The expedition was so successful that the U.S. government financed a second trip in 1871. This time, the party included photographers, and the images they captured gave most Americans their first look at the splendors of the West. Later, as a member of the U.S. Geological Survey, Powell made more than 30 trips through Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. His detailed reports and precise maps set the standard for generations of geographers.In 1878, Powell had turned his attention to preserving the land he knew so well. He sought government protection for natural resources and lobbied against irrigation, which he predicted would disrupt the fragile ecology. Powell also worked to preserve the culture of vanishing Native American tribes. He created the first classification system for Indian languages and, in 1878, became the first director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution.
While Powell is remembered for his exploration and preservation exploits it is not as well known that during the Civil War he served in the Union army and lost an arm at Shiloh.