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After a most excellent parting supper from the antelope, killed the previous day, and other fixings which our hostess, Mrs. Taylor, provided in her best style, Mr. Williams and myself parted from our friends, Gen. Dodge and Mr. Evans, at Laporte, on the evening of October 1, and took the stage for Denver; which place we reached for breakfast on the following morning, without accident or adventure. The succeeding day was spent in preparing for our departure eastward.

On Wednesday morning, October 3, we took our seats in one of Ben Holladay's best coaches, in company with Senator Chaffee, of Central City, Colorado bound for a connection with the somewhat more comfortable cars of the Union Pacific Railroad, at the nearest practicable point, which we hoped to be Plum Creek, or some point further west.

The roads were in excellent condition; and nothing worth noting occurred to break the dull monotony of our passage over the dry and sterile plains, covered with low tufts of yellow frost-bitten grass, and the

whitened bones or decaying carcasses of innumerable cattle which had fallen out by the way, until we reached. Fort Kearny on the following Saturday morning for breakfast.

Mr. Williams, however, did not lose an opportunity of impressing upon our minds, as we met and passed the long emigrant and freight trains, wending their slow and tedious way to and from the more distant West, the truth and practicability of his favorite theories in relation to the formation and ultimate destiny of this portion of the country, which were:

First. That the Great Platte Valley, extending, as it does, in a direct line eastward, nearly six hundred miles from the base of the Rocky Mountains to the Missouri Valley, was intended as the great thoroughfare for the overland commerce of the world.

Second. That the Platte River itself was intended, in the first instance, to supply water to the early pioneers and emigrants in their pilgrimages to and from the Rocky Mountains; and subsequently to afford the means for irrigating the immense plains along its borders; and thus render it eventually one of the finest pastoral and agricultural regions upon the continent. And,

Third. That the perpetual snows upon the mountains were intended to furnish an unfailing supply of water to the mountain streams which flow into the Platte; and thus, during all time, afford the means of irrigation to the extensive table lands along the eastern base of the mountains.


At Fort Kearny we met the veritable Ben. Holladay himself, with his agent, Mr. Street, and travelling companion, Dr. Sayre, of New York city; together with a

select party of friends, who had accompanied him the previous day in a special train over the Union Pacific Railroad from Omaha.

Mr. Holladay was on a tour of inspection over his stage route to Denver and Salt Lake City; and he informed us that he should probably visit San Francisco before returning to New York. We examined with some curiosity his fine private four-horse coach, which seemed perfect in all its appointments, having ample stowage and sleeping accommodations for a party of three or four gentlemen, or even ladies.

Mr. Holladay also informed us, that he could not well shorten up this end of the stage route, and make an earlier connection with the cars, which were now running some forty or fifty miles west of Kearny, until the track had reached a point opposite Cottonwood Station, where the Platte river could be crossed without difficulty. This will be done about the first of November; and then the staging to Denver will be reduced to two days instead of three, as it is at present.


We crossed the Platte, in company with Mr. Holladay's returning friends, and took a special train for Omaha, over the Union Pacific Railroad, at ten A. M. Here we learned that during our absence, the Government Commissioners had been out and accepted thirty-five additional miles of track, making in all, two hundred and forty-miles of road, from the initial point at Omaha.

The scene along the road was both interesting and exciting. Here was a fine passenger station in course of construction; there, a freight or water station was being put up, as if by magic. Now, we were halted upon a side

track to allow a train of thirty or forty cars laden with ties, rails, chairs, and spikes for the track, to pass. And then, we would meet a train laden with stone or other material for the foundations or superstructure of a distant bridge. Everything, and everybody seemed full of life and energy; and all working to the same great end, and being directed by the same master mind.


No one who knows Mr. Thomas C. Durant, the VicePresident of the Union Pacific Railroad; and has witnessed his entire devotion to this great enterprise, and the untiring energy which he has brought to bear in overcoming the many difficulties in its rapid construction, while acting as the principal executive officer of the Company, in the absence of the President, Gen. Dix (whose time, during the late war, was principally devoted to his duties in the army), will hesitate to award to him the highest honors, both as a railroad manager and public benefactor.

One year ago, not a mile of road had been accepted by the Government; only twelve or fifteen miles had been laid west of Omaha; and it was struggling along at the rate of from one-quarter to a half mile per day. To-day, two hundred and forty miles of track have been accepted by the Government. Some twelve or fifteen miles additional have been completed, and it is steadily progressing at the rate of from one and a half to two miles per day. Fourteen thousand and two hundred feet, or two and seven-tenths miles, have been laid in a single day.

One year ago, the foundations were commenced for the machine shops at the eastern terminus of the road. Today, they are substantially completed, and in full opera

tion, with stalls for twenty locomotives, and machinery for doing the repairs of three hundred miles of road; also carshops, manufacturing and turning out two cars each day; and the whole giving employment to three hundred and fifty mechanics. One year ago, there were only three locomotives and twenty platform cars engaged in the transportation of materials. To-day, there are twenty-three locomotives, and two hundred and fifty freight cars employed in the same business-five first-class passenger cars, with the necessary mail and baggage cars, and two magnificent excursion and sleeping cars, prepared for their appropriate use. One year ago, passengers for Denver, Salt Lake, and San Francisco were obliged to ride the whole distance from the Missouri river in oldfashioned stage-coaches, hacks or mud-wagons. To-day, there are no stages running east of Fort Kearny; and nearly one half the distance to Denver may be travelled in ten hours, and in the most luxurious passenger


One year ago, every pound of freight, owned either by the Government or individuals, had to be transported west of the Missouri, by means of ox or mule teams, at the slow rate of fifteen or twenty miles per day. To-day, cars heavily laden with Government stores and private freight, destined for the western slope of the continent, are attached to the construction trains, and find their way in twenty-four hours to the end of the track, many miles west of the one hundredth meridian.

One year ago, the great Union Pacific Railroad was regarded as a myth, and the men engaged in and controlling it, as a set of stockjobbing Wall-street speculators. To-day, it is known and felt to be a power and a reality; and Mr. Durant and his associates are believed to be in earnest, and fully capable of carrying out to successful

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