War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0962 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

July 18 the corps commenced repairing the Orange and Alexandria Railroad and opened it to Warrenton Junction and Culpeper.

After completing this work the men were occupied until October 20 upon repairs of the railroads leading from Alexandria and improvements at that station.

Under orders of Brigadier-General Haupt a stockade was built around Alexandria station and yard to protect the engines, cars, and machinery from raids of rebel cavalry.

Early in October the rebel army destroyed the railroad from a point between Manassas Junction and Bristoe to Brandy Station, about twenty-two miles. All the cross-ties were burned, the rails bent, twisted and rendered useless, bridges destroyed, some of the cuts filled up, embankments dug down culverts blown up, frogs and switch stands broken in pieces. The destruction could not have been more complete.

On the 23rd of October, after three days" preparation the work of reconstructing the destroyed section was commenced in earnest. The first point necessary to be reached was Warrenton Junction, eleven miles. To aid the Construction Corps a detail of 2,500 soldiers and 200 teams and wagons was obtained from the Third Army Corps.

On the 30th of October the track was completed and an engine ran through to Warrenton Junction. After resting at that point a few days the advance was resumed, and on the 16th of November the first train went throught to Brandy Station and Culpeper.

Rappahannock River bridge, 625 feet long and 35 feet high, was built in nineteen working hours ready for trains to cross.

After completing these repairs a large force was employed until February, 1864, in improving the new track, which, from the hurried manner of its construction, was necessarily imperfect.

During the autumn a large engine house was built in Alexandria for sheltering locomotives when not in active use, and repairs were commenced on the draw of Long Bridge with a view to rebuilding it.

A permanent span of bridge was found necessary at Rappahannock River, because the trestle bridge was liable to be destroyed at any time by a freshet, and one was erected that had been prepared some months before by order of General Haupt. This structure was a variety of lattice bridge, with an arch search side the lattice truss. After completion it did not stand more than three days. The lower chord was torn in two by the thrusts of the arches, but as the trestles had not been removed from beneath it no detention of trains resulted.

As men who contributed by their skill and energy to the success of the work in Virginia, I take pleasure in mentioning J. B. Clough, constructior of repairs; G. W. Nagle, master bridge builder; H. E. Gray, supervisor, and G. F. Speer, who managed the field transportation of the Construction Corps.

Second. As general superintendent of Government railroads, Military Division of the Mississippi:

I entered upon the duties of this position on the 10th day of February 1864. The length of railroads centering at Nashville, then in operation, was as follows:

Miles.

Nashville to Chattanooga.................................... 151

Nashville to Dark's Mills................................... 39

Stevenson to Huntsville..................................... 60

Chattanooga to Charleston................................... 42

--- -

Total....................................................... 292