War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0244 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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not statistic to show the extent of this traffic, but it has of late years increased with the development of the mines of the central region of the continent until it has become a most important interest. Travelers by the stage from Denver to Fort Leavenworth, a distance of 683 miles, in the month of July, 1865, were never out of sight of wagon trains, belonging either to emigrants or to the merchants who transport supplies for the War Department, for the Indian Department and for the mines and settlers of the central Territories.

Cost of transportation of a pound of corn, hay, clothing, subsistence, lumber, or any other necessary from Fort Leavenworth to-

Forth Riley...........................................$0.0246

Fort Union, the depot for New Mexico.....................1435

Santa Fe, N. Mex.........................................1685

Fort Kearny..............................................0644

Fort Laramie.............................................1410

Denver City, Colo........................................1543

Salt Lake City, utah.....................................2784

The cost of a bushel of corn purchased at Fort Leavenworth and delivered at each of these points is as follows:

Fort Riley...............................................$2.79

Fort Union................................................9.44

Santa Fe.................................................10.84

Fort Kearny...............................................5.03

Fort Laramie..............................................9.26

Denver City..............................................10.05

Salt Lake City...........................................17.00

To this last point none is now sent.

The expenses of this department will be reduced by the advance of the Pacific railroads, two of which are rapidly moving westward, one from Leavenworth toward Fort Riley and the other from Omaha toward Fort Kearny.

The present general mode of transport is by heavy wagons, each drawn by ten oxen. The loads of these wagons average 5,500 pounds each. Lighter freight and passengers are carried by express in lighter wagons, drawn by mules, which animals are almost exclusively used in the winter when the grass is covered with snow.

The heavy trains in dry weather move readily over the prairie roads, which outside the limits of the settlements follow the best routes, and can make wide detours to avoid sloughs or wet places in the prairies. The progress of settlement injures these roads. No laws appear to exist reserving the road ben on these great overland routes to the public. The lines of survey of the public lands cross the trail at all angels, and each farmer is at liberty to fence in hisng lines of his rectangular boundaries.

These overland trails, now well-beaten wagon tracks, were originally located upon the high and dry swells of the prairie, the most desirable land for agricultural purposes. They followed the best routes and sought the easiest crossings of the streams, low grounds, and swamps. Near Leavenworth the progress of inclosure is driving them into the wet grounds, and greatly increases the difficulties of travel.

It is much to desired that in all future land sales the great and long-established trail, the highways across the continent, should be reserved from sale and be devoted forever as public highways. A certain width on each side of them should be marked out by actual survey and reserved for this purpose. Wagon roads across the continent will always be needed, even when the railroad are competed.