Read As you read this primary source, think about the difficulties Washington and Gist faced when they were crossing the Allegheny River.
“…I took my necessary Papers, pulled off my Cloaths; tied myself up in a Match Coat; and with my Pack at my Back with my Papers and Provisions in it, and a Gun, set out with Mr. Gist, fitted in the same Manner, on Wednesday the 26th. The Day following, just after we had passed a Place called the Murdering-Town, where we intended to quit the Path, and steer across the Country for Shannapins Town, we fell in with a Party of French Indians, who had lain in Wait for us; one of them fired at Mr. Gist or me, not 15 Steps, but fortunately missed. We took this fellow into Custody, and kept him till about 9 o’Clock at Night, and then let him go, and walked all the remaining Part of the Night without making any Stop, that we might get the Start, so far, as to be out of the Reach of their Pursuit the next Day, as we were well assured they would follow our Tract as soon as it was light: The next Day we continued travelling till quite dark, and got to the River about two Miles above Shannapins; we expected to have found the River frozen, but it was not, only about 50 Yards from each Shore; the Ice I suppose had broke up above, for it was driving in vast Quantities.
“There was no Way for getting over but on a Raft, which we set about, with but one poor Hatchet, and got finished just after Sun-setting, after a whole Days Work; we got it launched, and on Board of it, and set off; but before we were Half Way over, we were jammed in the Ice in such a Manner that we expected every Moment our Raft to sink, and ourselves to perish; I put out my setting Pole to try to stop the Raft, that the Ice might pass by, when the Rapidity of the Stream threw it with so much Violence against the Pole, that it jirked me out into ten Feet Water, but I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the Raft Logs; notwithstanding all our Efforts we could not get the Raft to either Shore, but were obliged, as we were near an Island, to quit our Raft and make to it.
“The Cold was so extremely severe, that Mr. Gist, had all his Fingers, and some of his Toes frozen, and the Water was shut up so hard, that we found no Difficulty in getting off the Island, on the Ice, in the Morning, and went to Mr. Frazier’s…”
-- from the Journal of Major George Washington