The armies of the American Civil War made use of the railroad lines, a relatively new industrial development, transporting troops, ammunition, and other supplies. Because trains had set tracks and could only travel to certain destinations, railroads had a great impact on the course and outcome of the war. Students can search on railroad in Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865 to see images of trains used in the war. Some photographs show destroyed rail lines. Who might have destroyed these railroad lines and why? What was involved in repairing these lines, how long would it take, who repaired them, and how many people would be needed?
Students can search the collection on railroad to see where rail lines traveled. They can determine which parts of the country were best served by the railroad at the time of the war. How might the location of railroad tracks have affected various military decisions?