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Full text of "A reminiscence of the Union Pacific Railroad [microform] : containing some account of the discovery of the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains and of the great Indian battle of July 11, 1867"

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A REMINISCENCE 



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UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD, 

CON lATNING SOME ACCOUNT 



OF THE 



DISCOVERY OF THE EASTERN BASE OF THE 

ROCKY MOUNTAINS; 



AND OF THK 



GREAT INDIAN BATTLE OF JULY 11, 1867. 



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By SILAS SEYMOUR, 

CONSULTING ENGINEER. 
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 

By I. P. PRANISHNIKOFF, 

CIVIL ENGHNEER. 

I OUR SPECIAL ARTIST ON THE SPOT. » 



QUEBEC: 
PRINTED BY A. COTli: A G» 

ib73 



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CONTENTS. 



II. 



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 
strictures thereon. 

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. 



^ CONTENTS. 

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. 



;ement with 
ck upon a 



iivit of the 
om summit 

ire — Failure 
ncnt of the 
:kcnsderfian 



<i 



DEDICATORY. 



~e—rS2r~r- 



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. 



a 



DEDICATOEY. 



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, 

1,867. 
With the compliments of the season ; 

I have the honor to remain, 
General, 
Your most obedient servant, 

SILAS SEYMOUR. 



1 



Quebec, Canada, January 1st 1873. 



APOLOGETIC. 






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« 
[World. 



8 



APOLOGETIC. 



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 



Ifew 

isioiia 

#ancid 

ffect 



APOLOGETIC. 



» 



ents of 

of the 
fading 
)ortant 
past, I 
T New 

of the 
cciden- 
eport of 

nd that 
. to, but 
tten by 
pt, and 
r brave 

a lapse 

many 

which, 

of the 

ler with 

the day 

. troops, 

itil that 

itandard 

y, given 
lat after 
entirely 
rings to 
laturally 



""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. 

S. S. 



A REMINISCENCE 



OF THE 



UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY^ 



I. 



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- 
PENDENCE. 



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 



12 



KEMINISCKNCE. 



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 
line. 

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- 



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ANTECEDENT EVENTS. 



18 



lit must 
d to the 
the late 
terprise, 



became 
111)011 the 
ute, very 
my con- ^^ 
upon the | 

i G-eneral t 
e United I 
made, to 
tary post, 

ensriis:®^!' ■ 
d to, the 
the iieces- 
ige. 

I vide d foT 
teen thou- 
:ween the 
ky Moun- 
listaiice of 



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- 
portance. 

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 



;tates Gov- 
'er, jr., an 
n Tuscara- 



|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. 



.4MB 
I 



14 



REMINISCENCE. 



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. 



15 



tour of 
d that 
should 
nies of 
r, who 
for its 

[ohn A. 
)f Staff; 
rs of the 
harge of 
ing En- 
int Vice 
igineers 
s two or 
)nnected 

le mouth 
hundred 

country 
bands of 
ras found ■ 

military 
)arty en- 
1 in these 

ered and 

inst these 
band of 
from the 
; cavalry, 
and had 



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 



16 



REMINISCENCE. 



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] 
occasion. 

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. 



It 



a week 
eer imd 
A'ith re- 
i^icinity ; 
borough 

be con- 

y was an 

General , 

the cele- 

)en(leiice,| 

ble to thej 

Lndepend'! 
to furiiishj 
?pared byj 
resent hadl 
ke the foil 



[CE. 



jecoraes ne 
try Officers I 
rs, and civi; 
with thei;^ 
the peopl'l 
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 
P. M. 

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. 



18 



KEMINISCENCE. 



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 
revolvers. 

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 
beautiful country. 

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 
sacred honours. 

REGULAR TOASTS. 



The following brief report of the regular toasts, anc 
the responses thereto, has fortunately been preserved 



'r$ 



THE DAY WE CELEBRATE. 



S9 



ae at all 
rard and 
a proper 
:e'8 Grod, 
vast and 

;erly con- 
rt months 
the loco- 
, which is 
beautiful 
I evils, a6 
Lvilization 
to escape. 
is and pri- 
and oni 



toasts, an£ 
jieserved 



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, 



■MCVWRPHmiHIWi 



20 



REMINISCENCE. 



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- 
ization." 

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 



4* 



i 



REGULAR TOASTS. 



21 



as the 

thanks 

in Buc- 

lot only 

i of civil- 

ated that 
hy there 
enighted 
jpulation 



ng to this 
L went on 
id always 
Railroad, 
ers of the 
eat an in-^ 
fly protect 
Dn Pacific 

the mere 
rricultuTal 
boundless 
3ctors, but 
■e working 
. States hiij 
lust notb 
ily service 
tQ it, buti 
heir opera 

this entei 



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 

le arrangement. 

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- 



20 



REMINISCENCE. 



CEssary to procure the gold can only be transported by 
a railroad. 

8. " The Engineering Department of the Union Pacific 
Railroad. 

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. 

10. 
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 



REGULAR TOASTS. 



ed by- 
Pacific 

Chief 
vineer, 
f evid- 
ho was 
which 
ily de- 
igineer 
their 
our sat 



t re col- 
he was 
)rk and 

then at 
hicago ; 
uri ; the 
Moun- 
at point 
lence to 

thought 

ra 

itry. 

3S of the 

burces to 
Railroad 
istry and 
debt, but 



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. 



-L. 



tnuumtmtgkitMMm 



24 



REMINISCENCE. 



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 
honours. 

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. 



11. 



ANTECEDENT EVENTS EXPLANATORY OP THE OBJECTS OF TUB 
SUB-EXPEDITION — ESCORT PROVIDED — ORDER OP MARCH PROM 
CAMP — REPORT OP ACTION WITH THE SIOUX — EXPLANATORY 
REMARKS. 



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 



26 



KEMINISCENCE. 



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 
concur. 

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. 



27 



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 
his command. 

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 



BEMINISCENCE. 

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 : 

REPORT 

OF ENGAGEMENT WITH THE SIOUX. 



DESPATCH No. i. 



Head Quarters, Black Hills Division, 
DiiPT. OF THE Platte, July M, 1867. 



General : 



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 
Lieut. Matthews. 

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. 



29 



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 
and Antelope. 

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 



mmmm 



■HM 



30 



REMINISCENCE. 



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 
th(^ occasion. 

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. 



r" 
c 
— t 
w 

Co 



0) 






P 




fe 



wh 
Ir. 

am 
ant 
car 
vol 
by 

but 
reti 
folL 
as 1 
coil 
and 
cou 
no I 
ass t 

C 
situ 
of S 
aC 
thai 
one 
vail 
poll 
reac 
as t< 

A 
post 
sud 
mui 
quii 



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 



ii 



32 



REMINISCENCE. 



happy to report, was executed in good order, and without 
serious casualty. 

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 



■ ■■* 



,•1 



vithoiit 

miles 
3s from 
id pro- 
y field 
>le, the 

y- 

lid dis- 

1 speed 
:. They 
lothing 
ce. In 

divide 
le hun- 
11 great 
d from 

lied, at 
we had 
tioii of 
r flank 
emy. 
lead of 
be no 
driver 
)r even 

■ • 

I rough 

to say 

P.M. 

er the 



■ ''S 



f>s 



I — I 

o 

CD 



3 



3 



OJ 

P". 

&-• 

tj 

K-1 





nmmnnnanimBHMaBHH 



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, 

Col. Commanding. 
To Maj. Genl. C. 0. VtfGUR, 

Oommanc ing Lopt. of the Platte. 



34 



EEMINISCENCE. 



DESPATCH No. 2. 



Head Quarters, &c., &c., 

July 12, 1867, 

5} A. M. 



General : 



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 
Escort. 

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. 



SUBSEQUENT DESPATCHES. 



35 



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 
this afternoon. 

I shall need them very much after to-day. Not a 
word has been heard from them since my report of las* 
night. 

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, 

Col. Commanding. 

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. 



General : 



I take pleasure in reporting the safe arrival from your 
camp, of riy Pawnee e^vort. They reported for duty at 



se 



REMINISCENCE. 



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 
again. 

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 
martial appearance. 

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 



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EXPLANATORY RBMARKS. 



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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. 



EXPLANATORY REMARKS. 

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- 



lit- 



88 



REMINISCENCE. 



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. 



III. 



REPLY OP THE COMMANDING GENERAL TO .THE FOREGOING 
REPORT, GIVING NOTICE OF PROJtfOTIONS, &C.~ TOGETHER 
WITH SOME SEVERE STRICTURES THEREON. 



REPLY 



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. 
General : 

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 



40 



REMINISCENCE. 



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- 
ation. 

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 






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REPLY OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL. 41 

the ♦ near hind mule" to a higher grade than " brevet 
horse." 

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 
forces. 

Col. Silas Seymour, for ability and coolness exhibited 
in the preparation of his ordnance stores, to be Brt 
Brig. G-eneral. 

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, 
General, 
Your Obt. Servant, 
(Signed), LEWIS MERRILL, 

Asst. I. General. 



sib: 



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42 



REMINISCENCE. 



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. 



48 



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 
all occasions. 

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 



lY. 



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 
satisfactory solution. 

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. 



45 



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, 



„i.i 



MHiili 



46 



EEMINISCENCE. 



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 
the Earth. 

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. 



4T 



which is to be regarded as the Eastern base of the Rocky 
Mountains. 

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, 
Ohio. 

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. 



48 



BEMINISCENCE. 



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 
imagined. 

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 






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THE BLICKENSDERFIAN THEOBY. 



49 



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- 



50 



HEMINISCENCB. 



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 
States. 

It may be objected, however, that the foregoing 
theory savors too strongly of the ancient Atomic theory 



l-ttEORV ENTIRELY ORIGINAL. 



61 



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- 



m 



il. 



■HHBMHHll 



V. 



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 
CONTINENT. 



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. 



53 



at some point, it was still confidently expected that we 
would encounter the Eastern Base of the Rocky Moun- 
tains. 

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 



mmmmmmm 



64 



REMINISCENCE. 



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 



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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 
than described. 

That Mr. Blickensderfer should have been thus de- 
ceived in the marked topographical features which he 



I «p 



56 



EEMINISCENCE. 



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 
IgnuS'Fntuii. 

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. 



57 



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- 
portant mission. 

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 



1-^ 



68 



REMINISCENCE. 



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. 



VI. 



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 
return Eastward. 

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 



l» 



60 



REMINISCENCE. 



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 



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TRIBUTE TO GENERAL RAWLINS. 



61 



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 



62 



HEMimSCENOa. 



he was called to cease from his labors, and tO pass 
quietly oter that " narrow Sea '* to the blessed land 
where : 

" Eternal day excludes the night> 
And pleasures banish pain* " 



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vn. 



(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^ 



64 



REMINISCENCE, 



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 



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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 
the pursuit. 

Mr. Blickensderfer, from this triilinii' circuniNtaiKc, 
took occasion to remind me of a promise whi«h I had 



IS 



61) 



KEMINISCKNCK 



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 
knees. 

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 



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BLICKENSDEKFER ATTACKS THE ELK. 



67 



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 
search. 



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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 




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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 
correct. 

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 



p"- 



70 



REMINISCENCE. 



mi 



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 
the error. 

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 
Company. 

Thus was closed, for the present at least, my official 



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MY OFFICIAL CONNECTION CLOSED. 



71 



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. 



IX. 



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- 
facts. 

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 
the road. 



DISCOVERY OF EASTERN BASE. 



7$ 



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 



vmw 



74 



REMINISCENCE. 



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. 



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