Lewis ever played favorites among the men of the Corps of
Discovery, then George Drouillard was his man.
make it clear: The captain thought as much of Drouillard as anyone:
scercely know how we Should Subsist, I believe but badly if
it was not for the exertions of this excellent hunter."
was almost always the first man Lewis chose to take with him on
any exploration. Drouillard had signed on with the expedition
at Fort Massac on the Ohio River, a short distance before the
junction with the Mississippi. At 28, he already was a well-known
woodsman in these parts. The son of a French-Canadian father and
a Shawnee mother, Drouillard served as Lewis' main interpreter.
His upbringing had made him expert in Indian ways. He spoke a
couple of Indian languages fluently. He also spoke French and
English expertly and was highly skilled in the Indian sign language.
helped feed the Corps thanks to his ability as a skilled hunter
and trapper along the Missouri River.
all Drouillard had going for him. He was a skilled frontiersman,
hunter, trapper, and scout. People also spoke of his personality.
With his lanky build, straight black hair, and dark eyes he was
calm and confident. No situation was likely to rattle him.
up on these traits and liked him from the start.
appears in Lewis' journals as much as any man of the Corps. Lewis
never hesitated to take advantage of Drouillard's skills. Of course,
the only thing Lewis couldn't manage to get right was the spelling
of Drouillard's name. Lewis usually wrote "Drewyer,"
though other versions appeared. Even after the expedition, Lewis
misspelled Drouillard's name as "Drulyard" in his formal
recommendation letter for pay.
Drouillard participated prominently in most of the major events
of the expedition. Perhaps chief among them was the Marias River
exploration on the return trip in 1806. His cry of "Damn,
you!" to the Piegan Indian trying to steal his rifle awakened
Lewis on that July 27, and within minutes two young Piegans, members
of the Blackfeet, lay dead at the hands of Lewis' small party.
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