The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 474
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the St. Francis, was captured by Spaniards in the vicinity of
the West Indian Islands. On September 27, La Salle, having
been out fifty-eight days from Rochelle, arrived at Santo Do-
mingo. On November 28, he left Santo Domingo and two days
later sighted the eastern end of Cuba. On December 5, his
ships anchored at the Isle of Pines. Ten days later the party
landed on the south side of the western end of Cuba and took
on fresh water.
At noon on December 19, 1684, La Salle was in 220 58' north
latitude and 860 52' west longitude. The ships coursed north-
west until a half-hour before sunset on the evening of December
27, when at 28 14' north latitude an oozy sea bottom was
sounded at thirty-two fathoms. Here La Salle undoubtedly was
off the delta of the Mississippi River's south-southwest distribu-
taries, a network of sloughs, bayous, and divergent flood chan-
nels then as now emanating from the main channel of the
Mississippi from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, east to the vicinity
of New Orleans. The sounding had discovered deposition of the
great river system's residual sediment, probably less than twen-
ty miles off shore in about 90 45' west longitude and approxi-
mately fifty miles west-southwest of the mouth of the main
channel of the Mississippi. At this point La Salle made a seri-
ous mistake by changing his course from northwest to west-
northwest. At noon on December 28, at 28 37' north latitude,
a grayish sandy ooze was discovered at ten fathoms. That dis-
covery and the bearings indicate that La Salle was near Terre
Bonne Bay and offshore a distance of not more than fifteen
miles, in approximately longitude 900 55' west. Sailing west-
northwest, La Salle sounded eight fathoms and discovered land
to the northeast. At this time the ships evidently were ap-
proaching the entrance to Atchafalaya Bay, and the land sighted
probably was Cavalier Island, which lies east of Atchafalaya
Bay and west of the Mississippi.
The west-northwest course was continued until January 1,
1685, when, being anchored at about 29 40' north latitude and
94 west longitude, the voyagers discovered land about four
leagues distant. Having decided to make a personal survey of
the shore, La Salle, accompanied by Chevalier de Aire and
others, for the first time on this voyage reached the mainland,
probably in the present Jefferson County, Texas. The deter-
mination of the Jefferson County landing on January 1 follows
as a natural conclusion from a tracing of the course as given
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/553/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.