Article — From the January 2012 issue

The Long Draw

On the trail of an artistic mystery in the American West

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In 1857, Lieutenant Joseph Christmas Ives led the first American expedition into the Grand Canyon. Unlike John Wesley Powell’s famous 1869 voyage, Ives’s journey was barely publicized. Under the aegis of the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, the party — geologists, engineers, deckhands, Yuma interpreters, natural historians, mapmakers, and artists — took a steamboat up the Colorado River to see whether it could serve as a military supply route into Utah Territory, where Mormon insurgents had killed travelers and harassed army convoys. According to historian William Goetzmann, the only throngs that saw the crew off were groups of “giggling Indians” who stood …

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