Mound City 1862 is a display layout I am building that is intended to travel and be shown much like is done in the UK and Europe. This will be my first true display layout. I have exhibited with the Free-mo organization at the National Train Show in 2012 and enjoyed it very much. I actually enjoyed talking with the crowds more than running the trains. My goal is to have it ready for the National Show in Cleveland in 2014.
Mound City IL is located at bottom of the state and other than Cairo, IL is the most southern point in the state. In 1861 at the start of the Civil War the city was fortified and the marine ways along with the railroad depot, warehouses and river frontage were handed over to the US Army. Several Ironclads, Rams and various other elements of the Brown Water Fleet were erected here. The most famous being three of the Eads Ironclads, U.S.S. Cairo, U.S.S. Cincinnati and the U.S.S. Mound City.
Mound City and Cairo were very strategic locations as they would become the jump off points for the first major western battles of the American Civil War. A large warehouse in Mound City was converted into a hospital and served the wounded from battles like Shiloh. With the marine ways the locations primary function was the service and fitting-out of the large river fleet which was required to patrol the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
The railroad played a key part to all of this. The Mound City Railroad was built by private interests prior to the civil war to connect Mound City with the Illinois Central main line at Mounds IL some six miles away. The railroad serviced the hospital and the Naval station with regular trains of supplies and fresh troops from Chicago and other points north. In 1862 the Maine Ways, hospital and other facilities were officially transferred from the Army to the Navy. At this time many Naval operations were relocated from Cairo, and St. Louis to Mound City. This makes the fall of 1862 a very busy time for Mound City and the basis for the display.
There are not many images or maps of Mound City from the 1860’s. As a result research and creating an accurate representation has been difficult. The only map of the area (which is known to be simplified) shows one main line splitting into three stub tracks. One servicing the hospital and the other two servicing and the old station and other buildings. We also know that a second depot was erected in 1861 for the general public since the army took possession of the original depot near the river. It is believed that the small depot at Mound City today is the one built in 1861.
This layout is small at only 8′ x 2′ and 16″ of that will be for a traversor to bring new equipment into the scene. The layout will come apart into two 4 foot sections. The legs are designed to fold up into the bottom of the modules. This is something I learned from building Free-mo modules. I prefer designs that are self contained to make moving and storage simple.
The following illustrations were concept drawings I did before I found the map of the city showing the track arrangement. Even so, it shows my intentions on how the finished layout will look. Click the image for a larger view.
I just started the layout in September 2012 and as of this writing I have the frame 90% completed. I just need to finish the fascia and install the lighting. The module is constructed very similar to the $100 Dollar Module Concept with some changes like folding legs and some different material choices.
When completed the layout will have several mini scenes including treating the wounded at the hospital, a soldier encampment, the supply warehouse and an artillery battery. As the layout progresses I will continue to provide updates. The next step is the lighting which I intend on having auto dim for nighttime scenes and maybe even simulate twilight.
Inspiration for this layout came from the Yahoo Small Layout Design Group and the American Civil War Railroad Historical Society (ACWRRHS). Here are a few links to other peoples Civil War Modeling Efforts.