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2007 Catalog > 24. Johnston, Reconnaissances from San Antonio to El Paso.

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24. Joseph E. Johnston et al. “Reconnoissances of Routes from San Antonio de Bexar to El Paso del Norte, &c.&c.” (Philadelphia: P. S. Duval, 1850). Published in Reports of the Secretary of War, with Reconnaissances of Routes from San Antonio to El Paso (Washington, D.C.: Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 64, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 1850). Lithographed folding map in black and white, as issued. Two routes in hand outline color. 24 5/8 x 36 3/4" at neat line. Sheet size: 25 3/4 x 37 3/8". Minor toning at old folds; old creasing in l. l. quadrant; small loss at right center (not affecting information on map). Excellent overall.

Price: SOLD.

The present map was one of two maps folded into a compendium of government reports on survey explorations in New Mexico and West Texas in 1849 (see the report listed above). This map, prepared by Brevet Lieutenent Colonel J. E. Johnston of the Topographical Engineers, presented new information describing the country primarily between San Antonio and El Paso, but also extending east to Austin and north to Fort Washita. Through the explorations of Johnston and the engineers in his command, a supply and potential railroad route was surveyed across southern Texas. This route became the main passageway for soldiers, settlers, and gold seekers. The map also helped to establish the strategic importance of El Paso.

Details include mountains, rivers, roads, reconnaissance routes with dates, some reconnaissance routes with names of leaders, towns, forts, proposed routes, Indian trails, the Emigrants Route, water holes, and forested areas. Wheat calls the map, “a fitting addition to [the] maps which were brought into being by the Mexican War,” noting that the surveys conducted by the Topographical Engineers gave “geographical solidity to Texas, as the last act of the Mexican War drama.”

Refs.: Day and Day, Texas State Archives, no. 1529; Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West, pp. 228–233; Wagner-Camp, 184; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. III, p. 22, no. 677.

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