Dakota Datebook: Lewis and Clark Return (Part II)

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Dakota Datebook: Lewis and Clark Return (Part II)
July 10, 2006

Transcript:

200 years ago this week…Lewis and Clark were making their way onto the plains of Montana. Horses, dugout canoes, and Mandan inspired bullboats aided their travel—and Sakagawea continued to provide valuable guidance. Lewis was leading a small group of men in the north, and Clark commanded a larger party further south. The week’s journal entries paint a picture of mostly happy campers in a land teeming with wildlife. One high point was the day Clark’s group reached their canoes and a deposit of supplies from the previous summer. The cache contained something they were missing, and it’s clear some of the men couldn’t wait to open it.


On July 06, 1806 William Clark wrote, “... entered an extensive open Leavel plain in which the Indian trail scattered in such a manner that we could not pursue it. the Indian woman wife to Shabono informed me that she had been in this plain frequently and knew it well that the creek which we decended was a branch of Wisdom river and when we assended the higher part of the plain we would discover a gap in the mountains in our direction to the canoes, ...”


To the north, Meriwether Lewis noted on July 08. “…much rejoiced at finding ourselves in the plains of the Missouri which abound with game.”


On the same day, Clark and company ended the 164-mile overland journey from Traveller’s Rest when they found their canoes and supplies mostly intact where they had hidden them in 1805. Clark wrote, “the most of the Party with me being Chewers of Tobacco become so impatient to be chewing it that they scercely gave themselves time to take their saddles off their horses before they were off to the deposit…”


Having survived the Bitterroot Mountains by eating horses, Lewis wrote with some relief on July 09. “Joseph feilds killed a very fat buffaloe bull and we halted to dine. ... we feasted on the buffaloe.”


The next day, July 10, Lewis wrote of another instance of his men being saved by the horses they had acquired from the Indians, “they informed us that they had seen a very large bear in the plains which had pursued Sergt. Gass and Thomson some distance but their horses enabled them to keep out of it’s reach….”


To the south, Clark’s group was now moving swiftly downriver. On July 10th he wrote, “…the canoes passed six of my encampments assending,” meaning they were traveling six times as fast going with the current as they had previously paddling against it.


John Ordway commented on their speed as well, “... put the 6 canoes in the water, and put our baggage in them. ... made 97 miles this day by water.”


On July 11th, Meriwether Lewis commented on the astonishing sights and sounds of a great herd of bison, “it is now the season at which the buffaloe begin to coppelate and the bulls keep a tremendious roaring we could hear them for many miles and there are such numbers of them that there is one continual roar. our horses had not been acquainted with the buffaloe they appeared much allarmed at their appearance and bellowing. when I arrived in sight of the white-bear Islands the missouri bottoms on both sides of the river were crouded with buffaloe I sincerely beleif that there were not less than 10 thousand buffaloe within a circle of 2 miles arround that place.”


Today’s Dakota Datebook is a weekly update on the Corps of Discovery’s return journey through our region…200 years ago this summer.


Written by Russell Ford-Dunker


Source:
http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/archive

Source

Source: Dakota Datebook, Prairie Public. http://www.prairiepublic.org/radio/

Subject Matter

Social Studies

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