Restricted Transcontinental Railroad: The Primary Reason for the Election of Jefferson Davis to be President of the CSA

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WJC

Major General
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You have stated that my point of view is wrong. That must mean you have a point of view that is proven. What is it?
Thanks for your response.
I have stated that you have yet to prove the validity of your argument.
 

uaskme

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Location
SE Tennessee
The TRR for the North, was only a Concept until 62. Does that mean it had no Relevance, until 62? I don't think so.

Expansion was a Sectional Issue starting with the MO Compromise in 1820. Got worse with the Mexican War and annexation of Texas. Then again when Stephen Douglas blows up the MO Compromise in 54 with the Kansas/Nebraska Act, why. Because Douglas had to get Kansas settled so the Mid-West would have a valid Route for the TRR. Opps, there it is again. Seemed to have some Relevance in 54.

TRR seemed to have some Relevance in 53 with the Gadsden Purchase. While the TRR was only a Concept. Relevant enough to Stephen Douglas.

The TRR had Relevance to both Sections, because a vast Territory to the West, would only be settled and would only have a loyalty to the East, when they got a RR. The First thing the Republicans do after secession is to pass the Homestead Act, Land Grant School Act, and then the TRR Bill. All of these pieces of Legislation were Union Builders. The TRR would permanently bind the West Coast to the Union.

The South wanted the same thing. Vast area with no affiliation to a specific Government. Mexico was interested in the Southern Route. Vast Economic possibilities for the South. Economics which would help build Empire. Economics outside of Agriculture. Economics which would sustain, Independence.

Davis was an Expansionist, and believed the National Government should be involved in the Development of these assets.

Secession was not thought to of immediately provoke War, many thought, or hoped. Most from both sections though if War came, it would be limited. Davis was led the Nation in the development of the TRR. Their is no reason to think this development would stop because of secession. Yes, War would stop it.

Potter warned us about using the present to look back at History. Some seem incapable of seeing the world as the participants did, during this time period. Oh, they never got the TRR, so it wasn't important. How Silly, I think Potter would say.
 

James Lutzweiler

Sergeant Major
Joined
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Thanks for your response.
I have stated that you have yet to prove the validity of your argument.

Thanks for your challenging post.

I know you have stated that. I think what you mean is not that I haven't proven it but that you simply don't accept the proof. That's ok. No problem.

Proof is still proof, whether accepted or not accepted.

A practical difference between you and me seems to me to be this: unless something exists in a written document, proof to your satisfaction does not exist. As for me, actions without accompanying words still constitute evidence and proof. It matters not one whit to me if written statements of support for Davis because of the TRR do not exist. And even if they did exist --and we still don't know that they don't-- the question remains just how many such statements would be required to convince you or others who like your posts. If I produced a half dozen such contemporaneous comments, I think you would find some way to discount them as inadequate. I might be wrong. I have absolutely zero interest in putting words in your mouth or straw-manning you. Maybe you would. But my proof is based on other factors anyway, one of which is what JD's life was all about from 1853-1861 --and that was NOT slavery. It was the West and all that the West symbolized from mines to votes to silk and coolies. And if the ACW was all about slavery, why not elect Wade Hampton against his wishes? He was Mr. Slavery, if such there was.

Given your past comment--I think it was you-- about JD's military qualifications, I assume you are aware that not everyone in early 1861 viewed JD as a military genius in light of his alleged mistake at Buena Vista. But in early 1861 and every minute the clock ticked from 1853 until 1861, everyone, North and South, knew that JD knew more about the TRR and what it could do than almost, if not everyone, on earth.

I believe in the meaning of dogs that don't bark. If you don't, I grant you that right. But I highly recommend the belief.

James
 

James Lutzweiler

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Thanks for your response.
For the acceptance of an idea, the proponent must satisfy the level of proof demanded by the opponent.

Thanks for your post.

I am not worried about the acceptance of the idea. If it is not accepted, that does not change the value of the evidence. My task is to amass evidence, not to make sure that everybody accepts it. I am not looking for converts. All that matters to me is the historical record.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Thanks for your challenging post.

I know you have stated that. I think what you mean is not that I haven't proven it but that you simply don't accept the proof. That's ok. No problem.

Proof is still proof, whether accepted or not accepted.

A practical difference between you and me seems to me to be this: unless something exists in a written document, proof to your satisfaction does not exist. As for me, actions without accompanying words still constitute evidence and proof. It matters not one whit to me if written statements of support for Davis because of the TRR do not exist. And even if they did exist --and we still don't know that they don't-- the question remains just how many such statements would be required to convince you or others who like your posts. If I produced a half dozen such contemporaneous comments, I think you would find some way to discount them as inadequate. I might be wrong. I have absolutely zero interest in putting words in your mouth or straw-manning you. Maybe you would. But my proof is based on other factors anyway, one of which is what JD's life was all about from 1853-1861 --and that was NOT slavery. It was the West and all that the West symbolized from mines to votes to silk and coolies. And if the ACW was all about slavery, why not elect Wade Hampton against his wishes? He was Mr. Slavery, if such there was.

Given your past comment--I think it was you-- about JD's military qualifications, I assume you are aware that not everyone in early 1861 viewed JD as a military genius in light of his alleged mistake at Buena Vista. But in early 1861 and every minute the clock ticked from 1853 until 1861, everyone, North and South, knew that JD knew more about the TRR and what it could do than almost, if not everyone, on earth.

I believe in the meaning of dogs that don't bark. If you don't, I grant you that right. But I highly recommend the belief.

James

IMHO, you simply have not provided anything except your own unsubstantiated opinion and fervent belief to substantiate what you say here. You are telling us that they must be true because you believe they are true -- and when pressed you say other people should provide the evidence to support your belief. That is why you are greeted with so much skepticism.

Since you will not support your own thesis, it is hard to see why others should.
 

ErnieMac

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Pennsylvania
Posted as moderator. The topic of the thread deals with the role of the transcontinental railroad in the election of Jefferson Davis to be the Confederate president. It has nothing to do with required standards of proof. Keep on the topic. Formal warnings will be issued for future off topic comments.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Thanks for your response.
I do not need to provide "evidence to the contrary". The burden of proof is yours.




A very good point indeed. Whenever one proposes new evidence to rewrite the history books, that evidence must be overwhelming to invalidate the scholarship that preceded it, i.e., it cannot be a suggestion, inference, mere interpretation, speculation, etc., its scholarship must rise at least to the level of that it challenges to replace., and, in fact, it must rise considerably higher, And, as you indicate, the burden of proving their case falls upon the 'New' scholarship, not the old,
 

James Lutzweiler

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
A very good point indeed. Whenever one proposes new evidence to rewrite the history books, that evidence must be overwhelming to invalidate the scholarship that preceded it, i.e., it cannot be a suggestion, inference, mere interpretation, speculation, etc., its scholarship must rise at least to the level of that it challenges to replace., and, in fact, it must rise considerably higher, And, as you indicate, the burden of proving their case falls upon the 'New' scholarship, not the old,

See post #29.

Best to counter my proposition with what were the real reasons in your view. If your view is correct, my TRR thesis should disappear by default. A simple vacuum will not do. Your post implies that you know the real reason. Why not share your points with us? I am not trying to convert you, but I welcome any of your attempts to convert me. I will listen.

James
 

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
***Posted as Moderator***
Because of the interest several have shown here concerning the appropriate standard of proof for our discussions, I've started a new thread, "What is the appropriate standard of proof in our Civil War Discussions".
Please post any discussion of standards of proof there.
Any new posts on that topic in this thread will be considered thread derailment and will be deleted, warning points may be assessed.
 

byron ed

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Location
Midwest
...the actions of Davis from 1853-1861 were primarily about the TRR, not cotton or slavery.

As with every previous attempt here at "TRR was a primary cause of the war" -- this is the fourth over two years by my count -- it's typically a statement like the one above that kills off any semblance of traction the idea might have had. Sisyfus.
 
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uaskme

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Location
SE Tennessee
In the short session, 1858-59, the Senate spent about six weeks threshing over the old straw. Never before had a Pacific railroad bill been debated so thoroughly and apparently so earnestly. . .Recent favorable treaties with China and Japan and British discussion of a transcontinental railway across Canada were utilized in argument. But arguments availed little pro or con. Strife over routes and party politics again stymied action.

Iverson renewed his proposal of the preceding session for two roads, a northern and a southern, and accompanied it by a disunion speech. He described the signs and portents which convinced him that the time was near when the Southern states would secede and form a new confederacy. "What I demand, therefore," he said, "is that the South shall be put upon an equality with the North, whether the Union lasts or not; that in appropriation the public lands and money. . .the South shall an equal chance to secure a road within her borders, to inure to her benefit whilst the Union lasts, to belong to her when, if ever, the Union is dissolved." Jefferson Davis offered a substitute for the committee bill which, while ostensibly putting all routes on a fair competitive basis, was clearly designed to make the choice of any other than the Gila route impossible. pp229-230

One thing is clear, the provision for a single railroad by a central route against the bitter opposition of the lower South already on the verge of secession would not have been an act of statesmanship. It is a sad commentary on the sectionalism of the times that, while the Southerners opposed the bill because, among other reasons, it did not provide for a southern route, and Northern Democrats were willing to give the South little more than an outside chance of getting the road. pp231-232 Improvements of Communication by Russel

Here is evidence of the Importance the TRR had to the South, North and Canada in the lead up to the War.

On January 4, 1860, the President submitted the treaty and the convention to the Senate, and they were at once referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. All of the Senate's proceedings in relation to them were carried on in executive session, and the injunction of secrecy has never been removed. However, the Senate seems to have given them serious consideration. On May 31, they failed of ratification by a vote of 18 to 27. This vote was reconsidered on June 27, but subsequently further consideration was postponed until the short session of Congress. They were never again taken up. Of the eighteen senators who had voter for ratification all were Democrats and all but four were from the South; of the twenty-seven who had voted against ratification twenty-one were Republicans and all but four were from the North.

Meanwhile the request made by the President in his annual message for authority to employ force in Mexico had received scant notice in Congress. The Northern majority was still unwilling to trust James Buchanan with the armed forces of the nation beyond the Rio Grande and either did not want Mexican transits at all or, at least, did not want them if they were to facilitate the acquisition of more slave territory. For the remainder of his term Buchanan was forced to confide himself, insofar as Mexican policy was concerned, to confine himself, insofar as Mexican policy was concerned, to commendable and dignified diplomatic protests against the impending intervention of Great Britain, France, and Spain. pp243-255

By January, 1861, the Texas section was completed, and part of the Louisisna section was under construction and part under contract. The whole road was expected to be completed by autumn. As early as 1850 the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos through Houston to Columbus on the Colorado, about 85 miles in the direction of San Antonio. Of this 32 miles were in operation in 1861. The Columbus , San Antonio, and Rio Grande was chartered to continue the chain westward as indicated by its name. The four roads just described eventually became sections of the main line of the post-war Southern Pacific.

The Houston and Texas Central, organized as early as 1848, was building northwestward from Houston. It was calculated to intercept any east and west road which might be built across Texas. About 80 miles had been built by the end of 1860. From Hempstead on this line the Washington County Railroad was completed, 20 miles, to Brenham, and the Austin Air Line had been charted to connect Brenham and Austin. Austin also looked to the west with paper railroads. The Houston Tap and Brazoria was being built form Houston to Warton sixty miles to the southwest on the Colorado. It was almost completed when the War interrupted. The Texas and Mexico Railroad Company was authorized by its charter to build from either Wharton or Corpus Christi across the lower Rio Grande and thence across Mexico to Mazatlán. A Mexican charter also was in existence for a road from Rio Grand to Mazatlán.

If the deplorable War for Southern Independence had not occurred, Texas would have become the scene of railroad buildings, land speculation, and settlement in the 1860's such as the South, or, indeed, any part of the Union had never seen. It is highly probably that the first railroad to the Pacific would have been a continuation of one of the Texas lines, whether the federal government aided or not. pp271-272 Improvements of Communication by Russel

Evidence the the Southern TRR was more than a Concept. It was being built, until the War Started. Without the War, It would of been build. Davis had led the PRS Surveys, had led the fight in the Senate. He was a Southern Visionary about the TRR. He would of been the one who had the Experience to get the TRR done. And Yes he was selected as President. Coincidence, Don't think so!
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
In the short session, 1858-59, the Senate spent about six weeks threshing over the old straw. Never before had a Pacific railroad bill been debated so thoroughly and apparently so earnestly. . .Recent favorable treaties with China and Japan and British discussion of a transcontinental railway across Canada were utilized in argument. But arguments availed little pro or con. Strife over routes and party politics again stymied action.

Iverson renewed his proposal of the preceding session for two roads, a northern and a southern, and accompanied it by a disunion speech. He described the signs and portents which convinced him that the time was near when the Southern states would secede and form a new confederacy. "What I demand, therefore," he said, "is that the South shall be put upon an equality with the North, whether the Union lasts or not; that in appropriation the public lands and money. . .the South shall an equal chance to secure a road within her borders, to inure to her benefit whilst the Union lasts, to belong to her when, if ever, the Union is dissolved." Jefferson Davis offered a substitute for the committee bill which, while ostensibly putting all routes on a fair competitive basis, was clearly designed to make the choice of any other than the Gila route impossible. pp229-230

One thing is clear, the provision for a single railroad by a central route against the bitter opposition of the lower South already on the verge of secession would not have been an act of statesmanship. It is a sad commentary on the sectionalism of the times that, while the Southerners opposed the bill because, among other reasons, it did not provide for a southern route, and Northern Democrats were willing to give the South little more than an outside chance of getting the road. pp231-232 Improvements of Communication by Russel

Here is evidence of the Importance the TRR had to the South, North and Canada in the lead up to the War.

On January 4, 1860, the President submitted the treaty and the convention to the Senate, and they were at once referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. All of the Senate's proceedings in relation to them were carried on in executive session, and the injunction of secrecy has never been removed. However, the Senate seems to have given them serious consideration. On May 31, they failed of ratification by a vote of 18 to 27. This vote was reconsidered on June 27, but subsequently further consideration was postponed until the short session of Congress. They were never again taken up. Of the eighteen senators who had voter for ratification all were Democrats and all but four were from the South; of the twenty-seven who had voted against ratification twenty-one were Republicans and all but four were from the North.

Meanwhile the request made by the President in his annual message for authority to employ force in Mexico had received scant notice in Congress. The Northern majority was still unwilling to trust James Buchanan with the armed forces of the nation beyond the Rio Grande and either did not want Mexican transits at all or, at least, did not want them if they were to facilitate the acquisition of more slave territory. For the remainder of his term Buchanan was forced to confide himself, insofar as Mexican policy was concerned, to confine himself, insofar as Mexican policy was concerned, to commendable and dignified diplomatic protests against the impending intervention of Great Britain, France, and Spain. pp243-255

By January, 1861, the Texas section was completed, and part of the Louisisna section was under construction and part under contract. The whole road was expected to be completed by autumn. As early as 1850 the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos through Houston to Columbus on the Colorado, about 85 miles in the direction of San Antonio. Of this 32 miles were in operation in 1861. The Columbus , San Antonio, and Rio Grande was chartered to continue the chain westward as indicated by its name. The four roads just described eventually became sections of the main line of the post-war Southern Pacific.

The Houston and Texas Central, organized as early as 1848, was building northwestward from Houston. It was calculated to intercept any east and west road which might be built across Texas. About 80 miles had been built by the end of 1860. From Hempstead on this line the Washington County Railroad was completed, 20 miles, to Brenham, and the Austin Air Line had been charted to connect Brenham and Austin. Austin also looked to the west with paper railroads. The Houston Tap and Brazoria was being built form Houston to Warton sixty miles to the southwest on the Colorado. It was almost completed when the War interrupted. The Texas and Mexico Railroad Company was authorized by its charter to build from either Wharton or Corpus Christi across the lower Rio Grande and thence across Mexico to Mazatlán. A Mexican charter also was in existence for a road from Rio Grand to Mazatlán.

If the deplorable War for Southern Independence had not occurred, Texas would have become the scene of railroad buildings, land speculation, and settlement in the 1860's such as the South, or, indeed, any part of the Union had never seen. It is highly probably that the first railroad to the Pacific would have been a continuation of one of the Texas lines, whether the federal government aided or not. pp271-272 Improvements of Communication by Russel

Evidence the the Southern TRR was more than a Concept. It was being built, until the War Started. Without the War, It would of been build. Davis had led the PRS Surveys, had led the fight in the Senate. He was a Southern Visionary about the TRR. He would of been the one who had the Experience to get the TRR done. And Yes he was selected as President. Coincidence, Don't think so!

Sure it was.

Davis's experience as an efficient Secretary of War and in previous government experience got him selected as President of the Confederacy.

That and his apparent acceptability by the divergent views of the assembly in Mobile.
 

uaskme

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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Location
SE Tennessee
Sure it was.

Davis's experience as an efficient Secretary of War and in previous government experience got him selected as President of the Confederacy.

That and his apparent acceptability by the divergent views of the assembly in Mobile.

And as Secretary of Defense, he directed the Pacific Railroad Surveys. The most important thing he did, while in office, I have provided source and read it to you.
 

DaveBrt

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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Location
Charlotte, NC
By January, 1861, the Texas section was completed, and part of the Louisisna section was under construction and part under contract. The whole road was expected to be completed by autumn. As early as 1850 the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos through Houston to Columbus on the Colorado, about 85 miles in the direction of San Antonio. Of this 32 miles were in operation in 1861. The Columbus , San Antonio, and Rio Grande was chartered to continue the chain westward as indicated by its name. The four roads just described eventually became sections of the main line of the post-war Southern Pacific.

The Houston and Texas Central, organized as early as 1848, was building northwestward from Houston. It was calculated to intercept any east and west road which might be built across Texas. About 80 miles had been built by the end of 1860. From Hempstead on this line the Washington County Railroad was completed, 20 miles, to Brenham, and the Austin Air Line had been charted to connect Brenham and Austin. Austin also looked to the west with paper railroads. The Houston Tap and Brazoria was being built form Houston to Warton sixty miles to the southwest on the Colorado. It was almost completed when the War interrupted. The Texas and Mexico Railroad Company was authorized by its charter to build from either Wharton or Corpus Christi across the lower Rio Grande and thence across Mexico to Mazatlán. A Mexican charter also was in existence for a road from Rio Grand to Mazatlán.

If the deplorable War for Southern Independence had not occurred, Texas would have become the scene of railroad buildings, land speculation, and settlement in the 1860's such as the South, or, indeed, any part of the Union had never seen. It is highly probably that the first railroad to the Pacific would have been a continuation of one of the Texas lines, whether the federal government aided or not. pp271-272 Improvements of Communication by Russel

Evidence the the Southern TRR was more than a Concept. It was being built, until the War Started. Without the War, It would of been build. Davis had led the PRS Surveys, had led the fight in the Senate. He was a Southern Visionary about the TRR. He would of been the one who had the Experience to get the TRR done. And Yes he was selected as President. Coincidence, Don't think so!

First, which road had built the Texas section that was complete? I suspect you are referring to the Southern Pacific RR (an earlier use of the name than we are used to). In fact, it had built almost nothing, 27 miles! This road was clearly the one to be built in connection with the 32d parallel rationale (see plate CLXII in the OR Atlas). I have seen many newspaper articles pushing the virtue of the 32nd line -- straight from Charleston to Montgomery, Jackson, Vicksburg, Shreveport, Marshall, Dallas, El Paso, and San Diego. A side branch would come south to Memphis, then Little Rock and Dallas, meeting the first road in Dallas. A far southern route, New Orleans to Houston to El Paso and join the first road, had been mentioned early, but I have never seen it pushed as the primary line.

The story of the Southern Pacific RR (the one above), in all its names, can be found in Virginia Taylor, The Franco-Texas Land Company, U. Texas Press, 1969. It is so named because the President of the SP, Vernon K. Stevenson, was trying to get his road built by a French company and, as far as possible, by selling land and bonds in France. Stevenson was in Paris, Fr when the first states withdrew from the Union, destroying his chances until things had settled down. He gave a report of the history and status of his road in a stockholders meeting in New Orleans March 28, 1861 http://csa-railroads.com/Essays/Orignial Docs/NP/NODC/NP,_NODC_3-28-61.htm with a follow up article http://csa-railroads.com/Essays/Orignial Docs/NP/NODC/NP,_NODC_4-3-61.htm.

Having looked at the condition of dozens of railroads of the era who were barely able to survive because of a shortage of funds and no sources willing to fill the gap, I believe the South could not have completed a TRR of it own until the end of the century. The built TRR was "completed" in 1881 by the industrial powerhouse that the Union had become. The South would have been so short of money that it could never have built a road that produced almost no income in its western 1500 miles until the entire road was finished.

One of the ways railroads ran out of money before being completed was by being provided aid from states that required that the state bonds could not be sold for less than par, ie the $100 bonds had to be sold for $100. The financial markets watched state income and debt levels and frequently required bonds to be sold at discount because of the perceived risk. The RR ended up with state bonds they could not sell -- and sometimes they were also paying interest to the state on the bonds the RR was holding.

Last, since the Texas RR charters are not of interest to me (too early), I have not read them. Surely, if the Texas roads were being built as part of the TRR plan (as implied in the quote above) there should be hints of this plan in their charters. Worth someone looking into.

Final note, neither Stevenson, in his stockholder report above, or Taylor, in her book, mention Davis (except for a minor footnote in Taylor). Strange.

Last and final -- Stevenson was not a man to complete such a massive project. There are hints of false statements and overpromises in the US and France before the war. During the war, Stevenson was the QM who did such a disastrous job in evacuating QM stores from Nashville. Finally, as President of the Nashville & Chattanooga RR during the war, he invested much of the company's war profits in cotton, which he appears to have stolen at the end of the war.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
And as Secretary of Defense, he directed the Pacific Railroad Surveys. The most important thing he did, while in office, I have provided source and read it to you.

Yes, you did provide a source.

I simply do not agree that the man was somehow an expert at laying track and that was how he was appointed President of the Confederacy.

He got the job because of his time as a military man, a Secretary of the War Department, and his previous experience as a Senator in the US government.

I'll go further and opine the man had no railroad experience on his resume when his fellow secessionists picked him to be President at Mobile, AL.
 

James Lutzweiler

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
And as Secretary of Defense, he directed the Pacific Railroad Surveys. The most important thing he did, while in office, I have provided source and read it to you.

Absolutely right! JD's work on the TRR from 1853-1861 transcends by western wide margins whatever he did in the Mexican war between 1846-1848. No comparison.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
And as Secretary of Defense, he directed the Pacific Railroad Surveys. The most important thing he did, while in office, I have provided source and read it to you.
Davis did direct those five Surveys and they were well done -- but only after Congress passed an appropriation of $150,000 for the purpose and directed him to do the surveys. Davis was a supporter of the TRR idea, but he didn't do this on his own.

Davis is regarded as the best Secretary of War the country had had to that point (some would say the best the country has ever had). He worked ceaselessly at his job and made major changes in just about everything he touched. In those days, the Secretary of War was really the Secretary of the Army: the Army was expanded, the first Cavalry regiments created. The curriculum and program at West Point was reformed. With the expansion of the Army came new command slots and Davis selected those who would advance to get them: Robert E. Lee, A. S. Johnston, J. E. Johnston, George Thomas, Braxton Bragg ... literally dozens of men who became Civil War generals were promoted by Davis as the Army expanded in the 1850s. New manuals and regulations were written. Officers were sent to study abroad and observe European armies (McClellan ends up in the Crimea as part of one such mission). The Washington bureaucracy was shaken about.

That is just to say that while the Pacific Railroad Surveys were an important task, they were just one of many that Jefferson Davis took on. In terms of the 1850s and the Civil War, they had little (if any) impact. The first Transcontinental RR was not covered by any of them. While Davis should be commended for his part in directing them, I would not agree that they were the most important thing he did while in office.
 
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