The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991

Surveying the Rio Grande, z850- 853

JOSEPH RICHARD WERNE*
ONE ASPECT OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY SURVEY FOLLOWING
the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that has received scant at-
tention is the survey of the Rio Grande. Historians have focused on the
California line and the controversial southern boundary of New Mex-
ico, but have ignored the great work on the riverine boundary, which is
the object of this paper.' The treaty framers of both nations intended
the survey to begin at San Diego, California, and run continuously
from thence to the Gila and on to the Rio Grande, terminating at that
great river's mouth. The Joint United States and Mexican Boundary
Commission found, however, that the extreme cost of everything from
flour to mules in gold-crazed California made this impossible. On com-
pleting the boundary between the two Californias, therefore, the Joint
Commission decided to adjourn and reassemble at El Paso del Norte in
*Joseph Richard Werne is professor of history at Southeast Missouri State University. His re-
cent publications include, "Major Emory and Captain Jim6nez. Running the Gadsden Line,"
Journal of the Southwest, XXIX (Summer, 1987), and "Partisan Politics and the Mexican Bound-
ary Survey, 1848- 1853," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XC (April, 1987). He is currently pre-
paring a book on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey.
1J. Fred Rippy, The United States and Mexico (New York: F. S. Crofts and Co., 1931), 1o6-125,
Wilham H. Goetzmann, Army Exploratzon in the American West, 1803-1863 (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1959), 153-2o8, Lewis B Lesley, "The International Boundary Survey From
San Diego to the Gila River, 1849-1850," Quarterly of the Calzfornma Historical Society, IX (Mar ,
1930), 3-15; W[ilham] H. Goetzmann, "The United States-Mexican Boundary Survey, 1848-
1853," Southwestern Histoncal Quarterly, LXII (Oct., 1958), 164-190 (cited hereafter as SHQ ),
Robert V. Hine, Bartlett's West. Drawing the Mexzcan Boundary (New Haven. Yale University
Press, 1968); Joseph Richard Werne, "Pedro Garcia Conde: el trazado de limites con Estados
Unidos desde el punto de vista mexicano (1848-1853)," Hastorza Mexzcana, XXXVI (Juho-
Sept., 1986), 113-129, Joseph Richard Werne, "Partisan Politics and the Mexican Boundary
Survey, 1848-1853," SHQ, XC (Apr., 1987), 329-346 Mexican sources that touch upon the
survey are: Humberto Escoto Ochoa, Integracz6n y desntegraci6n de nuestrafrontera norte (Mexico:
n.p., 1949); Alberto Maria Carrefio, La diplomacza extraordinarza entre Mxzco y Estados Unzdos,
1789-1947 (2 vols.; Mexico: Editorial Jus, 1961), II, Francisco R. Almada, Resumen de Historna
del estado de Chihuahua (Mexico, D.F.: Llbros Mexlcanos, 1955); and Luis G. Zorilla, Hzstorza de
las relaczones entre Mxzco y los Estados Unzdos de America, i8oo-1958 (2 vols.; Mexico: Editorial
Porrua, 1977). Miguel A. Sanchez Lamego, "Agustin Diaz, ilustre cart6grafo Mexlcano," Hzsto-
ra Mexzcana, XXIV (Abril-Junio, 1975), 556-565, covers the career of Diaz who played an
important role m the survey, but the survey itself is scarcely mentioned.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/. Accessed July 29, 2014.