Array of watercraft ferried explorers across nation by lonyoo


									  S E V E N T H                     O F          A N          O N G O I N G              S E R I E S

       Boats of the expedition
Pirogues                                                                                                          Keelboat
  The two pirogues had a flat bottom and were                                                                        The keelboat carried 12 to 14 tons of supplies
made of planking and was widest near the bow.                                                                     and men. It was 55 feet long and 8 feet wide, had
They were powered much the same as the keel-                                                                      22 oars, a 32-foot sailing mast and 12 poles. It used
boat, using oars, a mast and rudder.                                                                              a tiller or rudder. A swivel cannon was placed on
  The Red Pirogue was 41 feet long, 9 feet wide
at the bow and had seven rowing positions. It
could carry nine tons of supplies.
                                                                                                                  the bow. The keelboat also carried two smaller guns
                                                                                                                  called blunderbusses near the cabin at the stern
                                                                                                                  and lockers for storage that also served as walkways
                                                                                                                                                                                The men built 16 canoes from whatever trees

  The White Pirogue was 35 feet long, 5 feet                                                                      for poling.
wide with six rowing positions and carried eight                                                                     It had a total carrying capacity of 12 to 14 tons.      were handy. Ten were made of cottonwood and six
tons. Because it was easier to navigate and more                                                                     A combination of efforts moved the boat up-             from ponderosa pines. It was backbreaking work
stable, it carried the journals, medical supplies                     The Mandan and Hidatsa Indians              stream. This included sailing when the wind was            using axes to dig out the cottonwood trees. The
and sextant.                                                        taught the expedition how to build            right; rowing; towing, where the men waded in the          cottonwood dugouts were about 30 feet long and
                                                                    and use bullboats. Bullboats were             cold water or walked along shore pulling with ropes;       weighed around 2,000 pounds. The Nez Perce in
                                                                    made by lashing willow branches to-           and poling the boat forward.                               Idaho taught them how to hollow out pine trees
                                                                    gether with sinew in the shape of a              Poling involved six men on each side, each              using fire and chipping.
                                                                    teacup and then covering them with            starting in the front of the boat and placing a
                                                                        buffalo hide. Bullboats were used         long pole against the river bottom, then
                                                                              to shuttle people and sup-          “walking” it to the rear, where they would
                                                                                  plies across the river and      pick the pole up and go to the
                                                                                    for short trips. They         front to start over. They
                                                                                      were either paddled         had to be careful not
                                                                                      or poled.                   to bonk the other
                                                                                                                  polers behind them
                                                                                                                  on the head.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   Log rafts
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The corps occasionally
                                                                                                                                                                                                   used log rafts when hunters
                                                                                                                                                                                                   needed to cross a stream too
RIGHT: Re-enactors sail a half-size keelboat to                                                                                                                                                    deep to wade or too swift to
celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lewis’ arrival                                                                                                                                                  swim across.
near Cincinnati, Ohio. The dog is a Newfoundland                                                                                                                                                      On the return trip, Lewis
named Seaman; Lewis took a Newfoundland by                                                                                                                                                         used three rafts to ferry sup-
the same name on the original trip.                                                                                                                                                                plies across the Clark Fork

Keelboat photo by Patrick Reddy of the Cincinnati Enquirer;
pirogue and canoe illustrations based on models by Richard                                                                                                                                                   Research by Larry
Boss, exhibited at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center;                                                                                                                                               Winslow; graphic by Také
dugout and raft illustrations based on historical photos.                                                                                                                                                 Uda, Great Falls Tribune

Array of watercraft ferried explorers across nation
       By LARRY WINSLOW                               and 40 to 45 men headed up the                                                             After reaching the Shoshone Indians      up into several groups.
   Tribune Assistant City Editor                      Missouri River.                                                                          and trading for horses, the remaining         Sgt. John Ordway and others re-
                                                        Constantly hitting “sawyers” (trees                                                    dugouts were filled with rocks and         trieved the sunken dugouts and made
  When most of us think of the Lewis                  under the water), covering 10 miles                                                      sunk to preserve them for use on the       their way back to the Great Falls where
and Clark Expedition, we think of a                   was a good day. If there was a head-                                                     return trip.                               they retrieved the White Pirogue. The
couple dozen men and an Indian wom-                   wind, they were lucky to make two                                                          After a difficult trek across the Bit-   Red Pirogue at the Marias was unuse-
an paddling up the Missouri River in                  miles.                                                                                   terroot Mountains the expedition           able.
dugout canoes.                                          During the 1804-05 winter at the                                                       reached the Clearwater River. There           Meanwhile, Clark’s party made its
  Actually, the water portion of the                  Mandan villages in North Dakota, the                                                     the Nez Perce Indians showed them          way overland to the Yellowstone River,
expedition began in Pittsburgh in 1803                corps made six dugout canoes from                                                        how to build canoes from ponderosa         where it made two dugouts and lashed
and included five types of watercraft,                cottonwood trees. The Indians showed                                                     pines using fire to hollow out the         them together.
25 in all by the time they reached the                them how to make small bullboats                                                         centers.                                      Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor and three crew-
Pacific.                                              that could carry people and cargo.           be a half-day portage around a water-         With five new dugouts, they made         men followed with a couple dozen
  Capt. Meriwether Lewis sailed down                    As the 1805 winter ice broke up, the       fall turned out to be an arduous weeks-     20 miles a day in swift current, shoot-    horses which were stolen. The men
the Ohio River with a keelboat and a                  keelboat and its crew were sent back         long portage of pushing and pulling         ing rapids and quickly reached the         made two small bullboats which they
large pirogue, picking up expedition                  to St. Louis with animal and plant           the six 2,000-pound dugouts overland        Columbia River where they were able        paddled several hundred miles to the
co-leader William Clark and members                   specimens for President Jefferson.           around five waterfalls.                     to trade for a few more stable Indian      Missouri.
of the Corps of Discovery.                              The rest set out westward with the            After the portage, Lewis had a           canoes.                                       After rendezvousing at the Missouri
  By the time they reached winter                     two pirogues and six dugout canoes.          chance to tr y his iron boa t                 After spending the winter of 1805-       and Yellowstone rivers, the now-
quarters at Camp River Dubois, they                     The larger Red Pirogue was damaged         “experiment” to replace the White           06 at the mouth of the Columbia            experienced rivermen were eager to
purchased another smaller pirogue.                    and left at the Marias River. The smaller    Pirogue, but lacking proper sealant, it     River, the expedition retraced its route   get home and covered more than 80
  In May 14, 1804, what we consider                   White Pirogue was left at the Great          sank. The expedition built two more         with three Indian canoes and three         miles a day, arriving in St. Louis on
the “real” expedition got under way                   Falls of the Missouri.                       cottonwood dugouts to replace the           pine dugouts.                              Sept. 23, 1806, with the White Pirogue
when the three heavily loaded boats                     What Lewis and Clark thought would         iron boat.                                    Back in Montana the expedition split     and the five dugouts.

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