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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For December 7:
Captain Clark (current)
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A very cold day. Wind from the N.W. The Big White, grand chief of the first village, came and informed us that a large drove of buffalo was near, and his people were waiting for us to join them in a chase. Captain Lewis took 15 men and went out and joined the Indians who were, at the time he got up, killing the buffalo, on horseback with arrows, which they did with great dexterity. His party killed 10 buffalo, five of which we got to the fort by the assistance of a horse, in addition to what the men packed on their backs. One cow was killed on the ice. After drawing her out of a vacancy in the ice in which she had fallen, we butchered her at the fort. Those we did not get in were taken by the Indians under a custom which is established among them, i.e., any person seeing a buffalo lying, without an arrow sticking in him or some particular mark, takes possession. Many times, as I am told, a hunter who kills many buffalo in a chase only gets a part of one. All meat which is left out all night falls to the wolves, which are in great numbers, always in the neighborhood of the buffaloes. The river closed, opposite the Fort, last night - 1 1/2 inches thick. The thermometer stood this morning at 1 degree below zero. Three men were frostbitten badly today.
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.