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837
CORRESPONDENCE.

large number of them) on my place is a natural well, but varying in depth, proving that the ground on which these trees sprouted was not level, or at least that the level was changed from time to time. I have one of these wells in my stable-yard; it is about four feet in diameter and nine feet in depth. I cut the stump off level with the ground, floored it over, and placed a pump in it, and in the driest seasons it furnishes abundant water for my stock. I have about fifteen dug wells on my place, all within the space of two square miles; the depth of the water-surface in these varies from eight to fifteen feet. A large curbed well stands in my gin-house, within twenty feet of the bank of the river, and to-day the water stands in this well at least fifteen above the surface of the stream, and is in no manner affected by its rise or fall. It would not be difficult to form a reasonable theory to account for the deeply-rooted cypresses, but the formation and existence of the wells require the presumption of an enormous deposit of clay, and to account for the presence of the latter is the difficulty. The Mississippi brings down in suspension a comparatively small portion of argillaceous material, but it is certainly here in a solid stratum, and it came at a period subsequent to the sprouting of the old cypress-trees, for it is highly improbable that a tree should send down a tap-root eighteen feet, and then spread out its lateral supports. The cypresses, forty years old, make no such indications, but have their radical processes corresponding with those of the other trees of the forest.

James B. Craighead.
Nodena, Arkansas, August 1, 1883.
 

 

WORK OF SHOD AND UNSHOD HORSES.

Messrs. Editors:

In the February number of your magazine appears an article, by Arthur F. Astley, on the "Working Capacity of Unshod Horses," in which the writer states, "In New Mexico, horses are ridden barefoot forty miles day after day, and perhaps twenty miles of this will be over a rough mountain-track." Now, I have served with my regiment in New Mexico for several years, most of the time as post-quartermaster, having large numbers of both horses and mules under my charge. While it is true that most horses are ridden unshod by the natives in the valleys, where the roads are sandy and soft, it should be borne in mind that even there the majority do so simply because they are too poor to have their horses shod; but, when it comes to traveling over rough mountain-tracks, the writer's statement is simply absurd. The Indians (Apaches) understand the inability of unshod horses to travel over mountain-trails so well, that they cover their horses' feet with raw-hide bags, and, when the latter wear out, the horses soon become disabled, and I have frequently found Indian horses abandoned on the trail, with their hoofs bleeding and worn, and the poor animals in a most pitiful plight. Again, when Indians are enlisted as scouts, they furnish their own mount, and, when reaching the post, they always request to have their horses shod. There can be no question that a properly-shod horse has a superior working capacity, but I confess that most shoeing, from the ignorance of the average farrier, is simply a process of torture and violation of nature, and crippled horses are the result. Most farriers place the horse upon an iron tripod, the weight of the animal resting entirely upon three points of the foot, and those not the parts intended to bear the shock of travel, or to sustain his weight. The position of the frog becomes one of hopeless inaction, and the motion of the unsupported bones within the hoof produces inflammation at the points of extreme pressure. But I did not intend to write an essay on horse-shoeing.

Respectfully, yours,
Theodore Smith,
Lieutenant, United States Army.
Washington, D. C., February 17, 1884.
 

 

AMERICAN LOESS-DEPOSITS.

Messrs. Editors:

I have just read Mr. D. W. Williams's interesting article in your December issue on "The Loess-Deposits of Northern China," and am rather surprised to find no allusion therein, by way of comparison or otherwise, to the very extensive loess-deposits of the United States—especially, since it was here, in the valley of the Mississippi, that this peculiar soil was first studied and named loess by Sir Charles Lyell, during his second visit to the United States in 1846.

Mr. Williams speaks of the loess-beds of China as among the most remarkable and important geological phenomena hitherto brought to light in Middle Asia, and says "the term loess has been used to designate a tertiary deposit appearing in the Rhine Valley, along the Danube, and in several isolated sections of Europe," etc. But the loess-beds of Nebraska, alone, exceed in extent of area those of all Europe combined; and their aggregate extent within the States of Nebraska and Minnesota and the Territory of Dakota falls but little, if any, below that of the loess-beds proper of Northern China. It is believed that the total extent in square miles of this deposit within the States and Territories drained by the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers exceeds that within the Chinese provinces drained by the Yellow, the Wei, and the northern tributaries of the Tangtse.

Mr. Williams does not give any analyses