AUDUBON, John James. Autograph manuscript, "Breaking up of the Ice," published in vol. III Ornithological Biography, pp.408-10. 2 pages, folio, approximately 800 words with 4 corrections, a few repairs.
"CLOGGED WITH ICE": AUDUBON TRAPPED ON THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI
The present manuscript contains nearly the complete episode from the "Breaking up of the Ice" section of volume three of Audubon's Ornithological Biography (pp. 408-410). Only the last paragraph is lacking.
"Whilst on a Voyage on the upper Mississippi, by which I here mean above its junction with the River Ohio, the former stream suddenly became clogged with ice, and the chief conductor of my Bark who was a Canadian Frenchman brought us into Winter Quarters, in a great bay of the Mighty River called the Tawapatee Bottom... The Woods are full of Game-- the Deer, the Wild Turkey, Raccoon and opossums might be seen ever around our Camp, which in the Ice that now closes the broad stream Swans in flocks were seen to ripose [sic] whilst at times Wolves prowling cunningly to surprise them but all in vain..."
Audubon details the six weeks spent at Tawapatee Bottom: "the waters had kept continually sinking, our boat was now high and dry on the shore, keeling on one side as if asleep-- the Ice had formed on either side of the stream into high banks, rough and tumbling into heaps equal I suppose to those mentioned as existing towards the Arctic Pole--one Pilot never failing to verify the river daily under the hope of a change in our condition and our one night whilst our party was all going to sleep except himself, he suddenly awakened the whole by his long cries of the Ice is breaking! arouse! arouse! Down to the boat, bring me your gear--here let us have a torch... Startled as if attacked by a party of Native Warriors, ... down the bank fell we all each and all scrambled..."
Provenance: Mrs. Grace Phillips Johnson (1877-1972, her sale Christie's New York, 26 May 1977, lot 86).