Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 66 of 368
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which have been so long in sight, and which border the great plain of
the "Llano estacado" upon the river valley.
After marching eight miles over a succession 'of very rugged hills and
valleys, which rise as they recede from the river, we reached the base
of these towering and majestic cliffs, which rise almost perpendicularly
from the undulating swells of prairie at the base, to the height of eight
hundred feet, and terminate at the summit in a plateau almost as level
as the sea, which spreads out to the south and west like the steppes of
Central Asia, in an apparently illimitable desert.
I supposed, from the appearance of the country at a distance, that I
should be able to find a passage for the wagons along at the foot of
these cliffs; but, upon a closer examination, find the ground between
them and the river so much cut up by abrupt ridges and deep glens,
that it is wholly impracticable to take our train any further up this
branch of the river. We have sought for a passage by which we might
take the trains to the top of the bluffs, where, as they run nearly parallel
to the course of the river, we might have continued on with the
wagons; but, after making a careful examination, we have abandoned
the idea, not being able to discover a place where we could even take
our horses up the steep sides of the precipice.
The geological formation of these bluffs is a red indurated clay, resting
upon a red sandstone, overlaid with a soft, dark-gray sandstone, and
the whole capped with a white calcareous sandstone, the strata resting
horizontally, and receding in terraces from the base to the summit.
As Capt. McClellan and myself were passing to-day along under the
bluffs, we saw in advance of us a herd of antelopes quietly feeding
among some mezquite trees, when the idea occurred to me of attempting
to call them with a deer-bleat, which one of the Delawares had
made for me. I accordingly advanced several hundred yards to near
the crest of a hill, from which I had a'fair view of the animals, and,
very deliberately seating myself upon the ground, screened from their
observations by the tall grass around me, I took out my bleat and commenced
exercising my powers in imitating the cry of the fawn. I soon
succeeded in attracting their attention, and in a short time decoyed one
of the unsuspicious animals within range of my rifle, which I raised to
my shoulder, and, taking deliberate aim, was in the act of pulling
trigger, when my attention was suddenly and most unexpectedly drawn
aside by a rustling which I heard in the grass to my left. Casting my
eyes in that direction, to my no small astonishment, I saw a tremendous
panther bounding at full speed directly towards me, and within the
short distance of twenty steps. As may be imagined, I immediately
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/m1/66/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .