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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 23:
Captain Clark (current)
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Last night the wolves or dogs came into our camp and ate the most of our dried meat, which was on a scaffold. Labiche went out early, agreeable to my directions of last evening. Sergeant Pryor and Windsor also went out. Sergeant Pryor found an Indian moccasin and a small piece of a robe, the moccasin worn out on the bottom and yet wet and has every appearance of having been worn but a few hours before. Those Indian signs are conclusive with me that they have taken the 24 horses which we lost on the night of the 20th instant, and that those who were about last night were in search of the balance of our horses, which they could not find as they had fortunately got into a small prairie surrounded with thick timber in the bottom.
Labiche returned, having taken a great circle, and informed me that he saw the tracks of the horses making off into the open plains and were, by the tracks, going very fast. The Indians who took the horses bent their course rather down the river. The men finished both canoes by 12 o'clock today, and I sent them to make oars and get poles, after which I sent Shields and Labiche to kill a fat buffalo out of a gang which has been within a few miles of us all day.
I gave Sergeant Pryor his instructions and a letter to Mr. Haney and directed that he, G. Shannon, and Windsor take the remaining horses to the Mandans, where he is to inquire for Mr. Haney. If at the establishments on the Assiniboine River, to take 12 or 14 horses and proceed on to that place, and deliver Mr. Haney the letter, which is with a view to engage Mr. Haney to prevail on some of the best-informed and most influential chiefs of the different bands of Sioux to accompany us to the seat of our government, with a view to let them see our population and resources, &c., which I believe is the surest guarantee of savage fidelity to any nation - that of a government possessing the power of punishing promptly every aggression.
Sergeant Pryor is directed to leave the balance of the horses with the grand chief of the Mandans until our arrival at his village, also to keep a journal of his route - courses, distances, water courses, soil productions, and animals to be particularly noted. Shields and Labiche killed three buffalo, two of them very fat. I had as much of the meat saved as we could conveniently carry. In the evening had the two canoes put into the water and lashed together, oars and everything fixed ready to set out early in the morning, at which time I have directed Sergeant Pryor to set out with the horses and proceed on to the entrance of the Bighorn River (which we suppose to be at no great distance), at which place the canoes will meet him and set him across the Yellowstone, below the entrance of that river.
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.