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December 19, 1862: San Francisco

December 19, 2012
Beneath the Pyramid

Transamerica Pyramid, site of Montgomery Block (where the Survey had its office); by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

It is a dark unpleasant night, and I am blue enough over the late news from Fredericksburg. We have meager news of our terrible defeat there. We are, indeed, in a terrible struggle. Like the rest of our defeats, perhaps it arose from politicians. Whatever was the cause, it is sufficient to make one blue and sad….

Well, the field work for the year has ceased. I have been adding up my “peregrinations” in this state since I arrived twenty-five months ago, and the following are the figures:

Mule back 3,981 miles
On foot 2,067 miles
Public conveyance 3,216 miles
Total 9,264 miles

Surely a long trip in one state! This has been over an area 625 miles long in extreme length, and has been nearly all in the coast ranges. Probably no man living has so extensive a knowledge of the coast ranges of this state from personal observation as I have, but I have seen very little of the grand features of the Sierra. When our report comes out I anticipate that it will attract much attention in the scientific world, probably more than it will here.

I do not think the Survey will be continued another year, although we have the work only fairly begun. Various influences are at work that will give us much trouble to keep it alive. The two principal ones are that the work is in advance of the intelligence of the state, and is, therefore, not appreciated; and, a more potent one, that several prominent politicians have hoped to use the Survey for personal, private speculations in mining matters and have failed—they will oppose us. You have no idea of the political corruption here. If the Survey “goes in” this winter, I shall endeavor to get into a position here, at least for a time.

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