15. APPENDIX B. Report of Second Lieutenant D. A. Lyle, Second United States Artillery.




Washington, D. C., March 5, 1872.

SIR: In compliance with your letter of instructions, dated February 15, 1872, I have the honor to submit the following preliminary report:

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I assumed command of the escort, a detachment of twenty-five men from Troop I, Third United States Cavalry, and also of main party No. 2 of the expedition, by virtue of the following orders:

Special Field Orders No. 10.-Extract. }



‘‘Camp near Belmont, Nevada, June 23, 1871.’’

‘‘I. Second Lieutenant D. A. Lyle, Second United States Artillery, having reported in obedience to paragraph I, Special Orders No.98, Headquarters Military Division of the Pacific, is hereby placed in command of the escort, and, until the arrival of First Lieutenant D. W. Lockwood, Corps of Engineers, in charge of party No. 2 of the exploration.’’


‘‘First Lieutenant, United States Engineers, Commanding Expedition.’’

Special Field Orders No. 16. }



‘‘Rendezvous Camp near Belmont, Nevada, July 2, 1871.’’

‘‘Main party No. 2 of the exploration, under command of Second Lieutenant D. A. Lyle, Second United States Artillery, will proceed at daylight to-morrow (Monday) morning, en route to Camp Independence, California, on the trunk-line selected from this point to the rendezvous camp at the above-named station. He will be furnished with a copy of the letter of instructions from the Chief of Engineers of the 23d of March, 1871, and will, in all respects, adhere thereto, conducting his party in the same manner as if it were a separate expedition. Fifteen days will be allowed to reach Camp Independence, and en route special attention must be given to the examinations in the contiguous mining districts.’’

‘‘He will be called upon for a report of his trip.’’

‘‘By command of Lieutenant Wheeler.’’

‘‘D. A. LYLE,’’

‘‘Second Lieutenant, Second Artillery, Adjutant of the Expedition.’’

Accordingly, on the morning of the 3d of July, I left the rendezvous camp in Meadow Creek Cañon, north of Belmont, Nevada, and set out upon the march


Following down Meadow Creek Cañon for several miles we struck the stage-road from Austin to Belmont; thence crossing the Toquima Range and Ralston Valley, in a southwesterly direction, we encamped at Cedar Springs (Baxter's Station) on west side of valley, having marched thirty and a quarter miles. Here we found plenty of wood and good water, but very little grass.

Ralston Valley is from eight to twelve miles wide, a sandy, gravelly, stony desert, with no vegetation except wild sage. At this point a wagon-road comes in from the southeast from Reveille.

The next day made a short march of eleven miles to Indian Springs. (San Antonio,) in Big Smoky Valley. Here we found plenty of water, slightly brackish, little grass, and no wood except sage-brush. The route to this point was upon a wagon-road, from Belmont to San Antonio and Fish Lake Valley. The road from Cedar Springs lies over a low range, through an excellent pass, bordered with plenty of nut-pine and cedar, but no grass or water. There are two quartz-mills at this point, both lying idle; some arable land, but natural facilities for irrigation are limited. If irrigated the soil would be productive. Jack rabbits and mountain quail the only game seen.

My orders being discretionary with regard to everything except time and general direction of line, I concluded to detach at this point a small topographical party, consisting of Acting Assistant Surgeon W. J. Hoffman, United States Army, in charge, one topographer, two civilian assistants, with a packer, guide, and soldier, to visit San Antonio mining district, and follow down the west side of the San Antonio Range, pushing their investigations to the east and southeast, and passing to the east of Lone Mountains to Montezuma; then crossing the mountains, after visiting the

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Montezuma mines and entering Clayton Valley, this party was to join the main party at Silver Peak, while myself with the latter party crossed the Smoky Valley Desert to the west and southwest of Lone Mountains, via Desert Wells, where, instead of crossing the low summit of the Toyabe Range to the westward into Fish Lake Valley, as previously intended, we would move southeasterly into Clayton Valley to Silver Peak, in order to facilitate the junction of the detached side party, presuming that the topographical and physical results would be more fertile on this line than they could possibly be by crossing directly into Fish Lake Valley to the north of Red Mountains. This presumption was fully sustained by subsequent results.

On the 5th the main party crossed this desert, reaching Desert Wells at 5 p. m., having made thirty-two miles, very hot and dusty, both men and animals suffering severely from thirst, the result of drinking brackish water at Indian Springs. Here we found three springs filled with slimy mud, from which we could get no water. About half a mile to the northeast was a large hole containing a few gallons of water.

We concluded to bivouac here for a few hours to rest and feed the animals preparatory to making a night march to Silver Peak, twenty-five miles distant. By dint of considerable digging, at which we all took turns, we procured enough water to supply our wants and those of the animals partially, though it was very brackish and alkaline.

The country traversed this day was a sandy desert, covered with wild sage, and toward the lower end of the valley interspersed with hard, white alkali flats, destitute of vegetation. Jack rabbits, lizards, and beetles were the only specimens of animated nature seen. Owing to the cloudiness of the weather and the darkness it was not until 2 o'clock a. m. that we resumed our march to the southeast, and skirting for several miles an alkali lake, (dry,) some twelve miles long and from one to six miles wide, we passed up a rocky wash and crossed a low ridge or divide connecting Red Mountain Range with Lone Mountains. This ridge was composed of volcanic remains-lava flows, extinct volcanoes, volcanic ashes, scoria, and basalt; native sulphur and alum being also met with.

Entering Clayton Valley we passed a very perfect volcanic cone of recent date, but now extinct, and striking a salt marsh, twelve to fifteen miles long and from four to eight miles wide, we arrived at Silver Peak. Here is a cluster of saline springs, mostly warm, and of various degrees of saturation, one of which was constantly boiling; the waters were impregnated with salt, lime, borax, and sulphur. Another very remarkable spring was one out in the salt marsh about half a mile, which was nearly fresh, and the water quite cold. The white surface of this marsh was broken by two or three rocky buttes, upon which trilobites and other fossils were found; toward the lower part of the valley were shifting sand-hills.

Here we remained till the 8th of July, recuperating ourselves and animals, awaiting the arrival of Dr. Hoffman and party. This interval was devoted to investigations of a geographical, geological, and mineralogical nature. Astronomical and meteorological observations were also made. I visited the mines in the Silver Peak and Red Mountain mining districts, which are owned by the Silver Peak and Red Mountain, Gold and Silver Mining Company, who have a 30 stamp gold-mill at this point. For the details regarding these mines I would respectfully invite your attention to my report on ‘‘"Mines and mining districts,"’’ appended and marked A.

Clayton Valley is a complete interior basin, being surrounded on all sides by mountains. It is about eighteen or twenty miles long, and from eight to fifteen miles wide, the longer axis being nearly north and south. There is plenty of grass in the vicinity of the springs, but poor in quality, and no wood nearer than the summit of the main ridge, about ten miles from the mill.

Upon taking a cursory view of the topographical features of the country to the south and southeast from a peak near our camp, and foreseeing that the farther my line of topography extended

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in that direction, toward what was known as the ‘‘"head of the Amargosa,"’’ the position of which point was very indefinite and mythical, the greater would be the probability of my forming a junction with your line, without serious difficulty on my outward march from Camp Independence to meet you subsequent to this time.

Dr. Hoffman and party having arrived on the 8th, the next day I ordered him with the same party to cross Clayton Valley in a southeasterly direction, cross the Montezuma Range into Alida Valley, moving south and southeasterly down that valley to Gold Mountain, visiting the mines there, and swing around the Palmetto Mountains to the westward, examining those mines, and thence to rejoin me in Fish Lake Valley.

I directed the chief topographer, Mr. Nell, to make a very careful survey of the country thus traversed, to fix as many points as possible to the south and southeast of Gold Mountain, and to collect every item of topographical and geographical information he could obtain in regard to that terra incognita. This he did with great ability and judgment, and to my entire satisfaction. The knowledge thus obtained was afterward of the greatest service.

On the 10th we crossed the Red Mountain Range to the north of Red Mountain and Silver Peak, the two most noted peaks of this range, and camped at Red Mountain Spring, near the foot of the former peak, on the western slope, having made a short march of eleven and three-fourths miles. From this point myself and a small party made the ascent of those peaks and took barometrical observations. The assistant topographer, Mr. Klett, also took advantage of this to gain an extended view of the country.

The next day the party moved to near Fish Lake, a small body of tepid water, a few rods in extent, in Fish Lake Valley, a distance of nineteen miles.

There is pretty good grazing in the Red Mountain Range, and plenty of timber for fuel on the mountain ridge and western foot-hills. Abundance of excellent water is found at three points on the western slope, at Red Mountain, Mamie, and Cave Springs. It is said that Mamie Spring has only been running about two years.

Red Mountain is of volcanic origin, as is also Silver Peak. These two peaks are about three miles apart and joined by a sharp, comb-like ridge. The western foot-hills are of sedimentary origin.

From Fish Lake Valley to Camp Independence there is nothing new of topographical importance, as our route lay sensibly along an area surveyed by Professor Whitney in his able geological survey of the State of California.

At Fish Lake Dr. Hoffman and party joined, returning from Gold Mountain. His report is appended, marked C, and he was immediately detached to make a side trip to the northward via Columbus, thence, crossing the White Mountains to McBride's ranch, he was to follow down Owen's River and valley to the rendezvous camp at Camp Independence examining the mines and mining districts on his route. His report of this trip is appended hereto, marked D.

There are several ranches in Fish Lake Valley; hay, barley, oats, and potatoes being produced in abundance. Irrigation is necessary. Near the south end of the valley is Piper's ranch, the most important one, perhaps, in the valley, several hundred acres being under cultivation, and irrigated by the waters of Cottonwood Creek. Quite a large area could be rendered productive by a judicious use of the water from small creeks issuing from the White Mountains, which are soon lost in the sand. A good wagon-road connects Piper's ranch with Palmetto, and another with Deep Spring Valley.

From Fish Lake we marched to Piper's ranch, twenty-two miles, thence crossing a low range through a good pass, and passed down the eastern side of Deep Spring Valley, a small interior

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basin about ten miles long by four or five miles wide, inclosed by two spurs of the White Mountains, which fork at the upper end of the valley and join again at the lower end, producing this unique basin. Three small lakes, a salt marsh, and several springs, some of the latter being sulphur springs, are situated at the southern extremity of the valley.

Wyoming Creek rises in the mountains to the northwest and running southeast for four or five miles sinks in the sand. Plenty of water and good grass at lower extremity of this valley, but no wood. The remainder of the valley is covered with sage-brush, growing in a deep, sandy soil.

From Deep Spring we crossed the White Mountains into Owen's River Valley through a very good natural pass, but which, at two points, is impracticable for wagons. A Wagon-road is being constructed from Owen's River up the western slope, which will descend into Deep Spring Valley by a cañon to the north of the one by which we ascended. Plenty of wood for fuel on and near the summit. Distance to Owen's River about twenty-two miles.

We crossed the river at a ford above and near Big Pine Creek, which is a very good one when the river is not too high. There are several ranches here on Big Pine Creek, but a great deal more land could be irrigated and reclaimed, as the supply of water in this creek is exceedingly abundant and excellent, and has a good deal of fall.

At this point I left my train to follow me on next day, and pushed forward to Camp Independence, about twenty-eight miles distant, where it also arrived the 18th, at 10.30 a.m. Here I immediately established an astronomical and meteorological station, and placed Mr. Austin, the astronomer, in charge. Mr. A. R. Marvine reporting here to me, was assigned as assistant to Mr. Austin, as previously directed by you.


Immediately upon my arrival at Camp Independence I fitted out a small party of picked men and carefully selected animals, to run a reconnaissance line to what was known as the head of the Amargosa. The object of this line was to determine whether or not a passage could be found directly to the eastward over the sterile deserts and mountains intervening between the Amargosa and Owen's Rivers that was practicable for a large train of men and animals; to procure data for constructing an accurate topographical map of that unknown area; to make collections in natural history, mineralogy, and geology; and, lastly, to form a junction, if possible, with your line, and, if a practicable route was discovered, to lead your large train to our rendezvous camp in Owen's River Valley. This party consisted of one topographer, two civilian assistants, two soldiers, a guide, a packer, an Indian, and myself, with four pack-mules.

Before starting I could get no definite information concerning the country to be traversed, and from every quarter received the most discouraging accounts of the dangers attending such a trip through a country entirely destitute of water, as far as known, after crossing the Inyo Range. Not deterred by these unfavorable reports, I was enabled to take the field again within three days after my arrival, with my animals re-shod, and the party supplied with forage and rations.

I would here state that I am deeply indebted to Major H. C. Egbert, captain Twelfth Infantry, commanding post of Camp Independence, and to Lieutenant W. E. Dove, Twelfth Infantry, acting assistant quartermaster at that post, for their prompt and energetic co-operation, by placing all the resources of the post at my disposal, and lending me their earnest assistance.

About noon, July 21, we left camp, and passing through the town of Independence, crossed Owen's River at Bend City, (now deserted,) and ascended the mountains through Mazourka Cañon. Fifteen miles up we camped at an excellent spring; grass and wood plenty. Next day crossed

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the range and camped in a deep, rugged cañon filled with blocks of granite, and very narrow, which we called Wheeler's Cañon. Here there was plenty of wood and water, but very little grass. Below us, and to the southward, lay Salinas Valley, a small interior basin, about twelve miles long, and from five to eight miles wide, containing salt-beds near its southern extremity. Mr. Hahn, the guide, now requested us to remain in camp one day while he would go in advance and see if there was enough water for the party at Grape-Vine Spring, which, he said, was about thirty-five or, perhaps, forty miles distant. He said he knew the route, and was positive we could reach that point in one day's march; but when questioned in regard to the locality of the pass in the opposite range, he gave evasive answers, nor could he give any definite information in regard to the character of the country to be traversed.

From several previous interviews I had held with him in regard to this country, I had grave doubts as to whether he knew the country or not; these doubts were now painfully confirmed. Mr. Hahn asserted positively that he could go to Grape-Vine and return the same night by 10 p. m. I concluded to remain in camp one day and let him go in advance, directing him to be back by 2 a. m. the morning following, but that I should start on his trail at 5 a. m. whether he returned or not. I ordered Koehler and the Indian, ‘‘"Sam,"’’ to go with him to Grape-Vine Spring and remain there, making collections in natural history till I came up.

July 24, at 5 a. m., Hahn not returning, I set out upon his trail to the northeast, hoping to meet him. This trail led over a rocky, volcanic divide, separating Salinas from Termination Valley, which latter was some fifteen or twenty miles long, having heavy sand-hills, over which the trail led, the mules sinking knee-deep at every step. The day was excessively hot. The wind, passing over the heated sand-hills, came in scorching gusts, rendering our sufferings intense and our thirst almost intolerable, while the incessant glare of the sun upon the white sand nearly blinded us and caused great pain in our eyes and heads after the first few hours. At 4 p. m. we struck the slope leading up to the foot-hills, covered with sharp rocks and jasper flints. By 5 p. m. we were brought to a halt half way up a sharp peak, over which the trail led, by the mules becoming so weak as to be unable to proceed farther. I ascended the peak alone on foot to get a view of the country beyond. Once up, I saw no hope of getting my animals, in their then weak and exhausted state, over the summit at this point, so steep and rocky were the mountains. Beyond, range after range of black ridges, their wall-like sides banded with white, red, and yellow strata, reared their frowning crests, and seemed to interpose an impassable barrier to farther progress. I returned to my anxious followers and we descended in silence and tried two or three cañons, but, after penetrating a short distance in each, were compelled to turn back by vertical walls of rock that effectually prevented our ascent. Worn out and almost exhausted, we bivouacked on the heated, flinty surface to get a little rest; made some coffee, our only fuel being some small bushes, and ate a little hard-tack. We dared not eat any meat for fear of increasing our thirst. I was surprised at the rapidity with which the mules weakened and succumbed to fatigue upon this day's march. We saw nothing of Hahn, and I concluded that he had found the country worse than he anticipated, and had, no doubt, deserted us; or, thinking, perhaps, we would not attempt to follow his trail with pack-mules over such a country, had gone on to join you. Twenty-four miles were made this day. Most of the distance we had to march on foot, owing to the weakness of our animals. The soles of my shoes had completely worn out, and the others were but little better off. Fortunately, I had a pair of slippers with me, which protected my already bleeding and lacerated feet a little at least.

Next morning I started off to southward along the foot-hills, to make one last endeavor to find a pass through which I could penetrate this range into the valley I knew must lie beyond. Happily

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I found a cañon which bade fair to lead us to the summit without serious obstacle. This we called Last Hope Cañon. We reached the summit without difficulty, and here found the trails of the-three animals ridden by Koehler, Hahn, and the Indian. It was at or near this point that Koehler afterward told me he had last seen Hahn about 8 p. m., at which time Hahn turned and left him without saying a word, and that he called to him but received no answer, and supposed he had gone back to meet me. Hahn must have followed after Koehler and the Indian that night, for we found the three trails lower down and near the mouth of the cañon. This trail we followed eagerly down a deep cañon, but scarcely had we proceeded half a mile ere we came upon one of those fails of tilted slate which so often impede or prevent one's progress in these cañons. With considerable loss of time we succeeded in reaching the arroyo below by climbing a bluff and going down a steep incline of loose rocks and soil, but hardly half a mile more had been traversed before we came upon another fall, about 30 feet high. This barrier appeared at first sight to be impossible to surmount with our loaded pack-mules, but to return was hopeless, for the mules were too weak to climb back around the first fall. Our situation was indeed critical. Here we drank the last drop of water that we had husbanded carefully, amounting to only a few swallows each. This appeared rather to increase than alleviate our burning thirst. The party looked at me in silence till I gave the order for unpacking and lowering the cargoes with lash-ropes over the precipice. This was done cheerfully and without a murmur. With much labor, patience, and coaxing we got the mules to clamber up the cliffs and slide down into the wash below, without the loss of a single animal.

I cannot speak in too high terms of the admirable courage and cheerful obedience of my little party during this trying day. Feeling little hope of meeting with water, we moved silently down for several miles, when suddenly a cry of ‘‘"water"’’ was heard from the man in front, who pointed to a small green patch on the mountain-slope to the northwest.

At the mouth of this cañon-called Break Neck Cañon by the men-we left the trail of the men who had preceded us, they having turned off to the right, and made for the green spot over a perfect net-work of rocky ravines. The surface was completely covered with broken volcanic rocks about the size of ordinary cobble-stones. About sundown we reached it, and found water sufficient for our wants by digging. Oar joy at this discovery knew no bounds. This we christened ‘‘"Last Chance Spring."’’ Distance made from last camp, nineteen miles.

The next day, feeling very foot-sore and weak, though much refreshed, we started across the upper end of Death Valley, traveling over a gravelly, sandy desert to Gold Mountain, twenty-two and a half miles distant, reaching there about 4 p.m. About the middle of the valley we crossed a mule-track leading north toward Tule cañon; this we thought to be the track of Hahn's mule.

At Gold Mountain, finding two miners, I learned from them that I could not reach the Amargosa in less than three days' march, owing to the worn-out and lame condition of my animals. This would render me too late to meet you at that point according to our preconcerted arrangement. I prevailed upon Mr. T. J. Shaw, one of the miners, to take a fresh mule of his own and carry a message to you the next night. He did so, and returned the night following, bringing back your answer, which informed me of the critical condition of your party in regard to provisions, and also of the non-arrival of Hahn, the guide

This latter advice led me to suppose that he had deserted us to our fate, and made for Tule Cañon, where there was water. I immediately sent Mr. Shaw back to Grape-Vine to guide your train to Pigeon Spring, via Death Valley and Tule Cañon, while, with my party, I started for Fish Lake Valley to get supplies, and returned to Pigeon Spring, which we accomplished by 6 a. m. on the morning of the 28th, having been twenty hours in the saddle. That same day I went to the head of Death Valley to meet the train, but failing to make it out on the desert, returned, and had

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just laid down to obtain a little rest when Mr. Shaw arrived with a note from Dr. Cochrane, who was in charge, saying that they had arrived in a very exhausted condition at Tule Spring, some eight or nine miles distant. I immediately saddled up, and taking some flour and barley, set out for that point, reaching there at 2.30 a. m.

The next day I moved your train over the mountains to Pigeon Spring, where, killing a beef, and having plenty of wood, grass, and water, we enjoyed a good night's rest and the first hearty meal either party had for several days. Thence, by easy marches, via Piper's ranch and Deep Spring Valley, I reached the rendezvous camp.


During the time that we lay in Independence I was engaged in fitting out and supplying the different parties with subsistence stores, preparatory to another forward movement, and in duties of a general executive nature.

August 12, main party No. 1 left this camp and moved south through Independence and Lone Pine, crossing Owen's River and camping near its mouth after a march of twenty miles. At this point you left us, and passing via Cerro Gordo were going to run a reconnaissance line to the north of mine, and then join me in the Telescope Range.

Our next march was to the east of Owen's Lake, some twelve miles, to a point below Swansea; road very sandy; short alkali grass, very poor in quality; bad water, and no wood. We then moved southeast to near Arab Springs, in the Coso Range, about sixteen miles. Here we had plenty of wood and grass, but very little water, though plenty of water was found at a large spring, five miles distant, in east side of range. The next day we crossed a small, broken, desert valley, called Tortoise Valley, and camped twenty-five miles out, near Egan's Falls, in Darwin cañon; little wood, plenty of water, but no grass here. The spring here suddenly rises near the foot of a high bluff, and quite a little stream issues forth; running a short distance, it is precipitated over several cascades, from 12 to 80 feet high, formed by slate ledges. The cañon at this point, and for some distance below, was impracticable, being only a narrow gorge cut through the slate by the water. The formation of this range is chiefly granite, slate, and volcanic rocks, with large mineral deposits in Granite Mountains. From here we crossed a high mountain by a steep trail, and, passing to the north and west of Granite Mountain, we regained Darwin Cañon, and following it down we debouched from the Tortoise Range into Panamint Desert, a sterile basin, utterly destitute of vegetation except a few thorny shrubs. This desert for some miles was sandy. Then crossing a large alkali flat, till near the eastern side, our route lay over low volcanic mesas whose surfaces were torn up and washed into deep, rocky ravines by the terrific water-spouts which are of frequent occurrence in this section. The trail now was extremely rough and rocky, rendering traveling very difficult; reaching the foot-hills we suddenly changed our direction from southeast to northeast, and proceeded up Rose Cañon seven or eight miles to Rose Springs, about five miles northwest of Telescope Peak, on the western slope of Telescope Range, where we camped. The weather was extremely hot, men and animals suffering greatly from thirst and fatigue.

Panamint Desert is between twenty and thirty miles in length, and from eight to eighteen miles wide, a desolate waste of sand, gravel, alkali flats, and low mesas, with shifting sand-hills near northern extremity. Horned rattlesnakes met with here. Telescope Range, to the eastward from where we entered the desert, presented that peculiar banded structure of bright colors, known among old prospectors as ‘‘"calico ranges."’’

Town's Pass lay to the north of our camp. At Rose Spring we had plenty of water, and near the head of the cañon, which was an open plateau, plenty of grass and wood. Here we lay for a

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few days to send a topographical party to the top of Telescope Peak, and pursuant to your verbal instructions I dispatched Mr. Charles King to Furnace Creek, on the east side of Death Valley, to seek a pass over the range and across that valley, and also to ascertain the amount of water there. This he succeeded in doing with great judgment. I also dispatched Mr. Egan, the guide, who so kindly volunteered to lead us to this point, with two men to go to Cottonwood Cañon, some distance up the range, there to meet and conduct you to my camp.

On the morning of August 19 he left them and went on ahead to the northward, up the west side of Death Valley, to find that cañon, and, having an excellent mule, was soon out of sight.

They followed his trail till 11 a. m., and found their mules failing so fast that they turned back to Marble Spring, a place they had passed the day before. After much suffering and fatigue they regained my camp. As Mr. Egan had appeared quite positive in his knowledge of the location of the point designated to meet you, I had not the slightest doubt but that he had reached the camp of the small party at that place; but to guard against any chances of his failure to reach that point, and in case he should return to Marble Spring, I sent a man to the latter place with a note, advising him of our movement (should he not find the broad trail of the main party) across Death Valley, and also sent rations to be left there for him.

Upon this day you rejoined me and assumed command of the party. As Mr. Egan could not have reached Cottonwood before you left, we concluded that he had joined them afterward. I had no apprehensions for his safety, because he seemed perfectly conversant with the country. However, rations and a note were left for him at Rose Spring in case he should return to that place. Several days after, when the side party from Cottonwoods joined us at Ash Meadows, I learned that Mr. Egan had never joined them, and was supposed to have lost himself in Death Valley. Intelligence has since been received that he was heard from in Clarke District, near the Colorado.

From Rose Spring to Ash Meadows, Nevada, my duties were chiefly of a military nature, having command of the escort, and in executive charge of the train under your immediate direction.

The route between these two points lay, the first day, along and over the Telescope Range to Death Valley Cañon; the next, Death Valley was crossed at a point where it was some fifteen or eighteen miles wide. This crossing was made safely, a small side party being detached to take meteorological observations at the lowest part or sink of the valley, about ten miles to the right, and southward. We camped at Furnace Creek on the east side of the valley. Wood scarce, grass poor in quality, being short, alkali grass, very enervating to animals; water plenty, coming from numerous warm springs.

Two days' hard marching brought our worn-out train to Ash Meadows, where we found plenty of excellent grass and water, the latter from warm springs. Very little wood here. To reach this point we had to cross the Funeral Mountains, a range quite high and steep, and the Amargosa Desert, through which, for miles, the dry bed of the river of that name meanders southward. At this point we lay for a few days while you pushed forward to the rendezvous camp and sent back forage, of which we stood in great need. I then moved southward and crossed a low range into another sandy and gravelly desert, (Pah-rimp Desert,) which extends south for miles, and skirts the Spring Mountain Range. This desert contains several beautiful little oases, the principal one being at Pah-rimp Springs, at which point are located quite a number of Pah-Ute Indians, very friendly and quite intelligent. These Indians raise corn, melons, and squashes. Great quantities of wild grapes were found around these springs. From here, another day's march brought us to Stump Spring, on the old California emigrant-road. This road we followed to the rendezvous camp at Cottonwood Springs, Nevada, crossing the Spring Mountain Range, through an excellent pass near Mountain Spring, where we found plenty of wood, grass, and water.

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At Cottonwood Springs we lay for several days, procuring supplies from Camp Mohave and Las Vegas. Here the river party was detached to make the ascent of the Colorado by boat, and Lieutenant Lockwood placed in command of the hind parties.


On the 15th of September, Lieutenant Lockwood left this rendezvous camp for Las Vegas, twenty-two miles distant, and ordered me to follow with my party twenty-four hours later. At Las Vegas we lay a day or two, awaiting the arrival of our supplies from Camp Mohave.

On the 20th we started on the arduous march across the Vegas plains and mountains to the old California crossing of the Muddy, about forty-five miles distant This march was made at night, Lieutenant Lockwood and party leading. I followed with main party No. i about an hour later. We arrived next morning at the crossing. The following day we moved down to Saint Thomas, near the confluence of the Muddy with the Virgin.

At this point I was detached with a small topographical party to visit Salt Mountain, five miles south of Saint Thomas, and thence to proceed eastward across the Virgin Range to seek a point convenient to the crossing, for a rendezvous camp. The pass through this range is a very good one, practicable for wagons, though near the summit heavy sand was met with. The Mormons had passed through it formerly with their light wagons.

Two days' march brought us to Pah-Koon Springs, situated in a deep wash, which lies west of what the Mormons call the Grand Wash. The tract of country lying between the Virgin Range and the Se-Vitch Mountains to the eastward, and extending from near Saint George, Utah, to the Colorado River, is a high volcanic mesa, cut by numerous cañons, very deep, but nearly all of which empty into the Grand Wash. Getting into these chasms once, it is almost impossible to get out for miles, the walls being high bluffs and nearly vertical. These cañons, or arroyos, rise to the northward in large upland plateaus, densely covered with cedar, containing a good deal of grass, but very little water.

Pah-Koon Springs arc nine in number, all warm, with beds of quicksand beneath. The Indians have small patches of ground here which they irrigate and cultivate during the seasons they have no pine-nuts.

From Pah-Koon Springs we marched northward for a day, a night, and portion of next day, up one of these deep cañons, till we reached the elevated plateau covered with cedar, grass, and Spanish bayonets, where we found a small spring affording only a few quarts of water; thence crossing the Virgin Range and following down Rattlesnake Cañon, we reached the Rio Virgin. A march of eighteen miles in the bed of the river brought us to Lieutenant Lockwood's camp.

The formation was generally sandstone, overlapped by basaltic lava. The plateaus have a red soil, due, principally, to the disintegration of the bright-red sandstone.

The Mormons have a large stock-range here, there being sufficient water during most seasons.


October 1, Lieutenant Lockwood, with Mr. Spencer, the guide, and two men, left our camp near Saint George, and started for the crossing at the mouth of the Big Cañon of the Colorado, to make preliminary preparations for crossing that river, and left me in command of both land parties, with orders to follow as rapidly as possible. This I did, reaching Pah-Koon Springs on the evening of the 3d. It was intended to send a small topographical party down the Grand Wash, with orders to cross over and join me at Pah-Koon Springs, but, upon reflection, I concluded I could find a shorter, and perhaps better route, by going down the Grand Wash with the main

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parties, and crossing the mesa to the eastward of my former line. The only difficulty I apprehended was in not being able to descend the abrupt bluffs from the mesa into Pah-Koon Wash.

The Mormons penetrated down the Grand Wash to the Colorado, with wagons, some years ago. We found no obstacle that could not easily be overcome, and after following the Grand Wash for about twelve miles, rose up on the mesa and had an excellent road across it, which commanded a view to and beyond the Colorado. We had to enter this wash again lower down, following which for a few miles we crossed the mesa to the southwest, and found no difficulty in getting off it and reaching Pah-Koon Springs. At this point we found orders left by Lieutenant Lockwood to lie over one day.

Plenty of water, little grass, and no wood except mesquite, here. The next night I received an order from you, stating that you had completed the junction with your river party, and ordering me to push forward as rapidly as possible the next day, and try to arrive there in time to cross Lieutenant Lockwood's train the same day.

A trail led from Pah-Koon Springs to the old Ute crossing, about twenty-eight miles in length, passing water twice on the route; but learning that a very steep bluff had to be ascended from the Grand Wash, where we would have to unpack and take up half-loads at a time, which would cause great delay, I attempted to get on the mesa higher up the wash, and succeeded without difficulty. The route I took was much shorter, but very heavy and sandy in places, with several steep inclines, as my trail led over a succession of washes and ravines, running southwesterly into the Grand Wash. Striking the head of a cañon which led almost direct to the crossing, we arrived there before sundown, and before 9 p. m. had everything crossed by the boats except the mules, which were swum over next morning. Lieutenant Lockwood superintended the crossing in person.

The distance from this point to Truxton Springs was traversed in four days, both main land parties moving together, with Lieutenant Lockwood in command. Arriving here, we found that our supplies had not reached this point from Camp Mohave. Lieutenant Lockwood immediately dispatched two Army wagons, belonging to the new escort, a detachment of Troop C, Third Cavalry, which we found encamped here, for them. These supplies came promptly to hand, thanks to the energy of Lieutenant C. P. Eagan, Twelfth Infantry, assistant commissary of subsistence at that post. I was sent with three men to Camp Hualapais, about eighty miles distant, for the mail and some additional supplies.


October 26 I was detached, with a small topographical party and a picked escort of fifteen men, to move in a southeasterly direction to Camp Date Creek, thence to go to Bradshaw Mountains, visiting the mining districts there, and move northward to Prescott, Arizona Territory. A few miles north of Truxton Springs I gained the mesa which is a continuation of the grand Colorado plateau, and made old Camp Willow Grove that night. The country from this point was almost entirely unknown; our guide, Mr. Spencer, had been down to the Santa Maria once before, but we did not follow the trail he had before traveled, though we crossed it several times.

The stretch of country lying between the Aquarius Mountains on the west, and the Juniper Mountains on the east is, after the first twelve or fifteen miles south of Willow Grove, which is very rough and broken, a high, rolling, grassy mess, abounding in antelope and deer; having plenty of excellent water in the creeks which lie at the bottoms of deep ravines, called in that country ‘‘"box cañons,"’’ from their walls being so abrupt. These cañons are from 100 to 1,200 feet

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deep, with walls of volcanic rock, almost vertical, and after once reaching their beds it is an impossibility to get out except at a very few points; this is especially the case toward the lower ends. The creeks abound in excellent trout.

Trout Creek is the principal tributary of the Big Sandy, rising near Aztec Pass, in the Juniper Mountains; flowing southwest, it drains a large scope of country south of Willow Grove and enters the Big Sandy, after passing a narrow, rocky gorge cut through the Aquarius Mountains.

To the south of Trout Creek is a low, rolling divide, or water-shed, separating the waters of Big Sandy from those of the Santa Maria.

We crossed a number of these box cañons in succession, near their heads, the only place we could cross them. Through the principal ones flowed Ah-ha-pook, Spencer's, Sycamore, and Yavapais Creeks, all tributaries of the Santa Maria. Through this section we found small bands of Apache-Mohave Indians, and at Yavapais Creek quite a large band, well armed with rifles and well supplied with food. The head chief appeared quite friendly, but the young bucks looked upon us with no favorable eye. We had no trouble with them, however, and the next day crossed the sandy bed of the Santa Maria River, near the junction of its three forks, all of which were dry, except in one a stagnant pool was found, in which tules were growing. We then crossed a high granite range to the southeast, called the Santa Maria Range, into Date Creek Valley. This valley has a light, sandy soil, and contains considerable grass. The military post of Camp Date Creek is situated on a low mesa, south of the creek. All the officers of the post generously extended to us their assistance, and the hospitalities of the camp. To the eastward lies Antelope Valley, a nearly circular basin of high altitude, from which it is divided by a range of mountains, principally granite. To the north and northeast lie Thompson, Skull, and Kirkland Valleys.

From Date Creek we crossed the range to the east, and camped one day in Antelope Valley. From this point I sent my pack-train to Prescott, under the command of Sergeant T. J. Moore, Troop C, Third United States Cavalry, and next day crossed a low, rocky range to the eastward, covered with dense chaparral, and entered Walnut Grove, a settlement on Hassyampa Creek, where we found cultivated farms.

Following down this valley, along a wagon-road, by a circuitous route we reached Minnehaha Flat, a densely timbered plateau on the west slope of the Bradshaw Mountains. The next morning we reached Bradshaw City, about five miles farther east, by a steep mountain trail.

This mining camp has an altitude of about 7,000 feet. After visiting the mines we proceeded north along this range, passing through the Tiger, Pine Grove, Bradshaw, and Turkey Creek mining districts. The Bradshaw Range is densely timbered with excellent pine. Mineral deposits are found all along this range, but have not been developed. Plenty of water was found at Date Creek, in Antelope Valley, Walnut Grove, but very little in the Bradshaw Mountains or Turkey Creek.


Leaving Prescott, Arizona Territory, main party No. 1, commanded by yourself, proceeded to Camp Apache, via San Francisco Mountains, and through the Great Tonto Basin, arriving there November 25. We delayed at this point one day to obtain supplies, and from there proceeded by rapid, forced marches, to Camp Grant and Tucson, at which latter place the expedition was disbanded and the field operations ceased.

My duties during this trip were principally of a military character, being in command of the escort and in executive charge of the party. I also had charge of the meteorological observations, and assisted in the astronomical work.

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The length of the reconnaissance line surveyed under my immediate direction is nine hundred and eighteen miles, embracing an area of 11,750 square miles; this is independent of the line and area included in the trip from Owen's Lake to the west side of Death Valley, and from Ash Meadows to Cottonwood, Nevada. These lines were carefully measured with Cassella's field transits; all important points on both sides being established by triangulation. The base-lines used were the odometer measurements between the topographical stations, carefully reduced. Astronomical observations were taken at as many camps as practicable, to serve as checks for connecting the transit work. The distances from Belmont to Camp Independence, on both the main and side lines, were carefully measured with odometers, as also were those from Saint Thomas to Salt Mountain and return, from Saint Thomas to Saint George, Utah, and thence to the crossing of the Colorado.

The distances from Truxton Springs to Prescott, Arizona Territory, via Camp Date Creek and Bradshaw Mountains, were estimated.

Meteorological observations were taken at every camp, and hourly stations established at all rendezvous camps. Observations with aneroid barometers were taken at every topographical station and camp, and carefully compared, daily, with cistern barometers, thereby furnishing data for determining a profile of the route traversed.

15.9. VALLEYS.

The valleys passed through were twenty-three in number, mostly north and south, viz: Monitor, Ralston, Big Smoky, Clayton, Fish Lake, Deep Spring, Alida, Palmetto, Owen's River, Salinas, Termination, Death, Tortoise, Panamint, Amargosa, Pah-rimp, the Grand Wash and tributaries, Trout Creek Basin, Santa Maria Basin, Date Creek, Antelope, Walnut Grove, and Turkey Creek.


The principal ranges were the Toquima, Toyabe, San Antonio, Lone Mountain, Red Mountain, Montezuma, Palmetto, Green Mountain, Gold Mountain, White Mountain, Inyo, Telescope, Coso, Tortoise, Funeral, Spring Mountain, Virgin, Juniper, Aquarius, Santa Maria, Antelope, and Bradshaw.

15.11. INDIANS.

The various tribes encountered were the Shoshones, Pah-Utes, Owen's River Indians, Se-Vitch, See-Vints, Hualapais, and Yavapais, or Apache-Mohaves.

The Shoshones were scattered sparsely from Belmont to Fish Lake Valley, in the Toyabe, Red, and Montezuma Mountains. A small band was seen east of Palmetto, about Tule Springs.

The Pah-Utes were found at Piper's ranch, in the White Mountains and Deep Spring Valley, and afterward in considerable numbers around Pah-rimp Springs, Cottonwoods, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Owen's River Indians are scattered along that valley, but of their numbers I could get no definite idea. They are not very numerous.

The Se-Vitches are few in number and live in the mountains adjacent to the Grand Wash and its tributaries. They have little communication with the whites.

The Hualapais, formerly a numerous and warlike tribe, are now much reduced in numbers, and are at peace with the whites. They are found in the Hualapais and Aquarius Mountains, and around Truxton, Beale's, and Peacock's Springs, and on the Big Sandy.

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The Yavapais, or Apache-Mohaves, are quite numerous, and range over a great extent of country, from Willow Grove and Aztec Pass, south to Fort Yuma and below Wickenburgh; from Bill Williams's Fork east to the Tonto Basin. They are broken into many small bands. I only saw about five hundred or six hundred of them. At Ash Meadows is a small band of about fifty men, women, and children, composed of renegade Shoshones and Pah-Utes, together with a mixture of these two tribes.

Most of these Indians lead a precarious life, subsisting upon pine-nuts, the fruit of the piñon pine, the seeds of weeds and grasses which they carefully collect, jack-rabbits, lizards, small birds, and the few deer they are able to find occasionally in the mountains.

The Pah-Utes in Pah-rimp Valley, and around Cottonwoods and Las Vegas, raise, in addition, corn, melons, squashes, and gather large quantities of wild grapes, which grow abundantly near the springs. They are quite intelligent, and were very friendly. Virtue is almost unknown among them, and syphilitic diseases very common.

The Apache-Mohaves were by far the most superior Indians met with, being well armed, well equipped with food and clothing and blankets. Their country abounds in deer and antelope, and in all their wigwams were found large stores of dried venison, grass-seed, from which they make a kind of bread, and dried ‘‘"tunas,"’’ as they call the prickly pear that grows in great abundance in their country. The muscular development of these Indians, and especially of their lower extremities, is truly wonderful. The women are often beautiful, and, as a class, are strictly chaste and virtuous, any deviation from the path of rectitude being visited by the summary punishment of cutting off the nose, from their jealous lords and masters.


are few and limited in extent, the greater part of the area surveyed being characterized by almost perfect sterility. The tillable oases are found in Fish Lake, Deep Spring, Owen's River, at Ash Meadows in Amargosa Desert, Pah-rimp, Date Creek, Antelope, and Walnut Grove Valleys.


Stock-ranges, like agricultural lands, are far from being numerous and extensive. A limited amount of grass was found in the Red Mountains. The White Mountains are said to possess a tolerable range. Other grazing lands were found at Palmetto, Deep Springs, along Owen's River, at Ash Meadows, head of the Grand Wash, around Tin-na-kah, and Truxton Springs, and on the mesa between the Aquarius and Juniper Mountains.

At Palmetto, near Pigeon Spring, there are over 5,000 acres of very good grazing lands, with plenty of water.

The finest stock-range and grass-lands met with on my lines were those upon the high, rolling mesa south of Willow Grove, inhabited by the Apache-Mohaves, which embrace thousands of acres, with plenty of clear running water in the creeks that flow through the ‘‘"box cañons."’’


Twenty-four mining districts lay upon the lines traversed by the parties under my direction, viz: San Antonio, Montezuma, Palmetto, Alida, Gold Mountain, Green Mountain, Columbus, Oneata, Blind Spring, Montgomery, Silver Peak, Red Mountain, Deep Spring Valley, Fish Spring, Granite Mountain, Tiger, Pine Grove, Bradshaw, Turkey Creek, Weaver, Walnut Grove, Hassyampa, Martinez, and Santa Maria districts. For notices of these, your attention is respectfully invited to my report on ‘‘"Mines and Mining Districts,"’’ appended and marked A, and to Dr. W. J. Hoffman's reports, marked, respectively, B, C, and D.

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On the completion of the road over the White Mountains to Deep Spring Valley, a very fair wagon-road will exist from Belmont to Owen's River, California. From Gold Mountain, Fish Lake Valley is reached by a tolerable trail to Palmetto, and from there to Piper's ranch by wagon-road. A good road could be constructed the entire distance without great difficulty.

Silver Peak is connected with Montezuma, San Antonio, and Fish Lake Valley by wagon-roads, and by the latter road, via Columbus, with Wadsworth, on the Central Pacific Railroad. From Columbus a road leads over the White Mountains to Owen's River; thence down that valley to Independence and Lone Pine. A wagon-road can be constructed from Montezuma to Gold Mountain, via Alida Valley. That a road can be constructed from Saint George, Utah, down through the Grand Wash and its tributaries, via Pah-Koon Springs, crossing the Colorado at or near the ‘‘"old Ute crossing,"’’ and thence via Tin-na-kah and Truxton Springs to Camp Hualapal and Prescott, Arizona Territory, there can be no doubt; for a discussion of the practicability of the route, I would respectfully invite attention to Lieutenant Lockwood's report.

15.16. REMARKS.

This report is necessarily chiefly narrative in its nature, and is, perhaps, not so concise and positive as it might be, owing to the fact that a great many of the field-notes shipped have not arrived, being blockaded and delayed while en route by the severe snow-storms on the Union Pacific Railroad. In it I have only presented information in regard to the area explored and surveyed entirely under my direction, leaving those portions upon which I only assisted to be treated of by yourself and Lieutenant Lockwood.

Every effort was made to make the collections in natural history, mineralogy, and geology as full and comprehensive as possible.

The greatest care was taken to render the geographical and topographical notes full, clear, and explicit, in order that the final map would present all the essential details of the physical conformation of the area explored.

It was found that the general trend of the mountain ranges encountered was northwest and southeast, separated by elongated valleys, which are often broken into two or more parts or lesser valleys, by lateral spurs diverging from the main ranges. These valleys are nearly all arid deserts, small interior basins with no surface outlet for their waters, resembling often the dry beds of lakes, and are component parts of the great interior basin.

The water-sheds of these basins, the constitution of their soils, their geological and physical characteristics, the distribution of vegetation and water, together with their properties and amount, have been carefully noted, and will appear in a general report intended to embrace all the detailed information upon these various subjects.

Too much praise and commendation cannot be bestowed upon the detachment of Troop I, Third United States Cavalry, who acted as escort to the expedition during the entire term of field operations.

I would here thank all the members of the expedition under my charge, for the able and efficient manner in which they performed their various duties, and the earnest interest manifested by them in the success of the expedition.

Respectfully submitted.


Second Lieutenant, Second United States Artillery.


United States Engineers, in charge of Explorations in Nevada and Arizona, Washington, D. C.


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