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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/81

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The Chief of Staff Idea.

Colonel Allan, of Stonewall Jackson’s staff, was a prominent professor. There came to sit at the feet of these great teachers a mere boy in years, but an adult in intellectual grasp. This callow youth was of German lineage, but born and reared in New Orleans, a city stamped with the civilization of the French. Perhaps this modest youngster dreamed that twenty years later he would be a great railroad engineer—hardly, though, that in forty years he would, as a great railway operating man, be called the von Moltke of transportation. Strange, indeed, that this von Moltke, Julius Kruttschnitt, should find his opportunity for highest development under the Napoleon of our profession, Edward H. Harriman, himself among the last of the feudal railway barons. Stranger still that as this Napoleon was passing his von Moltke was starting the railways away from feudalism in interior administration by introducing within the latter’s own sphere the chief of staff idea of the Confederate, the German, and the American armies. For, my boy, the unit system of organization on the Harriman Lines, of which you have read more or less, is primarily a substitution of the modern chief of staff idea for the out-