This unique and remarkable map had a long history thanks to its enterprising publisher, who figured out how to capitalize on both the keen public interest in the Mexican-American War, and then the need for maps on how to get to the California Gold Rush and the West.
That said, the printing history of this map is not well understood. Hutawa’s first foray into mapping this area seems to be his 1847 map depicting the area as it concerned the Mexican-American War. That map was published as a supplement to the October 1, 1847, edition of the Saint Louis Missouri Republican. Apparently a version of this map was reissued in 1848 with the date 1848 and the words “St. Louis“ in the imprint; unfortunately, the nature of this map is imperfectly known. The map was again (perhaps) reissued with the “St. Louis” removed and the words “2nd Edition’“ substituted. It was then again reissued in 1863, as found here, with the date “1863” and the words “New Mexico” placed on the map by typography rather than lithography. Although apparently not originally intended for California gold seekers, the 1848 edition would have been a serviceable addition to their travel guides.
In fact, the map seems clearly intended for use as something of a handbook for the western traveller and miner. Indicated still are the routes of Smith, Lewis & Clark, Kearney, Frémont, Cooke, Gregg, and others. Also shown are various trails and landmarks, such as forts or trading posts. One thing clearly obvious from the map is that the great West is alive with Native American tribes, the locations of many of which are shown.
The map could also have been published in the interest of those who wanted to develop the area around Santa Fe, New Mexico. Not only does the map show the route of the Santa Fe caravans, but also the area around the city of Santa Fe is depicted in far greater detail than any other portion of the United States; even California, which is outlined in gold, by contrast is relatively empty. Perhaps this map was reissued to assist in the great commercial mining ventures that were being developed in the area and in Mexico itself.
Regarding the configuration of Texas, rather than over-reaching to the west in New Mexico and South Pass as seen elsewhere, here Texas interestingly spreads east toward New Orleans.