From Beyond the Mississippi: From the Great River to the Great Ocean
By Albert D. Richardson
Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1867

CHINAMEN BUILDING RAILROAD The cars now (1867) run nearly to the summit of the Sierras. At the time of my visit the terminus was Colfax, fifty-five miles east of Sacramento. Thence we took horses for twelve miles. Upon this little section of road four thousand laborers were at work -- one-tenth Irish, the rest Chinese. They were a great army laying seige to Nature in her strongest citadel. The rugged mountains looked like stupendous ant-hills. They swarmed with Celestials, shoveling, wheeling, carting, drilling and blasting rocks and earth, while their dull moony eyes stared out from under immense basket-hats, like umbrellas. At several dining-camps we saw hundreds sitting on the ground, eating soft boiled rice with chopsticks as fast as terrestrials could with soup-ladles. Irish laborers received thirty dollars per month (gold) and board; Chinese, thirty-one dollars, boarding themselves. After a little experience the latter were quite as efficient and far less troublesome.

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