Richmond and Danville Railroad
|Richmond and Danville Railroad|
1882 map of the Richmond and Danville Railroad and connections
Leased lines in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia
|Dates of operation||1847–1894|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Previous gauge||5 ft (1,524 mm)
American Civil War era
The Richmond and Danville Railroad Company was chartered in Virginia on March 9, 1847. The construction of the line of railroad between Richmond and Danville, Virginia was completed in 1856. The railroad was complete only between those locations, only 144.7 miles (232.9 km) distance, during the American Civil War but it played a vital role in linking Richmond to the rest of the Confederacy. After the Civil War, the railroad grew to become The Richmond and Danville Railroad Company System, eventually covering 3,300 miles (5,300 km) in 9 states.
From 1847 to 1871, the State of Virginia owned 60 per cent of the capital stock of the company. In 1871, the Southern Railway Security Company acquired the State's interest in the railroad, and along with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, controlled the Richmond and Danville Railroad until 1880. In 1880, the Clyde interests which controlled The Richmond, York River and Chesapeake Rail Road Company acquired control of the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company. In 1881, the Richmond and West Point Terminal Railway and Warehouse Company was organized to develop and expand the Richmond and Danville Railroad, which was limited by provisions of its charter with respect to control of connecting railroads. By 1886, parties interested in the Richmond and West Point acquired control of the capital stock of the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company. The Richmond and Danville then came under control of the Richmond and West Point. After the Richmond and West Point Terminal Railway and Warehouse Company declared bankruptcy, the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company was pulled down with it and receivers were appointed to take possession of its property on June 15, 1892.
On June 18, 1894, The Richmond and Danville Railroad Company was sold in foreclosure after having been in receivership since June 15, 1892 and was conveyed to Southern Railway Company by deeds dated January 9, 1896 and August 30, 1897. Southern Railway Company was incorporated in Virginia on the same date, June 18, 1894. The Richmond and Danville Railroad Company property was surrendered to Southern Railway Company for operation on July 1, 1894 even though the deeds of conveyance were not completed and filed until later.
The new Richmond and Danville Railroad was championed by Whitmell P. Tunstall, a lawyer in Chatham, Virginia who was also a member of the Virginia General Assembly. Construction on the 1,447 miles (2,329 km) long line began in 1849 under the supervision of Col. Andrew Talcott, who was later to become the Richmond and Danville's general manager. By 1850, the new railroad had reached Coalfield Station, near the coal mines in an area known today as Midlothian in western Chesterfield County. There, it competed with the mule-powered Chesterfield Railroad. Lawsuits followed, but the older railroad, the first in Virginia, was quickly supplanted by the competition.
Serving in the US Civil War
Known as the "first railroad war," the American Civil War (1861–1865) left the South's railroads and economy devastated. In 1862, the Richmond and York River Railroad played a crucial role in George McClellan's Peninsula Campaign. After the war, it was to be acquired by the Richmond and Danville Railroad.
The Richmond and Danville Railroad was an essential transportation link for the Confederacy throughout the war. It provided the production of south-central Virginia to Richmond. When the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad was cut in 1864, the R&D's connection with the Piedmont Railroad was the only remaining connection from Richmond to the rest of the South.
During the Civil War, the Confederate Army was handicapped by a lack of supplies when there often were plenty of supplies in the depots, but the quartermaster corps of the southern army was unable to deliver the goods efficiently. In one case, however, the war finally forced the Confederate government to over-rule objections by North Carolina. That state had blocked construction of a rail connection from Greensboro to Danville, fearing that after the war trade from North Carolina's Piedmont would continue to flow to Richmond via the R&D.
Following successful Union attacks on April 1, 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee decided to abandon Petersburg and head west and south in an attempt to join Gen. Joseph Johnston's army in North Carolina.
After evacuating Richmond the next day, on April 2, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet left Richmond on the R&D. The departing Confederates set fire to the bridge across the James River between Richmond and Manchester. They traveled to Danville, where they attempted to set up a temporary government.
On reaching Amelia Courthouse during the morning of April 4, 1865, Lee's first thought was for the commissary stores. He found ordnance supplies in abundance, but no food. Lee waited 24 hours in vain there for R&D trains to arrive with badly needed supplies. Union cavalry, meanwhile, sped forward and cut the Richmond & Danville at Jetersville. Lee had to abandon the railroad, and his army stumbled across rolling country towards Lynchburg. On the morning of April 9, 1865, "Palm Sunday", Lee met Grant in the front parlor of Wilmer McLean's home near Appomattox Court House to surrender.
Reconstruction, Richmond & Danville Railroad System (1865–1894)
Buford builds the R&D System 1865–1892
With the support of Virginia Governor Francis H. Pierpont, on September 13, 1865, Algernon S. Buford became president of the 140-mile (230 km) Richmond and Danville Railroad (R&D). Damage from the war, including the bridge across the James River between Manchester and Richmond was repaired.
Over the next 20 years, as R&D President, Buford and leaders including Richmonder James H. Dooley extended the trackage to three thousand miles. The R&D's early acquisitions included the Piedmont Railroad in 1866, and a 25-year lease of the North Carolina Railroad in 1871.
In or about 1886, The Richmond and West Point Terminal Railway and Warehouse Company acquired control of the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company through ownership of a majority of the outstanding capital stock.
By 1890, the R&D System covered 3,300 miles (5,300 km) of track in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas. However, the R&D System had become financially unstable during all the growth.
Southern Railway System 1894; Norfolk Southern 1982
After the Richmond and West Point Terminal Railway and Warehouse Company, which then controlled the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company, declared bankruptcy, the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company was pulled down with it and receivers were appointed to take possession of its and its subsidiaries's property on June 15, 1892. Reorganized by J.P. Morgan and his New York banking firm of Drexel, Morgan and Company, they emerged in 1894 as part of the Southern Railway Company, which controlled over 4,000 miles (6,400 km) of line at its inception. Samuel Spencer became Southern's first president.
Norfolk Southern Corporation, a holding corporation, acquired control of Norfolk and Western Railway Company and Southern Railway Company and their affiliates and subsidiaries on June 1, 1982, after approval by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Effective December 31, 1990, Southern Railway Company changed its name to Norfolk Southern Railway Company. Norfolk and Western Railway Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Railway Company rather than a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Corporation. In 1999, the system grew substantially with the acquisition of over half of Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).
- "Map of the Richmond & Danville Railroad System in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas & Texas". New York: G.W. & R.B. Colton & Co. 1881. in "American Memory". Library of Congress.
- "Map of the Richmond and Danville Railroad (Piedmont Air-Line) and Connections". Western North Carolina R.R. Scenery: "Land of the Sky". Portland, Maine: Chisholm Bros. 188-. p. 13. Retrieved 2013-12-27. at D. H.Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
- Confederate railroads in the American Civil War
- The song The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, by North American rock group The Band is a fictional narrative by a Confederate soldier that serves on the "Danville Train" and describes the aftermath of the tracks being torn up during the war.
- Interstate Commerce Commission. Southern Ry. Co., Volume 37, Interstate Commerce Commission Valuation Reports, November 6, 1931, p. 555. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1932. OCLC 297351688.
- The line between Richmond and Danville was 140 miles (230 km) long. The railroad had also constructed a 1 mile (1.6 km) between Manchester, Virginia and Rocketts, Virginia, a 0.7 miles (1.1 km) line between Belle Isle Junction, Virginia and Belle Isle, Virginia and a 3 miles (4.8 km) line between Granite, Virginia and Granite Quarry, Virginia. ICC, Southern Ry. Co. valuation report, 1931, p. 219.
- ICC, Southern Ry. Co. valuation report, 1931, p. 556.
- ICC, Southern Ry. Co. valuation report, 1931, p. 557.
- "New Railroad Syndicate: The Richmond and Danville Trunk Line System". The New York Times. June 16, 1880. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- ICC, Southern Ry. Co. valuation report, 1931, p. 558.
- ICC, Southern Ry. Co. valuation report, 1931, p. 563.
- ICC, Southern Ry. Co. valuation report, 1931, p. 212.
- Arthur, John Preston (1914). "Chapter XX: Railroads". Western North Carolina: A History (from 1730 to 1913) (Raleigh, North Carolina: Edward & Broughton Printing Company). pp. 469–490. at Google Books
- Davis, Burke (1985). The Southern Railway: Road Of The Innovators. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press.
- Storey, Steve. "Richmond & Danville Railroad". Railroad History. RailGa.com: Georgia's Railroad History and Heritage. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- "Manuscript Sources for Railroad History". Special Collections, University Libraries, Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, Virginia. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- Interstate Commerce Commission. Southern Ry. Co., Volume 37, Interstate Commerce Commission Valuation Reports, November 6, 1931. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1932. OCLC 297351688.
- Confederate Railroads website
- Dan River Tour website
- Civil War Richmond
- College of William and Mary, Railroads in Antebellum Richmond
- Scott Reynolds Nelson (1999) Iron Confederacies: Southern Railways, Klan Violence, and Reconstruction ISBN 978-0-8078-4803-6
- Virginia Places, Sectional Rivalry page
- Lee's Retreat - A Driving Tour
- An Abbreviated History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia - Transportation and Routes
- US Civil War, Appomattox Campaign
- The Stranger's Guide and Official Directory for the City of Richmond Electronic Edition
- Iron Confederacies Timeline