National Geographic : 1896 Mar
RUSSO-AMERICAN TELEGRAPH PROJECT OF 1864-'67 111 cepted, by a unanimous vote, the transfer of his rights and in terests, and on March 18 completed an organization for the carrying out of the project. An expedition to explore the proposed route, under Col. Chas. S. Bulkley, formerly of the United States military telegraph corps, was immediately organized. Col. Bulkley reached the Pacific coast in January, 1865. The exploration of the British Colum bian line was directed by Edmund Conway, that of Russian America by Robert Kennicott and that of eastern Siberia by Sergius Abasa. The United States detailed Capt. C. M. Scam mon, of the Revenue Marine Service, and two other officers to the fleet fitted out by the company, and the Russian government lent the aid of the corvette Vsadnik. The first visit was paid to the Russian authorities at Sitka in March, 1865. In July par ties were on the way to Siberia, Alaska, and Bering strait. Ex plorations during this and the following season demonstrated the practicability of the route selected, and saw a small amount of line constructed, every endeavor being made to carry out the project. In 1867 the Atlantic cable at last proved itself a working suc cess. On the other hand, the experience gained by the expedi tions sent out in connection with the Russo-American project showed that the maintenance of the projected line would be so expensive as to make it impossible for it to compete with the Atlantic cable, commercially. Consequently the company de cided to withdraw from the enterprise and in the autumn of 1867 the parties returned to California. The route chosen was up the valley of the Fraser river in British. Columbia and down the Yukon to the Nulato bend, thence across country to Port Clarence, where a cable was to con nect with the Siberian lines. The latter would leave the Chukchi peninsula, cross the neck of the peninsula of Kamchatka and skirt the shores of the Okhotsk sea, joining the Russian lines at Nikolaievsk. It is stated that a large part of the fourteen millions of dollars represented by the stock was actually ex pended in the work ; at all events a large amount of money was spent, and the only returns were those public benefits implied by an increase of geographical and other scientific knowledge and the training of a number of explorers and investigators.