During the entire year the Alexandria and Washington line was in constant and uninterrupted use, except for three days, from February 18 to 21, 1 865, when it was stopped by the falling of a span of Long Bridge with U. S. military railroad locomotive Charles Minot upon it.
The bridge generally, and the draw span particularly, being unsafe, a track was laid on the 20th and 21st of February over the new railroad bridge erected across the Potomac by the Alexandria and Washington Railroad Company, which has since remained in constant use.
The Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad was used to supply the Convalescent Camp three miles from Alexandria and the garrisons of some of the forts south of the Potomac; also to partially supply the quartermaster's department of Washington with fuel.
The Orange and Alexandria Railroad was opened from Springfield to Rappahannock River, fifty miles from Alexandria, between September 28 and October 2, but at once abandoned to Manassas Junction. It was operated to that point in connection with the Manassas Gap Railroad until November 10, when it was abandoned beyond Fairfax, sixteen miles from Alexandria, for the remainder of the year. On the 27th day of June, 1865, the road was turned over to the Board of Public Works of Virginia.
The Manassas Gap Railroad was opened from Manassas Junction to Piedmont, thirty-four miles, between October 3 and 11, 1864, with the design of continuing it to Front Royal, seventeen miles farther, to supply General Sheridan's army operating in the Valley of Virginia; but the line was so infested with guerrillas, and was so imperfectly guarded, it was found difficult, if not impossible, to operate it, and was therefore abandoned. The iron was taken up between October 27 and November 10 from Piedmont to Manassas Junction, and carried to Alexandria, from whence it was taken to the Winchester and Potomac Railroad and used for relaying the track of that line.
The Norfolk and Petersburg and Seaboard and Roanoke lines were run continually to Suffolk, twenty-three miles from Norfolk, during the year, for local military purposes.
During the fall and winter of 1864 eighteen miles of new railroad were built as an extension from the City Point and Petersburg line, passing around to the south and southwest of the city of Petersburg.
Upon the surrender of Petersburg and Richmond, early in April, 1865, the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad was opened to the south bank of James River, opposite Richmond. The destruction of the railroad bridge across that river by the retiring rebels prevented running trains into the city. Upon the surrender of General Lee the Petersburg and Lynchburg Railroad was opened to Burkeville, and shortly after the surrender of the last rebel army under General J. E. Johnson, the Richmond and Danville Railroad was opened through to Danville, 140 miles.
The gauge of the Petersburg and Lynchburg Railroad was originally five feet, but not having rolling-stock of that gauge on hand, the gauge was changed to four feet eight and one-half inches, and the line completed by the Construction Corps from Petersburg to Burkeville, fifty-two miles, between April 3 and 11 - eight days.
The Winchester and Potomac Railroad was opened from Harper's Ferry to Halltown, six miles, between August 14 and 19, and thence to Stephenson's, twenty-two miles more, from November 2 to 24, 1864, and was continually used thereafter to supply the army operating in the Valley of Virginia. The entire track and sidings were relaid and new bridges built.