Still getting the lay of the land…

I’m still sifting through a huge (mostly digital) pile of Caroline M. Clark and William W. Woodward sources and trying to organize them into a series of coherent and interesting posts for you. Sort of like assembling a bunch of hastily-drawn field surveys and turning them into accurate topographical maps or railroad construction plans:

Unknown photographer, W.W. Wright, Chf. Eng. & … Mil. RRds. United States, circa 1861 and 1866. Library of Congress. Click to open larger image in new window.

At least my desk is indoors.

The chief engineer, at work

Today’s image is a photograph showing

[…] William Wierman Wright (1824-1882), engineer, seated outdoors at a desk with map and drafting equipment. Wright was engineer and superintendent of Aquia Creek Railroad (1862-1863), head of the Military Railroad Construction Corps (1865), and superintendent and chief engineer of the Eastern Division of the Kansas Pacific Railway (1866-1867), among other engineering positions.

Library of Congress

Small World Dept.

Chief Engineer Wright led an interesting and eventful life as an important 19th-century civilian and military railroad engineer. Among his more significant accomplishments was his collaboration with Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s 1864 Atlanta campaign and subsequent March to the Sea in early 1865. And that means Wright may have not one, but two Clark House history connections:

• If Caroline (Clark) Woodward’s younger brother Henry Clark really did serve as a bridge builder with Gen. Sherman’s troops on the Atlanta campaign and the March to the Sea, then Chief Engineer Wright would have been Henry’s commander. Did Henry Clark really build bridges for the Union Army? We’ve only speculated about that so far (here and here). But don’t worry, Henry’s supposed Civil War service is still under study, and I’ll have more to report after we finish our outline of the remarkable life and work of Henry’s older sister, Caroline Clark Woodward.

• Also, today’s image is the second time we have featured a photograph of a mid-century theodolite on the blog! Why would we do such a thing? Read our post on Marking out the roads to find out!

I’ll be back with new Clark family posts—with some great, new discoveries—shortly.

Be well. See you soon.

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