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  Gouverneur Kemble Warren. “Reconnoissances in the Dacota Country”, 1855.  
Warren, Dacota Country, 1855

Gouverneur Kemble Warren. “Reconnoissances in the Dacota Country by G. K. Warren, Lieut. Topl. Engrs. U.S.A. . . . 1855” (Philadelphia: P. S. Duval & Co. Lith., 1856). Published in G. K. Warren’s Explorations in the Dacota Country, in the Year 1855 (Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 76, 34th Cong., 1st sess., 1856). Lithographed map on two large sheets joined as one, black and white as issued. 36 x 54 1/4" at neat line. Sheet size: 37 1/4 x 61". “Profile of Route from Fort Pierre to Fort Kearney” appears vertically in right margin. Slight toning to old folds; several tiny corner-fold splits; close margin at binding edge. Overall excellent.

This massive chart of Dakota country was prepared by Topographical Officer G. K. Warren based upon data gathered during an expedition against the Sioux Indians in 1855. One of three maps published in Warren’s Explorations in the Dacota Country, the present map is “most important,” according to Streeter. For one thing, it is huge; for another, it shows a relatively unexplored region of the Transmississippi West, here labeled “Nebraska” in big, bold letters. Created on a scale of 1/600,000, the map shows the Northern Great Plains from the Missouri River west to Ft. Laramie in present-day Wyoming and from Ft. Pierre south to Ft. Kearny on the Platte River. To Warren, Dacota country meant the wide area inhabited by the Sioux Indians, and he labels the map accordingly. The “Great Sand Hills” of today’s central Nebraska are prominently noted and several Nebraska landmarks on what became the Oregon Trail appear, i.e., Court House Rock, Chimney Rock, and Scott’s Bluff.

Warren shows the route of the expedition under the command of General William S. Harvey up the Missouri River to Fort Pierre, overland to Fort Kearney, up the North Platte to Fort Laramie, and then back to Fort Pierre and finally to Sioux City. Dated stops along the route show the progress of the trek. The map is also important for its depiction of the earlier explorations of Long, Nicollet, Fremont, and Stansbury, as well as for showing the tribal lands of the various branches of the Dacotas, as well as the Ogalala, Ihanktonwan, Ponkas, Omahas, Ottoes, and Missourias.

Full of fascinating details, this is an outstanding large map featuring the north-central region of the United States, just after the creation of the Territory of Nebraska in 1854.

Refs.: Graff, 4546; Howes, W118; Streeter, vol. V, no. 3133; Wagner-Camp, 283.

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot