Rail comes to Chesterfield

While the Civil War didn’t fully arrive in Chesterfield until May of 1864, one of the Confederacy’s major means of transporting troops and goods quickly was the Richmond and Danville Railroad. It was designed and its construction supervised by Chesterfield engineer Andrew Talcott. Talcott died on April 23, 1883 but his railroad remains as the Norfolk Southern. Construction on the 140-mile long line began in 1849 and by 1850, the new railroad stretched to Coalfield Station, near the coal mines near what is now Midlothian.

The operators of the first railroad in Virginia, a mule powered line was replaced by the modern steam locomotive trains.

It wasn’t just the Richmond and Danville that the Confederates needed for war, according to the Richmond Dispatch on April 26, 1861, Quartermaster B.F. Fricklin saw it imperative that a rail line between Richmond and Petersburg be built. “It is necessary and important that the railroads in Richmond and Petersburg should be connected so as to give increased facilities for the transmission of troops and supplies.”

Within months, “Connecting Fredericksburg and Petersburg Railroads in Richmond, and Petersburg and Southern Railroad in Petersburg,” was ordered by the Governor, “and is a military necessity that brooks no delay.” The RF&P (now CSX) Railroad was born.


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