Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 81 of 368
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propose to ascend Otter creek to the mountains, and passing down
through the chain, shall make a careful and thorough examination of
the geological character of the formation, and any other objects of
interest that may present themselves in our route.
Red river, above the mouth of Otter creek, which was at a stage
above fording when we passed up, is now only two feet deep, and flows
at the rate of about three miles per hour.
Fresh buffalo-tracks have been seen to-day, and six deer and one
turkey brought in by the hunters.
July 13.-This morning, for the first time in several weeks, we have
had a rain, which has refreshed and revivified the whole face of the
country. Previous to this the ground had become so much parched
from the lack of moisture, that vegetation was suffering considerably.
The herbage in the valley of the creek appears to have felt the drought
more than upon the elevated prairies; here it has put on a yellow tinge,
and a perfume is emitted from it similar to that of fresh hay, while upon
the more elevated plains it still retains its deep green attire. Nine deer
have been killed to-day, and I again marked two upon ihy list.
July 14.-Captain McClellan and myself started out this morning to
make an examination of the country along the upper portion of the
valley of the creek, while the command crossed and encamped about
four miles above our position of last night.
There is much more woodland towards the sources of the stream
than I had supposed. Black walnut, pecan, hackberry, elm, and cottonwood,
are among the varieties of timber found here; the mezquite is
also abundant near the mountains.
Many of the trees in the bottom are straight and of sufficient dimensions
to make good building material, and there is an ample supply for
the farmer's purposes. The soil in the valley is for the most part a
dark, rich alluvion, sustaining a dense carpet of herbage, and I have no
doubt would yield abundant crops of grain.
The stream extends in two principal branches back to the mountains,
where they receive numerous small tributary rivulets flowing from
springs. The course of the principal branch is northeast and southwest,
and is about twenty miles in length. The mountains here appear to be
in groups or clusters of detached peaks of a conical form, indicating a
volcanic origin, with smooth, level glades intervening; and rising, as
they do, perfectly isolated from all surrounding eminences upon the
plateau of the great prairies, their rugged and precipitous granite sides
almost denuded of vegetation, they present a very peculiar and imposing
feature in the topographical aspect of the country. From the fact that
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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/m1/81/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .