The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958

Operation Calrd
An &periment It Aimal Zransportatiol i
Zexas, 1857-1860
A S A RESULT of the enormous territorial expansion caused by
the annexation of Texas, the territory acquired from
Mexico following the close of the Mexican War, and the
settlement of the Oregon dispute, the United States by the early
185o's had become the owner of all lands between the Mississippi
River and the Pacific Ocean. The new territory was a vast, largely
unexplored, uncharted wilderness of plains, mountains, and
deserts. When the frontiersmen of the late 1840's reached the
Great Plains in their westward migration, they encountered a
distinctive climatic and cultural situation which was markedly
different from that of any land the American pioneer had yet
traversed. This movement halted at the edge of the plains until
the American people could meet the exigencies of the new en-
Transportation presented the most pressing problem. How
to travel across this frequently treeless, grassless, waterless land
was a question that bothered the travelers. By the middle of the
nineteenth century, the frontier had pushed from the Atlantic
Ocean westward for a thousand miles over one-third of the width
of the continent. There still remained two thousand miles before
the Pacific Ocean would be reached, and this stretch promised
to be the most difficult of all to travel. Heretofore, in the eastern
woodlands, the settler in his marches westward had followed
routes which permitted an average speed of three miles an hour
by horse or mule, or two miles an hour by slow-moving oxen.
A good day's march of from fifteen to twenty-five miles depended
on the animal and the condition of the trace. At the end of the
day a good camp site could easily be found, for wood, water, and

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 24, 2014.