|When, on May 10, 1869, the
golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, which marked the meeting
of the rails laid westward from Omaha by the Union Pacific and those
set eastward by the Central Pacific from Sacramento, the final act
in the conquest of the great trans-Mississippi region had been accomplished.
Although the little fanfare and even less support, the size of the
project had begun to be appreciated and was attracting the attention
of the civilized world as the opposing railroad forces neared each
It was an unbelievably difficult and dangerous undertaking. While
one army of men, labored, it took another army to protect them from
hostile indians. Most of the men employed on the Union Pacific had
been soldiers in the Union army. Accustomed to camp life, they learned
to jump to arms, day or night, when the cry, "Sioux,"
was heard. Up and down the steel tracks that cross the continent
from east to west are the unmarked graves of the trail makers; countless
men who were victims not only of Indians, but also of disease or
a dozen other mischances of construction camp life.