Capt. Andrew Joseph Russell Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad's Potomac Creek Bridge after Reconstruction, May 1864
Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative
Mount on original printed mount
Photo Date 1864 Print Date 1864
Dimensions 6-7/8 x 13-3/8 in. (175 x 340 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Details on the photograph are printed on the recto of the mount.
On April 27, 1862, Haupt, former chief engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was given the rank of colonel and appointed aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell, then in command of the defenses of Washington, DC. He repaired and fortified war-damaged railroad lines in the vicinity of Washington, armed and trained railroad staff and improved telegraph communications along the railroad lines.
He deserves much credit for the successful supply of the Army of Virginia and the Army of the Potomac, in addition to his expertise at the construction and destruction of railroads.
McCallum and Haupt need to build, repair and operate railroads even under the worst conditions. So they organized career railroaders, soldiers, laborers, and even former slaves to do the job.
Among Haupt's most challenging assignments was restoring the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad mainline from Alexandria to Aquia Creek and Fredricksburg.
“That man Haupt has built a bridge across Potomac Creek, about 400 feet long and nearly 100 feet high, over which loaded trains are running every hour,” declared President Abraham Lincoln on May 23, 1862, “and, upon my word, gentlemen, there is nothing in it but beanpoles and cornstalks!
One of his most famous accomplishments, the one that caught Lincoln's eye, was the reconstruction of the Potomac Creek Bridge, which he repaired in nine days with (along with cornstalks and beanpoles) an inadequate supply of tools, inexperienced help, and in rainy weather. After completion, the bridge carried 10 to 20 trains a day.
A. J. Russell (1829-1902) was the only member of the armed services to serve as a photographer during the Civil War.
After the Civil War he was hired by the Union Pacific Railroad to document construction along the track line. He is most famous for his photo "Joining of the Rails" when the continental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 in Promontory, Utah.
After 1870 Russell returned to New York where he became the world's first photojournalist, working for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper until the early 1890s.
From 1869-1875 Russell published 15 different series of the photos taken during his time in Utah. In 1875 Russell sold a number of these negatives to O. C. Smith, who published the stereoviews and Imperial views under Smith's own name, from 1875-78. Over 400 A. J. Russell stereoview glass plate negatives and 200 Imperial view glass plate negatives are in the A. J. Russell collection at the Oakland Museum.
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