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Abraham Lincoln saw military benefits in a transcontinental railroad line, as well as the bonding of the Pacific Coast to the Union. Railroads have played an enormous role in American history, particularly in the saga of the settlement of the American West in the nineteenth century. From the perspective of years, the building of the first transcontinental railroad seems less a commercial enterprise, stimulated by political considerations, than a great melodrama in which the stage was a continent and the audience a nation. Taking all the circumstances into consideration, no railroad project so daring had ever been proposed. Two of the leaders, Captains Warner and Gunnison, were killed by hostile Indians, and all endured every hardship.
The explorations finished and the work of construction begun, the labors and privations of the troops were greatly multiplied. Less than six months after the De Witt Clinton, the third locomotive built on American soil, had made its initial trip from Albany to Schenectady, when there were less than a hundred miles of railroad in the country, Judge S. Then came Asa Whitney, a New York merchant, who, while on a business trip to China, became filled with the idea of a railroad across the continent as the means of securing for America the rich trade of the Orient. When Whitney made his final exit, Josiah Perham, of Boston, took up the role of prophet to carry on the crusade for a transcontinental railroad. California by the early 1850s had become a part of the United States, and was experiencing significant immigration, partly if not largely due to the 1849 Gold Rush. Perham's plan, perfected in 1853, was to apply the popular idea to the financing of the Pacific Railroad.
The first soil actually moved in the attempt to build a transcontinental railroad was turned July 4, 1851, on the south bank of Choteau pond, on the outskirts of St. In 1862 Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Acts which designated the 32nd parallel as the initial transcontinental route and gave huge grants of lands for rights-of-way. The engineers were the skirmishers, and the tiemakers, of whom there were fifteen hundred employed in the mountains, were the advance guard. Twenty miles back of the tie-layers were the construction trains, and still back of these half a dozen miles were the supply trains.
Arriving there, four men on each side would seize the rails, run forward, and drop them in place, in an average time of thirty seconds to the rail. Lastly came the surfacing gang, which threw in the ballast, leveled the track, and tamped the ties in place. The result was that at the finish it cost $618,000 to move 178,000 cubic yards of material, whereas it had cost but $623,000 to move 800,000 yards under the contract system. On May 10, 1869, in a ceremony at Promontory, Utah, the last rails were laid and the last spike driven.
The completion of the Pacific railroads did more than anything else to put an end to organized outlawry in the West, and to curb hostile Indians, who up to that time had cost the government one hundred thousand dollars each to kill. Mississippi has been without a state history museum since Hurricane Katrina passed through Jackson on August 29, 2005, when high winds ripped off part of the Old Capitol Museum’s copper roof. Al McClinton and Museum Division director Lucy Allen stand on the roof of the Old Capitol after the storm.
MDAH staff arrived the morning of August 30 and immediately began pulling artifacts out of the wet collection storage room and exhibit areas and laid them out to dry in other areas of the museum.  Approximately 3,200 affected artifacts, including a large collection of Civil War battle flags and more than 100 Choctaw baskets, were moved to dry areas of the building, and several large dehumidifiers were placed throughout the Old Capitol to lower the humidity. In addition to the extensive water damage to plaster walls and ceilings, the Old Capitol’s oak floors and twin spiral staircases were damaged. A new Museum of Mississippi History is currently under construction along with the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and will open in December of 2017 in celebration of the state’s bicentennial.  After an absence of twelve years, Mississippi will again have a state history museum.
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, the greatest natural disaster the United States has ever experienced.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has been involved in recovery operations since the day after the hurricane made landfall. MDAH archivist Ashley Koostra unearthed this intriguing photograph in the unprocessed collection of Sidney T. MDAH archivists found this photograph from the 1972 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, showing the University of Mississippi versus the University of Texas. Highway segments that carry at least 8,500 trucks per day, which is the number needed to move 50 million tons per year at 16 tons per truck. Additional highway segments and parallel rail lines that together carry at least 8,500 truck, trailer-on-flatcar, and container-on-flatcar payloads of typically high-value, time-sensitive cargo at 16 tons per payload. Figure 9 shows major freight corridors by connecting gaps less than 440 miles (the distance a truck can travel in 8 hours at 55 miles per hour) between highway segments displayed in Figure 8 and adding routes that parallel bulk cargo rail lines and waterways.
The National Network was authorized by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (P.L.
The National Network differs in extent and purpose from the National Highway System (NHS), which was created more than a decade later by the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 (P.L. The definition of conventional combinations is also unchanged, even though 48-feet is no longer the maximum length of a single trailer in the majority of states.
The United States Army was quick to see the potential that railroad transportation offered, especially in the western territories.
Railroads have also played a major part in military operations and civilian supply activities during wartime. Like many another prosperous production, the first act of this episode in real life was swamped with talk and skimped in action. Bearing in mind the small population and the poverty of the Nation, the half-developed state of the practice of railroad building and operation, and of the myriad other sciences upon which it depends, the immensity of the wilderness to be crossed, the distance from the base of supplies, the crudeness of transportation facilities, the number and implacable ferocity of the savage foes to be encountered, it must be conceded that the building of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific must forever remain unparalleled in the annals of the railroad. The first exploring party sent into the field for the special purpose of ascertaining the feasibility of constructing a railway on a portion of the line of one of the transcontinental routes was that under charge of Captain Warner, of the Topographical Engineers, which was organized and set in motion by orders conveyed in 1849.


The Union Pacific (both branches), a considerable portion of the Northern Pacific, part of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, and, to some extent, the Southern Pacific railroads, were built directly in the face of hostile Indians.
Taking the route from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union, for example, the average cost by wagon per 10O pounds per hundred miles for the sixteen years from 1855 to 1870, both inclusive, was $1.77, while by rail it was less than a tenth of that amount. Plumbe, who acted as correspondent for papers in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Cincinnati, had long been advocating the building of a transcontinental railroad. Returning to New York in 1840, he gave up business, and with the fanaticism of a Mad Mullah preaching a holy war devoted ten years of his life and all of his fortune to advocating the immediate building of a transcontinental railroad. To Perham his efforts were literally in the nature of a crusade, for he believed he had a divine mission to bring about the building of the road.
He thought he could collect a million subscriptions of a hundred dollars each from the general public, which, he imagined, was eager to make such an investment from patriotic motives. The legislation authorized two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, to construct the lines. While the Central Pacific had been crossing the Sierras the Union Pacific had surmounted Evans Pass, the highest point on the line, at an elevation of 8,242 feet. The ties had to be sent to the railroad in large wagon trains, under strong military escort.
Cars were loaded with the proper proportion of rails, chairs, bolts, and spikes, so that there should be no delay in putting down the iron. On many a day the construction gangs of the two companies laid more miles of track than an ox team averaged in a day's travel on the old overland trail. A strangely mixed crowd of Mormon saints, Mexicans, Indians, Chinese, freed slaves, Irish laborers, army officers and their wives, Eastern bankers, bullwhackers, muleskinners, frontiersmen, and camp followers had assembled to watch the proceedings with varying degrees of interest, curiosity, or ennui.
With the roof peeled back like a banana, rainwater drenched the second and third floors of the museum’s south side, including exhibit areas and a collection storage room filled with artifacts. All 12,000 artifacts in the collection were moved out of the Old Capitol and placed in temporary storage. Katrina exacerbated existing problems with the building, including rising dampness, poor foundation, cracked walls and limestone, and other structural issues. It then served as a state office building until it was renovated in 1961 and became the home of the state history museum for the next 45 years.
On August 29, 2005, the storm exploded into Mississippi, killing hundreds of people and forever changing the state’s cultural landscape.
This blog series will explore the department’s role in recovery efforts and MDAH collections that document the storm.
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Average daily intermodal service is the annual tonnage moved by container-on-flatcar and trailer-on-flatcar service divided by 365 days per year and 16 tons per average truck payload. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Freight Management and Operations, 2008.
The corridors in Figure 9 include approximately 26,000 miles of highways plus an additional 1,500 miles of bulk cargo rail and waterway routes measured along the nearest parallel highway. It is modified only if segments are added to the Interstate highway system or if states petition to have a segment beyond the Interstate highway system added or deleted. Single 53-foot trailers are allowed in 25 states without special permits and in an additional 3 states subject to limits on distance of kingpin to rearmost axle. Prior to the building of a railroad network, the Army had planned to build and outfit an extensive fort system, each post having responsibility for a defined geographic area. But thereafter the thrills came thick and fast in an ascending scale of climaxes, culminating in a grand finale which earned a world's applause. All the explorations from that time on until 1855, including all the transcontinental routes, were conducted by Army officers, with the single exception of the northern route, the exploration in that case being under the direction of an ex-officer. Civil assistants were largely employed, and amongst them we find the names of many who afterwards became prominent in other directions because of the very qualities displayed by them in this work. Dexter, of Ann Arbor, Mich., proposed, in an editorial in his paper, the Weekly Emigrantj of February 6,1832, that a railroad should be built from the Great Lakes, across more than two thousand miles of unbroken, almost unexplored, wilderness, to the Pacific Ocean.
Pursuant to a call issued by him, the first publie convention ever held to discuss the Pacific railroad project, met in Dubuque March 81, 1838.
In 1845 he submitted to Congress a proposal to undertake the building of the road in consideration of a grant of land sixty miles wide for the length of the route.
Perham was a Maine woolen manufacturer, who lost all his property by unwise plunging in land speculation. In 1853, four surveys were organized by the War Department to find the mostpractical route to the Pacific. Kennett, who then expressed the eloquent hope that the spade with which he did it " would not rust until it was finally burnished by the golden sands of the Pacific." In the decade from 1850 to 1860, Congress devoted a large and steadily increasing proportion of its time to discussion of the Pacific railroad project. Beginning in 1863, the Union Pacific, employing more than 8,000 Irish, German, and Italian immigrants, built west from Omaha, Nebraska; the Central Pacific, whose workforce included over 10,000 Chinese laborers, built eastward from Sacramento, California. Both had ample funds at last, and both were almost equally distant from Monument Point, at the head of Great Salt Lake, the Union Pacific being 522 miles away and the Central Pacific 545 miles.
In their eagerness to earn as much as possible of the subsidy the rival companies pushed their grades ahead until they overlapped more than two hundred miles. First of all was the boarding train of rough sleeping, kitchen, dining, and office cars, that the men might lose no time between their meals and their work.
A second gang drove home the spikes and put in the rest with an average of three blows of the sledge to each spike and tightened the nuts on the bolts. Such performances as these attracted the attention of the newspapers in the East, which began to send their star correspondents to the front and to announce the number of miles of track laid each day, as baseball scores are announced nowadays.


Congress eventually authorized 4 transcontinental railroads and granted 174 million acres of public lands for rights-of-way.
Today the Old Capitol Museum interprets the history of the building and contains exhibits on government and historic preservation. Hurricane Katrina devastated the historical fabric of the Gulf Coast and cut a swath of destruction 150 miles inland. It shows a railroad crossing signal built at an Illinois Central crossing near Grenada around 1940. Both are about the same length, roughly 200,000 miles, but the National Network includes approximately 65,000 miles of highways beyond the NHS, and the NHS includes about 50,000 miles of highways that are not on the National Network. Petitions for modifications have not been received in years, even though the geography of interstate commerce has changed significantly with the growth of smaller communities into principal cities and the emergence of new, densely developed areas.
This, of course required investments in materials and manpower both of which the post Civil War Army had very little.
Holbrook, in The Story of American Railroads, discussed the reaction to railroads in the 1830's: "The coming of the railroad, and the rapidity with which it expanded during the 1830's, found a public wholly unprepared, and pretty much confused. However, all these explorations were in charge of graduates of the Military Academy, and the results of their labors prove how zealously and efficiently they were conducted. For the next five years he bombarded the national legislature with memorials and addresses, carrying on, at the same time, a vigorous publicity campaign. Going to Boston in 1842, he started a wool commission business, in which he prospered for a time, but was again a bankrupt seven years later. In Congress Perham received scant encouragement, even though he was able to secure the support of the omnipotent Thad Stevens.
As the idea grew, no Congressional orator considered an address on any topic complete without a fulsome peroration devoted to the Pacific railroad. Each company faced unprecedented construction problems—mountains, severe weather, and the hostility of Native Americans. As soon as the weather permitted a construction campaign was begun which has never yet been equaled. In an attempt to get beyond Promontory Point, where there was a section of the most intricate alignment, heaviest grades, and sharpest curves on the entire line, the Union Pacific took the work out of the contractors' hands and put on day and night shifts to finish the job in a hurry.
The boarding train would be pushed up to the end of the track while a supply train was run up behind it and unloaded. In 1867 the Union Pacific laid 240 miles of track; in 1868, 425 miles, and to May 10, 1869, when the tracks met, 125 miles. The total mileage is about 60 percent of the length of the Interstate System and less than 17 percent of the National Network designated for conventional combination trucks.
The National Network supports interstate commerce by regulating the size of trucks, while the NHS supports interstate commerce by focusing federal investments. Consistency between the National Network and freight-related portions of the more recent NHS is not required. But it was not warfare with the savages that was most trying to the soldiers; it was the necessity for constant watchfulness, the subjection to every hardship, the generally unwholesome way of living, and the feeling that the lives of many unarmed laborers depended upon them, that told most severely. Perham extended his cheap excursion business operations to include all New England and Canada. Finally a bill was drafted which met the views of Congress, but not until after the Union Pacific and Central Pacific had been launched.
From twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand men, and from five thousand to six thousand teams were employed, and from five hundred to six hundred tons of material were used daily.
Bridges were framed and the pieces numbered at the mills, ready to be put together immediately on reaching the front. Then the boarding train would be pulled back, to allow the material to be loaded on little dump-carts, which two horses would take to the front at a gallop.
The Central Pacific laid 94 miles through the mountains in 1867, 368 miles in 1868, and 186 miles to May 10, 1869. Sherman saw that the railroad could move soldiers and supplies rapidly over a wide geographic range, eliminating the need for an extensive system of forts.
At one time the Central Pacific had no fewer than thirty vessels loaded with supplies at sea, on the long voyage of nineteen thousand miles from New York around the Horn to San Francisco. With this in mind, Sherman did all he could to support the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, visiting the Union Pacific work site several times a year and keeping in close correspondence with Grenville Dodge (Chief Engineer of the Union Pacific).
The canal builders and operators, of course, simply damned the new method of transportation on every count they could think of. The People's Pacific Railroad became the forerunner of the Northern Pacific; but Perham did not live to see the work under way. Twenty-five sawmills around Truckee worked up timber for the use of the Central Pacific, while a dozen mills in the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountains did a similar work for the Union Pacific. In twelve years he had made another fortune, and had become one of the most widely known men in the country.
His last fortune was frittered away on this Pacific Railroad propaganda, and, like Whitney, he died a poor man. It was merely a clever method by which smart scoundrels could steal your money more or less legally by selling you worthless stock.



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