Railway building was begun in the state in 1836 with the Raleigh & Gaston line, opened from Raleigh to Gaston in 1844 and extended to Weldon in 1852.
A longer line, that from Wilmington to Weldon, was completed in 1840.
The Roanoke river is navigable to Weldon and the Cape Fear river to Fayetteville; the Neuse is navigable for small vessels only to Newbern.
On the decisive theatre the Federals made their way, little by little and at a heavy cost, to the Weldon railway, and beyond it to the westward.
One more attempt to outflank Lee to the westward was made by Grant without success, before winter came on, and the campaign closed with an expedition, under the direction of General Warren, which destroyed the Weldon line.