Confederate Rolling Stock Production

   The lack of rolling stock to move all the stores, equipment and troops that the Confederacy needed to move is the theme of many newspaper articles and official letters. Clearly, the South needed to acquire more locomotives and freight and passenger cars. What efforts did they make and how successful were they? Below are listed the identified additions to the Confederate non-locomotive rolling stock inventory:
Date Reference Passenger Box Platform Unknown/Other Comments
Jan. Texas & New Orleans RR       Several Arrived in January
April Texas & New Orleans RR 2   10   Arrived in April
Nov. Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac RR       1 1 Steam road car
  Alabama & Florida (of Alabama) RR   5 5    
  Central (of Georgia) RR 2     1 1 Baggage & Package
  Macon & Western RR   4      
  Memphis & Charleston RR   18 41    
  Mississippi & Tennessee RR 3     1 1 Baggage & Express
  Montgomery & West Point RR     5    
  Muscogee RR   2      
  New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern RR       14 14 Gravel
  Petersburg RR   1   8 1 Express, 1 Ambulance, 6 Crank
  Raleigh & Gaston RR   8      
  Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac RR     3 2 2 Tenders
  South Carolina RR       8 8 Coal
  Alabama & Tennessee Rivers RR     5   Iron purchased from Shelby Iron Works
  North Carolina RR   12 6 6 3 Hand, 2 Pole, 1 Mail
  Raleigh & Gaston RR 2        
  Richmond & Danville RR 1        
  Richmond & Petersburg RR 1        
  South Carolina RR   5   7 7 Platform/Wood/Coal
  C. S. Government   5      
  Eastern Texas RR       1 Stock
  North Carolina RR 3        
  Raleigh & Gaston RR 4        
  Richmond & Danville RR 1   7 1 1 Mail & Baggage
  Savannah, Albany & Gulf RR   7      
  South Carolina RR   2      
  Alabama & Tennessee Rivers RR     5   Iron purchased from Shelby Iron Works
  Macon  Western RR 2 1 2    
  Manassas Gap RR         Trying to build 70 to 100 cars; success unknown
NA, MG 3-29-64
  North Carolina RR   12 4 13 13 Pole
  Savannah, Albany & Gulf RR   2      
  South Carolina 4 10 5 4 4 Coal
  C. S. Government   30      
  North Carolina RR   15   16 16 Pole
  South Carolina RR 1 5 3    
  C. S. Government 1 4      
During the war
  East Tennessee & Georgia RR   8      
       TOTAL 25 158 111 83 The 83 includes 34 Pole and Hand cars
   Maj. Ashe ordered Capt. Morfit to inspect the cars being built by Mr. Allen on a Government contract. NA, QMR 3-8-62 NA, and QMR 3-8-62
   The Macon Arsenal was authorized by Col. Gorgas to build 6 platform cars in the spring of 1863. The iron work and wheels were probably provided by the Macon & Western RR, but no further information has been found to prove they were actually built. NA, RR 5-5B-63
   Capt. Sharp recommended building 100 freight cars at the Locomotive Shop in 1862. The Secretary of War approved the building, but the results are unknown. NA, QMR 7-25-62 The QM General confirmed the production later in the year. NA, QMR 10-21-62
   In March 1864, Maj. Hottel reported turning over 15 freight cars to the Western & Atlantic RR at West Point, Ga. He also mentions turning over the parts for 40 Nashville & Chattanooga RR freight cars. He says he will visit Montgomery in a few days and report further. The implication is that the cars are being made or repaired in Montgomery. NA, RRB 4-4-64
   RR Bureau Agent Robertson reported that the Manassas Gap RR, in Greensboro, could build 50 to 100 cars, if the government provided rods and other iron. No results of this report have been found, but it is unlikely Sims did not take advantage of this offer. NA, RRB 3-21A-64
   Sims paid for the production of 10 cars from Tappey & Lumsden in late 1864. NA, RRB 9-17-64
   A Navy Engineer stated in February, 1865 that several cars had been under construction in Montgomery at the shops of the Montgomery & West Point RR since at least mid-November. NA, RR 2-2-65
   Thus, Confederate railroads produced during the war about 1.8% of its pre-war inventory (Confederate Rolling Stock Inventory).
   The Confederacy did not have the capacity to make locomotives. Tredegar had made some 50 locomotives during the 1850's, but the lack of iron, the lack of manpower and the priority given cannon and armor prevented them making locomotives during the war. Several railroads had "made" locomotives before the war, but they were really rebuilding older machines (and frequently with non-Southern material). 
   Additions to the Southern roster of locomotives were primarily by the capture and removal south of Union equipment. This is covered at Captured Union Locomotives. Below are the additions of locomotives by Southern manufacture/rebuilding:
Date Reference Name Comments


Mobile & Great Northern RR   1 arrived in January


Texas & New Orleans RR


2 arrived in January


Charlotte & South Carolina RR   Construction almost complete in January


Macon & Western RR




North Carolina RR

Governor Morehead (rebuild of Kratos)

   The Confederate Government found itself with railroads without spare rolling stock that could be redirected to meet important needs. Without a pool of mobile rolling stock, it was very hard to move large numbers of troops and their equipment (Longstreet did not take all his artillery or any of his horses or wagons to Georgia), to move food (the run from southwestern Georgia to Richmond was hard enough, but continuing on to Longstreet near Bristol was almost impossible) or to support blockade running (getting cotton from Alabama and Georgia to Wilmington). 
   Confederate Transportation leadership recognized the need for this Government-directed pool. It is unclear what happened to the 80+ cars that were sent to Richmond from the Baltimore & Ohio RR in 1861. Capt. Morfit was responsible for some cars when he took over from Maj. Ashe, but the total number is not clear. Col. Sims tried to make the case for the 200-car pool and contracted to make these cars. What we do not know is what the attitudes of the Secretaries of War and the Quartermaster Generals were toward having such a pool. The closing of the Confederate Locomotive Shop (ordered in February, 1863) may be an indication that at least one of the Secretaries of War was against having a Confederate pool of rolling stock. That attitude had changed by February, 1864, when Sims seems to have gotten the support necessary to start building Government cars. Below are references related to these issues:
Diary of Thomas R. Sharp 1861 On July 25, 80th Baltimore & Ohio RR car sent south
NA, QM 10-5A-61 Sharp ordered to send as many Baltimore & Ohio RR cars he can for use on the Virginia Central RR
Diary of Thomas R. Sharp 1861 On December 5 and 6 was removing Baltimore & Ohio RR cars from Harpers Ferry
NA, RRB 1-21-62 Purchased 5 new cars
NA, QM 2-5-62 20 cars had been purchased
NA, G 2-6-62 CSA Cars #20 and #6 mentioned
NA, RRB 2-18-62 Purchased 5 new cars
NA, RRB 3-8-62 Ashe orders Morfit to contract for up to 20 cars
NA, RRB 3-25-62 Purchased 3 new cars
NA, CSN 4-14-62 Navy uses Government cars to supply coal to Portsmouth -- perhaps Baltimore & Ohio RR cars
NA, QM 4-24-62 Virginia Central RR ordered to turn over to Sharp all Baltimore & Ohio RR and Manassas Gap RR locomotives and cars it did not need
NA, QMR 6-14A-62
NA, QMR 6-16A-62
Capt. Pierce reports on Ashe/Allen car production
NA, RRB 6-21-62 Morfit receipts for 5 new box cars
NA, QM 8-4-62 Quartermaster General approves Sharp's suggestion that he keep control of the Government's locomotives
Diary of Thomas R. Sharp 1862 On November 11, 1862, finished a trip on which he had leased 30 cars for Government use
NA, VC 12-9-62 On orders from Ashe, bought 2 ambulance cars and one locomotive from the Virginia Central RR
NA, RRB 12-23-62 Inability to move troops for want of cars
NA, CSN 1-22-63 A Navy special agent is sent with 5 Government coal cars -- perhaps Baltimore & Ohio RR cars
LVA, TRED 2-27-63 Sharp offers to sell 2 cars to Tredegar 
NA, RRB 4-15-63 Control of Government cars
NA, QMR 3-19-63 Control of Government cars
NA, RRB 4-15-63 Control of Government cars
NA, QMR 5-25-63 Georgia RR paid Government for 8 cars
NA, RRB 5-29-63 Control of Government cars
NA, CSN 5-13-63 Navy is controlling coal cars. These may be Baltimore & Ohio RR cars or cars bought from the Central (of Georgia) RR
NA, CSN 6-10-63
NA, CSN 6-29-63
NA, RRB 10-2-63 Control of Government cars
NA, A&F 1-x-64 Sims bought a Alabama & Florida RR car
NA, NC 2-16-64 North Carolina RR questions about new cars Sims has offered to sell them
NA, RRB 2-23-64 Sims insists on detailed men to allow the reopening of a car factory in Petersburg
NA, CSN 2-25-64 Navy officer in Atlanta appears to have his own cars
NA, RRB 2-27-64 Sims recommends the Government build cars and keep in good condition 200 for its most pressing needs. Says Wadley disposed of all cars previously owned by the Government to the various railroads (probably in the late winter of 1863)
LVA, TRED 3-15-64 Sims trying to get parts to build 225 cars
NA, RRB 3-21-64 Sims Capt Raoul appointed to assist him in the production of the 225 cars
NA, MG 3-29-64 Manassas Gap RR Superintendent was trying to get help from Sims to build 70 to 100 cars
NA, CSN 3-31-64 Navy letter implies that the Government has had many cars, some now wrecked alongside the roads; Charlotte Naval Station given permission to make cars for the Navy
NA, QMR 4-9D-64 Sims asks for $125,000 for car construction
NA, RRB 4-19-64 Nitre & Mining Bureau bought 2 flst cars from Petersburg Iron Works
NA, RRB 5-5-64 Nitre & Mining Bureau bought 2 box cars from Petersburg Iron Works
NA, CSN 5-23-64 Government box car transferred to the Charlotte Naval Station
RRBA 5-25-1864 Sims has shop in Petersburg ready to build 8 cars
NA, RRB 7-16A-64 Sims receives report on using Alabama iron for car production
NA, RRB 8-6-64 Sims pays for repair of a U. S. car
NA, RRB 8-18-64 8 Box car bodies
NA, RRB 8-19-64 19 tons car castings
NA, RRB 9-10-64 4 Box car bodies
NA, RRB 9-17-64 Sims received 10 complete cars
NA, R&P 9-30-64 3 Freight cars sold
NA, NC 10-18-64 Sims offered new cars to the North Carolina RR
Sims was offered a proposal to build 100-500 cars
NA, RRB 11-14-64 4 Box cars w/o trucks received
NA, RRB 11-21-64 21 tons of castings for cars
NA, SWR 11-21A-64 Iron for 200 cars
NA, RRB 12-10-64 Nitre & Mining Bureau bought 2 box cars from Petersburg Iron Works
NA, RRB 12-16B-64 Selma Iron Works writes Sims regarding the car contract
NA, QMR 12-27B-64 Sims asks for and is given authority to make cars in Georgia
MISC, RRB 1-21-65 Sims orders 50 tons iron be given to the Shelby Iron Works for making railroad cars
NA, RRB 1-30-65 Sims sends Capt. Cuyler to supervise contract to build 200 cars
NA, RRB 2-1-65 Sims asks for comments on building cars
LVA, TRED 2-8-65 Tredegar was finishing an order for Capt Raoul, which was probably for wheels for new cars
NA, QMR 2-16-65 Sims got QM General's approval for Tredegar to make iron for cars
NA, RRB 2-18-65 Sims asks Nitre & Mining Bureau for pig iron for cars
   The creation of at least one private company to make railroad material was attempted. NA, SWR 3-28-63