Return of the grizzly

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July 15, 1806
A little before dark McNeal returned with his musket broken off at the breach, he had approached a white bear within ten feet without discovering him, the bear being in the thick brush. The horse took the alarm and turning short threw him immediately under the bear; this animal raised himself on his hinder feet for battle, and gave him time to recover from his fall which he did in an instant and with his clubbed musket he struck the bear over the head and cut him with the guard of the gun and broke off the breech… This gave McNeal time to climb a willow tree which was near at hand… It seems that the hand of providence has been most wonderfully in our favor with respect to them, or some of us would long since have fallen a sacrifice to their ferocity.
--Meriwether Lewis.

 

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