Quote 6 – Fine Prospect That

With all the discussions of Civil War monuments, I thought I’d write up a quick little blog about two future Civil War generals. Neither need an introduction.

In 1853, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis authorized a road from Steilacoom to Walla Walla. In order to survey the road, he placed Captain George B. McClellan in charge. As early newspaper owned Thomas Prosch wrote in The Military Roads of Washington Territory, “Of this task McClellan also made an entire failure. He expended in unknown ways much of the money, but as far as the citizens and immigrants were aware not a dollar in actual road construction.”

Apparently Capt. McClellan was none too fond of the region. On November 23, 1853, he wrote his mother. “We have to pass the winter at Olympia on Puget’s Sound, a flourishing city of some 10 to 12 houses—fine prospect that…As there are no houses in Olympia, that can be had, I expect to spend the winter in a tent—labored by the rain & mud—for you must know that we don’t expect to see the sun anymore until next summer—except at rare and short intervals of time—it is raining almost constantly…I don’t think much of it [the Pacific Coast]—it is surely vastly overrated in every respect.”

Follow up to Vancouver Naming Puget Sound

Wow, turns out that my previous post about the image used by Mr. Butterworth in his book Zigzag Journeys in the Great Northwest; or, A Trip to the American Switzerland, didn’t actually show Mr. Vancouver and his men on Puget Sound. Turns out the image first appeared in The Romance and Tragedy of Pioneer Life: A Popular Account of the Heroes and Adventurers who, By Their Valor and War-craft, Beat Back the Savages from the Borders of Civilization and Gave the American Forests to the Plow and the Sickle, an appallingly racist title for a book. Written by Augustus Lynch Mason, the book came out seven years before Mr. Butterworth’s 1890 book.

Mason used the drawing, which is uncredited to an artist, in his discussion of the Moravians, a religious group that originated in Bohemia and Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic. He wrote of the persecution of the Moravians in America, which had led them around the time of the American Revolution to move to the Delaware River. As the title of the image from Mason’s book shows, it is not Mr. Vancouver in Puget Sound, but the Moravians on the Delaware.


My thanks to my pal Trileigh Tucker for pointing out this image discrepancy to me.Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 11.46.23 AM