February 6, 2009

Aquia Line during Grant's Wilderness Campaign

In searching the Official Records I found several citations that mention the repair and use of Aquia Landing and its railroad during Grant's Wilderness and Spotsylvannia Battles. You can find an on-line copy of the Official Records at http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/records/

For example these messages mention the Aquia Line during Grant's campaign. The first discusses moving wounded to Aquia for further evacuation to Alexandria and Washington. McCallum's message gives an estimate of when the railroad would be ready for service.
Piney Branch Church, May 8, 1864-9.40 a.m.

Major-General BURNSIDE,
Commanding Ninth Army Corps:

Lieutenant-General Grant desires that like General Meade you send your wounded to Fredericksburg, where your medical officers will act in conjunction with the medical director of the Army of the Potomac in establishing temporary hospitals and moving these wounded thence to Washington via Aquia Creek. If you are not able to move all your wounded at once, you will, keeping your own ambulances with you, send your empty quartermaster wagons under flag of truce to the battle-field with supplies and get the rest of the wounded and move them to Fredericksburg.

Lieutenant-Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.

-FREDERICKSBURG, VA., May 17, 1864. (Received 2.20 p.m.)
Colonel D. C. McCALLUM:

Lieutenant-General Grant desires that the Potomac and Richmond Railroad as far as Hamilton's Crossing shall be put in order with the least possible delay. Send all necessary material and labor at once to Aquia Creek. A second bridge at Fredericksburg is essential to quick communication. Please see General Rucker, procure the necessary transportation and have twenty pontoons (for which General Rucker promised yesterday to send to Washington) towed to Aquia with the least delay, together with the other bridge material.


ALEXANDRIA, VA., May 17, 1864.(Received 2.40 p.m.)
Secretary of War:

The railroad will be done to Falmouth by Tuesday night next. Your obedient servant,

Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.

Belle Plain., Va., May 23, 1864.
Colonel E. SCHIFER,

The cars are ready now to take the sick and wounded, such as could be transported, to Aquia Creek, by way of the Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg Railroad, but if the barges are at Fredericksburg, and apable of taking all the sick or wounded, they can go down by water in preference, otherwise let them go down to Aquia, where boats are in waiting to transport them to Washington. As soon as I can get the Government property and prisoners from here I will take up the line of march. If you have any empty wagons send them down here for supplies. Advise me immediately of the fact by telegraph or messenger, so that the commissary can remain to load them, otherwise the supplies will go to Port Royal by boat.

Respectfully, &c.,

Alexandria, Va., July 1, 1864

Colonel D. C. McCALLUM, U. S. Army,
Director and General Manager, Railroads of the United States, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to submit a report in narrative form of my operations in the U. S. Military Railroad service from June 30, 1863, to June 30, 1864:

....Sections related to other lines in Virginia have been deleted see http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=125/0954 for the complete message.....

Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Line. - About the middle of May I received orders to put this road in running order from the Potomac River to Hamilton's Cross-Roads. The docks at the terminus of Aquia Creek that had been burned by the rebels were repaired. All the bridges having been destroyed, were rebuilt as far as Famouth, and the road put in order to the north bank of the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg. Eight thousand wounded troops were transported over this portion of the road to Aquia Creek, when the rolling-stock was removed and the road abandoned.

Richmond and York River Line. - As our army in Virginia moved south, and the base of supplies moved to White House, I sent (by request of the chief quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac) my construction corps to that point, with a large amount of material, and constructed docks for landing army stores. I received orders from Lieutenant-General Grant to put the Richmond and York River Railroad in running order from White House to the Chickahominy River. Immediately on the completion of this work Lieutenant-General Grant ordered the track of this road, from the Chickahominy River to the Pamunkey River, taken up and the rails taken to Alexandria. These orders were executed and the Construction Corps started for City Point, on the James River, where it now is......

Your obedient servant,
Chief Engineer and General Supt. Military Railroads of Virginia.

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