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UNIO.N rAClFlO JiAILilOA!)
SE YMO U R
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD,
CON lATNING SOME ACCOUNT
DISCOVERY OF THE EASTERN BASE OF THE
AND OF THK
GREAT INDIAN BATTLE OF JULY 11, 1867.
■^- l ii att rj- ---
By SILAS SEYMOUR,
By I. P. PRANISHNIKOFF,
I OUR SPECIAL ARTIST ON THE SPOT. »
PRINTED BY A. COTli: A G»
I. — Explanatory of certain circumstances and events, antece-
dent to the Expedition — Its safe arrival upon the banks of
Crow Creek — Meeting with General Augur — Brief mention
of the celebration of our Glorious Independence.
-Antecedent events explanatory of the objects of the Sub-
Expedition — Escort provided— Order of march from camp
— Report of action with the Sioux — Explanatory Remarks.
ni. — Reply of the Commanding General to the foregoing report,
giving notice of promotions, &c., together with some severe
IV.— A promise to go forward with the Great Expedition in
search of the Eastern Base, after making certain neces-
sary explanations of different theories, in order to elucidate
in a satisfactory manner, the great Blickensderfian theory
as to the natural laws which govern the universe.
V. — Further advance of the Great Expedition — Fort Sanders —
North Platte — Rawlins Springs— It reaches its destina-
tion — The Summit of the Continent.
VI.— Camp Separation — The name perpetuated— Tribute to
General Rawlins— Allusion to his early death.
VII.— The Great Expedition moves Eastward— Engagement with
an old IkimUo Bull— Mr. Blickensderfer's atiack upon a
herd of Elk— Safe arrival at Fort Sanders.
VIII.— The Great Expedition advances upon the Siim'-it of the
Black Hills— Mr. Blickensderfer's test level from summit
to base— Parting at Cheyenne.
IX.-Events succeeding Mr. Blickensderfer's departure-Failure
to discover error in Levels-Final establishment of the
Eastern Base-Confirmation of the Great Blickensderfian
Theory— Remarkable Coincidences.
ck upon a
iivit of the
ire — Failure
ncnt of the
GENERAL W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding the Armies of Ike
United States^ Washiv -ton, D. C.
General : Feeling a strong dee-ire to pay niv hum"hl«
tribute to your uniform kindness and courtesy, in ex-
tending military aid and protection to the forces em-
ployed in the surveys and construction of the Union
Pacific Railway ; and also entertaining a lively remem-
brance of your frequent Excursions over the road while
under construction, and the great interest which you
always manifested in its progess ; during which excur-
sions I had a most favorable opportunity of becoming
somewhat familiar with the many very admirable social,
as well as military traits in your character ; traits which
I feel quite sure must always endear you to the hearts of
prour Countrymen, as they certainly have to my own ; I
%|wn impelled, even without your knowledge or permis-
•ion, to take the very questionable liberty of dedicating
to your name the following short reminiscence connected
with the construction of that great work.
In doing this, General, I desire to express the hope
that inasmuch as your particular attention may be called
for the first time, in the following pages, to a military
Repjrt which was undoubtedly long since placed on file
in your office by the Commanding General, you will
look with your accustomed forbearance upon any slight
departure from well established military rules, to which,
in the exigency of the case I may have felt compelled
to resort in my aflair with the Sioux, on the 11th July,
With the compliments of the season ;
I have the honor to remain,
Your most obedient servant,
Quebec, Canada, January 1st 1873.
The very important Expedition, which was organized
quite early in the year 1867, under the immediate aus-
pices and protection of the United States G-overnment,
for the purpose of discovering the Eastern base of the
Rocky Mountains, during the construction of that greatest
enterprise of the age, the Union Pacific Railway, it is
to be feared has nearly escaped from the memory of
the great mass of the people of the United States, whose
interests were at the time supposed to be so thoroughly
identified, not only with the early discovery of that
I particular base, but with its establishment upon the most
(firm and enduring foundations.
The memorable engagement which occurred " among
\the clouds " during the progress of that Expedition,
between a detachment of friendly Pawnee Indian War-
riors, under my immediate command, and a tribe of
[hostile Sioux, upon the Eastern slope of the Rocky
j Mountains, at an elevation of seven thousand feet above
[the sea, is also believed to be rapidly passing into that
)blivion which is but too apt to envelope such compara-
|tively minor warlike achievements as do not necessarily
iffect the stability of Empires, or the destiny of th«
The vivid impressions which the exciting" events of
the nth July, 1867, had left upon the mind, even of the
Commandinp^ Officer, were found to be rapidly fading
away under the pressure of other, though less important
incidents, until fortunately, within a few weeks past, I
had occasion to look over some papers in my New
York Office connected with the construction of the
Union Pacific Railway, when my eye rested, acciden-
tally, upon a package which was endorsed : " Report of
Action with Sioux, July Wth, 1867."
Upon opening the package I was pleased to find that
it contained, not only a copy of the Report referred to, but
also the original letter from Colonel Merrill, written by
order of General Augur, acknowledg*ing its receipt, and
ordering certain promotions therein named, for brave
and meritorious conduct on the field.
The sight of these important documents, after a lapse
of so many years, instantly recalled to my mind many
exciting memories, among the most pleasant of which,
was the visible demoralization in the ranks of the
enemy, which followed the engagement; together with
the marked confidence which the results of the day
inspi-ed in the minds of our own Officers and troops,
who, unfortunately for the country, had not until that
time, been thoroughly educated up to the proper standard
of Indian warfare.
I also recollected that I had, perhaps too rashly, given
my friends some encouragement to believe, that after
sufficient time had elapsed to obscure, if not entirely
annihilate the military jealousies and bickerings to
which the publication of these papers would naturally
. to, but
""ive rise, I might be induced to allow a few copies to
go through the press, /or private circulation only.
This, therefore, must be accepted as my apology for
their present appearance.
I may also be allowed to state, that a desire to pay a
proper tribute to the great zeal and ability displayed
throughout the entire Expedition, by Mr. Blickens-
derfer, to whose care it had been intrusted by the
Government ; and also to commemorate the many plea-
sing improf^s'oiis left upon my mind respecting the late
General Rawlins, after an intimate daily intercourse of
iBeveral weeks with that distinguished Gentleman and
Officer during the progress of the Expedition, at so
short a period before his untimely death, has induced
|me to refer at some length to other incidents connected
[with an Expedition, but for the inauguration of which,
the events of the 11th July could never have occurred.
Inasmuch as the narrative has been written quite
hastily, and almost entirely from memory, during the
|few hours of leisure that could be spared from profes-
Isional engagements during the winter season, in this
|ancient and renowned, although aicfully cold City of
[nc^bec, I have also to apologize for the omission of
lany important details, as well as for the very imper-
Ifect condition in which it has been given to the Press.
UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY^
tXPLANATORY OF CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES AND EVENTS, ANTE-
E[OR TO THE EXPEDITION — ITS SAFE ARRIVAL UPON THE BANKS
OF CROW CREEK — MEETING WITH GENERAL AUGUR — BRIEF
MENTION OF THE CELEBRATION OF OUR GLORIOUS INDE-
The construction, within a period of about four years,
^f the Union Pacific Railway, extending from Omaha on
le Missouri River, a distance of nearly eleven hundred
tiles, to Promontory Point in the G-reat Salt Lsike
■^alley, at which place the rails were joined on the 10th
" May, 1869, with those of the Central Pacific Railway
California, extending to San Francisco on the Pacific
;ean, was an achievement which has no parallel in
16 history of Railway Construction throughout the
world. And the credit of this great achievement must
by common consent, and for all time, be awarded to the
executive ability, and indomitable energy of the late
Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise,
Mr. Thomas C. Durant.
During this rapid construction it frequently became
necessary for the principal Engineers engaged upon the
work, to explore the country, and examine the route, very
far in advance, either of settlements, or of any con-
siderable working forces that were engaged upon the
In cases of this kind it was customary for the G-eneral
in command of the Military Department of the United
Statos where such explorations were to be made, to
detail an armed escort from the nearest military post,
to accompany and protect the engineers thus en<xuged.
In some cases, like the one hereafter referred to, the
General would also be kind enough to supply the neces-
sary means of transportation, and camp equipage.
The charter of the Railway Company j)rovided for
the granting of a Government subsidy of sixteen thou-
sand dollars per mile of road constructed, between the
Missouri River and the Eastern base of the Rocky Moun-
tains ; and three times that amount, over a distance of
one hundred and fifty miles West of that base. It also
provided that the Eastern base should be designated by
the President of the United States.
Early in the summer of 1867, the United States Gov-
ernment appointed Mr. Jacob Blickensderfer, jr., an
eminent Civil Engineer and Astronomer, from Tuscara-
d to the
my con- ^^
upon the |
i G-eneral t
e United I
d to, the
I vide d foT
was, Tuscarawas County, in the State of Ohio, to examine
the line of the Union Pacific Railway, and if possible,
to discover a point which might safely be regarded as
the Eastern base of the Rocky Mountains ; this point
being considered, both by the Company and the Govern-
ment, for the reasons above stated, as of very great im-
The Board of Directors of the Railway Company, by
resolution, ordered the Consulting Engineer to accom-
pany Mr. BlicKensderfer, and to alford him every x>os-
eible facility in the performance of this arduous and
very responsible undertaking.
Mr. Blickensderfer was authorized by the Grovern-
ment to apply to Greneral Sherman, then in command
of the Western District of the United States, with his
head quarters at St. Louis, for an armed escort to accom-
pany the Expedition and protect it from the Indians.
Fortunately, the Greneral was at Omaha when Mr.
Blickensderfer arrived there, and he was thus afforded
\ an opportunity, not only of making Greneral Sherman's
acquaintance, but of personally explaining to him the
.great importance of the Expedition, and of asking for a
.; suitable escort for its protection, which, in his opinion
, should consist of at least three Companies of Cavalry.
The General smiled good naturedly upon this propo-
|8itioii, and remarked that he thought one company
V, would be quite ample for the purpose ; but, as Mr. Blick-
,1 icnsderfer was somewhat persistent, he said that he
® |would refer the matter to Genl. Augur, who commanded
'er, jr., an
|the Department of the Platte, with instructions to meet
Mr. Blickensderfer's views, so far as the forces at his
command would enable him to do so.
General Augur being absent upon a western tour of
inspection at the time, it was finally arranged that
Genl. Myers, Quarter Master of the department, should
accompany the Expedition with two companies of
Cavalry, until it should meet General Augur, who
would then make the necessary arrangements for its
protection during its further progress.
The late lamented Secretary of War, Genl. John A.
Rawlins, then acting as General Grant's Chief of Staff;
Mr. T. J. Carter, one of the Government Directors of the
road ; Genl. G. M. Dodge, Chief Engineer, in charge of
location ; Mr. Samuel B. Reed, Chief Constructing En-
gineer ; and Mr. John R. Duff, a son of the present Vice
President of the Road, together with several Engineers
and Contractors, were also of the party, besides two or
three other gentlemen who were not directly connected
with the road.
At this time the track had been laid to the mouth
of Lodge Pole Creek, at Julesburg, about three hundred
and eighty miles west from Omaha ; and the country
west of that point was infested with roving bands of
hostile Sioux Indians to such an extent that it was found
necessary for the Government to provide a military
escort for every engineering and construction party en-
gaged upon the road. Several persons, employed in these
parties, had already been most cruelly murdered and
mutilated by these inhuman savages.
As a means of more effectually guarding against these
atrocities. General Augur had organized a band of
about four hundred friendly Pawnee Indians, from the |
Yalley of Loup Fork, and equipped them as cavalry,
mounted upon their own fleet and hardy ponies ; and had
ARRIVAL AT CHEYENNE.
rs of the
s two or
ras found ■
1 in these
placed them under the command of Col. North, a most
accomplished and indefatigable Officer, whose dashing
raids upon the Sioux had driven the most of them far
up the Valley of the Lodge Pole Creek, and into the
almost impenetrable gorges of the Black Hill Range of
the Rocky Mountains.
The country had been thoroughly explored, and the
line partially located, as far west as Fort Sanders, on the
Laramie Plains ; and a construction force under the
charge of Mr. Lewis Carmichael had been pushed for-
ward, early in the Spring, to the Eastern Slope of the
i Black Hills, at a point now known as Granite Canon,
about twenty miles west of Cheyenne ; which party
was under the militar/ protection of a company of
[Infantry, under command of Major Mimmack, whose
lead quarters had, for their better protection from
Indians, been established in the immediate vicinity of
lose of Mr. Carmichael and his construction forces.
The distinguished party, consisting of Mr. Blickens-
lerfer, G-enl. Rawlins and the other persons above named,
left Omaha by train, on the 26th of June, and after
larching from the end of the track at Julesburg,
reached Crow Creek, about five hundred and sixteen
dies west of Omaha (at the point where the flourishing
)ity of Cheyenne is now situated), on the 3rd of July ;
id we were so fortunate as to find encamped at the
ime point, G-eneral Augur, who was making a tour of
ispection of the different military posts in his Depart-
lent. The G-eneral was escorted by one or two com-
panies of U. S. Cavalry, and a large detachment of his
fawnee Warriors, under command of Colonel North.
It had been previously determined that our party
would remain in camp at Crow Crook, durini:^ a week
or ten days, in order to alFord the Chief Engineer and
myself an opportunity to examine the Country with re-
ference to a proper location of the line in that vicinity ;
and also to enable Mr. Blickonsderfer to make a thorough
search for the " Eastern Base of the Rocktj 3IountauiSy'
which was supposed by some of the party to be con-
cealed somewhere near this particular locality.
A further inducement to indulge in this delay was an,
invitation kindly extended to our party by Gronoralj
Augur, to unite with himself and ollicers, in the cele-
bration of the anniversary of our National Independence,
which was done in a manner every way suitable to the]
I was called upon to read the declaration of Independ-
ence ; but as the Government had neglected to furnish!
Mr. Blickonsderfer with the original as prepared by|
Thomas Jefferson, and finding that no one i)resent had|
an authentic copy, I was obliged to improvise the f
lowing for the occasion.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
"When in the course of human events it becomes ne
cessary for a community composed of military Officers
with 350 rank and file, Grovernment Directors, and civi
Engineers of the Union Pacific Railroad, with thei
friends, to sever their social relations w^ith the peopl'|
of the United States and all the rest of mankind, it seem
eminently proper that they should publish to the worl
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
y was an
ble to thej
ke the foil
try Officers I
rs, and civi;
ind, it seem:
to the worl> |
the reasons which have induced them to emigrate to,
and establish this goodly City ofCheyenne, at the Eastern
base of the Kooky Mountains, on the Western half of
the American Continent, six thousand feet above the
level of the sea, within the shadows and beneath the
summits of Long's Peak and of the great Snowy and
Black Hill Ranges of the Eocky Mountains.
The laws of society which are rigidly enforced in
Eastern Cities, and of which we complain, are :
1st, Extravagant dress, requiring from one to two
changes of linen each day.
2nd. Late hours for meals and sleep.
8rd. Restriction of speech.
4th. Too dainty and delicate food.
5th. Too little exercise.
6th. Too much dust and heat.
7th. Too much Newport, Saratoga and Long Branch.
The privileges which we claim for ourselves and our
)osteritv, are :
1st. The most simple dress, consisting of flannel shirt,
'^eralls, blouse, top boots with spurs, and slouch hat.
2nd. Early hours, breakfast at 4 A. M., and sleep at
3rd. Perfect freedom of speech on all subjects.
4th. Plain, simple and healthy food, consisting of
^acon and hard-tack with a judicious sprinkling of ante-
>pe, black tailed deer, elk, praire dog, speckled trout,
id mountain sheep.
5th. Exercise on horseback with carbines and re-
>lvers, from fifteen to thirty miles per day, Sundays and
kh July excepted.
nth. No dust, and thermometer ai 60' to 60" above
zero at twiliirht, and sleep under two Ma<;kinaw blankets,
or a bulialo robe.
7th. Summer resorts for pleasure and recrc^ation, such
as the cloud capped summits of the Snowy Kange,
the Mountain Parks and trout streams in their vicinity.
8th. The privilege of protecting ourselves from hostile
Indians, by our own Henry and Ballard rillesand Colt's
And generally, to do just about as we please at all
times and under all circumstances, with due regard and
gentlemanly respect to our companions, and a proper
observance of the laws of Nature and of Nature's Grod,
which reign supreme throughout all this vast and
Although we are now so far from the Westerly con-
lines of civilization, we expect within a few short months
to be broken in upon by the shrill whistle of the loco-
motive upon the Grreat Union Pacific Eailroad, which is
now making such rapid progress through these beautiful
plains, and necessarily bringing with it all the evils, as
well as many of the blessings of the very civilization
which we have renounced and endeavoured to escape,
And to the maintenance of the above rights and pri-
vileges, we pledge our lives, our fortunes and odi
The following brief report of the regular toasts, anc
the responses thereto, has fortunately been preserved
THE DAY WE CELEBRATE.
ae at all
, which is
I evils, a6
is and pri-
1. " The day we CELEimATE. "
General Rawlins in rewponding, referred in an approv-
ing tone, to the Declaration of Independence as rt^vist^d
by Col. S. Seymour, and declared it his opinion that
many of its complaints and demands were indisputaliie.
The General said that those heroes of old, who rendered
this day such an era in the existence of the world,
would never have believed that in this country far be-
yond their utmost knowlege, prairie dogs, owls, rattle
snakes, wolves and the other interesting denizens of this
delightful region, would have heard a Declaration of
Independence read on the 4th July, 1867. The tele-
graph and the railroad now cross this once howling
wilderness which through their agency, has become
the backbone of a .ountry which can never be dis-
severed so long as the descendants of those who founded
the country uphold the principles laid down by them
on the Fourth July 1776.
The G-eneral concluded a most able and eloquent
speech amid loud cheers.
The health of G-eneral Rawlins was then proposed
by Mr. Carter, and drunk with enthusiasm.
2. " The President of the United States."
The Hon. J. Blickensderfer Jr., after a most eloquent
j speech in reply to this toast, offered the sentiment, " Our
[■country, and nothing but our country, bound together
[by iron bands. North, South, East and "West, never to
)e separated by any enemy whatever.
3. " The Army of the United States."
General C. 0. Augur, after the example of his victor-
Sous Chief, General Grant, felt unwilling to make a
Ifpeech, but felt happy to meet such pleasant gentlemen,
engaged in forwarding so noble an enterprise as the
Union Pacific Railroad, and returned them his thanks
for proposing the Army, trusting to meet them in suc-
cessive years when Cheyenne would be a City not only
in name but in reality.
4. " The Press, the universal accompaniment of civil-
Mr. John E. Cor with returned thanks, and stated that
it was a rooted conviction, that the only reason why there
is not a " Daily " on Crow Creek, is that the benighted
Sioux, Cheyennes, and the rest of the lively population
inhabiting the district, cannot read.
5. " The Union Pacific Railroad."
Col. Carter regretted that the duty of replying to thisj
toast had not fallen into abler hands, and then went on!
to state, that as Grovernment Director he had always j
taken a deep interest in the Union Pacific Railroad. 1
He was much gratified at seeing so many officers of the!
United States Army present, who take so great an in-
terest in this undertaking, and who so efficiently protect
those engaged in carrying it out. The Union Pacific
Railroad was the enterprise of the age, not in the mere
construction of the road, but in the mining, agricultural
and other resources of the country which are boundless
This immense work depends not on the Directors, but
on the Chief and Consulting Engineers, the working
Engineers and the Contractors. The United States hm
aided the Union Pacific Railroad, but it must not bt
forgotten that the Railroad wiU be immensely service I
able to the United States ; the army protects it, but i
gives the army facilities for carrying out their opera
tions. T'venty years ago Mr. Carter heard this enter
i of civil-
ng to this
L went on
ers of the
eat an in-^
. States hiij
tQ it, buti
prise agitated in Europe, and it was then deemed vi-
sionary ; but he now looked forward to seeing this Rail-
road, not only the Union Pacific, but the great thorough-
fare between England and China. Our Steamers now
sail between San Francisco and China, and the mails
and light freight from London and Liverpool will pass
over the Rocky Mountains, to the land of the Celestials
and the City of Palaces.
6. " The Embryo city of Cheyenne located at the
base of the Rocky Mountains, in which we celebrate
this day. "
Col. A. B. Coleman in responding to this sentiment
I said, that he had been informed by his friends on
[leaving New York, that he would certainly be scalped
[by the Sioux, but he had seen no Sioux, and for
ds own part did not care if he never did see any,
lor Cheyennes either. He begged to be excused the
)leasure of their acquaintance ; they might be good
jnough in their way, but in his opinion their way was
very nasty one. He was a member of the committee
to decide on the name of this city, and he had called it
)y its present cognomen in the hopes of conciliating
^he interesting Savages. He trusted that a gracious
*rovidence would enable him to get out of this city
quickly as possible if the aborigines should object to
7. " The Colorado Central and Pacific Railroad.'
Mr. F. M. Case in responding said, that he has been
^ut here for six years, and thinks that there is more in
le country than is thought of He believes the moun-
ins to be full of gold, but the heavy machinery ne-
CEssary to procure the gold can only be transported by
8. " The Engineering Department of the Union Pacific
In the absence of General G- M. Dodge, Chief
Engineer, Col. Silas Seymour, Consulting Engineer,
responded to this toast, and sta»,3d that were any evid-
eaice necessary, the absence of General Dodge, who was
attending to his duty instead of seeking that rest which
his feeble health and a long march imperativeily de-
manded, would be proof sufficient that the Engineer
Department neglected no business entrusted to their
care. After some humorous remarks. Col. Seymour sat
down amidst loud cheers.
9. " The Great National Railroad. "
Col. Seymour said, that amongst his earliest recol-
lections was the opening of the Erie Canal ; he was
first employed as an Engineer on the New York and
Erie Railroad, the western base of trade being then at
Buffalo ; thence that base was removed to Chicago ;
thence, to the Mississippi ; thence, to the Missouri ; the
next base will be the Eastern base of the Rocky Moun-
tains ; thence, to Salt Lake City ; and from that point
to San Francisco ; then to China and Japan ; thence to
New York, returning in a circle. Col. Seymour thought
this only the beginning of a vast network of railroads
which will eventually traverse the whole country.
Western Territories. "
Mr. Charles H. Rogers declared these resources to |
be infinite, only requiring the Union Pacific Railroad
to open them up. In developing them by industry and
intelligence, we can pay not only the National debt, but I
" The Agricultural and Mmeral resources of the
t re col-
uri ; the
3S of the
our own debts, and only the Union Pacific Railroad
can do it.
11. " The Contractors of the Union Pacific Railroad
distinguished for their energy in prosecuting the work."
Groneral Casement, who was to have replied to this
toast, was unfortunately absent on important business.
12. " The Loyal Red Man of the Plains."
Captain Arnold, in the absence of Major North, said
that 15 years ago the Pawnees were the robbers of the
desert, but now were an immense support to the white
man in the plains. The Captain claimed no discipline
in particular for the Pawnees, but did not know by
whom more hair can be raised, and believes they would
beat the devil in jayhawking.
] 8. " The Ladies."
Mr. John R. Duff was sure that this toast must touch
the dearest and truest sentiments of our hearts.
The health of Col. S. Seymour was then proposed by
Greneral H. R. Misner, to which Col. Seymour briefiy
responded, and then gave Greneral Gribbons.
The G-eneral said that he had only once tried to make
a speech and then he failed. Consequently he now al-
ways resorts to a 4th July oration he heard 20 years ago.
He would however first give them his bosom fri(nul
Artemus Ward's ideas of Africa, of its foral productions
especially the rose ; unecessary to say he meant negroes.
Feared he was wandering from his subject but would
return. Referred to the G-uerilla who objected to the
I draft and taxes, was wandering again, but would once
more return. The G-eneral then delivered his 4th July
|oration amidst great cheers and tun. ,
4i)i July, replied to, by Lieut. Jones.
The Medical Department, replied to by Dr. Alexander.
The Ordnance Department, Lieut. Comly responded.
The health of our Mule Train, was then proposed by
G-eneral Augur, and drunk in the wildest enthusiasm.
In the unavoidable absence of the mules, Captain
Wauds made an eloquent and touching response.
Captain Petrikin, Chief Engineer of the Department,
was given by G-eneral H. R. Misner.
The Quarter Master's Depaitment w^as responded to
by Captain "Wands,
G-eneral Augur and Staff, was drunk with all the
The President then returned thanks to General Augur
and Staff, for the entertainment on this occasion, and
the party broke up.
An unusual number of other most soul stirring toasts
were also drunk and responded to, later in the day, by
the Officers and other gentlemen present, with great
powers of endurance, and with marked ability.
There being no tree suitable for a flag-pole within
fifty miles of the camp, one end of the glorious flag of
our Country was elevated several feet above the ground,
by means of two wagon poles, thoroughly lashed toge-
ther, under the personal superintendence of Greneral
Merrill, Inspector General of the Department, then
acting, temporarily, as Chief of General Augur's Staff.
It will be seen from the above, that it was upon this
memorable occasion that the name of *' Cheyenne " was
given to the future City that it was foreseen must spring
up at the point upon which we were encamped ;
although, at the time, there was not a house, nor a piece
of lumber with which to construct one, to be found
within fifty miles of the locality.
ANTECEDENT EVENTS EXPLANATORY OP THE OBJECTS OF TUB
SUB-EXPEDITION — ESCORT PROVIDED — ORDER OP MARCH PROM
CAMP — REPORT OP ACTION WITH THE SIOUX — EXPLANATORY
The question of the location of the line over the Black
Hill Range of the Rocky Mountains, had been regarded
as one of the most difficult problems to solve, connected
with the construction of the road.
The entire range of mountainous country lying
between the Laramie Canon on the North, and Berthoud's
Pass on the South, had been instrumentally examined
during previous years, under the direction of Mr. T. C.
Durant, the Vice President and General Manager of the
road, for the purpose of ascertaining the best route for
extending the road west of the great Platte Valley.
During the early part of 1866, Mr. Durant had
appointed General G. M. Dodge as Chief Engineer of
the road, who being , as he had frankly informed me
entirely without experience in construction, was placed
I in charge of developing the country, and locating the
line west of the main Valley of the Platte, into which
jthe road had previously been completed.
During the summer of 1866 a personal examination
had been made of the Berthoud Pa.sts by myself, ac-
companied by the Hon. Jesse L. WilJiams, one of the
Groyernment Directors of the road, and an Engineer of
great reputation and experience, from Fort Wayne, In-
diana ; after which, being joined by the Chief Engineer,
we also examined Antelope and Cheyenne Passes ; and
we had determined that a depression lying a few miles
south of Cheyenne Pass, presented fewer objectionable
features than any other point, to the passage of the road
over the Black Hill Range. After a careful examination
of the Eastern slope, together with a preliminary line
that had been run over it, by Mr. Jas. A. Evans, Asst.
Engineer, we had further determined that a grade of
eighty feet per mile would be the maximum required
for the ascent of the slope ; and I had so reported to
the company, on my return to New York.
During the Fall of that year, Mr Evans, under the
direction of the Chief Engineer, had located this portion
of the line with a maximum grade of ninety feet per
mile ; and the Chief Engineer had reported to the
Company that this was the lowest grade that could be
obtained, in which opinion I had never been able to
I had therefore been requested by the President of
the Company, before leaving New York upon the pre-
sent Expedition, not only to examine every important
point in the locaHon of the road, that might come in my
w^ay ; but to examine, wath particular care, the line
v/hich had been located, and upon which work had been
commenced, upon the Eastern slope of the Black Hills,
acsmuch as our present camp on Crow Creek was
.. .-lost convenient point from which to make these ex-
DEPARTURE OF SUB-EXPEDITION.
aminations, I concluded to employ the few days at my
disposal, before ae Expedition proceeded farther west-
ward, in the performance of that duty.
I accordini^ly applied to Greneral Augur for the means
of transportation, and also for a military escort for my
protection, all which were very promptly granted.
Inasmuch, however, as the Sioux wore supposed to
be quite numerous throughout the district Avhich I was
obliged to traverse, the General very kindly decided, as
a measure of greater saf(^ty, that I should take as an es-
cort, a detachment of his Pawnee Braves, who were
known to entertain feelings of vnp/easantness towards the
Sioux ; and who would therefore be quite sure to guard
not only my own person, but the Government property
placed at my disposal, with much greater care and less
danger from surprise, than the ordinary trooj^s under
Mr. M. F. Hurd, a Division Engineer upon the Hoad,
was also to accompany me, with the maps and profiles of
the line, which, in order to guard against accidents, he
was accustomed to carry in his hat.
My arrangements having been fully perfected on the
morning of the 11th July, I started upon my perilous
Expedition at an early hour from our beautiful camp
upon the banks of Crow Creek. Mr. Hurd and myself,
well mounted, and armed with carbines and revolvers,
took the front. Immediately in our rear at a respectful
distance, marched Lieutenant Matthews at the head of
ten of his most trusty warriors. Then followed the outfit,
consisting of four Government mules and driver, a
Government wagon, containing my camp equipage
and that of the troops, together with my supplies and
cook ; also, as I accidentally learned soon after starting,
a passenger who by some improper connivance with the
cook, had been allowed to smuggle himself into the rear
part of the wagon. The remainder of the military escort
followed the wagon as a rear guards observing always a
proper wheeling distance, in order to prevent surprise
from the enemy.
The thrilling scenes through which we were destined
to pass within a few hours after leaving our camp, are
very faintly and imperfectly described in the following :
OF ENGAGEMENT WITH THE SIOUX.
DESPATCH No. i.
Head Quarters, Black Hills Division,
DiiPT. OF THE Platte, July M, 1867.
I have the honor to report, that I left your camp at
Cheyenne, on Crow Creek, this morning at half past
ten, with a military escort which you had kindly placed
at my disposal, consisting of twenty Pawnee Warriors
mounted and equipped as cavalry, under command of
I w^as accompanied on horseback by Mr. M. F. Hurd,
Div. Eng. U. P R. R. who was armed with a carbine
and revolver ; and also by a passenger, unarmed and
REPORT OF ENGAGEMENT.
name unknown. My outfit consisted of a Cook, Driver^
four Grovernment mules, and a Government wagon,
loaded with supplies, camp equipage, cooking utensils
&c ; the driver being mounted on the near hind mule,
and the passenger and cook riding in the wagon.
My objective point was Carmichael's grading camp,
from which as a center I intended to make some explo-
rations among the Black Hills for railroad purposes.
I proceeded up the valley traversed by the Union
Pacific Railroad line, a distance of about eight miles,
when I divided my force of warriors into two battalions
of ten each, and ordered Lieut. Matthew^s with one
battalion, to follow Mr. Hurd and myself into the bluffs
northward of the valley, where I intended to explore
for a railroad route, and incidentally to hunt for Sioux
The balance of the forces were ordered to escort the
wagon up the regular road in the valley, until I rejoined
them. I also requested Lieut. Matthews to throw out
two flankers into the hills on the right and left, in order
to guard against surprise from the Sioux ; and these
flankers were strictly ordered not to fire under any
circumstances, except at a Sioux, or stray antel®pe.
After travelling some three or four miles through the
hills w^ithout seeing the enemy, I returned into the
valley by the road, and found myself about one mile to
the rear of the wagon and its escort. Putting our horses
into a gallop, we were rapidly approaching this detach-
ment of my command, when I observed the wagon escort
dash up the hill to the left ; and, at the same instant,
heard a most unnatural and uncertain sound from a
bugle, blown by one of my braves, from the top of a
high bluflf in the same direction. When I reached the
wagon it was entirely deserted, except by the passeng(T,
cook, driver and mules, all of whom, I am happy to
say, seemed to be fully impressed with the solemnity ol
The warriors who had been my personal escort,
immediately dismounted, and without waiting for
orders, commenced unsaddling their ponies, and divest-
ing themselves of their military caps, coats, pantaloons,
boots and other superfluous appendages. They then
re-mounted with great celerity, and notwithstanding my
most positive orders and protestations to the contrary,
dashed up the hill side, yelling " Sioux ! Sioux ! ! Heap
Sioux ! ! ! "
Mr, Hurd also caught the inspiration, and regardless of
his own safety, dashed up after them ; and I take plea-
sure in observing that Lieut. Matthew^s himself, was not
far behind. My passenger sprang from the wagon, and
was rapidly making his way up the hill on the opposite
side of the valley, when I deliberately drew my revolver
and ordered him to halt, and to return and assist me in
protecting the property of the G-overnment ; which order,
I am happy to say, was promptly obeyed. The cook
showed great presence of mind by crawling back into
the wagon, and intrenching himself among the contents,
evidently prepared to sacrifice his life, if necessary for
their protection. The driver remained firmly seated
upon his mule, with rein in hand, and indicated a de-
termination to do or die in the good cause, as circum-
stances might require.
Having made the above disposition of my remaining
forces, and supplied my passenger with an old musket.
REPORT OF ENOAOEMKNT. 31
which I fortunatt'ly found in the outfit, (but for which,
I regret to say, we could at the moniont iind no suitable
ammunition), I retired to the shady side of the wagou,
and proceeded to fill the magazine of my carbine with
cartridges, and to rtdoad the vacant chamlxirs of my re-
volver, both of which had become somewhat depleted
by frequent liring at Antelope during the morning.
Very soon aftiu* I had taken this somewhat unusual,
but in my opinion vertj neceasnnj precaution, Mr. Kurd
returned and reported that our Pawnee Warriors, closely
followed by Lieut. Matthews, were making their way
as rapidly as th(ur ponies would carry them, across the
country to the bluff, or divide, south of Lone Tree Creek ;
and that the Sioux were so far in the advance, that they
could not be seen with the luiked eye, and he, having*
no glass, could therefore not form a icry clear opinion
as to the exact number or position of the enemy.
Comprehending at once my isolated and unprotected
situation, I immediately appointed Mr. Ilurd my Chief
of Staff, with the rank of Major, and proceeded to hold
a Council of War, at which it was unanimously decided
that we had better push our reserve forces forward at
once from their very exposed position in the narrow
valley, to the high ground which the road reached at a
point about one half mile to the front ; and that upon
reaching there, we would be governed by circumstances
as to our further movements.
After throwing out a flank and skirmish line, com-
posed principally of Maj. Hurd (my passenger having
suddenly disappeared soon after I had loaned him a
musket) I ordered a forward movement, at " double
quick, " which I headed in person ; and which, I am
happy to report, was executed in good order, and without
Having reached the elevated ground, about two miles
east of the Laramie road crossing, and six miles from
these Head Quarters, I ordered a Halt ! and pro-
ceeded at once to take an observation with my field
glass, for the purpose of ascertaining, if possible, the
position of my late escort, as well as of the enemy.
The enemy was no where visible ; but I could dis-
tinctly see several of my braves galloping at full speed
up and over the divide south of Lone Tree Creek. They
soon disappeared however, and then we heard nothing
but the report of two or three guns in the distance. In
about five minutes afterwards, the crest of the divide
was seen to be covered with from twentv to one hun-
dred warriors, dashing to and fro, apparently in great
confusion. These however very soon disappeared from
view, and all was quiet again.
Another council of "War was immediately called, at
which it was decided with great unanimity that we had
better proceed as rapidly as possible in the direction of
these Head Quarters, in order to intercept any flank
movement that might be contemplated by the enemy.
I at once resumed my exposed position at the head of
the column, giving strict orders that there should be no
stragglers, nor falling out of the rauks, and that the driver
should keep the mules at " double quick " time, or even
" quicker^' if they could endure that rate of speed.
I also kept up my flank and skirmish line, through
the able assistance of Maj. Hurd; and am happy to say
that we reached this place in safet^'^, at about three P. M.
We saw the heads of several Sioux peepin^* over the
I — I
REPORT OF ENGAGEMENT.
adjacent ridge, as we marched rapidly along, which
however, upon our nearer approach, were suddenly
transformed either into rocks, bushes, or large tufts of
grass ; except perhaps in one instance, when Maj. Hnrd
protests that he saw a " solitary mounted horseman "
(supposed to be a Sioux,) at some distance in front, but
who, fortunately for himself, soon disappeared from
view in the valley of Lone Tree.
Our vahant escort has not been seen or heard from,
up to the present writing (10 P. M.)
Too much praise cannot be awarded to Maj. Hurd, for
his gallantry upon the field, as well as for his coolness
and sagacity in the performance of the arduous and
dangerous unties assigned to him ; and I would respect-
fully recommend him for promotion.
The remainder of the command showed great zeal and
perse v^'-ence in reaching this place ; and I would also
recommend them to your favorable notice.
Hoping that the days operations will prove satisfac-
tory to you :
I remain. General,
Your obedient servant,
(BigHBd,) S. SEYMOUR,
To Maj. Genl. C. 0. VtfGUR,
Oommanc ing Lopt. of the Platte.
DESPATCH No. 2.
Head Quarters, &c., &c.,
July 12, 1867,
5} A. M.
I have the honor to inform you, that Major Mimmack,
the officer in command of the troops stationed at this
point for the protection of the forces employed by Mr.
Carmichael, in constructing the Union Pacific Railroad,
has not been able since yeste ' v- noon, to find the mules
belonging to his transportatic ,'epartment, although
his herders were engaged during the entire night in
hunting for them.
The supposition is, that they were captured by the
band of Sioux, which my report of last evening left
flying for their lives from the hot pursuit of my brave
A hurried consultation with Maj. Mimmack hu,s
satisfied us that we are just at present in a sort of mili-
tary " paradox. " That is, he has troops without trans-
portation, and I have transportation without troops.
Being the senior officer, and not being able to consult
either Jomini, G-enl. Butler or Col. Merrill, as to the
solution of this paradox, I have taken the responsibility
of drawing the cork, and of ordering my driver with
his team, to accompany a detachment of the Major's
troops, and report to Major North, unless he shall meet
on the way with Lieut. Matthews, accompanied by my
late escort of Pawnee Warriors, in which case he will
report to Lieut. Matthews.
It has occurred to me that the Pawnees may have
returned last night to Major North's camp, near your
Head Quarters ; and if so, that they may return here
I shall need them very much after to-day. Not a
word has been heard from them since my report of las*
I have also ordered the driver on his way down, to
pick up the saddles and other Government property,
which was so summarily abandoned by my escort
while preparing for action with the Sioux, and to return
t to Maj. North.
I have the honor to remain,
General, very respectfully,
Your Obt. Servt,,
(Signed), S, SEYMOUR,
To Maj. Genl. Augur,
Commanding Dept. of the Platte.
DESPATCH No. 3.
Carmichael's Ranch, U. P. R. R.,
Black Hills, July 12. 1867.
9 P. M.
I take pleasure in reporting the safe arrival from your
camp, of riy Pawnee e^vort. They reported for duty at
1 P. M. to-day, mounted on mules, the most of which,
Lieut. Matthews informs me, were captured from the
Sioux during the severe action of yesterday. Several of
these mules are recognized by Major Mimmack as for-
merly belonging to his transportation department ; which
fact confirms our previous suspicions that they were
captured yesterday by the Sioux, just previous to our
onslaught upon them ; and it is therefore gratifying to
know that my brave warriors have been the means of
reclaiming a large amount of Government property.
I felt it to be my duty to censure Lieut. Matthews
very severely for his conduct yesterday, in abandoning
the party and property, which his orders from you re-
quired him to protect ; and the only explanation or apo-
logy he could give was, that unless he had left me and
followed his warriors in thv ir pursuit of the Sioux, nei-
ther he nor myself would probably have ever scon them
The mules appear to be in good fighting condition.
Their ears and tails are highly ornamented with feathers,
ribbons, and other grotesque appendages ; and when
irounted by their brave riders, and drawn up in line
oi battle before my camp, they certainly present a very
I am informed that a mule will not chase an Indian
unless he is propelled by spurs. I have therefore con-
cluded to disarm a portion of my escort of their spurs, in
order that I may be able to keep a few of them near me
in an emergency, as I do not altogether favor the idea
of being left alone again if I can avoid it, especially up
in the neighborhood of Dale Creek.
I start westward to-morrow, and expect to return here
on Monday, and to reach Crow Cre3k (Cheyenne) on
Tuesday P. M.
Yours very truly,
(Signed), S. SEYMOUR.
Major General Augur,
Commanding Dept. of the Platte,
Cheyenne, D. T.
I trust it has been observed by the careful reader,
that the stereotyped form of alluding to the number of
killed, wounded, and missing, either from among my
own troops, or those of the enemy, which is usually
adopted in reports of this kind, has been studiously
avoided in the foregoing despatches.
The reasons for this omission will be quite obvious
when it is considered that, as is generally the case in
matters of this kind, the particular portion of the field
where these casualties are supposed to have occurred
was not immediately under the eye of the Commanding
Ofiicer, nor in fact within the scope of his powerful
field glass, although on the occasion referred to, it was
undoubtedly worked up to its full capacity.
Furthermore, the subordinate officer, Lieut. Matthews,
to whom, without due reflection, and in the hurry of
the moment, this branch of the business was confided,
undoubtedly regarded it as his duty, under the army
regulations, to report upon all secondary matters of
this nature to the Captain of his Company of Pawnee
Warriors, with whom, as will be seen from the des-
patches, he happened to be in communication before I
had the pleasure of meeting him after the engagement.
The Captain would, as a matter of course, report to
Col. North : the Colonel to G-enl. Augur : G-enl. Augur
to Grenl. Sherman : Genl. Sherman to Genl. Grant *
G-enl. Grant to the Secretary of War : and the Secre-
tary to the President of the United States, as Com-
mander in Chief of the army.
In this very direct and comprehensive manner the
report would, in due time, undoubtedly reach its final
destination among the archives of the G-overnment at
Washington, where I would respectfully refer all such
a.s are curious in unpleasant details of this nature.
It should also be borne in mind that I was not
seeking for military renown or advancement, although
circumstances over which I evidently had no control,
may have conspired to throw them in my way.
My mission was eminently a peaceful one, and my
chief desire was to perform my duty to the railway
company, and at the same time to return intact, and
uninjured, the troops and the property of the govern-
ment which had been so kindly placed at my disposal
by the Commanding General of the Department ; all of
which I was fortunately enabled to do, and having
done so, my responsibility was evidently at an end.
REPLY OP THE COMMANDING GENERAL TO .THE FOREGOING
REPORT, GIVING NOTICE OF PROJtfOTIONS, &C.~ TOGETHER
WITH SOME SEVERE STRICTURES THEREON.
OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL.
Head Quarters Department Forces in the Field,
Chkyknnk, Dakotah, July 15, 1867.
Brt. Maj. Gen. Silas Seymour,
Commanding Black Hills Div.
Dep. of the Platte.
The General Commanding, directs me to acknow-
ledge the receipt of your highly important and interest-
ing dispatch and report of the engagement of the 11th.
The General Commanding takes occasion to congra-
tulate you on the distinguished success which has
attended your efforts, which however was only the
fulfillment of his expectations founded on what he
knew of you previously. He expects that in the future,
as in the past, no effort will be wanting on your part to
outshine even this brilliant example of what may be
accomplished, by persistant effort and notable courage,
and that he may see more of such conduct.
He greatly regrets that even in the hour of victory,
and while words of praise are still on his tongue, he
should feel it his duty to take exception to any part of
your conduct. But the morale of the forces in the field,
and the impression to be made upon a dastardly and
recreant foe, make it his stern duty to call your imme-
diate and anxious attention to a grevious fault committed
in the course of the engagement.
You, of course, cannot be at a loss to know that he re-
fers to the great error committed in deploying so thin a
skirmish line as he has reason to think you did, if his
memory of Maj. Kurd's weight serves him. It is true
that in this particular, he does not attribute the fault to
you, but believes that the commissariat is greatly to
blame. Wherever the fault, he trusts that you will at
once take steps to correct it.
He also desires to call your serious attention to the
condition of your battalion of cooks. It is greatly to be
regretted that such a magnificent corps(e) should be irre-
treivably ruined by a neglect on your part, to see to its
armaments. That this may at once be corrected, he directs
me to say, that your requisition will be filled for one
twenty-inch Rodman Grun with Eads broadside carriage
and equipments complete, and 763 rounds of am-
munition, and that Maj. North will be directed to turn
over one of the smallest of his ponys for its transport-
The conduct of your detachment of the land transport
corps is beyond praise, and he regrets that the present
imperfect state of the law prevents him from breveting
REPLY OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL. 41
the ♦ near hind mule" to a higher grade than " brevet
He has been pleased to recommend also the following
promotions, which he directs you to publish in orders,
with his hearty thanks and congratulations to your
Col. Silas Seymour, for ability and coolness exhibited
in the preparation of his ordnance stores, to be Brt
Brt. Brig. General Silas Seymour, for distinguished
gallantry, in observing the enemy through his field glass,
to be Brt. Maj. Greneral.
The General regrets that a sense of duty to the
skirmish line which siiffjred such unnecessary ex-
tension, prevents his making higher recomendation for
promotion in your own case.
Maj. Hurd, Chief of staif, for highly distinguished
gallantry in dashing up the hill after the Pawnee "War-
riors, to be Brt. Lieut. Col.
Brt. Lieut. Col. Hurd, for gallantry and meritorious
service in seeing a Solitary Mounted Sioux some dis-
tance in front, who soon disapeared in the valley of
Lone Tree Creek to be Brt. Col.
Brt. Col. Tlurd, for gallant and meritorious service
duripg the war, to date from March 13th 1865, to be
Brt. Brig. Gen.
The near hind male to be Brevet Horse.
I have the houor to be,
Your Obt. Servant,
(Signed), LEWIS MERRILL,
Asst. I. General.
SEVERE STRICTURES UPON THE FOREGOING REPLf.
"Without pausing to remark at any considerable length,
upon the criticisms contained in the otherwise very flat-
tering reply of the Commanding G-eneral to my rejiort
of the engagement, I will simply state, as an act of
justice to myself, and my Chief of Staff, and also for the
information of those who are not entirely familiar v-'th
matters of this kind, that complete and triumphant
success is generally regarded by the severest military
critics, as a full justification for any slight departure
from the old and established rules of warfare.
More particularly should this be the case when, as
in the present instance, the enemy is composed of wily
and deceitful savages, who will persist in keeping them-
selves entirely beyond the reach of the most powerful
field-glass : and when the troops upon whom the
Commanding Officer is in some cases obliged to rely for
success, pay no regard to orders ; but, after divesting
themselves of their clothing, rush wildly and pell-mell
after the distant foe, entirely regardless of the safety of
their Commanding Officer, their ow^n personal appear-
ance, or any of the other elements which are generally
regarded as essential to military success.
As regards the capacity, or the ability of my Chief of
Staff", Major (now Brt. Brig. Grenl.) Hurd, to fill the re-
quirements of an ordinary skirmish line, I will only re-
mark, that the G-eneral himself was highly indignant
when I, very reluctantly, made known to him the covert
insinuations contained in the reply of the Commanding
General with reference to his reliance upon the Com-
missariatf or any stimulant, or sustenance, other than
STRICTUKES UPON THE REPLY.
that contained in the immense slabs of tobacco with
which he was always well provided, to aid his firm
determination to perform his whole duty, both to him-
self, his superior officer, and his country, upon any and
When to the foregoing considerations, is added the
fact, that after the return of the escort, as reported in
despatch No. 8, I took up the line of march directly
through the heart of the enemy's country, over the
summit of the Black Hills (being more than eight
thousand, two hundred feet above the sea) to the valley
of Dale Creek, a distance of about forty miles from
Cheyenne ; and returned to our camp on Crow Creek,
on the very day named in my last dispatch, without
meeting with the slighest casualty, they should, in my
humble opinion, be regarded as a complete answer to
the reflections of a somewhat sarcastic nature, which
upon a careful re-perusal I am pained to say seem to
have been adroitly concealed in the otherwise very able
and satisfactory reply of the distinguished Greneral
Commanding the Department of the Platte.
With these few calm, and I trust dignified remarks,
written many years after my retirement from active
service in the field ; during which interval, the mortifying
eflect of the severe cirticisms of the Commanding
Greneral upon the disposition of my forces, has been
assuaged to a great extent by the lapse of time, and
the performance of other active duties in private life, I
am entirely willing to leave my military reputation, so
far at lepst as the events of that day are concerned, in
the hands of my Countrymen and of Posterity.
Mi<ii JLa<i"li.Ji. T JU i i
A PROMISE TO GO FORWARD WITH THE GREAT EXPEDITION, IN
SEARCH OP THE EASTERN BASE, AFTER MAKING CERTAIN
NECESSARY EXPLANATIONS OP DIFFERENT THEORIES, IN ORDER
TO ELUCIDATE, IN A SATISFACTORY MANNER, THE GREAT
BLICKENSDERFIAN THEORY, AS TO THE NATURAL LAWS WHICH
GOVERN THE UNIVERSE.
Having thus disposed of an incident which was re-
garded at the time, more particularly by those who
were so closely identified with it, as the principal feature
in the Great Expedition^ I will proceed to give a some-
what hurried, and necessarily imperfect sketch of
its progress until the important object for which it was
organized was successfully accomplished, by which
means the great problem connected with the physical
structure of the American Continent was brought to a
Before doing this, however, it should be remarked,
for the information of those who may not be thoroughly
conversant with the great natural laws which are sup-
posed to have governed the Universe since the creation,
that the surface of the Earth has been undergoing a
constant succession of changes, since that greatest of all
epochs in its history ; which changes have unfortunately
DIFFERENT THEORIES EXPLAINED.
had a decided tendency, either to remove, or entirely
destroy the ancient land-marks by which the courses of
our largest Rivers, and the boundary lines of our highest
Mountain Ranges were originally defined.
Most unfortunately, however, for the safety and hap-
piness of mankind. Philosophers have never been able
to agree entirely as to the causes which have produced
these great changes ; although most of them admit that
they must have occurred during a period so remote,
that " the memory of man runneth not to the contrary."
One class of these Philosophers, among whom may be
named Heraclitus as representing the ancient school,
and Hooke, Buffon, Dr. Herschel and Dr. Hutton, as
representing the more modern, advocate what is known
as the Plutonic Hypolhesiiy which is based upon the
theory that these changes are attributable to the action
of fire, or subterranean heat. And they cite, as a con-
clusive argument, the fact that volcanic fires are fre-
quently seen to issue from the tops of some of the
highest mountains, and that boiling springs are known,
m many instances, to issue from the bases of others.
Another class, among w^hom may be named Werner,
Cuvier, Kirwan and other learned Savans, advocate
what is called the Neptunian or Aqueous Hypothesis^
which is founded upon the assumption that these great
changes have been produced by water, air, and other
revolutionary agencies, acting directly upon the surface
of the Earth. And they will cite as an unanswerable
argument, the fact that during the subsidence of that
great inundation known in history as Noah's Floods
which occurred some centuries since, the Ark which
contained that celebrated Navigator and his family,
rested upon " the Mountains of Ararat, " which at that
time were, from this circumstance, evidently the highest
mountains upon the surface of the Earth. Whereas, at
the present day, " Mount Ararat, " is regarded as a
mere mole-hill when compared with numerous other
mountains which must have sprang into existence as
if by magic, immediately after that influx of water upon
Another, and perhaps more convincing argument,
advanced by the more modern of this class of Philos-
ophers, is the fact that during the deep sea soundings
that were made but a few years since for the purpose
of laying the Atlantic Cable, it was discovered that the
Ocean still contains several very high mountains which
have probably been concealed for centuries within its
depths, in order that they may spring up at a moment's
notice and take the places of those which are now
exposed to view.
Without pausing, howevei, to settle the comparatively
unimportant question as to the causes which have pro-
duced these remarkable phenomena in nature, and thus
depriving these illustrious benefactors of mankind of
a most fruitful source of investigation, as well as discord,
it will be sufficient for our present purpose to state,
that owing to the accumulation of sedimentary or
alluvial formations around the bases of these mountains,
in consequence of disintegration at their summits, or
from other causes during the countless ages of the past
it has become a task of no ordinary difficulty to define,
particularly to the satisfaction of parties who have a
large pecuniary interest in the subject, the precise point
COMPLIMENT TO MR. BLICKENSDERFER.
which is to be regarded as the Eastern base of the Rocky
The very delicate and responsible duty of establishing
this point, had as before remarked, been entrusted by
the Grovernment of the United States, to Mr. Jacob
Blickensderfer, jr., an eminent Civil Engineer and
Astronomer, from Tuscarawas, Tuscarawas County,
The reasons for selecting a private citizen for the per-
formance of this duty, however accomplished he may
have been in his varied professional attainments, instead
of a member of the Scientific Engineer Corps of the
Army of the United States, have never been made
public ; although the wisdom and foresight of the se-
lection have never, to my knowledge, been questioned.
It was certainly a very high compliment to Mr. Blick-
ensderfer, and one which he proved by the results of
his labors and investigations, to have been well deserved
at the hands of his Grovernment.
At the risk of appearing somewhat egotistical, I must
state however, that there had never been any serious
doubt in my own mind as to the points between which
the line of the Union Pacific Railway must necessarily
cross, or intersect the Eastern Base of the Rocky Moun-
tains ; inasmuch as I had assumed, without much scien-
tific investigation, that it could not be fixed west of the
foot of the maximum grade which was required to ascend
the Easterly and highest range of these mountains that
was crossed by the Railway, near which point we were
then encamped, nor East of the mouth of Lodge Pole
Creek, where the grades first began to feel the influences
of the mountain slope.
But the method adopted by Mr. Blickensderfor, during
the early part of his investigations, very soon satisfied
me that my previous assumptions were entirely base-
less ; and that the data upon which he would rely for
the determination of the problem, were entirely above
and beyond anything which I had anticipated or even
Mr. Blickensderfer, although naturally a very reticent
man, was very properly and particularly so upon the
matter which he had in hand ; and he therefore never
explained to any one, so far as I know, the theory upon
which his decision would be based. It therefore be-
came an interesting study with me, to watch his opera-
tions, and if possible to ascertain this theory.
I had observed, that as we approached the Black Hill
Range of the Rocky Mountains from the East, they be-
ing visible to the naked eye for a distance of at least
fifty miles, he commenced to take (tstronomical observ-
ations with the instruments which he had brought along
for that purpose. And, that as we approached more
nearly to the base of these mountains, these observations
became more frequent. In fact, I was frequently called
upon, and very cheerfully assisted him in making these
observations during the night, when every one else was
asleep in the camp. And it was in this way, and by
these means that I was first led to suspect the Elemen-
tary principles of the great theory which he was so
evidently working out in his own mind.
Inasmuch as Mr. Blickensderfer has never published
this theory to the world, I trust that he will pardon me
for giving, at least my understanding of its outlines to
my readers, in order that they may comprehend more
THE BLICKENSDERFIAN THEOBY.
perfectly the manner in which it was elucidated, stop
by step, during the progress, and until the final and
successful close of the Expedition,
THE BLICKENSDERFIAN THEORY.
It is a fact which I believe is admitted by all Philo-
sophers of the present day, that celestial bodies exercise
a very strong, and in many cases, controlling influence
over bodies terrestrial ; as for instance, the Moon is
known to sway the waters in the Ocean to and fro at
regular intervals, in a manner which is perfectly irre-
sistible. And the same may be said with reference to
the power of the Sun, and the larger Planets, upon
other portions of the Earth's surface.
It is also freely admitted that certain component parts
of the earth's surface are attracted to, or repelled from
these heavenly bodies with much greater power than
others, as for instance the attraction of the magnetic
needle, or load-stone, to the North or Polar Star.
The inference would therefore be very strong, if not
entirely conclusive, that i3iis affinity or aversion, as the
case may be, would be more or less powerful in pro-
portion to the altitude of certain portions of the Earth's
surface ; or, in other words, their proximity at any given
time, to the particular planet or constellation which
might, after a careful series of observations, be supposed
to exercise this influence -or control.
The conclusion therefore seems inevitable, that
the constant application of this strange and irresistible
power upon the positive and negative portions of the
4Burface of the Earth, during the very uncertain and in-
calculable period of time which has elapsed since the
Creation, has had the effect to draw certain portions of
this surface nearer to these celestial bodies, while cer-
tain other portions are consiantly being repelled from
them ; and hence it is that the surface of the Earth has
become very uneven and irregular in its outlines, and
that changes are constantly, although almost impercep-
tibly taking place in its general appearance.
It must be admitted that the general tendency of this
beautiful Blickensderfiaii theory, would be to undermine
the other theories j,bove referred to, which are based
upon the agencies of fire and water, rather than to the
establishment of the boundmy lines, or bases of any
particular range of mountains that might be found to
come within the influence of these heavenly bodies ;
but still, I apprehend, from the unbroken silence
manifested by Mr. Blinkensderfer upon the subject, and
his apparent confidence in his theory, as well as from
his constant intercourse with the heavenly bodies, that
he foresaw quite clearly that if by means of his obser-
vations and researches among the celestial bodies, he
should succeed in finding upon the surface of this
planet a range which he would be justified in desig-
nating as the Rocky Mountains, the same agencies must
eventually lead to the most satisfactory disclosures
with reference to the Eastern Base of these Mountains ;
and thus bring to a happy termination the great object
of the Expedition which had been so confidingly en-
trusted to his care by the Grovernment of the United
It may be objected, however, that the foregoing
theory savors too strongly of the ancient Atomic theory
l-ttEORV ENTIRELY ORIGINAL.
bf Bemocritus, Epicurus, Empedocles, and other eminent
t*hilosoi^hers who flourished long before the Christian
Era, to be entirely original with Mr. Blickensderfer;
and, also, that it bears too striking a resemblance to the
more modern theories of Sir Humphrey Davy, Dr»
Herschell, Sir Isaac Newton and others^ which are
founded upon the attractiV^e and repulsive properties of
matter, to admit the conclusion that Mr. Blickensderfer's
theory, however novel may have been the object to
which it was about to be applied, was an emanation
from his own great mind.
Fortunately, however, I can give the most positive
assurance, that many weeks of friendly and confiden-
tial intercourse With Mr. Blickensd6rfer during the pro-
gress of the great Eipedition, neVer gave me the least
reason to suspect that he had ever even heard of these
old quacks or fossils in geology and philosophy. But
even admitting for the moment, that he had made these
ancient as well as more modern theories the subjects
of the closest investigation and analysis, I have every
reason to believe, judging from his decided antipathy
to all precedents of whatsoever nature, that he would
never have been influenced in the least degree by them,
while he was engaged in the herculean task of working
out and demonstrating to the world a philosophical
theory of his own^ Which Was to render his name im-
rCRTHER ADVANCE OF THE GRfiAT EXPEDITION TO FORT SANDERS,
\ND THE NORTH PLATTE — IT CAMPS AT RAWLINS SPRINGS,
AND FINALLY REACHES ITS DESTINATION —THE SUMMIT OF THE
After waiting a few days, after my triumphant return
from my Expedition against the Sioux, in order to give
the necessary time for its demoralizing influences to have
their full effect upon the remaining bands which might
Btill infest the country through which we were to pass,
on the 22nd July the great Expedition moved forward
over the Black Hills ; and encamped on the 24th upon
the Laramie Plains, near Fort Sanders.
At this point it had been determined to halt a few
days in order to secure the services of an additional
company of Cavalry as escort, and also to make some
necessary additions to our camp equipage and supplies,
before proceeding farther into the wilderness, entirely
beyond the reach of either military aid or supplies.
These objects being accomplished, the Expedition
again moved forward, at a speed of from twenty to
thirty miles per day, along the route which the preli-
minary surveys of previous years had marked out as
the most favorable for the Railway, and upon which,
ARRIVAL AT RAWLINS SPRINGS.
at some point, it was still confidently expected that we
would encounter the Eastern Base of the Rocky Moun-
After crossing the Laramie and Medicine Bow Rivers
as well as other lesser streams that came in our way,
wo finally reached the North Platte, after several days of
most fatiguing march, and camped upon its banks a day
or two, in order to give Greneral Gibbon, Commanding
at Fort Sanders, who had accompanied us thus far, an
opportunity of deciding upon the location of a Military
Station which it had been determined to establish some
where in that vicinity, for the protection of the forces
employed upon the Railway.
The Expedition then proceeded onward and Westward
by slow marches, passing on its way and camping one
night at some beautiful and most refreshing Springs,
which were named " Rawlins Springs, " in honor of
that distinguished General who accompanied the Expe-
dition. This point, situated seven hundred and nine
miles west of Omaha, has since become an important
refreshment and repair Station upon the Railway, and
still retains the honored name which was given to it on
the occasion now referred to.
After leaving these Springs, another day's march of
about fifteen miles brought the Expedition to a point
near which a party of Engineers, under the direction
of Mr. F. E. Appleton were encamped ; and inasmuch
as, from the best information we could obtain from these
Engineers, the Summit of the Rocky Mountains, known
as the great Divide or Water-Shed of the Continent, was
to be found within a distance of fifteen miles from this
point, it was decided by Mr. Blickensderfer that it would
be both expedient and proper to come to a halt, and
make a final effort to discover the Eastern Base, for which
the groat Expedition was to become responsible.
Up to this time Mr. Blickensderfer had been indefati-
gable in his efforts to discover the object of his search,
having consulted the heavenly )»odies almost every
night when the atmosphere was sufficiently clear ; and
having ascended many of the mountains near which we
had passed, from whose summits, with the aid of a
powerful glass, he could sweep the horizon for a very
great distance, it seemed quite impossible that it could
have escaped him thus far on his journey.
On the morning following our arrival at this point,
Mr. Blickensderfer, very kindly, though as I imagined
somewhat sadly, invited me to accompany him alone,
with the exception of a small detachment of the escort,
to the point which was described as being the divide of
the Continent. The distance, as before stated, was about
fifteen miles, and the journey was not a cheerful one.
Mr. Blickensderfer seemed to be either weighed
down by disappointment, or labouring under a vast load
of responsibility which it seemed impossible for him
to shake off.
"We reached the point designated, at about eleven on
the morning of the 7th August ; and I shall never forget
the expression upon Mr. Blickensderfer's face, as he
cast his eyes Westward, and for the first time saw
what was unmistakably the Western Slope of the Con-
tinent. The scene was certainly one of unsurpassed
grandeur and sublimity, and one which, although very
far excelling my powers of description, it had been the
constant dream and desire of my youth, as well as the
SrMMIT OF THE CONTINENT. 55
great ambition of my later manhood to witness. The
gradual declension of the horizon toward the Pacific
Ocean in our front, and the Atlantic in our rear ; the
snow clad peaks of the great back bone of the Con-
tinent extending far in the distance on our right and
on our left ; together with the consciousness of being
nearly eight thousand feet above the sea, and at least
as many hundred miles removed from the scoundrels
and vagabonds who infest the inhabited and civilized
portions of our great and glorious Country ; all these
contributed to impress the scene and the occasion so
indelibly upon my mind, that it seems but yesterday
fhat I witnessed it.
During the previous year, I had as before remarked,
visited Berthoud Pass, west of Denver, in company
wath Mr. Jesse L. Williams, a Grovernment Director of
the Road. And although this Pass was more than three
thousand feet higher than the point upon w^hich we
were now standing, and just on the verge of perpetual
snow, yet it was so shut in and circumscribed by
Mountains and peaks of several thousand feet greater
hight, that the scope and grandeur of the scene did
not impress me with anything like the same feelings as
the one now presented to my view.
The thoughts which were passing atthe time through
the great depths of Mr. Blickcnsderfer's mind, as he
thus stood gazing "Westward upon the rapidly receding
slope of the great mountain range, the summit of which
he had so successfully reached, can be better imagined
That Mr. Blickensderfer should have been thus de-
ceived in the marked topographical features which he
had undoubtedly expected to encounter in his approach
to the base, as well as to the summit of the Rocky Moun-
tains, will not surprise those who have become familiar
with the striking peculiarities of the country through
which the Union Pacific Railway passes.
Colonel Thomas H. Benton, in one of his great
speeches in the United States Senate, in advocacy of
the construction of this railway, said : " The Rocky
Mountains are a Myth ; as you approach them they flee
from you." And I have often been struck with the force
of this remark.
The Black Hill Range, when approached from the
East, seems to loom up in the distance like an impass-
able barrier stretched across the path of the railway ;
but upon its nearer approach and ascent, it gradually
fades away and disappears from view; and the traveller
upon reaching Sherman Station at its summit, which is
eight thousand two hundred feet above the sea, is be-
guiled by the idea that he has been riding for the past
thirty miles over an immense level plain.
And so it is as one proceeds farther "Westward. He
sees mountains in front, and to the right, and left, which
he supposes to be the celebrated Rocky Mountains of
which he has heard so much, but they prove to be only
General Rawlins in remarking upon this peculiarity
on one occasion, observed, that " they never seemed
willing to allow one to approach so near as to be able to
put his hands upon them."
It was evidently this illusion which had enticed
Mr. Blickensderfer and his expedition forward from the
Great Platte Valley to the very summit of the Ame-
FARTHER WESTWARD SEARCH ABANDONED.
rican Continent, without enabling* him to realize that,
for much the greater portion of the distance, he had
been travelling through the very heart of the Rocky
Mountains, until the truth finally forced itselx upon
his mind as be stood upon this Summit, and cast an
earnest and distant gaze upon the rapidly receding
slope of the western horizon.
It soon became quite evident, however, that his reliance
upon his great theory had not entirely forsaken him at
this critical moment in the history of the expedition,
for, after consulting his chronometer, he turned his
eye calmly toward the sun and expressed a determina-
tion to take a solar observation as soon as that lumin-
ary should have reached the meridian.
The observation having been satisfactorily taken,
and after partaking of our frugal lunch in open view
of the vast multitudes who inhabit both slopes of the
Great American Continent, we slowly retraced our
steps toward our camp, which was reached before sun-
set. On our way, however, Mr, Blickensderfer expressed
himself more freely to me than he had previously done,
with reference to his views upon the subject of his im-
He frankly admitted that it would be useless to
ext 'lid his investigations farther Westward ; and ex-
pressed a determination to return Eastward by a different
route, in order if possible to obtain a better knowledge
of the general features of the country ; and, at the
same time, as I then inferred, to test by further astro-
nomical observations, the accuracy of the results
obtained from those already taken.
Subsequent reflection, however, has satisfied me
that the great Blickensderfian theory, which was then
only in the incipient stages of its development, having
led the expedition not only to the Range of the Rocky
mountains, but with unerring precision to the summit
of that range, at the very point where the line of the
Union Pacific Railway was destined to cross it, the
author of that theory was now about to test its efficacy
by the reverse process, which is so proverbially fatal to
all " poor rules " ; and to see whether after having es-
tablished the summit, a retrograde movement conducted
under the same celestial influences, would not lead
him with the same degree of precision to the base of
these mountains, which he assumed, and I think cor-
rectly, must have been crossed by the expedition on
its Westward course, at some invisible point between
the Missouri River and the summit upon which the
last solar observation had been taken.
GLOOMY DAT AT " CAMP SEPARATION " — THE NAME PERPETUATED
— TRIBUTE TO GEN. RAWLINS— ALLUSION TO HIS EARLY DEATH.
The day spent at the camp, after our visit to the
summit of the continent, was anything but cheerful and
happy, for the reason that it had been determined that
here the party would separate, and that the Chief
Engineer accompanied by General Eawlins and Mr.
DufF, would continue Westward to the G-reat Salt Lake
Valley, while Mr. Blickensderfer and myself would
The separation of a party of this kind after so many
weeks of the most intimate friendly intercourse, and
at times of stirring incidents and exciting adventures,
naturally gave rise to feelings of melancholy and sad-
ness. It was from this circumstance that our last united
encampment was named " Camp i:eparation.'' And I
observe with pleasure that the name then given has
been perpetuated by calling the station, " Separation, "
which has since been located upon the same ground.
Inasmuch as this short and imperfect history of the
great expedition which it is intended to commemorate,
must here leave General Rawlins to pursue his way
Westward, over the great mountains and valleys lying
betwoon us and the home of the Mormons in the valley
of k^alt Lake, in search of that health and recreation
which he so much n«H>ded, I cannot part with him
without expressing my hig'h appreciation of his frank
and genial disposition, his high attainments, and his
general character as a Man and a G-entleman.
During the slow progress of the Expedition I fre-
quently had the pleasure of riding hours by his side,
entirely separated from others ; and it was on these
occasions that his social qualities created an impression
upon my mind which time can never efface. After con-
versing familiarly upon the events of the late war in
which he had borne so conspicuous a part, and which
had shattered his previously strong constitution, and
paying the highest compliments to his commander, Gre-
neral G-rant, whom he loved as his own brother, he
would sometimes turn the conversation to the subject
of his own failing strength, and express the hope and
very natural desire that the journey which he was then
making might be the means of restoring his health.
And quite often, either during, or after these conver-
sations, we would join in singing some of the old' reli-
gious hymns with which we were both familiar.
I shall never forget one occasion of this kind, during
which he sang, to an old familiar Methodist tune, that
beautiful hymn commencing :
" There is a land of pur" delifjiht,
Where Saints iniinorlal riign "
As I looked at him, sitting gracefully upon his horse,
enveloped in the bright Sunshine, with his head slightly
elevated, his eyes gazing longingly toward Heaven, and
TRIBUTE TO GENERAL RAWLINS.
his rich melodious voice raised to its hir^hest pitch, he
certainly seemed inspired, and to have obtained a real
view of the land :
" When) evprldslinj? spring abides,
Ami never lading ll^wers : "
which, in the inscrutable Providence of God he was
destined so soon to call his own.
I never had the pleasure of meeting him but once
since we parted at Camp Separation, and this was at the
office of the General in Chief at Washington, and in
response to a kind invitation sent to me through a mu-
tual friend, during the Fall after his return from his ex-
pedition to the far West.
His health, unfortunately, was not restored ; and even
then, the rapid and inevitable approach of the end was
but too painfully apparent, both in his smiling coun-
tenance and feeble voice, as he clasped my hand in
what proved to be a last Farewell !
It will always be one of the most pleasing recollections
of my life, that I have known and loved
Maj. Gen. John A. Rawlins,
and also one of the saddest, that after being spared to
see his beloved chief elevated to the highest office
within the gift of a great and independent People, and
after having himself been placed by the President of the
United States at the head of that Department of the
Government in which he had rendered such distin-
guished services to his Country, and had achieved the
highest personal honor and reputation, in the prime
of his manhood, and at the zenith of his usefulness,
I n<ttUM> " » «ttw i> » niiimi>iu *i >j i
he was called to cease from his labors, and tO pass
quietly oter that " narrow Sea '* to the blessed land
" Eternal day excludes the night>
And pleasures banish pain* "
(fnil QREAI* EXPEDITIO.'^ moves eastward— tNOAGEMENf M'lTil
AN OLD BUFFALO BULL — MR. BLICKENSDBRFER's ATTACK UPON
A HERD OF BLK-— SAFE ARRIVAL AT FORT SANDERS.
After parting" with our friends at Camp Separation,
Mr. Blickensderfer placed himself at the head of our
escort, with his face turiied towards the East. The
Commanding' Officer of the escort, Major Thompson^ and
myself took up our positions at a respectful distance
in his rear ; and then followed the two companies of
cavalry, under Capt< ^""elis and Lieut. Peel, arranged
in proper marching order for the protection of the long
train of wagons which contained the necessary camp
equipage and supplies for the comfort and sustenance
of the expedition.
The route which we hi»/f ^"oilowed in our advance
upon the summit of the American Continent, had be-
come somewhat familiai' .othe engineers who had been
engaged in making exploratory surveys for the rail-
way; and the trails which they had left were gener-
ally not difficult to follow by our advance guard.
But the route by which Mr, Blickensderfer had de*
cided to make his retreat had never been explored,^
and was therefore entirely unknown to any one con*
nected with the expedition^
We were also cheered by the conjectures advanced
by our guides, that the hostile Indians, probably in
consequence of the chastisement which they had re-
ceived on the 11th July, had been frightened from
the country through which it was supposed the line
of the railway would pass, and had taken refuge
along the Western slope of the Black flills, lying con-
siderably to the Northward, directly at the foot of which,
Mr. Blickensderfer, entirely regardless of these warn-
ings, had determined to pass on his retrograde march.
After following our preA'ious trail a few miles East-
ward, we therefore deflected abrubtly to the Northward ;
and, after a few days march reached the valley of the
North Platte near the mouth of the Medicine Bow River
It was during this portion of our march that, while
wandering alone at some distance from the main body,
I had my first encounter with a wild butfalo. He was
an enormous old bull, who had evidently been driven
by the younger gallants, from a herd that were quietly
feeding at the foot of the Sweet "Water Mountains, lying
some miles to our Northward. I came upon him quite
suddenly as he was taking his " siesta" in a small
pocket or basin immediately in front of my course. I
dismounted instantly and unlimbered my carbine, and
before he was aware of his danger I was fully prepared
for action. Thinking it cowardly to attack a sleeping
foe, I fired the first shot immediately above his head
into the bank beyond. This aroused him instantly and,
springing up, he gave a tremendous bellow, and com-
menced pawing the ground and looking around him
for the cause of his disturbance.
My horse becoming quite restive, it immediately
' had re-
Y of the
ENGAGEMENT WITH A BUFFALO.
occurred to me, that in order to save time and labor in
prox^erly dressnig" and transporting his hirg-e carcass to
our head quarters, as we were very much in need
of fresh meat at the time, it vvould be a line piece of
strategy to entice the old patriach to follow me as far
as possible in the direction of the main body of our
escort, where he could he butchered iit our leisure.
In order, therefore, to aggravate him to the highest
possible pitch, I gave him another shot which was not
intended to be fatal, and immediately leaped upon my
horse, buried the spurs into his Hanks, and took the
shortest route for the escort, which upon hearing the
report of the engagement, had fortunatidy come to a
halt. Alter thus leading the way ibr a])oat a half mile,
with visions of savory buiialo loins and steaks iloating
in the air before me, with which I intended to surpri.'«e
and regale Mr. Blickensderfer, I discovered upon
looking quietly around, that the noble and unsuspi'ctinii'
animal had taken the bait, and was only a few rods
behind me. Unfortunately, however, just at this instant
I met a detachment o! the escort whom the commandinu-
olFicer had, without knowing my plans, and wiih the
kindest inti^ntions, sent as h(* supposed to my relief.
Upon seeing this re-inforcement, thf old tVllow chanired
his tactics at once and beat a hasty rctr-'at. lie was
followed a short distance by a f»'\v of the I'scori, who,
upon approaching him closely disv-overcd that he was
quite poor and thin, and (Mitirely uiifit lor the tal>]e ;
and therefore, as time was prcssinu, they ahaiidoncd
Mr. Blickensderfer, from this triilinii' circuniNtaiKc,
took occasion to remind me of a promise whi«h I had
mii(l(^ him qnitt^ oarly in tht^ hislory of the oxpoditioii.
th;it ho should h;)v«' an oppovtuiiity bcibrc its close, to
brini;' down an elk, in order that h<* niiu'ht take the
beantiin! horns with him to his home in Tuscarawas, as
a tropliv (»r memento of tht^ ii'reat expedition, lli' had
bt'envery industrious durinii' the piouTt'ss of the expe-
dition, as w»dl as very sueressl'ul in lirinii-, without fatal
results, at the numerous herds of antelope ^vhieh we
had passed ; havinu' used for that purpose, a fine
Ballard rilie which he brouLiht al(»nu' for that purpose,
whiMiever it could be spared from tlie more important
objtM't of ])rotecting himself and his expedition from the
Indians ; but he had never, up to the present time, had
an opportunity of tiring* at an l<]lk Stag.
Soon after r<niehinu' th<' Valley of the Medicine 13ow,
I had the pleasui'c of redeeming mv promise by ai-
fording Mr. JMickensderter the opj)ortunity sought for.
A line herd of these noble animals were discovered hj
our advance guard to be quietly feedino* near the mar-
f;i)i of the river, some distance* to the iront. The com-
mandinii' oilicer, at Mr. Bliekensderfer's r(H|uest, imme-
diately calh'd in the skirmish line, and Mr. Biickens-
derler was thus enabled to commence the attack, quite
aloiK^ and at his leisure, which, I am ha^^py to say, he
did with caution and in comparatively good order, when
it is considered that to prevent surj>rise, he wasoldiged
to advance most of the distan<M^ upon his hands and
After waiting some minules in great sus])ense, wo
heard a shot, then another and another, in (juick suc-
cession, until tln' remaindin- of tlu' herd were o])served
to be in full retreat up the steep banks which bounded
BLICKENSDEKFER ATTACKS THE ELK.
the stroam at this point. Tho coiiimaiidiiii'' olliccr,
supposino- ih-it Mr. IMickcnschn-iV'i- had sccurod a 8uIIi-
ciciit iiiuol)er for his own private ])urpos:'s, ininu'di.itv'ly
ordered a charge upon the enemy, by the ibrees wliieh
had with <>-reat difficulty been hekl in reserve up to
the x:)resent moment ; ])ut unibrtanately, the herd had
obtuned such an advantage in th(^ start, that the lima:
range carbines which were brouiiht to bnir upon them,
had very little effect, farther than to rapidly increase
the distance between the elk and their piirsners.
Upon reaching Mr. Blickensderfer, we found him and
his orderly l)usily engaged in searching throuuh the tall
grass upon which the elk had been feeding, for the
carcasses of those which had fallen under his lire ; but,
unfortunately, they could iiotbe found, and it was there-
fore reluctmtly assumed that they had escaped with
their comrades ; we were therefore com^xdled to move
forward Avithout the trophies to which his gallantry
had so richly entitled him.
The expedition finally reach(^d Fort Sanders ag lin
on the 16th August, without further adventure or
serious casualty ; Mr. Blickensderfer having, at fre-
quent intervals during the march, and more particu-
larly, as I liad observed, at the foot of any considerable
descent to the Eastward, taken his customary astrono-
mical observations, in order to avoid passiuLV at an
unguarded moment, the great object of his most dilig(»nt
I'lIK liUKAT KXI'KI»ri'li»\ ADVAM KS 1 I'oN I'llK Sl.M.MIT <»F TllK
HI,.V«'K III[,l,s -Ml? HI.ICKKNSltKltKKK's TK-T l.KVEL FUO.M
SI'.MMIT T • UASK I>\i!ll\(,' AT rllKVK.NNK.
Soon aftor our roturn to Fort Sanders, Mr. Bliekens-
derior inibrnnHl mo that he would like to have a
Leveller, Rodman, and the neeessary instruments, placed
at his disposal, to use at his discretion during' the I'ur-
tlier proLi-ress oi' the expedition l^]astward. This was the
first intimation I had r<'eeived from Mr. Blickensderfer,
i'ither that he had not suceeedi^d to his satisfaction in
lindinl>' the l!]astern Base ol' the Rocky Mountains, or
that he should employ any other means or aL>'encies
than those hereinlxdbre referred to, to assist him in the
search, except i^erhaps such levels as had been pre-
viously taken by the engineers of the company.
His reticence, however, did not surprise me, for the
reason that he had informed me some weeks previously,
that he should not attempt to calculate the results of
his observations until he could do so in the retirement
of his study, at his own quiet home in Tuscarawas.
Alter spending a day or two, in making the necessary
arrangements for a Leveller, &c., the expedition again
took up the line of march, and proceeded to the Summit
TEST TARGET (MT-3)
1*^ 1^ 112.0
23 WEST MAIN E..-SEE)
WEBSTER, NY. MSBO
bliokensderfeb's test levels. 69
of the Black Hill range of the Rocky Mountains, which
as before remarked, is several hundred feet higher than
any other range of these mountains, crossed by the .
Union Pacific Railway
Upon reaching thi summit, Mr. Blickensderfer in-
formed me that he proposed to run a line of levels
himself, from the summit to the base of this range, and
that he should detain the escort with him for that pur-
pose. He also remarked that he had come to this deter-
mination, not from anv doubt in his own mind as to the
accuracy ol the levels recorded upon the company's
profiles of this portion of the line, but that it would be
more satisfactorv to the government, as well as to
himself, if he could say in his Report, that he had taken
the levels himself, and therefore knew that they ivere
The few days of leisure thus afforded, gave me an
excellent opportunity to complete the study of the
ground, which I had done somewhat superficially
during my hasty trip over it, immediately after the
affair of the 1 1th Julv. And also, to observe the care
with which Mr. Blickensderfer took his observations,
and tested each reading of the rod.
Upon arriving at our former camping ground near
the crossing of Crow Creek, I was both surprised and
mortified, on being informed by Mr. Blickensderfer,
that there was a diffVn'ence at that point, of about twenty
two feet between his levels, and those recorded upon the
profiles, and that the difference had increased in almost
a uniform ratio, every day since he started from the
summit. Upon my offering to have our previous levels
tested immediately, he very kindly remarked, that as
he had no reason to believe that the engineers of the
company had intended to deceive either himself or
the government, he should assume that the levels given
upon the profiles were sufficiently correct for his pur-
poses, and therefore would not wait to have the error
corrected at this time ; but as I was about to make some
changes in the line which would involve almost an
entire re-survey, he would thank me to write him at
Tuscarawas or Washington, as soon as I discovered
After spending a most pleasant day with Mr. Blickens-
derfer at the flourishing village of Cheyenne, which
had during our absence sprung up as if by magic upon
the very ground where we had previously encamped,
and where we had celebrated the glorious Fourth ; and
after assistini»" him in tukinii' the last astronomical obser-
vation which it has ever been my pleasure to witness
under his direction, we parted, on the 28th August, with
the warmest expressions of kindness and interest in
each others future welfare and happiness. He, to rejoin
his family and to work out, in his own quiet study, those
observations which w^ere designed to elucidate the great
theory with \vhich his name was to become immor-
talized, and to report the results thereof to his govern-
ment ; and I, to enter upon the arduous and respon-
sible duty of re-locating the line, in accordance with
my previous recommendation^ with a maximum grade
of eighty^ instead of ninety feet per mile, upon the
Eastern slope of the Black-Hills, under orders just re-
ceived from the President of the Union Pacific Railway
Thus was closed, for the present at least, my official
MY OFFICIAL CONNECTION CLOSED.
coiinection with the Great Expedition, which was
organized by the aovernment of the United States,
and placed in charge of Mr. Jacob Blickensderfer, Jr.,
for the sole purpose of discovering the Eastern Base
ofthe Rocky Mountains.
EVKNTS SUCCEEr)r\(J MX. HTJCKENSDEIIFEH S DEPARTURE — FAIL-
URE TO J)[Sr;)VER ERROR IN LEVELS — FINAL ESTABLISHMENr
OF THE EASTERN IJASE — CONFIRMATION OF TlUi (iUEAT KLICK-
ENSDERFIAN THEORY — REMARKABLE COINCIDENCES.
For the information of such of my friends and readers
as may feel an interest in the events which followed
the departure of Mr. Blickeiisderfer, and which had a
bearing of more or less importance upon the results of
his Great Expedition to the Summit of the American
Continent, in search of the Eastern Base of the Rocky
Mountains, I will state quite briefly, the following-
The re-survey of the line which I made immediately
after Mr. Blickensderfer left, fully confirmed my pre-
vious opinion as to the superiority of a line with
maximum grades of eighty, instead of ninety feet per
mile, not only in respect to the important element of
gradients, but as regards length of line, cost of con-
struction, freedom from snow blockades, and elevation
of the summit. It tailed, however, to discover the error
which Mr. Blickensderfer had found in our levels,
although it was sought after most dilisrently, both then
and during the construction of that entire portion of
DISCOVERY OF EASTERN BASE.
Some weeks after Mr. Blickensderfer had left for the
East, I received a communication from him, asking for
a minute description of the exact point which I had
established as the foot of the maximum grade of eighty
feet per mile, ui)on the line which had been adopted
by the company for the ascent of the Eastern Slope of
the Black Hill range of the Eocky Mountains.
Supposing that this information was solicited merely
for the purpose of enabling Mr. Blickensderfer to test
its accuracy by the results of his great theory, which he
had taken the necessary time to work out after reaching
his own quiet home at Tuscarawas, I lost no time in
forwarding to him the desired information.
Some months afterwards, while in Washington, I took
occasion to look over his report to the Grovernment,
and I was astonished by the remarkable coincidence,
that the point which Mr. Blickensderfer had recom-
mended for adoption by the President of the United
States, as the Eastern Base of the Kocky Mountains, was
identical with the point which I had previously des-
cribed to him, in answer to his inquiries.
The point thus decided upon, and the discovery of
which was the result of so vast an expenditure of time,
labor, and research, I am happy to say has since been
marked by a simple wooden Post, or Monument, for the
benefit undoubtedly of future generations.
The facts above stated which, owing to Mr. Blickens-
derter's proverbial modesty, have never before been
published to the world, must I think be admitted as
establishing beyond the reach of any reasonable doubt,
the truth of the Great Blickensderfian Theory respect-
ing the influences which are constantly being exercised
by the great Solar and Planetary systems, ui^on the sur-
face of the Earth.
I trust that I shall be pardoned, before closing this
Reminiscence, for an allusion to another most remark-
able coincidence in connection with this Great Expe-
dition, which is, that the same Monument which, during
all time is intended to commemorate the discovery of
the Eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, also indicates
the precise spot upon which I stood when I first heard
the shrill notes of that bugle which foretold with such
awful certainty the rapid ai:)proach of the memorable
Engagement with the Sioux,
ON THE llTH July, 1867.