After the Civil War effectively closed business travel along the Mississippi (which was being used as an invasion route by Union troops), Twain was unable to continue working as a riverboat captain. He briefly served in the Confederate Army, then rejoined Orion, who had recently won a position in the Nevada territory government as reward for his work on President Abraham Lincoln's re-election campaign. Twain traveled with his brother to Nevada, then commenced a year's work panning for gold and silver. These experiences would later provide the basis for his volume For a year Twain panned only occasionally, content instead to mock the entire venture by producing comedic missives for the nearby Virginia City In 1862 he joined the publication and assumed the Mark Twain pseudonym almost exclusively in alternating his humorous reports with conventional pieces.


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