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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 178, October 28, 1853

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Identifier: DX04192542

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 178, October 28, 1853

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


had noticed a long, low lying sand bar; and now dimly the desired shore loomed towards us. We might have been within fifty yards, and one of the boatman was saying jestingly, in reply to Keene Richards, “By God I think the water is coming in!” when the boat began to fill rapidly. Over ankles, and mid leg high about instantaneously! One fellow dropped his oar. “Row! row — quick!” said Maurice Keene, and they put out their strength — they were rowing for life, and knew it! The movement and oscillation of the boat had shipped a great deal of water, from the crevice, scarcely an inch from the water level, the water was now rushing in fast, and did the weight of it sink us below the line of that fatal crack, we should go down in fifty feet water, like a stone. [Oliver] Kellam seized a tin vessel kept for the purpose and commence baling. I did the like with my hat, but a cry warns me that the oscillation caused by the movement more than counterbalances the good. So I sit still. I comprehended the full horror of the position. I had on the india rubber suit, big loose leggings which would have instantaneously filled with water, and dragged me down, despite all swimming, I knew the water was deep and deathly cold, and strong currents running; the shore steep and muddy; and it was night; no human sight or sound near. But just as the boat fills we run in shore, — thirty seconds longer would have drowned us all! The Boatmen were horrible scared — they knew the escape they’d had from the terrible Mississippi, — one shook all over. Getting out our drenched baggage, we clambered under the trunk of an monstrous fallen tree, up a steep sandy, muddy bank, and into some dark fields. Here leaving baggage at the corner of a fence, we pushed on, along a broad road, made in a wide open space. Pursuing this for a mile, we passing two gates, came at length to the house, all embosomed in trees. Noiselessly opening the gate, for they wished to surprise their friends, they stole up to the door. Keene Richards went off to effect a

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-10-28

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Transportation
Boats and boating
Mississippi River


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