April 6, 2016

Virginia Central Annual Reports 1864 and 1865

I was looking through some of the Google books I have stored in my "Google Library" and came across the Annual Reports of the Virginia Central from 1864 and 1865.

They make interesting reading. According to the 1864 annual report, the Virginia Central  was able to keep running and make a tidy profit in 1864 in spite of numerous Union raids and resulting destruction.

 The 1865 report is surprisingly upbeat. Yes, it quickly covers the end of the Confederancy and the loss of the value in confederate bonds and paper money. But then it moves forward describing how the railroad plans to expand. I thought the following passages  were especially interesting.

The company had less than one hundred dollars in its treasury, after the fall of the Confederacy, being a remnant of gold procured for a specific purpose, and only about twenty miles of its road was available for producing revenue. In this state of things, they commenced, on the 21st of April, the Herculean task before them ; laborers and owners of materials had confidence : gradually as repairs were made, additional sections of the Road were brought into use, and on the 22d day of July, it was opened to Staunton, and shortly thereafter to the Western terminus.

No break in connections at the Potomac. 


Whilst the war has been the cause of an almost unbroken series of misfortunes to this company, yet there is one exception : For the greater dispatch of military operations, a Rail Road bridge was constructed over the Potomac during the war, which has supplied a most important link that was wanting in the chain of Rail Roads on the South and North sides of the Potomac. There is now a continuous line of Rail Road, of uniform gauge, between New York and Richmond, by this line. The repeated transfers from Rail Road cars to Steamboats, and from Steamboats to Rail Road cars, is a serious objection in the transportation of freight and passengers, and the time is not far distant, when this company will derive a most substantial benefit from the removal of these impediments. On the 23d of January, 1867, a period of sixteen months, the prohibition contained in the Charter of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Company, against this company giving through tickets in connection with Northern and Southern Roads will cease, when it must derive a most important advantage, both in saving of time and the comfort of passengers, from having an unbroken line of Rail Road between New York and Richmond. The company is now in the enjoyment of improved revenues from that cause ; besides the great United States mail, it is carrying the whole of Adams & Co.'s express matter, the mails and freight not being embraced in the monopoly : cars with Express freight now can run through from New York to Richmond, without transhipment (sic) The annual report.


 It should be noted that the USMRR constructed the bridge "over the Potomac" cited above.  I also found the phrase "great United States" mail is an interesting choice of words. 

The 1865 Annual Report really has an upbeat and forward facing outlook. 

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