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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 22:
Captain Clark (current)
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I sent Sergeant Pryor and Charbonneau in search of the horses with directions to proceed up the river as far as the first narrows and examine particularly for their tracks. They returned at 3 P.M. and informed me that they had proceeded up the distance I directed them to go and could see neither horses nor tracks. The plains immediately out from camp are so dry and hard that the track of a horse cannot be seen without close examination.
I therefore directed Sergeant Pryor, Shannon, Charbonneau, and Bratton to encircle the camp at some distance around and find the tracks of the horses and pursue them. They searched for tracks all the evening without finding which course the horses had taken, the plains being so remarkably hard and dry as to render it impossible to see a track of a horse passing through the hard parts of them.
I begin to suspect that they are taken by the Indians, and taken over the hard plains to prevent our following them. My suspicion is grounded on the improbability of the horses' leaving the grass and rushes of the river bottoms, of which they are very fond, and taking immediately out into the open dry plains, where the grass is but short and dry. If they had continued in the bottoms, either up or down, their tracks could be followed very well. I directed Labiche, who understands tracking very well, to set out early in the morning and find what route the horses had taken, if possible.
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.