Wednesday, 30 April, 1828

On the Susquehannah

We found today in our progress that there were many islands situated in the River and that it contained many shallow places so that it required a pilot who had descended often in order to conduct one of these rafts in safety. Ours seemed to be familiar with every crook and turn, and was a very humorsome and eccentric man. Our whole crew were very agreeable. The raft contained two hundred thousand feet of inch plank. Oars were attached to it so that it could be moved in any direction and it frequently happened that it had to be rowed quite to the opposite side of the River - which took considerable time and labour to accomplish. And when it became necessary, they commenced several miles above the place designated. This was done to avoid shoals and rocks or to get into a better current. In some places called rapids, the water runs very swift and rough. In these places the Raft will run a mile in a few minutes. These rapids are generally situated where the hills compress the water into a narrow compass or when the River spreads over more than usual ground. These latter are the most to be dreaded in consequence of the rocks reaching near or above the surface of the water. In passing over some of these places our raft would frequently grate over these immovable barriers.