Pacific Railway Surveys, 1853-1855: Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route from the Mississippi River to the

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The Pacific Railway Surveys were undertaken at the direction of Congress to determine the best route for the first transcontinental railroad. Army expeditions, staffed with natural scientists, artists, and collectors, began the surveys in 1853. In 1855 these expeditions were completed and each team's field reports, including narrative descriptions, hundreds of maps, and thousands of illustrations, were organized together with the Survey Office's assessments into a massive 8,500-page series and presented to Congress.

The Pacific Railway Surveys, originally published in the Congressional Serial Set, is now considered among the great documents on the nineteenth-century scientific endeavor and the exploration of the west.

Number of rolls: 7