The Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Rail Road

The Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Rail Road

Dreams of Linking North and South
H. Roger Grant
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/17/2014
Format: Hardback 23 b&w illus., 2 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-01181-7
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Among the grand antebellum plans to build railroads to interconnect the vast American republic, perhaps none was more ambitious than the Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston. The route was intended to link the cotton-producing South and the grain and livestock growers of the Old Northwest with traders and markets in the East, creating economic opportunities along its 700-mile length. But then came the Panic of 1837, and the project came to a halt. H. Roger Grant tells the incredible story of this singular example of "railroad fever" and the remarkable visionaries whose hopes for connecting North and South would require more than half a century—and one Civil War—to reach fruition.

Author Bio

H. Roger Grant is Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson University. He is author of 30 books, including Visionary Railroader (IUP, 2008), Iowa’s Railroads (with Don L. Hofsommer) (IUP, 2009), and Railroads and the American People (IUP, 2012).


“The incredible story of an ambitious plan to connect the Old Northwest, South, and East—and of the remarkable visionaries who would require more than half a century and one Civil War to see the plan come to fruition.”

“As a researcher and railroad history writer, Grant is one of the best. ”
 — Herbert H. Harwood, Jr., author of The Railroad That Never Was: Vanderbilt, Morgan, and the South Pennsylvania Railroad

“Roger Grant has taken on a formidable challenge, a history of a railroad that was never built, and he has succeeded in writing an excellent book on the Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston Railroad.  He takes the reader through the undeveloped hinterlands of the South, to the bustling ports of Charleston, to the Knoxville Railroad Convention, to the halls of the State Capitol in Columbia and to the homes and hearts of the individuals who dreamed of building or stopping this railroad.  It is an epic tale and Roger gives us a very readable book that is grounded in sound scholarship.  This is an excellent addition to any railroad library.”
 — Nicholas Fry, Curator, John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library

“This book holds appeal within the market segments of both railroad and U. S. Civil War scholars and enthusiasts, especially in view of the attention that will be generated by the forthcoming Civil War Sesquicentennial activities. ”
 — John Spychalski, Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University

“The history of American railroading is littered with overambitious plans, failed schemes, unfinished lines, bankrupt corporations. . . . Grant turns his sights on one such failure, the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Rail Road. . . and in the process reveals as much, if not more about the messy business of railroad construction, as one could learn from a history of a successful line. ”
 — Ohio Valley History

“H. Roger Grant has written an interesting book about something that did not happen. . . . Grant speculate[s] that a healthy LC & C would have influenced American history, perhaps to the point of changing the trajectory towards war. Railroad enthusiasts will certainly like this book . . . but Civil War scholars should find the last chapter an interesting exercise in Civil War causation. . . . [H]e has written a well-researched book that should make you think about the antebellum South and the coming of the Civil War. ”
 — Civil War Book Review

“Professor Grant has produced an outstanding work on an important element of American railroad history. Grant has devoted much of his life to the story of America’s railroads, and it shows. The book is rich in detail, and he very skillfully places what was happening in South Carolina within the context of railroad history throughout the country. The endnotes reveal an extensive mining of primary and secondary sources. In short, The Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Rail Road tells an important story—and tells it well.”
 — The Civil War Monitor

“Professor Grant's well-researched book traces the attempt to connect Charleston with the Ohio, and muses on what might have been, had the projects succeeded. . . . Thanks to the author's treatment of the subject matter, the book should appeal to anyone interested in the history of early railroads, not just those of the Old South. ”
 — The Lexington Quarterly

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Table of Contents

1. Slow, Difficult and Dangerous Travel
2. A Rail Road?
3. Knoxville, 1836
4. Surveys, Finances and Construction
5. Crisis and Contraction
6. What Happened
7. What Might Have Happened

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