Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Dona Ana and El Paso, New Mexico, in 1849.
By Captain R. B. MARCY, U. S. A.
Miles. Fort Smith to 65. South Fork of the Canadian.- The road from Fort Smith to the South Fork of the Canadian follows the same track as the road to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and by reference to the tables of distances for that road the intermediate camps will be found. 15. Prior's Store. - Grass, wood, and water near. 17 1/2. Little Boggy. - Good camp. Wherever there are not the requisites of wood, water, and grass for encamping, it will be specially noted; when they are not mentioned they will always be found. 13. Little Boggy.- Good camp. 15 1/2. Boggy Depot. - Store and blacksmith's shop. 12 3/5. Blue River. - The road passes over a flat section, which is muddy after rains. 8 1/2. Fort Washita.-Good camp half a mile before reaching the fort. The road forks at the Indian village on the Boggy, the left being the most direct. There are settlers along the road, who will give all necessary information to strangers. Corn plenty. 22. Preston Texas, on Red River.-The road from Fort Washita runs through the Indian settlements, passing many places where good camps may be found, and crosses the Red River at Preston. There is a ferry here; also stores and a blacksmith's shop. 20. M'Carty's.-Road runs through a heavy-timbered country, crossing several streams where there are good camps. 14 2/5. Elm Fork of the Trinity, at Gainesville.--Road passes over a section diversified by prairies and groves of timber. 12. Elm Fork of Trinity.-Good camp. 11. Elm Fork of Trinity.-Excellent camps. Road passes over a beautiful country rapidly settling up with farmers, who cultivate and sell grain at low rates. 9. Turkey Creek.-Tributary of Red River. Road emerges from the upper "Cross Timbers" two miles from camp. 26 3/4. Buffalo Springs.-Springs of good water, but of limited amount, in a ravine. 12. On a Ravine.--Pools of good water and a small running stream, not reliable. 13 1/2. On a Ravine.-Pools of water. 17 1/4. On a Ravine.-Pools of water. 17 1/4. Running branch of Cottonwood Spring.--Branch about two feet wide, good water; wood about half a mile distant. 14. Fort Belknap.--Good road through post-oak timber. County seat and town at Fort Belknap. Good camp on the west side of the Brazos, which is always fordable except in very high water. 14. Small Branch.-Water in holes. 18. Water-holes.--Pools of water. Road passes over prairie and timbered lands, is very smooth and level. 7 1/2. Stem's Farm, on Clear Fork of the Brazos River.- Good road; excellent camp, with abundance of wood, water, and grass. Indian reservation here. 13. Elm Creek, or Qua-qua-ho-no.--Good road over rolling prairie and mesquite lands. 17. Ravine.-Pools of standing water. Good road. 18. Ravine.-Pools of standing water. Good road. 27. Small Creek.--Tributary of the Brazos. Good road. 6. Pools of Water-Good camp. 8 1/2. Small Branch.-Good water. 20 1/2. Tributary of the Colorado.-Brackish water. 3 1/4. Rio Colorado.--Brackish water. Road very excellent. 12 1/10. Spring on the Road.--Good water. 22 9/10. Big spring to the left of the road, affording a great amount of water, which runs off in a small stream. 23. Laguna Colorado.--Water somewhat sulphurous; fuel mesquite roots; grass abundant. 35. Mustang Pond.--This pond is north of the road about two miles, and was found in 1849, but emigrants and others have not been able to find it since. For this reason I would advise travelers to fill their water-kegs at the Laguna Colorado, as in a very dry season they might not be able to get any water until they reach the Sand Hills. The road is excellent over the "Llano Estacado," or Staked Plain. 34 1/2. Sand Hills.-Water in holes. The water is good here, and can always be relied on as permanent. The road through the Sand Hills is very heavy, and I would advise travelers with loaded wagons to make half loads. 31 1/2. Laguna near the Pecos River.--Road passes through the hills, and descends the high prairie to the valley of the Pecos. Laguna on the left. 15 5/8. Crossing of Pecos.--Water deep and not fordable; river 42 yards wide. A road leads up the eastern bank of the Pecos to a ford with rock bottom. Good camps can be had at almost any point on the Pecos. The water is brackish, but can be used without harm. 54 1/2. Pecos River.-Point of the river where the road turns off toward Delaware Creek. 9 1/8. Delaware Creek.--Good road after leaving the Pecos River. The road on the Pecos is good in the bottom in very dry weather, but after heavy rains it is submerged and very muddy. Travelers should then turn off to the bluffs. The water in Delaware Creek is brackish. 11 7/8. Ojo de San Martin.--Fine spring of fresh water, also mineral spring. Good road up Delaware Creek. 15 3/10. Independence Spring.--Large spring of excellent water. Look out for Indians. 5 1/10. Ojo del Camins.-Good spring in the pine timber at the base of the mountain. 4 1/2. Peak of the Guadalupe.-Spring at the foot of the mountain. Road descends the mountain, and is very steep. 23 7/8. Ojo del Cuerbo.-Road descends through a very rough and sinuous ravine, and crosses a long prairie to camp at a pond of standing water. No wood. 26. Cornudas (Wells).-Well in the rocks; plenty of water for small parties. Road good. 8 3/4. Sierra del Alamo.--Road good; water limited in quantity. There is a small spring upon the side of the mountain. No wood except a few mesquite roots. 22 1/4. Waco Tanks.-Good water in a large reservoir in the rocks. The road here branches, the left leading to El Paso and the right to Dona Ana. 28. El Paso, on the Rio del Norte.-Road good, with some sand; no water upon it. The distance from the "Waco Tanks" to Dona Ana is 63 miles, but 40 miles of the road is over heavy sand, and no water until reaching the mountain, 25 miles from Dona Ana. I would recommend travelers to take the El Paso road in preference. Total distance from Fort Smith to El Paso, 860 miles.