A Civil War Biography

Daniel Craig McCullum

McCallum was born in Scotland in 1815. As a boy he emigrated to the United States settling in Rochester, New York. He became interested in architecture and engineering. In 1851 he patented an inflexible arched truss for use in bridge building and focused on bridge building for the railroad industry. By 1855 he was superintendent of the Erie Railroad.

He pioneered the notion of organizational charts, breaking the railroad up into geographic divisions of manageable size with each division headed by a superintendent. On 31 January 1862 the President was authorized, by an act of Congress, to take possession of all railroad and telegraph lines in the interest of public safety. The act created the position of Military Director and Superintendent of Railroads in the United States. McCallum, a colonel of volunteers at the time, was appointed to the position by the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, on 11 February 1862.

McCallum had his headquarters in the Quartermaster General's office but reported directly to Stanton. McCallum was given the authority to enter upon, take possession of, hold and use all locomotives, equipments, appendages and appurtenances that may be required for the transport of troops, arms, ammunition, and military supplies needed by the Union armies. At the time of McCallum's appointment the US government was running a single seven mile rail line from Washington DC to Alexandria, Virginia. By the end of the war the Military Railroad of the United States was the largest railroad system in the world. McCallum, with the new title of Director and General Manager, Military Railroad of the United States, had purchased or captured 419 locomotives and 6330 rail cars.

He was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers on 24 September 1864 and major general of volunteers on 13 March 1865. An Executive order of 8 August 1865 returned all railroads appropriated for military use during the war to their original owners. The position of director and general manager was abolished on 31 July 1866 and McCallum left military service. He died in 1878.

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