“Miner at work underground, Virginia City, Nevada”

By Timothy O’Sullivan, 1867

In addition to extracting silver from rock face by hand with pick and shovel, workers in Nevada's silver mines faced the possibility of cave-ins, fires, and floods of scalding water during their shift. One observer described the mines as “narrow galleries where the air is scarce respirable.”

National Archives, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers (77-KS-1-15)