Diary of an officer on John N. Macomb's Expedition in Utah, 1859

Cogswell, Milton, 1825-1882 [Browse]
1 v. 13 cm.


Getty AAT genre
Biographical/​Historical note
  • Arranged by the Smithsonian Institution, the exploring expedition led by John Macomb of the army's topographical engineers and chief scientist Dr. John Strong Newberry, was the first U.S. government expedition to explore the canyon country of Utah and the Four Corners. The expedition was tasked with surveying and mapping the Old Spanish Trail in search of the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers, and looking for alternative routes into Utah, which was of particular interest in the wake of the Utah War.
  • U.S. Civil War veteran and graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point (1849), Milton Cogswell was the fortieth (provisional) mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, serving in 1868. Many of his military assignments prior to and following the Civil War were in the South and on the Western frontier.
Summary note
  • Diary attributed to 1st Lieutenant Milton Cogswell, who led the 8th United States Infantry military escort that accompanied John N. Macomb's 1859 exploring expedition. Datinng from about July to October 1859, the diary documents frequent encounters with American Indians, many of them known to the author from his previous time in the region; discussions of the author's task, aside from military duties, of being in charge of a large supply team of soldiers and Mexican laborers who followed the expedition with pack mules and sheep; and descriptions of the landscape.
  • Although the diary is unsigned, its content strongly suggests that it was written by the leader of Macomb's military escort, and the handwriting matches known examples from Cogswell.
Language note
Source acquisition
Purchased at auction, 2014. AM 2015-49.
Other format(s)
Also available in an electronic version.
Statement on language in description
Princeton University Library aims to describe library materials in a manner that is respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in the collections we manage. Read more...
Other views
Staff view

Supplementary Information