(also a November 28, 2007 update on Tom Fetters' most current book activity)


Tom Fetters is working on a new book about the Charleston and Hamburg line and the SCRR. He has contracted with a publisher who wants to have the book out before the end of 2007.


Tom is very generous with his research material and several of our Chapter members have been placing his material in notebooks for future reference and for comparison when the book is finally finished.  We want to track Tomís use of material we have had a hand in researching.  We may never write a book ourselves, but we are enjoying hanging onto Tomís coattail as he takes the steps necessary for bringing research material into the fruition of a real book available for public consumption.


Of special interest are the concluding comments Tom makes about the heartache over the interesting material that the publisher wants cut from the book to bring the book into compliance with the word count allowance.  This material may be missing from the book, but we have the privilege of having the cut material available here on our website.  Tom welcomes any comments about his writings and he may be contacted at

Tom writes:


During the War Between the States, it appears that the railroads in the southeast became open roads.  By this I mean, the railroads accepted the trains from any other road and allowed them to run across the rail lines.

The Macon & Western sent trains over the Central of Georgia to Savannah, then over the Charleston & Savannah, but I always figured the train was turned over at Savannah and S&C crews ran them to Charleston. They then ran up the Northeastern and over the Wilmington & Manchester to Wilmington. S&C complained that they lost locomotives and cars that got to Wilmington and did not come back. This implies that the S&C men did not go with the trains.

Now I find that the East Tennessee & Georgia assigned an engineer and a locomotive to a train and ran over the Georgia Railroad (Georgia RR & Banking Co) to Augusta, then over the South Carolina to Branchville, up to Kingsville, then over the Wilmington & Manchester to Wilmington. That is a long run and used three foreign lines. They also routed trains over the Georgia to Augusta, the SC to Columbia, then to the Charlotte & South Carolina up to Charlotte and beyond. Another amazing trip! I am looking into whether the trains continued up the North Carolina to the Piedmont RR to the Richmond& Danville to reach Richmond, or out of Wilmington up the Wilmington & Weldon then up to Richmond.   There was one rescue W&A train that ran west to Alabama, then east to Macon, then to Savannah, then to Charleston and then to Augusta was a train of locomotives, cars, equipment sent out to save it.  That was a train with a W&A crew on multiple lines.

In the case of the trains from Augusta to Wilmington and the trains from Augusta to Charlotte,  these were not Western & Atlantic with W&A crews, but these were East Tenness & Georgia trains with ET&W crews that operated over the Georgia RR, and the others (SCRR, W&M and C&SC) after the equipment was shuttled from the Chattanooga-Knoxville line down to Augusta. ET&G pushed about five locomotives off a bridge into the river as better than losing them to the Yankee raids. 

I know that out of Chattanooga, trains ran up the East Tennessee & Georgia to Knoxville, the East Tennessee & Virginia to Bristol, the Virginia & Tennessee to Lynchburg and the Richmond and Danville to Richmond.  That gave the CSA three basic routes from Atlanta to Richmond:  Augusta to Kingsville to Wilmington; Augusta to Columbia to Charlotte; and Chattanooga to Knoxville to Bristol.  And one train ran Atlanta to Macon to Savannah to Charleston to Florence to Wilmington.

While the routes seem simple enough, having one man take a train through changes things a bit. One man from Atlanta was stopped at a water tower by a conscription agent who wanted to put him in the army, but he carried papers saying he was too important to the war effort to be inducted.


This ship regularly made the New York to New Orleans run. It was leased for the run to Fort Sumter rather than use a war ship and was to replenish supplies, but secretly they loaded 200 army troops on board. SC had seceded in mid December and the word passed down via southern men in the war department and state department what was coming and what it had.   One story says the Star of the West sustained some damage, but I found a list of the hits and it turned back and went to New York for repair.  Back in service it was sent to Texas to pick up US troops to get them out, but a ship pulled up with the "US Troops" and they loaded them. Then it turned out they were Texas troops and they seized the ship and headed for New Orleans and the crew was seized as prisoners of war.  Seems poetic in a way to be used duplicitously to sneak US troops to Fort Sumter, and then be boarded by false US Troops at Texas who were Texas troops of the CSA.


Another find this past week was a "Diary from Dixie" by a woman married to the aide to Jeff Davis who became a Brigadier General.  In the book, her husband was awakened as the Yankees began to shell Columbia.  He got the heck out of town and everything was ok.  That night, 12 or so hours later, he was on a hillside with other witnesses and they saw Columbia begin to burn.  The official story from Sherman's men is that the CSA set Columbia afire. 


I also have a story about a family in Columbia who figured out where the troops were going to go using military reasoning.  They went to Alston and found they were about to arrive.  Went to Winnsboro, and they were only minutes away.  Went to Lancaster, then to Cheraw and then up to Fayetteville.  They gave up and headed back to Chester and managed to bypass the troops.


Also a neat story about how the writer went from Lincolnton, NC to Charlotte in April of 1865 to catch the train.  It came in nine hours late and filled with paroled soldiers, but the mail clerk let her and two other ladies into the mail car.  She rode to Chester, which by my records had to be the end of the line after the tracks were ripped up below that point. 





I heard from the publisher after I sent a hard copy on paper to them in a binder to show how I see the book.  They asked what the word count was and I said I wasn't going to count them all.  They then told me about a trick in "Word" where you can push a toggle and get the word count.  (Too bad "Word" doesn't come with an instruction book.  I did not find that this was intuitive, and never knew to even look for it.)


Well, the word count was 60,000 and that was well over the 40,000 that they wanted.  They suggested removing a couple of paragraphs (which indicated to me they really had no grasp on how deep a cut would have to be made.)  I was devastated, but, decided that removing the lead chapter, which is on South Carolina before the railroad, in which all the other transportation problems were discussed could be sacrificed.  Then I removed the references to the Nullification problem that nearly led to war back in the Jackson years, and removed the Star of the West incident (as it really was not railroad oriented) and was still far short of the goal.  I then removed the South Carolina & Georgia and then the South Carolina Railway (receivership) under Dan Chamberlain (a really neat story), and then the South Carolina Railway and got to about 41,000 without tampering with the basic text.  


I then had to rework this modified text and remove all paragraph "tab" indentations and go to "three spaces" as per their guide book, then put one space between sentences instead of the normal two spaces.  Finally, they wanted the margins reset, and instructed me how to do that.  (Again, not an intuitive thing and something I never had needed to do.)  They wanted one inch all around. 


SO, I still have the introductory chapter intact and will use it another time.  I still have the SC Railway story and the South Carolina & Georgia story, so while not in the book, it is preserved for another.


I sent the whole thing through by e-mail and it was accepted (so far) so we are back on track.


Having worked with five other publishers over the years, I was never asked to province a manuscript to the special standards that they had set up.  I am sure they had their own standards, but they never applied them.  Yesterday was a bear what with resetting the paragraph inset and respacing every sentence.  Still, I got to read it again (quickly) and found it still very engrossing and charming and I think, while shorter, is essentially the original book (minus a lead chapter and three end chapters)


(I am concerned about a future page reduction if they think to use the word count on the Forward and the Index.  Still, they may have that in consideration already.  I am not about to bring it up as I think the cuts were deep enough.) 

 September 2007 reprinted with the permission of Tom Fetters


Hi Mary,


I have in hand a copy of the finished C&H book, subject to my finding errors for correcting.  It is unloading as I write this.  It is about 156 pages and should knock your socks off.  They did a fine job. 


Right now they are still dickering around with the title since the Charleston & Hamburg Untold Stories of America's Premier Railroad does not contain the words "South Carolina". That will get resolved.  Anyway, pending the return, they estimate 8 weeks for publication.


MORE amazing is that I have just this week returned the corrected Logging Railroads of the Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains  "Cold Mountain, Black Mountain and White Top"


It is really great and fully searchable with an 11 page, two column index, but in addition a list of all lines with reference to town, county, state and page number. 


This one is published in 2007 and so MAY be out by the end of December.




I am so surprised.