CYPRESS SWAMP IN LOUISIANA.
On the Opelousas Railroad,
Harper's WeeklyDecember 8, 1866
THE great feature of these Louisiana Swamps is the Spanish
moss hanging in masses from the cypress-trees, whose gray trunk,
towering up without a leaf for 70 or 80 feet, are draped with
it in most fantastic style. The trees closing together at the
top shut out the light, so that the weird and funereal aspect
of the place is perfect, presenting a forbidding appearance sufficient
to appall a stranger. In the slimy depths of the swampa
net-work of bayous and poolsnumbers of alligators exist,
in company with turtles, snakes, etc. Birds and insects of brilliant
colors dart through the sunny gleams that occasionally pierce
the shadowy depths, where the white crane and shadowy heron stand
sentinel among the sharp cypress knees, which grow up all around
the parent trunks, and form no slight obstacle to him who, braving
the mosquitoes and buffalo gnats, attempts to penetrate this domain.
The pond-lily and many other aquatic plants grow luxuriantly in
the ponds, filling the air with an overpowering fragrance unknown
to their sweeter kindred growth. Inhospitable as they are, these
swamps formed a secure place of refuge for many a persecuted Union
man during the rebellion; and were, on the other hand, silent
witnesses of more than one martyrdom to the Union cause.
Cypress Swamp on the Opelousas Railroad,
Louisianafrom a sketch by A. R. Ward
A. R. W.
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