Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

The Great Shohola Train Wreck – The Geographic Context

Posted By on May 13, 2014


The question of the importance of the location that Elmira, Chemung County, New York, had to the Union war effort can best be answered by examining a regional map from the time period.  The above map is adapted from an 1868 railroad map and shows the major points of interest to a study of the Great Shohola Train Wreck.  Railroads are shown in black lines of various thicknesses to indicate major traveled routes as well as lesser traveled routes.  By clicking on the map, it will enlarge.


#1 – Top left corner, is Elmira, New York.  North from Elmira was the route to Canada.  South from Elmira was the route connecting with the Northern Central Railroad which terminated at Baltimore, with connections to Washington, D.C.  East from Elmira was the Erie route which terminated at Jersey City, New Jersey, which is #3 on the map.  Elmira was also the western muster point for New York troops before they headed south to the war.

#2 – Lower left corner, is Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  Harrisburg was known as the “Crossroads of the Union.”  Harrisburg was also the location of Camp Curtin.

#3 – Center right side, is Jersey City, New Jersey, the location where the steamer Crescent discharged the prisoners and Union guards as they continued on their journey to Elmira.

#4 – To right of center at bottom, is Philadelphia, with rail connections to New York, Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

#5 – On the route between Jersey City (#3) and Elmira (#1), the location of the Great Shohola Train Wreck.

#6 – On the route between Harrisburg (#2) and Elmira (#1), the location Millersburg, on the Susquehanna River and the Lykens Valley of Dauphin County, through which rail traffic passed on the Northern Central Railroad.

#7 – On the route between Harrisburg (#2) and Elmira (#1), is Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

#8 – On the route between Harrisburg (#2) and Elmira (#1) is Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.


To see all the posts in this series, click on ShoholaTrainWreck.


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