Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 75 of 368
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of the command, espied a huge panther very leisurely walking away in
an opposite direction; and as, in hunter's parlance, we "had the wind of
him," it enabled us to ride sufficiently near to give him a shot before
he discovered us. It took effect and caused him to make a tremendous
leap into the air, and, running a short distance, he fell dead. We have
also killed four deer to-day, which supplies us with an abundance of
fresh meat. Some of the bucks are now very fat, and the venison is
superior to any I have ever eaten.
The pond of water at our camp is a very peculiar and strange freak
of nature. It is almost round, two hundred and fifty feet in diameter,
with the water thirty feet deep, and perfectly transparent and sweet.
The surface of the water in this basin is about twenty feet below the
banks, and the sides of the depression nearly perpendicular. The
country for two or three miles around, in all directions, rises to the
height of from one to two hundred feet. As this pond seems to be
supplied by springs, and has no visible outlet, it occurred to me that
there might possibly be a subterraneous communication which carried
off the surplus water and the earth from the depression of the basin.
July 5.-We were in motion this morning at 2 o'clock, keeping
down the left bank of the river, in an easterly course over a firm and
smooth road for sixteen miles, when we found ourselves upon a small
running creek, the water of which was strongly charged with salts; but
as we had filled our casks at the pond, we did not suffer.
We are encamped near a conical-shaped mound, flat upon the top,
and are about three miles from the main river.
We find much more mezquite timber upon this branch of the river
than upon the other. Indeed, I have never seen much of this wood above
the thirty-sixth degree of north latitude; but south of this it appears to
increase in quantity and size as far as the 28th degree. Upon the
Canadian river I have observed a few small bushes; but the climate in
that latitude appears too cold for it to flourish well.
The soil here is sandy, with but little water, and that for the most
part of a quality unfit for use. The grama and mezquite grasses are
abundant. Our route for the last fifty miles has carried us through an
almost continuous dog-town, but as yet we have not been able to secure
a live specimen. The latitude at this point is 34 8' 30".
July 6.-Our wagons were packed, and we were en route before 3
o'clock this morning, but were obliged to deviate from our course very
considerably to pass around some deep ravines that 'extended back to
near the crest of the ridge, dividing the middle from the south fork. In
this route we traversed a very smooth and elevated rolling prairie, from
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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/m1/75/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .