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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 177, October 28, 1853

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Identifier: DX04191627

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 177, October 28, 1853

Description: Describes crossing the Mississippi River in a leaky boat.


it. Not very imposing at first sight, the banks are all low lying, and at this part it was certainly not over a mile wide. Its color was a yellowish brown, dirtyish looking. There was a wide space now, from levee to river bank, all overflowed in winter. It must look very grand, and very dreary then. My companions were naturally exhilarated at the conclusion of the journey, nor was I sorry. Everybody was heartily worried of it, and pronounced “Going down the River by land” to be a dismal business. / And now riding southwards awhile, for perhaps two miles, we stop at the house of an acquaintance; and resisting the hospitable entreaties of the overseers handsome wife, to tarry all night, we leave our horses there, and turn out into the cold gloomy night with the resolve to cross the Mississippi. Maurice Keene had found a boat and boatman, and we having walked for half a mile or so, over the dreary wet flat, descend a steep muddy declivity of perhaps thirty feet to where lies the boat on the muddy, rushing, eddying river. It was a very crazy boat, and the started planks admitted a line of light to be seen half way round her; also there were holes, and already water in her. I did not comprehend the whole of the danger, not espying it in the gloom, and fancying it only a leak or so. But Keene Richards did, and he was loud in his objurgations of Maurice for having hired such an ark, and his indifference to the risk. So much so, as we put off, and the two boatmen rowed out into the middle of the stream, they began in a rough way to make merry with what they considered his imaginary terrors. We had about two miles distance to make, or rather three, going slantwise southwards across the river to what was called Tompkins Bend. I felt chilly, and dismal, and sate by Maurice Keene in the storm part of the boat, looking up to the myriads of stars, unusually bright to my ken. A desultory conversation was kept up, varied by Richards comments on the folly of crossing in such a boat. Moved by this the boatman, — they were two, quite young fellows, crossed more immediately over, so as to have the coast nearer. We

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-10-28

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Horses
Boats and boating
Mississippi River


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