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BENJAMIN L.E. BONNEVILLE. Rare Signature: "BLE Bonneville", 3¼x1¼. French-born American frontiersman and military officer Benjamin L.E. Bonneville (1796-1878), who was educated at West Point, was granted a leave from the army in 1832 to "gather data on the topography of the region West of the Rockies and the north of Mexico. He and his men spent three years in the Rocky Mountains, during which time they built a trading post on the Green River. In 1833, he named Joseph Walker as his field commander, and Walker and his men became the first Americans to explore the Yosemite Valley. Bonneville himself made two trips to the Columbia River in Oregon, but was forced out both times by the British-owned Hudson's Bay Company. After returning to Washington in 1835, Bonneville served in the Seminole War in Florida and the Vera Cruz campaign under Winfield Scott. Although he retired in 1861, Bonneville returned to duty in 1861 and was promoted to Brigadier General in 1865. "B.B.Gen'l & Colonel U.S.A. Cmdg. Dept. of the Mo." written beneath signature in unknown hand. Mounting remnant on verso shows through to top margin, just touching top of signature. Fine condition.

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Born: April 14, 1796
Died: June 12, 1878

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