Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 46 of 368
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MODE OF ENCAMPING.
June 10.-Our course to-day has been almost due west, up the north
bank of Sweet-water creek. The country upon each side of the valley
is high and gently undulating, and the geological formation has changed
from deep-red sandstone to carboniferous limestone.
The weather for the last four days has been very cold, as will be seen
from the meteorological tables appended; indeed, I think I have never
in this latitude known the thermometer to range as low at this season.
Upon the plains where I have heretofore travelled during the summer
months, a strong breeze has generally sprung up about 8 o'clock in the
morning and lasted until after night, reaching its maximum intensity
about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. This breeze comes from the south,
and generally rises and subsides with as much regularity as the seabreeze
upon the Atlantic coast, which fact has given rise to the opinion
that it comes from the Gulf of Mexico. These cool and bracing winds
temper the atmosphere, heated to intensity by the almost vertical rays
of the sun, rendering it comfortable and even pleasant in midsummer.
Observations were made this evening for the determination of latitude,
and the result showed, 35 26' 13f.
June 11.-We crossed Sweet-water creek at 3 o'clock this morning,
and, keeping back upon the high prairie bordering the valley, travelled
eight miles in nearly a west course, when we crossed two fresh Indian
trails, which, from the circumstance of there being no trace of lodgepoles,
our guide pronounced to have been made by war parties; and he
states that he has during the day seen four Indians upon a hill in the
distance taking a look at us, but that they turned immediately on seeing
him and galloped off. The. fact of their not being disposed to communicate
with us looks suspicious, and they may have hostile intentions
towards us; but with our customary precautions, I think we shall be
ready to receive them, either as friends or enemies.
Our usual method of encamping is, where we can find the curve of a
creek, (which has generally been the case,) to place ourselves in the concavity,
with the wagons and tents extending around in a semi-circle,
uniting at each extremity of the curve of the creek, so as to enclose a
sufficient space for the command; thus we are protected on one side
by the creek, and upon the other by the line of wagons and tents. Immediately
after reaching our camping-ground, all the animals are turned
out to graze, under charge of the teamsters, who are armed, and remain
constantly with them, keeping them as near the command as the supply
of grass will permit. We generally commence the day's march about
3 o'clock in the morning, and are ready to encamp by 11 o'clock; this
gives ample time for the animals to graze before night, when they are
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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/m1/46/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .