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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 28:
Captain Lewis (current)
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The morning proved fair. I slept sound, but fortunately awoke as day appeared. I awakened the men and directed the horses to be saddled. I was so sore from my ride yesterday that I could scarcely stand. And the men complained of being in a similar situation; however, I encouraged them by telling them that our own lives as well as those of our friends and fellow travelers depended on our exertions at this moment. They were alert, soon prepared the horses, and we again resumed our march.
It was my determination that if we were attacked in the plains on our way to the point, that the bridles of the horses should be tied together and we would stand and defend them, or sell our lives as dear as we could.
We had proceeded about 12 miles on an east course when we found ourselves near the Missouri. We heard a report which we took to be that of a gun but were not certain. Still continuing down the N.E. bank of the Missouri about 8 miles further, being then within about five miles of the grog spring, we heard the report of several rifles very distinctly on the river to our right. We quickly repaired to this joyful sound and on arriving at the bank of the river had the unspeakable satisfaction to see our canoes coming down. We hurried down from the bluff on which we were and joined them; stripped our horses and gave them a final discharge, embarking without loss of time with our baggage.
I now learned that they had brought all things safe, having sustained no loss, nor met with any accident of importance. Wiser had cut his leg badly with a knife and was unable, in consequence, to work. We descended the river opposite to our principal cache, which we proceeded to open after reconnoitering the adjacent country. We found that the cache had caved in and most of the articles buried therein were injured. I sustained the loss of two very large bear skins, which I much regret. Most of the fur and baggage belonging to the men were injured. The gunpowder, corn, flour, pork and salt had sustained but little injury. The parched meal was spoiled, or nearly so. Having no time to air these things, which they much wanted, we dropped down to the point to take in the several articles which had been buried at that place in several small caches. These we found in good order, and recovered every article except three traps belonging to Drouilliard, which could not be found. Here, as good fortune would have it, Sergeant Gass and Willard, who brought the horses from the Falls, joined us at 1 P.M. I had ordered them to bring down the horses to this place in order to assist them in collecting meat, which I directed them to kill and dry here for our voyage, presuming that they would have arrived with the pirogue and canoes at this place several days before my return.
Having now nothing to detain us, we passed over immediately to the island in the entrance of Maria's River to launch the red pirogue, but found her so much decayed that it was impossible with the means we had to repair her, and therefore merely took the nails and other iron works about her which might be of service to us and left her. We now reembarked on board the white pirogue and five small canoes.
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.