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Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891) to David Douty Colton

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05095 Author/Creator: Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891) Place Written: San Francisco, California Type: Manuscript letter signed Date: 26 September 1878 Pagination: 5 p. ; 24.8 x 19.5 cm.

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Summary of Content: Expresses gratitude to Colton, Vice President of the Southern Pacific Railroad, for the convenience the railroad offers transcontinental travelers. States that the railroad is "'a great civilizer', and will enable the Military Authorities to maintain peace and order among Indians as well as the equally dangerous clans of Robbers ... " Advises Colton on possible routes for continuation of the railroad through Arizona. Hopes that the railroad will increase trade and secure peace between the United States and Mexico.

Background Information:

Full Transcript: 1 -
Palace Hotel San Francisco Cal.
September 26th 1878.

General David. D. Colton
Vice President, Southern Pacific R.R.
My dear Sir:
Having just arrived from the East, by a route ...which brought me to Yuma, I cannot honestly neglect the opportunity to thank you and your associates personally and officially. for having built a first class Steel Rail Road across the Great Desert, to the Colorado River.
The public convenience is so great Especially to the troops who garrison the Arizonia posts, that I as their head venture to offer you thanks, and to Express an Earnest hope that in due time your labors and Enterprise will be duly rewarded -
2 -
[2] I take it for granted that you have made full investigation of the natural resources of Arizonia, and that you are well advised of the progress of the two Rail Roads approaching New Mexico from the East, one, or both of which seems destined to meet you in your progress Eastward, making another TransContinental Railway.
To the Military Authorities it makes little difference with which of these two roads you ultimately make connection, but meantime Every mile of rail road you build Eastward, is of [struck: infinite] [inserted: great] importance to us; saves the costly and difficult transportation of stones by wagons, and the infinitely more tedious and painful marching of men over dusty roads, at long intervals without water and with scanty food.
A Railroad East and West through
3 -
[3] Arizonia, apart from its importance as a Commercial Route from the Pacific to the Atlantic, is a "great civilizer" and will Enable the Military Authorities to maintain peace and order among Indians, as well as the Equally dangerous class of Robbers who of late have so much increased in members and boldness.
I am informed that you contemplate an Extension from Yuma eastward to Santa Fé New Mexico; and that about ten hundred miles to Maricopa Wells are to be contracted for at once. Though I did not pass over that particular Route I possess official information enough to say that such Extension will be most Valuable to the Military Authorities, because the roads leading from Prescott at the North, and Tucson at the South, are much better as to grass and water to -
[4] Maricopa Wells, than to Yuma. I do not Entertain a high opinion of of Arizonia as an agricultural Territory. but there seems to be no doubt about its Minerals, Gold, Silver, and Copper. Therefore I venture to Express a hope that I am rightfully informed of this your purpose, and shall be among the first to congratulate you on the completion of what must prove a most valuable link in so Grand an Enterprise.
I am further of opinion that every mile of new Railroad south and East from Yuma, will be important in increasing trade and intercourse with our neighbors in Mexico, and thus cause friendly relations, and secure peace on that National Border -
On these points I am so clear, that I have no objection to your using this letter with the understanding that it is written without consultation with the War Department of our Government, but almost certain
[5] that it will meet with its sanction.

With Great respect & c
W. T. Sherman
See More

People: Colton, David Douty, 1832-1878
Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891

Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900

Subjects: Immigration and MigrationRailroadAmerican WestTransportationUnion GeneralMilitary HistoryAmerican Indian HistoryWestward ExpansionFrontiers and ExplorationCriminals and OutlawsCommerceMerchants and TradeLatin and South AmericaDiplomacyPeaceGlobal History and CivicsForeign Affairs

Sub Era: Development of the West

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