Red River, a tributary of the Mississippi, and the last of considerable size which it receives. It rises in N. W. Texas, in about lat. 34° 40' N. and lon. 102° 10' W., and flows E. to the 100th meridian. Thence it follows a direction a little S. of E., separating Texas from Indian territory and Arkansas, and entering the latter state, bends at Fulton to the south, passes into Louisiana, and afterward flows S. E., entering the Mississippi 341 m. above its mouth. Its length is about 1,200 in., and its basin is about 97,000 sq. m. in extent. Its sources are in the fissures of an elevated and barren plain, the Llano Esta-cado, 2,450 ft. above the sea. For about 60 m. the banks rise perpendicularly from 500 to 800 ft. After leaving the Llano Estacado it flows over a broad bed of light shifting sands through an arid prairie country to the "cross timbers," a belt of woodland between the 98th and 97th meridians. Below this the river flows through rich and densely wooded alluvial bottoms. "Here the borders contract, and the water for a great portion of the year washes both banks, carrying the loose alluvium from one side and depositing it on the other, in such a manner as to produce constant changes in the channel, and to render navigation difficult.
This character continues throughout the rest of its course; and in this section it is subject to heavy inundations, which often flood the bottoms to such a degree as to destroy the crops, and occasionally leave a deposit of white sand, rendering the soil barren and worthless." From its source to Fulton, Ark., about 600 m., the stream falls 2,208 ft.; thence to its mouth, 595 m., the fall is only 188 ft. The width between the banks 8 m. below the point where it issues from the Llano Estacado is 2,700 ft.; just below the mouth of the North fork, 2,000; 50 m. lower down, 2,100; at the mouth of the Big Wichita, 600; at Alexandria, La., 720: at the mouth of the Black river, 785; and at the entrance into the Mississippi, 1,800. "The depth varies inversely as the width, being only 6 or 8 ft., even in floods, throughout the desert, while it is some 50 ft. in the fertile region. In extreme low water a depth of 3 ft. may be depended upon below Alexandria, about 4 ft. thence to the head of the raft, and 1 ft. thence to Fort Towson (Indian territory). Steamers of 4 ft. draught can ascend to Shreve-port, La. (330 m. above its mouth), at any time except in extreme low water, but to Fort Towson or even Fulton for only about three months in the year, and frequently only run in one direction during a single rise." The river is generally highest from December to June or July, the rest of the year being the season of low water.
The raft has been a serious obstacle to navigation, as it required the boats to leave the channel and pass through lakes and bayous. The "great raft," an immense collection of trees and drift wood, extended from near Grand Ecore to a little below Shreveport when the United States first undertook its removal. Capt. Shreve opened a navigable channel through it in 1835-9. Meanwhile, from continued accessions of drift timber, the head of the raft was carried above Shreveport to near Hurricane bluff. This portion was opened by Gen. Williamson and Capt. Linnard from 1841 to 1845. In 1871 the foot of the raft was at Carolina bluff, a few miles above Hurricane bluff, and its head near Spring-bank, about 45 m. above its foot. Operations were begun on this raft, under the direction of Lieut. Woodruff, on Dec. 1, 1872, which resulted in opening a navigable channel through its whole length in November, 1873. At a small annual expense for a few years the renewal of the raft may be prevented, and an excellent cotton region between Shreveport and Fulton developed. Red river receives its name from its peculiar color, supposed to be derived from the red clay of the gypseous formation through which its upper course lies.
The chief tributaries on the left bank are the North fork (a little W. of the 99th meridian) and the Washita, in Indian territory; Little river, in Arkansas; and Black river, formed by the Washita and Tensas, which enters in Louisiana not far from the Mississippi. On the right bank the chief tributaries are the Pease and Big Wichita rivers, which enter from W. Texas. In Louisiana Red river sends off numerous bayous, which find their way back again to the main stream, forming frequent lakes. - In the spring of 1864 an immense expedition of combined land and naval forces, the former under Gen. Banks and the latter under Admiral Porter, was sent up the Red river to capture Shreveport and thus open up the great cotton districts of Texas. It was unsuccessful, Banks's defeat at Sabine Cross Roads by Gen. Kirby Smith (April 8) compelling also the retreat of the fleet down the river. This was effected with great difficulty and loss, the river being very low and still falling, and the gunboats and transports exposed to the fire of the confederate forces from the banks.
On reaching the falls, near Alexandria, further progress would have been impossible but for the bold conception and construction of a dam by Lieut. Col. Bailey of Wisconsin. (See Alexandria, La.) The main dam still remains intact, and the river has formed a new channel on the W. shore.
A N. Parish Of Louisiana, intersected by Red river, and bounded E. by Black river; area, 325 sq. m. It has been formed since the census of 1870. The surface is level, and the soil fertile and productive of cotton and corn. Capital, Coushatta Chute.
A N. E. County Of Texas, separated from the Indian territory by Red river, and bounded S. by Sulphur river, one of its branches; area, 872 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 10,653, of whom 4,148 were colored. It has an undulating surface and fertile soil. The chief productions in 1870 were 385,840 bushels of Indian corn, 13,444 of oats, and 3,069 lbs. of wool. There were 2,522 horses, 1,242 mules and asses, 3,813 milch cows, 868 working oxen, 9,547 other cattle, 1,739 sheep, and 20,-131 swine. Capital, Clarksville.