General William Wallace Atterbury

  General William Wallace Atterbury
31 Jan 1866 - 20 Sep 1935

William Wallace Atterbury was born 31 January 1866, at New Albany, Indiana, the son of John Guest Atterbury (02/07/1811 - 08/24/1887) and Catherine Jones Larned (11/15/1822 - ). He married Minnie Hoffman, on 11/13/1895 at Fort Wayne, Indiana. She died in 1910. He then married, as his second wife, Arminia C. Rosengarten MacLeod of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 06/10/1915. She was born about 1885 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

William Wallace graduated in the Class of 1886, at the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, with the degree of Ph. B. In 1911 he received an honorary M. A. at Yale, and honorary degrees of LL.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1919, at Yale in 1926, and at Villanova in 1927. He began as an apprentice in the Pennsylvania Railroad shops at Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1886. He continued with the railroad and became General Manager of the lines east of Pittsburgh and Erie in 1903-1909.   In 1909 he was Vice-President, and was Vice-President in charge of operation on 05/08/1912.

He was granted a leave of absence on 08/06/1917, to direct the construction and operation of the United States Military Railways in France.

He was commissioned Brigadier General of the United States Army on 10/05/1917, during World War I and was discharged on 05/31/1919. He returned to the Pennsylvania Railroad on 03/01/1920, as Vice-President in charge of operations and became President on 10/01/1925.

He is a Director of many corporations and a member of many engineering and learned societies. His home is in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (United States), and is a Commander of the Legion of Honor (France); Companion of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath (England); Commander of the Royal Order of the White Eagle (Srbis), and Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown (Roumania).

Arminia C. Rosengarten MacLeod had two children by her first marriage, who bear the name Atterbury: 1) Malcolm MacLeod Atterbury, born about 1910 and adopted by William Wallace in 1915, and 2) George Rosengarten MacLeod Atterbury, born about 1912 and also adopted by William Wallace in 1915, and who is a member of the Class of 1935 at the Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University.

William Wallace and Arminia C. Atterbury had one child, William Wallace. born about 1917.

In honor of William Wallace Atterbury's accomplishments, two World War II Army camps in Indiana were named after him, namely Atterbury Army Air Field at Columbus (later re-named Bakalar Air Force Base and later Columbus Municipal Airport), and Camp Atterbury at Edinburg.

Visit the web site dedicated to these two World War II Army Bases that had a great impact on the final victory. 

Source of above information:

"The Descendants of Job Atterbury" by L. Effingham deForest, M.A., J.D., F.S.G., F.I.A.G. and Anne Lawrence DeForest. Published by the deForest Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1933 and John Atterbury and Ruth Adams Attebury (The spelling of this line of Atterbury's was accidentally changed by census takers early in the century)  

rom the 1926 series of Penn Railroad PR magazines.

According to James J. Cooke (Pershing and his Generals -- Command and Staff in the AEF, Praeger 1997), Atterbury was born in Indiana in 1866, graduated from Yale in 1886 and immediately went to work for the Pennsylvania

During the Mexican Border operations, he was instrumental in devising plans to move National Guardsmen and military supplies to the southwest.

He came to the AEF in a roundabout way, being recommended to Pershing by Acting Chief of Staff Tasker Bliss and Secretary of war Newton Baker as civilian head of AEF transport at a salary of $12,000 per annum. Even before Atterbury had been accepted by Pershing, he had traveled to Paris and installed himself in the posh Hotel Meurice. By September -- at Pershing's insistence -- he was in uniform and in October 1917 was commissioned a reserve brigadier general.

For more on Atterbury's not entirely successful AEF career, see Cooke, chapter four.

Len Shurtleff
Western Front Association

PRR President William Wallace Atterbury

William Wallace Atterbury served as president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, a Conrail predecessor, from 1925 to 1935. As a young man working through an apprentice course at the railroad's Altoona, Pa., shops, Atterbury, like many of today's students, sought ways to earn extra income. In particular, he rented out his bed during the day to a railroad police officer who worked nights. Eight years before his presidency would begin, Atterbury spent time in France overseeing a part of the French railway system that was assigned to the American Army for maintenance and everyday operation. While there, he was nicknamed "General Attaboy" by local troops. Atterbury is most closely identified with the electrification of the 245-mile multitrack main line between New York and Washington, D.C., a project that cost $250 million and began in the late 1920s. Completed in 1935, it was the largest capital improvement plan undertaken at the time by an American railroad. One project, though, captivated Atterbury more than electrification-the development of the M1 class steam locomotive. Atterbury was able to assist in the creation of the first M1, which was outshopped in Altoona in 1923 and used mainly for freight service.(Norfolk Southern Public Relations, 2/12/99)

History of The Ragged Edge Inn

The Inn was built by Colonel Moorhead C. Kennedy, President of the Cumberland Valley Railroad (CVRR) and Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Colonel Kennedy was a stately Victorian Man, educated at Princeton University. He and his wife were loved and respected by the community. Moorhead C. Kennedy passed away at his beloved Ragged Edge and is buried at the Falling Springs Church in Chambersburg.

Ragged Edge is rich in railroad history and was known for its annual stag receptions held on a Saturday in October every year. Guests were brought by private railroad car. 100 to 200 guests were entertained at a time. Sleeper cars were developed by the CVRR and used to sleep the many guests. Guests included Brigadier General Atterbury, French General Foch, and General Purshing. Colonel Kennedy was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the War Department for handling all transportation of soldiers and equipment in France and England during WWI. The French General honored him with the cannon which resides at the American Legion here in town. Other guests at Ragged Edge included politicians, governors, judges, investment bankers from New York and Philadelphia, lawyers, university presidents, etc. 

Suburban Station was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad as part of a 1920’s city-wide project to revamp the transportation infrastructure and correct some railroad-created eyesores. The project was known as The Philadelphia Improvements. Its inspiration derived from a more than gentle nudge by the city Art Commission, combined with a basic economic need to improve service in a growing market. The core improvements were replacing the railroad’s stations located at 32nd and Market Streets in West Philadelphia, and the Broad Street Station, located at 15th and Market Streets, adjacent to City Hall in the heart of the city. Through passenger traffic would be accommodated by a new Pennsylvania Station at 30th and Market Streets; commuter traffic would be handled jointly by the 30th Street Station and a new combination office building and station structure to be built one block northwest of Broad Street Station. From conception, and for many years following, the station was referred to as Broad Street Suburban Station, mainly for continuity with its predecessor, Broad Street Station. It was later renamed Penn Center Suburban Station, or simply, Suburban Station.

Suburban Station would have its tracks placed under the street level in a stub-ended subway which would connect with the upper level at 30th Street Station. Above Suburban’s concourse level station would be a 22-story office structure (the visible part from the street) occupying a city block, 20 floors of which were leased as office space. A lower mezzanine level provided shops, ticket offices and services for commuters, center city workers, and visitors. It also provided a link to the city’s vast underground concourse system. The new complex was a vast improvement to the "Chinese Wall" which formed an elevated access to Broad Street Station. The removal of the wall would open 18 acres of city space to office, commercial, and recreational development. The railroad saw economic opportunities since it owned the land.

The technology of the Twenties, especially the push for electrification, gave this project impetus. A large portion of the railroad which serviced commuters had been electrified the decade before. The Main Line was electrified as far as Paoli in 1915; the Chestnut Hill branch in 1918; and the Norristown branch in 1930. Electric powered rail cars replaced the steam engine and its problematic exhaust, thereby making an underground station feasible.

The Improvements began with construction of the subway and the two new stations. Other phases of the project called for the relocation of engine facilities; the revision of the city track plan; the construction of new tunnels and bridges within the city; and a new central post office at 30th Street, across from the new passenger terminal. The project was initiated with a ceremony held July 28, 1927 at 20th and Cuthbert Streets. Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick and Pennsylvania Railroad president General W. W. Atterbury performed the groundbreaking. 

Edward N. Hurley


In October, 1917, General W. W. Atterbury, Director-General of Transportation in France, cabled Mr. S. M. Felton, Director-General of Military Railways, in Washington, stating that England was shipping locomotives, already assembled, across the channel to France. However, they were being shipped across a channel only twenty-miles wide, which was an easy task compared with shipping American locomotives of standard size across the Atlantic Ocean. General Atterbury pointed out the advantages afforded by having these English engines ready to be put into service when they arrived in France, stating: "We can see no good reason why locomotives being sent us from America cannot be shipped in as complete condition as those being shipped to France from England. If this can be done, it will very materially reduce the time and labor required for getting these locomotives into service; and it is especially important that, if possible, this be arranged for, as our facilities at St. Nazaire for doing this work are extremely limited at best, and it is going to be a very difficult matter under present conditions to assemble these locomotives and get them out of the way quickly enough to avoid congestion at the port." 

from the Harbord
Memoirs and a bit more is to come with the printed version.


There were two sources of supply - requisition on the United States and
purchase in Europe. Not everything that we needed


could be furnished from the United States nor was there tonnage to transport it
if obtainable. A program for automatic flow of supplies was in force and
followed, generally, by the War Department. To obtain supplies from Europe, as
already explained, a General Purchasing Board with a General Purchasing Agent
as Chairman had been created in the previous August. This institution combed
the neutral countries of Europe for supplies of all kinds, and at the time of
the Armistice had procured nearly four million tons more than had been sent to
us from the United States. Its main purpose had been to prevent competitive
purchasing and save tonnage. Its activities had now been extended to include
the Statistical, Control, Labor, Technical, and Accounts bureaus, as well as
membership of General Dawes - the most influential - on the Inter-Allied Board
of Military Supply. It is hardly possible to overstate the difficulties that
confronted the head of these activities - Charles G. Dawes - and the unrivaled
business capacity and magnetic personality which enabled him to overcome them.

The visit to the ports had convinced me that the congestion was in large part
due to an improper division of responsibility and authority between the Base
Section Commander and the representative of the Transportation Corps, known as
the Transport Officer. That Corps was charged with the unloading of ships and
forwarding of cargoes to destination. The Section Commander had the
responsibility and authority for the labor and stevedore troops when not
actually at work on the docks; the Transport Officer had entire authority and
responsibility when they were so employed. A Section Commander shorn of any
opportunity for credit, or responsibility for blame, in the matter of unloading
and forwarding freight, inevitably concentrated himself on matters for which he
was held responsible. To him the discipline of the stevedores while off duty, their health and surroundings, were merely
incidental to their use by an entirely independent authority during certain
hours of each twenty-four. The Transport Officer, when the men marched off the
dock, officially knew nothing of the conditions that would surround them until
he next saw them, or the numbers and condition in which he might expect them to
report the following day.

This situation was not the fault of General Atterbury, who had been brought to
ths A.E.F. with the promise of a "free hand" in his important position of
Director General of Transportation. He


undoubtedly shared the feeling against the supposed arbitrary martinet of the
Regular service, and desired independence of such control. He was honest in his
belief that there was danger of meddling with the technical details of his
department. For reasons that are unnecessary to relate, he had found
concurrence with that view from certain former officers of the Regular
establishment. My conviction, shared by General Pershing, after we visited the
ports, was that the Transport Officer belonged as a member of the staff of the
Base Section Commander, and that only with that relationship could we expect a
unification of effort in which both would join, and in the success of which
they would have a mutual interest. The Transport people were quite wedded to
the status quo. The Base Section Commanders tolerated the situation as one
which they hardly hoped to see remedied. What he must have known was fatal to
any teamwork had been accepted by the Commanding General, S.O.S. His way of
solving the problem was to raise his Transportation subordinate to his own
official level by uniting with him in a request to G.H.Q. to convene a Board to
which he and General Atterbury, apparently as co-equal authorities, each chose
a representative and G.H.Q. furnished a third. General Kernan really was
submitting his right of command to arbitration.

I uncovered this situation, of which no one had informed me, in telling General
of the changes I contemplated. Naturally, not sympathetic with a
change which he thought deprived his officers of their rightful independence,
but entirely soldierly and reasonable in his discussion of it with me, General
, finding that I had determined on the change as something within my
jurisdiction, finally asked if I did not think I had better defer action
until "the Board" reported on the relations which should exist between the
Transportation and the remainder of the Services of Supply. Much surprised, I
inquired to what Board he referred, and he explained. At a later period I
learned that the Board had been a compromise in a situation in which the
American Expeditionary Forces might have lost the services of one of its most
efficient officers, for Atterbury had been on the point of resigning. The
Board, it appeared, had been sitting for some time. Its members were Brigadier
General Arthur Johnson, the Commander of the Intermediate Section of the
S.O.S.; Lieutenant Colonel Henry M. Waite of the Transportation Service, and
Major Samuel P. Wetherill, Quartermaster Corps, the latter the


contribution of G. H. Q. to the solution of the problem. General Johnson was a
fine, upright old soldier of the Regular Army, devoted to routine, and past the
age of adaptability or innovation. He was not a happy selection for this
particular duty. Henry M. Waite was a high-class engineer from civil life. He
had been the Manager of the city of Dayton, Ohio. Keen, energetic, and clever,
he knew exactly for what he was nominated by his chief. In later life he has
been the Deputy Administrator under the Secretary of the Interior of the Public
Works Administration, of President Roosevelt's recovery program. He was a wise
selection from General Atterbury's standpoint. Major Wetherill was a young
officer, with no military experience and not too much in civil pursuits, but he
had been Recorder of the Hagood Organization Board. Waite was writing the
report of the Board, and its advance sheets had already been agreed upon. It
was the first I had heard of the Board, but I have little doubt that General
Atterbury had already seen its preliminary report. I telegraphed to General
Johnson to convene his Board at Tours at once. His station was Nevers, and I
understood the Board had held its meetings there. When they arrived at Tours I
took a look at the record. It did not fit in with my program. I telephoned to
the Chief of Staff at G. H. Q., General McAndrew, and recommended, in view of the
arrival of a new Commanding General of the S. O. S., that the Board be at once
dissolved, and such proceedings, if any, as it had submitted be filed without
further action. This was done.

I then set myself the task of converting General Atterbury and his officers to
my viewpoint. The fullest of hearings were held for them. To have enforced my
idea against their convictions would have made an unfortunate situation worse.
They were perfectly sincere in their belief that Base Section Commanders would
interfere with their technical job. They had the popular idea as to the
difficulty of dealing with officers of the Regular Army, an arbitrary and
unbending lot. I pointed out that the Base Section Commander had on his staff a
surgeon, but that I had never known the Commander to go to the hospital and
officiate in the amputation of a limb. They agreed that something had to be
done to hurry the handling of freight but were nervous at the thought of giving
up their independence. I asked a trial of my plan, a fair one, and guaranteed
nothing more than a perfectly proper supervisory control by the Base Commander.
After much patient discussion, I took the chance and made the order and it


There were other problems of organization in which I could be useful to them
and desired to be. I well recall motoring with General Atterbury to Saumur one
fall afternoon. We went to see the 31st Engineers, a newly arrived railroad
regiment under Colonel Frederick Mears, an officer who had been a small boy at
the post of Fort Spokane when I had been Sergeant Major under his father, a
Civil War officer of fine record. As we motored back in the autumn moonlight
along the north bank of the Loire, rich in twenty centuries of history, General
and I discussed many things that together we later put in practice to
our mutual advantage in service, and in reputation. We later became intimate
friends. The years dealt kindly with him. None of the high honors that came to
my good friend Atterbury, who now unhappily has passed away, were undeserved.

This is from Ayres, Colonel Leonard P. , The Official Record of the United
States' Part in the Great War, Chief of the Statistical Branch of the General
Staff, US Army, approx 1920

American Engineers built in France 17 new ship berths, 1,000 miles of standard-
gauge track, and 538 miles of narrow-gauge track.

The cargo carried for the American Army consisted of thousands of different
articles of the most varied sort.... Nearly one-half of all consisted of
quartermaster material, largely composed of food and clothing. The next largest
elements were engineering and ordnance supplies. All together, from our
entrance into the war through April, 1919, the Army shipped from this side of
the Atlantic nearly seven and a half million tons of cargo.

Included in the cargo shipment were 1,791 consolidation locomotives of the 100-
ton type. Of these, 650 were shipped set up on their own wheels, so that they
could be unloaded, on the tracks in France and run off in a few hours under
their own steam. Shipment of set-up locomotives of this size had never been
made before. Special ships with large hatches were withdrawn from the Cuban ore
trade for the purpose and the hatches of other ships were specially lengthened,
so that when the armistice was signed the Army was prepared to ship these set-
up locomotives at the rate of 200 a month.

The Army also shipped 26,994 standard-gauge freight cars, and at the
termination of hostilities was preparing to ship flat cars set up and ready to
run. Motor trucks to the number of 47,018 went forward, and when fighting
ceased were being shipped at the rate of 10,000 a month. Rails and fittings for
the reinforcing of French railways and for the construction of our own lines of
communications aggregated 423,000 tons. In addition to the tons of cargo
mentioned above the Army shipped 68,694 horses and mules, and at the cessation
of hostilities was shipping them at the rate of 20,000 a month. The increase in
the shipment of cargo from the United States was consistently maintained from
the start of the war, and at its cessation was undergoing marked acceleration.

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