Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 21 of 368
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DEPARTURE FROM FORT BELKNAP.
(who, by-the-by, travelled six hundred miles with me upon the plains,
and whom I always found reliable,) pointed out to him breaks or bluffs
upon a stream to the south of the Canadian, near what we ascertained to
be the true position of the head of the north branch of Red river, and
where it approaches within twenty-five miles of the Canadian. These
bluffs he said were upon the "Rio Negro," which the Doctor supposed
to be the Washita river; but after having examined that section of
c untry I am satisfied that the north branch of Red river must have
en alluded to by the guide, as the Washita rises further to the east.
It therefore seems probable that "Rio Negro" is the name which the
Mexicans have applied to Red river of Louisiana.
Immediately on the receipt of the foregoing order I repaired to Fort
Smith, Arkansas, where the Quartermaster General had directed that
transportation should be furnished me, but on arriving there I learned
that nearly all the means of transportation had a short time before been
transferred to the depot at Preston, Texas. Captain Montgomery, the
quartermaster at Fort Smith, manifested every disposition to facilitate
my movements, and supplied me with ten most excellent horses, with
which I proceeded on to Preston. At this point I made a requisition
upon the quartermaster for a sufficient number of teams to transport
supplies of subsistence, and baggage for my command, for five months.
These were promptly furnished by Bvt. Major George Wood, to whom
I am under many obligations for his active and zealous co-operation in
supplying me with such articles as were necessary for the expedition.
With but few resources at his command, with animals that had been
worked down, and, in consequence of the scarcity of grain, very poor,
and with parts of old wagons much worn, he succeeded in a very few
days in fitting me out with twelve ox teams that performed very good
As my company was at Fort Belknap, upon the Brazos river, one
hundred and sixty miles from Preston, and as the route by way of Fort
Arbuckle to the mouth of Cache creek (the initial point of my reconnoissance
upon Red river) is much the shortest, I determined to leave
my supply train under the charge of a wagonmaster to bring forward
over this route, and to proceed myself to Fort Belknap and march my
company over the other trail, uniting with the train at the mouth of
I accordingly reached Fort Belknap on the 30th of April, and on the
2d of May left with my company, marching over the Fort Arbuckle
road as far as where it intersects Red river. As our road led us along
near the valley of the Little Witchita, I took occasion to examine it more
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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/m1/21/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .