The Surrender of Southern Railroads

August 21, 1867


A report comes out regarding the southern railroad ownership.At the end of the Civil War, the railroads in the South were turned over to the federal government as a term of surrender, but many white southerners are not happy with this.However, Secretary Stanton believes that the transfer of ownership will provide more benefits to the South than people think, as it will allow for an easy transport of resources to help rebuild the South and boost its economy under the direction of the government.


The Surrender of Southern Railroads. - The report of the special committee of the House appointed to investigate the surrender of the southern railroads at the close of the war, which has just been published, contains many interesting facts concerning the use, working, and benefit of these roads to the Government, as well as the manner in which their original owners obtained possession of them. Secretary Stanton was examined at length, and his opinion on the surrender of the roads and disposition of the rolling stock being asked, he gave it as follows: "My opinion is now, that although the course pursued has been followed by all the good results that were anticipated, yet the measure was wise and judicious, and the best course that could have been taken by the Government, with the facts that were then before them, and even with the facts that are now before them. I think good has resulted in opening these channels of commerce, in getting from the rebel States their productions, and in furnishing them with supplies, without which, there is reason to believe, there would have been starvation to a deplorable extent. And, regarded as a pecuniary question, if it could be estimated, I think that the benefit far exceeds the money value of the roads and property turned over; and even with the experience and the disappointment of anticipated hopes as to the speedy restoration of peace that now exist, I would not, as at present advised, be prepared to recommend any other or different measure."
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“The Surrender of Southern Railroads,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed September 28, 2022,