Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 100 of 368
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suited to this latitude. On entering this section of the river we find
that the borders contract, and the water, for a great portion of the year,
washes both banks, at a high stage, carrying away the loose alluvium
from one side and depositing it upon the other in such a manner as to
produce constant changes in the channel and to render the navigation
difficult. This character prevails through the remainder of its course
to the Delta of the Mississippi, and throughout this section it is subject
to heavy inundations, which often flood the bottoms to such a degree as
to produce very serious consequences to the planters, destroying their
crops, and, upon subsiding, occasionally leaving a deposite of white sand
over the surface, rendering it thenceforth entirely barren and worthless.
Below the great raft a chain of lakes continues to skirt the river for
more than a hundred miles: these are supposed to have been formed in
the ancient channels and low grounds of former streams, whose discharge
had gradually been obstructed by an embankment formed of the sedimentary
matter brought down the river from above.
These lakes are from five to fifty miles in Jength, from a quarter to
three miles wide, and are filled and emptied alternately as the floods in
Red river rise and fall: they serve as reservoirs, which in the inundation
of the banks of the river receive a great quantity of water, and, as
it subsides,'empty their contents gradually, thereby tending to impede
the rapid discharge of the floods upon the Delta. Like all rivers of
great length which drain a large extent of country, Red river is subjected
to periodical seasons of high and low water. The floods occur at very
uniform epochs, but the quantity and elevation of the water, as well as
its continuance at a high stage, vary constantly.
During the winter the water often remains high for several months,
but the heavy rise which has almost invariably been observed during
the month of June, often subsides in a very few days.
The geographicalposition of the sources of Red river being in latitude
34 42' and longitude 103 7' 10,' and its confluence with the Mississippi
in latitude about 31 and longitude 910 50,' it extends over
three and a half degrees of latitude and eleven degrees of longitude.
The barometrical elevation of its sources above the sea is twenty-four
hundred and fifty feet. The estimated distance by the meanderings of
the stream from the mouth to Preston, Texas, is sixteen hundred miles,
and from this point to the sources of the main branch five hundred
more, making the entire length of the river two thousand one hundred
On emerging from the timbered lands upon Red river into the great
plains, we pass through a strip of forest called the Cross-Timbers.
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Marcy, Randolph Barnes. Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan., book, 1854; Washington, DC. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6105/m1/100/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .