EMORY, William Hemsley (1811-1887). Report of the Secretary of the Interior, in answer to A resolution of the Senate in relation to the progress of the report of Major Emory on the United States and Mexican boundary survey. 35th Congress, 1st Session, Senate. Ex. Doc. No. 37. Washington: 1858.
8vo., (9 x 5 4/8 inches). Disbound.
"The first volume of the report of Major W.H. Emory on the United States and Mexican boundary survey is completed, and nearly ready for distribution. This volume consists of 432 pages of text, one general map on steel of the territory of the United States west of the Mississippi, and one geological map on stone of the same extent, 95 steel engravings, 3 copper plate diagrams, 12 stone engravings, and 45 wood cuts".
"William Hemsley Emory held prominent positions in the U.S. Boundary Commission throughout its duration and has been credited with the achievement of the boundary survey more than any other one person. Earlier experience had prepared Emory well for his service on the boundary. When the Corps of Topographical Engineers was formed in 1838, he was appointed first lieutenant, and he was assigned to assist in making a map from surveys by Joseph Nicollet, a French scientist who introduced new scientific methods of cartography to the United States. Emory also compiled a regional map of Texas, served as a principal assistant on the northeast boundary survey between the United States and the British Provinces, and acted as chief engineer officer on the U.S. Army's march to California during the U.S.-Mexican War, producing an important map of the army's route across the border region. Thus to his work on the United States-Mexican boundary, Emory brought his training in scientific and mathematical cartography, experience in boundary surveying, and authoritative knowledge of the borderlands (Rebert, p. 22).
"The U.S. approach to the survey was based on a plan devised by Emory. En route to California, Emory drew up a comprehensive plan for the boundary survey that included astronomy, topography and demarcation of the line, and auxiliary scientific activities. The location of the line would depend upon astronomy…Because the boundary from the Pacific Ocean to the mouth of the Rio Bravo would extend for nearly two thousand miles, it would be necessary to connect the astronomical stations in a geodetic survey. Calculations employing astronomical data to determine positions, directions, and distances would have to be formulated to take into account the curvature of the earth; thus a more complex mathematics would be required than that used for plane surveys of small areas, based on the assumption that the earth's surface is flat…
"Emory's plans for topographical surveying were limited. He proposed that 'all determinations of the line of actual boundary, and the topography for one mile on each side, must be based on actual measurement,' and that each surveying party would be required to make sketches of the country and barometric leveling of the section surveyed 'and note the general character of the country, in its applicability to agriculture, roads and navigation.' Each survey party would also be required to keep meteorological records. Emory thus directed much of the topographers' effort toward auxiliary scientific activities" (Rebert, pp. 27-28). Paula Rebert, "La Gran Linea: Mapping the United States - Mexico Boundary, 1849-1857).