|Montgomery and West Point Railroad|
|Locale||Alabama and Georgia|
|Dates of operation||1832–1870|
|Successor||Western Railway of Alabama|
|Track gauge||4' 8"|
The Montgomery and West Point Railroad (M&WP) was an early 19th century railroad in Alabama and Georgia. It played an important role during the American Civil War as a supply and transportation route for the Confederate Army, and, as such, was the target of a large raid by Union cavalry in the summer of 1864.
The Montgomery Railroad was chartered January 20, 1832, to build track from Montgomery, Alabama, to the Chattahoochee River at Columbus, Georgia. In 1834, it was rechartered with the route going to West Point, Alabama, instead of Columbus. It wasn't until 1840 when the railroad finally reached Franklin, some 32.4 miles east of Montgomery. The railroad was sold under foreclosure on July 9, 1842 and was then reorganized as the Montgomery and West Point Railroad on February 13, 1843. The railroad was completed to West Point on April 28, 1851. Three years later the Atlanta and West Point Rail Road was completed connecting Montgomery to east coast markets. The M&WP then built a branch line from Opelika, Alabama to Columbus which began operating in 1856.
During the Civil War, the railroad was raided in July 1864 by 2,500 Union cavalry troops under the command of Lovell Rousseau. Staged out of Decatur, Rosseau's force managed to take or burn a large number of supplies at Opelika, and destroy 30 miles of track as well as burning railroad stations and warehouses at West Point and Montgomery by July 17.
After the war, the railroad was repaired and reopened for traffic. The M&WP was merged into the Western Railway of Alabama in 1870.
References[edit | edit source]
- Alabama Rail History The Western Railway of Alabama
- Col. Robert W. BlackCavalry Raids of the Civil War, pp. 178-179.
[edit | edit source]
- American Railroads; Their Growth and Development by Association of American Railroads (Washington DC, 1956), page 8
- Old Rail History Website with details and maps
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