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Address of Lieut. Geo; M. Wheeler, U. S. Corps of Engineers

Excerpt from Address of Lieut. Geo; M. Wheeler, U. S. Corps of Engineers: December 23, 1874, Before the American Geographical Society At this time the expedition headed by Lewis and Clarke was organized: , the former a nephew of, and military Secretary to, the President; the latter, an officer in the army. The inception of this work has not merely signalized the wonderful intuitive power that has been accredited to Jefferson, but shows at this early day the value attached to systematic Governmental support. With all the facilities at this time available, this, one of the most prominent expeditions of the first quarter of the 19th century, started out to pierce the northwestern interior. This was the first well authenticated and well equipped expedition that had for its mission an inquiry into the extent and resources, then comparatively unknown, of this great and almost continental area. It is true that at an earlier period, in our southwestern territory, the trips of the early Jesuit missionaries following the expedition for the conquest under Cortes, and later parties, sent out under the sanction of the government of New Spain, both inland and coast-wise, had their origin and results much in advance of the historical epochs of the colonial, state and territorial independencies of the government of the United States. But their results were comparatively of little avail in bringing to light facts and deductions susceptible of being drawn from these great areas. Dwelling with so much significance upon this individual effort in the threading of interior spaces has not been done with a view to pass encomium upon one more than any other expedition, upon one more than any other individual, but to draw your attention to an epoch in history which it has been my pleasure to see so distinctively noted within the last few years. Later, Lieut. Pike, afterward General Pike, killed in the war of 1812-14, headed an expedition extending over a period of three years, first in and about the head waters of the Mississippi, and afterward to our south-western boundary, then limited by the Arkansas, and, from a misapprehension of geographical boundaries, having passed beyond the limit of what was then the possessions of this country, found himself and party upon the western borders of the Rio Grande. Stockading himself against the Indians, he found but too soon that another people were more his enemies, and here he was taken prisoner by the Mexican authorities in 1807. It has been our good fortune during the past season to ascertain the fact, that at the junction of the San Antonio and Conejos creeks in the southwestern part of Colorado, remains the remnants of a stockade, marking the spot where this occurred. Other evidence was accumulated, showing that his parties crossed the Sangre de Cristo Pass. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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