James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
were utterly unable to satisfy the demands of the Government and the public. In April, 1863, there were 6300 miles of railroad in the Confederacy, exclusive of those in the hands of the enemy, which was enough considering that they were conveniently located to handle the Government traffic and serve the public to some extent, if they could be used to the full. But owing to the deterioration of the permanent way and lack of equipment, few trains were run and as compared with Northern practice at the same period, the train-load was light. From everywhere came complaints. Cities wanted food which the railroads could not bring. In January, 1864, it was said that Indian corn was selling at $1 and $2 a bushel in southwestern Georgia and at $12 or $15 in Virginia. Another Richmond authority, at the close of that year, was sure that everyone would have enough to eat if food could be properly distributed.
The possession of the railroads by the Northern armies as they advanced interfered with proper transportation. This is exemplified by a comparison of the railroad guides for 1863 and 1864. Under the head of certain railroads instead of the time table one may read The Yankees have possession of a portion of this road at present or The entire road is in the hands of the Yankees. These indications were more numerous in 1864 than in 1863.
Government work continually encroached on the ordinary business of the railroads, yet this was by no means well done. The public suffered as well as the army. Mails were irregular and long delayed; newspapers failed to be received or, when they came to hand, were many days old. The traveller on the railroad encountered difficulties and dangers, of which the two railroad guides published at the South gave no inkling. Consulting these, he might have expected in 1863 to make his journey at the rate of