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33d CONGRESS, ) SENATE. C Ex. Doc.

2d Session. ) No. *78.



REPORTS



EXPLOEATIONS AND SURYEYS,



ASCERTAIN THE MO.ST PRACTICABLE AND ECONOMICAL ROUTE FOR A RAILROAD



MADE UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OP WAR, IN

1854-5,

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



VOLUME VI.



WASHINGTON:

BEVERLEY TUCKER, PRINTEIi.
1857.



IN SENATE FEBRUARY 24, 1855.

Resolved, That there be printed, for the use of the Senate, ten thousand copies of the several reports of surveys for a rail
road to the Pacific, made under the direction of the Secretary of War ; and also of the report of F. \V. Lander, civil engi
neer, 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 John C. Fre mont, of a route for a railroad from the head-waters of the Arkansas river into the State of Cali
fornia ; together with the maps and plates accompanying said reports, necessary to illustrate the same ; and that five
hundred copies be printed for the use of the Secretary of War, and fifty copies for each of the commanding officers engaged

in said service.

Attest : ASBURY DICKINS, Secretary.



THIRTY-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, aiid 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
sand 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.



CONTENTS OF VOLUME VI.



REPORT BY LIEUTENANT HENRY L. ABBOT, CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, UPON THE ROUTES IN
OREGON AND CALIFORNIA EXPLORED BY PARTIES UNDER THE COMMAND OF LIEUTENANT R. S.
WILLIAMSON, CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, IN 1855.



EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS FOR A RAILROAD ROUTE FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

WAR DEPARTMENT.



REPORT



LIEUT. HENRY L. ABBOT,



CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS



EXPLORATIONS FOR A RAILROAD ROUTE,



THE SACRAMENTO VALLEY TO THE COLUMBIA RIVER,



LIEUT. R. S. WILLIAMSON,

CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS,



ASSISTED RY



LIEUT. HENRY L. ABBOT,

CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS.



1855.
1 X



;



*



LETTER TO THE SECEETARY OF WAR.

WASHINGTON, D. C., May 6, 1857.

SIR : In obedience to instructions from the War Department, I have the honor to submit the
accompanying report of the exploration and survey in California and Oregon, conducted by
Lieutenant R. S. Williamson, United States Topographical Engineers, in 1855. The prepara
tion of the report has devolved upon me, in consequence of the severe and protracted illness of
Lieutenant Williamson ; and it is due to myself to state that I have performed the duty with
extreme reluctance, partly because it was not originally designed for me by the Department,
and partly because it properly belongs to the officer by whose forethought and professional
ability the expedition has been brought to a successful termination.

Wishing to convey Lieutenant Williamson s ideas, as far as they are known to me, I have
been guided by his recorded field notes, and by his opinions expressed to me in conversation, in
preparing the portion of the report which relates to regions traversed by him. During a part
of the field work I was entrusted with a separate party, with instructions to prepare a written
report of the results of my examinations. For any opinion given in this portion of the report
he, of course, is not responsible.

At the completion of the survey for a railroad route from the Sacramento valley to the Columbia
river, the season was so far advanced and the animals were in so jaded condition, that Lieutenant
Williamson considered it impracticable to make any examination of the Sierra Nevada until the
ensuing spring. Before that time, orders were received from the War Department, directing
him to return at once to Washington to prepare the maps, profiles, and reports of the explora
tion already made. The second survey contemplated in his original instructions was consequently
omitted.

At Lieutenant Williamson s request, I have prepared a full statement of the method used in
deducing altitudes from the barometric observations. For unpublished and very valuable inform
ation on this subject, I am indebted to Captain A. W. Whipple, United States Topographical
Engineers.

I should do injustice to Lieutenant Williamson, if I did not express his high appreciation of
the energy and ability with which the officers of the escort, and the civilian assistants, labored
to advance the objects of the exploration.

Of those who accompanied me when detached from the main command, I feel at liberty to speak
in less general terms. Lieutenant Crook, who was the only officer with me, officially and
personally contributed, in a high degree, to the success and to the harmony of the expedition.
Mr. Fillebrown and Mr. Young, although suffering from severe attacks of intermittent fever, and
deprived of the services of a physician, willingly continued with the party, and discharged their
accustomed duties with energy and accuracy. The masterly sketches of views upon the route, and
the characteristic style of the topography upon the accompanying maps, testify to the professional
skill of Mr. Young. Mr. Anderson, who was my only scientific assistant in some of the most
difficult and perplexing portions of the survey, aided me in every way in his power. To him,
and to Mr. Fillebrown, the government is chiefly indebted for the numerous barometric observa-



LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR.

tions taken upon the routes explored. Dr. Newberry was only attached to my command for a
few days, as he proceeded by water from Fort Dalles to San Francisco, where he remained until
the completion of the field work. While waiting in that city he zealously occupied himself in
making a large and valuable zoological collection. His reports speak for themselves. The great
energy which Mr. Coleman displayed in discharging the laborious duties of chief of train, is worthy
of the highest praise. Had it not been for his continued and untiring exertions, many of our
animals must have been lost in crossing the Cascade mountains. To the men of the topographical
party generally, much commendation is due. Although deprived of the protection of an escort,
and of the services of a physician, to both of which they were entitled by the terms of their agree
ment, they, with hardly an exception, faithfully performed their duties until the end of the survey.

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

HENRY L. ABBOT,
2d Lieut. U. S. Topographical Engineers.

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD,

Secretary of War.



GENERAL TABLE OF CONTENTS.



INTRODUCTION.

INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

System adopted in preparing the Report. Notes on maps accompanying the Report. Notes on profiles accompanying the

Report.

PART I.

GENERAL REPORT.

PART II.

GEOLOGICAL REPORT :

No. 1. Report upon the Geology of the Route. By J. S. NEWBERRY, M.D.
No. 2. Description of the Tertiary Fossils collected on the survey. By T. A. CO.NKAD.
No. 3. Report upon an Analytical Examination of waters and minerals from the hot springs in DCS Chutes valley.

Conducted under the direction of Prof. E. N. HORSFORD.
No. 4. Catalogue of the Minerals and Fossils collected on the survey.

PART III.

BOTANICAL REPORT:

No. 1. Report upon the Botany of the Route. By JOHN S. NEWBERRY, M.D.
No. 2. General Catalogue of the Plants collected on the Expedition.

PART IV.

ZOOLOGICAL REPORT :

No. 1. Report upon Fishes collected on the Survey. By Dr. C. GIRARD.
No. 2. Report upon the Zoology of the Route. By J. S. NEWBERRY, M.D.



APPENDICES.



APPENDIX A.

ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS WITH SEXTANT.

APPENDIX B.

COMPARISON OF CHRONOMETERS.

APPENDIX C.

LIST OF CAMPS, WITH DISTANCES, ALTITUDES, LATITUDES AND LONGITUDES WHEN ASTRONOMI
CALLY DETERMINED, ETC.

APPENDIX D.

BAROMETRICAL AND THERMOMETRICAL OBSERVATIONS, WITH DATA FOR CONSTRUCTING PRO
FILES OF THE TRAVELLED ROUTES.

APPENDIX E.

OBSERVATIONS FOR DETERMINING THE HORARY OSCILLATION OF THE BAROMETRIC COLUMN.

APPENDIX F.

DATA FOR CONSTRUCTING PROFILES OF THE ROUTES PROPOSED FOR A RAILROAD.



INTRODUCTION.



INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE "WAR DEPARTMENT.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, May 1, 1855.

SIR : The following duties are assigned to you, under the appropriations for continuing explo
rations and surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from
the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean, and for military and geographical surveys west of the
Mississippi.

1. To make such explorations and surveys as will determine the practicability, or otherwise,
of connecting the Sacramento valley, in California, with the Columbia river, Oregon Territory,
by a railroad, either by the Willamette valley, or (if this route should prove to be impracti
cable) by the valley of Des Chutes river, near the foot slopes of the Cascade chain. Alon^ Des
Chutes river the character of the country is such as to render it improbable that a practicable
route can be found.

2. To make the necessary examinations and surveys to determine if a route practicable for a
railroad exists crossing the Sierra Nevada, at or near the source of Carson river. This may
furnish the most direct railroad route from San Francisco to the Great Salt Lake. The duty
first assigned you having been completed, you will ascertain from the commanding officer,
Lieut. Col. Steptoe, and others of the troops that may have crossed the Great Basin from
Great Salt Lake and the Sierra Nevada,, by the route near the sources of Carson river, all the
details necessary to a knowledge of the character of the route traversed by them ; and should
the information which you may have gathered lead to the opinion that the route is practicable
for a railroad, or that such route may be found in that region, you will proceed to make the
examinations and surveys necessary to ascertain if such be the case. It will not, probably, be
necessary to extend this examination beyond the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada.

If you should not require the services of all your party, for this latter duty, you will direct
such of your assistants as will not be wanted for the field, to proceed to Washington, with Lieut.
Abbot, and under his direction prepare the maps and reports ; or you may direct Lieut. Abbot,
aided by the geologist and civil engineer, or such assistants as may be necessary, to make the
examination, proceeding yourself to Washington with the other assistants.

The geological information is considered especially valuable in determining the character of
the country, the nature of the difficulties to be encountered, and the quality and extent of the
building materials to be found.

Your attention will be directed to the botany and natural history of the country,, and to such
other objects as tend to illustrate its present and future conditions.

To execute these orders, you are authorized to employ the following assistants, viz : a geolo
gist, a civil engineer, a computer, a draughtsman, and a physician, who will, at the same time,
perform the duties of naturalist or geologist, if an assistant surgeon cannot be assigned to duty
with the escort, at rates not exceeding those proposed by you in your estimate.

They will receive, besides their stipulated compensation, the actual cost of transportation to
and from the field, if the journeys or voyages have been actually performed, and they will have
the privilege, while in the field, of purchasing from the subsistence department such provisions
as may be necessary for their subsistence.
2X



10 INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

You are also authorized to employ such hands, packers, &c., as may be necessary; to purchase
such of the instruments, named in your estimate, as cannot be obtained from the Topographical
Bureau, and such smaller instruments, maps, books, camp and garrison equipage, animals,
quartermaster s stores, provisions, &c., as may be necessary to the successful accomplishment
of the objects of the expedition.

The commanding officer of the Pacific Department will be directed to furnish you with an
escort of (100) one hundred men, with not less than three regimental officers and an assistant
surgeon, if one can be spared from other duty, one of the former to act as commissary and
quartermaster to the party ; and to instruct the commanding officer of the escort to afford you
such aid and assistance as will most tend to facilitate your operations. A large escort will be
required to protect the exploring party in Oregon, but in the subsequent part of your surveys
it may be diminished.

Lieutenant Henry L. Abbot, Topographical Engineers, will be ordered to report to you for
duty.

The colonel of the Corps of Topographical Engineers will direct that such of the instruments
named in your requisition, as are in depot at the Topographical Bureau, or at Benicia, Cali
fornia, and not required for other service, be supplied to you.

The quartermaster s department will furnish you with horses, mules, equipments, and such
other public property as may be needed for the use of the expedition, if they can be spared ;
which will be returned to that department upon the completion of the field duties, payment
being made for such animals as may have been lost, or as may be found unfit for use, and other
public property lost or seriously damaged.

The commissary department will furnish you with such provisions and stores, if they can be
spared, as you may need for the use of the expedition, to be paid for out of the appropriations
for the survey, at cost prices at the place of delivery.

The ordnance department will furnish arms, accoutrements, and a mountain artillery forge,
payment to be made for such arms, &c., as are lost or seriously injured.

You are authorized to purchase, for the purpose of trafficking with the Indians and compen
sating them for services, such articles of Indian goods as are most desirable for such purposes,
provided the expenditures for these articles do not exceed ($300) three hundred dollars.

The sum of ($42,000) forty-two thousand dollars is set apart from the appropriations for the
expenses of the survey entrusted to you.

With your assistants you will proceed without unnecessary delay to San Francisco, and there
organize your party, unless upon your arrival you should ascertain that it would be preferable
to organize it in Oregon ; in which case you will proceed to Vancouver, and organize your
party at the most suitable point to commence the survey from the Willamette valley.

The duties assigned to you being completed, you will discharge your party, dispose of your
outfit to the best advantage, and proceed with your principal assistants to this place, and make
out your report.

Should the views of the department be modified, you will receive further instructions.

You will make the usual monthly reports of the work done ; and, besides, advise the depart
ment from time to time of the progress made in, and the results of the explorations.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

Secretary of War.

Lieut. R. S. WILLIAMSON, Corps Topographical Engineers, Washington.



INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT. 11



OFFICE PACIFIC RAILROAD SURVEYS,

Washington, May 1, 1855.

SIR : By direction of the Secretary of War, you will report to Lieut. R. S. Williamson, Topo
graphical Engineers, for duty on the explorations and surveys in California and Oregon, with
which he is charged.

It is understood that you are second in rank of the party, and that, if sickness or any acci
dent should disable Lieut. Williamson, so as to oblige him to relinquish the command, you
will succeed to the charge and command of the party.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Captain Corps Top. Engineers,

In charge of office for Pacific Railroad Surveys.
Lieut. HENRY L. ABBOT,

Corps Topographical Engineers.



SYSTEM ADOPTED IN PREPARING THE REPORT.

In preparing the report of the explorations and surveys, made in accordance with the above
orders, I have adopted the following system : Part I contains the general report, divided into
seven chapters ; of which the first contains a general description of the different regions traversed
during the survey. This synopsis has been prepared partly to enable those wishing merely to
obtain a general idea of the country, to dispense with reading a mass of details, and partly to
render the railroad report more intelligible. The second chapter is devoted entirely to a
discussion of the facilities offered for the construction of a railroad near the lines of survey.
The third, fourth, and fifth chapters contain a narrative and itinerary of the expedition. An
attempt has been made to give, in this portion of the report, a detailed description of the nature
of the country examined ; of the supply of wood, water, and grass near the trails ; of the character
of the Indian tribes ; and of various other matters, interesting to those who wish to thoroughly
understand the character of the regions explored. The sixth chapter contains a statement of
the method used in computing altitudes from observations taken with the barometer. The
seventh chapter contains an account of a former exploration of Lieut. Williamson, near a portion
of our line of survey.

Parts II, III, and IV, contain geological, botanical, and zoological reports upon the regions
explored.

The various appendices exhibit, in a tabular form, the astronomical and barometric observa
tions, with the results deduced from them by computation.

MAPS ACCOMPANYING THE EEPORT.

Two maps, constructed upon the polyconic projection, have been made to accompany this
report. The first illustrates that portion of the survey which lay in California, and the second
that in Oregon. The scale of each is one inch to twelve miles, or 1:760320.

The data, upon which these maps have been constructed, will be briefly stated. The distances



12 MAPS ACCOMPANYING THE REPORT.

travelled were measured by an odometer, until the wheels were necessarily abandoned among
the Cascade mountains ; and then carefully estimated from the time and supposed rate of travel.
The courses were determined by prismatic compasses. The latitudes of a large majority of the
camps were fixed with considerable accuracy by astronomical observations. Several camps
before camp 17 were connected with San Francisco by chronometric differences, and the longi
tude thus approximately determined. An unfortunate accident, in Canoe Creek valley, however,
rendered the chronometers worthless for this purpose during the remainder of the survey, and
compelled us to depend upon our courses and distances, checked by the latitudes of the camps,
and by a system of triangulation among the prominent mountain peaks near the trail. The
assumed longitudes of a few important points upon the route seem to require particular ex
planation.

As Fort Reading was the point from which we started to leave the settlements, great care
has been taken to determine its longitude as correctly as possible. Col. J. C. Fremont, on his
map of California and Oregon, places the point of Cow Creek, upon which the fort is now
situated, in Long. 122 6 50" west from Greenwich. On the Land Office map of 1855, it is
placed in Long. 122 11 9". On the map of Lieut. E. G. Beckwith, 3d artillery, illustrating
his exploration for a Pacific railroad route near the 41st parallel of north latitude, it is placed
in Long. 122 5 8". The four chronometers used on our survey apparently preserved their
rates unchanged during our march up the Sacramento Talley, as they all agreed very well with
each other. The longitude of the fort, determined by their mean corrected difference from local
time, was 122 10 50". As this differs only three-tenths of a mile from that given by the Laud
Office map, it has been adopted as correct. It places the fort 3.5 miles west of Col. Fremont s
location, and 5 miles west of that of Lieut. Beckwith.

The following method has been adopted to fix the longitude near the northern terminus of the
survey. The longitude of Salem has been determined with considerable care, under the direc
tion of the surveyor general of the Territory, both by astronomical observations and by
measuring a line to the coast, and thus comparing the result with the work of the United States
Coast Survey. It is 122 5o 43" west from Greenwich, as I was informed, when at Salem, by
Mr. Hervey Gordon, deputy surveyor. He also told me that Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson
had been carefully located by bearings taken from well determined points with the solar compass.
I therefore made a preliminary plot of the northern portion of our survey, based upon the Land
Office positions of these peaks as fixed points. As over fifty bearings had been taken to each
mountain, many of which were fro Ji points where the latitude was astronomically determined,
I was enabled to slightly correct the relative position of the two peaks. The map was next
replotted with respect to these new positions. The result was highly satisfactory, as the compass
work fitted admirably, and the longitudes of two points in Des Chutes valley, determined by
Col. Fremont in 1843, by observing the occultations of Jupiter s satellites, were almost precisely
the same as those of the corresponding points on the plot. It is thought that this coincidence
renders it very improbable that any important error in longitude has been made.

The latitude of Fort Dalles was astronomically determined, and numerous bearings upon
Mount Hood and the neighboring peaks enabled me to fix its longitude very closely. It was 120
58 30". This location is about three miles west of that found by Col. Fremont, by observing
an emersion of Jupiter s second satellite, on November 5, 1843. He afterwards observed the
emersion of Jupiter s third satellite, on November 20, 1843, at the same spot, and published
the data obtained, without, however, giving the deduced longitude. I find, by computation,



MAPS ACCOMPANYING THE REPORT. 13

that this is about 121 22 19", which differs more than twenty miles from that deduced from
the first observation. I have, therefore, adhered to the longitude given by my field work,
which is intermediate between the two, but much nearer that to which Col. Fremont has given
the preference.

The longitude of Fort Vancouver has been laid down as given on the latest Land Office map of
Oregon Territory, because detailed surveys have been made between the fort and Salem, the
position of which, as already explained, has been determined with approximate accuracy. This
location of Fort Vancouver is about seven miles east of that of Capt. Wilkes, whose longitude
has been adopted by Col. Fremont on his map of Oregon and California, and by Captain
McClellan.

Considerable difficulty has been found in locating the Cascades of the Columbia with respect
to longitude. Gov. Stevens adopted the position given by Capt. Wilkes, which is 21 miles
further towards the west than that of Col. Fremont, who observed an occultation of Jupiter s
first satellite, on November 11, 1843, at a point estimated at 15 miles below the Cascades.
There is now a line of steamboats plying from Vancouver to the Cascades, and thence to Fort
Dalles. Capt. W. B. Wells, the chief proprietor of the line, and all other persons whom I
questioned about the matter, declared that the Cascades were about equally distant from Van
couver and the Dalles, by the course of the river. Col. Fremont has so indicated it upon his
map ; but Capt. Wilkes makes the distance from the Cascades to the Dalles nearly double that



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