Monday, January 23, 2012

Educator, Engineer, Patriot


This young man appreciated the education he received at West Point and did well there.  But it was apparent that engineering was his real area of passion not the military.  He was accepted at the age of fourteen and graduated four years later on July 31, 1835.   Remaining true to his muses of mathematics and engineering, he resigned his commission of second lieutenant on September 30, 1835.

As Principal Assistant Engineer for the State of Pennsylvania he was charged with surveying a route for a railroad that was to run from Gettysburg to the Chesapeake. Passion of a different stripe now struck the young railway engineer in the form of Ann Keller of Gettysburg.  She was the 16 year old daughter of the Reverend and Mrs. Benjamin Keller.  The smitten man proposed matrimony and was given permission by all concerned but the reverend asked that they wait a year to see how the relationship would progress.

While he waited, he built a house on the western edge of Gettysburg, and using that as a base, started Oak Ridge Seminary, a school for girls.   Also that year he got a new job as Instructor for Engineering and Architecture at Pennsylvania College.  (The house he built is the present day Schultz House on Confederate Avenue.)

On August 30, 1838 the professor married Ann in a ceremony conducted by her father. It  was a good marriage that produced eleven children. In 1842 he opened an academy for boys with a curriculum centered around mathematics as applied to surveying and engineering.  This venture was merged with Pennsylvania College in 1845.  He was made Professor of Mathematics and also taught classes in drawing and French.  In 1847 he produced architectural drawings for the college's new building, Linnaean Hall.

Later in 1847 he left Pennsylvania College and returned to the field of engineering with the Pennsylvania Railroad.

He wrote two books on engineering.  In 1841 he anonymously published Hints on Bridge Construction and in 1851 he wrote, General Theory of Bridge Construction.

During the coming years he worked in several capacities for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He also worked for the Southern Railroad of Mississippi as the Chief Engineer and worked as an engineer on the Hoosac Tunnel project in western Massachusetts from 1856 to 1862.

In 1862, to assist in the war effort, he became the Chief of Construction and Transportation on the U. S. Military Railroads with the rank of colonel and aide de camp. Through his efforts in Virginia he was able to bring troops and supplies to the front and return the wounded to hospitals outside of the combat zone by wise management of the railroads.  On September 5, 1862, he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers due to his meritorious services in operations against the enemy.  Although he accepted the authority, he declined the commission. He preferred to serve in his post without pay to satisfy his personal interests.  During the Maryland and Gettysburg Campaigns he once again used his organizational and logistical skills to bring forth supplies, evacuate the wounded and repair track and telegraph line.

The engineer resigned from his post on September 14, 1863.  Herman Haupt, engineering genius and patriot, died of a heart attack while riding a train traveling from Jersey City to Philadelphia on December 14, 1905.