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2007 Catalog > 68. Williamson, Geological Reconnoissances in California.


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68. Robert S. Williamson. “Sketch of the Route of Capt. Warner’s Exploring Party in the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada. During the months of August, September, and October, 1849” (Washington, D.C.: 1850). Published in Report of the Secretary War, in further compliance with the resolution of the Senate calling for copies of reports on the geology and topography of California, June 11, 1850 (Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 47, part II, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 1850). Lithographed folding map in black and white as issued. Sheet size: 24 1/4 x 12 3/4". Very minor scattered spotting; uneven margins. Overall excellent.

Price: SOLD

This sketch of Captain William Warner’s exploring route in the Sacramento Valley was one of the three maps of note published in Philip Tyson’s report to the Senate of 1850 on the geography of California. In June 1849 Warner was directed to lead a survey party along the Upper Sacramento River over the Sierras via the newly opened Lassen Cutoff. His goal was to find a railroad route to Oregon. He traveled north out of Benicia, up the Sacramento to Lassen’s Ranch, beyond which he eventually found a workable pass for the railroad. Soon after the discovery, he was killed in an Indian ambush. His assistant, Lieutenant Robert Williamson, rescued Warner’s notebooks and prepared the report and the present map the following year for Tyson’s publication. Wheat notes: “The report and a map of the route . . . were the first published documents to show any of the details of this rough country.” The map retains importance, according to Wheat, “as giving the first information on some of the mountainous region northeast of the Central Valley, and as a source document for the Lassen Cutoff in 1849.”

Refs.: Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region, no. 182; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. III, no. 700, pp. 106, 113–114.

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