So, I was looking at the Jim Beam Website (one of these days I plan to review just websites and have a vote for the best) and saw this picture…..
I thought it was funny, but then it made me think….how much Whiskey did they really take along?
Well, fellow readers….the amount wasn’t as much as I expected. 300 gallons. Just under 6 Gallons a man….that lasted them a year.
Each day, the men were given a ration of 1 GILL (about 4 ounces) and forced to consume it immediately (to prevent hoarding and drunkenness). Then they began to water that whiskey down to stretch it out. Every man in the expedition knew exactly how much whiskey was left, so when Pvt Hugh Hall was caught “taking whiskey out of the keg this morning which whiskey was stored on the bank (and under the charge of the Guard).” , he was court-martialed and given 50 lashes. Incidentally, on June 29th….my birthday.
Eventually, they did run out of whiskey though…and it makes you wonder if they took a page from history. Napoleon once said, “Whenever you set off on a march, make sure you’ve got plenty of beer and wine along and that it’s enough to last until you get far enough away from camp so that the men don’t desert”. That’s basically what happened with Lewis and Clark. They brought enough whiskey along to get them through to the Great Falls. The last drink of hard liquor was on July 4th 1805. By then, they were so far into the wilderness….it was way too late for anybody to desert.
The men trudged on for over a year more before the expedition ended in September of 1806. At a few points along the way, they got beer….but no hard spirits. I can only imagine how rough that would have been during the winters of the plains.
Raise a glass to these brave and sober souls……without them, what would have America turned out like?