Tag: Grant

Promontory Summit & the Golden Spike

I stand astride America’s Transcontinental Railway, looking east, then west.

Initiated by Lincoln, overseen by Johnson, and completed under Grant, the undertaking called for the Union Pacific Railroad to work westward from Omaha and the Central Pacific, eastward from Sacramento. They met, as most schoolchildren learned in my day (do they study this anymore?), at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, in 1869, where a laurel tie was laid and ceremonial golden spike was driven to link the two coasts. With that linking, a cross-country journey abruptly dropped from six weeks to five days. Moving people and freight and the telegraphy that paralleled the tracks changed America forever. The immensity of the undertaking (the equivalent of a 19th century NASA moon shot) captured Continue reading “Promontory Summit & the Golden Spike”

A Captain and the Majors

Time and situation award only a few in each generation with an opportunity to take a place in history. How much smaller is the number who are twice-touched by fate. Today’s post is about one such man. It starts with the differences between North and South and ends with the thin line that separates fair and foul.

The Civil War was a mold for heroes and villains. Out of its tragedies and triumphs Continue reading “A Captain and the Majors”