Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. W. Harrison Daniel

Second Advisor

Dr. John L. Gordon

Third Advisor

Dr. William H. Thorn


The South Side Rail Road, chartered in 1846, was the fourth railroad to serve the city of Petersburg, Virginia, and, upon its completion in 1854, was the only direct rail link the city had through the Virginia Piedmont to Lynchburg and points west. The railroad was a major conveyor of trade through the Southside region of Virginia and served as an engine of economic development for the area. During the Civil War the road was a vital means of transportation of men and materiel for the Confederate government. After the war, General William Mahone, a railroad professional and war hero, was elected president of the South Side. In 1870, he consolidated the road into his railroad empire, the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio Railroad Company. This thesis examines the organization, construction, financing, and operation of the South Side Rail Road Company from its origin in 1846 to its merger in 1870. It has relied primarily upon such sources as the annual reports and business records of the company, newspaper and journal accounts, and journals, reports, and acts of the Virginia General Assembly.

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