Stephen Harriman Long
|Born||December 30, 1784|
Hopkinton, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Died||September 4, 1864 79) (aged|
|Parent(s)||Moses and Lucy (Harriman) Long|
|Discipline||Civil Engineer, Topographical engineer, explorer, inventor.|
|Institutions||US Army Corps of Engineers (1819-38), United States Army Corps of Topographical Engineers (1838-63).|
|Employer(s)||Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Western & Atlantic Railroad.|
|Projects||Led five expeditions (1817-1823) through the Upper Mississippi Valley and the borderlands with Canada.|
Stephen Harriman Long (December 30, 1784 – September 4, 1864) was a U.S. Army civil engineer, explorer, and inventor. As an inventor, he is noted for his developments in the design of steam locomotives. He was also one of the most prolific explorers of the early 1800s, although his career as an explorer was relatively short-lived. He covered over 26,000 miles in five expeditions, including a scientific expedition in the Great Plains area, which he famously confirmed as a "Great Desert" (leading to the term "the Great American Desert").
Long was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, the son of Moses and Lucy (Harriman) Long. He received an A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1809 and an A.M. from Dartmouth in 1812. In 1814, he was commissioned a lieutenant of engineers in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Upon the reorganization of the Army in 1816, he was appointed a Major on 16 April and assigned to the Southern Division under Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson as a topographical engineer.
In 1817, Major Long headed a military excursion up the Mississippi River to the Falls of St. Anthony near the confluence with the Minnesota River. As a result of his recommendations, the Army established Fort Snelling to guard against Indian incursions against settlers in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Long recorded his experiences of the expedition in Voyage in a Six-oared Skiff to the Falls of St. Anthony, in 1860.
In March 1819 he married Martha Hodgkiss of Philadelphia, the sister of Isabella Hodgkiss Norvell, wife of US Senator John Norvell. Soon afterwards he led the scientific contingent of the 1819 Yellowstone Expedition to explore the Missouri River. In 1820 he was appointed to lead an alternative expedition through the American West, exploring areas acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. The specific purpose of the voyage was to find the sources of the Platte, Arkansas, and Red rivers.
Later, in 1823 he led additional military expeditions into the United States borderlands with Canada, exploring the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Minnesota River, the Red River of the North and across the southern part of Canada. During this time he determined the northern boundary at the 49th parallel at Pembina.In that same year, he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.
Following his official military expeditions, Major Long spent several years on detached duty as a consulting engineer with various railroads.Initially he helped to survey and build the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. In 1826, he received his first patent for his work on railroad steam locomotives. Long received many more patents for locomotive design and worked with other Army engineers in planning and building the railroad. Long also received patents in 1830 and 1839 for pre-stressing the trusses used in wooden covered bridges.
In 1832, along with William Norris and several other business partners, he formed the American Steam Carriage Company. The business was dissolved in 1834 due to the difficulties in placing Long's locomotive designs into production. From June to November, 1836, Long led two parties of about 15 each to conduct a survey of a route inland from the shores of the Penobscot Bay at Belfast, Maine to Quebec for the proposed Belfast & Quebec Railroad which had been chartered by the State of Maine on March 6, 1836. In his report to Governor Robert P. Dunlap of Maine, Col. Long recommended a route into Quebec of 227 miles from "Belfast to the Forks of the Kennebec, and by a line of levels thence to the Canadian line." However a then provision in the Maine Constitution which prohibited public loans for purposes such as building railroads as well as the financial panic of 1837 intervened to kill the project.
Colonel Long received a leave of absence to work on the newly incorporated Western & Atlantic Railroad in Georgia. His yearly salary was established at $5,000, the contract was signed May 12, 1837, and he served as the chief engineer for the W&A until November 3, 1840.He arrived in north Georgia in late May and his surveying began in July and by November he had submitted an initial report which the construction followed almost exactly.
In 1838 he was appointed to a position in the newly separated U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers. Like most of their officers Major Long remained loyal to the Federal government during the Civil War, and he became Colonel of the Corps in 1861until its merger back into the U.S. Corps of Engineers in 1863. He died in Alton, Illinois in 1864.
Like most engineers, Long was college-trained, interested in searching for order in the natural world, and willing to work with the modern technology of the time. Topographical engineers had basically two unique points of view that set them apart from the other pioneers — geographical and technological.
In 1818 he was appointed to organize a scientific contingent to accompany soldiers of Col. Henry Atkinson's command on the Yellowstone Expedition (sometimes called the Atkinson-Long Expedition). This was planned to explore the upper Missouri, and Long spent the autumn designing the construction of an experimental steamboat for the venture, Western Engineer. Departing from St. Louis in June 1819, it was the first steamboat to travel up the Missouri River into the Louisiana Purchase territory, and the first steamboat to have a stern paddle wheel. On September 17, Long's party arrived at Fort Lisa, a trading fort belonging to William Clark's Missouri Fur Company. It was about five miles south of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Long's group built their winter quarters nearby and called it "Engineer Cantonment."
Within a month, Long returned to the east coast, and by the following May, his orders had changed. The Yellowstone Expedition had become a costly failure and so instead of exploring the Missouri River, President James Monroe decided to have Long lead an expedition up the Platte River to the Rocky mountains and back along the border with the Spanish colonies. Exploring that border was vital, since John Quincy Adams had just concluded the treaty with Spain, which drew a new U.S. border to the Pacific.
Major Long was the leader of the first scientific exploration up the Platte, which planned to study the geography and natural resources of the area. His party of 19 men included landscape painter Samuel Seymour, naturalist painter Titian Peale, zoologist Thomas Say and Edwin James, a physician knowledgeable in both geology and botany. James led the first recorded ascent of Pikes Peak during this expedition. On June 6, 1820, they traveled up the north bank of the Platte and met Pawnee and Otoe Indians. On October 14, 1820, 400 Omaha assembled at a meeting with Long, where Chief Big Elk made the following speech:
After finding and naming Longs Peak and the Rocky Mountains, they journeyed down the South Platte River to the Arkansas River watershed. The expedition was then split, and Long led his group towards the Red River. They missed it, ran into hostile Indians and had to eventually eat their own horses to survive before they finally met the other part of the expedition at Fort Smith (now a city on the western border of the state of Arkansas).
In his report of the 1820 expedition, Long wrote that the Plains from Nebraska to Oklahoma were "unfit for cultivation and of course uninhabitable by a people depending upon agriculture." On the map he made of his explorations, he called the area a "Great Desert." Long felt the area labeled the "Great Desert" would be better suited as a buffer against the Spanish, British, and Russians, who shared the continent with the United States. He also commented that the eastern wooded portion of the country should be filled up before the republic attempted any further extension westward. He commented that sending settlers to that area was out of the question. Given the technology of the 1820s, Long was right. There was little timber for houses or fuel, minimal surface water, sandy soil, hard winters, vast herds of bison, hostile Indians, and no easy means of communication. However, it is ironic that the native tribes had been living there for centuries and that, by the end of the 19th century, the "Great Desert" had become the nation's breadbasket.
There were two key results of this expedition—a very accurate description of Indian customs and Indian life as they existed among the Omaha, Otoes, and Pawnees and his description of the land west of the Missouri River as a "desert".
Major Long's 1823 expedition up the Minnesota River (then known as St. Peter's River), to the headwaters of the Red River of the North, down that river to Pembina and Fort Garry, and thence by canoe across British Canada to Lake Huron is sometimes confused with his initial expedition to the Red River in modern-day Texas and Oklahoma. The expedition to the Red River of the North was a separate, later appointment which completed a series of explorations conceived of by Lewis Cass and implemented by David B. Douglass, Henry Schoolcraft, and others besides Major Long. The 1823 expedition was denoted primarily as a scientific reconnaissance and an evaluation of trade possibilities, but probably had undisclosed military objectives as well, and certainly was viewed with suspicion by British authorities in Canada. This expedition for a time was joined by the Italian adventurer Giacomo Beltrami, who argued with Long and left the expedition near Fort Garry. The 1823 expedition encouraged American traders to push into the fur trade in Northern Minnesota and Dakota, and fostered the development of the Red River Trails and a colorful chapter of ox cart trade between the Red River Colony and Fort Garry via Pembina and the newly developing towns of Mendota and St. Paul.
In 1837 Congress authorized the building of seven Marine Hospitals.Long was commissioned to build the first hospital for the Treasury Department at Louisville, Kentucky. Long had been commissioned to build the hospital along with his other duties but construction would be delayed until the Mexican War was over. It wasn't until the end of 1845 that work finally began. During the completion of the Louisville Marine Hospital, Long would also start work on building similar Marine Hospitals in Paducah, Kentucky; Natchez, Louisiana and Napoleon, Arkansas. These Marine Hospitals were based upon plans provided by Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument.
Long was commissioned to build the Marine Hospital at Napoleon, Arkansas in 1849. Napoleon, Arkansas was situated at the southern mouth of the Arkansas River. After a completing a survey Long had objections to building at Napoleon because of the tendency for flooding and likelihood that the town would face destruction in the future thanks to the unwieldy Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers. He had petitioned for Helena, Arkansas to be a suitable alternative. In early 1850 Long's objections to the location were rebuffed. Senator Solon Borland, ignoring Long's objections to the location of Napoleon, reported to the Corps of Topographical Engineers that the situation at Napoleon had been discussed before the bill which would create the Marine Hospital at Napoleon was passed. The erection of the hospital at Napoleon without delay was then ordered. In the Spring of 1850 Long requested $10,250 in order to begin construction at Napoleon but it wasn't until August that construction finally started thanks to flooding which hampered building the foundation and cellar. Delays continued to dog the construction and by the Spring of 1851 the supervisor wrote Long suggesting suspension of the work as contracts were expiring due to delays and sickness had been rampant thanks to Spring floods. Work resumed in October 1851 and the slow pace continued over the next three years. By August 1854 the hospital was finally finished but apparently the hospital did not accept its first patients until 1855. The city of Napoleon would be burned in 1862 by General Sherman, but the hospital survived. Federal Forces did not use the hospital for its intended purpose, instead patients were sent elsewhere. While the hospital did survive the war it wouldn't last long.
Long's observations and objections had been accurate. By March 11, 1868 the river had eroded the land to 52 feet from the hospital's doors.Less than a month later, and nearly four years after Long's death, a corner of the hospital fell into the Mississippi River. The entire town of Napoleon was swallowed twenty-eight years after Long first objected to building the hospital at Napoleon.
Of the Marine Hospitals that Long oversaw, the hospital at Louisville, Kentucky,remains today.
The Missouri River is the longest river in North America. Rising in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, the Missouri flows east and south for 2,341 miles (3,767 km) before entering the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri. The river drains a sparsely populated, semi-arid watershed of more than 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 km2), which includes parts of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Although nominally considered a tributary of the Mississippi, the Missouri River above the confluence is much longer and carries a comparable volume of water. When combined with the lower Mississippi River, it forms the world's fourth longest river system.
The Oregon Trail was a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) east-west, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of what is now the state of Kansas and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the current states of Idaho and Oregon.
The Platte River is a major river in the State of Nebraska. It is about 310 mi (500 km) long; measured to its farthest source via its tributary, the North Platte River, it flows for over 1,050 miles (1,690 km). The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Platte over most of its length is a broad, shallow, meandering stream with a sandy bottom and many islands—a braided stream.
The Pike Expedition was a military party sent out by President Thomas Jefferson and authorized by the United States government to explore the south and west of the recent Louisiana Purchase. Roughly contemporaneous with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, it was led by United States Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, Jr. who was promoted to captain during the trip. It was the first official American effort to explore the western Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains in present-day Colorado. Pike contacted several Native American tribes during his travels and informed them that the US now claimed their territory. The expedition documented the United States' discovery of Tava which was later renamed Pikes Peak in honor of Pike. After splitting up his men, Pike led the larger contingent to find the headwaters of the Red River. A smaller group returned safely to the US Army fort in St. Louis, Missouri before winter set in.
The Canadian River is the longest tributary of the Arkansas River in the United States. It is about 906 miles (1,458 km) long, starting in Colorado and traveling through New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, and Oklahoma. The drainage area is about 47,700 square miles (124,000 km2).
Napoleon was a river port town in Desha County, Arkansas, United States, from the 1820s until 1874. It was situated at the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Once the county seat, Napoleon's fate was sealed when in 1863, a channel was cut through the soft land that directed the river waters toward the town. Napoleon was finally deserted and the county seat moved in 1874 when the banks of the Mississippi River overflowed and destroyed much of what remained of the once-thriving river port town.
The Norris Locomotive Works was a steam locomotive manufacturing company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that produced nearly one thousand railroad engines between 1832 and 1866. It was the dominant American locomotive producer during most of that period, as well as the first major exporter of American locomotives, selling its popular 4-2-0 engines to railways in Europe and building the first locomotive used in South America.
Thomas Jefferson Cram was an American topographical engineer from New Hampshire who served in the United States Army Corps of Topographical Engineers from 1839 to 1863 and the United States Army Corps of Engineers from 1863 to 1869.
Amiel Weeks Whipple was an American military officer and topographical engineer. He served as a brigadier general in the American Civil War, where he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Among his many survey assignments for the US War Department, he participated in the difficult survey of the new United States and Mexico boundary and led the survey of a possible transcontinental railroad route along the thirty-fifth parallel from Arkansas to Los Angeles.
The 1st Nebraska Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
George Karl Ludwig Preuss (1803–1854), anglicized as Charles Preuss, was a surveyor and cartographer who accompanied John C. Fremont on three of his five exploratory expeditions of the American west, including the expedition where he and Fremont were the first to record seeing Lake Tahoe from a mountaintop vantage point as they traversed what is now Carson Pass in February 1844. Preuss drew two important maps based on his records from Fremont's first two expeditions.
The U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers was a branch of the United States Army authorized on 4 July 1838. It consisted only of officers who were handpicked from West Point and was used for mapping and the design and construction of federal civil works such as lighthouses and other coastal fortifications and navigational routes. Members included such officers as George Meade, John C. Frémont, Thomas J. Cram and Stephen Long. It was merged with the United States Army Corps of Engineers on 31 March 1863, at which point the Corps of Engineers also assumed the Lakes Survey for the Great Lakes. In the mid-19th century, Corps of Engineers' officers ran Lighthouse Districts in tandem with U.S. Naval officers.
The Overland Trail was a stagecoach and wagon trail in the American West during the 19th century. While portions of the route had been used by explorers and trappers since the 1820s, the Overland Trail was most heavily used in the 1860s as a route alternative to the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails through central Wyoming. The Overland Trail was famously used by the Overland Stage Company owned by Ben Holladay to run mail and passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah, via stagecoaches in the early 1860s. Starting from Atchison, Kansas, the trail descended into Colorado before looping back up to southern Wyoming and rejoining the Oregon Trail at Fort Bridger. The stage line operated until 1869 when the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad eliminated the need for mail service via Thais' stagecoach.
Howard Stansbury was a major in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. His most notable achievement was leading a two-year expedition (1849–1851) to survey the Great Salt Lake and its surroundings. The expedition report entitled Exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, including a reconnaissance of a new route through the Rocky Mountains was published in 1852 providing the first serious scientific exploration of the flora and fauna of the Great Salt Lake Valley as well as a favorable impression of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who had settled there beginning in 1847.
The Yellowstone expedition was an expedition to the American frontier in 1819 and 1820 authorized by United States Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, with the goal of establishing a military fort or outpost at the mouth of the Yellowstone River in present-day North Dakota. Sometimes called the Atkinson–Long Expedition after its two principal leaders, Colonel Henry Atkinson and Major Stephen Harriman Long, it led to the creation of Fort Atkinson in present-day Nebraska, the first United States Army post established west of the Missouri River, but was otherwise a costly failure, stalling near Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Enoch Steen was a United States military officer and western explorer. He joined the United States Army in 1832, serving at posts throughout the United States, including many remote locations in the west. During his military service, Steen explored parts of the western United States including large areas of southern New Mexico and southeastern Oregon. He served as the commander of several Union Army forts during the American Civil War. Today, there are landmarks in Oklahoma, Oregon, and New Mexico named in his honor; however, many of the place names are misspelled as Stein.
The Oregon Trail is a historic 2,000-mile (3,264-km) trail used by American pioneers living in the Great Plains in the 19th century. The emigrants traveled by wagon in search of fertile land in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
William Franklin Raynolds was an American explorer, engineer and U.S. army officer who served in the Mexican–American War and American Civil War. He is best known for leading the 1859–60 Raynolds Expedition while serving as a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers.
Explorer was a small, custom-made stern-wheel steamboat built for Second lieutenant Joseph Christmas Ives and used by him to carry the U. S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers expedition to explore the Colorado River above Fort Yuma in 1858.
Engineer Cantonment is an archaeological site in Washington County, in the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. Located in the floodplain of the Missouri River near present-day Omaha, Nebraska, it was the temporary winter camp of the scientific party of the Yellowstone Expedition. From October 1819 to June 1820, the party studied the geology and biology of the vicinity, and met with the local indigenous peoples. Their eight-month study of the biota has been described as "the first biodiversity inventory undertaken in the United States".