I just came across this doing a little Lewis & Clark research.
Q: How important was whiskey on the expedition?
A: You know, Napoleon said, whenever you set off on a march, make sure youíve got
plenty of beer and wine along and that itís enough to last until you get far
enough away from camp so that nobody can desert. And thatís basically what
happened with Lewis and Clark. They brought enough whiskey along to get them
through to the Great Falls. And then they ran out. Well that was way too late
for anybody to desert. They measured out the whiskey, gave them about enough, a
gill of whiskey, about four ounces, enough so that under todayís conditions you
would be described as legally drunk by a, by a police officer if you were
driving. 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. Hall got
into the whiskey barrel one night near present-day Kansas City, and then got
himself drunk and was taking more than his share, they had a court martial, he
was found guilty, and they ordered 100 lashes well laid on. And from the
descriptions of the event, the Indian chief who saw this, an Otoe chief, just
cried at the sight of this. They just beat the holy hell out of Hall for this,
because that was their whiskey that he had stolen.
Of course, SB.com has already discussed this here:
But as the thread has been dead for 101 months, I thought I'd bring it up again.