Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 67 of 368
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abandoned the antelope, and, directing my rifle at the panther, sent a
ball through his chest, which stretched him out upon the grass about
ten yards from where I had taken my position. Impressed with the
belief that I had accomplished a feat of rather more than ordinary
importance in the sporting line, I placed my hand to my mouth, (" a la
savage,") and gave several as loud shouts of exultation as my weak
lungs would permit, partly for the purpose of giving vent to my feelings
of triumph upon the occasion, and also to call the Captain, whom I
had left some distance back with the horses. As he did not hear me
I went back for him, and on returning to the spot where I had fired
upon the panther, we discovered .him upon his feet making off. The
Captain gave him another shot as he was running, and then closed in
with his rifle clubbed, and it required several vigorous blows, laid on in
quick succession, to give him his quietus.
The panther had probably heard the bleat, and was coming towards
it with the pleasant anticipation of making his breakfast from a tender
fawn; but, fortunately for me, I disappointed him. It occurred to me
afterwards that it would not always be consistent with one's safety to
use the deer-bleat in this wild country, unless we were perfectly certain
we should have our wits about us in the event of a panther or large
bear (which is often the case) taking it into his head to give credence
to the counterfeit. This was a large specimen of the Felis concolor, or
North American cougar, measuring eight feet from his nose to the end
of the tail.
June 29.-As we were unable to proceed further up this branch of
the river with the wagons, I concluded to leave the main body of the
command under charge of Lieut. Updegraff, and, with Capt. McClellan
and a small escort of ten men, to push on and endeavor to reach the
head spring of this the principal branch of Red river.
Taking provisions for six days, packed upon mules, we went forward
this morning over a constant succession of steep, rocky ridges, and
deep ravines, in one of which we discovered a grotto in the gypsum
rocks, which appeared to have been worn out by the continued action
of water, leaving an arched passway, the sides of which were perfectly
smooth and symmetrical, and composed of strata of three distinct
bright colors of green, pink, and white, arranged in such peculiar order
as to give it an appearance of singular beauty. On our arrival here
the men were much exhausted by rapid marching over the rough
ground, and were exceedingly thirsty. Fortunately we found near the
mouth of the grotto a spring of very cold water bursting out of the
rock; and although it had the peculiar taste of the gypsum, yet they
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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/m1/67/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .