30 miles (48 km) from the eastern outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, to around the eastern and southern outskirts of Petersburg. Petersburg was crucial to the supply of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's army and the Confederate capital of Richmond. Numerous raids were conducted and battles fought in attempts to cut off the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad. Many of these battles caused the lengthening of the trench lines.
The Battle of Lewis's Farm was fought on March 29, 1865, in Dinwiddie County, Virginia near the end of the American Civil War. In climactic battles at the end of the Richmond–Petersburg Campaign, usually referred to as the Siege of Petersburg, starting with Lewis's Farm, the Union Army commanded by Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant dislodged the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia commanded by General Robert E. Lee from defensive lines at Petersburg, Virginia and the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Many historians and the United States National Park Service consider the Battle of Lewis's Farm to be the opening battle of the Appomattox Campaign, which resulted in the surrender of Lee's army on April 9, 1865.
The Battle of Monocacy was fought on July 9, 1864, about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Frederick, Maryland, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early defeated Union forces under Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace. The battle was part of Early's raid through the Shenandoah Valley and into Maryland in an attempt to divert Union forces from their siege of Gen. Robert E. Lee's army at Petersburg, Virginia.
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, and other forces against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Although Grant suffered severe losses during the campaign, it was a strategic Union victory. It inflicted proportionately higher losses on Lee's army and maneuvered it into a siege at Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, in just over eight weeks.
The Gettysburg campaign was a military invasion of Pennsylvania by the main Confederate army under General Robert E. Lee in summer 1863. It was the first time during the war the Confederate Army attempted a full scale invasion of a free state. The Union won a decisive victory at Gettysburg, July 1–3, with heavy casualties on both sides. Lee managed to escape back to Virginia with most of his army. It was a turning point in the American Civil War, with Lee increasingly pushed back toward Richmond until his surrender in April 1865. The Union Army of the Potomac was commanded by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker and then by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade.
The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought on May 11, 1864, as part of the Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan was detached from Grant’s Army of the Potomac to conduct a raid on Richmond, Virginia, and challenged Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. The Confederates were outnumbered, and Stuart was mortally wounded. However, Sheridan’s 'sideshow' did not achieve any of its other objectives, and had meanwhile deprived Grant’s army of key cavalry functions at Spotsylvania.
The Third Battle of Petersburg, also known as the Breakthrough at Petersburg or the Fall of Petersburg, was fought on April 2, 1865, south and southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, at the end of the 292-day Richmond–Petersburg Campaign and in the beginning stage of the Appomattox Campaign near the conclusion of the American Civil War. The Union Army under the overall command of General-in-Chief Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, launched an assault on General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's Petersburg, Virginia trenches and fortifications after the Union victory at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865. As a result of that battle the Confederate right flank and rear were exposed. The remaining supply lines were cut and the Confederate defenders were reduced by over 10,000 men killed, wounded, taken prisoner or in flight.
The Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road, also known as the First Battle of the Weldon Railroad, was a battle of the American Civil War fought June 21–23, 1864, near Petersburg, Virginia. It was the first of a series of battles during the Siege of Petersburg aimed at extending the Union siege lines to the west and cutting the rail lines supplying Petersburg. Two infantry corps of the Union Army of the Potomac attempted to sever the railroad, but were attacked and driven off by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's Third Corps, principally the division of Brig. Gen. William Mahone. The inconclusive battle left the Weldon Railroad temporarily in Confederate hands, but the Union Army began to extend its fortifications to the west, starting to increase the pressure of the siege.
The American Civil War was the first in which large armies depended heavily on railroads to bring supplies. For the Confederate States Army, the system was fragile and was designed for short hauls of cotton to the nearest river or ocean port. During the war, new parts were hard to obtain, and the system deteriorated from overuse, lack of maintenance, and systematic destruction by Union raiders.
The Battle of Cumberland Church was fought on April 7, 1865, between the Union Army's II Corps of the Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the Appomattox Campaign of the American Civil War.
Colonel Stonewall Jackson's operations against the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1861 were aimed at disrupting the critical railroad used heavily by the opposing Union Army as a major supply route. A second goal was to capture the maximum number of locomotives and cars for use in the Confederate States of America. During this point in the war, the state of Maryland's stance was not yet determined. The B&O Railroad, then owned by the state of Maryland, ran through Maryland and along the Potomac River Valley in its pass through the Appalachian Mountains, but took a crucial turn at Harpers Ferry and passed south, through Virginia and Martinsburg while crossing the Shenandoah Valley. The railroad then continued on through much of present-day West Virginia, which then was still part of Virginia, meaning that a major portion of the route went through a state which later seceded.
The 22nd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment in the Union army during the American Civil War. The 22nd Massachusetts was organized by Senator Henry Wilson and was therefore known as "Henry Wilson's Regiment." It was formed in Boston, Massachusetts, and established on September 28, 1861, for a term of three years.
The Winchester and Potomac Railroad (W&P) was a railroad in the southern United States, which ran from Winchester, Virginia, to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, on the Potomac River, at a junction with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O). It played a key role in early train raids of the B&O during the beginning months of the American Civil War.
The Centreville Military Railroad was a 5.5-mile (8.9 km) spur running from the Orange and Alexandria Railroad east of Manassas Junction across Bull Run and up the south side of the Centreville Plateau. Built by the Confederate States Army between November 1861 and February 1862, it was the first exclusively military railroad. Ultimately, the Centreville Military Railroad reached a point near a modern McDonald's restaurant on Virginia State Route 28, south of the modern junction with U.S. Route 29 in Virginia.
Ulysses S. Grant was the most acclaimed Union general during the American Civil War and was twice elected president. Grant began his military career as a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1839. After graduation he went on to serve with distinction as a lieutenant in the Mexican–American War. Grant was a keen observer of the war and learned battle strategies serving under Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. After the war Grant served at various posts especially in the Pacific Northwest; he was forced to retire from the service in 1854 due to accusations of drunkenness. He was unable to make a success of farming and on the onset of the Civil War in April 1861, Grant was working as a clerk in his father's leather goods store in Galena, Illinois. When the war began his military experience was needed, and Congressman Elihu B. Washburne became his patron in political affairs and promotions in Illinois and nationwide.
Long Bridge is the common name used for a series of three bridges connecting Washington, D.C. to Arlington, Virginia over the Potomac River. The first was built in 1808 for foot, horse and stagecoach traffic. Bridges in the vicinity were repaired and replaced several times in the 19th century. The current bridge was built in 1904 and substantially modified in 1942 and has only been used for railroad traffic. It is owned by CSX Transportation and is used by CSX freight trains, Amtrak intercity trains and Virginia Railway Express commuter trains. Norfolk Southern Railway has trackage rights on the bridge but does not exercise those rights. In 2019 Virginia announced that it would help fund and build a new rail bridge parallel to the existing one to double its capacity, following the plans that have been studied by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) since 2011.
William Wierman Wright was a well known nineteenth century American railroad engineer and civil engineer. He was born in York Springs, Pennsylvania.
Eben Cedron Smeed was an American civil engineer who was best known for his work on railroads, particularly the United States Military Railroad (USMRR) in supporting Sherman's Atlanta and Savannah campaigns working first under General Herman Haupt and then Colonel William Wierman Wright. Smeed typified the successful, self-made civil engineer in the 19th century.