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Scizzen [i.e. Skizzen, i.e. Sketches] attributed to
Philip Schopp (1828 – 1893)


Held by Special Collections, Linderman Library
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015

Call No.: SC MS 0157
[1] manuscript

A manuscript notebook and sketchbook attributed to Philip (Phillip) Schopp (1828-1893), a German immigrant who was a member of the 75th Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment in the American Civil War serving first as a Captain and later promoted to Colonel before being discharged in 1862.  The notebook contains many superb illustrations mostly from the Schuylkill Navigation System, the Union Canal, and a few from the Louisville-Portland Canal.  The drawings and notations reflect a career as a draftsman and civil engineer from possibly 1851 to 1886.  The 19th Century sketches are finely detailed.  The structures are aqueducts, road bridges, canal locks, railroad bridges, tunnels along with precise dimensions noted of each structural member.   There are also notes in German about military formations which can be attributed to Schopp’s service in the Union Army 1861 to 1862.

Contact Information:
Special Collections
Linderman Library
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015, USA
Phone: 610-758 4506
Fax: 610-758 6091

Processed by:
Eleanor Nothelfer

Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Special Collections

Philip Schopp (1828-1893)

Scizzen [i.e. Skizzen, i.e. Sketches) attributed to Philip Schopp (1828 – 1893)

Restrictions to Access:
This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:
[Identification of item], Scizzen (Sketches) attributed to Philip Schopp (1828-1893), SC MS 0157, Special Collections, Linderman Library, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

Copyright Notice:
Please inquire about copyright information.

Historical Note:
Although there are no dates included in this manuscript, the contents can be attributed to the mid Nineteenth Century especially the American Civil War era approximately from 1851 to 1886.  In the United States the early and mid Nineteenth Century was an age of canal transportation which the railroads later supplanted (Philadelphia and Reading Railroad eventually leases the Schuylkill Navigation system as floods destroy many of the canals) as the main form of transporting coal from the anthracite region to markets in Philadelphia and New York.  This manuscript displays aspects of several early Pennsylvania canal systems as well as railroad structures and military training instruction for the Civil War years.

Philip Schopp, the assumed creator of this remarkable notebook, was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1828, following involvement with the German Revolution of 1848-1849, immigrated to the United States in 1850.  He was employed as a draftsman and civil engineer in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania for a number of years.   Under the direction of James F. Smith, Chief Engineer, Schopp, as an assistant engineer, made maps of the lands and works of the Schuylkill Navigation Co. located in Schuylkill and Berks Counties from Port Carbon to Philadelphia.  Asa Packer, founder of Lehigh University, was a prominent promoter of the Schuylkill Navigation Co. for transporting coal from the anthracite regions of Schuylkill and Carbon Counties to Philadelphia markets.  Most of the excellent drawings in the notebook are of structures located in the Schuylkill Navigation Co. system including the Girard Canal (the longest canal in the system at 22 miles) and its connection with the Union Canal.  The Union Canal began in Middletown, PA connected the Susquehanna River by way of the  Schuylkill Navigation system and its many smaller canals to Philadelphia, PA and the Delaware River.  Pennsylvania’s main rivers flow north to south so the canal system primarily was east to west to connect the major rivers of the state.

With the event of the War Between the States, Philip Schopp very early in August 1861 recruited a company of German speaking soldiers primarily from Philadelphia who had seen previous military service in the armies of the European states.  This group eventually became Company D of the Seventy-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment under Colonel Henry Bohlen, also German speaking, from Philadelphia. Schopp was made a captain of Company D August 27, 1861. This regiment was especially well disciplined and proficient in drills under the direction of Colonel Bohlen.  In September 1861 the regiment moved from Philadelphia to Washington and participated in skirmishes in western Virginia crossing the Shenendoah River in skirmishes.  In April 1862 Bohlen was promoted to General but was killed August 22, 1862 at Freeman’s Ford, VA.  Schopp, his assistant adjutant-general, was promoted to Colonel September 14, 1862. He was made Assistant Adjutant-General of the Volunteers November 7, 1862 leading them during Pope’s campaign of Northern Virginia.

Following the war Schopp returned to his profession as draftsman and civil engineer at the Schuylkill Navigation Co. but by July 1867 had moved west employed by Major General Godfrey Weitzel of the Corps of Engineers.  Weitzel, a Cincinnati German of brutal honesty, employed Schopp, as a chief draftsman to survey the Falls of the Ohio project, an ongoing project of the Corps of Engineers, to expand the Louisville and Portland Canal system.  In the Schopp notebook is illustrated an iron draw bridge across a Louisville Portland Canal Lock and locks on the Monongahela River. 

In June 1874, the U.S. government took over the Louisville and Portland Canal.  When General Weitzel was ordered to move to Michigan to work on the St. Mary’s Falls Canal, he appointed his assistant, Col. Philip Schopp, as superintendent of the Louisville and Portland Canal.  In 1879 Schopp was assigned full responsibility of the Louisville and Portland Canal.  A political imbroglio involving workers’ complaints against Schopp because he complained about their laziness caused Schopp to be dismissed from the superintendent position.  The Chief of Engineers ordered Col. William E. Merrill of the Corps of Engineers Cincinnati District to investigate the charges and Schopp was exonerated.  By early 1886, Merrill employed Schopp in the Cincinnati Engineer Office.  Schopp was a member of the U.S. Surveying Corps.

Colonel Schopp married Hildegard Koebelin of Greenville, Ohio on April 15, 1891.  In 1893 he died and was buried in Greenville, Ohio with full military honors. 

He is variously listed  as Philip J., Philip Jacob, Philip T. Schopp or Schoop.  Philip Jacob Schopp is listed in the 1860 census living in Reading, Pa.  His military records list his name as Philip T. or Philip I. also as Schoop.  Schopp is listed in the official catalog of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia for submitting a pneumatic screw ventilator and gave an address in Louisville, Kentucky.  The 1880 census records indicate Schopp in Louisville as a civil engineer.

Scope and Content Note:
The notebook titled ”Scizzen” (misspelled German word Skizzen meaning “sketches”) is the only item in this manuscript collection  On the lower right corner of the title page bearing the word “Scizzen” is penciled Ph. Schopp but the samples of handwriting throughout the notebook are not consistent which is the reason for attributing the notebook to Philip Schopp (1828-1893), Captain and later Colonel of Company D of the 75th Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment in the American Civil War (1861-1865).  In the context of the word “sketches” the little notebook displays two themes: beautifully detailed and precise drawings of 19th Century structures primarily located along the Schuylkill Navigation System in Berks County, Pennsylvania region and military maneuver notes.

 Structures such as bridges, canal locks, railroad trestles, tunnel arches, details of machinery such as turntable screws and iron expansion straps are superbly illustrated with precise measurements noted.   These drawings are mostly captioned in English and made in pencil. The reference notes regarding military regimental formations possibly are from Philip Schopp’s brief career (1861-1862) in the Union Army.  The military notes are illustrated with intricate sketches and minute symbols of troop training movements and drills made in ink.  The military notes are written in German.

The manuscript is 5 ¾” x 3 ¾” (14.5cm x 9.5cm) bound in black-dyed leather with three red leather loops holding an “original” sketch pencil, identified as “No. 3 American LD. Pencil Co N.Y.   The board covers are faced in Prussian blue paper.

Organization of the Content:
 Twenty-three pages of forty-two penciled drawings, many have attached tissue guard inserts, contain minutely detailed measurements in inches and feet and characteristics of the structures indicating iron, stone or rope;  eleven pages blank; twenty-four pages (twelve sheets written on both sides) of German text written in ink.  The distinct features of the manuscript: the sketches made in pencil follow the title page “Scizzen” located inside the one-looped board cover and the German text  written in ink beginning with “Regulement für Infanterie”  (Rules for the Infantry) inside the two-looped board cover when the notebook is turned upside down.  The handwriting appears to be different:  the pencil drawings the handwriting is more formal; the ink writing is much more fluid and sketchy. The eleven blank pages form the divider between the two sections of notes.   

Online Catalog Terms:
Schopp, Philip.

Schuylkill Navigation Company.
Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania.
Louisville and Portland Canal Company.
Lebanon Valley Railroad Company.

Wooden bridges – Pennsylvania.
Covered bridges – Pennsylvania.
Canals – Pennsylvania.



Related Material:
Bates, Samuel P. “History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861 – 5,”  Wilimington, N.C.: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1993.

Davis, Will S. “Canal and slack-water navigation of Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania, Lehigh University thesis (C.E.), 1888.

Hillegass, Harry Hurd. “A discussion of the Schuylkill system of dams and slackwater navigation. Lehigh University Thesis (C.E.). 1884.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.  “Pennsylvania Canals.”

Pennsylvania State Archives, MG110.  “Maps of Schuykill Navigation from Port Carbon to Philadelphia 1851-1864. Map No. 4 Auburn, drawn by Philip J. Schopp, 1864.

Reading Area Community College.  Schuylkill Navigation Maps.

Rinker, Harry L. “The Schuykill Navigation: A Photographic History, Canal Captain’s Press, 1991, 96p.

Rosengarten, J.  G. “The German Soldier in the Wars of the United States.” Philadelphia: J.B.Lippincott Co., 1890.

Louisville Canal and District, 1860-1900. Chapter VIII: The Falls City Engineers, p. 121-134.

Detailed Description of Collection:
Brűckenbau (bridge structure) in Schuylkill Haven (two illustrations of a handcrank and halyard with block and tackle)

Details (of cranking mechanism and joint of halyard)

Schiefe Ebene Ashland (inclined plane apparatus)

Turn table (screw apparatus centered on stone foundation in a pit supporting a beam with pins on each end)

Brűchenbau in Schuylkillhaven  Pfeile = 8/s (Bridge structure in Schuylkill Haven  Pier) (illustrates wooden supports for building a stone arch over a river)

Querschnitt des Lehrgerűstes (cross cut of the building scaffold)

Lehrgerűst Detail (building scaffold detail, measurements made in inches)

Switch Pedestal on Landing Sch. Hav. (details and measurements in inches)

Switch roads & lever Bar for lumpcoal chute (detail of lever pin connector measurement in inches)

Slope 1:100 f (drawing illustrates a series of pile supports)

Williamsburg (coal hoist) (an inverted V frame with a hoist arrangement and bucket - illustration on left side of page)    Lebanon Valley R. R. (rails, rail tiedown plate and ballast – distance measured in feet, cross view of rail and tiedown illustrated on right side of same page)

Road Bridge across the Canal in Leesport  - Span 52 Ft. (illustrates a wooden kingpost bridge supported by stone embankments on each end of bridge, Leesport is on the Schuylkill Navigation system)

(Details of bridge floor and stone embankment)

Tunnel for Aquaduct (Aqueduct) near Reading (timber support details)

Union Canal old dam across Schuylkill at Reading (illustrates a stone filled wooden dam showing water backed up on left side, timber measurements noted)

Lebanon Valley R. R. Road Bridge (arch bridge with iron rod stringers supported on stone piers, angle detail and exact measurements noted)

(Several details of structural angles and connections with exact measurements)

Lebanon Valley R. R. Road Bridge (a through bridge with iron rod cross supports, supported on stone pier, detail of rod connection into beams)

Ground plan  16 ½. (floor support details)  Section (iron rod connection details)

Railroad Bridge across Schuylkill Schuylkill Haven (stone arch on stone piers with lattice fence above arch  measurements in feet and inches – appears to be same arch bridge illustrated  earlier with scaffolding)

Crossection (through view of floor area with measurements in feet and inches)

Reading Railroad Bridge across Westbranch (three dimensional illustration of a stone pointed arch bridge over a river, 15’ measurement from point of arch to water surface, 32.8’ between pier and embankment supporting arch)

Aquaduct (Aqueduct) at Sixpenny Creek Girard Canal (illustrated details of Rise 4.9, Span 14.9, Keystone – 20 in.)

Duncan Lock South Side Levels above Mitresill (detailed stonework indicating the stone lining of lock)

Bridge across Union Canal at Tulpehoccen (Tulpehocken) above Reading    Span 160 Ft.  arrangement (arrangement) of arches  (side detail of wooden beam Burr truss bridge and stone abutment with precise measurements noted, Tulpehocken Creek)

Bridge across Tulpehoccen (Tulpehocken)   Section (detailed drawing of a gabled roofed covered bridge)  Abutment (detail shows how bridge timbers connect into stone abutment)

(No caption to faint drawing of twin arches with detail of arch pier)

Bridge across Tunnel Canal Sch. Nav.  Span 78’ 4” (drawing of wooden beams as angle springing from embankment support)

Built (two drawings showing details of bridge structure)

Road Bridge across Schuylkill at Reading, Pa.  Three spans – First span 192 feet

Contract $17000 (double passage covered wooden bridge 11’ 6” clearance from road surface to ceiling below gabled roof)
Iron Draw Bridge Louisville Portland Canal (across Lock)  (iron bridge in closed position showing the bridge superstructure mounted on stone pier with pivoting mechanism)

Sections  Part I  (four details of iron structural members with precise measurements)

Part II Plan of beam  Elevation (five details of iron structural members showing the nut and bolt connections for the iron rods and fastening girder to beam of wrought iron)

Part III Draw Bridge (six details of iron structural members, iron tie rods, I-beams, and nut and bolt connections)

Part IV Side elevation Groundplan Part V (four drawings illustrating connections of beams and rods)

Drawbridge  Carriage (two drawings illustrating wheels, nuts and bolts and rails)

Drawbridge (illustrates beams and bolts)

Carriage (illustrates armature, beams, rod, mechanisms)

Drawbridge (illustrates the cog mechanism used to operate bridge)

Iron suspension strap around toepost. Monogahela Locks (top of page)
Bonst(?) on top of heelpost Monogahela gates (bottom of page)

Reglement fűr Infanterie (Formation for Infantry)
Compagnie in Linie (Company in Line) (illustrations with various symbols the formation of a military company organization and maneuvers throughout the entire notations)

Zugsuntericht (Campaign instruction) (instructions for various troop maneuvers such as Wendungen auf der Stelle (turning in place),  Richtungen im Zug (troop directions), 

Feuer im Zug (troop firing), Bewegungen in Linie im Zug (troop line movements)

 Bewegungen in der colonne mithalben Zűgen (movement in column formation with half troops)

Compagnie Unterricht (Company instruction)

Richten (directions),  Compagnie=Feuer (company = fire) (possibly shooting instructions)

Colonnenbildung (troop column formation)

A.  Bildung der geőffneten Colonne auf der Stelle.  (open column formation in place)

B.  Bildung der geőff. Durch Flanken marsch (open formation across a side march, several examples illustrated with shaded and open bars and arrows)

Geőffnete Colonne im Marsch bilden. (open column in march formation, several examples illustrated with shaded and open bars and arrows)

Bewegung und Veränderung in der Colone (movement and change in the column)

A  Directionsänderung (direction change) (examples illustrated with shaded and open bars, arrows and dotted lines) 

B  Contremarsh (counter march) (illustrated with shaded and open bars, dotted lines)

C  Vergrőssern & Verkleinern (enlarging & decreasing)  (several examples illustrated with same pattern of shaded and open bars,  dotted lines and arrows)





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