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Danville, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Richmond & Danville Railroad

Development of the Railroad

 
 
Richmond & Danville Railroad CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 15, 2013
1. Richmond & Danville Railroad CWT Marker
Inscription. By the outbreak of the Civil War, the Virginia General Assembly had chartered only eight railroads totaling 638 miles. The North, in contrast, had developed an immense network of railroads and canals. This transportation network reached into the heart of the trade centers, contributing to the political alignment of the Northwest to the industrial Northeast, and helping to isolate the South.

Whitmell P. Tunstall, a of Pittsylvania County, was not yet 28 years old when he stood to address his colleagues in the General Assembly in 1838, presenting his proposal for the construction of the Richmond & Danville Railroad. It took nine years for Tunstail to receive railroad charter after much stubborn opposition and ridicule. As the first president of the Richmond & Danville, he diligently guided the development of the road but unfortunately was never to see his dream come to life. Tunstall died of typhoid fever February 19, 1854, two years before the first engine entered Danville’s rail yard.

In January 1848, Andrew Talcott was appointed chief engineer for the construction of the railroad. Amid disappointments, loss, ridicule, and economic constriction, the work had advanced slowly at times. Finally, in June 1856 a train of 12 passenger cars filled to capacity rumbled across the Dan River railroad bridge before a crowd of
Richmond & Danville Railroad CWT Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 15, 2013
2. Richmond & Danville Railroad CWT Markers
nearly 5,000 who gathered to celebrate the completion of the railroad line that would carve Danville’s future.

By the opening of the Civil War, the future of the Richmond & Danville Railroad never seemed brighter…

(sidebar)
Andrew Talcott: Engineer Extraordinaire

One of the leading engineers in North America during the antebellum era, Andrew Talcott superintended the construction of the Dismal Swamp Canal, Castle Calhoun Fort Monroe, repairs to the U.S. Mint, design of the Gosport Navy Yard’s granite dry dock and construction of several railroads such as the Richmond & Danville. While at work at Fort Monroe, the young lieutenant Robert E. Lee worked as Talcott’s assistant. Talcott developed the “Talcott Method” for determining terrestrial latitudes. His son, Charles, served as superintendent of the Richmond & Danville Railroad during the Civil War. Andrew Talcott died in Richmond in 1883.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 35.127′ N, 79° 23.065′ W. Marker is in Danville, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Craghead Street east of Bridge Street, on the left when traveling
Richmond & Danville Railroad CWT Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
3. Richmond & Danville Railroad CWT Markers
east. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 629 Craghead St, Danville VA 24540, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Richmond & Danville Railroad (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Richmond & Danville Railroad (here, next to this marker); The Worsham Street Bridge (approx. ¼ mile away); Danville Tobacco Warehouse and Residential District (approx. 0.3 miles away); Confederate Prison No. 6 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Prison Number 6 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Loyal Baptist Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Danville Fortifications (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Danville.
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 357 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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