In 1869 ten men in four boats were about to embark on a journey that would cover almost 1,000 miles through uncharted canyons and change the west forever. Three months later only five of the original company plus their one-armed Civil War hero leader would emerge from the depths of the Grand Canyon at the mouth of the Virgin River.
Major John Wesley Powell was 35 years old when he led his first expedition through the Canyon. He was a teacher, a geologist, and a one-armed veteran of the Civil War after losing his right arm in the Battle of Shiloh. Powell was the principal force in expanding geologic studies and topographic mapping throughout the country and in stimulating investigations of soil, ground water, rivers, flood control, and irrigation. He also had a great interest in the Indian people of the west and learned 6 Indian languages throughout this lifetime of exploring and charting both the land and the people of this new South western territory and is considered to be the most famous explorer of the West since Lewis and Clark.