Mullan Road: St. Regis River Crossings

Robert H. Dunsmore

To see the map in fullscreen view, in the map's upper-right corner, click the button.
Key: To see distance from Fort Walla Walla, point to a marker.

KML file for Google Earth: dunsmore-crossings-sr-2.kml

Commentary by Kris Townsend and Robert Dunsmore

In Mullan's 1863 report to Congress, two listings of river crossings and other notable landmarks were included. The listing on page 124 of that report, dated January 2, 1860, was provided by W. W. Johnson, civil engineer. The list of river crossings and landmarks on pages 128–133 was provided by John Wiesner, meteorologist and astronomer. That report is dated January 25, 1860. Both lists were prepared under Mullan's supervision while wintering at Cantonment Jordan near the St. Regis river.

Johnson measured distance and elevation from a spring near the river's edge on the west side of the 'Mission Hill'—just inches above the river level at that time. Wiesner measured distance from Fort Walla Walla, and elevation above sea level. Selected data from both lists were combined in the table below.

Wiesner did not list crossings 26–45. In the table below, his mileages for those crossings has been extrapolated by adding 198.52 to Johnson's mileage. That distance was determined by comparing the difference between Wiesner's distance from Walla Walla to Cantonment Jordan (257.85) and Johnson's distance from the mission to Cantonment Jordon (59.33). Dunsmore has since determined that the mean distance for Johnson's mileages between Walla Walla and the mission is 198.39. In his museum display on the Mullan Road from Spokane Ferry to Bitterroot Ferry, the original 198.52 was used and is also used on the table presented below.

In 1860, Mullan outlined his plan to build bridges for crossings 1–26, build ten more bridges on crossings 27–36, and shift the road to the north to eliminate crossings 37–46. Some "frameworks" (likely piers) were completed during the fall of 1861 with the decking being left to 1862. Nearly all of Mullan's bridges were constantly threatened by each year's spring freshets and did not survive long.

Johnson Wiesner
Elev. Miles Elev. Miles
Crossing 1 2413 37.80 4614 236.00
Crossing 2 1864 40.30 4081 238.75
Crossing 3 1833 40.55 4036 239.00
Crossing 4 1822 40.65 4033 239.06
Crossing 5 1805 40.75 4016 239.15
Crossing 6 1799 40.80 4020 239.18
Crossing 7 1670 42.00 3878 240.39
Crossing 8 1611 42.78 3793 241.17
Crossing 9 1553 43.90 3739 242.04
Crossing 10 1538 44.20 3717 242.42
Crossing 11 1489 44.60 3649 242.99
Crossing 12 1470 44.93 3645 243.33
Crossing 13 1446 45.20 3622 243.60
Crossing 14 1435 45.45 3602 242.88
Crossing 15 1420 45.85 3613 244.33
Crossing 16 1411 46.05 3612 244.56
Crossing 17 1397 46.55 3597 244.95
Crossing 18 1390 46.60 3586 245.10
Crossing 18, stream 2 1387 46.65
Crossing 18, stream 3 1389 46.70
Crossing 19 1380 46.85 3565 245.23
Crossing 20 1372 46.98 3567 245.40
Crossing 21 1363 47.10 3574 245.52
Crossing 22 1354 47.20 3568 245.59
Crossing 23 1345 47.30 3548 245.70
Crossing 24 1330 47.45 3536 245.86
Crossing 25 1298 47.90 3490 246.32
Crossing 26 1269 48.40 246.92
Crossing 27 1244 48.80 247.32
Crossing 28 1232 49.10 247.62
Crossing 29 1215 49.47 247.99
Crossing 30 1207 49.65 248.17
Crossing 31 1174 50.45 248.97
Crossing 32 1152 51.10 249.62
Crossing 33 1148 51.15 249.67
Crossing 34 1136 51.30 249.82
Crossing 35 1132 51.40 249.92
Crossing 36 1125 51.80 250.32
Crossing 37 1100 52.35 250.87
Crossing 38 1093 52.35 251.12
Crossing 39 1080 52.85 251.37
Crossing 40 1074 53.05 251.57
Crossing 41 978 55.30 253.82
Crossing 42 975 55.40 253.92
Crossing 43 945 56.25 254.77
Crossing 44 940 56.50 255.02
Crossing 45 922 57.20 255.72
Crossing 46 916 57.40 3106 255.92
Cantonment Jordan 881 59.33 257.80

Sources:

Mullan, John. 1861. Military Road from Fort Benton to Fort Walla Walla, House Executive Document No. 44. 36th Congress, 2nd Session (1860-1861), Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

—.1861. United States Military Road Expedition from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Benton, W.T., Senate Executive Document 1. 37th Congress, 2nd Session (1861-1862), Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

—. 1861. Military road from Fort Benton to Fort Walla-Walla : letter from the Secretary of war, transmitting the report of Lieutenant Mullan, in charge of the construction of the military road from Fort Benton to Fort Walla-Walla. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

—. 1863. Report on the Construction of a Military Road from Fort Walla-Walla to Fort Benton. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

Permalink - Topic: Mullan Road

« Mullan Road: Coeur d'Alene River Crossings Part 2 - Mullan Road Centerline »

Related content