Narrative of an expedition to the source of St. Peter's River, Lake Winnepeck, Lake of the Woods, &c. &c. performed in the year 1823, by order of the Hon. J.C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, under the command of Stephen H. Long, Major, U.S.T.E
William Hypolitus Keating (1799-1840), a professor of mineralogy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania (1822-1828), compiled this two-volume account of a scientific expedition in 1823 under the auspices of President Monroe's War Department. The expedition encompassed the Minnesota River, Red River, Lake Winnepeg, Lake of the Woods, and Lake Superior. Keating used his own notes as well as those of the other scientists who traveled with him. These included James Colhoun, astronomer, assistant topographer, and historical authority; Thomas Say, zoologist and acting botanist with a knowledge of "matter relating to Indians;" and Major Stephen Long of the United States Topographical Engineers, commander, chief topographer, and author of additional descriptive and historical material. Although Americans and Europeans had reached the area before, Keating considered his expedition to be the first to use scientific equipment and knowledge to describe and evaluate the region's natural resources. Volume 1 provides detail about the journey west and the ensuing voyage up the Mississippi, from Prairie du Chien to the point just below St. Anthony's Falls where the travelers entered the Minnesota and proceeded to Big Stone and Traverse Lakes. The expedition set forth from Philadelphia and journeyed via Hagerstown and Cumberland to Wheeling, traversing Ohio from Zanesville to Columbus and, from there, on to Fort Wayne and Fort Dearborn. At that point, departing from their planned itinerary, they headed across the prairies to Fort Crawford and Prairie du Chien. One of the expedition's goals was to report on the Native American peoples populating the areas through which they traveled. The narrative pays considerable attention to mounds, fortifications, and other Indian antiquities as well as to the cultural practices, beliefs, health, and physical attributes of the several tribes encountered. Descriptions of the Potawatomi, Miami, Sauk, Menomone [Menominee], Winnebago, and Dacota [Sioux] provide insights about the observers as well as the peoples observed. Volume 2 chronicles the journey from Lake Traverse up the Red River to Lake Winnipeg [Winnepeek] and down the Winnipeg River to Lake of the Woods. From there, the expedition followed Rainy River to Rainy Lake, and Lac La Croix over to Lake Superior, Sault Saint Marie [Sault de St. Marie], and Mackinac [Mackinaw], which is where the narrative ends. A chapter concerns the cultural practices, beliefs, health, and physical attributes of the Chippewa (Ojibwe), and material on other Native Americans, particularly the Dacota [Sioux], appears elsewhere. Chapter 5 was written by Major Long, and points out significant hydrographical and topographical features of the country the expedition traversed. Long also evaluates Native Americans' complex relations with the United States and its settlers. The book includes several appendices on natural history. Thomas Say classifies zoological materials and observations, and Lewis de Schweinitz contributes a catalogue of the plant specimens Say collected along the way. James Colhoun presents astronomical data, and Joseph Lovell, the U.S. Surgeon-General, compares climate readings at several American military outposts. The volume concludes with a comparative list of Native American vocabularies.
Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
Wagner-Camp (4th ed.) 26b:1
LAC scc 2019-06-14 update (1 card)