"Written by one of the greatest nineteenth-century American explorers, this is one of the most interesting accounts of an original exploration of unknown parts of Texas. [...] Marcy described in detail the little-known Wichita tribe and compiled the first Wichita dictionary." (Jenkins, Basic Texas Books 135B).
While Marcy was ultimately unsuccessful in finding the true headwaters of the Red River, he did accomplish some of his other goals and, in the process, provided the first lithographic documentation of the unexplored and dramatic Palo Duro Canyon, in fact the first of the great southwestern canyons to be documented and published for a popular audience. Another reason for the popularity of the present work was the intense interest generated in the expedition due to the erroneous news that Marcy and his party had been massacred by Comanche.
Nonetheless, it contains a "Detailed and articulate account of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle during 1852. Marcy's descriptions of the Comanches and Wichitas are among the most frequently quoted of the mid-nineteenth century." (Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography 2463).
Our copy belongs to the third edition, following the Senate issue of 1853 (SED54, with 320 pp.) and an unnumbered Senate issue (1854, with 310 pp). The plates in the first two editions were lithographed by the Ackerman of New York; the plates in the present edition are the work of lithographer Henry Lawrence.
Wheat, Transmississippi West, nos. 791 and 792. Clark, Travels in the Old South III:354. Field 1006. Graff 2675 (first edition). Holliday 1794. Howes M276. Meisel III, p. 144. Pilling 2472. Wagner-Camp Plains & Rockies IV:226:3. Rader 2346n. Sabin 44512: "Authentic information regarding the peculiar customs of the Indians of the southern Plains. Their mode of warfare, their invariable violation of the chastity of female prisoners, and the construction of their dwellings and villages.". (Inventory #: 3394)