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The Railroads of the Confederacy Paperback – April 27, 1998

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The Railroads of the Confederacy + The Northern Railroads in the Civil War, 1861-1865 + Railroads in the Civil War: The Impact of Management on Victory and Defeat (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A valuable addition to the Civil War shelf. Thorough in its research, it scrutinizes a vital phase of the rebellion. "Chicago Tribune"

Review

A superior historical monograph. Mr. Black has examined a technical subject with the understanding of an engineer. . . . Black has provided the historian with a valuable reference on an important phase of the Confederacy.--Mississippi Valley Historical Review

|A valuable addition to the Civil War shelf. Thorough in its research, it scrutinizes a vital phase of the rebellion. . . . Fascinating.--Chicago Tribune

|Eminently worthy of study by those interested in either railroads or the Civil War.--New York Times

|[Explores the] subject with commendable thoroughness. . . . Outstanding.--American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (April 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807847291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807847299
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jack Trammell on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
After reading dozens of scholarly books, and writing published articles related to the Civil War myself, this book was a refreshing read. It is a reminder of the enormity of the task faced by the bureaucrats and businessmen behind the Confederate armies. Yes, the tide did turn at Gettysburg.
But for those who like to play "What if?" and speculate on the fortunes of war, this book is a bleak testimony to the long odds the south confronted. The Confederate States were almost completely unequipped to fight a modern, industrial war.
One shortcoming of this book, and it is a minor one, is that the story is told primarily through the eyes of railroad tycoons, and ignores to a great extent the perspective of well-known military personalities. This stems in part from the fact that Black relies heavily on the railroads themselves (their annual reports) for his source material. More research from military source material would round the picture out.
On the whole, however, Mr. Black must be commended. As I said, "fascinating."
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
This was a fascinating book as it put the Civil War into a slightly different context. It spotlighted the fact that many of the the major battles were fought over areas which were strategic rail centers - the best example being Atlanta.
It also clearly pointed out that the South was severely hampered by three different track gauges limiting the ready ability to carry freight long distances. In addition, even though the track gauges of a connecting railroad might have been the same, many of them were state owned. And some states would not permit rolling stock to cross state lines. This meant offloading and reloading freight at the state border.
And the Southern railroads never came under a unified control until very late in the War - in contrast to the North. And the South only had about a third of the track miles that the North had.
I highly recommend this book to any serious student of Civil War history. You don't even have to be a rail fan to enjoy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David R. Fuller on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a Civil War buff, and especially a Civil War buff who is interested in how the transport net in the Confederacy was allowed to slowly deteriorate, then this book is for you. It is a classic -- I first encountered it at a college where I was was transcribing Civil War diaries. It tells the story of the gradual deterioration of the southern railway network, and does it well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harry Stone on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I already had a copy of Railroads of the Confederacy which was sent to my mother by a relative soon after it was first published in the early 1950s. My great, great grandfather was William Morrill Wadley who played a significant role in southern railroad history both before, during and after the Civil War. There is an entire chapter in the book devoted to him since he was, for a short time, appointed as supervisor of all of the railroads of the Confederacy. I wanted to have a second copy of the book to pass on to my two children. I have, however, read much of the book, not just the chapter on Mr. Wadley, and found it informative of that period of our history. Anyone interested in this subject would find the book well written and interesting, though its subject is only a small part of Civil War history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barrie W. Bracken on October 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
A MAJOR INOVATION IN THE CIVIL WAR WAS THE STRATEGIC USE OF RAILROADS ON BOTH SIDES. THE CONDITION OF THE SOUTHERN RAILROADS AFFECTED BOTH THE CONFEDERACY AND THE UNION IN THIS WAR. DIFFERENT GUAGES OF TRACKS, WHETHER THE TRACKS RAN NORTH AND SOUTH OR EAST AND WEST WAS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE. THE ABILITY TO REPRODUCE CAPTURES OR DESTROYED ROLLING STOCK AND RAILS WAS A MAJOR FACTOR. IN THIS WORK BLACK ENLIGHTENS US TO THE PROBLEMS AND PROGRESS OF THE CONDEDERACY'S RAILROADS AND GIVES US A CLEAR PICTURE OF THEIR OPERATION AND MILITARY VALUE. A BOOK WELL WORTH READING.
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