- Associated Press - Monday, March 9, 2015

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - An 1862 letter acquired by the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority describes the destruction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Martinsburg by Confederate troops.

The letter written by W.C. Quincy says Confederate soldiers destroyed railroad bridges and buildings after 8,000 troops arrived in Martinsburg on Oct. 18, 1862. They took up track ties and set them on fire, and then threw the rail on the burning piles, The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Maryland, (https://bit.ly/1wRlHpZ) reported.

“Reports from the line of our road are of the most discouraging character,” Quincy, the railroad’s assistant master of road, wrote in the Oct. 22, 1862, letter to B&O President John W. Garrett.

Quincy’s letter described a continuous line of fires along the rail line east and west of Martinsburg.

“I am not easily alarmed by rumors but I fear sir that our entire tracks, bridges, buildings and all our property between Opequon (perhaps Duffields) and Back Creek will be destroyed,” Quincy wrote.

The roundhouse authority acquired the letter last fall, along with an earlier letter written by Quincy to Garrett, for $500. The authority is charged with restoring and redeveloping the historic B&O roundhouse complex in Martinsburg.

Berkeley County Council member Elaine Mauck, the council’s liaison to the authority, told the newspaper that she alerted Jeff Hollis, the authority board secretary, after she discovered the letters on eBay. Hollis then negotiated the purchase.

“They’re one of a kind, you’re not going to find 10 more of them,” Hollis told the newspaper.

Roundhouse Authority Chairman Stedman Howard said the acquisition was worth it. An ongoing effort by the authority seeks to highlight the railroad’s history in Martinsburg, particularly during the Civil War period and the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, which began at the B&O’s Martinsburg shops.


Information from: The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., https://www.herald-mail.com

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