The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, July 9, 1805
Lewis, July 9, 1805
Tuesday July 9th 1805.
The morning was fair and pleant. the Islands seem crouded with blackbirds; the young brude is now completely feathered and flying in common with the others. we corked the canoes and put them in the water and also launched the boat, she lay like a perfect cork on the water. five men would carry her with the greatest ease. I now directed seats to be fixed in her and oars to be fitted. the men loaded the canoes in readiness to depart. just at this moment a violent wind commenced and blew so hard that we were obliged to unload the canoes again; a part of the baggage in several of them got wet before it could be taken out. the wind continued violent untill late in the evening, by which time we discovered that a greater part of the composition had seperated from the skins and left the seams of the boat exposed to the water and she leaked in such manner that she would not answer. I need not add that this circumstance mortifyed me not a little; and to prevent her leaking without pich was impossible with us, and to obtain this article was equally impossible, therefore the evil was irraparable I now found that the section formed of the buffaloe hides on which some hair had been left, answered much the best purpose; this leaked but little and the parts which were well covered with hair about 1/8th of an inch in length retained the composition perfectly and remained sound and dry. from these circumstances I am preswaided, that had I formed her with buffaloe skins singed not quite as close as I had done those I employed, that she would have answered even with this composition. but to make any further experiments in our present situation seemed to me madness; the buffaloe had principally dserted us, and the season was now advancing fast. I therefore relinquished all further hope of my favorite boat and ordered her to be sunk in the water, that the skins might become soft in order the better to take her in peices tomorrow and deposite the iron fraim at this place as it could probably be of no further service to us. had I only singed my Elk skins in stead of shaving them I beleive the composition would have remained and the boat have answered; at least untill we could have reached the pine country which must be in advance of us from the pine which is brought down by the water and which is probably at no great distance where we might have supplyed ourselves with the necessary pich or gum. but it was now too late to introduce a remidy and I bid a dieu to my boat, and her expected services.- The next difficulty which presented itself was how we should convey the stores and baggage which we had purposed carrying in the boat. both Capt. Clark and myself recollected having heard the hunters mention that the bottoms of the river some few miles above us were much better timbered than below and that some of the trees were large. the idea therefore suggested itself of building two other canoes sufficiently large to carry the surplus baggage. on enquiry of the hunters it seemed to be the general opinion that trees sufficiently a large for this purpose might be obtained in a bottom on the opposite side about 8 miles distant by land and reather more than double that distance by water; accordingly Capt. Clark determined to set out early in the morning with ten of the best workmen and proceede by land to that place while the others would in the mean time be employed by myself in taking the Boat in peices and depositing her, together with the articles which we had previously determined to deposit at this place, and also in trasporting all the baggage up the river to that point in the six small canoes. this plan being settled between us orders were accordingly given to the party, and the ten men who were to accompany Capt. Clark had ground and prepared their axes and adds this evening in order to prepare for an early departure in the morning. we have on this as well as on many former occasions found a small grindstone which I brought with me from Harper's ferry extreemly convenient to us. if we find trees at the place mentioned sufficiently large for our purposes it will be extreemly fortunate; for we have not seen one for many miles below the entrance of musselshell River to this place, which would have answered.-