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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For May 16:
Captain Lewis (current)
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This morning was fair and the day proved favorable to our operations. By 4 o'clock in the evening, our instruments, medicine, merchandise, provisions, etc., were perfectly dried, repacked, and put on board the pirogue. The loss we sustained was not so great as we had at first apprehended. Our medicine sustained the greatest injury, several articles of which were entirely spoiled and many others considerably injured. The balance of our losses consisted of some garden seeds, a small quantity of gunpowder, and a few culinary articles which fell overboard and sank. The Indian woman, to whom I ascribe equal fortitude and resolution with any person on board at the time of the accident, caught and preserved most of the light articles which were washed overboard.
All matters being now arranged for our departure, we lost no time in setting out. Proceeded on tolerably well about seven miles and encamped on the starboard side.
In the early part of the day, two of our men fired on a panther, a little below our encampment, and wounded it. They informed us that it was very large, had just killed a deer, partly devoured it, and was in the act of concealing the balance as they discovered him.
We caught two antelopes at our encampment in attempting to swim the river. These animals are but lean as yet, and of course not very pleasant food. I walked on shore this evening and killed a buffalo cow and calf; we found the calf most excellent veal.
The country on either side of the river is broken, and hills much higher than usual. The bottoms now become narrow and the timber more scant. Some scattering pine and cedar on the steep declivities of the hills. This morning a white bear tore Labiche's coat which he had left in the plains.
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.