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Jefferson letter 123kb

Written from Monticello on August 30, 1807, this is a letter from President Thomas Jefferson to his then Secretary of State (and future President) James Madison in which Jefferson tells Madison to deny rumors that Zebulon Pike or his men were spies. He also writes that Pike was under orders to explore and discover the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers. Lastly, Jefferson tells Madison to repay the Spanish for bringing Pike and his injured men back the United States. Undoubtedly, Jefferson wanted information about New Spain and where exactly the Spanish forces were, but no evidence other than conjecture has ever been unearthed proving that Pike was anything other than an honorable, young lieutenant committed to fulfilling his orders to the best of his ability.
Pike's map 3.5Mb Pike's map 1.5Mb

Map of the far northwestern part of Pike's second Western Expedition, the "Arkansas Expedition". The map covers Pike's travels from Western Kansas through Colorado and down to Santa Fe. This shows the rivers, mountain ranges and of course shows the "highest peak" which later became known as Pike's Peak. It was created from Pike's information and that of other early explorers who followed him. Of note is the dashed line showing the route of Pike's expedition through the region, while the "X's" note where they camped, and major encampments have written notations near where they stayed for more than a single day or two. Though claimed on paper by the Spanish, numerous Indian tribes many of whom were encountered by Pike's force in fact dominated this region. Pike returned some Kansa and Osage Indian captives back to tribes in what is now North Central Kansas and South Central Nebraska while negotiating a treaty between the tribes. Later, Pike had to negotiate with the Grand Pawnee twice in order to head west and fulfill his orders of finding the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers.
Pike's Notebook 175Kb

A page from Pike's notebooks in which Pike kept notes from his first Western Expedition to near the headwaters of the Mississippi and the second Western Expedition through what is now the Southwestern United States. This notebook was among the items, which were confiscated by the Spanish when Pike was held in New Spain. Knowing the extreme cold and wet blizzard conditions which Pike and his men survived as they passed through the wintry mountains of Colorado, it is in surprisingly good condition..
Pike's Published Journals 140Kb

The title page from his 1810 account which made Pike internationally famous. Some historians disparage Pike when comparing him to other early American explorers. Actually in light of his slight education, his early life on the frontier, and his pure grit in following his duty though not receiving any additional material support for his orders, Pike is rightly honored for giving America (and Jefferson) it's very first credible information about the vast region which is now the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico.
Santa Fe Trail map 149Kb

This is a map of the Santa Fe Trail in Pike's own hand, which was one of the items confiscated by the Spanish. This map is thought not to show Pike's route, but rather used as him as a reference as to what he might encounter on the Arkansas Expedition. Anyone who knows this region can only marvel at what a disadvantage Pike was at with such a dearth of accurate information. This lack of information undoubtedly contributed to his actions, which are sometimes disparaged, and the numerous problems in surviving a horrendous winter in the heart of the Colorado wilderness in what were merely light summer uniforms and supplies meant for a much shorter expedition.
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