Lewis and Clark Today Logo

On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

After many delays, Lewis finally departs from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with 11 hands manning the keelboat. At camp below McKees Rocks, Lewis shows off his new air gun, and Blaze Cenas accidentally shoots a female spectator.

From the journals...

a Mr. Blaze Cenas being unacquainted with the management of the gun suffered her to discharge herself accedentaly    the ball passed through the hat of a woman about 40 yards distanc cuting her temple about the fourth of the diameter of the ball; shee fell instantly and the blood gusing from her temple    we were all in the greatest consternation    supposed she was dead by [but] in a minute she revived to our enespressable satisfaction, and by examination we found the wound by no means mortal or even dangerous.

Meriwether Lewis

Girandoni air rifle

Old rifle with a large, metal stock that holds the air

This photo is provided as a service by the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

halted for the night much fatiegued after labouring with my men all day— the water being sufficiently temperate was much in our favor; gave my men some whiskey and retired to rest at 8 OClock—

Meriwether Lewis

Gill of whiskey

Small copper cup