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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XIV. Travellers and Explorers, 1846–1900

§ 13. A Pacific Railway

Congress took up with energy the matter of a railway to the Pacific, and several exploration routes were planned. Frèmont was to survey one, but the leadership was given instead to Captain Gunnison, who proceeded by the “Central Route” over the Sangre de Cristo Pass. Gunnison was killed by Indians at Sevier Lake. He had been stationed at Salt Lake when assisting Stansbury, and while there made a study of Mormonism, The Mormons, or the Latter Day Saints in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake (1852). Mrs. Gunnison believed that the Mormons had instigated the murder of her husband, and Judge Drummond, who tried the case, was of this opinion also, and so stated in a letter to Mrs. Gunnison printed in the edition of 1890. He believed that the murder was carried out by Bill Hickman and eight others. One Mormon was among those slain.

A series of large quarto volumes (thirteen in number, as the last or twelfth volume was issued in two parts) was published on railway surveys by the government: Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain the most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean (1855 to 1859). The explorers wrote with grace and facility, as a rule, and these reports form an indispensable library of information on the Far West of the fifties.