Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum

1861 Map from the U. S. Pacific Railroad Survey
near the 38th and 39th parallels
Map 3:  Kansas and Colorado
Between approximately what is now Deerfield, Kansas ~ and ~ Moffat, Colorado
Including Rivers and Towns between 101 and 106 degrees west longitude
and 36.5 and 41.5 degrees north latitude.  The routes of the Survey Party are
indicated, including their campsites, which are indicated by date.
On the left/western side of the map, in the area of the Sangre de Cristo Pass, details are provided of the mountains surveyed.
23 x 31 inches

Please click here to see detail scans.
Historical notes below

Print Type:   Single-sided Lithograph.
Publication Date 1861.
Map Title:  Explorations and Surveys for a Rail Road Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. War Department.  Route near the 38th & 39th Parallels.
Map No. 3 From the Sante Fe Crossing to the Coo-che-to-pa Pass; from Explorations and Surveys made under the direction of the Hon. Jefferson Davis Secretary of War by Captain J. W. Gunnison, Topographical Engineers assisted by Captain E. G. Beckwith, 3rd Artillery.  R. H. Kern Topographer in the field.
Map made under the supervision Capt. E. G. Beckwith 3rd Artillery by F. W. Egloffstein Topographer for the Route 1855
Scale of 12 Miles to one inch or 1:760320
Source:   Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.  Made under the Direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-56.  According to Acts of Congress of March 3, 1853, May 31, 1854, and August 5, 1854.  Volume XI.  Washington: George W. Bowman, Printer, 1861.
Total Size:  Unfolded: 23 x 31 inches (excluding margins).

History:  In 1853, the U.S. Congress authorized the Corps of Topographic Engineers to
 undertake a survey of potential rail routes between the Mississippi River and the Pacific
 Ocean.  This map is from the report of the survey at the 38th and 39th parallels under the leadership of Captain John W. Gunnison, assisted by Lt. Edward G. Beckwith, who surveyed routes in Kansas, Colorado and Utah.  Gunnison, Richard  H. Kern, topographer and artist to the expedition, and seven others were killed by Ute Indians along the Sevier River in Utah.  Beckwith assumed leadership and the survey explored routes at the 41st parallel which Beckwith (and Gunnison before him) recommended as an economical and practicable route.   Although this suggestion had little influence at the time  of the survey, the first transcontinental railroad completed in 1869, when the Union Pacific  and the Central Pacific Railroads were joined at Promontory Point, Utah, basically followed Beckwith's route. 
~~~  Map 3, in this series of four maps associated with the survey at the 38th nd 39th parallels, takes up the trail at Elk Island on the Arkansas River in Kansas.  They follow the Arkansas River west to the Apishpa River, and then head south.  They they shift west, crossing the Cuchara River to the Huerfano River, and on through the Sangre de Cristo Pass.  They then head north along the Sierra Blanca to Homans and Sahwatch Creeks (heading toward Cochetopa Pass).  This part of the route was traveled between July 21-22, 1853 and August 30-31, 1853.

Please click here to see detail scans.

To view a "thumbnail gallery" of other
maps and tinted lithographs from the
Pacific Rail Road Survey

Courtesy of William Husson.
The Library of Congress in conjunction with the University of Michigan has put the entire Pacific Railroad Survey on the Internet.  If you would like to read the narrative of the survey near the 38th and 39th parallels that corresponds to the Maps and Lithographs, click on the link below and then read the first report in Volume II.

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