miles, and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad had been used from Columbus to Union City, twenty-six miles. The operations in Western Tennessee and Kentucky and in North Mississippi were distinct and separate from those at nashville; and although under the control of the general superintendent at the latter point, they required and received very little attention as compared with the lines leading to the front.
The Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, 151 miles, was the great main line over which passed all the supplies for the Armies of the Cumberland, the ohio, and the Tennessee through the campaigns which terminated with the occupation of Atlanta. Over this single line of railroad the provisions, clothing, and camp equipage of the men, forage for animals, arms, ammunition, and ordnance stores, re-enforcements, and all the varied miscellaneous supplies required for a great army engaged in an active campaign, were sent to the front, and by it were the sick, wounded, disabled, and discharged soldiers, refugees, and freedmen, captured prisoners and materials deemed advisable to send to the rear.
Portions of the road had been in use for military purposes since April, 1862, but I have not in my possession any data of the operations of this or any miliary line of the Southwest prior to February, 1864.
About 115 miles of track were relaid with new iron, cross-ties, and ballast from February, 1864, to the close of the war. Sidings were put in at intervals to be not more than eight miles apart, each capable of holding from five to eight long freight trains, and telegraph stations were established at most of them. In all, nineteen miles of new sidings were added to this road and forty- five new water-tanks erected.
During the spring and summer of 1864 a few occasional guerrilla raids were made upon it, but they caused little damage to property or detention to transportation. About September 1, 1864, the rebel General Wheeler destroyed seven miles of the road between Nashville and Murfreesborough. In December General Hood destroyed seven miles and three-quarters of track and 530 feet of bridges between the same stations. In both cases the road was promptly repaired and trains were running in a few days.
The road was turned over to the company September 15, 1865.
The next railroad in importance for military purposes was the Western and Atlantic, from Chattanooga to Atlanta, 136 miles. It was opened to Ringgold, Ga., twenty-one miles from Chattanooga, in March, 1864. Early in may the work of reconstruction was commenced south from Ringgold, and kept pace with the movements of Sherman's army. The line was opened through to Atlanta in August, 1864, immediately after the evacuation of the town by the rebel army. In the reconstruction of this road 22 1/2 miles of track and 4,081 linear feet of bridges were rebuilt.
The most important single structure was Chattanooga bridge, 780 feet long and 92 feet high, which was completed by the Construction Corps in four and one-half days. While occupied as a military road this was more infested by guerrillas than any other during the war. Every device possible to apply was used to throw trains from the track; and though occasionally successful, the preparations to guard against such attempts were so complete that few of them caused loss of life or more than a few hours" detention.