In May, 1876, a party of army engineers, teamsters, and a civilian draftsman with a military escort departed from Fort Elliott in the Texas Panhandle to conduct a topographic and scientific survey and to explore the headwaters of the Red River. Their reports of the land, water resources, insects, plants, birds, and geology of the central Panhandle were printed in a government document the next year but were little known for a hundred years. Among the surveying party was a civilian draftsman of German origin, Adolph Hunnius, who kept a diary detailing the daily activities of the expedition. In 1985 T. Lindsay Baker edited the diary and the manuscript of the official report from the National Archives and published them for a limited readership as a special issue of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Review. Not included in the 1985 publication was the survey party's ornithological report, written by Charles A. H. McCauley, which Baker subsequently found and published in 1988 as an article in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Review, including ornithological annotation by Kenneth D. Seyffert, former president of the Texas Audubon Society. The two parts of the report have never before appeared under cover together. Now they do, in this revised edition with a new introduction, which focuses on the reports as environmental history. Dan L. Flores's knowledgeable foreword to the work further strengthens the environmental history contribution.
T. Lindsay Baker is a well-known historian of Texas and the West. Now serving as director of the Texas Heritage Museum at Hill College, Hillsboro, he holds a Ph.D. in history from Texas Tech University. He has published numerous books and articles, including Till Freedom Cried Out (edited with Julie Baker) and Building the Lone Star.