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Constructing companies were assisted in carrying out their ambitious projects, and the Government profited greatly by the experience gained by the officers so detailed. “In this manner army officers became the educators of an able body of civil engineers, who, to this day, have continued the inherited traditions, methods, discipline, esprit de corps, and the high bearing of their distinguished predecessors.”

General Grant spoke very enthusiastically of the work of the railroads and wagon roads operated for him during the Virginia campaign of 1864, when his army had to be supplied by wagons over the extremely difficult roads, from the termini of railroad lines that were pushed into the Wilderness as far as possible, and from ever-shifting bases on the rivers, where the lack of dockage facilities made the work of handling freight very arduous. He particularly complimented the officers in charge of the trains on the fact that very little special protection had to be given them.

General Sherman, in his memoirs, notes that his base of supplies during the campaign of 1864 was Nashville, supplied by railroads and the Cumberland River, thence by rail to Chattanooga, a secondary base, and by a single-track railroad to his army. The stores came forward daily, but an endeavor was made to have a constant twenty days supply on hand. These stores were habitually in the wagon trains, distributed to the corps, divisions, and regiments, and under the orders of the generals commanding brigades and divisions. Sherman calculated that, for this supply, he needed three hundred wagons for the provision train of a corps and three hundred for the forage, ammunition, clothing, and other necessary stores — a total of six hundred wagons per corps. It was recognized as impossible for the wagons to go a great distance from the terminus of the railroad and still maintain their maximum efficiency of operation, and hence the efforts made to keep his railroad construction up to the rear of his army.

The construction, operation, and repair of the railroads

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