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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For June 10:
Captain Lewis (current)
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The day being fair and fine, we dried all our baggage and merchandise. Shields renewed the mainspring of my air gun. We have been much indebted to the ingenuity of this man on many occasions. Without having served any regular apprenticeship to any trade, he makes his own tools, principally, and works extremely well in either wood or metal, and in this way has been extremely serviceable to us, as well as being a good hunter and an excellent waterman.
In order to guard against accidents, we thought it well to conceal some ammunition here, and accordingly buried a tin canister of 4 lbs. of powder and an adequate quantity of lead near our tent, a canister of 6 lbs. lead and an axe, in a thicket up the S. fork, three hundred yards distant from the point. We concluded that we still could spare more ammunition for this deposit. Captain Clark was therefore to make a further deposit in the morning. In addition to one keg of 20 lbs. and an adequate proportion of lead which had been laid by to be buried in the large cache, we now selected the articles to be deposited in this cache which consisted of two best falling axes, one auger, a set of planes, some files, blacksmith's bellows, and hammers, stake, tongs, &c., 1 keg of flour, 2 kegs of parched meal, 2 kegs of pork, 1 keg of salt, some chisels, a cooper's awl, some tin cups, 2 muskets, 3 brown bearskins, beaver skins, horns of the big-horned animal, a part of the men's robes, clothing, and all their superfluous baggage of every description, and beaver traps.
We drew up the red pirogue into the middle of a small island at the entrance of Maria's River, and secured and made her fast to the trees to prevent the high floods from carrying her off. Put my brand on several trees standing near her, and covered her with brush to shelter her from the effects of the sun. At 3 P.M. we had a hard wind from the S.W., which continued about an hour, attended with thunder and rain. As soon as the shower had passed over we drew out our canoes, corked, repaired, and loaded them. I still feel myself somewhat unwell with the dysentery, but determined to set out in the morning up the south fork or Missouri, leaving Captain Clark to complete the deposit and follow me by water with the party. Accordingly, gave orders to Drouilliard, Joseph Fields, Gibson, and Goodrich to hold themselves in readiness to accompany me in the morning. Sacagawea, our Indian woman, is very sick this evening. Captain Clark bled her. The night was cloudy with some rain.
This morning I felt much better but somewhat weakened by my disorder. At 8 A.M., I swung my pack and set forward with my little party. Proceeded to the point where Rose [Tansy] River, a branch of Maria's River, approaches the Missouri so nearly. From this height we discovered a herd of elk on the Missouri, just above us, to which we descended and soon killed four of them. We butchered them and hung up the meat and skins in view of the river in order that the party might get them.
I determined to take dinner here, but before the meal was prepared I was taken with such violent pain in the intestines that I was unable to partake of the feast of marrowbones. My pain still increased, and toward evening was attended with a high fever. Finding myself unable to march, I determined to prepare a camp of some willow boughs and remain all night. Having brought no medicine with me, I resolved to try an experiment with some simplex, and the chokecherry which grew abundantly in the bottom first struck my attention.
I directed a parcel of the small twigs to be gathered stepped of their leaves, cut into pieces of about two inches in length, and boiled in water until a strong black decoction of an astringent bitter taste was produced. At sunset I took a pint of this decoction, and about an hour after repeated the dose. By 10 in the evening, I was entirely relieved from pain, and in fact, every symptom of the disorder forsook me. My fever abated, a gentle perspiration was produced, and I had a comfortable and refreshing night's rest.
Goodrich, who is remarkably fond of fishing, caught several dozen fish of two different species, one about 9 inches long, of white color, round, and in form and fins resembling the white chub common to the Potomac. The other species is precisely the form and about the size of the well-known fish called the hickory shad, or old wife.
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.