Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 37 of 368
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June 1.-During our march to-day we passed along the borders of a
swift running rivulet of clear water, which issues from springs in the
mountains, and is filled with a multitude of fish. We also passed near
the base of a very prominent and symmetrical mountain, which can be
seen for twenty miles upon our route, and is a most excellent landmark.
Several of the gentlemen ascended this peak with the barometer, and
its altitude, as thereby indicated, is seven hundred and eighty feet above
Captain McClellan has called this "Mount Webster," in honor of our
great statesman; and upon a rock directly at the summit he has chiselled
the names of some of the gentlemen of the party. The valleys lying
between many of these mountains have a soil which is arable in the
highest degree. They are covered with grasses, which our animals eat
greedily. There are also many springs of cold, limpid water bursting
out from the granite rocks of the mountains, and flowing down through
the valleys, thereby affording us, at all times, a most delicious beverage,
where we were led to believe, from the representations of the Witchitas,
we would find only bitter and unpalatable water. This is an unexpected
luxury to us, and we now begin to cherish the hope that all the discouraging
accounts of those Indians may prove equally erroneous.
Taking an old Comanche trail this morning, I followed it to a narrow
defile in the mountains, which led me up through a very tortuous and
rockyl gorge, where the well-worn path'indicated that it had been travelled
for many years. It presented a most wild and romantic appearance
as we passed along at the base of cliffs, which rose perpendicularly for
several hundred feet directly over our heads upon either side. We saw
the tracks of several elk that had passed the defile the day previous.
After crossing the mountains, we descended upon the south side, where
we found the river flowing directly at the base; and after ascending it
about two miles, arrived at a point where it again divided into two
nearly equal branches. The water in the south branch (which I have
called "Salt Fork") is bitter and unpalatable, and when taken into the
stomach produces nausea; whereas that in the other branch, although
not entirely free from salts, can be used in cases of great extremity,
The compound resulting from the mixture of the water in the two
branches below the confluence is very disagreeable to the taste. The
north branch, which I propose to ascend, is, near the junction, one hundred
and five feet wide, and three feet deep, with a very rapid current,
and the water of much lighter color than that in the Salt Fork. Three
miles below the fork, between the river and the base of the mountains,
there is a grove of post-oak timber, which Captain McClellan,
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/37/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .