|The Army of the Potomac|
1861 Ingalls is ordered to the a place that was part of the US when he joined Army, for the first time in his career.
1862 Peninsula Campaign.
White House landing, evacuation of the depot to Harrison's landing
1864 Wilderness and Petersburg.
|Rufus Ingalls was ordered to the East to be
Aide-de-camp for General McClellan shortly after the first major battle
of the Civil War, Manassas. His skills and experience as a quartermaster would be
sorely needed to supply the huge new 'Army of the Potomac'.
Professional soldiers seem to have all either been quartermasters or topographers. This new crisis required the officers on both sides to be Generals and warriors, leading huge armies. This was something new, but not unfamiliar to them. The West Pointers had been drilled endlessly and schooled in the requisite skills that would serve them well in the 'rebellion'.
The one difference that set the Confederate army apart from the Union is that they had generals that were great leaders.
The Yankees had a huge problem with politics and rank. George McClellan and John Pope were top graduates at West Point. Both had been topographers, which is where the top graduates usually served. Their generalships during the war would prove that class standing had nothing to do with battlefield performance. Although Robert Lee was also a top graduate (and had NO demerits at West Point) and an engineer, he knew well how to lead, play the odds, and make do with what he had. The Confederate army would go into battle without shoes and win. McClellan would whine and wait for a factory to be built under those circumstances. He could rarely use supply as the reason for inaction.
Rufus Ingalls was a great quartermaster. He was also fortunate to have the north's industrial might and treasury to support his efforts. The two other keys to the Union supply efforts were Herman Haupt and Montgomery Meigs.
Meigs and Haupt
Both Haupt and Meigs were engineers. But they had different backgrounds and both were ideally suited for the positions they held during the Civil War.
General Haupt was a railroad engineer from near Philadelphia. He was excellent at both building and destroying railroads. The use of railroads was new to warfare and he was a master at building and rebuilding them. He was the youngest cadet to ever graduate from West Point.
"That Man Haupt has built a bridge over Potomac Creek, about 400 feet long and nearly 100 feet high, over which loaded trains are running every hour, and upon my word gentlemen, there is nothing in it but beanpoles and cornstalks." Abraham Lincoln 1862
Remember that roads were either dirt (mud) or corrugated (logs laid crosswise). When you need to move 400 wagons of baggage and supplies and 100,000 troops it makes Boston traffic look like a picnic in comparison. Railroads make moving and supplying an army much more efficient.
General Meigs was also an engineer. During the war he would be the Quartermaster General of the Army. Although born in Georgia, his family moved to Philadelphia when he was young. His specialty was buildings. Just prior to start of the Civil War he was working on the Capitol Dome project (as was W.B. Franklin who graduated at the top of Ingalls and Grants class at West Point). He was also involved with numerous other important projects including the Washington Aqueduct that supplied water to the nations capitol.
Meigs was both honest and a great logistician, the perfect person to be in charge for the Union Army's supplies.
Brigadier General Rufus Ingalls
Rufus Ingalls Home Page
Updated February 09, 2002 © L.R. Davis