the town of Baton Rouge, on the east side of the river, ----- miles from New Orleans; a beautiful situation, and apparently a regularly built town, but as the boat did not touch, had no opportunity of going on shore. An armory and barracks for U. S. troops prettily built on the shore. We have a bugler on board who plays well, and he saluted the barracks with his best tunes as we passed. In the afternoon passed close to Point Coupee, the residence of Wm. Taylor. Had a fine view of the house and plantation. House two stories, painted white, with verandas, or galleries, as they are here called. Taylor wishes to sell the place. It has not been profitable. Said to be too far north for sugar, and too far south for cotton. Immediately opposite is the little town of Bayou Sara, so called from the stream of that name, at whose mouth it is built. It is the landing place for the town of St. Francisville, which stands a mile or two back, on high land. Stopt again to wood on the estate of Col. Morgan. Saw a Negro with a Buffaloe fish that he had just caught with a hand net in the river. It would weigh twenty or twenty-five pounds.
Thursday, January 21, 1836
A heavy storm of thunder, lightning and rain ushered in the day. The boat had laid by at the mouth of the Atchafalia when the storm came on, and resumed her voyage at daylight. When I arose we were entering Red River. The gambling was kept up last night, as before. When I arose a party was still sitting around a table with cards in their hands and a candle burning. I was unconscious both of storm and gamblers, for I had been wearied with loss of sleep, and last night slept soundly. It continued to rain heavily until about 11 o'clock. It then ceased, and cleared up. At that hour the steamboat Caspian passed us on her way down, laden so heavily with cotton that her bends are under water. She left New Orleans last Wednesday. She, too, has a bugler, and he and ours played at each other as long as they could be heard.
The river presents a most forbidding aspect. The color, from which it takes its name, is a dusky, dirty mud, of a brick dust tinge, but not so bright, resembling the muddy water in which bricklayers dip their facing brick. Its average width, I suppose, is from 150 to 200 yards. On both sides swamp, over which the water is now flowing, as the river is pretty full. It is the dreariest region I have ever seen, worse even than the Mississippi. 3 o'clock p.m. The banks begin to show themselves a little above water. 4 o'clock; stopt at a place called Groton's Landing, in the Parish of Avoyelles. Here is the first human habitation I have seen since we entered the river. The banks here are some four feet above the water, but I am told 100 or 150 from the shore they fall off into impenetrable swamps.
A Mr. Beeman, to whom I was introduced in New Orleans, who emigrated