“How hard they worked is an astonishment to us in the twenty-first century. Except for some of the cooks, and bakers, there was not a fat man among them. Their hands were tough enough for any job–one never sees gloves in the photographs–which included pickax handling, shoveling, wielding sledgehammers, picking up iron rails, and using other equipment that required hands like iron. Their waists were generally thin, but oh, those shoulders! Those arms! Those legs! They were men who could move things, whatever was required, in rain or snow or high winds or burning sun and scorching temperature, all day, every day. Nebraska can be hotter than hell, colder than the South Pole. They kept on working. They didn’t whine, they didn’t complain, they didn’t quit, they just kept on working.”
Stephen Ambrose writing about the Chinese, the Civil War veterans and all of the immigrants who worked for the rails building the Transcontinental Railroad in his book Nothing Like it in the World
The Chinese came because they wanted to make money and kept coming despite the prejudices they encountered only to prove themselves as excellent workers and humans.
Most workers were either still teenagers or very young adults.
Many still wore the remnants of their uniforms from fighting the war between the states.