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[282] enable McDowell's forces to reach the Valley, at Front Royal, in time, if possible, to get in rear of the Confederates. McDowell was then in command of the Department of the Rappahannock, and Haupt was his chief of construction and transportation.

The road to be repaired was the Manassas Gap Railroad. It was promptly put in order from Rectortown to Piedmont, but the equipment was insufficient to enable it to sustain the amount of work suddenly thrown upon it. Besides, the operation of military railroads was not understood, and the difficulties were constantly increased by military interference with the running of trains and by the neglect and, at times, absolute refusal of subordinates in the supply departments to unload and return cars. The telegraph was, at this period, so uncertain an instrument that it was considered impracticable to rely on it for the operation of trains. Consequently, a schedule was arranged. But here again there was trouble. Even the War Department consented to having this schedule broken up by unwarranted interference, and the operators were compelled to return to the uncertain telegraph for train despatching.

Colonel Haupt stated, in a report of these difficulties to the War Department on June 6th, that the road had theretofore been operated exclusively by the use of the telegraph, without the aid of any schedule or time-table for running the trains; that such a system might answer if the telegraph were always in order, operators always at their posts, and the line exclusively operated by the railroad employees; but when in operation it was frequently appropriated to military purposes. In consequence, he had, on one occasion, been compelled to go eighteen miles to get in telegraphic communication with the superintendent to learn the cause of the detention of trains, and had been compelled, after waiting for hours, to leave without an answer, the telegraph line being in use for military messages.

As a further evidence of the unreliability of the telegraph

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