Map of the Railroad Between Charleston and Hamburg, 1829

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The South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company (SCC & RR Co.) received its charter in 1827.  It was established to provide an easy way to transport goods, especially cotton, from the upstate to the port of Charleston for exportation.  In the 1820s, South Carolinians in the backcountry began sending their crops to Savannah by river.  It was faster and easier to send their goods by river than to travel over land to Charleston.  As the goods bypassed Charleston, the city began to decline in importance as a port for trade.  Before the city could reap the benefits of the new SCC & RR line, however, the company needed to select a route. The route they chose would end in Hamburg (now North Augusta) because the town provided the best location to intercept goods on their way to Savannah.  Since building a railroad was a new endeavor in the state of South Carolina, the SCC & RR Co. called upon the outside expertise of the United States Army Corps of Engineers to aid in the survey of the land between the two locations.  Colonel William Howard, who led the team of engineers, produced a report for the company that included the above map of the suggested route.  The final course covered 136 miles, which when completed in 1833, made the Charleston-Hamburg line the longest railroad in the world.  In 1924, at the peak of the railroad in South Carolina, there were approximately 3350 miles of tracks, and it all began with the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company. 


Howard, William.  Report on the Charleston and Hamburg Rail Road.  Charleston, SC: 1829.  Published Materials Division.  South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. 

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of places and regions and the role of human systems in South Carolina.
Indicator 3-1.2 Interpret thematic maps of South Carolina places and regions that show how and where people live, work, and use land and transportation. (G, P, E)
Indicator 3-1.4 Explain the effects of human systems on the physical landscape of South Carolina over time, including the relationship of population distribution and patterns of migration to natural resources, climate, agriculture, and economic development. (G, E, H)
Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina’s role in these events.
Indicator 3-4.6 Explain how the Civil War affected South Carolina’s economy, including destruction of plantations, towns, factories, and transportation systems. (E, H)
Standard 3-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the major developments in South Carolina in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century.
Indicator 3-5.1 Summarize developments in industry and technology in South Carolina in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, including the rise of the textile industry, the expansion of the railroad, and the growth of the towns. (H, G, E)
Indicator 3-5.2 Summarize the effects of the state and local laws that are commonly known as Jim Crow laws on African Americans in particular and on South Carolinians as a whole. (H, P, E, G)
Indicator 3-5.4 Explain the impact and the causes of emigration from South Carolina and internal migration from the rural areas to the cities, including unemployment, poor sanitation and transportation services, and the lack of electricity and other modern conveniences in rural locations. (H, E, G)
Standard 4-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the westward movement and its impact on the institution of slavery.
Indicator 4-5.2 Explain the motives for the exploration in the West and the push for westward expansion, including the concept of manifest destiny, economic opportunities in trade, and the availability of rich land. (G, E, H)
Standard 4-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the Civil War and its impact on America.
Indicator 4-6.1 Compare the industrial North and the agricultural South prior to the Civil War, including the specific nature of the economy of each region, the geographic characteristics and boundaries of each region, and the basic way of life in each region. (G, E, H)

Indicator 4-6.6: Explain the impact of the Civil War on the nation, including its effects on the physical environment and on the people—soldiers, women, African Americans, and the civilian population of the nation as a whole. (H, P, G, E)

Standard 5-1: The student will demonstrate an udnerstanding of Reconstruction and its impact on racial relations in the United States.
Indicator 5-1.5 Explain the purpose and motivations behind the rise of discriminatory laws and groups and their effect on the rights and opportunities of African Americans in different regions of the United States. (P, G, E, H)
Standard 5-2: The student will demonstrate an udnerstanding of the continued westward expansion of the United States.

Indicator 5-2.1 Explain how aspects of the natural environment - including the principal mountain ranges and rivers, terrain, vegetation, and climate of the region— affected travel to the West and thus the settlement of that region. (G, H)

Indicator 5-2.3 Summarize how railroads affected development of the West, including their ease and inexpensiveness for travelers and their impact on trade and the natural environment. (G, E, H)
Standard 5-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of major domestic and foreign developments that contributed to the United States' becoming a world power.
Indicator 5-3.3 Explain the effects of immigration and urbanization on the American economy during the Industrial Revolution, including the role of immigrants in the work force and the growth of cities, the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy, and the rise of big business. (P, G, E, H)
Standard 5-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of developments in the United States since the fall of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in 1992.
Indicator 5-6.2 Explain how humans change the physical environment of regions and the consequences of such changes, including use of natural resources and the expansion of transportation systems. (P, G, E)
Standard 8-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Civil War—its causes and effects and the major events that occurred during that time.
Indicator 8-3.1 Explain the importance of agriculture in antebellum South Carolina, including plantation life, slavery, and the impact of the cotton gin. (H, G, E)
Standard 8-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of Reconstruction on the people and government of South Carolina.
Indicator 8-4.1 Explain the purposes of Reconstruction with attention to the economic, social, political, and geographic problems facing the South, including reconstruction of towns, factories, farms, and transportation systems; the effects of emancipation; racial tension; tension between social classes; and disagreement over voting rights. (H, G, P, E)
Standard 8-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of major social, political, and economic developments that took place inthe United States during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Indicator 8-5.1 Summarize the political, economic, and social conditions in South Carolina following the end of Reconstruction, including the leadership of Wade Hampton and the so-called Bourbons or Redeemers, agricultural depression and struggling industrial development, the impact of the temperance and suffrage movements, the development of the 1895 constitution, and the evolution of race relations and Jim Crow laws. (H, P, E)
Indicator 8-5.4 Compare migration patterns within South Carolina and in the United States as a whole in the late nineteenth century, including the population shift from rural to urban areas, migration between regions of the United States, the westward expansion, and the motivations for migration and settlement. (H, G, E)
Indicator 8-5.5 Summarize the human, agricultural, and economic costs of natural disasters and wars that occurred in South Carolina or involved South Carolinians in the late nineteenth century, including the Charleston earthquake of 1886, the hurricane of 1893, and the Spanish American War. (H, G, E)
Standard USHC-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the westward movement and the resulting regional conflicts that took place in America in the nienteenth century.
Indicator USHC-3.1 Explain the impact and challenges of westward movement, including the major land acquisitions, people’s motivations for moving west, railroad construction, the displacement of Native Americans, and the its impact on   the developing American character. (H, G, E)
Indicator USHC-3.3 Compare economic development in different regions of the country during the early nineteenth century, including agriculture in the South, industry and finance in the North, and the development of new resources in the West. (E, H, G)
Standard USHC-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the causes and the course of the Civil War and Reconstruction in America.
Indicator USHC-4.5 Summarize the progress made by African Americans during Reconstruction and the subsequent reversals brought by Reconstruction’s end, including the creation of the Freedmen’s Bureau, gains in educational and political opportunity, and the rise of anti–African American factions and legislation. (H, E, G, P)
Standard USHC-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of major social, political, and economic developments that took place in the United States during the second half of the ninnteenth century.
Indicator USHC-5.5 Explain the causes and effects of urbanization in late nineteenth-century America, including the movement from farm to city, the continuation of the women’s suffrage movement, and the migration of African Americans to the North and the Midwest. (H, G, E, P)

Additional Flash Versions:

Charleston Hamburg Railroad Map, 1828



Lessons Using this Document:

The Charleston Railroad

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