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  • | Illustration

    Railroad Results Illustrated in the case of a Railroad of 35 Miles

    An example of the ways opportunities created by railroads pushed Americans to to conceptualize space and time in new ways, this illustration for the article "Thoughts on a Rail-Road System for New Orleans and the Southwest. No. III" emphasizes the commercial opportunities offered by rail networks.

  • | Letter

    Letter from John R. Boyle to Samuel B. Reed, March 8, 1861

    In this letter from March 8, 1861, John R. Boyle writes to Samuel Reed discussing the prospects for employment on a railroad in the near future. He states that he would prefer working for Mr. Thielsen to working on the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad as he does not believe that railroad will be capable of "doing anything as long as those troubles between the north and south exist." Boyle also notes that he rejected an invitation to work on the Cedar Rapids Railroad, believing it would be better to "stay on our farms than work on a R Road that has no money." He declares that if the troubles between the North and South were settled, there would be more work available.

  • Letter from Sally A. Kendrick to Jennie Reed, March 6, 1862

    In this letter from March 6, 1862, Sally A. Kendrick writes to Jennie Reed, wife of Samuel Reed, describing her work as a nurse for wounded soldiers at a hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. She expresses political beliefs similar to Samuel Reed as she discusses her hopes regarding the outcome of the war and as she laments the impending loss of her church's pastor due to offense he has given to a few "secessionists in the church."

  • | Letter

    Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Children, December 7, 1862

    In this letter from December 7, 1862, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family from Burlington, Iowa requesting news from home. He notes that many in the area "would sooner see both north and south irretrievably ruined than have a settlement on any other grounds than the utter extinction of slavery." Reed states that if the North can hold out for another year peace may be possible, but he does not expect it any sooner unless "through foreign intervention."

  • | Letter

    Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, March 8, 1863

    In this letter from March 8, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife describing how busy he has been preparing "the estimates for the western work." He notes the lack of available laborers and expects the situation to grow worse if the government calls for more troops (which he believes it should). He also states, however, that there has been a decrease in business over the past month and that they have been "discharging quite a number of men" as a result. Reed also describes accounts he has seen of rioting in Detroit, and details similar civil disobedience which took place recently in Keokuk, Iowa. He expresses fear of the possibility of "military despotism."

  • Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Children, March 15, 1863

    In this letter from March 15, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family describing a debate between a Democratic state senator and Republican army officers which he observed while traveling. Reed defends the Democrat's right to free speech, arguing that he said "nothing disloyal" but rather spoke unpleasant truths which the Republicans did not wish to accept. Reed also notes that he may be able to travel home for a visit in the middle of April and intends to have his photograph taken at that time.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, August 9, 1863

    In this letter from August 9, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife that he may be able to return home for a visit by the end of the week. He notes that Mr. Boyle is "getting along finely with his work," has 150 men employed, and hopes to be finished before the winter frosts. Reed also details a "rebellion" in Keokuk County, Iowa.

  • Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, December 1, 1863

    In this letter from December 1, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife discussing the next day's city election in Burlington, Iowa. He worries that there will be trouble and expresses anger at the Republican Party for having "thrown away the old constitution which has been our safeguard thus far in our national existence and set up the administration in its place whose greatest asperations seems to be the nigger." Reed states that he is glad he has business on the road the next day, as he has no desire to be near any "row" which may occur. He also notes that there is still no certainty regarding the extension of the road that season, and is undecided "about staying here for 1000 a year and gold rapidly advancing."

  • | Map

    The Southern Railroad System, 1913

    This map from the 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States displays the extent of the Southern railroad system in 1913.