Expedition leaves New York

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegrapher

New York, NY, United States
vol. 1, no. 10, p. 118, col. 1

The Collins Overland Telegraph Expedition.



San Francisco, May 15th, 1865.


The remaining members of the Russian Telegraphic Expedition, from the Atlantic States, left New York, by the steamer Ariel, on the 3d of April, your correspondent being among the number. We arrived at Aspinwall April 13th, having had an exceedingly pleasant passage, as far as weather west concerned. I cannot, however, speak in equal terms of praise respecting the accommodations, the food, and the general management of things on board the steamer. It would be useless to enter into particulars, as the total disregard of the comfort and safety of passengers on this line has become a matter of public notoriety.

In three hours after landing at Aspinwall we had made the transit of the Isthmus and reached the wharf at Panama. The railroad connecting these two points is chiefly remarkable for its marvelous crookedness, which may be safely said to exceed anything of the kind in the world or anywhere else. In other respects, however. it is a first-class road, being built with lignum-vitae cross-ties and ballasted with broken stone. All the bridges are of iron and of the most approved pattern. The one which spans the Chagres River is a paticularly [sic] particularly fine specimen of engineering. The telegraph posts along this route are of a somewhat novel construction, being composed of cement, moulded around a slender scantling of wood three or four inches in diameter. The latter is set in the ground, and a wooden mould, consisting of staves and hoops, somewhat like an upright churn, is placed around it, filled with cement and allowed to dry. The mould is then taken apart and removed, leaving the post ready for the insulator and wire. These posts are about eighteen feet in height, one foot in diameter at the base and six inches at the top. They are used throughout the entire line, a distance, by the railroad, of 47 miles.

While at Panama I had the pleasure of meeting Messrs. Stanley McNider and Thos. P. Scully, who are employed in the railroad and telegraph office at that place. Their numerous friends among the fraternity at the north will be glad to learn that both are looking "first-rate," and apparently are very pleasantly situated. I hereby take occasion to express my obligations to "Mac" for favors extended during my brief stay at Panama.

Our voyage from this point to San Francisco on the magnificent steamer "Constitution," was most delightful. We were favored with the finest of weather and the smoothest of seas, and nothing was left undone by the officers of the ship to promote our comfort and enjoyment. A more striking contrast to the management of affairs on the Atlantic side could scarcely be imagined.

We arrived at San Francisco just two weeks after leaving Panama. The remainder of our party who preceded us, leaving New York in the "Golden Rule," on the 21st of March, had but just arrived, having been detained several days in the "transit." Among these were Mr. Kennicott, of Chicago, Mr. Rothrock, of Pennsylvania, and several other naturalists who are to accompany the expedition.

On our arrival here we found Colonel Bulkley and party busily engaged in preparing for the departure of the expedition for the north, which will take place in a short time.


Keywords:Collins Overland Telegraph
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:December 18, 2005 by: Elton Gish;