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NP: June 20, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: Richmond’s Communications with the South


[Confederate President] JEFF[ERSON]. DAVIS’ means for supplying his army near Richmond, and for swift communication with his southern dominions, consist of three railroads and a canal.  The railroads are the Virginia Central, just broken up by [Cavalry Corps commander Philip] SHERIDAN, at Trevillian1; the Richmond and Petersburg, now cut off by [Eighteenth Corps commander William F. “Baldy] SMITH at one end and [Army of the James commander Benjamin F.] BUTLER at the other, and the Richmond and Danville, which is the only one that DAVIS has left.2  This, however, is a very important road on account of its connections.  At Burkesville, fifty-three miles from Richmond and the same distance from Petersburg, it connects with the Lynchburg road, furnishing communication with that place and also with Gordonsville, although by a long and inconvenient circuit.  From Burkesville, the Richmond and Danville road extends eighty-seven miles to Danville, on the boundary of North Carolina, and thence a short link of railroad to Greensboro, constructed by the Rebels since the beginning of the war, connects it with the whole system of North Carolina railways.

It will thus be seen that the Danville road, although it is DAVIS’ sole means of connection with the South and West, is at the same time a most effective line.  Either [Army of the James cavalry commander August V.] KAUTZ or [Army of the Potomac Cavalry Corps commander [Philip] SHERIDAN should therefore give it his immediate and earnest attention.  Burkesville is its vital centre.  If it is to be cut, that is the point for the operation.  Eight or ten miles of road destroyed south and west of the junction there will isolate Richmond from Lynchburg, Gordonsville, North Carolina and the whole south.

The James River Canal, we believe, is receiving the requisite attention.3

SOPO Editors Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.

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  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: The Battle of Trevilian Station occurred on June 11-12, 1864. Sheridan’s raid wasn’t as successful long term as the editor makes it seem here.
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: It is clear the Northern papers were just getting acquainted with the vicinity of Petersburg.  The Richmond and Petersburg Railroad was not cut off at the time this article was written.  As a result, many of the Petersburg railroads were also available to supply Lee’s army including the South Side Railroad and the Weldon Railroad.  For more many great details on the Southern Railroads during the Civil War, check out David L. Bright’s truly encyclopedic Confederate Railroads site.
  3. “Richmond Communications with the South.” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), June 20, 1864, p. 4, col. 2
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