October 16, 1832

16 October: At seven o’clock, temperature of 5°R [43.3°F, 6.3°C], thus very cool. Dense, cold fog besides. When the sun was already high in the sky, the rudder was brought on board. At eleven thirty we finally departed, after various additional kinds of things had been loaded and all kinds of arrangements made. We sailed past the steamboats named above, made a nice curve in the river up toward Louisville, then sailed down the Ohio past the steam ferry that crosses between Portland and New Albany. Near New Albany were the steamboats Criterion, Mohican, Isabella, Hawkeye, Entreprise, Highlander, and two without names. Then we moved downstream close to the right, or Indiana, bank. Attached to our steamboat was the flat keelboat Abeona, loaded with goods, which one could always board in order to walk back and forth on it during the voyage. To the right, in Indiana, we had forest with cultivated fields; to the left in Kentucky, forest; and in the river, a sandbar.

We halted just a quarter of an hour below [New] Albany and took on wood, but it had been discovered that [something] had broken on our steam engine, and the captain told us that we had barely escaped having our ship blown to bits. We made use of the stop to go ashore.

The upper half of the rather steep, fifty-foot-high bank incline was overgrown with Datura, whose seeds were now ripe, yet there were still some light-violet blossoms. Several beautifully blue Eupatorium coelestinum and Lobelia (syphilitica) were blooming among the Daturas. On top, among several cornfields with log cabins, was the beginning of a splendid primeval forest of tall beeches, maples, oaks, walnut trees, etc., which extended farther inland. Pawpaw trees formed the understory; on the riverbank before the forest, Cassia (marilandica?) with ripe seeds. Here in the forest were huge trees, especially maple and Platanus, which three or four men cannot encircle. Several twining plants, Vitis and Hedera, formed long, thick dangling vines and ropes. On the ground, many thick trunks were rotting; mosses on them. Some of the leaves had already fallen. Here there were some interesting birds. Mr. Bodmer shot a splendid pileated woodpecker (Picus pileatus), a red-bellied (P. carolinus), and the smallest one, a downy (P. pubescens). There are wild turkeys everywhere, which however, are very timid in inhabited regions. We would have stayed in this beautiful forest for a long time if rain had not driven us back to the ship. Dreidoppel had already skinned and prepared the birds in the forest; we presently went back on board.

[Page 1:121]An inhabitant of the region around Jackson [Mississippi] on the Pearl River, Mr. Burr Garland, had accompanied us and told us much about the interesting region where he lived and invited us there. He returned from the tall forest with us, and we spent the whole evening chatting with him. The bank was very eroded at the place where we lay to; old stumps and trunks stood everywhere; higher up, where the forest begins, lay large numbers of old and uprooted trunks. Our discordant horn (bugle) music could be heard intermittently; two young persons were blowing the horns. The first horn was rather good, but the second was completely out of tune. Mr. Bodmer and I passed the time by playing casino until eleven o’clock; three other whist games had begun. At seven o’clock in the evening, the ship was again under way.

Date: 
Tuesday, October 16, 1832
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Charlotte Spires
Zachary Joyce