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Manual of United States Surveying.
EMPLOYED IN SUBDIVIDING THE
PUBLIC LANDS OF THE UNITED STATES;
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBDIVIDING SECTIONS AND RESTORING
Illustrated with Forms, Diagrams and Maps;
COMPLETE TEXT-BOOK OF GOVERNMENT SURVEYING.
FOR THE USE OF U. S. DEPUTY SURVEYORS, COUNTY SURVEYORS, AND ALL
TO WHICH IS ADDED
CONTAINING INFORMATION IN REGARD TO ENTERING, LOCATING,
By J. H. HAWES,
LATE PRINCIPAL CLERK OF SURVEYS IN THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States in and for the District of Columbia.
THE following pages have been prepared to supply a want which is widely known and felt. The General Land Office is constantly receiving letters from county surveyors and others, soliciting information in regard to the system of government surveying, how to subdivide sections, restore missing corners,
It is the custom of the department, in answer to these varied inquiries, to furnish as explicit directions as can be given within the ordinary limits of an official communication; but it is quite impracticable in such a communication to set forth in detail the principles and the laws, with their multifarious bearings and applications, which affect or control the surveyor in restoring obliterated public surveys, or running and marking the boundaries of legal subdivisions not before established in the field; and yet this information is essential to the surveyor who would execute his work correctly and in accordance with law.
In view of the great number of inquiries of this character received by the General Land Office, the writer, who for several years had especial charge of the department of government land surveying, commenced the preparation of a circular to be printed for the use of the office, which should be sufficiently comprehensive to meet the class of inquiries referred to.
The examination and reflection incident to the preparation of such a circular continued to develop new complications, and suggest new points to be explained, enlarging the scope of the work and ultimately inducing a change in the original design.
It became apparent that the only plan which would afford surveyors all the information necessary to enable them to discharge their duties properly, was not only to lay down specific rules in particular cases, but to give a full and complete exposi
tion of the surveying system, and the laws and instructions relating thereto. To give directions how to restore a lost corner without also affording some insight into the laws and practice under which it was originally established, would be like giving a theoretical explanation of a difficult field operation in civil engineering to one not conversant with that branch of mathematical science.
The government system of surveying is in some respects peculiar and unlike any other, and no adequate facilities have been afforded surveyors not employed in the public service to make themselves acquainted with its rules and principles. Hence it is in many cases impracticable to make instructions intelligible to the local surveyor, without first giving some explanations as to the manner in which the public surveys are executed.
The writer has been frequently and forcibly impressed with this truth, when endeavoring to relieve correspondents of embarrassments occasioned by a want of the proper knowledge in regard to the laws and practice of the government surveying system. Where these are understood the instructions become comparatively simple and are readily comprehended.
In 1855, a manual of instructions to regulate the field operations of United States deputy surveyors, was prepared and printed under the direction of the General Land Office. instructions had been printed at earlier periods, but the manual prepared in 1855 embraced all the improvements suggested by the experience of the surveying department up to that time, and was much more comprehensive and complete than anything of the kind which had preceded it.
By the second section of an act of Congress, approved May 30th, 1862, it is provided: "That the printed manual of instructions relating to the public surveys, prepared at the General Land Office, and bearing date February 22d, 1855, the instructions of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and the special instructions of the Surveyor-General when not in conflict with said printed manual or the instructions of said Commissioner, shall be taken and deemed to be a part of every contract for surveying the public lands of the United States."
A supplemental pamphlet containing many recent changes