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Publisher's Summary

About Railroad Raiders: The focus of this selection concerns both the Federal and Confederate efforts to disable or maintain the railroads within the active theaters of the war. Real railroads of iron and steam and ribbons of steel vanishing into the horizon quickly became a strategic objective of both armies in the Civil War. Raiders and protectors were deployed both North and South. The damage inflicted on roadways and rolling stock was not always easy to accomplish. The simplest method of slowing a train was to remove a small section of rail, but once spotted the gap was not difficult to repair. Both sides learned to tear up long sections of track, pile up and set fire to the ties, and heat and bend the iron. This was temporarily effective, but the rails could often be reheated, straightened out, and spiked back into place. The destruction of bridges, trestles, rolling stock, and especially engines was more difficult and expensive to undo. It was found that to permanently disable a locomotive, however, smashing cylinder heads, pumps, links, and valve stems was not enough. The parts had to be scattered, taken away, or buried or thrown into an inaccessible body of water. It is the author's purpose to record this often under-reported aspect of the Civil War for both military and railroading enthusiasts. Most Civil War historians concentrate on the strategic and military aspects of the railroading industry, and they rather uncritically mention engineering and other technical factors as if they were simply founded or well established. They were not. In many cases, the same sources and traditions are always quoted with no investigation into their accuracy, and no further understanding of the matter at hand is attempted. The Confederate Railroads, for instance, have only been given a detailed examination once. The Railroads of the Confederacy, by Robert Black (1952), was written 60 years ago.
©2013 James M. Volo (P)2015 James M. Volo
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Deborah on 08-23-15


Where does Railroad Raiders of the Civil War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I like books about the Civil War. This book had the twist of introducing the railroad and the battles over it during the war

What was one of the most memorable moments of Railroad Raiders of the Civil War?

Most of the battles to capture the railroad engines and their supplies. It was also interesting in how they moved the engines, with out tracks.

What does Joshua Bennington bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Joshua Bennington did an all right read. It was dry but then so is the book. I guess narrators can only do so much with the material. The one thing Joshua Bennington has going for him was his voice, I did like that.

Any additional comments?

I did not give this book top rating because it was like my history books, only so much you can do with that material. What I did like was the story line about trains in the South during the Civil War.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Harry Boyle on 07-19-15

" All aboard "

Who was your favorite character and why?

There are really no featured characters as the people mentioned are all written about in the third person and do not speak to the reader. I guess that is to be expected in a book dealing with the Civil War but I believe the writers style and not the topic kept me from rating the book higher.

Which scene was your favorite?

The section on Gettysburg.

Any additional comments?

As a university senior, I spent hundreds of hours researching and then writing a paper on railroad reconstruction in Georgia . I was drawn to this book by the title. If you are a Civil War fan the book brings some new perspectives that are overlooked in most books dealing with the conflict. In some of the chapters, I felt as if I could actually hear and see a train in motion.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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