The railroad was a key factor in Greensboro’s prosperity and industrial growth. John Motley Morehead, a North Carolina governor and former student of David Caldwell, campaigned for two decades to have Greensboro included as a stop on the North Carolina Railroad. Finally, in 1856, a special east-west line of tracks was completed.
During the Civil War, Greensboro was both a storehouse and railroad center for the Confederacy, a vital source of supplies and troops for Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Civilian refugees and wounded soldiers were transported and sheltered here. Greensboro became the seat of the Confederacy on April 11, 1865, as Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived here after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox to discuss the military situation of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and the weakened Army of Tennessee. Later, all Confederate forces in North Carolina were mustered out and paroled in Greensboro.