Near Kirkwood in St. Louis County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Civil War Destruction
The Civil War did not help the Pacific Railroad's finances or construction schedule. Railroads and their destruction were an important strategic element in the battles between North and South; General Sherman's army in its march across Georgia, famously tied rails into "Sherman's neckties." Such efforts could cut enemy supply and communication lines. The Pacific Railroad was yet another pawn in and victim of the conflict. Both sides commenced with destruction — burning bridges, tearing up tracks, attacking trains, harassing railroad workers and stealing supplies.
Confederate troops led by General Sterling Price, the former governor of Missouri, tried to capture the state for the south in two campaigns — first in 1861 and again in 1864. In both instances, the Pacific Railroad was not safe from destruction. The following is an account of damages from the October 5, 1864 Daily Missouri Democrat imposed by the Rebel advance on the city of Franklin (later re-named Pacific), Missouri:
"The Pacific Railroad has suffered ... severely. Its combustible property on the Branch (The Southwest Branch, a separate line that forked off at Franklin) has been generally given to flame. The devastation has extended on the main road as far as Miller's Landing, beyond which, it is hoped, the havoc has ceased. The rebels burned on Saturday morning the depot, two tank houses (a) wood shed, wooden engine house, and machine and blacksmith shop at Franklin. On Saturday morning after they burned the depot and two freight cars at South Point; and at Washington the depot and tank house....Boeuf Creek bridge, seventy miles from this city (St. Louis), being a single span of about two hundred feet, is burned. At Miller's Landing, sixty-six miles out, they found three locomotives and a long train of cars, which the Superintendent of the Company had been moving towards St. Louis. One of the locomotives (was) destroyed; taking the other two, with the cars, west with them."
Along with the Confederates, the Union Army wreaked havoc on the road. Also in October 1864, the Moreau and Osage bridges were taken down in order to prevent another Confederate attack. Even the previously discussed Gasconade Bridge was destroyed during the Civil War. Moreover, the Union Army, as it was elsewhere in the country, was utilizing the railroad for troops and supplies, but not paying typical shipping or passenger rates. By the end of the Civil War, the company was bankrupt. At this point, it did not appear that the line would make it to Kansas City, let alone to California.
Erected by Museum of Transportation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & Streetcars • War, US Civil.
Location. 38° 34.328′ N, 90° 27.636′ W. Marker is near Kirkwood, Missouri, in St. Louis County. Marker can be reached from Barrett Station Road east of Old Dougherty Ferry Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3015 Barrett Station Road, Saint Louis MO 63122, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Pacific Railroad Controversy (here, next to this marker); Riot in the Tunnels (here, next to this marker); The Gasconade Bridge Disaster (here, next to this marker); #2804 (here, next to this marker); Ground-breaking! (a few steps from this marker); The Pacific Railroad of Missouri: Audacious Dreams & Harsh Realities (a few steps from this marker); #750 (a few steps from this marker); The Missouri Pacific Today... (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kirkwood.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 28, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 63 times since then and 3 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on April 28, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.