A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

February 29, 2012

Where was Yuba Dam?

I was reading through some documents I obtained at the archives and found some interesting items.

This page from Patrick Brigade's Provost Marshall Log contains some message traffic where medical officers were trying to locate their medical supplies that were allegedly delievered to Aquia.

The messages indicate that there are two separate locations, Yuba Dam and Aquia Wharf. Heretofore, I thought they were the same place, while the wharf down river was called Burnside Wharf. Now I am confused. Is the down river wharf actually Yuba Dam and the main wharf called Aquia Landing?

This message describes a plank road at Aquia Landing. At the White Oak Civil War Museum I learned of corduroy roads built near the fortifications at Accokeek Creek.

The photo shows a section of a replica corduroy road at the White Oak Museum. A plank road is similar except that the logs are split to provide a flat surface.

Stafford County is building a park at the site of the former Accokeek fortifications and actually found a section of existing corduroy road preserved under about 3 feet of dirt.

I plan to add a section of corduroy road to the layout at Brook and perhaps some other locations. I found some weeds growing near my house that will make excellent logs for a corduroy road.

This message is from a log of trains received at Warrenton on the USMRR controlled O&A RR. Most of the log entries list trains hauled by one locomotive. But this entry describes a train pulled by two engines, Minoh and Vulcan arrived at 1:20 PM with 18 cars: 12 with forage, 1 with com (I assume commissary stores), 5 with clothing. So the USMRR did double head engines at times.

February 25, 2012

White Oak Civil War Museum - A Hidden Gem!

Replica winter camp at the White Oak Civil War Museum

This weekend Alicia and I went to Ashland to present my talk, "Introduction to the Railroads of the Civil War." The talk was sponsored by the Virginia Train Collectors. Over 70 people attended the talk along with special guest Dr Gerry Fitzgerald, who came over from Charlottesville to take it in. I was very pleased to see that three members of the audience came dressed in period Confederate attire. I was promised safe passage by my hosts, so I needed not fear a visit to the infamous Libby Prison. But it was fun to see people getting in to the topic.

The talk was very well received and I got invited to do it again for the Richmond National Railroad Historical Society.

We spent the night before the talk at the Henry Clay Inn, in Ashland, VA. This is a charming inn in a charming town. The inn stands right behind the railroad tracks and is a great place for a rail fan to stay. The inn is very quaint and attractive. You shouldn't hesitate to bring your spouse along.

Alica posing by a Sibley Tent pole and stove.
On the way home we stopped at the White Oak Civil War Museum just across the river from Fredericksburg, near White Oak Church. I had been contacted by Ken Pitts of that museum to help with some research on a park they are building near Accokeek Creek where the Union army had installed some fortifications and a corduroy road. We had a brief meeting to discuss future cooperation.Then one of the musuem docents gave me a quick tour of the exhibits. This has got to be one of the least heralded but most interesting museums, especially if you are building a model of the Aquia Line!

Built in an old school house the museum has ample space to display an incredible array of artifacts found at the sites of the former Union encampments. They had sections of the original strap rail from the RF&P, pieces of T Rail from the Union Army Potomac Creek Bridge, and even sections of wood from the wharves at Aquia Landing that were under water and thus saved from the fires that consumed the rest of them. The Minie balls, belt buckles, bayonets, knives, tools, telegraph insulators, Sibley tent pole, stove, and thousands of other artifacts was just mind blowing.

Inside the museum they had a diorama of a
camp with some typical soldier's gear
They have an indoor diorama showing what the  4 man shelters at the winter camp looked like. These included lots of neat artifacts and embellishments like birds, canteens, bottles etc.

But outside was a full scale replica of a winter camp that you could wander around, go inside and just experience like no other museum I have visited.  This is a great museum to visit if you are at all interested in the Aquia line or the civil war in general. As proof, even Alicia said it was interesting.

Standing in front of the remaining stone abutment at Potomac Creek

As we drove home, we stopped at the Potomac Creek bridge site. I was told that remnants of the bridge piers still exist. I could not see them when I visited in the late summer a few years back due to the over grown trees and leaves. So I took this opportunity to search for them with the leaves off the trees. Alas, I could find nothing. However, I did see an unusual brick abutment on the north side of the canyon. It was heavily obscured by trees, so I could not make it out clearly. I don't know what it could be, but it was not in the correct position to be the northern bridge abutment.

Strap rail from the RF&P

Note how crude the pieces of lumber are.

Nice chimney work on this shelter

Looks cozy, doesn't it?

Interesting variety in shelter types at the replica camp

Inspecting the camp

Inside a 4 man shelter

Different kinds of shelters at the White Oak Civil War Museum

Replica grave yard at the White Oak Civil War Museum

The Amtrak Station in Ashland has a nice visitor's center

February 22, 2012

Morning Formation at Stoneman's Station

I painted some figures this week to populate the newly sceniced areas. This batch of 28mm Renegade Miniatures will be posed as a unit in morning formation. They are still on their paint sticks as I am waiting for another batch of similarly posed figures to come in from the custom painter. They should be arriving sometime in March. Then I will remove them from their sticks, cut off the bases and glue them into their final position.
This image at Falmouth is inspiration for this scene
I plan to mix is some other manufacturers figures to add some variation to the figures to match the image at the left.

I painted the figures as members of 1st Division, XII Corps. This unit was stationed near Brooke. I later decided that these soldiers will be stationed at Stoneman's Station, so I need to change their Corps designation to III or V Corps since those were the units near Stoneman's Station.

I also ordered some bell tents from Empress Miniatures. These are notionally tents from the British-Zulu War. They are not exactly correct for the ACW, but should be acceptable for background use. One drawback is that they are rather expensive at $15.00US each. The smaller bell tents in the background are from Reneda.

Renegade Miniatures 28mm figures awaiting final placement. Behind the men are two unpainted 28mm Bell tents from Empress Miniatures. In the far background are two bell tents from Reneda.

February 15, 2012

Civil War Legacy Project at the Lyceum

The flyer for the event. Click for
larger image

Jim MacKay, the Director of the Lyceum-- Alexandria's History Museum, send out  this note alerting us to this event.

...an upcoming event at the Local History & Special Collections branch of the Alexandria Library.  On March 3rd, The Library of Virginia is sending a team to professionally scan privately held Civil War manuscript materials.  This is a great opportunity for private citizens to have their materials preserved in a digital form, and add to the educational resources that are available to current and future generations.
We hope that you can both take advantage of this opportunity, and help us let the public know about this event.

Jim also mentioned that the Lyceum has opened up a new exhibit depicting Alexandria in the Civil War. The new exhibit includes a mock-up of the roundhouse cupola with panoramic photos of the city. I haven't visited it yet, but plan to do so soon.  My model of the civil war railroad car float is also on display so you can check that out if you visit too.

February 13, 2012

Fisher Museum

A diorama at the Fisher Museum depicting virgin forest. Each leaf and pine needle was individually applied
I was making some trees tonight with my brother and I mentioned to him the famous dioramas of the Fisher Museum of the Harvard Forest. He had not heard about it. From their web site,

The Harvard Forest is a department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) of Harvard University. From a center comprised of 3,500 acres of land, research facilities, and the Fisher Museum, the scientists, students, and collaborators at the Forest explore topics ranging from conservation and environmental change to land-use history and the ways in which physical, biological and human systems interact to change our earth.

The Harvard Forest has revamped their website. While all of the links do not yet work, photos of some of the famous 24 dioramas can be viewed on-line at this site. The dioramas portray the history, conservation and management of a typical New England woods. The dioramas were built during the great depression by many skilled artisans literally one wire branch and leaf at a time. This might be the ultimate expression of model tree making ever.

The defunct magazine Rail Model Journal ran a series of articles about this museum. The Train Life web site has many of these scanned and available on line to read. For example check the link here for the  March 1991 issue.

Presentation on Railroads in the Civil War

On Feb 25, 2012, I will be presenting a talk on Introduction to Modeling the Railroads of the Civil War as a guest speaker of the Virginia Train Collectors.

The talk will take place at 10:30AM at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center in Ashland, VA. The address is 500 South Center Street, Ashland, VA 23005

The talk is free and open to the public. If you can make it, please stop by and say "hello."

February 12, 2012

Update on the Stanton Cab

While I am doing scenery work on my layout, I'd thought I post an update on the Stanton Battery Cab.

If you have been following this blog, you know that when I first learned of the Stanton Radio cab, I immediately saw the advantages for my layout and ordered one with a battery pack. The throttle and decoder unit arrived, but the batteries are on back order so I have not yet installed it.

The Stanton Cab was designed by an Australian engineer Neil Stanton, who is associated with Purdue University. He is also a model railroader. Paul Gillette of MRH podcast interviewed him and it is well worth listening too if you are interested. Here is the link to the podcast. He also makes a powered truck, which diesel modelers will be very interested in. But back to the cab.

Northwest Shortline is marketing the system for him. They have a small network of installers and dealers that are handling various aspects of the production. The cottage nature of the company combined with the poorly organized website that NWSL has and you end up with a product that very few people know about.

I have not operated my unit yet but I can describe it.

The cab is the radio transmitter. It acts as the base station. You need one cab to run one train. For each train you want to run you need to get a hand held cab. There is no base station or booster.

Inside the loco you install their decoder package. It consists of the Stanton radio receiver and a standard dcc decoder. NWSL packages them in one hardwired unit. I have one with a Tsunami TSU-1000 sound decoder. They also offer a NCE decoder option.

You can run it off power from the rails, or install a battery. I already have a Easy DCC system, so I am not interested in the using the Stanton system off rail power method. I want it for the battery power option. But as I mentioned, I don't have the battery yet.

The Stanton battery system can take a trickle charge off the rails. I plan to add the radio-battery units one by one to my railroad keeping the easy dcc system for the other locos that have just dcc and rail  power.

If the Stanton system works out, I plan to retrofit all my locos. That is not that big a job as my layout has 5 locos right now with one more on order and one being scratch built.

As far as my critical path planning goes, I still have about one third of my track to lay and 9 turnouts to install. If I were to continue to use DCC I need to order frog juicers and a reversing circuit for my wye. But, if I convert my fleet to battery power, then I don't have to bother wiring the new section. That is a highly desirable option, as I dislike wiring. Though I must admit the frog juicers take most of the hassle out of wiring.

The transition then will be tricky for me as my regular dcc units will not work well in the new section if I dont add the frog juicers.

If all goes well and all my locos are converted to battery power, I can pull my DCC system and keep it for my N scale or other projects. The batteries can recharge off any inexpensive power charger hooked to the rails.

I am sure that most of the progressive DCC manufacturers are working on battery power and in 5 years it will be the dominant mode. HO modelers will especially be interested in the power truck as it frees up the interior of the diesels for batteries. Then the weight in your loco will provide power as well as pulling effort.

This is next revolution in indoor model railroading. The outdoor guys have been doing it for a long time now. With small battery packs becoming available we can join in.

February 9, 2012

Necessary Sacrifices

Photo from the Washington Post Review 

I went to see a performance of "Necessary Sacrifices" at the Ford Theater this evening. I was utterly mesmerized by the show.  This is as close to a time machine as you are likely to find.  If you are not familiar with the show I suggest you visit the Ford's Theater web page  to learn more about it. Then get some tickets and check it out for yourself before it is gone. The run ends on 18 February.

Briefly the play covers two documented meetings between Frederick Douglas, played by Craig Wallace, and Abraham Lincoln, played by David Selby. The first occurred in 1863 after the Emancipation Proclamation. The second takes place in 1864 as Lincoln in campaigning for a second term. The topics covered are tense and complex as Douglas pushes for faster progress toward equal rights, while Lincoln explains his actions in light of the complexities he faces as a leader of all America. Major George Stearns, played by Michael Kramer complete with an impressive beard, has a supporting role as Douglas' friend. The only other on stage performer is a violinist played by either Thomas Brooker or Tony Donaldson.

The two main actors bear uncanny resemblance to the historical figures, while the venue itself is an historic location -   my eye wandered several times to the box where Lincoln was shot. As a result, I was totally sucked into the play.  Contributing to the sense of reality is Richard Hellesen's excellent script. I liked how the dialog sounded authentic without the pollution of modern vernacular, possibly because Hellesen used many actual quotes from Lincoln and Douglas. The fine script is is complemented by the excellent performances by all the actors.

The staging is simple but effective. At one point the sound of muskets from firing squads executing deserters across the Potomac drifts across the stage. Lincoln explains to Douglas what the noise was. It was quite unnerving but realistic.

All I can say is, " see it too."

The Iron Way - A Book Review

As a model railroader building a historically based layout I view myself as an applied historian. When I read a book or go to the archives, I am looking for facts, maps, drawings, data and information that I can apply to my railroad. But it is also useful to understand the big picture. That is where William G. Thomas’ book, The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America fits in.

Like Edgar Turner’s earlier book, Victory Rode the Rails: The Strategic Place of the Railroads in the Civil War, Thomas' book takes a look at the role that railroads had in the making and shaping of the war and reconstruction. It is a fascinating look that combines traditional research with new techniques like word cloud analysis and web based interactive maps. As such it offers new insights.

The book has comparatively little detail on the tactical situation and the operations of the railroads during the struggle. Instead the book focuses on the overall economic and sociological environment of the U.S. and its railroads with an emphasis on the railroads of the south. In doing so he takes head-on the role that slavery had in railroad development, a topic that Turner and many others glossed over.

The first chapter of the book begins with the word “slavery" and then a description of Frederick Douglas' escape from slavery via the railroad.  He describes how the "Underground Railroad" was not just a figure of speech. There was a literal component as many slaves used the real railroads and or rail lines as escape routes.

He goes on to describe how the question of slavery affected every issue in the U.S. politics. Thomas spends a good portion of the text discussing the role that slavery had in the economy of the south. Later he discusses the effects of emancipation on railroads and reconstruction. There is also an interesting discussion of the role that foreign investment had in US railroad development and how slavery ultimately affected that.

Thomas focuses on the southern railroad view point. While Turner discusses how the northern trans-Appalachian  east-west trunk lines united the Midwest to the Northeast, Thomas discusses more how southern railroads both depended on slavery for construction and development while at the same time strengthening the importance of slavery in the southern economy. Thomas Kornweibel covers this in his book, Railroads in the African American Experience: A Photographic Journey but Thomas takes the point further.
He states, “Southern railroads became some of the largest slave holding and slave employing entities in the south.” Thomas argues that Southern railroad development created a vicious cycle where slave-based railroad construction led to increased economic development that in turn needed slaves to operate. With both forces needing more slaves, the value of slaves inflated and slaves became the dominant asset of the southern economy. 

He also describes how southerners used railroads to help reconcile the seeming paradox of slavery's existence in a modern society, a point that David Blight covers more generally in his epic work, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. This passage from Thomas' companion web site summarizes the idea.
Railroads and telegraphs changed the ways white southerners thought about their region. These technologies altered the landscape of the South, linked cities and sub-regions into a rapidly expanding network, and brought the majority of white southerners into close access of the railroads. The modernizing influences of these developments came hand-in-hand with the expansion of slavery in the 1850s. White southerners increasingly saw their region as advanced, modern, and technologically sophisticated. Their adaptation of slavery to railroad construction and operation only encouraged a sense of confidence about the progress.
While Thomas argues that railroads made southerners more confident about their economic system and future, others argue that railroads made sectional conflict more likely. Senator William Seward made this remark about the role railroads would have in the coming war in his famous  "Irrepressible Conflict" Speech in 1858.

Hitherto, the two systems have existed in different States, but side by side within the American Union. This has happened because the Union is a confederation of States. But in another aspect the United States constitute only one nation. Increase of population, which is filling the States out to their very borders, together with a new and extended network of railroads and other avenues, and an internal commerce which daily becomes more intimate, is rapidly bringing the States into a higher and more perfect social unity or consolidation. Thus, these antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.

When it comes to the actual conduct of the war, Thomas has  little discussion of individual battles of campaigns. Instead Thomas focuses on the overall strategy and tenor of the war and how it gradually became a total war with railroads as both the facilitator and target of operations.


Thomas maintains that the South initially made better strategic use of its railroads, offering the battles of First Manassas and Shiloh as two examples where southerners used railroads to implement the Napoleonic axiom of “interior lines” for strategic advantage. But as the war wore on attrition, lost territory, and a lack of railroad industrial capacity reduced the South’s ability to use its railroads. Meanwhile, the North expanded its own network including passing the transcontinental Pacific Railroad Act. It even absorbed and rebuilt parts of the South’s network for its own use under the aegis of the U.S. Military Railroad.

Thomas includes a more detailed analysis of Sherman’s Georgia campaign as he offers Sherman as an example of a leader that understood the true nature of “railroad strategy” and what it would take to win the war. Thomas states that Sherman, being a former surveyor, and Lincoln, experienced with many railroad law cases, were two of a small group of leaders that innately grasped the strategic importance of railroads - that railroads were not just important for supplying an army, but also in supplying the country and hence the rebellion. Thus the railroads network and its underlying economy became the target. Grant, Sherman and Sheridan launched campaigns in 1864 to implement the total railroad war strategy. These Union leaders were willing to abandon their dependence on their own rail lines in the short term to accomplish the overall goals of breaking the South’s rail network, its economy and by extension its ability to maintain the rebellion.

His discussion of how guerrilla warfare as practiced by raiders such as Morgan and Mosby and targeted against the railroads led to an increased level of savagery. He writes, “To be trapped in a burning railroad car, to be caught by a guerrilla unit, to be robbed and left for dead on the tracks became a different form of violence for Americans, distinct from the violence that led to death on the battlefield.”

He describes how, “the Union Army began clear-cutting and removing all timber within one mile of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad,” as one less extreme response, though other less restrained leaders suggested jailing and executions of families suspected of supporting guerrillas. These brought to mind parallels to the U.S. Army experience in Vietnam and Iraq.

The concluding chapter on reconstruction is also very interesting. Thomas points out that after the war, the USMRR rebuilt all the lines it operated and handed them over to the original owners. He states that some southern railroads where actually better off after the war than when they started except for the value lost to their emancipated slaves.

Finally, I found the footnotes extremely interesting. I have on my do-list a task to research several of the sources he noted, especially the ones that he cited related to the Aquia line.

Overall, I found this book to be a well researched and provocative look at the role of railroads in the Civil War. It definitely changed some of my perspective on how I view the subject. It is well worth reading.

If you want a sampling of Prof Thomas' writing, he recently published a piece in the NY Time Disunion series. You can find it at this link.

February 8, 2012

Oh black waters keep on rolling....

It's hard to believe, but we found another way to get water into the basement. This time an elbow joint on the exhaust pipe from the sump pump failed. It created a small hole that spewed water each time the pump operated. Of course, this leak was behind the sheet rock wall below the layout. I don't know how long it was leaking, but it eventually eroded a hole through the sheet rock and was spraying the benchwork legs with water. Fortunately, there was no damage to the layout or any of the items in the layout room.

The pipe repair was pretty simple. I haven't decided how much sheet rock to replace. For now I am letting it dry out.  I also took this opportunity to pull the old vinyl  from the floor.  I had been planning to do that job when I completed the scenery, but given I needed to dry things out, this seemed like a good time.

For those of you that are counting, this is the 5th flood we have had in this basement. Every one was caused by a new mechanism. We had the air conditioner drain plug up, then the hot water heater sprung a leak. These two were pretty minor messes. Next the sewage ejection pump failed. Because it smelled bad, we caught that early and no damage done. The worst was when the sump pump circuit breaker tripped during a heavy rain. We had a couple inches of water before we caught it. This latest flood was not too bad, but I am concerned about possible mold.

They are going to start calling me Noah....

February 4, 2012

Special Order establishing Passenger Service

The Provost Marshall log book has all sorts of items posted to it. Most are rather routine and relate to personnel actions or descriptions of details assigned to various units ("detail" is the Army term for an assignment of soldiers for a special task, usually guard duty, but also construction of such things as fortifications, or manual labor such as collecting firewood).

But some of the messages have direct bearing on the railroad and its operation.

This circular dated March 17th describes a standing order for passenger and mail service on the railroad.  I previously posted a letter from General Hooker to Brig. Gen Patrick, Provost Marshall General directing  how, "when the interests of the public service will admit, that a car may be attached to each train, running on the road to and from Aquia Landing, for the accommodation of Officers..."  This later message seems to implement General Hooker's request.

                                                    Aquia Creek VA March 17th 1863 
     On or after this date three cars for passengers will be run daily from Aquia Creek to Falmouth on trains No. 5 -12 o’clock M-. and the same number in train No 7. 3 o’clock P.M.- One car in each train will be reserved for officers.     
     When practicable these cars will be placed on the ? near the Passenger Station, at least one hour before the starting time for trains.        
    One car will also be assigned for the transportation of the Mail and Newspapers. None but regularly authorized Mail and News Agents will be allowed in this car.     
     No person will be allowed to ride on cars loaded with freight.     
     Officers in charge of trains will be held responsile for the strict observervance of these regulations.                                                    
  By command of  W. F. Rogers
 Col. 21st N.Y. Vol.                                                      
Commdg. Post                                                      
(signed) H.H.Halsey                                                     
1st Lt. A.A.O.C. & A.A.A.G. 

Two days later Headquarters issued a clarifying Special Order no. 34 stating,

        "The attention of officers in charge of trains is called to the requirements of circular of the 17th inst (sic) from the Headquarters and the are directed to prevent the intrusion of citizens in the cars reserved for officers.  
        One car being reserved expressly of the accommodation of officers, citizens will only be allowed in the car when officers desire it and will not be inconvenienced thereby. No other persons will be permitted to ride in the car so reserved."

These messages imply that I need to build or modify some cars as passenger cars. The car roster I have shows that only one passenger car was sent to the Aquia Line in April 1863. So it is probable that freight cars such as box or flat cars were used for this task. If so, they may have been modified with windows and chairs for this service. However, it is possible that additional passengers cars were brought in to fulfill this order.

Note the prohibition of passengers riding on freight cars. This was probably an attempt to keep control of desertion and absence without leave, as soldiers needed a pass to ride the trains. Keeping them off freight cars and on designated passengers cars would make enforcement easier.

To simulate on my layout the enforcement of this circular I will position guard figures at the stations. Their mission will be to keep troops off of the freight cars and unauthorized people out of the officer's car.

Note that the message also states that cars should be placed at the passenger station one hour in advance. This is interesting "chrome" to add to the operation of the railroad.

It also is the first indication I have seen that explicitly mentions passenger stations on the USMRR Aquia line. I will need to build or designate structures as passenger stations on the railroad. In Falmouth, I'll use the depot structure I already built. In Aquia, I will build a separate structure, possibly like the one shown here labeled as the Provost Marshall office. The way the people are standing around the cars in this photo makes me think that the Provost Marshall Office may have been the location where people got the passes to ride on the railroad.

In any case, these kinds of detail make the layout come alive and gets me psyched to start operations.


Whitewashed Privies

As I was reading through the Patrick's Brigade - Provost Marshall's log book from Aquia Creek I came across this circular that details some aspects of how privies had to be maintained and painted.  Patrick's Brigade was assigned the task of Provost Marshall for the Post.

An image of the circular is at the right.

So get the white wash out and start painting those privies.

There was a similar special order describing how restaurants, sutlers and eating houses had to dispose of their trash in the river "beyond the roadway leaving from the main shore."

Here is a transcript of the privy message.

                                                                Headquarters May 21st 63

     The following suggestions from the Post Surgeon being essential to the sanitary condition of the Post will be carried into effect without delay.
     “All privies not constructed over the water should be provided with suitable boxes of planks, about two feet square and as long as the privy. These boxes should be placed in wooden slides and once a week emptied of their contents into the river at a distance from the Post. The boxes should at some time be thoroughly washed, sprinkled with lime and occasionally whitewashed.
     The buildings occupied as privies should be whitewashed both inside and out”

                                                               By command of the Col at Arms
                                                               Chas. E. Seusy
                                                               Lt. A.A.A.G.

February 2, 2012

Third Anniversary

This week marks the third anniversary of work on the USMRR Aquia Line model railroad project. It has come a long way from the scene below when I first tried testing out the concept. In fact, this is the furthest along I have ever progressed on a layout. On most of my previous layout projects at some point before this level of completion I would have gotten bored with the project or distracted so that I would have moved on to something else. This project is obviously more interesting to me and I still am very psyched to keep going. I estimate that it will take about 3 more years to "finish" this layout.

Lets look at some statistics. The USMRR Aquia Line currently has approximately:

All benchwork, fascia and lighting complete.

30 feet of benchwork curtain installed.

160 feet of track with about 100 linear feet of mainline run.

1,300 ties and 5,000 spikes are currently installed.

All backdrops are installed

100 linear feet of backdrop is fully painted.

The radio  Easy DCC system is fully installed with a separate programming track.

5 Locomotives - 1 with DCC sound, 1 with DCC, 1 waiting for a new sound decoder and 2 analog. The first Stanton Radio Cab is on hand but awaiting a backordered battery pack.

13 Freight cars, 7 with working brakes.

16 hand laid stub turnouts including one double slip. Seven are  controlled by Tam Valley Frog Juicers, the rest with home made mechanical linkages. All have scale switch stands to actuate the stubs.

1 scratchbuilt turntable with an autoreverse circuit from Tony's Train Exchange.

3 water crossings - 2 bridges comprising over 2,000 separate parts and a stone culvert.

50 square feet of scenery is fully complete including ballast and final ground cover. Another 150 square feet has basic gound cover.

11 feet of telegraph poles and wire.

1 entrenched artillery battery with 4 guns, two sets of cheaveux-de-frise and abatis.

4 1/48th scale scratchbuilt cannons .

8 structures reside on the layout including one burned station  

3 full size Sibley tents and about 12 smaller tents.

250 painted figures - about 25 are 1/43rd or 1/48th scale, while the rest are 1/64th scale.

1 painted mule (I need to get cracking on the painted animals and wagons).

100 painted barrels and several hundred boxes of hard tack.

1 ironclad ship  with detailed turret is nearly complete.

Notice I didn't list what remains to be done. Best not to know the full scope of tasks left to go lest I find it too daunting.