Author: William R. Feeney

a doctoral candidate in history at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia

South Side Railroad during the Civil War

The South Side Railroad, completed in 1854, was one of the most important supply routes in southern Virginia during the American Civil War (1861–1865). With tracks laid east to west across the state, the railroad began at City Point in Hopewell on the James River and extended westward through Petersburg, Burkeville, Farmville, Appomattox Station, and finally Lynchburg, in western Virginia, for a total of about 132 miles. The South Side Railroad was imperative to the Confederate army for the transport of food, military supplies, and troops throughout the war. Behind the lines of battle, the South Side line saw little damage for the first few years of the war; as the conflict moved south in 1864 and 1865, however, the railroad incurred heavy damage from both the Confederate and Union army as each sought to cut the supply lines of the other.


Gordonsville during the Civil War

Gordonsville, Virginia, in Orange and Louisa counties, was founded as a stop on a stagecoach route and the site of a tavern. By the time of the American Civil War (1861–1865), it was a key railroad stop connecting the Shenandoah Valley and the Confederate capital at Richmond, and as such, it attracted attention from both Confederate and Union troops. The Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville was also used by the Confederacy as an important military hospital.


Glendale, Battle of

The Battle of Glendale, fought on June 30, 1862, was the second-to-last conflict during a series of engagements known as the Seven Days’ Battles, which occurred at the tail end of the Peninsula Campaign during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Union major general George B. McClellan, charged with capturing the Confederate capital of Richmond, instead found himself in retreat from General Robert E. Lee‘s Army of Northern Virginia. While withdrawing back toward the James River, the Union army successfully stopped Lee’s forces from overrunning its retreat, repulsing the Confederates outside the village of Glendale in eastern Henrico County, some eighteen miles east of Richmond. This resistance allowed McClellan to move his troops safely to a highly defensible position on Malvern Hill. The battle went McClellan’s way in part because of intricate plans that were not well executed by Lee’s lieutenants, in particular Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, who spent part of the day’s fighting asleep under a tree.