February 10, 2009

McCallum's Report Summarizes History

In February 1862, Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War, appointed  Daniel Craig McCallum Military Director and Superintendent of the Union railroads. McCallum's successful organization and management of the railroads earned him a promotion to Major-General. He was Haupt's supervisior, generally handling administrative duties while Haupt took care of operational matters in the field. At the end of the war, McCallum wrote a complete summary of the operations of the USMRR. The portions pertaining to the Aquia-Line are detailed below. It confirms the information compiled so far.

Washington, D. C., May 26, 1866.
Bvt. Major General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report upon the military railroads of the United States under my charge during the war:
 April, 1862, the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad was opened from Aquia Creek to Fredericksburg, fifteen miles, and operated to supply the forces stationed at Fredericksburg. The road was abandoned September 7, with the loss of one engine, fifty-seven cars, and a small quantity of material.

On the 18th of November repairs were again commenced, and the road was opened on the 28th to Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, and was used to supply the Army of the Potomac until June, 1863. A very large amount of work was required not only to the railroad, but to the wharves at Aquia Creek, all of which had been burned when this line was abandoned by our forces.

The limited accommodations for receiving and delivering freight and passengers at Aquia rendered an increase of wharf room and tracks necessary, and a new wharf, afterward named, "Yuba Dam," was completed in February, one mile below Aquia Creek wharf, and the necessary tracks laid from the main road to it. Vessels drawing ten feet and a half of water could land at the new wharf at low tide, while there was only eight and a half feet at high water at the old one. This improvement proved to be a valuable acquisition to the means of supplying the army. The road continued to be used without interruption until June, 1863, when it was abandoned with small loss of material but the bridges, buildings, and wharves were soon afterward burned by the enemy.

…snip… On the 9th of May, 1864, repairs were again commenced on the railroad at Aquia Creek, and it was opened to Falmouth, fourteen miles, May 17. Potomac Creek bridge, seven miles from Aquia, 414 feet long and 82 feet high, was built ready for trains to pass in forty working hours. The road was operated until may 22 principally for removing the wounded of the battles at Spotsylvania Court-House. On that day it was abandoned and not afterward used as a military line.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brevet Brigadier-General, Director and General Manager
U. S. Military Railroads.

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