Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

An Object of Yankee Ire

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on October 21, 2017

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The Astros’ Locomotive at Minute Maid Park is based loosely on the Civil War Western & Atlantic Railroad locomotive “General.” Yankees have hated that thing for a long, long time.



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  1. J.B. Richman said, on November 6, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Built in 1855 by Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor in Paterson, New Jersey. Hardly a Southern Locomotive by origin. Paterson NJ also was where Samuel Colt had his first factory. John Holland built his subs there. I’m half Yankee (meaning a New Englander of mostly English ancestry, not the mistaken Southern usage) and I have no problem with this Jersey Boy Choo Choo no matter where he ended up!

    • Andy Hall said, on November 7, 2017 at 7:53 am

      Very few locomotives were built in the South; there wan’t the industrial/manufacturing base for it. I saw figured recently for locomotive production in 1860, and (from memory) there were ten or twelve locomotives built in the entire South that year, about half coming out of Tredegar at Richmond.

      That was one of the biggest challenges the Confederacy faced with logistical transport; they had little-to-no capacity to build new locomotives or rolling stock, and had great difficulty maintaining what they did have. That’s why they had to have Captain Sharp haul all that B&O equipment overland from Martinsburg to put it on the Confederate lines. 😉

      • J.B. Richman said, on November 8, 2017 at 10:57 pm

        The one scene in GWTW with any real historical accuracy is where Rhett Butler patiently explains to the Fire-Eaters the long odds they face in going to war. What you have described is yet another example of why the Confederacy was doomed from the start, and only was given a couple years breathing room because of obvious military mistakes by the Union side.

        • Andy Hall said, on November 9, 2017 at 9:09 pm

          That is one of the few scenes in that film that rings true.

        • Andy Hall said, on November 9, 2017 at 9:25 pm

          From the novel:


          “Gentlemen,” said Rhett Butler, in a flat drawl that bespoke his Charleston birth, not moving from his position against the tree or taking his hands from his pockets, “may I say a word?”

          There was contempt in his manner as in his eyes, contempt overlaid with an air of courtesy that somehow burlesqued their own manners.

          The group turned toward him and accorded him the politeness always due an outsider.

          “Has any one of you gentlemen ever thought that there’s not a cannon factory south of the Mason-Dixon Line? Or how few iron foundries there are in the South? Or woolen mills or cotton factories or tanneries? Have you thought that we would not have a single warship and that the Yankee fleet could bottle up our harbors in a week, so that we could not sell our cotton abroad? But–of course–you gentlemen have thought of these things.”

          “Why, he means the boys are a passel of fools!” thought Scarlett indignantly, the hot blood coming to her cheeks.

          Evidently, she was not the only one to whom this idea occurred, for several of the boys were beginning to stick out their chins.

          John Wilkes casually but swiftly came back to his place beside the speaker, as if to impress on all present that this man was his guest and that, moreover, there were ladies present.

          “The trouble with most of us Southerners,” continued Rhett Butler, “is that we either don’t travel enough or we don’t profit enough by our travels. Now, of course, all you gentlemen are well traveled. But what have you seen? Europe and New York and Philadelphia and, of course, the ladies have been to Saratoga” (he bowed slightly to the group under the arbor). “You’ve seen the hotels and the museums and the balls and the gambling houses. And you’ve come home believing that there’s no place like the South. As for me, I was Charleston born, but I have spent the last few years in the North.” His white teeth showed in a grin, as though he realized that everyone present knew just why he no longer lived in Charleston, and cared not at all if they did know. “I have seen many things that you all have not seen. The thousands of immigrants who’d be glad to fight for the Yankees for food and a few dollars, the factories, the foundries, the shipyards, the iron and coal mines–all the things we haven’t got. Why, all we have is cotton and slaves and arrogance. They’d lick us in a month.”

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