Danville, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Richmond & Danville Railroad
Development of the Railroad
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
By the opening of the Civil War, the future of the Richmond & Danville Railroad never seemed brighter…
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 Touch 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. ¼ mile 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Danville.
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 16, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 438 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 16, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.