Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Railroad Maps, 1828-1900

Back to Collection Connections

State of Alabama. October. 2nd. 1866.

[Detail] State of Alabama. October. 2nd. 1866.

2) Military Campaigns

In 1764, British engineer Capt. John Montressor built the first North American railway, located in Lewiston, New York, and used it for military purposes. Military usage continued to be an impetus for the development of railroad technology. The railroad's ability to transport troops and supplies was a major impetus for railroad mapping during the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln had these military benefits in mind when he backed the building of the transcontinental railroad, although it was not completed until 1869.

Search on military to find maps depicting railroads used for military purposes. Based on the year the map was made, students can determine for which war the map was created. They can determine how railroads aided in the war effort. Between what areas did the trains run? How was that important to the military campaign? What additional forms of transportation might the soldiers have used? How might the enemy act upon the information it would glean from such a map? How are trains used in war in modern times?

For additional maps, students can browse the Subject Index for the Military Battles and Campaigns section of Map Collections: 1500-2004. Within that section of the collection is Civil War Maps which students can browse by its Title Index.