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.

December 3, 2023

Sharing the Word on Civil War Railroad Modeling


I donned my ACW Generals uniform to present my talk at Leesyylvania State Park

It was a busy week for sharing the word of Civil War era model railroading.

It started last week when my son and his family were in town for the holidays and a conference. On two evenings we ran trains for the entertainment of my granddaughter, Ruka, and her parents. She seemed to be fascinated with the trains despite just turning one year old on Monday. 

The visitors continued on Friday when Jack Brown, his wife and their friend John Carroll visited the Aquia Line as part of a weekend trip to the Washington, DC area. It was Jack and John's second visit but the first for his wife. We had a nice visit.

On Saturday morning I presented a talk on Railroads of the Civil War to a group of 15 people at the Leesylvania State Park visitor center. The visitor center has a nice museum with lots of information about the history of the land that comprises the park. It was a pleasant surprise as I did not know that there was a museum there. 

 I learned from their exhibits that the Union gunboat Jacob Bell was involved in a small skirmish at Freestone Point. It remained in the Potomac River for much of the war. It would be a good candidate for a model of one of the gunboats that protected Aquia Landing. It was about 141 feet long, so not too big. Perhaps I will replace the Passaic with the Jacob Bell.

On Sunday I hosted an open house for the Aquia Line Railroad. I had 25 people sign the guest list. Five of the guests completed the scavenger hunt check list. I think that was popular with the wives as they all tried it. One couple stayed the whole afternoon looking for every last item.  

Thanks to Bill Mosteller and John Steitz who ran the trains during the open house. 

Alicia made cookies, which appeared to be a bit hit as none were left at the end of the day. Bill also brought some cookies.


  1. Was the Railbox part of the scavenger hunt? Sounding like a fun time! Thanks for sharing, Eric

    1. No, the HO railbox car was for someone who wanted to know what scale my layout was. So I put out an HO box car, and a standard gauge 40 foot old scale box car so they could tell how big my cars are in relation to those

  2. Bernie, did you purchase your snazzy generals uniform, or scratchbuild it, like you seem to do most other things for your layout?

    1. I purchased that uniform from a shop in Gettysburg. Through the grapevine I heard that they had it available. It was on sale and half price and it was my size. So I got it.

    2. Very dapper

  3. Gun boat would be a nice add at the landing and different from the Monitor and Merrimack that we were taught in school and got so much publicity.