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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 20:
Captain Clark (current)
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I directed Sergeant Pryor and Shields, each of them good judges of timber, to proceed on down the river six or & miles and examine the bottoms, if any larger trees than those near which we are encamped can be found, and return before twelve o'clock. They set out at daylight. I also sent Labiche, Charbonneau, and Hall to bring the skin and some of the flesh of the elk Labiche had killed last evening. They returned with one skin, the wolves having eaten the most of the other four elk.
I also sent two men in search of wood suitable for ax handles. They found some chokecherry, which is the best wood which can be procured in this country. Saw a bear on an island opposite, and several elk.
Sergeant Pryor and Shields returned at half past 11 A.M., and informed me that they had proceeded down the timbered bottoms of the river for about 12 miles without finding a tree better than those near my camp. I determined to have two canoes made out of the largest of those trees and lash them together, which will cause them to be sturdy and fully sufficient to take my small party and self with what little baggage we have down this river. Had handles put in the three axes and after sharpening them with a file felled the two trees which I intended for the two canoes. Those trees appeared tolerably sound and will make canoes of 28 feet in length and about 16 or 18 inches deep and from 16 to 24 inches wide. The men with the three axes set in and worked until dark.
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.