How Many Crewmen On A Train?

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
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Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
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I first want to thank the members for submitting technical details and topics. Now I have a few questions left unanswered that hopefully can be resolved. I understand the number of crewmen operating a line of cars hitched to an engine would vary depending upon the number of cars. I was hoping we could identify the different positions of each crewman making the train operational. I also understand there are differences applicable to the use of the trains.

On the Locomotive- Engineer and Fireman and any others (how many of each).
On the follow-up tanker car- ?
On freight cars (box design)- ?
On cattle cars (? design)- ?
On flat-cars- ?
Coach or passenger cars (each)- ?
Was there a caboose with a crew- ?

I have an ulterior motive in asking this question, beyond the basic understanding of crewmen and their duties while the train was being operated.

A conflict of perspectives has arisen over reports being made after the Gettysburg Battle. One medical officer decries the railroad men as being heartless, uncaring, uncooperative, and only interested in the pecuniary gain for it's service. On the other hand, General Haupt has desired these same men to be given special notice for deeds of brave and necessary duty.

So my real question is; should the railroad men be held accountable for succoring the wounded, cleaning the cars before and after use, and showing special and time-consuming favors when the trains were running nearly beyond their means and capacity, already loaded with obligations?

The necessary documentation I bear reference with/to is found in Volume 27, Part 1, within the first 30 pages.
Thank you.
Lubliner.
 
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DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
Confederate railroads used engineer, fireman, one brakeman and a conductor. In rare, but not unheard of circumstances, a second fireman and/or a second brakeman might be used.

In the South, the demand for trains was terrific and constant. Poor car cleanliness was frequently mentioned, but was handled by the cleaners at the main shops between runs. And that was the problem -- there was frequently no cleaning time between arriving and departing, even at the end of the line. Cleaning cars that had carried live stock was also almost impossible and led to many roads refusing to carry more than one car of live stock on a train.
 

thebattle29

Private
Joined
Dec 22, 2020
Location
Washington's battery, New York City
I first want to thank the members for submitting technical details and topics. Now I have a few questions left unanswered that hopefully can be resolved. I understand the number of crewmen operating a line of cars hitched to an engine would vary depending upon the number of cars. I was hoping we could identify the different positions of each crewman making the train operational. I also understand there are differences applicable to the use of the trains.

On the Locomotive- Engineer and Fireman and any others (how many of each).
On the follow-up tanker car- ?
On freight cars (box design)- ?
On cattle cars (? design)- ?
On flat-cars- ?
Coach or passenger cars (each)- ?
Was there a caboose with a crew- ?

I have an ulterior motive in asking this question, beyond the basic understanding of crewmen and their duties while the train was being operated.

A conflict of perspectives has arisen over reports being made after the Gettysburg Battle. One medical officer decries the railroad men as being heartless, uncaring, uncooperative, and only interested in the pecuniary gain for it's service. On the other hand, General Haupt has desired these same men to be given special notice for deeds of brave and necessary duty.

So my real question is; should the railroad men be held accountable for succoring the wounded, cleaning the cars before and after use, and showing special and time-consuming favors when the trains were running nearly beyond their means and capacity, already loaded with obligations?

The necessary documentation I bear reference with/to is found in Volume 27, Part 1, within the first 30 pages.
Thank you.
Lubliner.
Hello Lubliner.
I will answer some of your questions, as I used to study trains in the Civil War era myself.
There was only 1 engineer, and 1 fireman in the locomotive itself. In the Coach cars there were no engineers or firemen, but the railroad conductor would patrol the train. A caboose would usually have a brakeman, but as far as I know, not much else.
I would actually say that some of the railroad engineers were kindhearted men helping for a cause they believed in, or some were stone-cold workers that labored for the pay and the pay alone.
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
There has been mentioned in one report up north on one of the Pennsylvania lines (Haupt) about water buckets being sent and used at stops for supplying water from streams. Either no water tanks were built or they had been destroyed by the confederate raiders on their way North to Harrisburg and Hanover. What personnel would be used at a quick stop to gather wood and fill the boiler with water?
Thanks,
Lubliner.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
There has been mentioned in one report up north on one of the Pennsylvania lines (Haupt) about water buckets being sent and used at stops for supplying water from streams. Either no water tanks were built or they had been destroyed by the confederate raiders on their way North to Harrisburg and Hanover. What personnel would be used at a quick stop to gather wood and fill the boiler with water?
Thanks,
Lubliner.
ALL the men on the train. There are many accounts of passengers being ordered to help with the bucket brigade to get the train moving again.
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
So then if I am not mistaken, with the business of operating trains and keeping them supplied with fuel, delivering construction crews, and by diverting the logistical support into removal of wounded to other parts, the railroad managers and attendants had their hands full. Should the reproach cast upon the railmen by a medical technician be ignored? This scathing report had to have been seen by Haupt. Should any real emphasis be added to its persuasion?
Lubliner.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
The problem appears to have been that the medical officers did not insist on the needed support from the rest of the army. Who drove the ambulances and wagons for the medicos? Who dug the burial ditches? Who brought in the wounded from the battlefield? In every case, it was regular soldiers detailed to the duty -- just like regular soldiers should have been detailed to support the trains of wounded. Were such soldiers requested and refused?

You would not want artillery men to stop serving their piece to give aid to passing wounded infantry. Why would you expect trainmen to abandon their essential jobs to care for the wounded? Looks like a medical officer trying to shift blame off himself and his profession for the lack of foresight and care the wounded should have expected.
 

steamman

Private
Joined
May 26, 2020
Location
Columbus, Ga
The problem appears to have been that the medical officers did not insist on the needed support from the rest of the army. Who drove the ambulances and wagons for the medicos? Who dug the burial ditches? Who brought in the wounded from the battlefield? In every case, it was regular soldiers detailed to the duty -- just like regular soldiers should have been detailed to support the trains of wounded. Were such soldiers requested and refused?

You would not want artillery men to stop serving their piece to give aid to passing wounded infantry. Why would you expect trainmen to abandon their essential jobs to care for the wounded? Looks like a medical officer trying to shift blame off himself and his profession for the lack of foresight and care the wounded should have expected.
Good point.
Or he is lobbying for more resources.
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Captain James M. Pettit of the 64th New York left a detailed description of his train journey from Gettysburg. The wounded initially suffered greatly from lack of water. Whenever they stopped, Pettit wrote: "We were invariably at the farther end of the yard from the [water] tanks, and usually there were no houses near us. At one point several men who were caring for some of the party brought in a half dozen canteens each from a swampy pond hole. By daylight it seemed as though our bones were wearing holes in the car floors. I think I never saw more misery and suffering in the same length of time than during this far ride to Baltimore." However, once arriving in Baltimore, and beyond, in Philadelphia and New York, the citizens were very generous. Pettit recalled, "We had not been in the hotel in New York a half hour before half a score of doctors professed services to dress our wounds." On the Erie Railway, "all manner of attentions were pressed upon us, and even the conductor was indignant because we had purchased tickets for our ride." Between Baltimore and home, the citizens bestowed wine and whiskey freely to the wounded.

I would imagine that the railroads were simply overwhelmed initially, and that applies to the field hospitals as well. Once the relief organizations started arriving, conditions for the wounded improved dramatically, and that includes on the trains. I suppose it holds true for most disasters, whether natural or man-made.
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
The problem appears to have been that the medical officers did not insist on the needed support from the rest of the army. Who drove the ambulances and wagons for the medicos? Who dug the burial ditches? Who brought in the wounded from the battlefield? In every case, it was regular soldiers detailed to the duty -- just like regular soldiers should have been detailed to support the trains of wounded. Were such soldiers requested and refused?

You would not want artillery men to stop serving their piece to give aid to passing wounded infantry. Why would you expect trainmen to abandon their essential jobs to care for the wounded? Looks like a medical officer trying to shift blame off himself and his profession for the lack of foresight and care the wounded should have expected.
I agree wholeheartedly with you on this. I already read a report of another doctor stating the lack of straw for those wounded that were gathered from the field. So with their own inability to supply a basic need for comfort already explained, how could they expect water buckets and dispensing aids from the crew of the train? The task was nearly insurmountable already, and their safety in transport could not be neglected for the few compared to the whole. Those that were deemed capable of the journey were selected to go. The need for speed was essential to the task, and the time to care for every person transported had to fall upon a group available for that purpose, which could not be done by those tasked with running the train. Thank you for your answer.
Lubliner.
 
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