CAL.IFORNIANA

4

33d Congkess, ) HOUSE OF REPRESEN T ATIYES. ( Ex. Doc.

3d Session. $ I No. 91.

REPORTS

OF

EXPLORATIONS AND SURYEYS,

TO

ASCERTAIN THE MOST PRACTICABLE AND ECONOMICAL ROUTE FOR A RAILROAD

FROM THE

MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

MADE UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR, IN

W

1853-4,

ACCORDING TO ACTS OF CONGRESS OF MARCH 3, 1853, MAY 31, 1854, AND AUGUST 5, 1854.

VOLUME II.

WASHINGTON :

A. O. P. NICHOLSON, PRINTER.

1855.

92447

CONTENTS OP VOLUME II.

V

REPORT, BY LIEUTENANT E. G. BECKWITH, THIRD ARTILLERY, UPON THE ROUTE NEAR THE THIRTY-EIGHTH AND THIRTY-NINTH PARALLELS, EXPLORED BY CAPTAIN J. W. GUNNISON, CORPS TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS.

REPORT OF LIEUTENANT E. G. BECKWITH, THIRD ARTILLERY, UPON THE ROUTE NEAR THE FORTY- FIRST PARALLEL.

*REPORT OF A RECONNAISSANCE FROM PUGET SOUND, VIA SOUTH PASS, TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER,

BY F. W. LANDER, CIVIL ENGINEER. REPORT OF BREVET CAPTAIN JOHN POPE, CORPS TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, UPON THE PORTION

OF THE ROUTE NEAR THE THIRTY-SECOND PARALLEL, LYING BETWEEN THE RED RIVER AND

THE RIO GRANDE.

REPORT OF LIEUTENANT JOHN G. PARKE, CORPS TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, UPON THE PORTION

OF THE ROUTE NEAR THE THIRT it -SECOND PARALLEL, LYING BETWEEN THE RIO GRANDE AND

PIMAS VILLAGE, ON THE GILA. EXTRACT FROM REPORT OF A MILITARY RECONNAISSANCE MADE BY LIEUTENANT COLONEL W. H

EMORY, U. S. ARMY, OF THE PORTION OF THE ROUTE NEAR THE THIRTY-SECOND PARALLEL,"

LYING BETWEEN THE MOUTHS OF THE SAN PEDRO AND GILA RIVERS.

w This report was procured from Mr. Lander in compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of August 3, 1854. By a resolution of February 14, 1855, it was ordered to be printed, in connexion with the reports of the Pacific railroad explorations and surveys made under direction of the Secretary of War.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA TIVES February 14, 1855.

Resolved, That there be printed, for the use of the House, ten thousand copies of the reports of surveys for a railroad to the Pacific, made under the direction of the Secretaiy of War, embracing the report of F. W. Lander, civil engineer, of a survey of a railroad route from Puget's Sound, by Fort Hall and the Great Salt lake, to the Mississippi river ; and the report of J. C. Fre'mont, of a route for a railroad from the head-waters of the Arkansas river into the State of California ; together with the maps and plates accompanying each of said reports necessary to illustrate them.

Attest: J. W. FORNEY,

Clerk of the House of Representatives of the United States.

THIETY-SECOND CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION— Chapter 98.

Sect. 10. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of War be, and he is hereby 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 may deem necessary, to make such explorations and surveys as he may deem advisable, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean, and that the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, to defray the expense of such explorations and surveys.

Approved March 3, 1853.

THIRTY-THIRD CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION— Chapter 60.

Appropriation : For deficiencies for the railroad surveys between the Mississippi river and the Pacific ocean, forty thou- Eand dollars.

Approved May 31, 1854.

THIRTY-THIRD CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION Chapter 267.

Appropriation : For continuing the explorations and surveys to ascertain the best route for a railway to the Pacific, and for completing the reports of surveys already made, the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars Approved August 5, 1854.

EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS EOR A RAILROAD ROUTE PROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE PACIEIC OCEAN.

"WAR DEPARTMENT.

REPORT

OF

EXPLORATIONS FOR A ROUTE FOR THE PACIFIC RAILROAD,

CAPT. J. W. GUNNISON, TOPOGEAPHICAL ENGINEERS,

NEAR

THE 38TH AND 39TH PARALLELS OE NORTH LATITUDE,

FROM

THE MOUTH OF THE KANSAS RIVER, MO., TO THE SEVIER LAKE, IN THE GREAT BASIN,

REPORT BY LIEUT. E. G. BECKWITH,

THIRD ARTILLERY.

INTRODUCTORY LETTER.

Washington, D. C, November 25, 1854. Sir : In submitting to the department the accompanying report of the explorations for a Pacific railroad, conducted, up to the time of his death, (at the hands of the Indians,) by the late Captain J. W. Gunnison, Topographical Engineers, it is proper that I shall state that I have preferred the journal form in which to embody the labors of the party and the minute and general descriptions of the country, required by the specific object of the survey, as affording greater facilities for introducing the observations and conclusions of Captain Gunnison, in his own language, than could have been secured in any other form. I have intentionally adhered to details and repe- titions, however monotonous, by which alone a faithful description of this great interior country can be presented ; for, monotonous as it is in itself, and far removed from general fertility, no general description not made up of facts constantly repeated can convey a true picture of the country explored an object deemed of the first importance in this report, in which I have endeavored to exhaust the material obtained for it, for which too much credit cannot be given to Captain Gunnison.

The report was written, in great haste, at Great Salt Lake, immediately after reaching that city, and forwarded to you on the 1st of February, 1854, but has been revised and materially improved since my return to this city. The computation of altitudes has been conducted since my arrival in Washington under the superintendence of Mr. Lorin Blodget, and the barometrical observations discussed by him with great care and superior intelligence, which will be apparent by a reference to his notes and the tables in this report.

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. G. BECK WITH,

First. Lieutenant 3d Artillery.

Hon. Jefferson Davis,

Secretary of War.

c

t

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

From Fort Leavenworth, via Westport, Fort Riley, and Smoky Hill Fork, to Pawnee Fork ; also, via Santa Fe road to Council Grove and Walnut Creek June 15th to July 13, 1853.

Page.

Allusion to the death of Captain Gunnison and his assistants. Extract from instructions from the War Department to Captain Gunnison Arrival at St. Louis, Kansas, and Fort Leavenworth. Country from Fort Leavenworth to Westport. Camp at Shawnee Mission, near Westport: its altitude above the Gulf of Mexico. Arrival of the escort under Captain Morris. Teamsters and mules. First march. Gentlemen composing the party. Instru- ments provided. The train : why used. Cedar creek : its timber. Bull creek. McClannahan and party, with stock for California. Emigrants. Division of party.— Route via Kansas river and Smoky Hill Fork. Wahkarrussi bot- tom.— Timber. Inviting appearance of the Kansas bottom : its fertility and railroad practicability. Indian houses and grain fields. Delaware guides. Uniontown. Rocky hills.— -Storm. Country approaching Fort Riley. Cross- ing the Kansas. Fort Riley. Crossing the Republican Fork or Pawnee river. Valley of the Smoky Hill Fork : its fertility and timber. Sycamore creek. Wagon road route from Fort Riley west. Sand-hills. Crossing Nepe- holla or Solomon's Fork.— Short grass begins to appear. Practicability of a wagon road to the Saline Fork. Stream swollen : its passage and character. First appearance of buifalo-grass. Meadows of the Saline and Kansas rivers. Smoky Hill. Buffalo sign. Lone Oak ford of the Kansas. Railroad line thence to the Huerfano. Sand- stone ridges or bluffs. Character of the soil. Chalybeate spring. First buffalo. Passing from the waters of the Smoky Hill to those of the Arkansas river. Sand-banks on the Little Arkansas. Large fields of helianthus. Indicated line for a wagon road west from Fort Riley. Walnut creek. Military parties and encampments. Guides discharged. Character of the country for roads of any kind. Bridges. Change in climate and character of the country. Journal of the party following the Santa Fe. road from Bull creek. Black Jack creek. Timber. Bituminous coal. Willow spring. Stampede of emigrant horses. Rock creeks. One Hundred and Ten Mile creek. Indian houses and fields. Dwissler's, Dragoon, and Prairie Chicken creeks. Elm, Bluff, and Big Rock creeks. Council Grove. Timber and fields of corn. Civil and military parties en route for New Mexico. Incident in Governor Merriwether's life. Diamond spring. Lost spring. Scarcity of timber and monotonous character of the

country. Snipe Cottonwood creek. Annoyance from flies and mosquitoes. Turkey creek. Miserable water.

Little Arkansas. View of the Arkansas river bottom. Owl and Cow creeks. Change in the character of the soil and vegetation of the country. Dog towns. Sand-hills. Arkansas river. Kansas, Osage, and Sac Indians. Walnut creek. Suffering from mosquitoes. Site for a military post. Timber on Walnut creek. Pawnee Rock. Ferru- ginous sandstone. Ash creek. Grass and soil. Pawnee Fork. Timber. Altitude of camp on Pawnee Fork above, and distance from, that near Westport. Osage and Kansas Indians 9

CHAPTER II.

From Pawnee Fork to the crossing of the Arkansas river at the mouth of the Apishjpa July 14 to

August 2, 1853.

Forks of the Santa Fe road. Coon creek: bad water. Indian hunting grounds. Dryness of the country. Bois de vache. Wolf in pursuit of a rabbit. Return to the Arkansas river. Comanche Indians. Fort Atkinson. Dryness of the Arkansas river at times. Kioway camp. Indian war party against the Pawnees. Shaved-Head, a Comanohe chief: his leave-taking. Captives among Indians. Ascent from Pawnee Fork. Grass of the country. Bluffs and rolling prairie. Islands in the river. Cimmaron route ford, Lino of proposed road from Fort Riley to this lord. Sandy road. Plains of the river bottom. Scarcity of fuel. Dull monotony of the Arkansas. Winds Aliiiude above Fort Atkinson and distance from it: altitude above the Gulf of Mexico. Unsuccessful sportsmen. Prairie dogs in great numbers. Incrustations of salt. Iron ore. Big Timber. Bent's trading station. Sandstone bluffs. Scarcity of grass Purgatory creek. Bent's Fort. Game. Fords. Advantageous position for a military post.- Timpas creek. Railroad route indicated. Smoky atmosphere. View of the Spanish peaks. Artemisia. Game. Crossing the Arkansas at the mouth of the Apishpa. The river easily bridged. Hills and bluffs, Grades for thirty - four miles. View of the mountains and peaks M

6

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER III.

From the mouth of the Apishpa, via the Sangre de Cristo, to Roubideau's Pass August 2 to 25, 1853.

Valley of the Apislipa. Rocks and soil of the hills and valley. Small cafion. Examination of the canon. Indian writings. Cacti.— Small pines. Route of the wagon train. Rocks and grass Game. Appearance of the mount- ains.— Fossils.— Flowers. Wild horses. Timber on the Arkansas in sight. Rains, dews, winds. Course of the Apishpa, and broken character of the country. Discovered that we were not on the Huerfano. Road to Raton pass. Cuchara river. Fine view. Trip to the Greenhorn settlement. Clay and shale banks of the Cuchara. Dog towns. Wild horses. Huerfano river and butte. Huerfano canon Apache creek. Trail from Taos. Trader's camp.— Granaros. Greenhorn settlement : its population and productions Massaliuo, the guide. Sleeping apart- ments in Greenhorn. Huerfano but! e.— Direct line from the Arkansas to the upper Huerfano, leaving the former above the mouth of the Apishpa: its railroad character. Size of the Huerfano river.— Soil. Building-stone. Ascent of the Huerfano. Tao3 trail, via El Sangre de Cristo Pass. Approach to the Sangre de Cristo Pass. Sand and limestone. Railroad route. Timber. Flowers. Game. Difficulties in the approach. The passage of the Sangre de Cristo Pass. Scenery. Game. Distances, altitudes, grades. Railroad line through the pass and its western descent to Fort Massachusetts. Examination of the mountains to the south of the Spanish peaks. Hunters from Taos. Snow in and about the Sangre de Cristo Pass. Trip to Taos. San Luis valley: its streams and settle- ments.— Indian signals and robbery. Red river of the Rio Grande del Norte. Valley of Taos: its settlements and cultivation. Return to Fort Massachusetts. Antoine Leroux, guide. Men discharged. Mr. Taplin. White Mountain spring. Sage in San Luis valley. Roubideau's Pass: its rocks, character, grades, elevation. San Luis valley, and mountain chains e closing it

CHAPTER IV.

From Roubideau's Pass, via the Coochetopa Pass and Grand River valley, to the Nah-un-hah-rea or Blue

river August 25 to September 20, 1853.

Gigantic sand-hills. Williams' Pass.— Stampede.— Sand and sage. Chatillon, Trois Teton, and Leroux creeks Game. Scene of Colonel Fremont's disaster of 1848-4!). Vegetation and soil. Homans' creek. Currants. Sahwatch spring and butte. Coochetopa Pass gate. Sinking of Sahwatch creek. Sahwatch valley. Light dusty soil. General character of San Luis valley. Favorable character for a railroad of the lower part of the Sahwatch valley. Deer, grouse, and trout.. Captain Gunnison's examination of Homans' park: its fertility. Gunnison's Pass: its position and railroad practicability. Puncha creek and country east of the pass. Indicated lines for roads. Mountain sheep. Approach to the Coochetopa Pass. Carnero Pass Leaving Sahwatch creek. Mountain forms, timber, rocks. Passage and character of the summit of the Coochetopa Pass: altitudes and grades in approaching it, &c. Method of levelling. Grades and tunnel. Existence of a pass north of the Coochetopa Pass. Valley of Pass creek. Valley leading to Cainero Pass —Grades. Indicated railroad line from the Coochetopa Pass. Arte- misia.—Coochetopa creek. Pass Creek canones. Character of mountain storms. Grand river: its character, valley, and adjacent mountains. Confusion of names. Character of and passage around the first canon of Grand river. Tables or mesas. Brief general description of Grand River valley and canones. Fall of the river. Ice. Indian smokes and method of hunting. Captain Gunnison's description of Grand River valley repeated. Railroad difficulties. Scarcity of timber. The guide's dilemma. Difficulties, character, and passage of Lake Fork. Delu- sive basin appearance, exhibiting the broken character of the country Effects of mountain air. View of the Sierra de la Plata. Utah Indians on Cebolla creek. Indian presents.- Mountain reconnoissance. Fine view of distant mountain peaks and adjacent valleys and streams. Position of the Spanish trail. Ascent and passage of the mountain. Ascending and descending grades. Valley of the Uncompahgra: its cacti, sage, soil, &c. Utah Indians. Women of great age.— Domestic scene.— Descent of the Uncompahgra valley. Utah Indian parties : great numbers in camp. Indian " talk" and presents. Roubideau's old fort. Crossing Grand river. Difficulties to be encountered in constructing a railroad along the canon portion of Grand river. Character of the country below Roubideau's old fort. Una-weep canon and creek. Kah-nah creek. Nah-un-kah-rea or Blue river. Steep eastern bank. River crossing. River entrance into this valley; its size and character

CHAPTER V.

From Blue river crossing to Greet , White, and San Rafael rivers and the eastern foot of the Wahsatch

Pass September 20 to October 13, 1853.

Purchase of Indian horses. Indian veracity. Soil. Salt creek. Indian trails to the Uintas. Coal bed. Canones of Grand river.— Rocks Coal. Daily change of temperature. Aqueous deposits and barrenness of the valleys. Climate. Scarcity of cultivable lands. Leroux returns to New Mexico. Details of the country between Grand and Green rivers. Best position for railroad indicated: grades, &c. Fanciful forms of mountains. Reach the noted Spanish trail. Disheartening view. Ash-heap character of the soil. Scarcity of water. Difficulty in the construc- tion of a railroad from Grand*to Green river.— Crossing Green river.— Utah Indians. Character of Roan mountains

CONTENTS.

on Green river. Spanish trail followed to Akanaquint spring. Grades.— From Akanaquint spring to White river: rocks, soil, water, and grades. Ascent of the, valley of White river to Clever creek. Return to White river San Rafael river. Return to the Spanish trail. Course of this trail, and character of the country traversed by it from Akanaquint spring. Indicated line via the San Rafael. Improved soil. Indians subsist on buffalo-berries. The country between Green river and the Wahsatch mountains: valleys, hills, and rocks. Oak springs. Indian guide. Weak condition of our animals. Grades

CHAPTER YI.

From the eastern base of the Wahsatch mountains, via the Wahsatch Pass and Sevier river, to near the Sevier lake, the most western point of exploration, and back to Cedar Springs, after the death of Captain Gunnison October 13 to 28, 1853.

Akanaquint creek. Rude figures drawn on rocks. The Wahsatch Pass. Character of the hills to the east and west of the pass. Grades. Tunnel. Salt creek. Svvambah creek. Spanish trail. Un-got-tah-bi-kin creek. Colonel Bufwell and Mr. Ross. Tewip Narrienta. Course of the Spanish trail to the west. Wahsatch mountain reconnois- sance. Salt Creek canon : its length, character, and grades for a railroad. Wagon trail. Entering Sevier River valley. Moot-se-ne-ah Peak. Mountains surrounding the Sevier River valley. Mormon settlements. Vegetation of the valley. Sevier river— Captain Gunnison's statement of the result of his explorations, for mail and military roads and for railroads. Manner in which their duties were performed by the gentlemen of his party. San Pete creek. Road from Great Salt Lake to California. Captain Gunnison's visits to Manti. Cross the Sevier river. Lake valley. Un-kuk-oo-ap mountains.— Fillmore. Sevier Lake valley. Rabbit fences. Return to the Sevier river. Departure of Captain Gunnison and party to explore the Sevier lake. Extract from his journal. Party ascending the Sevier river. Sand-hills. River course. Sage. Canon of the Sevier river. Un-kuk-oo-ap mountains terminate. First intelligence of the disaster to Captain Gunnison's party. Departure of Captain Morris to the scene of the attack. Stragglers. Movement of the train and party to Cedar springs. Return of Captain Morris. Scene of the disaster. Bodies of the slain. False charges against the Mormons

CHAPTER VII.

From Cedar Sprivg, by way of Nephi, Payson, Palmyra, Springville, Provo, Pleasant Grove, Lake- City, Lehi, Willow Creek, and Cottonwood settlements, to Great Salt Lake City October 28 to No- vember 8, 1853.

Pioneer creek. Citizens of Fillmore. Messrs. Call and Richards Express to Great Salt Lake City. Courtesy and assistance from Mr. Call and Governor Young. Papers and property recovered. Kenosh's account of the murder. Excitement of our men. Course from the Coochetopa Pass to the Wahsatch Pass. Character of the country from the Wahsatch Pass to Little Salt lake and Vegas de Santa Clara: its impracticability for a railroad. Railroad fol- lowing the Sevier river. Western limit of the explorations of 1853. Unobstructed passage from Sevier lake to Great Salt lake. Return to Sevier river. Appearance of Sevier River canon. Village of Nephi. Payson. Spanish fork. Palmyra. Provo. Timpanogos river. Western range of the Wahsatch mountains. Line of Mormon settle- ments.— Supplies purchased. Lake Utah. Reference to Stansbury's Report. Winter camp. Condition of animals crossing the Plains. Winter quarters at Great Salt lake

CHAPTER VIII.

General Stimmary of the line explored for the Pacific railroad near the thirty-eighth parallel of north latitude, from, Fort Leavenworth (Kansas) to the Sevier lake, (Utah.)

Character and fertility of the Plains : timber, grass, rain. Approach to El Sangre de Cristo Pass of the Rocky mountains. Soil, cultivation, grazing, and water. Mountain valleys. Valley of San Luis. Coochetopa Pass and surrounding country. J rand River valley lands. Roan mountains, and the country between Grand and Green rivers. From Green river to the Wahsatch mountains. Summit of the Wahsatch mountains. Valley of the Sevier river and Sevier lake : its sterility. Ingredients in the soil injurious to vegetation over large spaces. Aqueous depositions unfavorably distributed and very limited. Capacity of the country to contribute to the support of a rail- road.— Railroad stations and posts. Permanent water on the line. Great scarcity of timber on the line. Coal, where found. Building stone. Railroad practicability of the line. Elevations, grades, sections, passes. Sun Luis valley. Coochetopa Pass and tunnel. Altitudes and grades. Pass and Coochetopa creeks. Grand river section. Blue to Green river. Miry soil. Stone for sub-structure. Grades and bridges. Rocky district we«t of Green river. Grades from Green river to Akanaquint spring, White river, Clever creek, Suu Rafael river, &0., to the Wahsatch Pass. Wahsatch Pass and tunnel. Salt Creek canon, grades, and character. Sevier River valley, tad passage through the Un-kuk-oo-ap mountains to Sevier Lake valley. Further surveys, mid existence of other linea near this. Duties performed by scientific gentlemen of the party. Climate. Indian hostilities in Utah. Further surveys will be made

8

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IX.

iscussion of barometric observations and tables of altitudes and distances of the line explored from West- port, Mo., to Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory ; also, tables of simtiltaneous observations in, and

Page .

I. Introduction to, and corrections applied in, barometric computations. Table for horary corrections of obser- vations.— Corrections for extreme air temperatures. Comparison of field barometers with Dr. Engelmann's barometer at St. Louis, Missouri, both before and subsequent to the surveys. Table of monthly mean obser- vations at St. Louis, by Dr. Eugelmann 89

II. Barometric and meteorological observations, and table of altitudes and distances, for the profile of the line of

survey from Westport to Great Salt Lake City 94

DI. Data for profile of Roubideau's Pass 108

IV. Simultaneous meteorological observations at Coochetopa Pass 108

V. Observations for a tunnel or deep cut in the Coochetopa Pass, allowing fifty yards as the width of the ridge at top 108

IV. Table IV resumed 108

VI. Data for the profile of the Coochetopa Pass, and declivities near its summit 109

VII. Simultaneous meteorological observations at the pass and on the route followed across the Wahsatch range ... 110

VIII. Data for the profile of the route followed across the Wahsatch mountains Ill

CHAPTER X.

Geographical jjosilions and distances travelled on the line of exploration from Westport, Mo , to Great

Salt Lake City 1853.

I. Letter from Mr. S. Homans, in charge of astronomical department 113

II. Table of geographical positions from Westport, Missouri, to Great Salt Lake City, Utah 113

III. Table of distances travelled, including those from point to point at which barometrical observations were made,

on the route from Westport, Missouri, to Great Salt Lake City 115

TV. Table of distances travelled on the line followed from Westport, Missouri, via Fort Riley, Kansas Territory,

to Walnut creek 118

APPENDIX A.

Letters relating to the progress of the survey of the route near the 38ih and 39th parallels, in charge of

Captain Gunnison.

I. Letter dated June 20, 1853, Camp, Shawnee Reservation, from Captain Gunnison to the Secretary of War,

indicating the line which will be followed in crossing the Plains 119

II. Letter dated August 22, 1853, Camp, Utah creek, near Fort Massachusetts, from Captain Gunnison to the

Secretary of War, reporting the progress of the survey 119

III. Letter dated August 22, 1853, Camp, Utah creek, near Fort Massachusetts, from Captain Gunnison to Colonel

J. J. Abert. reporting the progress of the survey 120

TV. Letter dated September 20, 1853, Camp 70, Grand river, Utah Territory, from Captain Gunnison to Colonel

J. J. Abert, reporting the progress of the survey 121

V. Letter dated September 23, 1853, Camp 72, Bitter creek, Utah Territory, from Captain Gunnison to Colonel

J. J. Abert, forwarding a rude copy of the field-work of the survey 123

VI. Letter dated October 29, 1853, Camp, near Fillmore, Utah Territory, from Lieutenant Beckwith to Colonel J.

J. Abert, reporting the progress of the survey, requesting instructions, and indicating future operations. 123

APPENDIX B.

Lists and explanations of the maps, sections, and illustrations of the reports of the explorations of Captain Gunnison in 1853, and of Lieutenant Beckwith in 1854

125

REPORT.

CHAPTER I.

From Fort Leavenworth, via Westport, Fort Riley, and Smoky Hill Fork, to Pawnee Fork; also, via Santa Fe Road to Council Grove and Walnut Creek— June 15 to July 13, 1853.

Allusion to the death of Captain Gunnison and his assistants.— Extract from instructions from the War Department to Captain Gunnison Arrival at St. Louis, Kansas, and Fort Leavenworth.— Country from Fort Leavenworth to Westport.— Camp at Shawnee Mission, near Westport: its altitude above the Gulf of Mexico.— Arrival of the escort under Captain Morris.— Teamsters and mules. First march. Gentlemen composing the party. Instruments provided.— The train: why used Cedar creek : its timber.— Bull creek.— McClannahan and party, with stock for California.— Emigrants.— Division of party.— Route via Kansas river and Smoky Hill Fork.— Wahkarrussi bottom. Timber.— Inviting appearance of the Ka'nsas bottom: its fertility and railroad practicability. Indian houses and grain fields Delaware guides. Uniontown.— Eocky hills. Storm. Country approaching Fort Riley.— Crossing the Kansas.— Fort Riley.— Crossing the Republican Fork or Pawnee river.— Valley of the Smoky Hill Fork : its fertility and timber.— Sycamore creek.— Wagon road route from Fort Riley west.— Sand-hills.— Crossing Nepeholla or Solomon's Fork. Short grass begins to appear. Practicability of a wagon road to the Saline Fork. Stream swollen : its passage and character. First appearance of buffalo-grass. Meadows of the Saline and Kansas rivers.— Smoky Hill.— Buffalo sign.— Lone Oak ford of the Kansas.— Railroad line thence to the Huerfano. Sandstone ridges or bluffs.— Character of the soil.— Chalybeate spring.— First buffalo.— Passing from the waters of the Smoky Hill to those of the Arkansas river. Sand-banks on the Little Arkansas. Large fields of helianthus. Indicated line for a wagon road west from Fort Riley. Walnut creek. Military parties and encampments. Guides discharged. Character of the country for roads of any kind. Bridges. Change in climate and character of the country. Journal of the party following the Santa Fe. road from Bull creek. Black Jack creek. Timber. Bituminous coal. Willow spring.— Stampede of emigrant horses. Rock creeks. One Hundred and Ten Mile creek. Indian houses and fields. Dwissler's, Dragoon, and Prairie Chicken creeks. Elm, Bluff, and Big Rock creeks. Council Grove. Timber and fields of corn. Civil and military parties en route for New Mexico. Incident in Governor Merriwether's life. Diamond spring. Lost spring. Scarcity of timber and

monotonous character of the country. Snipe Cottonwood creek. Annoyance from flies and mosquitoes. Turkey creek.

Miserable water. Little Arkansas. View of the Arkansas river bottom. Owl and Cow creeks Change in the character of the soil and vegetation of the country. Dog towns. Sand-hills. Arkansas river. Kansas, Osage, and Sac Indians. Walnut creek. Suffering from mosquitoes. Site for a military post. Timber on Walnut creek. Pawnee Rock. Ferruginous sand- stone.— Ash creek. Grass and soil. Pawnee Fork. Timber. Altitude of camp on Pawnee Fork above, and distance from that near Westport. Osage and Kansas Indians.

Sir: In order that you may be put in possession, at as early a day as practicable, of the result of the investigations of the exploring party organized under your order of the 20th of May, 1S53, by the lamented Captain J. W. Gunnison, of the corps of Topographical Engineers, who was bar- barously massacred by the Pah Utah Indians, on the 26th of October, on the Sevier river, and near the lake of that name, in the Territory of Utah, while in the performance of the duty assigned to him, I deem it my duty, as his assistant, to report the same a duty upon which I enter with unusual diffidence; the more so as it is not contemplated, by the instructions referred to, that this duty should devolve upon me. There being with the party, however, no other person upon whom it can be devolved, and the importance of its being submitted within a specified lime, seems to render this report necessary. But I should neither do justice to the memory of the dead, nor to my own feelings, in entering upon a report of the labors performed in their respect- ive departments by those who fell in the fatal affair referred to above, (which has been before, however, officially communicated to you,) were I thus to pass it by. With Captain Gunnison

10

INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

also fell, of the scientific gentlemen of the party, Mr. R. H. Kern, an accomplished topographer and artist, and Mr. F. Creutzfeldt, botanist. Of the performance of his duties by my late com- mander, associate, and friend, it may not be proper that I should speak; yet I take pleasure in giving expression to the admiration of all their associates commanded by each of these gentle- men, in his respective department, up to the time of his death, by the active, faithful, and ener- getic performance of his duty. And we were in a position, encountering together as we had for so long a period, the labors, fatigues, privations, and exposures incident to an undertaking in which, from day to day, every quality of the mind and heart of one's associates is thoroughly developed, in which you, Sir, are well aware that the strongest ties of esteem and friendship are formed and cemented; and in severing the ties thus formed, not only has this exploring party, and the department of science to which each was attached, suffered a severe loss, but the country itself has reason to mourn the loss of such experienced and energetic officers and citizens. Besides these, Mr. Wm. Potter, a citizen of Utah Territory, a resolute and determined man, who had joined the party as guide but a few days before the disaster, was killed, together with one employ 6, John Bellows, and three private soldiers of the escort, belonging to the regiment of Mounted Riflemen.

The following extracts from your orders and instructions, above referred to, will explain the duties assigned to this party :

"Under the 10th and 11th sections of the military appropriation act of March 3, 1853, directing such explorations and surveys as to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean, the War Department directs a survey of the pass through the Rocky mountains, in the vicintiy of the headwaters of the Rio del Norte, by way of the Huerfano river and Coo-che-to-pa, or some other eligible pass, into the region of Grand and Green rivers, and westwardly to the Vegas de Santa Clara and Nicollet river of the Great Basin, and thence northward to the vicinity of Lake Utah on a return route, to explore the most available passes and canones of the Wahsatch range and South Pass to Fort Laramie.

"The following instructions relative thereto are issued for the government of the different branches of the public service :

" I. The party for this exploration will be commanded by Captain J. W. Gunnison, Topo- graphical Engineers, who will be assisted by First Lieutenant E. G. Beckwith, Third Artillery,

and such civil assistants as the Secretary of War may approve.

* * * * # #

"VI. The party being organized, will collect the necessary instruments and equipments. It will then repair with the utmost despatch to Fort Leavenworth, and with the escort proceed to the Huerfano river, making such reconnoissances from the Missouri river as will develop the gene- ral features of the country, and determine the practicability of a railroad across the plains, and its connexion with the eastern lines of commerce.

" The more minute reconnoissance will continue up the Huerfano into the San Luis valley, and thence through the most eligible jpass to the valley of Grand river, and westwardly to the vicinity of the Vegas de Santa Clara, and thence, on the most advisable route, either along the Nicollet river, or to the west of the ranges of -mountains bordering that stream, into the basin upon the route to the Great Salt lake; thence to Utah lake, and through the Timpanagos canon or other passes, and across the Weber and Bear rivers, by the Coal basin, to Fort Laramie.

" Competent persons will be selected to make researches in those collateral branches of science which affect the solution of the question of location, construction, and support of a railway com- munication across the continent, viz: the nature of rocks and soils the products of the country, animal, mineral, and vegetable the resources for supplies of material for construction, and means requisite for the operation of a railway, with a notice of the population, agricultural products, and the habits and languages of the Indian tribes. Meteorological and magnetic observations, the hygrometrical and electrical states of the atmosphere, and astronomical observations for deter-

FITTING-OUT CAMP.

11

mining geographical points, shall be made, in order to develop the character of the country through which the party may pass.

"On or before the first Monday of February next, Captain Gunnison will report the result of his investigations."

Agreeably to these instructions, Captain Gunnison arrived at St. Louis on the 4th of June, and proceeded immediately to procure the necessary supplies and outfit for the party, in which he was greatly aided by Colonel Robert Campbell, of that city, whose well known courtesy, though severely taxed, was freely extended to us. These were shipped on the 9th, and landed on the 15th of June, at Kansas, which is near the western border of the State of Missouri, and about a mile and a quarter below the junction of the Kansas river with the Missouri, in charge of Mr. Kern, who was to transport them to some point suitable for a "fitting out camp," while Captain Gunnison, whom I accompanied, proceeded to Fort Leavenworth on duty relating to the escort of mounted riflemen which was to accompany the party. We were surprised, on our arrival in the afternoon, to find that no orders had been received at the fort, relating to the escort, for it was known that they had been issued some time previous. The opportune presence, however, at the post, of General Clark, commanding the department, obviated any delay on this account, as, after proper statements and explanations, he gave the necessary instructions for the escort to be equipped and fitted out in anticipation of the receipt of the orders referred to. At an early hour on the following morning we left Fort Leavenworth, which is situated on the right bank of the Missouri river, in the Indian territory immediately west of that State. The day was fine, and the high, beautiful rolling prairie from Fort Leavenworth to the Kansas river, a distance of twenty-two miles, was covered with luxuriant grass, and profusely sprinkled with flowers. We passed some fine Indian farms of the Delaware nation, and respectable herds of stock grazing near the road. The creeks and rivulets were lined with timber, in which oak largely predomi- nated, extending back from the Kansas river, by our road, three or four miles. The descent to this river is abrupt at Delaware, a trading post among this people, where we crossed by a ferry, kept on the north side by themselves and on the opposite by the Shawnees, to whom the terri- tory belongs. Crossing a timbered, sandy bottom of half a mile in width, our road led up a steep hill, finely timbered, and again through fine Indian farms to the open prairie, in all respects like that of the morning. Arriving near Westport we fell in with our camp, and with pleasure alighted from the wretched stage to begin our arduous march. Our encampment was some five miles from Westport and the western line of the State of Missouri, selected by Mr. Kern in a fine grove near a spring, and surrounded by fine grass and an open prairie, and in the midst of the various Shawnee missions, which appeared well. The approximate elevation of this point above the Gulf of Mexico, as indicated by our barometers, is 990 feet, or 615 feet above low-water mark at St. Louis, as deduced from Dr. Geo. Engelmann's valuable observations at that place, kindly furnished to aid the meteorological discussions in this report. The purchase of mules and horses and employing men suitable fof the expedition occupied several days at this camp, and the breaking in of the teams and teamsters as many more, during which our camp was only moved to secure grass when the animals had fed it down near us. On the 20th, Brevet Captain R. M. Morris, first lieutenant, and Second Lieutenant L. S. Baker, with some thirty non-com- missioned officers and men of the regiment of Mounted Riflemen, with the necessary subsistence train, joined us as escort. The 21st of June was spent, as the previous two or three days had been, in breaking in wild mules; no others could be obtained on short notice, so largr had been the demand by emigrants going west of the mountains. Nor were we more fortunate in procur- ing capable teamsters, the large trains which annually cross the plains having preceded us; but by industrious drilling, and replacing incompetent men by the trial of the skill of others, we deemed ourselves at evening in a condition to move forward the following morning. Bui ;ii ;m early hour it began to rain in torrents, and continued during the day, so that it was impossible to do more than to harness up a few of the wildest mules to habituate them to their labors. On

12

captain gunnison's party.

the 23d the creeks and branches were still swollen by the rain of the previous day, and the roads slippery and soft. The advance, however, was ordered, and we pursued the usual Santa Fe road for eight miles, and encamped for the night on Indian creek, a small timbered stream ; the character of the country being that already described as beautiful and fertile rolling prairies as the eye ever rested upon.

The party, (the escort having been already mentioned,) which this day made its first marching essay for the exploration of the Central Pacific Railroad route, was composed of Captain J. W. Gunnison, Topographical Engineers, commander; First Lieutenant E. G. Beckwith, Third Artillery, assistant; Mr. R. H. Kern, topographer and artist; Mr. Sheppard Homans, astronomer; Dr. James Schiel, surgeon, geologist, &c. ; Mr. F. Creutzfeldt, botanist; Mr. J. A. Snyder, assist- ant topographer, &c. ; and Mr. Charles Taplin, wagon-master; besides the necessary teamsters and employes for the performance of the labors of the route.

The party was provided with the following instruments, viz: two sextants, two artificial horizons, one theodolite, two Schmalcalder's compasses, two spy-glasses, two surveyors' chains, two Bunten's barometers, two aneroid barometers, two thermo-barometers, one hygrometer, one box chronometer, one compensating balance watch, two viameters, and one grade instrument, besides thermometers and small pocket-compasses. Of these one of the Schmalcalder's com- passes proved imperfect and worthless, as did the thermo-barometer which was graduated to high altitudes ; and we were soon above the scale of the other, so that these instruments were of no use to us.

The civil engineer, whose services had been engaged by Captain Gunnison for the explora- tion, fell sick on the road before reaching St. Louis; and two barometers which he had in charge were necessarily left behind, as the season was already too considerably advanced to admit of further delay, especially as we were already well supplied with these instruments, should they prove good and no accident befall them.

The train consisted, for the party and escort, of eighteen wagons; sixteen of which were six- mule wagons, an instrument carriage drawn by four mules, and an ambulance by two horses, which were, however, changed for four mules before we had reached the mountains, the horses being broken down.

This method of transportation was determined upon in order, should the train pass successfully over the route, to demonstrate its practicability, at least for a wagon road.

The road to-day followed the general level of the country, leaving the Kansas river bottom (a favorable route for a railroad from the Missouri river) to our right. Nine miles from Westport we passed a finely wooded creek, near which was observed a fine spring of cool water, and near it a small cultivated field.

June 24. A cool bright morning, with the thermometer at sunrise at 52° Fahrenheit. We were at an early hour again on the Santa F6 road, and arrived at 10 a. m. (not without several accidents to our loaded wagons, resulting in nothing serious, however,) at Cedar creek, which has more water than Indian creek of our last camp, but is skirted with less timber. This creek has worn for itself a small ravine in the limestone which underlies this section of country, and which is here left in escarpments on either side of the stream. In this narrow ravine is the timber of the border, which can therefore be seen only at a short distance on the prairie. I observed among it oak and walnut, and cedar is said to appear a few miles below and continue to its mouth. The marked feature of the country to-day, as heretofore, is the graceful grassy swells which extend as far as the eye can compass, and are lost in the blue line of the horizon. The latitude of this camp, as determined by Mr. Homans, is 38° 52' 41".

June 25. Following the Santa F6 road, we encamped this morning, at 10 o'clock, on Bull creek, the counterpart of that at our preceding camp. The road has thus far been very fine, following the general level of the country between the waters of the Kansas and Osage rivers. The country to-day wa% more than usually level, and the timber less abundant if, indeed,

SMOKY HILL FORK ROUTE.

13

abundant can be properly applied to so scarce an article. Quite far to the north and west, twenty or twenty- five miles, we at one time had a view of the Kansas valley, which appeared well timbered.

Mr. McClannahan, (a gentleman whom we had met on the steamer in coming up the Missouri river,) who had been favorably impressed with the reputed character and direction of the route we were to explore, and who was on his way by the Platte and Sweetwater route to California with a large flock of sheep, which had already reached the Missouri at St. Joseph when we met him, changed his route and here came up with us. He was accompanied by his partner, Mr.