Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 34 of 368
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ing over an elevated flat prairie country, totally destitute of water, wood,
or grass, and the only substitute for fuel that could be had was the
buffalo "chips." They remarked in the course of the interview that
some few of their old men had been to the head of the river, and that
the journey could be made in eighteen days by rapid riding; but the
accounts given by those who had made the journey were of such a
character as to deter others from attempting it. They said we need
have no apprehension of encountering Indians, as hone ever visited that
section of the country. I inquired of them if there were not holes in the
earth where the water remained after rains. They said no; that the soil
was of so porous a nature that it soaked up the water as soon as it fell.
I then endeavored to hire one of their old men to accompany me as
guide; but they said they were afraid to go into the country, as there
was no water, and they were fearful they would perish before they could
return. The chief said, in conclusion, that perhaps I might not credit
their statements, but that I would have abundant evidence of the truth
of their assertions if I ventured much further with my command.
This account of the country ahead of us is truly discouraging; and it
would seem that we have anything but an agreeable prospect before us.
As soon, however, as the creek will admit of fording, I shall, without
subjecting the command to too great privations, push forward as far as
possible into this most inhospitable and dreaded salt desert. As the
Indians, from their own statements, had travelled a great distance to see
us, I distributed some presents among them, with a few rations of pork
and flour, for which we received their acknowledgments in their customary
style-by begging for everything else they saw.
May 28.-Captain McClellan has, by observations upon lunar distances,
determined the longitude of our last camp upon the creek to be
100 0' 45', which is but a short distance from the point where the line
dividing the Choctaw territory from the State of Texas crosses Red
river. The point where this line interscts Otter creek is marked upon
a large elm tree standing near the bank, and it will be found about four
miles from the mouth of the creek upon the south side, with the longitude
(100 0' 45") and the latitude (34 34' 6") distinctly marked
Captain McClellan will start to-morrow morning for the purpose of
running the meridian of the 100th degree of longitude to where it intersects
Red river, and will mark the point distinctly.
May 29.-After digging down the banks of the creek this morning,
we were enabled to cross the train and to resume our march up the
river; our course led us towards the point where the river debouches
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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/m1/34/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .