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tv   The Civil War Cumberland Valley Railroad  CSPAN  May 16, 2020 12:50pm-1:36pm EDT

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48 hours, all weekend, every weekend, only on c-span3. >> next, scott mingus, co-author of targeted tracks talks about the importance of the cumberland valley railroad. this was a one track railroad writing from maryland to pennsylvania. union used to move troops, ammunition and supplies and was often under attack. the gettysburg center in pennsylvania hosted the stock. >> i've known scott for a number of years but i did not really know scott until i reviewed the bio he sent to me. ina scientist and consultant
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the global pulpit paper industry and he holds patents in self-adhesive postage stamps and barcode labels. never knew that. he is an ohio native who graduated from miami university. teams part of the research that developed the first commercially successful self-adhesive u.s. postage stamp. written 20 civil war and andrground railroad books his biography of general william awardson multiple including a literate -- literary prize for confederate history. he has written several articles forgetting magazine and several other publications. scott and his wife debbie reside
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in northern pennsylvania. scott: thanks for coming today. i want to talk about the role of the railroads in pennsylvania. i have written three books on the railroads. respectively from east to west, the philadelphia-wilmington baltimore railroad. the northern central railway which ran from harrisburg to baltimore. the third key railroad that ran between maryland and pennsylvania during the civil war. the cumberland valley railroad will be the subject of our talk today. all three railroads were targeted by the confederate army during the civil war multiple times. . bridges were burned near baltimore from 1861, 1864. 1863, there were attacks on the northern central bridges. 31
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were destroyed in york county, pennsylvania. but perhaps no railroad in pennsylvania so as many incursions or attacks as the cumberland valley railroad, hence the title of our book, "targeted track." the cumberland valley railroad ran during the civil war years from harrisburg, pennsylvania to chambersburg. there it met the franklin railroad, a subsidiary, later fully owned by the cumberland valley railroad. the cvrr will be consisting of the entire line of the franklin railroad that ran from hagerstown north to the susquehanna river. the cvrr's president during the civil war named frederick
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watts. he is important in the history of pennsylvania state university. he was one of the leading proponents of agricultural education in the united states, and it is recognized in some quarters -- and is recognized in some quarters as the father of pennsylvania state university. before that, he was the father of the cumberland valley railroad. one of the early proponents to get the railroad built. he served on the board of directors, and later as the president of the railroad during the civil war. frederick watts had a vision to turn the cumberland valley from a small, regional railroad to something of national importance. little did he know that his entree was the confederate army and the publicity has railroad would get. probably the first time the cvrr plays any role in the conflict between north and south is during john brown's raid on
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harpers ferry in 1862. most of the raiders arrive on the cumberland valley railroad, having traveled to harrisburg. they set up their headquarters in downtown chambersburg. ironically in a boardinghouse owned by a widow of one of the abolitionist governors of pennsylvania. that was governor joseph wittner. the boardinghouse would see numerous people coming and going throughout the summer of 1859, including john brown. frederick douglass would come on the railroad as well. he would meet with john brown. some accounts suggest john brown tried to sweettalk frederick douglass into joining the attack on harpers ferry. doesn't do it, of course. throughout the summer in particular, brown and others are bringing in large shipments of
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goods on the cumberland valley railroad. he calls himself dr. isaac smith. he is looking for possible ion ore mines. he's -- iron ore mines. he is bringing in supplies to picks,lroad, things like axes, when in reality they are muskets and pikes. they were used to go down to maryland and set up headquarters at the farm, and then in october 1859, john brown and his men will raid. some of the raiders come back to the cumberland valley and tried to catch the river to get out of -- of the railroad to get out of the valley and a number of them will be captured nearly -- near the cumberland valley railroad station, were some of the raiders are captured. one
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will manage to escape on the railroad and end up in north pennsylvania, where members of the underground railroad will smuggle a free black to toronto in canada at that point. this railroad, the cvrr comp has a -- the cvr are, has a starcrossed background. it gained a lot of national publicity for the role. some of the members are investigated as collaborators. charges are never brought, but it leads to speculation. judge watts tends to be a middle-of-the-road person. as the clouds of four -- war start with the election of abraham lincoln, the secession of states, then war breaks out in april 1861, following the confederate bombardment of fort sumter.
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judge watts goes to a political rally in carlisle and is in favor of the compromises that are trying to hold the union together, perhaps allowing the south to keep slavery. he is the most vocal person against it in once immediate abolition and immediate war against the south. the cumberland valley sees they will become a critical part of the war effort. this is a quick snapshot, a small, regional railroad. they don't have a lot of hardware and equipment, 12 locomotives, four baggage cars, 79 freight cars. this is a one track railroad through the heart of the cumberland valley. for those in the audience, the cumberland valley is the name applied to the shenandoah valley
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in southern pennsylvania. the cumberland valley is very important, and this railroad moves a lot of freight, particularly iron ore, timber, coal back into harrisburg for distribution around the country. this railroad has some interesting pieces of rolling stock, one of which is the pioneer, one of the most powerful locomotives built in 1851. by the time of the civil war, it is outdated. it is a lightweight locomotive designed for passenger service. the railroad does not have a lot of heavy freight locomotives. typically they can handle no more than a four-car passenger train, and some maximum speeds. they add two more by the time
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the war begins. they believe it around the valley, they believe it is going to be a short war. like most of the united states, these people are thinking they will win the war in 90 days. so young men throughout the cumberland valley will show up at the recruiting stations in places like carlisle, shippensburg, chambersburg of course, and they congregate at the cvrr stations and will be brought by train to harrisburg. the first unit to leave the cumberland valley is the chamber's artillery. now, they don't have cannons, but they certainly have enthusiasm at the start of the war. they will take off and headed on these bright yellow, very distinctive railroad cars of the cvrr.
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the cvrr took the most powerful locomotive it had at the time into harrisburg. the artillerymen immediately become infantry and form a company of the second pennsylvania, again a nine months regiment. this is the harrisburg station they went to. the harrisburg station housed four different railroads. it was one of the few railroad stations in the north that actually handled many different railroads. the lebanon valley railroad came in here. the northern central came in here from baltimore through york, as did the pennsylvania railroad that ran east-west from pittsburgh to philadelphia. and, the, of course the cumberland valley railroad. at times, the station was pretty hectic. there are lots of accounts of people getting on the wrong train to the wrong destination because you have four distinctly different railroads serving it.
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the cumberland valley of course would remind people to get on the yellow cars. that will remind you to get on the right train. well, a lot of the early traffic in the cumberland valley is distinctly 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. he lingers for a while and will be superseded by joseph johnson who arrives and takes command of the confederate forces at harpers ferry. the yankees don't like this because there's a lot of concern that from harpers ferry, it's easy to launch an invasion into the north, particularly into
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pennsylvania. that is something pennsylvanians are worried about early in the war because they are bordering sleigh state maryland and slave state virginia, which at the very start of the war, neither of which are aligned with the confederacy yet. but there's significant concern in harrisburg that perhaps the state commonwealth as well as its vital railroads will be targets of the confederates. they start recruiting pennsylvania soldiers and moving them into chambersburg. as a launching point for a potential first run in toward harpers ferry. let's go after the confederates before the confederates can come after us. so the cumberland valley railroad will start bringing significant quantity of fresh, untrained union volunteers into chambersburg. it becomes the assembly point for what would become the army
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of the shenandoah. robert patterson, a relatively elderly genera and -- gentleman and veteran of the war of 1812, he comes down in a brightly bedecked railroad car into chambersburg with a band playing , a marshall parade on a sunday night which in those days, having a parade on sunday wasn't something you did in chambersburg, pennsylvania. it was a very staid, very conservative town, and this guy shows up with marching bands and military escorts on a decked out train and assumes command of the troops in chambersburg and tells people that we are going on to virginia. patterson, within a few days after this arrival, manages to get the troops semi-organized and begins to move troops south. the problem with that, jackson is in his way.
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now, for those familiar with the campaign will know patterson's number one role, and all these volunteers, mostly pennsylvanians but from other states as well, their goal is to keep joseph johnson bottled up inside the cumberland valley, or shenandoah valley in this case. the mouth of the potomac river. it is a task patterson fails, miserably. johnson is able to get his troops to manassas gap and ride the rails to manassas junction, and we all know the story. johnson's men will arrive in time to correct the balance of the first battle of manassas and lead to a confederate victory. now everyone realizes the war will not be over so quickly. you have all kinds of problems, and now they started raising troops for three years, for one year, for different terms of service, and the cumberland valley railroad brings the first group of boys home and starts
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shipping the second, larger groups out of the cumberland valley back into harrisburg to be recruited. fast forward to 1862. all those rumors, the confederates are going to come to harrisburg, finally start apparently coming true. rumors abound that the confederate army is marching on pennsylvania, late august, early september, 1862. the governor of pennsylvania, a republican, a close friend of the president of the united states abraham lincoln, he says we need troops. he calls out the pennsylvania state militia. pennsylvania has a standing militia before the war, but in general the governor's prerogative is to activate the national guard and raise these men into regiments to respond to emergencies. now, they weren't allowed to leave the commonwealth borders. it was only for the defense of pennsylvanians that you could
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activate this militia. so they are going to call and get thousands of these new state militiamen and the cumberland valley railroad will be pressed into service to bring them to chambersburg. this time, and by the way, general patterson left in an unmarked car without a military escort 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, john fulton reynolds. reynolds takes command. very military-like, arrives on a train with troops into chambersburg, no pomp and circumstance, very businesslike. reynolds takes charge of the pennsylvania state militia. the militiamen are going to serve throughout the antietam campaign, the maryland campaign. they are not ever going to see combat, for which reynolds is somewhat grateful, not quite
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sure how the men will do, he confides in a letter to his sister in lancaster, pennsylvania about some of his doubts about the quality of the pennsylvania state militia. nevertheless, the militia doesn't have to fire a shot. they end up moving back through the cvrr. by the way, in those days the cumberland valley ran through downtown chambersburg, downtown greencastle, downtown through mechanicsburg, downtown shippensburg. the major hotels and businesses lined the railroad tracks. it was on the main street in most of these towns, and these boys in their soldier uniforms on the way to chambersburg and back to harrisburg, these boys are thrilled because the townspeople, particular the very pretty girls of the cumberland valley, turn out lavishly to cheer these men. in fact, at one point they go by the irving female academy, to which one soldier says, i think
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we need to stop the train right here and make this our camp the rest of the war. well, they will obviously not stop at the irving female academy. but you can kind of see, these young men in blue are happy. they don't have to fight the rebels, the girls seem to like these guys and it is all good at that point in time. well, just a few weeks later, another problem occurs. and by the way, this is reynolds' letter to his sister basically saying there's nothing in the valley that will stop the rebels. that if the rebels want to come to harrisburg, in effect, we have a problem. just a few weeks, a few days after reynolds makes the declaration, on the day after the battle of antietam is perhaps the cvrr's finest moment in the civil war. general mcclellan is out of 20 pound to 24-pound ammunition and orders more from the arsenal in
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washington. they're going to load it up on the baltimore and ohio, take it to baltimore, and transfer it to northern central. the northern central will leave baltimore, and the train of ammunition will arrive in hagerstown in four hours, 31 minutes. and i can't do that today on the highways, with all the traffic, but you could do it back in those days. this train, loaded with incredibly explosive ammunition, careens at speeds up to 54 mile per hour, on tracks never designed for cars going more than 40 miles per hour, and the standard working speed for a freight train in those days was 20 to 25 miles per hour. you are doubling that. it is so bad, some of these ammunition cars get so hot that they worry about them catching on fire. they have to stop twice and physically cool the train off,
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so it will not catch on fire. anybody can guess what a boxcar of ammunition would have done in downtown carlisle, pennsylvania? it wouldn't have been pretty. so, anyhow, in stunning example of mcclellan's generalship in those days, he doesn't need the ammunition. even though the railroaders risked their lives and set new speed records for the fastest route the cvrr has or ever will run during the civil war, not a single one of these ammunition rounds is fired at the confederates during the maryland campaign, at least up to that point in time. but, it becomes known as the amazing antietam ammunition run. it is the finest hour. the finest hour, gets a lot of national press. they are really happy. andy militiamen start coming back, reynolds starts bringing them back and the darkest hour for the railroad soon follows. on december 26, heavy fog along
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the susquehanna river, a train barreling through the fog filled with the 20th volunteer militia from philadelphia smashes into the bridge-tending locomotive called the utility and 30 soldiers are killed or permanently maimed. now the cumberland valley is in the national press again, but not for a reason they want. it is one of the worst losses of u.s. soldiers at that point in the civil war, on civilian-run railroads. that will change. unfortunately, they will be worse tragedies yet to come. watts was terrified about the possible legal ramifications of what's going on, and more importantly, the last of potentially lucrative military business, buys off most of the survivors and manages to avoid any legal reality and the cvrr
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keeps their contract. that is september 26. the cvrr has another problem looming, and that problem's name is jeb stuart. just four weeks later after the disaster at bridge point where the utility slammed into the train, jeb stuart comes to pennsylvania. what else would he be doing? you can see the map on the screen, the location of mcclellan's army still sitting pretty much idle in maryland doing very little. stuart decides i'm going to break apart the cvrr, the main supply line besides the baltimore and ohio that will feed mcclellan's army. of the two, the more vulnerable is the cvrr, so he takes three brigades of calvary and comes across the mason-dixon line into chambersburg. he will end up wrecking the cvrr at chambersburg. they will destroy the turntable and destroy most of the offices
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and whatever rolling stock is still there. all the warehouses around the train station. chambersburg sees flames on the north side of town for hours and hours and hours as the area immediately around the railroad station burns to the ground. now, he's going to go on. he's heard from locals, the bridge is made from iron and can't be burned. he believes the story and hears the state militia is coming after him and then that the union regulars are coming after him, so he will head towards gettysburg. he comes within six miles of gettysburg in october of 1862 before he turned south and heads back into virginia. that raid by stuart alarms the railroads in pennsylvania. they realize exactly how vulnerable they are. they have already lost bridges, now rolling stock, and the confederates have proven a
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well-planned raid can reach the very heart of some of these northern railroads. some of the photographs taken of the confederates. they raid the warehouses first, and then burn chambersburg, so rolling stock and warehouses. this is what the town would've looked like an 1862, as stuart's men arrived. governor curtin is alarmed by this and frantically starts dispatching with washington about how can the cumberland valley be better protected. in 1863, the railroad has another problem. they rebuilt the depot, rebuilt the warehouse, rebuilt the turntable, just about everything, just in time for the gettysburg campaign. and the confederates come back to pennsylvania again. now instead of jeb stuart, it is alfred gallatin jenkins from the
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west virginia area. he will lead his calvary into chambersburg and they will start raiding the railroads and find out the scotland bridge is not made of iron. it is made of wood. we can burn it, and they do. and they destroy the largest bridge southwest of the susquehanna river along the cvrr. on the way, from greencastle all the way to scotland, jenkins and his men are destroying railroad tracks, burning railroad buildings. they are working on the small bridges, the culverts and small little facilities that line the tracks as well. they devastate the franklin railroad from hagerstown north, and the cvrr, the parent company, all the way into the heart of the cumberland valley. one more time, they governor
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organize the state militia under curtin's direction. they bring the boys back, and the state militia start riding the rails to get in position. but in the meantime the cvrr sees a massive influx in ticket sales, because refugees from hagerstown, refugees from the shenandoah valley, refugees from southern pennsylvania are jumping on the trains and trying to put the susquehanna river between them and robert e. lee. and so the ticket sales are quite strong, and hundreds and hundreds of refugees, many of them african-americans, are coming into chambersburg to try to escape the onslaught of the oncoming rebels. assuming they are really coming to pennsylvania. well, the state militia, pennsylvania state militia is not very well-organized. governor curtin has asked for 10,000 volunteers from new jersey and new york, so a number
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of new york standing militia regiments have arrived in harrisburg. the eighth and 71st new york state national guard, put them on cvrr trains, and they head south to shippensburg. with chambersburg cut off, shippensburg is the new central organization point for the pennsylvania state militia. you obviously can't get to chambersburg because it is south of the bridge at scotland which is no longer in existence. so they have to walk from shippensburg down to scotland, and they are going to guard bridge crews that are definitely trying to put cvrr's bridge back into place so that the army can use this if they need to. jenkins hears about the militia roaring down the tracks heading towards his position. jenkins withdraws into west virginia. actually into maryland, sorry. well, jenkins moves back into pennsylvania on june 22.
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fronting the division. the new your curse, no hearing infantry is coming with artillery, abandon ship and head back to harrisburg, now leaving the cumberland valley totally unprotected other than a few scattered calvary units, the first new york cavalry, for example. there are some local home guard cavalry units floating around there. but most of the calvary in these units are not very experienced, with the exception of the first new yorkers. they thought the rebels are coming into the cumberland valley. 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, and this is the largest hotel, one of the most important hotels in town during the civil war years, the
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railroad hotel, appropriately named. it was also a ticket office. it had the unheard of powder rooms for women, and an indoor powder room for the men. it had indoor plumbing, at least for a while. they had a very nice hotel there. jenkins takes over the hotel, makes it his personal headquarters, and starts collecting new york and pennsylvania and other local newspapers that have been brought into the gift shop, if you will, of the railroad. jenkins puts his feet up on the table and starts getting yankee intelligence, including, we believe 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 of the army of northern virginia. pickett's men, many of them which are of course destined to
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die or be captured in gettysburg, many of them will spend the last weeks or days of their free lives or lives entirely wrecking the cumberland valley railroad. they will basically duplicate what stuart was doing in 1862. but they will do it -- long before sherman's neckties, these guys are taking rails and heating them over bonfires and letting the rails droop so they are not valuable anymore. in some cases, they are wrapping bowties around trees like sherman will do in 1864. pickett's men are doing it in 1863 in the cumberland valley. not in georgia, of course. they will show up at chambersburg and burn everything that's been rebuilt. this poor railroad had already rebuilt virtually every one of its facilities bigger and better than they were before jeb stuart hit them, and now george pickett
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has arrived, with infantry. these guys do a very, 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. on this very day, hence the reason for this talk and its utility as far as anniversary celebrations in gettysburg. pickett has a jolly old time. i outline a lot of this in the book, what pickett's boys are doing in chambersburg is all this is going on. 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. that's not much. the rebels control the rest of
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the railroad from mechanicsburg all the way through carlisle, shippensburg, chambersburg, greencastle. 90% of the railroad is in confederate hands. but the new york state militia, this is one of the very few drawings done by soldiers during the gettysburg campaign that show the railroad tracks of pennsylvania during the campaign. you can see the 22nd new york state national guard camping. not in the sketch is the susquehanna river. those would be the bridge abutments. the land on the right, and on the left is the river running into downtown harrisburg. they are going to, the state militia is going to take over many of the railroad buildings, including an engine house near bridgeport, and they will convert it into block houses and try to protect the railroad as best they can. this shows the camp of the new york state militia barely in the background were i have labeled
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the cvrr. my co-author did this. you can barely see the train. the cumberland valley railroad is still operational, at least in taking troops and refugees who can still make it into union-held territory. they are still running trains, at least for a little while. all of that is finished up in the battle of gettysburg is over. herman haupt appears on the scene. there are 31 railroad bridges destroyed in york county alone. railroad bridges of the gettysburg railroad, running from here to the east, to hanover and hanover junction, that is destroyed as well as the railroad bridges on the spur going to wrightsville, and the world's largest railroad bridge burned by the pennsylvania militia, actually by civilians
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under orders from the militia. to prevent the confederates from crossing into lancaster county and potentially marching on harrisburg from the rear. well, haupt's job is to rebuild the railroads. he needed to get ammunition in, get the wounded out of here and get relief supplies brought in. haupt would spend most of his personal time in york county. he would come to the cumberland valley on one or two occasions as well, and they would rebuild the railroads. but watts makes a critical decision. the rebels were supposed to come in 1861 and they didn't. jeb stuart came in 1862 and destroyed my railroad, particularly much of the chambersburg railroad facilities. i rebuilt it, and gallatin jenkins destroyed it. he makes an interesting decision, not to rebuild the railroad facilities. they rebuild the tracks of course to get the railroad
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running, but we won't rebuild the turntables, warehouses, ticket offices, oiling stations, the engine houses, any of this until after the war. it is a good decision, because does anybody know what happens in 1864 to chambersburg? john mcconnell and shows up on the scene. he makes yet another incursion into pennsylvania, aimed at chambersburg. the third time in three years chambersburg has been targeted. he is of course 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
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hagerstown. and by the time they get to chambersburg, he asks for $100,000 in gold. in 1863, he has ransomed york, pennsylvania where i live for $100,000 in cash and three days worth of supplies, 2000 pairs of shoes and boots. he gets almost all of that. 28,006 hundred $10 in cash. so he knows that the stunt of ransoming people works. so he tells, ransom chambersburg. the chambersburg citizens are like, they didn't burn york down, they didn't burn down gettysburg, didn't burn down carlisle. and 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. by the way, only 10 miles away is william averill's union regular cavalry, not regulars, but volunteer calvary. so the people of chambersburg in effect tell him to pound salt.
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he responds, i wasn't kidding, and orders the town torched. the confederate officers protest and he ignores them or puts them under arrest in most extreme cases, and the confederates porch chambersburg. they don't have railroad buildings to torch this time, but they have the town itself and they lay waste to it. we have all probably seen the pictures of what chambersburg looks like after this devastating raid. now, the railroad suffers very little damage, but railroad employees are devastated. there are a lot of railroad employees who live in and around chambersburg. that is the railroad's home before the war. home of most of the offices, etc.. the cvrr is still operational and can still haul refugees out of chambersburg, and they do it. and men and women who have lost their homes, the cvrr at no charge will haul you to harrisburg if you want a fresh
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start. a lot of chambersburg 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, bringing the 201st penciling in to police the town -- pennsylvania in to 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 wartime contribution. watts organizes a special train to bring any mourners from the cumberland valley to carlisle,. remember it's the same station as the northern central train that is bringing abraham
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lincoln's body from washington, d.c. so the northern central train arrives at the station and the cvrr has already brought in mourners from the cumberland valley. the cvrr's final act is to bring soldiers home from the civil war back to places like chambersburg, some of which the soldiers only know that their homes are gone. they haven't seen them and they go back to rebuild homes. on behalf of my publisher, on behalf of the gettysburg heritage center, thank you for your time and attention today and hopefully you know a little more about one of the key railroads in pennsylvania that ran between maryland and the commonwealth during the civil war. thanks for your time and attention. [applause] scott: we have time for a couple
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of questions. does anybody have anything? good. in that case, any questions on the railroad? this was a pretty important railroad, that most people don't realize. how many of you knew that george pickett's men spent time wrecking railroads up here? not many. that's one of the revelations, that many people reading the book did not realize that was pickett's main role, to wreck the railroads. thanks very much. i will turn it back over to tammy. tammy: thank you so much. appreciate it, scott. thank you. >> american history tv is on c-span3 every weekend. you can watch lectures and college classrooms, tours of historic sites, archival films
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and see our schedule of upcoming programs. that is >> tonight, and online discussion from the national world war ii museum about the crises world leaders face at the end of both world wars. here's a preview. to study thet way treaty of verse -- of versailles is to look at the big three. american answer to the covid crisis, no one british answer, these things are determined by where you live, middle-class versus working-class, all kinds of things are going to determine your response. to me, it is more interesting the ways in which the debate reaches across national lines. do you want to solve these problems at the national or the imperial level? do you want to do this by opening up the empire to the
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national trade or do you want to do this by increasing those imperial ties, increasing tariffs, keeping americans out of those markets and trying the best you can to reinforce the empire to strike at the empire. both of those arguments are out there. the imperial argument wins largely -- it to completely different contacts. in the united states, the debate over the treaty of versailles is fascinating. there's a group of senators who say i don't care what is in the thing, i'm not signing it. there's another group that says there are ways in which the league of nations could draw the united states into a war and the obligation to declare war longs to the u.s. senate. you can't do that. there are also people making the argument that the league of nations is one nation, one vote.
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why would we as americans accept the same level of power in an international organization that ecuador would have? why would we do that on a pure power basis? it makes no sense. withis why the u.n. comes the security council and the vetoes, otherwise it's not clear the u.n. would have gotten through congress. there are arguments there that are perfectly legitimate. to think of them as dinosaurs is unfair. there are things we still talk about today. do you want to be part of an organization in which you have seen some of your sovereign team and pay money into the organization knowing that you are probably not as getting as much as a smaller state would because you believe in the help of international organizations? if you accept that, it makes perfect sense. happeningebate was 100 years ago.
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to run down't want that unless you want me to, but it's a little more complicated. program the full tonight at 7 p.m. eastern here on american history tv. >> environmentalist gaylord nelson served as wisconsin's governor from 1959 tonight team 53 and any senate from 1963 to 1981. he was later counselor to the wilderness society and was ordered a presidential medal of freedom. he is the founder of earth day, first observed in 1970. up next, the c-span interview with senator nelson, which we recorded in 1990. >> gaylord nelson. various articles say you are the father of earth day. how is your offspring doing? senator nelson: well, there is


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