Sesame Club hears program on Civil War transportation


The Oak Room at the Pine Bluff Country Club was the setting for the recent Sesame Club meeting.

President Bonnie McClure led the members in the reading of the Collect to open the meeting. After a brief business meeting, McClure introduced Julia Ann Beckham, who presented a most interesting program on transportation in the Civil War.

There were three major methods of transportation during the war. The primary method of travel was by cutters on waterways. Both sides used this method to transport the vast majority of goods. At the beginning of the war, the Union had 42 ships and by the end 671. The Confederates started with 30 ships and ended with 101.

The second most used mode of travel was by train. The types of trains used at this time included supply, passenger, and medical horses were the third method of travel either by wagon, buggy, or horseback.

The geography of the Western Campaign proved river transport vital to the war effort. Both sides wanted control of the Mississippi River.

In 1861 the Union had 21,276 miles of railroads while the Confederates had 9,000 miles. The Confederates were at a disadvantage with the rail because of the Union blockade and the lack of manufacturing facilities. General Sherman, Union, cut off rail lines into Atlanta thereby starving the Confederates out of Atlanta.

Horses and mules were used by both sides as a means of transportation of men and supplies. The horses were also used by the cavalry and the artillery. Wagons were used to supply food and ammunition and to transport the sick and wounded.

Beckham closed her program with these thoughts: “America has no north, no south, no east, no west. The sun rises over the hills and sets over the mountains, the compass just points up and down, and we can laugh now at the absurd notion of there being a north and a south. We are one and undivided.” Sam Watkins – 1st Tennessee

And finally, “that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” — Lincoln’s final paragraph of the Gettysburg Address.

Following the program the hostesses — Ann Clark, Sue Trotter and LaNelle Roberts — served desserts.