One of the sons of the great Benjamin Latrobe
and Mary Hazlehurst Latrobe, Benjamin H. Latrobe, Jr. initially worked towards a law degree. Born in Philadelphia, he attended St. Mary's College in Baltimore (1821-1823) and Georgetown College. Afterwards he studied law, but nonetheless found that he had an inclination towards engineering.
With the help of his brother, John H. B. Latrobe, he secured employment with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Soon he was at work on the stone arch of the Thomas Viaduct at Relay House south of Baltimore 1832-1835) -- with no formal engineering courses to guide him. Employing Jean-Rodolphe Perronet's works on bridges along with visits to bridges in Philadelphia, Latrobe educated himself on bridge architecture.
He eventually became chief engineer for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (1842). He also became chief engineer for the Pittsburgh & Connellsville Railroad and construction engineer for the Hoosac Tunnel. His son, Charles H. Latrobe, also became a civil engineer and was responsible for several works in Baltimore.