Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 45 of 368
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No fossils were seen in this silt, but our time would not admit of
making a very thorough examination of the locality. Specimens of the
shells were, however, procured, to accompany our collection, and were
found to be similar to those described by Lyell as occurring in Europe.
The creek is twenty feet wide, and eight inches deep; runs rapidly
between low banks, with only a few cotton-wood and elm trees upon
them. There are also some few small knots or clumps of trees upon .the
elevated prairie lands in the vicinity. The observations for latitude at
this point give the result, 35 24' 50".
June 9.-At half-past 2 o'clock this morning we were en route
again over a very elevated prairie for six miles, when we arrived in the
valley of a fine stream of pure water, twelve feet wide, and one foot deep,
with a rapid current. This stream is fringed by large cotton-wood
trees along the banks, and the grass in the valley is most excellent,
consisting of the mezquite and wild rye, which our animals are very
fond of. From the fact of the water being so good in this stream, we
called it Sweet-water creek. The valley is bordered upon each side by
bluffs from ten to forty feet high; the soil a reddish loam, and quite
productive, being somewhat similar in appearance to that in the bottoms
of Red river below the confluence of the Witchita, where the most
abundant crops are produced.
As we ascend the river, we have conclusive evidence of the falsity of
the representations of our visitors, the Witchitas. It will be remembered
they told us that the entire country was a perfectly desolate waste,
where neither man nor beast could get subsistence, and that there was
no danger from Indians, as none ever resorted to this section of Red
river. Their statements have proved false in every particular, as we
have thus far found the country well watered, the soil in many places
good, everywhere yielding an abundance of the most nutritious grasses,
with a great sufficiency of wood for all the purposes of the traveller.
There are several old camps near us, which appear to have been occupied
some two or three weeks since by the Comanches; the grass where
their animals have grazed is not yet grown up.
Red river, which is about six miles distant from our present position,
is eighty yards wide, with but a very small portion covered with water,
running over the quicksand bed. The banks upon each side are from
four to ten feet high, and not subject to inundation. The valley is
here about half a mile wide, shut in by sandy bluffs thirty feet high,
which form the border to a range of sand-hills extending back about
five miles upon each side of the river. The soil in the valley is sandy
and sterile, producing little but scattering weeds and stunted brush.
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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/m1/45/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .