Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 56 of 368
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M'CLELLAN S CREEK.
loam, covered with a heavy coating of wild rye and mezquite; and if
the drought of summer did not prevent, would produce abundant crops.
The only varieties of timber found here are the wild china, hackberry,
willow, and cotton-wood; the latter, in some instances, growing to an
enormous size. One tree, standing upon the creek near the Canadian,
which we measured, was nineteen and a half feet in circumference at
five feet above the ground. The Santa Fe road passes directly along
the river-bank at this place, and upon the north side of the river stand
four cotton-wood trees; these are blazed, and the distance in a due south
course to the head of Red river, with the date of our arrival there,
marked upon one of them. Having finished the examination of the
north branch of Red river, we propose turning to the south from this
point, and, crossing the elevated prairie of the Staked Plain, shall endeavor
to reach the middle or Salt Fork, which we passed upon our left
near the upper extremity of the Witchita range of mountains. The
only apprehension that we entertain is, that we may suffer for water, but
shall keep our water-casks filled whenever it is practicable.
The grass upon the Staked Plain is generally a very short variety of
mezquite, called buffalo grass, from one to two inches in length, and
gives the plains the appearance of an interminable meadow that has
been recently mown very close to the earth.
I have never travelled over a route on the plains west of the Cross
Timbers where the water, grass, and wood were as good and abundant
as upon the one over which our explorations have led us. This has
been to us a most agreeable surprise, as our friends, the Witchitas, had
given us to understand that we should find no wood, and nothing but
salt water, in this section of country. I can account for their misrepresentations
only on the ground that they did not wish us to go into the
country, and took this course to deter us from proceeding further.
June 20.-We made an early march this morning, passing over the
high hills bordering the river, and the broad swells of prairie adjoining,
for twelve miles, when we reached the valley of a very beautiful stream,
twenty feet wide, and six inches deep, running rapidly over a gravelly
bed, through a valley about a mile wide, of sandy soil, with large cottonwood
trees along the banks. I have called this "McClellan's creek," in
compliment to my friend Captain McClellan, who I believe to be the
first white man that ever set eyes upon it.
We were happy, on arriving here, to find the water perfectly pure and
palatable; and we regard ourselves as most singularly fortunate in having
favorable weather. The rains of the last two days have made the
atmosphere delightfully cool, and afford us water in many places where
we had no reason to expect it at this season of the year.
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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/m1/56/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .