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2007 Catalog > 19. Simpson, Fort Smith and Santa Fe Route.


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19. James H. Simpson. “Map No. 4 Showing Continuation of Fort Smith [Arkansas] and Santa Fé Route, from Tucumcari Creek to Santa Fé” (Baltimore: E. Weber & Co., 1849). Published in Report from the Secretary of War, Communicating, in Compliance with a Resolution of the Senate, the Report and Map of the Route from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Santa Fe, New Mexico (Washington, D.C.: Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 12, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 1850). Lithographed folding map in black and white, as issued. 11 x 19 1/2" at neat line. Sheet size: 15 x 23 3/4". Age darkening to sheet. Excellent condition.

Price: SOLD.

In the summer of 1849, Army infantry captain Randolph B. Marcy was selected to head an expedition from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Santa Fe, the purpose of which was to find the best overland route to New Mexico and California and to provide the safe conduct for a large group of gold seekers heading west. Lieutenant James H. Simpson of the Topographical Engineers joined the expedition as Marcy’s topographer. Their route closely followed the south bank of the Canadian River, leading them across present-day Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and eastern New Mexico. Both men “kept separate logs of the distance between campsites,” reports Wheat, and the data they collected enabled them to construct the first detailed map of the area. Actually Marcy and Simpson each created their own maps of the expedition, which they submitted in separate reports to Congress. Marcy’s map is larger and more comprehensive, documenting the continuation of his expedition from Santa Fe south into Texas and his return to Fort Smith. Simpson’ s map is in four sections and covers only the route to Santa Fe.

The map offered here is the fourth and westernmost section of Simpson’s larger map, and it shows the expedition’s last segment from Tucumcari to Santa Fe. Simpson includes a table of distances between campsites with remarks on the availability of wood and water. An exceptional document of early travel in New Mexico, it is superb for its detailing of the Santa Fe area.

Refs.: Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West, pp. 213–218; Graff, 3790; Howes, S500; Wagner-Camp, 192; Wheat, vol. III, pp. 10–13; no. 640 (the set of four maps).

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