The time it took to travel from the east coast to west coast in the mid-1850s is described in American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant, by Ronald C. White.
The book is fantastic, by the way.
The time for transit from New York to Washington and back home is described. For comparison, I’ll repeat the timing for a trip by William Sherman described in another book, which I mentioned a while back.
Here are the transit times:
- 43 days – New York to San Francisco via Isthmus of Panama – 1852
- 51 days – San Francisco to New York via Panama – 1854
- 198 days – New York to Monterey, California sailing around Cape Horn – 1847
Lieutenant Grant’s unit was transferred from Michigan to the Washington territory.
At the time, there were three options for the trip. First was overland via the Oregon Trail. Second, sailing around Cape Horn at the tip of South America. Third, portage across the Isthmus of Panama.
His unit went the Panama route.