April 4, 2013

The War Came by Train - 1863

The B&O Railroad Museum had a ceremony today to officially open the third year of their five-year exhibition on the Civil War called "The War Came by Train." Courtney Wilson, the Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum, mentioned that interest in the civil war and this exhibit has lead to a resurgence in interest in the museum. They get more than a quarter million visitors a year.

This year the museum jointly celebrated with the state of West Virginia, which is also celebrating its Sesquicentennial -  150th Anniversary of Statehood.  Several officials from West Virginia were on hand for the ceremony. Dan Toomey and Richard Wolfe gave brief speeches about the significance of the B&O in the formation of the state of West Virginia. Here were some interesting facts they mentioned.

  • The reverse side of the West Virginia state seal has an image of a B&O Railroad train.
  • The first Union soldier killed in action by a Confederate soldier happened in what is now West Virginia at a fight over a bridge on the B&O.  
  • The eastern panhandle of West Virginia, the part of the state that gives it such a distinctive shape, was a result of the Union government wanting to keep the B&O RR in the new state of West Virginia and out of the rebelling state of Virginia. Whether West Virginia could remain a state was disputed by Virginia after the war and was settled by the US Supreme Court.

The West Virginia folks brought along representatives from several gourmet shops and business in West Virginia with samples of their food and beverages.

In the gallery the rail gun models I built for the museum and the ones I loaned were on display. If you visit the museum, which I recommend, please give them a look.

The caption on the card is incorrect- this is a 1:32nd scale model on loan.


  1. Though some "modern" methods of museum display are neat i.e. Hands on type stuff, nothing beats a model or diorama to fire a kid's imagination. Hey, it always worked for me anyways. ~Gary

  2. Gary - I'm with you. The diorama I remember having the biggest impact on my future as a modeler were in the General Motors Futurama II exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1964. There is a video about it on youtube now too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-5aK0H05jk

  3. The train on the back of the WV state seal is supposedly on the original Tray Run Viaduct just west of Rowlesburg, WV.

    BTW, I question this statement:
    The first Union soldier killed in action by a Confederate soldier happened in West Virginia at a fight over a bridge on the B&O.

    There was no West Virginia before June 20, 1863. The death may have occurred in a location that would eventually be WV, but it was not WV at the time of the incident.

    - Eric

  4. Great Models Bernie. Your skill is a wonder to view. Keep it coming, You are an inspiration to me.