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Songs of Lewis & Clark

by Sara Bouchard

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Antelope (free) 02:42
Lewis: Monday September 17th 1804. I had this day an opportunity of witnessing the agility and superior fleetness of this anamal which was to me really astonishing. I had pursued and twice surprised a small herd of seven antilopes. They took care before they rested to gain an elivated point where it was impossible to approach them under cover, except in one direction from which the wind blew towards them. I made the best of my way towards them. Peeping over the ridge, I took care to conceal myself from their view. The male frequently incircled the summit of the hill, as if to look out for the approach of danger. I got within 200 paces when they smelt me and fled. I gained the top of the eminence on which they had stood; I had an extensive view of the country. The antilopes which had disappeared in a steep reveene now appeared at the distance of about three miles. I doubted at ferst that they were the same that I had just surprised, but my doubts soon vanished when I beheld the rapidity of their flight along the ridge before me. It appeared reather the rappid flight of birds than the motion of quadrupeds.
Clark: Fort Mandan, 6th November Tuesday 1804 last night late we wer awoke by the Sergeant of the Guard to See a Nothern light, which was light, not red, and appeared to Darken and Some times nearly obscured and open, many times appeared in light Streeks, and at other times a great Space light & containing floating collomns which appeared to approach each other & retreat leaveing the lighter Space at no time of the Same appearance
Lewis: Fort Mandan, April 7th 1805. Our vessels consisted of six small canoes, and two large perogues. This little fleet altho' not quite so rispectable as those of Columbus or Capt. Cook were still viewed by us with as much pleasure as those deservedly famed adventurers ever beheld theirs; and I dare say with quite as much anxiety for their safety and preservation. We were now about to penetrate a country at least two thousand miles in width, on which the foot of civilized man had never trodden; the good or evil it had in store for us was for experiment yet to determine, and these little vessells contained every article by which we were to expect to subsist or defend ourselves. However as the state of mind in which we are, gives the colouring to events, when the immagination is suffered to wander into futurity, the picture which now presented itself to me was a most pleasing one, enterta[in]ing as I do, the most confident hope of succeeding in a voyage which had formed a da[r]ling project of mine for the last ten years, I could but esteem this moment of my departure as among the most happy of my life.
Lewis: Tuesday May 14th 1805. In the evening the men in two of the rear canoes discovered a large [grizzly] bear. [He was] lying in the open grounds about 300 paces from the river. Six of them went out to attack him, [they are] all good hunters; they took the advantage of a small eminence which concealed them and got within 40 paces of him unperceived. Four [of them] fired nearly at the same time and put each his bullet through him, two of the [bullets] passed through the bulk of both lobes of his lungs. In an instant this monster ran at them with open mouth, the two who had reserved their fir[e]s discharged their pieces at him as he came towards them. Boath of them struck him, one only slightly, the other fortunately broke his shoulder, this however only retarded his motion for a moment only. The men unable to reload their guns took to flight, the bear pursued and had very nearly overtaken them before they reached the river. Two of the party betook themselves to a canoe and the others seperated an[d] concealed themselves among the willows, reloaded their pieces. Each discharged his piece at him as they had an opportunity they struck him several times again but the guns served only to direct the bear to them. In this manner he pursued two of them seperately so close that they were obliged to throw aside their guns and throw themselves into the river altho' the bank was nearly twenty feet perpendicular. So enraged was this anamal that he [too] plunged into the river only a few feet behind the second man, when one of those who remained on shore shot him through the head and finally killed him.
Clark: 22nd of November Thursday 1804 I was allarmed about 10 oClock by the Sentinal, who informed that an Indian was about to kill his wife in the interpeters fire about 60 yards below the works, I went down and Spoke to the fellow about the rash act which he was like to commit and forbid any act of the kind near the fort. Some missunderstanding took place between this man & his fife [wife] about 8 days ago, and She came [here] to this place, & Continued with the Squars of [our] interpeters, 2 days ago She returned to [her] vill’ge. [NB: he might lawfully have killed her for running away.] in the evening of the Same day She came [back] to the interpeters fire appearently much beat, & Stabed in 3 places. We Derected that no man of this party have any intercourse with this woman under the penelty of Punishment. he the Husband observed that one of our Serjeants Slept with his wife & if he wanted her he would give her to him, We derected the Serjeant to give the man Some articles, at which time I told the Indian that I believed [that] not one man of the party had [ever] touched his wife except the one he had given the use of her for a nite, in his own bed, [and that] no man of the party Should touch his Squar, or the wife of any Indian, nor did I believe they touch a woman if they knew her to be the wife of another man, and advised him to take his Squar home and live hapily together in future.
Clark: 30th of November Friday 1804 This morning at 8 oClock an Indian called from the other Side [of the river] and informed that he had Something of Consequence to Communicate. we Sent a perogue for him & he informed us as follows. Viz: "five men of the Mandan Nation out hunting in a S. W. derection was Suprised by a large party of Seeoux [Sioux] & Panies [Arikaras], one man was Killed and two wounded with arrows & 9 Horses taken." We thought it well to Show a Disposition to ade and assist them against their enemies, [so] I crossed the river in about an hour with 23 men and flankd the Town. The Indians not expecting to receive Such Strong aide in So Short a time was much Supprised, and a littled allarmed at [our] formadable appearence. I explained to the nation the cause of my comeing was to assist and Chastise the enemies of our Dutifull Children. after a conversation of a fiew minits anongst themselves, one Chief Said they now Saw that what we hade told them was the trooth, [we] were ready to protect them, and kill those who would not listen to our Good talk. "I knew Said he that the [Arikaras] were liers, [I] told the old Chief that his people were liers and bad men and that we killed them like the Buffalow, when we pleased, we do not want to Kill you, [but] will not Suffer you to Kill us we will make peace with you as our two [American] fathers have derected, but we fear the Ricares [Arikaras] will not be at peace long.” And he said "My father those are the words I Spoke to the [Arikara Chief]. You See they have not opened their ears to your good Councils. My father the Snow is deep and it is cold our horses Cannot travel thro the plains, those people who have Spilt our blood have gone back? if you will go with us in the Spring we will raise the Warriers around about us, and go with you." I told this nation that we Should be always willing and ready to defend them dureing the time we remain in their neighbourhood, I was Sorry that the Snow in the Plains had fallen So Deep I wished to meet those Seeioux & all others who will not open their ears, but make war on our dutifull Children, the Chief Said they all thanked me verry much for the fatherly protection which I Showed towards them, that the Village had been Crying all the night and day for the death of the brave young man, who fell but now they would wipe away their tears, rejoice in their [Great American] fathers protection, and Cry no more.
Lewis: Sunday May 26th 1805 In the after part of the day I walked out and ascended the river hills which I found sufficiently fortiegueing. on arriving to the summit [of] one of the highest points in the neighbourhood I thought myself well repaid for my labour; as from this point I beheld the Rocky Mountains for the first time, I could only discover a few of the most elivated points above the horizon, these points of the Rocky Mountains were covered with snow and the sun shone on it in such manner as to give me the most plain and satisfactory view. while I viewed these mountains I felt a secret pleasure in finding myself so near the head of the heretofore conceived boundless Missouri; but when I reflected on the difficulties which this snowey barrier would most probably throw in my way to the Pacific, and the sufferings and hardships of myself and party in them, it in some measure counterballanced the joy I had felt in the first moments in which I gazed on them; but as I have always held it a crime to anticipate evils I will believe it a good comfortable road untill I am compelled to believe differently.
Lewis: Friday May 31st 1805. The hills and river Clifts which we passed today exhibit a most romantic appearance. The bluffs of the river rise to the hight of 300 feet and in most places nearly perpendicular; they are formed of remarkable white sandstone which is sufficiently soft to give way readily to the impression of water; The water in the course of time in decending from those hills and plains on either side of the river has trickled down the soft sand clifts and woarn it into a thousand grotesque figures, which with the help of a little immagination and an oblique view at a distance are made to represent eligant ranges of lofty freestone buildings, having their parapets well stocked with statuary; collumns of various sculpture both grooved and plain, are seen supporting long galleries in front of those buildings; in other places on a much nearer approach we see the remains or ruins of eligant buildings; [and] a number of the small martin which build their nests with clay, and which were seen hovering about the tops of the collumns did not the less remind us of some of those large stone buildings in the U' States. the thin stratas of hard freestone intermixed with the soft sandstone seems to have aided the water in forming this curious scenery. As we passed on it seemed as if those seens of visionary inchantment would never have and end; for here it is too that nature presents to the view of the traveler vast ranges of walls of tolerable workmanship, so perfect indeed that I should have thought that nature had attempted here to rival the human art of masonry had I not recollected that she had first began her work.
Lewis: Thursday June 20th 1805. the Mountains to the N. W. and West of us are Still entirely Covered are white and glitter with the reflection of the Sun. I do not believe that the Clouds that pervale at this Season of the year reach the Summits of those lofty mountains; and if they do the probability is that they deposit Snow only for there has been no proceptable diminution of the Snow which they Contain Since we first Saw them. I have thought it probable that these mountains might have derived their appellation of Shineing Mountains from their glittering appearance when the Sun Shines in certain directions on the Snow which Cover them.
Lewis: Friday July 19th 1805 this evening we entered much the most remarkable clifts that we have yet seen. these clifts rise from the waters edge on either side perpendicularly to the hight of 1200 feet. every object here wears a dark and gloomy aspect. the tow[er]ing and projecting rocks in many places seem ready to tumble on us. the river appears to have forced it's way through this immence body of solid rock for the distance of 5¾ Miles and where it makes it's exit below has th[r]own on either side vast collumns of rocks mountains high. this rock is a black grannite below and appears to be of a much lighter colour above and from the fragments I take it to be flint of a yellowish brown and light creem-coloured yellow. from the singular appeaerance of this place I called it the gates of the rocky mountains.
Three Forks 01:49
Lewis: Sunday July 28th 1805. Our present camp is precisely on the spot that the Snake [Shoshone] Indians were encamped at the time the Minnetares [Hidatsa] of the Knife R. first [caught] sight of them five years since. from hence they retreated about three miles up Jeffersons river and concealed themselves in the woods, the Minnetares pursued, attacked them, killed 4 men 4 women [and] a number of boys. Sah-cah-gar-we-ah our Indian woman was one of the prisoners taken at that time; tho' I cannot discover that she shews any immotion of sorrow in recollecting this event, or of joy in being restored to her native country; if she has enough to eat and a few trinkets to wear I believe she would be perfectly content anywhere.
Tab-ba-bone 04:59
Lewis: Sunday August 11th, 1805. The track which we had pursued last evening soon disappeared. I therefore resolved to proceed to the narrow pass on the creek in hopes that I should again find the Indian road at the place, I sent [George] Drewyer to keep near the creek to my right, [John] Shields to my left, with orders to surch for the road. After having marched in this order for about five miles I discovered an Indian on horseback coming down the plain toward us. With my glass I discovered from his dress that he was of a different nation from any that we had yet seen, and was satisfyed of his being a Sosone [Shoshone]. His arms were a bow and quiver of arrows, and was mounted on an eligant horse without a saddle, and a small string attatched to the underjaw answered as a bridle. I was overjoyed at the sight of this stranger and had no doubt of obtaining a friendly introduction provided I could get near enough to him to convince him of our being whitemen. He mad[e] a halt which I did also and unloosing my blanket from my pack, I mad[e] him the signal of friendship, which is by holding the [blanket] in your hands at two corners, th[r]owing [it] up in the air higher than the head bringing it to the earth as if in the act of spreading it, thus repeating three times. This signal had not the desired effect, he still kept his position and seemed to view with an air of suspicion Drewyer an[d] Shields now comiming in[to] sight on either hand, I wo[u]ld willingly have made them halt but they were too far distant to hear me and I feared to make any signal to them. I therefore haistened to take out of my sack some b[e]ads a looking glas and a few trinketes and leaving my gun advanced unarmed towards him. [When] I arrived in about 200 paces of him he turn[ed] his ho[r]se about and began to move off slowly from me; I now called to him in as loud a voice as I could command repeating the word tab-ba-bone, which in their language signifyes white-man. But lo[o]king over his sholder he still kept his eye on Drewyer and Sheilds still advancing. I now made a signal to halt, Drewyer obeyed but Shields kept on. The Indian halted again and turned his ho[r]se about. I again repepeated the word tab-ba-bone and held up the trinkits in my hands and striped up my shirt sleve to [show] him the colour of my skin but he did not remain. He suddonly turned his ho[r]se about, gave him the whip leaped the creek disapeared in the willow brush in an instant and with him vanished all my hopes of obtaining horses for the present.
Lewis: Sunday August 18th 1805. This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little indeed, to further the hapiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought and resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least indeavour to promote those two primary objects of human existence, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestoed on me; or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself.
Lewis: Tuesday August 13th 1805. The road was dusty and appeared to have been much traveled lately. We had not continued our rout more than a mile when we were so fortunate as to meet with three female savages. The short and steep ravines which we passed concealed us from each other untill we arrived within 30 paces. a young woman immediately took to flight, an Elderly woman and a girl of about 12 years old remained. I instantly laid by my gun and advanced towards them. they appeared much allarmed but saw that we were to near for them to escape by flight. They therefore seated themselves on the ground, holding down their heads as if reconciled to die I took the elderly woman by the hand and raised her up repeated the word tab-ba-bone and strip[ped] up my shirt sleve to s[h]ew her my skin. They appeared instantly reconciled. I gave [them] some beads a few mockerson awls some pewter looking-glasses and a little paint. I now painted their tawny cheeks with some vermillion which with this nation is emblematic of peace. After they had become composed I informed them by signs that I wished them to conduct us to their camp. They readily obeyed and we set out, still pursuing the road down the river. We had marched about 2 miles when we met a party of 60 warriors. When they arrived I advanced towards them with the flag leaving my gun with the party. The women informed them who we were and exultingly shewed the presents which [we] had given them. These men then advanced and embraced me very affectionately in their way which is by puting their left arm over you wright sholder clasping your back, while they apply their left cheek to yours and frequently vociforate the word âh-hi'-e, âh-hi'-e that is, I am much pleased, I am much rejoiced. Bothe parties now advanced and we wer all carresed and besmeared with their grease and paint till I was heartily tired of the national hug.
Clark: September 14th Thursday [NB: Saturday] 1805 / Wednesday [NB: Sunday] Septr. 15th 1805 In the Valies it rained and hailed, on the top of the mountains Some Snow fell. We set out early and proceeded on Down the right Side of [NB: Koos koos kee] River over Steep points rockey & buschey as usial for 4 miles to an old Indian fishing place. Here the road leaves the river to the left and assends a mountain winding in every direction to get up the Steep assents & to pass the emence quantity of falling timber which had [been] falling from dift. causes i e fire & wind. Several horses Sliped and roled down [the] Steep hills which hurt them verry much. The one which Carried my desk & Small trunk Turned over & roled down a mountain for 40 yards & lodged against a tree, broke the Desk the horse escaped and appeared but little hurt. After two hours delay we proceeded on up the mountain Steep & ruged as usial, more timber near the top, when we arrived at the top As we Conceved we could find no water and Concluded to Camp and make use of the Snow we found on the top to cook the remnt. of our Colt. [The] evening verry Cold and Cloudy. [The men] much fatigued & horses more So Two of our horses gave out, pore and too much hurt to proceed on, nothing killed to day except 2 Phests. From this mountain I could observe high ruged mountains in every direction as far as I could See.
Clark: November 7th Thursday 1805 Ocian in view! O! the joy Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian, this great Pacific Octean which we been So long anxious to See. and the roreing or noise made by the waves brakeing on the rockey Shores may be heard disti[n]ctly.
Clark: November 11th Monday 1805 A hard rain all the last night, dureing the last tide the logs on which we lay was all on float. The wind verry high from the S. W. with most tremendious waves brakeing with great violence against the Shores. 12 oClock 5 Indians came down in a canoe, [they] Crossed the river (5 miles wide) through the highest waves I ever Saw a Small vestles ride. [It] rained all day. the great quantites of rain which has loosened the Stones on the hill Sides, and the Small Stones fall down upon us, [and] our canoes at one place at the mercy of the waves, our baggage in another. And our Selves and party Scattered on floating logs and Such dry Spots as can be found on the hill Sides, and Crivices of the rocks. 12 oClock 5 Indians came down in a canoe, Those Indians are Certainly the best Canoe navigaters I ever Saw. [The] rain falling in torrents, [It] rained all day.


"Songs of Lewis & Clark" is a song cycle setting the journals of Lewis and Clark to music. With lyrics taken directly from the journals, the songs reveal moments of awe, reflection, humor and joy during the course of the 1804-1806 expedition through the newly purchased Louisiana territory.

Lewis & Clark author Frances Hunter praised the album, saying: "Unlike any music I have heard in years, Bouchard’s approach demands that you stop and listen... [she] sings in such a way as to bring out the drama, poignancy, and poetry of the language."


released November 8, 2008


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Sara Bouchard Richmond, Virginia

I am a multi-disciplinary artist and songwriter with a strong foothold in American roots. As an artist, I investigate ways to interact with and represent the American landscape through song. As a musician, I perform original and traditional tunes - drawn from bluegrass, old-time, jazz, country and blues - with my band SALT PARADE. ... more

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