Another New Year

Page 9 of 9

Figure 12

Fort Clatsop (replica)

Looking out a cabin window at a line of other cabins

Photo ©2008 by Kris Townsend, used by permission.

Another New Year

The next morning, the captains were "awoke at an early hour by the discharge of a Volley of Small arms, which were fired by our party in front of our quarters to usher in the new year, this was the only mark of respect which we had it in our power to pay this Selibrated day." But the captains had to get down to business without delay. With information from "the Indians," Clark made a list of traders who had previously entered the estuary to trade with the natives, 13 in all, including the captain's names, the "quallity of their Vessels," and how long it might be before they appeared again. Inexplicably, neither Robert Gray nor his good ship Columbia were mentioned, which might simply mean that Gray's visit was ancient history to the natives.

Meanwhile, Lewis issued new detachment orders "for the more exact and uniform dicipline and government of the garrison." Each of the captains supped that evening on a marrow bone and tongue from the two freshly killed elk. Then, as New Year's Day came to a close, Clark allowed himself a rare moment of homesickness: "[O]ur repast of this day tho' better than that of Christmas Consisted principally in the anticipation of the 1st day of January 1807, when in the bosum of our friends we hope to participate in the mirth and hilarity of the day, and when with the relish given by the recollection of the present, we Shall Completely, both mentally and Corporally, [relish?] the repast which the hand of Civilization has produced for us."

Sergeant Gass's journal for the day centered on a salutary postscript to their three-month postgraduate seminar on survival: "We gave our Fortification the name of Fort Clatsop."