Captain John Mullan

James Richard Fromm 

July 31, 1830 - December 28, 1909


Mullan, John, explorer, road builder (July 31, 1830-December 28, 1909). B. at Norfolk, Virginia, he was graduated from West Point in 1852, being assigned first to the topographical engineers, then to the artillery. He was a member of the Isaac I. Stevens party directed to Washington Territory, to explore on the way the country and a route for a northern railway to Puget Sound. In the winter of 1853-54, Stevens left Mullan and Doty in western Montana to mark a wagon and railroad route from Fort Benton, on the Missouri River by way of Coeur d'Alene Lake to navigable waters on the Columbia. This was to become known as the Mullan Road, a route of supreme importance in development of the Northwest. During the winter of 1853-54 Mullan traveled about 1,000 miles, crossing the Continental Divide six times from October to January. The survey expedition "determined the existence of an atmospheric river of heat, varying in breadth from one to a hundred miles, giving mild winters in the lofty regions of the Rocky Mountains," and making the proposed road particularly attractive. Indian troubles interrupted construction of Mullan's Road, however. He was promoted to first lieutenant in February 1855, and transferred to Florida for two years of fighting the Seminole Indians. He returned to Washington Territory and from 1858 until 1862 was engaged as chief of construction in building the wagon road across the Rockies, with time out for Indian fighting. In 1858 he commanded 30 Nez Perce Indian volunteers, garbed in U. S. Cavalry uniforms and assigned as scouts and guides. They took part in an action called the Battle of the Four Lakes, August 31-September 1, 1858, in which considerable forces were engaged but losses negligible for the whites and light for the hostiles. Mullan's Report on the Construction of a Military Road from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Benton (1863), described the task, which was entirely successful. Mullan also wrote: Miners' and Travellers' Guide to Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, via the Missouri and Columbia Rivers (1865). Mullan was married in 1863; he had been promoted captain in 1862 and now resigned to begin ranching near Walla Walla, an endeavor that failed. He secured a contract to deliver mail from Chico, California, to Ruby City, Idaho, but was forced to relinquish his contract within a year. He opened a successful law practice at San Francisco, moved to Washington, D.C., in 1878, and died in that city.

Suggested readings:

The Mullan Road


With the leapfrog pattern of settlement brought on by the gold rush to California and the settlement of the rich Willamette Valley of Oregon, citizens of the West demanded improved transportation routes. To lessen the 6000-mile oceanic ride around Cape Horn to the Pacific, the government encouraged the building of faster sailing vessels and construction across the Isthmus of Panama. To reduce the 2000-mile wagon route to Oregon and the Pacific, the federal government also explored various wagon and railroad routes.

Since most local governments could not afford the costs to survey and construction of wagon roads, the federal government undertook these tasks through the Corps of Topographical Engineers and the Office of Exploration and Surveys in the War Department and through the Interior Department's Pacific Wagon Road Office.13

In addition to the wagon road policy, Congress appropriated funds for the exploration, mapping and surveying of four railroad routes from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. These included the Central Survey, the 35th. Parallel, the Southern Survey and the Northern Survey.

Lt. John Mullan volunteered for the Northern Survey under the direction of the newly appointed governor of the Washington Territory, Isaac I. Stevens. The survey left St. Paul on June 7, 1853, exploring the most Practical and Economical route for a railroad to the Pacific.

Isaac I. Stevens

Mullan explored the Yellowstone and Musselshell Rivers and traveled with the Flathead Indians from the headwaters of the Missouri River to the Bitterroot Valley, their homeland. From his winter camp, which he named Cantonment Stevens, in honor of Governor Stevens, Mullan explored possible routes over the Rocky Mountains and the Bitterroot Mountains. From the fall of 1853 to the fall of 1854, Mullan explored over 3000 miles in search of the shortest and most practical routes for a wagon road and a railroad.

In March, 1854, Mullan proved that wagon travel west of Fort Benton was feasible when he drove the first wagon over the Continental Divide into the Little Blackfoot Valley on the way back to the Bitterroot. Stevens reported Mullan's comments:

Indeed, the ascent and descent were so exceedingly gradual that not only was it unnecessary to lock the wheels of the wagon in descending, but it was driven with animals trotting.14

He was aided in his explorations by several Indian guides, including Gabriel Prudhomme, a half-breed who had led Father DeSmet over the Rocky Mountains. He was also helped by Aeneas, an Iroquois among Flatheads, who knew of the Coeur d'Alene Pass. Bassile, a Coeur d'Alene or Schitsu'umsh Indian guided Mullan over the Coeur d'Alene route from the west.

Mullan explored both the Pend Oreille and Coeur d'Alene routes in the spring of 1854. Traveling around Lake Pend Oreille proved difficult in the spring due to spring rains and high water and flooding. Although Mullan, Governor Stevens, and Stevens' Wagonmaster, Christopher Higgins had traveled the Coeur d'Alene route in the spring, summer and fall, they did not travel the route in the winter. In this particular mountain region, the climate is more mild and the snow is less deep to the north.

Mullan also explored the Flathead Valley northward to the Kootenay River. Father Adrian Hoenken, the Jesuit founder of the Pend Oreille Mission in the Flathead Valley wrote the following about Lt. Mullan:

Lieut. John Mullan, who was engaged at this period in exploring the Bitterroot Valley and contiguous country, lent some assistance to the Fathers in starting the Mission I know not how to acquit the gratitude I owe his excellent officer.15

Pioneer Bitterroot trader, Major John Owen also knew Mullan during his survey exploration days and wrote the following in his journal in 1854:

I regret the departure of Lt. Mullan for I found him a high toned Gentleman with pleasing Manners.16

Washington Territorial Governor Isaac I. Stevens wrote the following comments with regard to John Mullan's command.

In the establishment of his quarters, the management of his command, and in his intercourse with the Indians, he evinced the soundest judgment and the whole sphere of his duty was filled by him in a manner entitling him to the warmest commendation.

I received from him, at every opportunity, reports in regard to the Indian tribes, which were of the greatest service, and whch enable me to better comprehend their feeling, wants, and the proper mode of managing them. The fact that he left the valley in the fall of 1854 with the sincere regret of all the Indians who knew or had heard of him, is the best evidence of his services in connexion with them.

The individuals of Lieutenant Mullan's party had equal respect for him, and they were generally cheerful and contented, and prompt to perform their duties . . . Yet there was no complaint and his cheerful spirit impressed itself upon all of his men.

I have deemed it a simple act of justice to this most promising and meritorious officer to say this much. His judgment and discretion were equal to his boldness and resource. He made remarkable contributions to existing knowledge, both of the snows and the geography of the country, at a season of the year and under circumstances when most men would have done nothing.17

In September 1854 Mullan explored the Lolo Pass area which Lewis and Clark followed to cross the Bitterroot Mountains. He found this route not feasible for railroad and wagon road construction. The Nez Perce route over the Bitterroot Mountains was rejected for similar reasons.

Mullan left Puget Sound in January 1855 with letters from the Territory of Washington and Governor Stevens recommending that he build the road. Congress appropriated $30,000, but since there was no need for a large military build-up, and because the amount was insufficient, the project was not begun.

But 1857, however, several factors led to the funding of the military road from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Benton. By this time Indians of the Pacific Northwest were unhappy with the loss of their lands to white settlers. Some were unhappy with the treaty settlements negotiated by Governor Stevens in 1855. In addition, miners and settlers were uncertain about the feelings of the Interior Indians who had not been included in the 1855 negotiations.

Mormon and Indian unrest along the Oregon Trail had caused problems for the military and a shorter route to the Northwest would provide faster mail and transportation of goods and troops. In addition to these factors, the Choteau Company's steamboats and traveled from St. Louis up the Missouri River to Fort Benton, proving the feasibility of a new route to Fort Walla Walla.

Mullan received orders to begin construction of the road, reaching the Dalles, O.T. on May 15, 1858. After outfitting his men, he and his men built bridges and improved the wagon road from the Dalles to Des Chutes. Construction was abruptly halted by the news of the Steptoe Battle, near present Rosalie, Washington.

The impact of the Steptoe Battle on the military road's construction was assessed by Colonel George Wright of the 9th. infantry.

Lieutenant Mullan with his party will remain near here until he hears from Colonel Steptoe, but there is no probability that he will be able to construct the road this year; in fact, it is said that this proposed opening a road through the Indian country was a primary cause of the attack on Colonel Steptoe, and had Lieutenant Mullan preceded Colonel Steptoe his whole party would have been sacrificed.18

Rather than remain idled by the Indian unrest, Mullan joined the retaliatory command of Colonel George Wright. He was assigned to Wright's staff as a topographical officer with thirty friendly Nez Perce Indians in his command.

Mullan and his troops rode ahead of the main troops, scouting and exploring. He mapped the Steptoe Battleground and participated in the Battle of Four Lakes and the Battle of the Spokane Plain. His observations became useful during the construction of the road, especially with the dry land route constructed in 1861.

Captain E. D. Keys of 3d artillery of Wright's command later wrote of Mullan in his book, Fifty Years' Observation of Men and Events Civil and Military:

Lieutenant John Mullan . . . had in his former surveys made himself familiar with the country. In addition to his experience, he possessed uncommon mental and physical activity; he knew all the trails and fords, and in the crossing of the streams which were not fordable his ingenuity was so remarkable that I dubbed him "Duke of Bridgewater."19 (The Duke of Bridgewater built canals throughout England and originated British inland navigation.)

By September 17, 1858 Colonel George Wright had subdued the interior Indians and had signed a preliminary peace treaty wit the Coeur d'Alene Indians. This treaty insured Mullan's safe travel through their territorial lands to build the road.

After the Wright campaign, Mullan returned to Washington to lobby with Governor Isaac Stevens before the War Department and the military committee of Congress for additional money. In March, 1859 Congress appropriated $100,000 for the construction of the military road from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Benton.

Mullan left the Dalles, Oregon Territory on May 15, 1859 with an escort of 100 men of the 3d artillery with Lieutenant James L. White, Lt. H. B. Lyon and Lt. James Howard. The escort with its employees numbered one hundred and forty. Mullan took the field with ninety men, civilians, who worked harder and longer that the soldiers.20 Teamsters and packers also helped with construction, and enlisted men got extra pay if they worked on the road.21

Technical assistance was provided by Gustavus Sohon, a guide, interpreter and artist; Donald McKay, interpreter; Theodore Kolecki, a topographer; P. M. Engle, topographical engineer. Captain W. W. DeLacy, W. W. Johnson, Conway Howard were civil engineers. John Weisner was the meteorologist and astronomer, and P. Toohill was an expressman.

Mullan sent out his topographers to scout and explore new routes and to obtain additional information. The engineers and workers graded, bridged, sidehilled, and corduroyed portions of the new road. Mullan encouraged his men to work hard and hoped their identity with the work and a desire to reach the Missouri as soon as possible, would be incentives to work hard.

During road construction, John Strachan, a civilian employee wrote that the expedition had forty-five wagons, four yoke of cattle to each wagon, fifty pack mules and a great number of beef cattle. Near Touchet Creek, a few of the men and a negro cook fought, with the cook "laid senseless on the ground by an awful blow with an ax."22

From the camp on the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, Rease and Dickinson were discharged because of ill health. Men were cut with axes, one was hurt by a falling tree, and one man was accidentally shot in the knee. Barstow, Lyne, Brennan and Irons were discharged because they did not measure up to the standards of the laboring men of the expedition.23

On the mountain section in 1859, Mullan had one hundred and ten men at work in order to get over the pass before winter set in, including between thirty and forty soldiers. Five men did not want to wait for their pay, so Mullan paid them before halting constriction for the winter. Later, one hunter was lost for four days and nights, eventually losing his legs to amputation. The next year one man lost an eye in the blasting along the Big Mountain and another was severely stunned. In six months' time, Mullan and his men brought the road 258 miles from Fort Walla Walla to their winter headquarters at Cantonment Jordon, near present DeBorgia, Montana.

Pioneer Jesuit Missionary, Father Pierre Jean DeSmet traveled over the route in 1842 and described the country before the road was constructed.

Imagine thick, untrodden forests, strewn with thousands of trees thrown down by age and storms in every direction; where the path is scarcely visible, and is obstructed by barricades, which the horses are constantly compelled to leap, and which always endanger the riders. Two fine rivers or rather great torrents - The Coeur d'Alene and the St. Francis Borgia . . . The first of these torrents is crossed thirty-nine times and the second thirty-two times.24

From the Coeur d'Alene Mission to Sohon's Pass, the road crossed the south fork of the Coeur d'Alene River twenty-eight times. From the pass to Cantonment Jordon, the road made forty-six crossings of the St. Regis River.25 The work was severe, often done in fall's drenching rains. Grazing conditions along these narrow drainages were poor, and after four weeks of incessant rain, difficulty and delay, Mullan had every possible man on the road.

Although the Coeur d'Alene route was shorter and more direct, Mullan conceded that he had much underestimated both the amount and character of the work on this section of the road. In spite of the many hardships, the hard winter, with temperatures dipping to 42o degrees below zero, Mullan became even more determined. He wrote the following from Cantonment Jordan in 1859-1860:

The [War] Department may rely that all shall be done that shall insure our final success. . . As I was sent out to build and construct the road, it shall be constructed.26

Mullan's men endured mosquitoes, cold waters during the bridging projects, and some frostbite. Toohill travelled sixty miles in five days on snowshoes to deliver mail from the Coeur d'Alene Mission to Cantonment Jordan. John Strachan wrote his brother that each man carried fifty pounds from Cantonment Jordan to the Bitterroot Ferry early in the spring of 1860.27

From the Bitterroot Ferry, Mullan and his men constructed the road through the Clark Fork drainage and the Little Blackfoot Valley, progressing to Fort Benton by August 1, 1860. They reworked the road to Fort Walla Walla arriving there by the end of September.

In 1861, because of the Nez Perce mining excitement near Orofino and Pierce, Mullan's crew consisted of sixty civilians. Mullan had an escort of 21 soldiers from Fort Walla Walla and 39 attaches from the Quartermaster's department. Lt. N. Wickliffe and 2nd Lt. S. S. March and 79 soldiers from Fort Colville also joined the expedition.

Mullan revised the road's route to avoid the lowland flooding at the southern tip of Lake Coeur d'Alene through the lower St. Joe River Valley. He skirted the northern tip of Lake Coeur d'Alene and built a 30-mile stretch of road from the lake to the Coeur d'Alene Mission.

From the mission they continued general maintenance along the route, wintering at Cantonment Wright, near present Bonner, Montana. In 1862 the road was reworked from there to Fort Benton.

Mullan's 1863 report summarizes many details previously mentioned in earlier reports. Rations for the men included beans, rice, beef and desiccated vegetables. Mullan had issued double the desiccated vegetables for the civilian workers because they worked harder than the soldiers. However, by March 10, 1860 Mullan reported twenty cases of scurvy, all among the soldiers. The problem was alleviated when the men obtained fresh vegetables from the Pend Oreille Mission, including potatoes and onions.

In 1861, Mullan's food supply included ample desiccated vegetables and the meat supply consisted of one-third pork and two-thirds beef on the hoof. When the steamboat Chippewa burned on the Missouri River, Mullan had to obtain salt, sugar and coffee from Fort Walla Walla.

In 1861, each man had been issued 300 rounds of ammunition for target practice rather than for defense. Each man was issued two pair of boots. On July 4, 1861, Mullan wrote the following:

July 4, Thursday, gave the expedition a holiday, to commemorate the day. Issued to working parties extra issues of molasses, ham, whiskey, flour and pickles, for a 4th of July dinner. Day spent pleasantly and harmoniously in camp, which was six and a half miles east of Wolf's Lodge prairie and branded one hundred ninety-six miles from Walla Walla.28

The 4th of July Pass and Canyon of northern Idaho received their name from this celebration. The Mullan Tree, which near the top of the pass has the inscription "M.R. July 4, 1861."

Mullan submitted the following report for the dry road route, which included bridging and improvement of the road for the fifteen month time period.

2 engineers in charge of parties at $125 per month $250.00
1 physician, at $125 per month 125.00
1 wagon master, at $100 per month 100.00
1 clerk and commissary in charge of property at $125 per month 125.00
1 blacksmith, at $75.00 per month 75.00
2 carpenters, at $75.00 per month 150.00
12 teamsters, at $50.00 per month 600.00
4 cooks, at $50.00 per month 200.00
35 laborers, at $50.00 per month 11,750.00
Hire of extra duty men 500.00
Making a monthly expense of 4,000,00
Approximate estimate of time and labor:  
15 months service, $4000 per month $60,000.00
3,000 rations, at 35 cents 10,000.00
6 wagons and rigging complete 2,000.00
60 yoke of oxen, at $120 7,200.00
70 yokes and cows, $500, chains &c $300 800.00
Tools, axes, picks, shovels blasting, carpenter & blacksmith tools, nails, spikes, iron crowbars &c 2000.00
Camp equipment, cooking utensils &c 500.00
Expresses, ferriage at Snake River, transportation 1,500.00
Contingent and incidental expenses 500.00
Total for Fifteen months29 $85,000.00

One of the objectives of the military road from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Benton had been the transport of troops from the plains to the Pacific. Mullan placed markers along the route, similar to mile markers with the initials "M.R." meaning "military road." However, the road was used only once to transport troops.

Major George Blake transported 300 new recruits to Washington and Oregon military posts in 1860. They left Fort Benton in early August and traveled the newly-built road, arriving at Fort Walla Walla fifty-seven days later without an accident. This proved the feasibility of the road, and it saved the government a reported $30,000 in transportation costs.

1st Lt. August V. Kauntz, a classmate of Mullan's at West Point traveled the road with Major Blake. He wrote the following about Mullan in his diary:

He imagines everybody who is not in favor of his road to be against it. He no doubt has been very badly treated by Gen. Harney and by the Secretary of War.30

After 1858, the Indians of the Northwest posed no problems to settlers or the government until the Nez Perce War of 1877. By 1862 and the road's completion, troops and funds were needed for the Civil War. There was no federal appropriation for maintenance or upkeep of the road, since monies were channeled to other transportation projects throughout the country.

General William T. Sherman and General Phillip H. Sheridan traveled the Mullan Road during an inspection of military posts in the Northwest in 1877. They experienced the dense and fallen timber, the crossings of the Coeur d'Alene and St. Regis Rivers, making repairs as they traveled the 120-mile mountain section. Colonel O. M. Poe of the U. S. Engineers and an Aide-De-Camp of General William T. Sherman wrote:

. . . Often, during that portion of the route, we remarked upon the pluck, the energy, the endurance, and the executive ability of Captain Mullan, who first made the road through that wilderness, and our admiration of the feat has not lessened by ascertaining from his report that it was done at a cost which amounted to only $230,000 for the entire distance from Walla Walla to Fort Benton. Its inception was creditable, and its execution worthy of any man's ambition. That it did not wholly fulfill the anticipations of its projector does not detract in the least from the credit due him.31

During this inspection tour, Sherman and Sheridan learned from the operator of the Bitterroot Ferry that only one wagon had been over the road in 1876. Colonel O. M. Poe wrote the following:

Had it not been for the breaking out of the civil war, and construction of the railroad from the Missouri to San Francisco as one of the results, the Mullan wagon-road would now be a traveled highway, instead of being blocked up with fallen timber, and its hundred and sixty bridges all gone. And such a highway it may yet become.32

In 1879, General Sherman directed General Frank Wheaton of the newly-built Fort Coeur d'Alene to make road repairs from the summit of the Bitterroot Mountains to the fort. Repairs were made by Captain William H. Penrose of the 3rd infantry from Fort Missoula, and Captain William Mills of the 2nd infantry from Fort Coeur d'Alene. General Wheaton reported that the Mullan Road from Fort Coeur d'Alene to Missoula had been reported by travelers to be in good condition and an excellent mountain road.33

In addition to the road's military use, the road was used by settlers, packers, the Hudson's Bay Company and prospectors. Major John Owen, an early trader in the Bitterroot Valley wrote the following comment as a sub-agent for Indian affairs of the Washington Territory on June 30, 1860.

We already feel the benefit of the Road from Walla Walla to Fort Benton which Lieut. Mullan is pressing toward completion with an iron Will. Much credit does he deserve for the Energy . . . & interest he takes in the Work. To appreciate the Amt. of labor that has been Expended on the road you should pass over it.34

Settlers used both the eastern and western portions of the road, although the mountain section posed serious problems for wagons. The western portion of the Mullan Road through the rolling hills of eastern Washington was used by emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail. From Walla Walla settlers followed the road to the Snake River. From there they had the choice of using the Colville Road, the Texas Road, the Kentuck Trail or the Territorial Trail. Settlers of the fertile lands of the Palouse, Spokane or Big Bend areas used the Mullan Road.35

From the eastern terminus of the Mullan Road, many settlers traveled by steamboat to Fort Benton. About 10,000 passengers and 8,061 tons of freight spilled out at Fort Benton in 1867, and one steamer bound downstream in 1867 carried $1,250,000 in raw gold to St. Louis.36 Many travelers on the Mullan Road did not go to the Pacific, since the gold camps of Bannack in 1862, Virginia City in 1863 and Confederate and Last Chance Gulch in 1864 were booming.

The eastern section of the military road was used by Captain James L. Fisk and the Emigrant Overland Escort Service. Fisk led wagon trains from Minnesota westward. It has been estimated that at least 1400 persons used Fisk's route and the Mullan Road in reaching the Northwest between 1863 and 1866.37

Mullan's route from Fort Benton to Walla Walla utilized steamboat transportation up the Missouri, but Mullan was also interested in alternate routes that settlers could use to reach the military road. The Bozeman Trail and the Bridger Cut-off road were faster than steamboat travel. The Corrine Trail also gave travelers a route from the Oregon Trail to the Mullan Road via the Beaverhead and Deer Lodge Valleys.

One emigrant using the Corrine Trail to reach the military road gave his account in Across the Plains and Over the Divide. Christopher Hewitt wrote that although the route was a "wonderful piece of engineering," it proved disappointing at being shorter because of downed trees, rock slides and the effects of fire and flooding on the bridges. Hewitt wrote the following from the Bitterroot Ferry in 1862:

We were told also that large numbers of packers and prospectors had during the season 1862, passed over the terrible trail we had just traversed, but having no wagons had met with no serious delay . . . opening this highway was a big undertaking and well executed, but its value as a "military" road was problematical.38

In addition to being a settler route, the military road was used to transport supplies primarily to the gold camps of Montana. In the 1860s eastern Washington and northern Idaho were relatively unpopulated, but by 1865, the population of Montana was 120,000, and most of these people were in the southwestern part of the state.39 To meet their needs, packers brought supplies from Walla Walla using parts of the Mullan Road, especially the mountain section. Higgins and Worden, the pioneer merchants of Hell Gate, received supplies from both Walla Walla and Fort Benton. Howard reports that a pack train of seven camels loaded with merchandise at Walla Walla supplied some mining camps in Montana.40

Supplies were packed over the cutoff routes from the Oregon Trail, and from Fort Benton, utilizing parts of the military road. The military road was bypassed by packers using the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Nez Perce Trail, which were alternative routes crossing the Bitterroot Mountains.

In addition, the military road was rivaled as a transportation route by the growth of the railroads. When the Union Pacific Railroad was completed in 1869 to Corrine, Utah, the wagon road from the railhead provided faster service than the steamboat route. When the Utah and Northern Railroad reached Montana in 1879 and the Northern Pacific Railroad was completed in 1883, commercial use of the military road was greatly diminished.

Had the gold rushes been extensive to western Montana or northern Idaho, a greater portion of road would have been utilized by larger numbers of people. The military road passed through northern Idaho, which remained relatively unsettled until the mining impact of the Silver Valley and the Coeur d'Alene mining district exploded in the mid-1880's. By that time, the railroad provided supplies and the transportation needs of the area.

After constructing the road over the Bitterroot Mountains, Mullan recommended that the railroad route not follow the wagon route. The Northern Pacific Railroad later constructed the railroad along the route Mullan recommended. However, in 1891 the Northern Pacific Railroad completed a branch line along the wagon route to haul the rich ores from the Wallace, Idaho area.

The spur from DeSmet, Montana west of Missoula to Wallace, Idaho was 135 miles long with 88 bridges with some trestles over 100 feet. This route was difficult because of the terrain, and deep snows, which often exceeded 100 inches.41

The Mullan Road did not return as a major commercial transportation force until automobile and truck traffic made travel and commerce practical over improved highway systems. However, it has always been a major transportation route for the residents and towns along the route in western Montana, northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Years after the completion of the road, Mullan, then a captain, reflected on this supreme achievement of his life:

Night after night I have laid out in the unbeaten forest, or in the pathless prairies with no bed but a few pine leaves (needles), with no pillow but my saddle, and in my imagination heard the whistle of the engine, the whirr of the machinery, the paddle of the steamboat wheels, as they plowed the waters of the sound. In my enthusiasm, I saw the country thickly populated, thousands pouring over the borders to make homes in this far western land.42

  1. Mullan, House Executive Document No. 44, 1861, pp. 16-17.
  2. Van West, Carroll, A Traveler's Companion to Montana History, p. 218.
  3. Cultural Resource Report, Mullan Road Segment, Bulletin #24AA133, Montana State preservation Office, Helena, Montana.
  4. Idaho Historical Society, Historic Sites #16 Publication, Boise, Idaho.
  5. Mullan Road File, North Idaho Museum, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, 1978 Civil Engineering Ceremony.
  6. Coleman, Louis C. and Rieman, Leo, Captain John Mullan: His Life, Building the Mullan Road, p. 182.
  7. Howard, Helen Addison, Northwest Trail Blazers, p. 151.
  8. House Executive Document, 1859, p. 389-390.
  9. Peterson, F. Ross, Idaho, A Bicentennial History, pp. 55, 63.
  10. Coleman and Rieman, Captain John Mullan: His Life, Building The Mullan Road, Rebecca Mullan Memoirs, p. 193.
  11. Forty-First Annual Reunion Of The Association Of The Graduates Of The United States Military Academy, p. 142.
  12. Dozier, Jack, "The Coeur d'Alene Country, the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation in North Idaho" in Idaho Yesterdays, vol. 6, no. 3, 1962, p. 4.
  13. Jackson, W. Turrentine, Wagon Roads West, preface viii, p. 35.
  14. Senate Executive Document No. 56, 1860, p. 168.
  15. Schoenberg, Wilfred P., S.J., Paths to the Northwest, p. 95.
  16. Owen, Major John, The Journal and Letters of Major John Owen 1850-1871, p. 75.
  17. Senate Executive Document No. 56, Stevens, pp. 181-182.
  18. House Executive Document, 1858-1859, pp. 344-348.
  19. Keyes, E.D., Fifty Years' Observation of Men and Events Civil and Military, pp. 283-284.
  20. House Executive Document No. 44, 1861, p. 42.
  21. Ibid., p. 75.
  22. Strachan, John, "Blazing the Mullan Trail," Rickford Register, Apr. 1860-1861, letter to brother, pp. 32.
  23. House Executive Document, No. 44, Military Road Report, 1861, p. 23.
  24. DeSmet, Pierre Jean, S.J., New Indian Sketches, p. 91.
  25. House Executive Document, No. 44, Military Road Report, 1861, pp. 96-97.
  26. Ibid. p. 29-30.
  27. Strachan, John, "Blazing the Mullan Trail," p. 8.
  28. Senate Executive Document 1, Military Road Report, p. 560.
  29. House Executive Document, No. 44, Military Road Report, pp. 71-72.
  30. Kauntz, August V., The Diary of August V. Kauntz, p. 218.
  31. Sherman, Gen. William Tecumseh and Sheridan, General Philip H., Reports of Inspection Made in the Summer of 1877, p. 132.
  32. Ibid., p. 132.
  33. Baily, Joe, "Mullan's Axe and Shovel Passage," The Pacific Northwester II, 1958, p. 8.
  34. Owen, Major John, The Journal and Letters of Major John Owen 1850-1871, p. 216.
  35. Kingston, Ceylon S., The Inland Empire in the Pacific Northwest, p. 231.
  36. Toole, K. Ross, Montana, An Uncommon Land, p. 80.
  37. Underhill, "North Overland Route to Montana" loc. cit., p. 177, Wagon Roads West, p. 276.
  38. Hewitt, Randall H., "Early Commercial Importance of the Mullan Road," Oregon Historical Quarterly, p. 30.
  39. Winther, Oscar O., "Early Commercial Importance of the Mullan Road," Oregon Historical Quarterly, p. 30.
  40. Howard, Helen Addison, "Captain John Mullan," Washington Historical Quarterly, p. 40.
  41. Renz, Louis Tuck, The History of the Northern Pacific Railroad, pp. 152-153.
  42. Quoted in Winther, The Great Northwest, 234.