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| Donald Worster on: Powells Leadership
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Donald Worster on: Powells Leadership
Donald Worster Q: What kind of leader was Powell, to these men? Did they like him, do you think? Was he an effective leader?

DW: I think on the whole, he most have been a very effective leader. He was very careful with their lives. He didn't take unnecessary risks. Certainly after the boat disaster, he was exceptionally careful. He scouted ahead through all the rapids. A lot of other people have gone down that river without his care and he was concerned about their welfare and their lives and about the success of the mission. On the other hand, he put himself clearly on another plane from these men. He was use to military ways, of course, so were they. Many of them had been Civil War veterans. But, he asked them to serve him his meal. He would sit apart from them on another log and the cook would have to bring over his plate and serve him up. He was the Major and they were made to know that he was in charge of this expedition, all the way. I think on the whole, many of them felt that he was a kind man and thoughtful about them. They resented him for bringing along his brother, who was a moody and difficult human being, but at least one of those men wanted to go with him on the next year.

Q: How do you think the fact that he was maimed, affected his relationship with the men on the trip? Did they resent this? How do you think they felt about him?

DW: Nobody expressed any resentment about his lack of arm, but they must have been worried about him at times. They were not carrying life preservers. He couldn't do any of the hard work, portaging, rowing, the rest. He was in his little armchair, riding along. They had to look out for him when he went climbing. There were a couple of episodes where he gets stranded and they have to come along and give him help. So, he was at times, a liability. Again, they don't express any resentment of this, but it may have given his, at times, imperial airs, in his sense of command and yet being a maimed person. It must have put them into some emotional conflicts themselves about him and that he was a burden at times that they had to watch out for. He could be drowned easier than the rest of them. I don't know how good a swimmer he was, with only the one arm.

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