Montgomery and West Point Railroad
|Locale||Alabama and Georgia|
|Dates of operation||1832–1870|
|Successor||Western Railway of Alabama|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm)|
The Montgomery and West Point Railroad (M&WP) was an early 19th-century railroad in Alabama and Georgia. It played an important role during the American Civil War as a supply and transportation route for the Confederate Army, and, as such, was the target of a large raid by Union cavalry in the summer of 1864, called Wilson's Raid.
The Montgomery Railroad was chartered January 20, 1832, to build track from Montgomery, Alabama, to the Chattahoochee River at Columbus, Georgia. In 1834, it was re-chartered with the route going to West Point, Georgia, instead of Columbus. It wasn't until 1840 that the railroad reached Franklin, Alabama, just 32.4 miles (52.1 km) miles east of Montgomery. The railroad was sold under foreclosure on July 9, 1842; it was reorganized as the Montgomery and West Point Railroad on February 13, 1843. The railroad was completed to West Point on April 28, 1851. Three years later the Atlanta and West Point Railroad was completed, connecting Montgomery to East coast markets. The M&WP then built a branch line from Opelika, Alabama, to Columbus which began operating in 1856.
During the Civil War, the railroad was raided in July 1864 by 2,500 Union cavalry troops under the command of Lovell Rousseau. Staged out of Decatur, Alabama, Rousseau's force managed to take or burn a large quantity of supplies at Opelika, to destroy 30 miles of track, and to burn railroad stations and warehouses at Montgomery and West Point, by July 17.
In April 1865 a far more destructive raid, Wilson's Raid, wrecked all of the remaining rolling stock of the railroad. After the war, the railroad was repaired and reopened for traffic. The M&WP was merged into the Western Railway of Alabama in 1870.
- Alabama Rail History The Western Railway of Alabama
- Col. Robert W. BlackCavalry Raids of the Civil War, pp. 178-179.
- Black, Robert C., III. The Railroads of the Confederacy. University of North Carolina Press, 1998, p. 288
- American Railroads; Their Growth and Development by Association of American Railroads (Washington DC, 1956), page 8
- Old Rail History Website with details and maps
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