Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 372
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 372
 
 
from fourteen to eighteen miles per hour, including stops, and, in 1864, at a rate not greatly less. But the indications of the guides were deceptive. The traveller was lucky if his train made a continued progress of from five to eight miles per hour. Trains were always late and connections were missed. Frequent accidents, many of which were fatal, happened because of the unstable condition of the permanent way and equipment. General Joseph E. Johnston, on his way from Richmond to Chattanooga in November, 1862, to take command of the new department assigned to him, was delayed by “several railroad accidents.” Fremantle gave a good-humored account of his experiences in June, 1863 between Charleston and Richmond. At Florence he was detained by the breakdown of another train, and when his own was at last ready he fought his “way into some desperately crowded cars.” After being transferred by boat at Wilmington, he had a hot and an oppressive all day’s ride in a “dreadfully crowded” train. “We changed cars again at Weldon,” he wrote, “where I had a terrific fight for a seat, but I succeeded, for experience had made me very quick at this sort of business.” Travelling as continuously as possible, he was forty-one hours from Charleston to Richmond, a journey which is now made in ten. Another Englishman mentions the conventional joke that “a journey from Wilmington to Richmond was almost as dangerous as an engagement with the enemy.” According to the official estimate of the capacity and the schedules, one or two passenger trains ran daily each way on the railroads, but at times the Government compelled the suspension of all other service in favor of the transportation of provisions for the army and of officers and soldiers returning to their commands. In April, 1864, a certain minister was unable to keep his engagement to preach a
 

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