Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 31 of 368
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May 25.-It has rained violently during all of last night, and has
not ceased this morning. When this long storm will abate we do not
pretend to form even a conjecture. It has occurred to me that possibly
these rains may fall annually in the basin of Upper Red river; thus,
perhaps, accounting for what is termed the June rise in the river. As
to the cause of this rise there have. been various conjectures; some supposing
the river to have its sources in elevated mountain ranges, where
the melting of the snows would produce this result; others, again, consider
it to be by rains upon the head-:waters of the river. This latter
idea, however, seems rather improbable, as the country west of the Cross
Timbers, so far as known, is generally subjected to very great drought
from May to August. We are now in the immediate vicinity of the
Witchita mountains, and it is possible they may have an effect upon
the weather by condensing the moisture in the atmosphere, and causing
rain in this particular locality.
May 26.-Some of the mountains which we ascended yesterday
upon the east side of the creek, exhibi.ed a conformation and composition
similar to those upon the west side-that of a coarse, soft, fleshcolored
granite, the peaks conical, occasionally terminating in sharp
points, standing at intervals of from a quarter to one mile apart. In
some instances the rocks are thrown together loosely, but here and
there showing a very imperfect and irregular stratification, with the
seams dipping about twenty degrees with the horizon. The direction
of this mountain chain is about south 60 west, and from five to fifteen
miles in breadth. Its length we are not yet able to determine. Red
river, which passes directly through the western extremity of the chain,
is different in character at the mouth of Otter creek from what it is
below the junction of the Ke-che-ah-qui-ho-no. There it is only one hundred
and twenty yards wide; the banks of red clay are from three to
eight feet high, the water extending entirely across the bed, and at this
time (a high stage) about six feet deep in the channel, with a rapid
current of four miles per hour, highly charged with a dull-red sedimentary
matter, and slightly brackish to the taste. Two buffaloes
were seen to-day, one of which was killed by our guide, John Bashman.
Deer and antelopes are plenty, but turkeys are becoming scarce as we
go west; grouse and quail are also occasionally seen here. As Otter
creek continues very high, I intended, if Red river had been fordable,
to have crossed that stream this morning and continued up the south
bank; but we found the water about eight feet deep, and have no other
alternative but to wait until it falls. Along the banks of Red river for
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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/m1/31/: accessed May 28, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .