The First Battles: April 1861 to February 1862

One Special Young Man

What about the link between East and West Coasts?

No one ever described it better than Adam Goodheart in 1861: The Civil War Awakening:

“They must have glimpsed one another sometime during that week, at some unrecorded point along the Central Overland Trail. Perhaps it was here, at a bend in the sluggish stream. Perhaps the mule drivers paused in their labor and watched the thing coming toward them: a shimmer against the dull, flat sky that resolved itself, quickly, into a horseman.”

The Pony Express had been established just eighteen months earlier, and it was still the fastest way to get news from the East to the Pacific Coast, but it would soon be upended by the new transcontinental telegraph. Men of the Central Overland company were stringing up telegraph poles to connect Sacramento, California, with St. Louis, Missouri. Once that was complete, the telegraph would “flash” messages between East and West.


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