In the 1850s, a push was on to identify the best location for a
transcontinental railroad to California. Three different expeditions left the east, in the northern states, through the center of the country, and through the southwest. Lt. Amiel Weeks Whipple led the expedition from Arkansas, through Texas and the southwest, to San Pedro, California. The expedition consisted of a group of civilian scientists who would survey the route, including topography, plant life, native settlements, existing white settlements, and available water and timber. The expedition had an army escort that supplied food, weapons, and carried the delicate instruments used for the study. The author, Whipple's son-in-law, chronicles the journey, its trials and tribulations. They had the usual mishaps, including trying to keep from getting killed by Comanche Indians. Eventually they concluded their mission and returned to the east with their report. The route explored by this party wasn't the first one used, but was used later.
This report prepared by BethG