By Adrian J. Ebell.
|Court House of the military commission|
Let us take one of the lines of railroad that, after crossing the rolling prairies of Wisconsin or the flat plains of Illinois, reach a terminus on the banks of the Mississippi - let it be the latter. After a ride over a track converging to a focus behind us from its unbroken straightness, we are puffed and steamed into Fulton. Don't be in a hurry to get on, for if the steamboat agent told you that the packet would be up to-morrow morning, you may look for it about twelve hours later. First a shriek, next a dense black smoke, and then a floating island, loaded with men, women, children, horses, boxes, barrels, boats, coils of rope, piles of wood, bundles, and bandboxes, turns the bend of the river and glides to the edge of the warehouse. Be quick, and don't obstruct the gangway, lest you be jostled into the river by the porters. Another shriek, a few puffs and groans, a huge splashing, and the leviathan is again in motion, steaming its way up the current until, passing prairies stretching away to the foot of the Black Hills, Indian mounds, timber-rafts, flat-boats, villages which expect to become cities, we at last reach St. Paul.