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Transcontinental Railroad

Transcontinental Railroad

Grenville Dodge in Transcontinental Railroad

Grenville Dodge (1831-1916) was the chief engineer and a driving force behind the Union Pacific Railroad. Dodge had a military background, having achieved the rank of general in the Union Army during the Civil War, and in 1865, he led the U.S. Army's campaign against the Plains Indians. Upon retiring from the army, Dodge was hired by financier Thomas Durant to be the chief engineer of the Union Pacific.

Dodge brought his military mindset to the building of the rail line and proved to be a fantastically capable engineer, which proved propitious, because the line suffered from Durant's constant meddling and efforts to milk the construction for personal profit. Dodge and Durant remained at odds for the duration of the project, although even Durant probably recognized that his chief engineer was indispensable.

In 1866, Dodge was elected to Congress, and while spending large amounts of time lobbying in Washington on behalf of the UP, he received criticism for neglecting his engineering duties, his political responsibilities, or both. Nonetheless, politics and railroad work brought Dodge fame and fortune, and unlike most of the Union Pacific's top investors, the ever-resourceful Dodge avoided the public embarrassment of the Crédit Mobilier scandal and investigation.

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