"Milk R. to the Crossing of the Columbia R. from Explorations & Surveys Made Under the Direction of Hon. Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War", U.S. Railroad Surveys
Subject: Northwestern United States
Period: 1853-55 (dated)
Publication: U.S. Pacific Railroad Surveys
Color: Black & White
60.9 x 23.5 inches
154.7 x 59.7 cm
During the 1850s, the U.S. government sponsored an extensive series of expeditions designed to gather information on the vast new territories that had been acquired in western North America. The discovery of gold in California further stimulated westward traffic and heightened the need for a faster and more convenient way to bring the far-flung parts of the country together. In 1853 Congress commissioned the Army's Topographic Bureau to conduct a series of surveys to find a suitable route for a transcontinental railroad. There were six major expeditions; five of them covered the area between the Great Plains and west coast, and the sixth explored the coastal states of California and Oregon. All of these expeditions were accompanied by naturalists and artists to document the landscape, flora and fauna along the route.
The reports, maps and lithographs were published in the 13 volume report "Explorations and Surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a Railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific Ocean."
Remarkable map that details the 1853-55 surveys conducted to locate a northern route (47th and 49th Parallels) on an expedition led by Isaac Stevens, Governor of Washington Territory. Most of the map covers Montana, with extraordinary detail and excellent relief by hachure, the naming of rivers, numerous routes with dates, and interesting topographical commentary. The map not only shows the main party's route, but also numerous routes followed by the various parties attached to the command. Printed on three sheets, joined as issued. It is dated 1853-55, but was published in 1860.
References: Wheat (TMW) #867.
Issued folding. There are two holes that have been infilled with paper with a minute amount of image missing, a few light stains, and light toning especially concentrated along the top of the sheets. Several short fold separations and edge tears appear in the blank margins.