Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Thomas C. Durant, April 17, 1866

In this letter from April 17, 1866, Samuel Reed writes to Thomas C. Durant, Vice President of the Union Pacific Railroad, describing a visit from a group of railroad commissioners. He states that they "did not measure the width of the embankment or count the ties in the track except at the extreme west end" and "appeared to be well pleased with the work." He gives Durant an update on the status of work on the line as well as a detailed account of the iron chains and spikes received to date. He also notes that they are finally receiving an ample supply of railroad ties, but are still having difficulty obtaining the piles required for bridge construction.


Union Pacific Rail Road Co.
Office of the Genl. Supt.

T.C. Durant V.P.
13 William St. NY

Dear Sir

Sunday evening I returned from Loup Fork to go over the road with the commissioners. We left Omaha at 9.20 AM Monday and arrived at the 40 mile post at the 10.40 then ran slow over the road to end of track 63 1/2 miles from initial point. The commissioners did not measure the width of the embankment or count the ties in the track except at the extreme west end. They appeared to be well pleased with the work and expressed themselves accordingly. On our return we had lunch in the station building at Fremont and returned to Omaha at 6 PM. The commissioners except Genl Curtis will remain here until Col Seymour arrives and go over the road when we have 65 miles laid. I intend to have the track laid to the 65 mile stake before six o'clock tonight. Col Seymour will be here tonight or in the morning.

We have recvd to this date iron chains & spikes as follows viz.

2411 Bars 28 feet long Last years iron
4 26
671 24 Brand R.I.C.66.
388 28
10 21
6 18
716 28 - W B
62 24
2 26
2 24
1 21
1 25
1 23
1 22
1 19
2 18
1936 24 - Bay States
45 21
25 18
4114.
11769 Chains 3 spike holes
1,154 4
12923.
629 Keys spike.

The river is two feet higher than at any time last year and we hope to receive a large lot of material on the present high water.

We are laying 3/4 of a mile of track each day and have to go to Fremont to obtain board for men. The boarding cars will be completed Saturday and sent to end of the track after that we can [lay] one mile per day.

The work on Loup Fork bridge is being pushed as rapidly as posable [sic] . The piles for the temporary bridge will all be drove by the first day of May and the superstructure can be put on within five days thereafter.

One driver will be put on the permanent bride the 18th and another on the 25 if the weather continues favorable.

I find it very difficult to get all the piles required for both bridges and may have to send out from here about sixty to one hundred.

Boomer's ten carpenters will be here Saturday and I will send them forward without delay.

The bridge timber is being sawed as rapidly as two mills can do it.

The grading can all be completed on the second hundred by the fifteenth of July. The work is very light and the embarkments are all [slaked] [?] twelve feet out wide at grade line.

Col Seymour will insist on the embankments being fourteen feet at grade line according to [best] established or [recorded] by the converter. It is not too late to change the width shall I do it?

ties as you will observe by the daily reports are being recvd from the rivers and along the line in numbers that will insure [sic] an ample suply [sic] to keep the track layers at work.

Yours very respectfully
Saml. B. Reed

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Thomas C. Durant
  • Extent: 5 pages
  • Citation: Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa, Papers of Levi O. Leonard, Box 26, Folder: "Samuel Benedict Reed Correspondence: 1866"
  • Date: April 17, 1866