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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 24:
Captain Clark (current)
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Had all our baggage put on board of the two small canoes which, when lashed together, are very sturdy and, I am convinced, will carry the party I intend taking down with me. At 8 A.M., we set out and proceeded on very well to a riffle. At this riffle the small canoes took a good deal of water, which obliged us to land to dry out articles and bail the canoes. I also had a buffalo skin tacked on, so as to prevent the water's flecking in between the two canoes.
After dinner, I proceeded on past the entrance of a small creek and some wood on the starboard side, where I met with Sergeant Pryor, Shannon, and Windsor with the horses. They had but just arrived at that place.
Sergeant Pryor informed me that it would be impossible for the two men with him to drive on the horses after him without tiring all the good ones in pursuit of the more indifferent, to keep them on the course; that in passing every gang of buffalo, several of which he had met with, the loose horses, as soon as they saw the buffalo, would immediately pursue them and run around them. All those that had speed sufficient would head the buffalo, and those of less speed would pursue on as fast as they could.
He at length found that the only practical method would be for one of them to proceed on and whenever they saw a gang of buffalo to scare them off before the horses got up.
This disposition in the horses is no doubt owing to their being frequently exercised in chasing different animals by their former owners, the Indians, as it is their custom to chase every species of wild animal with horses, for which purpose they train all their horses. I had the horses driven across the river, and set Sergeant Pryor and his party across. H. Hall, who cannot swim, expressed a willingness to proceed on with Sergeant Pryor by land, and as another man was necessary to assist in driving the horses, but observed he was naked, I gave him one of my two remaining shirts, a pair of leather leggings, and three pairs of moccasins, which equipped him completely, and sent him on with the party by land to the Mandans.
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.