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- Early American History -

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Our Early History Gallery covers the birth of the transportation mission. From the Conestoga Wagon and ships that served in the Revolutionary War to the critical use of rail and waterways in the Civil War. You will learn about the important lessons-learned during the Spanish-American War and the Punitive Expedition into Mexico, lessons that would be effective in the First World War.

Army's First "Transportation Corps"

Colonial America was primarily agricultural and there were no major roads. The easiest way to travel from one colony to another was by sea. When the Revolutionary War began, General George Washington was faced with enormous transportation problems. Roads were in poor condition. Wagons were few, and there were not enough skilled teamsters to drive them, nor wheelwrights and blacksmiths to maintain them. America had no navy, so sea travel was not an option. We have a Conestoga wagon, named for the Conestoga valley in Pennsylvania which was first used in the 1750s and continued its use until the mid-1850s. Then, a Conestoga wagon and team cost about $1,450 which equates in the present day to the equivalent cost of a tractor trailer.

This page last updated on March 23, 2021