Week of Nov 20 1861 - Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
In the Western country there is said to be an immense amount of produce, including unnumbered millions bushels of wheat, which cannot reach the seaboard during the ensuing winter over the Northern Railroads, those roads having far more freight than they can possibly carry. Of course this produce would have been transported over Maryland's great work, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, had not the vandal hand of rebellion been laid upon it between Cumberland and Harper's Ferry, destroying its bridges and tearing up and carrying away its rails, and up to the present time preventing all efforts of its company to repair and put it in running order. Urgent appeals are made to the Government to extend military protection over the road so as to enable its company to repair it, but it is doubtful whether the Government will consent to do so until it has crushed out the rebellion in Virginia, and then such protection will be unnecessary. Meanwhile, it has been suggested that the State of Maryland take some steps to build the road through its own territory from Frederick to Cumberland, but this would be attended with an expense which its people are neither able nor willing to incur at the present time. Before the road was located the people of this county earnestly besought its company to run it through Western Maryland to Cumberland, but Baltimore influence forced it into Virginia, and now, after a lapse of more than twenty long years, that city is getting paid for its selfish policy towards Western Maryland. Had the road been located through this part of the State the teeming West could now pour its immense agricultural treasures into the lap of Baltimore without let or hindrance, amply compensating our commercial emporium for all its loss of Seecsh trade. But we do not advert to this unpleasant event of the forgot-ten past in a spirit of exultation, because we sincerely hope that our proud Metropolis may be able to re-construct the broken portions of its great road, and recover its Western trade, but merely to introduce the following remarks from a late number of the Clipper ;—
" The reconstruction of this road is an absolute necessity. It is indispensable to Baltimore and Western Maryland. It must be speedily reopened at whatever cost. The great West—the granary of the world, earnestly demands it. Our own people imperatively require it. It is true that the State of Maryland will have a claim against the Federal Government for the repair of these damages, but in the meantime the people cannot await the tedious process of the prosecution and allowance of this claim. Is is the first and most important duty of the State Legislature to provide for the reconstruction of this road, and a grave question is presented whether under all the circumstances, as Maryland must rebuild it, all that portion of it east of Cumberland should not be placed within the exclusive jurisdiction of Maryland. It is emphatically a Maryland enterprise. Virginia from the first obstructed its completion, and her citizens, aided and abetted by disloyal persons among us, have destroyed all of this great work lying in Virginia east of Cumberland.
" The route from Frederick to Cumberland through Maryland, must be shorter than the devious course of the Potomac, and the advantages to be gained for Maryland will amply compensate the increase of cost for locating and grading.— Another suggestion has been made that is eminently worthy of the consideration of our Legislature. There are among us men who have made fortunes in our midst, who have cast their lot with the rebels, who, by their treasonable counsel and aid and comfort to the rebellion, have occasioned this great injury. It is but equitable that these men should be muleted for the damage they have done. There is no doubt that Congress will sanction any measures taken for the confiscation of their property to a sufficient extent to pay the whole cost of the repair of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and thus furnish the means to repair the injuries they have inflicted upon the people without further burthen upon the innocent and wronged people of Maryland."
The State of Maryland has some four or five millions of dollars invested in this road, the interest upon which bad been regularly and promptly paid into its treasury up to the date of the destruction of the road from Harper's Ferry to Cumber-land by the rebel army. When that army closed up this great avenue of trade, it inflicted a blow upon Maryland interests which should have aroused the indignation of her entire people, but strange to say there are many of her sons, who have become so degenerated through the influence of Secession, as to justify that act of vandalism.
Since the above was prepared we are glad to learn that the Company, under the protection of Gen. Kelly's forces at Romney has already replaced the bridges as far east of Cumberland as Little Cacapon, and that as soon as the Government forces extend their protection further down the line, the bridges will be promptly restored as far down as Hancock.
Herald of Freedom & Torch Light
Washington County Free Library
Hagerstown (Md.), Newspapers; Maryland, History, Civil War, 1861-1865
Washington County (Md.), 1861-1865