State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

150 Years Ago: The Recovery from War


The York River Railroad.- This line is now progressing finely toward completion, and ere the approaching winter expires, with its accustomed bleakness, the iron horse will be dashing proudly through the rich and productive valley of the Pamunky to West Point, and bringing to this mart the invaluable treasures of York river and its tributaries, together with other desirable products of the Tidewater region. The people along this line, who have suffered almost beyond endurance by the ravages of war, will hail with delight tho sound of the shrill whistle and the graceful train as it glides once more over the land they love. This will, indeed, be a happy era for an enterprising people who are now shut out from this city for the want of requisite facilities to transport them and the products of their indefatigable toil, nearly all of which now find access to Baltimore, Norfolk, and other cities, attributable to the extreme isolated position this country bears to this city since the destruction of this road. We have watched and felt a profound interest in this improvement from its earliest inception to the present moment, and know that previous to the war the most sanguine anticipations of success had been more than realized by ardent friends. The extensive travel and immense freight over it enhanced the thrift of this city no little. A greater portion of this trade justly belongs here, and will naturally come when this avenue has been opened sufficiently for its transition. Till then it will seek other markets, to the great detriment of Richmond, which has already lost materially by unwise legislation on other lines of internal improvement. 
The road is now in excellent running condition to Chickahominy river, a distance of twelve miles from the city, with a material train passing over it daily. A splendid bridge now spans this widely famed stream, and is ready for the trains to pass over, with the exception of putting the rail down, which, we are informed, will be done in a few days. The grading north of the Chickahominy is of a lighter character than that already finished, and continues to the White House. There will be a passenger car placed on the road when completed to Dispatch station, for the accommodation of the public. This is only two miles north of the bridge, and will soon be ready, from the fact of the large number of hands employed. 
General William H.F. Lee has contracted to furnish all the material for constructing a bridge across the Pamunky river, and with his usual promptness will have the whole of it in place at the time specified. The building of the bridge must necessarily consume much time, owing to its large dimensions, etc. There are laborers at this time engaged in putting piles in their proper places for superstructure of bridge. If I there is nothing to retard the present operations on the road, we can with safety say that it will be completed to the White House by the 1st of February next. 
It will be ineffable pleasure to see this line opened to West Point. The enormous prices that fish add oysters now command in our markets will suddenly collapse, and we will be enabled to indulge in the luxuries of salt water without fear of being made bankrupts by paying the exorbitant prices of $1.50 per gallon for oysters, and in the same ratio for fish. 
Mr. Williams, do continue to hurry up the road, so that we can get to York river, and feast on bivalves, trout, sheepshead, drum, and hogfish. 

-The Daily Dispatch, 12 November 1866


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