NP, SR 6/25/1864

From the Savannah Republican
June 24, 1864
Huntsville, June 18
   Railroad travel between Shelbyville and Wartrace is quite an annoying curiosity.  The distance eight miles {on a branch of the Nashville & Chattanooga RR}, and railroad time taken to travel it, an hour and a half and two hours.  A friend wishing to go south at the same time with ourselves, left Shelbyville on horseback, twenty minutes after the train had left, and made the best time to Wartrace, where the southern connection is made.  The rails are so worn, and the bed of the road is in such bad condition, that it is not considered proper to run the cars faster than five miles an hour!  As the locomotive approaches within a mile of the Shelbyville depot, a down grade is encountered, the locomotive disconnects itself from the cars, trusting their advance to the declivity of the grade, and runs ahead to the engine house, where it is switched off the main track in time to let the cars following pass on to the depot.
   From Wartrace south the Nashville & Chattanooga run is in fine order, a reserve car is kept for ladies, water is regularly supplied and the Conductors are courteous and attentive.  Messrs. Cole and Whaling, who expend their energy in the management of the roads, deserve credit for their efforts.  From Wartrace to Stevenson one fortification after another is passed in rapid succession.  The fine works, forts and abatis, and especially Fort Rains, at Tullahoma, are objects of intense interest.  Every bridge and trestle along the route is well guarded night and day, and a small fort and stockades are to be observed at every bridge of any importance.  The latter were introduced and built by the Yankees in large numbers and still remain to mark the presence of the defeated invaders. They are formed of heavy oak posts placed upright from the ground, extending fifteen feet high, with musket loops pierced through about breast high, for the purpose of firing through. On the outside a trench is dug and the earth thrown at the base of the stockade.  These are, indeed, most formidable defenses for a small force, and it were as well for the cavalry to dash against the mountain side as charge one of these stockades.  But they afford no resistance to artillery, are only intended to shelter guarding forces from surprises of cavalry and bushwhacking attacks.  At Estelle Springs a large fort, erected by Yankee hands, still remains, and strong Confederate works lend an interest to the point.  The houses which once adorned the place were laid in ruins by the vandal torch, and the brick chimneys still standing, and the walls of what was once an extensive mill or factory, only remain attesting to the former village.  The next object of interest is the famous tunnel cut through the mountain.  It forms an arch half a mile long, through which the train passes, enveloped in utter darkness for the few minutes of its passage.  It presents an excellent opportunity for a lover to kiss his sweet heart without being seen.  A very strange incident occurred in its dark confines a short time since, which will scarcely bear publication.  Two seats in the car facing each other were occupied respectively by an Irish lady returning from a visit to a relative in the army, and opposite to her a young man of twenty, with neatly curled moustache and head ornamented by long luxuriant tresses, with a mild and refined expression of features.  As the cars approached the tunnel, one of the railroad hands told the guard he was going to have some fun, and to be on the alert when the tunnel was reached.  As soon as darkness covered every object in the cars, this coarse fellow entered and took improper familiarities with the Irish lady, who imagining that it was the person opposite, seized the poor fellow by the hair, which was removed in handsful, scratched his face, and screamed energetically for assistance. When the cars emerged to the open air, the real scoundrel had disappeared, and the innocent young gentleman of mild appearance disclosed to view, a very sorry physiognomy from the effects of the outraged celt whose fingers sill clung to his raven locks. An outraged community was "on the rampage," as Joe hath it in Great Expectations, and the poor devil was placed under guard and sent back to the army to await his trial.  After having been subjected to this worse than martyrdom, the unfortunate youth was sent on his way rejoicing, but determined probably in all futurity to avoid railroad tunnels. 
   Large numbers of ladies continue to travel to and from the army, and at the present time I doubt not that a larger number are in its vicinity visiting relatives than ever before.  It is a source of extreme disgust to persons of good taste to observe the public use of snuff in "dipping."  At last art has been called into requisition to provide ornamental "sticks," upon which the delicious substance is dipped and rubbed against the gums, for the gratification of the lady like dippers, with this handle in their mouths.  The ornamentation of the stick usually consists of a curl at the end, like the narrative of a young porker, and various figures cut on the body of it.  I saw these sticking out of the mouths of many ladies on the cars, at first producing the impression that they were smoking.  O tempora!  O mores!      
   The train leaving Shelbyville at 6 a.m. reaches Chattanooga in twelve hours, and makes connection at Stevenson with the Memphis & Charleston road, which carries passengers to Huntsville, reaching that point at 6 p.m.  This road is now in operation to Tuscumbia, a large bridge over the Tennessee having been rebuilt by the government.  The Central Southern Railroad has been put in operation by the government, from Decatur to Pulaski, and will soon be completed to Columbia. Through its aid large supplies are brought from the interior of Middle Tennessee, Maury and other rich counties.