Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 47 of 368
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RESORT OF INDIANS.
driven into camp. The horses and mules are picketed within the enclosure,
while the oxen are tied up to the wagons; sentinels are then
posted upon each side of the encampment, and kept constantly walking
in such directions that they may have the animals continually in view.
Many have supposed that cattle in a journey upon the plains would
perform better and keep in better condition by allowing them to graze
in the morning before starting upon the day's march, which would involve
the necessity of travelling during the heat of the day. These
persons are of opinion that animals will only feed at particular hours of
the day, and that the remainder of the day must be allotted them for
rest and sleep, and that unless these rules are adhered to they will not
thrive. This opinion, however, is, I think, erroneous, and I also think
that cattle will adapt themselves to any circumstances, so far as regards
their working hours and their hours of rest. If they have been accustomed
to labor at particular hours of the day, and the order of things
is at once reversed, the working hours being changed into hours of rest,
they may not do as well for a few days, but they soon become accustomed
to the change, and eat and rest as well as before.
By starting at an early hour in the morning during the summer
months, the day's march is over before it becomes very warm; whereas,
(as I have observed,) if the animals are allowed time to graze before
starting, the march must continue during the middle of the day, when
the animals (particularly oxen) will suffer much from the heat of the
sun, and, so far as my experience goes, will not keep in as good condition
as when the other plan is pursued. I have adopted this course from
the commencement of our journey, and our oxen have continued to improve
upon it. Another and very important advantage to be derived
from this course is found in the fact that the animals, being tied up
during the night, are not liable to be lost or stolen.
The country over which we are now passing, except directly in the
valleys of the streams, is very elevated and undulating, interspersed with
round conical hills, thrown up by the winds, with the apices very acute;
the soil, a light gray sand, producing little other vegetation than weeds
and dwarf oaks.
The creek up which we have been travelling runs almost parallel to
Red river, and affords us fine camping-places at any point.
From the very many old Indian camps that we have seen, and the
numerous stumps of trees whiht at different periods have been cut by
the Indians along the whole course of the creek, we infer that this is,
and has been for many years, a place of frequent resort for the Comanches,
and I have no doubt they could always be found here at the time
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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/m1/47/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .