Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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WHEELER, George Montague, soldier, born in Grafton, Massachusetts, 9 October, 1842. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1866, and assigned to the corps of engineers. From October, 1866, till September, 1868, he was assistant engineer on the survey of Point Lobos and vicinity, and in the construction of the defences of Fort Point, San Francisco harbor, California He was promoted 1st lieutenant on 7 March, 1867, and in September, 1868, became engineer on the staff of the commanding general of the Department of California. In 1869 he was sent to make a geographical reconnoissance in central Nevada, and in 1871 he took the field with a force of surveyors and scientists. His organization assumed the title of the " Geographical survey of the territory of the United States west of the 100th meridian," of which he became superintending engineer. Money was annually granted by congress for the continuance of his work, and a largo force was regularly employed. This survey had for its primary object the making of geographic maps, but it gave a prominent place to geology, and gathered valuable material in the departments of zoology and ethnology. Lieutenant Wheeler continued this work until March, 1879, when the survey was abolished and the United States geological survey was organized. (See KING, CLARENCE, and POWELL, JOHN W.) Since that time he has been engaged in the preparation of the material that has been gathered, much of which has been published in his annual reports, beginning with 187l, and also in a series of quarto volumes published by the engineer department of the United States army. Captain Wheeler was a delegate to the 3d International conference and exhibition held at Vienna in 1885, concerning which he made a report to the United States government. He was promoted captain on 30 March, 18'79, and, owing to illness, retired from active service on 15 June, 1888.
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