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Vol. II, Part III, pp. 1-45: An introduction to and a synopsis of a report of the Reconnaissance of a railroad route from Puget Sound via the South Pass to the Mississippi River by Fred W. Lander, civil engineer, who undertook the exploration at his own expense. In view of the importance of his reconnaissance and its scientific character the Legislature of Washington Territory instructed its delegate to present the report to Congress and to procure its publication as a public document.
Vol. VI, Part II, chapter VII, pp. 53-60: Report on the general geology of the Columbia Valley. Chapter VIII, pp. 60-85, a report on the economical geology of the Puget Sound region, including a catalogue of minerals and fossils.
Vols. VIII, IX and X embody a report upon the zoology of the several Pacific routes. “Specimens collected were transmitted to the Smithsonian Institution and preserved until the return of the parties. The series of special reports prepared by the naturalists of the expedition were necessarily incomplete. It was deemed advisable to furnish a general systematic report upon the collection as a whole, and for the purpose materials were entrusted to competent individuals, necessary drawings being made by a skillful artist within the walls of the Smithsonian Institution.”
In the introduction of Vol. VIII is a general sketch of the lines explored, that on the 47th parallel being designated as No. 1, page xiii.
The general report on zoology is divided into four parts:
Part I, on Mammals, by Spencer F. Baird, fills Vol. VIII, and is accompanied by a number of plates, a systematic index of common names, a list of authorities and an alphabetical list of localities.
Part II, on Birds, compiled by Spencer F. Baird, fills Vol. IX, and is accompanied by lists of species, authorities and indices in addition to some beautiful colored plates.
Parts III and IV on Reptiles and Fishes, respectively, are found in Vol X. The report accompanying Part III was omitted since it had been extended beyond the limits originally contemplated.
Vol. XI contains a brief account of each of the exploring expeditions from 1800 to 1857, by Lieut. G. K. Warren, with topographical maps, profiles and sketches to illustrate the various reports and surveys. Chapter IV, pp. 63-70, deals with the exploration of Washington Territory. For further information on this portion of the country, the student is referred to the alphabetical index on page 111 and to profile maps Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on the route of the 47th and 49th parallels.
The Washington University
State Historical Society
Officers and Board of Trustees
CLARENCE B. BAGLEY, President
JUDGE John P. Hoyt, Vice-President
JUDGE Thomas BURKE
Seattle Department of Printing, University of Washington
ANALYSIS OF THE PACIFIC RAILROAD REPORTS*
The reports known familiarly as the Pacific Railroad Reports are a storehouse of information to the student of Pacific Coast history. The reports together with notes, letters, maps and plates fill thirteen quarto volumes and represent years of labor on the part of men who won distinction in their country's service. The accounts were the result of the western surveys made shortly after the discovery of gold and the acquisition of the Mexican cession turned the attention of all classes of people to the Pacific region.
Eugene V. Smalley in his “History of the Northern Pacific Railroad” gives an interesting summary of the situation preceding the surveys. He states that during the period of twenty years prior to 1850 there had been more or less agitation in an effort to arouse the interest of the public and the action of Congress in the building of a railroad to the Pacific. At that time the only route spoken of was that followed by Lewis and Clark. When the peace with Mexico added to the United States the vast area now comprised in the states of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, the project assumed greater proportions. The South which controlled the government had taken little interest in the proposed line, but the conquest from Mexico opened the possibility of a line which should be of advantage to the Southern States and which should extend through the newly acquired territory to the gold region of the West. It became a generally acknowledged sentiment that a transcontinental road must be built and that the government would have to aid its construction. Quoting still further from Mr. Smalley's history, we find that one of the great engineers of the time, E. F. Johnson, prepared and published a pamphlet favoring a road to the Pacific from St. Paul. The reading of Johnson's article is said to have spurred the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, to immediate action to set on foot government surveys of all proposed routes. The historian explains that the sectional jealousies of the time rendered it impossible for Congress to
• Prepared for the Seminar in State History, University of Washington, 1918.
secure any action looking to the survey or the opening of any particular route, but it was feasible to throw together all the suggested routes and obtain an appropriation of money to survey them all. This was done and provision was made for the surveys in a section of the Regular Army Appropriation Bill approved March 1, 1853. The Secretary of War was authorized under the direction of the President of the United States to employ such portion of the corps of topographical engineers and such other persons as he deemed necessary to make surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. The Secretary of War, Davis, had full charge of the organization of the expeditions and the selection of the routes. Early in the spring of 1853, he put five separate expeditions in the field to explore the country adjacent to the proposed routes, the first near the 32d parallel, the second near the 35th parallel, the third near the 38th and 39th parallels, the fourth near the 41st and 42nd parallels and the fifth near the 47th and 49th parallels.
Of the five explorations that of the northern route is of most vital interest to students of Northwest history. The survey for this continental line was the one lying near the 47th and 49th parallels and was in charge of Isaac I. Stevens, an experienced engineer and army officer who had served in the Mexican war. The story of his remarkable achievements in the organization of the expedition is best told by his son and biographer, Hazard Stevens. "Early in the year of 1853, Major Stevens, who for a number of years had held a position in the Coast Survey Office, applied for the governorship of Washington Territory, to which was attached ex-officio, the superintendency of Indian affairs, and also for the charge of the exploration of the Northern route. He set forth his views in such a convincing manner that within four days his proposal to lead the expedition and all his suggestions were adopted. . ... With characteristic energy Stevens organized, outfitted and started in the field an expedition for the survey of two thousand miles of wilderness, accomplishing the momentous task within two months. In obtaining assistants a delicate question arose as to the placing of army officers under the command of a civilian, a thing almost without precedent in military usage. However, Stevens found no difficulty in securing the voluntary service of as many able officers as he needed. There is probably no similar instance in our history where twelve army officers came under the command of a civilian." Among those assigned to the survey were Captain George B. McClellan, Lieutenants C. Grover, J. Mullan, A. J. Donelson and R. S. Saxton, army officers; A. W. Tinkham and Fred W. Lander, civil
engineers; Dr. John Evans, geologist; Drs. George Suckley and J. G. Cooper, surgeons and naturalists; J. M. Stanley, artist. Professor Baird of the Smithsonian Institute was placed in charge of the zoological and botanical collections, and of preparing the outfits and instructions for field work.
The historian, Mr. Smalley, gives a concise statement of Stevens' plans. "Governor Stevens determined that the exploration should be conducted in two divisions, operating respectively from the Mississippi River and Puget Sound; and that a depot of provisions should be established by a third party at the St. Mary's village, at the western base of the Rocky Mountains, to facilitate the winter operations of the exploration, and enable the exploring parties to continue in the field the longest practicable period; and that all the parties should be organized in a military manner for self-protection, and to force their way through whatever difficulties might be encountered.”
The narrative of the expedition and the results of the survey, together with instructions to the members of the party are recorded by Gov. Stevens in volumes I and XII (the latter in two parts). In the first pages are found statements of the Acts of Congress authorizing the surveys and explorations, and the resolutions of Congress authorizing the printing of the reports. Pages 3-30 are devoted to the report of the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, who summarizes the most important facts set forth in the reports of the engineers of the various routes. Pages 31-33 contain tabulations of the different routes as to lengths, ascents and descents, and distances from the eastern termini. Then follows an examination of the various reports by A. A. Humphreys, Captain of Topographical Engineers, and Lieutenant G. K. Warren, together with tabulations of the various routes, chapters I-V, pp. 39-108. Chapter I, pp. 39-56, deals with the report of Gov. Stevens on the northern route. Pages 109-111 contain notes by Lieut. G. K. Warren compiled from reports of the topographical engineers on the route via San Antonio to El Paso. The memoranda on railways in different parts of the country, pp. 115-130, were prepared in the office of the Pacific railroad surveys by George B. McClellan, corps of engineers. A list of the principal railroad tunnels of the world is also given with data as to their cost and construction Pages 130-134 contain a short report upon the cost of transporting troops and supplies to California, Oregon and New Mexico by Major General Thomas S. Jessup, Quartermaster General of the United States Army.
The numerous reports of the exploration for a route near the 47th and 49th parallels fill Parts I and II of the remainder of