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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For May 28:
Captain Lewis (current)
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This morning we set forward at an early hour; the weather dark and cloudy, the air smoky, had a few drops of rain. We employed the cord, generally, to which we also gave the assistance of the pole at the riffles and rocky points. These are as numerous, and many of them much worse than those we passed yesterday. Around those points the water drives with great force, and we are obliged, in many instances, to steer our vessels through the apertures formed by the points of large, sharp rocks which reach a few inches above the surface of the water. Here, should our cord give way, the bow is instantly driven outward by the stream and the vessel thrown with her side on the rocks, where she must inevitably overset or perhaps be dashed to pieces. Our ropes are but slender - all of them, except one, being made of elk skin and much worn - frequently wet, and, exposed to the heat of the weather, are weak and rotten. They have given way several times in the course of the day, but happily at such places that the vessel had room to wheel free of the rocks and therefore escaped injury. With every precaution we can take, it is with much labor and infinite risk that we are enabled to get around these points.
Found a new Indian lodge pole today which had been brought down by the stream. It was worn at one end as if dragged by dogs or horses. A football also, and several other articles, were found, which have been recently brought down by the current. These are strong evidences of Indians being on the river above us, and probably at no great distance. The football is such as I have seen among the Minnetarees, and therefore think it most probable that they are a band of the Minnetarees of Fort de Prairie.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.