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2007 Catalog > 21. Simpson & Kern, Map of Col. John M. Washington's Route through New Mexico.


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21. James H. Simpson / Edward M. Kern. “Map of the Route pursued in 1849 by the U.S. Troops, under the command of Bvt. Lieut. Col. Jno. M. Washington, Governor of New Mexico” (Philadelphia: P. S. Duval’s Steam Lith. Press, 1849). Published in Joseph E. Johnston et al. Reports of the Secretary of War, with Reconnaissances of Routes from San Antonio to El Paso . . . Also, the Report of Lieut. J. H. Simpson of an expedition into the Navajo Country (Washington, D.C.: Senate Ex. Doc. No. 64, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 1850). 20 1/2 x 27 1/2" at neat line. Sheet size: 21 1/4 x 28 3/4". Faint age darkening at old folds. Excellent condition.

Price: SOLD.

The present map was one of two maps folded into a compendium of government reports on survey explorations and military campaigns in New Mexico and West Texas in 1849 (see the report listed below). This map, prepared by Topographical Engineer James H. Simpson and the artist Edward Kern, resulted from a punitive expedition against the Navajos led by Colonel John M. Washington, the military governor of New Mexico, in 1849. The campaign was an important one, as Wheat observes, “following up that of Colonel Doniphan in 1846 before he went on to Mexico, and though the Indians remained restless it served its primary purpose of preserving the New Mexican settlements from Navajo raids.” The expedition traveled northwest from Santa Fe by way of the Jemez Pueblo and over the Jemez Mountains to Chaco Canyon and finally to Canyon de Chelly, “the very citadel of the Navajos,” as Goetzmann notes, where a treaty with the Navajos was signed.

Simpson and Kern mapped the route, and Kern’s brother Richard, also an artist, created illustrations of Pueblo Indian settlements, Indian leaders, and archaeological ruins at Chaco and Chelly canyons. The most important contribution of the expedition was its discovery of these spectacular ruins, which Simpson recorded with his usual precision. Simpson was “the first American to make an accurate eyewitness survey of the region west of the Rio Grande past the Puerco. . .,” writes Goetzmann. “As such, his report was the forerunner of the later works by Morgan and Bandelier.”

Simpson’s map presents the route of the expedition as a red line. He designates camp sites by numbers and sometimes by star symbols, which “denote points determined by astronomical observations.” The return route went south from Chelly canyon to Zuñi Pueblo, past Inscription Rock, on to Laguna Pueblo and Albuquerque, and finally back to Santa Fe. Wheat calls the map “an arresting production, bringing out many new details of the region directly west of New Mexico.” This seldom-seen map is a noteworthy document of Simpson’s significant contribution to the archaeology of the Southwest.

Refs.: Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West, pp. 239–244; Wagner-Camp, 184; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. III, pp. 16–17, nos. 641 and 677, illus. opposite p. 9.

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