Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 74 of 368
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stated to me by three different Indians, in whose veracity I have much
confidence, and I have no doubt are strictly true. The black bear is
generally harmless unless wounded, or when accompanied by its young,
when I have known one of them to pursue a man on horseback several
hundred yards in the most furious mood, snapping continually at the
legs of the horse.
July 3.-We reached camp to.day from the head of the river, having
returned over the same route that we ascended, and found all anxiously
awaiting us. From this point to the head of the river is sixty-five miles,
and for about sixty miles of this distance the river runs through a deep
defile, the escarpments of which rise from five to eight hundred feet
upon each side, and in many places they approach so near the water's
edge that there is not room for a man to pass, and it is often necessary
to travel for several miles in the bed of the river before a place is found
where a horse can clamber up the precipitous sides of the chasm.
I could not determine in my own mind whether this remarkable
defile had been formed, after a long lapse of time, by the continued
action of the current, or had been produced by some great convulsion of
nature: perhaps both causes have contributed to its formation, some
convulsive operation having first given birth to an extensive fissure, and
the ceaseless action of the stream having afterwards reduced it to its
A gentleman who is travelling with us, and who was attached as a
captain to Col. McLeod's expedition to Santa Fe, so giaphically described
by Mr. Kendall, recognised a point, near the head of the river,
where his command passed. He is of the opinion that the river which
they ascended, and supposed at the time to be the principal branch of
Red river, must have been the Big Witchita, and they probably passed
entirely to the south of the main branch of the river. The fact that
they were for a long time upon the plains of the "Llano estacado"
would go to confirm this supposition, as anywhere to the north of this
stream they would not have encountered much of it.
July 4.-This morning at an early hour we turned our faces towards
home, and travelled about five miles down the right bank of the river,
when we discovered that the country in advance upon that side was so
much broken into deep gullies and abrupt ridges that it would be impracticable
to get our wagons over them. We therefore crossed to the
north side of the river, where we found a most excellent road over
smooth prairie. At our present position we have a pond of excellent
water, with an abundance of hackberry and cotton-wood for fuel. On
approaching the pond, Capt. McClellan and myself, who were in advance
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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/m1/74/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .