Manassas, Va., Orange and Alexandria Railroad wrecked by retreating Confederates. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-cwpb-03748 DLC)

During the Civil War, railroads played an important role in combat for the first time in history. Trains carried troops to the battlefields and delivered supplies to the armies. Locomotives pushed armored flatcars with a siege guns mounted on them down the tracks and within range of the enemy.

Tracks of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad destroyed by the Confederates between Bristoe Station and the Rappahannock River. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division LC-DIG-cwpb-00768 DLC)

One rail line important to the South and North was the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. The railroad started in Alexandria, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington City, and ran southwest to Gordonsville.

Confederate and Union armies contested over the Orange and Alexandria from First Manassas in July 1861 to the end of the Civil War in April 1865.

Not surprisingly then, all three Poore brothers fought over, across and for its tracks. Many of their battles can be seen as struggles by both sides to get control of the railroad.

In writing about your ancestors in the Civil War, have you looked into the railroads that carried them into battle for stories about their experiences?

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