United States Department of War
The United States Department of War called the War Department, was the United States Cabinet department responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army bearing responsibility for naval affairs until the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, for most land-based air forces until the creation of the Department of the Air Force on September 18, 1947. The Secretary of War, a civilian with such responsibilities as finance and purchases and a minor role in directing military affairs, headed the War Department throughout its existence; the War Department existed from August 7, 1789 until September 18, 1947, when it split into Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force and joined the Department of the Navy as part of the new joint National Military Establishment, renamed the United States Department of Defense in 1949. Shortly after the establishment of a strong government under President George Washington in 1789, Congress created the War Department as a civilian agency to administer the field army under the president and the secretary of war.
Retired senior General Henry Knox in civilian life, served as the first United States Secretary of War. Forming and organizing the department and the army fell to Secretary Knox. Direct field command of the small Regular Army by President Washington leading a column of troops west through Pennsylvania to Fort Cumberland in Maryland in 1794 to combat the incipient Whiskey Rebellion on the frontier was an occasion never since used by American Presidents; the Possibility of re-organizing a "New Army" under nominal command of retired President and Major General George Washington and his aide, former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton to deal with the rising tide of maritime incidents between American commerce ships and the new French Republic was authorized by second President John Adams in 1798 and the remote possibility of land invasion was an interesting adventure. On November 8, 1800 the War Department building with its records and files was consumed by fire. Foundation of the new military academy at West Point along the Hudson River upstream from New York City in 1802 was important to the future growth of the American army.
In August 1814 during the Burning of Washington, the United States Department of War building was burned-however the War and State Department files had been removed-all books and record had been saved. The multiple failures and fiascos of the War of 1812 convinced Washington that thorough reform of the War Department was necessary. Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun reorganized the department into a system of bureaus, whose chiefs held office for life, a commanding general in the field, although the Congress did not authorize this position. Winfield Scott became the senior general until the start of the American Civil War in 1861; the bureau chiefs acted as advisers to the Secretary of War while commanding their own troops and field installations. The bureaus conflicted among themselves, but in disputes with the commanding general, the Secretary of War supported the bureaus. Congress regulated the affairs of the bureaus in detail, their chiefs looked to that body for support. Calhoun set up the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1824, the main agency within the War Department for dealing with Native Americans until 1849, when the Congress transferred it to the newly founded Department of the Interior.
During the American Civil War, the War Department responsibilities expanded. It handled the recruiting, supply, medical care and pay of two million soldiers, comprising both the regular army and the much larger temporary volunteer army. A separate command structure took charge of military operations. In the late stages of the war, the Department took charge of refugees and freedmen in the American South through the Bureau of Refugees and Abandoned Lands. During Reconstruction, this bureau played a major role in supporting the new Republican governments in the southern states; when military Reconstruction ended in 1877, the U. S. Army removed the last troops from military occupation of the American South, the last Republican state governments in the region ended; the Army comprised hundreds of small detachments in forts around the West, dealing with Indians, in coastal artillery units in port cities, dealing with the threat of a naval attack. The United States Army, with 39,000 men in 1890 was the smallest and least powerful army of any major power in the late 19th century.
By contrast, France had an army of 542,000. Temporary volunteers and state militia units fought the Spanish–American War of 1898; this conflict demonstrated the need for more effective control over its bureaus. Secretary of War Elihu Root sought to appoint a chief of staff as general manager and a European-type general staff for planning, aiming to achieve this goal in a businesslike manner, but General Nelson A. Miles stymied his efforts. Root enlarged the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and established the United States Army War College and the General Staff, he changed the procedures for promotions and organized schools for the special branches of the service. He devised the principle of rotating officers from staff to line. Concerned about the new territories acquired after the Spanish–American War, Root worked out the procedures for turning Cuba over to the Cubans, wrote the charter of government for the Philippines, eliminated tariffs on goods imported to the United States from Puerto Rico.
Root's successor as Secretary
Spencer Fullerton Baird
Spencer Fullerton Baird was an American naturalist, ichthyologist and museum curator. Baird was the first curator to be named at the Smithsonian Institution, he would serve as assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian from 1850 to 1878, as Secretary from 1878 until 1887. He was dedicated to expanding the natural history collections of the Smithsonian which he increased from 6,000 specimens in 1850 to over 2 million by the time of his death, he published over 1,000 works during his lifetime. Spencer Fullerton Baird was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1823, he became a self-trained naturalist as a young man, learning about the field from his brother, a birder, the likes of John James Audubon, who instructed Baird on how to draw scientific illustrations of birds. His father was a big influence on Baird's interest in nature, taking Baird on walks and gardening with him, he died of cholera. As a young boy he attended Nottingham Academy in Port Deposit and public school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Baird attended Dickinson College and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees, finishing the former in 1840.
After graduation he moved to New York City with an interest in studying medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He returned to Carlisle two years later, he taught natural history at Dickinson starting in 1845. While at Dickinson, he did research, participated in collecting trips, did specimen exchanges with other naturalists, traveled frequently, he married Mary Helen Churchill in 1846. In 1848, their daughter, Lucy Hunter Baird, was born, he was awarded a grant, in 1848, from the Smithsonian Institution to explore bone caves and the natural history of southeastern Pennsylvania. In 1849 he was given $75 by the Smithsonian Institution to collect and transport specimens for them, it was during this time. The two would become close colleagues. Throughout the 1840s Baird traveled extensively throughout the northeastern and central United States. Traveling by foot, Baird hiked more than 2,100 miles in 1842 alone. In 1850, Baird became the first curator at the Smithsonian Institution and the Permanent Secretary for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the latter which he served for three years.
Upon his arrival in Washington, he brought two railroad box cars worth of his personal collection. Baird would create a museum program for the Smithstonian, requesting that the organization focus on natural history in the United States, his program allowed him to create a network of collectors through an exchange system. He would ask that members of the Army and Navy collect rare animals and plant specimens from west of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. In order to balance the collection, Baird sent duplicate specimens to other museums around the country exchanging the duplicates for specimens the Smithsonian needed. During the 1850s he described over 50 new species of reptiles, some by himself, others with his student Charles Frédéric Girard, their 1853 catalog of the Smithsonian's snake collection is a benchmark work in North American herpetology. Baird was a mentor to herpetologist Robert Kennicott who died prematurely, at which point Baird left the field of herpetology to focus on larger projects.
He became the Assistant Secretary, serving under Joseph Henry. As Assistant, Baird would help develop a publication and journal exchange, that provided scientists around the world with publications they would have a hard time accessing, he supported the work of Robert Kennicott, Henry Ulke and Henry Bryant. Between his start as Assistant Secretary and 1855, he worked with Joseph Henry to provide scientific equipment and needs to the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, he received his Ph. D. in physical science in 1856 from Dickinson College. In 1857 and 1852 he acquired the collection of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science. However, the objects wouldn't join the permanent collection of the Smithsonian until 1858. Baird would attend the funeral of Abraham Lincoln alongside Joseph Henry. In 1870, Baird was vacationing in Woods Hole, where he developed an interest in maritime research, he would go on to lead expeditions in New England. On February 25, 1871, Ulysses S. Grant appointed Baird as the first Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries for the United States Fish Commission.
He would serve in this position until his death. With Baird as Commissioner, the commission sought opportunities to restock rivers with salmon and lakes with other food fish and the depletion of food fish in coastal waters. Baird reported. Individuals with access to shoreline property used weirs, or nets, to capture large amounts of fish on the coast, which threatened the supply of fish on the coast. Baird used the U. S. Fish Commission to limit human impact through a compromise by prohibiting the capture of fish in traps from 6pm on Fridays until 6pm on Mondays; the Albatross research vessel would be launched during his tenure, in 1882. He was active in developing fishing and fishery policies for the United States, was instrumental in making Wood's Hole the research venue it is today. Baird became the manager of the United States National Museum in 1872. Baird told George Perkins Marsh that he sought to be the director of the National Museum and that he had intentions to expand on the collections within the museum en masse.
He was the primary writer of A History of North American Birds, published in 1874 and continues to be an important publication in
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, is the peace treaty signed on February 2, 1848, in the Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico that ended the Mexican–American War. The treaty came into force on July 4, 1848. With the defeat of its army and the fall of its capital, Mexico entered into negotiations to end the war; the treaty called for the U. S. to pay US$15 million to Mexico and to pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to US$5 million. It gave the United States the Rio Grande as a boundary for Texas, gave the U. S. ownership of California and a large area comprising half of New Mexico, most of Arizona and Utah, parts of Wyoming and Colorado. Mexicans in those annexed areas had the choice of relocating to within Mexico's new boundaries or receiving American citizenship with full civil rights; the U. S. Senate advised and consented to ratification of the treaty by a vote of 38–14.
The opponents of this treaty were led by the Whigs, who had opposed the war and rejected Manifest destiny in general, rejected this expansion in particular. The amount of land gained by the United States from Mexico was further increased as a result of the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, which ceded parts of present-day southern Arizona and New Mexico to the United States of America; the peace talks were negotiated by Nicholas Trist, chief clerk of the US State Department, who had accompanied General Winfield Scott as a diplomat and President Polk's representative. Trist and General Scott, after two previous unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a treaty with General José Joaquín de Herrera, determined that the only way to deal with Mexico was as a conquered enemy. Nicholas Trist negotiated with a special commission representing the collapsed government led by Don José Bernardo Couto, Don Miguel de Atristain, Don Luis Gonzaga Cuevas of Mexico. Although Mexico ceded Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México, the text of the treaty did not list territories to be ceded, avoided the disputed issues that were causes of war: the validity of the 1836 secession of the Republic of Texas, Texas's unenforced boundary claims as far as the Rio Grande, the 1845 annexation of Texas by the United States.
Instead, Article V of the treaty described the new U. S.–Mexico border. From east to west, the border consisted of the Rio Grande northwest from its mouth to the point Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, as shown in the Disturnell map due west from this point to the 110th meridian west north along the 110th Meridian to the Gila River and down the river to its mouth. Unlike the New Mexico segment of the boundary, which depended on unknown geography, "in order to preclude all difficulty in tracing upon the ground the limit separating Upper from Lower California", a straight line was drawn from the mouth of the Gila to one marine league south of the southernmost point of the port of San Diego north of the previous Mexican provincial boundary at Playas de Rosarito. Comparing the boundary in the Adams–Onís Treaty to the Guadalupe Hidalgo boundary, Mexico conceded about 55% of its pre-war, pre-Texas territorial claims and now has an area of 1,972,550 km². In the United States, the 1.36 million km² of the area between the Adams-Onis and Guadalupe Hidalgo boundaries outside the 1,007,935 km2 claimed by the Republic of Texas is known as the Mexican Cession.
That is to say, the Mexican Cession is construed not to include any territory east of the Rio Grande, while the territorial claims of the Republic of Texas included no territory west of the Rio Grande. The Mexican Cession included the entirety of the former Mexican territory of Alta California, but only the western portion of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, includes all of present-day California and Utah, most of Arizona, western portions of New Mexico and Wyoming. Articles VIII and IX ensured safety of existing property rights of Mexican citizens living in the transferred territories. Despite assurances to the contrary, the property rights of Mexican citizens were not honored by the U. S. in accordance with modifications to and interpretations of the Treaty. The U. S. agreed to assume $3.25 million in debts that Mexico owed to United States citizens. The residents had one year to choose whether they wanted Mexican citizenship; the others returned to Mexico, or in some cases in New Mexico were allowed to remain in place as Mexican citizens.
Article XII engaged the United States to pay, "In consideration of the extension acquired", 15 million dollars, in annual installments of 3 million dollars. Article XI of the treaty was important to Mexico, it provided that the United States would prevent and punish raids by Indians into Mexico, prohibited Americans from acquiring property, including livestock, taken by the Indians in those raids, stated that the U. S. would return captives of the Indians to Mexico. Mexicans believed that the United States had encouraged and assisted the Comanche and Apache raids that had devastated northern Mexico in the years before the war; this article promised relief to them. Article XI, proved unenforceable. Destructive Indian raids continued despite a heavy U. S. presence near the Mexican border. Mexico filed 366 claims with the U. S. government for damages done by Comanche and Apache raids between 1848 and 1853. In 1853, in the Treaty of Mesilla conclu
John James Audubon
John James Audubon was an American ornithologist and painter. He was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats, his major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America, is considered one of the finest ornithological works completed. Audubon identified 25 new species. Audubon was born in Les Cayes in the French colony of Saint-Domingue on his father's sugarcane plantation, he was the son of Lieutenant Jean Audubon, a French naval officer from the south of Brittany, his mistress Jeanne Rabine, a 27-year-old chambermaid from Les Touches, Brittany. They named the boy Jean Rabin. Another 1887 biographer has stated, his mother died when the boy was a few months old, as she had suffered from tropical disease since arriving on the island. His father had an unknown number of mixed-race children, some by his mulatto housekeeper, Catherine "Sanitte" Bouffard. Following Jeanne Rabin's death, Jean Audubon renewed his relationship with Sanitte Bouffard and had a daughter by her, named Muguet.
Bouffard took care of the infant boy Jean. The senior Audubon had commanded ships. During the American Revolution, he had been imprisoned by Britain. After his release, he helped the American cause, he had long worked to secure his family's future with real estate. Due to slave unrest in the Caribbean, in 1789 he sold part of his plantation in Saint-Domingue and purchased a 284-acre farm called Mill Grove, 20 miles from Philadelphia, to diversify his investments. Increasing tension in Saint-Domingue between the colonists and the African slaves, who outnumbered them, convinced Jean Audubon to return to France, where he became a member of the Republican Guard. In 1791 he arranged for his natural children and Muguet, who were majority-white in ancestry, to be transported and delivered to him in France; the children were raised in Couëron, near Nantes, France, by Audubon and his French wife, Anne Moynet Audubon, whom he had married years before his time in Saint-Domingue. In 1794 they formally adopted both his natural children to regularize their legal status in France.
They renamed the girl Rose. When Audubon, at age 18, boarded ship in 1803 to immigrate to the United States, he changed his name to an anglicized form: John James Audubon. From his earliest days, Audubon had an affinity for birds. "I felt an intimacy with them... bordering on frenzy must accompany my steps through life." His father encouraged his interest in nature: He would point out the elegant movement of the birds, the beauty and softness of their plumage. He called my attention to their show of pleasure or sense of danger, their perfect forms and splendid attire, he would return with the seasons. In France during the chaotic years of the French Revolution and its aftermath, the younger Audubon grew up to be a handsome and gregarious man, he played flute and violin, learned to ride and dance. A great walker, he loved roaming in the woods returning with natural curiosities, including birds' eggs and nests, of which he made crude drawings, his father planned to make a seaman of his son. At twelve, Audubon became a cabin boy.
He found out that he was susceptible to seasickness and not fond of mathematics or navigation. After failing the officer's qualification test, Audubon ended his incipient naval career, he was exploring the fields again, focusing on birds. In 1803, his father obtained a false passport so that Audubon could go to the United States to avoid conscription in the Napoleonic Wars. Jean Audubon and Claude Rozier arranged a business partnership for their sons to pursue in Pennsylvania, it was based on Claude Rozier's buying half of Jean Audubon's share of a plantation in Haiti, lending money to the partnership as secured by half interest in lead mining at Audubon's property of Mill Grove. Audubon caught yellow fever upon arrival in New York City; the ship's captain placed him in a boarding house run by Quaker women. They nursed Audubon to recovery and taught him English, including the Quaker form of using "thee" and "thou", otherwise archaic, he traveled with the family's Quaker lawyer to the Audubon family farm Mill Grove.
The 284-acre homestead is located on the Perkiomen Creek a few miles from Valley Forge. Audubon lived with the tenants in the two-story stone house, in an area that he considered a paradise. "Hunting, fishing and music occupied my every moment. Studying his surroundings, Audubon learned the ornithologist's rule, which he wrote down as, "The nature of the place—whether high or low, moist or dry, whether sloping north or south, or bearing tall trees or low shrubs—generally gives hint as to its inhabitants." His father hoped that the lead mines on the property could be commercially developed, as lead was an essential component of bullets. This could provide his son with a profitable occupation. At Mill Grove, Audubon met the owner of the nearby estate Fatland Ford, William Bakewell, his daughter Lucy, he was married to Lucy five years later. The two young people shared many common interests, early on began to spend time together, exploring the natural world around them. Audubon set about to study American birds, determined to illustrate his findings in a more realist
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively; the fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to: Set the map's agenda and select traits of the object to be mapped. This is the concern of map editing. Traits may be physical, such as roads or land masses, or may be abstract, such as toponyms or political boundaries. Represent the terrain of the mapped object on flat media; this is the concern of map projections. Eliminate characteristics of the mapped object that are not relevant to the map's purpose; this is the concern of generalization. Reduce the complexity of the characteristics that will be mapped; this is the concern of generalization. Orchestrate the elements of the map to best convey its message to its audience; this is the concern of map design. Modern cartography constitutes many theoretical and practical foundations of geographic information systems.
What is the earliest known map is a matter of some debate, both because the term "map" is not well-defined and because some artifacts that might be maps might be something else. A wall painting that might depict the ancient Anatolian city of Çatalhöyük has been dated to the late 7th millennium BCE. Among the prehistoric alpine rock carvings of Mount Bego and Valcamonica, dated to the 4th millennium BCE, geometric patterns consisting of dotted rectangles and lines are interpreted in archaeological literature as a depiction of cultivated plots. Other known maps of the ancient world include the Minoan "House of the Admiral" wall painting from c. 1600 BCE, showing a seaside community in an oblique perspective, an engraved map of the holy Babylonian city of Nippur, from the Kassite period. The oldest surviving world maps are from 9th century BCE Babylonia. One shows Babylon on the Euphrates, surrounded by Assyria and several cities, all, in turn, surrounded by a "bitter river". Another depicts Babylon as being north of the center of the world.
The ancient Greeks and Romans created maps from the time of Anaximander in the 6th century BCE. In the 2nd century CE, Ptolemy wrote his treatise on Geographia; this contained Ptolemy's world map – the world known to Western society. As early as the 8th century, Arab scholars were translating the works of the Greek geographers into Arabic. In ancient China, geographical literature dates to the 5th century BCE; the oldest extant Chinese maps come from the State of Qin, dated back to the 4th century BCE, during the Warring States period. In the book of the Xin Yi Xiang Fa Yao, published in 1092 by the Chinese scientist Su Song, a star map on the equidistant cylindrical projection. Although this method of charting seems to have existed in China before this publication and scientist, the greatest significance of the star maps by Su Song is that they represent the oldest existent star maps in printed form. Early forms of cartography of India included depictions of the pole star and surrounding constellations.
These charts may have been used for navigation. "Mappae mundi are the medieval European maps of the world. About 1,100 of these are known to have survived: of these, some 900 are found illustrating manuscripts and the remainder exist as stand-alone documents; the Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi produced his medieval atlas Tabula Rogeriana in 1154. By combining the knowledge of Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Far East with the information he inherited from the classical geographers, he was able to write detailed descriptions of a multitude of countries. Along with the substantial text he had written, he created a world map influenced by the Ptolemaic conception of the world, but with significant influence from multiple Arab geographers, it remained the most accurate world map for the next three centuries. The map was divided with detailed descriptions of each zone; as part of this work, a smaller, circular map was made depicting the south on top and Arabia in the center. Al-Idrisi made an estimate of the circumference of the world, accurate to within 10%.
In the Age of Exploration, from the 15th century to the 17th century, European cartographers both copied earlier maps and drew their own, based on explorers' observations and new surveying techniques. The invention of the magnetic compass and sextant enabled increasing accuracy. In 1492, Martin Behaim, a German cartographer, made the oldest extant globe of the Earth. In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller produced a globular world map and a large 12-panel world wall map bearing the first use of the name "America". Portuguese cartographer Diego Ribero was the author of the first known planisphere with a graduated Equator. Italian cartographer Battista Agnese produced at least 71 manuscript atlases of sea charts. Johannes Werner promoted the Werner projection; this was an equal-area, heart-shaped world map projection, used in the 16th and 17th centuries. Over time, other iterations of this map type arose; the Werner projection places its standard parallel at the North Pole. In 1569, mapmaker Gerardus Mercato
Pacific Railroad Surveys
The Pacific Railroad Surveys consisted of a series of explorations of the American West to find possible routes for a transcontinental railroad across North America. The expeditions included surveyors and artists and resulted in an immense body of data covering at least 400,000 square miles on the American West. "These volumes... constitute the most important single contemporary source of knowledge on Western geography and history and their value is enhanced by the inclusion of many beautiful plates in color of scenery, native inhabitants and flora of the Western country." Published by the United States War Department from 1855 to 1860, the surveys contained significant material on natural history, including many illustrations of reptiles, amphibians and mammals. In addition to describing the route, these surveys reported on the geology, botany, paleontology of the land as well as provided ethnographic descriptions of the Native peoples encountered during the surveys. Starting in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many Americans began a westward migration that would come to influence the development American history.
However, water travel remained the most efficient form of transit available. Soon, the development of the steam engine became an invaluable contribution to this westward expansion; as railroads gained popularity in the eastern United States during the 1830s, Americans felt an increased incentive to expand this new technology to the western frontier. Beginning in the 1840s, several government sponsored expeditions hoped to find potential railroad routes across the west. However, no consensus route emerged due to the selfish economic motives of rival companies. In addition and states competed for the route and terminus so no consensus was reached. Brigham Young, President of LDS Church, wrote, "We never went through the canyons or worked our way over the dividing ridges without asking where the rails could be laid." On March 3, 1853, Congress appropriated $150,000 and authorized Secretary of War Jefferson Davis “to Ascertain the Most Practical and Economical Route for a Railroad From the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.”
Davis ordered Brevet Captain George B. McClellan and the Corps of Topographical Engineers, a division in the United States Army established to “discover, open up, make accessible the American West,” to fulfill this obligation; the most important concern for the United States Congress involved the location of where to build the railroad. With government involvement, lobbyists attempted to influence the selected locations because of the important social and economic consequences. In addition, a transcontinental railroad would become a costly endeavor. In fact, “Even the least expensive proposed routes would equal the federal budget for one year.” Despite these obstacles, a developing urgency indicated the need for a transcontinental railroad. On August 16, 1856, Mr. Denver of the House Select Committee on the Pacific Railroad and Telegraph reported that: "the necessity that exists for constructing lines of railroad and telegraphic communication between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of this continent is no longer a question for argument.
Five surveys were conducted. The Northern Pacific survey followed between the 47th parallel north and 49th parallel north from St. Paul, Minnesota to the Puget Sound and was led by the newly appointed governor of the Washington Territory, Isaac Stevens. Accompanying Stevens were Captain George B. McClellan with Lt. Sylvester Mowry out of the Columbia Barracks from the west and Lt. Rufus Saxton with Lt. Richard Arnold out of St. Marysville from the east; the Central Pacific survey followed between the 37th parallel north and 39th parallel north from St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California; this survey was led by Lt. John W. Gunnison until his death by the Utes in Utah. Lt. Edward Griffin Beckwith took command. Participating in this survey was Frederick W. von Egloffstein, George Stoneman and Lt. Gouverneur K. Warren. There were two Southern Pacific surveys. One along the 35th parallel north from Oklahoma to Los Angeles, California, a route similar to the western part of the Santa Fe Railroad and to Interstate 40, led by Lt. Amiel W. Whipple.
The southernmost survey went across Texas to San Diego, California, a route which followed the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach trail where Southern Pacific RR completed the second transcontinental railway in 1881. This survey was led by Lt. John John Pope; the fifth survey was along the Pacific coast from San Diego to Seattle, Washington conducted by Lt. Robert S. Williamson and Parke; the Pacific Railroad Surveys provided valuable information to determining the best location of the transcontinental railroad. In addition, three important trends influenced Congress’ final decision. First, the California Gold Rush and the discovery of silver in Nevada led to a dramatic increase in population in the west. Second, the secession of the South from the Union during the beginnings of the American Civil War discounted southern politicians from interfering with a plan to build a northern route. Third, a growing population of railroad specialists allowed Congress several options to consider the most efficient and cost effective route to build a transcontinental railroad.
In 1862, Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act. The Union Pacific Railroad Company would build continuous railroad and telegraph lines west from the Eastern shores of the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, Iowa which would meet railroad and telegraph lines build east by the Central Pacific Railroad from the navigable waters of the Sacramento River in Sacram