Sign In

Forgot Password Create Account
Stock# 39873

One of only a few surviving examples of Lieutenant Ernest Howard Ruffner's remarkable map of New Mexico, drawn by Ado Hunnius, without question the finest and most detailed map of New Mexico published to date and the first government map to focus on the modern configuration of New Mexico Territory.

The map is a remarkable leap forward in the mapping of New Mexico, providing vast amounts of topographical detail, as well as the locations of roads, forts, towns and other important landmarks. The level of detail and accuracy dwarfs contemporary maps by Morley (1873), Rand McNally (1876) and Thayer (1880). The map truly stands alone in terms of its detail and cartographic importance in the evolution of the mapping of New Mexico.

The map bears the inscription "Col. E. Eaton," on the verso. Ethan W. Eaton, an early New Mexico pioneer, traces his history in New Mexico to 1849 (having settled in Santa Fe during the trek west in search of Gold in California). Her served in the First New Mexico Cavalry under Kit Carson, with whom he became friends. After the War, Eaton remained in the Santa Fe area until 1875, before settling in Socorro, where he would later form the Socorro Committee for Justice (Vigilantes) in 1880 and serve as Mayor of Socorro from 1885 to 1886. It is reasonable to surmise that Eaton obtained his copy of the map directly from Ruffner during the time he was working in the mining business in the Santa Fe area, prior to 1875.

Lt. E.H. Ruffner, the Chief Engineer of the Department of the Missouri, graduated from West Point in 1867 and began his career as an Assistant Engineer of the Survey of the Northern Lakes until December 1870, where he worked primarily on the Ohio River and the Kanawah River, with the US Corps fo Engineers. He next served as Chief Engineer of the Department of the Missouri from December 12, 1870, to February 1881. Ruffner is perhaps best known for his Expedition to the Ute Country in 1873, construction of the wagon road from Santa Fe to Taos and the topographic survey of the headwaters of the Red River in the Panhandle in 1876. He would remain on active duty until he retired in June 1909.

Ruffner's map and report suggest that "Sheet 4" was intended as a means of periodically recording and publishing the best available information from the frontier west in "master map" form, based upon the most recent explorations and expeditions in each Department.

Ruffner's Sheet No. 4 incorporates the results of a burst of activity in New Mexico in 1872 and 1873, necessitated by information obtained by Ruffner from other sources and from his involvement in a number of expeditions and projects in New Mexico, chief of which was the construction of the wagon road from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Taos, New Mexico. The reconnaissance and survey work necessary to improve the road from Fort Garland, Colorado, to Fort Wingate, New Mexico, and the efforts to reduced the activities of the commancheros in eastern New Mexico, resulted in a number of scout parties into the region.

The map is referenced in both Ruffner's annual report to Congress for the year ending June 30, 1874 and in a report made by Ruffner to the American Geographical Society. In Ruffner's annual report, he states:

. . . The principal improvement has been made in the district of New Mexico, where the presence of the engineer-detachment under my orders, the instructions given by them to private soldiers, and increased attention to the whole matter, have been productive of valuable results. A very fine collection of plats of roads and scouts was made during the season amounting to a very large mileage, and these, reduced to a uniform scale and embodied in a series of special plats, have been furnished to all directly interested. Attention is especially invited to the fact that all the information in the vicinity of Fort Tulerosa, and between Fort Tulerosa and Forts Wingate and Bayard and Camp Apache, (published in map-form,) has come from this office as furnished by the engineer office at Santa Fe. This was first published in a small, special map of the vicinity, and afterward on sheet No. 4 of the map of the Department of the Missouri. . . .

In Volume 6 of the Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York, Ruffner reports as follows:

Under date of July 24, 1873, you were kind enough to address me, inviting correspondence and a cooperation with your Society in its general object of collecting geographical information, and with a specific view of calling the attention of foreign societies to the labors in that direction of army officers. At the time you addressed me I was on the eve of leaving for New Mexico, and after my return I was so fully occupied through the winter, and by a long absence in the spring, that I did not have time to write to you as fully as I desired to do, both on account of the importance of the subject and on account of my desire to present myself fully and correctly to you. . . .

* * *

It has been thus my practice to confine the labors of this office in its topographical and geographical department almost exclusively in meeting or forestalling the needs of the military service. Since the close of the war there had been little attention paid to an old regulation of the service requiring troops while enroute to keep a journal showing the topography and military capabilities of a country passed over. This I called up again some four years ago, preparing for explanations of the method circulars describing how to take the notes, and furnishing instruments, an odometer for distance and a prismatic compass for direction.

While waiting for the system to commence its workings I began the compilation of existing authorities, standard maps, United States land surveys, railroad and other surveys, into skeleton maps intended eventually to make a map of the entire department, to be altered from time to time as authority was given by new sources.

With this general plan in view I made special efforts to accompany and profit by any military movements of any magnitude. After a careful working of this system for so long a time the results accomplished are well worth notice.

* * *


In 1871 and 1872 there was little of interest accomplished by the military in New Mexico, until the attempted establishment of an Apache reservation on the Rio Tulerosa, brought into notice a portion of the country very slightly known. Of an interesting character, solely on account of wild mountains and sterile plains, no attractive mineral or metal had drawn thither the restless whites, who are always the first to bring into notice regions of supposed economic value. An attempt to induce, or, failing that, to compel the wildest of wild Apaches, to make a permanent home in this " abomination of desolation," made the movements of cavalry in this vicinity to be almost incessant for the past two years, but by my system their routes are carefully marked, and the web grows finer as the warp and woof of cavalry trails increase in number.

During the summer of 1873, restlessness, and finally a general flight from their reservation of the Indians at Fort Stanton, called for action in this quarter, and again the ubiquitous cavalry appeared, in every nook of the Guadaloupe and Sacramento mountains, on all the habitable edges of the staked plains, and up and down the Rio Pecos, and still the patient fingers of the "recorder," even on the long " night march," jotted down " the water" and the "dry prairie."

During 1872, a determined and successful effort was made to stop a contraband trade carried on over the "staked plains" by "comancheros" buying stolen cattle and horses from the Texas Indians, and selling to the Colorado and New Mexican borderers. A succession of scouts was made on the edge and over the staked plains in the " pan-handle " of Texas, and one of these gave us the clearest description and best map on record of one important clear-water stream deeply canofied in the great Llano.

I felt encouraged by such progress, and issued, in the fall of 1873, an edition of sheet No. 4 of my map of the department, this being the Territory of New Mexico. Though of course very imperfect, this is yet acknowledged to be the best map in existence of that Territory.

Already since its issue, have I been enabled to collect and send to Washington a volume of maps of roads in New Mexico, surveyed since, and giving important additions. As if the rapid shifting of the military scene from the north to the south of Kansas, thence to Colorado mountains, and thence to New Mexico, and thence even for a short incursion last fall of rioting Comanches up into Colorado, even so far that the summer visitors and fragile invalids at Pike's peak and the " Garden of the Gods," had troubled dreams of war paint and war whoops; even if this were not sufficient change, this year we are hurried off to the Indian Territory. . . .

Summary for 1873

If this brief review of the course of military events does not show a certain amount of labor in acquiring and also in sorting and sifting geographical data, perhaps the figures 22,929 miles of marches of troops, special surveys and reconnaissances in this department during the season of 1873, of which journals are on record in this office, will give a clearer idea of the army, its officers and men, their privations and labors, and at the same time the results accomplished by them in developing our "Great West."

Of special work done by this office, I may mention surveys of reservations, military and Indian, surveys for roads and their construction, astronomical determinations, and any similar work.

During the spring of this year I was engaged for four months in constructing a wagon road from Santa Fe N. M. to Taos, an important connection between the north and south of the valley of the Rio Grande. A survey was made at the same time for a direct wagon road from Fort Garland to Fort Wingate.

A list of the various maps and publications of this office during the past four years map be of interest.


Date. Title. Number of Sections. Scale.

1872. Canlpaign Map of Kansas................ 5 250,000

1872. Roads from Fort Dodge to Camp Supply... 1 250,000

1872. Fort Leavenworth Reservation ............ 1 60,000

1872. Vicinity of Fort Tulerosa.................. 1 1,000,000

1873. Department of the Missouri No. 2 and 4..... 2 1,000,000

1872. Chickasaw Nation and Contiguous Country.. 1 250,000

1874. Reconnaissance in the Ute Country ........ 1 500,000

* * *

There are now in manuscript in this office, maps of Kansas and Colorado revised, and a large map of the Indian Territory, which is being prepared for the engraver, and which will be issued sometime this winter, it it hoped.

Following the end of the Civil War, the significant government published map of the region (as noted in the National Archives Special List 29: List of Selected Maps of States and Territories (New Mexico) were as follows:

  • Map of the Military Department of New Mexico. Drawn under the direction of Brig. General James H. Carleton, By Captain Anderson . . . 1864
  • Map of New Mexico . . . expressly prepared for Maj. Genl. M. C. Meigs . . . (1864-65). Manuscript
  • Sketch of Public Surveys in New Mexico and Arizona [Territories] To Accompany the Annual Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office for 1866.
  • [Map of] Old Territory and Military Department of New Mexico, compiled in the Bureau of Topogl. Engrs. of the War Dept., Chiefly for military purposes, under the authority of The Secretary of War, 1859. Partially revised and corrected to 1867.
  • [Map of New Mexico] 1873. Sheet 4. Department of the Missouri. Lieut. E. H. Ruffner, Chief Engineer. Drawn by Ado Hunnius.
  • [Map of the] District of New Mexico. Showing Rail-Roads and Stations. 1875. Lieut. C. C. Morrison, 6th Cav., Acting Engineer Officer. Drawn by Anton Karl. Copies by C. A. Lichtenberg. Sergt., Engrs. Manuscript.
  • [Map of the] Territory of New Mexico. . . . 1876. Compiled from the official Records of the General Land Office. 1 inch to 16 miles. 33 x 26.5.

Of the above referenced maps, the first 4 include all of New Mexico and Arizona, making the Ruffner map the first government published map to focus on the modern Territory of New Mexico, following the creation of Arizona Territory in 1863.

The report of the Secretary of War identifies the map as having been issued during the fiscal year ending Jun 30, 1874, meaning that it was "issued" no earlier than June 30, 1873.

The map is of the utmost rarity. OCLC locates 1 copy (Harvard) and photocopies of the map at the University of New Mexico and the Museum of New Mexico Library.

However, it should be noted that the Harvard example states that it is "Engraved by Ado Hunnius" and there is no mention of the printer, R.P. Studley, of St. Louis. While it is possible there are two editions of the map, we find no conclusive evidence to support this theory.

The map is also listed in the Catalog of the Public Library of Victoria (Australia), Volume 2 (1880).

Condition Description
Laid on linen. Minor abrasions and tears. A few annotations in pen.