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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For August 4:
Captain Clark (current)
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Mosquitoes excessively troublesome - so much so that the men complained that they could not work at their skins for those troublesome insects. And I find it entirely impossible to hunt in the bottoms, those insects being so numerous and tormenting as to render it impossible for a man to continue in the timbered lands, and our best retreat from those insects is on the sand bars in the river, and even those situations are only clear of them when the wind should happen to blow, which it did today for a few hours in the middle of the day. The evenings, nights, and mornings they are almost unendurable, particularly by the party with me, who have no biers, to keep them off at night, and nothing to screen them but their blankets, which are worn and have many holes.
The torments of those mosquitoes and the want of a sufficiency of buffalo meat to dry - those animals not to be found in this neighborhood - induce me to determine to proceed on to a more eligible spot on the Missouri below, at which place the mosquitoes will be less troublesome and buffalo more plenty. Wrote a note to Captain Lewis, informing him of my intentions, and tied it to a pole which I had stuck up in the point. At 5 P.M., set out and proceeded on down to the second point, which appeared to be an eke situation for my purpose. [Killed a porcupine.] On this point the mosquitoes were so abundant that we were tormented much worse than at the point. The child of Charbonneau has been so much bitten by the mosquitoes that his face is much puffed up and swollen.
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.