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Главная » Фотоальбом » Lewis & Clark Gallery » ORDWAY'S MAST, June 4, 1804
'On June 4, 1804 William Clark recorded in his journal, “Our mast broke by the boat running under a tree.' His entry didn’t point out who had been to blame and it may easily have remained a mystery as none of the other journal writers did either except one. Sgt. John Ordway was more specific, 'Our mast broke by my steering the boat (alone) near the shore,... the mast got fast in a limb of a sycamore tree & broke it very easy.' I feel this ability to assume responsibility may have been reflective of the conscientious manner with which Sgt. Ordway seemed to execute all his duties: faithfully and fully. This incident occurred very close to present day Jefferson City, Missouri and caused a delay as the necessary repairs were made. I’ve depicted the scene just after the moment of impact as the momentum of the loaded keelboat is carrying it into the Sycamore and the men are frantically attempting to push off with the setting poles with which the boat was equipped. Sgt. Ordway is at the tiller under the awning which might possibly have obstructed his view of the massive trees that commonly overhung the river. In the bow is one of the French Canadian boatmen who had been employed in St. Charles. One or more of these engeges were assigned to be at the bow of the keelboat at all times because of their skill at reading the river. One of the Sergeants stationed midships can be seen bellowing up to Ordway. The men are in their fatigue uniforms, which consisted of a short linen jacket and white linen pantaloons, tucked into black gaiters. A mix of round hats and fatigue caps are on their heads. Up until this emergency they seem to have been enjoying a rare moment of sailing. Usually the massive keelboat had to be poled or cordelled up the river, a feat we can only marvel at today.
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