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Extraordinary example of W.F. Raynolds map of the area between the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, initially surveyed in 1859 and 1860, with extensive manuscript additions and annotations, signed by on May 25, 1869 by William E. Merrill, Major Engineer and Brevet Colonel, then serving as the commanding officer of the Military District of the Missouri.

The present map was unquestionably used in the field in 1869 and has been extensively amended to show up to date information. For comparison purposes, an example of the base map can be seen here: /gallery/detail/33447mb

Clearly, the map bears little resemblance to the edition of the map published in 1877:

Among the most obvious additions are:

  1. The naming and location of Dakota Territory, Nebraska Territory, Wyoming Territory, Idaho Territory and Montana Territory.
  2. The location of numerous Indian Reservations, including the Sioux, Winnebagos, Yanktons, Pend D'Oreilles, Crows,and Wind River Reservation for the N.W. Snakes.
  3. Many new roads through the region and additional towns and other points of interest shown along those roads.

The red lines on the map likely reflect the routes of several of the major expeditions through the region between 1864 and 1869.

The most noticeable area which includes extensive updates is in the area of Yellowstone National Park. The changes are quite remarkable, as they seem to include the information from the Cook-Folsom-Peterson Expedition into the Yellowstone area in August, September and October of 1869, suggesting that this map may have been revised to include the information from this expedition. Diamond City, Montana, the starting point of the expedition is shown,

Looking first at Yellowstone Lake, the configuration, the shape of the lake and its southern tributaries are competely re-drawn. To the north, above the Falls of the Yellowstone, the course of the Yellowstone River has been completey redrawn and several tributaries added for the first time, along iwth nearly a dozen place names, including Yellowstone City and Emigrant Gulch. To the west of the Lake, Gardiner's River is named, with the West Gallatin River across the mountains to the west (also not named in the prior edition).

Further to the West and North, the valley of the Jefferson River has been completely reworked. Virginia City is moved far to the north, and is now located on a tributary of the Stinking Water River (later called the Shoshone River). The are now a number of settlements and many early trails in the region, most notably Bannack, which was founded in 1862 during the gold rush in the region and was the Capital of Montana Territory until 1864.

Further to the west, along the trail that enters the mountains at Big Hole Pass, the remnants of the name "Big Hole Fork" are present in an area where the river system appears to be significantly reworked in manuscript.

In the area of Three Forks, Bozeman City, Gallatin City, Ft. Ellis and a number of new trails are shown, along with revised topography. Bridger's Pass, Bozeman Pass, Flathead Pass and Blackfoot Pass have all been added.

To the north of the Big Horn Mountains, Fort C.F. Smith is located (established August 1866 and abandoned in 1868), with an early wagon road extending to the west.

At the eastern end ofthe Big Horn Mountains near Cloud Peak, Ft. Phil Kearney appears above Lake De Smet, during its brief existence between late 1866 and 1868, when it was a key stop on the Bozeman Trail.

In the area north of Fort Laramie, there are also extensive manuscript additions. Miller Creek, Dry Creek and Muddy Creek are added as tributaries of the North Platte River, with the settlements of Horse Shoe (Horseshoe Station), Camp Marshall (another telegraph station and military post, abandoned after the Civil War) and Fort Fetterman (constructed in 1867 and abandoned in the early 1880s) are added on the Platte Road (Oregon Trail) heading northwest from Ft. Laramie.

Further west, Fort Caspar (established 1859, abandoned in 1867) is shown, as is the Deer Creek Station (later Glenrock, Wyoming) on the Oregon Trail, along with Big Muddy Creek, below Richard's Bridge. Near Independence Rock, Sweet Water Station has been added, with St. Mary's Station and South Pass Station further to the west. In the Wind River Reservation, the name Owl Creek has been added.

To the north of Ft. Fetterman and Ft. Caspar, Ft. Reno has been added (constructed in 1865 and abandoned in 1868).

The original map, first drafted in 1859-1860 and then finally issued in 1867, shows routes of exploration taken by Raynolds and Maynadier following the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries, roads, landmarks, settlements, and military posts. Includes dates and numbers along route probably signifying camp locations. The map extends westerward from Ft. Randall to "City of Rocks" (near 113 degrees west), identifying buttes, rivers, creeks, etc. The map was prepared to accompany the report of Brevet Brigadier General W.F. Raynolds, on the exploration of the Yellowstone and the country drained by that river.

In describing the base map, Wheat (who likely never saw a copy of this edition of the map) states:

It is an extremely well drawn map, and except for the fact that it contains certain information gathered between the time of its making and that of its actual printing . . . it is probably the best map of its area that had been produced.

Raynolds map would be re-used beginning in 1867 for a number of publiations, with signifcant updates, including an edition illustrating Haydens' report which is richly colored. William Merrill distributed copies of this map for field use in 1867, 1868 and 1869, as a template for allowing various military commanders and expedition leaders to supply manuscript additions from the field.

This early edition of the map can be identified by the inclusion of a note stating that the map was published:

To accompany a report to the Bureau of Topographical Engineers. Lt.Col. Hartman Bache in charge.

The "Hartman" edition was also used for the Hayden Geological Survey version of this map. However, this version, which includes the insignia of the Bureau of Topograpical engineers and is lacks the geological coloring scheme from the Hayden edition, is extremely rare on the market.

Raynolds' expedition explored the mountain ranges and upper tributaries of the Yellowstone River and the Gallatin and Madison forks of the Missouri, including the the area which would become Yellowstone Park. Raynolds travelled from St. Louis up the Missouri to Fort Pierre (South Dakota), then on to the Yellowstone River. Turning south from the Yellowstone, the expedition traversed the eastern edge of the Big Horn Mountains to Deer Creek near the North Platte River, where they remained for the winter.

In the spring, Raynolds' party continued its explorations in the region, including a failed attempt to explore the Wind River Mountains, led by the legendary trapper Jim Bridger.

Topography and hydrology are nicely developed and there is an abundance of interesting detail. Forts Reno, Phil Kearny and C.F. Smith, significant in the Sioux War, are shown. The map is updated to to include post-1860 developments such as Ft. Casper and Camp Marshall on the upper North Platte, several new forts and emigrant roads.

Wheat considered it a very well drawn map and possibly the best map of the area to be produced at that time. Delayed for eight years due to a protracted illness and the Civil War, it was finalized due to expanding mining development and conflicts with Indian tribes in the region.

While the standard report editions of this map appear on the market periodically, this edition is extremely rare. We note only the example in the collection of the University of Texas at Arlington, Library of Congress and several examples with extensive manuscript annotations.

Condition Description
2-sheet map, dissected and laid on linen, with extensive manuscript additions and annotations.
Wheat, C.I. (TM) 1012; Storm, C. 4303; Cohen, P. (West) p.186.