Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Corps Of Discovery Loses One...!

Hard to imagine what kind of hardships and obstacles faced the exploration of Lewis and Clark. We can still learn today from that long ago trip.

For this group to even attempt such a journey says a lot about their adventurous nature and their courage, that's for sure! To only lose a single member of their team is astounding to me, given everything they faced!

Aug 20, 1804:
Corps of Discovery suffers its only death

Sergeant Charles Floyd dies three months into the voyage of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, becoming the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die during the journey.

Lewis and Clark left St. Louis the previous May, heading up the Missouri River with a party of 35 men, called the Corps of Discovery. Among the voyagers was Charles Floyd, a native of Kentucky who had enlisted in the U.S. military a few years earlier. When word went out asking for volunteers to join the ambitious expedition across the continent to the Pacific, Floyd was among the first to apply. Young, vigorous, and better educated than most of the soldiers, Floyd was a natural choice. The two co-captains not only selected him to join the mission, they promoted him to sergeant.

Sadly, Floyd's part in the great voyage of the Corps of Discovery was short-lived. By late July, Lewis and Clark reported that Floyd "has been very sick for several days." He seemed to grow better for a time, but on August 15, he was "seized with a complaint somewhat like a violent chorlick [colic]... [and] he was sick all night." Concerned, the two captains did what they could to treat Floyd's ailment, but the previously robust young man steadily weakened.

The illness grew severe during the evening of August 19, and Clark sat up with the suffering man almost the entire night. Floyd died in the early afternoon of this day, reportedly "with a good deal of composure." The members of the expedition buried his body on a high bluff overlooking a river that flowed into the Missouri, affixing a red-cedar post with his name, title, and date of death over the grave. Lewis read the funeral service, and the two captains concluded the ceremony by naming the nearby stream Floyds River and the hill Floyds Bluff.

Lewis and Clark regretted that their limited wilderness medical skills were inadequate to cure the young soldier, yet even if Floyd had been in Philadelphia, the best doctors of the day would likely have been unable to save him. Based on the symptoms described by Lewis and Clark, modern physicians have concluded that Floyd was probably suffering from acute appendicitis. When his appendix ruptured, Floyd quickly died of peritonitis. Lacking antibiotics and ignorant of the proper surgical procedures, no early 19th century physician could have done much more than Lewis and Clark did.

On their triumphant return journey from the Pacific in 1806, Lewis and Clark stopped to pay their respects at Sergeant Floyd's grave. Amazingly, Floyd's was the only death the Corps of Discovery suffered in more than two years of dangerous wilderness travel.

One of the lessons we can take from this journey is that even today, we need to be able to recognize and deal with all sorts of emergencies, even medical ones, during a bug out, retreat, or camping trip to an isolated area! Even something as innocent as a camping trip can be deadly if the right knowledge and procedures are not available. There is never such a thing as too much knowledge, especially when preparing for any future situation, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's cool for a change and we need to take advantage of it!


Chickenmom said...

Their journals make fascinating reading. Everyone should know basic first aid, though. Don't think many could do surgery. Since it's cooler I bring some lemon meringue pie for all!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I didn't trace his genealogy but the Floyd of KY typically came from VA and can trace native ancestors back to Powhatan. They were an influential early family and there is even a Floyd county.

linda m said...

Basic first aid is something everyone should know. I know mine has come in handy a few times. Especially when my son was younger and we didn't live close to a doctor or hospital. Very hot and humid here so coffee outside at your place sounds good and thanks Chickenmom for the lemon meringue pie.

Sixbears said...

We tend to forget how far modern medicine has come. With all its faults, there are some things only a good hospital can deal with.

JO said...

That is one of the best reads. I have enjoyed reading about the expedition. To bad such a bright young man had to pass like that.

Coffee on the patio and lemon meringue pie thank you.

Dizzy-Dick said...

A while back, there was problem at the research base on Antarctica. The only doctor at the base came down with acute appendicitis and had to operate on himself.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
The pie sounds great!

Even Lewis and Clark admitted their lack of any kind of medicine or treatment. Something to consider!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sunnybrook...
I figured he was from an influential family since he was so educated.

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Linda...
We forget that many times, even the smallest thing can get bad very quickly without some kind of treatment.

Unfortunately, I reckon no one could have helped him much. Sad!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Sixbears...
That is so true, my friend.

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Hey Jo...
Hard to believe that they only lost the one member, with all they faced!

Their journals are a big part of American history!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

Hey Dizzy...
Extreme situations call for extreme solutions! I think the doctor recovered, right?

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hermit Ladee said...

PBS had a two or three part series on the Corp of Discovery. It was excellent! Yes, it's hard to believe a journey as long and as dangerous as that only had one death. And from the PBS series it would seem that, for some at least, their "normal" life after the long journey was a harder struggle. Who would have thought?