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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 18:
Captain Lewis (current)
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Set out early this morning. Previous to our departure, saw a large herd of the big-horned animals on the immensely high and nearly perpendicular cliff opposite to us. On the face of this cliff they walked about and bounded from rock to rock with apparent unconcern where it appeared to me that no quadruped could have stood, and from which, had they made one false step, they must have been precipitated at least 500 feet. This animal appears to frequent such precipices and cliffs, where in fact they are perfectly secure from the pursuit of the wolf, bear, or even man himself.
As we were anxious now to meet with the Shoshones, or Snake Indians, as soon as possible, in order to obtain information relative to the geography of the country, and also, if necessary, some horses, we thought it better for one of us - either Captain Clark or myself - to take a small party and proceed on up the river some distance, before the canoes, in order to discover them should they be on the river, before the daily discharge of our guns, which was necessary in procuring subsistence for the party, should alarm and cause them to retreat to the mountains and conceal themselves, supposing us to be their enemies who visit them usually by way of this river. Accordingly, Captain Clark set out this morning after breakfast with Joseph Field, Potts, and his servant York.
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.