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Progress report on the Canadian Pacific Railway exploratory survey Fleming, Sandford, 1827-1915 1872

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Canadian Pacific Railway
Office of the Engineer in Chief.
Ottawa, 10th April, 1872.
Hon. H. L. Langevin, C. B.
Minister of Public Works,
&c,       &c,        &c
I have the honor to submit the following preliminary Report on the
Canadian Pacific Railway Exploratory Survey, commenced in June last
According to the terms upon which British Columbia entered the
Dominion of Canada, it became necessary to construct a Railway through
to the Pacific coast, from some point which would form a junction with
the existing Railway system in the Provinces of Ontario-and Quebec.
The first important step towards the construction of the Railway,
being to ascertain by instrumental and other examination where a practicable and eligible line could be found, a Survey became necessary.
The Parliament, at the last Session made a grant of money towards- the
Survey, and the G-overnment subsequently appointed the undersigned to
conduct it and to carry into execution such steps as might be considered best, in order to discover the most practicable line for the proposed
Railway and obtain information respecting its general Engineering features.
It was deemed important to take such prompt and energetic
action as would secure as much information on the subject as possible,
before the next meeting of Parliament. si
The object of this Report is to give a brief outline of the steps which
have been taken to accomplish the desired objects and likewise to present
in a concise form, the general results of the Survey, up to the present
A point near the River Ottawa, opposite Lake Nipissing was selected
as the eastern end of the Survey, this point, named " Mattawa," is common
to and easily connected with the Railways, built and projected, in Ontario
and Quebec.
The Terminus on the Pacific coast is still an open question ; its selection will probably be governed to a considerable extent, by the comparative facilities for Railway construction presented by various projected
routes through British Columbia.
At the outset of the enquiry all such information regarding the
country extending from Mattawa to the Pacific Coast, as it was possible to
obtain, was carefully considered, in order to discover where the surveys
should be made with the greatest hope of success.
It was found that the general direction of the Railway Line would be
governed, by certain important physical features at various points through
the country to be traversed.
Prominently among these mav be mentioned; 1st. the very ruge-ed
country along the shores of, and for some distance back of Lakes Huron
and Superior; 2nd. Lake Nepigon; 3rd. Lake of the Woods; 4th. Lake
Manitoba; 5th. The Rocky Mountains, and lastly the Gold, Selkirk and
Cascade ranges of mountains in British Columbia.
The leading features of the country naturally divide the survey into
three great divisions.
First.—From Mattawa to Fort G-arry.
Second.—From Fort G-arry to the Rocky Mountains.
Third.-^-Fxom the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast;
It will be convenient to refer to the subject under these separate heads.
Very little information could be obtained respecting a great extent of
the country between Mattawa and Fort Garry. It had scarcely been
penetrated more than a few miles back of the River Ottawa and the Lakes
Huron and Superior, except on the canoe routes which lead to the outlying-
posts of the Hudson Bay Company. Along the chain of Lakes extending
from Fort William to Manitoba, however, its character was better undei*
stood. What was really known of this country, particularly that long stretch
between the Ottawa and the northern bend of Lake Superior, indicated
that it was not favourable for Railway construction. Along the coast of
Lake Superior, the ground was reported most impracticable and forbidding
It was deemed advisable therefore in projecting a chain of surveys, to
make the attempt of piercing through the interior at a considerable distance
back from the Lake, in the hope of finding ground free from those serious
obstacles which presented themselves on or near the coast.
It was at the same time considered important to make the attempt of
finding a practicable line which would touch the navigable waters of Lake
Superior, at the nearest point to Fort Garry, viz:—At Nepigon, or Thunder
The whole distance from Mattawa to Fort Garry was sub-divided
into eleven different surveys or divisions, each from 75 to 90 miles in
length, with the view of securing a continuous chain of instrumental
measurements, with as little delay as possible.
The whole country along the line of projected surveys, embracing
an extent of not far short of one thousand miles, being densely wooded
and without a road or trail of any description, made the prosecution of
the work unusually difficult.
A branch survey was authorized from the Nipissing district to Sault
Ste. Marie, to connect with lines projected south of Lake Superior, and
with steam boat navigation to Nepigon, or Thunder Bay.
To obtain as much information as possible within the year, an expedition was also sent northerly to James' Bay.
The last named expedition ascended to the head waters of the river
Ottawa, and Northerly by the river Abbitibbe to Moose Factory, returning by Moose River and Michipicoten River to Lake Superior.
The country west of Fort Garry, consisting, for the most part, of open
prairies, and being characterized, even up to the base of the Rocky
Mountains, by physical and engineering features, remarkable for their
simplicity; a continuous instrumental survey was not for the present
deemed necessary.
A careful examination of all the information obtainable, showed, however, that, as a general rule, the rivers of the plains west of Fort Garry,
flow in deeply eroded beds of great width, suggestive of Bridging on a
gigantic scale. It was found, chiefly from the reports of the Palliser expedition, that
the great troughs or valleys through which the streams flow,
range over a wide extent of country, from 150 to 300 feet and even
400 feet in depth under the level plateau on each side ; these great river
troughs are at the same time reported, not unfrequently to be about a mile
and a mile and three quarters in width.
It appeared, therefore, of the utmost importance to examine further
into this subject with the view of finding a route for the railway through
the central plains as direct as possible, avoiding as far as practicable, the
obstacles referred to, or overcoming them at the least difficult points,
A double expedition was organized to proceed by different routes,
between Fort Garry and the two most eligible passes through the Rocky
Mountains, viz: The Howse Pass and the Yellow Head Pass.
The instructions given this expedition were such as to elicit the
desired information.
It appeared from all the information that could be gathered from
different sources that, of all the passes through the Rocky Mountains,
those named the Howse and the Yellow Head Passes, would prove most
eligible for the Railway.
Within the Province of British Columbia other most serious obstacles to
Railway construction in any desired direction presented themselves, and
the selection not only of one of these Passes, but also of a Terminal point
on the Pacific Coast, seemed to depend on the success which might attend
any attempt to discover the most practicable line for a railway across the
interior of the Province.
The survey in British Columbia was divided into Districts, one between
Howse Pass and Shuswap Lake, a second between Shuswap Lake and the
Straits of Georgia by the Lower Fraser River, a third between Yellow
Head Pass and the Upper Fraser River through the Cariboo country.
Engineers were appointed to conduct the surveys in each of these
Districts, and six surveying parties were organized, with the view of
thoroughly exploring the country, and gaining information which would
lead to the selection of the most eligible line for the Railway.
In a work of such magnitude, beset with difficulties of no ordinary
kind and under circumstances which called for as mueh information as possible, with the least possible delay, it was important to organize the
staff on a scale and in a manner calculated to secure satisfactory results.
The uninhabited, trackless and seemingly impenetrable nature of a
great deal of the country to be explored, rendered it the more important
that every means should be taken to prevent failure in obtaining the information sought for, or disaster to any of the parties engaged on the several
branches of the survey.
A Commissariat Department was organized to attend to all matters
connected with the procuring and transportation of supplies.
As far as it was possible or expedient, a uniform system was instituted
for operations in the field and for recording information obtained.
General and special instructions were drawn up for the guidance of
every member of the staff.
To simplify correspondence and lessen the chances of mistakes in
connection with the Commissariat Department and also for easy general
reference, the several divisions of the Survey were designated by letters
of the alphabet and as reference will frequently be made to them in the
detail Reports which accompany this, the following explanation is here
Division Sj». Extending from Mattawa to the confluence of the Montreal and Ottawa Rivers.
Division C. Extending from the Ottawa to a point near the head of the
Montreal River.
Division I*. From the Montreal River to a point about midway to the west
branch of Moose River
Division 55. From the last named point to Moose River.
Division F. From Moose River to Small Black River, north of Lake Superior.
Division i*. From Small Black River to Long Lake.
Division M. From Long Lake to Red Rock, at mouth of Nepigon River.
Division 1. From Red Rock to Lac des lies.
Division B£. From Lac des Hes to the canoe route to Lac Seul.
Division JL. From Canoe Route to Lac Seul, to White Fish Bay, Lake of
the Woods.
Division 3ME. From White Fish Bay to Red River, near Fort Garry.
Division ^.Expedition northerly by rivers Ottawa. Abbitibbe, Michipi-
coten and Moose, to James' Bay. till
Division © ) ExPedition  to examine the  country west   of   Fort Garry
p" > to Kootanie Plain, near the Howse Pass, and Jaspar House,
') near the Yellow Head Pass.
Division <l. Between the North Thompson and Yellow Head Pass.
Division K. Between Cariboo and Tete Jaune Cache.
Division S. Between the Columbia River and Howse Pass.
Division M   The Eagle Pass between  Shuswap  Lake and  the  River
Division U. Between Lytton, on Fraser River and Shuswap Lake.
Division V. From Lytton Southerly toward Burrards Inlet.
Division W. From Sault Ste. Marie along the North Shore of Lake Huron
to French River.
As rapidly as the various parties were organized and Commissariat
arrangements made, they began to move forward each to their respective
field of operations.
The total number of Engineers, Surveyors, Levellers and assistants
employed, together with axemen, boatmen, packers, &c, would not be far
short of eight hundred.
BBS d^chmf * B ^ the Ri™r Ottawa for the interior on the
10th of June. Those for the region north of Lake Superior left Collino;-
wood on the 20th June. In British Columbia, a portion ofthe staffleft
V ictoria tor the Mountams on the 20th of July. I
Some general observations respecting the progress made in the prose-
cution ot the survey, may now be submitted.
Full detail information, may be had on reference to the reports and
documents which accompany this.
It has been found impossible to maintain regular eommnnioation with
many of the partes engaged on the surrey during the winter but iudri™
from the Progress Eeperts last reeled, the undesigned feels 2S
staring that the surveys projected in, June   last between  M,tw7
the Ottawa and Nepigon Bay on Lake Superior are now* wfttol I
ceprion, completed and that only two  breaks in the suryey^ exist betwetn
Nepigon Bay and Fort Garry. ' oexween
No serious engineering difiicultv has been mptwri+fc I        II
I The day on which British-Columbia entered the Dominion. however, to speak so favourably of the country covered by Divisions Oand
M of the survey, embracing over one hundred miles easterly from the
River Nepigon. This section is excessively rough and mountainous, and
the survey made through it, did not result in finding a practicable line for
the Railway.
West, from Nepigon River to Fort G-arry, although two Divisions of
the Survey are incomplete, enough is now known of the country to warrant the belief that it will admit of a practicable line with favourable
grades for the greater part of the distance.
Explorations are now being made with the view of ascertaining how far
it may be practicable to avoid the very serious difficulties referred to on
Divisions CJ and H, by running the Railway Line further in the interior;
it has already been found that the rocky and broken country, which presents itself on the shore of Lake Superior, changes very much at a distance
of 50 or 60 miles to the north, and from what has been learned it is thought
that a perfectly practicable Line will be discovered by the north side of
Lake Nepigon. Definite information on this point cannot be' received before navigation opens between Collingwood and Lake Superior, when the
parties engaged on the exploration are expected to return, but the Line
drawn on the map by the north side of Lake Nepigon shows the general
direction in which, from the very latest information received, a practicable
and favorable Line may be confidently expected.
The survey and exploration made from Sault Ste. Marie easterly along
the northern shore of the G-eorgian Bay towards Lake Nipissing, establish
the fact that a good Line can be had with very favorable grades.
The expedition to James Bay had no difficulty in passing from the
River Ottawa northerly to tide water at the mouth of the Abbitibbe, and in
returning to Lake Superior by Moose River. The Report, which accompanies this, furnishes some interesting information.
The Expeditions sent out to examine several projected routes across the
Plains west of Fort G-arry, and extending up to the Howse Pass on the one
hand, and the Yellow Head Pass on the other, have returned after accomplishing the service satisfactorily.
The information thus derived shows that on some of the routes, the
cost of carrying the Railway across the River Valleys would be very great,
but that a comparatively favourable route in this respect as well as in
others, may be had by following the general direction shown on the
accompanyino- Map. • This route, which from all present information,
appears likely to prove the most favorable, is shown on the Map by a Line .
drawn from a crossing of the Red River, north of Fort G-arry   by Dauphin
2 10
m i
an  ;
ail! i
Lake, Swan River, the elbow of the North Saskatchewan, Battle River,
Beaver Lake, and thence via the Jasper House to the Yellow Head Pass.
On some other routes it was found that the great Rivers flowed in troughs,
enormously deep and wide; but the line drawn on the Map appears from
all the information obtained to involve the least amount of Bridging, while at
the same time it passes through or near the most available country for settlement ; the South Saskatchewan can be crossed on this Line by a bridge,
1,400 feet long, not exceeding sixty feet in height above water level,
and about 70 feet above the bed of the River at the deepest point.
There will probably be even less difficulty in spanning the North Saskatchewan, and as these are the largest rivers to be crossed on the Line
laid down, the comparatively favorable points for crossing them, which
have been found, is considered extremely fortunate, considering the general features of the great water channels in this wide extent of country.
"With regard to the Survey between the Rocky Mountains and the
Pacific Coast, although a great deal still remains to be done, material progress has undoubtedly been made.
A very favorable line for a railway has been found through the Oold
Range by the Eagle Pass, extending from Little Dalles on the Columbia
River to Great Shuswap Lake, and an Instrumental survey has been completed from the foot of the last named Lake to Hope on the Lower Fraser
River. The general engineering features of the approaches to Howse
Pass, have also been ascertained.
The surveying expedition which left Yictoria on the 20th July to find
a moderately direct line from Quesnel Mouth, through the Cariboo country
to Tete Jaune Cache, has failed in its object. The lowest pass discovered
through the Selkirk range, although about 1000 feet lower than the
mountains adjoining is reported to be at such an elevation, that the ground
falls on one side 1600 feet in five miles and on the other 2300 feet in about
six miles, thus proving the pass impracticable for a Railway, unless with a
Tunnel at an enormous cost.
A favourable pass from the North Fraser River in the neighborhood
of T6te Jaune Cache, to the north branch of the Thompson River has been
According to the information received, this will admit of a line being
constructed from Yellow Head Pass to Kamloops, with grades not exceeding 50 feet per mile.
The fortunate discovery of a practicable line with grades so favourable,
between Kamloops and the summit of the Rocky Mountains, via the north
Thompson and Yellow Head Pass, together with information received from the expedition, which examined the country on the eastern slope of
the mountains, led to the abandonment of all farther work on the survey
via Howse Pass.
Kamloops is an important point on the line which was being surveyed
from New Westminster through the Eagle Pass to Howse Pass. The
distance from Kamloops to a common point near Edmonton House, is not
greater by the North Thompson and Yellow Head Pass, than it is by
Eagle and Howse Pass, while all information goes to show that a very
much better and less costly line can be had by the former than by the
latter route.
Finding that Kamloops could be easier reached from the eastern
slope of the Rocky Mountains by the Yellow Head than ' by the Howse
Pass, there was no longer,any object in continuing operations east of
Kamloops on the latter route.
This led to the adoption by the G-overnment on the 2nd inst., of the
Yellow Head Pass as the gate to British Columbia from the east.
The adoption of the Yellow Head Pass has greatly simplified the
Survey, and now the efforts of the whole staff in British Columbia, are
concentrated on lines leading to one common point, viz: Tete Jaune Cache,
in about longitude 120 ° and latitude 53 ° . It being impossible to reach
the Pass selected through the Rocky Mountains from the west, without
first touching the River Fraser at this point.
The next important consideration is the establishment of the Railway
route from Tete Jaune Cache, to the Pacific coast.
It has" already been mentioned that there will be no difficulty in
building a railway with very favourable grades from Tete Jaune Cache to
Kamloops. From Kamloops a survey has been made to Burrards Inlet
(the harbour of New Westminster) except about seventy miles on the extreme western end of the line, and on the latter section no serious difficulties are believed to exist. This survey shows that a practicable line with
favorable grades may be had, although the cost, particularly along the
canons of the lower Fraser River, will be considerably above an average.
The Harbour of Esquimault, near Victoria on Vancouver's Island, is
strongly advocated by some as the point where the Railway should terminate. To reach Esquimault without break, it will be necessary
to bridge the Straits of Georgia in the neighborhood of Valdes Island
where the channel is narrowest, and the question of bridging can only be
settled by careful surveys now ordered.
Assuming that it may be found practicable to form a bridge connection between Vancouver's Island and the mainland, the physical formation 12
i m'
IB ■
J!* i
of the country will render it necessary to carry the line along by Bute
Inlet. It is important, therefore, to ascertain how Bute Inlet can be
easiest reached from Tete Jaune Cache.
Although the attempt made last year to find a short line across the
Cariboo country in the required direction proved unsuccessful, all farther
efforts have not been abandoned. The work of exploration has been
carried on during the winter and a diligent search will be continued
wherever success is at all possible. Some hopes are entertained that a
line may be found from the North Thomspon across the Selkirk Range
to the Quesnel Lakes and thence via Quesnel mouth to Bute Inlet, but
should this fail, a careful examination will' be made about fifty miles
farther to the south on a line projected through by Horse Lake and Lake
La Hache. Should all these explorations prove failures,' it is confidently believed that it will be quite possible to reach Bute
Inlet by a practicable line from T§te Jaune Cache, going round the Cariboo
country on the north side along the banks of the Fraser River, and thence
across the Chilcotin plains. The only serious objection to the latter route
will be its length. The gradients can scarcely fail to be favorable on
account of the line following the river for over 250 miles on a uniform
and gradual descent.
Besides Burrards Inlet and Esquimault, other harbours accessible from
the Pacific have been spoken of for the Terminus. Of these men-'
tioned Alberni at the head of Barclay Sound, another harbour at Nootka
Sound, Bentick Arm, also Port Essington, or some suitable point at the
mouth of tiie Skeena River. It is somewhat premature, however, to discuss
the merits of any of these points without further information respecting
the means of reaching them from Tete Jaune Cache.
In concluding a summary of what has been accomplished since the
survey was instituted in June last, it is greatly to be regretted that more
definite information has not yet been received respecting the' explorations
now in progress east and west of Lake Nepigon, in the rear of the rugged
belt along Lake Superior.
Assuming, however, and enough it is believed is known to warrant
the assumption, that all difficulties in this quarter will be obviated, it may
be claimed that the practicability and the general direction of the Railway
Line from Ottawa to Fort G-arry, thence across the great'plains and the
Rocky Mountains to Tete Jaune Cache has approximately been determined
and that from the last named point at least one line to the waters of the
Pacific Ocean has been found practicable.
it will be interesting to compare some of the features of the line re- 13
ferred to in the last paragraph with the Union Pacific Railway in the
United States, for this purpose a diagram accompanies this, showing thereon
profiles of both.
From this diagram it will be seen that the Union Pacific Railway*
extending from Omaha to San Francisco, runs, for 1,300 miles or three-
fourths of its entire length, at a higher level than the Yellow Head Pass,
and that this point, the great summit of the Canadian Pacific Railway line,
is less than half the elevation attained at several points on the line now
being operated across the Continent.
A Table giving the distances between some of the principal points in
the country extending from the Ottawa Valley to the Pacific coast is
appended hereto. It is not to be supposed that this Table has any great
pretensions to accuracy, except in the case of Railways built or surveyed, in other cases the distances are simply ascertained by measurement on the maps of the country, and it is not at all certain that even the
best maps are free from grave errors. Be this as it may, there are no
means of checking the distances, until the- chain of surveys are connected
from end to end and the results known. It is believed, however, that even
rough approximate distances may be useful to the Government in considering the question of the Railway, and for this purpose they are presented.
One or two points brought out by the Table of Comparative distances
are worthy of note.
Montreal and Toronto are the chief Commercial centres in the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and it is important to ascertain how they can
best be reached from a point in the Interior—say Fort Garry.
According to the Table, the distance between Montreal and Fort Garry
by the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, is 1,180 miles, while by Railway projected through Sault Ste. Marie, Duluth and Pembina, the distance
is 1,440 miles, and by way of Chicago and St. Paul, the distance is 1,843
miles—showing that by the three all-rail routes, made or projected between
Fort Garry and Montreal, the Canadian Pacific line is 260 miles shorter
than the line passing through Sault Ste. Marie, and 663 miles shorter than
the route at present travelled via Chicago and St. Paul.
' Taking Toronto as a starting point, and using the Northern or Nipis-
sing Railways as far as Bracebridge, thence connecting them with the
Canadian Pacific Railway at Mattawa, it appears from the Table that the
total distance to Fort Garry is 1,110 miles, while by way of Bracebridge,
Sault Ste. Marie, Duluth and Pembina, the distance is 1,290 miles, and by
way of Chicago and St. Paul the distance is 1,507 miles, thus establishing
•Embracing the Central Pacific Railway. Bnli
1 \v
i S'i
the fact, that of the three all-rail routes made or projected between Fort
Garry and Toronto, the Canadian Pacific is 170 miles shorter than the
route via Sault Ste. Marie and Duluth, and close on 400 miles less than the
Railway route via Chicago and St. Paul.
It will be farther seen that, during the season of -open navigation, the
distance between Toronto and Fort Garry via Nepigon, is 1,074 against
1274 miles via Duluth and that part of the Northern Pacific Railway east
of Pembina—giving a saving of 200 miles in favour of the Canadian
Pacific, and branch to Nepigon, of which saving 40 miles is rail and 160
miles water.
Viewing the Canadian Pacific Railway as a " through" route between
Ports on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the comparative Profile referred
to in a previous paragraph, and which accompanies this, illustrates the
remarkable engineering advantages which it possesses over the Union
Pacific Railway. The lower altitudes to be reached, and the more favorable
gradients, are not, however, the only advantages.
A careful examination into the question of distances, shows, beyond
dispute, that the Continent can be spanned by a much shorter line on
Canadian soil than by the existing railway through the United States.
Referring to the Table again, it will be seen that the distance from San
Francisco to New York, by the Union Pacific Railway, is 3,363 miles,
while from New Westminster to Montreal it is only 2,730 or 633 miles in
favor of the Canadian route.
A closer examination of the Table will show that by the construction
of the  Canadian Pacific Railway,  even New York, Boston and Portland
will be brought from 300 to 500 miles nearer the Pacific coast than they are
at present.
A comparison of distance between distant points which may form
traffic connections with the Inter-Oceanic Railways of North America, bring
out some important facts referred, to in the Table.
Compared with the Union Pacific Railway, the Canadian Line will
shorten the passage between Liverpool and China, in direct distance, more
than one thousand miles.
When the remarkable Engineering advantages which appear to be ob.
tainable on the Canadian Line and the very great reduction in mileage above
referred to are taken into consideration, it is evident that the Canadian
Pacific Railway, in entering into competition for the Through Traffic between the two Oceans, will possess in a very high degree the essential
elements of success. It has been found impossible to make any comparison with the Northern
Pacific Railway, projected through the Territories of the United States to
Puget Sound, as no reliable information could be obtained respecting
distances, gradients, elevations, or probable route, except on that portion of
the undertaking east of the Red River.
In concluding this Report it may not be out of place E remark that a
Survey of such magnitude through a country for the most part uninhabited
and destitute of the means of shelter or subsistence could not be prosecuted
without encountering risks and hardships to the individuals engaged.
The serious responsibility of keeping all the various parties properly
supplied with at least common necessaries of food was fully appreciated
from the beginning, and although supplies may, in isolated cases, have run
short, no actual suffering from want has been reported.
It greatly grieves me to report the loss of seven poor men, who
perished last summer through forest fires while" engaged in carying provisions to one of the surveying parties north of Lake Superior.
No other very serious disaster has occurred, although several narrow
escapes have been met with. Since the winter set in several men have
been badly frozen.
It is impossible to speak too highly of the courage and endurance displayed by members of the Staff, more especially of those who, in order to
carry out the wishes of the Government with as little delay as possible, did
not hesitate, after the summer's campaign had terminated, to remain out on
the exploration during the winter.
Some of these parties have been out for nearly ten consecutive months
embracing the whole of winter with all its severity. The service under the
circumstances of country and climate could not fail to be a very severe
one. It was impossible to supply them adequately with shelter or change
of diet, in consequence of which several painful cases of scurvy have
All hardships and deprivations have, however, been braved and endured in a manner deserving of the highest commendation.
It is extremely gratifying to be able to report that with very few exceptions all the members of the Staff, including those engaged in the Commissariat Branch, entered on their several duties with great zeal, and
exerted themselves in every possible way to bring the work to a successful
issue. ¥■
It is due to the Officers of the Hudson Bay Company to state that
wherever they were met with, they extended to the parties engaged on
the survey much very acceptable kindness and assistance.
The Indians along the whole route proved remarkably friendly, when
the nature and objects of the several expeditions were explained to them.
Many of them rendered valuable service in various ways, in connection
with the work.of exploration.
I have the honor to be,
Your Obedient Servant,
-Sandford Fleming,
Engineer-in- Chief. M
Canadian Pacific Railway, as projected on Plan.
(See explanation, page 10 of Report.)
Mattawa to junction of Nipigon branch	
Junction of Nipigon branch to Fort Garry	
Mattawa to Fort Garry
Nipigon branoh.. „pi.	
Fort Garry to Jasper House.
Jasper House to Y ellow Head Pass	
Yellow Head Pass to Tete Jaiine Cache	
Jasper House-to Tete Jaune Cache.
Mattawa to Tete Jaune Cache	
Tete Jaune Cache to New Westminister (Burrard Inlet) via. Kamloops and line
under Survey .,%	
MattaWWto New Westminister ■
Mattawa to Tete Jaune Cache (as above)	
T6te Jaune Cache to Bute Inlet, via North Thompson and Lac la Hache..
Mattawa to Bute Inlet.
Mattawa to Tete Jaune Cache (as above)	
Tfete Jaune Cache to Bute Inlet, via North Fraser River and Forts George and
Mattawa to Bute Inlet,
Mattawa to Bute Inlet (as above)	
Bute Inlet to Alberni Canal (Barclay Sound).
Mattawa to Alberni Canal	
Mattawa to Bute Inlet, (as above)	
Bute Inlet to Victoria, (Esquimault Harbor).
Mattawa to Victoria.
Mattawa to T6te Jaune Cache (as above)	
Tete- Jaune Cache to Port Essington, via North Fraser River.
Mattawa to Port Essirigton-.
2; 600
2,500 18
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Names of places between Montreal, Toronto and Fort Garry.
Montreal to Mattawa	
Mattawa to Fort Garry (Canadian Pacific).
Montreal to Fort Garry (via Mattawa) ...
Montreal to Mattawa	
Mattawa to Sault Ste. Marie	
Sault Ste. Marie to Nipigon	
Nipigon to Fort Garry (Canadian Pacific).
WMontrealto Fort Garry (via Mattawa, Sault, and Nipigon).
Montreal to Mattawa	
Mattawa to Sault Ste. Mari.
Sault Ste. Marie to Duluth.
Duluth to Moorhead	
Moorhead to Fort Garry—
Montreal to Fort Garry (via Mattawa, Sault, Duluth, and Moorhead).
Montreal to Chicago	
Chicago to St. Paul	
St. Paul to Fort Garry	
Montreal to Fort Garry (via Chicago and St. Paul).
Montreal to Toronto	
Toronto to CoUingwood	
Collingwood to Nipigon	
Nipigon to Fort Garry (Canadian Pacific).
Montreal to Fort Garry (via Toronto, Collingwood, and Nipigon)	
Toronto to Bracebridge (via Northern and Toronto and Nipissing Bailway).
Bracbridge to Mattawa	
Mattawa to Fort Garry (Canadian Pacific)	
Br or W.
Toronto to Fort Garry (via Bracebridge and Mattawa).
Toronto to Bracebridge....,	
Bracebridge to Sault Ste. Marie	
Sault Ste. Marie to Nipigon	
Nipigon to Fort Garry (Canadian Pacific) Li'.	
Toronto to Fort Garry (via Bracebridge, Saolt, and Nipigon).
Toronto to Bracebridge	
Bracebridge to Sault Ste. Marie	
Sault Ste. Marie to Duluth	
Duluth to Moorhead	
Moorhead to For l Garry.	
Toronto to Fort Garry (via Bracebridge, Sault, Duluth, and Moorhead.
Toronto to Chicago	
Chicago to St. Paul M.	
St. Paul to Breckenridge	
Breckenridge to Fort Garry	
9 Toronto to Fort Gairy (via Chicago and St. Paul)	
Toronto to Collingwood	
Collingwood to Nipigon !!.'".'.!!
Nipigon to Fort Garry (Canadian Pacific) !..!!!!...
10 Toronto to Fort Garry (via Collixgwood and Nipigon, and Canadian Pacific).
Toronto to Collingwood.
Collingwood to Duluth..
Duluth to Moorhead	
Moorhead to Fort Garry.
I Toronto to Fort Garry (via Collingwood, Duluth, and Moorhead).
11 Fort Garry to Duluth (Bailway made or projected)	
Fort Garry to Nipigon (Canadian Pacific, Main Line and Branch)...."'.'.]
NOTE•—w.befe ev:i1'Z.ort(*arry ^ i^entic-ned in the above distances, the lower Fort Garry or Stone
, is th« place meant; this bein& tound the most •lieible point tor cr6ssine Red River * 19
1" San Francisco to New York.—Union Pacific, Michigan Central and New York Central.
New Westminster to Montreal.—Canadian Pacific, and Line to Montreal via Ottawa	
Difference in favour of Canadian Boute	
San Francisco to New York.—Union Pacific, Michigan Central and New York Central	
New Westminster to New York,—Canadian Pacific, St, Lawrence & Ottawa,	
Ogdensbnrgh &Rome, and New York Central  .%£i	
Difference in favour of Canadian Route	
San Francisco to Montreal.—Union Pacific, Michigan Central. Grand Trunk Railway	
New Westminster to Montreal.—Canadian Pacific, Montreal & Ottawa	
Difference in favour of Canadian Route	
San Francisco to Boston.—Union Pacific, Michigan Central, New York Central, to Troy, Troy to
New Westminster to Boston,—Canadian,. Pacific, Ottawa to Montreal, Montreal to
Difference in favour of Canadian Route	
San Francisco to Portland.—Union Pacific, Michigan Central, Grand Trunk Railway	
Westminster to Portland.—Canadian Pacific, Ottawa & Montreal, Grand Trunk Railway	
Difference in favour of Canadian Route	
NOTE.-The distance from. Japan, China or the Asiatic Coast generally, to Liverpool is from 1,000 to
1 200 miles less by the Canadian Pacific than by the Union Pacific Railway. In reference to this point Professor Maury, U. S., writes :—" The trade-winds place Vancouver's Island on the way side of the road from.
" China and Japan to San Francisco so completely that a trading vessel under canvas to the latter place would
" take the same route as if she was bound for Vancouver's Island—so that all return cargoes would naturally
" come there in order to save two or three weeks, besides risk and expense." It must, however, be clearly
understood that this advantage equivalent to the distance between Vancouver Island and San Francisco,
viz. about 800 miles, is independent of and in addition to the saving of direct distance, by the Canadian
Route, given above.
„„„ 5 Lat.    40°—42'—42" N.
NewYork    lojj    74_00_00 w.
5 Lat.   45°—36—17 N.
Montreal |Lon    73_58_S0 W.
SAN FRANCISCO j £&   » =g jj *
New Westminster {E&og =g=j» W. 20
Victoria, British Columbia,
21st March, 1872.
Sandford Fleming, Esq., Engineer-in-Chief, C.P.R., Ottawa,
Sir,—I have the honor to forward yon a report of my proceedings
since the 29th of last July, on which day I received your letter of June
24th, appointing me to the direction of the surveys to be made in connection with a railway through Canada to the Pacific coast, in the district
lying between the mouth of Eagle River, emptying into the Great Shuswap
Lake and the Lower Fraser River.
Unfortunately, at the time of my return from the G-reat Bend of the
Fraser, Mr. "Watt, the gentleman appointed to act as Commissariat officer and
Paymaster, and whom you directed me to confer with respecting all necessary outfit and-expenses, was absent from Victoria with Mr. McLennan's
parties, and did not return until the 19th of August. Having had no opportunity of consulting with him, or with Mr. Moberly and Mr. McLennan,
whom I met for a few minutes only on their way up country, I was
unable to move so actively in organizing parties to commence work as I
could have wished. The time, however, was not altogether lost, as it
enabled me to collect the necessary material with which to form my two
parties—a work of very considerable difficulty, as nearly all the professional
gentlemen available in the colony were already engaged on the survey.
Knowing how small a portion of the autumn there was remaining
suitable for field operations, and how desirable it was to obtain as much
information as possible before the close of the year, I judged it advisable
to commence work at the nearest point; more particularly as it would
embrace the canons of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, which present
the most serious obstacles to the construction of a railway.
Having completed my preparations, I left Victoria on Tuesday the
5th September, and reached Yale (the head of the steamboat navigation on.
the Lower Fraser, and distant from New Westminster by the river about
ninety-five miles) on the following Thursday, the 7th September.
From this point I detached Mr. Huxd (whom I had placed in charge of
the U party) to Lytton, at the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson
ixivers, and distant fifty-seven miles by the waggon-road from Yale;
"with instructions to form a camp near that place, and survey up the left
bank of the Thompson towards Eagle Pass. M
I moved the W party out to camp on Saturday, the 9th September,
and Mr. Homfray, who had been left behind when we started from
Victoria, having arrived at Yale on Sunday, I placed the par-ty in his
charge with directions to survey up the river to Lytton. On Monday I
went over apportion of the line with him, and selected the toll gate near
Yale as the initial point from which to commence the survey, directing
him to keep as near as practicable on a suitable grade for the railway.
The following morning, after seeing them commence work, I drove to
Lytton, and found Mr. Hurd had arrived with his party the day before,
and had formed a camp about two miles above Lytton. The next day,
Wednesday, 13th September, I spent going over the line with Mr. Hurd,
determined on the Court House at Lytton for the starting point, and the
following day the party commenced work.
I remained with them two days, advising Mr. Hurd as to the course
of the line, until Mr. "Watt arrived, when I accompanied him to Kamloops,
where he purchased a train of twenty-six animals for the use of the IJ
party in moving their camp, etc.
I reached Kamloops on "Wednesday, having taken the opportunity to
come up the lake in a canoe, so as to be better able to judge of the nature
of its shores. The horse trail by which I had always previously travelled
takes back from the lake soon after leaving Saraua's Ferry, and follows over
very high ground in order to avoid the great Bluff above Cherry Creek,
which rises nearly perpendicularly from the waters edge to a height of
about eleven hundred and thirty (1,130) feet above the lake. This bluff is
about one and three quarter (If) mile iu length, and presents a very serious obstacle to the construction of a railway.
After purchasing and despatching the pack trs
to Lytton, I started
the next day, Saturday, September 23rd, to make an exploration of the
contry between the head, of the Little Shuswap Lake and the mouth of
the Eagle Pass, the result of which was entirely satisfactory, as I found
that the line could be taken by either of two valleys to the south west or
Salmon river arm of the Great Shuswap Lake, thus avoiding a long detour
of many miles along the shore of the lake, which will at once be seen on
referring to the map. The first line leaves the little Shuswap Lake, at its
head, and follows a valley through which an Indian horse-trail runs
to the Okanagan, with a general course to the south-east. By the second
line the south-shore of the Great Shuswap Lake would be followed for
about four  or
miles from   its  outlet,  when
line would  leave
it, and running a little east of south, would gain the Salmon river arm
at the same point as the first. The distance by the first line is shorter, but
the height to be surmounted would be somewhat greater than that by the
second line. I could not place much reliance, however, on the barometer,
as the weather was very stormy and changeable. On resuming work I
intend to run a level from the Little Lake to the summit of the first Pass;
and should I find the aseent too heavy, I shall continue on to the Great 22
Lake, and run the line through the second valley to the Salmon river arm.
From the mouth of Salmon River I continued along the shore of the
lake, which is much easier than I had anticipated, to the Shickamouse
Narrows near the mouth of Eagle River, where Mr. Moberley's district
The Narrows is a shallow channel connecting the two lakes, and about
three hundred (300) feet in width. The bottom is composed of sand and
gravel, and the Indians have a fish-weir across it. The depth at the time
I was there could not have been more than four or five feet. After
spending some days in examining the country in that neighborhood, I
returned by way of Salmon River and Nicola Lake to Spence's Bridge (by
which the Cariboo waggon road crosses the Thompson River twenty-three
miles above Lytton), arriving there on the evening of Sunday the 15th
I cannot help thinking that a better and certainly a much shorter line
for a railway can be obtained by way of Nicola Lake to Hope, than the
one surveyed last Autumn by the Thompson and Fraser Valleys; and I
will here quote what I wrote to you in my letter of the 4th November
last, in reference to this subject:—" This route from Eagle Pass, by way
of Salmon River and Nicola Lake, offers great facilities for the construction
of a railway.    The gradients would be very easy, and there are no heavy
bluffs to be  encountered.    A saving of from   forty to   fifty   miles   in
distance would also be effected, should any pass through the Cascade
range be found by which to connect Nicola Lake directly with Hope, and
all the difficulties of the canons of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers would
be avoided.    Unfortunately the lateness of the season precluded the possibility of my attempting any exploration of these mountains during the
present year,  but I consider it highly desirable that they should be
examined next summer.    The chief difficultv would be in descending to
Hope, as Nicola Lake is nearly two thousand "(2,000) feet above the sea."
On my arriving at Spence's Bridge, I found that the U party had
passed some days before,   and  were then camped about twelve  miles
above, on the left bank of the river.    The next day I rode out to their
camp, and finding that they were getting on satisfactorily with the line I
left them the following day, and travelled to Lytton, where I learned that
them party had already returned to Yale, after completing the survev to
that place.    I therefore proceeded on and reached Yale on the 19th October
when I found that the party had arrived, and were preparing to survev
from Yale towards Burrard Inlet.    After seeing them commence work I
started for Victoria for the purpose of obtaining several articles of which
the party was in need, and arrived here on Wednesday, October 25th
Remaining oyer one steamer, I left again on the following Tuesdav  and
joined Mr. Homfray s party on Friday, November 3rd, at the listers
Rocks,   some ten miles below Yale, where I found them encamped  the
line haying previously been brought down to that point ' 23
The weather, which had hitherto been fine, now became very wet
and stormy, and greatly retarded the progress of the survey. Deeming it
of the utmost importance, however, that as much information as possible
should be obtained before closing operations for the season, I determined
to continue the party at work for some time longer, although at considerable disadvantage, giving Mr. Homfray directions to break up the camp
and return with his party to Victoria, when he found it useless to continue
longer in the field.
Leaving Yale on Monday, November 5th, I reached Mr. Hurd's camp
on Kamloops Lake,, near the mouth of Cherry Creek, on Friday, the 9th, and
found that the party had just completed the survey to that point. I spent
that afternoon in company with Mr. Hurd in examining the Great Bluff; and
the next day we started to run the line over the crest of it, as we found it
would be quite impossible to keep near the water's edge, the bluff in some
places being precipitous. The following day, (Sunday,) it was bitterly
cold, with driving snow; Monday was the same, so that the party was
unable to move out of camp. The winter had now set in, and considerably earlier than usual; but, in ignorance of this fact and in hopes that
the weather would moderate every day," the party continued at work,
and eventually succeeded in reaching the foot of the Great Shuswap Lake
on December 4th, thus fulfilling the instructions I had given them, and
accomplishing the object I had in view, viz.:—to obtain a section from
Lytton to the Great Shuswap Lake.
After accompanying the party twenty miles beyond Kamloops, I
left them and returned to that place on November 27th, when I made
arrangements to winter the pack-train, and store the balance of the supplies,
camp equipage, &c, on the return of the party. I left Kamloops on the
1st December, (at which time the Indians were crossing horses over the
Thompson on the ice,) and reached Cornwall's, on the waggon-road the
next day, when I engaged with him to send his waggon to Savana's Ferry,
and bring the party down to Lytton. On the morning of the 3rd December, the thermometer at this place (Ashcroft) stood at 20° below zero. I
reached Lytton on the 4th December, and Yale on the 7th, the travelling
being very 'bad from the quantity of snow and ice on the road.
On my arrival at Yale, I found that Mr. Homfray had not yet returned
to Victoria, having gone into winter quarters at Hope, some three weeks
previously,'with all its party. The following morning I started early in a
canoe, and, calling at Hope, gave Mr. Homfray strict injunctions to store
all his provisions, &c, and bring his party down without further loss of
time to Victoria. The same night I reached New Westminster, where I
was detained three days waiting for the steamer, and finally reached
Victoria on December 12th. Mr. Homfray arrived with the V party on
the 16th, when the men were immediately paid off; and Mr. Hurd with
the U party, on the following Saturday, December 20th, when his party
was also paid off and discharged. 24
■ 111
a *',1
Having thus given you an account of the operations for the season, of the
two parties in the field, I may here state that the result of their work may be
considered satisfactory, since it has established the fact that an easy grade
can be obtained from the Pacific Ocean to the mouth of Eagle Pass ; and
the surveys made by Mr. Moberly's parties by th valley of Eagle River,
across the gold range to the Big Eddy of the Columbia, and from the
mouth of Blaeberry River, through Howse Pass to the Kootani Plain, on
the east side of the Rocky Mountains, prove that these two formidable
mountain ranges can be crossed with much less difficulty than had hitherto
been believed possible.
Although the Y party was unable, in consequence of the earliness
and severity of the winter, to reach tide-water, as I had one time hoped
they would be able to do, the section is not hi any Way materially affected
as the survey has been brought through the Cascade Range to the wide open
valley of the Lower Fraser, and the fall from the closing part of their
work, estimated by barometrical observations, is only 232Jxeet, distributed
over a distance of sixty-nine (69) miles. There is still, however, a good
deal of work to be done to reach the sea from Hope, as the line will
have to be carefully explored in order to aVoid numerous sloughs, and
ground overflowed during the summer freshet; and as most of the country
is covered with very heavy timber and a dense undergrowth, the progress
of this pOTtion of the survey must necessarily be slow. . Lohg bridges will
be required to cross Harrison and Pitt Rivers, which can be constructed
of timber as no ice or drift logs run dowh them and They have very^
little current, the waters being backed up, in the summer, by the Fraser.
! ft
In addition to the plahs and sections on the large scale directed, I
have had a smaller section made, which will show at a glance the relative
heights from the sea to the Great Shuswap Lake, and a$so a plan, on the
same scale of two miles to the inch, of the whole district from Eagle Pas&
to Burrard Inlet. On it I have marked, by a firm red line, the course run
last autumn from Hope to the Great Shuswap Lafee, by the valleys of the
Fraser and Thompson Rivers; and by a red dotted line, the portion
at either end yet remaining to be surveyed in order to connect Eagle Pass
with the Pacific Ocean.
I have also laid down on the map my exploration by Salmon River
and Nicola Lake, so that you may thus be better able to judg^ of the advantages a line by that route would possess, should I be successful this
summer in discovering some pass through the Cascade Mountains by which
to descend to Hope.
Although the section by the Fraser and Thompson Valleys shews a
very easy grade, and a large portion of the country is favourable for a railway, particularly from Spencer's Bridge to the Shuswap Lake, excepting
only the G-reat Bluff near Cherry Creek ; there are serious difficulties to
be encountered in&he Fraser Canon and between Lytton and Spence's
Bridge.    The   first twenty-one miles from Yale,  until China   Bluff  is 25
passed, being one continuous succession of precipitous rocky points and
side hills, broken only in a few places by gravel benches. From China
Bar Bluff to Lytton, with the exception of Jackass Mountain and the bluff
six miles below Lytton, the country is much more favorable, as a
number of gravel benches can be followed. Above Lytton there are several
rocky points to be passed before reaching the Nicaomin, and one about
three miles beyond that stream. The rest of the line to Spence's Bridge
would run along the face, and at the foot of steep gravelly hill sides.
There is one point, and only one, on the whole line where wet and springy
ground is met with, at the Mud Mountain so named, between pegs 901 and
919 from Lytton. The soil at this place is composed of a reddish yellow
marl intermixed with fragments of rock and alkali, and appears to be constantly but slowly being pushed down to the river by the superincumbent
mass . The slope is not steep, the angle being about 25 degrees, but
it extends a very considerable distance up into a gorge of the mountain. It
evidently rests on sloping rock, which, indeed presents itself at the bank
of the river, where it has a .precipitous face of about fifty feet in
height. In the spring this ground is very rotten and treacherous, and it is
with difficulty that the drains can be kept opened ; later on in the summer
it becomes hard and compact, forming an admirable road.
At Spence's Bridge, formerly Cook's Ferry, the open bunch grass
country fairly commences and continues without interruption to the foot
of the Little Shuswap Lake, beyond which point the country is thickly
timbered with fir, pine and some cedar.
The formation of this section of the country is very peculiar, being
composed, like all the valleys east of the Cascade Range, of a number of
benches rising in succession one above the other, of greater or less height,
and broken at intervals by rocky points. Many of these flats or benches
are composed of very rich soil, and raise large crops of grain and
vegetables, where water can be obtained for irrigation; others again are
somewhat stony and gravelly, but they are all covered, as well as the high
bald hills behind them, with a luxuriant growth of bunch grass, on which
cattle and horses become fat very speedily, and keep in condition throughout the winter.
On the Bonaparte and Thompson Rivers, and in the neighborhood of
Kamloops, there are many fine farms, upon which a large amount of grain
is raised, but not nearly to the extent that is possible, the market at present
being very limited. Most of the settlers devote their attention to the raising
of cattle, which are easily driven to the mining districts, and find there a
ready sale.
Six miles from Yale on the waggon-road, limestone is found, from
which lime of excellent quality has been obtained for building purposes.
The lime for the masonry of the Alexandra Suspension Bridge was burnt
here. Limestone also appears on both banks of the Thompson, about eight
miles above Spence's Bridge, and at Nickola Lake and other points. 26
ft I
Wmh :
R !
i  !
At Nickola Lake there has also been discovered a seam of coal of
superior quality, and six feet in thickness. Small quantities have, from
time to time, been packed down on horses to Cook's Ferry and Lytton
during the last two or three ye'ars, and it is highly esteemed for black-
smithing purposes.
For a more detailed description of the country and the line run, I
would refer you to the plans and sections, and to reports and diaries of
the two engineers in charge, Mr. Hurd and Mr. Homfray, which I forward
with this. I also send a short report from Mr. McClure, explanatory of
his section from Yale to Lytton. In future I have directed that the level
be run on the surveyed line, unless where prevented by some insuperable
obstacle. The dotted line on the plans will show where deviations, from
the traverse line run, are suggested.
I also enclose with the plans the originals of all the field notes, copies
of which I have had made, and shall retain for reference here. I have also
kept copies of the plans and sections.
Annexed is a statement of the total expenditure on account of the
two parties up to the 31st December last, amounting in all to $24,211.76 ;
deducting from the sum the value of stores on hand, pack-train, &c, it will
be seen that the actual cost of the work done under my charge is $16,716.10.
I am glad to be able to state that I heard from Kamloops last week that all
the animals of my pack-train which I left there in charge of Captain Layton,
had survived the winter, and were improving in condition.
Immediately after despatching the plans and reports, I shall send out
the two parties to resume the surveys at the points where they discontinued
work last winter.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
District Engineer.
mi' 27
-AJPi^jsrsratx: tvo. 3.
(Progress Report from Walter Moberly, Esq., in charge of the District between
Great Shuswap Lake and Kootanie Plain.)
Victoria, February 24th, 1872.
Sandford Fleming, Esq,.,
Engineer-in-Chief, Canadian Pacific Railway, Ottawa,
g!B5—I have the honor to forward you a report of the progress made
in carrying out the Exploratory Survey, of the "Howse Pass District"
of the Canadian Pacific Railway, of which I have charge.
I am glad to be able to inform you that my explorations last season,
in connection with those made in former years by me,* of that portion
of British Columbia, situated between the 49 and 52 parallels of North Latitude and extending from the gulf of G-eorgia to the easterly boundary of
the Province, and thence easterly along the valley of the North Saskatchewan river to the north easterly end of the "Kootanie Plain" have resulted
in the discovery of a tolerably direct and practicable line for a railway
from the "Pacific Ocean" to the "Kootanie Plain"; and, considering the
nature of the country west of the water shed of the Rocky Mountains, a
much more favorable line than was, previous to those explorations,
expected. (See Capt. Palliser's General Report. Dated April 4th, 1862.
Page 16. "Objection to a line of railway across North America to the
Pacific") As a detailed report of the District extending from the westerly
boundary of my District to the Pacific coast will be furnished you by Mr.
John Trutch, the Engineer in charge, I shall in this report confine myself
to the limits of my own District, which includes the most formidable
mountains in the Dominion, viz. : The Rocky, the Selkirk and Gold ranges.
I arrived at Victoria from San Francisco on the 13th July last. Mr. R.
McLennan who has charge of the explorations via the 'Yellowhead Pass;' Mr.
G-eorge "Watt Paymaster and Commissariat Officer of the Canadian Pacihc
Railway and the rest of the staff appointed in Ottawa also came by the
same boat. We used our utmost exertions to get the different parties,
too-ether with their supplies and instruments, en route for the interior, but
experienced some delay as many articles had to be made before leaving.
Victoria, and the majority of the men needed to fill the parties, engaged^
We were also unable at first to get pack animals or other modes of
convevance for the transportation of our supplies, &c to the remote portions of the country to which we had to repair. We however, managed
to land the advance party on the mainland of British Columbia^on the 20th
of Julv—the day upon which it became a portion of the Dominion of
Canada-and on the 25th of the same month the rest of our parties destined
for the Yellowhead and Howse Passes sailed for the Fraser river.
•Explorations have also been made, by others, of the country below Kamloops. 28
Mr. Arthur Selwyn, Director of the Provincial G-eological Survey, and
his party also left by the same boat. I landed at Hope with p^rty S,
which I decided to send that way to Wild Horse Creek in the Rocky
Mountains and thence to the "Kootanie Plain" or the westerly end of the
"Howse Pass" as circumstances might shew to be most advisable. Mr.
McLennan, Mr. Watt and Mr. Selwyn with their parties and also my party
T went on to Yale and thence to Kamloops, where I arranged to join them
as soon as I had seen my party S fairly off.
Fortunately on my arrival at Hope I found that the
mule train I had arranged to purchase before I left Victoria
from the Hudson's Bay Company, would be in town the following day.
The morning after my arrival I formed the camp and on the arrival of the
animals I took possession of them, but was again disappointed in getting
off, as the packers in charge of the train would not enter our service owing
to the distance we were going away from their homes ; I was therefore
obliged to telegraph to N ew Westminster for others, and as soon as they
reached Hope I put the train and cargo into order, and on the 31st July
got it and the whole of party S off, having arranged with the Engineer in
charge of the party that I would overtake the party before it reached Wild
Horse Creek.
The purchase of the above pack animals turned out to be a most fortunate investment, not only on account of the low rate at which I got them
and the increase in the value of animals within a week after their purchase,
owing to the demand for animals to convey freight into the Peace river
mines but more especially as there were not any other trains on this route,
and without them I should have been compelled to take the party via Yale,
Kamloops and Osoyons Lake, and thence by the same trail via Fort
Shepherd, which they followed, to Wild Horse Creek, which would have
involved a heavy extra expenditure, an increased distance of over 200
miles travel and above all such a loss of time that it would have prevented
the party reaching the source of the Columbia river before winter set in.
The same day party H left Hope, I went by canoe to Yale and on
reaching that town found Mr. Watt had been obliged to go on to Quesnel
mouth, to see that party K'were provided with supplies and means of conveyance to get from that point to "Tete Jaune Cache," owing to the above
he had not been able to arrange for various supplies, &c, which were to
have been purchased at Yale and forwarded to Kamloops; I therefore remained over a day at Yale and purchased and arranged for the forwarding
to Kamloops, of a quantity of supplies for both Mr. McLennan's and my
own party T. The following morning I went on as fast as possible on my
way to Kamloops, but as a letter from Mr. McLennian reached me on the
road stating that he could not get the necessary pack animals for his sear-
vice at Kamloops and requesting me to arrange for some beef cattle, I saw
one of the cattle owne^g on the Thompson river and purchased < 22 head to
be delivered at Kamloops in four days from the date of purchase. I after-
Wards found that I might have purchased cattle somewhat cheaper on the &
Thompson river but placed as I was, and not wishing our parties to be
delayed I could not run the risk of not having beef cattle on hand. I
then proceeded to the mouth of the Bonaparte river to try and purchase a
mule train I heard of in that vicinity. I could not see the animals that day
as they were in the mountains, but arranged to meet the mau in charge of
them some 15 miles further on the following day. When having seen the
animals I purchased them under agreement to be delivered to me together
with aparahoes and rigging at Savona's Ferry the next day. I reached
Savona's Ferry the same evening, where I found my T party, a portion of
Mr. McLennan's and Mr. Selwyn's party. I had the bateau then at
Savona's Ferry loaded with supplies for T" party and gave orders for the
whole of that party to go on to Kamloops the following day. I then hired
a canoe and in company with Mr. Selwyn started for Kamloops which we
reached the following morning, where we found Mr. McLennan very busy
preparing for his trip up the north Thompson river. The next day, August
7, I started the whole of party ^ with supplies, &c, by water for the westerly end of the Eagle Pass with instructions to push the survey through
that Pass to the "Big Eddy" on the Columbia river, and thence along the
right bank of that river in the direction of the " Boat Encampment," with
the utmost vigor. The result of their work you will find in detail on the
plans and profiles and in the field books, diaries and reports of party T
furnished me by Mr. Mohan, Engineer in charge, which I now forward to
you. I sent Mi. A. S. Hall, Assistant Commissariat Officer, over by Seymour and G-old Greek with instructions to examine the country from
French Creek to the mouth of the Blaeberry river, in order to ascertain if
I could get animals over from La Porte, the head of steamboat navigation
above Colville, to the Howse Pass as it would greatly facilitate and cheapen
the conveyance of my supplies into that Pass. Mr. Hall was then to
proceed to Wild Horse Creek and meet party Si and myself. I remained at
Kamloops until the 15th day of August assisting Mr. McLennan to get his
trains and parties off,- and then started with a few horses for Wild Horse
Creek via Oolville. I was surprised to see the quantity of fine agricultural
and pasture land along the Shuswap and Salmon rivers and in the vicinity
of Great Okawagan Lake, many settlers have occupied land in this section
of the country, since I was there in 1866, and goodwheat and other cereals
of a very superior quality, and. vegetables that cannot be surpassed are
now grown there ; they also raise cattle and hogs, and with a market, of
which they stand much in need, this portion of the Province would sustain
a large and prosperous agricultural population.
At Osoyons Lake I was detained two days making a contract with a
packer to carry goods I intended to purchase at Oolville, from that place
to Wild Horse Creek, and also to get two horses for my own use. I reached
Colville on the 27th August and arranged with Capt. AT Pugston,
owner of the steamer "49," to make atrip up to the "Eddy with a
load Of supplies for party * ; next day I went on about 16 miles to the
Ameriean garrison and town of Colville where I purchased about 40,000
lbs. of supplies, one half for the » and the other half for the 1' party. On
the 30th August I left Colville-and proceeded by the long and tedious trail- $0
via Spokane, Pend'Oreille Lake, and a porti6n of the Fort Shepherd trail
to Wild Horse Creek, which I reached on the 13th September, having
overtaken the & party and train on the 11th. I found my party had to open
the trail for a distance of from 200 to 250 miles, as the old trail, which
had not been in use for three years, was blocked up with fallen timber
and the fires that had swept over the country had burned up all the bridges
and corduroys. Mr. Hall reached Wild Horse Creek the day before I got
m. I here found the supplies you telegraphed to have forwarded to " Fisher-
ville" before I left Ottawa, ready for me, and a most fortunate thing it was
that they were sent on in advance, as it enabled me to set my train at work
with hardly any delay in conveying them to the " Boat-Landing," which
is situated on the right bank of the McGillivary branch of the Columbia
about 48 miles from its source.
I remained at Wild Horse Creek until the 20th, and during my stav
there purchased some beef cattle, a small boat and canoe (the onlv ones I
could get) and various other supplies that would be needed to winter my
party on the Columbia river. The boat and canoe I sent up the Kootanie
river loaded with vegetables, and had them hauled over the Kootanie river
and the Columbia Lake, I subsequently had the boat and canoe employed
with the other craft I picked up on the Columbia river in freighting my
supplies from the " Boat Landing" to the mouth of " Howse Pass Partv
oiJPS1 \he ?rst trai»load of supplies, reached the " Boat Landing' on the
27th September, and I at once sent the train back for other supplies to
Wild Horse Creek ; at this work the train was kept busy until winter set
in. On my arrival at the "Landing" I was in a difficulty
to get canoes and boats, but fortunately managed to ffet two
old   canoes   from   the   Indians,   and   we   picked   up   two   bolts   that
• ™S abando*ed. \ or 8 Years ago. These boats I
saw m 1866 when exploring the Columbia River, for the Government of
British Columbia. The boats and canoes although small, and in a verv
unsound state, were of the greatest service to us, as without them we
should have been detained until we built some, as there is not any trail
from the "Boa Landing," down the Columbia River. Time7now
was most valuable to me, as everything indicated the rapid approach of
winter and I was most anxious to get over to the easterly end of mv
District on the North Saskatchewan River, before the snow fell. l\ot mv
party and a portion of the supplies, down to the mouth of Blaeberry river on
the evening of the 2nd of October, but to my great disappointment found
there was not any feed for animals to be had" I had sent;about 25 headof
horses down through the swamps and brush, that form a border to the
Svlr+r Tr' fr°m the "B°at Landing>" to the mouth of the Blaeberrv
river ; these horses were to pack our supplies from the Columbia river to
the different depots I had decided to build in the Howse vZsandb few
of them I intended to take with me across the Rock7 MotoiMns to ThT
bXof°tnethC 7 T d°t*, ?T ^n\e^iZdl^i, £?t^riZ
bank of the Columbia, which is known in all our notes &c, as the "Columbia River Depot." The next morning I set the whole party at work, to see if
we could get a trail opened to the mouth of the " Kicking Horse River,"
in order to render it unnecessary for our boats and canoes to run the
rapid water between the mouth of that river and our depot; we opened
the trail that day, for a distance of 2J miles, but found we would have to
give up the idea of a trail for the present, owing to the nature of the ground
as more labor would be required to make it passable than we could spare.
The trail however, opened a large tract of land covered with good feed
for animals, which was very valuable, as it always enabled us to drive the
horses on it, when they came down to the depot. At the same time the
party were at work on the above trail, I examined and biased a line for
a trail from the depot to the Blaeberry river, (shown on our map of the
Howse Pass) over a low spur of the mountains lying to the south of the
I Howse Pass." I now set the party at work opening this trail, building
the various " Depots," forwarding and storing the supplies in them, and
running a Traverse and levels, along the Blaeberry river to the height of
land between the head waters of the above river and those of the North
Saskatchewan river, and taking three Indians and eight horses I pushed on
ahead to mark the line for the trail and make my way over to the "Kootanie
Plain." As the fresh snow was all the time accumulating on the mountain
tops, and gradually getting lower and lower down their sides, it was a most
anxious time for me, as I decided not to return until I had a look at the
whole of my district. I did not take any of my party, with the exception
of the above Indians, as I did not want to endanger them, should the snow
fall before I got back; and in all my mountain explorations I have found
that I can move much more rapidly when not encumbered with white
men. The Indian, also, when properly handled and made to feel that
confidence and trust is reposed in him, will work in all kinds of weather,
and should supplies run short, on little or no food, without a murmur;
not so the generality of white men, particularly when working for a Government, although in justice I am bound to say that the white men, in
both my fe and T parties, could not have worked better or more faithfully
than they did, in all kinds of weather.
By chopping and hacking our way through the underbrush, and
jumping our horses over fallen timber, and incessantly wading up and
across the Blaeberry river, we reached the " Summit Camp," which is
about one mile from the true height of land, on the evening of the
17th of October. Here our troubles ceased, as we found excellent feed
for our nearly famished horses, and got clear of all the underbrush and
fallen timber. The Indians now wished to return, as they thought the
snow might begin to fall at any moment, and cause us to lose our horses
(three of the horses belonging to them) but as I calculated that I could
reach the " Kootanie Plain" in about three days, I told them that I would
only travel three or four days more, and that if their horses were lost or
left behind I would replace them when I got back to the Columbia River, so
they went on willingly. I concluded that if the snow fell before I got back,
to push on to the Rocky Mountain House and winter my horses there,
and then make the journey back to the Columbia River on snow-shoes. I took several observations with Aneroid, Boiling Point and Thermometer, at the " Summit Camp," and found my Aneroid had suffered a
considerable derangement the day I reached the above camp. This I
attribute to a fall I had with my horse of about twenty feet; as I was
riding along a steep bank the soil gave way and we both rolled down into
the " Blaeberry River," and as I fell against a tree the sudden jerk evidently knocked the delicate hand of the Barometer out of place. The
proper note of this is made in my Table of Observations, so that the
readings from the " Summit Camp" can be calculated separately from
those made previous to the above accident.
I Mm
|l!> 'i||
Iiioat travelled on through the "Blaeberry Nick" for about half a mile,
when we came to a number of springs which form the source of the "Blaeberry river" ; another half a mile brought me on to one of the streams that
form the head waters of the " North Saskatchewan river. " There is but
little difference in the level of the ground between the summit camp and
the waters of the North Saskatchewan where I first struck them. On
reaching the last mentioned stream we followjd down the shingle flats
through which it flows, and after passing a short canon where the cliffs on
each side do not rise to any great height we emerged on the extensive
shingle flats that sweep around the base of Mount Forbes, on its southerly
and westerly sides. A larger fork of the North Saskatchewan river forms
a junction with the one We followed from the "Height of Land" in the
the "Blaeberry Nick" at a distance of about five miles from the "summit
camp," the valley then takes a bend to the right and after passing through
a narrow opening with rocky banks we again came on a very extensive
shingle flat which continues down to the stream that flows from "Glacier
Lake." As the reports on the Eagle and Howse Passes, together with the
accompanying Field Books, Journals, Plans and Profiles, &c, &c„ will give
full details, I shall not enter into them in this report. We camped among
some low sand hills nearly opposite to the opening through which the
stream flows from "Glacier Lake," We saw many tracks of the Elk, the
Cariboo, the Mountain Sheep, and G-oat, the Grizzly and Black Bear^and
the Panther. The night being clear and calm I walked out on the
shingle flats for a mile or two to enjoy the grand and magnificent scenery
with which I was surrounded, but the unpleasant ery of a panther close to
me was a hint that I had better get back to camp,
followed the right bank of the river and at once struck upon
and well beaten horse trail, seeing the remains of innumerable camps
some of which had evidently been occupied two or three days before our
arrival. We forded the "Little North Fork" of the Saskatchewan at a distance of about three miles from our last camp and when we had followed
the trail for about 10 or 11 miles we forded the main river to the left bank as
the ground on the right bank becomes broken and rugged and the trail is bad
and but little used—probably only travelled during high water when animals
cannot ford. Immediately on reaching the left bank of the river we came
on a capital, well beaten and nearly level horse trail which we followed all
the way to the "Kootihie Plain." I camped at a point I thought was about
2 or 3 miles above the "Kootanie Plain" and the following day, October
The next morning we
good 19th, I travelled to the north easterly end of the Plain, then forded to the
opposite bank and hunted in all directions in order to ascertain if any signs
of the party in charge of my brother Frank could be found. As I was
satisfied they could not as yet have been to this point from the east (we
arranged to meet here before I left Ottawa) and as the winter was too close
at hand for me to wait or go on to the "Rocky Mountain House" I r'ecrossed
the river to the left bank and when I got on the main trail picked out a
conspicuous grove of firs on the trail in the middle of a prairie which we
biased and marked and then having deposited a letter for him I commenced
my return journey and reached my last night's camp where I staid. The
two following days were occupied in returning to the "Summit camp" which
I reached on Sunday the 22nd October at 2 p. m. The thermometer stood
at 50 ° in the shade; the extraordinary warmth of the weather during my
trip through the valley of the Saskatchewan has quite astonished me and.
I at this time concluded we must have had a very late and fine season. I
took a bath in the head waters of the Blaeberry river and found the water
quite pleasant. After my return to the Columbia and Thompson rivers I
found from the miners and settlers that the winter had set in much earlier
and with a greater degree of severity than any other of which they had
any record.
I was very much disappointed to find that my party had not as yet
reached the " bummit Camp" so the following day 1 started down to meet
them; at a distance of two miles I met Messrs. Gillette and Rheaume,
who were running the levels, and they informed me the party were
camped about four miles farther down on " Three Creek Flat," so I went
on there and camped. In the morning I had the party out cutting a
trail from Three Creek Flat up in the direction of Summit camp, and at
the same time I moved the camp up 2J miles, and instructed the party to
continue next day at work opening the trail to the summit for our pack
animals as Mr. Gillette informed me he would have the trial levels to the
height of land completed by that time, and Mr. Green said the same with
regard to the Traverse, both of which were fortunately accomplished.
The snow to-day, October 25th, fell on the river bottom, and everything
looked very wintry and miserable; however, 1 thought I might yet
manage to get the regular line of survey down from the summit, so I sent
word for the whole party to meet me at the summit with their instruments &c, &c, ready to commence work in the morning. I found it had
snowed a good deal during the night, but I started up at daylight and
overtook my party just as they reached the Summit camp. There was now
eight inches of snow on the ground and it was snowing heavily, but
there was not any frost in the ground. We tried to commence the line but our
instruments got full of water and it was impossible to walk along the steep
side hills with the new wet snow. I therefore gave orders for the party to
return to camp, which we reached some time after dark. Seeing now
that it would be useless to endeavor to survey the line from the " summit"
as both my party and horses would be endangered and the horses certainly
lost as they had no feed, I decided to move down to our Depot No. 2 and
try and survey the line from this point down to the Columbia river.   I there- 34
fore got all the party and horses down totihJat.station on the 30th @ofobeff,ibllHl
when we got up the next morning we found the snow was fallowing.' racfc-
and between daylight and 9 a. m., nine inches of snow fell. I now felt
convinced the Winter had fairly set in, so I reluctantly gave orders for tha-
whole party to make for the " Columbia River Dep&t" as fast as possible.
I got in with some of the horses on the 3rd Novovember, and the rest of
the party and horses all got down by the 6th. I now set:'all hands at work
building houses to winter in, and my staff getting the plans and profiles
ready to take down with me. I also sent for Mr. Hall to come to the
" Depot" at as early a date as he could, and get the remainder of our supplies down from " The Boat Landing" before the river got frozen up. In
this I was not successful as the first severe frost came on the 13th November, and stopped all further boating on the river. I now sent up the
horses to join the mule train which I gave orders should go into wiinfcer,
quarters near the " Boat Landing;" and at the same time sent instructions
for Mr. Hall to come down with all the accounts, so that I could take them
with me to Victoria. Mr. Hall arrived on the 27th day of November, and
having got everything in shape on the evening of the 3rd December, I
gave my final- instructions to the party (a copy of which I have already
forwarded to you) and on the 4th December commenced my journey down
to Victoria with the intention of visiting party T on my way, and also exploring the Pass reported to exist through Selkirk Range between the head
waters of the Bushay and Gold rivers. After a long andmost difficult
journey on snowshoes in the worst period of the year for travelling, as the snow was newly fafljejn, and the ice not safe, reached the
" Eddy" on the 22nd day of December, where I found party T safe
in their winter quartos. I found there was not any practicable pass,
through the Selkirk range, as the sunjmit was. upwards of 6,000 feet
above the sea level—4,00ftjfeet of wh^ch a^jtude. is (gained in about five
miles—and for several miles along the lowest portion of the Summit
Valley which lies between two ranges of mountains that rise from four to
six thousand feet higher thaniihe above valley, and from these mounting,
even at the. early part of the winter, when I ciossed them, enormous avalanches had slid down with such force that in several instances the snow
and ice of which they were composed was formed up the opposite side of
the valley to a height of from 1,000 to 2,000 feet.
I was detained at the "Eddy" six days waiting for the plans, profiles,
accounts, &c, &c, *of party T, but on the 29th day of December I again;
started on my downward journey through the Eagle Pass and via thecgreat
Shuswap lake and the river of the same name foic Kamloops which I
reached on the 9th day of January. The journey through the Eagle Pass
was very difficult, as there was not snow enough to cover the dense underbrush and fallen timber which made it almost impossible in many places
to use our snowshoes, and the; snow was so soft that walking without them
was extremely tedious and tiresome. The greatest depjbh of snow ini this
pass did not exceed two^eet when I passed over it. On my way to Kamloops I explored a pass from the north westerly end of the Salmon river
arm of the great-Shuswap lake>to a pointoppositedhe Islajad near the west '86
end of the main arm of the same lake, this pass may be made available for
the line of railway should the route via Salmon river, explored by Mr. John
Trutch last autumn, not be adopted.
The Eagle Pass derived its 'name from the following circumstances:—
In the summer of 1865, I was exploring the Gold Range of mountains
for the Government of British Columbia, to see if there was any Pass
through them. I arrived at the Eagle River, and on the top of a tree near
its mouth, I saw a large nest full of eaglets, and the two old birds on a
limb of the same tree. I had nothing but a small revolver in the shape of
firearms; this I discharged 8 or 10 times at the nest, but could not knock
it down. The two old birds after circling around the nest, flew up the
valley of the river; it struck me then, that if I followed them, I might
find the much wished for Pass. I explored the valley 2 or 3 weeks afterwards, and having been successful in finding a good Pass, I thought the
most appropriate name I could give it, was the " Eagle Pass."
I remained at Kamloops two days, settling a«counts with the Shuswap
Indians I brought over with me, and. getting horses ready for my journey
to Yale, and on the 21st day of January I reached New Westminster; by
the first Steamer I went over to Victoria, where I have since been preparing my accounts, plans, reports &c, and making preparations to have
everything in shape for an early start in the Spring.
The " Howse Pass District" extending from the westerly end of the
" Eagle Pass," to the " Eddy" on the Columbia River, thence by the valley
of that river, to the mouth of Blaeberry river, thence up Blaeberry river
to the " Height of Land " in the Rocky Mountains, is covered with a dense
growth of various kinds of timber, generally of a large size, and in most
places, with a very thick undergrowth of different descriptions of shrubs
and bushes-—fallen timber also abounds, and from the above causes and
the difficulty of getting our supplies along without roads or trails, the
progress of the survey along this portion of the line, will necessarily be
slow. From the Height of Land to within four miles of the Kootanie
Plain, along the line the Railway will most probably run, is also generally
covered with a thick growth of Fir and Spruce, but not of large size.
From the Height of Land eastward, along the valley of the North Saskatchewan, plenty of good feed for animals exists. From the same point
westward along the valley of the Blaeberry River, with the exception of a
few rushes, there is not any feed; but at our " Columbia River Depot "and
thence -up to the " Boat Landing," there is plenty of feed consisting principally of swamp grasses. At the latter point the bunch grass country is
reached, which extends without a break as far south in the "United States
Territory as I have been, viz., in Utah and Nevada and most probably
much farther.
The general results of my seasonls work have been:
1st. To run a traverse and levels through the Gold Range of moun- 36
tains uta the Eagle Pass, from Great Shuswap Lake to the Eddy, a distance
of forty-four miles, which has satisfactorily shewn that a very favorable
line for a Railway can be obtained through this pass. The highest point
to be passed over, is 747 feet above Great Shuswap Lake, aud a regular
and easy grade can be got to it, as the summit is 38 miles from that Lake.
2nd. To run a trial line with traverse and levels along the Blaeberry
river, which flows through Howse Pass, from the Columbia River to the
head waters of the North Saskatchewan river, which shows conclusively
that a line for a railway can be got through the Rocky Mountains. The
height of land above the Columbia river at our depot, is 2470 feet.
3rd. To explore the country from the height of land in the Rocky
Mountains, to the Kootanie Plain, by which I have ascertained that an
easy line for a railway can be obtained all the way, with a light descending grade. The distance I estimate at about forty miles, and the difference
of level, by means of observations made with Aneroid and Boiling point
Thermometer, at 355 feet.
4th. To. build depots at various places in Howse Pass, and at the Eddy
Columbia River, and store them with supplies, to enable my parties to
continue the explorations during the winter, and to resume the instrumental survey early in the Spring.
5th. To open about 300 miles of trail for pack animals, some of which
I was on the old government trail between Fort Hope and. Kootanie, and
the rest through the Howse Pass.   All this work I was obliged to have
done in order to get my party to the Rocky Mountains.
6th. To explore through the Selkirk range of mountains, from one of
the forks of Bushay river, to the waters of Gold river, where a pass was
reported to exist, but which I consider quite impracticable for a railway,
although a- pass might yet be found from another branch of the Bushay
river, to the head waters of Gold river, but I think the existence of a good
pass there is very doubtful.
7th. To explore and find a pass connecting the westerly end of the
Salmon river arm of the Great Shuswap Lake, with the westerly end
of the main arm of the same Lake, and which might be adopted as I before
observed, for the line of railway, should the valley of the Salmon river
not be chosen.
It may, perhaps, be premature for me to point out some of the commercial advantages this line will have, but it is my belief that some of the
principal ones (not taking a through traffic from China, Japan, &c, &c.
into consideration) are:
1st. That the land suitable for agricultural settlement extends further
westward along the valley of the north Saskatchewan river than by any
other route yet known, and there is an enormous tract of rich pasture
land adjoining it. Coal, in large quantities, is also reported to exist as far
up the river as the Rocky Mountain House. 2nd. That within a short distance from the point where agricultural
land, east of the Rocky Mountains, ceases, the road would open a considerable tract of land suitable for settlement along the valley of the
Columbia, south of our depot and extending down the Kootanie river ;
it would also open up a country on this portion of the line, where much
valuable timber could be obtained that will be needed by settlers in the
Saskatchewan valley.
3rd. It would enable capitalists to develope the rich mineral resources
of the Selkirk and Gold ranges of mountains, as both Placer mines, and
gold bearing quartz of a very rich quality, are known to exist; the placer
mines are now, to a small extent, worked at Wild Horse, Perry and French
creeks; and silver bearing rock of a superior description has been discovered in the Selkirk and Gold ranges. Qre from the Cherry Creek Silver
mine, situated on the westerly slope of the Gold range, in the vicinitv of
Great Shuswap Lake, sold in San Francisco, when reduced to pulp, for
|445—gold—per ton of 2,000 lbs.
4th. Proceeding still farther westward as soon as the mineral ranges,
above referred to, are passed, the line would emerge into the agricultural
and pasture region adjoiniug the Thompson, the Shuswap, the Spille-
mee-chene and Salmon Rivers, and in the neighborhood of the Great
Okanagan and Nicola lakes. Near the latter lake, I understand, coal of a
good quality was discovered last summer ; again, in p?ssing through the
Cascade range, it would run by the mineral region of the neighborhood
of Fort Hope, where large bodies of silver ore exist. The valley of the
Fraser, from the vicinity of Fort Hope to the Pacific coast, contains an
extensive tract of rich agricultural land which is generally covered with
a heavy growth of large and valuable timber.
You will thus observe that throughout nearly the whole length of
this line, either agricultural or mineral resources will always serve to
create a large and profitable way traffic.
I do not think that a shorter practicable line can be found, particularly if a good line could be obtained in a more direct course from the
Rocky Mountain House to Fort Ellice and thence to Fort Garry than by
following the valley of the north Saskatchewan by Forts Edmonton and
The late date at which I was able to get away from Victoria, the great
distance I had to take my parties and supplies into the interior, over a
rough and comparatively unopened country, and the early date at which the
winter set in, have all tended to prevent as much progress being made in
the Exploratory Surveys in my District, as I should have wished; but
the general result is, that now there is a certainty of having a line for a
railway, from the Pacific Coast to the Valley of the North Saskatchewan;
and it is my impression that the same difficulty, will not be experienced
on this line with regard to snow blockades as has just occurred on the
Union Pacific Railroad.
I m
I applied to the Government of British Columbia for reservations of
the ground around the " Columbia River " and " Eddy " depots, and they
have in each case made a reservation of 640 acres for the use of the
The tables of meteorological observations, that I took during my trip,
I forward to you, as they may be interesting to those taking an interest, in
the portions of country traversed by me; and I would suggest that the
Government of the Dominion, furnish me with proper instruments to
obtain a complete set of observations at three or four of my principal
depots, as I have a very good opportunity of having them taken, during
the progress of the surveys. These instruments should be forwarded
without delay to Victoria, so that I could take them up with me.
I may here mention, that the description given by Dr. Hector, of the
portions of the couniry traversed by me, and that were formerly explored
by him, when connected with Captain Palliser's Expedition, I found to be
very clear and accurate, and as I had his journal and reports always with
me, I found them invaluable.
The accompanying accounts will shew you the gross expenditure in
my district, up to January 1st 1872, and the value of the supplies now in the
different depots for the use of the parties during the current year, and
such .other details as will enable you to fully understand the financial
position of the district.
I remain,
Your Obedient Servant.
WALTER MOBERLY. *&smBmm'ti£ssBi w-o. m.
(Progress Repor&of Exploration from Ydllow Head Pass westerly by the Cafri-
boe District and by the North Thompson River, by R. McLennan, Esq.,
in charge.)
Sandford Fleming Esq,., )
Engineer in Chief.)
Ottawa, 2Srd. March 1872.
I respectfully submit the following report of my proceedings, and of
the progress made on that portion of the Survey in British Columbia, placed
under my charge in June last. In accordance with instructions, I proceeded
to Toronto on the 20th of June, and remained there a couple of days,
arranging for the purchase of instruments and other requisites. On the
22nd. accompanied by Mr. Walter Moberly C. E., Mr. George Watt, Commissariat Officer and others, left Toronto by rail, for San Francisco, and
arrived there on the 29th. At this place we had to await the sailing of
the Steamer for Victoria. This time was utilized in procuring instruments
&c, which were not to be got in Toronto. On July 3rd we left by the
Steamer Prince Alfred for Victoria and arrived there on the 9th; the
journey from Toronto to Victoria occupied eighteen days. Immediately
after arrival at Victoria, commenced to organize parties, engage axemen
and pack men, purchase supplies, and get all possible information about
the character of the country to be explored, and the best means of reaching
it. On the 20th July, this work was so well advanced, that party K under
the charge of Mr. James A. Mahood, was able to leave for its destination.
The duty assigned to this party was the exploration of the country to the
east of Tete Jaune Cache, on the most direct route to Quesnel Mouth.
It was first intended, that party 5?. should proceed by the following
route, viz:—by Steamer to Yale, a distance of one hundred and eighty-
five miles, thence by Stage to Quesnel Mouth, three hundred miles,
thence up the Fraser River to Tete Jaune Cache; the difficulty of getting
boats at Quesnel Mouth, and the time that would elapse before they could
be got, together with fuller information subsequently received, regarding
the country lying easterly from Cariboo, to Tete Jaune Cache, induced a
change in the latter part of this route. This change was adopted, because
the people of Cariboo averred, that by passing eastward from that place to
Tete Jaune Cache, the journey could be made in twenty or twenty-five
days, and the exploration could be completed much more rapidly and
After party *4 left I began the organization of party Q to explore for a
line from Tete Juane Cache towards Clear Water, or Quesnel Lakes. It
was decided that this party should proceed by the North Thompson
River, in order to ascertain the facilities the   country adjacent to, and 40
■ especially west of the river, offered for approaching Tete Jaune Cache by
railway. Having partially organized this party, I left Victoria on the
25th, accompanied by Mr. Moberly and the parties under his charge, and
Mr. Watt, and arrived at Yale on the 27th, where I overtook party B.
Finding neither horses nor waggons could here be hired or purchased,
for the transport of party €fc, Mr. F. W. Green was sent ahead by stage to
arrange for meals and lodgings, and the party started on the 28th to march
to Fort Kamloops, a distance of one hundred and fifty-four miles. Expecting to be joined by Mr. Moberly, who had stopped at Hope to start a
party towards Howe's Pass; I remained at Yale till the 31st, and he not
having arrived at this date, Mr. Watts and I proceeded by Stage to Fort
Kamloops. At Lytton, fifty-five miles from Yale, I overtook the party,
many of whom were now foot sore and lame, after engaging waggons to
carry those who were unable to walk, proceeded on my journey reaching Spences Bridge at midnight. Next morning left for Cache Creek, one
hundred and ten miles from Yale, and arrived there in th 3 forenoon ; at this
place I left the stage, and continued the journey on horseback, the next
morning I left for Savonas ferry, and arrived there in the afternoon. Here
I overtook Mr. Green, and about midnight, eight or nine of the party
arrived hungry and tired. Mr. Green was left at this place to forward,
men and supplies, as they arrived. On the morning of the 3rd August, I
with' seventeen men, took boat up Kamloops Lake, a distance of twenty-
two miles to the Fort of that name, and arrived there in the afternoon.
The next day the men were allowed to rest, many of them being lame.
August 5th was spent in assorting^stores for shipment, in building a
boat, and waiting for some horses purchased by Messrs. Moberly and
Watt from the Hudson Bay Company, which came in on the 6th.
Some of these horses were not able to pack and had to be rejected, and the
search, in a sparsely settled country, for others to replace them, entailed a
loss of time. Some of the outfit for packing was much worn and needed
repairs; the material for these repairs had to be got from Clinton, a distance of seventy miles, and blacksmiths to shoe the horses had to be
brought fifty miles. The scarcity of experienced men to drive the pack
horses was another difficulty, which, together with those before mentioned
involved the outlay of a large sum of money and vexatious delays.
August 5th, Mr. F. W. Green arrived with the last boatload of the first
shipment of supplies, and next morning started with a party of twenty-
seven, including staff, cook, axemen, and two Indians; he was also accompanied by James Jamieson and three assistants in charge of a pack
train of forty horses.    For the purposes of supplying the men with fresh
just arrived from Montana, I purchased eight mules, with outfit or apara-
joes complete, for one hundred and fifty dollars per head, making Cooney's
train, in all, thirty-three mules.   I also-agreed with the Mexican to carry 41
freight with thirty-one mules, 100 miles for three cents per lb., or one-hundred'and fifty miles for five cents, binding myself to pay him twenty-five
dollars per day for demurrage should he be kept waiting for a trail. Having
thus^ompleted the best possible arrangements for forwarding supplies by
pack trains, I dispatched two boats, laden with stores, to Clear Water, distant
seventy miles from Kamloops, to be ready for the trains on their return.
I also gave Mr. Watt a requisition for further supplies to be forwarded
as far up stream as possible before the season closed. Mr. John McLennan,
brought by Mr. Moberly from Utah, because of his superior knowledge of
the river, was left at Kamloops to push forward the supplies to the party
on the North Thompson, and to party T, which went by Shuswap Lake to
Eagle Pass.
On the 18th August I left Kamloops with the train of the Mexican,
Michael Carencio, instructing C. T. Cooney to follow as soon as he could get
ready. On the evening of the 19th I overtook Mr. Green and party
about forty two miles from Kamloops, and as he expressed fears about the
ability of some of the horses to finish the journey, I wrote Mr. John
McLennan instructing him to purchase and forward to packer Jamieson
ten horses as speedily as possible. In order to accelerate the movements of
the party I took the best of Jamieson's horses to pack tents blankets and
some stores, which was found to work well. Instead of finding as was anticipated a fair trail for one hundred and twenty miles from this point, the
party had here to begin clearing it out. The next day Assiniboine Bluff
was reached and a day spent in making about a quarter of mile of trail, part
of which ascended 70 feet per 100 horizontal; the greater part of a day was
consumed in getting the advance train over this place. From this point the
opening of the trail on the east side of the river was continued until the
25th August, when a crossing was made to the right or west bank at the
head of boat navigation, one mile above the mouth of Clear Water river.
It was decided to established a depot at this point, and a house built here
by a Canadian trapper was utilized for a store house. Mr. lohn Glassey
was left as depot clerk, and Thomas Ekman to boat the stores across, as
fast as they were brought up by the pack trains. The cutting of the trail
was continued and a place marked "Meadows" on Mr. Trutch's map was
reached on the 31st August. The Mexican Carencio, having at this point
accomplished one hundred and fifty miles refused longer to continue his
contract for packing. Having no other available means of transport I was
compelled to purchase his train, and pay him and his men wages; under
the new arrangement he agreed to remain as long and go as far as any
of the other trains. At this place a new difficulty arose, the Indian guide
brought by Mr. Selwyn from Kamloops maintained that at this advanced
season it would be impossible to cut the way through along the river, he
professed a thorough knowledge of the country, and said that between this
place and Blue river there were many canons which would render trail
making very difficult and tedious, he also added that for forty miles of the
distance, there was little or no grass, which would necessarily very much
reduce the pack trains if it did not prove destructive to them all. It was
after consultation decided to return about six miles and ascend the mountain II
on the left by the valley of Mad river, this route it was said would pass
through an open bunch grass country to the mouth of Blue river. On the
following day (September 1st) the mountain was recrossed and on returning to Mad river Mr. John McLennan was met bringing up ten horses to
replace some that were worn out which he took back. By this route the
top of the mountain was reached in six miles from the Thompson river.
This trail was in many places 6,000 feet above the sea level, or nearly
3000 feet above where it left the river, though a little shorter than by the
river it afforded neither the facilities for travelling nor grazing that was
anticipated. On the 13th of September, after travelling thirty four milejs,
the river was again reached about three miles below the mouth of Blue
river, the rate of travel being less than three miles per day. From this place
I sent C. T. Cooney back to Clear Water for additional supplies, dividing his
load between packers Jamieson and Carencio, and instructing them to work
up alternately so as to keep all the supplies as near the party as possible.
Here additional difficulties were encountered, the underbrush was dense,
and enormous fallen cedars strewed the ground and lay heaped together
sometimes half a dozen on a spot. The ground naturally damp had by the
incessant rains been converted into a quagmire, even gravelly hill sides
became almost impassible when travelled over. It was most difficult to
make a trail at all, and in places it was impossible to pass until the trail
was either bridged or a corduroy road made of it. It now became a question whether under the adverse circumstances the journey could be continued to the main stream at the mouth of the Albreda river, distant about
30 miles. Some of the packers were discontented and strongly expressed
their desire to return, the cold rains and muddy or boggy ro'aSs were
telling fearfully on the animals, and it was evident that most of them would
soon have to succumb; assuring the men with the hope that I firmly believed
a better country would soon be reached, I decided to push on even at the
sacrifice of all the pack horses and mules, rather than the expedition should
be prolonged for another season. The hope, and the promise to be allowed
to return when the difficulty was overcome, seemed to inspire the men with
new courage, and the river was reached opposite the mouth of the Albreda.
A detention of two days occured here in making canoes to ferry the men
and stores to the east side of the Thompson river. On the 5th of October
the party crossed the Thompson and started along the righttbank of the
Albreda, the travelling some days being as bad as on the other side of the
river, with but little prospect of improvement. On the 9th, Mr. Selwyn
kindly volunteered to make a vigorous effort to reach Tete Jaune Cache,
to ascertain if Mr. Mahood had arrived there from Cariboo, while I continued to cut the trail and push through with the trains*?c
On the 10th the head of Albreda Lake was reached, the country here
was entirely different from that through which the party had been passing for some weeks, which had a re-animating effect upon all. Following
a comparatively open valley running in a north-westerly direction, the party,
on the thirteenth of October, reached Canoe River, about two and a half
miles above its confluence with the main stream. Mr. Selwyn was here
met on his return from T6te Jaune Cache, he having found no trace of 43
either Mr. Mahood or his party. As timber for building purposes or fuel
was scarce at this point, it was thought advisable to return to a dense
clump of fir trees about seven miles back, where water was also convenient and establish the winter camp. As the hills on either side of us were
now covered with snow, arrangements were made for the return of the
packers at the earliest moment. An examination of the stores on hand made
it apparent that to provide against want until the return of the supply trains
in June, 1872, it would be necessary to reduce the party to thirteen all told.
After consulting with Mr. Green, and deciding upon the disposition to be
made of the party, I determined, if it was possible, to make my own way to,
or through the Leather Pass. Messrs. Selwyn, Hammond and Baltzby of the
Geological Survey, proposed to accompany me. The party left Canoe
River on the 16th of October and arrived at Moose Lake on the 19th. The
most of the route to T6te Jaune Cache was fair, the only obstacles being
fallen timber. From the crossing of the Fraser RiVer at the Cache to
Moose Lake, fallen trees, occasional bogs and gravelly benches interrupted
our progress. As the horses were now showing symptoms of succumbing
to over-work, the question of returning was discussed, and it was decided
to continue the journey another day. Next morning the party travelled
along the margin of the lake to its east end—a distance of about 14 miles—
here the character of the valley and stream greatly changed, the stream
being about forty feet wide, and sluggish; the valley was about a
mile in width, very flat, and in most places too soft for horses to
travel over; it was dotted with small meadows, and timbered with
stunted spruce trees. Although very desirous of advancing farther, it
was unanimously decided not to do so, as it was felt the stock of
provisions was barely sufficient to take the party to its starting point.
On the 21st the return began, and Canoe River was reached on the
24th; the estimated distance travelled by the party in nine days being
about ninety miles. On the 26th October, accompanied by Mr, Selwyn
and party, I left Mr. Green's camp for the Thompson River crossing '
which was reached on the 28th. Here it was decided to go down the
river, and as some canoes had to be made, it was the 2nd November before
the party left; in two days the head of the rapids was reached. For nine
miles from this point the canoes had to be lowered by ropes, one of the
portages was three quarters of a mile long, three hundred feet above
the level of the water, and took nearly two days to cross it. 1 ravelling six days at the rate of a mile and a half a day, Salmon River
was passed, after which there was an unobstructed passage lor
twelve miles. At the confluence of Mad River with the Thompson one
canoe was lost, we were compelled to abandon another, and to tache the
photographic instruments; the provisions, clothing, papef and notes oi
the party were placed in the two remaining canoes, m charge of tne Indians while the other members walked by the trail to the depot at Clear
Water which was reached on the 14th of November. The party arrived at
Kamloops the following day simultaneously with some packers and axemen who had left the camp at Canoe River some seven days earlf&\
These men came by the trail and suffered severely ; on their journey they-
hadbeen compelled to abandon many horses and mules that gave out on tne 44
way. At Kamloops all the men were discharged except C. T. Cooney, packer,
and one or two axemen, who were retained to tend the horses and mules
as they came out during the winter. The rest of the party I brought
with me to Cache Creek on the Cariboo Road, and distant from Yale one
hundred and ten miles. At this place I learned from " Davis," one of the
packers of Mr. Mahood's party who had just come down from it, that it
would be impossible for me, so late in the season, to reach the party.
Under these circumstances, and thinking I might hear from " Mahood "
on my arrival at Victoria, I abandoned the idea of joining him, continued
the journey to Victoria, and arrived there on the 4th December. After
arrival, the remainder of the men were discharged except W. N. Patterson, transitman, and C. L. Howse, store-keeper, who were retained to
do office work, and adjust some accounts connected with the survey.
Having given an outline of the purposes of the expedition, and some
of the difficulties met with, I shall now submit a short description of the
principal features of the Thompson River and its valley, between Kamloops and Yellow Head Pass.
Valley from two to four miles wide.    The river between the above
named   places passes between two rocky points,  each about one mile
long; soil chiefly good for farming purposes, thinly wooded with fir trees,
with little underbrush; bunch grass is abundant; stream navigable for
.joats of two or three tons or small steamers.
Valley about two miles wide, much of which is suitable for Agriculture; the Assinniboine Bluff (slate rock) is in this section;  woods of fir;
small steamers.
river navigable for boats or
1, .■!
Valley about £ mile wide for about 2 miles; then widens out gradually
for four miles to Raft River where it is about 1£ miles wide, it again narrows to J mile at Mad River, which is the limit of Bunch grass. This
valley is formed of high gravelly benches, timbered with fir, poplar and
cotton-wood; stream rapid, and not well adapted for boating or canoeing *
For about six miles the valley attains a width of half-a-mile, and at nine
miles, is only a quarter mile wide, and continues about this width for
about six miles, it then expands abruptly to two miles wide, and maintains this width for ten miles, or to Salmon river, near which are laro-e
meadows of wild hay, the valley is composed of benches from one hundred
iv two hundred feet high in the  narrow portion,   and   flattened   out in the wide part. The stream in this section, is a succession of rapids
and smooth water, the former predominating for about fifteen miles,
thence to Salmon River is smooth water, and the river in places 300 yards
For about 9 miles the river is a continuous rapid, with three canons
with falls of 6, 12 and 8 feet, after which the stream is swift water for
about six miles (the north arm of the Murchison rapids) thence for ten
miles a few slight rapids, and the rest smooth water; timber, chiefly large
cedars and hemlocks; the valley about 300 yards wide is formed of benches,
100 to 200 feet high, the canons are hemmed in by slate rock about 100
feet high, and nearly perpendicular, averaging from 50 to 75 feet wide, and
in the aggregate, about one mile long; the greater portion along these
rapids being rock; from the head of the rapids to Blue river, or about 10
miles the valley widens out to from 3 to 4 miles, with alluvial banks four
to five feet above high water.
In about five miles the valley closes into £ mile in width, and from
here to the North Fork continues about the same; the banks are chiefly
gravelly benches with a few slides of talcose slate; timber mostly enormous
cedar, spruce and fir, with dense undergrowth, this section is well
adapted for canoeing, and is interrupted only by one portage of about half
a mile in length.
This valley is about half-a-mile in width and formed of gravelly
benches about fifty feet high, interspersed with flats or wild meadows,
heavily timbered with cedars and spruce.
Valley from | to f of a mile wide, open country, chiefly burnt land,
composed of benches of small boulders with a few rocky points of granite
and sandstone.
A fine open valley 5 miles wide, with sand benches on the sides, thinly
timbered with small firs and willows, and directly in the range of an
extensive valley, beginning at the Boat encampment, and extending in
nearly a direct line for thirty miles down the Fraser River valley, or a
total distance of from 75 to 80 miles; a fine farming country, pea vines,
vetches and grass abounding. 46
This Valley is about J mile wide for 10 miles to the Grand Forks
of the Fraser, it then increases in width, and is full of limestone pebbles,
the valley has high gravelly benches, with a few points of calcareous
slate rock; from this point it narrows for about two miles, and slides
of shale come in some places close to the water's edge, with a slope of 1J
horizontal to 1 perpendicular, thence it expands to about a mile in width
at the west end of Moose Lake, and is timbered with fir, spruce and
The valley for 6 miles along the north side of the lake, is flat, about
200 yards in width. Thence to the east end of the lake, or for two miles
some slate rock points approach near to the lake; beyond these are large
meadows of wild hay ; thence for six or seven miles the valley diminishes
in width, from 1| to 1 mile, is quite flat and boggy, and interspersed with
a number of small meadows; is wooded with firs and spruce. The stream
is sluggish, and from the west end of the lake, is very favorable for
I shall now proceed to give an epitome of the progress of party R
under the charge of James A. Mahood. This party was assigned the duty
of exploring the country, between Quesnel Mouth and Tete Jaune Cache
by the Fraser River route.
The difficulty of getting boats, and the loss of time, that must in consequence have occurred at Quesnel Mouth, together with the favourable
report of Messrs. Black and Fenton, and other information gathered at
Cariboo, regarding the country between Richfield and T6te Jaune Cache,
caused the abandonment of the route by the Fraser River and the adoption of the exploration via Richfield and Tete Jaune Cache.
The party—twenty-two men, staff included—left Barkerville on the
23rd August, taking along to carry supplies, a pack train of thirty-two
animals; in addition to which Messrs. Barns & Black were engaged for
the same purpose, these parties possessing the only pack train in that
section of the country.
From Barkerville to Bear Lake, twenty-two miles—an old trail had to
be partially opened—this route was selected instead of the one by Antler
Creek, because it was thought to afford better facilities for the passage of
From Bear Lake the party proceeded to Mian Point Lake, thence 47
around the north and east side of Big Lake to its outlet, thence up Swamp
River through " Dominion Pass" to its head, thence by the Castle River
towards Fraser River. In the report of Messrs. Black and Fenton reference is made to Dominion Pass.
From Bear Lake to Dominion Pass the difficulties of trail making
were very great; the greater part of the distance was through a dense forest,
in some places the trail had to be corduroyed, in other places a passage
for the animals had to be made by pick and shovel on the rocky hill sides;
mountain torrents and ravines had to be spanned by bridges. Pushing
along, despite the innumerable difficulties that beset the way, the party
reached the hoped-for pass, which high and glacier-capped, towered up
in front of them, as if to crush out hope and defy further progress. For
the animals a passage over it had to be cut with picks and axes, and on the
29th of September the party emerged from Dominion Pass. At this point the
packers became afraid of being cut off by snows, and threathened to desert
the stores and return to Cariboo. Fortunately they were persuaded to
remain, otherwise the effort to reach the valley of the Fraser River must
have-been abandoned. The progress of the party was now much impeded
by snow storms which were almost continuous from the 5th to the 10th of
October. The Fraser River was eventually reached on the 20th of November,
and the party encamped for the winter. After making the best possible
disposition of the supplies, Mr. Mahood started for Barkerville on the 4th of
December, which was distant one hundred miles, and arrived there in
twelve days; from thence he continued his journey to Victoria, where he
arrived on the 12th of January 1872..
This route presents two almost insurmountable obstacles to the construction of a railway. The country from Fraser river at Quesnel, Mouth
to the Dominion Pass, could be traversed at easy grades—that portion
Ivans between Big Lake and Swamp river, would be exposed to isnow
slide's or avalanches that in their courses irresistibly sweep rocks and trees
before them, and make as it were a series of avenues through the forest, on
the mountain slopes. In going from the forks of Swamp river over the
Pass into the head waters of Castle river, a rise and fall of two thousand
three hundred feet has to be overcome in a distance of twelve miles. The
glacier previously referred to is at the highest pomt-is half a mile m
ixtent and about two hundred feet thick. To grade np to, or overlhis
glacier would be an impossibility, its passage would therefore mvolye^e
making of a tunnel of such length, as to render this route unworthy of
furthe? consideration. Mr. Mahood and party before leaving then: winter
quarters will make further explorations to ascertain | a practicable pass
can befound through the Selkirk range. They wiU also explore the
country between Quesnel Lake and the Cariboo fork of the North Thompson
The route from the Yellow Head Pass, crossing Canoe river by
Albreda Lake, thence along the valley of the north Thompson River is
singularly favorable for the construction of a line of railway, oi easy 48
gradients, and moderate curves, and in addition comparatively light
work (see table of grades, of the different sections of those streams.) On
this line no grades will exceed fifty feet per mile, and for great distances
will range from fifteen to twenty five feet per mile, which will allow for
some undulations in rising or falling, to follow the benches or terraces in
the different valleys. In many places stone for second class masonry is
plentiful, and I have no doubt but further examinations will lead to the
discovery of stone of a better quality, and the finest and largest timber in
the interior of British Columbia, abounds along these valleys. The parallels
inclosed in the foregoing report, embrace a very large portion of the
farming and grazing lands of British Columbia, pass near to, or through
parts of the richest gold regions, as well as the best timbered, portions of
the interior, in the latter of which the Thompson River undoubtedly excels.
From the best information I could obtain, the present winter set in
earlier and with greater rigor than it did for more than ten years before. I
have lately been informed that Indian hunters say they never saw or
heard of such a winter; this, though an impediment to our operations
and fatal to many of our pack animals, must still be accepted, as in some
degree, a fortunate circumstance, it enabled us, in the outset, to acquire a
knowledge of the most severe weather likely to be experienced. The
parties are instructed to note particularly the maximum and minimum
temperature, the depth of snow at the water sheds, and all necessary information bearing on the subject.
Accompanying this report please find tables of the inclinations of the
different sections of the streams on the route of my explorations. These
will indicate, approximately, the gradients; an actual line may, however
shew a lighter grade from the Grand Forks of the Fraser River to Moose
Lake; on the whole, this line throughout, will be one of easy grades.
I have herein endeavored briefly to give you the salient points of the
explorations, and I entertain the belief that a more detailed examination
now being carried on, will corroborate what has been said.
Referring to a previous statement where it was said the severity of
the winter had been fatal to the animals of the pack trains, I may in connection therewith, say, that the total loss was 86 animals 24 of these
belonged to party U, and the remainder to party <|. Many died on the
outward journey from cold, hunger, or overwork in travelling over a country
which the incessant rains had made almost impassable, the majoritv
however, were either abandoned or perished in the snow storms, which
were almost continuous on the home journey. In prosecuting the work
another season, the trains will, in a great measure, be exempt from losses
that this summer were unavoidable. A good trail is now opened, and the
grazing grounds are better known, so that the movement of trains
Will be greatly facilitated, and the work finished earlier in' the season.
I may add that supplies, nearly sufficient for two parties for ten months'
are stored on the route, depots being established at Clear Water, 70 miles
above Kamloops, at North Forks, 176 miles from the latter place, and at 49
Mr. Green's camp, Canoe River. It is intended to make the North Thompson the principal base of supplies for the summer operations, as from T6te
Jaune Cache, supplies can be distributed toward Quesnel Lake—if a pass
is found there—down the Fraser River or along the Thompson.
It gives me pleasure to be able to state that good feeling generally
prevailed among the staff and men of both parties. The inclemency 01
the weather, the density of the forests to be penetrated, and the character
of the country travelled over, entailed hardships not usually endured on
railway surveys. Nothwithstanding these and the other difficulties of the
service, the " esprit de corps" of the parties, except in one or two instances
was excellent thronghout.
I have the honour to be
Your obedient Servant,
Table of the grades on the following sections of the North Thompson,
Canoe and Fraser Rivers:—
Kamloops Lake	
Kamloops to Clear "Water River	
Clear "Water to Mad River	
Mad River to Salmon River gs
Salmon River to Blue River .*	
Blue River to Nortfc Fork	
North Fork to Albreda Lake	
Albreda Lake	
Albreda Lak6 to Ganoe River	
Canoe River to Tgte Jaune Cache	
T6te Jaune Cache to the Grand Forks of the Fraser
Grand Forks to Moose Lake	
Moose Lake	
Moose Lake to Water Shed	
v B
In feet.
Above the Sea.
10 miles of smooth wat«r.
Or river crossing.
Water shed.
Across a valley.
See section.
Summit of Yellow Head
N. B.—These altitudes were obtained from, a mean of a number of readings taken with a Compensated
Aneroid Barometer. From Albreda Lake to Canoe River it has been ascertained by a line of levels that the
grades will not exceed 26 feet per mile, and from T6te Jaune. Cache to Moose Lake a grade ol fifty feet per
mile can be had. 50,
; ..,i;t,(
(Report on the examinations made between Fort Garry and the Rocky Mountains—Frank Moberly, Esq., in charge of the Expedition.)
Sandfoed Fleming, Esq.,
Engineer-in-Chief, C. P. R.
&'i Ottawa, April, 1872.
Sib,—In accordance with instructions received from you in June last,
I proceeded as rapidly as possible to Fort G-arry, where I completed'm^f
outfit and commenced the exploration on the 4th August, following as near
as possible the redone indicated on the map accompanying your instructions,
along the Assiniboine to FortPelly then past north side of QuilLake across
south SaskatehewihiiSPlaUilud58 N. 52° 22' 12," thence west to the north Saskatchewan which we followed to a point about sixty miles above Battle river.
A westerly course was then taken to the Hay lakes, we then left the line and
proceeded northerly to Edmonton, where we arrived on the 16th Oct. The
following notes are extracts from the diary kept on this portion of the line :
" From Fort G-arry to third crossing of White Mud river (Palestine) a distance of 96 miles, the country is a perfectly even prairie' with no large
streams or gullies, soil rich, clay and clay loam; there is some fine oak.
elm, maple and poplar.
From third crossing of White Mud to the Little Saskatchewan, a distance
of 49 miles, the rise to second Prairie Steppe (or Riding Mountains) is
made ; the country is very much broken by sand and gravel ridges and is
thickly wooded with small poplar.
The Little Saskatchewan valley is the first obstacle of any importance
it is 5,000 feet wide, 184 feet deep and has no lateral valleys of any length!
From Little Saskatchewan to Bird Tail creek, a distance of 58 miles
country is rather rolling with small alkaline ponds in hollows, soil gravelly'.
The valley of Bird Tail creek is 3400 feet- wide, and 140 feet deep
it also has lateral gullies. '
From Bird Tail creek to Shell river, a distance of 38 miles, the country
is rolling, getting rougher as you go back from Assiniboine; there are also
great numbers of small lakes and ponds, plenty of small poplar, soil clay
and gravel The valley of Shell river is 3700 feet wideband is 284
feet in depth and would be very difficult to cross. From Shell river to
Fort Pelly a distance of 73 miles, the country is rolling and there are two
small creek valleys and a couple of swamps to cross, the soil % generally
•aft teto m        nei«hWhood of Pelly. ™ry sandy.   Some small spruce 51
The country from White Mud river to Fort Pelly is not favorable for
setltemelit, the soil being generally light, a good deal of the water alkaline,
summer frosts frequent.
From Fort Pelly to south Saskatchewan, a distance df 226. miles, the
country is rather rolling until we approach the.river, where for 25 or 30
miles, a succession of ridges rise to about 80 or 100 feet, but these
have easy slopes and numbers of openings: on this part of the line we
passed severallarge lakes, thelafgestbeifj%\£uill lake, whreh8^ from 30 to
35 miles in length; and the water is so alkaline as to be unfit for use. Soil
is principally clay and. sandy loam with great numbers of boulders ; the
water in all the running streams is invariably fresh and good; very little
A comparatively easy crossing of the south Saskatchewan was found
at Lat. 52° 22' 12" at this point the approach to the river is easy and frjqm 50
to 60 feet above the level of the water which at mid-stream was about ten
feet deep. The bridges will probably require to be 1400 feet long ; banks
and bottom are sand mixed with large gravel and boulders.
After crossing the south. Saskatchewan, we continued on a westerly
course to the elbow of the north Saskatchewan, passing it on j&e sora&eisly
bank. From south Branch to Eagle creek, a distance of 47 miles, the
country is perfectly level, with no timber, soil sandy loam : Eagle creek
can be crossed easily near its mouth.
From Eagle creek to Battle river, a distance of 50 miles, the lin^runs
along north end of Eagle hills^ there is, however, a plateau which follows
the river and affords a good chance for location, except for about six miles
which will have to be on steep side hill.
At the mouth of Battle river there is a fiat which is about 5 miles long
and about 1 mile in width, and is 12 or 15 feet above the river giving a
capital chance to cross it. The river was only 75 feet wide when we crossed and did not show signs of being subject to heavy floods. Soil sandy
loam with gravel in places and a good many sand hills near the mouth.
There is plenty of birch and poplar on the Eagle hills.
From Battle river, for a distance of 64 miles, no difficulties will be met
with.  Soil principally sandy loam, with some sand knolls. No timber.
From the above point for a distance of 84 miles the country is cut up,
in every direction by ranges of hills and buttes, the highest points being
probably 300 or 400 feet above general level, there are plenty of lojr
divides in all the higher ranges, and I think it would not be necessftry to
use any grade exceeding 50 or 60.feet per mile on this portion of the fine ;
although it will necessarily be rather crooked. Soil clay and sandy loam
with gravel ridges and a great many boulders ; not much wood and a great
want of water. 52
For a distance of 63 miles to foot of Beaver hill, nearly a level plain,
no obstruction; soil exceedingly fine, sandy loam, plenty of good water^
and small timber.
From foot of the Beaver hills to Hay lakes, a distance of 20 miles, the
country is cut up by low ridges with a great number of Beaver ponds and
marshes in hollows.    It is also thickly covered with small bushy poplar.
The rise to the top of the hills is long and very gentle."
On reaching Edmonton,   as the season
charge of the main
was so far advanced, I concluded to send Mr. Nichol back in charge of the main party, hoping that
horses would reach Fort G-arry before winter, at the same time giving
him instructions to proceed along north bank of Saskatchewan to Carleton
and to examine the country in that direction, then to follow the cart road to"
Quill lake : at the latter point he was to divide his party sending one portion in charge of Mr. Ermatinger to Fort G-arry by the south bank of Assiniboine, and taking charge of the other portion himself, to cross by a depression in the Duck Mountains and examine the country lying to the
north of Duck and Riding Mountains as far as mouth of White Mud river.
The fire having run through the prairie late in the fall this party lost
a number of their horses, it being impossible to get any fo od for them.
Immediately after Mr. Nichol left I started for the Howse Pass, having
to take the route by the Rocky Mountain House and then follow the Saskatchewan into the Mountains I reached the Kootanie Plains on the 11th
November. After searching without success for traces of the party from
the west of the Mountains I explored the country lying between the
Kootanie Plain and the branches of Brazeau river leading between the
Brazeau and Big Horn ranges of mountains where I found there would be
little difficulty in locating a line, the fall of the streams being very gentle,
however after reaching the main stream of the Brazeau river considerable
difficulty would I think be met, as the valley is very crooked with high precipitous banks and besides which a very broken and rugged country
covered in many places by large and deep muskegs would have to be
crossed and great difficulty would also be experienced in either getting
round or through the Brazeau mountains: I gained a good deal of information respecting the country from miners who had been along the river
prospecting and my own observations confirmed what I then learnt.
On reaching the main branch I found it would be impossible to follow
it ^without cutting a trail on account of an almost continuous windfall, by
this time the snow was nearly a foot deep and as our horses were beginning to show signs of giving out I was compelled to return to the Rocky
Mountain House, whence after procuring a train of dogs I set off for Buck
lake intending to examine the country between it and the mouth of Brazeau river. We were however misled by our guide and finally had to
push on'to Edmonton for supplies arriving there on the 11th December,
flaying been six days on very shortjrations. 58
On the 20th December after dividing the party and sending part in
charge of Mr. Horetzki, to make the necessary examinations to Jasper House,
I again started for the mouth of Brazeau river examining country from the
Beaver hills by way of Pigeon and Bull lakes, reaching that point on the
29th December. This part of the country I found pretty level except two or
three small ranges of hills in the neighbourhood of the lakes. In the portion
lying to south-west and west of Pigeon lake there is a very considerable
quantity of good spruce.
On reaching the junction of Brazeau and Saskatchewan rivers, I found
that it would be an exceedingly difficult matter to get a line across the
Saskatchewan and up the Brazeau river as they both run through wide
valleys with precipitous banks of sandstone from 150 to 200 feet in height
with flats alternately on each side and opposite these the banks generally
rise tc their full height from the waters edge.
I then returned to Edmonton by way of Lake St. Ann, and found
that between those points an excellent line can be.obtained by following the
valley of Sturgeon River.
Of the country between Lake St. Ann and Jasper House-, I copy the
following from Mr. Horetzski's report:—
" From Lake St. Ann to Pembina River, the country is level but
knolly in places, especially at west end of Lac des Isles, here the land
rises, but not abruptly, to the summit of the divide between the Saskatchewan and-McKenzie Rivers j this divide is 250 feet above the level of
Edmonton House. The descent from this point to the river is pretty
sudden. The Pembina River valley is rather deep and wide at the crossing
of the Horse trail, but higher up there are many places where it can be easily
bridged. At the crossing the river is 225 feet wide, fordable, with good
bottom; extensive coal seams crop out sometimes near the water's edge
and again higher up on the banks; these seams are on fire in several
places, and flames can be seen at night, the odour of burning coal is distinctly perceived.
From Pembina River to McLeod River it is generally level, and in
places swampy; at the divide between the two rivers, the country becomes hilly and rough, especially near Moose Camp.
A couple of miles west of Moose River the trail crosses the Root
River, a small tributary of the McLeod. From this point a good horse
trail exists to Jasper House. My guide tells me it is almost a direct fine
for the south end of Lac Brule, passes over a sandy country, crosses only
two small swamps and the McLeod River twice, and is altogether an
excellent road. No hills are to be met with and the descent to the river is
gradual and easy.
The Company's trail follows up the River for 83 miles, then crosses a
1 flip
Portage of 12 miles in length, follows the McLeod again for 14 miles, and
finally takes the Portage to the Aihabasca, which is about 13 miles in
The McLeod is a pretty large stream from 240 to 270 feet wide in
places, and flows between Sandstone banks; these banks are often 80 to
100 feet in height. This River is fordable in places, and contains G-old.
No coal was seen.
j. jfe .
From the McLeod to the Athabasca, the portage is pretty thickly
wooded and rough; the descent to the Athabasca river is steep : I should,
say the descent of the valley to be 250 feet deep, where we struck the river.
From the Portage (5 miles below the Grand Bas fonds,) the river was
followed for 25 miles to the entrance of Lac Brule'; the river is wide and
rapid, being from 160 to 420ft. in width. Several rapids are met with,
especially a few miles below the Lake; the banks are high, and the approach
to the river difficult, excepting just below the Riviere de Prairie, where the
banks descend very gradually. This Lake is about 8 miles in length, and
1 mile wide; it is shallow with sandy bottom, the banks on the eastern
side are low, 30 to 40 ft., and of sand; at the South East end, these banks
descend very easily to the water's edge, and it is at this point that the road
alluded to before, touches the Athabasca. The Lake terminates here, and
this may be called the entrance of the Mountains, the Athabasca here
turns to the South West, and by following it up ten miles further, Jasper
House is reached.
At the base of the mountains there is a fine wide level flat of light
sandy soil, where the road can easily be carried to a point or spur of the
Roche a Miette, here the river would have to be crossed as the rock is
washed by the river ; the true channel is not wide at this point (about 210
feet) but the river bed cannot be less than 750 wide,' all dry at this time
of the year with the exception of the channel, and has a good hard
gravelly bottom; after crossing to the other side, a fine level prairie is
reached, being that upon which Jasper House is situated.
During the summer months the river rises 5 or 6 feet higher than at
this season, but never overflows the prairie on which the house stands, or
tne ±Jas londs which lies along base of mountains.
I should advise that an explorer be sent next summer to go over the
country lying between the Pembina and Root River ; that another should
commence his investigations from Root River to Lac Brule • the
person going mat the Pembina should begin, say 8 to 10 miles above the
usual crossing place and follow up the ridge which runs from the Pembina
to the height of land between that river and the McLeod. I believe thesp
ridges offer a good route for a railway; south of it, I am told the
country is a vast swamp. ne As regards that part of the proposed route between Root River and
Lac Brule, I am convinced that it presents extraordinary facilities for a
All the necessary explorations to the west of Edmonton, except that
entrusted to Mr. Horetzki, having been completed, I started on my return
trip to Fort G-arry, on the 16th January, by way of Lac la Biche, a point;
about 100 miles north of the north Saskatchewan; then to Fort Pitt,
Carlton, Fort a la Corne and Fort Pelly.
In order to gain as much knowledge as possible of the country along
the valley of the Swan river and extending east of the Duck and Riding
mountains, I started from Fort Pelly for Swan Lake and then proceeded
along the side of Lake Winnepegosis to Manitoba House, and arrived at
Fort G-arry on the 10th March.
Mr. Nichol having had the most favorable opportunity of examining
the line between Edmonton and Carlton north of the river, I will give
the following extracts from his notes :—
" The country lying north of the North Saskatchewan and east from
Edmonton to the Yermilion River, a distance of 37 miles, is almost level,
it is thickly timbered in places, with spruce, poplar, and birch of a good
quality ; the soil is a black sandy loam, it is drained by the Sturgeon and
YerrHflion rivers, emptying into the Saskatchewan ; these streams are about
50 feet wide, clear and rapid, with gravel bottoms; the valleys are from
50 to 75 feet under the general level and are about 500 feet wide.
" The country from Yermilion River to English River, a distance of
182 miles, is all broken by hills rising from 100 to 200 feet on an average,
and in the neighbood of Fort Pitt the Red Deer Hills are from 400 to 500
feet high; there are numerous small lakes, the largest of which are Saddle and Egg lakes ; in the immediate vicinity of the lakes the country is
flat, extending back for a few miles; the soil on the hills is light sand and
gravel, and in the valleys sandy loam ; there are great numbers of limestone and granite boulders near the English River; there are groves of
small poplar on this part of the line, and on the banks of streams some
spruce is found ; this part of the country is drained by flowing creeks and-*
rivers ; Carp creek 30 feet wide, and its valley 50 feet deep and 500 feet wide ijl.
Round Butte creek about the same size; White Mud river 50 feet wide .
valley from 75 to 100 feet deep, and half a mile in width ; Saddle river is 60,
feet wide, and its banks only a few feet high; Dog Rump creek 30 feet wide,
west bank steep and over 150 feet high, east bank an easy slope, the distance across valley is about one mile; Moose creek 20 feet wide, the
valley banks steep and from 150 to 175 feet high, width half ;a mile; Middle
creek same size as Moose creek; Red Deer river 25 feet wide and run-;
ning in a fine broad valley on west side of the Red Deer hills; English
River 15 feet wide, very crooked, winding round among the hills in a
narrow valley. 56
' Vwfn
From English River to Carlton, a distance of 128 miles, the country is
broken by ranges of hills from 150 to 200 feet high, with broad and nearly
level valleys between them ; soil in valleys sandy loam, the only timber
is some small groves of poplar.
In the thickwood hills, from 20 to 40 miles west of Carlton, there are
numerous small lakes, the largest having an approximate area of 35 square
miles; the width of the Saskatchewan at Carlton is 1,200 feet, the valley is
a mile wide with steep banks about 200 feet high."
From Carlton I had an opportunity of examining the river for myself
as far as Fort a la Corne, but did not succeed in finding any favourable place
to cross, the valley being very similar to that already described at the
mouth of Brazeau River, except that no rock is visible in the banks.
From Fort a la Corne to Fort Pelly, the country is thickly wooded and
rolling in places, but no obstacles of importance are met with.. From the
level of Fort Pelly there is no difficulty in descending by the valley of
Swan River to the low ground east of the Duck Mountains; From Swan
river, the country lying north of Duck and Riding mountains, was found,
on examination, to be nearly level, thickly wooded-with spruce, poplar,
and some maple, a few small lakes and marshes were also found;
soil, sandy loam, and admirably fitted for farming.
Mr. Ermatihger's examination from Touchwood Hills to Fort Ellice
and Souris River, shewed that the bridging of all the streams in that
direction would be very great, and there would be no advantage gained
by carrying the railway along the general direction of the Assinniboine.
G-enerally speaking the country extending from about Fort Pelly by
Swan River, and between the Riding Mountains and Lake Manitoba, to
Prairie Portage near Fort G-arry, is for the mosf part well wooded and the
soil of excellent quality.
Having now completed a general examination of the several routes
indicated by you, I am satisfied from what I have seen and learned, that the
most eligible route for a railway Will be found to extend from Fort G-arry
to the north of Duck Mountains, passing between the Thunder and
Porcupine Hills, crossing the south Saskatchewan in latitude 52° 22' 12",
and following south bank of north Saskatchewan to a point about 60 miles
above the mouth of Battle River, thence by way of Beaver Lakes, Edmonton, and Lake St. Ann's to Jasper House ; by taking this line the bridging
of the wide and deep valleys running back from the Assinniboine, and of
which I have furnished sections, would be avoided, and both branches of
the Saskatchewan would be crossed at the most favourable points known,
the rough country lying to the north of the North Saskatchewan, and east
of Edmonton, would also be avoided, besides which the line would pass
through a larger portion of country favourable for settlement, than other
projected lines. 51
The only timber of much value is spruce which is found in groves
along the flats of the North Saskatchewan west of longitude 112° and about
the Pigeon and Buck lakes, and from-Carlton House downwards, but the
quantity is greatly lessened, each year by the prairie fires spreading into the
I send herewith samples of grain, &c, raised at different points on the
Saskatchewan each labelled with the name of the settlement at which it
was procured, and also specimens of coal and gold from Edmonton. Coal
is seen on the banks of the Saskatchewan from Edmonton to Rocky Mountain House, the seams vary in thickness from two to nine feet.
When the location surveys are commenced it will be necessary to open
a trail or cart road along the north side of Duck and Ryangmountainsand
as far down as Quill lake, and also to improve the trail from lake St. Ann's
to Jasper House.
One of the principal feature of the lakes along' the Saskatchewan are
the immense numbers of white fish in them, which* although of a smaller
size than those caught in lakes Huron and Superior, are equally good in
flavor; at lake St. Ann's 200,000 have been taken in a season, and at Pigeon
Lake 100,000 have been taken in the same period, these are two dr the
principal fisheries.
The country lying westward from the Forks of the Saskatchewan to
Edmonton and from the Battle River, north to the Pelican Lake, and Lac
la Biche; and also the couijttry lying adjacent to the Red Deer
River, is nearly ail admirably adapted for agricultural purposes; and
although the portions now under cultivation, are invariably the low and
sour flats along the rivers and lakes, I have seen some very fine crops
of Wheat, BarLay and Potatoes, and am convinced that if the Uplands were
used the results would be still more favorable.
The total distance travelled in the country west of Fort Garry, was;
5,900 miles, and it was my special object, to avoid travelling over the
same road twice, in order to gain as much information as possible respecting the Country.
I am pretty thoroughly convinced, that Surveying Parties carrying on
their work in the ordinary way, would meet with no opposition from the
Indians along the route.
I must also mention that we would have suffered very great inconvenience, but for the kindness experienced at the hands of the Officers of
the Hudson's Bay Company, who did everything in their power to assist us.
In conclusion, I must thank Mr. Nichol, Mr. Horetzki, and Mr. Er-
matinger for their able assistance in carrying out your instructions, and
for the willing and cheerful manner in which they endured the many
hardships we had to encounter.
I have the honor to be,
Your most Obdt. Servt.,
g Engnr. in Charge Expd O. 4* P.
M 58
(Report of James H. Rowan, Esq., on the progress in the Surveys between the
valley of the River Ottawa and Fort Garry.)
Ottawa, April 1872.
Sandfoed Fleming, Esq.,
Engineer in Chief, C. P. R.,
Sir,—I have the honor to submit the following report, in reference to
that portion of the Canadian Pacific Railway Survey, extending from
Mattawa to Red River, a distance of about 900 miles, which you were
pleased to entrust to me.
Three parties (B. C and !*.) under Messrs. Lloyd, O'Hanly and Austin,
who were charged with the duty of exploring northward and westward
fiom Mattawa, for a distance of about 250 miles, left Ottawa and ascended
the Ottawa river to the point named, on the 10th of June last. I started
on the evening of the 15th with a portion of the staff of the other eight
parties (iE. to If. inclusive) for Toronto, where *the remainder were instructed to meet me, and arriving there on the afternoon of the 16th was
joined by the rest of the staff.
The remainder of that day was spent in organization, arranging commissariat matters and procuring some men. On the morning of the 17th
I sent off a portion of the staff and men to Collingwood, the remainder in
the afternoon, while I remained in Toronto until Monday, the 19th, (arranging various details with Mr. Wallace, the head of the Commissariat)
then started for the same place and arriving there that evening found the
Engineers, in obedience to my instructions, had been hireing Axe and Packmen for their respective parties. It was found, however, impossible to
obtain either the* large number or class of men required, and. many of those
we were obliged to take, subsequent events proved, were unequal to the
very arduous labor they had to undergo, causing very considerable
delay and difficulty in pushing on the work.
Tuesday, the 20th of June, the steamer Algoma arrived from Thunder
Bay, and the afternoon was spent in getting the supplies on board of her
and the Rescue, one of the Government gun boats which had been obtained
from the Militia Department, for the purpose of landing some of the parties
on the north shore of Lake Superior, at points where it was thought the
mail steamer would not call. As the time drew near for the boat to leave,
it was found that the carrying capacity oi the G-un boat was much less than
had been anticipated, the consequence was that most of the men had to be
taken on board the Algoma; the larger portion of the stores for Michipi-
ooton, Pic and Nepigon beinj placed on boaard the fbnaer. 59
Owing to the great addition thus made to the usual number of travellers
on the Mail steamer, great crowding and inconvenience was experienced.
The Algoma started from Collingwood at 9:30 p. m., on the 20th of
June, the Rescue following shortly afterwards, and arrived at the Sault
Ste. Marie, on the 22nd of June, at 11 a. m.
Fearing that it would be difficult if not impossible to obtain canoes of
the requisite size and in sufficient numbers, at the points where they would
be required, I endeavoured to procure some at Collingwood and every
point where the steamer stopped, and by this means obtained seven before
reaching Michipicoton on Lake Superior. It was fortunate that 1 had taken
this precaution, for none were to be had at the H. B. Posts, where we afterwards made our depots, as they never keep a stock on hand; to obtain
them it would be necessary to give the order a year before, in order that the
Indians might have time to procure bark from the interior of the country.
Leaving the Sault in the afternoon of the same day, we arrived off Mi"
chipicoton, on Lake Superior, at 8 o'clock, on the morning of the 23rd, we
had utilized the time occupied in coming here, in getting the supplies for
each,party collected together, this, owing to the hurried manner in which
they had been put on board and the crowded state of the boat, as already
explained, was a work of great difficulty.
There are no landing places for large craft at any point on the north
shore of Lake Superior, consequently the two parties, (E. and'F.) in
charge of Messrs. G-amsby and McConnell, together with their stores, had
to be landed in the steamer's boats and a bateau kindly lent for that purpose
by Mr. Bell, the H. B. Co.'s officer at Michipicoton, the Rescue coming
up shortly afterwards, commenced to land supplies in the same manner. I
went ashore with the parties and had a short interview with Mr. Bell, who
kindly promised every assistance in his power to forward the undertaking,
which promise he fulfilled. Owing to the exposed position of the place
and anxiety on the part of the Captain to continue his trip, the length of
my stay was shorter than I could have wished. No canoes of the size
required were here to be obtained, as it seemed extremely doubtful if any
could be procured. I left four, being all I could spare, of those I brought
with me. A larger number was, however, requisite for the expedition's
transport of the supplies.
Leaving Michipicoton we steamed for Pic, which point we reached at
2:30 a. m., on the 24th June, and proceeded to land party », in charge of
Mr Armstrong, in the same manner as the others had been landed at Michipicoton- but the difficulties to be contended with here were even
greater than at the former place, as the position is much exposed to seas
from the lake, and at that early hour (2:30 a. m.) it was quite dark. Ihe
Rescue came in sight just as day began to break and we were leaving.;
There were no canoes to be obtained so I gave the party the three
remaining on board the Steamer. '{d
Leaving Pic at day light we arrived at  Nepigon at 3 p. m. the tdM
\ eo
I; Wm
day and landed party H in charge of Mr. Johnston ; most of their supplies
being on board the Rescue, and the Algoma being able to come along side
the wharf, our detention here was short. There were no large canoes to
be obtained, but the distance from the landing place to the point where
the party were to commence work being comparatively short, they succeeded, with some trouble and delay, in getting their supplies up.
The Rescue was not in sight when we left for l3Jbunder Bay, at whieJL
point we arrived on the morning of the 25th of J$uae and immediately
commenced to land the men and supplies; this together with geiating the
latter ia»tri store and finding accommodation for the parties, (tents being on
board the Rescue) occupied the entire day.
As it was of the nt&t importance to ascertain at once, what canoes
eould be procured to convey to their destinations the men, anteE supplies of
the four parties, who were to explore the country between Nepigon atond
Red River, I crossed the bay from Prince .Arthur's landing to the H. B. Post,
(Fort William) early the followmg morning, and saw Mr. Mclntyre, the
officer in charge, who kindly promised me every assistance in procuring
ctfiioes and Indians to man them; to his kind assistance I was much
indebted for success in these matters.
ffiSfi j
Finding that it would take some days to get canoes ready, I returned
to the Landing to make arrangements for forwarding the men and supplies
oyer a portion of the "Dawson Route" to Red River. During my absence
at the Fort, the steamer Rescue arrived at the Landing, and the supplies,
tents, &c, were being landed.
At this time I was met by a difficulty which retarded very materially
the progress of the work. Mr. Dawson, the Engineer in charge, under the
Department of Public Works, of the route to Red River, was absent with
Mr. Simpson, arranging a treaty with the Indians, at Fort Francis. Owing
to this, and the fact that all the available force on the route was engaged^
in forwarding supplies for the use of the troops, about to return from Red
River, and for immigrants proceeding to that point; we were unable
to obtain waggons and horses to forward our supplies, except in detached
umbers and at different intervals of time, consequently it was the 5th July
fore the first of our parties and the 15 th before the last had, left the
On the 27th June I had been to Fort William pushing forward the
construction of canoes, engaging Indians, &c, and on mv return to the
Landing in the afternoon, found the place in the greatest'state of confusion ; the fires, which had been raging in the woods for some time, fanned
by a storm from the south-west, had extended to the G-oyernment Depot
at this point; all the tents of our parties were levelled by the storm, and
had it not been for the active exertions of the heads of our parties, assisted
by iho jnen, the whole of the Government property would have been
Octroyed, the number of men on tbj> spot connoted ^ththe works being m
too small to battle with the flames. Mr. L. Russell, Mr. Dawson**
Assistant on the wotIs, returned this afternoon from Fort Francis and'
informed me that great damage had been done by the fire at various points
along the route ; he also stated that he thought it would be unsafe for our
parties, especially for those going to the neighbourhood of the Lake of
the Woods, to enter the woods for some time or until an arrangement had
been made with the Indians at Fort Francis.
By the close of the week we were all ready to start, and would have
pushed forward but for the reasons already given ; we continued, however, to pusji forward supplies as fast as means of transport were available,
but I kept all the parties (with the exception of a few men sent to take
care of the supplies at Kaministiquia Bridge and Shebandowan Lake) at
the Landing, it being cheaper to board them there, than further inland.
The time occupied in forwarding the supplies was utilized by the Engineers taking their respective parties into the woods, in the neighbourhood
of the Landing, and practising them at the work they would have to
perform when on the actual exploration.
Most of the supplies for parties I and K, having been forwared to
the KaministiqTiia Bridge, I started three loaded canoes, manned by Indians, by the river for that point on the 1st of July, and on the 5th, party
f£ in charge of Mr. Oarre, started to walk there at 3 a.m., the distaaee by
the " Dawson Road" being 21 miles-; on the morning of the 7th*rparty I
i|i charge of Mr. J. Fleming, followed ; airiflmg there myself; in the afternoon I found the two parties and the Indians, who brought up the canoes,
all euqamped. The following morning (8th July), five canoes loaded witi*<
supplies, twenty-two men, and twenty Indians, started for the Great Dog
Portage, wheat© the supplies were landed; afnd while the men were engaged an transporting them across, the Indians returned with the canoes
for the remainder of the supplies and parties. In this manner they
moved along until their destination (about 100 miles from the Landing)
was reached, so great, however, were the difficulties of transport encojttB-
tered on the way, that it was the 37th of July before work was actually
Parties f and M. being now fairly under Weigh, I returned to the
Landing to start the two remaining, (f* and M) in charge respectively of
Messrs. James and Jarvis, to Shebandowaas Lake. This being effecte^-I ascended the Kamiaistiquia River to the head of the G-reait Dog Portage,
Wheid I found the reafc of the supplies; for parties t and K and the Commissariat officer, the Engineers having gone forward with the balance.
Having given final instructions to the Commissariat officeers, I returned to
the Bfcidge, andi from thence I took the '' Dawson Road" to Shebandowan
Lake, aErimng at noon on the 18th;; here I found parties li aad M. encamped
they haying cffme thorough on foot from the Landing in two days, jjjbe
distance being 47 miles. After seeing ev&yrthing prepared for a stairt
from that pointr*o soon as boats could be supplied by Mr. Dawson, I teft 62
Shebandowan that evening and arrived at the Landing the following
morning, in time to take the steamer Chicora for Collingwood.
On the trip down the Lake we called at Nepigon (21st July] where I
learned that party Iff was making favourable progress; we reached Collingwood at 6 a.m., 24th July, and I arrived in Ottawa the evening of the
26th. Here I reported myself to you, and having received instructions
to keep four parties at work during the winter, returned to Toronto, met the
Commissariat Officer, Mr. Wallace, and arranged that warm clothing, snow-
shoes, additional blankets &c, should be procured, and forwarded for the use
of these parties. From this gentleman I learned that during my absence at
Thunder Bay, one of the parties (O) north of Lake Superior, had lost most
of their supplies by fire in the woods; steps were, consequently, taken to
repair this loss.
I again sailed from Collingwood on the 10th August, and reached
Thunder Bay on the evening of the 14th; the Rescue had arrived the day
previous having delivered a second supply of necessaries at the depots on
the north shore of Lake Superior. By her I received the distressing intel-
igence of the loss of some men, by fire in* the woods, belonging to party
H ; this made me extremely anxions to visit that party and all the others
along the north shore. Finding that this could be effected more satisfactorily by taking the Rescue than by waiting for the regular line of steamers, (whose visits to the posts on the north shore, at this advanced season
of the year were very irregular) I altered the arrangement, made at
Ottawa, of sending her home after this trip to Thunder Bay ; and arranged
she should take me to Nepigon, Pic, and Michipicoten, and after landing
me at the latter place should then proceed to Collingwood and be paid off.
Before leaving Thunder Bay I learned, that owing to the great difficulty of getting in supplies for two parties, by the route thfey had to
follow, party 1 had removed to Nepigon at the- other end of their division;
I also learned that party K had advanced some miles along their route, and
found the country generally favourable for Railway construction. I forwarded the instructions to M.j and M, in reference to their remaining out all
winter; when last heard from, they had not arrived at their starting point.
Leaving Thunder Bay, in the Rescue, on the evening of the 16th
August, I reached Nepigon the following morning and proceeded along
the explored line to the camp of party I, a distance of 10 miles. The
country passed over thus far being comparatively level and of rather a
swampy character, (except in the immediate neighborhood of Nepigon)
thickly, but not heavily, wooded with Balsam, Spruce and Cedar.
I returned to the Rescue the following day at noon, and proceeded
down Nepigon Bay to Jack Fish river, where we arrived at 6 p. m. At
this point party H had established a depot, thereby saving a portage of 14
miles along the line from Nepigon ; here the effects of the fire in the woods
were first seen by us, the timber and soil being completely burned up. 63
Taking a man from the depot and two Indians I had brought with me
from the Sault, I started along the line to visit the party j after proceeding
about 12 miles we met Mr. Johnson and three men returning to institute
a further search for the missing men.
. It seems desirable that at this point I should give an account of the
circumstances connected with this event, in order to shew that no blame
can attach to any one in this matter, except the unfortunate men themselves :—A party of seven men, two whites and five Indians, were detailed
from party II to bringfor ward supplies from one depot to another, (and for this
purpose had cut a trail by a shorter route than that followed by the surveyed
line) while the main party were proceeding with the exploration : notwithstanding their having been repeatedly urged by Mr. Johnston to push
ahead and keep up with the rest of the party, they lagged behind.
Their non-appearance, after some days, excited anxiety on the part of Mr.
Johnston, who thought they had deserted and returned to Nepigon ; he
therefore proceeded there himself in search of them, but found they had
not returned; then having fears for their safety, as the whole party had
on several occasions, very harrow escapes from the fires, he immediately
returned to the main party and sent his second in command with a number of men to search for the others. After an absence of five days
they returned, having made an extensive search and found one Indian in
a portion of the woods which had been burned over. He was lying on
his face with his shirt, which he had taken off, between it and the ground,
placed in that position to exclude the smoke from his lungs; he
was not burned, but had evidently died of suffocation caused by the
smoke. In a swamp near by were found six holes which had been excavated by the others, in order that by getting into them they might escape
the fire, but the smoke becoming too dense had driven them away and no
further trace of them could be found. The most extraordinary point in the
whole sad event, being that all the supplies, together with their blankets and
clothes, were found at the depot untouched by the fire.
The first party sent in search having made these discoveries, returned
to Mr. Johnston, who,upon receipt of their report, had, when I met him,
as aleady stated, started to make a final effort for finding some further
traces of them.
We therefore, with the men, returned and slept for the night at one
of the now deserted depots to which the supplies were being brought
when the catastrophe occurred. When the whole party were first encamped at this point they had a very narrow escape, the fire having
burned to within one quarter of a mile of the camp, and then leaping
over burned on again beyond, leaving it intact. Leaving Mr. Johnston,
the following morning, to prosecute the search (which, I subsequently
learned proved useless,) I returned to the Rescue and proceeded down the
lake to Pic, where we arrived at 8 p. m. on the 20th August.
The progress of this party had been very tatisfactory, although the fill:
csnntiry passed o^er proved, for the most part, extremely rugged and
broken, in fact entirely impracticable for Railway; construction, the distance
run at the time of my vo^sr,bting about 30 miles.
Landing at Pic with my canoe on the morning of the 21st August, I
prfteured some Indians at the Hudson Bay Post and proceeded up the Pic
riw, reaching theparting;point of party i* (a distance of 50 miles above
the mouth of th&jrijver) late in the afternoon of the following day.
This . was the point where the supplies were destroyed by fire
referred to in an earlier part of this report. The manner in which it
occurred was, as follows :—The depot was built on a narrow terrace of the
river? bank, 20 feet above the water, which is succeeded byyaflaoihfitr terrace
of about the same height, immediately in rear of the depot. In tbj&
buildingsall the stores of the party were placed, with the exception of a
small supply for immediate use in the camp about 10 miles distant. There
was a man in charge who slept in the building ; about daylight one
meining he was awakened by a loud roarings noise, hastily putting on his
clothes, he ran out to see the cause and found the whole of the woods on
the Upper Plateau, in rear of the building, inrflames. The fire was caused
by some Indians who had camped there, who, on levying at daylight*
had neglected to extinguish the fire by which they had cooked their
breakfast. The storekeeper had only time to roll some few barrels of
floujf(and pork down the bank into the rivers aj&d betake himself to a canoe,
when the whole place was in flames.
The consequence of this was thfet, fortsome time the party was reduced
to lr?5Wg on fish, y^ich they caught, and some flouskindly lent to them by
the H. B. officer at the Pic As, soon as possible, but not /an>til after some
time had ejjapsed, intelligence of the disaster was forwarded to Toronto
and the loss made good with as little deljajy as possible.
Starting from the Depot early on the 23rd August, with two Indians
and one white man, to carry supplies and blankets, we reached the party
in the forenoon of the 25 th, after a most fatiguing walk of 40 miles. I found
the work progressing', very favourably although the party had many hasd*
ships to contend with, being sometimes reduced to very strafg&ftened cjffH
cumstances as regards food, in consequence of the loss of their supplies by
fire^and the great difficulty of transporting them over the rugged country
they had traversed.
At the time I visited th& .party they wese supposed to be within 6 or 8
mjies of Lou® lake, at which point Mr. Armstrong, the Engineer in charge,
had directed a depot to be made. It subsequenfly turned out that they
had 14 milesiof a mostidifficult county to pass through, which took so long
to get over t&at for some days before reaching the depot they had nothing to
eat but a little flour and berries gathered on the hills.
liTjfce greater pari, of the country explored was of the most barren and 65
rugged description, traversed by high ranges of hills of primitive rock from
which every vestige of vegetation had been removed by fire, and quite
impracticable for a Railway.
Leaving the party (O) on the morning of the 26th I reached Pic on the
29th, where we were detained on board the Rescue in consequence of a
storm, the steamer having to take shelter in the lea of an island at some
distance from the mouth of the river.
On the morning of the 31st, the weather having moderated to -some
extent we sailed for Michipicoton, and arrived there in the evening, but,
the storm rising again, we were obliged to take shelter under G-ros Cap, a
point two miles distant from the mouth of the river. By the 3rd September the sea had gone down, and launching my canoe I paddled myself
to Michipicoten, the steamer proceeding on her voyage to Collingwood.
Mr. Bell, the H. B. officer at this point, procured me with some difficulty,
owing to most ofthem having gone to their hunting grounds, six Indians,
with whom I started on the morning of the 4th, by Michipicoton and
Moose rivers for the depot of parties E and E on the latter river, and
distant from Michipicoton about 150 miles.. We arrived at the above
named point on the morning of the 8th, where I found that owing to the
great distance over which supplies had to be conveyed, the difficulties of
the route and scarcity of men, the party (E) were run very short of provisions : stopping therefore only long enough to write a line to Mr. G-amsby,
Engineer in charge, I proceeded down Moose river with the intention of
visiting New Brunswick House (H. B. Post) and trying to hire some
As I camped at a portage on the night of the 8th September, I was
joined by party JJ, under Mr. McKenzie, on their way homewards after
having ascended the Ottawa river, descended the Abbitibbie to James'
Bay and ascended the Moose river to this point. From this gentleman I
learned that my visit to New Brunswick House would be useless, as when
he left it that morning, the H. B. Co. could hardly procure Indians to man
their canoe, about to start for Michipicoton for winter supplies. I therefore, in company with party BT, the next morning, retraced my way to the
Depot, and arriving there in the afternoon immediately despatched one of
my Indians with a note to Mr. G-amsby, requesting him to come and meet
me at his 15 mile Depot. My object in doing this was to save time, it
being very important that I should get back as quickly as possible to Michipicoton, and endeavour by some means to forward more su;- 'lies.
Mr. G-amsby joined me at the 15 mile Depot on the eveninb pi the
11th, from him I learned that on two occasions they had been without
meat for some days: having received his report on the progress of the work
and given him his instructions as to remaining out all winter, I started on
my return journey the following morning, to try and find the Commissar
riat Officer, Mr. Price, who was charged with forwarding supplies for parties
E and F, and at this time engaged in taking in supplies to the latter am.
. party, by another route which saved considerable land carriage. At midday on thftiMth I reached the poinft on! Miphipiteoton river whereiitsMs
route branched off, and following it met the^®omniissariat Officer in[nfche
evening, on his return from taking in supplies to party F.
9flJ.ffO£>rct p9|&^liK0f odf lo m     roar so1      vtb
Having^fhfoimed him of the state of affairs on division -E, and learned
thai? |fiaity F, under Mi. rrM80&nnell were gettMg on sa^sfacMfSy,
I determined to give up the idea of vtSitiiig^hat ^entleman^hd refused
to Michi»icoton with the Commissariat Officer. On the way down he
exftkme#fo me the greltt difficulties he had to contend with, owing to the
,«©a7ref#y**>f men, the isolated position in which he'was placed, and the con-
sequefnfcdiffic'alty and delay in*d6mmunicatfiig wrUhthe head of his departments %
f cto ssxj jo.     .lavn' ojij 10 jijjjuiu t>j
We arrived at Michipicoton at noon on the 16th September, and to my
great disappointment, I learned a steamer had left there in the mrirmhg, and
,il(at some daJyV would^elapse before another would call. DurftS^ tflfisMfne I
succeeded in persuadMg^the Indians, who had taken me up^e? river, to
&ssis#sMx Price aiidT1 Ms m'efi* in takin^liii1 mOSS -supplies, xSJ&st ofathem
promising to remaJm'With him as 18ng as¥e?frared. otThe great difficfifi^ih
'etelptbting Indians^is, to geV&em to coiftihue for^any^ldflgth of time at
% p^tfeiSlaliMjlass of1 Work At tilis julitetore our difficulties'Were mater-
ilal^ increased, Mr. Bell, (the H. B. Officer,) having leffii^SaWrf g$e.
tMarie in consequence of ill health, and we consequently lost hfs^aluaftje
The steamer Chicora arrived on the night of the 20th September bringing, what Was so much needed, a number of men. I consequently felt
^Stisfled that, with suc3|farloaiierg<Sti^"omcer as we had at this point, the
diffieuilfctes* of getting^ supplies, gjF§a^Bs^hSy were, would be overebme :
^'therefore embarked fo¥ ^(fllingwoodf^Htfenditfg*^ rir^fceed rf¥om tB§fe to
S?hunder Bay .0* Before leaving 1 wrote to M-fi-^M^ofewell, instructing
him^tcPStop work and bring-out his party on the 10th October, aSW'was
not contemplated to keep them at work all wirBter, and the risk: attending remaining latere UnlesSS' profiled with winter 1¥tfp<plies, would
be vtfry great.
lo 9110 !>9.fl0tW(|£S.
The country which had been explored (up to the time of my visit) by
partiSB E and E, was on the north^de of the helfjfit of &hd,'aMd is
favorable for the construction of a raSJway. The ex|HS§f8tions also prove
that by moving the line still further norlti a bette¥'sectrofi may be obtained.
The Chicora arrived at Collingwood on the 23rd September, and in obedience to a telegram from yd®, 1 came on to Ottawa and having reported
on the progress of the work, was aofllh&rfeed by you to keep*Mr. Armstrong
and a small par^ but all'winl^rftfb'r the purpose of endeavouring^tb find a
more pfSeti&afell4Hie further nofdfti of LakgfJS&perior thaB that explored by
hims¥lf1<atod MZfltfohnston, and also for compl;8f&b!|^that portion of division
F wiaeh M$ Mc'Gfmnell would notfhave time to finish.   I%^the same time OT
reoedfved ins)trurdri.bns to keep pdrties I aifd K at work dufcing the*w\fater, it
being profcable that their decisions would not be completed before thafctime
and the expense of keeping them out would be much less than that of
bringing them home in the Fall and sending them out .again iriuSpring.
The also a much better timeifor passing fhiasugh the country-to
be explored, owing to the fact tharfi the lakes, wSth which it is covered, are
frozen over and more easily crossed, thus rendering the moving of supplies
&c. much more practicable.
Having arranged with Mr. Wallace for the forwarding of warm
clothing snowshoes, &c, for fliese addfHonal winter parties, I agaiffistarted
for Thunder Bay and Lake of the Woods. The Chicora cafl&d at Michipicoton, Pic, and Nepigon on hfi$ way up the lake, thus enabling hie to communicate with all our parties. By tBis means I learned, at M^clffippton,
that parties E and F, were progressing favourably; at PicM: found^iil-r. '*
Armstrong and party, having completed his division, waiting for a steamer
to takeothem home. When, however, I aomnannicated to them the instructions to remain out all winter, those ihat were to stay cheerfully
undertook to endure the hardships of a winter expedition.
Arriyigrg, at Nepigon I found Mr. Johnson and party (hajs^gj^pmpkii^^fi
thejjf.jWork), and took them on board, in order tl\a£jthey might rejilHgL jjtftfc]
Ottawa.    I at the same time sent inst£uction§t;to Mr^ Joh^ FlemihgaoWi
remain out all winter with his party, and informed him that the necessary
winter outfit would arrive by the next steamer.
. When we reached Thunder Bay I sent Mr. Carre (K) 'In^ffifi&tftms 4$^
the^teame effect, and having arranged with the CommissaSiat Offic&'fir*
this point that the winter supplies should be sent in as quickly as pos^HSIS?
I started for Lake of the Woods.    Before arriving at this point, however,
winter jaet)in unusually earj^ and wi^h such great sescerity, that   I was
frozen in on that Lake for threes:days, an^d; did not reach the, " Notfth
West AnglejfL until the 2nd November, after a Walk of ten. miles ongice
hardly strong enough to support my weight, although quite sufficient to,
stop a boat or canoe.
Here I learned that the Commissariat Officer, Mr. Robson, who had
been sending in supplies for parties iL and HBL, had that morning started
for Ottawa via Red River, having completed his work.
i , iioifcasi i  i<j-'- iiti'i i tiiiqA
Finding there was no prospect of my getting to the Depot of I* and
M, at White Fish Bay, until either milder weather returned or the Lake
was frozen over, I started for Fort G-arry, 110 miles distant. Here I met
Mr. Robson, who gave me a detailed account of the difficulties encountered
by Messrs. James and Jarvis, parties (L and Jff,)in getting to their stffiflSflg8^
point, which they only reached on the 21st August, over two months from
the date of their leaving Ottawa.
It being the 5th November when I reached Fort G/arry, I cHfUclBaWt 06
Mr. Robson to endeavor to go to Nepigon, by way of Duluth, for the purpose of assisting Division f in getting their supplies forward during the
winter. Returning to the "North West Angle" with the view of
again endeavoring to reach White Fish Bay, I found the ice was not yet
strong enough, nor could I succeed in obtaining an Indian guide. After
waiting there some days with the above result, I was about to give up the
attempt and return to Ottawa, when Mr. James and all the party JL arrived
from White Fish Bay, having travelled on the ice.
From him I learned that the men had refused to continue out any
longer, and after an unsuccessful attempt on my part to induce them to
continue on the work, I took steps to forward them home, returned to
Fort G-arry to procure others, leaving Mr. James and his Staff at the
" Angle" until I sent them out. 0
While I was thus employed at Fort G-arry all the men, who had
been engaged in Canada, belonging to party M, came in arid1 insisted
on returning home, I had therefore, at the same time, to find others to replace
them. This was a work of considerable difficulty but by the 16th December I had procured the requisite number, and arranged with Mr. Jones
(sent up by you to attend to Commissariat and other matters at Fort G-arry)
to forward them to the respective parties.
Leaving Fort G-arry on the 17th December, I reached Toronto on the
26th; during my stay at the former place the weather had been extremely
cold, the thermometer, on one occasion, registering—36 ° in the month of
On the 26th February of this year I left Ottawa and ascended the
Ottawa River to the mouth of the Montreal, a distance of about 250 miles,
taking Mr. Austin and staff with me, to complete the survey of Division
C, which had been abandoned by the first party sent out, in consequence
of some difficulty occuring between the staff and men.
Having seen Mr. Austin's party started, and paid a visit to Mr.
Lloyd (B), who expected to complete his Division by the middle of
April, I returned to Ottawa to superintend the preparation of the Plans, &c,
of the work already completed.
A cause of considerable difficulty in carrying out this undertaking,
has been the obstacles which, prevented either frequent or regular communication between the head office, myself, and the parties on the work;
when, ^however, an opportunity offered, a statement of the progress made
with aj-ough plan and section of the line, has been forwarded to me by
tk© aoveral Engineers, *>
From the latest information thus received, the following summary of
the progress of the work, at the beginning of this month, has been prepared :—
On the 31st March, about 15 miles of the survey were unfinished, which
the Engineer, in charge hoped to finish by the 15th April, if the weathefc
proved favourable.
The first 30 miles of the Division are represented as being quite
practicable, but some unfavourable points occur on the remainder. The
information obtained, however, warrants the belief that a favourable location can be found by making some deviations from the trial Survey Line.
The first party sent out having failed to carry out their instructions,
steps have been taken to complete the exploration which, it is expected,
will be finished by the month of July.
The exploration of this division was completed about the end of
January, and the field notes forwarded to this office. The plan and section will be completed in a short time.
A practicable line for a railway has been found, there are, however, a
few points where further exploration will be advisable in order to improve
the section and render the bridging of two branches of the Moose river,
which prove heavy on the first explored line, more favorable.
The length of this division, on the line proposed for the railway is 8l
»The exploration of this division was completed in February. The
Engineer in charge returned to Ottawa within the last few days, having
made the journey from Michipicoton on snowshoes where he left the staff
at work on the plan and section; they will return to Ottawa by the first
boat upon the opening of navigation.
He reports the country favorable for the location of a railway; there
will be three rivers, (including the Moose at the starting point) requiring
bridges of considerable size, to be crossed
The section can be improved by taking the line a short distance further
1 70
iiw. ■
north, which,may hadie. to Jje done fen the purpose of avoiding the rough
country^found OUffdivisions G-. and H. further to the west.
When the party left off work, 10th October, in order to reach the last
steamfepbfefcfeeithe close of navigation, 55 miles had been explored, equalling
44\ on the Hiie proposed for the railway.
Letters received (dated in March);Apm the Engineerin charge gf^divi-
sionppPlead to the conclusion that the whole is completed by this time.
•.;The plan and section of thecfirst portion has been plotted, and shews a
favorable location, which, as in the preceding division, can be improved
by moving the line farther north.
The exploration of this division was completerd'early in the winter, and
the greater portion of the country traversed found impracticable for a railway.
During the winter the party has been engaged in making a " Ulphg
Exploration" of<£he country some distance north of last Summer's work,
the result of this proves that a practicable lineman be obtained north of
the "height of land."
qjttJL.^f Te«
 :    9*il
The exploration of this o^jriston was completed injOctober last, at which
time the party returned to Ottawa, where the plan and section were
The country traversed proved entirely impracticable for a railway.8'
Explorations have been carried on further north, during the winter,
whi#lr by the latent accounts received are of a favorable character.
Forty miles of this division had been completed wlien 'la¥t heard from
at the commencement of the winter, and it is expected that the whole will
be completed shortly after the opening of navigation.
A portion of the country first explored, between the mouth of the
rivers Nepigon and Black Sturgeon, proved very rugged but more recent
examinations goatb shew that in all probability this can be avoided.
BFLiK mi
The exploration of this division was completed in February.
Letters received from the .Engineer represent the country as generally
level, ftflllPoff Small lakes, but favorable for the^constructfOn of a.rMlway in
the r"§q*ulred drre/enfifi^0
He is at present at Thunder Bay engaged in preparing the plan and
section, which wil be forwarded to Ottawa upon the opening of navigation.
At the date of the latest letters from the Engineer. 35 miles had been
explored. A practicable line found 'in"1'the general direction indicated by
his instructions, although the country is rough and filled with lakes, some
of which are of a very considerable ^lze. He has made explorations on
both sides of the line and found that a more, favorable country exists north
of the present location.
This division has been completed and the Engineer is engaged in preparing the plan and section at Fort G-arry.
He reports favorably of the country traversed, but the first 30 or 40
miles admit of improvement which he thinks can be effected by taking
the line farther north.
In order to obtain more information respecting the country lying to
the north of the line already explored, a party was sent out about the
beginning of this year to make a "Flying Exploration" from |Fort G-arry to
the north end of lake Nepigon.
The report of this expedition will in all probability reach Ottawa soon
after the opening of navigation on lake Superior.
At the time winter set in and the party returned. 100 miles of this
division had been surveyed.
The Engineer (Mr. Murdoch) remained out and made a "Flying Exploration" from the end of the surveyed line as far east as French river. .
The portion surveyed (of which a plan and section has been prepared) is
quite favorable for a railway, and he reports the other portion as equally so.
In conclusion I may state that, the difficulties which had to be en. m.
countered, in keeping the various parties supplied with provisions, clothing, &c, throughout the whole of this extensive district, can neither be
appreciated nor conceived unless by one who, like myself, has been over
the ground.
It is a matter for sincere congratulation that no serious disaster has
occurred in carrying out the work, with the exception (already referred to)
of the unfortunate loss by fire of seven men.
That such has been the case is, to a large extent, due to the untiring
energy and perseverance displayed (with few exceptions) by the Engineers,
Staff and Commissariat, who have endured very great hardships in carrying
out the work entrusted to them.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedt. servt,
mm. 73
^Ll»r»E?STI>I^: TYo. 7.
(Reportof Alexander McKenzie, Esq.,—in charge of the Expedition to James
Kingston, 27th Oct., 187L
Sandford Fleming, Esq., C. E.,
Engineer-in-Chief, C. P. R., Ottawa.
Sir,—The accompanying informal copy of the Itinerary of the Expedition to James' Bay, under my charge, will, when supplemented by the
topographical map now in hand, illustrate to you the details of the season's work. Vou will thereby also learn the nature of the country passed
through, as regards its soil, climate, timber, minerals, topographical
features, and general geological structure. On all these points I have been
as explicit as possible ; and my object here is, to epitomize the whole, with
the view of lending, if not additional, at least more immediate value to
the season's work, by placing it within abstract compass.
According to received instructions, I was charged with carefully
examining the country lying between the valley of the Ottawa, Lake
Superior, and the waters of Hudson's Bay, with reference to the points
above enumerated, commencing at the Montreal River, a tributary of the
Ottawa, following the course of the Abbitibbie river, through to James' Bay,
and returning by the Moose and Michipicoton river to Lake Superior.
It may hardly be necessary here to state that, in approaching a country
so densely wooded, the topographical engineer is liable to some difficulty
in obtaining a key, capable of placing within his professional control so
vast an area, covering as it does about 30,000 square miles. Aware of this,
I first endeavored to direct attention to some leading physical feature,
which happily presented itself in the great mountain chain, which, at a
depth and altitude in ore or less irregular, traverses the whole country from
Labrador to the far West, and on which as a base the subsidiary triangle
enclosed by the Abbitibbie and Moose rivers with the intermediate chain
of lakes rests. In ascending the Ottawa river, this well defined chain of
mountains follows its noith-east bank to the mouth of the Mattawa river
the valley of which extends up to Nipissing lake. From Mattawa, the
Ottawa leads the voyageur in his upward course in a north-westerly direction for about 80 miles to Matabichwan, where it receives from the southwest the waters of the Montreal and Mafabichwan rivers. Below and
above this point Temiscamingue lake, through which the waters of the
Ottawa flow, extends for a distance of about 70 miles. At about 60 miles
up, it leaves the mountain range referred to, in a northerly direction,
widens, and becomes shallow at the head, where it receives the waters of
10 74
the Ketacamna, Blanch, and Moose rivers, the latter bei^g a continuation of
the Ottawa. At its eastern side, and near the head, it also receives the
Ottawa river, at present the highest outlet from the lumbering districts
enclosed in the bight of the Moose river.
Lying north of this curvilinear range of mountains, and approximately
paralled to it, is the great water-shed, which is reached, after ascending
the "fifteen" rapids on the Moose river, by the chain of lakes peculiar to it
and in which the Abbitibbie and Great Moose rivers take their rise, and
which, after flowing northwards, join at "The Mattawa," 20 miles south of
the apex of James' Bay, into which, finally, they discharge their party
coloured waters. The southern slope is drained by the Michipicoton and
other streams which flow southwards through a mountainous and unproductive country into the great lakes, while the St. Lawrence receives the
waters of the south eastern slope, through the Ottawa river.
In connection with these general features I may state a fact, which,
although well known to yourself, may not generally be understood. In
crossing the great water-shed, or "height of land," twice, and on different
meridians, I remarked that, both it and the mountain range, each send out
antler-like spurs—those of the mountain chain losing themselves in the
comparatively level country to the north, while those of the water-shed
contain a similar feature, less marked no doubt, but not less real, as indicated
by the courses of rivers and streams, and if accurately delineated would
produce a most remarkable contour.
As, regards general geological features, the country south and southeast of the "height of land," and lying-all along those lakes which discharge
into the Ottawa and Michipicoton rivers, nearly all, if not all, is primary
rock, composed of gneiss, granite, trap, and an undefinable micaceous
greenstone, consisting of laminae, more or less'irregular in thickness ; also,
immense quantities of ice drift of every conceivable variety of primary
rocks. This greenstone is observable as far north as Abbitibbie lake, its
surface invariably denoting, the serrating action of former ages. For some
distance down the Abbitibbie river, rock of any kind seldom crops out in
the banks, except at portages>i until, atlat. 48° 44' 43" N., primary rock and
Abbitibbie clay give place to small but increasing quantities of magnesium
limestone, which, with large quantities of gypsum, appears to underlie the
whole country to the north-west of this point, on the Abbitibbie river, and
to extend over an indefinite area north-west of the Moose river. Since my
return I have given the details of this latter formation much study and reflection ; but I consider it would be rash to attempt to deliver any decided
opinion on a question involving so much, until after consultation (as kindly
suggested by you) with some eminent G-eologist.
The highest lumbering districts observeable on the Ottawa, terminate
at Lac des Quinze, at the head of the "Fifteen Rapids ;" from which point,
and up to the "height of land," the white pine gradually disappears, and
is replaced with spruce, red pine, birch and poplar.    On, and beyond th«- 75
Watershed, the forest is principally composed of spruce, poplar, white
bireh, and cedar. It is notable however, that in all this portion of the
Hudson's Bay territories, the spruce is gradually giving place to the poplar,
which no doubt indicates some change, local or general, on which it would
be useless here to speculate. The woods there are also very dense, and
vary in weight of growth according to the quality and nature of the soil,
which, although generally light is of fair quality, especially that resting on
the limestone foundation referred to. As a general rule the "height of
land" and vicinity, as well as south of it, particularly in the Lake Superior
region, contain land of indifferent, although varied quality. This is
especially the case in the Abbitibbie district, which rests on a species of
flight blue clay, which when dried, resembles common pipe-clay, and which
imparts a white color to its lake and river for 300 miles to the sea. I found
also that this clay in minute drift, forms* the sub-strata of the alluvial
islands (about 27 in> number) dotting the mouth of the Moose river, and,
which the flow and ebb of the tide gives an excellent opportunity of
observing. Above "the Mattawa," it is also perceivable to some slight
extent in the banks of the Moose river, but disappears about 45 miles from
the sea, and about 35 miles below the north-eastern margin of the primary
formation, or, what appears to be the ancient sea wall.
The principal rivers north of the great Watershed are shallow, and
not available for heavy craft. The Moose and Abbitibbie rivers,' however,
admit of navigation by the Hudson's Bay Company's boa/ts, of about 10
tons, for nearly 100 miles up, but only during spring, arid sometimes up
till the 1st of July. The Abbitibbie is remarkable for the regularity ol
its width, and also for the singularly definite nature of its traverse angles,
as well as for the uniform length of its traverse course while its descent
is characterized by a series of rapids, (34 in number) the last and most
dangerous of which occurs at its junction with the Moose river. On the
other hand, the Moose is comparatively straight, but irregular in its width
for sixty miles from the sea, and has no portage for 120 miles up, being a
gradual current; after which it becomes in most places, up to the line of
the Canadian Pacific Railroad survey very serpentine. For variety of rock
especially below New Brunswick House, both at portages and in drift, it
surpasses anything conceivable. Its quartz is pure and almost endless in
quantity, containing apparent traces of gold, copper, &c, while galena is
to be found in its " south branch." There are also what appears to me
indications of petrolium on its western side for about 30 miles southwards
from tide mark; this locality also abounds with ferruginous and brackish
Following up the Moose river to Lat. 48° 44' 30" N., where it is crossed
by the Paoific Railroad survey now in progress, the general country is very
reo-uhvr and offers every facility for roads and railroads; immediately south
<of this, however, the undulations peculiar to the " height of land" are in
some places still perceptible. Advancing southwards towards Lake Superior, the landscape becomes thickly interspersed with rock, mountain,
and lake, till in descending the Michipicoton river, primary rock and a
barren sandy soil are met with. 76
It is not my wish here to introduce any question relative to an isothermal
line; but the presumption is, that, were the country explored this season,
under cultivation, a condition only precluded by its vast extent, and absence
of communication, its climate would unless in certain localities, from local
causes, differ little from the lower cultivated portions of the Province of
Quebec, an evidence of which exists in the crops raised undvT the present
unfavourable circumstances at the Hudson's Bay CompanyIs Posts, north
of the great Watershed. At Moose Factory the extremes of temperature
are—40<? in winter and-}-89° in summer, the average during the coldest
month being so far as I could learn, about+llQ, or a little colder than at
Abbitibbie, where I procured my figures from the register kept for the
Smithsonian Institution. The climate of the country is very healthy, and
even in the heat of summer, the air highly invigorating, but early frosts
frequently prevent grain from ripening properly, especially at Moose
Factory, where the soil is rich alluvial, and the crops over luxuriant for an
early harvest. At New Brunswick House, however, situated about 49? 8' N.
latitude, I procured a very fair specimen of ripe barley.
On Moose Island, in Lat. 51° 14' 43" N., the magnetic variation is 13c W.
and I observed from the Hudson's Bay Company's chart of 1821, that following the meridian of 80v W. Long, at Lat. 52^ 10' N. it is 7° W. at 52°
40' N. it is 8° W., while at Lat. 54p 18" N. and Long. 80° 30' W. it is 10° W.
I had no means at my command this season, of ascertaining whether observations taken this year would correspond with those of fifty years ago. In
the soundings, so far as I was able to examine during a short trip of three
days in James Bay, there seems in general little difference between those
taken then and in 1821; that little however indicates a sliting up, but the
bottom is free from rocks, except a few drift boulders, and the anchorage
• excellent.
Along our route of exploration we met with some very beautiful and
interesting scenery, especially on the Abbitibbie river, of which I made
some pencil sketches. On reaching Moose Factory, however, I found from
Mr. J. L. Cotter, Accountant, Southern Department that, during his summer
travels in Hudson Bay, he had, as an amateur, photographed many of the
principal scenes we had passed; at the same time presenting me with
what copies he had, including a complete view of Moose Island and
In my contact with the Indians, I have been far more successful than I
anticipated in securing their good opinion, three of them having, as bows-
man, steersman, and cook, followed us faithfully throughout the entire
expedition. The Cree-speaking Indians had become very suspicious of
the future in consequence of the transition state of the Company. In
answer to many inquiries, which I had neither power nor authority to
answer, I constantly assured them that the object and wish of the Canadian Government was to deal fairly by them; also taking care never to
4eave a post or encampment, before ascertaining to what extent our presence and conduct had met their approval, 77
It would be unjust to close this report without expressing my satisfaction with my assistants. To their exertions and intelligence, the rapidity
of our movements, and the success of the expedition owes much. From
the Hudson's Bay officers, in addition to much information and help, we
met with much personal kindness.
I have in hand a statement of the accounts of the expedition which
will be submitted at the earliest opportunity.
All of which is respectfully submitted by
Sir, your most obedient servant,
Engineer in charge of Division TV
^.^I^l-SFODXX: TVo. *.
Explanations by the Engineer in Chief respecting the commencement of the
Survey at Mattawa.
Canadian Pacific Railway,
Office of the Engineer in Chief,
Ottawa, May 6, 1872.
The Hon. H. L. Langevin, C. B.,
Minister of Public Works, &c, &c.
Sir,—Objections have been offered, since my Report on the Pacific
Railway Exploration was made public, to the point selected for beginning
the easterly end of the survey. It is therefore proper that I should submit
a few words of explanation, which if you deem expedient, may be included
in the appendices to the original report and printed with them
In the selection of a point for beginning the survey, three main objects
had to be kept in view :—
1st. A connection with the Railways of the Province of Ontario.
2nd. A connection with the Railways of the Province of Quebec.
3rd. The discovery of a practicable line for a Railway through the
wilderness country extending northerly and westerly by Lake Superior toe
Manitoba. SM
The Government considered that a point between the G-eorgian  Bay
and the river Ottawa in the latitude of Lake Nipissing, would generally
meet the first two objects, viz.:—the connection with the existing Railway
'System of the country.
The third object appeared, at the time the survey began, the one of
chief importance, as grave doubts were entertained by many as to the
possibility of piercing the long extent of rugged country, believed to exist,
with a practicable line for the Railway.
The G-overnment was extremely anxious that a practicable line should
be discovered, withjas little delay as possible, and in order the more effectually to accomplish this object, the Engineer appointed to conduct the
surveys was left untrammelled as to the course to be pursued.
The G-overnment simply decided that the survey should begin in the
latitude of Lake Nipissing somewhere between the 'xeorgian Bay and the
river Ottawa; the duty and responsibility of finding a practicable line
thence westerly devolved upon me.
The distance between the G-eorgian Bay and the river Ottawa, in the
latitude referred to, is in round figures about 100 miles.    Lake Nipissing
<08i situated about midway  and with its different bays, practically occupies
' about 50 miles; or about half the whole distance
It was clear that a line for the Pacific Railway, to connect with the
Railways of Canada to the south, must pass either to the east or to the
west of Lake Nipissing.
Eveijy known source of information respecting the country lying between Lake Nipissing and the north era, bend of Lake Superior was fully
and carefully consulted by me and all accounts agreed as to the exceeding
roughness and impracticability of the country for Railway construction on
a line drawn from any point between the G-eorgian Bay and the west end
of Lake Nipissing.
The country on aline drawn up the valley of the Ottawa from a point
east of Lake Nipissing, seemed on the other hand much more promising.
I satisfied myself that to attempt the discovery of a favorable line on a
moderately direct course from the westerly end of Lake Nipissing to the
north side of Lake Superior could only be made at a great expenditure of
time and money, and without much hope of success.
My duty and object was not to court failure but to aim at success by
the most direct course, I therefore decided to look for a satisfactory solution to the problem of practicability, by beginning the survey at a point
east of Lake Nipissing.
The importance of bringing the Pacific Railway as near as practicable fcfe
to the system of Railways converging at Toronto, without going too much
out of the direct course to the seaboard is fully recognised.    In relation to
this point,   I wish to draw attention   to  certain facts which will probably set some misapprehensions at rest.
Lake Nipissing is situated directly north of Toronto. The Northern
Railway, the Nipissing Railway, the Whitby, Bowmanville, Port Hope and
Cobourg Railways with their extensions, as now projected, lead to a point
in the Muskoka District named Bracebridge. Bracebridge is due South of
and actually nearer the East end of Lake Nipissing than the West end.
It seems clear therefore that if a point to the East of Lake Nipissing
be found not more distant from Fort G-arry than a point on the West side
of this Lake, the most direct connection between Fort G-arry and the
Railways of Ontario would be by the East side of Lake Nipissing.
I am perfectly satisfied from all the information acquired respecting
the geographical position of the different points referred to and the physical features of the intervening country that the probability of finding a
more favorable and shorter line, by the West side than by the East side
of Lake Nipissing is very small.
Be this as it may, I trust the  explanations  given  with regard to the
commencement of the survey are satisfactory.    Of course in beginning'
instrumental examinations, it was • necessary to fix on some definite point.
I selected Mattawa as this point for similar reasons to those which governed
me in making the survey East instead of West of Lake Nipissing.
I do not, however, wish it to be understood that I consider it impracticable to build the Railway nearer the East end of Lake Nipissing than
Mattawa and thence to such point south of it as the (rovernment may
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servt,
SANFDORD FLEMING-, Engineer-in-chief. m
G-eneral Report     2
No. 1.—Table of distances   17
No. 2.—Report on Survey between   New   Westminster   and   G-reat
Shuswap Lake     20
No 3.—      "     Exploration from G-reat Shuswap Lake to Howse Pass.. 27
No. 4.—      "      Exploration from Kamloops  and Cariboo  to Yellow
Head Pass \..  39
No. 5.—      "      Examination between the Rocky Mountains and Fort
Garry  50
No. 6.—      "      Survey between Fort G-arry and and Lake Nipissing... 58
No. 7.—      "     The Expedition to James'Bay   73
No. 8.—Explanations respecting the commencement of the survey near
Lake Nipissing  77
Map of part of Canada between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans show*
ing the projected Railway route.
Diagram, comparative Profiles of the Canadian Pacific Railway and
the Union Pacific Railway, U. S.
■; ii'A
!:)•■■■■' ress Report on Survey CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY,
Dated 10th April, 1872.
V       »
JSlevatten* afotv
Railway   lines   between   Atlantic   &   Pacific Ports
Vertical.   1000 Feet - 1 Inch.
Horizontal     80 Miles-1 Inch.
above   Sea Level.
il 1
k*   t
• Tv-.   ^
ii   %     s
Si :
To accompany Progress Report on Survey CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY,
Dated 10th April, 1872,
—fflevaliem a fan
Sea Jjevef.	 


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