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Message of the President of the United States : Communicating, in compliance with a resolution of the… United States. President (1857-1861 : Buchanan) 1860

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Array 36th Congress, ) SENATE. ( Ex.   Doc.
1st Session.     ) . \   No. 16.
In compliance with.a resolution of the Senate, information with regard
to the present condition of the worh of marking the boundary, pursuant
to the first article of the treaty between the. United States and Great
Britain of June 15, 1846.
March 2, 1860.—Read, ordered to lie on the table, and be printed.
To the Senate of the United States:
In answer to the resolution of the Senate of yesterday, requesting
information with regard to the present condition of the work of marking
the boundary, pursuant to the first article of the treaty between'the
United States and Great Britain of the loth of June, 1846, I transmit
a report from the Secretary of State, and the papers by which it was
Washington, February 29, 1860.
Department of State,
Washington, February 29, 18(50.
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred the resolution of the
Senate of yesterday, requesting the President to communicate to that
body, (if not incompatible with the public interest,) If. a copy of any
report which may have been received from the commissioner on the
part of the United States for marking the boundary, pursuant to the
first article of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain
of the 15th of June, 1846, showing the present condition of that work,
has the honor to lay before the President the accompanying copy of
papers, embracing the information called for by the said resolution.
Respectfully submitted.
The President of the United States. 2
United States Northwest Boundary Commission,
Camp Simiahmoo, December 31, 1859.
Sir : I have the honor herewith to transmit for the information of
the department, Lieutenant Parke's report of the progress of the survey of the boundary along the forty-ninth parallel, between the United
States and the British possessions, during the past year. It will be
seen thereby, that notwithstanding physical obstacles of a formidable
character, the survey has been carried eastward as far as the Columbia
river, in accordance with the plan of operations determined upon at
the* commencement of the season. By unofficial advices from Lieutenant Parke, as late as the 22d of November, I learn that an astronomical and a reconnoitering party were at that time still in the field,
although the thermometer had been down to ten degrees below zero.
Before this time, however, it is probable that snows have driven them
into their winter quarters at Colville depot, the military station recently
established in the vicinity of the forty-ninth parallel. From that point
it will be convenient to carry on reconnoissances along the line towards
the Rocky mountains, whenever an opportunity is afforded by favorable
weather, before the full resumption of operations in the spring.
The success of our operations during the past season, has been
greatly facilitated by the admirable arrangements of the commanding
general of the department of Oregon, for the protection of our parties
in their laborious progress along the line, over a rugged mountainous
region hitherto unexplored, and through a portion of country occupied
by the most warlike and hostile tribes of Indians in Washington Territory. The mere presence of United States troops for the first time
on that remote and secluded frontier, had the moral effect to quiet and
overawe them into submission, and thereby enabled the commission to
carry on the work more vigorously by detaching small parties on
distant surveys and reconnoissances without apprehension of disaster.
The aid and protection thus rendered by General Harney is highly
appreciated by the commission; and it gives me great pleasure to
communicate to the department the result of the cooperation of that
distinguished officer.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant
Commissioner Northwestern Boundary Survey.
Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State.
'■ United States Boundary Survey, Colville Depot,
Washington Territory, November 12, 1859.
Sir: I have the honor, respectfully, to submit the following report
of the progress made during the past season in the survey of the forty-
ninth parallel by the several parties of the United States commission.
The organization of the parties throughout the greater part of the
season has been as follows:
Two astronomical parties.
One surveying party.
One reconnoissance party. UNITED  STATES   AND   GREAT  BRITAIN. 3"
Mr. G. Clinton Gardner, assistant astronomer and surveyor, in
charge of an astronomical party; Professor Nooney, assistant.
Mr. Joseph S. Harris, in charge of second astronomical party; Mr.
Hudson, assistant.
Mr. Charles T. Gardner, in charge of the surveying party.
Mr. H. Custer, in charge of the reconnoissance party.
Mr. J. Nevin King, in charge of Chiloweyuck depot on Frazer river,
and forwarding supplies to the parties in the field.
Dr. C. B. R. Kennerly, in charge of depot Chiloweyuck lake, in
addition to his duties as surgeon and naturalist.
Mr. George Gibbs, in addition to the geological reconnoissance, had
charge of a party engaged in opening a trail through from the Skagit
valley to the Similkameen.
Mr. R. V. Peabody, in charge of the subsistence and transportation
for the parties to the eastward of the lake depot.
Mr. Major assisted in the computations at the astronomical stations.
The reconnoissance, at the close of the last season, extended as far
east as the valley of the Skagit; and the astronomical observations,
necessary for marking the three points of the parallel in the valley of
the Chiloweyuck, were completed. On taking the field the present
season, the first object was to complete the measurements and marking
the parallel at these three stations: Tummeahai, Chiloweyuck lake,
and Chuch-che-hum. Then make reconnoissance for the location of
astronomical stations, and the opening of trails in advance of the parties occupying these stations.
The first party, under the charge of Mr. G. C. Gardner, left Camp
Simiahmoo for the Chiloweyuck depot on the eighteenth day of April.
The zenith telescope and transit instrument were put up, and observations made for latitude and time. Reconnoitering and surveying parties took the field, with instructions to connect Sumass station with
the depot, and continue on over the trail, connecting the several astronomical stations, and to obtain the topography of the country along
and adjacent to the boundary line. The pack mules were sent from
their wintering station to the depot, and arrangements were made for
the delivery of subsistence, stores, and forage, at that place.
A chronometer trip was made between Camp Simiahmoo and Chiloweyuck depot, by a party under charge of Mr. Harris. Eleven chronometers were transported back and forth, and the entire trip being
performed in whale-boats, it is confidently expected that a very nice
determination of the difference of longitude will be obtained. The
observations for time at the depot were made by Mr. Gardner, and those
at Camp Simiahmoo by myself.
On the 19th of May, Mr. Harris left Camp Simiahmoo with the outfit
for an astronomical and surveying party. On arriving at the depot,
he started for the Tummeahai station, Mr. Custer having previously
found a practicable route for a pack trail to that point on the left bank
of the Chiloweyuck, it being impracticable at that time to cross the
stream opposite the mouth of the Tummeahai. Mr. Custer commenced
opening the trail; and, on Mr. Harris taking charge of the .party, Mr.
Custer continued his reconnoissance over to the Nooksahk, and up the
tributaries of the Chiloweyuck. BOUNDARY  BETWEEN  THE
The trail from the depot to Chiloweyuck luke was reopened and
made practicable for pack mules, requiring bridging, corduroying, and
heavy grading. The high water of the streams, and the great quantity of fallen timber, made the work very heavy, and required a strong
force. -,        ,i
On the third of June, I arrived at Chiloweyuck depot, and on the
fourth, Mr. G. C. Gardner started for the lake depot. Arriving
there, he put the boats in order, built a storehouse for the supplies,
and commenced marking the parallel by cutting a vista through the
timber across the valley, at the southern end of the lake. On the
completion of this, he proceeded to Chuchchehum station, and made a
cut there on the parallel, embracing the two crossings of the trail.
The parallel at these stations was marked by pyramidal piles of stones
from six to eight feet high, covering posts accurately marking points
of the line. Mr. Harris marked the, parallel in the same manner at
the Tummeahai station, having cut a vista through the timber, embracing the two forks of the stream. On the completion of the work
at Tummeahai, Mr. Harris proceeded to the lake depot, and commenced
opening the trail through to the station on the Skagit river. Here
again the work was very heavy, it requiring a force of from ten to
eighteen men nearly one month to open about thirty-five miles of trail,
of which nearly one half had been traveled during the previous year.
On reaching the valley of the Skagit, Mr. Harris located his observatory, and commenced observations for determining the point where
the parallel crosses the river.
While at Chiloweyuck depot, I found that our supply of pack mules
was insufficient to enable the parties to progress with the work
without great loss of time. Mules, apparejos, and pack-saddles were
purchased, and additional packers employed, so that the supplies and
outfit of the several parties were carried forward as rapidly as the
work progressed, and the trail was opened.
On Mr. Gardner's completing the work at Chuchchehum station,
we proceeded to make a reconnoissance of the country to the east of
Skagit station, with a view of locating astronomical stations and determining a route for a trail through to the Similkameen and Okina-
kane valleys, a region of country that had been heretofore unexplored, and known only to a few Indian hunters.    We found a mass
rugged and heavily timbered mountains, extending north and
south, and having a breadth of about seventy-five miles. Through
by far the greater portion of this distance, no trails were found; but,
by dint of constant work of four axemen, we were enabled to force our
way through the Similkameen. A good and practicable route was
crossing two summits having an elevation of about six
A road party was immediately placed upon this
however ioun<
thousand feet.
under charge of Mr. Gibbi..
shovels; and, after five weeks lal
He was supplied with axes, picks, and
1 or with a stronsr force, a trail was
o that our instruments and supplies couhibe packed tl
without difficulty.
On returning from this reconnoissance, Mr. Gardner started witl
his party to occupy a station on the Similkameen. And Mr Harris
having completed his determination and marking of the parallel a
Hhe Skagit station, proceeded to occupy one nearly midway between
the Skagit and the Similkameen, on the Pasayten, a tributary of the
latter. In the meantime, the survey connecting the astronomical
stations was continued by the trail, the nearest practicable line to the
parallel, as well as the reconnoissance of the country on both sides of
the parallel. On the completion of the observations, computations,
and marking the parallel at Pasayten,.Mr. Harris's party moved on
to the Similkameen, and remained there in camp, while Mr. Harris
accompanied me on a reconnoissance, to select another station on the
Nehoialpitkwu, about thirty-five miles to the eastward. After reaching the Similkameen, we had no difficulty in traveling, the country
being open and grassy, and occupied by horseback Indians ; numerous
well-worn trails were found running in every direction. One of these
we found particularly advantageous, leading eastward from the Simil-
kameen to Fort Colville, on the Columbia river, a distance of about
one hundred miles. After crossing the divide to the east of Lake
Osogoos, the trail strikes the Nehoialpitkwu, and follows down the
valley of this stream crossing the parallel three times.
From the astronomical station on the Similkameen, two points of the
parallel, at an interval of about fifteen miles, were determined and
marked by triangulation: one at the crossing of the Similkameen and
the other at Lake Osoyoos, in the valley of the Okinakane. The intervening country is generally destitute of timber, and made up of a
collection of knobs and high hills with intervening plains and valleys,
affording good ground for the location of well conditioned triangles.
The first station on the Nehoialpitkwu was occupied by Mr. Harris,
and the parallel was determined by a measurement from the observatory, on the meridian, and marked by a cut, nearly a mile in length,
across the valley, and by three monuments—two of earth and one of
stone. At this station the stream passes from north to the south of
the parallel.
The second station on the Nehoialpitkwu, about thirty miles distant
by the trail, is now occupied by Mr. Gardner's party. And Mr.
Harris's party is in position on the right bank of the Columbia river,
near the mouth of Clarke's Fork. It is believed that these points of
the parallel will soon be determined and marked, when these parties,
together with the surveying and reconnoitering parties, are instructed
to repair to this point and go into winter quarters. The weather,
however, is at present very severe, the ground being covered with three
or four inches of snow, and the thermometer giving, readings for the
last three mornings as low as four, two, and ten degrees below zero.
To recapitulate, the following is the amount of work accomplished
by parties of the United States commission during the present season:
A completion of the determination and marking the parallel from
three points astronomically fixed at the close of the last season.
A complete set of observations for latitude at four stations, from
which the parallel has been determined and marked at the crossings
of the following streams : the Skagit, Pasayten, Similkameen, Okinakane, (Lake Osoyoos,) and Nehoialpitkwu. And before the astronomical parties leave the field, the necessary observations will be completed 6
for determining two other points of the parallel, the third crossing of
the Nehoialpitkwu, and the Columbia river.
A chronometer trip for difference of longitude between Camp Simiahmoo and Chilowayuck depot.
Observations of the transit of the moon and moon-culminating stars
at two of the latitude stations for absolute longitude.
A triangulation covering an area of about fifty square miles.
A survey of the nearest practicable lines to the parallel, connecting
the astronomical stations, making a total distance chained of about
three hundred and seventy miles.
Reconnoissances for developing the topography along and adjacent
to the boundary line, and for locating routes of communication.
These reconnoissances have extended over an arrea of about six thousand square miles.
A full set of magnetic observations were made at one station. ^ And
throughout the work, all the necessary observations for time, azimuth,
micrometer value, and instrumental corrections were carefully made.
The two astronomical parties and the reconnoissance party were
furnished with sets of meteorological instruments. Full and detailed
registers have been kept at the different stations, and, as far as possible, simultaneous readings of the barometer have been taken, while
the parties were moving from station to station; which, with the corresponding observations at camp Simiahmoo and the fixed stations,
will enable us to give very exact profiles of the country traversed.
The geological reconnoissance has been extended over the field of
operations, and valuable collections made of botanical and natural
history specimens.
The forty-ninth parallel, as far as determined during the present
season, traverses a mountainous country, and, excepting a few localities, the entire region is eminently unfit for occupation or settlement.
The mountains are rugged and precipitous, and attain great elevations ; the ridges and peaks of the Cascade mountains being covered
with perpetual snow. Glaciers were discovered ; and during the
months of June and July snow to the depth of two feet was encountered on our very route of travel. A heavy growth of pines and fir
abounds throughout the entire line from the Gulf of Georgia, with
the exception of short intervals in the valleys of the Similkameen,
Okinakane, and Nehoialpitkwu.
Under the forty-ninth parallel the Cascade mountains have a breadth
of about two degrees in longitude, and as the general trend of these
mountains is at right angles to the line of our work, we were necessarily forced into crossing the ridges with our routes of communication,
involving much labor in cutting, grading, and bridging to make these
routes practicable for even pack-mule transportation. The water
courses are numerous and rapid, rendering the fords frequent and
dangerous. A slight rise in these streams makes them impassable.
Notwithstanding the difficulties of the country and the precarious
mode of transporting the instruments, I am happy to report that we
have got thus far through the season's work without any damage to
our astronomical instruments. I regret, however, that we have bee
less fortunate with the magnetic instruments.    The
these missed his footing and rolled down a precipitous bank. The
magnetic theodolite will have to be replaced, and the other instruments
will require repairing. I also have to report the breakage of our barometer. We were, however, able soon to replace this instrument from
the lake depot.
On reaching the valleys of the Similkameen and Okinakane we
were met by our additional escort, under the command of Captain
Archer, United States army. I take great pleasure in acknowledging
my obligations for the timely and valuable assistance rendered us by
himself «and officers of his command.
Preparations are now making at this place to winter the several
parties on their return from the field. A great abundance of material
for building quarters is found directly at hand. A supply of provisions has been procured.
The winters of this region are reported to be very severe on animals,
the snow falling to a great depth.    We have laid in a good stock of
hay, and, by erecting temporary shelter, we have little fears of losing .
any of our mules.
Our work during the next season will extend from the Columbia
river to the Rocky mountains. From, careful inquiry, the entire distance is represented as mountainous and timbered, excepting perhaps
a short stretch in the valley of the Kootenay, near the base of the
Rocky mountains. In this valley, the Hudson's Bay Company have
a trading post near to the parallel. This post is supplied from Fort
Colville, and the company's trail to that point will no doubt be of great
service to us in sending parties to the line, particularly to those
stations close to the Rocky mountains.
In reference to the mode or order of proceeding with the astronomical stations during the next season, I would respectfully suggest
that we be allowed to proceed directly to the extreme eastern stations,
so that on the melting of the snows, we will be able to complete those,
and retire in good season, leaving these nearer this depot for the last.
By following this plan we will have less difficulty in falling back dn
this place, in the event of any great detention or delay from ruggedness
of country and swollen streams, or even should the winter set in before
the completion of the work. It is confidently expected, however, that
we will be able to complete all of the astronomical stations during the
next season. Mr. Gibbs is at present making a reconnoissance of the
trail in the direction of the Kootenay. This will enable us to commence in the early spring with a working party on this route. It is
"believed that we will have to build bridges and make flat-boats for
ferrying Clarke's Fork (Pend d'Oreille) and one of its tributaries,
besides much cutting and corduroying.
Before closing this report I take great pleasure in again commending
to you the great zeal and devotion to duty evinced by the assistant
astronomer and surveyor, and the several assistants engaged upon the
work; and I am happy to say that the amount of work accomplished
during the season has quite equalled the highest estimates.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieut. Corps Top. Eng's, Chief Astron'r and Surv'r. 


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