• “Colton's Railroad And Military Map Of The United States, Mexico,” 1862, showing slave, border, and free states. Courtesy of David Rumsey.

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    Colton's Railroad And Military Map Of The United States, Mexico
    • Date
    • 1862
    • Creator
    • Colton, G.W & C.B.
    • Description
    • Full color map showing the slave, border, and free states by green, yellow and red coloring, explained by the usual Bacon & Co. paste down slip in the lower margin. Nine inset maps show the world, various harbors and battle areas. There are also tabl... more
      Full color map showing the slave, border, and free states by green, yellow and red coloring, explained by the usual Bacon & Co. paste down slip in the lower margin. Nine inset maps show the world, various harbors and battle areas. There are also tables of population for 1850 and 1860. This was #2 in Bacon's London issue six map series of Colton maps depicting the areas of the Civil War. It is derived from a similar Colton map of 1861 (see our #2554) which itself was derived from earlier Johnson maps. Dissected into 32 sections. Folds into brown cloth covers 22x15 with "Price in Sheets 5s. In Case 9s. On Rollers 10s. Colton's Steel Plate Map Of The United States Of America, And the Canadas, Showing the boundaries of the Free, Border Slave, and Seceded States, the Census of 1860, Forts and Fortifications, Area, Exports and Imports, &c. &c." printed on a green paper label. See note field above. None found. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

  • The Executive Order setting the gauge of track on the Pacific Railroad, 1863. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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    Executive Order Setting Gauge of Track on Pacific Railroad
    • Creator
    • Department of the Interior. Lands and Railroads Division. 1870-ca. 1907.
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted.
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference

  • A letter from the Union Pacific Railroad to the US Secretary of the Interior, 1863. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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    Letter from Union Pacific Railroad to Secretary of the Interior
    • Creator
    • Department of the Interior. Lands and Railroads Division. 1870-ca. 1907.
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted.
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference

  • The Executive Order appointing the directors of the Union Pacific Railroad, 1864. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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    Executive Order Appointing Directors of the Union Pacific Railroad, 07/19/1864
    • Creator
    • Department of the Interior. Lands and Railroads Division. 1870-ca. 1907.
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted.
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference

Fractured Nation

The Transcontinental Railroad was planned and construction began during the Civil War, which gave northern Congressmen reason to oppose plans for a southern route. As southerners resigned their seats in the legislature, Republican lawmakers chose a northern route that would insulate the railroad from the conflict and ensure that northern states benefitted from the line more than their southern counterparts. Designed to punish the South for the secession movement of 1861, the North’s transcontinental plans had strategic value as well. As the war dragged on, the perception of the railroad as an asset for the North continued to grow.

Although the railroad was not completed until four years after the Civil War, its potential value to the war effort in the North cannot be understated. A completed railroad would have enabled the North to further capitalize on military and economic advantages over the South. Since only 9,500 miles of track had been previously laid south of the Mason-Dixon line, as opposed to 22,000 north of it, the North maintained a large advantage in terms of moving troops, relocating raw materials, and transporting food and other supplies to the front lines. With a blockade that restricted international shipments of goods and supplies to the Confederacy, southerners were not only prevented from building new railroads, but were forced to pull rails to melt into bullets or to make repairs to more important railway lines.