Modern history

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

The Last Leg

July 29–September 22, 1806

The job now was to reunite with Clark and his party and head on to the Mandan villages. In the morning, Lewis got an early start. “The currant being strong and the men anxious to get on they plyed their oars faithfully and we went at the rate of about seven miles an hour.”

Progress continued to be good over the next five days. Game was so plentiful that at one stop the men killed twenty-nine deer. Lewis gave instructions to cook enough meat in the evening to last through the next day, so that no stops need be made for a noon meal; “by this means we forward our journey at least 12 or 15 miles Pr. day.”

By August 7, they had reached the mouth of the Yellowstone. Clark wasn’t there, but signs of an encampment indicated he had been a week earlier. Lewis found a piece of paper stuck on a pole; it had his name in the handwriting of Captain Clark. Only a fragment could be read, but from it Lewis learned that at this site game was scarce and mosquitoes were plentiful, so Clark had gone on and would be waiting for Lewis downstream.

“I instantly reimbarked,” Lewis wrote, “and decended the river in the hope of reaching Capt. C’s camp before night.” He was so anxious to reunite that he wouldn’t take the day or so necessary to fix the longitude of the junction, as he had promised to do the previous year, when clouds had made observations impossible.

He didn’t catch Clark anyway. Clark had moved on. In the morning, Lewis followed. He didn’t catch up that day, or the next.

On the morning of August 11, seeing some elk on a thick willow bar, he put in and set out with Private Cruzatte to replenish the meat supply. After Lewis killed one and Cruzatte wounded one, they reloaded and plunged into the willow to pursue more elk.

Lewis saw an elk some yards ahead. He raised his rifle to his shoulder, took aim, and was about to pull the trigger when he was hit in the buttocks by a rifle bullet. This severe blow spun him around.

The bullet had hit him an inch below his hip joint on his left side and passed through his buttocks to come out on the right side, leaving a three-inch gash the width of the ball. No bone had been hit. The spent ball lodged in Lewis’s leather breeches.

Cruzatte was nearsighted in his only good eye, and Lewis was wearing brown leather, so his first thought was that Cruzatte had mistaken him for an elk.

“Damn you,” Lewis shouted. “You have shot me.”

There was no answer. Lewis called to Cruzatte several times, still with no response. The shot had come from less than forty yards away; if Cruzatte couldn’t hear him, it must not have been Cruzatte who shot him. It must have been an Indian. In the thick willow, it was impossible to know if it was just one warrior or a war party.

Lewis called to Cruzatte to retreat, then retreated himself. He ran the first hundred paces, until his wound forced him to slow down. When he got in sight of the canoes, he called the men to their arms, “to which they flew in an instant.” Lewis informed them of what had happened, told them he intended to return and give battle and save Cruzatte, and ordered them to follow him.

They did. But after a hundred yards, their captain collapsed. His wounds had become so painful and his thigh was so stiff he could not press on. He told the men to continue without him; if they encountered a superior force they should retreat, keeping up a fire.

Lewis struggled back to the canoes. He laid his pistol on one side of him, his rifle on the other, and his air gun close at hand. He was “determined to sell my life as deerly as possible.”

He was alone for about twenty minutes, in a state of anxiety and suspense. Finally the party returned, with Cruzatte, who absolutely denied having shot the captain and swore he had never heard Lewis call to him.

“I do not beleive that the fellow did it intentionally,” Lewis wrote, but neither did he believe Cruzatte’s denials. He had the bullet in his hand; it was a .54 caliber, from a U.S. Army Model 1803, not a weapon any Indian was likely to have. He conjectured that, after shooting his captain in the ass, Cruzatte decided to deny everything. (Sergeants Ordway and Gass, who were with the party when it met Cruzatte, wrote in their journals that, as far as they could tell, Cruzatte was entirely ignorant of having shot Lewis.)

Sergeant Gass helped Lewis get out of his clothes. Lewis dressed his wounds himself as best he could, introducing rolls of lint into the holes on each side of his buttocks (so that the wound would stay open and new tissue could grow from the inside out).1

The party proceeded downriver, Lewis lying on his stomach in the pirogue. At 4:00 p.m., they passed Clark’s campsite of the previous night; there one of the men found and brought to Lewis a note Clark had left on a post.

Bad news. Clark wrote that the reason Lewis had found only a fragment of the letter at the Yellowstone was that Sergeant Pryor and his small party had passed that place after Clark left and before Lewis arrived, and Pryor had torn off part of the note. Pryor and his three men were traveling in bull boats, which they had made after losing all their horses to Indian thieves.

Losing the horses wasn’t so bad, especially since Pryor had been resourceful enough to build bull boats and rejoin Clark, but it was a serious blow in that Pryor had not been able to deliver to Mr. Heney of the North West Company the letter asking his help in getting some Sioux chiefs to come to Washington. Heney had been Lewis’s only hope for pacifying the Sioux and making them a part of the American system.

Lewis’s entire Indian policy was coming apart. He had hostile Blackfeet behind him and hostile Sioux in front of him; between them, they could block the entire middle section of the Missouri River to traders.

Along with the bad news, Lewis’s wounds grew so painful that when the party made camp he found he could not bear to be moved. He had a poultice of Peruvian bark applied to the wounds, and spent the night stretched out on his belly on board the pirogue. He had a high fever and a restless night.

In the morning, he was stiff and sore, but the fever had receded, probably thanks to the Peruvian bark, a standard remedy for fevers with the captains. The pain remained.

The party set out. At 8:00 a.m., it encountered two white men coming upriver. They were Joseph Dickson of Illinois and Forrest Hancock of Boone’s Settlement in Missouri, fur trappers out on their own. They had started in August 1804, spent the winter in Iowa, been robbed by Indians who also wounded Hancock, but were nevertheless proceeding upriver to get to the Yellowstone and trap beaver.

In other words, the Lewis and Clark Expedition had been only three months ahead of private trappers in exploring the Louisiana Purchase. Dickson and Hancock were the cutting edge of what might be called the fur rush. It could be taken for granted that there would be many others coming close behind them. However much Jefferson might want to reserve Upper Louisiana for displaced Indians from east of the Mississippi, no power on earth, and certainly no laws written in Washington, could stop the American frontiersmen. They were lured up the Missouri River by a spirit of adventure, by a cockiness and bravado that were not entirely without foundation, by a love of the wilderness, and by greed. Powerful motives in young men, the kind that can’t be denied.

Lewis was eager to help establish an American presence in Upper Louisiana. He gave Dickson and Hancock information on what lay ahead of them, provided them with some sketch maps, and told them where they could find beaver in abundance. He also gave them a file and some lead and powder.

The party set out again. At 1:00 p.m., it overtook Captain Clark and his party. The joy of reunion was a bit dampened by Lewis’s condition. Informed that his friend had been wounded, Clark dashed to his pirogue. He was much alarmed to see Lewis lying on his belly, but Lewis raised his head to assure him that the wound was slight and would be healed in three or four weeks. “This information relieved me very much,” Clark wrote.

News was exchanged. The first was the best: everyone was present and, except for Lewis, in good health. Clark described the passage through today’s Bozeman Pass to the Yellowstone, where Sacagawea was his guide. A party of Crows had stolen twenty-four of his fifty horses. He built two dugout canoes, each twenty-eight feet long, and lashed them together for stability. His trip down the river was comparatively uneventful. It had an important payoff, in the form of Clark’s map.

Late in the afternoon, Dickson and Hancock came into camp. For some unknown reason they had decided to put off their trip to the Yellowstone for a while and join the party for the two-day trip to the Mandan villages.

That evening, Captain Clark washed Captain Lewis’s wounds, which remained sore.I When Clark finished, Lewis wrote in his journal. After describing the day, he declared that “as wrighting in my present situation is extreemly painfull to me I shall desist untill I recover and leave to my frind Capt. C. the continuation of our journal.”

That was his last entry in the journals of Lewis and Clark. Fittingly, he did not end it right there, but felt compelled to go on to write one last botanical description.

“I must notice a singular Cherry,” he wrote. It was the pin, or bird, cherry. Despite his pain and his “situation,” he gave it a complete going over. He measured and examined and described: for example, “The leaf is peteolate, oval accutely pointed at it’s apex, from one and a 1/4 to 11/2inches in length and from1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in width, finely or minutely serrate, pale green and free from bubessence.”

In the morning, the reunited expedition set off. Two days later, on August 14, the Mandan villages came into view.

“Those people were extreamly pleased to See us,” Clark reported. There were reunions with such old friends as the Mandan chiefs Black Cat and She-heke (“Big White”) and the Hidatsa Le Borgne (“One-Eye”), and others. Hugs and small presents and a smoking ceremony marked the occasion. Then there were councils, with René Jessaume serving as translator. How much of a role Lewis played is unclear, but apparently it was a minor one (he had fainted that day when Clark was changing his dressing).

The news from the chiefs was all bad. The Arikaras and the Mandans had been fighting. The Hidatsas had sent a war party into the Rockies and killed some Shoshones—possibly from Cameahwait’s band. The Sioux had raided the Mandans. And the Mandans were divided by internal quarrels.

This was dreadful. The American peace policy had failed within days of the departure of Lewis and Clark. The whole middle and upper Missouri River was at war. It was as if Lewis and Clark had never come, never made promises, never extracted pledges to be good.

Making matters worse, the chiefs turned down Clark’s invitation to come to Washington. Black Cat said he wished to visit the United States and meet his Great Father, but he was afraid of the Sioux below and would not go. Clark promised protection and lots of presents. He said, if the chiefs would come to Washington, an American trading post would be built among the Mandans much sooner than otherwise. The chiefs still said no.

Eventually, after much pleading from Jessaume, who had his interpreter’s fee at stake, Big White agreed to accompany the expedition to St. Louis and go on to Washington—if the captains would take his wife and son, Jessaume, and Jessaume’s Indian wife and two sons. This was dangerously overloading the canoes, but the captains were desperate to bring chiefs to Washington, so Clark reluctantly agreed. When Big White and his entourage walked through the village past his people on the way to the canoes, Clark noticed that “Maney of them Cried out aloud.” Few expected to see him return.

On August 17, just before departing, Clark settled with Charbonneau. He received $500.33 1/3 for his horse, his tepee, and his services. Sacagawea got nothing.II The Charbonneaus stayed with the Mandans.

Another member of the expedition left the party that day. Dickson and Hancock had asked Private John Colter to join them in their Yellowstone venture. He accepted, subject to the captains’ approval. They gave it, on the condition that no other man ask for a similar change in the conditions of his enlistment (Colter’s enlistment would not expire until October 10, 1806). None did, and when the expedition set off downstream, Colter turned back upstream, back to the wilderness, back to the mountains, on his way into the history books as America’s first mountain man and the discoverer of Yellowstone National Park.

Whether the men watched him depart, whether they thought, “What a fool!” or felt envy, Clark did not record. But his conditional approval of Colter’s request indicates that Clark thought that at least some others might well be tempted to return to the Yellowstone country.

As the expedition began the final run for St. Louis, Captain Lewis was still on his belly. His wounds were healing but still so painful that he could not walk.

On the fourth day out, the Americans encountered three French trappers headed for the Yellowstone country. The news they had was another blow to Lewis’s and Clark’s Indian policy: the Arikara chief who in April 1805 had accompanied Corporal Warfington to St. Louis and then went on to Washington, had died. The Arikaras did not yet know this.

That afternoon, the expedition reached the Arikara village. There was a council (whether Lewis attended is not known); Clark asked the chiefs to send a delegation to Washington; several said they were eager to “See their great father but wished to see the Chief who went down last sumer return first.”

On August 22, Clark wrote a medical report: “I am happy to have it in my power to Say that my worthy friend Capt Lewis is recovering fast, he walked a little to day for the first time. I have discontinud the tent [lint] in the hole the ball came out.” The next day, the report read: “My Friend Capt Lewis is recoverig fast the hole in his thy where the Ball passed out is Closed and appears to be nearly well. the one where the ball entered discharges very well.”

On August 27, at the Big Bend of the Missouri River in present-day South Dakota, Clark put in to do some buffalo hunting. While he was gone, “My friend Capt Lewis hurt himself very much by takeing a longer walk on the Sand bar in my absence than he had Strength to undergo, which Caused him to remain very unwell all night.” In the morning, Clark opened his journal, “Capt Lewis had a bad nights rest and is not very well this morning.”

Four days later, the party passed the mouth of today’s Niobrara River. This was Sioux country, requiring full alertness. Two miles below the Niobrara, nine warriors appeared on the bank. They signed for the expedition to come ashore. Clark assumed they were Tetons, the band that had been so troublesome in the fall of 1804. He wanted nothing to do with them and paid no attention to them, but since one of the canoes was behind and out of sight around a bend, he decided to put ashore as soon as he was around the next bend and wait for the canoe to come up.

About a quarter-hour after the party put ashore, several shots rang out. Clark figured it was the Sioux shooting at the three men in the trailing canoe.

Clark called out fifteen men, more than half the expedition’s strength, and ran toward the sound of the guns. He was determined to provide cover for the men under attack, “let the number of the indians be what they might.”

As Clark set off, Lewis hobbled up out of his pirogue, reached the bank, and formed the remainder of the men into a defensive line “in a Situation well calculated to defend themselves and the Canoes &c.”

After running 250 yards, Clark rounded the bend and saw the canoe coming on, but still a full mile upriver. The Indians were just above him, shooting at targets. They turned out to be Yankton Sioux, the band that had been so friendly two years earlier. It also turned out that one of their chiefs had gone to Washington. That was the first good Indian news the captains had heard since they parted from the Nez Percé.

By September 1806, the captains and their men were real-life Rip Van Winkles, even if their period of absence was not twenty years but two years and five months.

The captains were starved for news. The health of their loved ones first of all, but no one in St. Louis would know about that. Politics next: there had been a presidential election. Who won? Was the nation at war? What was going on in St. Louis? Who was in command in Louisiana? All these questions, which they had put out of their minds as far as possible, were critically important to the captains—to their immediate futures as army officers, to their reception in Washington, to the publication and dissemination of their journals, to everything that mattered to them.

Their chance to start asking questions came at 4:00 p.m. on September 3, when they encountered a trading party of two canoes and several men coming upriver. The leader was James Aird, a Scotsman from Prairie du Chien in today’s Wisconsin, who had a license to trade with the Sioux. A large, friendly man, he greeted the captains warmly and took them into his tent during a thunderstorm to talk (by this time, Lewis had recovered sufficiently to walk about with ease).

“Our first enquirey,” Clark recorded, “was after the President of our country [well, and safely re-elected] and then our friends and the State of the politicks of our country &c. and the State [of] Indian affairs to all of which enquireys Mr. Aires gave us as Satisfactory information as he had it in his power to have Collected in the Illinois which was not a great deel.”

Of course Aird knew nothing about Lewis’s mother or Clark’s brothers, but he did know a little about a lot of things of great concern or interest to the captains.

There had been a fire at the house of their warm friend and host in St. Louis, Jean-Pierre Chouteau. The home had burned to the ground.

General Wilkinson was the governor of Louisiana Territory, with headquarters in St. Louis. He had sent three hundred American troops to the disputed area between western Louisiana and eastern Texas, to oppose Spanish pretensions. Spanish gunboats had fired on the U.S. frigatePresident near Algeciras, Spain, in the fall of 1804. The British warship Leander had fired on the American merchant ship Richard off New York in April 1806.

There were other items. Two Indians had been hanged in St. Louis for murder; several others were in jail. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton had fought a duel (July 14, 1804); Hamilton was dead.

The captains had not realized how starved they were for news until they got this appetizer. Their already high anxiety to get on with the greatest dispatch increased.

In the morning, Aird gave each man enough tobacco to last until St. Louis, and insisted that the captains accept a barrel of flour. At 8:00 a.m., Aird headed upriver and the captains started down. Three hours later, they stopped at Floyds Bluff and climbed the hill to pay their respects at Sergeant Floyd’s grave. They found it disturbed by the natives and covered it over.

Apparently the climb was too much for Lewis: the next day, Clark reported that his friend was “still in a Convelesent State.”

On September 6, the party encountered another trading boat, this one owned by Auguste Chouteau of St. Louis. The captains purchased a gallon of whiskey from the party and gave each man a dram, “the first Spiritious licquor which had been tasted by any of them Since the 4 of July 1805.” Several men exchanged their leather tunics and beaver hats with traders for linen shirts and cloth hats.

But of what the captains most wanted, an update on the news from civilization, Chouteau’s crew didn’t have much. They were able to report only that General Wilkinson was preparing to leave St. Louis to follow the detachment to the Texas border.

On September 9, the expedition passed the mouth of the Platte River. It was making seventy to eighty miles a day. As it passed the Platte, it passed out of the Great Plains. It was on the home stretch.

“Our party appears extreamly anxious to get on,” Clark wrote, “and every day appears [to] produce new anxieties in them to get to their Country and friends. My worthy friend Cap Lewis has entirely recovered his wounds are heeled up and he Can walk and even run nearly as well as ever he Could. the parts are yet tender &c. &.”

On September 10, the expedition met a four-man trading party that had an update on General Wilkinson, who had set out with the troops for Texas, and news that Captain Zebulon Pike had left St. Louis to explore the Red and Arkansas Rivers.

Two days later, it was a two-canoe party under another of the Chouteau family, then a larger party led by former army captain Robert McClellan, an old friend of Clark’s. With him were Joseph Gravelines and Pierre Dorion, interpreters who had accompanied the Arikara chief to Washington, returning with instructions from Jefferson.

Their first charge from the president was to make inquiries about Lewis and Clark. Gravelines had the difficult task of expressing to the Arikaras Jefferson’s regret for the death of their chief. Dorion’s charge was to get Gravelines safely past the Teton Sioux, and to persuade some chiefs of that tribe to visit Washington.

In the morning, McClellan gave a dram to each man on the expedition. The party set off just after sunrise in a merry mood. The next day, another party sent out by the Chouteaus was encountered; the traders gave the men whiskey, biscuit, pork, and onions, all most welcome. At camp that night, the men got a dram “and Sung Songs untill 11 oClock at night in the greatest harmoney.”

On September 15, Lewis and Clark came to the mouth of the Kansas River. They landed and climbed a hill “which appeared to have a Commanding Situation for a fort, the Shore is bold and rocky imediately at the foot of the hill, from the top of the hill you have a perfect Command of the river.” They were standing in what is today’s downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

They were meeting trading parties daily. On September 17, it was John McClallen, an old army friend of Lewis’s, on a large boat. He had resigned his commission in January 1806 to lead a venture that may have involved General Wilkinson. He intended to go up the Platte to the mountains, then overland to the Rio Grande and on to Santa Fe. There he proposed to bribe Spanish officials into allowing him to engage in trade with the Indians, using packhorse trains to get the goods to them, and bring the furs out.

Clark pronounced this “a very good [plan] if strictly prosued &c.”

McClallen handed out biscuits, chocolate, sugar, and whiskey—and news. Perhaps the most interesting was that the American people were feeling a deep concern for the expedition. Among the rumors McClallen passed along was that the captain and men had all been killed, and that the Spanish had captured them and were working them as slave labor in the mines.

“We had been long Since given out by the people of the U.S. Generally and almost forgotton,” Clark reported McClallen as saying. “The President of the U. States had yet hopes of us.” That last should have gladdened the hearts of the leaders of the expedition.

McClallen said he himself had believed the worst. He had been astonished to see the expedition and was rejoiced to find his friend Lewis and the others all safe and sound.

By September 18, the party was within 150 miles of the settlements. It had run entirely out of provisions and trade goods. Other than the cooking kettles, the scientific instruments, and some tools, it had no manufactured goods—except rifles. It had plenty of those, and powder and lead, and there was game in the neighborhood, but the almost daily passage of traders’ boats had caused the deer and bear to move back from the river, which meant that gathering in meat required sending out hunters on foot; this slowed the party down considerably.

There were plenty of ripe plums, which the men called “pawpaws.” Gathering a few bushels was the work of a few minutes only. The men told the captains they could “live very well on the pappaws.” The captains were even more anxious than the men to get on, so there were no halts to hunt.

“The party being extreemly anxious to get down ply their ores very well,” Clark recorded on September 20. That afternoon, the men saw cows on the bank, a sight that brought out spontaneous shouts of joy. When the captains put in at the village of La Charette, the men asked permission to fire a salute. It was granted, and they fired three rounds, which were answered by three rounds from five trading boats on the riverbank.

The citizens rushed to them. “Every person,” Clark wrote, “both French and americans Seem to express great pleasure at our return, and acknowledged them selves much astonished in Seeing us return. they informed us that we were Supposed to have been lost long Since.”

The next day, the scene was repeated at St. Charles, where “the inhabitants of this village appear much delighted at our return and seem to vie with each other in their politeness to us all.” On September 22, it was on to Fort Bellefontaine, established in 1805 by General Wilkinson, the first U.S. Army fort west of the Mississippi. The captains took Big White and his family to the public store at the fort and furnished them with clothes.

In the morning, the expedition set off for their last day’s voyage. In less than an hour, it was swinging into the Mississippi River, past the old camp at Wood River, last seen twenty-eight months and eight thousand miles ago.

As the men paddled the last few miles to St. Louis, Lewis had cause to feel deep satisfaction, and could be forgiven a sense of hubris. He had completed the epic voyage. By itself that was enough to place him and his partner-friend in the pantheon of explorers.

Lewis had planned and organized and with Clark’s help carried out a voyage of discovery that had been his dream for what seemed like all of his life. Indeed, it seemed he had been born for it, and had been training himself for it since childhood. His success was due to that training, and to his character, well suited to the challenge.

His leadership had been outstanding. He and Clark had taken thirty-odd unruly soldiers and molded them into the Corps of Discovery, an elite platoon of tough, hardy, resourceful, well-disciplined men. They had earned the men’s absolute trust.

At most critical moments, Lewis and Clark had made the right decision—at the mouth of the Marias River in June 1805; in the dealings with the Shoshones in August 1805; in trusting in Old Toby to get them across the Lolo Trail in September 1805; in retreating from the Lolo in June 1806 and waiting for Nez Percé guides before trying again.

Lewis’s biggest mistake had been the decision to split the expedition into five parts and make the Marias exploration. Otherwise, in his most important role, that of military commander, he had done a superlative job.

Jefferson had charged him with numerous nonmilitary goals. He had carried them out faithfully. He was certain he had accomplished the number-one objective of the expedition, to find the most direct and convenient route across the continent. He had brought back a treasure of scientific information. His discoveries in the fields of zoology, botany, ethnology, and geography were beyond any value.III He introduced new approaches to exploration and established a model for future expeditions by systematically recording abundant data on what he had seen, from weather to rocks to people.

On the more personal side, he had seen wonderful things. He had traveled through a hunter’s paradise beyond anything any American had ever before known. He had crossed mountains that were greater than had ever before been seen by any American, save the handful who had visited the Alps. He had seen falls and cataracts and raging rivers, thunderstorms all but beyond belief, trees of a size never before conceived of, Indian tribes uncorrupted by contact with white men, canyons and cliffs and other scenes of visionary enchantment.

A brave new world.

And he had been first. Everyone who has ever paddled a canoe on the Missouri, or the Columbia, does so in the wake of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Everyone who crosses the Lolo Trail walks in their footsteps.

Furthermore, the journals of Lewis and Clark provided the introduction to and serve as the model for all subsequent writing on the American West.

For all Lewis’s accomplishments, however, there were some big disappointments, and as St. Louis came into view, he had reason for worry. His Indian diplomacy had so far been a failure. The Sioux and the Blackfeet, the strongest and most warlike tribes in Upper Louisiana, were enemies of the United States. Nevertheless, Lewis had some policies to recommend to the president that he hoped would force the Sioux, Blackfeet, and all other Plains tribes to recognize American sovereignty.

He was enthusiastic about the prospects for an American commercial empire stretching from St. Louis to the Pacific, and he had some specific schemes in mind to make it happen. God knew there were plenty of beaver out there. His task now was to get the journals published, to spread the word about the wonders of the Upper Louisiana and the Oregon country, and about the abundance of beaver, and to make his discoveries known to the scientific world.

The sad news he had to tell could not be helped: it was simple geographical fact. There was no all-water route, or anything close to it, and the Missouri River drainage did not extend beyond forty-nine degrees north latitude.

Lewis realized that Jefferson would want the news as soon as possible. So, as his canoe put in at St. Louis, it was the president who was on his mind. The men had fired a salute to the town when they saw all one thousand residents on the bank, waiting for them. The citizens gave them three cheers and a hearty welcome. A resident reported, “They really have the appearance of Robinson Crusoes—dressed entirely in buckskins.”2

As Lewis scrambled out of his canoe, his first question was, When does the post leave?

It had just left, was the answer. Lewis quickly wrote a note to the postmaster at Cahokia, Illinois Territory, and sent it on by messenger: hold the post until the next day. He took a room at the home of Pierre Chouteau and began to write the president.


I. For sure he didn’t wash them in water that had been boiled first: it was just plain Missouri River water. Lewis was lucky his wounds did not become infected.

II. Clark offered to take her son, Jean Baptiste (called “Pomp” by Clark and the men, and described by Clark as “a butifull promising Child”) to St. Louis and bring him up as if he were his own boy; she said maybe next summer, after he has been weaned. In a letter of August 20, 1806, to Charbonneau, Clark paid tribute to Sacagawea, referring to her as “Your woman who accompanied you that long dangerous and fatigueing rout to the Pacific Ocian and back diserved a greater reward for her attention and services on that rout than we had in our power to give her.” (Jackson, Letters, vol. I, p. 315.)

III. He had discovered and described 178 new plants, more than two-thirds of them from west of the Continental Divide, and 122 species and subspecies of animals (Cutright, Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists, pp. 423, 447).

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