Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 60 of 368
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HEALTH OF THE ANIMALS.
the base of the lofty escarpments of red clay and sandstone which terminate
the valley upon the north side.
Soon after we started it commenced raining violently, and has continued
incessantly throughout the day. It has raised the water in the
river about twelve inches, so that now the entire bed is covered. In
consequence of the rain we made an early encampment upon the south
bank of the river.
The country upon each side of the river along where we have passed
to-day has been much broken up into deep gorges and precipitous
ridges, which are wholly impassable for wagons; and the features of
the country adjoining have assumed a desert character. With the
exception of a narrow strip of land forming the river bottom, no arable
soil can be seen, and no timber is found except a few stunted cottonwoods
directly upon the river-banks. Several varieties of the wild sensitive
plant, and especially the Schrankia angustata, are found everywhere
throughout this section, and the atmosphere is redolent with the delightful
perfume which is emitted from their blossoms.
Having traced this branch of the river to its source, and satisfied myself,
from the portion that we have passed over, as to its general physical
and topographical features, I have resolved to leave it at this point,
and taking a southerly course, shall endeavor to make our way to the
south branch of the river. I think the remainder of the time we have
at our disposal can be more profitably occupied in exploring the country
along the borders of that stream than in any other way.
We shall set out with a supply of water and wood sufficient for three
days; and we hope, before that time expires to find ourselves upon the
waters of the south branch. Our animals that were poor when we left
the settlements, are at this time in most excellent condition; and if we
continue to find water and grass as abundant as we have done, we shall
take them home in much better plight than they were at the commencement
of our journey.
Thus far we have been most singularly fortunate in not losing even
an animal by death or straying away; and, indeed, we have been much
favored in every respect. The command have generally been in fine
health and spirits, and with the exception of two cases of scurvy that
originated before our departure from Fort Belknap, we have had no
sickness worth mentioning.
June 24.-We were in motion at a very early hour this morning,
and taking a southerly course directly at right angles to the river, we
soon became involved in a labyrinth of barren sand-hills, in which we
travelled some fourteen miles before we emerged upon a high ridge,
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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/m1/60/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .