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Surveying the West

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Amendment to H.R. 336 authorizing...
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Amendment to H.R. 336 authorizing the Secretary of War to organize a survey for a railroad route to the Pacific Ocean, February 24, 1853


Congress authorized Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to commission the Army Corps of Engineers for the transcontinental railroad survey. Davis, who represented Mississippi in the House and the Senate, favored the southernmost route. He continued to advocate for a southern railroad after secession, as President of the Confederate States of America.

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That the Secretary of War be…authorized…to employ…the corps of topographical engineers...to make such explorations and surveys as he may deem advisable, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean….

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration