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Discovery of the Yosemite
(1892) by Lafayette H. Bunnell

Next: Introduction
Lafayette Houghton Bunnell, M.D. from 1880 frontispiece
Lafayette H. Bunnell, M.D.
(from frontispiece in
1880 edition)

Summary (Library of Congress)

Lafayette Houghton Bunnell (1824-1903) was a member of the Mariposa Battalion that became the white discoverers of the Yosemite Valley in 1851 when they rode out in search of Native American tribal leaders involved in recent raids on American settlements. Dr. Bunnell later served as a surgeon in the Civil War. Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian war of 1851 (originally published 1880) contains his account of that event, beginning with the history of the battalion and the tribal unrest that inspired its creation. He goes on to chronicle the unit’s march from its camp near Agua Fria into the mountains down the South Fork of the Merced River. Bunnell recalls his comrades’ reactions to the natural grandeur they encountered in the Yosemite Valley as well as the trivia of camp life and encounters with the native tribes they were sent to pacify. The book concludes with chapters of the Valley’s history after 1851, discussions of the region’s flora and fauna, and a chapter on the discovery of the sequoias and their later exploitation.

A biography of Dr. Bunnell appears in Hank Johnston Yosemite’s Yesterdays, v. 2, chapter 1 (1991).

Editor’s note: For an earlier version of this book, see Lafayette Bunnell’s article “How the Yo-Semite Valley was Discovered and Named,” Hutchings’ Illustrated California Magazine (May 1859) [PDF]. For a slightly different account of the Indian War, see the account of William Howard, who served with Bunnell, and also Lt. Tredwell Moore’s reports of the same events, dated 1852. —dea.




Bibliographical Information

Lafayette Houghton Bunnell (1824 - 1903), Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian war of 1851, which led to that event 3d ed. (New York, Chicago, F. H. Revell company: 1892). LC Call Number F868.Y6 B9. 12+349 (359) pages. front. (port.) illus., plates, double map. 21 cm. Purple cloth boards with decorative cover and gilt lettering. Bibliographies: Currey & Kruska 27, Farquhar 15c, and Howes B954. The 1st edition was in 1880, but the 3rd edition, used here, has additions and corrects, some from Dr. Bunnell’s colleagues in the Batallion.

The text and illustrations were digitized by The Library of Congress for American Memory. Digitized and corrected by Dan Anderson, 2004. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice is left intact.
    —Dan Anderson, www.yosemite.ca.us

Bunnell’s account of the Discovery of Yosemite first appeared in Hutchings’ Illustrated California Magazine, (May 1859) [PDF], and Hutchings’ Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity. Discovery of the Yosemite first appeared in 1880; the edition used here is the third edition, published 1892.

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Next: Introduction

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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U.S. Hotels in California (Yosemite, L. A., San Francisco ), AL, AK, AR, AS, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, FM, GA, GU, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OK, NV, MH, MP, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, PR, PW, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, VI WA, WV, WI, WY

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