Preservation effort: Confederate mobilization, logistics center in NE Alabama

Bet you never heard of Blue Mountain Rail Depot either…. From the Rome News-Tribune of Rome, Georgia:

Civil War Historians aim to develop Anniston site.

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) — A group of Civil War history buffs is looking to help develop an Anniston site that is mostly unknown to locals but that played a significant role in the Confederacy’s war effort.

Members of the Civil War Trust, a 55,000-member organization based in Washington, D.C., is encouraging local interest in the development of a park at the site of the former Blue Mountain Industries. Thousands of Confederate soldiers trained at the Blue Mountain rail depot and training camp, the group’s members say.

Historians and Civil War experts say the site, where industrialists later built the textile mills that became Blue Mountain Industries, was home during the war to a Confederate supply depot and training camp.

“There was a railroad there, and it was a camp of instruction,” said Willie R. Johnson, park historian at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Georgia.

Civil War author and historian Jeff Giambrone, of Clinton, Miss., had not heard of Blue Mountain, but at a reporter’s request he searched Union and Confederate records.

“There are hundreds of mentions of Blue Mountain,” he said after the search. Among his finds was an act of the Confederate Congress in 1862 allocating more than $1 million in bonds to further develop rail transportation between Blue Mountain and Rome, Ga.

The war ended before the railroad was extended.

Leading up to the Civil War’s beginning in the spring of 1861 and through the duration of the Civil War, the camp grew to extend from the railroad tracks near the site of the old textile mill all the way to slopes of Blue Mountain, southeast of where Kmart stands today north of downtown Anniston. The site included a hospital, a prison and a place for organizing regiments, according to Alexandria resident Mac Gillam.

Preservationists envision something of a “pocket park” that highlights the location’s importance.
So an effort to showcase a logistical center of the war? Once again, an example where we are observing the sesquicentennial differently than the centennial, just fifty years ago.