Meanwhile, the season being come when the Indians quit the seashore and the banks of the Columbia, to retire into the woods and establish their winter quarters along the small streams and rivers, we began to find ourselves short of provisions, having received no supplies from them for some time. It was therefore determined that Mr. R. Stuart should set out in the schooner with Mr. Mumford, for the threefold purpose, of obtaining all the provisions they could, cutting oaken staves for the use of the cooper, and trading with the Indians up the river. They left with this design on the 12th. At the end of five days Mr. Mumford returned in a canoe of Indians. This man having wished to assume the command, and to order (in the style of Captain Thorn) the person who had engaged him to obey, had been sent back in consequence to Astoria.
On the 10th of November we discovered that three of our people had absconded, viz., P.D. Jeremie, and the two Belleaux. They had leave to go out shooting for two days, and carried off with them firearms and ammunition, and a handsome light Indian canoe. As soon as their flight was known, having procured a large canoe of the Chinooks, we embarked, Mr. Matthews and I, with five natives, to pursue them, with orders to proceed as far as the Falls, if necessary. On the 11th, having ascended the river to a place called Oak Point, we overtook the schooner lying at anchor, while Mr. Stuart was taking in a load of staves and hoop-poles. Mr. Farnham joined our party, as well as one of the hands, and thus reinforced, we pursued our way, journeying day and night, and stopping at every Indian village, to make inquiries and offer a reward for the apprehension of our runaways. Having reached the Falls without finding any trace of them, and our provisions giving out, we retraced our steps, and arrived on the 16th at Oak Point, which we found Mr. Stuart ready to quit.
Meanwhile, the natives of the vicinity informed us that they had seen the marks of shoes imprinted on the sand, at the confluence of a small stream in the neighborhood. We got three small canoes, carrying two persons each, and having ascertained that the information was correct, after searching the environs during a part of the 17th, we ascended the small stream as far as some high lands which are seen from Oak Point, and which lie about eight or nine miles south of it. The space between these high lands and the ridge crowned with oaks on the bank of the Columbia, is a low and swampy land, cut up by an infinity of little channels. Toward evening we returned on our path, to regain the schooner; but instead of taking the circuitous way of the river, by which we had come, we made for Oak Point by the most direct route, through these channels; but night coming on, we lost ourselves. Our situation became the most disagreeable that can be imagined. Being unable to find a place where we could land, on account of the morass, we were obliged to continue