Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 61 of 368
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from which, in the distance, we could discern through the dim and
murky atmosphere a very broad valley, through which we supposed the
south branch to flow.
The bare and hot sand over which we had just passed was in strong
contrast with the refreshing verdure of the valley before us. After
travelling a few miles down the south slope of the divide, we encamped
upon a small branch, where we found good water and grass, with a few
cotton-wood trees, which furnished us with fuel.
The geological formation upon the bluffs bordering this stream is a
friable red sandstone, overlaid with a stratum of coarse gypsum, with a
subjacent stratum of bright red clay, interstratified with seams of gypsum.
The soil since we left the sand-hills has been good, probably
owing to the fertilizing properties of the gypsum.
June 25.-The atmosphere this morning was clear, cool, and bracing,
with a north-northeasterly wind; the thermometer at 3 a. m. standing
at 69 . The sky at sunrise was cloudless, and the sun shone brilliantly
upon some elevated white bluffs which we could see in the distance, and
supposed to be upon the border of the valley of the south fork of Red
At an early hour we resumed our march down the creek for about
three miles, when we crossed another large stream with clear running
water, and taking a circuitous course among the rough and broken hills
bordering it, we made fifteen miles, encamping upon a branch where we
found water standing in pools.
Our course to-day has led us through a formation of sulphate and
carbonate of lime, which in some places appeared to be decomposed and
covered the earth in a powdered state to the depth of three inches,
Several fossil shells belonging to the cretaceous system were found today:
they were much rounded by attrition, and probably have been
transported here from a distance by water.
June 26.-We were in motion at the usual time this morning,
and turning our course up the river over a very broken and elevated
country, travelled ten miles, when we encamped upon a large branch of
the south fork which enters from the north. It is fifty yards wide, with
a sandy bed, and at this time contains but little water. The white escarpment
of the Staked Plain has been in sight for the last two days in
front and on the right of us. It seems to be very much elevated above
the adjoining country, with almost vertical sides, covered with a scrubby
growth of dwarf cedars, and from the summit the country spreads out
into a perfectly level plain, or mesa, as far as the eye can penetrate.
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/61/: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .