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Full text of "How we built the Union Pacific railway, and other railway papers and addresses"

How We Built The 
Union Pacific Railway 

AND 

Other Railway Papers and Addresses 



MAJOR-GENERAL GRENVILLE M. DODGE 

Chief Engineer Union Pacific Railway 
1866-1870 



COMPLIMENTS 
or 

GENERAL GRENVILLE M. DODGE 



The Monarch Printing Co. 
council bluffs 

IOWA 



How We Built 

THE 

Union Pacific Railway 

AND 

Other Railway Papers and 
Addresses 



BY \\<^ 

MAJOR GENERAL GRENVIIv^E M. DODGE ( 
Chief Engineer Union Pacific Railway 
1866-1870 



UEi 



i v-< I 



CONTENTS 

Page 

How We Built the Union Pacific Railway 5 

Address at the Omaha Centennial 51 

The Building of the Union Pacific Railroad and Its Relation to 

Council Bluffs and Western Iowa 57 

Fortieth Anniversary of Driving of the Last Spike 67 

What I Know of Harriman 7 5 

A Tribute to General Dodge 81 

Speech of G. M. Dodge in Congress, March 25, 1868, on the Union 

Pacific Railroad 87 

The Civil Engineer in an Early Day and in the Civil War 97 

Address at Banquet of Commercial Club, Omaha 127 

Address on "The Pioneers and Development of the West" 139 

Letter to the Iowa Railway Club 147 

Description of Norwich University 153 

Norwich University in the Civil War 157 

Address Before the Vermont Society of New York 165 

ILLUSTRATIONS 

Faces page 

Major-General G. M. Dodge 5 

Dale Creek Bridge 17 

General Dodge and Party of Exploration. . . 23 

General Grant and Party Visit General Dodge 31 

Temporary Trestle, Promontory, Utah 33 

S. B. Reed 37 

General J. S. Casement 38 

Six Passenger Trains Snowed In 47 

City of Rocks 51 

Twin Monks 57 

Joining of Tracks 67 

The Locomotives Touched Noses 69 

Cedar Pass, Utah 71 

Monument Point, Great Salt Lake 7 5 

Eagle Nest, Utah . 81 

Laramie Peak, Wyoming 83 

Laramie River Canyon, Wyoming 87 

Thos. B. Morris and Party 97 

Tunnel No. 3, Weber Canyon 103 

Divide of the Continent ; 113 

Camp on Snake River Range 114 

Humboldt Wells . . 121 

Chief Engineer's Office, Omaha, 1866-70 127 

Entrance to North Platte Canyon 133 

Thousand Mile Tree, Weber Canyon, Utah 135 

Julesburg Stage Station, Wyoming, 1867 139 

Union Pacific Railway Crossing, Green River, Utah. . . 147 

General Dodge's Camp, Blackfoot Creek, Utah. . . 153 

Bear River Bridge, Utah 157 

Cottonwood Grove, Weber Canyon, Utah 165 




MAJOR-GENERAL G. M. DODGE 
Chief Engineer Union Pacific Railway. 1866-1870 



22.001 
Bancroft Library 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY. 



In 1836 the first public meeting to consider the project 
of a Pacific railway was called by John Plumbe, a civil engineer 
of Dubuque, Iowa. Interest in a Pacific railway increased from 
this time. The explorations of Fremont in 1842 and 1846 
brought the attention of Congress, and A. C. Whitney was 
zealous and efficient in the cause from 1840 to 1850. The first 
practical measure was Senator Salmon P. Chase's bill, making 
an appropriation for the explorations of different routes for a 
Pacific railway in 1853. Numerous bills were introduced in Con- 
gress between 1852 and 1860, granting subsidies and lands, and 
some of them appropriating as large a sum as $96,000,000 for 
the construction of the road. One of these bills passed one of 
the houses of Congress. The results of the explorations ordered 
by Congress were printed in eleven large volumes, covering 
the country between the parallels of latitude thirty-second on 
the south and forty-ninth on the north, and demonstrating the 
feasibility of building a Pacific railway, but at a cost on any 
one of the lines much larger than the Union Pacific and Cen- 
tral Pacific were built for. It is a singular fact that in all these 
explorations the most feasible line in an engineering and com- 
mercial point of view, the line with the least obstacles to over- 
come, of lowest grades and least curvature was never explored 
and reported on. Private enterprise explored and developed 
that line along the forty-second parallel of latitude. 

This route was made by the buffalo, next used by the 
Indians, then by the fur traders, next by the Mormons, and 
then by the overland immigration to California and Oregon 
It was known as the Great Platte Valley Route. On this trail, 
or close to it, was built the Union and Central Pacific Railroads 
to California, and the Oregon Short Line branch of the Union 
Pacific to Oregon. 

In 1852 the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company 
was organized to build a line westward across the State of 



5 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



Iowa as an extension of the Chicago and Koek Island, then 
terminating at Rock Island, Illinois. The principal men con- 
nected with this line were Henry Farnum and Thomas C. 
Durant. Peter A. Dey, who had been a division engineer of 
the Rock Island, was the Chief Engineer of the M. & M. in 
Iowa. He was a man of great ability, probity and integrity. 

In May, 1853, Mr. Peter A. Dey left the Rock Island, of 
which he was a division engineer stationed at Tiskilwa, and 
commenced at Davenport, Iowa, the first survey of a railroad 
line across the State of Iowa. I had been with Mr. Dey about 
eight months as rodman, and under his direction had made a 
survey of the Peoria & Bureau Valley Railway in Illinois. Mr. 
Dey was made chief engineer of the M. & M., and took me to 
Iowa as assistant, and placed me in charge of the party in the 
field, certainly a very fine promotion for the limited experience 
I had, and it is one of the greatest satisfactions and pleasures 
of my life to have had his friendship from the time I entered 
his service until now. Mr. Dey is not only a very distinguished 
citizen of Iowa, but is one of the most eminent engineers of 
the country. He was known for his great ability, his upright- 
ness and the square deal he gave everyone, and he has greatly 
honored his State in the many public positions he has held. 
I look back upon my services with him with the greatest 
pleasure. He has a wide reputation as a civil engineer and 
railway constructor, and in later years as Railway Commis- 
sioner for the State of Iowa. 

In 1853 he gave the orders for the party that surveyed the 
first line across Iowa to examine the country west of the Mis- 
souri River. This was to determine where the M. & M. (now 
the Rock Island) line crossing Iowa should terminate on the 
Missouri River, in order to take advantage of, and, perhaps, 
become a part of the prospective line running west up the 
great Platte Valley, then the chief thoroughfare for all the 
Mormon, California and Oregon overland immigration. It fell 
to my lot to be chief of this party. My examinations virtually 
determined that a railway line extending west from the Mis- 
souri River should go by way of Sarpy's Point (now Bellevue), 
or directly west from Kanesville, afterwards Council Bluffs. 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 7 



where the Mormons from Nauvoo were then resting on their 
way to Salt Lake. 

My party crossed the Missouri Kiver in the fall of 1853 
on flat-boats. The Omaha Indians occupied the country where 
we landed, and after obtaining a line rising from the bluffs 
west of where the city of Omaha now stands, I gave directions 
to the party to continue the survey while I went on ahead to 
examine the country to the Platte Valley some twenty-five 
miles farther west. I reached the Platte Valley about noon 
the next day, and being very tired, I lariated my horse and 
laid down with my saddle as a pillow and with my rifle under 
it, and went sound asleep. I was awakened by the neighing 
of the horse and when I looked up, I saw an Indian leading 
the horse towards the Elkhorn River, pulling with all his 
might and the horse holding back, evidently frightened. I was 
greatly frightened myself, hardly knowing what to do, but I 
suppose from instinct, I grabbed my rifle, and started after 
the Indian hollering at the top of my voice. The Indian saw 
me coming, let the horse go and made his way across the Elk- 
horn River. This Indian afterwards was an enlisted man in 
the battalion of Pawnees that served under me in the Indian 
campaigns of 1865, and he told Major North, the commander 
of that battalion, that he let loose of the horse because I hol- 
lered so loud that it frightened him. On obtaining my horse, 
I saddled up and made my way back to the party that was 
camped on the Big Papillion on the emigrant road leading 
from Florence to the Elkhorn. The camp was full of Omaha 
Indians and they had every man in the party cooking for them. 
I saw that we would soon lose all our provisions, and as the 
party was armed, I called them together and told them to get 
their arms. I only knew one Indian word, "Puckechee," which 
meant get out. That I told them, and while the Indians were 
surly, they saw we were determined and they left us. I don't 
believe there was anyone in the party that had ever seen an 
Indian before or had any experience with them. We were all 
tenderfeet. It taught me a lesson, never to allow an Indian 
in my camp or around it without permission, and this was my 
instructions to all our engineering parties. Those who obeyed 
it, generally got through without losing their stock or lives. 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



Those who were careless and disobeyed, generally lost their 
stock and some of their men. As soon as we had determined 
the line from the Missouri Eiver to the Platte, we returned 
to Iowa City, which was the headquarters of the M. & M. 
Railway. 

The times were such that the work on the M. & M. Railway 
was suspended for some years. Meanwhile I located at Council 
Bluffs, continuing the explorations under the direction of 
Messrs. Farnum and Durant, and obtaining from voyagers, 
immigrants and others all the information I could in regard 
to the country further west. There was keen competition at 
that time for the control of the vast immigration crossing the 
plains, and Kansas City, Fort Leavenworth (then the govern- 
ment post), St. Joseph and Council Bluffs were points of con- 
centration on the Missouri. The trails from all the points 
converged in the Platte Valley at or near old Fort Kearney, 
following its waters to the South Pass. A portion of the Kan- 
sas City immigration followed the Valley of the Arkansas west, 
and thence through New Mexico. The great bulk of the immi- 
gration was finally concentrated at Council Bluffs as the best 
crossing of the Missouri River. From my explorations and the 
information I had obtained with the aid of the Mormons and 
others, I mapped and made an itinerary of a line from Council 
Bluffs through to Utah, California and Oregon, giving the 
camping places for each night, and showing where wood, water 
and fords of streams could be found. Distributed broadcast 
by the local interests of this route, this map and itinerary had 
no small influence in turning the mass of overland immigration 
to Council Bluffs, where it crossed the Missouri and took the 
great Platte Valley route. This route was up that valley to 
its forks, and then up either the north or south fork to Salt 
Lake and California by way of the Humboldt, and to Oregon 
by way of the Snake and Columbia rivers. This is today the 
route of the Union and Central Pacifies to California, and the 
Union Pacific to Oregon. 

After collecting all the information we could as to the 
best route for a railroad to the Pacific, I reported to Messrs. 
Farnam and Durant, who paid out of their private funds for 
all mv work. In 1857 or 1858 they asked me to visit New York. 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



In the office of the Rock Island Railroad, over the Corn Ex- 
change Bank in AVilliam Street, I was brought before the 
Board of Directors of that road, and the Mississippi and Mis- 
souri Railway, together with some friends who had been called 
in. The secretary of the company read my report. Before he 
was half through nearly every person had left the room, and 
when he had finished only Mr. Farnam, Mr. Durant, the reader 
and myself were present. I could see that there was lack of 
faith and even interest in the matter. One of the directors 
said in the outer room that he did not see why they should be 
asked to hear such nonsense, but Messrs. Farnam and Durant 
did not lose faith. Since our survey in 1853, other companies 
had made surveys in Iowa, all concentrating at Council Bluffs. 
Farnam and Duranl felt that if they could stimulate interest 
in the Pacific road it would enable them to raise funds to 
complete their line across the State, and authority was con- 
ferred upon me to begin work at Council Bluffs and build 
east through Pottawattamie County, if I could obtain local 
aid. This we secured, and the road was graded through that 
county, when we were called east to continue the work from 
Iowa City west. 

In 1854, when Nebraska was organized, we moved to its 
frontier, continuing the explorations under the patronage of 
Messrs. Farnam and Durant, and obtaining all valuable infor- 
mation, which was used to concentrate the influence of the 
different railways east and west of Chicago to the support of 
the forty-second parallel line. 

In 1861 we discontinued the railroad work because of the 
Civil War. The passage of the bill of 1862, which made the 
building of a trans-continental railroad possible, was due pri- 
marily to the persistent efforts of Hon. Samuel R. Curtis, a 
Representative in Congress from Iowa, who reported the bill 
before entering the Union service in 1861. It was then taken 
up by Hon. James Harlan of Iowa, who succeeded in obtaining 
its passage in March, 1862. 

Up to 1858, all the projects for building a railroad across 
the continent were regarded as the Pacific roads ; each route 
mentioned having a particular name. The line along the forty- 
second parallel of latitude was designated as a line from San 



10 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

Francisco to a point on the Missouri Eiver not farther north 
than Council Bluffs and not farther south than Independence, 
Missouri, and was called the Pacific Railroad. The line sur- 
veyed by Stephens along the forty-ninth parallel of latitude 
was called the North Route. The route along the thirty-eighth 
and thirty-ninth parallels, as the Buffalo Trail. It received that 
name from Thomas H. Benton. The route along the thirty-fifth 
and thirty-second parallels, as the South Route. The Govern- 
ment, however, made no explorations along the forty-second 
parallel ; that was done by individual enterprise. In 1856, both 
political parties in convention passed resolutions favoring a 
Pacific railroad, and in 1857, President Buchanan advocated 
it as a reason for holding the Pacific Coast people in the Union, 
and it was this sentiment that gave to the forty-second parrallel 
line the name of the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1858, a select 
committee of fifteen was authorized by Congress on Pacific 
railroads and in the Thirty-fifth Congress, second session, this 
committee allowed the Hon. Samuel R. Curtis of Iowa to report 
the bill, and if I recollect rightly, this was the first bill that 
took the name of Union Pacific. In the Thirty-sixth Congress, 
General Curtis became the champion of the Union Pacific Rail- 
road, and it was advocated then as a strong element in holding 
the Union together. Curtis' bill passed the house in December, 
1860. It failed to become a law, as the question, of secession 
was up then and Lincoln had been elected President. In the 
extra session of the Thirty-second Congress in July, 1861, 
Curtis reintroduced the bill and he left Congress to enter the 
army. When Representative Campbell of Pennsylvania be- 
came chairman of the committee, Senator Harlan of Iowa, who 
had been elected to the Senate, became the strongest advocate 
of the bill in the Senate. Lincoln advocated its passage and 
building, not only as a military necessity, but as a means of 
holding the Pacific Coast to the Union. This bill became a 
law in 1862, and there is no doubt but what the sentiment that 
the building of the railroad would hold the Union together 
gave it the name of the Union Pacific. 

The Union Pacific Railway was organized on September 2, 
1862, at Chicago, Major-General S. R. Curtis, of Iowa, being 
chairman of the commissioners appointed by Congress. The 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 11 

organization was perfected by making Henry B. Ogden, of 
Chicago, President; Thomas "W. Olcott, Treasurer, and Henry 
V. Poor, Secretary. Mr. T. C. Durant selected Peter A. Dey 
to make a reconnoisance from the Missouri River to Salt Lake 
to be reported at the next meeting of the Board. Mr. Dey 
immediately entered upon his work and extended his recon- 
noisance through to Salt Lake Valley. 

In the spring of 1863, when in command of the District 
of Corinth, Mississippi, I received a dispatch from General 
Grant to proceed to Washington and report to President Lin- 
coln. No explanation coming with the dispatch, and having 
a short time before organized and armed some negroes for 
the purpose of guarding a contraband camp which Ave had at 
Corinth, which act had been greatly criticised in the army and 
by civilians, I was somewhat alarmed, thinking possibly I was 
to be called to account. But on arriving at Washington I dis- 
covered that my summons was due to an interview between 
Mr. Lincoln and myself at Council Bluffs in August, 1859. 
He was there to look after an interest in the Riddle Tract he 
had bought of Mr. N. B. Judd of Chicago. I had just arrived 
from an exploring trip to the westward. It was quite an event 
for an exploring party to reach the States, and after dinner, 
while I was resting on the stoop of the Pacific House, Mr. 
Lincoln sat down beside me, and by his kindly ways soon drew 
from me all I knew of the country west, and the results of 
my reconnoisances. As the saying is, he completely "shelled 
my woods," getting all the secrets that were later to go to 
my employers. 

Under the law of 1862 the President was to fix the eastern 
terminus of the Union Pacific Railway, and, remembering our 
talk in the fifties, he wished to consult me in the matter. 
Several towns on the Missouri River were competing for the 
terminus, but Mr. Lincoln practically settled the question in 
favor of the location I recommended. He issued his first order 
on November 17, 1863. It was in his own language, and as 
follows : 

"I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do 
hereby fix so much of the western boundary of the State of 
Iowa as lies between the north and south boundaries of the 



L2 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

United States township within which the city of Omaha is 
situated as the point from which the line of railroad and tele- 
graph in that section mentioned shall be constructed." 

This order was not considered definite enough by the 
company, and on March 7, 1864, President Lincoln issued the 
second executive order, as follows : 

' I , Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do 
upon the application of said company, designate and establish 
such first named point on the eastern boundary of the State 
of Iowa east of and opposite to the east line of Section 10, in 
Township 15, South of Range 13, east of the sixth principal 
meridian in the Territory of Nebraska." 

On March 8, 1864, he notified the United States Senate 
that on the 17th day of November, 1863, he had located the 
''Eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railway within the 
limits of the township in Iowa opposite to the town of Omaha." 
Since then, he says the company has represented to me that 
upon additional survey made it has determined upon the pre- 
cise point of departure of the branch road from the Missouri 
River, and located same within the limits designated in the 
order of November last. 

.. He was very anxious that the road should be built and dis- 
cussed that question with me. 

I explained to him as clearly as I could how difficult it 
would be to build it by private enterprise, and said I thought 
it should be taken up and built by the Government. He ob- 
jected to this, saying the Government would give the project 
all possible aid and support, but could not build the road ; 
that it had all it could possibly handle in the conflict now 
going on. But the Government would make any change in the 
law or give any reasonable aid to insure the building of the 
road by private enterprise. 

After my interview with the President, I proceeded to 
New York and met Mr. T. C. Durant, then practically at the 
head of the Union Pacific interests, and other interested per- 
sons. After I had presented the President's views they took 
new courage, and at the yearly meeting of the company, Gen- 
eral John A. Dix was made President, Thomas C. Durant, Vice 
President, H. V. Poor, Secretary, and J. J. Cisco, Treasurer. 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 13 



They then submitted to Congress the necessary changes needed 
in the law of 1862, in order to bring the capital of the country 
to their support. 

In the fall of 1863 Mr. Durant had personally instructed 
Mr. Dey to organize parties for immediate surveys to deter- 
mine the line from the Missouri River up the Platte Valley, to 
run a line over the first range of mountains, known as the 
Black Hills, and to examine the Wasatch range. In his report 
Mr. Durant said: "It is here that the information derived from 
the examinations made by General G. M. Dodge, and those 
made last year by Peter A. Dey, who was sent out by the com- 
mittee appointed by your Board of Commissioners, proved of 
great value, as the present parties will avail themselves of the 
examinations made by these gentlemen, and will first run the 
lines which they found most practicable." In accordance with 
these instructions, Mr. Dey placed B. B. Brayton in charge of 
the party examining the Black Hills, and at Mr. Dey's request, 
Brigham Young placed his son, James A. Young, in charge of 
the surveys over the Wasatch. Mr. Dey, who had become chief 
engineer, placed engineering parties in the field covering the 
territory from the Missouri River to Salt Lake. 

Ground was broken at Omaha for the beginning of the 
road on the 1st day of December, 1863, and after the passage 
of the Act of 1864 about $500,000 was spent in grading and 
surveys. 

A question as to the location brought a disturbing contest 
between Omaha and the company. Mr. Dey had located the line 
due west to the Elkhorn River. The consulting engineer, Colo- 
nel Seymour, recommended a change, increasing the distance 
nine or more miles in thirteen. The main argument for adding 
nine miles of distance in thirteen miles of road was that it elim- 
inated the eighty and sixty-six foot grades of the direct line. 
If this had been done there would have been some argument for 
the change, but they only eliminated the grades from the Omaha 
summit west, while it took three miles of sixty and sixty-six 
foot grade from the Missouri River to reach this summit, and 
coming east the Elkhorn summit was an eighty-foot grade, so 
by the change and addition of nine miles they made no reduc- 
tions in the original maximum grades, or in the tonnage hauled 



14 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

in a train on the new lines over the old line, if it had been built. 
The grades at Omaha and Elkhorn have been eliminated since 
1900, and the new management are adopting the old Dey line 
for the distance it saves, and bringing the grade to the road's 
maximum of forty-seven feet to the mile. It was Mr. Dey's 
intention that when traffic demanded the original short line 
grades would be reduced to whatever maximum grade the 
road should finally adopt. After a long contest and many 
reports the Government provided that the change should only 
be made if the Omaha and Elkhorn grades were eliminated, 
the first by a line running south from Omaha two miles down 
the Missouri Valley and cutting through the bluffs to Muddy 
Creek, giving a thirty-five foot maximum grade, and the Elk- 
horn by additional cutting and filling without changing the 
line, but this was never done. The company paid no attention 
to the decision but built on the changed line, letting the grades 
at Omaha and Elkhorn stand, and the Government commis- 
sioners accepted the road, ignoring the Government's condi- 
tions for the change, and bonds were issued upon it, although 
it was a direct violation of the Government order. The final 
decision in favor of the change and the ignoring of Mr. Dey's 
recommendations in letting the construction contracts, caused 
Mr. Dey in January, 1865, to send in his resignation. He stated 
in his letter of resignation that he was giving up "the best posi- 
tion in his profession this country has offered to any man." 

The officers of the Union Pacific then requested me to 
return and take charge of the work. I was then in command 
of the United States forces on the plains in the Indian cam- 
paigns, and General Grant was not willing that I should leave, 
so I finished my work there and went to Omaha on the 1st of 
May, 1866, and assumed the duties of chief engineer, having 
been allowed leave of absence through the following letter 
of General Sherman : 

"HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE 
MISSISSIPPI. 

"Major-General Dodge. " St - Louis > Ma ^ lst > 1866 - 

"Dear General: I have your letter of April 27th, and I 
readily consent to what you ask. I think General Pope should 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 15 

be at Leavenworth before you leave, and I expected he would 
be at Leavenworth by May 1st, but he has not yet come. As 
soon as he reaches Leavenworth, or St. Louis, even, I consent 
to your going to Omaha to begin what, I trust, will be the 
real beginning of the great road. I start tomorrow for Riley, 
whence I will cross over to Kearney by land, and thence come 
in to Omaha, where I hope to meet you. I will send your letter 
this morning to Pope's office and endorse your request that 
a telegraph message be sent to General Pope to the effect that 
he is wanted at Leavenworth. Hoping to meet you soon, I am, 

"Yours truly, 

"W. T. SHERMAN, M.-G." 

The organization for work on the plains away from civili- 
zation was as follows : Each of our surveying parties consisted 
of a chief, who was an experienced engineer, two assistants, 
also civil engineers, rodmen, flagmen and chainmen, generally 
graduated civil engineers, but without personal experience in 
the field, besides axe men, teamsters and herders. When the 
party was expected to live upon the game of the country a 
hunter was added. Each party would thus consist of from 
eighteen to twenty-two men, all armed. When operating in a 
hostile Indian country they were regularly drilled, though 
after the Civil War this was unnecessary, as most of them had 
been in the army. Each party entering a country occupied by 
hostile Indians was generally furnished with a military escort 
of from ten men to a company under a competent officer. The 
duty of this escort was to protect the party when in camp. 
In the field the escort usually occupied prominent hills com- 
manding the territory in which the work was to be done, so as 
to head off sudden attacks by the Indians. Nothwithstanding 
this protection, the parties were often attacked, their chief, or 
some of their men killed or wounded, and their stock run off. 

In preliminary surveys in the open country a party would 
run from eight to twelve miles of line in a day. On location 
in an open country three or four miles would be covered, but 
in a mountainous country generally not to exceed a mile. All 
hands worked from daylight to dark, the country being recon- 
noitered ahead of them by the chief, who indicated the streams 



16 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

to follow, and the controlling points in summits and river 
crossings. The party of location that followed the preliminary 
surveys, had the maps and profiles of the line selected for loca- 
tion and devoted its energies to obtaining a line of the lowest 
grades and the least curvature that the country would admit. 

The location party in our work on the Union Pacific was 
followed by the construction corps, grading generally 100 
miles at a time. That distance was graded in about thirty 
days on the plains, as a rule, but in the mountains we some- 
times had to open our grading several hundred miles ahead 
of our track in order to complete the grading by the time the 
track should reach it. All the supplies for this work had to be 
hauled from the end of the track, and the wagon transportation 
was enormous. At one time we were using at least 10,000 ani- 
mals, and most of the time from 8,000 to 10,000 laborers. The 
bridge gangs always worked from five to twenty miles ahead 
of the track, and it was seldom that the track waited for a 
bridge. To supply one mile of track with material and sup- 
plies required about forty cars, as on the plains everything 
rails, ties, bridging, fastenings, all railway supplies, fuel for 
locomotives and trains, and supplies for men and animals on 
the entire work, had to be transported from the Missouri 
River. Therefore, as we moved westward, every hundred miles 
added vastly to our transportation. Yet the work was so 
systematically planned and executed that I do not remember 
an instance in all the construction of the line of the work 
being delayed a single week for want of material. Each winter 
we planned the work for the next season. By the opening of 
spring, about April 1st, every part of the machinery was in 
working order, and in no year did we fail to accomplish our 
work. After 1866 the reports will show what we started out 
to do each year, and what we accomplished. 

The following extract from a letter written to me by Gen- 
eral W. T. Sherman as to what we promised to do in 1867, 
which whs only about one-half what we prepared to do and 
did accomplish in 1868, indicates how one year's experience 
helped us in the progress of the next. It also shows, what the 
country now seems in a great measure to have forgotten, that 
the Pacific Railroad, now regarded chiefly in the light of a 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 17 

transcontinental, commercial highway, was then looked upon 
as a military necessity and as the one thing positively essen- 
tial to the binding together of the republic East and West : 

"St. Louis, January 16, 1867. 
' - My Dear Dodge : 

"I have just read with intense interest your letter of the 
14th. and, though you wanted it kept to myself, I believe 
you will sanction my sending it to General Grant for his indi- 
vidual perusal, to be returned to me. It is almost a miracle 
to grasp your purpose to finish to Fort Sanders (288 miles) 
this year, but you have done so much that I mistrust my own 
judgment and accept yours. I regard this road of yours as 
the solution of the Indian affairs and the Mormon question, 
and, therefore, give you all the aid I possibly can, but the 
demand for soldiers everywhere and the slowness of enlist- 
ment, especially among the blacks, limit our ability to respond. 
Each officer exaggerates his own troubles and appeals for men. 
I now have General Terry on the upper Missouri, General 
Augur with you, and General Hancock just below, all enter- 
prising young men, fit for counsel or for the field. I will en- 
deavor to arrange so that hereafter all shall act on common 
principles and with a common purpose, and the first step, of 
course, is to arrange for the accumulation of the necessary 
men and materials at the right points, for which your railroad 
is the very thing. So far as interest in your section is con- 
cerned, you may rest easy that both Grant and I feel deeply 
concerned in the safety of your great national enterprise." 

It was not until after November, 1867, when we had been 
at work two years, that we got railroad communication with 
the East at Council Bluffs, Iowa, the initial point of the Union 
Pacific Railway by the completion of the Northwestern Rail- 
way. Till then the Missouri River had been the sole route 
over which supplies could be had. It was available only about 
three months of the year, and our construction was limited 
by the quantities of rail and equipment that could be brought 
to us by boat in that time. In twelve months of work after 
we had rail communication, we located, built and equipped 
587 miles of road, working only from one end, transporting 



18 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

everything connected with it, an average distance of 800 miles 
west of the Missouri River. This feat has not yet been sur- 
passed. In accomplishing it we crossed the divide of the 
continent and two ranges of mountains, one of which was 
the Wasatch, where in the winter of 1868-69 we had to blast 
the earth the same as the rocks. 

Our Indian troubles commenced in 1864 and lasted until 
the tracks joined at Promontory. We lost most of our men 
and stock while building from Fort Kearney to Bitter Creek. 
At that time every mile of road had to be surveyed, graded, 
tied and bridged under military protection. The order to 
every surveying corps, grading, bridging and tie outfit was 
never to run when attacked. All were required to be armed, 
and I do not know that the order was disobeyed in a single 
instance, nor did I ever hear that the Indians had driven a 
party permanently from its work. I remember one occasion 
when they swooped down on a grading outfit in sight of the 
temporary fort of the military some five miles away, and 
right in sight of the end of the track. The Government Com- 
mission to examine that section of the completed road had 
just arrived, and the Commissioners witnessed the fight. The 
graders had their arms stacked on the cut. The Indians leaped 
from the ravines, and, springing upon the workmen before 
they could reach their arms, cut loose the stock and caused 
a panic. General Frank P. Blair, General Simpson and Dr. 
White were the Commissioners, and they showed their grit by 
running to my car for arms to aid in the fight. We did not 
fail to benefit from this experience, for, on returning to the 
Bast the Commission dwelt earnestly on the necessity of our 
being protected. 

From the beginning to the completion of the road our 
success depended in a great measure on the cordial and active 
support of the army, especially its commander-in-chief, Gen- 
eral Grant, and the commander of the Military Division of 
the West, General Sherman. He took a personal interest in the 
project. He visited the work several times each year during 
its continuance, and I was in the habit of communicating with 
him each month, detailing my progress and laying before him 
my plans. In return I received letters from him almost every 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 19 

month. We also had the cordial support of the district com- 
manders of the country through which we operated General 
Augur, General Cook, General Gibbon and General Stevenson, 
and their subordinates. General Grant had given full and 
positive instructions that every support should be given to 
me, and General Sherman in the detailed instructions practi- 
cally left it to my own judgment as to what support should 
be given by the troops on the plains. They were also instructed 
to furnish my surveying parties with provisions from the posts 
whenever our provisions should give out, and the subordinate 
officers, following the example of their chiefs, responded to 
every demand made, no matter at what time of day or night, 
what time of year or in what weather, and took as much inter- 
est in the matter as we did. \ 

General Sherman's great interest in the enterprise orig- 
inated from the fact that he personally, in 1849, took from 
General Smith, Commander on the Pacific Coast, the instruc- 
tions to Lieutenants Warner and Williamson, of the engineers, 
who made the first surveys coming east from California, to 
ascertain, if possible, whether it was practicable to cross the 
Sierra Nevada range of mountains with a railroad. These in- 
structions were sent at General Sherman's own suggestion, 
and the orders and examination preceded the Act of Congress 
making appropriations for explorations and surveys for a 
railroad route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean 
by four years. General Sherman's interest lasted during his 
lifetime, and was signalized in the closing days of his official 
life by a summary of transcontinental railroad construction, 
the most exhaustive paper on the subject I have ever seen. 

When I took charge as Chief Engineer of the Union Pacific 
Railway in 1866, I knew that my first duty would be to deter- 
mine the crossing of the line over the Black Hills, a bold, high 
spur of the Rocky Mountains, and I concentrated my engineer- 
ing forces for that purpose. It had already been ascertained 
that we could get down to the Laramie plains from the sum- 
mit going west, but the route had not been determined going 
east. In my examinations made while coming home from the 
Powder River Expedition in 1865 I had found what I believed 
to be the most practicable route from the summit to the foot 



20 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

of the mountains on the east, and directed that it be examined. 
This was immediately done, and the route was found practi- 
cable. 

After the battle of Atlanta, my assignment to the Depart- 
ment of the Missouri brought the country between the Mis- 
souri Kiver and California under my command, and then I 
was charged with the Indian campaigns of 1865 and 1866. 
I traveled again over all that portion of the country I had 
explored in former years, and saw the beginning of that great 
future that awaited it. I then began to comprehend its capa- 
bilities and resources ; and in all movements of our troops and 
scouting parties I had reports made upon the country its 
resources and topography; and I, myself, during the two 
years traversed it east and west, north and south, from the 
Arkansas to the Yellowstone, and from the Missouri to the 
Salt Lake basin. 

It was on one of these trips that I discovered the pass 
through the Black Hills and gave it the name of Sherman, in 
honor of my great chief. Its elevation is 8,236 feet, and for 
years it was the highest point reached by any railroad in the 
United States. The circumstances of this accidental discovery 
may not be uninteresting. 

While returning from the Powder River campaign, I was 
in the habit of leaving my troops and trains, and with a few 
men, examining all the approaches and passes from Fort Lar- 
amie south over the secondary range of mountains known as 
the Black Hills, the most difficult to overcome with proper 
grades of all the ranges, on account of its short slopes and 
great height. "When I reached the Lodge Pole Creek, up which 
went the overland trail, I took a few mounted men I think 
six and with one of my scouts as guide, went up the creek 
to the summit of Cheyenne Pass, striking south along the 
crest of the mountains to obtain a good view of the country, 
the troops and trains at the same time passing along the east 
base of the mountains on what was known as the St. Vrain 
and the Laramie trail. 

About noon, in the valley of a tributary of Crow Creek, 
we discovered Indians, who, at the same time, discovered us. 
They were between us and our trains. I saw our danger and 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 21 

took means immediately to reach the ridge and try to head 
them off, and follow it to where the cavalry could see our 
signals. We dismounted and started down the ridge, holding 
the Indians at bay, when they came too near, with our Win- 
chesters. It was nearly night when the troops saw our smoke 
signals of danger and came to our relief; and in going to 
the train we followed this ridge out until I discovered it led 
down to the plains without a break. I then said to my guide 
that if we saved our scalps I believed we had found the cross- 
ing of the Black Hills and over this ridge, between hqne 
Tree and Crow Creeks, the wonderful line over the mountains 
was built. For over two years all explorations had failed to 
find a satisfactory crossing of this range. The country east 
of it was unexplored, but we had no doubt we could reach it. 
The year 1866 was spent in determining the crossing of 
the Rocky Mountains or the Black Hills and the approaches 
to them from the east. It was the great desire of the company 
to build the line through Denver, Colorado, if possible, up the 
South Platte Valley and crossing the mountains west of Den- 
ver and reaching Salt Lake by the Yampa, White and Uinta 
Valleys, and I covered the country from the Laramie Canon 
on the north to the Arkansas on the south, examining all the 
mountain passes and approaches and examined all these lines 
personally. These surveys demonstrated that there was no 
question as to where the line should cross these mountains. 
The general examination of the plains along the east foot of the 
mountains showed that the plains rose from the Arkansas 
north until they reached their apex at the valley of Crow 
Creek, near where Cheyenne now stands. Then they fell to 
the north towards the Laramie, and when we came to examine 
the summits of these mountains, we found their lowest alti- 
tude was in the vicinity of the Cheyenne Pass, so that there 
was no question as to where our line should run. The line up 
the Platte and up the Lodge Pole and by the Lone Tree Pass 
which I had discovered, was far superior to any other line, and 
it forced us to abandon the line in the direction of Denver and 
we had in view the building of a branch from Crow Creek 
to Denver ; about 112 miles long. I reported the result of my 
examination on November 15, 1866, to the company, and on 



22 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

November 23, 1866, the company adopted the lines which 
I had recommended, and I immediately proceeded to develop 
them for building the next year. We also examined this year 
the line by the way of the North Platte, Fort Laramie, Sweet 
Water Creek and the South Pass, reaching Salt Lake by the 
way of the Big Sandy and Black Fork. This line avoided the 
crossing of the Black Hills and the heavy grade ascending 
from the east to 'the summit and the ninety-foot grade dropping 
down into the Laramie plains, but this line was some forty 
miles longer than the direct line by the Lodge Pole, and oil 
this line there was no development of coal as there was on the 
line adopted by the company, and on presenting this question 
to the Government, they decided against the North Platte 
and South Pass line. The chiefs of parties for this work were : 
James A. Evans, who was an engineer of great ability, Mr. 
P. T. Brown, who was an assistant engineer, a young man 
who started out in 1864 as a rodman. He made the surveys 
through Clear Creek to the Middle Park, over the Burthud 
Pass; also the Boulder Pass. On this pass in November, the 
party was caught in the severest snow storm known in the 
mountains, and he was obliged to abandon his pack train and 
save his party by working his way eastward through the storm 
to Boulder Creek. His stock drifted to Middle Park. There 
they wintered near the hot springs. I received knowledge 
through one of my old mountain friends that they were there 
in good condition, and we recovered them in the spring. Mr. 
L. L. Hills, assistant engineer, had charge of the surveys on the 
Lodge Pole line and up the Cashe La Poudre River to Laramie 
Plains, and Mr. J. E. House had charge of the surveys, sound- 
ings and examination of the Missouri River. Mr. F. A. Case, 
division engineer, was completing the examination of the passes 
through the main range, made the year before, and Mr. F. H. 
Ainsworth was running the lines in the Platte Valley, while 
Mr. Thomas H. Bates had charge of the surveys in Utah and 
west to the California state line. The explorations and surveys 
of 1866 had only confirmed the reconnoissance made in the 
fifties by Mr. Dey and myself of the general route of the 
Union Pacific Railroad, so that for the years to come our work 
would be almost entirely devoted to the final locations. 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 23 

In the spring of 1867, I received a letter from General 
Grant suggesting that in my explorations during the year 
1867, I take with me his chief-of-staff, General John A. Rawlins, 
for the benefit of his health. General Rawlins had shown a 
tendency towards consumption and it was thought that three 
or four months in camp on the plains would be of great benefit 
to him, I. therefore, with great pleasure invited General Raw- 
lins to accompany me with such friends as he might select. He 
came to me at Omaha, bringing with him Major J. W. McK. 
Dunn, A. D. C. and John E. Corwith of Galena, Illinois, and 
added to this party on my invitation was John R. Duff, son of a 
director of the road, and Mr. David Van Lennep, my geologist. 
We had as an escort two companies of cavalry and two of 
infantry under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel J. K. Miz- 
ner, who had with him Lieutenant J. W. Wheelan and Dr. 
Henry B. Terry, Assistant Surgeon, U. S. A. They accompa- 
nied me during the entire summer. We started out the first of 
June and went to the end of the track, which was then at North 
Platte, and from there we marched immediately up the Platte, 
then up the Lodge Pole to the east base of the Black Hills, 
where we were joined by General C. C. Augur, who was then in 
command of that department with his staff. General Augur's 
instructions were to locate the military post where I located the 
end of the division at the east base of the mountains, and after 
a thorough examination of the country, I located the division 
point on Crow Creek, where Cheyenne now stands, and named 
it Cheyenne, and General Augur immediately located just north 
of the town the military post of D. A. Russell. We spent the 
Fourth of July at this place, and General John A. Rawlins 
delivered a very remarkable and patriotic speech. 

At this time the heaviest settlement was Denver, some 
112 miles away. While we were camped here, the Indians 
swooped down out of the ravine of Crow Creek and attacked 
a Mormon grading train and outfit, that was coming from Salt 
Lake to take work on the road, and killed two of its men. Our 
cavalry hastily mounted and drove off the Indians and saved 
their stock. We buried the men and started the graveyard of 
the future city, now the capital of the State of Wyoming. 



24 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

In the spring of 1867 there was a party in the field under 
u. L. Hills, running a line east from the base of the Rocky 
Mountains. The first word I received from it was through the 
commanding officer at Camp Collins, who had served under 
me while I commanded the department. He informed me that 
a young man, named J. M. Eddy, had brought the party into 
that post, its chief having been killed in a fight with the 
Indians. I inquired who Eddy was and was informed that 
he was an axeman in the party, and had served under me in 
the Civil War. I ordered him to meet me with his party on 
the Lodge Pole as I traveled west. He turned out to be a 
young boy who had entered the Thirteenth Illinois when only 
16 or 17. The fight in which Mr. Hills, the chief, was killed, 
occurred some six miles east of Cheyenne, and after the 
leader was lost young Eddy rallied the party, and by the 
force of his own character, took it into Camp Collins. Of 
course, I immediately promoted him. He was with me during 
the entire construction of the Union Pacific, rising from one 
position to another, until he became the General Manager of 
portions of the great Southwestern System. He died in the 
railway service. 

After meeting this party, I completed the location of the 
line to Crow Creek, at the foot of the mountains, now known 
as Cheyenne. 

We marched west across the Black Hills and Laramie 
Plains and passed through Rattle Snake Hills Pass, following 
down a stream that emptied into the Platte just opposite Fort 
Steele and at a point where the Union Pacific now crosses the 
North Platte River. We crossed this stream by swimming 
our horses and proceeded west. The country from the Platte 
west to the Bitter Creek is very dry, no running water in it, 
and before we reached camp, General Rawlins became very 
thirsty, and we started out in an endeavor to find running 
water, and I discovered a spring in a draw near where the town 
of Rawlins now stands. When General Rawlins reached this 
spring he said it was the most gracious and acceptable of any- 
thing he had had on the march, and also said that if anything 
was ever named for him, he wanted it to be a spring of water, 
and I said then, "We will name this Rawlins Springs." It 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 2 5 

took that name. The end of one of our divisions happened to 
be close to this spring, and I named the station Rawlins, which 
has grown now into quite a town and a division point of the 
Union Pacific road. 

As soon as I had determined the line over the Black Hills, 
I learned that one of the parties which was trying to work 
west from the North Platte had found the maps of the country 
misleading. Endeavoring to find the summit of the continental 
divide, this party had dropped into a great basin. Percy T. 
Brown, the chief of the party, finding himself in an unknown 
country entirely different in character from what had been 
expected, took eight of his escort and started to explore the 
region. When near the center of what is now known as the 
Red Desert, he was attacked by 300 Sioux Indians, working 
south to the Bridger Pass stage road coming from the Sweet- 
water. Brown took measures to defend himself, occupying, 
after a severe contest with the Indians for its possession, a 
small hill, and fighting from 12 o'clock noon until toward 
night, when he was shot through the abdomen. He then or- 
dered the soldiers to leave him and save themselves, but they 
refused and allowed the Indians to get hold of the stock, after 
which the redskins withdrew. The soldiers then made a litter 
of their carbines and packed Brown upon it fifteen miles 
through the sage brush to Laclede station, near Bridger 's 
Pass. Their laborious efforts to save him were made in vain, 
however, for Brown died at the station. 

Upon an examination of this country, we discovered that 
the divide of the continent had let down from the Wind River 
Mountains on the north to Medicine Bow, the beginning of 
the main Rocky Mountains on the south from an elevation of 
13,000 feet to one of 7,000 into an open plain, and that the 
divide was in reality a great basin about eighty miles across in 
its widest part east and west, and 100 to 150 miles northwest 
and southeast in its longest part. The streams running into it 
sink, leaving a red soil over the entire basin, from which it 
receives the name of the Red Desert. The Union Pacific Rail- 
way crossed the Red Desert near its southern limit, between 
the stations of Creston and Tipton, a distance of about thirty- 
four miles. 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



In the basin we found and rescued the paHy headed by 
Thomas F. Bates, which was coming from Green River east. 
When I reached what is now Creston I discovered Bates and 
his party. They had been in the widest part of the basin for 
nearly a week without water, and were almost exhausted. 
When we discovered them they had abandoned the line and 
were taking a course due east by the compass running for 
water. At first we thought them Indians, but on looking 
through my glasses I saw that they had teams with them. 
AVe went to their relief at once and saved them. They were 
in a deplorable condition from thirst. 

On the western rim of the basin, as I left it, I ran into the 
remains of some old wagons and other articles which indicated 
that some military force had tried to cross there. Afterwards 
I learned that it had been Colonel Steptoe's expedition to 
Oregon, and that in crossing from Bridger's Pass trying to 
reach northwest, they struck this country and were obliged 
to abandon a portion of their outfit. This demonstrated that 
no knowledge of this depression was had by anyone until we 
developed it in our surveys. AVe had great difficulty in obtain- 
ing water for the operation of our road through the basin, 
being obliged to sink artesian wells to a great depth. After 
reaching the west rim of the Red Desert you immediately drop 
into the valley of Bitter Creek, the waters of which flow into 
the Pacific. The crossing of the continental divide by the 
Union Pacific is thus by way of an open prairie of compar- 
atively low elevation, about 7,000 feet, instead of a mountain 
range. The work of building the road there was unexpectedly 
light, and it almost seems that nature made this great open- 
ing in the Rocky Mountains expressly for the passage of a 
transcontinental railway. 

The law of 1862 provided that the Union Pacific and 
Central Pacific should join their tracks at the California State 
line. The law of 1864 allowed the Central Pacific to build 
150 miles east of the state line, but that was changed by the 
law of 1866, and the two companies allowed to build, one east 
and the other west, until they met. The building of 500 miles 
of road during the summers of 1866 and 1867, hardly twelve 
months ' actual work, had aroused great interest in the country, 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 27 

and much excitement, in which the Government took a part. 
We were pressed to as speedy a completion of the road as 
possible, although ten years had been allowed by Congress. 
The officers of the Union Pacific had become imbued with 
this spirit, and they urged me to plan to build as much road 
as possible in 1868. I have already alluded to the completion 
of the Northwestern Railway in December, 1867, to Council 
Bluffs, Iowa, which gave us an all rail connection with the 
East, so that we could obtain our rail material and equipment 
during the entire year. The reaching of the summit of the 
first range of the Rocky Mountains, which I named Sherman, 
in honor of my old commander, in 1867, placed us compara- 
tively near good timber for ties and bridges, which, after 
cutting, could be floated down the mountain streams at some 
points to our crossing, and at others to within twenty-five or 
thirty miles of our work. This afforded great relief to the 
transportation. 

In the fall of 1867, when we closed our work and ended 
our track at the summit of the Black Hills, the company was 
apparently at their end, so far as finances were concerned and 
were greatly disturbed as to the future. When I had received 
all of my parties' reports, extending to the California State 
line, and had completed the profiles, maps and estimates, I 
went on to New York and met the Board of Directors, and 
when they saw the very favorable line that we had obtained 
over the Black Hills, across the Laramie Plains and over the 
divide of the continent, where they had expected to meet very 
heavy work, and also the line over the Wasatch Range to 
Salt Lake and from there on west, they were very much 
encouraged. The estimates on this line were not more than 
one-half of what they had expected and then a few miles 
west of Cheyenne, they would commence receiving $48,000 in 
Government bonds per mile for 150 miles and from there on, 
$32,000 in Government bonds per mile, which was a great 
advance on the amount that they had received on the 630 
miles from the Missouri River to the east base of the moun- 
tains, which was only $16,000 in Government bonds per mile, 
while the cost of the work had been very heavy on account 
of the long distance rails, timber, supplies and everything had 



2 8 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

to- be hauled and the extra cost from the fact that the country 
furnished nothing for the road. The company immediately 
made extraordinary effort to provide the money to build to 
Salt Lake, and during fhe winter I received instructions to 
make every effort to build as much line as possible the coming 
year, and the company forwarded to us at our base on the 
Missouri River an immense amount of rails, fastenings, etc., 
as we then had rail connections by the Northwestern road all 
the way to Council Bluffs. 

We made our plans to build to Salt Lake, 480 miles, in 
1868, and to endeavor to meet the Central Pacific at Hum- 
boldt Wells, 219 miles west of Ogden, in the spring of 1869. 
I had extended our surveys during the years 1867 and 1868 
to the California State line, and laid my plans before the 
company, and the_ necessary preparations were made to com- 
mence work as soon as frost Avas out of the ground, say about 
April 1st. Material had been collected in sufficient quantities 
at the end of the track to prevent any delay. During the win- 
ter ties and bridge timber had been cut and prepared in the 
mountains to bring to the line at convenient points, and the 
engineering forces were started to their positions before cold 
weather was over that they might be ready to begin their 
work as soon as the temperature would permit. I remember 
that the parties going to Salt Lake crossed the Wasatch Moun- 
tains on sledges, and that the snow covered the tops of the 
telegraph poles. We all knew and appreciated that the task 
we had laid out' would require the greatest energy on the part 
of all hands. About April 1st, therefore, I went onto the 
plains myself and started our construction forces, remaining 
the whole summer between Laramie and the Humboldt Moun- 
tains. I was surprised at the rapidity with which the work 
was carried forward. Winter caught us in the Wasatch Moun- 
tains, but we kept on grading our road and laying our track 
in the snow and ice at a tremendous cost. I estimated for the 
company that the extra cost of thus forcing the work during 
that summer and winter was over $10,000,000, but the instruc- 
tions I received were to go on, no matter what the cost. Spring 
found us with the track at Ogden, and by May 1st we had 
reached Promontory, 534 miles west of our starting point 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 2 9 

twelve months before. Work on our line was opened to Hum- 
boldt Wells, making in the year a grading of 754 miles of line. 

The Central Pacific had made wonderful progress coming 
east, and we abandoned the work from Promontory to Hum- 
boldt Wells, bending all our efforts to meet them at Promon- 
tory. Between Ogden and Promontory each company graded 
a line, running side by side, and in some places one line was 
right above the other. The laborers upon the Central Pacific 
were Chinamen, while ours were Irishmen, and there was much 
ill-feeling between them. Our Irishmen were in the habit of 
firing their blasts in the cuts without giving warning to the 
Chinamen on the Central Pacific working right above them. 
From this cause several Chinamen were severely hurt. Com- 
plaint was made to me by the Central Pacific people, and I 
endeavored to have the contractors bring all hostilities to a 
close, but, for some reason or other, they failed to do so. One 
day the Chinamen, appreciating the situation, put in what is 
called a "grave" on their work, and when the Irishmen right 
under them were all at work let go their blast and buried 
several of our men. This brought about a truce at once. Prom 
that time the Irish laborers showed due respect for the China- 
men, and there was no further trouble. 

When the two roads approached in May, 1869, we agreed 
to connect at the summit of Promontory Point, and the day 
was fixed so that trains could reach us from New York and 
California. We laid the rails to the junction point a day or 
two before the final closing. Coming from the East, represent- 
ing the Union Pacific, were Thomas C. Durant, Vice President, 
Sidney Dillon, who had taken a prominent part in the con- 
struction of the road from the beginning, and John R. Duff, 
directors, together with the consulting engineer and a carload 
of friends. From the West the representatives of the Central 
Pacific were its President, Leland Stanford, Mr. Collis P. 
Huntington, Mr. Crocker, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Colton, and other 
members of that company, and Mr. Montague, chief engineer, 
and a detachment of troops from Camp Douglass, Salt Lake 
City. The two trains pulled up facing each other, each crowded 
with workmen who sought advantageous positions to witness 
the ceremonies, and literallv covered the cars. The officers 



30 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

and invited guests formed on each side of the track leaving it 
open to the south. The telegraph lines had been brought to 
that point, so that in the final spiking as each blow was struck 
the telegraph recorded it at each connected office from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific. Prayer was offered, a number of 
spikes were driven in the two adjoining rails, each one of the 
prominent persons present taking a hand, but very few hit- 
ting the spikes, to the great amusement of the crowd. When 
the last spike was placed, light taps were given upon it by 
several officials, and it was finally driven home by the chief 
engineer of the Union Pacific railway. The engineers ran 
up their locomotives until they touched, the engineer upon each 
engine breaking a bottle of champagne upon the other one, 
and thus the two roads were wedded into one great trunk 
line from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Spikes of silver and gold 
were brought specially for the occasion, and later were manu- 
factured into miniature spikes as mementoes of the occasion. 
It was a bright but cold day. After a few speeches we all 
took refuge in the Central Pacific cars, where wine flowed 
freely, and many speeches were made. 

Telegrams were sent to President Grant, Vice President 
Colfax, and other officials throughout the country. I did not 
fail to send a message to my old commander, who had beem 
such a helpful factor in the building of the road, and I received 
this message in response : 

"Washington, May 11, 1869. 
"General G. M. Dodge: 

"In common with millions, I sat yesterday and heard the 
mystic taps of the telegraph battery announce the nailing of 
the last spike in the great Pacific road. Indeed, am I its friend? 
Yea. Yet, am I to be a part of it, for as early as 1854 I was 
vice president of the effort begun in San Francisco under the 
contract of Robinson, Seymour & Co. As soon as General 
Thomas makes certain preliminary inspections in his new 
command on the Pacific, I will go out, and, I need not say, will 
have different facilities from that of 1846, when the only way 
to California was by sail around Cape Horn, taking our ships 
196 days. All honor to you, to Durant, to Jack and Dan Case- 
ment, to Reed, and the thousands of brave fellows who have 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 31 

wrought out this glorious problem, spite of changes, storms, 
and even doubts of the incredulous, and all the obstacles you 
have now happily surmounted. 

"W. T. SHERMAN, General." 

That night the visitors started east and west, leaving the 
engineers and working parties to arrange the details for con- 
ducting the business of each road at this terminal. It was only 
a day or two before trains bound for the Atlantic and Pacific 
were passing regularly. 

During the building of the road from Sherman west, many 
questions arose in relation to the location, construction, the 
grades and curvatures of the work. All through I stood firmly 
for my line, for what I considered was a commercially econom- 
ical line for the company, and for what I thought we ought 
to build under the specifications of the Government. News of 
the contest between the company and the contractors reached 
Washington through the Government Commissioners. Generals 
Grant and Sherman were much interested, and in 1868 they 
came West with a party consisting of Major-General Phillip 
H. Sheridan, General August Kautz, General Joseph C. Potter, 
General Frederick Dent, General William S. Harney, General 
Louis C. Hunt. General Adam Slemmer, Sidney Dillon and T. C. 
Durant, who wired me to meet them at Fort Sanders, then the 
headquarters of General Gibbon. The questions in dispute be- 
tween myself and the contractors were then taken up, and 
Generals Grant and Sherman took decided grounds in the mat- 
ter, supporting me fully, so that I had no further trouble. A 
view of this gathering of officers was caught by a local photog- 
rapher, who happened to be at the post and is reproduced here. 
Probably no more noted military gathering has occurred since 
the Civil War. 

Two changes were made by the contractors in the line so 
as to cheapen the work, and this was at the expense of the 
commercial value of the property. This was always opposed by 
the division engineer who located the line, and he was sup- 
ported by the chief engineer. The changes were always made 
when the chief engineer was absent. The company would agree 
to a change, and the work on the changes would be so far 



32 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

advanced that it was too late to rectify the matter when the 
chief engineer returned. The first change was of Mr. James 
A. Evans' location on the eastern slope of the Black Hills 
from Cheyenne to Sherman. Evans had a ninety-foot equated 
grade with a six degree maximum curvature. It was a very 
fine location, and the amount of curvature was remarkably 
small for a mountain line. It rose ninety feet to the mile in 
a steady climb. Colonel Silas Seymour, the consulting engineer, 
undertook to reduce this grade to eighty feet, but increased 
the curvature so much that an engine would haul more cars 
over Evans' ninety-foot grade than on Seymour's eighty-foot 
grade, but Seymour was obliged, when he reached the foot of 
the mountains, to put in a ninety-foot grade to save work as 
he dropped off the foot hills to the plains, and a portion of 
this grade remains today. When Evans took up the change in 
his report and compared it with his line, he made it so plain 
that the change was wrong that the Government directors 
adopted it for their report. 

The next change was from Laramie River to Rattlesnake 
Hills, or Carbon Summit. The original line ran north of Cooper 
Lake, and O'Neil, who had instructions to locate on that line, 
changed it, by order of Colonel Silas Seymour, consulting en- 
gineer, to a line dropping into the valleys of Rock Creek and 
Medicine Bow River, to save work. This increased the length 
of the line twenty miles, and caused the report that we were 
making the road crooked to gain mileage and secure $48,000 
per mile of the bonded subsidy. The amount of grading on 
this line was about one-half of that on the original line. Dur- 
ing 1903 and 1904, in bringing the Union Pacific line down to 
a maximum grade of forty-seven feet to the mile, except over 
the Wasatch Range and Black Hills, the company abandoned 
this principal change made by the consulting engineer, and 
built on or near my original location, saving about twenty 
miles in distance. It was this change that brought Generals 
Grant and Sherman to see me, and insist on my remaining as 
chief engineer. At the time this change was made the chief 
engineer was in Salt Lake, and did not know of it until it was 
practically graded. He entered his protest and notified the 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 33 

company that he would not submit to such changes without 
being consulted. 

I remember that the progress of the work was then such 
that Generals Grant and Sherman were very enthusiastic over 
the belief that we would soon reach the summit of the Wasatch 
Mountains, but I could not convince them that a junction 
of the two roads was in sight within a year. When you con- 
sider that not a mile of this division of the road had been 
located on April 1st, 1868, that not a mile of this work had 
been opened; that we covered in that year over 700 miles of 
road and built 555, and laid 589 miles of track, bringing all 
of our material from the Missouri River, it is no wonder that 
Generals Grant and Sherman could not understand how the 
problem before us would be so speedily solved. As each 100 
miles of road was completed there came a general acclaim 
from all parts of the country to our great encouragement, 
while from our chiefs in New York there was a continual 
pressure for speed, they giving us unlimited means and allow- 
ing us to stretch our forces out hundreds of miles, no matter 
what additional cost it made to each mile of road. Then we 
had the sympathy of the whole Mormon Church with us, Pres- 
ident Young giving the matter personal attention, and seeing 
that the line over the Wasatch Mountains, down the canon 
and westward was covered by Mormons to whom we let con- 
tracts, and we had the additional incentive that the Central 
Pacific was coming east nearly as fast as we were going west. 

We had only one controversy with the Mormons, who had 
been our friends and had given the full support of the church 
from the time of our first reconnoissances until the final com- 
pletion. It was our desire and the demand of the Mormons 
that we should build through Salt Lake City, and we bent all 
our energies to find a feasible line passing through that city 
and around the south end of Great Salt Lake and across the 
desert to Humboldt Wells, a controlling point in the line. 
We found the line so superior on the north of the lake that 
we had to adopt that route with a view of building a branch 
to Salt Lake City, but Brigham Young would not have this, 
and appealed over my head to the Board of Directors, who 
referred the question to the Government Directors, who fully 



34 HOW AVE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

sustained me. Then Brigham Young gave his allegiance and 
aid to the Central Pacific, hoping to bring them around the 
south end of the lake and force us to connect with them there. 
He even went so far as to deliver in the Tabernacle a great 
sermon denouncing me, and stating a road could not be built 
or run without the aid of the Mormons. When the Central 
Pacific engineers made their survey they, too, were forced to 
adopt the line north of the lake. Then President Young re- 
turned to his first love, the Union Pacific, and turned all his 
forces and aid to that road. 

During the building of the road the question of bridging 
the Missouri River was under discussion, and continuous exam- 
inations of the river in sounding, watching currents, etc., was 
had. Three points were finally determined upon as most feasi- 
ble. First Child's Mill, which was a high bridge, the short- 
est, and reached Muddy Creek with a thirty-five foot grade, 
avoiding the heavy sixty-six foot grade at Omaha. Second 
Telegraph Pole, right where there was some rock bottom, this 
to be a low draw-bridge, and Third The M. & M. crossing 
for a high bridge. The latter was decided upon more especially 
to meet the views of Omaha, and for aid that city gave the 
company. We began work on the bridge in 1868, and con- 
tinued it in 1869 and 1870, but the company found it impos- 
sible to continue, as they had no funds, and they could not 
issue any securities under their charter to pay for the work. 
J was very anxious the bridge should be built to utilize the 
thousand acres of land I had bought for our terminals in Iowa, 
and to fix permanently and practically the terminus in Iowa. 
The company proposed to me to organize a bridge company 
to interest the Iowa roads terminating at Council Bluffs, and 
ask authority from the Government to construct the bridge 
and issue securities upon it, the Union Pacific agreeing to use 
the bridge and make its terminals and connections with the 
Iowa roads on the Iowa side. I incorporated the Council Bluffs 
Railway & Missouri Bridge Company, and went before Con- 
gress for permission to bridge the Missouri River at the M. 
& M. crossing. I saw all the Iowa roads. They agreed to give 
their aid, but made the condition that their connection with 
the Union Pacific should be on the Iowa side. I went to Wash- 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 3 5 

ington, presented the bill, passed it through the House and 
left it in Senator Harlan's hands to pass it in the Senate. This 
was very quietly done, but Omaha got alarmed, and Governor 
Saunders, who was a personal friend of Senator Harlan, took 
the matter up, and I think went to Washington. The Omaha 
people interested themselves in stirring up opposition in Coun- 
cil Bluffs. A public meeting was held at the corner of Broad- 
way and Pearl Streets, over which Mr. J. W. Crawford 
presided. I was very seriously criticised and the independent 
bridge scheme denounced, the contention being that the bridge 
should be a part of the Union Pacific, although it was entirely 
and solely in the interests of Council Bluffs, and would have 
brought the terminus and business of the Union Pacific to 
the Bluffs, as they had entered into an agreement with the 
Iowa roads to that effect. The public meeting was addressed 
in favor of the bridge by Messrs. Pusey, Officer and myself, 
also Mr. Caleb Baldwin and others, and was opposed by 
Messrs. James Montgomery, Larimer and others. The meeting 
passed resolutions asking our Senators to defeat the bridge 
bill. Senator Harlan acted on this resolution and defeated the 
bill in the Senate, and Saunders and Omaha accomplished their 
work. The Union Pacific Company was greatly disgusted and 
disappointed, and dropped for the time all efforts to build a 
bridge. If the bill had passed the bridge would have been built 
in the interests of Council Bluffs and the Iowa roads. The 
Union Pacific later on applied to Congress, which passed a 
bill authorizing the Union Pacific to build a bridge, issue 
bonds and stock upon it, the interest upon them to be paid 
from the revenue of the bridge, and placed it entirely in their 
control, but the Union Pacific had no great interest in coming 
to Council Bluffs or Iowa, and made their terminus at Omaha, 
and forced the Iowa roads over the bridge until 1875, when the 
United States Supreme Court decided that the Union Pacific 
should be operated from Council Bluffs westward as a con- 
tinuous line for all purposes of communication, travel and 
transportation, and especially ordered them to start all through 
passenger and freight trains westward-bound from the Bluffs. 
This came too late to cure the mischief the town meeting had 
accomplished, as the Union Pacific had its interests centered 



36 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

in Omaha, its offices located there, and the Iowa roads had 
made their contracts and gone there, and the Bluffs has only 
reaped the benefit of its terminal that the growth of business 
has forced to them, whereas by law, by economy of operation, 
and by the ample terminals made to accommodate it, it should 
have been the actual terminus, and should have received full 
benefit of it, not only from traffic of the Union Pacific, but from 
the traffic and interest of the Iowa roads. The Union Pacific 
completed the first bridge crossing the Missouri River and 
opened it for traffic on March 22, 1872. 

One of the most difficult problems we had to solve was to 
keep sufficient material at the terminals to supply the daily 
demand. This work fell to Webster Snyder and his assistant, 
H. M. Hoxie, who had charge of the operation of the com- 
pleted road. They were both young men in the business then, 
but have been at the head of great corporations since. They 
performed their work successfully and with ability. Hoxie 
said to me once, in answer to a question, "We do not take 
our hand off the throttle night or day until we know the front 
is supplied." 

The operating department also had the Indians to contend 
with. An illustration of this came to me after our track had 
passed Plum Creek, 200 miles west of the Missouri River. The 
Indians had captured a freight train and were in possession 
of it and its crews. It so happened that I was coming down 
from the front with my car, which was a traveling arsenal. 
At Plum Creek station word came of this capture and stopped 
us. On my train were perhaps twenty men, some a portion of 
the crew, some who had been discharged and sought passage 
to the rear. Nearly all were strangers to me. The excitement 
of the capture and the reports coming by telegraph of the 
burning of the train, brought all men to the platform, and 
when I called upon them to fall in, to go' forward and retake 
the train, every man on the train went into line, and by his 
position showed that he was a soldier. We ran down slowly 
until we came in sight of the train. I gave the order to deploy 
as skirmishers, and at the command they went forward as 
steadily and in as good order as we had seen the old soldiers 
climb the face of Kenesaw under fire. 




S. B. REED 
Superintendent of Construction, Union Pacific Railway 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 37 

Nearly all the engineers and chiefs of the different units 
of the construction of the line have risen to distinction in their 
profession since the road was built. The chiefs of the parties 
were S. B. Reed, F. M. Case, James A. Evans, Percy T. Brown, 
L. L. Hills (the two latter killed by the Indians), J. E. House, 
M. F. Hurd, Thomas H. Bates, F. C. Hodges, James R. Maxwell, 
John O'Neil, Francis E. Appleton, Colonel J. 0. Hudnut, J. F. 
McCabe, Mr. Morris and Jacob Blickensderfer. 

Our principal geologist was David Van Lennep, whose 
reports upon the geology of the country from the Missouri 
River to the Pacific have been remarkably verified in later and 
more detailed examinations. 

The superintendents of construction were S. B. Reed and 
James A. Evans, both of whom had been connected with the 
road since 1864. They had independent and thorough organ- 
izations. Mr. S. B. Reed was a very competent engineer, and 
had had large experience in his profession. He was very suc- 
cessful in utilizing the Mormons in his work west of the Green 
River. Mr. Reed and Mr. Hurd afterwards made some of the 
most difficult locations over the mountain ranges for the Cana- 
dian Pacific. 

Mr. Reed's principal assistant was M. F. Hurd, who served 
in the Second Iowa infantry during the Civil War. I detailed 
him on my staff as an engineer, and, although a private, he won 
distinction in all the campaigns for his ability, nerve, bravery 
and modesty. On the Union Pacific, as well as other trans- 
continental lines with which he has been connected, he has 
performed some remarkable engineering work. He has had to 
fight many times for the lives of himself and party, and no 
matter what odds have been against him, he has never failed 
to maintain his position and win his battles, though at times 
the chances looked desperate. 

The track laying on the Union Pacific was a science. Mr. 
W. A. Bell, in an article on the Pacific Railroads, describes, 
after witnessing it, as follows : 

"We, pundits of the far East, stood upon that embank- 
ment, only about a thousand miles this side of sunset, and 
backed westward before that hurrying corps of sturdy oper- 
ators with a mingled feeling of amusement, curiosity and pro- 



38 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

found respect. On they came. A light car, drawn by a single 
horse, gallops up to the front with its load of rails. Two men 
seize the end of a rail and start forward, the rest of the gang 
taking hold by twos, until it is clear of the car. They come 
forward at a run. At the word of command the rail is dropped 
in its place, right side up with care, while the same process 
goes on at the other side of the car. Less than thirty seconds 
to a rail for each gang, and so four rails go down to the min- 
ute. Quick work, you say, but the fellows on the Union Pacific 
are tremendously in earnest. The moment the car is empty it 
is tipped over on the side of the track to let the next loaded car 
pass it, and then it is tipped back again, and it is a sight to 
see it go flying back for another load, propelled by a horse 
at full gallop at the end of sixty or eighty feet of rope, ridden 
by a young Jehu, who drives furiously. Close behind the first 
gang come the gaugers, spikers and bolters, and a lively time 
they make of it. It is a grand 'Anvil Chorus' that those sturdy 
sledges are playing across the plains. It is in a triple time, 
three strokes to the spike. There are ten spikes to a rail, four 
hundred rails to a mile, eighteen hundred miles to San Fran- 
cisco twenty-one million times are those sledges to be swung 
twenty-one million times are they to come down with their 
sharp punctuation, before the great work of modern America 
is complete." 

The entire track and a large part of the grading on the 
Union Pacific Railway was done by the Casement Brothers, 
General Jack Casement and Dan Casement. General Casement 
had been a prominent brigade and division commander in 
the Western army. Their force consisted of 100 teams and 
1,000 men, living at the end of the track in boarding cars and 
tents, and moved forward with it every few days. It was the 
best organized, best equipped and best disciplined track force 
I have ever seen. I think every chief of the different units 
of the force had been an officer of the army, and entered on 
this work the moment they were mustered out. They could lay 
from one to three miles of track per day, as they had material, 
and one day laid eight and a half miles. Their rapidity in track 
laying, as far as I know, has never been excelled. I used it sev- 
eral times as a fighting force, and it took no longer to put it 




GENERAL J. S. CASEMENT 

Casement Bros, laid all the track and did a large part of the 

grading of the Union Pacific Railway 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 3 9 



into fighting line than it did to form it for its daily work. 
They not only had to lay and surface the track, but had to 
bring forward to the front from each base all the material 
and supplies for the track and for all workmen in advance 
of the track. Bases were organized for the delivery of material 
generally from one to two hundred miles apart, according 
to the facilities for operation. These bases were as follows : 
First, Fremont; second, Fort Kearney; third, North Platte; 
fourth, Julesburg; fifth, Sidney; sixth, Cheyenne; seventh, 
Laramie; eighth, Benton (the last crossing of the North 
Platte); ninth, Green River; tenth, Evanston; eleventh, 
Ogden, and finally Promontory. 

At these bases large towns were established, which moved 
forward with the bases, and many miles of sidings were put 
in for switching purposes, unloading tracks, etc. At these 
prominent points I have seen as many as a thousand teams 
waiting for their loads to haul forward to the front for the 
railway force, the Government and for the limited population 
then living in that country. I have seen these terminal towns 
starting first with a few hundred people until at Cheyenne, 
at the base of the mountains, where we wintered in 1867-68, 
there were 10,000 people. From that point they decreased until 
at Green River there were not over 1,000. After we crossed 
the first range of mountains we moved our bases so rapidly 
they could not afford to move with us. 

In 1865 Oakes and Oliver Ames of Boston became inter- 
ested in the enterprise, bringing their own fortune and a very 
large following, and really gave the first impetus to the build- 
ing of the road. There was no man connected with it who 
devoted his time and money with the single purpose of benefit 
to the country and Government more than Oakes Ames, and 
there was never a more unjust, uncalled for and ungrateful 
Act of Congress than that which censured him for inducing, 
as it is claimed, members of Congress to take interest in the 
construction company. When they took it there was no neces- 
sity for the company having influence in Congress, for there 
was nothing we could ask that Congress did not give, and it 
certainly never occurred to him that he might secure benefits 
from their votes. Now that the Government has been paid 



40 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

every dollar that it invested, with interest, it is time that the 
Congress of the United States should wipe that unjust Act 
from its record. 

The instructions given me by Oliver Ames, the president 
of the company, were invariably to obtain the best line the 
country afforded, regardless of the expense. Oakes Ames once 
wrote me, when it seemed almost impossible to raise money to 
meet our expenditures: "Go ahead; the work shall not stop, 
even if it takes the shovel shop." 

The Ameses were manufacturers of shovels and tools, and 
their fortunes were invested in that business; and, as we all 
know, the shovel shop went. When the day came that the 
business of the Ameses should go or the Union Pacific, Oakes 
Ames said: "Save the credit of the road; I will fail." 

It took a man of courage and patriotism to make that 
decision and lay down a reputation and business credit that 
was invaluable in New England and one that had come down 
through almost a century. To him it was worse than death; 
and it was the blow given by the action of Congress which, 
followed by others, put him in his grave. 

In February, 1875, Mr. Jay Gould, who had become heavily 
interested in the Union Pacific Railway, in connection with 
Messrs. Ames, Dillon and the Board of Directors, conceived 
a plan of paying to the Government in addition to the sum 
it was then receiving from the company a sum of money each 
year that should be used as a sinking fund, which at the matur- 
ity of the Government bond, would liquidate that indebtedness. 
The Hon. James F. Wilson, of Iowa, a Government director, 
and myself, were selected to go to Washington to present the 
matter to the Government. General Grant was then President, 
and General Benjamin F. Bristow Secretary of the Treasury. 
We presented the proposition to General Grant, who looked 
upon it favorably, and referred it to the Secretary of the 
Treasury for the purpose of having a bill drawn which would 
carry out our views. The entire Cabinet was in favor of the 
proposition with the single exception of Mr. Jewell of Con- 
necticut. Upon the report. of General Bristow, General Grant 
drafted a message to the Congress of the United States, rec- 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 41 

ommending the passage of an Act that would carry out this 
plan. 

In the meantime rumors of what we were doing had 
reached New York, where there was a large short interest 
in the stock of the Union Pacific. This interest immediately 
gathered its forces and influence and sent persons to Wash- 
ington to represent to the President that the proposed action 
of the Union Pacific was a mere stock- jobbing scheme for the 
purpose of twisting the shorts on Union Pacific stock, and 
their representations made such an impression on General 
Grant that he never sent his message in, and the company, 
receiving the treatment it did, then abandoned for the time 
all efforts to make a settlement with the Government. Gen- 
eral Grant often said to me in later years that he regretted he 
did not settle the matter at that time. This demonstrates that 
at the moment the Union Pacific began to be prosperous the 
men who put their money in it and built it made the first 
effort to pay the debt due the Government at or before its 
maturity. If their offer had been accepted the earnings of the 
company demonstrated that they would have been able to 
have met their agreement, and at the maturity of the debt 
it would have been paid. This is one of the many instances 
in which the Union Pacific Railway has endeavored to fulfill, 
not only in letter, but in spirit, every obligation it owed to 
the Government, and I undertake to say that the Government 
of the United States, from the time the road was finally com- 
pleted and in continuous operation ; has never fulfilled any 
one of its obligations to the company, except the simple giv- 
ing of its credit at the time of the building by the issue of 
its bonds. 

How well our work was performed is shown by the re- 
ports of the distinguished commissions appointed by the Gov- 
ernment to examine the road during its construction and after 
its completion. 

Commissioners Horace Walbridge, S. M. Felton, C. B. 
Comstock, E. F. "Winslow and J. F. Boyd examined the road 
in 1869 to ascertain the sum of money that was necessary to 
complete the road under the Government specifications, and 
the sum found necessary on the Union Pacific was $1,586,100, 



42 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

and on the Central Pacific $576,650. The amount required on 
the Union Pacific was only about one-half as much as the 
chief engineer of that road had found necessary to complete 
the road under the company's own specifications, and the 
company not only spent this, but a much larger sum in the 
work. 

The last commission composed of Major-General G. K. 
Warren, United States Army, J. Blickensderfer, Jr., and James 
Barnes, civil engineers, concluded their report in part, as fol- 
lows: 

"The foregoing shows that the location of the Union 
Pacific Railway is in accordance with the law, and as a whole 
and in its different parts the most direct, central and practi- 
cable that would be found from Omaha to the head of Great 
Salt Lake. Taken as a whole, the Union Pacific Railway has 
been well constructed. The energy and perseverance with 
which the work has been urged forward, and the rapidity 
with which it has been executed, was without parallel in 
history. In grandeur and magnitude of the undertaking it 
has never been equalled, and the country has reason to con- 
gratulate itself upon this great work of national importance 
so rapidly approaching completion under such favorable aus- 
pices." 

When the Canadian Government determined to build a 
Pacific railway, they had the Union Pacific examined, and 
after that examination they provided in their contracts that 
the Canadian Pacific should be built upon the Union Pacific 
standards, and when completed should be in its location and 
construction equal to it, thus paying a high compliment to 
the builders of the Union Pacific, and after the completion 
of the Canadian Pacific Railway, engineers of the Union Pa- 
cific were selected to examine that road to determine if its 
construction was up to the standard required. 

The Blickensderfer and Clement report made a compar- 
ative analysis of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, their 
location, construction, grade, curvature, etc., giving to the 
Union Pacific credit for being superior in most of these mat- 
ters. The last and most critical examination of the location, 
grades, etc., came within the last three years, when under the 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 43 

reorganized company it was determined to reduce the grades 
to a maximum of forty-seven feet going east or west except 
at two points, the eighty-foot grade at Cheyenne going west, 
and the eighty-foot grade at the head of Echo Canon going 
east. 

The President of the Union Pacific, Mr. E. H. Harriman, 
at a banquet in Denver in 1904, stated that after the three 
years' examination, and the expenditure of fifteen to twenty 
millions of dollars to change the grades to a maximum of 
forty-seven feet to the mile, it had been demonstrated that 
not a mile of road had been built to increase the distance and 
obtain subsidies, that the location and construction was a 
credit to the engineers and executive officers who built the 
road. 

Mr. J. B. Berry, chief engineer of the Union Pacific Rail- 
road, who had charge of the changes, pays this tribute to the 
engineers of the road : 

"It may appear to those unfamiliar with the character 
of the country that the great saving in distance and reduc- 
tion of grade would stand as a criticism of the work of the 
pioneer engineers who made the original location of the road. 
Such is not the case. The changes made have been expensive 
and could be warranted only by the volume of traffic handled 
at the present day. Too much credit cannot be given General 
G. M. Dodge and his assistants. They studied their task thor- 
oughly and performed it well. Limited by law to a maximum 
gradient of 116 feet to the mile, not compensated for curv- 
ature, they held it down to about ninety feet per mile. Taking 
into consideration the existing conditions thirty-five years 
ago ; lack of maps of the country, hostility of the Indians, 
which made United States troops necessary for protection of 
surveying parties, difficult transportation, excessive cost of 
labor, uncertainty as to probable volume of traffic, limited 
amount of money and necessity to get the road built as soon 
as possible, it can be said, with all our present knowledge of 
the topography of the country, that the line was located with 
very great skill." 

The principal changes made by the Union Pacific Railroad 
since 1900, was first the change from the Muddy Creek line 



44 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

out of Omaha to the original Dey line, now known as the 
Lane Cut-off, which saves eleven miles in fourteen miles dis- 
tance. The next is the line from Sherman to the Laramie 
Plains, where by long tunnels and heavy work, the grade is 
reduced from ninety feet to forty-seven feet maximum. The 
third change is the Cooper Lake line, which is changed from 
Rock Creek and Medicine Bow to near the original location 
of the Union Pacific, with a saving of twenty miles in dis- 
tance. This is the change made when the line was building 
by the contractors against the protest of the chief engineer of 
the road and caused Generals Grant and Sherman to come to 
.Fort Sanders for a conference. The fourth change was on the 
Central Pacific road from Ogden across Bear Creek, arm of Salt 
lake, known as Lucien Cut-off, saving fifty miles in distance and 
avoiding the heavy grades over Promontory Point. The orig- 
inal survey of the Union Pacific was from Ogden across Bear 
Creek, arm of Salt Lake, to south end of Promontory Point, 
but as stated in another part of this paper, was abandoned 
because of the twelve-foot of higher water in the lake in 1869, 
when the line was built, than in 1900, when the change was 
made. I understand the lake has been rising about one foot 
a year since this cut-off was completed. In a letter which I 
received from Mr. James R. Maxwell, assistant engineer, he 
makes the following statement of the result of their survey 
in 1867: 

"'The boat we used in sounding the lake was made of 
inch boards and not caulked very well, and the heavy water 
soon shook the caulking out of the bottom and it did seem for 
a short time that we would have to take to the water. That 
was on our way back from Promontory Point to Mud Island. 
After we landed the Topographer told me that he could not 
swim; if I had known that, he would not have been on the 
boat. When I found twenty-two feet of water where Captain 
Stansbury had only ten, I knew that that line was not feasible 
then. I was told by a Mormon bishop that on two occasions, 
the annual rise was six feet above any previous record and 
that it remained so, covering thousands of acres of farming 
land at northeastern side of the lake." 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 45 

This part of the lake that was sounded by this party was 
east of Promontory Point. The water to the west of Promon- 
tory Point being twice as deep as that towards the east ; there- 
fore, it was impossible for us with our means to build a rail- 
road across the lake and we were forced around the north end 
of the lake and over Promontory Point. 

The first surveys of the Union Pacific Railway were made 
in the fall of 1853. The first grading was done in the fall of 
1864. The first rail was laid in July, 1865. Two hundred and 
sixty miles were built in 1866, 240 in 1867, including the ascent 
of the first range of mountains to an elevaiton of 8,235 feet 
above sea level, and from April 1, 1868, to May 10. 1869, 555 
miles of road was built, all exclusive of temporary track and 
sidings, of which over 180 miles was built in addition, all at an 
approximate cost, in cash, of about $54,000,000. 

Of late years there has been a great deal of criticism and 
comparison of the building of the Union Pacific and Central 
Pacific Railroads, favoring the latter. The theory is that be- 
cause the Central Pacific had the Sierra Nevada Range to 
tackle at first, it was a more difficult problem, financially and 
physically, to handle than the Union Pacific end, but this is 
a very great mistake. The Union Pacific had to bring all of 
its material, ties, bridging, etc., from tide-water by rail or by 
river. They had to build the first 630 miles without any mate- 
rial on its line to aid them except the earth, and for this they 
only received $16,000 per mile in Government bonds. There was 
no settlement on the line to create any traffic or earnings along 
the whole distance, which was very difficult in appealing to the 
people to buy the bonds and furnish money for the company. 
In comparison to this, the Central Pacific started at Sacra- 
mento with a tide-water base coming right up to it, so that 
all the material that had to come from foreign or domestic 
ports had the cheapest rates by sea. Then from Sacramento 
they had built over the mountains to Virginia City to the 
great Bonanza mines at Virginia City, which gave them a 
large traffic at high rates, and gave them very large earnings. 
Then again, only a few miles east of Sacramento, the east base 
of the Sierra Nevada Range commences, and they received 
immediately $48,000 in Government bonds per mile for the 



4 6 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

150 miles, and $32,000 in Government bonds from there on to 
Salt Lake, a distance of barely 200 miles, more than the 630 
miles that the Union Pacific had to build on $16,000 per 
mile. This favorable condition for the Central Pacific was 
such that the representatives of that road had very little 
difficulty in raising all the money they needed and having 
for nearly one-half of their road a fine traffic to help pay the 
interest on their bonds. 

I do not speak of this in criticism of the work of the Cen- 
tral Pacific, which was remarkable, and like that of the Union 
Pacific, has never been excelled, but only in comparison of 
the difficulties the two companies had to overcome. -I am not 
surprised that some of the public should take this view of the 
matter when the later literature of the Union Pacific seems 
to take the same view and devote what praise it has to the 
work of the men who built the Central Pacific, overlooking 
almost entirely the struggles of those who initiated the work on 
the line of the Union Pacific and who furnished the funds to 
explore the country and determine the feasibility of the route 
and stood by it for nearly twelve years before the Central 
Pacific was thought of. The fact is, the Central Pacific ob- 
tained no right and did not think of going east of the Cali- 
fornia State line until after the laws of 1865 and 1866 had 
been enacted, which gave them the right to come east of the 
State line of California and made them a part of the trans- 
continental line. 

The operation of the road the first winter, 1869-70, gave 
us a test of what we might expect from the snow. In building 
the road, we studied the mountains to get our lines upon the 
slopes that were the least exposed to heavy snows and slides, 
but we had no means of fighting the snows in the Laramie 
Plains except by fences and sheds, and none were put up until 
the year 1870, so that when the heavy snows fell in the winter 
of 1869-70, it caught six of our trains west of Laramie that 
were snowed in there some weeks. As a precaution in starting 
our trains from Omaha, we put on a box car with a stove in 
it and loaded with provisions, so as to meet any emergency. 
These six trains that were caught in the snow between Laramie 
and the divide of the continent, had these supplies, and also 




"& 



* 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 47 

were supplied with sledges and snow-shoes from Laramie. 
They had with them, in charge of the six trains, Mr. H. M. 
Hoxie, the Assistant Superintendent, who managed to get 
the trains together, but the blizzards were so many and so 
fierce that it was impossible for men to work out in the open, 
and even when they cleared the cuts ahead, they would fill 
up before they could get the trains through them. Probably 
that winter's experience with snow was the worst the Union 
Pacific has ever experienced, but Mr. Hoxie handled his forces 
with great ability and fed and entertained his passengers in 
good shape. In one train was an opera company bound for 
California, that Mr. Hoxie used to entertain the passengers 
with, so that when the trains reached Salt Lake City, the 
passengers held a meeting and passed resolutions complimen- 
tary to Mr. Hoxie and the Union Pacific in bringing them 
safely through. A photograph of the trains was taken at the 
time they were snowed in near Cooper Lake, and a print of it 
is here reproduced. 

I cannot conclude this discription of the building of the 
Union Pacific Railway better than quoting my conclusions, as 
stated in my final report, sent to the company and the United 
States Government on December 1st, 1869. It is as follows : 

In 1853, Henry Farnam and T. C. Durant, the then con- 
tractors and builders of the Missouri River Railroad in Iowa, 
instructed Peter A. Dey to investigate the question of the 
proper point for the Mississippi and Missouri River road to 
strike the Missouri River to obtain a good connection with 
any road that might be built across the continent. I was as- 
signed to the duty, and surveys were accordingly extended to 
and up the Platte -Valley, to ascertain whether any road built 
on the central or then northern line would, from the forma- 
tion of the country, follow the Platte and its tributaries over 
the plains, and thus overcome the Rocky Mountains. Subse- 
quently under the patronage of Mr. Farnam, I extended the 
examination westward to the eastern base of the Rocky Moun- 
tains and beyond, examining the practicable passes from the 
Sangre Christo to the South Pass; made maps of the country, 
and developed it as thoroughly as could be done without mak- 
ing purely instrumental surveys. The practicability of the 



48 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

route, the singular formation of the country between Long's 
Peak, the Medicine Bow Mountains, and Bridger Pass, on the 
south, and Laramie Peak and the Sweetwater and Wind River 
ranges on the north, demonstrated to me that through this 
region the road must eventually be built. I reported the facts 
to Mr. Farnam, and through his and his friends' efforts, the 
prospect for a Pacific railroad began to take shape. 

In after years, when the war demonstrated the road to 
be a military necessity, and the government gave its aid in 
such munificent grants, surveys were extended through the 
country previously explored, its resources developed, its hid- 
den treasures brought to light, and its capabilities for the 
building of a railway to the Pacific fully demonstrated. 

In doing this over the country extending from the Mis- 
souri River to the California State line, and covering a width 
of 200 miles, north and south, and on the general direction 
of the forty-second parallel of latitude, some fifteen thousand 
miles of instrumental lines have been run, and over twenty- 
five thousand miles of reconnoissances made. 

In 1863 and 1864, surveys were inaugurated, but in 1866 
the country was systematically occupied; and day and night, 
summer and winter the explorations were pushed forward 
through dangers and hardships that very few at this day 
appreciate, for every mile had to be run within range of the 
musket, as there was not a moment's security. In making the 
surveys numbers of our men, some of them the ablest and most 
promising, were killed; and during the construction our stock 
was run off by the hundred, I might say by the thousand, 
and as one difficulty after another arose and was overcome, 
both in the engineering, running and constructing depart- 
ments, a new era in railroad building was inaugurated. 

Each day taught us lessons by which we profited for the 
next, and our advances and improvements in the art of rail- 
way construction were marked by the progress of the work, 
forty miles of track having been laid in 1865, 260 in 1866, 240 
in 1867, including the ascent to the summit of the Rocky 
Mountains, at an elevation of 8,235 feet above the ocean : and 
during 1868, and to May 10th, 1869, 555 miles, all exclusive 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 49 

of side and temporary tracks, of which over 180 miles were 
built in addition. 

The first grading was done in the autumn of 1864, and the 
first rail laid in July, 1865. When you look back to the begin- 
ning at the Missouri River, with no railway communication 
from the east, and 500 miles of the country in advance without 
timber, fuel or any material whatever from which to build or 
maintain a road, except the sand for the bare road-bed itself 
with everything to be transported, and that by teams or at 
best by steamboats, for hundreds and thousands of miles; 
everything to be created, with labor scarce and high, you can 
all look back upon the work with satisfaction and ask, under 
such circumstances, could we have done more or better? 

The country is evidently satisfied that you accomplished 
wonders, and have achieved a work that will be a monument 
to your energy, your ability, and to your devotion to the enter- 
prise through all its gloomy as well as its bright periods ; for" 
it is notorious that, notwithstanding the aid of the Govern- 
ment, there was so little faith in the enterprise that its dark 
days when your private fortunes and your all was staked on 
the success of the project far exceeded those of sunshine, 
faith and confidence. 

This lack of confidence in the project, even in the West, 
in those localities where the benefits of its construction were 
manifest, was excessive, and it will be remembered that labor- 
ers even demanded their pay before they would perform their 
day's work, so little faith had they in the payment of their 
wages, or in the ability of the company to succeed in their 
efforts. Probably no enterprise in the world has been so 
maligned, misrepresented and criticised as this ; but now, after 
the calm judgment of the American people is brought to bear 
upon it, unprejudiced and unbiased, it is almost without excep- 
tion pronounced the best new road in the United States. 

Its location has been critically examined, and although 
the route was in a comparatively short time determined upon, 
as compared with that devoted to other similar projects, yet, 
in regard to the correctness of the general route, no question 
is ever raised ; and even in the details of its location, 730 miles 
of which were done in less than six months, it has received the 



50 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

praise of some of the ablest engineers of the country. Its de- 
fects are minor ones, easily remedied, and all the various 
commissions, some of them composed of able and noted engi- 
neers, have given the company due credit in this particular, 
although they may have attacked it in others, and today, as in 
the past, the company need fear no fair, impartial criticism 
upon it, or no examination made by men of ability and integ- 
rity, or such as are masters of their profession. 

That it yet needs work to finally complete it no one de- 
nies, but whatever is necessary has been or is being done. 

Its future is fraught with great good. It will develop 
a waste, will bind together the two extremes of the nation as 
one, will stimulate intercourse and trade and bring harmony, 
prosperity and wealth to the two coasts. A proper policy, 
systematically and persistently followed, will bring to the road 
the trade of the two oceans, and will give it all the business it 
can accommodate; while the local trade will increase grad- 
ually until the mining, grazing and agricultural regions 
through which it passes will build up and create a business 
that will be a lasting and permanent support to the country. 



ADDRESS AT THE OMAHA CENTENNIAL. 



I have been asked to give ten minutes to the construction 
of the Union Pacific Railway. Private enterprise made the 
explorations, determined the line and built the Union Pacific 
Railway. Although the Government spent an immense sum in 
surveying three other routes, it did not touch the most feasible 
route, that of the forty-second parallel. 

In 1852 Farnam and Durant were building the Mississippi 
and Missouri road, now the Rock Island. They desired to end 
that line of the Missouri River where the Pacific Railroad, 
following the continent forty-second parallel of latitude, would 
commence. Under the direction of Peter A. Dey, who was then 
the chief engineer of that line, I made the first survey across 
the State of Iowa, and the first reconnoissances and surveys 
on the Union Pacific for the purpose of determining where 
the one would end and the other commence, on the Missouri 
River. I crossed the Missouri River in the fall of 1853, and 
made our explorations west to the Platte Valley and up it far 
enough to determine that it would be the route of the Pacific 
road. 

The party that I crossed the Missouri River with had 
never come in contact with the Indians. We were tenderfeet, 
and the Omahas were very free with what we had, until I had 
to use drastic measures to stop them. I went on to the Elk- 
horn River, ahead of my party. They stole my horse, but I 
got him back, so that our initiation into Nebraska was not a 
very creditable one. 

I continued these reconnoissances from 1853 on and off 
until 1861, under the private patronage of Mr. Henry Farnam, 
and we also, during that time, commenced work on the M. 
& M. road in Council Bluffs, and graded it several miles 
east, fixing its location permanently on the Missouri River. 
The reconnoissances made by me during all this time, with 
the information that I obtained from the Mormons and the 



7,1 



52 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

fur-traders and travelers through the country, determined 
the general route of the Union Pacific road as far west as 
Salt Lake, and virtually beyond that to the California State 
line. 

In 1862 the Union Pacific Railway was organized at Chi- 
cago, and soon after Mr. Peter A. Dey continued the explora- 
tions, and in 1863 he placed parties over the Black Hills and 
in Salt Lake and over the "Wasatch in Utah. In 1863 I was on 
duty at Corinth, when I was called to Washington by Mr. 
Lincoln, who had met me in 1859 at Council Bluffs and had 
questioned me very systematically as to the knowledge I had of 
the Western country and the explorations I had made there. 
Remembering this, he called me to Washington to consult with 
me as to where the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Rail- 
way should be. I explained to him what my surveys had deter- 
mined, and he fixed the initial point of the Union Pacific, as you 
all know, on the western line of Iowa opposite this city. At this 
interview with Mr. Lincoln, he was very anxious to have the 
road constructed. It was my opinion then that it could not be 
constructed unless it was built by the Government, and I so 
informed Mr. Lincoln. He said that the United States had 
at that time all it could handle, but it was ready to make any 
concession and obtain any legislation that private parties who 
would undertake the work would require. 

I then went to New York City and met Mr. Durant and 
others connected with the Union Pacific and informed them 
of what Mr. Lincoln had said. It gave them new hope, and 
they immediately formulated the amendments to the law of 

1862, which was passed in 1864 and enabled them to push the 
work. 

The ground was broken here in Omaha in December of 

1863, and in 1864 about $500,000 was spent in surveying and 
construction, and in 1865 forty miles of road was completed to 
Fremont. Mr. Dey, who had charge of the work up to this time 
as chief engineer, resigned, and stated in his letter that he was 
giving up the best position in his profession this country had 
ever offered to any man. 

In May, 1866, I resigned from the army, came to Omaha 
and took charge of the work as chief engineer, and covered 



ADDRESS AT THE OMAHA CENTENNIAL 53 

the line with engineering parties from Omaha to California, 
and pushed our location up the Platte Valley. 

In 1866 we built 260 miles. In the winter of 1866 we 
planned to build the next year 288 miles to Fort Sanders. As 
our work had to all be done under the protection of the mil- 
itary, I was continually in communication with General Sher- 
man, who was then the commander of this department, and 
confidentially gave him our plans as fast as they were set- 
tled upon. 

In January, 1867, I wrote him a letter, showing him what 
we proposed to do in that year, and he answered it from St. 
Louis on January, 1867, saying: "I have just read with in- 
tense interest your letter of the 14th. Although you wanted 
me to keep it to myself, I believe you will sanction my sending 
it to General Grant for his individual perusal, to be returned 
to me. It is almost a miracle to grasp your proposition to 
finish to Fort Sanders this year, but you have done so much 
that I mistrust my own judgment and accept yours." During 
1867 we reached the summit of the Black Hills and wintered 
at Cheyenne, where the population of nearly 10,000 gathered 
around us. 

In November, 1867, the Northwestern Railway was com- 
pleted at Council Bluffs. Up to this time the amount of road 
we built each year was limited to the material that we could 
bring up the Missouri River on steamboats during about three 
months' navigation. Reaching the Black Hills also took us 
into the timber country, where we could obtain ties within 
twenty-five or fifty miles from the line. It was then planned, 
during the winter of 1867, to build as far west as possible, 
and we laid out plans to reach Ogden, giving us five hundred 
or more miles to build. In estimating the extra cost of build- 
ing this 500 miles, which crossed two ranges of mountains, 
within a year, I informed the company that it would be at 
least ten millions of dollars. Their answer was to go ahead, 
no matter what it cost. 

During the winter of 1867, we accumulated at Cheyenne 
all the material possible, having the Northwestern to bring 
it to us, and we made every preparation to start our work by 
the 1st of April. When you consider that material for a mile 



54 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

of road required forty cars, besides the necessary cars for 
supplies and for the population that was along the line of 
the road, you can imagine what it was to supply the material 
at the end of the line, which on an average had to be about 
800 miles, but Snyder and Hoxie of the operating department 
grasped the situation and solved the problem. We reached 
Ogden in the spring of 1869, and Promontory Point on May 
10, 1869. During the winter of '68 the grading was done over 
the Wasatch Mountains, and the earth was blasted there the 
same as rock. Our track was laid on icy banks. I saw one of 
the construction trains slide off of the bank bodily into the 
ditch, loaded with material. 

Prom the first day of April, 1868, until May 10, 1869, only 
thirteen months, we built and laid track of 555 miles of road 
and graded the line to Humboldt Wells, making the total dis- 
tance covered by our force 726 miles, and transported all the 
material and supplies from the Missouri River. AVhen you con- 
sider that not a mile of this division of the road had been 
located until April, that we covered in that year over 700 
miles of road, bringing all the material from the Missouri 
River, that we had to overcome its two great physical obsta- 
cles, two ranges of mountains, it was a task never equalled 
then nor surpassed since. It could not have been accomplished 
had it not been for the experience of the chiefs. of the depart- 
ments in the Civil War. 

The commission appointed by the Government to examine 
the work says : ' ' Taken as a whole, the Union Pacific Railway 
has been well constructed. The energy and perseverance with 
which the work has been urged forward and the rapidity with 
which it has been executed was without parallel in history. 
In grandeur and magnitude of the undertaking, it has never 
been equalled." It is impossible for me in the short time I 
have to speak individually of the persons who took a promi- 
nent part in the construction of the line, but they entered into 
the work all with one spirit. They worked from daylight till 
dark and when necessary on Sundays, and it was an esprit de 
corps and a determination from the head to the foot of every- 
one to accomplish the task set before them. 



ADDRESS AT THE OMAHA CENTENNIAL 55 

The Indians were very hostile, often attacking us. I lost 
two of my chiefs, and many of the men and any quantity of 
stock. That failed to stop us, but if it had not been for 
the cordial support of Generals Grant and Sherman and the 
officers of the army along our lines, we would not have suc- 
ceeded. 

When our track was finished to Promontory, there assem- 
bled there the officials from the East and from the West. The 
engineers of the two lines ran their locomotives together, each 
breaking a bottle of champagne upon the other's engine, and 
when the last spike was driven and the telegraph ticked all 
over the world the completion of the first transcontinental 
line across our continent, I did not forget to telegraph to my 
old chief, General Sherman, who had taken such a great inter- 
est in the work, and received from him this despatch: 

"In common with millions I sat yesterday and heard 
the mystic taps of the telegraphic battery announce the nail- 
ing of the last spike in the great Pacific road. Indeed, am 
I its friend? Yea. Yet, am I a part of it, for as. early as 1854 
I was Vice President of the effort begun in San Francisco 
under the contract of Robinson, Seymour & Co. As soon as 
General Thomas % makes certain preliminary inspections in his 
new command on the Pacific, I will go out and, I need not say, 
will have different facilities from that of 1846, when the only 
way to California was by sail around Cape Horn, taking our 
ships 196 days. All honor to you, to Durant and Jack and Dan 
Casement, to Reed, and the thousands of brave fellows who 
have wrought out this glorious problem, spite of changes, 
storms, and even doubts of the incredulous, and all the obsta- 
cles you have now happily surmounted. 

"W. T. SHERMAN, General." 

The rapidity of the building of the Union Pacific Railway 
caused many comments, and often assertions ^that the road 
was not thoroughly built, that to make distance and thereby 
receive more bonds, we unnecessarily increased the length of 
the road ; that, to save work, we often use the maximum 
grade, and other and similar criticisms. The best answer 
to that has been made in the last three years. The Union 
Pacific Railway, under a very able engineer, Mr. Berry, 



56 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

has been engaged in reducing the grades of the road, except 
over the two mountain ranges to a maximum of forty-seven 
feet per mile. It has decreased the curvature and shortened 
the line about thirty-seven miles. To obtain this, it has cost 
the Union Pacific Railroad Company nearly one-third the 
total cash cost of building the road. Mr. Berry, in his report 
upon these changes, pays this high compliment to those con- 
nected with the location and construction of the road: 

"It may appear to those unfamiliar with the character 
of the country that the great saving in distance and reduction 
of grade would stand as a criticism of the work of the pioneer 
engineers who made the original location of the railroad. Such 
is not the case. The changes made have been expensive and 
could be warranted only by the volume of traffic handled at 
the present day. Too much credit cannot be given General 
G. M. Dodge and his assistants. They studied their task thor- 
oughly and performed it well. Limited by law to a maximum 
gradient of 116 feet to the mile, not compensated for curva- 
ture, they held it down to about ninety feet per mile. Taking 
into consideration the existing conditions thirty-five years ago ; 
lack of maps of the country, hostility of the Indians, which 
made United States troops necessary for protection of survey- 
ing parties, difficult transportation, excessive cost of labor, 
uncertainty as to probable volume of traffic, limited amount 
of money and necessity to get road built soon as possible, it 
can be said, with all our present knowledge of the topography 
of the country, that the line was located with very great skill." 




^ 



I 

'5 



THE BUILDING OF THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD 

AND ITS RELATION' TO COUNCIL BLUFFS 

AND WESTERN IOWA. 



To give the early history of the Union Pacific Railway, 
and it relations to Council Bluffs and western Iowa, necessi- 
tates the recital of the first railway surveys in Iowa. 

In 1852 the M. & M., now the Council Bluffs, Rock Island 
& Pacific Railway, was chartered in the interest and as an 
extension of the Chicago & Rock Island Railway, which was 
completed that year to the Mississippi River at Rock Island. 

In May, 1853, Peter A. Dey left the Rock Island, of which 
he was a division engineer, stationed at Tiskilwa, and com- 
menced at Davenport, Iowa, the first survey of a railroad line 
across the State of Iowa. I had been with Mr. Dey about eight 
months as rodman, and under his direction had made a sur- 
vey of the Peoria & Bureau Valley Railway in Illinois. Mr. Dey 
was made chief engineer of the M. & M., and took me to Iowa 
as assistant, and placed me in charge of the party in the field 
certainly a very fine promotion for the limited experience 
I had had and it is one of the greatest satisfactions and 
pleasures of my life to have had his friendship from the time 
I entered his service until now. Mr. Dey is not only a very 
distinguished citizen of Iowa, but is one of the most distin- 
guished engineers of the country. He was known for his great 
ability, his uprightness and the square deal he gave every one, 
and he has greatly honored this state in the many public posi- 
tions he has held. I look back upon my services with him with 
the greatest pleasure. My practical experience under him and 
the confidence he placed in me were of incalculable benefit 
to me, and the example he set us has lasted me through my 
life, and I shall always honor, respect and hold him in the 
highest consideration and friendship. 

We completed a survey and location to Iowa City in 
August, 1853. Early in September we commenced the survey 

57 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



across Iowa, passing through Marengo, Newton, Des Moines, 
and reaching Council Bluffs December 1, 1853, this being the 
first railway survey across the state. Now commenced our 
first reconnoissances for the Union Pacific Railway. We crossed 
the river by flat-boat and extended our lines west to the Platte 
Valley, and determined definitely the feasibility of a connec- 
tion with the great Platte route with roads in Iowa terminat- 
ing at or near Council Bluffs. It is a singular fact that the 
Government in 1853 authorized the exploration of the country 
west of the Missouri River to the Pacific on four different 
routes, but made no mention of the most feasible route, and 
the one that was first built upon, known as the forty-second 
parallel or Great Platte route. A well defined trail of this route 
was first made by the buffalo and the Indians, followed by 
the fur traders and trappers, then used by the Mormons to 
Salt Lake. Following them came the great overland emigra- 
tion to California and Oregon, and on this trail and road, or 
close to them, was built the Union Pacific and Central Pacific 
to California, and the Short Line branch of the Union Pacific 
to Oregon. 

In our surveys to the Missouri River, Cook and Sargent, 
who were representatives of the M. & M. Railway in Iowa, 
held large interests at Florence, Nebraska, and were anxious 
that our line should terminate on the Missouri River opposite 
that point. It was also stated that the Missouri River at that 
point had rock bottom. To solve this question we ran two 
lines, one down Pigeon Creek, and one down Mosquito, and as 
the latter was superior in an engineering point of view. Mr. 
Dey adopted that line. There was considerable opposition to 
it, but his recommendation stood. The question of terminus 
was so often discussed, and as the Bluffs people felt so uncer- 
tain as to the final result, they proposed that Pottawattamie 
County should vote $300,000 in bonds in aid of the road if the 
company would commence work at the Bluffs, make it the 
terminus and spend that money in building east through 
Pottawattamie County. This proposition was submitted to 
Messrs. Farnam and Durant, and accepted! The bonds were 
voted and the money raised, and it was spent in grading a 
portion of the road in Pottawattamie County, but the failure 



ITS RELATION TO COUNCIL BLUFFS 59 

of the M. & M. Company in 1857 stopped work here, as well 
as on the rest of the line in the State. The Rock Island, the 
successor of the M. & M., occupied the line graded in this 
county when it was built. 

In the fall of 1854 work was suspended on the M. & M. 
road in Iowa, and I moved to the Bluffs and under the patro- 
nage of Henry Farnam continued the explorations west for 
the Union Pacific by getting all the information I could from 
the Indians and fur traders and Mormons of the country we 
were finally to occupy, until the general route of the Union 
Pacific to the Pacific Ocean was pretty fully settled in our own 
minds. 

There was keen competition in the '50s for the control of 
the vast immigration crossing the plains, and Kansas City, 
Fort Leavenworth, St. Joe and Council Bluffs were points of 
concentration on the Missouri River. The trails from all these 
points led to and converged in the Platte Valley at Kearney 
and east of it. A southern trail led from Kansas City up the 
Arkansas to New Mexico and on to the Pacific by the southern 
route, but was not much traveled west of New Mexico. 

From my explorations and the information I had obtained 
I mapped and made an itinerary of the whole Platte Valley 
route to Utah, California and Oregon, giving the camping 
places for each night, showing where wood, grass and water 
could be found, pointing out where the fords of the different 
streams could be found and giving such other information as 
would be valuable to immigrants. The interests centering 
around Council Bluffs printed this map and itinerary and sent 
it broadcast through the western states, and it had no small 
influence in turning the mass of overland immigration to the 
Great Platte route. This route was up that river to its forks, 
and then either up the north or south fork to Salt Lake, thence 
to California by the Humboldt and Truckee Valleys, branch- 
ing at South Pass or Fort Bridger to Snake River and by that 
and the Columbia River Valleys to Oregon. 

Both Mr. Dey and myself returned to Iowa City during 
the summer of 1856 to continue the construction of the M. & 
M. road, and made everything ready for the work, when the 
panic of 1857 involved Mr. Farnam financially, caused by Mr. 



60 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

Durant pledging the paper of the firm of Durant & Farnam to 
meet his speculative ventures. This involved Mr. Farnam 's 
collateral in litigation, which it took several years to unravel, 
and Mr. Durant 's connection with the M. & M. contract was 
fatal to the early completion of that line of railway, and Mr. 
Farnam took no further interest in the project. 

I returned to Council Bluffs and continued my examina- 
tions until 1861. I remember that in 1859, when I returned 
from a trip on the plains, I met Mr. Lincoln at the Pacific 
house. Mr. Lincoln came up from St. Joseph on a steamer to 
look after an interest he had bought in the Riddle tract from 
N. B. Judd of Chicago. He also found here and visited some 
old Springfield, Illinois, friends, W. H. M. Pusey, Thomas 
Officer, and others. Mr. Lincoln sought me out, and was greatly 
interested in the project of the Pacific Railroad, and I gave 
him all the information I had, going fully and thoroughly 
into it. I was very decided that the Great Platte route was 
from our explorations and surveys the best, most feasible, and 
far superior to any of the routes explored by the Government. 

In 1836 the first public meeting to consider the project 
of a Pacific Railway was called by John Plumbe, a civil engi- 
neer of Dubuque, Iowa. Interest in a Pacific Railway grew 
from this time, the exploration of Fremont in 1842 and 1846 
brought the attention of Congress, and A. C. "Whitney was 
zealous and efficient in the cause from 1840 to 1850. The first 
practical measure was Senator Salmon P. Chase's bill in 1853, 
making an appropriation for the explorations of different 
routes for a Pacific Railway. Numerous bills were introduced 
in Congress between 1852 and 1860, granting subsidies and . 
lands, and some of them appropriating as large a sum as $96,- 
000,000 for the construction of the road. One of these bills 
passed one of the houses of Congress. 

The results of the explorations ordered by Congress were 
printed in eleven large volumes covering the country between 
the thirty-second and forty-ninth parallels of latitude, and 
demonstrated the feasibility of building a Pacific Railway, but 
at a cost on any one of the lines much larger than the Union 
Pacific and Central Pacific were built for. It is a singular fact 
that in all these explorations the most feasible line in an 



ITS RELATION TO COUNCIL BLUFFS 61 

engineering and commercial point of view, the line with the 
least obstacles to overcome, of lowest grades and least curv- 
ature, was never explored and reported on. Private enterprise 
explored and developed that line along the forty-second par- 
allel of latitude. 

In 1861 General S. R. Curtis of Iowa reported for the Pa- 
cific Eailway Committee of Congress, the first Pacific Railroad 
Act, and Senator Harlan of Iowa finally succeeded in making it 
a law, and in March, 1862, the company was organized. On 
September 2, 1862, Henry B. Ogden of Chicago was made Presi- 
dent, Thomas M. Olcott, Vice President, and H. V. Poor, Secre- 
tary. In August, 1863, T. C. Durant sent Peter A. Dey to 
examine the passes over the Black Hills and Wasatch Range. 

On October 30, 1863, Mr. Durant, in his report to the 
board, stated that the explorations formerly made by General 
G. M. Dodge, and those made by Mr. Dey, proved of great 
value. Mr. Dey at this meeting submitted the report of his 
reconnoissances, and the company placed him in charge of all 
the surveys, with instructions to develop the line through to 
Salt Lake City. Mr. Dey took into the field parties headed by 
B. B. Brayton, S. B. Reed, F. M. Case, Joseph A. Young, son 
of President Brigham Young, and soon determined that the 
general route we had originally reported upon was the one 
to be built upon. 

The law of 1862 did not bring the results hoped for. No 
money could be raised under its provisions, and the only 
result was the series of explorations made in 1863, and the 
breaking of ground at Omaha on December 21st of that year. 

In 1863, I think about June, while in command at Corinth, 
Mississippi, I received an order to report in Washington, and 
was informed that the President wished to see me. I had no 
idea what the President could wish to see me about in fact, 
was a good deal puzzled at the order. When I reached Wash- 
ington and called on the President, I found that he desired 
to consult me upon the proper place for the initial point of the 
Union Pacific, and that he had not forgotten his conversation 
with me in 1859. 

The towns on the Missouri River within a distance of one 
hundred miles of the mouth of the Platte River were using 



62 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

their influence to have the terminus made at each one of their 
places, but it was evident that Mr. Lincoln had determined 
upon some point north of the mouth of the Platte River, so 
that great valley could be utilized for the route of the rail- 
road. After his interview with me, in which he showed a 
perfect knowledge of the question, and satisfying himself as 
to the engineering questions that had been raised, I was satis- 
fied he would locate the terminus at or near Council Bluffs. 
He issued his first order on November 17, 1863. It was in his 
own language, and as follows : 

"I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do 
hereby fix so much of the western boundary of the State of 
Iowa as lies between the north and south boundaries of the 
United States township within which the City of Omaha is 
situated as the point from which the line of railroad and tele- 
graph in that section mentioned shall be constructed." 

, This description was not considered definite enough by 
the company, and on March 7, 1864, President Lincoln issued 
the second executive order, as follows : 

"I Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do 
upon the application of 'said company designate and establish 
such first named point on the western boundary of the State 
of Iowa, east of and opposite to the east line of Section 10, 
in Township 15, south of Range 13, east of the sixth principal 
Meridian in the Territory of Nebraska." 

On March 8, 1864, he notified the United States Senate 
that on the 17th day of November, 1863, he had located the 
"eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railway within the 
limits of the township in Iowa opposite to the town of Omaha. ' ' 
"Since then," he says, "the company has represented to me 
that upon added survey made, it has determined upon the 
precise point of departure of the branch road from the Mis- 
souri River, and located same within the limits designated 
in the order of November last." 

Mr. Lincoln also took up with me the construction of the 
road. I expressed opinion that no private enterprise could 
build it, and that it must be done by the Government. He 
answered that the Government had its hands full in the war, 
but was willing to support any company to the full extent 



ITS RELATION TO COUNCIL BLUFFS 63 

of its power. After saying good-bye to the President, I went 
immediately to New York and saw Messrs. Durant, Cisco and 
others, then conected with the company, and reported to them 
Mr. Lincoln's words. It gave new courage to the company. 
The law of 1864 were passed, and Mr. Dey let the first con- 
tracts, and grading was started in the fall of 1864. 

After the location of the road at Council Bluffs, the first 
serious question threatening Council Bluffs was the change 
of Mr. Dey's line from Omaha to Elkhorn, adding nine miles 
in distance, claiming to avoid heavy work and heavy grades. 
Many saw in this change, advocated by Colonel Seymour, the 
consulting engineer, and Mr. Durant, the Vice President of the 
Union Pacific, an intention of utilizing Bellevue instead of the 
Bluffs as the real terminus of the road, and this aroused not 
only Omaha, but the Bluffs with all the influence of Iowa 
against such a result. 

The main argument for adding nine miles of distance in 
thirteen miles of road was that it eliminated the eighty and 
sixty-six foot grades of the direct line. If this had been done 
there would have been some argument for the changes, but 
they only eliminated the grades from the Omaha summit, which 
it took three miles of sixty and sixty-six foot grades to reach, 
and east of the Elkhorn summit which was an eighty-foot 
grade, so by the change and addition of nine miles they made 
no reductions in the original grades or in the tonnage hauled 
in a train on the new line over the old line if it had been built. 

The grades at Omaha and Elkhorn have been eliminated 
since 1900, and the new management is adopting the old Dey 
line for the distance it saves and in bringing the grade to the 
road's maximum of forty-seven feet to the mile. It was Mr. 
Dey's intention that when traffic demanded the original short 
line grades would be reduced to whatever maximum grade 
the road should finally adopt. 

After a long contest and. many reports the Government 
provided that the change should only be made if the Omaha 
and Elkhorn grades were eliminated, the first by a line run- 
ning south from Omaha two miles in the Missouri Valley and 
cutting through the Bluffs to Muddy Creek, giving a thirty- 
five foot maximum grade, and the Elkhorn, by additional 



64 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

cutting and filling without changing the line, but this was 
never done. The company paid no attention to the decision 
but built on the changed line letting the grades at Omaha and 
Elkhorn stand, and the Government Commissioners accepted 
the road, ignoring the conditions of the change, and bonds 
were issued upon it, although it was a direct violation of the 
Government order. 

The final decision in favor of the change, and the ignoring 
of Mr. Dey's recommendations in letting the construction con- 
tracts, caused Mr. Dey to send in his resignation. He stated 
in his letter of resignation that he was giving up "the best 
position in his profession this country has offered to any man." 

During the building of the road the question of bridging 
the Missouri River was under discussion, and continuous exam- 
inations of the river in sounding, watching currents, etc., was 
had. Three points were finally determined upon as most fea- 
sible. First, Child's Mill, which was a high bridge, the shortest, 
and reached Muddy Creek with thirty-five foot grade, avoid- 
ing the heavy sixty-six foot grade at Omaha. Second, Tele- 
graph Pole, right where there was some rock bottom, this to 
be a low drawbridge, and third, the M. & M. crossing for a 
high bridge. The latter was decided upon, more especially to 
meet the views of Omaha, and for aid that city gave the com- 
pany. 

We began work on the bridge in 1868, and continued it in 
1869 and 1870, but the company found it impossible to con- 
tinue, as they had no funds and they could not issue any 
securities under their charter to pay for the work. I was very 
anxious the bridge should be built to utilize the thousand acres 
of land I had bought for our terminals in Iowa, and to fix 
permanently and practically the terminus in Iowa. The com- 
pany proposed to me to organize a bridge company, to interest 
the Iowa roads terminating at the Bluffs, and ask authority 
from the Government to construct the bridge and issue secur- 
ities upon it, the Union Pacific agreeing to use the bridge and 
make its terminals and connections with the Iowa roads on the 
Iowa side. 

I saw all the Iowa roads. They agreed to give their aid, but 
made the condition that their connection with the Union Pacifie 



ITS RELATION TO COUNCIL BLUFFS 65 

should be on the Iowa side. I went to Washington, presented 
the bill, passed it through the house and left it in Senator Har- 
lan's hands to pass it in the Senate. This was very quietly 
done, but Omaha got alarmed, and Governor Saunders., who 
was a personal friend of Senator Harlan, took the matter up, 
and I think went to Washington. The Omaha people interested 
themselves in stirring up opposition in the Bluffs. 

A public meeting was held at the corner of Broadway and 
Pearl Streets, over which J. W. Crawford presided. I was very 
seriously criticised and the bridge scheme denounced, although 
it was entirely and solely in the interest of Council Bluffs and 
would have brought the terminus and business of the Union 
Pacific to the Bluffs, as they had entered into an agreement 
with the Iowa roads to that effect. 

The public meeting was addressed in favor of the bridge 
by Messrs. Pusey, Officer and myself, also by Caleb Baldwin, 
and was opposed by Messrs. James, Larimer, Montgomery and 
others. The meeting passed resolutions asking our Senators 
to defeat the bridge bill. Harlan acted on this resolution and 
defeated the bill in the Senate, and Saunders and Omaha 
accomplished their work. 

The Union Pacific Company was greatly disgusted and 
disappointed, and dropped for the time all efforts to build a 
bridge. If the bill had passed the bridge would have been 
built in the interests of Council Bluffs and the Iowa roads. 
The Union Pacific later on applied to Congress, which passed 
a bill authorizing the Union Pacific to build a bridge, issue 
bonds and stock upon it and placed it entirely in their con- 
trol, but the Union Pacific had no great interest in coming 
to Council Bluffs or Iowa, and made their terminus at Omaha 
and forced the Iowa roads over the bridge until 1875, when 
the United States Supreme Court decided that the Union 
Pacific should be operated from Council Bluffs westward as a 
continuous line for all purposes of communication, travel and 
transportation, and especially ordered them to start all through 
passenger and freight trains westward from the Bluffs. 

This came too late to cure the mischief the town meeting 
had accomplished, as the Union Pacific had its interests cen- 
tered in Omaha, and its offices, and the Iowa roads had made 



66 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

their contracts and gone there and the Bluffs had only reaped 
the benefit of its terminal that the growth of business has 
forced to them, whereas, by law, by economy of operation, 
and by the ample terminals made to accommodate it, it should 
have been the actual terminus, and should have received full 
benefit of it, not only from traffic of the Union Pacific, but from 
the traffic and interest of the Iowa roads. 

The points I have mentioned are the principal ones in the 
building of the Union Pacific that interest Council Bluffs. 
There were others, but my article is already too long. The 
building of the Union Pacific was of incalculable benefit to 
the Bluffs and Iowa. General Sherman said it advanced our 
country one hundred years. The rapidity of building was a 
factor. Forty miles of track was laid in 1865, 260 miles in 
1866, 246 in 1867, including the ascent to the summit of the 
Black Hills at Sherman, 8,255 feet above the sea, and during 
1868 and to May, 1869, 555 miles, all exclusive of 186 miles 
of sidings and all from one end, a task never before or since 
equalled. 



FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF DRIVING OF THE LAST 

SPIKE ON THE UNION PACIFIC AND CENTRAL 

PACIFIC RAILWAY. 



The building of a Pacific steam road to connect the streams 
flowing into the Atlantic and Pacific was advocated as early 
as 1819, before a mile of railroad was built in any part of the 
world. It took practical form when Asa Whitney, in 1845, 
in petitioning Congress in behalf of a Pacific railroad, said: 
"You will see that it will change the whole world." Senator 
Thomas H. Benton in 1849 pleaded that the great line when 
built should "be adorned with its crowning honor, the colossal 
statue of the great Columbus, whose design it accomplishes, 
hewn from the granite mass of a peak of the Rocky Mountains, 
overlooking the road, the mountain itself the pedestal, and the 
statue a part of the mountain, pointing with outstretched 
arm to the western horizon, and saying to the flying passenger, 
'There is the East! There is India!'" Charles Sumner in 
1853 said : ' ' The railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific, 
traversing a whole continent and binding together two oceans, 
this mighty thoroughfare when completed will mark an epoch 
of human progress second only to that of our Declaration of 
Independence. May the day soon come!" And it did come, 
and all the prophecies were fulfilled when the first transcon- 
tinental line was completed and the tracks joined. at Promon- 
tory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869, just forty years ago. 

This ceremony was one of peace and harmony between the 
Union Pacific, coming from the east, and the Central Pacific, 
coming from the west. For a year or more there had been 
great contention and rivalry between the two companies, the 
Union Pacific endeavoring to reach Humboldt Wells, on the 
west boundary of Utah, and the Central Pacific rushing to 
reach Ogden, Utah, to give them an outlet to Salt Lake City. 

In the building of a Pacific steam road to connect the two 
oceans two lines were graded alongside of each other for 225 



68 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

miles between Ogden and Humboldt Wells. Climbing Promon- 
tory Mountain, they were not a stone's throw apart. 

When both companies saw that neither could reach its 
goal they came together and we made an agreement to join 
the tracks on the summit of Promontory Mountain, the Union 
Pacific selling to the Central Pacific fifty-six miles of its road 
back within five miles of Ogden and leasing trackage over 
that five miles to enable the Central Pacific to reach Ogden. 
These five miles were not only a part of the Union Pacific, but 
used by their line north to Idaho. This agreement was ratified 
by Congress. Each road built to the summit of Promontory, 
leaving a gap of about 100 feet of rail to be laid when the 
last spike was driven. The chief engineers of the Union and 
Central Pacific had charge of the ceremony and the work, 
and we set a day far enough ahead so that trains coming from 
New York and San Francisco would have ample time to reach 
Promontory in time to take part in the ceremonies. 

On the morning of May 10, 1869, Hon. Leland Stanford, 
Governor of California and President of the Central Pacific, 
accompanied by Messrs. Huntington, Hopkins, Crocker and 
trainloads of California's distinguished citizens, arrived from 
the west. During the forenoon Vice President T. C. Durant 
and Directors John E. Duff and Sidney Dillon and Consulting 
Engineer Silas A. Seymour of the Union Pacific, with other 
prominent men, including a delegation of Mormons from Salt 
Lake City, came in on a train from the east. The National 
Government was represented by a detachment of "regulars" 
from Fort Douglass, Utah, accompanied by a band, and 600 
others, including Chinese, Mexicans, Indians, half-breeds, ne- 
groes and laborers, suggesting an air of cosmopolitanism, all 
gathered around the open space where the tracks were to be 
joined. The Chinese laid the rails from the west end, and the 
Irish laborers laid them from the east end, until they met and 
joined. 

Telegraphic wires were so connected that each blow of the 
descending sledge could be reported instantly to all parts of 
the United States. Corresponding blows were struck on the 
bell of the City Hall in San Francisco, and with the last blow 
of the sledge a cannon was fired at Fort Point. General Safford 



DRIVING OF THE LAST SPIKE 69 

presented a spike of gold, silver and iron as the offering of 
the Territory of Arizona. Governor Tuttle of Nevada pre- 
sented a spike of silver from his state. The connecting tie 
was of California laurel, and California presented the last spike 
of gold in behalf of that state. A silver sledge had also been 
presented for the occasion. A prayer was offered. Governor 
Stanford of California made a few appropriate remarks on 
behalf of the Central Pacific and the chief engineer responded 
for the Union Pacific. Then the telegraphic inquiry from the 
Omaha office, from which the circuit was to be started, was 
answered : "To everybody : Keep quiet. When the last spike is 
driven at Promontory Point we will say 'Done.' Don't break 
the circuit, but watch for the signals of the blows of the ham- 
mer. The spike will soon be driven. The signal will be three 
dots for the commencement of the blows. ' ' The magnet tapped 
one two three then paused ' ' Done. ' ' The spike was given 
its first blow by President Stanford and Vice President Durant 
followed. Neither hit the spike the first time, but hit the 
rail, and were greeted by the lusty cheers of the onlookers, 
accompanied by the screams of the locomotives and the music 
of the military band. Many other spikes were driven on the 
last rail by some of the distinguished persons present, but it 
was seldom that they first hit the spike. The original spike, 
after being tapped by the officials of the companies, was driven 
home by the chief engineers of the two roads. Then the two 
trains were run together, the two locomotives touching at the 
point of junction, and the engineers of the two locomotives 
each broke a bottle of champagne on the other's engine. Then 
it was declared that the connection was made and the Atlantic 
and Pacific were joined together never to be parted. 

The wires in every direction were hot with congratulatory 
telegrams. President Grant and Vice President Colfax were 
the recipients of especially felicitous messages. On the evening 
of May 8th, in San Francisco, from the stages of the theatres 
and other public places, notice was given that the two roads 
had met and were to be wedded on the morrow. The celebra- 
tion there began at once and practically lasted through the 
10th. The booming of cannons and the ringing of bells were 
united with other species of noise, making of which jubilant 



70 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

humanity finds expression for its feelings on such an occa- 
sion. The buildings in the city were gay with flags and bunt- 
ing. Business was suspended and the longest procession that 
San Francisco had ever seen attested the enthusiasm of the 
people. At night the city was brilliant with illuminations. 
Free railway trains filled Sacramento with an unwonted crowd, 
and the din of cannon, steam whistles and bells followed the 
final message. 

At the eastern terminus in Omaha the firing of a hundred 
guns on Capitol hill, more bells and steam whistles and a grand 
procession of fire companies, civic societies, citizens and visit- 
ing delegations echoed the sentiments of the Californians. In 
Chicago a procession of four miles in length, a lavish display 
of decoration in the city and on the vessels in the river, and 
an address by Vice President Colfax in the evening were the 
evidences of the city's feeling. In New York, by order of the 
mayor, a salute of a hundred guns announced the culmination 
of the great undertaking. In Trinity Church the te deum was 
chanted, prayers were offered, and when the services wtre 
over the chimes rung out "Old Hundred," the "Ascension 
Carol" and national airs. The ringing of bells on Independence 
Hall and the fire stations in Philadelphia produced an unusual 
concourse of citizens to celebrate the national event. In the 
other large cities of the country the expressions of public 
gratification were hardly less hearty and demonstrative. Bret 
Harte was inspired to write the celebrated poem of "What 
the Engines Said." The first verse is: 

What was it the engines said, 
Pilots touching, head to head, 
Facing on the single track, 
Half a world behind each back? 
This is what the engines said, 
Unreported and unread. 

Not forgetting my old commander, General W. T. Sher- 
man, who had been such an aid in protecting us in the building 
of the road, in answer to our telegram, sent this despatch : 

"Washington, May 11, 1869. General G. M. Dodge: In 
common with millions, I sat yesterday and heard the mystic 







M 



%- 



*V 



s? 




MM 



DRIVING OF THE LAST SPIKE 71 

taps of the telegraphic battery announce the nailing of the 
last spike in the great Pacific road. Indeed, am I its friend? 
Yea. Yet, am I to be a part of it, for as early as 1854 I was 
Vice President of the effort begun in San Francisco under the 
contract of Robinson, Seymour & Co. As soon as General 
Thomas makes certain preliminary inspections in his new com- 
mand on the Pacific I will go out, and, I need not say, will 
have different facilities from that of 1846, when the only, way 
to California was by sailing around Cape Horn, taking our 
ships 196 days. All honor to you, to Durant, to Jack and Dan 
Casement, to Reed, and the thousands of brave fellows who 
have wrought out this glorious problem, spite of changes, 
storms and even doubts of the incredulous, and all the obstacles 
you have happily surmounted. 

"W. T. SHERMAN, General." 

After the ceremony a sumptuous lunch was served in Pres- 
ident Stanford's cars, and appropriate speeches were made by 
Governor Stanford and others, and a general jollification was 
enjoyed. At night each train took its way to its own home, 
leaving at the junction point only the engineers and the work- 
men to complete the work ready for the through trains that 
followed in a day or two after. 

The one thought that was in all minds was, "What of 
the future? What could a railroad earn that ran almost its 
entire length from Nebraska to the California State line 
through a country uninhabited, and, at that date, with no 
developed local business upon its whole line." 

My own views upon that question I expressed in my re- 
port upon the completion of the road in 1869, in which I said : 

"Its future is fraught with great good. It will develop 
a waste, will bind together the two extremes of the nation 
as one, will stimulate intercourse and trade, and bring har- 
mony, prosperity and wealth to the two coasts. A proper pol- 
icy, systematically and persistently followed, will bring to 
the road the trade of the two oceans and will give it all the 
business it can accommodate ; while the local trade will in- 
crease gradually until the mining, grazing and agricultural 
regions through which it passes will build up and create a 



HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



business that will be a lasting and permanent support to the 
company. ' ' 

As soon as the road was in operation, with regular trains, 
the company called upon me to make an estimate of the earn- 
ings of the company for the next ten years. They desired that 
they should show a sum, if possible, equal to- the interest upon 
all the company bonds and provide for the Government sink- 
ing fund. 

This was a problem that would have challenged the imag- 
ination of the greatest optimist of the time, for we had a road 
1,086 miles in length, with few settlements upon it, and the 
country surrounding it, from our own observations, did not 
promise any great amount of railroad traffic. However, by 
claiming all the known traffic between the Atlantic and the 
Pacific, and all the trade of foreign countries seeking Japan, 
China and Australia by this route, we built up a yearly earn- 
ing of $5,000 per mile, but the growth of the country even 
then distanced my imagination 100 per cent, and our yearly 
earnings in ten years rose to $10,000 or $12,000 per mile. When 
I look back upon the growth of the country west of the Mis- 
souri, now supporting five transcontinental lines, with all the 
miles of lateral roads filling the intermediate territory, with 
the traffic on the Union Pacific today demanding a double 
track over its entire length, I have not the ability to even guess 
what the future has in store. When you try to calculate the 
business that will be created by the Government's conserva- 
tion of the country's resources, its millions spent impounding 
the great streams that flow east an^l west from the Rocky 
Mountains, the minerals hidden in every range and foothill, 
the agricultural growth from dry farming and irrigation, and 
the great yearly increase in population, and that today the 
country is comparatively only scratched. As it develops and 
grows today, in ten years it will require 50,000 additional miles 
of railroad to transport its people and its production. 

When the Union Pacific was first built, over 90 per cent 
of its traffic was through business. Now that figure is reversed 
and 90 per cent of it or more is local, and this is the case of 
all the transcontinental and intermediate lines. There is an 
empire building up west of the Missouri River and on the 



DRIVING OF THE LAST SPIKE 73 

Pacific Coast from Mexico to Behring Strait. Already there is 
a development that has outstripped every effort to meet its 
demands or anticipate its necessities. To me, who traveled 
over most of this country in the '50s and '60s, when its inhab- 
itants were mostly Indians, and its products game and grass, 
its growth I cannot even comprehend, and its future no man 
can safely prophesy. 

It is a great satisfaction to have lived and witnessed the 
development of our nation, from the Lakes to the Pacific. 
As a result of the Civil War it has made a century's growth 
in fifty years. 



WHAT I HAVE KNOWN OF HARRIMAN. 



While I have known Mr. Harriman many years, I have 
had no railroad or business connection with him. I severed 
my connection with the Union Pacific Railroad when it went 
into the hands of the receivers. I was a member of the first 
reorganization committee, known as the Brice Committee, but 
it failed to accomplish anything from its inability to come to 
any understanding with the Government as to the payment 
of the Government debt. 

The second reorganization committee, known as the Kuhn- 
Loeb Committee, in 1897 succeeded in reorganizing the Union 
Pacific, and Mr. Harriman took an active part in the road 
from that time forward. First as a director, and after rising 
to the presidency, he controlled, not only that property, but 
from 1901, the Southern Pacific. 

His great power in argument and ability to show results 
and his management of these roads, brought him to the promi- 
nent notice of the whole country and the support of its great 
banking and financial interests. The development of business 
along the Union Pacific made them believe the road could pay 
the Government debt, principal and interest, and they had the 
n^rve to make that agreement with the Government. 

I remember when they were considering with the Govern- 
ment the payment of the subsidy debt that President MeKinley 
sent for me to come to Washington, and while discussing the 
question with him, I asked him if he didn't think a monument 
ought to be raised by the Government to the men who built 
that road and paid the Government debt, an unheard of occur- 
rence at that time. He answered, "Yes," but said, "Don't 
you think, General, a monument should also be raised to the 
President who made them do it?" 

In the first plans of the reorganization of the Union Pa- 
cific, the main trunk line only was included, but it was soon 
discovered that the branches, especially the Oregon Short Line, 



7 6 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

were as important to the success of the company as the main 
line, and, afterwards, under the management of Mr. Harri- 
man, those branches, except the Colorado & Southern Railway, 
were made a part of the system. He saw later on that it was a 
mistake even to leave out this branch. 

During the panic of 1893 the earnings of the road fell 
from $45,000,000 to $29,000,000 ; the net earnings from $16,000,- 
000 to $4,000,000, but at the time of the reorganization, the 
development of the country was such, and the growth of the 
business along the road was so great, that the value of the 
property grew all the time upon Mr. Harriman and his asso- 
ciates. The one obstacle in the way of completing the plan 
they had in view was that the line from Ogden to San Fran- 
cisco, known as the Central Pacific, was owned and operated 
by the Southern Pacific, then controlled by Mr. Collis P. Hunt- 
ington, who absolutely refused to sell it. 

Upon Mr. Huntington's death, Mr. Harriman and his asso- 
ciates in 1901 formed the plan of buying the Central Pacific 
from Ogden to San Francisco as its original charter provided, 
and his success in purchasing this property is one of the keys 
to the great success of the Union Pacific road. To accomplish 
this, he had to spend a hundred or more millions of dollars and 
buy not only the Central Pacific but a road reaching from San 
Francisco to New Orleans, and from there by steamboat to 
New York. This was not only a bold but a very successful 
financial operation. 

One person in speaking of his great success at the time 
of the purchase of this property and the combining of it with 
the Union Pacific and other property that had been obtained, 
says: "Mr. Harriman may journey by steamship from New 
York to New Orleans, thence by rail to San Francisco, across 
the Pacific Ocean to China, and, returning by another route 
to the United States, may go to Ogden by any one of the three 
rail lines, and thence to Kansas City or Omaha, without leav- 
ing the deck or platform of a carrier which he controls, and 
without duplicating any part of his journey." 

This purchase of his was a very far sighted, and in my 
opinion, a master stroke, although at this time, the Govern- 
ment is trying to divorce the two roads. This is a mistake. 



WHAT I HAVE KNOWN OF HARRIMAN 77 

I cannot see, myself, how a railroad running from San Fran- 
cisco to New Orleans is in any way competitive with a railroad 
running from San Francisco and Portland to Council Bluffs. 

Mr. Harriman's heart was wholly in his work. His efforts 
have been only to build up, not to tear down, and there are 
instances within this year where he has gone to the aid of 
great competitive properties on the principle that it was not 
good policy to allow any great enterprise to fail. Though it 
may have been competitive with his interests, he did not fail 
to aid it with his advice, money and credit, which I think, 
shows that he held a very broad view, far different from the 
attitude most people take toward such questions. 

After Mr. Harriman had obtained the Union Pacific, South- 
ern Pacific and all its laterals, and branches, he began to make 
a study of them. He went through them from beginning to 
end and as the business of the roads grew, he saw what the 
future for them was, and he told me that he spent almost as 
much money as the original cost of the road in bringing the 
grades of the Union Pacific, from Ogden to Cheyenne, down 
to forty-seven feet maximum (except two places), and from 
Cheyenne to Omaha down to sixteen feet, and in shortening 
the distance some thirty miles. 

It is said that in developing this and the Southern Pacific 
roads and their lateral lines, he has spent over $200,000,000, 
and it is for these reasons that I have said that his death is 
the greatest loss to the western country. 

It is a very forunate thing that he has built up and organ- 
ized these properties so completely and efficiently that it will 
not be difficult to find some one in them to take his place and 
carry out his plans which contemplate as much expenditure 
in the future as has been made in the past. 

I was much impressed as I lately came over the Union 
Pacific, by what these improvements have meant to the road. 
I had been staying for two months in the mountains where 
other railroads cross them, and I noticed that two locomotives 
could haul from fifteen to twenty cars only up their steep 
grades, while on the mountain division of the Union Pacific, 
a single locomotive could haul from thirty-five to forty-five 
cars, and from Cheyenne east they hauled fifty to seventy-five 



7 8 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

loaded cars. This shows where the great net earnings of the 
Union Pacific come from. 

Every piece of property that Harriman has taken an active 
interest in, has immediately felt his influence and got the ben- 
efit of his judgment in its operations and in the increase of 
its earnings. He had a great faculty for details in these matters 
and seemed to know intuitively how to utilize, to the best 
advantage, the forces working under him. 

His men were loyal to him because he was loyal to them. 
He took a great interest in them, gave them full authority and 
what is necessary for success in railroad management, stood 
right behind them and was not afraid, at any time, to take 
the responsibility of any of their acts. This, of course, was 
one of the great elements of his success. You never see a 
person along his line of roads who does not speak well of 
him, from the top down. 

I have seen it stated lately that Mr. Harriman found, on 
taking charge of the Union Pacific, "two dirt ballasted streaks 
of rust. The stations along the mountain grades were tumble 
down shacks, most of the equipment fit only for the scrap pile. 
From top to bottom, the Union Pacific suffered from bank- 
ruptcy, brought on by political and financial intrigue." There 
is no truth in this statement. When the Union Pacific went 
into the receivers' hands, it was carried there by a floating 
debt of $18,000,000, contracted in developing the property and 
building branches. The road was then earning some $45,000,- 
000 gross, and $16,000,000 net, yearly, and was 10,000 or more 
miles in length. The demonetization of silver destroyed, for 
a time, the mining and other industries along the Union Pacific 
from the Missouri River to California, reducing its earnings to 
$29,000,000 gross per year. It could not stand this great de- 
crease and carry its debt. 

During the time it was in the receivers' hands, its operat- 
ing organization was good and the physical condition of the 
road Avas equal to or better than that of any road west of 
the Missouri River, while no additional mileage was added 
to it, its earnings were devoted to maintaining the property. 
As soon as Mr. Harriman took charge of the road, it, like all 
other railroads in the United States, had to be fitted to carry 



WHAT I HAVE KNOWN OP HARRIMAN 79 

the weight of the modern locomotives, cars, and trains put 
upon it to handle the great increase of traffic from 1897 to the 
present time. 

Mr. Harriman saw and grasped this situation and not 
only provided for this great traffic, but reduced the grades of 
the road, shortened the distance, and made possible by double 
tracking it, the handling of its increasing traffic for many years 
to come. 

The great interests that Mr. Harriman controlled and 
those he was interested in, covers the entire continent, and 
included not only the transportation but many industries, 
banks, financial interests, etc., and were far too much of a 
burden to place upon one man. But no matter how much we 
may try to avoid the accumulation of such duties, it was 
hard for him and will be for anyone who takes his place, to 
stop the accumulations and combinations, for all the laws now, 
state and national, force consolidation and combinations, while 
this country grows in every direction, the controlling interests 
decrease in number, and legislation and financial interest cause 
this great change. 

Under a fair wind, they all seem to prosper. They stood 
fairly well through the panic, but the question is, how will 
they weather any long and steady decrease in our crops and 
any general decline of our greatly diversified business. 

Although undersized in stature and frail in physical 
strength. Mr. Harriman was the boldest fighter of these times, 
and his success lay, mainly, in the fact that he was considered 
a fair fighter. 

He had two sides to his character. One the public saw; 
the other, those who worked with him and were close to him 
saw. He had a kind word for everyone who was trying to 
succeed. He was especially kind to those who were in his 
immediate employ, and he had a heart that went out to all 
appeals from those in trouble. He was devoted to his family 
and his home. 

We who knew him, can appreciate the West's great loss, 
but if he had to go, it was best that he should fall at the zenith 
of his great successes, and at a time when his great work was 
moving steadily forward, well manned and well in hand. 



JOHN N. BALDWIN'S, GENERAL SOLICITOR OF THE 
UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY, TRIBUTE TO GENERAL 
G. M. DODGE ON HIS WORK IN BUILDING THE 
UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY AT THE MEETING OF 
THE SOCIETY OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE 
AT COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA, 1906. 



Mr. Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentlemen : 

Though solemnized by the ceaseless mutations of time, 
this is an occasion well calculated to awaken the buoyancy and 
quicken the heart-beat of every citizen who loves his country 
and its institutions. 

In this time of great national eminence, with happiness 
regnant in twenty million American homes, with our astral 
emblem honored and respected throughout the world, with the 
seat of peace of both hemispheres by the Potomac, with a 
nation distinguished for its commerce, its wealth, its Christi- 
anity and its enlightenment, it is meet that we should pause 
in our onward flight to acknowledge with full hearts our love, 
our reverence, our boundless gratitude and obligation to and 
for our preserver and benefactor the Union soldier. 

We have with us tonight one of the chief actors in what 
history truly represents as the greatest tragedy ever played 
in the theatre of war. He saw the curtain rise on Fort Sumpter 
and fall on Appomattox. He shared with his comrades in arms 
the fortunes and misfortunes of military life, and like them 
he received his plaudits and his wounds. 

I have the honor to speak of our distinguished fellow 
townsman, our neighbor, our friend, General Grenville M. 
Dodge. 

If our honored friend experiences some embarrassment as 
he listens to the recital of his deeds and achievements, he must 
remember the pleasure it affords those who offer their tribute 
and their expressions of esteem, and also remember that if 
the struggles and triumphs of the strong and successful are 

81 



82 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

never to be recounted, the inspiration of worthy action might 
be lost and many tender chords remain untouched. 

''Let us, then, be what we are and speak what we think, 
and in all things keep ourselves loyal to the truth and the 
sacred professions of friendship." 

I believe that it will be both profitable and pleasurable 
for us to stop a moment during these tempestuous, tumultuous, 
business-expanding, wealth-getting and property-developing 
times, and seriously contemplate the rugged and lasting qual- 
ities of such a man as General Dodge, and also with fitting 
ceremony and circumstance, in the presence of the highest 
in the community, give to him his true meed and merit. 

The Army of the Tennessee is conspicuous in American 
history. Around it is woven the story of the Civil War. It 
participated in more than forty engagements, among them 
being a number of the greatest battles of that war. It not 
only participated, it was in the thick of the conflict, and was 
often the medium through which defeat was turned into vic- 
tory. More than once the fate of the Union depended upon 
its prowess and soldierly valor. It was so at Shiloh, Vicksburg, 
Corinth. Atlanta, and in fact, nearly all the great battlefields 
of the war. As General Grant, speaking of Vicksburg, says 
in his personal memoirs, "It looks now as if Providence di- 
rected the course of the campaign, while the Army of Ten- 
nessee executed the decree." 

The name of General Dodge will forever be associated 
with the Army of the Tennessee, its great soldier in time of 
war and its great citizen in time of peace. He was one of its 
best and honored commanders, a fit companion of Sherman, 
McPherson and Logan. In the personal memoirs of Grant, 
Sherman and Sheridan are found the highest testimonials of 
these great soldiers to the valor, courage, skill and bravery 
of General Dodge. Commendation from such a source is a 
priceless legacy. 

I desire to speak tonight of the achievements and triumphs 
of General Dodge in the ranks of private citizenship. While 
he has illuminated the pages of American history with his 
deeds of valor, he has also made his impress as a private citi- 
zen in the sphere of industry. 




o * 

3 



Ph 



<J* VI 



A TRIBUTE TO GENERAL DODGE 83 

It is not the rule that men ascend to eminence by leaps 
and bounds. It is by steady tread that we move up the rough 
and rugged path to success. This is an age of concrete thought 
and those of whatever vocation who rise above mediocrity 
and reach eminence and distinction are they who subject their 
lives to the crucible of hard intellectual and physical endeavor. 

"We often and wisely repeat the truism that man is the 
architect of his own fortune. Individuality is the despot, des- 
tiny the subject. 

I do not subscribe to the doctrine that all men are created 
equal or that at the threshold of life's contest all are equally 
armed, but among those who are thus favored some fail while 
others succeed, thus establishing the fact that success is a 
reward not a legacy. 

A man rising to eminence acquires that estate at tre- 
mendous cost. Many they are who crave it but few they are 
who are willing to strive for it in the only way it can be 
obtained, that is, by hard and constant endeavor. And it is 
not true that those who stand on the pedestal of fame are, as 
a rule, those who have crossed life's chasms on the bridge of 
sacrifice. 

General Dodge's position today in the business and trans- 
portation world represents an investment of years of hard 
labor and useful life. Without heraldry of birth, without 
moneyed or influential friends, but with labor, diligence, in- 
tegrity and faith in himself, he has risen steadily and marked 
a path across the railroad world. Studious, thoughtful and 
indefatigable. He has had much to encounter and much to 
conquer. He never despised an opponent and never became 
careless, and he never feared one and therefore never became 
unnerved. He always had faith. He may have thought some- 
times in the struggle that right would be defeated but he 
never believed for a moment that wrong would triumph. Fidel- 
ity was his sovereign, loyalty his guide, and devotion his ruler. 
He bivouacked at his post of duty and absolutely only sought 
relief and solace in increased opportunity. 

He is the very incarnation of resoluteness and determina- 
tion. It is because he saw events and their causes, strove to 
obviate consequences, studied to ascertain contingencies, and 



84 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

because of caution and foresight, that he became distinguished 
in this realm of action, reaching a point where he had no 
superiors. 

The Pacific Railways were the great constructive forces 
in the development of the country west of the Missouri River, 
and of these the Union Pacific was the pioneer and the first to 
lead the march of civilization into the wilderness. It was not 
conceived for private ends nor born of the spirit of commer- 
cialism, but was created to preserve a republic and projected 
by the impulse of improvement. It is the only railroad in the 
United States that was constructed under Federal muskets 
and protected by Federal troops, and of which it was said 
by the Supreme Court of the United States that the people 
of this country would have sanctioned the action of Congress 
in its creation if it had departed from the traditional policy of 
the country regarding work of internal improvement and 
charged the Government itself with the direction and execution 
of the enterprise. 

Its construction began on the second day of December, 
1863, on the west bank of the Missouri River in the City of 
Omaha. May 10, 1869, on Promontory Point, Utah, with simple 
but impressive ceremonies the last spike was driven, fastening 
the connecting rail between the Central and Union Pacific 
Railways, completing an iron highway between the two oceans 
and consummating one of the greatest achivements of the age. 

President Lincoln, fully appreciating the genius and in- 
domitable will of General Dodge, immediately after the war 
called him to the task of construction of the Union Pacific 
Railroad. He turned his face, recently bathed in the smoke 
of musketry, towards the "Wilderness," the "Rockies," and 
the "Great American Desert," and he surveyed and super- 
vised the construction of that road, then a "military neces- 
sity," now one of the great systems of railways which move 
the commerce of the world. He had no maps or charts to 
afford him information of the topography of the country. The 
territory traversed was designated in text books as a wilder- 
ness designated by nature to be the eternal habitation of the 
savage and the buffalo. 



A TRIBUTE TO GENERAL DODGE 85 

Limited by law to a maximum gradient of 116 feet to the 
mile, not compensated for curvature, he held it down to ninety 
feet to the mile. Pressed for time, Congress impatient, the 
people demanding an early completion, he had to contend 
with hostile Indians, inadequate funds, lack of transportation 
facilities, high priced labor, and numerous other obstacles, but 
in spite of all he pushed his line across the continent, consum- 
mating a feat in railway engineering unequalled in the history 
of American railway construction. 

To emphasize this great achievement, I speak authorita- 
tively, officially, and with full knowledge of the facts, when 
I say that the present management of the Union Pacific, for 
the express purpose of shortening the line between Council 
Bluffs and Ogden, and bettering it, if that were possible, had 
surveys and revisions made, and expended millions of dollars 
in eliminating gradients, curvatures and tunneling mountains, 
with no limit as to time or means, with full knowledge of 
the topography of the country, with all modern appliances, 
with the services of a corps of the ablest engineers, yet it only 
succeeded in reducing the distance less than forty miles. And 
this reduction in mileage was due largely, in fact almost en- 
tirely, to changes in gradients and curvatures, which were 
rendered impossible to General Dodge by reason of lack of 
funds. 

To General Dodge these were years tense with their stress 
and strain, heavy with unremitting toil, thrilling in danger, 
but he still pushed ever forward and onward with the con- 
fidence of a conqueror. He was a man of judgment and com- 
mon sense, who spared nothing and wanted everything. A man 
who believed in action and knew the value of every moment of 
time. And above all, my friends, actuated by the impulse to 
better his country, himself and his descendents, he toiled with 
those who overcame this wilderness and converted this great 
"American Desert" into a "Garden of Benefits." 

And to you, remaining members of the Army of the Ten- 
nessee, now in the twilight of life, I offer the sentiment which 
pervaded the soul of the Cumaean Sibyl, when she presented 
her books to Tarquinius Priscus, "As you grow fewer in num- 
bers, you become dearer to our hearts." 



SPEECH OF G. M. DODGE IN CONGRESS, MARCH 25, 1868, 
ON THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD. 



Mr. Speaker: As there appears to be some misapprehen- 
sion as to the true status of the Union Pacific Railroad and its 
branches, all I desire to do is to set forth the facts in relation 
to that enterprise. I have no defense of the company to make. 
I leave that to the country and this House ; but, sir, I believe 
I know as well as any man can what that company has done 
and what its intentions are. I will notice briefly a few points 
of the gentleman from Wisconsin. I believe that he does not 
desire to misrepresent that great enterprise, and I therefore, 
desire to correct a few statements that bear directly upon the 
subject before the House. The gentleman says Government 
has given absolute control to parties managing the Union 
Pacific Railroad. Does he not know that the Union Pacific 
Railroad has to build its road under the supervision of three 
Government Commissioners, who examine and criticise every 
mile of road built before it is accepted by the Government, 
and that they, under oath, certify the road is a first-class 
American road before one dollar or one cent can be obtained 
from Government ? And this is not all ; every act of the Board 
of Directors and of the company is criticised and scrutinized 
by five Government directors, appointed by the President, and 
forming one-fourth of the Board of Directors. One of these 
Government directors has a position on each one of the com- 
mittees, and nothing can be done in or out of the board but 
what they have full cognizance of. No other of the roads receiv- 
ing Government aid has any such board or any such supervi- 
vision, and these directors have full knowledge of the rates of 
freight, the necessity for these rates, etc. 

The gentleman says it is a work that over sixty millions 
of the people's money is to be invested in, whereas the law 
prohibits the loan of over fifty millions of credit or bonds 
to the main line, and so far not a cent of the people's money 

87 . 



88 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

has been put into the enterprise, the company having fully 
paid their interest on bonds ; and if the money saved to Gov- 
ernment in the transportation of Government freight, mails, 
troops, etc., should be made a sinking fund it would pay off 
the entire debt or entire amount of bonds within thirty years. 
In another place he says : 

"If we see fit to sacrifice posterity to this giant monopoly, 
that they will have $100,000,000 of the people's money in their 
hands; that they (the company) will defy any legislation." 

Now, sir, I do not understand where the gentleman gets 
$50,000,000 on the main road under any circumstances. The 
his $100,000,000, as I have shown the company can only obtain 
amount really granted to the company is as follows : 

For 534 miles at $16,000 per mile $ 8,544,000 

For 300 miles at $48,000 per mile, namely, 150 miles 
of mountain work from Cheyenne west, and 150 
miles of mountain work from near Sacramento 

east, which equals 14,400,000 

For 898 miles crossing the main divide of the conti- 
nent, the "Wasatch, Promontory, Laone, Taone, 
and Humboldt ranges of mountains, at $32,000 
per mile, amounting to 28,736,000 

Making a total amount of bonds for the main 

through line of .$51,680,000 

If the company received pay on the full length of line that 
they will have to build to complete the road from the Missouri 
River to Sacramento ; but as, under the law, they obtain only 
$50,000,000 for 1,832 miles of road, counting the distance to 
San Francisco, they get an average of a little over $27,000 
per mile ; that the Government loans its credit for the purpose 
of obtaining an all-rail communication from the Atlantic to 
the Pacific through a country, over mountains and plains, that 
no private enterprise would for one moment invest one cent 
without Government aid. If this road is to be the great thor- 
oughfare that the gentleman says it will be, then the Govern- 
ment freight that will alone go over it will more than pay 
their interest on the loan. 



GENERAL DODGE'S SPEECH IN CONGRESS 89 

And now, sir, the gentleman says Government has fur- 
nished every dollar to complete this road in other words, that 
not one cent of money has been put into the enterprise outside 
of the Government and I deny in toto the statement of the 
gentleman. I say, up to the present time, that that company 
has furnished and spent more money in building the road 
than the Government has loaned ; and according to the gentle- 
man 's statement they have only built as yet the easiest portion 
of the road; he says 500 miles of the built portion is a dead 
level, and assumes the contract to commence at Omaha. This 
is not the fact. It commences 247 miles west of Omaha ; there- 
fore, all his assertions and assumptions fall to the ground, 
being based upon false premises. When you compare the rates 
of this road with other roads you will not see so vast a differ- 
ence as is endeavored to be shown. 

The Union Pacific Railroad charge about seven mills per 
100 pounds of freight per mile. The Great Eastern routes, 
competing for freight between the great cities of the East 
and the great "West, charge from two and a half to four mills 
per 100 pounds per mile, they having all the advantages of 
civilization, concentration, transportation, the cheapness of 
material, fuel, repairs, etc. ; while the western roads the 
roads east of the Missouri Eiver charge four and five mills 
on 100 pounds per mile. Many of the local southern railroads 
charge four, five, six, and as high as seven mills per 100 
pounds of freight per mile. As to passenger fare, the Union 
Pacific Railroad Company is now charging 10 cents per mile; 
the Northwestern Railroad Company 4 cents per mile; the 
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company 3% cents 
per mile; the Richmond, Danville and Piedmont Railroad 
Company 6 cents per mile ; and these roads are all in a heavily 
settled country, with heavy local business, while the Union 
Pacific Railroad runs 500 miles into a wilderness, without com- 
paratively any local business, nearly all their freight and travel 
going but one way. 

Now, sir, the past year coal for fuel has cost the Union 
Pacific Railroad Company from $28 to $42 per ton, delivered 
at places for use. It has had to be obtained in Illinois, Missouri 
and Iowa, and has had to be transported from 500 to 1,000 



90 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



miles before the company could use it. Again, wood, at first 
cost, has been $6 to $11 per cord, and when laid down at the 
points for use averaged about $18 to $20 per cord. Labor and 
living of all kinds on the Union Pacific Railroad and branches 
are one-third more than on eastern roads. Material for repairs 
of road, cars, running stock, building material, and all other 
things pertaining to the keeping up and furnishing the road, 
have to be transported from the East. And the gentleman 
asks this House to burden us with rates and fares that he 
knows the road could not earn its running expenses under. 

As soon as the road reaches the coal fields 100 miles west 
of the track, then the companies propose to reduce the rates 
and fare themselves ; they have already reduced them some- 
what ; and so far as these railroad companies being a grinding 
monopoly it is far from the facts in the case, and is not sub- 
stantiated by any proofs whatever. The gentleman, it seems 
to me, takes a very singular way to protect the Government. 
He charges that the bonds will never be paid; that our rates 
are equal to old rates by wagons and stage, and he comes in 
here with a proposition that, if adopted, would prevent these 
companies from earning sufficient money to even pay the in- 
terest on their bonds. It is the first time that I ever saw the 
mortgagee come in and endeavor to injure the value of the 
property of the mortgagor, and if possible put the property 
on which he holds a mortgage in a condition that they cannot 
only pay the mortgage, but not even the interest on the mort- 
gage. 

Now T , Mr. Speaker, as to the rates as compared with for- 
mer rates as paid by the Government for transportation of 
its freight. The average price paid by the Government for 
1865, 1866 and 1867, inclusive, on Route No. 2, from Leaven- 
Avorth west, was $1.57 per 100 pounds per 100 miles, or 1% 
cents per mile per 100 pounds, more than double the rates upon 
the Union Pacific Railroad and branches ; and in the last year 
the Government has saved by transporting its freight on the 
Union Pacific Railroad, eastern division, over what it would 
have had to pay if transported by wagon trains over an aver- 
age transportation of only 104 miles of railroad, $335,138; 
or, if that road had been built 300 miles west, it would have 



GENERAL DODGE'S SPEECH IN CONGRESS 91 

saved by this "great monopoly," with its "exorbitant rates 
and tariffs," over $1,000,000. And the statement made by the 
Quartermaster-General of the rates of freight over the plains, 
over Route No. 1, the Great Platte Valley route, for the last 
six years, is as follows : 

' ' Quartermaster-General 's Office, 

"Washington, D. ft, March 24, 1868. 

"Hon. G. M. Dodge, M. ft, 
"Washington, D. C. 

"Sir: In reply to your communication of the 20th in- 
stant to this office requesting information as to the rates paid 
for each year for the last five years and the total number of 
pounds of stores transported and total cost for such transpor- 
tation on Route No. 1 for 1866 and 1867, I have the honor to 
state that the rates of transportation per 100 pounds per 100 
miles on Route No. 1 for the last five years, including the 
contract rates for the present year, are as follows : 

"1864. April, $2.25; May, $2.25 ; June, $2.25 ; July, $2.25; 
August, $2.25; September, $2.25. 

"1865. April, $2.26; May, $2.26; June, $2.26; July, $2.26; 
August, $2.26; September, $2.26. 

"1866. April, $1.45; May, $1.45 ; June, $1.45 ; July, $1.45; 
August, $1.45; September, $1.45. 

"1867-68. April, $1.64; May, $1.64; June, $1.64; July, 
$1.64; August, $1.64; September, $1.99 ; October, $1.99 ; No- 
vember, $1.99; December, $1.99; January, $2.50; February, 
$2.50; March, $2.50. 

"1868-69. April, $1.90; May, $1.75; June, $1.60; July, 
$1.60; August, $1.60; September, $1.75 ; October, $1.75 ; No- 
vember, $1.90; December, $2.00; January, $2.50; February, 
$2.50; March, $3.00. 

"This office is unable at present to furnish the number of 
pounds of stores transported over Route No. 1 for the years 
1866 and 1867, and the cost of such transportation for that 
time ; but the information desired on this point has been this 
day called for from the chief quartermaster military division 



92 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

of the Missouri, which, as soon as received, will be forwarded 
to you, Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"D. H. RUCKER, 

"Acting Quartermaster-General, Brevet Major-General United 
States Army." 

The average is $2 per 100 pounds per 100 miles, or 2 cents 
per mile, being 1 cent and 3 mills above above the rates of 
the Union Pacific Railroad. The Quartermaster-General is now 
unable to give me the precise facts as to the saving in rates, 
but we can figure for ourselves. The Government transporta- 
tion over the road last year was about 20,000,000 pounds of 
freight, and the Union Pacific Railroad transported it, on an 
average, 400 miles; showing a saving to the Government on 
its freight alone, at the average price of the last six years, 
of about $1,040,000. If we take the price that the contracts 
are let for this year and apply it to the amount of freight that 
will be transported over from five to 800 miles of line, the 
saving will reach nearly $2,000,000 on the Union Pacific Rail- 
road, and nearly $1,000,000 on the Union Pacific Railroad, 
eastern division. 

And now, Mr. Speaker, what are the facts in relation to 
the Union Pacific Railroad? This road was projected some 
fourteen years ago. The first examination as to its feasibility 
was made by private enterprise and private capital, and a 
connection with it, dating back to its first inception, renders 
me able to state some of the difficulties under which it has 
labored. The examination made by me thereon and reported 
to the capitalists of the United States showed that at that 
day or this it would be impossible to build that road upon 
private capital and credit alone. The country demanding the 
railroad, the Republican party, in its far-seeing and liberal 
policy, seeing the necessity of this railroad, indorsed it, made 
it a part of their platform, and breathed life into it # by the 
bill passed in 1862. But even then, with that law and that 
grant, it was found impossible to raise the funds to push it 
forward or even to build a mile of the road. The Congress 
seeing this amended the Act in 1864, and after the passage of 



GENERAL DODGE'S SPEECH IN CONGRESS 93 

that Act this great monopoly, this great swindle, could not 
obtain the means for one year to start the work. 

A few men took hold of the enterprise, threw their for- 
tunes and their energies into it, and the capitalists of the 
country looked upon it as so foolish an act on -their part 
that they were actually shunned as prospective bankrupts; 
their paper would not be taken except upon first class collateral 
securities, and within one year the enterprise came near fail- 
ing for want of financial support. But the energy and deter- 
mination displayed by that company; the unheard of ability 
displayed in pushing forward the work ; the unexpected devel- 
opment of that country that the enterprise caused, called the 
attention of the world to it, and now, today, the men who 
would not one year ago have put a dollar into it are denounc- 
ing it as a great monopoly, and trying to cripple it by unjust 
and unequal legislation. If it is a success, and any money is 
made out of it, it will be simply and merely from the fact that 
a few men had the nerve and the foresight to throw their all 
into the scale, and "sink or swim" with the enterprise. And, 
Mr. Speaker, to reach the success they have today, no person 
can, for one moment, know or see the obstructions, prejudice, 
and obstacles those companies have had to meet and over- 
come. The first 500 miles of road were built without an east- 
ern connection; they had to start hundreds of miles away 
from any railroad connection, in a country entirely destitute 
of the proper means or material for building a road; paying 
enormous prices for labor and material; transporting the 
superstructure and equipment by water at from 33 to 50 per 
cent more than it would cost to build the same length of road 
in a country affording railroad facilities. The iron laid down 
cost $125 a ton, equipment and everything else pertaining to 
the road that came from the East costing in the same propor- 
tion. 

The first year the company, under these circumstances, 
built about forty miles, the next 260, and the next 250 miles, 
but with a lavish expenditure of money that astonished the 
world. Who, in 1864, could have been made to believe that 
this company would have accomplished what it has? What 
class of men except those who had this enterprise at heart 



94 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

would have paid 33 1-3 per cent more for building the road 
merely for the purpose of obtaining distance when, if they 
had carried out only the true letter of the law, they could 
have saved that amount and put it in their pockets? Have 
they had at interest themselves more than the country? I hold 
not, for I know that their orders have been to give them the 
most miles of road in the least possible time, no matter what 
it cost. And in their contract they have provided $7,500 per 
mile for the equipment of the road, a sum far beyond any ever 
before provided for a new road under similar circumstances; 
and when built and equipped this sum will give it the best 
machinery, the best shops, and the most liberal supply of 
rolling stock of any road in the country for the business it 
has to transact. During the past two years the road has been 
built through an Indian country with all the tribes banded 
together and hostile. Our best and ablest men have been 
killed ; our cars and stations and ranches burned ; our men 
driven off and our stock stolen. Graders and track-layers, 
tie-men and station-builders, have had to sleep under guard, 
and have gone to their work in the daytime with their picks 
and shovels and their mechanical tools in one hand and the 
rifle in the other, and they often had to drop one and use 
the other. 

It may not be known but it is a fact that the graders went 
to their work as soldiers, stacked their arms by the cuts and 
worked all day, with hostile bands of Indians in view, ready 
to pounce upon, kill and scalp any unlucky or negligent per- 
son who gave them an opportunity. The company paid not 
only the cost of the work proper, but contractors were often 
paid large sums for the risks they run. It is an easy matter 
today, after the enterprise has been made a success, and when 
we can just begin to see the beginning of the end, when day- 
light begins to open on the future out of these years of dark- 
ness, for men to now come in and endeavor, for some reason, 
I know not what, to hamper these roads, to pass laws that they 
know will make them spend the energies that it is their duty 
to put on the road and which are necessary to complete it. 
in trying to break down the barriers that this bill, if passed, 
will make against those roads in the financial market. And 



GENERAL DODGE'S SPEECH IN CONGRESS 9 5 

I doubt if the gentleman from Illinois or the gentleman from 
Wisconsin, who appear to make this great republican national 
work their special objective point, would, for all the money 
in it, stand as I have had to do, at the risk of my life, and en- 
deavor to keep men from abandoning the work ; would travel 
as I have done to make the surveys and construct the road, 
obliged to keep all the time within the range of a Government 
musket, for to be outside of it was to lose your scalp. 

And now, Mr. Speaker, while the Government has been 
liberal to this great enterprise, I hold and can prove that 
while the road has received this liberal credit, that it will 
bring to the treasury millions in the saving of the extra ex- 
penses in freight. That it must and will develop a country 
whose wealth no one today can predict. The mountains those 
roads cross are no myth, as the gentleman states, but were 
formidable obstructions in its path, which have been over- 
come by the skill and energy of the company. These mountains 
are underlaid with gold, silver, iron, copper and coal. The 
timber ranges that those roads pass will develop an immense 
lumber trade, and the millions upon millions of acres of Gov- 
ernment land that they will bring into the market and render 
feasible for settlement will bring to the Government more 
money than all the bonds amount to ; and this land and these 
minerals never would have brought this Government one cent 
if it were not for the building of these roads. The inaccessi- 
bility and the trouble and cost of developing the country 
through which they run would have cost ten times more under 
any other circumstances than it yould have yielded. And now, 
Mr. Speaker, these Union Pacific Railroads, when completed, 
will build up an interest right in the center of that heretofore 
great unknown country, an empire that shall add to our wealth, 
population, capital and greatness, from a source we never ex- 
pected, and by no other means could we ever obtain. 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY AND IN THE 
CIVIL WAR ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE 
WESTERN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINERS. 



I have been requested to talk to you about the civil engi- 
neers of my day. This is a subject of so much importance and 
so much breadth that it is almost impossible to grasp it. The 
work of the civil engineer in developing our country and in 
the Civil War has never been comprehended or proper tribute 
paid to it, and I can take it up only in small details. Perhaps 
I can show it to you more clearly by stating what I saw of it 
personally, and this will be better than trying to go into the 
subject generally. 

A young boy, 20 years old, I left Norwich University, 
Vermont, a military college, as a civil and military engineer. 
My military training was of as much or more benefit to me 
generally, perhaps, in the work I had to undertake, than what 
I had learned of engineering, for it taught me how to com- 
mand men; it gave me discipline, a respect for authority, 
obedience to order, loyalty to my country, and an interest 
in the work of my employer, which would have been impos- 
sible for me to have obtained in any other way. I came West 
and took an axeman's place in an engineering party on the 
Illinois Central Railroad. Mr. Blackstone was the division 
engineer, with headquarters at La Salle, Illinois. I was assigned 
to a party that was running a line from La Salle to Dixon. 
As soon as I joined it I saw its chief was a lazy fellow. He 
soon learned that I could run an instrument, and put me at 
that work, he staying in the house pretending to work up 
the data we obtained in the field. It was a cold winter. The 
thermometer often below zero, and I thought I saw plainly 
the line I was running would not be acceptable and made up 
my mind that as soon as we returned to La Salle to leave the 
party and seek a position somewhere else, for I was satisfied 
that Mr. Blackstone would discharge the entire party. I fol- 



9 8 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

lowed this inclination. When I returned to La Salle and sub- 
mitted our work I called upon Mr. Blackstone, asking him 
for my pay, stating I was going to leave. He greeted me very 
cordial^ and seemed astonished at my request. However, he 
paid me and I immediately left. Years after this incident, 
when I had become better acquainted with Mr. Blackstone, 
he used to make a good deal of fun of me by stating he knew 
I had run the line, that it was a good line, and that he in- 
tended to give me the chief's place and put me at the head of 
the party, thus showing that I was a little previous in my act, 
and that I did not know how good a line I had run. 

When I came West I had in mind the Pacific Railroad, 
and as an indication to you of my enthusiasm in that quarter, 
I quote an extract that I wrote home from Peru, Illinois, Sep- 
tember 12, 1851. It is as follows : 

"I closed my last letter by saying that there was good 
news. A telegraph despatch was received here that the Rock 
Island road 200 miles long was to be built, that Sheffield and 
Farnam of Connecticut had taken the contract. This will give 
direct connection by the Rock Island road with Wisconsin, 
Iowa and Oregon, for this is the true Pacific road and will 
soon be built to Council Bluffs, where a road from St. Louis 
will meet it. Then from Council Bluffs to San Francisco, this 
being the shortest and most feasible route. In an eastern direc- 
tion, this road connects with the Michigan Southern, which 
is nearly completed to Chicago, and will give us through rail- 
road connections with New York and Boston." 

The Council Bluffs I mention was that named by Lewis 
and Clark, the town now known by that name not having been 
organized at that time. 

I left the Illinois Central and went to the Rock Island as 
axeman under Mr. Peter A. Dey, who was the division engi- 
neer stationed at Tiskilwa, Illinois. I was with Mr. Dey about 
eight months, and under his direction had made a survey of 
the Peoria and Bureau Valley Railroad in Illinois. Mr. Dey 
was promoted to chief engineer of the Mississippi & Missouri 
Railroad and took me to Iowa as his principal assistant, plac- 
ing me in charge of a party in the field, which was a very fine 
promotion for the limited experience I had, and it is one of 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 99 

the greatest satisfactions of my life to have had his friendship 
from the time I entered his service until now. Mr. Dey is not 
only a very distinguished citizen of Iowa, but is one of the 
most prominent engineers of this country. He was known for 
his great ability, his uprightness, and the square dealing he 
<ia\' everyone. He has greatly honored his state in the many 
public positions he has held. He has a wide reputation as engi- 
neer and railway constructor, and in later years as railway 
commissioner of that state. 

In May, 1853, we crossed the Mississippi River at Daven- 
port and surveyed the first railroad line across Iowa. The 
settlements in Iowa then were confined almost entirely to the 
country between Davenport and Iowa City. From Iowa City 
west to Des Moines there were very few people, and from 
twelve miles west of Des Moines to Council Bluffs there were 
none. On reaching the Missouri River my party was instructed 
to push west into the great Platte Valley to determine where 
a road running up that valley would strike the Missouri River. 
That country then was occupied solely by Indians. There was 
scarcely a man in my party who had seen an Indian. We 
crossed the river in a flat boat, and I commenced the surveys 
west from where the city of Omaha now stands. After I had 
raised the bluffs skirting the Missouri, I left the party in 
charge of my assistant, Mr. J. E. House, and went on alone 
some twenty-five miles to the Elkhorn Valley, looking up the 
country ahead. On reaching the Elkhorn Valley about noon, 
I lariated my horse, took my rifle, hid it, and, making a pillow 
of my saddle, lay down to take a rest. I had lost a good deal 
of sleep and was very tired. How long I slept there I do not 
know, but I was awakened by the noise of my pony. Jumping 
up I saw an Indian leading him towards the Elkhorn River 
as rapidly as he could. The pony was holding back, being 
evidently very much frightened at the Indian; I was greatly 
frightened, hardly knowing what to do, but I grabbed my 
rifle and rushed after the pony and the Indian yelling at the 
top of my voice. The Indian let go the horse and swam across 
the Elkhorn out of my reach ; and I was very glad to see him 
go. In 1865, during the Indian campaign I made upon the 
plains, that Indian was an enlisted man in a battalion of 



100 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

Pawnees. He told his commander, Major North, that the reason 
he gave up the horse was I made so much noise it frightened 
him so it nearly scared him to death. 

Returning to the party I found them camped on the Papil- 
lion Creek, with the camp full of Indians and every man in 
the party cooking or feeding them. I saw that radical action 
had to be taken or the provisions I had would all be gone. 
My party was thoroughly armed. I got them together imme- 
diately and notified the Indians to get out. By my prompt 
action they saw we meant business and left us. From that time 
until I stopped my work on the plains I never allowed the 
party to have Indians come into camp except by the party's 
permission. 

This is the kind of responsibility the young engineer in 
that day had to undertake. He was away from anyone to 
advise with or to lean upon. He was responsible for his party, 
its life and safety were in his hands, and in the development 
of this country the risks taken and the dangers faced have 
never been told. 

From this time until the Civil "War we were engaged in 
building the railroad to the capital of Iowa, Iowa City, and 
in making reconnoissance west of the Missouri River for a 
Pacific railroad. It might seem strange to you that although 
the Government spent millions of dollars in examining differ- 
ent routes for the Pacific railway, covering the country be- 
tween parallels of thirty-two and forty-nine, which reports of 
examinations were printed in eleven large volumes, no exam- 
ination was made by the Government upon the most feasible 
route across the continent ; that was left to private enterprise. 
Our exploration and reconnoissance, up to 1860, had deter- 
mined on the forty-second parallel of latitude, practically the 
present line of the Union Pacific Railroad crossing the conti- 
nent. The detailed surveys had not been made, but the buffalo, 
the Indian, the fur trader, the telegraph, the pony express, the 
stage line, and finally the engineer, determined that line and 
the road, when built, followed it. 

In 1861 the Civil War came. I went into the service with 
six hundred other civil engineers, who were graduates of 
Norwich University, all of whom became commissioned officers, 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 101 

many of them rising to the highest rank and to the highest 
command. Their work as civil engineers during the war was 
only second to that of their military duties as a soldier, and 
for this work as civil engineers they have received no credit. 
Also there were many enlisted men detailed as engineers; 
they mapped out the roads and the streams; they rebuilt the 
railroads and they destroyed them; they made many of our 
campaigns possible by their facilities in overcoming obstacles; 
they built temporary bridges ; they showed great ingenuity in 
throwing up temporary entrenchments even during the bat- 
tles, and they constructed impregnable forts; always brave, 
never flinching a duty, and there is no commander of a brigade, 
division or corps but who appreciated their great and valuable 
service. 

In 1862 I was assigned to the command of the Central 
Division of the Mississippi, with orders to reconstruct the 
railroad reaching from Columbus, Kentucky, to Corinth, Mis- 
sissippi, for the purpose of bringing supplies to the army then 
concentrated at Corinth. This line of road crossed many deep 
bayous which had been spanned by truss bridges, all of which 
had been destroyed by the enemy as they retreated, and as I 
looked at the task before me and saw those deep bayous with 
no foundations, and with no possible means of putting in 
proper piers and abutments, or furnishing proper superstruc- 
ture, it was a problem appalling to anyone. I had two Wis- 
consin regiments in my command, one was commanded by 
Colonel George E. Bryant, who had been a Norwich University 
cadet and a civil engineer. He commanded a regiment that 
was raised in the logging camps of Wisconsin. As soon as I 
received this order, I ordered every engineer, civil or mechan- 
ical, or anyone who had any experience in such work in the 
command to report to me, and I was astonished to see the 
number of enlisted men who reported. We held a consultation 
as to how we should handle this problem, and decided to put 
the twelfth Wisconsin into the woods with their axes, that 
was about all the tools we had, to make crib piers for these 
streams. It was easy work for us to handle the culverts and 
it was astonishing how soon we rebuilt this railroad. The log 
cribs were bolted together by dowel pins made from the iron 



102 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

rods of the house truss. We made stringers thirty and forty 
feet long and sunk our piers to a foundation that would carry 
our trains. Within two months we had rebuilt this road, and 
had put up at each important bridge a blockhouse, so a small 
force could hold it against almost any enemy, and in the cele- 
brated raid of Forrest up through that country where he 
destroyed most of the bridges south of Jackson, Tennessee, 
when he struck the blockhouses in our territory he was re- 
pulsed at every point. This drew the attention of General 
Grant to our work, and he immediately ordered block houses 
built at every bridge on the railroads within his command. 

The ingenuity of these young engineers in putting up 
these bridges, block houses and stockades, in overcoming every 
difficulty, and the interest they took in their work soon con- 
vinced me that all it needed in our army for effective con- 
struction or destruction of a railroad was proper organization 
of the material in hand. The mechanics in the command put 
the locomotives and cars on their feet and run them so that 
virtually the young engineers and young mechanics in that 
command recreated tliQ road, and as long as my corps was 
under General Grant's direction or that of General Sherman, 
whenever there was any destruction or reconstruction of any 
kind to be accomplished, it fell to us, until the pioneer corps 
of the Sixteenth Army Corps had as good a reputation for 
their mechanical work as they had for their fighting ability. 

In the fall of 1863, when General Grant was ordered to 
Chattanooga, my corps was lying at Corinth, when it received 
orders to join Sherman in his march to the relief of Chatta- 
nooga. Having a much longer distance to march than any of 
the other commands, I was not able to reach Chattanooga in 
time to take part in that battle, but when I reached Pulaski 
on the Nashville & Decatur Railroad, I received orders from 
General Grant to halt and rebuild that line from Nashville 
to Decatur, the entire line having been destroyed. There were 
several truss bridges crossing Duck River, and also some very 
high trestles, some of them being 125 feet high; also the Ten- 
nessee River had to be crossed. General Grant was very anxi- 
ous to have this road built rapidly in order to feed his army 
at Chattanooga, which was in great distress, and Sherman 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 103 

told me the quicker I built the road the sooner I would get 
something for my command to eat, as we were entirely away 
from any base of supplies, living off the country, and had been 
doing so during the entire march. 

The work of the young engineers in rebuilding this road 
is a good deal better stated by General Grant in his Memoirs 
than I can tell you, and I will read what he says : 

"I gave an order to Sherman to halt General G. M. Dodge's 
command, of about eight thousand men, at Athens, and sub- 
sequently directed the latter to arrange his troops along the 
railroad from Decatur north towards Nashville, and to rebuild 
that road. The road from Nashville to Decatur passes over a 
broken country, cut up with innumerable streams, many of 
them of considerable width, and with valleys far below the 
roadbed. All the bridges over these had been destroyed, and 
the rails taken up and twisted by the enemy. All the cars 
and locomotives not carried off had been destroyed as effectu- 
ally as they knew how to destroy them. All of the bridges 
and culverts had been destroyed between Nashville and Deca- 
tur, and thence to Stevenson, where the Memphis and Charles- 
ton and the Nashville and Chattanooga roads unite. The re- 
building of this road would give us two uoads as far as Stev- 
enson over which to supply the army. From Bridgeport, a short 
distance east, the river supplements the road. 

"General Dodge was an experienced railroad builder. He 
had no tools to work with except those of the pioneers axes, 
picks and spades. With these he was able to entrench his men 
and protect them against surprises by small parties of the 
enemy. As he had no base of supplies until the road could be 
completed back to Nashville, the first matter to consider after 
protecting his men was the getting in of food and forage from 
the surrounding country. He had his men and teams bring 
in all the grain they could find, or all they needed, and all the 
cattle for beef, and such other food as could be found. Millers 
were detailed from the ranks to run the mills along the line of 
the army. When those were not near enough to the troops 
for protection they were taken down and moved up in like 
manner. Blacksmiths were detailed and set to work making 
tools necessary in railroad and bridge building. Axeman were 



104 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

put to work getting out timber for bridges and cutting fuel 
for locomotives when the road should be completed. Car 
builders were set to work repairing the locomotives and cars. 
Thus every branch of railroad building, making tools to work 
with, and supplying the workmen with food, was all going 
cm at once, and without the aid of a mechanic or laborer except 
what the command itself furnished. 

"General Dodge had the work assigned him finished within 
forty days after receiving his orders. The number of bridges 
rebuilt was one hundred and eighty-two, many of them over 
deep, wide chasms; the length of road repaired was one hun- 
dred and two miles." 

In 1864, when it came to the Atlanta campaign, most of 
the railroad work, bridging, etc., was done by organized rail- 
road men under General Wright. My command was called 
upon only two or three times in an emergency. 

I remember when we had flanked the enemy out of the 
Kenesaw Mountain line, where our extreme right rested on 
the Chattahocha River some miles southwest of the railroad 
crossing, General Sherman came to my headquarters and told 
me he proposed to flank Atlanta by moving his army to the 
left. We all supposed he was going by the right. He said 
to me there was a place called Roswell Shoals on the Chatta- 
hocha where he desired to cross a portion of his army. He 
said the shoals were shallow and described them to me, asking 
me how long it would take for my command to build a bridge 
over that stream. He stated his engineers had told him it was 
a big job. I looked the matter over and told him about a week. 
He seemed astonished and left me, but in a very short time 
I received orders from my commander, General McPherson, 
to move with my corps as rapidly as possible to Roswell some 
thirty-one miles away, and that I would receive orders from 
General Sherman. We moved and made a march of thirty-one 
miles without stopping except for resting our men, and reached 
there about Sunday noon. 

When I arrived there I found that Roswell had several 
large factories that had been supplying material to the enemy 
and I saw if I had the timber in those factories I could soon 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 105 

put up a bridge across the river. The enemy occupied the 
opposite side, and one of the most inspiring sights I ever saw 
in my life was when I ordered the celebrated Ohio brigade to 
ford the river and take the opposite bank. The brigade formed 
in column with regiment front ; the corps bands were brought 
down to the river; the artillery was placed so as to cover 
their crossing, and as the boys stepped into the river carrying 
their cartridge boxes on their bayonets and, with cheers, started 
to wade across the river, the bands played, the artillery opened 
fire, and the enemy poured in their volleys. Occasionally a boy 
or two would strike a hole and go under, but soon came up, 
and when they got across they rushed for the cover of a cut 
bank, so the enemy's fire would be less effective. There they 
reformed, and charging, soon cleared the works. My pioneer 
corps now was very effective. It was about 1,500 strong and 
was organized into squads with a civil or mechanical engineer 
at the head of every squad. Everyone knew exactly what his 
duty was, just where and how to go to work, and all I had to 
do was to give the order. I immediately gave the order to pull 
down the cotton factories, and on Monday morning you could 
stand on the- bank and see that bridge walk up, so that Wednes- 
day at noon, in three days, I notified General Sherman that it 
was ready for crossing. He was astonished and sent a proper 
tribute to the young engineers for their quick work. My offi- 
cial despatch to him read as follows : 

"A footbridge 710 feet long was thrown across the river 
and from Monday noon, July 10, until Wednesday night, July 
12, a good substantial, double track, trestle road bridge, 710 
feet long and fourteen feet high, was built by the pioneer corps 
from the command." 

The cotton factories that I had torn down were claimed 
by a Frenchman to belong to him, he had a French flag flying 
over his residence, but not over the factories. On Monday 
after we had torn down a portion of one of the factories, my 
Judge Advocate came to me and told me he thought I might 
be getting into trouble; that this Frenchman was entering a 
protest. I had gone too far to stop taking down the factories, 
but I thought it probably better to protect myself, and com- 



106 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

municated with General Sherman, who wrote me a letter dated 
July 11, as follows : 

"Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi. 
"In the Field Near Chattanooga River, July 11, 1864. 
"General Dodge, 

"Roswell, Ga. 
"I know you have a big job, but that is nothing new for 
you. Tell General Newton that his corps is now up near Gen- 
eral Sehofield's crossing, and all is quiet thereabouts. He might 
send down and move his camps to proximity of his corps, but 
I think Roswell and Shallow Ford so important that I prefer 
him to be near you until you are well fortified. If he needs 
rations tell him to get his wagons up, and I think you will be 
able to spare him day after tomorrow. I know the bridge at 
Roswell is important, and you may destroy all Georgia to 
make it good and strong. 

"W/T. SHERMAN. 
' ' Major-General Commanding. ' ' 

You notice that General Sherman was very diplomatic. He 
says nothing in relation to international law or the French flag, 
but tells me I may destroy all Georgia to accomplish what I had 
to do. Of course, I read between the lines, and went on build- 
ing the bridge. 

Sherman commenced crossing his army over this bridge 
on Wednesday afternoon and made his celebrated flank move- 
ment on Atlanta where the great battles of the 19th, 22d and 
28th of July were fought and Atlanta finally occupied. 

Sherman was always profuse in his praise of the young 
engineers of the army that were continually at work gathering 
up information for us. I had a very efficient corps for that 
work under me and Sherman wrote me, thanking me for what 
I had been sending him, saying he would store it up for future 
use. This information concerning the streams, the villages and 
roads was compiled at his headquarters, printed on cloth, and a 
copy sent to each corps or division commander and was of great 
service to us. There was one young man detailed to me, who 
afterwards became a very noted engineer, Marshall F. Hurd, 
who enlisted from Muscatine, Iowa, in the Second Iowa In- 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 107 

fantry. I soon discovered that he was a genius and of great 
ability as an engineer, of excellent practical judgment and 
very brave. We all tried to get him promoted and a commis- 
sion given him so he could command officers and men, but we 
never could accomplish it. However, he virtually got to the 
head of the pioneer corps of the Sixteenth Army Corps, and 
the boys all dubbed him a major; and he was known all 
through the war as Major Hurd, not only by the men of my 
corps but by the other corps. He would take his pioneer corps 
out to build entrenchments, ; he never allowed them to run 
when the skirmish line of the enemy made an attack, which 
was often, but they would lay down their implements where 
they were, take their rifles, and fight it out themselves. He 
was very resourceful in an emergency. After the war he was 
connected with us on the Union Pacific and was at the head 
of some of the surveys both on the Union Pacific and the 
Southern Pacific, fought battles with the Indians, and when 
the Canadian Pacific was built he was sent for antl went to 
that work, running some of the important lines over the moun- 
tain division. He was the most modest, retiring, unassuming 
man I ever met. He now lies buried in the cemetery at Denver 
with a monument raised to his memory and upon it a proper 
tribute to his great work. I mention him only as one among 
hundreds of enlisted men who performed such duties. 

In May, 1865, I returned to the Union Pacific Railway. 
Mr. Dey having resigned as chief engineer, I was appointed 
to that office. General Sherman in giving me leave of absence 
to go there and take up this work said in his letter: "As soon 
as General Pope reaches Leavenworth or St. Louis to relieve 
you, I consent for you to go to Omaha and begin what I trust 
will be the real beginning of the great road." 

Almost the first despatch when I reached Omaha was one 
from the commander at Port Collins, Colorado, he had been 
with me during my command of that country, telling me that 
a young man by the name of Eddy had brought in an engi- 
neering corps which had a fight with the Indians and the chief 
of the party had been killed. I instructed him to have the 
corps meet me on Lodge Pole Creek, as I was just starting west 
over the line. I found that Eddy was a young soldier enlisted 



108 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

in the Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, and had served under me 
in the war. In this fight, after the chief had been killed, he 
rallied the rest of his party and brought it in safety to the 
military post. 

He stayed with me during the construction of the Union 
Pacific and also the Texas Pacific ; probably many of you know 
him, as at one time he was general manager of the Southwest- 
ern System ; he died in the service. I speak of him only as an 
example of what the engineers, during 1866, 1867, 1868 and 
1869 had to face. The line was covered by engineers from the 
Missouri River to the California State line, and every party 
was thoroughly armed and had escorts, but many of our best 
men were killed. 

One of the great problems that confronted our early sur- 
veys was the crossing of the Black Hills, a spur of the Rocky 
Mountains. There was no trouble in obtaining a line from the 
summit of the range and descending to the west into Laramie 
Plains, but the country on the east dropped off so rapidly, 
there was no stream nor any divide we could find that was 
practicable for a 116-foot grade; the engineers had examined 
nearly every stream and every divide. The divides from the 
summit for a long distance down were favorable, but where 
the division of the granite and sedimentary formations joined 
there would be a drop of 500 feet in 1,000,. and we could not 
find supporting ground to hold our grade to overcome this 
great fall. 

In 1865, as I was returning from the Yellowstone country, 
after finishing the Indian campaigns, I took my command 
along the east base of the Black Hills, following up the Chug 
Water, and so on south, leaving my train every day and going 
on to the summit of the Black Hills with a view of trying to 
discover some approach from the east that was feasible. When 
we got down to the crossing of the Lodge Pole, I knew the 
Indians were following us, but I left the command with a few 
cavalrymen and guides, with a view of following the country 
from the Cheyenne Pass south, leaving strict orders with the 
command if they saw smoke signals they were to come to us 
immediately. We worked south from the Cheyenne Pass and 
around the head of Crow Creek when I looked down into the 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 109 

valley there was a band of Indians who had worked them- 
selves in between our party and the trains. I knew it meant 
trouble for us ; they were either after us or our stock. I, there- 
fore, immediately dismounted, and giving our horses to a 
couple of men with instructions to keep on the west side of 
the ridge out of sight and gun shot as much as possible, we 
took the ridge between Crow Creek and Lone Tree Creek, 
keeping upon it and holding the Indians away from us as our 
arms were so far-reaching that when they came too near our 
best shots would reach them and they soon saw their danger. 

We made signals for our cavalry, but they did not seem 
to see them. It was getting along in the afternoon as we 
worked down this ridge, that I began to discover we were 
on an apparently very fine approach to the Black Hills, and 
one of the guides has stated that I said: "If we saved our 
scalps I believed we had found a railroad line over the moun- 
tains. " About 4 o'clock, the Indians were preparing to take 
the ridge in our front, the cavalry now saw our signals and 
soon came to our rescue, and when we reached the valley I 
was satisfied that the ridge we had followed was one which 
we could climb with a maximum grade within our charter and 
with comparatively light work. 

As soon as I took charge of the Union Pacific, I imme- 
diately wired to Mr. James A. Evans, who had charge of that 
division, and who had been working on this mountain range 
for nearly a year, describing this ridge to him, as I had thor- 
oughly marked it by a lone tree on Lone Tree Creek, and by 
a very steep cut Butte on Crow Creek, and a deep depression 
in the ridge where the granite and sedimentary formations 
joined. He immediately made an examination and discovered 
a remarkably direct line of only a ninety-foot grade reaching 
from the summit to the valley of Crow Creek, near where 
Cheyenne now stands, and this summit I immediately named 
for my old commander, General Sherman. The Union Pacific 
is constructed over this line and it is one of the two eighty- 
foot grades now left on the Union Pacific that they were unable 
to reduce during the reconstruction of the road. 

In building the Union Pacific line it was our endeavor 
to pass through the town of Denver, which, at that time, was 



110 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

the center of the mining interest of Colorado. We therefore 
placed in the mountains a party under Mr. P. T. Brown, a 
very promising young engineer, who spent part of the summer 
and most of the fall endeavoring to force his way through 
the mountains and find a line through the middle park, and 
so on west to Salt Lake. The snow in the mountains was so 
deep that even in September parties were driven out of the 
high altitudes. Not receiving very satisfactory reports from 
this party I joined it in November with a view of endeavoring 
to cross the mountains at the head of Boulder Creek, at what 
is now the Hog Back, and near where the Moffat Railroad 
crosses the mountains. We- were on this mountain November 7 
in a terrific snow storm ; one of the worst I ever saw and one 
we could not make the mules face. I saw to save the party I 
would have to abandon my pack train and get into the valley 
below. We therefore unpacked our mules, cached the packs, 
and let the mules go. They drifted with the storm. After a 
day and night's hard struggle with the party we got down 
into Boulder Valley about midnight and into a stamp mill that 
was being built there by General Fitz John Porter, and though 
we saved the party we did not feel very comfortable from the 
fact that we had left our provisions and lost our mules, and 
not knowing that we should ever see them again. It is a 
singular circumstance that on this day I was elected to Con- 
gress from the Missouri River District in Iowa> but had for- 
gotten all about the election until several days after. Henry 
M. Teller, who was then a young lawyer in Central City, and 
our attorney, sent me several telegrams notifying me that I 
had been elected to Congress by the largest majority ever 
given in the district. The mules drifted west into the middle 
park and around Hot Springs and there wintered very well. 
In the spring we received notice that they were there and 
arranged to have them brought in to us; they seemed to be 
in good condition and thej^ had lived in that high altitude 
without food, except what they could get from browsing and 
the buffalo grass they could graze from under the snow. 

In submitting the reports of my chiefs of parties for the 
year 1866, I said : 

k 'I desire to call the attention of the company especially 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 111 

to the energy and perseverance with which all of them have 
performed their duty. Often threatened by Indian attacks, 
sometimes without escort, and obliged to examine the country 
alone, a portion of the time during the winter, they all have 
had narrow escapes, have had stock stolen, camps attacked, 
and have been caught in heavy snow storms, in extreme cold, 
without fires; but, as yet, we have not lost any lives, nor any 
stock of great value. In a country, uninhabited, 100 to 1,000 
miles away from any aid, and thrown upon their own re- 
sources, their positions have not been sinecures or their respon- 
sibilities light. I have never given an order, no matter how 
difficult to perform, or what the obstacle to overcome, but 
they have all obeyed it with that energy and personal interest 
that only under such circumstances can bring success. The 
young men composing the parties are, as a general thing, far 
above the average, many of them of fine education, and who 
not only perform the duty well, but intelligently. To Messrs. 
Evans, Bates and House, division engineers, and Messrs. Hills, 
Brown, Hodges and O'Neil, assistant engineers, who have had 
charge of parties, I am under special obligations; also to Mr. 
Van Lennep, the geologist. They are all to take the field for 
1867." " 

In July, 1867, Mr. Percy T. Brown, whose division ex- 
tended from the North Platte to Green River, was running a 
line across the Laramie Plains. His party was camped on 
Roek Creek where they were attacked by the Sioux. Brown 
ut on the line with most of the party, but those in camp 
were able to hold the Indians off, but a small party out after 
wood, under a promising young fellow named Clark, a nephew 
of Thurlow Weed, of New York, was killed with one of his 
escort, and several of the escort were wounded. 

The Indians on the plains were this year very aggressive, 
and were not satisfied with stealing. Brown, on reaching the 
divide of the continent, found it an open prairie, extending 
some 150 miles northeast and southwest and seventy miles 
east and west. The Rocky Mountains had from an elevation 
of 13.000 feet dropped down to one of 7,000 feet into an open 
plain, and the divide of the continent is really a great basin 
some 500 feet lower than the general level of the country. 



112 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

Brown, in reconnoitering the country, expecting to find 
a stream leading into the waters of the Pacific, dropped into 
this basin, and, in exploring it near its southern rim, he struck 
300 Sioux Indians who were on the war path. He had with 
him eight men of his escort, and he immediately took posses- 
sion of an elevation in the basin, and there, from 12 o'clock 
until nearly dark, fought off those Indians. 

Just before dark, a shot from one of the Indians hit Brown 
in the abdomen. He begged the men to leave him and save 
themselves, but the soldiers refused to do so. They had to give 
up their horses, and as soon as the Indians obtained them they 
fled, and those eight soldiers made a litter of their carbines, 
and through the tall sage brush for fifteen miles, that night, 
they packed Brown to La Clede Stage Station, thinking to 
save him, but he died soon after reaching the station. 

In my examination of the surveys across the plains during 
1867, I had with me General John A. Rawlins, General Grant's 
chief of staff. General Rawlin's health was poor; he was 
threatened with consumption, of which he afterwards died. 
General Grant wrote me, suggesting that in some one of my 
trips I take him with me so as to give him the benefit of the 
high, dry air, which it was a great pleasure to me to "do. He 
came to me with his aide, Major Dunn, Mr. Rogers and Mr. 
John E. Corwith of Galena, and I had Mr. John R. Duff, the 
son of a director of the company, and David Van Lennep, my 
geologist. We had as escort two companies of cavalry, under 
Colonel Misner, and a company of infantry to guard the trains. 

The Indians were very aggressive during the summer of 
1867. We were progressing remarkably well with the work 
when the combined attacks of the Indians along our whole 
line, not only on our surveying parties far west, but on our 
graders, killing our men and stealing our stock, for a time 
virtually blocked up our work. I was pushing west with this 
party to overcome these detentions and reached the Red Des- 
ert. We were then in an unknown country, where we expteced 
to find the divide of the continent. We found the basin that 
Brown had discovered, and, while I w^as preparing to cross 
this basin, I discovered one of my parties, under Mr. Bates, 
who was running a line from Green River east across the desert. 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 113 

They had been three days without water, and had abandoned 
the wagons, and were running, by compass, due east as fast 
as they possibly could in the hope of striking a stream. We dis- 
covered them several miles west of us when we reached the 
rim of the basin, and we first thought they were Indians, but 
upon watching them closely I discovered they were white men 
and saw they were in trouble. We made rapidly towards them 
and found them in a deplorable condition; men nearly ex- 
hausted, tongues swollen, and so weakened physically that they 
could not make much headway. Our opportune finding of 
them saved some of their lives. 

Upon our return trip, after reaching Salt Lake, we fol- 
lowed the Bear River up to its northern bend and on to the 
Snake River by the Blacksmith Fork to what is known as 
Gray's Lake and undertook to cross the mountains from there 
directly eastward to the South Pass. The country was very 
rough. The Government at one time had endeavored to make 
a short cut from the South Pass to the Snake River by what 
is known as Lander's Cut-off. 

When I reached the west base of the mountains I saw we 
were going to have trouble in getting our trains over. General 
Rawlins had become quite fatigued in the journey, and I was 
in the habit of taking him and going ahead of the party, fixing 
our camp where he would be comfortable for the day, and then 
bringing up the rest of our party, escort and trains. 

This day I went nearly to the top of the first range, and 
when we raked away the snow to pitch our tents we found the 
ground thick with the mountain strawberry. We had seen a 
good many grizzly bears near Gray's Lake, driven from the 
mountains by the fires, and I left positive instructions for no 
one to go out and follow a grizzly or attempt to shoot one. 

The mountains were so steep and rough I went back to 
bring up the trains which had to be hauled up the mountains 
with doubling up our mules and putting the infantry on pro- 
longs ahead of them. About four in the afternoon, after we 
had gotten the trains over the roughest of the ground. I re- 
turned to camp and found Rawlins and Dunn away. I asked 
the cook where they were, and he said he thought they had 
gone out to follow a grizzly that had passed by the camp a short 



114 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

time before. I had j^ith me one of our best guides, Sol Gee. 
Knowing that if they found the bear and shot it there would, 
in all probability, be trouble, I took Gee and we followed their 
trail as rapidly as possible. It was but a short time until we 
heard two shots and in a few minutes afterwards we saw 
Rawlins and Dunn coming towards us with the greatest speed. 
I knew T then they had shot at the bear and had wounded him 
and he was following them. I said to Sol Gee, who was a sure 
shot, that I would drop below the trail and attract the atten- 
tion of the bear as he passed, and if I fired and missed he must 
be sure in his shot or the bear would get me. 

As Rawlins and Dunn came up I saw the bear was close 
to them, and I drew the bear's attention, and he turned to- 
wards me, giving me a very good shot, but I hit him a little too 
far back, but did not stop him and he made for me. Gee waited 
until he got him face to face and then shot and hit him between 
the eyes, and dropped him. He was one of the largest grizzlies 
I ever saw. We gave the hide and claws to Rawlins and his 
friends. 

General Rawlins, who was a great stickler in the army 
for obeying orders and who was sometimes very strong in his 
language, turned to me and, in his most emphatic language, 
said we ought to have let the bear get them for their disobeying 
my orders, but that he was not to blame. It was Major Dunn, 
who was crazy to kill a grizzly, and he was fool enough to 
let him try it. 

When we reached the South Pass there had been gold 
discovered just north in what was known as the Miner's De- 
light mines. The arrival of such a party with so distinguished 
a person as General Rawlins drew immediate attention to us 
and we were given a lunch and a great deal of consideration. 
Our guide, Sol Gee, when he got to the towns was apt to drink 
too much, and when we left after our lunch in the afternoon 
I could not find him, and I sent Major Dunn to hunt him up. 
I told Dunn under no circumstances to let us get more than 
two miles away before he joined us, because I knew the Indians 
were in the valley of the Sweetwater and had been doing con- 
siderable depredation. We moved on and I thought no more 
about Dunn or Gee until we had gone eight or ten miles when 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 115 

I discovered they were not with us. It was nearly night and 
we went into camp. I had discovered fresh Indian signs and 
I knew they were watching us and it made me very anxious 
for the safety of Dunn and Gee. I took half a dozen of the 
best mounted cavalry with me and went back supposing they 
were still at the miner's camp. 

I had not gone more than three or four miles when shots 
came flying at us from the boulders in the road ahead. I 
thought it was Indians and told Guide Adams, who was with 
me, to seek cover and try to communicate with them. When 
he called, Gee answered, and when we rode up to them we 
found Dunn and Gee behind the rocks, thinking that we were 
Indians. Gee had told Dunn when he heard us coming that 
their only salvation was to get to cover and fire at us, and that 
in the night it would probably scare the Indians away. 

I asked Dunn why he had not obeyed my orders. He said 
that when he found Gee he was not able to travel, and, of 
course, like a good soldier, he could not leave him. After he 
got Gee sobered up they waited until dark, hoping they could 
make camp without being discovered by the Indians. 

As we moved down the Valley of the Sweetwater we met 
one or two of the mountain men, who informed us that there 
was a band of Sioux in the Seminoe Gap near the mouth of 
the Sweetwater. I knew these were the Indians that had been 
doing the mischief all the summer and I was anxious to catch 
and punish them. Therefore I arranged for our cavalry to 
go around the Seminoe Mountains and cut them off or attack 
them as we drove them through the gap towards the south. 
I was certain they had not discovered us and we moved the 
next morning very early, but the cavalry failed to make con- 
nections. The Indian scouts saw us and got word to the 
Indian camp and they got away to our great disappointment. 

After we got through the gap going south we discovered 
a small band of buffalo and General Rawlins was very anxious 
to kill some of them, so I took him and about a dozen of the 
best mounted cavalry and the guides and moved in towards 
the North Platte so as to get to the leeward of the buffalo and 
also have them between us and the train. I left strict orders 
with the train if they saw any smoke signs for the troops to 



116 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

immediately come to us. I was suspicious by the action of the 
buffalo that there might be Indians hunting them. We had 
passed along about five miles and gotten well to the leeward 
of the buffalo without their discovering us, when all of a 
sudden I saw a band of Indians hidden on a small stream 
watching us. I knew that meant trouble, and I immediately 
prepared for them and made a sign by setting a fire on the 
ridge for our cavalry to come to us. The Indians, seeing this, 
thought I was trapping them instead of their trapping me, 
and after following us for a time got out, and we not only lost 
the buffalo, but the Indians also. 

In the winter of 1867-68 the end of our track was at 
Cheyenne. During that winter there had assembled there a 
very large number of people, possibly it was the greatest 
gambling place ever established on the plains, and it was full 
of desperate characters. The town of Cheyenne we had 
claimed, laid out, and leased the lots to the occupants, and 
organized the local government. There was then no title to be 
obtained to the town, but we treated this as all the towns, 
claiming it for the company, laying it out into town lots and 
not allowing anyone to locate there without taking an agree- 
ment from us allowing them to occupy it and agreeing to deed 
it to them when we got a title. 

There had been established there, by the Government, Fort 
D. A. Russell, some two or three miles north of the railroad 
track, and there was in command, General J. D. Stevenson, 
who had served with me during the Civil War. In my absence 
these desperate characters got together, held a meeting and 
jumped the town, refusing to recognize the authorities we 
had put over the town or in any way to comply with our 
orders. They had commenced robbing our trainmen and com- 
mitting other depredations that I knew we must stop or lose 
all control of the railroad forces at the end of the track. I im- 
mediately wired General Stevenson, calling his attention to the 
condition of affairs and asking him to use his troops to bring 
about order and a recognition of our authority, and while he 
had no legal right in the matter he turned out his troops as 
skirmishers and drove every citizen in the town to a mile or so 
south of the track and then held a parley with them. He told 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 117 

them that until they were ready to comply with the orders and 
recognize the authority of the railroad company they should 
not go back to their property; that really the land belonged 
to the United States and the railway was occupying it under 
the Government's charter. This brought them immediately 
to terms and they immediately made peace, and were allowed 
to come back to town and we afterwards had no trouble with 
them. I recite this only as showing the great aid the Govern- 
ment always gave us in building the road. 

In the year of 1868 there was a great competition between 
the Union Pacific building west and the Southern Pacific build- 
ing east. The Union Pacific desired to at least reach Humboldt 
Wells and the Central Pacific's great desire was to reach 
Ogden. The Union Pacific continued its work over the Wasatch 
Mountains throughout the winter, which was a very cold and 
snowy one, and it cost us as much to blast the earth as it did 
the rock, we paying as high for earth work as $3 a cubic yard. 

We laid the track over the Wasatch Kange in the dead 
of winter on top of snow and ice, and I have seen a whole train 
of cars, track and all slide off the bank and into the ditch as 
a result of a thaw and the ice that covered the banks. We 
built almost as rapidly through the winter as we did during 
the summer, notwithstanding the short cold days and long 
nights, but it was at an immense cost. We estimated that the 
work during that winter made an extra cost to the road of 
at least $10,000,000. 

The success of the engineers in the surveying and con- 
structing of this road was due mostly to their natural courage 
and ability. One of the instructions given a party when put 
into the field was, that the chief of the party must absolutely 
command it, and at all times be ready to fight. Another was 
the importance, of never slacking their vigilance no matter 
where they were, never being off their guard, and all those who 
obeyed these orders generally took their parties through. Those 
who did not were soon relieved in the field or were killed by an 
attack of Indians. Then again, these engineers were all men of 
ability, every one of them, as far as I know, has risen to distinc- 
tion either in his own profession or in some line of business. I 
know of only two of the chiefs of parties who are still living. 



118 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



One, F. S. Hodges, is a bachelor in Boston, who occasionally 
goes out to Salt Lake City and gathers together some of his old 
party, giving them a taste of their old experience by putting 
them back into camp again with a camp dinner, and ending 
with a great banquet at some prominent hotel. One of his party, 
Mr. James E. Maxwell, first undertook to locate the line across 
Salt Lake where the road is now built. When I sent him out I 
gave him Captain Stanbury's soundings. The Mormons built 
him a boat, he put his party into it and while he was making the 
sounding of the lake, a terrific gale came up that swamped his 
boat and came very near drowning him and his party, and he 
reported to me that the lake was fourteen feet higher than 
when Stanbury sounded it in 1849, and it is a singular fact that 
it was then at its highest known level, for from 1870 until 1900 
it continually fell, and when the Union Pacific built the line 
across the lake it was eleven feet lower than when the original 
survey was made. The depth of the lake, the weight of the 
water, and the cost of building was beyond us, and we were 
forced north of the lake and had to put in the high grades 
crossing Promontory Ridge. 

The other is Mr. James E. Maxwell, living now in Newark, 
Delaware. He distinguished himself especially in the building 
of the Central Railroad in Peru, crossing the mountains at an 
elevation of 15,666 feet above the sea, the highest railroad in 
the world. It is of standard gauge. Mr.- Maxwell is still able 
to handle any engineering problem presented to him. 

The organization for the construction of the Union Pacific 
Eailroad was upon a military basis, nearly every man upon 
it had been in the Civil War; the heads of most of the engi- 
neering parties and all chiefs of the construction forces were 
officers in the Civil War ; the chief of the track laying force, 
General Casement, had been a distinguished division com- 
mander in the Civil War, and at any moment I could call into 
the field a thousand men, well officered, ready to meet any 
crisis or any emergency. There was no law in the country, and 
no court. We laid out the towns, officered them, kept peace, 
and everything went on smoothly and in harmony. Two or 
three times at the end of our tracks a rough crowd would 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 119 

gather and dispute our authority, but they were soon dis- 
posed of. 

I remember one incident when I was west near Salt Lake 
receiving a despatch that a crowd of gamblers had taken our 
terminal point at Julesburg and refused to obey the local 
officers we had appointed over it. I wired General Casement 
to take back his track force, clean the place up and sustain 
the officers. When I returned to Julesburg, I asked General 
Casement what he had done. He replied, "I will show you." 
He took me up to a little rise just beyond Julesburg and showed 
me a small graveyard, saying, "General, they all died in their 
boots, but brought peace." 

The work of the engineers on the Union Pacific was a 
very masterful one. In the beginning they had no reliable 
maps nor any knowledge of the country, and they explored 
it until they obtained a line across the country over which one 
locomotive, then as well as now, could haul as many cars over 
the line as two engines on any other of the trans-continental 
lines. They worked summer and winter, rain or shine. My 
yearly report upon the completion of the road describes better 
perhaps than I can now what they accomplished, and is as 
follows : 

"They occupied the country extending from the Missouri 
River to the California State line, and covering a width of 200 
miles, north and south, and on the general direction of the 
forty-second parallel of latitude, some 15,000 miles of instru- 
mental lines have been run, and over 25,000 miles of recon- 
noissances made. 

"In 1863 and 1864, preliminary surveys were inaugurated, 
but in 1866 the country was systematically occupied ; and day 
and night, summer and winter the explorations were pushed 
forward through dangers and hardships that very few, at this 
day, appreciate, as every mile had to be run within range of 
the musket, as there was not a moment's security. In making 
surveys, numbers of our men, some of them the ablest and 
most promising, were killed; and during the construction our 
stock was run off by the hundred, I might say, by the thou- 
sand; and as one difficulty after another arose and was over- 



120 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

come, in the engineering, running and construction depart- 
ments, a new era in railroad building was inaugurated. 

' ' Each day taught us lessons by which we profited for the 
next, and our advances and improvements in the art of railway 
construction were marked by the progress of the work, forty 
miles of track having been laid in 1865, 240 in 1867, and 260 in 
1868, including the ascent to the summit of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, at an elevation of 8,235 feet above the ocean; and dur- 
ing 1868 and to May 10, 1869, 555 miles, all exclusive of side 
and temporary tracks, of which over 180 miles were built in 
addition." 

At Promontory Point, north of Salt Lake, Utah, on May 
10, 1869, gathered there from the Atlantic and the Pacific, the 
men who made possible this great work. They were the few 
bold spirits who backed the enterprise with their fortunes, 
their credit, and their reputation. They spent many millions 
to meet the clamor and demand of our whole nation for speed, 
and constructed a railroad 2,000 miles long in three years, 
when their own interests, their charter and the Government 
allowed them ten years to complete the work. So far as it 
was possible for human to see, as a commercial problem, it had 
few, if any, advocates. It was simply considered a military 
necessity. Some day these men will stand in civil life like our 
leaders in the Civil War. The engineers and the workmen 
stood in groups watching the preparations for the driving of 
the golden spike which should tie together with iron bands 
this continent. The locomoties from the east and from the west 
were run together and each engineer broke a bottle of cham- 
pagne on their comrade's machine, and a great glorification 
of the event was celebrated all over the country. On that day, 
General Sherman, not forgetting the engineers and pioneers 
of this work, sent me this despatch: 

"Washington, May 11, 1869. 
"General G. M. Dodge: 

"In common with millions, I sat yesterday and heard the 
mystic taps of the telegraphic battery announce the nailing of 
the last spike in the great Pacific road. Indeed, am I its friend 1 
Yea. Yet, am I to be a part of it, for as early as 1854 I was 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 121 

vice president of the effort begun in San Francisco, under the 
contract of Robinson, Seymour & Co. As soon as General 
Thomas makes certain preliminary inspections in his new com- 
mand on the Pacific, I will go out and, I need not say, will 
have different facilities from that of 1846, when the only way 
to California was by sail around Cape Horn, taking our ships 
196 days. All honor to you, to Durant, to Jack and Dan Case- 
ment, to Reed and the thousands of brave fellows who have 
wrought out this glorious problem, spite of changes, storms, 
and even doubts of the incredulous, and all the obstacles you 
have now happily surmounted. 

"W. T. SHERMAN, General." 

How well all did their work I leave to the distinguished 
commission of engineers appointed by Act of Congress to 
examine, review and report upon the completion of the Union 
Pacific Railroad, which is as follows : 

"Taken as a whole, the Union Pacific Railroad has been 
well constructed. The general route for the line is exceedingly 
well chosen, crossing the Rocky Mountain Ranges at some of 
the fost favorable passes on the continent, and possessing capa- 
bilities for easy grades and favorable alignments unsurpassed 
by any other railway line on similarly elevated grounds. The 
energy and perseverance with which the work has been urged 
forward, and the rapidity with which it has been executed 
are without parallel in history. In the grandeur and magnitude 
of the undertaking, it has never been equaled, and no other line 
compares with this in the arid and barren character of the 
country it traverses, giving rise to unusual inconveniences and 
difficulties, and imposing the necessity of obtaining almost 
every requisite of material, of labor, and supplies for its con- 
struction, from the initial point of its commencement. 

"G. K. WARDEN, Brevet Major-Gen., U. S. A., 
"J. BLICKENSDERFER, Jr., Civil Engineer, 
"JAMES BARNES, Civil Engineer, 
"Special Commissioners Union Pacific Railroad." 

In the last five years the Union Pacific and the Southern 
Pacific have been virtually reconstructed under the able man- 
agement of Mr. E. H. Harriman. The Union Pacific in bringing 



122 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

its grades to a maximum of forty-seven feet per mile excepting 
the eighty-foot grade rising the mountains from the east at 
Cheyenne, and the eighty-foot grade rising the Wasatch Range 
west from the town of Echo, and in shortening the line some 
thirty miles, has spent almost, if not fully, as much money as it 
took to construct the road, and the distinguished engineer who 
had charge of that work is now the chief engineer of the Rock 
Island system and he pays this tribute to the engineers and 
builders of the original line : 

"It may appear to those unfamiliar with the character 
of the country that the great saving in distance and reduction 
of grade would stand as a criticism of the work of the pioneer 
engineers who made the original location of the road. Such is 
not the case. The changes made have been expensive and could 
be warranted only by the volume of traffic handled at the 
present day. Too much credit cannot be given to General 
G. M. Dodge and his assistants. They studied their task thor- 
oughly and performed it well. Limited by law to a maximum 
gradient of 116 feet to the mile, not compensated for curva- 
ture, they held it down to about ninety feet per mile. Taking 
into consideration the existing conditions thirty-five years ago ; 
lack of maps of the country, hostility of the Indians, which 
made the United States troops necessary for the protection 
of surveying parties, difficult transportation, excessive cost 
of labor, uncertainty as to probable volume of traffic, limited 
amount of money and necessity to get the road built as soon 
as possible, it can be said, with all our present knowledge of 
the topography of the country, that the line was located with 
very great skill." 

Since the public statements of Mr. Harriman and this 
tribute by Mr. Berry, we have heard no more talk of the 
unnecessary miles of road that were built for- the purpose of 
obtaining the Government subsidy. 

Upon completion of the Union Pacific Railroad I was 
called upon by the Pennsylvania Railroad interests to organize 
the construction company and build the Texas Pacific Rail- 
road from New Orleans to San Diego, California, and in 1871 
we marshalled our forces and covered the line with engineers 
from Marshall, Texas, to San Diego, California. We were in 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 123 



the same condition in this work that we were on the Union 
Pacific; without any railroad connection, depending upon the 
Red River for our supplies and materials, and, of course, that 
river went dry, but nevertheless, the engineers pushed on into 
the country where they had the Indians, among many other 
difficulties, to contend with. I put Hurd's party into the most 
difficult Indian country. He had not been there very long 
before I received a letter from the Governor of the State tell- 
ing me that Hurd had attacked and killed some of the friendly 
bands of Indians out at what was known as Sulphur Springs at 
the foot of the Staked Plains. Hurd was too far away for me 
to communicate with him, but I sent him the Governor's letter. 
He was a man of few words ; his work always told for itself in 
his maps and profiles, and he answered the Governor's letter in 
a very short response, which he sent me to approve and for- 
ward. In it he stated that the Sulphur Springs was the only 
water within fifty miles of him, when he reached there it was 
held by the Indians and they refused to let him have any water 
or allow him to approach the springs. They would not even 
sell it to him, and he said, "Of course, I took the springs. I 
don't know whether I hurt any Indians or not, and I do not 
care, but I knew better than to go back to General Dodge and 
tell him 'that I had been forced to abandon my survey by two 
or three hundred barebacked Indians without fighting them." 
That was the last I heard of that complaint. 

On the line through Arizona we had a very noted engi- 
neer, Captain R. W. Petriken. He was a graduate of West 
Point and had been in the engineering corps during the war. 
He resigned and took service with the railroads, intending to 
follow railroading as a business, believing there was greater 
possibility in it for him than in the army, but he was killed 
after a long fight with a band of Mexican Indians. 

In building the Texas Pacific we went through an epidemic 
of cholera and one of yellow fever, and were subject at every 
town and every county line to shotgun quarantine, and not- 
withstanding that, most of the engineers were from the North, 
they all stayed on the work. 

I remember in 1873 when we were rushing to close the 
tracks in Texas, coming from the east and west to save our 



12 4 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

land grant, the epidemic of yellow fever was upon us, and 
every morning those of us who were at the end of the track 
could see numerous corpses taken out of the working gangs 
and buried in the dump, and it took a brave, determined man 
of great moral courage, who was under no obligations, except 
that of duty, to stay and fight it out. 

I remember one young engineer who was setting grade 
and centers for the track layers. He lived in the cars that 
housed the convicts that were laying the track, who, no matter 
how much they wanted to leave, could not; he went out on 
his work promptly every morning and could see the progress 
of the fever by the number of convicts taken out and buried 
in the dump, and that it was only a question of time when it 
would have him in its grip. I thought it possible he might 
leave us, so one morning I walked out and spoke to him, asking 
him how he and his men were feeling. He said very quietly 
they had considered the situation, and they proposed to stay 
on the job until we connected the tracks, but he stated : "Then 
I shall start on the first train for' God's country and never 
shall come back to this." I thanked him for his determination 
to stay and he stated that he had been employed on the job 
for the season and he did not propose to run because some 
others had; he was a specimen of the engineers who went 
South with us. A great many of them had the yellow fever, 
some of them died, but they all showed an esprit de corp and 
an interest in the enterprise that would be a good object les- 
son to many who are on similar work today. 

As soon as the tracks were joined, I gave all the engineers 
who had come from the North a leave of absence, but very 
few of them took advantage of it. 

During the years from 1870 to 1874 the line was deter- 
mined and located through to California. Work was com- 
menced at San Diego and some 500 miles was built during 
that time in Texas, but the Jay Cook failure stopped us, and 
it was not completed through to California until 1883, and 
today three of the great railroads of the country occupy the 
line that was intended at that time for only one. They are 
the Texas Pacific, the Southern Pacific, and the Santa Fe. It is 
a singular fact that the same engineers and the same foremen 



THE CIVIL ENGINEER IN AN EARLY DAY 125 

who had joined the tracks at Promontory Point in 1869 met 
on the plains at Sierra Blanco, Texas, in 1883, and joined there 
the tracks that united the second continental line across the 
continent, but under entirely different circumstances. There 
were no bands, no crowds, no speeches, and no champagne. 
It was simply the engineers and foremen of the track laying 
forces that shook hands at this great event, and it created 
very little notice or comment. 

There has been a general belief throughout the country 
that it was a very easy problem to build a railroad, that the 
railroads were over-capitalized, which recent investigation has 
demonstrated to be untrue. In my travels I have seen men 
riding in a Pullman car that carried a valet, a maid, a porter, 
and a conductor, which these people generally kept busy all 
the time, look out of the window and express the opinion that 
it was easy work or virtually no work to build a railroad 
through the country they were passing, and make comments 
on what it represented and what it should cost, and I often 
used to think as I listened to them, if they had the experience 
of the builders ; first as chief of a party to spy out a line, per- 
haps alone in an Indian country, then followed by the young 
engineer, carrying a rifle on one shoulder and a transit on the 
other, camping where his day's work ended; then the bold 
spirits who furnished the money to first construct the road, 
that would need probably to be carried ten or twenty years 
before it brought any income, and then by the operating de- 
parment who had to re-construct it two or three times and put 
millions upon millions into it to bring its commercial business 
and the luxury of its transportation up to our date, he would 
take an entirely different view of the enterprise. 

I thank God that the criticisms of the years have finally 
aroused the railroad world to educate the people and demon- 
strate to them what the transportation of this country has 
cost in lives, laborand money, and what benefits it has brought 
to the nation. 



ADDRESS AT BANQUET OF THE COMMERCIAL CLUB, 
OMAHA, NOVEMBER 10, 1906, IN HONOR OF MAJOR- 
GENERAL G. M. DODGE AND MRS. JOHN A. LOGAN. 



At a banquet given by the Commercial Club at Omaha on 
November 10, 1906, in honor of Major-General Grenville M. 
Dodge and Mrs. John A. Logan, in replying to remarks of 
Doctor George L. Miller, General Dodge made the following 
response : 

It must be evident to all present how embarrassing it is 
to me. and how difficult it is to express my thanks for all the 
kind words and compliments that have been paid me. Omaha 
and Nebraska have always had kindly feelings towards me, 
and never let an opportunity pass to show it, and when I see 
surrounding me so many of my friends and supporters in my 
young days, when I was struggling here to build and develop 
an empire, I feel that it is impossible to thank you as you 
deserve. 

You must appreciate the fact that when two old friends 
like Doctor Miller and myself get together, that as the years 
go by the appreciation of each other grows in geometrical 
progression. The credit that he gives me belongs largely to 
others, who spent their time, their brains, their money and 
their credit in developing the country west of the Lakes. 

As you all know, since I was 19 years old my entire life 
has been spent in the upbuilding and development of the 
country west of the Lakes, and in the line of my profession it 
has been my great good fortune to know and be with the 
groups of men whose time, credit and fortunes have been 
spent for the increasing of population and in making an em- 
pire, where, when I began, there were only 50,000 people in 
Chicago, and not many more than that from there west to the 
Pacific. These men have never received the credit they were 
entitled to. I have in mind four groups in this work, and I 
will name them. 

127 



128 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC r 

The first were Farnam & Sheffield, who built the first 
road west of Chicago to the Mississippi River, one of whom 
you have honored by giving his name to one of your principal 
thoroughfares. On the completion of this work Mr. T. C. 
Durant joined Mr. Farnam in building the Mississippi & Mis- 
souri Railway, now the Rock Island, across Iowa. 

The next were the Ameses and their New England fol- 
lowing, and to them monuments should be raised, as it was to 
their nerve and the use of their unlimited credit, that is most 
due the success of the Union Pacific, and I never look back 
upon their work that I do not consider the Act of Congress, 
which drove Oakes Ames out of their halls and to his death, 
one of the most unjust acts ever passed by Congress, when 
he should have had their thanks and the credit due him, and 
which some day he will receive for his unfailing support of 
us all who were engaged on that great work. Very few of 
you know how many times we were close to failure and he 
saved us. I remember once when I wrote Oakes Ames that 
we must have money or the work would stop, that he an- 
swered to go ahead, that it should not stop if it took the 
shovel shop to keep it going. Again when the question came 
whether the credit of the company should be impaired or that 
the standing and credit of the Ameses should suffer, he said: 
"Stand by the company and let the Ameses take care of them- 
selves," and their commercial standing and credit did suffer. 
It was these men, aided by Dillon, Dnrant and their following 
that were the pioneers along the forty-second parallel of lat- 
itude and to whom our great prosperity today is mostly due. 

The next group was headed by Thomas A. Scott in that 
great development of the Southwest, and in projecting and 
partially building the Southern line to the Pacific. He was 
surrounded and supported by that remarkable body of men 
identified with the interests of the Pennsylvania Railway. They 
were Thompson, Roberts, "Walters, Houston, Baird, McCullough 
and others, the descendants of whom are prominent in all the 
affairs of the Pennsylvania today. In the three years' work 
on that line they had spent $10,000,000 without selling a bond 
or share of stock. The Jay Cook failure came and halted the 
work. Scott was in England and had raised the money to take 



ADDRESS AT COMMERCIAL CLUB BANQUET 129 

us to the Pacific and the papers were waiting a final signature, 
when like a clap of thunder out of a clear sky came the failure 
of Jay Cook and virtually put the whole crowd in bank- 
ruptcy. We were all called to Philadelphia. I owed more than 
a million of dollars in Texas and the shock was so far-reaching 
that it stunned everyone. I remember this group of men stayed 
all day and nearly all night in Scott's room at the Philadelphia 
headquarters and considered and discussed the situation. The 
question was, shall we save the property or ourselves? I told 
them of the outcome of a similar meeting when Ames said, 
"Save the road and let the individuals go to the wall," and 
Scott answered that is what we will do, and these men sat 
down and assumed the entire debt of $10,000,000 or more, put- 
ting out their individual notes, known as the five-name paper 
and the three-name paper, part of us signing the five-name 
paper and the more wealthy and those of better credit the 
three-name paper. This was a pretty bold movement, when 
not one of them could really say or know whether at that 
moment he was worth one cent. After signing these notes they 
distributed them to each one of us to take them to such finan- 
cial institutions as we might know and to try to sell them. 
One million was assigned to me of the five-name paper, of 
which I was a signer. I had no idea where I could raise one 
cent on it. I thought everyone would look upon % us and our 
credit as I knew our financial condition to be and would judge 
the value of our notes accordingly. I took mine to New York 
City; I considered it to be the hardest and most uncertain 
problem that I ever had to solve. T had in New York a long 
time a small account with Gilman & Son, prominent private 
bankers. I called on them as soon as I reached New York, 
and met Mr. Gilman, a very astute, clear-headed, calculating 
banker, and showed him the paper. He read the five names, 
looked up to me and said, "Why, that looks like pretty good 
paper; I think our clients would like to have some of it," 
and asked me to leave it with him. You can imagine my feel- 
ings, and how my barometer went up. I immediately handed 
over to him the million. The next day when I went to see 
him he stated that they would take it and asked if I could 
get any more. I saw then what it was to a man to have a good 



130 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

name, a good>business standing and good credit, and I have 
never forgotten it. That paper was all paid off before it was 
due. Our work halted then in Texas from 1874 until 1880, 
when Mr. Scott becoming sick induced Jay Gould to buy his 
interest. Mr. Gould and his following then took hold of the 
property and built from that time on, what is known as the 
Southwest System, some 10,000 miles of road. He, like the 
rest of them, planted his money and his credit to build up and 
develop a partially-inhabited country, but did not live to see 
the full fruition of his plans, but his children have. With 
Mr. Gould and his associates I was connected from 1874 to 
1884, and I take pleasure in paying my tribute to him and 
giving him the credit he is entitled to, for he was more abused, 
slandered and vilified than all the rest combined. He spent 
his life in opening up a vast territory to the new population 
without receiving any immediate benefit from his investment, 
but it proved that his judgment was correct. Personally, I 
never was with a more reliable and considerate man than 
Ja Gould. I spent many, many millions in building the South- 
west System, but as far as I know, I never had a dozen letters 
from him. Everything was done by word of mouth or by 
telegram. When we discussed any question and came to a 
conclusion and Mr. Gould said, ''General, we will go ahead," 
or do. this or that, no matter what it meant or into what diffi- 
culties we got, I never had doubts as to where Jay Gould would 
stand. He never went back on the support of me or tried to 
evade, as some others did, the responsibilities he had assumed. 
When the projects looked unprofitable, he had plenty of oppor- 
tunities to avoid great losses, but he stood by, no matter who 
deserted, and when I compare where he put his brains and 
millions with those who have criticized him so severely, who 
would not invest a cent, except it was secured and brought 
a safe interest, but he year after year had new faith in the 
future outcome of our interest in the West, I feel it was to 
him that was due the credit instead of the criticisms. I learned 
the value of the brains, push and combinations of Jay Gould, 
and I say all honor to him, and you of the West should revere 
and honor his work and name. 



ADDRESS AT COMMERCIAL CLUB BANQUET 131 

The third group was the California giants, Huntington, 
Stanford, Hopkins, Crocker, and their associates. Their work 
on the Pacific was a duplicate of Ames, Scott and Gould, and 
though at times we were in sharp competition, in long, bitter 
fights, I had the personal friendship of all of them. Their 
leader was Huntington, and he was a wonderful man. For 
years we were in sharp competition, but you may hunt the 
records of all he either said or did and you won't find a word 
uttered against me. He always spoke in the highest terms of 
me, even when it hurt his own case, and in after years we 
were close friends. He was a great man, and has built great 
monuments to himself from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I re- 
member, I think it was in the '80s in one of the financial panics, 
we were both borrowing large sums of money from the same 
bank in New York. The companies I was connected with were 
weak, while his were very strong financially, and when the 
bank called upon us for additional security, we could not 
always put it up promptly. One day the bank called upon us 
for quite a large addition to what we had up for one of our 
companies, and I told them it was impossible for us to meet 
the demand, and they said they would be obliged to sell out 
our loans, and I was in great distress, for I knew it meant 
bankruptcy for the company. They said that when they called 
upon Mr. Huntington for additional securities he would bring 
down double for what they asked. That evening I met Mr. 
Huntington, and told him our troubles, and what the bank 
said. His eyes brightened. He said: "Sell you out, will they! 
Well, that is just what we want, and is what we have been 
trying to do ourselves for six months." He said: "General, 
you go down in the morning and tell them if they can sell 
your securities to do so, and when they get through let them 
sell mine." I saw the point; I called at the bank, told them 
that 1 was at the end of my rope and to sell, and when they 
got through selling mine, Mr. Huntington said to sell his. 
That settled that question, and their efforts from then on 
were not to try to squeeze us, but to help us through. The 
fact is, there was no sale for any security, which Huntington 
and the bank knew. 



132 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

The groups of men I have mentioned have never received 
the credit that they were entitled to and the great field of 
their work should remember them and monuments should be 
raised to their memory. 

I see Mr. Meeker is here trying to raise monuments to 
mark the old Oregon trail which I have traveled over so many 
times, but the men that I have mentioned have marked it with 
bands of steel and now it reaches from the Missouri to the 
Pacific, and you can stand beside it at any place during any 
hour of the day and you will see trains, passenger and freight, 
passing, and they have made it the most noted route of trans- 
portation in the world. I hope Meeker will succeed in raising 
monuments for the old wagon trail; it is commendable to try 
to pass into history the work of those crossing the continent 
in '49. 

Now comes the group of workers following and sustain- 
ing the efforts of the great men I have mentionel. Every com- 
munity has them; right here in Omaha you have many noted 
ones. I see some around this table. Who has forgotten the 
work of Dr. George L. Miller, who, all his life, was working 
to build up this country and whose support and friendship is 
so dear to me? "With him were Saunders, Hanscom, Hitch- 
cock, Morton and hundreds of others, and the new generation 
that is coming after us should never let their work and names 
be forgotten. 

I have detained you far longer than I intended, but when 
you say a word about these early great events, you never 
know when or where to stop, and once more I thank you from 
the bottom of my heart. 

It is a great pleasure to have here with me and to see you 
honor the wife and daughter of that comrade of mine, who in 
war and peace was such a great friend. No matter whether 
it was his magnetism in battle or his eloquence in Congress, 
in all the years I knew him he was ready with both to aid and 
defend me with any work I was engaged, and his good wife 
stood by to do more if possible, and no one honors more than 
I do the memory of my old comrade, John A. Logan, and no 
one is truer to me than his good wife and his family. 




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ADDRESS AT UNVEILING OF MONUMENT TO MAJOR 
MARSHALL F. HURD, DENVER, COLORADO. 



Marshall Farnam Hurd was born in Scipio, Cayuga County, 
New York, in 1823. His father married Abbie Farnam, sister 
of Henry Farnam of New Haven, Connecticut, the builder of 
the Rock Island Railroad, and under whose auspices the first 
surveys were made for the Union Pacific Railway in 1852-1860. 

Hurd's father and mother died within a few months of 
each other, leaving three small children Irwin Newton Hurd, 
afterward a Presbyterian minister, now deceased; Florence 
A. Hurd, afterward Hoyt, deceased, and Marshall Farnam 
Hurd, a baby only a few months old. 

The children were separated and Marshall Farnam Hurd 
was brought up in his uncle's family. The uncle was a noted 
engineer in New York, and had charge of the Lockport Locks 
in the Erie Canal, also of much other work in the State of 
New York. From him Hurd obtained his education and prac- 
tice as a civil engineer. His first work in his profession was 
in New York State and afterward on the Rock Island Railroad 
in the State of Illinois. At the beginning of the Civil War 
he was at Muscatine, Iowa. 

On July 24, 1861, he enlisted at Burlington, Iowa, in Com- 
pany I, Seventh Iowa Volunteers. On August 23 he was trans- 
ferred to Company A. On August 25, 1861, he was promoted 
to fourth corporal and on July 28, 1863, was made second 
corporal. He was taken prisoner November 7, 1861, at the 
battle of Belmont and was exchanged October 17, 1862. He was 
mustered out of the service August 9, 1864, by reason of expi- 
ration of his term of service. 

I first knew Hurd at Corinth, Mississippi, in the fall or 
winter of 1862, where I was in command. I called for details 
from the different commands for engineers. Hurd was one 
of the men that reported to me and I put him in charge of a 
portion of the force that was building fortifications around 

133 



134 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

Corinth. From that time until he was mustered out he fol- 
lowed his profession in the army, especially in the work which 
fell to the Sixteenth Army Corps in rebuilding the Memphis 
& Charleston, Nashville & Decatur, Mobile & Ohio and other 
railroads. Realizing how competent he was as an engineer, 
every effort was made by myself and my superior officers to 
have Hurd given a commission, but being detailed from his 
regiment he could get no indorsement from it, and we failed 
to obtain a commission for him from the United States, there- 
fore he served all the time, although only an enlisted man, as 
civil engineer in charge of men, and even officers. Every one 
recognized him as a commissioned officer many, I believe, not 
even knowing that he was not commissioned. He was called 
"Major," and the engineers of the other corps and divisions 
he came in contact with always recognized him and treated 
him as a commissioned officer. He was especially efficient in 
throwing up entrenchments in front of the enemy. He was 
utilized mostly by the Sixteenth Army Corps, although often 
detailed by the commanders of the army with the Sixteenth 
Army Corps Pioneer Corps, which consisted of about 1,500 de- 
tailed men and negroes, and was probably the most efficient 
construction corps in either Grant's or Sherman's armies. He 
was known throughout the army as an officer who, when he was 
on the line building entrenchments under fire, no matter what 
the circumstances were, stayed with his work, however fiercely 
attacked. He turned his pioneer corps, largely made up of en- 
listed men, into fighting men, and whenever we saw him come 
from his work with any portion of his pioneer corps when at- 
tacked, we knew it was because he was driven out by a superior 
force. Other pioneer corps would often come out when simply 
attacked, not being able to hold their men to the work, but 
Hurd never did, and in this way he became favorably known 
in the Army of the Tennessee. 

Hurd left me in August, 1864, in front of Atlanta, to be 
mustered out. Not being able to obtain promotion, he went 
back to his profession and began work on the Union Pacific 
Railway under S. B. Reed, who was division engineer of the 
road at that time. After the war, in 1866, I found Hurd upon 
the Union Pacific Railway, and during the construction of the 




: 







A TRIBUTE TO MAJOR MARSHALL F. HURD 135 

work he was used almost entirely in the construction forces. 
Mr. S. B. Reed had charge of the construction work for the 
contractors, and Hurd generally worked under his direction, 
though at times he was used to examine and make difficult 
locations. 

When I was building the Union Pacific railway in 1867 
Hurd had charge of the division crossing the Black Hills from 
Cheyenne west, and one time when I was in Cheyenne he 
started out with provisions for his party. I gave him a com- 
pany of Pawnee Indians who were on the line as escort for 
engineering parties and construction forces with me. Accom- 
panying him was Silas Seymour, consulting engineer of the 
Union Pacific Railway. When they reached what is known as 
Granite Canon, the Pawnees discovered a party of Crows who 
had just stolen the stock from one of the grading camps, and 
they immediately left Hurd with his teams and provisions and 
started for the Indians. Hurd saw nothing more of them, but 
there were other Indians near him, and he immediately cor- 
ralled his train and prepared to protect it with his teamsters, 
sending word to me where he was. and how he was situated. 
The Indians saw his preparations and did not attack him. A 
force was sent to his aid and he moved on. The Pawnee Indians 
returned to Crow Creek, where Cheyenne is now located, bring- 
ing with them several scalps, and evidently expecting great 
praise for what they had done, and when I censured them for 
deserting Hurd they were utterly disgusted, but they made 
the nights hideous for a week with their war dances over their 
fights and scalps. v 

When I left the Union Pacific Railway to go to Texas to 
take charge of the building of the Texas & Pacific Railway, I 
took Hurd with me and placed him in charge of the party that 
was to make the survey across the Staked Plains to El Paso, 
knowing that it would be a difficult country, and dangerous 
on account of the roaming bands of Indians that were upon it. 
Hurd with his party reached what are known as Sulphur 
Springs, at the foot of the Staked Plains, and found a band 
of Indians in charge of those springs. There was no water 
from that point to the Pecos River, some 150 miles away. Hurd 
opened negotiations with the Indians with a view of obtaining 



136 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

water, but they refused to let him have it, and he immediately 
formed his party, which was armed, and made an attack upon 
the Indians, and drove them away from the place. There were 
at least 200 of them. Hurd made no report of this to me, but 
a complaint was made to the Governor of the State of Texas, 
who sent to me for an explanation. As soon as I could reach 
Hurd I sent the complaint to him, and he answered it with a 
few lines. He said that he found the Indians there, and that 
they would not share the water with him or allow him to go 
to the springs, so he attacked them and they immediately ran 
away. Whether he hurt any of them he did not know or 
care. He said he knew it would never do for him to return 
to me and make a report that he could not obtain this w T ater, 
unless he had made an effort to do so. His reports on his work 
were always short, giving but little description unless in- 
structed to do so. He always relied upon his maps and profiles 
to indicate his work. 

After the completion of the Texas & Pacific surveys in 
1874, Hurd went North, and was employed upon different 
roads. In the '80s, he, with his uncle, S. B. Reed, was employed 
by the Canadian Pacific Railway in locating lines over and 
through the mountain division, and much of his work there 
stands as remarkable examples of mountain location, and a 
part of the Canadian Pacific Railway crossing the Rocky Moun- 
tains is built upon lines that he located. 

In 1886, when I commenced extending the Fort Worth & 
Denver City Railway to Denver, after putting my forces in 
Texas in the field I went to Denver on the cars in the spring 
of 1887. As I stepped off the train the first person I saw stand- 
ing on the platform was Hurd. We were both astonished to 
meet each other. The first question I asked Hurd was what 
he was doing. He answered that he had just come off some 
survey, and was at liberty. I told him to immediately proceed 
to Trinidad, and get an outfit and make a reconnoissance for 
me from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Pe Railway east, along 
the summit of the Raton Range, and find me the best pass over 
that range of mountains on as direct a line as possible from 
Trinidad to Tascosa, Texas, and to be ready to report to me 
within two weeks in Trinidad. When I drove through to Trini- 



A TRIBUTE TO MAJOR MARSHALL F. HURD 137 

dad I found Hurd waiting there for me. He said that he had 
found a good pass and believed he could locate a line through 
the mountains on a 1 per cent grade. I told him to organize a 
party immediately and make the location, and he accompanied 
me through what was then known as Emory Gap to show me 
the line he had selected. I approved it, and he made a remark- 
ably fine location with a 1 per cent equated grade. 

After the completion of this work Hurd was employed 
on some of the surveys in the Rocky Mountains for other com- 
panies, until his age became such that he could no longer keep 
the field. 

In 1874 Hurd married Maggie Fitzsimmons, at Ottumwa, 
Iowa. She died in 1886 and is buried in Ottumwa. She was 
a lovely, good character, a great comfort to Hurd, and her 
death was a severe loss to him. Only a few months after the 
death of his wife, his sister, Mrs. Hoyt, died. She was always 
very near to Hurd, and the double loss was very hard upon 
him. He said at the time: "I wonder who will be with me 
when I go." 

Hurd lived simply; he was never a money maker. He 
never seemed ambitious to make money, only to do his duty 
in whatever position was assigned him; never was particular 
about his salary, taking whatever was given him. His reputa- 
tion in camp was that he could keep and ration a party on 
less money than any engineer that was ever in my service. It 
was said of him that all he needed to keep himself alive was 
tobacco. I remember in driving across the country in 1887 
from Trinidad to Tascosa, Texas, that the person I had as- 
signed to put up the provisions for us had provided only sand- 
wiches, which, of course, became so dry in a few days that 
we could not eat them. I expected to obtain something for my 
party to eat when I reached Hurd's camp. When I arrived at 
the camp Hurd was out on the line, but I asked the cook if 
he had anything to eat, and he said "No," that they had just 
sent the teams to Trindad for provisions. I asked why they 
had not sent before, and he said the reason was that the "old 
man" had not run out of tobacco, and was never known to 
send for provisions so long as tobacco lasted, so we had to 
continue on our trip, living upon an antelope that I happened 



138 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

to kill the next day, and occasionally a few birds that we 
shot on the prairies. 

Hurd was always held in high esteem by all the engineers 
he worked with. He was very modest and reticent, and it was 
hard to keep him in conversation, but his work was always 
complete and satisfactory, and he would work a party longer 
and under more difficult circumstances than any engineer I 
ever knew. 

It is seldom that the work of such a man as Hurd is rec- 
ognized. People forget that it is the brains, energy and self- 
sacrifice of such men that have developed the great "West and 
made it the empire it is, and it is for this reason that I have 
felt that the simple tribute I pay him is due to him for his long 
and faithful service Avith me. 

During the latter part of his life the home of Hurd was 
in Denver, and it is in that city that he was laid to rest. His 
grave is marked by a simple shaft, the inscriptions on which 
record concisely the work of his life. They are as follows : 

"Marshall Farnam Hurd. Died March 4, 1903. aged 80 
years. Enlisted in Company A, Seventh Iowa Volunteers, Au- 
gust 28, 1863, and served during the Civil War. A brave, able 
and faithful comrade ; a prominent civil engineer, modest, but 
never failing to accomplish any work he was assigned to. 
Many of his mountain railway locations will stand as a monu- 
ment to his skill and adaptability to such difficult work. 

"Engineer Second Division, Sixteenth Army Corps. 

"Division Engineer Union Pacific Eailway, Texas & Pacific 
Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Fort Worth & Denver City 
and other railways. 

"This monument is erected by his comrade, Major-General 
Grenville M. Dodge, in testimony of his many years of loyal 
and faithful service under him." 



ADDRESS ON 'THE PIONEERS AND DEVELOPMENT OF 
THE WEST," GIVEN AT A BANQUET MARCH 10, 
1906, IN OMAHA. 



When a voice called me up on the telephone and informed 
me that this club desired to give me a luncheon at which I 
could meet some of my old friends, I was surprised and rather 
objected, but the voice took me back to early days, and I 
thought if those who were with me then carried their friend- 
ship so long and desired to see me, it was a great honor and 
satisfaction to me, and I accepted with great pleasure. 

Naturally when I meet you here under such circumstances 
my mind carries me back to the early '50s, when there was 
no Omaha and no Nebraska. The first time I crossed the Mis- 
souri River, with a small engineering party, I was greeted on 
this side by Indians. No white man lived here and no one in 
my party probably had ever seen an Indian before. My duties 
as chief of the party were to look up the country ahead, and 
the young boy who ran the party is a citizen today of Omaha. 
He was with me many years, an able, conscientious, hard 
working, faithful man, to whom I owe much, for he faithfully 
filled all his positions. He is well known in this city, and I am 
glad to say has been honored by it, I speak of Mr. J. E. House. 

I rode out to the Elkhorn River alone, leaving House to 
follow. On arriving at the Elkhorn I was tired, unsaddled to 
give illy horse a chance to graze, and lay down to take a nap, 
I was aroused by the neighing of my horse, and looking across 
the valley saw a Pawnee Indian taking him as fast as he could 
force him along towards the river. Naturally I was frightened 
and hardly knew what to do, but instinct told me I must have 
my horse, and grabbing my rifle I started out towards the 
Indian, hollowing at the top of my voice. The pony was evi- 
dently as frightened at the Indian as I was, and was stubborn 
in his movements, and the Indian finally dropped him and fled 
across the Elkhorn. 

139 



14 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

Ten or twelve years afterwards, when I was in command 
of this department, and was ordered to open the different mail 
and stage lines across the continent, which had been closed 
for some months by the Indians, I raised a battalion of Paw- 
nees to aid me as scouts and placed in command of them Major 
North, a very valuable officer, and they were of great service 
to me. The Indian who attempted to steal my horse was one 
of the battalion, and stated to Major North that I made so 
much noise that I scared the pony and himself so that he got 
away from me as fast as possible and never stopped running 
until he reached the Pawnee village across the Platte. 

On my return to the party I found it encamped on the 
emigrant road leading from Florence to the Elkhorn at the 
crossing of the Big Papillion. During the day the Indians had 
been helping themselves and the party was in a far from happy 
state of mind, in fact, the Indians had actual possession of the 
camp, and you can see my introduction to Nebraska was any- 
thing but a satisfactory one. 

Now, if I should try to portray to you or any one the 
experiences, the trials and the sufferings of the picket line of 
settlement and explorations in those days, you would declare 
it more fiction than fact. Early friendships made under such 
circumstances are calculated to last, and it is one of the great 
gratifications of my life that the ties that bound us together 
never have been sundered. I cannot tell you anything of 
Omaha today, but probably no one has a better knowledge 
of the circumstances and facts that founded Omaha as a future 
great city. If you knew them all, you could see upon what 
slender threads at times its existence depended. Omaha, as a 
city, was determined long before it was settled. It camfc from 
the settlement of the location on the Missouri River of the 
surveys made under the direction of Henry Farnam and Wil- 
liam Sheffield far in advance of any settlement of this territory. 
It fell to my lot, under the direction of that distinguished 
engineer and more distinguished citizen, Peter A. Dey, to 
make the first survey across the State of Iowa and to determine 
where in all probability a line would end upon the Missouri 
River in this parallel of latitude and where any railroad being 
built west would leave this river. None of you know the inter- 



THE PIONEERS OF THE WEST 141 

ests involved and the matters raised in determining that point. 
My survey demonstrated that the true engineering and com- 
mercial line crossing Iowa should come down the Mosquito 
and end at Council Bluffs, and going w T est the line should cross 
to the Platte Valley and up that to the mountains, and so on 
west. The financial interests in Iowa were favorable to a line 
running down the Pigeon and crossing to Florence ; another 
diversion was by Bellevue, another south of the Platte, and 
a fourth crossing at the mouth of the Boyer, and all these lines 
I examined. 

Before my surveys had been finally determined the parties 
interested had planted their stakes at Florence and announced 
that as the crossing place of the Missouri River. My reports 
were sustained by Mr. Dey, and finally the decision made was 
reversed and the crossing determined to be opposite this place. 
This being determined, I was authorized to commence work 
at Council Bluffs, provided I could obtain local aid, and Pot- 
tawattamie County gave me $300,000 in bonds and Mr. Farnam 
furnished the funds for doing the grading and what work was 
done up to the time that all work in the state was stopped on 
account of the panic. There is no doubt that the final deter- 
mination of what is now known as the Rock Island Railway 
crossing the Missouri River, was what first drew the attention 
of people to Omaha and that brought to the Bluffs every rail- 
road survey at that time being made across the state, and I 
think there are men at this table who will say to you that that 
was the real first beginning of Omaha. 

In 1859, if I recollect rightly, on my way from re*eon- 
noissances west with my party, which had been out the entire 
summer, I camped my party in Council Bluffs and went to the 
Pacific House. At that time Abraham Lincoln was visiting the 
Bluffs, He heard of my return from my surveys and sought 
me out at the Pacific House, and on the porch of that hotel he 
sat with me for two hours or more and drew out of me all the 
facts I had obtained in my surveys and naturally my opinion 
as to the route for a railroad west, and as to the feasibility of 
building it. I thought no more of this at the time than that 
possibly I had been giving away secrets that belonged to my 
employers in this work. 



142 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

In 1863, whilst in command of the District of Corinth, 
Mississippi, I received a despatch from General Grant to pro- 
ceed to Washington and report to the President. No explana- 
tion coming with despatch. I was a little alarmed, for there 
had come to me at Corinth a great many negroes and I had 
placed them in what was known as a contraband camp and 
had placed over them certain soldiers as guards. This caused 
me a good deal of annoyance and trouble. The white soldiers 
did not like the duty and took every opportunity to annoy the 
negroes, even in some cases going as far as to shoot them. The 
superintendent of the camp was Chaplain Alexander of an 
Ohio regiment, a very able and excellent man, and he sug- 
gested one day to me that he believed that negroes would be 
better to guard the contraband camp than white soldiers. I 
authorized him to raise one or two companies and I armed 
them, solely for the purpose of guarding these negroes. I had 
no authority to do this and I did not at the time appreciate 
the importance that was to be given to it. There were many 
protests against this, and in the command there was consi- i 
derable opposition to it, and I thought that my call to Wash- 
ington was possibly to be called to account for this act. 

When I reached Washington and reported to the President 
I soon ascertained that I was there for a consultation in regard 
to the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railway. He had 
remembered his conversation with me on the Pacific House 
porch, and under the law it had been made his duty to deter- 
mine the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific road, and those 
of you who remember that time know what pressure was 
brought to bear on the President to name different points far 
north and far south of this. After a long conversation with 
me, obtaining my views fully and the reasons for them, the 
President finally determined to make it, as you all know, on 
the western border of Iowa, opposite this city. That decision, 
in my opinion, settled beyond all question the future of your 
city and your state. 

I wish to say here that while my surveys and my conclu- 
sions may have been of great benefit to you, still they were 
made because there was no question, from an engineering 
point of view, where the line crossing Iowa and going west 



THE PIONEERS OF THE WEST 143 

from this river, should cross the Missouri River, and it was 
also my conclusion that it was the commercial line. The Lord 
had so constructed the country that any engineer who failed 
to take advantage of the great open road from here west to 
Salt Lake would not have been fit to belong to the profession; 
600 miles of it up a single valley without a grade to exceed 
fifteen feet; the natural pass over the Rocky Mountains, the 
lowest in all the range, and the divide of the continent, instead 
of being a mountain summit, has a basin 500 feet below the 
general level. It was a gratification to me at the time to have 
the support of all the people in the vicinity of this country in 
my views. There is no telling how much influence it had and 
weight it carried, and without being invidious or partial, I 
really think that Omaha and Nebraska today owe more to my 
old friend and always faithful comrade and supporter, Dr. 
George L. Miller, for the success of these efforts, than any 
other man. I could show you many of the benefits he brought 
to you, even more than he knows himself, and he was the 
most unselfish and determined continuous fighter for his city 
and state that I ever knew, and I take pleasure here in his 
own home in paying my tribute to him. 

Now. gentlemen, this city and state for their great pros- 
perity, after the fact, are mostly indebted to the Union Pacific 
Railway. It blazed the way across the continent. They took 
all the chances and solved the problem of the building of a 
railroad to the Pacific, not only from an engineering point of 
view, but also from a commercial one, and it was, therefore, 
easy after that for all roads to follow. It was at that time a 
very great problem if a road built could ever earn its interest. 
After its completion the Board of Directors of the company 
requested me to make an estimate of the gross earnings per 
mile for the next ten years. They desired an estimate from 
which they could prove to the people that it would be able to 
pay the interest upon the first mortgage bonds, and after 
calling to my aid all the people who had knowledge of the 
capabilities of the country west of the Missouri River, as well 
as those of China and Japan, and, in fact, of all Asia, the best 
I could do was to report to them gross earnings within ten 
years of $5,000 per mile, and if I remember rightly, in less 



144 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

than five years the road earned $10,000 per mile. So you see 
how little those who had the best knowledge of this country 
appreciated what its development would bring about. 

The earnings of the Union Pacific made it safe for any 
other road to enter the territory, and to the Farnams, the 
Ameses, the Dillons, Goulds, Scott, Huntington and Stamford 
in an early day, and to Perkins, Miller, Cable, Hewitt and many 
others of a later day, this country should give great honor and 
no abuse. It has been the fashion in our day to hold up to 
the coming generation the names of Astor, Vanderbilt and 
the noted Knickerbockers as the great men, commercially, for 
them to follow. These men invested their money in the east, 
where it was safe and sure of dividends, but the men who 
developed the country and brought in their millions without 
one cent in return, they are the ones you and all others are 
indebted to for their foresight, their risking everything and- 
finally building up a great empire west of the lakes. Most of 
those of the earlier day have passed away, and this country 
is now awakening to the credit due them, which I hope will 
sometime be paid them. 

When you come down to the present time, I admit that 
I am not up to the times. I never dreamed that the Union 
Pacific Railroad would control the Southern Pacific. My fear 
was always that the ownership would be in the Southern 
Pacific. You must not sit still and pass by what there is for 
you here in this great control. Your business men must get 
near to the throne, and use your energies like Miller and 
Hitchcock, and Saunders and Millard and many others did in 
an earlier day to take the benefits of these new developments. 
Nor need you be afraid of the great combinations just com- 
pleted in the northwest. It will not raise the rates of freight 
one mill nor of passengers one cent. The men at the head of 
that gigantic enterprise are broad-minded. They have thought 
and built well, and they will bring stability, development and 
great wealth, that cannot but be of great benefit to you. You 
must not forget one of the great advantages of such combina- 
tions to a new country. They have behind them such an im- 
mense capital that when you go to them with any project that 
has merit in it, for the development of your country, they are 



THE PIONEERS OF THE WEST 145 

able to adopt it and carry it out, whilst in an earlier day 
projects were often presented to those who controlled the 
internal improvements of this country which they saw the 
merits of and were anxious to take hold of, but it was impos- 
sible for them to obtain the capital at those times to do it. 
Nor must you forget what this combination means. The coun- 
try west of here has hardly been scratched and with the brains 
and capital of the country pushing forward its development 
with steam and electricty and air, what one here can prophesy 
what fifty years will develop between here and the Pacific 
ocean? 

I know there is some nervousness among people about 
these great combinations, but those that are not upon a solid 
basis will topple over from their overweight, and the others 
will continue and grow and bring stability to all kinds of busi- 
ness. The commercial man wants to know that he can safely 
lay down plans for six months or a year, and under such direc- 
tion he can safely do it, and it is a mistake to attack them 
before you are hurt. You will find greater benefits coming to 
your country by supporting and aiding them rather than by 
abuse and opposition. 

New blood must take the place of old, and I bid you God- 
speed in your efforts. And now, my friends, in our old age 
the great satisfaction to all of you and to me is to know that 
our early efforts are both recognized and appreciated ; that 
the old friendships acquired in trials and tribulations are still 
fresh and true, and to my old friends and all of you I wish I 
knew how to express to you what is in my heart, but I cannot. 
I can only say, I thank you with all my heart. 



LETTER TO THE IOWA RAILWAY CLUB, DES MOINES, 
IOWA, MAY 25, 1908. 



Mr. C. W. Jones, President Iowa Railway Club, Des Moines, 
Iowa. 

Dear Sir: It is with deepest regret that I find myself un- 
able on account of an illness, not serious, but which makes it 
impossible for me to travel, to be present at the reunion of the 
old-time railway men of Iowa, for it was my good fortune early 
in 1853 to cross the Mississippi River and be one of a party 
under Mr. Peter A. Dey, one of the most distinguished railroad 
engineers and citizens, that made the first survey across the 
State of Iowa from the Mississippi River at Davenport to 
Council Bluffs on the Missouri River, and to take part in the 
building of that line to Iowa City. I think it was the first 
railroad built in the State of Iowa. I take great pleasure and 
great satisfaction in extending my greetings to my railroad 
comrades of that day. 

It has also been my good fortune to have continued my 
railroad work from that day to this, even including the Civil 
War, for in my duties there I had to destroy and rebuild many 
miles of road, so I can claim not only to have been in the be- 
ginning, but a veteran in the service, and in all these years 
I have seen the work of you men that has developed and 
brought such prosperity to this country. 

The men of the early day who risked their fortunes and 
their credit to develop this great country are not only entitled 
to our thanks, but monuments should be raised to the work 
which they accomplished, for most of them waited many many 
years before they received any returns from the vast invest- 
ments which they made. The railroads of this country were 
most of them built far ahead of the population's demand and 
were the pioneers in the development and settlement of the 
country. These men have never received the credit that is 
due them, but some day when the history of the railroads of 

147 



148 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

the United States is written, the risk they took, the work 
they accomplished will equal that of any other performance 
in our or any other country. To you who were in the begin- 
ning it is not necessary to relate the exposure, hardship and 
privations that railroad men of our class had to contend with 
and how different our work in those days was, compared with 
what it is under the present modern conditions. Still I claim 
we performed our work as efficiently with an interest in it and 
esprit de corps that was equal comparatively with the work 
of our railroad comrades of today. 

We have seen the railroads of a few thousand miles of 
that day grow until in the United States we have nearly, if 
not quite, 240,000 miles, and in our state we have seen built 
a network of them that I believe covers every county in 
the state, probably giving our state as good, if not better, 
transportation services than that of any other state in our 
Union, although we are simply an agricultural state and it 
is this fact that has made our state so prominent a factor in 
all matters of national importance, and that has given it such 
universal and individual prosperity. 

The railroad problem of today is a far different one from 
what it was in your day. Then the whole aim and effort of the 
country was to obtain the building of railroads. Great bonuses 
in stock were given to capital that would invest in them ; it 
was the only method of obtaining the construction of roads ; 
even those that had land grants in our day which now are 
considered of such great worth, added very little in the nego- 
tiations of the securities that built the road. 

The growth of the country, its business, its population has 
brought about an entirely different state of affairs. Legisla- 
tion of today for the police and control of railroads all tends 
to prevent the building of new roads and to enhance the value 
of old ones, so that now the transportation of the country is 
organized in great systems instead of as in an early day where 
every road was running in its own interest and independent 
of every one of its connections. It is a singular fact in this 
modern legislation that the people best equipped for forming 
it and carrying it out have been very little considered. There- 
fore, much of it is impracticable and has been found by the 



LETTER TO THE IOWA RAILWAY CLUB 149 

courts impossible. That of it which has been put in force has 
been acquiesced in by the railroads and they are working now 
with the Interstate Commerce and State Commissions in har- 
mony and endeavoring to comply with the laws and decisions, 
not only in the letter but in the spirit, and, as our people get 
experience in these matters, I have no doubt, myself, that the 
legislation will be made practical and of benefit to the roads 
and to the people. 

Experience shows the people as they investigate this mat- 
ter that the railroad problem is a very hard one to solve and 
that it takes long experience to frame laws that will accomplish 
the objects they have in view. One of the most mistaken ideas 
that our country has in relation to the railroads of this coun- 
try is the statement often made by officials and through the 
press that the railroads of this country are over capitalized, 
that their stock is mostly water. People forget that since the 
roads were first built that out of their earnings millions upon 
millions of dollars have gone in for their improvement and 
betterment, for building up their great commercial business, 
and that their value has increased with that of other products 
and industries of our country. They forget that the life of the 
railroad now is only about twelve years and that it has to be 
rebuilt, so that during our time most of the roads of the United 
States have been rebuilt three times and the rebuilding of them 
has one-half of it come out of its earnings and all this has been 
added to its capital without the issue of bonds or stock. 

When you go back to our day and remember that our rails 
were iron and only about forty or fifty pounds to the yard 
in weight, our cars were of twenty tons, our locomotives of 
thirty tons, and that now our rails are steel and run from 
seventy-five to 105 pounds to the yard, our cars from forty 
to sixty tons, our locomotives sixty to 100 tons on the drivers, 
and that most of our roads in their bridges, in their shops, 
and all of its improvements have had to be reconstructed in 
the same way and are only today being made permanent ; 
when you consider that in an early day the question of ter- 
minals was never a factor, while today the terminals of some 
roads passing through some cities cost more than the road 
itself; when you see such roads as the Pennsylvania spending 



150 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

$100,000,000 to get its passenger trains only into New York 
City, and the New York Central spending an equal amount 
to enlarge its passenger facilities in New York; when you 
see such great systems in the West as the Union Pacific and the 
Southern Pacific having spent in the last five years over $200,- 
000,000 to reduce their curvatures and grades and to see the 
immense sums that have to be spent all over the United States 
to develop the capacity of the properties, you can then begin 
to comprehend the fact which staticians who have examined 
the question thoroughly say that the railroads of the United 
States today are not over capitalized. In other words, there 
has been more actual money put into them than their stock 
and the bonds represent. This has been attested to by the 
President of the United States, who probably has given it 
closer attention than anyone else outside of the railroads, and 
by the Interstate Commerce Commission, who have also given 
it great study, and they have both given the opinion that the 
roads today of the United States are not over capitalized, and 
that fact is becoming patent to the people of the United States, 
for the great increase in stockholders in the roads of the 
United States today shows that instead of these properties 
being in the hands of a few wealthy men, as is often asserted, 
they are owned most in this country by a vast number of 
stockholders, which is increasing daily. 

It is the duty of us who have been long connected with 
the roads, or who were connected with them in an early day, 
to do what we can to educate the people of the United States 
as to the real facts in connection with railroading. In my 
opinion where the railroad people have been lacking in their 
duties is in not educating the people as the years went by, 
and setting forth more clearly to them the railroad interests 
and their intentions. The fact is that every railroad man has 
been so busy looking after the proper administration of his 
property that he has very seldom or ever gone into a defense 
or explanation of his work. As a proof of this I have been a 
railroad man continuously since I was 19 years old and this 
is the first letter that I have ever written that in any way 
went to a defense of the railroads of the country. I have been 
in favor from the beginning with a great many other railroad 



LETTER TO THE IOWA RAILWAY CLUB 151 

men of the country who were among the first to bring the 
necessity to the Government's attention of proper legislation 
for bringing about uniformity, in all service, reasonable and 
fixed rates without rebates with proper control of the railroads 
of the United States. The necessity for this has only come in 
the last few years, and it is recognized now almost universally 
by railroad men, and your association can do a great deal to 
continue it in a sensible and profitable way, and I trust at this 
meeting a permanent organization of the railroad men will be 
formed for this state. 

Every one of you should be proud of the fact that you 
have been a part of and did your duty in the great railroad 
field that numbers many of our ablest men and officials of our 
country, that you have been a part of that great system which 
employes over a million and a half of our population, and as 
one of you, the highest compliment that can be paid me when 
I am gone is that I was over fifty years one of the railroad 
fraternity of the United States and did my duty to the best 
of my ability. 

It is a great disappointment to me that I cannot be present 
with you, to first grasp by the hand my old chief, Peter A. Dey, 
whom I hold to be one of the ablest of the railroad men of our 
country, one of the squarest, fairest and most just of all the 
men I ever met, and the two Houses, J. E. and George, who 
were in our little party that crossed the Mississippi River 
in 1853. 



DESCRIPTION OF NORWICH UNIVERSITY GIVEN AT 
THE ANNUAL BANQUET, APRIL 3, 1893. 



We have with us this evening, besides those directly eon- 
'nected with Norwich University, representatives of West Point, 
Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Hamilton and the University of 
Vermont, as well as a delegation from the Brooklyn Society 
of Vermonters. Many of them probably do not know much 
about Norwich University, and,* for their information, I have 
compiled from the records a short statement which I will read. 

Norwich University was founded by Captain Alden Part- 
rigde, in 1819. Captain Partridge had been the commandant 
of West Point, and left there to found a literary, scientific and 
military academy at Norwich, Vermont, and there started trfe 
first scientific, classical and military college in the United 
States. It was the first institution to lay down a thoroughly 
scientific course of study, and, up to the time of the Rebellion, 
it was the only one which embraced a thorough military, classi- 
cal and scientific course. Its second commander was Colonel 
Truman B. Ransom, who left* to take command of the Ninth 
New England Regiment in the war with Mexico, and who was 
killed while leading his regiment in the assault upon Chapul- 
tepec, Mexico, his last words being, "Forward, the Ninth!" 
The University has never had one cent of endowment. It has 
been always poor, struggling for existence, and its cadets were 
mostly poor boys, working their way through college by their 
own efforts. In the War of the Rebellion its record, according 
to its numbers, is far beyond any civil institution of learning 
in the country. In 1864 its roster, as partially completed, 
showed then in the service, twelve generals, twenty-five colo- 
nels, forty field officers, fifty-five captains, 142 lieutenants on 
the Union side. There were a great many on the Confederate 
side, but no roster of them has ever been made. 

Its roll of honor includes Harney, Buell, T. E. G. Ransom, 
Terry, Seymour, Strong, Milroy, Louden, Seth Williams, 

153 



154 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 



Wright, Baxter of the Medical Department, Dewey, Abbott, 
Converse, Colvocoresses and others of the Navy, and many 
other equally good soldiers and sailors. 

General Grant often paid high tribute to Norwich Uni- 
versity, and, in his promotion and commendation of its cadets, 
gave them the highest command and great honor, placing one 
of them, a brigadier-general, at the head of a corps, where 
he remained until he was promoted to major-general, while 
major-generals in the same army were commanding divisions.. 

General Sherman never failed, when Norwich University 
was spoken of, to commend it, and he paid it the highest hon- 
ors by giving to two of its graduates (I think then the young- 
est two generals of their rank in his army) the command of 
corps, one of whom, Ransom (son of Colonel Truman B. Ran- 
som, who was killed at the assault upon Chapultepec) died, 
while leading the Seventeenth Army Corps in the oha&e after 
Hood. 

In speaking of this institution publicly at one time, while 
paying tribute to one of its cadets, General Sherman spoke 
as follows : 

"Norwich University, then, as since, a college of great 
renown. This military school at one time almost rivaled the 
National Military Academy at West Point, and there many a 
man* who afterwards became famous in the Mexican War and 
Civil War first drank in the inspiration of patriotism and 
learned the lessons of the art of war, which enabled him, out 
of unorganized masses of men, to make compact companies, 
regiments and brigades of soldiers, to act as a single body in 
the great game of war. I have been at Norwich, which is 
situated on the western bank of the beautiful Connecticut 
River, directly opposite the venerable University of Dart- 
mouth, and believe that such picturesque surroundings make 
an impression on the mind which purifies and imbues it with 
an exalted lover of nature and one's country." 

Since that time Norwich University has removed to North- 
field, Vermont. 

Norwich University is today more prosperous than ever 
before. The State of Vermont has given it official recognition, 
and I believe that each State Senator of their legislature is 



DESCRIPTION OP NORWICH UNIVERSITY 155 

entitled to appoint one cadet to the university, and that the 
state pays for his tuition. 

There are a few of us who meet here now yearly to keep 
alive the spirit and principles of the college, holding closely 
to its military department. It has stood first in work of all 
the military colleges of our country and ranks next to West 
Point in the graduates it turns out and in the service given 
in the Civil "War. 



NORWICH UNIVERSITY IN THE CIVIL WAR, AT THE 
ANNUAL BANQUET IN NEW YORK IN 1902. 



I take great pleasure in welcoming you to the banquet of 
the New York Association of Norwich University. The dis- 
tinguishing feature of this university is that nine-tenths of 
its students are dependent upon their own efforts, not only 
for their education, but their future in the world, and there 
is no doubt that from this fact so many of its cadets have been 
successful in all the walks of life. It is a military college. 
Its first president was the first commandant of West Point, 
and from its organization until today it has stood first in the 
records of the War Department as compared with other insti- 
tutions of a similar character, and second only to West Point. 

In the Mexican War its president, Truman R. Ransom, and 
most of the cadets entered the service of the United States. 
Ransom was colonel of the New England regiment, and fell 
in the assault upon Chapultepec. 

In the Civil War 90 per cent of its living cadets entered 
the service, mostly as officers, on one side or the other, and, 
as the history of the university shows, many of them rose to 
the highest rank and highest commands in. the service. The 
university received the commendations of Generals Grant, 
Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas and others, and Norwich Uni- 
versity cadets were always selected next to those from West 
Point, for important and difficult demands. There are present 
here tonight those who were cadets during the Civil War whose 
whole class enlisted. In fact, the whole university turned out, 
suspending the functions of the. institution for two years. 

In the Spanish War it is said that 85 per cent of its living 
cadets volunteered for service, and were distinguished on many 
fields. Many of them are still in the service. It was equally 
as well represented in our navy in both wars. It was one of 
its cadets that struck the first effective blow in the Spanish 
War, and another cadet. Commander Colvocoresses, who com- 

157 



158 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

manded one of the vessels, after the naval battle at Manila, 
went alongside the Olympia to pay his respects and congratu- 
late Admiral Dewey upon his great victory. Admiral Dewey, 
who saw Colvocoresses as he came alongside in his launch, 
leaned over the rail and said, "Colv., old N. U. is ahead yet," 
showing no matter what his after life or education had been, 
he gave the credit for his success to his alma mater. 

In civil life its cadets have greatly distinguished them- 
selves as engineers, and in other professional lines. Probably 
I can say that there is no one who has had as many of the 
cadets of Norwich University under him as I have, both in 
the Civil War, and later in the internal improvements of the 
country, and to my knowledge there has been no failure among 
them. They have universally taken their places and held them 
until they went to higher positions. The university today is 
the military college of the State of Vermont, which assigns to 
it a representative cadet for each senatorial district. 

I believe myself there is no education so beneficial to a 
young man as that which gives discipline, respect for power 
and obedience to orders, and the drill and exercise add to the 
health of the student, so when he steps out into the world to 
fight his way he is better equipped than those who have gone 
through college without this physical and mental training. 

I am happy to say that the university has never been so 
prosperous as it is today. The interest in it is growing, and 
it is a great satisfaction to the old cadets to see and feel the 
high esteem in which it is held throughout the country. In 
comparison with other colleges few in numbers, but in acts 
and all things that go to make and defend a great country we 
stand the peer of the best institutions of learning our country 
has produced. 

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome the large at- 
tendance at this, our annual banquet, and to congratulate you 
upon the prosperity of old N. XL, and also upon the presence 
of so many distinguished officers of the army, which indicates 
better than anything else the interest taken in the growth of 
the military colleges of the country by the War Department 
and regular army, and the appreciation of their usefulness 
in the building up of a great national reserve, such as other 



NORWICH UNIVERSITY IN THE CIVIL WAR 159 

countries have, that can be placed in the field ready for service 
in a short time. Secretary Root was the first to fully recognize 
the advantage to the army of ultilizing their work, and since 
his time Major-General Bell has carried out and developed 
his .plans, and a late order of his has gone forth in advance 
of Secretary Root, as it places our honor graduates in the army 
without mental examination. 

I saw not long ago a criticism from some officers of" the 
General Staff that graduates of military colleges did not show 
a disposition to enter the army in times of war, and citing the 
Spanish War as an example, there being but few officers in 
the volunteers coming from the military colleges and schools. 
I think their conclusion does not show a very deep study of 
the organization of our volunteer force in the Spanish War, 
or such a statement would not have been made. There is pres- 
ent here tonight a former distinguished officer of the regular 
army who had charge of the organization of the volunteer 
force in the Spanish War who can bear me out in the state- 
ment that the policy adopted by the Government at the insti- 
gation of the Governors of the different states was to place 
in the service intact the National Guard of these states, and 
the volunteer forces of the war were organized on that plan. 
As I recollect, the regiments mustered into the service took 
about 90 per cent of their officers and only 40 per cent of their 
enlisted men. When it came to the enlistments for the Philip- 
pines, the War Department took that directly under its own 
charge, and selected the officers of the regiments, and naturally 
and justly gave preference to officers and enlisted men who 
had shown fitness and ability in the service in Cuba, and 
selected them as officers in these Philippine regiments. This 
almost excluded officers outside of the National Guard on 
account of the limited number organized and mustered in. I 
think it would have been much fairer to the military colleges 
to have gone back to the methods of the Civil War where 
nearly all enlistments were voluntary, and officered by the 
Governor of each state. At that time there was in the North 
but one military college that I know of, and that was Norwich 
University. In the South there were several. One that I know 
of was in northern Alabama, in the Tennessee Valley. I saw 



160 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

it burned down by my troops in the campaign up the Tennessee 
to the rear of Bragg for the purpose of destroying the stores 
accumulated by him along the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. 
A company of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry struck the military 
institute, and considering that it came within my orders for 
the destruction of material and supplies that could be used 
by the enemy, burned it and reported it officially to me. As I 
said, I saw it burn, and regretted it, as it was contrary to my 
orders. However, since the war I have tried to aid its trustees 
in establishing their claim for payment by the Government 
on account of its destruction. There was another military in- 
stitution in Virginia, and I think in one or two other Southern 
states, though I am not certain. But take the record of Nor- 
wich University with which we are acquainted. The president 
had just compiled from our records a roster of its cadets who 
served in the Mexican and Civil War, and here it is ; I will 
read it : 

Major-generals 8 

Brevet major-generals 2 

Other general officers 11 

Brevet brigadier generals 18 

Colonels 43 

Lieutenant-colonels 29 

Majors 37 

Captains 144 

First lieutenants 72 

Second lieutenants 42 

Surgeons 23 

Foreign service 63 

Privates 60 

Admirals 1 

Rear admirals 5 

Commodores 7 

Captains 5 

Commanders 3 

Lieutenants 11 

Ensigns 1 

Engineers 3 



NORWICH UNIVERSITY IN THE CIVIL WAR 161 

Midshipmen 14 

Chaplains 1 

Drill masters rank not known 3 

Warrant officers and miscellaneous 8 

Commissioned officers with war service 485 

Total with war service 584 

Total with militia service only 143 

All with military or naval service 717 

The enrollment at Norwich University for the thirty years 
from 1835 to 1864 was 956, and 427 of these served in the Civil 
War as officers, or 46 per cent of the total enrollment. Of 
course, many of those enrolled during the thirty years had 
died, so the percentage should really be much larger. 

The enrollment at the Virginia Military Institute for same 
period was 1,430. Nine hundred and eighty-six of its cadets 
served in the Civil War, of which 563 were commissioned offi- 
cers, or 68 per cent. I have no doubt in case of war and the 
opportunity was offered, the military colleges would furnish 
as large a percentage as they did in the Civil War. 

The attendance at Norwich University up to the time of 
the Civil War was seldom more than fifty, and I think it is 
fair to state that no institution of learning ever turned out 
such a proportion of its students to serve its country, and none 
other can show the distinction they attained in the service. 
Although I do not state it as a fact, I believe it compares 
favorably with West Point. If you go into civil life, into the 
scientific professions, you will find that the graduates of the 
military colleges, in proportion to their numbers, hold the most 
important positions and have accomplished the most important 
work. If you go into the development of the country and its 
internal improvements you will find these graduates very 
prominent. In the Civil War General Grant and General 
Sherman paid their tribute to them, not only in words, but 
in deeds. When it came to the selection of officers for important 
commands, especially independent commands, they took first 
the graduates of West Point, next the graduates of these col- 
leges. No matter what you read or hear, in the army and navy, 
as in all professions and industries, the educated soldier must 
come to the front first. The rest have to learn from years of 



162 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

experience what they know from the beginning, and for that 
reason in building up a great national reserve for our country, 
(which we are bound to have), each year our military schools 
will become a great and prominent factor, and will be more 
and more utilized by the Government. 

I am opposed to war, and will go as far as any man to 
prevent it, but am a firm believer that peace can only be pre- 
served by having an army and navy, and a reserve that can 
be put into the field ready to meet any force it is possible for 
any country to bring against us. This will insure peace, and 
I hope ere long a permanent agreement will be made by all 
nations to arbitrate and carry out the plans of our Govern- 
ment which were so forcibly and ably presented at the Hague 
conference. 

As to the standing of these military colleges, I call your 
attention to the reports of inspection made by the War Depart- 
ment in 1903 on Norwich University. They are too long to 
read, but nearly all the questions asked by the War Depart- 
ment and General Staff are answered favorably, and the final 
statement for 1907 is as follows : 

"The general excellent condition of the military depart- 
ment of this university reported last year has been maintained. 
The work here is very satisfactory, and the college authorities 
deserve all possible encouragement and assistance from the 
War Department in their efforts to maintain their high military 
standing. Lieutenant Chapman's seelction for this duty was a 
very fortunate one. 

"MICHAEL J. LENIHAN, 

"Captain General Staff, 

"Inspector." 

It is a singular fact that the charitable people who give 
large sums for the maintenance and endowment of colleges 
and schools of the country, seldom, if ever, give to the military 
college, so that young boys who enter these schools go there 
from an instinct or love of the military feature of them, and 
are. therefore, of necessity bound to make good soldiers and 
good officers. Most of those who go to these colleges have to 
work their way through, and seek employment on their merits 



NORWICH UNIVERSITY IN THE CIVIL WAR 163 

alone, and are taught lessons they never forget. I have in 
view an object lesson of this kind which occurred on one of 
our roads during this last fall. Our trainmen struck at noon 
one day without any warning to us, and left their trains stand- 
ing. When our employes learned this, under the lead of a 
graduate of Norwich University who is an employe of the 
road, they volunteered to man the trains and run them for us. 
I think we were not obliged to bring in any additional men, 
and in about two weeks, the strikers, seeing the spirit and 
esprit de corps in the employes of the company, returned to 
their work without obtaining any of the demands they had 
made. It is the education received in these colleges that brings 
about an interest in their employer's work. Its graduates are 
fitted for any position in life. First, because of the training 
which gives them strength and health and second, because 
daily they are taught honesty and industry, respect to author- 
ity, loyalty to the Government, and finally absolute obedience 
to orders. 



V -M^->% 











"':<' 



ADDRESS BEFORE THE VERMONT SOCIETY OF NEW 
YORK ON NORWICH UNIVERSITY, 1903. 



For your kindly greeting, and the honor you have con- 
ferred upon me, by electing me a honorary member of your 
society, you have my grateful thanks. 

When a young boy I spent four years among the green 
hills, beautiful valleys, and sweet, honest, hearty homes of 
Vermont. I thought then they were years of hard toil, of vexa- 
tions and of submission to older boys who wore brass buttons, 
and sat down upon me severely, and I longed to see them over ; 
but from that day to this they were my happiest hours, free 
from care and responsibility, and for the benefit I received, and 
the lessons they taught me, for the discipline in mind, thought 
and action, and the respect to authority that- was drilled into 
me, I am here tonight, not only to thank the State of Vermont, 
but to say a few words for the institution that sent me forth 
so well equipped to meet the world. Bancroft Library 

The Green Mountain Boys have not only always faced the 
enemy, but have made a record on the battlefield, second to 
no other state. Vermont's killed and wounded in battle, the 
success of her troops and the ability with which they were 
commanded in each engagement is known to you all. She 
stands, if I remember rightly, second on the roster, not only 
in killed and wounded in a regiment, but in the largest per- 
centage of the killed and wounded, according to the number 
of troops furnished by each state. 

Among the leading officers of the army the question has 
often been discussed why this was so. I think it was that her 
troops were so well commanded. This came from the fact 
that for forty-two years before the War of the Rebellion she 
had a standing object lesson in the necessity and benefits of 
a military education before her youth in Norwich University. 

The history of that university and its record in war and 
peace, will demonstrate to you one of the principal reasons 

165 



166 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

that has placed our little state of Vermont so high on the roll 
of honor of this nation, and when I recite it to you I know it 
will receive at your hands the credit due to it from the Sons 
of Vermont. 

Captain Alden Partridge, the commandant of West Point, 
left there in 1819, to found a literary, scientific and military 
academy at Norwich, Vermont, and there started the first 
private scientific, classical and military college in the United 
States. 

It was incorporated as Norwich University in 1834, and 
was modelled after West Point. It was the first institution to 
lay down a thoroughly scientific course of study, and, up to 
the time of the Rebellion, is was the only one which embraced 
a thoroughly military, classical and scientific course. 

From the time of its foundation until today, in its military 
and scientific features, it has stood second to our national 
academy. It is by its charter non-sectarian. The dicipline, dis- 
tinction and duties of an officer and a soldier are maintained 
throughout its course. 

The university is maintained on less than $5,000 a year. It 
has never had one cent endowment. It has always been poor, 
struggling for existence, and its cadets were mostly poor boys, 
working their way through college by their own efforts. The 
expense of a cadet, including everything, it not necessarily over 
$200 a year, and of cadets appointed by the state, not over 
$150; this alone teaches economy, industry and self-reliance. 

The cadets wear a uniform patterned after West Point, 
thus avoiding extravagance in dress. Their military duties 
and studies take every hour in the day from 6 a. in. to 9 p. m., 
preventing idleness and negligence. The drill and exercise 
make hearty, healthy men. who often march thirty to forty 
miles per day carrying the equipment of a soldier. 

In the War of the Rebellion its record is far beyond any 
civil institution of learning in the country. In 1864, its roster, 
as partially completed, showed then in the service, twelve 
generals, twenty-five colonels, forty field officers, fifty-five cap- 
tains, 142 lieutenants, and many non-commissioned officers and 
privates on the Union side. 



ADDRESS ON NORWICH UNIVERSITY 167 

There were a great many on the Confederate side, but 
no roster of them has ever been made. During the AVar of the 
Rebellion the undergraduates enlisted so fast that for two 
years there was no commencement at the university. The sec- 
ond commander of the university was Colonel Truman B. Ran- 
som, who resigned to take command of the Ninth New England 
Regiment in the war with Mexico, and who was killed while 
leading his regiment in the assault upon Chapultepec, Mexico, 
his last words being, "Forward, the Ninth!" 

The roll of honor includes Harney Buel, the three Ransoms, 
Seymour, Strong, Milroy, Louden, Seth Williams, Bryant, 
Wright, Baxter of the Medical Department, Abbott, Converse 
and others of the navy, and many other equally good soldiers 
and sailors. 

General Grant often paid high tribute to Norwich Uni- 
versity, and in his promotion and commendation of its cadets, 
gave them the highest command and great honor, placing one 
of them, a brigadier-general, at the head of a corps, where he 
remained until he was promoted to major-general, while major- 
generals in the same army were commanding divisions. 

General Sherman never failed, when Norwich University 
was spoken of, to commend it, and he paid it the highest hon- 
ors by giving two of its graduates (I think then the two young- 
est generals of their rank in his army), the command of corps, 
one of whom, Ransom (son of Truman B. Ransom, who was 
killed at the ^ault upon Chapultepec), died while leading 
the Seventh Army Corps in the chase after Hood. 

In speaking of this institution publicly at one time, while 
paying a tribute to one of its cadets, General Sherman spoke 
as follows : 

"Norwich University, then as since, a college of great 
renown. This military school at one time almost rivaled the 
National Military Academy at West P@int, and there many a 
man who afterwards became famous in the Mexican War and 
Civil War, first drank in the inspiration of patriotism and 
learned the lesson of the art of war, which enabled him, out 
of unorganized masses of men, to make compact companies, 
regiments and brigades of soldiers to act as a single body in the 
great game of war. 



168 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

"I have been at Norwich, which is situated on the western 
bank of the beautiful Connecticut River, directly opposite the 
venerable University of Dartmouth, and believe that*such pic- 
turesque surroundings make an impression on the mind which 
purines and imbues it with an exalted love of nature and one's 
country. ' ' 

Next to its military renown, its cadets have won great 
distinction as leaders in the development of this continent ; 
they explored for our great railways not only in our own 
country, but in others, especially in South America ; they con- 
nected the Atlantic with the Pacific with that great continental 
system^flrst built, which has added so much to our civilization, 
wealth and progress. Their aid and advice have been sought 
in most of the great works of Europe and China ; as civil and 
mining engineers they have gone over, through and deep down 
in all of our great mountain ranges the Andes and the Alps. 
One of its cadets, Professor Jackman, whose mathematical 
mind has won him great renown, in 1846 conceived and pub- 
lished the plan of an ocean magnetic telegraph cable, remark- 
ably like that laid in 1858. It is believed by many that Cyrus 
W. Field received his first idea of the ocean cable from Pro- 
fessor Jackman 's publications. 

In 1884 the State of Vermont enacted a law, giving each 
State Senator the right to appoint a cadet from his district 
to Norwich University, and appropriated $50 japr year for his 
tuition and room rent. 

This state recognition made it a State Military University ; 
added greatly to its standing and the "esprit de corps" of its 
cadets. 

Colonel E. P. Hughes, Inspector General of the United 
States Army, in his official report to the Secretary of "War, says, 
"The Military Department has been a marked feature of this 
institution ever since its establishment in 1819, by Captain 
Alden Partridge, of the Corps of Engineers, the military sys- 
tem has been carried into the entire duty of this college, and 
the company officers have charge of their subordinates in the 
dormitories as well as on the parade ground. The officers who 
are members of the senior class have a control and influence 



ADDRESS ON NORWICH UNIVERSITY 169 

over the lower classes that make itself felt in the management 
of the establishment. 

"The Military Department can have no higher encomium 
than that supplied by its own record in the war. I know of 
no other institution in our country that can present such a 
striking and practical example of the spirit of loyalty and 
patriotism instilled into its students. This institution is send- 
ing out each year a class of men who are well fitted, both 
practically and theoretically, to assume command of battalions 
should any necessity arise for such services. Although the 
numbers are small, it is due the institution to say that in its 
military system, discipline and instruction, it stands at the 
head of all the colleges in this inspection." 

Lieutenant Kimball, the officer detailed by the Secretary 
of War, for duty at the university, and its commandant, in his 
report for 18j)3, says, "The year's work included a thorough 
course of drills in all arms of the service. The cadets were in 
camp during June with three drills a day. During this time 
only one cadet was under arrest. Fifty-five recitations in mil- 
itary duty and science were had. The cadets lived according 
to the customs of our military services, and it established be- 
tween their officers and privates, habits of respect and official 
courtesy which they carry into their future lives." 

The successfully maintaining of such institutions grows 
more difficult each year. The natural tendency of young men, 
especially those with ample means, is to the larger colleges, but 
if they would stop and think a moment, or could have the 
experience of graduates in after life, they would learn that 
for their own benefit, smaller colleges, more remote from large 
cities, from their temptations, are the best. In large colleges 
the student 's identity is absolutely lost ; they spend four years 
without individuality, and generally without ambition, but 
in smaller institutions of learning they are measured, tested 
individually; competition gives them favorable recognition 
by the faculty ; lifts the student to a higher plane and greater 
efforts, and when he graduates, he carries with him a personal 
acquaintance with the entire corps his record, individually, 
and success come to him every year in his life. 



170 HOW WE BUILT THE UNION PACIFIC 

Last June I attended the commencement of Norwich Uni- 
versity at Northfield, Vermont. The Governor and his staff, 
in uniform were present, the Governor delivering to each 
cadet his diploma, and speaking appropriate words before an 
immense audience, making it a state occasion. It brought to- 
gether delegates from different colleges, the army officers sta- 
tioned in and near Vermont, and distinguished guests. They 
listened to the graduating class, witnessed the drills in all 
the arms of the service, and it was the unanimous decision 
of all, that the soldierly bearing and discipline, the respect 
shown to rank and authority, and the scholarly attainments 
of the cadets were a great credit to the university, and a great 
honor to the state. 

I had not visited the university since I bid it good-bye 
in 1851. I saw much to give me encouragement, notwithstand- 
ing the great difficulty under which it labors, by having to 
earn by day labor every dollar it spends each year. It is more 
prosperous now than ever. In ten years it has quadrupled its 
attendance, has built a new hall, added materially to its scien- 
tific and engineering appliances, has paid off its mortgages, 
and is free from debt. Has as commandant an officer detailed 
by the United States, who takes great interest in its success. 
It needs badly a new drill hall, gymnasium and steam heating 
for all its buildings, large additions to its electrical and engi- 
neering department, and more instructors. Those there now 
are overworked. They hardly have a moment leisure from 
early morning until late at night. In fact, after their duties 
with the cadets are over, they have to attend to the corre- 
spondence and business of the university. 

To obtain all this on a permanent basis, the university 
must have a permanent income. From endowment, scholar- 
ships, in fact, from every source that our colleges are helped. 
Norwich University stands alone of all the colleges in Ver- 
mont, without endowment. Vermont has been fortunate lately 
in the large sums donated to its institutions of learning, which 
is rapidly building them up, and, I appeal here tonight to the 
Sons of Vermont, as you have made me one of you, to place 
Norwich University in a position in the state financially, that 
it holds in the nation intellectually. 



ADDRESS ON NORWICH UNIVERSITY 171 

The record the university has made for her state on the 
battlefield, in the inaugurating, building and managing the 
great enterprise of the country, entitles her to your serious 
consideration. 

If you want to do honor to your state, and credit to your- 
self for all time, let me say to you, it is best done by aiding 
old N. U. It is no disparagement to others to state that it has 
a wider reputation than any of the institutions of learning 
in Vermont on account of its military and scientific record, 
and the Sons of Vermont may. rest assured that every dollar 
planted to its benefit now or in the future will be heard from 
more effectually hereafter than in the past, for there will be 
as great fields for her cadets in war, science and industries, 
national and international developments as has occurred in 
the past, and what Vermonter or his descendant will not be 
proud of the fact that it was his aid that enabled its cadets 
to so distinguish themselves, that as honored a name, and as 
great a commander as Grant, and as great a general, strategist 
and engineer as Sherman, gave great honor, and upheld and 
applauded before the world' the deeds of the cadets of Norwich 
University, and gave the credit for them to the education and 
training they received at Norwich University.