Shoshonee [sic] Indians - Fording a River

Alfred Jacob Miller1858-1860

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

"A camp of Indians leaving an enemy in the rear,- journeying towards the river,- ford it,- continue their course along its banks for a time, and then recross. This stratagem is effected to baffle their pursuers,- throw them out,- and afford no clue to their whereabouts. A whole village moves off in this manner with short notice,- tents and lodges being packed on mules, while the poles are secured by the ends and trail on the ground. They have with them a goodly number of dogs, not only for active service,- but as a bonne bouche in a season of scarcity of provisions." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837).

In July 1858 William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at twelve dollars apiece from Baltimore born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, and were delivered in installments over the next twenty-one months and ultimately were bound in three albums. Transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during the 1837 expedition that Miller had undertaken to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (in what is now western Wyoming), these watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.

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