Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 38 of 368
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APPEARANCE OF GYPSUM.
who examined it, estimates to cover an area of four or five hundred
acres. This is well suited for building purposes, being large, tall, and
straight. There is also an extensive tract of mezquite woodland near
One of the Delawares caught two bear cubs in the mountains to-day;
one of which he brought in his arms to camp. As the mountain chain
crosses the river near here, and runs to the south of our course, we shall
leave it to-morrow, and launch out into the prairie before us, following
up the bank of the river, which appears to flow through an almost level
and uninterrupted-plain, as far as the eye can extend. I have provided
water-casks of sufficient capacity to contain water for the command for
three days. I shall always have them filled whenever we find good
water; and I hope thereby to be enabled to reach the sources of the
river without much suffering. I cannot leave these mountains without
a feeling of sincere regret. The beautiful and majestic scenery throughout
the whole extent of that portion of the chain we have traversed,
with the charming glades lying between them, clothed with a luxuriant
sward up to the very bases of the almost perpendicular and rugged
sides, with the many springs of delicious water bursting forth from the
solid walls of granite, and bounding along over the debris at the base,
forcibly reminds me of my own native hills, and the idea of leaving
these for the desert plains gives rise to an involuntary feeling of melancholy
similar to that I have experienced on leaving home.
June 2.-We left our last night's camp at 3 o'clock this morning,
and taking a course nearly due west, emerged from the mountains out
into the high level prairie, where we found neither wood nor water until
we reached our present position, about half a mile from Red river, upon
a small branch, with water standing in holes in the bed, and a few small
trees scattered along the banks. The latitude at this point is 35 3';
longitude, 100 12'.
On leaving the vicinity of the mountains, we immediately strike a
different geological formation. Instead of the granite, we now find
carbonate of lime and gypsum. The soil, except upon the stream, is
thin and unproductive. The grass, however, is everywhere luxuriant.
Our animals eat it eagerly, and are constantly improving. Near our
encampment there are several round, conical-shaped mounds, about fifty
feet high, composed of clay and gypsum, which appear to have been
formed from a gradual disintegration and washing away of the adjacent
earth, leaving the sides exposed in such a manner as to exhibit a very
perfect representation of the different strata.
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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/m1/38/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .