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Volume 33, No. 9 – September, 2020


The President’s Message:

I hope that everyone is healthy, safe, and taking all the proper precautions to do so. I know that we are all anxious to attend a Round Table meeting. However, COVID-19 is preventing us from doing that. As soon as circumstances permit a meeting will be scheduled.

Until we meet in person again, would any members be interested in participating in a zoom meeting via the computer? Please call or email me with your thoughts so we can plan accordingly.

Many of us are knowledgeable about well-known generals that served during the War. Getting to Know the Generals spotlights known personalities who had interesting careers during and after the conflict. Sometimes information on a particular general is easy to find and others such as Marcus Joseph Wright required extensive research. If you have any additional information on any of the generals featured, please send it to me.

Gerridine LaRovere


Get to Know the Generals
Herman Haupt

HauptHerman Haupt was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 26,1817 and was the son of Jacob and Anna Margaretta Wiall Haupt. His father was a merchant and died in 1829 leaving his mother to support three sons and two daughters. To earn money for his school tuition Haupt worked part-time. In 1831, Haupt was appointed to West Point by President Andrew Jackson and graduated in 1835 but in September he resigned his commission to become an assistant engineer. He surveyed several railroad lines including one that went from Gettysburg to the Potomac.

He married in Gettysburg in 1838 to Ann Cecelia Keller, and they would have seven sons and four daughters. In 1839, Haupt patented a bridge construction technique called a Haupt Truss. His first book was published in 1840 and titled Hints on Bridge Building. These must have been great hints. Two of the bridges that he designed and built in 1854 are still standing in Altoona and Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Haupt was appointed a professor of mathematics and engineering at Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg.

He returned to private business in 1847 and became construction engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad. He designed the Horseshoe Curve, a National Historic Landmark, that enabled the Pennsylvania Railroad to cross the Allegheny Mountains and reach Pittsburgh. With the publication of his book, General Theory of Bridge Construction, he established himself as the foremost authority on the subject.

By 1851, Haupt was promoted to superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He resigned in 1856 and went to Massachusetts in order to start a new project. It was a time consuming and a very complex one. Despite construction difficulties and criticism, he engineered and helped finance the five-mile Hoosac Tunnel in the Berkshires from 1856 to 1861. Freight trains still use the original Tunnel that was constructed.

In the spring of 1862, the War Department organized a new bureau responsible for constructing, maintaining, and operating military railroads. Haupt was appointed with the rank of colonel to repair and fortify war-damaged railroad and telegraph lines. He safeguarded the Washington area by building blockhouses at vulnerable points and constructing stockades around machine shops. He also armed and drilled railroad personnel in order to defend themselves. His spectacular success in repairing damaged lines and bridges was a result of his personal supervision and detailed inspections. President Lincoln observed, “That man Haupt has built a bridge four hundred feet long and one hundred feet high, across Potomac Creek, on which loaded trains are passing every hour, and upon my word, gentleman, there is nothing in it but cornstalks and beanpoles.” It was a wooden bridge.

Haupt was promoted to brigadier general on September 5, 1862, but refused the appointment. He said that he would be happy to serve without rank or pay so he could work in private business.
This was true but he also disliked the protocols and discipline of military service. His construction corporation had three hundred men and were responsible for the construction of freight cars, barracks, wharves, and warehouses. Although he was creating and building, Haupt was also experimenting with various methods of bridge demolition by using torpedoes that could be used against Southern railroads.

In the early autumn of 1863 Haupt was offered another promotion, but he declined and left the service. The Civil War was one of the first wars to use large-scale railroad transportation to move and supply armies over long distances. Haupt assisted in many campaigns including Gettysburg. He quickly organized trains to keep the army supplied and transport the wounded to hospitals.

After his war service Haupt returned to railroad, bridge and tunnel construction. He invented a drilling machine that won first prize at the Royal Polytechnic Society of Great Britain and proved the practicality of transporting oil by pipelines.

Haupt became wealthy from investments in railroads, mining, and real estate, but lost most of it due to political skullduggery and malfeasance involving the completion of the Hoosac Tunnel. Earning very little from his investments and positions that he held, began writing. He published books on tunneling, mass transit, and his early career. In his final decade he depended on the largesse of friends.

Haupt died of a heart attack on December 14, 1905 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was traveling from New York to Philadelphia on a Pullman car named Irma. He is buried in West Laurel Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. His son Lewis M. Haupt was a noted civil engineer and professor.


Marcus Joseph Wright was born on June 5, 1831, in Purdy, Tennessee to Benjamin and Ann Wright. His father was an officer in the war against the Creek Indians (1813-14) and served in the Mexican American War, and his grandfather was a captain in the Revolutionary War. Wright was educated at a local academy, then studied law, and was admitted to the Bar. He was clerk of common law and chancery court and also volunteered in the 154th Tennessee militia and had the rank of lieutenant colonel. When the Civil War began, his militia unit was renamed the 154th Senior Tennessee Infantry and entered Confederate service in April, 1861.

Governor Isham G. Harris of Tennessee ordered Wright to establish a fortification at Randolph, Tennessee. Fort Wright was the state’s first military training camp and named after Marcus Joseph Wright. It has been referred to as a “military laboratory.” Using a variety of methods, raw recruits were trained to be disciplined soldiers. Some of the training was traditional and some not so traditional. The town of Randolph was decimated during the War and all that remains today is a powder magazine.

The Diary of Brigadier General Marcus J. Wright, CSA was written by Wright and eventually published. It follows his movements from April, 1861 to February 1863. The entries are sparse but he writes about his participation in battles, the dates, and the number wounded and dead. Wright led the 154th through the Battle of Belmont (Missouri, 1861). He also fought at Shiloh (April, 1862) where he was wounded. General Polk next assigned Wright as military governor of Columbus, Kentucky. He served there until it was evacuated by the Confederates.

During the Southern invasion of Kentucky (September and October, 1862), Wright served on the staff of Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham. Wright saw action at the Battle of Perryville (October,1862) and recalled that it was “one of the fiercest on record.” In November 1862, he was in charge of post and camp instruction in McMinville, Tennessee. Wright was promoted to brigadier general by order of Jefferson Davis.

In 1863-64, Wright was in charge of the Atlanta District. After the evacuation of Atlanta, he commanded the Macon, Georgia. Toward the end of the War, he oversaw the North Mississippi and West Tennessee areas. After the War he was paroled on May 19,1865 at Grenada, Mississippi.

Wright returned to Memphis and had a varied career. He practiced law, was the editor of the Journal newspaper in Columbia, Tennessee, and was sheriff of Shelby county (1870-72). He was also an assistant purser of the U.S. Navy Yard in Memphis until 1878 which was a fortuitous
year for him. Wright was appointed agent of the U.S. War Department to collect all and any Confederate records. He was totally dedicated to this project and worked on it until 1917.

Wright moved to Washington, D.C. and devoted himself to the preservation of records pertaining to the War as well as writing numerous other books. He was one of the main compilers of the War of the Rebellion Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. This was a 128-volume work that is a leading source of the history of the War. In 1911, he published General Officers of the Confederate Army and is still considered a valuable resource in historical research.

If you have a copy of the Memoirs of Robert E. Lee, please look in the forward. General A.L. Long and Marcus Joseph Wright helped prepare the book for publication. Other books written by Wright include: Life of General Blount, Life of General Scott, Analytical Reference, Tennessee in the War, and The Social Evolution of Women. The last book must have been very interesting.

Wright was married twice. His first wife was Martha Spencer Elcan Wright who died in 1875. He then married Pauline Womack Wright (b.1845-d.1935). He had three sons and two daughters. Wright died on December 26, 1922 at his home in Washington, D.C. He is only one of two Confederate General Officers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The other was Joseph Wheeler.



Last changed: 09/21/20