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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For September 16:
Captain Lewis (current)
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This morning set out at an early hour and came to at 1/2 after 7 A.M. on the larboard shore 1 1/4 mile above the mouth of a small creek which we named Corvus, in consequence of having killed a beautiful bird of that genus near it. We concluded to lay by at this place the balance of this day and the next, in order to dry our baggage, which was wet by the heavy showers of rain which had fallen within the last three days, and also to lighten the boat by transferring a part of her lading to the red pirogue, which we now determined to take on with us to our winter residence, wherever that might be. While some of the men were employed in the necessary labor, others were dressing skins, washing and mending their clothes, &c.
Captain Clark and myself killed each a buck immediately on landing, near our encampment. The deer were very gentle and in great numbers in this bottom, which had more timber on it than any part of the river we had seen for many days past, consisting of cottonwood, elm, some different ash, and a considerable quantity of a small species of white oak, which was loaded with acorns of an excellent flavor, having very little of the bitter roughness of the nuts of most species of oak.
The leaf of this oak is small, pale green, and deeply indented. It seldom rises higher than thirty feet, is much branched; the bark is rough and thick, and of a light color. The cup which contains the acorn is fringed on its edges, and embraces the nut about one-half. The acorns were now falling, and we concluded that the number of deer which we saw here had been induced thither by the acorns, of which they are remarkably fond. Almost every species of wild game is fond of the acorn - the buffalo, elk, deer, bear, turkeys, ducks, pigeons, and even the wolves feed on them.
We sent three hunters out who soon added eight deer and two buffalo to our stock of provisions. The buffalo were so poor that we took only the tongues, skins, and marrow bones. The skins were particularly acceptable as we were in want of a covering for the large pirogue to secure the baggage.
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.