"As they went on towards the point, Captain Lewis, perceiving how critical his situation had become, resolved to attempt a stratagem, which his present difficulty seemed completely to justify. Recollecting the notes he had left at the point for us, he sent Drewyer for them with an Indian, who witnessed his taking them from the pole. When they were brought, Captain Lewis told Cameahwait that, on leaving his brother chief at the place where the river issues from the mountains, it was agreed that the boats should not be brought higher than the next forks we should meet; but that, if the rapid water prevented the boats from coming on as fast as they expected, his brother chief was to send a note to the first forks above him, to let him know where they were: that this note had been left this morning at the forks, and mentioned that the canoes were just below the mountains, and coming up slowly in consequence of the current. Captain Lewis added that he would stay at the forks for his brother chief, but would send a man down the river; and that if Cameahwait doubted what he said, one of their young men could go with him, while he and the other two remained at the forks. This story satisfied the chief and the greater part of the Indians; but a few did not conceal their suspicions, observing that we told different stories, and complaining that their chief exposed them to danger by a mistaken confidence. Captain Lewis now wrote, by the light of some willow-brush, a note to Captain Clark, which he gave to Drewyer, with an order to use all possible expedition in descending the river, and engaged an Indian to accompany him by the promise of a knife and some beads.
"At bedtime the chief and five others slept round the fire of Captain Lewis, and the rest hid themselves in different parts of the willow-brush to avoid the enemy, who, they feared, would attack them in the night. Captain Lewis endeavored to assume a cheerfulness he did not feel, to prevent the despondency of the savages. After conversing gayly with them he retired to his mosquito-bier, by the side of which the chief now placed himself. He lay down, yet slept but little, being in fact scarcely less uneasy than his Indian companions. He was apprehensive that, finding the ascent of the river impracticable, Captain Clark might have stopped below Rattlesnake bluff, and the messenger would not meet him. The consequence of disappointing the Indians at this moment would most probably be that they would retire and secrete themselves in the mountains, so as to prevent our having an opportunity of recovering their confidence. They would also spread a panic through all the neighboring Indians, and cut us off from the supply of horses so useful and almost so essential to our success. He was at the same time consoled by remembering that his hopes of assistance rested on better foundations than their generosity-- their avarice and their curiosity. He had promised liberal exchanges for their horses; but what was still more seductive, he had told them that one of their countrywomen, who had been taken with the Minnetarees, accompanied the party below; and one of the men had spread the report of our having with us a man [York] perfectly black, whose hair was short and curled. This last account had excited a great degree of curiosity, and they seemed more desirous of seeing this monster than of obtaining the most favorable barter for their horses."
On the following day, August 17, the two parties of explorers finally met. Under that date the journal has this interesting entry:--
"Captain Lewis rose very early and despatched Drewyer and the Indian down the river in quest of the boats. Shields was sent out at the same time to hunt, while M'Neal prepared a breakfast out of the remainder of the meat. Drewyer had been gone about two hours, and the Indians were all anxiously waiting for some news, when an Indian, who had straggled a short distance down the river, returned with a report that he had seen the white men, who were only a short distance below, and were coming on. The Indians were transported with joy, and the chief, in the warmth of his satisfaction, renewed his embrace to Captain Lewis, who was quite as much delighted as the Indians themselves. The report proved most agreeably true.
"On setting out at seven o'clock, Captain Clark, with Chaboneau and his wife, walked on shore; but they had not gone more than a mile before Captain Clark saw Sacajawea, who was with her husband one hundred yards ahead, begin to dance and show every mark of the most extravagant joy, turning round to him and pointing to several Indians, whom he now saw advancing on horseback, sucking her fingers at the same time, to indicate that they were of her native tribe. As they advanced, Captain Clark discovered among them Drewyer dressed like an Indian, from whom be learned the situation of the party. While the boats were performing the circuit, he went toward the forks with the Indians, who, as they went along, sang aloud with the greatest appearance of delight.
"We soon drew near the camp, and just as we approached it a woman made her way through the crowd toward Sacajawea; recognizing each other, they embraced with the most tender affection. The meeting of these two young women had in it something peculiarly touching, not only from the ardent manner in which their feelings were expressed, but also from the real interest of their situation. They had been companions in childhood; in the war with the Minnetarees they had both been taken prisoners in the same battle; they had shared and softened the rigors of their captivity till one of them had escaped from their enemies with scarce a hope of ever seeing her friend rescued from their hands.
"While Sacajawea was renewing among the women the friendships of former days, Captain Clark went on, and was received by Captain Lewis and the chief, who, after the first embraces and salutations were over, conducted him to a sort of circular tent or shade of willows. Here he was seated on a white robe; and the chief immediately tied in his hair six small shells resembling pearls, an ornament highly valued by these people, who procure them in the course of trade from the seacoast. The moccasins of the whole party were then taken off, and, after much ceremony, the smoking began. After this the conference was to be opened; and, glad of an opportunity of being able to converse more intelligibly, Sacajawea was sent for: she came into the tent, sat down, and was beginning to interpret, when in the person of Cameahwait she recognized her brother. She instantly jumped up, and ran and embraced him, throwing over him her blanket, and weeping profusely: the chief was himself moved, though not in the same degree. After some conversation between them she resumed her seat, and attempted to interpret for us; but her new situation seemed to overpower her, and she was frequently interrupted by her tears. After the council was finished, the unfortunate woman learned that all her family were dead except two brothers, one of whom was absent, and a son of her eldest sister, a small boy, who was immediately adopted by her."
The two parties, Indian and white, now went into a conference, the white chiefs explaining that it would be needful for their Indian friends to collect all their horses and help to transport the goods of the explorers over the Great Divide. The journal says:--