Friday, March 27, 2009

Transportation played pivotal role during Civil War

Key transportation roles, issues and advances of the mid-19th Century and how they affected the epoch struggle of the War between the States are the topics of an upcoming symposium sponsored by the Fauquier Heritage Institute and Fauquier County Public Library.

The free symposium, being presented by a panel of noted local historians, begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 4, in the John Barton Payne Building, and will conclude around 5 p.m. Seating is limited to 100. Call (540) 341-7019 for more information.

Transportation issues and new technology played a pivotal role during the war, the bloodiest conflict of the 19th Century. The presenters will illustrate how each of these areas impacted the War on both sides.

Mr. Arthur Candenquist is speaking on the topic If We Build It, Supplies Will Come, or, The Confederates Construct The World's First Military Railroad. His talk, which includes both narration and slides, examines the events that led up to the construction of what was to be the first railroad in history built exclusively for military purposes. He is also speaking on the principle personalities in this endeavor, and how the race against time was won by a mere six weeks. Mr. Candenquist has been a serious scholar of the War Between the States since 1956, and focuses his attention on the more unusual and lesser-known aspects of the War. He has lectured extensively on wartime railroads, the role of Masons during the war, the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid on Richmond, and the war in Virginia.

Mr. Ronald Beavers is speaking on The O & A and the U.S. Military Railroad (USMRR) in the Civil War. The Orange and Alexandria (O&A) Railroad was built to encourage passenger travel and to reduce shipping costs for the piedmont farmers. The railroad was completed to Warrenton by November 1852, joined with the Virginia Central (VC) Railroad in Gordonsville by 1854 and extended to Lynchburg by 1860. Because of the direct rail route from Alexandria to Richmond, it was arguably the most fought over railroad in Virginia. The shops and facilities at its northern terminus in Alexandria fell under Union control in May 1861 and were greatly expanded after the United States Military Railroad (USMRR) was established in January 1862. The activities of the USMRR using these facilities not only greatly enhanced the Union war effort and but were also crucial to the Union's successful prosecution of the Civil War. Mr. Beavers has been a docent at the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum since 1996 and a Museum Board Director since 1998. He is also active in preservation efforts and is a member of the Civil War Preservation Trust, the Friends of Fort Ward, the Friends of Gettysburg National Park, the Friends of Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, the John S. Mosby Foundation, the Montpelier Foundation, Friend of the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association, the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable, Company D of the 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment, and the Victorian Society of Falls Church.

Mr. Terry Treat is speaking on The Role of the Horse in the Civil War. He’ll address the many tasks performed by the horse in support of the war effort: how they were acquired, trained, cared for, and died by the thousands in service to their masters. Mr. Treat commands the Black Horse Troop, also known as Company H, 4th Virginia Cavalry, which is a reenactment and living history organization today. The club seeks to portray the Confederate cavalry trooper and how they lived, drilled and fought on horseback. The Black Horse was originally organized in Warrenton in 1859 as the Warrenton Mounted Militia.

Mr. James G. Flanagan is speaking on The Rappahannock Canal - From Fredericksburg to Waterloo. His talk includes a Power Point presentation showing the remains of several locks, canal walls and dams in Fauquier County. The history of the canal, its failure and demise at the hand of the growing Orange & Alexander Railroad and the reason for its failure and its costs with receipt copies will be featured. Mr. Flanagan speaks to historical groups throughout Virginia and the metropolitan D.C. area and is currently writing a book on the March 17, 1863, Battle of Kelly’s Ford. He is the education coordinator of the Liberty Heritage Society, Warrenton, Va., and coordinates the docents and educational events for The Liberty Heritage Society in Warrenton. He is a past vice president of the Brandy Station Foundation and president and founder of the Fauquier County Civil War Roundtable.


  1. I came across your site and hope you can guide me to some information. I am trying to find some information on how Confederate solders go home after they surrendered. I can find nothing published but their must have been a great deal of trouble since the southern states had been so destroyed. Everyone says they walked but texas and Miss. if a long way from Virginia for the solders. I want to publish something. Thanks you from Norfolk. George Pratt

  2. I'm sure our reference staff can help with your research. Contact them directly at