Railroad In The Civil War

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Railroads in the Civil War By: Jacob Heitshusen Jacob Heitshusen Honors English 10 Mrs. Czizek April 16, 2007 The first ever steam powered engine was successfully developed in 1804 by Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian. It ran with mixed success on the narrow gauge Penydarren tramway in Whales, which is the width of the tracks. These early efforts came to a head in 1829 with Stephenson’s Rocket, which was the first successful locomotive. Most locomotives are permanently coupled to a tender that carries the water and fuel. Some locomotives carry the fuel and water mounted on the engine either beside the boiler or on top; these are called “tank engines”. (pg. 66 Burt)…show more content…
Many men worked for the railroad only long enough to make a “grub stake”- enough money to outfit themselves to try gold mining. The railroad paid $2-$4 a day to white men and less to Chinese, Mexicans, and African Americans. Back-breaking work wore men out from shoveling, pounding railroad spikes, tunneling through mountains, and pushing wheelbarrows full of rocks or dirt.(pg 82 Burt) Central Pacific employed thousands of Chinese immigrants, described by company president Leland Stanford as “quiet, peaceable, industrious, economical, and ready to learn all the different kinds of work required in railroad building.” They certainly were economical, as they were required to work longer hours for less pay. The Central Pacific began laying track eastward from Sacramento, California in 1863. It spent $200,000 on bribes to politicians to get them to wave the fraud that was going on and to get them to give the railroads free government land. In return for the bribes the railroad gave, it got back 9 million acres of free land and $24 million in bonds. Building the railroad cost $36 million, but Central Pacific had paid $79 million in taxes which ended up being a $43 million dollar profit to Central Pacific.(pg 145 Burt) The Union Pacific started laying track west of Nebraska two years later in 1865. They got 12 million acres of free land and $27 million in government bonds. The Union Pacific created the Credit Moblier Company to build the railroad. The railroad cost $44 million, but the Union Pacific paid $94 million in taxes which was a 50 million dollar profit for Credit Moblier.
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