The Straight Shoot.

July 27, 1870


A new railway line that efficiently connects Virginia, the West, and the Southwest must be built, as current lines are inefficient and need to be replaced so that Virginia may expand their population, manufacturing, purchasing power, and industry.


The corporators in the charter of the straight shoot railroad from Lynchburg to Richmond met in thin city yesterday, and took measures for raising the minimum capital of $100,000 preparatory to the organization of the company. A report of their proceedings will be found elsewhere in the Dispatch of this morning. The gentlemen present were fully improved with the importance of the road, and were confident that it will be promptly built This road is absolutely indispensable as well to Virginia as Richmond itself. This State cannot afford to leave her principal city overslaughed, pretermitted, playing second fiddle to places which have not the ability to compete for trade and make that use of commerce which will secure to the State the advantages of rapidly-increasing manufacturing power, a dense population, large consumption of agricultural products, and active development of mineral wealth. In order that Richmond may be made in the highest degree available for the promotion of these great objects of state policy she must have direct, unobstructed, and rapid intercourse with the western and southwestern interior. In this day of active and expeditious communication, when millions are expended to save a few miles in distance, and hours and even half-hours are esteemed important, and have their weight in the scale of competition, no place can hope to flourish whose lines are not straight, and whose fate is not even that of a way-station of a main line, but to be far from that line and communicating with it by a lateral line at a loss of twenty miles in distance. The straightening and expediting of our communication with the Southwest will put a new face upon our commerce with that teeming part of the country. The road will be one of the most active and busy in the State, and will, beyond question, be one of the most thrifty. It will be a bright day for Richmond when it commences operations. Let the citizen of Richmond imagine his feelings when looking upon a train of cars, built and equipped in the latest style, drawn by the most improved locomotive, departing from the western limits of the city directly for the Southwest. Would be not be aroused with enthusiasm, and feel himself filled with hope and energy by the sight? Would he not know that at last we had direct communication, efficient and active social and commercial intercourse with the prosperous and teeming Southwest? And would he not feel that we had this communication under circumstances that secured to us all the advantage of distance that is possible, and all the energy and enterprise that activity and speed could ensure? Contrast the impulses that would be imparted by such a sight with the feelings inspired now by looking at the Danville train as it leaves the depot. Does any man think of the Southwest when he looks upon that train? Can he realize the idea that he, a citizen of Richmond, is to communicate through that, train with Little Tennessee and East Tennessee, and have any material share in the rich trade of those fruitful sections? The contrast is as wide as the poles. Nobody feels the Danville road as an artery between us and the Southwest. It has no life as such, and we no life through it. It is a great road in its own sphere, and a direct road to the South, opening to this city a grand commerce; but as a conduit to Southwest Virginia, &c., it is not impressive? it is not efficient- it is not satisfactory ; and as it was never intended to subserve any such purpose, it is no reflection upon it to say that it does not. But it would be an enduring disgrace upon this city if it were content to continue the employment of an expedient so entirely deficient, in this day of unparalleled activity and competition. Let us build the " straight shoot" at once, and thus vindicate our character for sagacity and enterprise, and protect, not only our own interests, but the integrity of the trade of Virginia. The people of Richmond and the people of the Southside residing upon the line of this proposed road should subscribe to it heartily and promptly. It is a work fraught with inestimable benefits for them all.
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Bryce Smith




“The Straight Shoot.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 27, 2021,