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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For June 29:
Captain Clark (current)
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Finding that the prairie was so wet as to render it impossible to pass on to the end of the portage, determined to send back to the top of the hill at the creek for the remaining part of the baggage left at that place yesterday, leaving one man to take care of the baggage at this place, I determined to proceed on to the falls and take the river. Accordingly, we all set out. I took my servant and one man. Charbonneau our interpreter, and his squaw accompanied. Soon after I arrived at the falls, I perceived a cloud which appeared black and threatened immediate rain. I looked out for a shelter but could see no place without being in great danger of being blown into the river if the wind should prove as turbulent as it is at some times.
About 1/4 of a mile above the falls, I observed a deep ravine in which were shelving rocks under which we took shelter near the river, and placed our guns, the compass, &c., under a shelving rock on the upper side of the creek, in a place which was very secure from rain. The first shower was moderate, accompanied with a violent wind, the effects of which we did not feel. Soon after, a torrent of rain and hail fell, more violent than ever I saw before. The rain fell like one volley of water falling from the heavens and gave us time only to get out of the way of a torrent of water which was pouring down the hill into the river with immense force, tearing everything before it, taking with it large rocks and mud.
I took my gun and shot pouch in my left hand and with the right scrambled up the hill, pushing the interpreter's wife - who had her child in her arms - before me, the interpreter himself making attempts to pull up his wife by the hand, much scared and nearly without motion. We at length reached the top of the hill safely, where I found my servant in search of us, greatly agitated for our welfare. Before I got out of the bottom of the ravine, which was a flat dry rock when I entered it, the water was up to my waist and wet my watch. I scarcely got out before it rose 10 feet deep with a torrent which was terrible to behold, and by the time I reached the top of the hill, at least 15 feet water. I directed the party to return to the camp, at the run, as fast as possible to get to our load, where clothes could be got to cover the child, whose clothes were all lost; and the woman, who was but just recovering from a severe indisposition and was wet and cold, I was fearful of a relapse. I caused her, as also the others of the party, to take a little spirits, which my servant had in a canteen, which revived them very much. On arrival at the camp on the willow run, met the party, who had returned in great confusion to the run, leaving their loads in the plain, the hail and wind being so large and violent in the plains, and them naked; they were much bruised, and some nearly killed - one knocked down three times - and others without hats or anything on their heads, bloody and complained very much. I refreshed them with a little grog.
A court-martial will sit this day at 11 o'clock, to consist of five members, for the trial of John Collins and Hugh Hall, confined on charges exhibited against them by Sergeant Floyd, agreeable to the Articles of War.... John Collins charged with getting drunk on his post this morning out of whiskey put under his charge as sentinel, and for suffering Hugh Hall to draw whiskey out of the said barrel intended for the party.
To this charge the prisoner pleaded "not guilty."
The court, after mature deliberation on the evidence adduced, &c., are of opinion the prisoner is guilty of the charge exhibited against him, and do therefore sentence him to receive one hundred lashes on his bare back.
Hugh Hall was brought before the court charged with taking whiskey out of a keg this morning, which whiskey was stored on the bank (and under the charge of the guard), contrary to all order, rule, or regulation.
To this charge the prisoner pleaded guilty.
The court find the prisoner guilty and sentence him to receive fifty lashes on his bare back.
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.