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AUCTION 19

Construction of the First Engineered Highway in the Northwest

141. MULLAN, John.  Report on the Construction of a Military Road from Fort Walla-Walla to Fort Benton. Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1863.  [2], 363 [1 blank] pp., plus leaf of errata, 4 folded lithograph maps (map list below), 10 tinted lithographs (scenes and views). 8vo, original plum diapered cloth (faded to brown), spine lettered in brown and blindstamped “Senate” in scroll.  Spine faded, corners lightly bumped, covers with some light spots, staining. Endpapers slightly browned, some light offsetting to plates, title, and text, otherwise very good.  Maps fine to very fine, see condition reports below.

Map List:

(1) Map of the Mountain Section of the Ft. Walla Walla & Ft. Benton Military Wagon Road from Coeur d'Alene Lake to the Dearborn River Washington Territory Constructed under Direction of the War Department by Capt. John Mullan. U.S. Army surveyed & drawn by Theodore Kolecki C. E. 1859-1863. Lith. of J. Bien, 24 Vesey St. N.Y. Neat line to neat line:  53.8 x 125.8 cm.  Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 1079 & Vol. V, pp. 92-93:  “This third of the Mullan maps is also a technical tour de force, for of all the maps reviewed in these five volumes, here we first encounter a general map using the contour method to represent topography... Never in the West, so far as we have noted, had an engineer shown the hardihood to adopt the contour system for portraying topography over a large area.” Small tear at juncture with text block (in blank margin), otherwise very fine.

(2) War Dept. Office Explorations and Surveys. Map of Military Reconnaissance from Fort Taylor to the Coeur d'Alene Mission, Washington Territory; made under direction of Capt. A. A. Humphreys, U.S. Topl. Engrs, by Lieut. John Mullan, U.S. Army, Assisted by Theodore Kolecki and Gustavus Sohon, Civil Engrs.,  While Attached to the Military Expedition under Col. Geo. Wright, 9th. Infantry, in 1858.  [right, below neat line] Lith. of J. Bien, 24 Vesey St. N.Y. Neat line to neat line:  55.2 x 51.7 cm.  Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 1078. Very fine

(3) War Dept. Office Explorations and Surveys. Map of Military Reconnaissance from Fort Dalles, Oregon, via Fort Wallah-Wallah, to Fort Taylor, Washington Territory; made under direction of Capt. A. A. Humphreys, U.S. Topl. Engrs.,  by Lieut. John Mullan, U.S. Army, Assisted by Theodore Kolecki and Gustavus Sohon, Civil Engrs.,  While Attached to the Military Expedition under Col. Geo. Wright, 9th. Infantry, in 1858.  [right, below neat line] Lith. of J. Bien, 24 Vesey St. N.Y. Neat line to neat line:  54 x 90  cm. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 1077.

Very fine.

(4) War Department.  Map of Military Road from Fort Walla Walla on the Columbia to Fort Benton on the Missouri. Made under Direction of Topl. Bureau by Captain John Mullan U.S. Army Prepared by E. Freyhold from Field Notes from 1858-1863; Lith. of J. Bien, 24 Vesey Street, New York. 44.5 x 85.6 cm.   Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 1080.

Except for minor wrinkling, fine.

     First edition. Braislin 1346. Graff 2932. Holliday 802.  Howes M884. Plains & Rockies IV:393:  “Covers the period from March 1858 to September 1862.”  Sabin 51275.  Streeter Sale 2103: “This is a first class report to read and the maps are most helpful in tracing journeys of others. The colored plates add to the interest. Mullan makes the interesting statement towards the beginning of his report (p. 6) that he did not realize for the first few years of his work that climatic conditions at Clark’s Fork at around Lake Pend d’Oreille were easier in winter than at Coeur d’Alene Lake, though the latter was further south, and that if he had known in 1854 what he did not learn until 1860 he would have located his road by the more northern route.-TWS.”  Tweney, Washington 89 56:  “It is a remarkably easy report to read, and the maps are very useful in tracing various routes.”  Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, Vol. V, pp. 85-95 & Nos. 1077, 1078, 1079 & 1080:  “John Mullan’s labors in the Pacific Northwest comprise a significant chapter in the history of that region, meriting much more attention than they have had, and more than we shall be able to give them... The Mullan Trail was unquestionably the most famous road ever constructed in the high Northwest.”

     Ironically, as Wheat notes, the road did not prove to be of extreme military importance but did serve as a significant emigrant route to the Northwest.  It also later became the route of the Northern Pacific Railroad. For more on the expedition, see Cohen, Mapping the West, pp. 183 (discussing another map related to the expedition but referring to the present work). ($800-1,600)

Auction 19 Short Title List | Auction 19 Prices Realized

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