Abstract: At War With Time and Space: The United States Military Railroad and the Civil War Military-Civilian Managerial Nexus

Benjamin Schwantes


At War With Time and Space examines the relationship between railroad managerial practices and telegraphy during the Civil War, and focuses on the debate between senior managers in the United States Military Railroad service over the role of the telegraph in military railroad operations. Some managers such as D.C. McCallum, Superintendent of the U.S. Military Railroads, firmly believed in the value of telegraphy for supervising and altering train movements, and communicating critical railroad business rapidly between distant points. Others, like railroader Herman Haupt, scoffed at McCallum's methods and ran his trains from the field according to strict timetables. Ultimately, McCallum's practices prevailed and served as an example for a new generation of railroad managers who came of age during the conflict.