Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 19 of 368
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Pike, who was ordered to ascend the Arkansas river to its sources,
thence to strike across the country to the head of Red river, and
descend that stream to Natchitoches. After encountering many privations
and intense sufferings in the deep snows of the lofty mountains
about the head-waters of the Arkansas, Lieut. Pike arrived finally upon
a stream running to the east, which he took to be Red river, but which
subsequently proved to be the Rio Grande. Here he was taken by the
governor of New Mexico and sent home by way of Chihuahua and San
Antonio, thus putting a stop to his explorations.
General Wilkinson, under whose orders Lieut. Pike was serving at
the time, states, in a letter to him after his return, as follows: " The
principal object of your expedition up the Arkansas was to discover the
true position of the sources of Red river. This was not accomplished."
Lieut. Pike, however, from the most accurate information he could
obtain, gives the geographical position of the sources of Red river as
in latitude 33 N. and longitude 104 W. Again, in 1819-'20, Col.
Long, of the U. S. Topographical Engineers, on his return from an exploration
of the Missouri river and the country lying between that stream
and the head of the Arkansas, undertook to descend the Red river from
its sources. The Colonel, in speaking of this in his interesting report,
says: "VWe arrived at a creek having a westerly course, which we
took to be a tributary of Red river. Having travelled down its valley
about two hundred miles, we fell in with a party of Indians, of the
nation of "Kaskias," or "Bad Hearts," who give us to understand that
the stream along which we were travelling was Red river. We accordingly
continued our march down the river several hundred miles further,
when, to our no small disappointment, we discovered it was the Canadian
of the Arkansas, instead of Red river, that we had been exploring.
"Our horses being nearly worn out with the fatigue of our long
journey, which they had to perform bare-footed, and the season being
too far advanced to admit of our retracing our steps and going back
again in quest of the source of Red river with the possibility of exploring
it before the commencement of winter, it was deemed advisable to give
over the enterprise for the present and make our way to the settlements
on the Arkansas. We were led to the commission of this mistake in
consequence of our not having been able to procure a good guide acquainted
with that part of the country. Our only dependence in this
respect was upon Pike's map, which assigns to the head-waters of Red
river the apparent locality of those of the Canadian."
Doctor James, who accompanied Colonel Long, in his journal of the
expedition, says: "Several persons have recently arrived at St. Louis, in
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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/m1/19/: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .