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tv   The Civil War Cumberland Valley Railroad  CSPAN  January 12, 2020 2:00pm-2:46pm EST

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for many years, the debate between the musical nationalists roiled inersalists newspapers, magazines, and competing public pronouncements. the passion that characterized this publicwrangling heightenedl music's political significance across the country. >> learn more about the intersection of politics and music and the first half of the 20th century sunday at 4:30 p.m. eastern on american history tv. only on c-span3. >> next on the civil war. scott mingus, co-author of targeted tracks talks about the importance of the cumberland valley railroad during the civil war. this was a one track railroad running from hagerstown maryland to harrisburg pennsylvania. it was used to move union troops , ammunition and supplies, and was often under attack.
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the center in pennsylvania hosted this talk. our little bit about speaker. we have with us today scott mingus and i've known him for a number of years but i really -- we know scott until he reviewed his bio that he sent to me. surprisingly he is a scientist and consultant in the global pulp and paper industry and he holds patents in self-adhesive postage stamp and barcode labels. never knew that. he is an ohio native. i graduated from the paper science and engineering program at miami university. while working for avery dennison. he was part of the research team that developed the first commercially successful self-adhesive u.s. postage stamp. he has written 20 civil war and underground railroad books and williamraphy of general
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smith won multiple awards including dr. james ira prizeson juniors literary for confederate history. he has also written several articles for the gettysburg magazine as well as other historical publications. scott and his wife debbie reside in north pennsylvania. >> thanks for coming today. i want to talk a little bit about the railroads here in pennsylvania. i've written three books on the railroads between maryland and pennsylvania during the civil war. they were respectively from east philadelphia to wilmington to baltimore railroad. the northern central railway which ran from harrisburg down to baltimore and the third key railroad that ran between maryland and pennsylvania in the civil war.
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that's going to be the subject of our talk today. all three of those railroads were targeted by the confederate army during the civil war multiple times. bridges were burned near 1860 1, 1860 four. in 1863 there were taps on the northern central fridges as well. no railroad in pennsylvania saw as many confederate incursions or as many confederate attacks upon it as the cumberland valley railroad, hence the title of our book, targeted tracks. this is the route of the cumberland valley. ran from- railroad harrisburg, pennsylvania to chambersburg. railroad franklin later owned by the cumberland valley railroad.
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for the purpose of our talk it will be consisting of the entire railroad that ran from hagerstown north to the susquehanna river. are -- frederick watts is very important in the history of pennsylvania state university. of the leading heponents of agricultural -- is known as the father of pennsylvania state university. long before that he was the father of the cumberland valley railroad. he was one of the early proponents to get the railroad built. presidenterved as the of the railroad. toderick watts had a vision
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turn the cumberland valley from a small regional railroad into something that would be nationally important. he know his entree into the national scene would be the confederate army and the publicity has railroad would get. the cvrrthe first time plays any kind of role in the conflict between the north and south is during john brown's raid on harpers ferry in 1862. most of the raiders including john brown himself arrive on the cumberland valley railroad having traveled through harrisburg. their headquarters in downtown chambersburg, ironically in a boardinghouse that was owned by the widows of one of the abolition governors of pennsylvania, governor joseph ratner. mary written or is boardinghouse will see numerous people coming and going throughout the summer of 1859. including john brown. -- frederickts
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douglass will come on the railroad as well. he will meet with john brown. some accounts suggest john brown tried to sweettalk frederick douglass into physically joining the attack on harpers ferry. doesn't do it of course. summer, brown and his cohorts are bringing in large shipments of goods on the cumberland valley railroad. he calls himself dr. isaac smith. he's been telling people that he is a minor and he's looking for possible iron or minds and has been bringing in supplies back things likeoad on pix and axes when in reality they are muskets and pipes -- they will use it to go down to maryland and he will set up his headquarters at the kennedy farm and then in october of 1859, john brown and his men will
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raid. some of the raiders after the raid come back to the cumberland valley and try to catch the railroad to get out of the valley. beumber of them are going to captured near the cumberland atley railroad station scotland, pennsylvania where some of the raiders are captured. the raiders will manage to escape on the railroad and members of the underground railroad will smuggle a fleet -- free black osborne. anderson all the way to toronto. got us railroad has somewhat of a starcrossed background. there's a lot of national publicity. the of the members of railroad are investigated as collaborators. but no charges can stick. charges are never brought. to speculation as to the railroads overall loyalty.
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judge watts himself tends to be a middle-of-the-road person. as war begins and the clouds of , the number of states and then war physically breaks out in april of 1861 following the confederal -- confederate bombardment of fort sumter. judge watts goes to a political rally in carlisle and he is in favor of the compromises that are trying to hold the union together. souths even allowing the to keep slavery. his son is the most vocal person against the compromises and he wants immediate abolition and immediate war against the south. over time, the cumberland valley railroad sees they are going to become a critical part of the overall war effort. this is a small regional
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railroad at the start of the war. they don't have a lot of hardware and equipment. have four baggage cars, eight passenger cars. this is a one track railroad running from hagerstown to harrisburg through the heart of the cumberland valley. bothhose in the audience on television and locally, the cumberland valley is the name applied to the shenandoah valley here in southern pennsylvania. so the cumberland valley is very important in this railroad. it moves a lot of frates. timber,arly iron ore, coal, beef cattle, hogs. back intothat nature harrisburg for distribution around the country. railroad has some fairly interesting pieces of rolling stock, one of which is the pioneer. the pioneer is one of the most powerful locomotives when it's built in 1851. by the civil war it's clearly
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outdated. if a lightweight locomotive really designed more for passenger service and for relatively small piece time occupation. the railroad doesn't have a lot of heavy freight locomotives. typically they can handle no more than a four car passenger train and some maximum speeds. they've got a few freight engines by the time the war begins. theboys throughout cumberland valley believe it's going to be a short war. like most of the united states, a lot of these people are thinking that we are going to win the war in 90 days. throughout the cumberland valley will show up at the recruiting station through places like carlisle and shippensburg. at then they will congregate the cvrr stations and they will
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be brought by train to harrisburg. the first unit to leave the cumberland valley at the start of the civil war is the chamber's artillery. they don't have cannons, but they certainly have enthusiasm. at the start of the war they will take off and head on these bright yellow very distinctive railroad cars. took its most powerful locomotive that it had at that time and they take these men to harrisburg. become artilleryman even -- immediately become infantry. this is the harrisburg station that they went to. the harrisburg station housed four different railroads. the few railroad stations in the north that actually handled many different railroads. the lebanon valley railroad came here. the northern central that came
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from baltimore through new york went through here as did the pennsylvania railroad that ran east-west from pittsburgh to philadelphia. and of course the cumberland valley railroad. at times the station was pretty hectic. there were lots of accounts of people getting on the wrong trains and going to the wrong destinations because you have four distinctly different railroads serving it. the cumberland valley would remind people to get on the yellow cars. a lot of the early traffic in the cumberland valley is distantly related to the civil war. the cvrr will go down in history as one of the very first railroads ever used deliberately by the military of the united states to move troops into position. in 1861, thomas jackson later known as stonewall jackson has taken harpers ferry.
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for a while and is eventually going to be johnson whoy joseph takes command of the forces in harpers ferry. the yankees don't like this because there's a lot of concern from harpers ferry that it's fairly easy to launch an invasion from the north. pennsylvaniansng are worried about very early in the war because they of course are bordering slave state maryland and slave state virginia which at the very start of the war neither of which are aligned with the confederacy yet. there is concern in harrisburg that perhaps the state commonwealth as well as its vital railroads are going to end up being targets for the confederates. start recruiting pennsylvania's soldiers and moving them into chambersburg as a launching point for a
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potential first thrust in towards harpers ferry. the cumberland valley railroad is going to start bringing significant quantities, thousands of fresh untrained union volunteers into chambersburg. chambersburg comes the assembly point for what later is going to be called the army of the shenandoah. relativelyison, a elderly veteran of the war of 1812 as assigned command of all these volunteers. he comes down in a very brightly bedecked railroad car into chambersburg with a band playing. has a marshall parade on sunday night which in those days having a parade on a sunday wasn't something you did in chambersburg, pennsylvania. it was a very conservative town. this guy shows up with marching bands and military escorts on a
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train-- gaily decked out and tells people in effect that we are going on to virginia. patterson within a few days after his june 2 arrival manages to get the troops so mayor organized and begin to move the troops out. the problem with that is jo johnson is in his way. for those of you familiar with ,he bull run campaign pattersons number one role in all of these volunteers mostly is tolvania's, their goal keep joseph johnson bottled up inside the cumberland valley or shenandoah valley in this case some of the potomac river. it's a task that patterson utterly fails miserably and johnson is able to get his troops to manassas cap and ride junction into manassas and we all know the story.
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johnson's men will arrive in time to correct the balance of the first battle of manassas which is a confederate victory. now they realize the war is not going to be over so quickly. you've got all kinds of problems. now they start raising troops for three years, for one year, for different terms of service and the cumberland valley railroad starts shipping the second larger groups out of the cumberland valley back into harrisburg to be recruited. fast-forward to 1862. all those rumors that the confederates are going to come to harrisburg finally starts apparently coming through. rumors abound that the confederate army is marching on augustvania in late early september of 1862. the governor of pennsylvania, republican, very close friend of the president, abraham lincoln, he says we need troops.
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now he calls out the pennsylvania state menasha -- militia. it had a standing militia before the war but the governor's prerogative is to call out and activate the national guard and raise these men into regiments to respond to emergencies. defense of for the pennsylvania. so they are going to call in and get thousands of these new state militia men to bring them to change it -- chambersburg. this time the last general patterson had left in an unmarked car and snuck out of town in the middle of a very nondescript business day. the new officer in 1862 was a guy you might have heard of during gettysburg, john fulton reynolds. he takes command and comes to very military like.
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a train with troops. reynold takes charge of the pennsylvania state militia. the militia men are going to serve throughout the antietam campaign. they are not ever going to see combat for which reynolds is somewhat rightful. not quite sure how the men are going to do he confides to a letter to his sister with some of his doubts about the quality of this pennsylvania's day militia. they end up moving back through the cvrr. in those days the cumberland valley railroad ran through downtown chambersburg. downtown greencastle. downtown through mechanicsburg. hotels and businesses
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lined the railroad tracks. it was on main street. these boys in their social -- soldier uniforms are thrilled because the townspeople particularly the very pretty girls of the cumberland valley turn out lavishly to chair these men. at one point they go by the irving female academy to which one soldier says, i think we need to stop the train right here and make this our camp for the rest of the war. they're obviously not going to stop at the irving female academy. that these young men in blue. they don't have to fight the rebels. the girls really like these guys. just a few weeks later another problem occurs. this is reynolds letter to his sister basically saying there is nothing in the valley.
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and the army of potomac is in going to qualify. if the rebels want to come to harrisburg, we've got a problem. just a few days after reynolds makes that declaration, on the day after the battle of antietam is perhaps the cvrr's finest moment of the civil war. out a 24cclellan is more frome orders washington. transfer all the ammunition cars to the northern central. the northern central will leave the train will arrive in hagerstown in four hours and 31 minutes. i can't do that today on the highways with all the traffic. this train loaded with incredibly explosive emulation koreans at speeds up to 54 miles an hour.
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in the standard working speed for a freight train in those -- days was 20 to 25 miles an hour. it is so bad that the journal boxes on some of these ammunition cars get so hot they start worrying about catching on fire. they have to stop twice and physically cooled the train off so it won't catch on fire. anybody can guess what a boxcar fire of ammunition would have dated in downtown carlisle, pennsylvania? it wouldn't have and pretty. ofa stunning example mcclellan's generalship in those days, he doesn't need the ammunition. even though these railroaders have risked their lives and set a new speed record for the fastest route the cvrr has ever or will ever run during the civil war, not a single one of these ammunition rounds is fired at the confederates during the maryland campaign.
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it becomes known as the amazing antietam ammunition ride. it's the finest hour. the finest hour gets a lot of national press. they are really happy. start comingia men home. reynolds starts bringing them back and the darkest hour for the railroads soon follows. 26, and heavy fire along the susquehanna river. a plane -- a train barreling through the fog from reading and philadelphia. smashes into the bridge tending locomotive called the utility and dirty soldiers are either killed or permanently maimed. is ine cumberland valley the national press again. it is one of the worst losses of u.s. soldiers at that point in the civil war on civilian run
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railroads. that will change. unfortunately there will be worst tragedies yet to come. watch, terrified about the possible legal ramifications and the loss of potential lucrative military business pretty much buys off most of the survivors and manages to avoid any kind of legal realities and the cvrr keeps their contracts. the cvrr's got another problem. that problem's name is jeff stewart. because four weeks later after the disaster at bridge point where the utility has slammed into the train, jeff stewart comes to pennsylvania on a ride around the union army. you can see on the map on the screen the location of mcclellan's army sitting pretty much idle in maryland doing very little. stewart decides i'm going to break apart the cvrr.
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the more vulnerable is the cvrr so he takes three brigades of cavalry and goes across the mason-dixon line into chambersburg. he wound up wrecking the cvrr at chambersburg. they will destroy the turntable, whatever rolling stock is still there. all the warehouses in and around the train station. chambersburg sees flames on the north side of town. for hours and hours as the area immediately around the railroad station burns to the ground. scotland. to go on to he hears the state militia coming after him and the regulars are coming after him. he will head towards gettysburg.
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he comes within six miles of hearing gettysburg before he turns south and heads back into virginia. stuart alarms the railroads here in pennsylvania. they realize exactly how vulnerable they are. we've already lost bridges. now we've lost rolling stock in the confederates have proven that a well-planned raid can reach the very heart of some of these northern railroads. of there some photographs taken of the confederates. to burn going chambersburg, rolling stock warehouses. this is what the town would have looked like. governor curtain is quite alarmed by this. frantically starts dispatching with washington's about and how can the cumberland valley be better protected.
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1863 the railroad has got another problem. they rebuilt the depot. they rebuilt just about everything just in time for the gettysburg campaign and the confederates come back to pennsylvania again. it's jenkins from west virginia. he will lead his cavalry into chambersburg. they will start writing the railroads and they will find out the scotland bridge is not made of iron. it's made of wood and we can burn it. and they do. and they go to scotland and destroy the largest bridge southwest of the susquehanna river along the cvrr. along the way up from greencastle all the way to scotland, jenkins men are destroying railroad tracks, burning railroad holdings. along the route they are working
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on the small bridges, the and the small little facilities that line the tracks as well. they devastate the franklin railroad from hagerstown north. part of the susquehanna one more time, organizes the state militia. they bring the boys back out in the state militia again are going to start riding the rails to get into position. but in the meantime the cvrr sees this massive influx because refugees for hagerstown, loyalists from the shenandoah southernefugees from pennsylvania are jumping on the trains so they are trying to put the susquehanna river between them and robert e lee.
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ofdreds and hundreds refugees, many of them african-americans are coming into chambersburg to try to escape the onslaught of the oncoming rebels assuming they are coming to pennsylvania. pennsylvania state militia is not very well organized. governor curtain has asked for 10,000 volunteers from new jersey and new york so a number of new york standing militia regiments have arrived in harrisburg. the eighth and 71st new york state and new york state national guard. put them on cvrr trains and they are going to head south. newpensburg is now the central organization point for the pennsylvania state militia. so these guys have to walk from shippensburg to scotland. they are going to guide bridge
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crews. they are going to put the cvrr bridge back into place so that the army can use what they need to. militia heads down the tracks towards his position. jenkins withdraws into west virginia. or actually into marilyn. jenkins moves back into pennsylvania on june 22 fronting the division. the new yorkers hearing infantry coming with artillery abandon ship and head back to harrisburg . now leaving the cumberland valley totally unprotected. other than a few scattered cavalry units. calgary -- calvary -- cavalry for example. but most of the cavalry in these unit's are not very experienced with the exception of the first new yorkers.
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the invasion is on. the rebels are coming into the cumberland valley. but jenkins fronting the infantry follows the railroad. they go to mechanicsburg and he will set up shop. the map shows you the railroad tracks on the main streets of mechanicsburg. that is the railroad hotel. it had the and furtive -- unheard of powder rooms for women and men. it had indoor plumbing. they had a very nice hotel. a very nice hotel. jenkins takes over the hotel, makes it his personal headquarters and starts selecting new york and pennsylvania and other newspapers that have been brought into the gift shop of the railroad. jenkins puts his feet on the table and starts collecting yankee intelligence, including
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we believe statues from harrisburg. while this is going on, behind them comes the rest of the army of northern virginia, including george pickett bringing up the rear. pickett's men, many of them destined to die or be captured in gettysburg, any of his men will spend the last weeks or days of their free lives or lives entirely wrecking the cumberland valley railroad. they will duplicate what stuart was doing in 1862. long before sherman's neckties, these guys are taking rails and heating them over bonfires and letting the rails group so they are not valuable anymore. in some cases, they are wrapping bowties around trees. pickett's men are doing it in 1863 in the cumberland valley. they will shrug in chambersburg -- show up in chambersburg and burn everything.
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the railroad had already rebuilt all of its facilities here and better than they were before, and now george pickett has arrived with infantry. these guys do a very thorough job on the cumberland valley railroad, particularly on july 1. 156 years ago today, while battles are raging at gettysburg, george pickett is destroying the cumberland valley railroad in chambersburg, pennsylvania law -- pennsylvania. on this very day, the reason for this talk in utility as far as the anniversary celebrations in gettysburg. pickett has a jolly old time. i outline a lot of this in the book, what his boys are doing as this is going on.
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in the harrisburg area, especially the west side of the river, the new york state militia is still guarding what is left of the cumberland valley railroad. the yankees pretty much control the railroad from camp hill north. not much. the rebels control the rest of the railroad from mechanicsburg all the way through carlisle, shippensburg, chambersburg, greencastle. 90% of the railroad in confederate hands good -- hands. this is one of the few drawings done during the campaign that showed the railroad tracks of pennsylvania. you can see the 22nd new york state national guard camping. also in the sketch is the susquehanna river.
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those would be the bridge abutments. on the left is the river running into downtown harrisburg. the state militia is going to take over many of the railroad buildings, including house near bridgeport, and they will convert it into block houses and try to protect the railroad as best they can. the new york state militia barely in the background. my co-author did this, you can barely see the train. the cumberland valley railroad still operational, at least in taking troops and refugees who can still make it into union held territory, they are still running trains for a little while. all of that is finished up in the battle of gettysburg is over. hermann hot appears on the scene. there are 31 railroad ridges that have been destroyed and -- in york county alone. from gettysburg to hanover and hanover junction, many of those have been destroyed as well as
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the railroad bridges on the spur from york to wrightsville, and the longest railroad bridge in wrightsville has been burned by the pennsylvania state militia -- silva noons -- actually civilians under orders from the militia. the job is to rebuild the railroads. we need to get ammunition income of the wounded out, relief supplies in and they become crucial. he would spend most of his personal time in york county, he would come to the cumberland valley on one or two occasions and they would rebuild the railroads. but there is a critical decision, the rebels were supposed to come in 1861 and they didn't. jeb stuart destroyed much of the
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chambersburg railroad facilities. then, jenkins destroyed it. he makes an interesting decision not to rebuild the railroad facilities. they rebuild the tracks, but they don't rebuild the turntables, warehouses, ticket offices, oiling stations until after the war. it's a big decision, because does anybody know what happens in 1864 in chambers big? john mcconnell and shows up on the scene. he makes yet another -- and pennsylvania aimed at
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chambersburg. the third time in three years chambersburg has been targeted. he is coming under the guise of orders from joe worley. he is upset about the destruction in virginia by david hunter and union troops, and he has made the decision that somebody is going to pay for this. he says you can start ransoming northern towns. they are going to ransom hagerstown. by the time they get to chambersburg, the s for $100,000 in gold. in 1863, joe worley has ransomed york, pennsylvania for $100,000 in cash and three days worth of supplies, 1000 pairs of shoes. he gets almost all of that.
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the stunt of ransoming people works. so they ransom chambersburg. the chambersburg citizens are like, they did not bill down york or gettysburg, they did not burn down carlisle. the last two times they were in chambersburg, they only burned down the railroad. we don't have railroad buildings to burn, we are safe. only 10 miles away is the union regular calvary. not regular, volunteer calvary. the people of chambersburg tell him to count salt. he says he wasn't kidding and he orders the town torched. the confederate officers protest, he puts them under
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arrest in extreme cases, and the confederates porch chambersburg. they don't have railroad buildings, but they have the town itself, and they lay waste to it. we have probably seen many pictures of what chambersburg looks like after this devastating raid. the railroad suffers little damage but railroad employees are devastated. there are a lot of railroad
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employees who live in and around chambersburg, that is the railroad home before the war. the cvrr is still operational and can still haul refugees out of chambersburg, and they do it. men and women who have lost their homes, they had no charge, they will call you to harrisburg if you want a fresh start. a lot of residents will ride cvrr a final time and never return to chambersburg. some do, but many start all over somewhere else. the railroad makes its final shipment of troops into chambersburg, the 201st pennsylvania in two police the town and restore order. 1865, anticipating the war will still last a while, there are two powerful new locomotives but the war ends before they can use them. april 22, the cvrr makes its final contribution to the war. they bring northerners from the
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cumberland valley to carlisle, particularly -- remember it's the same station as the northern central train that is bringing avery and lincoln's body from washington, d.c.. of northern -- the northern central train arrives at the station and the cvrr has already brought in mourners. the final act is to bring soldiers home back to places like chambersburg, some of which only some know their homes are gone. they come back to rebuild with their wives. on behalf of my publisher and the gettysburg heritage center, thank you for your time and attention today, and hopefully you know a little more about one of the three key railroads in pennsylvania that ran between maryland and the commonwealth during the civil war. thank you for your time and attention. [applause] scott: we have time for a couple of questions, does anybody have anything? any questions on the railroad? this was a pretty important railroad the most people don't realize. how many of you that george pickett spent that time wrecking railroads? that's one of the revelations that people reading the book have not realize that was his main role for pickett's charge, to wreck the railroads. i will turn it back over to tammy.
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tammy: thank you, we appreciate it, scott. >> this is american history tv on c-span3 where we explore our nation's past. this sunday evening on american history tv, a perspective on the senate impeachment trial of president bill clinton from a democrat from west virginia. inan interview recorded 1999, two days before the clinton impeachment trial began, we hear about impeachment history and procedures. here is a preview. >> this is a very serious matter that should not depend on political party. any attempt to infuse party politics, that is what lobbying would be, an infusion of partisan politics, if the white
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house engaged in that, it would be wrong. the constitution and the amendments are color blind. perhaps you have not but the constitution and the amendments are also party blind. not make a judgment based on political party. if it were a republican president, i would feel the same way about it and i have said so during when the nixon trial is approaching fairly imminent. and a whot position , why don'tay to me you do this, the president is a democrat. i listen to them and i can understand that, but when i come
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to make my judgment, i am sworn already as a senator to support and defend the constitution and in preparation for this trial, i will have to take another oath to do impartial justice to the person impeached according to the constitution and the loss. it does not say anything about the legal party. -- about google party. political party. i will make my judgment aside from the political party affiliation of the purchase -- the person impeached. to me, to do otherwise would not be doing impartial justice. >> you can hear more this sunday evening at 9:05 p.m. eastern on
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c-span3. military history scholar mark inlores allied defense december 1944 on the 75th anniversary of the battle of the bulge. american forces eventually surrendered the town but he argues the fighting caused a delay that frustrated the defensive. >> tonight we will be talking about the 75th anniversary of the battle of the bulge. tonight is also probably my farewell introduction, if that is not a contradiction in terms, for our ongoing signature series with the history department of the command and general staff college. the director of the command school, scott green, is here

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