DERBY, George Hotario (1823-1861). The Sacramento Valley from the American River to Butte Creek. Surveyed & Drawn by Order of Genl. Riley, Commandg. 10th Military Dept. by Lieut. Derby, Top. Engrs. September & October 1849. Washington: 1850.
Single sheet (21 6/8 x 17 4/8 inches). Fine and detailed lithographed map showing Sacramento City and extending north through wilderness to Solitary Tree (old folds and short treat top right-hand corner).
First edition, published in United States, Senate Executive Documents No. 47, 31st Congress, 1st Sess., 1850. Rept. of Sec. of War, "Topographical Memoir Accompanying Maps of the Sacramento Valley, &c...." Derby accompanied Brigadier General Bennett Riley on a tour of the gold districts in the summer of 1849, and this map is the result. Wheat notes that although "Derby is today best known as a humorist...his career in equally important in the sphere oftopography." He prepared two other maps listed in Wheat.
Derby entered West Point in 1842. "There his practical jokes and comic drawings earned him both a number of demerits and the nickname "Squibob," one of the two chief pseudonyms with which he later signed his humorous writings. Derby graduated in 1846, seventh in a class of fifty-nine that included Stonewall Jackson and George B. McClellan (1826-1885). Initially commissioned a second lieutenant in ordnance, he was almost immediately transferred to the topographical engineers, the corps in which he served throughout the rest of his life. In April 1847 he was wounded at Cerro Gordo during the Mexican-American War and was subsequently assigned to the topographical bureau in Washington, D.C.
"In Derby's day the topographical engineers were responsible for exploration and mapping and the construction of harbors, lighthouses, and military roads. Derby spent most of his army career on the Pacific Coast, headquartered in California, also the site of his rise to fame as a humorist. He arrived in California in June of 1849, at the height of the gold rush. During the next two years he undertook four field expeditions, including mapping the mining country and the lower Colorado River" (John Lang for ANB). Wheat, Maps of the Gold Region 149.