This Week in the Civil War - 510

Feb 20, 2013

On February 19, 1863, a train carrying Confederate soldiers to the Battle of Vicksburg crashed at Chunky Creek, near Hickory, Mississippi.  The crash was caused by damage to a bridge brought on by heavy winter rains.

It resulted in 40 military and civilian deaths.  In the immediate aftermath, warriors from a nearby Choctaw Indian battalion braved debris and freezing waters to rescue dozens of stranded passengers. 

Transportation was a major headache for the Confederacy throughout the Civil War.  At the outbreak of the war, 70 percent of the nation’s railway mileage was located in the North, and over 96 percent of the nation’s locomotives were manufactured in the North.  The South, in the meantime, faced severe shortages of spare parts and repair facilities, and major gaps in its transit network.