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50 700? 700 400 600 500
Table of distances along the course of the river.
Names of places.
Distance between Distance of each places. place from mouth
of Rio Grande.
Mouth of Rio Bravo.-
FROM MOUTH OF DEVIL'S RIVER TO EL PASO DEL NORTE.
PECOS SPRINGS.--KING'S SPRINGS. INDEPENDENCE CREEK.-RIO BRAVO INACCESSIBLE. ---LIPANS.- CAÑONS AND RAPIDS. -MOUTH OF THE
PECOS. DEVIL'S RIVER.DIFFICULTY OF NAVIGATION. —CAÑON OF BOFECILLOS. ----COMANCHE PASS. ---SAN CARLOS.-MOUNT CARMEL AND LOS CHISOS.-SAN VINCENTE. -PRESIDIO DEL NORTE. —VADO DE PIEDRAS. –TOWNS NEAR EL PASO.
The description of the boundary, up the river, is continued by the following reports of Lieutenant Michler and assistant Chandler :
WASHINGTON CITY, D. C., March 10, 1856. SIR: The following is an extract of your orders to me, dated Washington City, D. C., April 4, 1853: “You are charged with the responsible duty of completing the unfinished portion of the survey of the Rio Grande, which forms the boundary between the United States and Mexico, between Fort Vincente and the mouth of the Rio Pecos.”
Soon after their receipt the survey was commenced, and in the following August completed. Since then the maps have been finished, and several views of the scenery in the immediate locality of the work engraved.
I now have the honor of submitting a report of the manner in which the survey was conducted, and a description of that portion of the river, and the country adjacent.
Having organized a party, and made all preparations at San Antonio, Texas, we proceeded on the road to El Paso, and followed it as far as the Pecos Springs. At this place I determined to leave the road and strike for the Rio Grande, as directly as the nature of the country would permit. Owing to its character, and the necessity of taking wagons along, our route, as shown by the map, became somewhat circuitous. For the first fifty miles, from the Rio Pecos to King's Springs, the course was nearly due west, enabling us to avoid the many impassable arroyos setting in towards the former river. The road ran the greater part of this distance in small narrow valleys, gradually ascending towards their heads, passing from one into another, over high ridges, by precipitous ascents and descents. These valleys are bounded by chains of hills, either of a conical or oblong shape, the tops of which are on the same level and capped by horizontal layers of cretaceous limestone; the slopes are regular, well rounded, and steep. From the ridges, or high plains, which are generally very narrow, valleys ramify in every possible direction towards the Pecos. The grass is rich and luxuriant; low, scrubby bushes are found, but no growth of timber. No water, except what collects in the gullies during heavy rains, until you reach King's Springs. This is a large spring of water, deep and clear, with a fine gravel-bottom, and well protected from the sun by shelving rocks, but without bush or tree to mark its place. Whilst the main party encamped there, a reconnoissance was made in a so thwesterly direction for nearly sixty miles, when it was found impracticable to proceed
further. The course lay towards the “Los Chisos” mountains. The country is cut up by immense chasms, closed in by steep cliffs, unseen until standing upon the very edge of their fearful depths; rugged hills, covered with sharp igneous stones, make it difficult for animals to travel. The same volcanic formation as found along the Limpia extends over this section of country. The San Carmel range appears in the distance-high mountains, with their turreted peaks, could be seen, presenting a magnificent prospect like the spires of some distant city. Our efforts to travel in a south westerly direction having proved unsuccessful, on leaving King's Springs we changed our route to a southeasterly one, and arrived at Independence creek. Along this distance of forty miles the country is of the same character as that first passed over. Whilst the train remained on the creek, a small party made examinations in advance. This is a beautiful stream, running boldly among the hills, and is fed hy innumerable springs bursting out from its banks. It is a rich treat for the eye in that arid country. Besides a copious supply of fresh, clear water, there is more timber than is ordinarily found upon streams draining these high plains; mezquite trees grow in large numbers for miles around, and the valley furnishes luxuriant grazing for animals. This place is much frequented by Indians; an oasis in a desert country.
Numerous trails from the Pecos and the Escondido here unite and form a large broad one, running south to the Rio Grande; there are unmistakable signs of their constant use. Leaving the creek, we ascended the contiguous hills and rose upon a high plain, over which we travelled forty miles, following the guidance of the Indian trail; this was deeply marked, although it
is difficult to make an impression on the surface. It was a dreary sight to look upon the dull,
und us ; its parched barrenness, combined with the influence of a scorching July sun, was enough to madden the brain. The nearer we approached the river, the more rough the country became ; deep ravines and gullies constantly impeded the progress of the wagons,
and the whole surface was covered with sharp angular stones and a growth of underbrush armed with thorns. Along this portion of the route, we found plenty of water in tanks at the heads of the ravines. There were, also, many fine springs. One in particular is noticeable for its beauty ; falling over a precipice of forty feet, its waters were emptied into a large basin worn out of the solid rock. This was a favorite camping place of the Indians; the many paintings of men and animals found covering the rocks, testify to their rude attempts in the artistic line. The last ten miles kept gradually descending towards the river; occasionally the wagons had to be let down steep descents by means of ropes. Our road finally emerged upon a low flat plain about twenty feet above the level of the Rio Grande. We had, fortunately, struck the only place, as our examinations afterwards proved, where we could possibly reach the river with our wagons; the route was a circuitous one, in all 140 miles from the Pecos springs. The initial point of our work was found to be a little over forty miles above; the surveying party of the previous year had there suspended operations in consequence of the rugged character of the country, and had returned to Eagle Pass through Santa Rosa and San Fernando, Mexico. It was next to an impossibility to approach the river for the first twenty miles of the survey, this section being literally cut up by deep arroyos; steep hills, covered with rocks of igneous origin, intervene and jut into the water's edge. The river here is very tortuous. From the end of this section, the country undergoes a great change; the formation is limestone, and the river forces its way through a deep cañon nearly twenty miles in length, its banks being composed of
high perpendicular masses of solid rock, resembling more the work of art than of nature. Arroyos of the same structure, at many places, open into the river; in following its course, we had frequently to make detours of twenty-five and thirty miles, in order to advance our work a few hundred feet. The plain where the main party encamped, and where we first struck the river, made a gradual descent to the water. Here was the first break in the cañon, and the