Report of the Secretary Of War, Communicating ... A Report of E. F. Beale of his Exploration for a Wagon Road from Fort Defiance, in New Mexico, to the Western Borders of California… [ caption title].

The feasibility of a wagon route from New Mexico to California in 1858


Beale’s preliminary report upon his arrival in California after a 48-day journey to explore a suitable route for wagons from Fort Defiance, New Mexico to the Colorado River, California. In part:

Our work, although arduous, has been rendered pleasant by the beautiful character of the country through which we have passed and the salubrious nature of the climate; and, although the double duty of exploring and marking the road has fallen upon us, we have passed through it without an incident of any kind whatsoever.

An important part in all of our operations has been acted by the camels. Without the aid of this useful and noble brute, many hardships which we have been spared would have fallen to our lot; and our admiration for them has increased day by day…I have subjected them to trials which no other animal could possibly have endured; and yet I have arrived here, not only without the loss of a camel, but they are admitted by those who saw them in Texas to be in as good condition to-day as when we left San Antonio (pp3–4).

An interesting side note in American military history was the importation of camels for exploration and possible military engagement. The advent of camels being imported into America was brought about through no small part by former Quaker and adventurer Josiah Harlan whose exploits were recently popularized in The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan (FS & G, 2004).

Western exploration and wagon road routes in 1858 America with Manifest Destiny sentiment and spirit well underway.


Description: Report of the Secretary Of War, Communicating ... A Report of E. F. Beale of his Exploration for a Wagon Road from Fort Defiance, in New Mexico, to the Western Borders of California… [ caption title].

35th Congress, 1st Session. Senate. Ex. Doc. No. 43. [Washington, D. C. 1858]. [1]-5, [3, blank]. Removed from bound volume. Fine.

[3724668]

See Graff 215n – “[T]he preliminary report of the reconnaissance…”


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