Grading Service: PCGS
SKU: 135554
Cert Number: 84722085

The California Gold Rush brought new meaning and purpose to Western expansion and nearly everyone wanted a piece. One major contender that hoped to push movement out west was the railroad companies. The ultimate idea was to build a railway that traversed the entire continent that would allow ease of travel, shipment, and essentially bring more money to the United States. In order to do so, however, a pathway had to be pre-determined before construction could even begin. At first this decision was purely political, but this proved to divide the country more so than it already was, so congress looked toward a scientific solution. Together with the United States Army, congress funded topographical research parties to survey the unexplored west for the best possible route. One of these expeditions was sent out in 1853 and led by Army Captain John W. Gunnison. Gunnison and his men were sent to survey a route throughout Utah and Colorado, which was home to the well-known and volatile Paiute Native American tribe. As the one of four missions, all crew members expected the journey to go routinely, but this wasn’t the case. On October 25, 1853 Gunnison’s group fell under attack from a group of Paiutes who refused to lose their land. In their fervor the Natives took the lives of Gunnison and seven of his men. Despite the devastating loss, the captain’s second in command- EG Beckwith- took the expedition over. Thankfully he was able to find a feasible location for the railway through the Weber Canyon and the Northern Sierra Nevada range. Additionally, his men provided a very detailed report on the geology, flora, and fauna of the west that had never been really accounted for before. Regardless of the in depth report, congress returned to their selfish ways and the argument was reverted back to whether the railway should be through the North or South. Thankfully, and partially because of these reports, the North was able to finalize the transcontinental railroad when the South seceded years later.

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