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Title: History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, Vol. I. - To the Sources of the Missouri, Thence Across the Rocky Mountains and Down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. - Performed During the Years 1804-5-6.
Author: Lewis, Meriwether, 1774-1809, Clark, William, 1770-1838
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, Vol. I. - To the Sources of the Missouri, Thence Across the Rocky Mountains and Down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. - Performed During the Years 1804-5-6." ***

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        |  * Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made    |
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[Illustration: A Map of Lewis and Clark's Track, Across the Western
Portion of North America, From the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean;
by Order of the Executive of the United States, in 1804, 5&6.
Copied by Samuel Lewis from the Original Drawing by Wm. Clark.]



                            THE EXPEDITION

                          UNDER THE COMMAND OF

                       _CAPTAINS LEWIS AND CLARK,_


                      THE SOURCES OF THE MISSOURI,


                       ACROSS THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS

                              AND DOWN THE


                   PERFORMED DURING THE YEARS 1804-5-6.

                             By order of the


                         PREPARED FOR THE PRESS
                         BY PAUL ALLEN, ESQUIRE.
                            IN TWO VOLUMES.

                                VOL. I.


                        ABM. H. INSKEEP, NEW YORK.
                           J. Maxwell, Printer


     BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twenty-second day of January, in the
     thirty-eighth year of the independence of the United States of
     America, A.D. 1814, Bradford and Inskeep, of the said district,
     have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right
     whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words following, to wit:

     "History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and
     Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky
     Mountains, and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.
     Performed during the Years 1804-5-6, by order of the Government of
     the United States. Prepared for the press by Paul Allen, Esquire."

     In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States, entitled
     "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies
     of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such
     copies during the times therein mentioned." And also to the act,
     entitled, "An act supplementary to an act, entitled, "An act for
     the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps,
     charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies
     during the times therein mentioned," and extending the benefits
     thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical
     and other prints."
                                             DAVID CALDWELL,
                                Clerk of the District of Pennsylvania.


In presenting these volumes to the public, the editor owes equally to
himself and to others, to state the circumstances which have preceded
the publication, and to explain his own share in compiling them.

It was the original design of captain Lewis to have been himself the
editor of his own travels, and he was on his way towards Philadelphia
for that purpose when his sudden death frustrated these intentions.
After a considerable and unavoidable delay, the papers connected with
the expedition were deposited with another gentleman, who, in order to
render the lapse of time as little injurious as possible, proceeded
immediately to collect and investigate all the materials within his

Of the incidents of each day during the expedition, a minute journal was
kept by captain Lewis or captain Clark, and sometimes by both, which was
afterwards revised and enlarged at the different periods of leisure
which occurred on the route. These were carefully perused in conjunction
with captain Clark himself, who was able from his own recollection of
the journey, as well as from a constant residence in Louisiana since his
return, to supply a great mass of explanations, and much additional
information with regard to part of the route which has been more
recently explored. Besides these, recourse was had to the manuscript
journals kept by two of the serjeants, one of which, the least minute
and valuable, has already been published. That nothing might be wanting
to the accuracy of these details, a very intelligent and active member
of the party, Mr. George Shannon, was sent to contribute whatever his
memory might add to this accumulated fund of information.

From these copious materials the narrative was sketched nearly in its
present form, when other pursuits diverted the attention of the writer,
and compelled him to transfer his manuscript, in its unfinished state,
with all the documents connected with it, to the present editor, to
prepare them for the press and superintend the publication. That he may
not seem to arrogate any thing from the exertions of others, he should
therefore state that, although the whole work was thus submitted to his
entire discretion, he found but little to change, and that his labour
has been principally confined to revising the manuscript, comparing it
with the original papers, and inserting such additional matter as
appears to have been intentionally deferred by the writer till the
period of a more mature revisal. These circumstances, which would
otherwise be indifferent to the public, are mentioned merely to account
for imperfections, which are in some degree inseparable from any book of
travels not written by the traveller. In a work of pure description
indeed, like the present, where the incidents themselves are the sole
objects of attraction, the part of an editor is necessarily subordinate,
nor can his humble pretensions aspire beyond the merit of rigid
adherence to facts as they are stated to him. This has been very
diligently attempted, and for this, in its full extent, the editor deems
himself responsible.

The present volumes, it will be perceived, comprise only the narrative
of the journey. Those parts of the work which relate to the various
objects of natural history, observed or collected during the journey, as
well as the alphabets of the Indian languages, are in the hands of
professor Bartou, and will, it is understood, shortly appear.

To give still further interest to the work, the editor addressed a
letter to Mr. Jefferson, requesting some authentic memoirs of captain
Lewis. For the very curious and valuable information contained in his
answer, the public, as well as the editor himself, owe great obligations
to the politeness and knowledge of that distinguished gentleman.

                                                       PAUL ALLEN.
PHILADELPHIA, January 1, 1814.

                       LIFE OF CAPTAIN LEWIS.

                                          _Monticello, August 18, 1813._

In compliance with the request conveyed in your letter of May 25, I
have endeavoured to obtain, from the relations and friends of the late
governor Lewis, information of such incidents of his life as might be
not unacceptable to those who may read the narrative of his western
discoveries. The ordinary occurrences of a private life, and those also
while acting in a subordinate sphere in the army, in a time of peace,
are not deemed sufficiently interesting to occupy the public attention;
but a general account of his parentage, with such smaller incidents as
marked his early character are briefly noted; and to these are added, as
being peculiarly within my own knowledge, whatever related to the public
mission, of which an account is now to be published. The result of my
inquiries and recollections shall now be offered, to be enlarged or
abridged as you may think best; or otherwise to be used with the
materials you may have collected from other sources.

Meriwether Lewis, late governor of Louisiana, was born on the eighteenth
of August, 1774, near the town of Charlottesville, in the county of
Albemarle, in Virginia, of one of the distinguished families of that
state. John Lewis, one of his father's uncles was a member of the
king's council, before the revolution. Another of them, Fielding Lewis,
married a sister of general Washington. His father, William Lewis, was
the youngest of five sons of colonel Robert Lewis, of Albemarle, the
fourth of whom, Charles, was one of the early patriots who stepped
forward in the commencement of the revolution and commanded one of the
regiments first raised in Virginia, and placed on continental
establishment. Happily situated at home, with a wife and young family,
and a fortune placing him at ease, he left all to aid in the liberation
of his country from foreign usurpations, then first unmasking their
ultimate end and aim. His good sense, integrity, bravery, enterprise,
and remarkable bodily powers, marked him as an officer of great promise;
but he unfortunately died early in the revolution. Nicholas Lewis, the
second of his father's brothers, commanded a regiment of militia in the
successful expedition of 1776, against the Cherokee Indians; who,
seduced by the agents of the British government to take up the hatchet
against us, had committed great havoc on our southern frontier, by
murdering and scalping helpless women and children, according to their
cruel and cowardly principles of warfare. The chastisement they then
received closed the history of their wars, and prepared them for
receiving the elements of civilization, which, zealously inculcated by
the present government of the United States, have rendered them an
industrious, peaceable, and happy people. This member of the family of
Lewises, whose bravery was so usefully proved on this occasion, was
endeared to all who knew him by his inflexible probity, courteous
disposition, benevolent heart, and engaging modesty and manners. He was
the umpire of all the private differences of his county--selected always
by both parties. He was also the guardian of Meriwether Lewis, of whom
we are now to speak, and who had lost his father at an early age. He
continued some years under the fostering care of a tender mother, of the
respectable family of Meriwethers, of the same county; and was
remarkable even in infancy for enterprise, boldness, and discretion.
When only eight years of age he habitually went out, in the dead of
night, alone with his dogs, into the forest to hunt the raccoon and
opossum, which, seeking their food in the night, can then only be taken.
In this exercise, no season or circumstance could obstruct his
purpose--plunging through the winter's snows and frozen streams in
pursuit of his object. At thirteen he was put to the Latin school, and
continued at that until eighteen, when he returned to his mother, and
entered on the cares of his farm; having, as well as a younger brother,
been left by his father with a competency for all the correct and
comfortable purposes of temperate life. His talent for observation,
which had led him to an accurate knowledge of the plants and animals of
his own country, would have distinguished him as a farmer; but at the
age of twenty, yielding to the ardour of youth, and a passion for more
dazzling pursuits, he engaged as a volunteer in the body of militia
which were called out by general Washington, on occasion of the
discontents produced by the excise taxes in the western parts of the
United States; and from that situation he was removed to the regular
service as a lieutenant in the line. At twenty-three he was promoted to
a captaincy; and, always attracting the first attention where
punctuality and fidelity were requisite, he was appointed paymaster to
his regiment. About this time a circumstance occurred which, leading to
the transaction which is the subject of this book, will justify a
recurrence to its original idea. While I resided in Paris, John Ledyard,
of Connecticut, arrived there, well known in the United States for
energy of body and mind. He had accompanied captain Cook on his voyage
to the Pacific ocean; and distinguished himself on that voyage by his
intrepidity. Being of a roaming disposition, he was now panting for some
new enterprise. His immediate object at Paris was to engage a mercantile
company in the fur-trade of the western coast of America, in which,
however, he failed. I then proposed to him to go by land to Kamschatka,
cross in some of the Russian vessels to Nootka Sound, fall down into the
latitude of the Missouri, and penetrate to, and through, that to the
United States. He eagerly seized the idea, and only asked to be assured
of the permission of the Russian government. I interested, in obtaining
that, M. de Simoulin, minister plenipotentiary of the empress at Paris,
but more especially the baron de Grimm, minister plenipotentiary of
Saxe-Gotha, her more special agent and correspondent there in matters
not immediately diplomatic. Her permission was obtained, and an
assurance of protection while the course of the voyage should be through
her territories. Ledyard set out from Paris, and arrived at St.
Petersburgh after the empress had left that place to pass the winter, I
think, at Moscow. His finances not permitting him to make unnecessary
stay at St. Petersburgh, he left it with a passport from one of the
ministers; and at two hundred miles from Kamschatka, was obliged to take
up his winter quarters. He was preparing, in the spring, to resume his
journey, when he was arrested by an officer of the empress, who by this
time had changed her mind, and forbidden his proceeding. He was put into
a close carriage, and conveyed day and night, without ever stopping,
till they reached Poland; where he was set down and left to himself. The
fatigue of this journey broke down his constitution; and when he
returned to Paris his bodily strength was much impaired. His mind,
however, remained firm, and he after this undertook the journey to
Egypt. I received a letter from him, full of sanguine hopes, dated at
Cairo, the fifteenth of November, 1788, the day before he was to set out
for the head of the Nile; on which day, however, he ended his career and
life: and thus failed the first attempt to explore the western part of
our northern continent.

In 1792, I proposed to the American Philosophical Society that we should
set on foot a subscription to engage some competent person to explore
that region in the opposite direction; that is, by ascending the
Missouri, crossing the Stony mountains, and descending the nearest river
to the Pacific. Captain Lewis being then stationed at Charlottesville,
on the recruiting service, warmly solicited me to obtain for him the
execution of that object. I told him it was proposed that the person
engaged should be attended by a single companion only, to avoid exciting
alarm among the Indians. This did not deter him; but Mr. Andre Michaux,
a professed botanist, author of the Flora Boreali-Americana, and of the
Histoire des Chesnes d'Amerique, offering his services, they were
accepted. He received his instructions, and when he had reached Kentucky
in the prosecution of his journey, he was overtaken by an order from the
minister of France, then at Philadelphia, to relinquish the expedition,
and to pursue elsewhere the botanical inquiries on which he was employed
by that government: and thus failed the second attempt for exploring
that region.

In 1803, the act for establishing trading houses with the Indian tribes
being about to expire, some modifications of it were recommended to
congress by a confidential message of January 18th, and an extension of
its views to the Indians on the Missouri. In order to prepare the way,
the message proposed the sending an exploring party to trace the
Missouri to its source, to cross the Highlands, and follow the best
water-communication which offered itself from thence to the Pacific
ocean. Congress approved the proposition, and voted a sum of money for
carrying it into execution. Captain Lewis, who had then been near two
years with me as private secretary, immediately renewed his
solicitations to have the direction of the party. I had now had
opportunities of knowing him intimately. Of courage undaunted;
possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but
impossibilities could divert from its direction; careful as a father of
those committed to his charge, yet steady in the maintenance of order
and discipline; intimate with the Indian character, customs, and
principles; habituated to the hunting life; guarded, by exact
observation of the vegetables and animals of his own country, against
losing time in the description of objects already possessed; honest,
disinterested, liberal, of sound understanding, and a fidelity to truth
so scrupulous, that whatever he should report would be as certain as if
seen by ourselves; with all these qualifications, as if selected and
implanted by nature in one body for this express purpose, I could have
no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him. To fill up the measure
desired, he wanted nothing but a greater familiarity with the technical
language of the natural sciences, and readiness in the astronomical
observations necessary for the geography of his route. To acquire these
he repaired immediately to Philadelphia, and placed himself under the
tutorage of the distinguished professors of that place, who with a zeal
and emulation, enkindled by an ardent devotion to science, communicated
to him freely the information requisite for the purposes of the journey.
While attending too, at Lancaster, the fabrication of the arms with
which he chose that his men should be provided, he had the benefit of
daily communication with Mr. Andrew Ellicot, whose experience in
astronomical observation, and practice of it in the woods, enabled him
to apprise captain Lewis of the wants and difficulties he would
encounter, and of the substitutes and resources offered by a woodland
and uninhabited country.

Deeming it necessary he should have some person with him of known
competence to the direction of the enterprise, in the event of accident
to himself, he proposed William Clarke, brother of general George Rogers
Clarke, who was approved, and, with that view, received a commission of

In April, 1803, a draught of his instructions was sent to captain Lewis,
and on the twentieth of June they were signed in the following form:

     "To Meriwether Lewis, esquire, captain of the first regiment of
     infantry of the United States of America:

     "Your situation as secretary of the president of the United States,
     has made you acquainted with the objects of my confidential message
     of January 18, 1803, to the legislature; you have seen the act they
     passed, which, though expressed in general terms, was meant to
     sanction those objects, and you are appointed to carry them into

     "Instruments for ascertaining, by celestial observations, the
     geography of the country through which you will pass, have been
     already provided. Light articles for barter and presents among the
     Indians, arms for your attendants, say for from ten to twelve men,
     boats, tents, and other travelling apparatus, with ammunition,
     medicine, surgical instruments, and provisions, you will have
     prepared, with such aids as the secretary at war can yield in his
     department; and from him also you will receive authority to engage
     among our troops, by voluntary agreement, the number of attendants
     abovementioned; over whom you, as their commanding officer, are
     invested with all the powers the laws give in such a case.

     "As your movements, while within the limits of the United States,
     will be better directed by occasional communications, adapted to
     circumstances as they arise, they will not be noticed here. What
     follows will respect your proceedings after your departure from the
     United States.

     "Your mission has been communicated to the ministers here from
     France, Spain, and Great Britain, and through them to their
     governments; and such assurances given them as to its objects, as
     we trust will satisfy them. The country of Louisiana having been
     ceded by Spain to France, the passport you have from the minister
     of France, the representative of the present sovereign of the
     country, will be a protection with all its subjects; and that from
     the minister of England will entitle you to the friendly aid of any
     traders of that allegiance with whom you may happen to meet.

     "The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, and
     such principal streams of it, as, by its course and communication
     with the waters of the Pacific ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregan,
     Colorado, or any other river, may offer the most direct and
     practicable water-communication across the continent, for the
     purposes of commerce.

     "Beginning at the mouth of the Missouri, you will take observations
     of latitude and longitude, at all remarkable points on the river,
     and especially at the mouths of rivers, at rapids, at islands, and
     other places and objects distinguished by such natural marks and
     characters, of a durable kind, as that they may with certainty be
     recognised hereafter. The courses of the river between these points
     of observation may be supplied by the compass, the log-line, and by
     time, corrected by the observations themselves. The variations of
     the needle, too, in different places, should be noticed.

     "The interesting points of the portage between the heads of the
     Missouri, and of the water offering the best communication with the
     Pacific ocean, should also be fixed by observation; and the course
     of that water to the ocean, in the same manner as that of the

     "Your observations are to be taken with great pains and accuracy;
     to be entered distinctly and intelligibly for others as well as
     yourself; to comprehend all the elements necessary, with the aid of
     the usual tables, to fix the latitude and longitude of the places
     at which they were taken; and are to be rendered to the war-office,
     for the purpose of having the calculations made concurrently by
     proper persons within the United States. Several copies of these,
     as well as of your other notes, should be made at leisure times,
     and put into the care of the most trust-worthy of your attendants
     to guard, by multiplying them against the accidental losses to
     which they will be exposed. A further guard would be, that one of
     these copies be on the cuticular membranes of the paper-birch, as
     less liable to injury from damp than common paper.

     "The commerce which may be carried on with the people inhabiting
     the line you will pursue, renders a knowledge of those people
     important. You will therefore endeavour to make yourself
     acquainted, as far as a diligent pursuit of your journey shall
     admit, with the names of the nations and their numbers;

     "The extent and limits of their possessions;

     "Their relations with other tribes or nations;

     "Their language, traditions, monuments;

     "Their ordinary occupations in agriculture, fishing, hunting, war,
     arts, and the implements for these;

     "Their food, clothing, and domestic accommodations;

     "The diseases prevalent among them, and the remedies they use;

     "Moral and physical circumstances which distinguish them from the
     tribes we know;

     "Peculiarities in their laws, customs, and dispositions;

     "And articles of commerce they may need or furnish, and to what

     "And, considering the interest which every nation has in extending
     and strengthening the authority of reason and justice among the
     people around them, it will be useful to acquire what knowledge you
     can of the state of morality, religion, and information among them;
     as it may better enable those who may endeavour to civilize and
     instruct them, to adapt their measures to the existing notions and
     practices of those on whom they are to operate.

     "Other objects worthy of notice will be--

     "The soil and face of the country, its growth and vegetable
     productions, especially those not of the United States;

     "The animals of the country generally, and especially those not
     known in the United States;

     "The remains and accounts of any which may be deemed rare or

     "The mineral productions of every kind, but more particularly
     metals, lime-stone, pit-coal, and saltpetre; salines and mineral
     waters, noting the temperature of the last, and such circumstances
     as may indicate their character;

     "Volcanic appearances;

     "Climate, as characterized by the thermometer, by the proportion of
     rainy, cloudy, and clear days; by lightning, hail, snow, ice; by
     the access and recess of frost; by the winds prevailing at
     different seasons; the dates at which particular plants put forth,
     or lose their flower or leaf; times of appearance of particular
     birds, reptiles or insects.

     "Although your route will be along the channel of the Missouri, yet
     you will endeavour to inform yourself, by inquiry, of the character
     and extent of the country watered by its branches, and especially
     on its southern side. The North river, or Rio Bravo, which runs
     into the gulf of Mexico, and the North river, or Rio Colorado,
     which runs into the gulf of California, are understood to be the
     principal streams heading opposite to the waters of the Missouri,
     and running southwardly. Whether the dividing grounds between the
     Missouri and them are mountains or flat lands, what are their
     distance from the Missouri, the character of the intermediate
     country, and the people inhabiting it, are worthy of particular
     inquiry. The northern waters of the Missouri are less to be
     inquired after, because they have been ascertained to a
     considerable degree, and are still in a course of ascertainment by
     English traders and travellers; but if you can learn any thing
     certain of the most northern source of the Missisipi, and of its
     position relatively to the Lake of the Woods, it will be
     interesting to us. Some account too of the path of the Canadian
     traders from the Missisipi, at the mouth of the Onisconsing to
     where it strikes the Missouri, and of the soil and rivers in its
     course, is desirable.

     "In all your intercourse with the natives, treat them in the most
     friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will
     admit; allay all jealousies as to the object of your journey;
     satisfy them of its innocence; make them acquainted with the
     position, extent, character, peaceable and commercial dispositions
     of the United States; of our wish to be neighbourly, friendly, and
     useful to them, and of our dispositions to a commercial intercourse
     with them; confer with them on the points most convenient as mutual
     emporiums, and the articles of most desirable interchange for them
     and us. If a few of their influential chiefs, within practicable
     distance, wish to visit us, arrange such a visit with them, and
     furnish them with authority to call on our officers on their
     entering the United States, to have them conveyed to this place at
     the public expense. If any of them should wish to have some of
     their young people brought up with us, and taught such arts as may
     be useful to them, we will receive, instruct, and take care of
     them. Such a mission, whether of influential chiefs, or of young
     people, would give some security to your own party. Carry with you
     some matter of the kine-pox; inform those of them with whom you may
     be of its efficacy as a preservative from the small-pox, and
     instruct and encourage them in the use of it. This may be
     especially done wherever you winter.

     "As it is impossible for us to foresee in what manner you will be
     received by those people, whether with hospitality or hostility, so
     is it impossible to prescribe the exact degree of perseverance with
     which you are to pursue your journey. We value too much the lives
     of citizens to offer them to probable destruction. Your numbers
     will be sufficient to secure you against the unauthorized
     opposition of individuals, or of small parties; but if a superior
     force, authorized, or not authorized, by a nation, should be
     arrayed against your further passage, and inflexibly determined to
     arrest it, you must decline its further pursuit and return. In the
     loss of yourselves we should lose also the information you will
     have acquired. By returning safely with that, you may enable us to
     renew the essay with better calculated means. To your own
     discretion, therefore, must be left the degree of danger you may
     risk, and the point at which you should decline, only saying, we
     wish you to err on the side of your safety, and to bring back your
     party safe, even if it be with less information.

     "As far up the Missouri as the white settlements extend, an
     intercourse will probably be found to exist between them and the
     Spanish posts of St. Louis opposite Cahokia, or St. Genevieve
     opposite Kaskaskia. From still further up the river the traders may
     furnish a conveyance for letters. Beyond that you may perhaps be
     able to engage Indians to bring letters for the government to
     Cahokia, or Kaskaskia, on promising that they shall there receive
     such special compensation as you shall have stipulated with them.
     Avail yourself of these means to communicate to us, at seasonable
     intervals, a copy of your journal, notes and observations of every
     kind, putting into cypher whatever might do injury if betrayed.

     "Should you reach the Pacific ocean, inform yourself of the
     circumstances which may decide whether the furs of those parts may
     not be collected as advantageously at the head of the Missouri
     (convenient as is supposed to the waters of the Colorado and Oregan
     or Columbia) as at Nootka Sound, or any other point of that coast;
     and that trade be consequently conducted through the Missouri and
     United States more beneficially than by the circumnavigation now

     "On your arrival on that coast, endeavour to learn if there be any
     port within your reach frequented by the sea vessels of any nation,
     and to send two of your trusty people back by sea, in such way as
     shall appear practicable, with a copy of your notes; and should you
     be of opinion that the return of your party by the way they went
     will be imminently dangerous, then ship the whole, and return by
     sea, by the way either of Cape Horn, or the Cape of Good Hope, as
     you shall be able. As you will be without money, clothes, or
     provisions, you must endeavour to use the credit of the United
     States to obtain them; for which purpose open letters of credit
     shall be furnished you, authorizing you to draw on the executive of
     the United States, or any of its officers, in any part of the
     world, on which draughts can be disposed of, and to apply with our
     recommendations to the consuls, agents, merchants, or citizens of
     any nation with which we have intercourse, assuring them, in our
     name, that any aids they may furnish you shall be honourably
     repaid, and on demand. Our consuls, Thomas Hewes, at Batavia, in
     Java, William Buchanan, in the Isles of France and Bourbon, and
     John Elmslie, at the Cape of Good Hope, will be able to supply your
     necessities, by draughts on us.

     "Should you find it safe to return by the way you go, after sending
     two of your party round by sea, or with your whole party, if no
     conveyance by sea can be found, do so; making such observations on
     your return as may serve to supply, correct, or confirm those made
     on your outward journey.

     "On reentering the United States and reaching a place of safety,
     discharge any of your attendants who may desire and deserve it,
     procuring for them immediate payment of all arrears of pay and
     clothing which may have incurred since their departure, and assure
     them that they shall be recommended to the liberality of the
     legislature for the grant of a soldier's portion of land each, as
     proposed in my message to congress, and repair yourself, with your
     papers, to the seat of government.

     "To provide, on the accident of your death, against anarchy,
     dispersion, and the consequent danger to your party, and total
     failure of the enterprise, you are hereby authorized, by any
     instrument signed and written in your own hand, to name the person
     among them who shall succeed to the command on your decease, and by
     like instruments to change the nomination, from time to time, as
     further experience of the characters accompanying you shall point
     out superior fitness; and all the powers and authorities given to
     yourself are, in the event of your death, transferred to, and
     vested in the successor so named, with further power to him and his
     successors, in like manner to name each his successor, who, on the
     death of his predecessor, shall be invested with all the powers and
     authorities given to yourself. Given under my hand at the city of
     Washington, this twentieth day of June, 1803.

                                        "THOMAS JEFFERSON,
                          "_President of the United States of America_."

While these things were going on here, the country of Louisiana, lately
ceded by Spain to France, had been the subject of negotiation at Paris
between us and this last power; and had actually been transferred to us
by treaties executed at Paris on the thirtieth of April. This
information, received about the first day of July, increased infinitely
the interest we felt in the expedition, and lessened the apprehensions
of interruption from other powers. Every thing in this quarter being now
prepared, captain Lewis left Washington on the fifth of July, 1803, and
proceeded to Pittsburg, where other articles had been ordered to be
provided for him. The men too were to be selected from the military
stations on the Ohio. Delays of preparation, difficulties of navigation
down the Ohio, and other untoward obstructions, retarded his arrival at
Cahokia until the season was so far advanced as to render it prudent to
suspend his entering the Missouri before the ice should break up in the
succeeding spring.

From this time his journal, now published, will give the history of his
journey to and from the Pacific ocean, until his return to St. Louis on
the twenty-third of September, 1806. Never did a similar event excite
more joy through the United States. The humblest of its citizens had
taken a lively interest in the issue of this journey, and looked forward
with impatience for the information it would furnish. Their anxieties
too for the safety of the corps had been kept in a state of excitement
by lugubrious rumours, circulated from time to time on uncertain
authorities, and uncontradicted by letters, or other direct information,
from the time they had left the Mandan towns, on their ascent up the
river in April of the preceding year, 1805, until their actual return to
St. Louis.

It was the middle of February, 1807, before captain Lewis, with his
companion captain Clarke, reached the city of Washington, where congress
was then in session. That body granted to the two chiefs and their
followers the donation of lands which they had been encouraged to expect
in reward of their toil and dangers. Captain Lewis was soon after
appointed governor of Louisiana, and captain Clarke a general of its
militia, and agent of the United States for Indian affairs in that

A considerable time intervened before the governor's arrival at St.
Louis. He found the territory distracted by feuds and contentions among
the officers of the government, and the people themselves divided by
these into factions and parties. He determined at once to take no side
with either; but to use every endeavour to conciliate and harmonize
them. The even-handed justice he administered to all soon established a
respect for his person and authority; and perseverance and time wore
down animosities, and reunited the citizens again into one family.

Governor Lewis had, from early life, been subject to hypochondriac
affections. It was a constitutional disposition in all the nearer
branches of the family of his name, and was more immediately inherited
by him from his father. They had not, however, been so strong as to give
uneasiness to his family. While he lived with me in Washington I
observed at times sensible depressions of mind: but knowing their
constitutional source, I estimated their course by what I had seen in
the family. During his western expedition, the constant exertion which
that required of all the faculties of body and mind, suspended these
distressing affections; but after his establishment at St. Louis in
sedentary occupations, they returned upon him with redoubled vigour, and
began seriously to alarm his friends. He was in a paroxysm of one of
these, when his affairs rendered it necessary for him to go to
Washington. He proceeded to the Chickasaw Bluffs, where he arrived on
the sixteenth of September, 1809, with a view of continuing his journey
thence by water. Mr. Neely, agent of the United States with the
Chickasaw Indians, arriving there two days after, found him extremely
indisposed, and betraying at times some symptoms of a derangement of
mind. The rumours of a war with England, and apprehensions that he might
lose the papers he was bringing on, among which were the vouchers of his
public accounts, and the journals and papers of his western expedition,
induced him here to change his mind, and to take his course by land
through the Chickasaw country. Although he appeared somewhat relieved,
Mr. Neely kindly determined to accompany and watch over him.
Unfortunately, at their encampment, after having passed the Tennessee
one day's journey, they lost two horses, which obliging Mr. Neely to
halt for their recovery, the governor proceeded, under a promise to wait
for him at the house of the first white inhabitant on his road. He
stopped at the house of a Mr. Grinder, who not being at home, his wife,
alarmed at the symptoms of derangement she discovered, gave him up the
house and retired to rest herself in an out-house, the governor's and
Neely's servants lodging in another. About three o'clock in the night he
did the deed which plunged his friends into affliction, and deprived his
country of one of her most valued citizens, whose valour and
intelligence would have been now employed in avenging the wrongs of his
country, and in emulating by land the splendid deeds which have honoured
her arms on the ocean. It lost too to the nation the benefit of
receiving from his own hand the narrative now offered them of his
sufferings and successes, in endeavouring to extend for them the
boundaries of science, and to present to their knowledge that vast and
fertile country, which their sons are destined to fill with arts, with
science, with freedom and happiness.

To this melancholy close of the life of one, whom posterity will declare
not to have lived in vain, I have only to add, that all the facts I have
stated are either known to myself, or communicated by his family or
others, for whose truth I have no hesitation to make myself responsible;
and I conclude with tendering you the assurances of my respect and

                                                  TH. JEFFERSON.

Mr. PAUL ALLEN, Philadelphia.


                                 VOL. I.

                                CHAPTER I.

          The party set out on the expedition and pass Wood
          river. Description of the town of St. Charles. Osage
          Woman river. Gasconade and Osage rivers described.
          Character of the Osage Indians; curious traditionary
          account of their origin. The party proceed and pass
          the Mine river. The two Charitons. The Kanzas,
          Nodawa, Newahaw, Neeshuabatona, Little Nemahar, each
          of which are particularly described. They encamp at
          the mouth of the river Platte. A particular
          description of the surrounding country. The various
          creeks, bays, islands, prairies, &c. given in the
          course of the route.                                    1

                               CHAPTER II.

          Some account of the Pawnee Indians. Council held
          with the Otto and Missouri Indians. Council held
          with another party of the Ottoes. Death of sergeant
          Floyd. The party encamp near the mouth of Whitestone
          river. The character of the Missouri, with the
          rivers that enter it. The surrounding country. The
          various islands, bays, creeks, &c. given in the
          course of the expedition.                              32

                              CHAPTER III.

          Whimsical instance of superstition of the Sioux
          Indians. Council held with the Sioux. Character of
          that tribe, their manners, &c. A ridiculous instance
          of their heroism. Ancient fortifications. Quieurre
          river described. Vast herds of Buffaloe. Account of
          the Petit Chien or Little Dog. Narrow escape of
          George Shannon. Description of White river.
          Surprising fleetness of the antelope. Pass the river
          of the Sioux. Description of the Grand Le Tour, or
          Great Bend. Encamp on the Teton river.                 52

                               CHAPTER IV.

          Council held with the Tetons. Their manners, dances,
          &c. Cheyenne river described. Council held with the
          Ricara Indians. Their manners and habits. Strange
          instance of Ricara idolatry. Another instance.
          Cannonball river. Arrival among the Mandans.
          Character of the surrounding country, and of the
          creeks, islands, &c.                                   82

                                CHAPTER V.

          Council held with the Mandans. A prairie on fire,
          and a singular instance of preservation. Peace
          established between the Mandans and Ricaras. The
          party encamp for the winter. Indian mode of catching
          goats. Beautiful appearance of northern lights.
          Friendly character of the Indians. Some account of
          the Mandans. The Anahaways and the Minnetarees. The
          party acquire the confidence of the Mandans by
          taking part in their controversy with the Sioux.
          Religion of the Mandans, and their singular
          conception of the term medicine. Their tradition.
          The sufferings of the party from the severity of the
          season. Indian game of billiards described.
          Character of the Missouri, of the surrounding
          country, and of the rivers, creeks, islands, &c.      118

                               CHAPTER VI.

          The party increase in the favour of the Mandans.
          Description of a buffaloe dance. Medicine dance. The
          fortitude with which the Indians bear the severity
          of the season. Distress of the party for want of
          provisions. The great importance of the blacksmith
          in procuring it. Depredations of the Sioux. The
          homage paid to the medicine stone. Summary act of
          justice among the Minnetarees. The process by which
          the Mandans and Ricaras make beads. Character of the
          Missouri, of the surrounding country, and of the
          rivers, creeks, islands, &c.                          148

                               CHAPTER VII.

          Indian method of attacking the buffaloe on the ice.
          An enumeration of the presents sent to the president
          of the United States. The party are visited by a
          Ricara chief. They leave their encampment, and
          proceed on their journey. Description of the Little
          Missouri. Some account of the Assiniboins. Their
          mode of burying the dead. Whiteearth river
          described. Great quantity of salt discovered on its
          banks. Yellowstone river described. A particular
          account of the country at the confluence of the
          Yellowstone and Missouri. Description of the
          Missouri, the surrounding country, and of the
          rivers, creeks, islands, &c.                          174

                               CHAPTER VIII.

          Unusual appearance of salt. The formidable character
          of the white bear. Porcupine river described.
          Beautiful appearance of the surrounding country.
          Immense quantities of game. Milk river described.
          Extraordinary character of Bigdry river. An instance
          of uncommon tenacity of life in a white bear. Narrow
          escape of one of the party from that animal. A still
          more remarkable instance. Muscleshell river
          described.                                            199

                               CHAPTER IX.

          The party continue their route. Description of
          Judith river. Indian mode of taking the buffaloe.
          Slaughter river described. Phenomena of nature. Of
          walls on the banks of the Missouri. The party encamp
          on the banks of the river to ascertain which of the
          streams constitute the Missouri. Captain Lewis
          leaves the party to explore the northern fork, and
          captain Clarke explores the southern. The
          surrounding country described in the route of
          captain Lewis. Narrow escape of one of his party.

                               CHAPTER X.

          Return of captain Lewis. Account of captain Clarke's
          researches with his exploring party. Perilous
          situation of one of his party. Tansy river
          described. The party still believing the southern
          fork the Missouri, captain Lewis is resolves to
          ascend it. Mode of making a place to deposit
          provisions, called cache. Captain Lewis explores the
          southern fork. Falls of the Missouri discovered,
          which ascertains the question. Romantic scenery of
          the surrounding country. Narrow escape of captain
          Lewis. The main body under captain Clarke approach
          within five miles of the falls, and prepare for
          making a portage over the rapids.                     251

                               CHAPTER XI.

          Description and romantic appearance of the Missouri
          at the junction of the Medicine river. The
          difficulty of transporting the baggage at the falls.
          The party employed in the construction of a boat of
          skins. The embarrassments they had to encounter for
          the want of proper materials. During the work the
          party much troubled by white bears. Violent
          hail-storm, and providential escape of captain
          Clarke and his party. Description of a remarkable
          fountain. Singular explosion heard from the Black
          mountains. The boat found to be insufficient, and
          the serious disappointment of the party. Captain
          Clarke undertakes to repair the damage by building
          canoes, and accomplishes the task.                    275

                              CHAPTER XII.

          The party embark on board the canoes. Description of
          Smith's river. Character of the country, &c.
          Dearborne's river described. Captain Clarke precedes
          the party for the purpose of discovering the Indians
          of the Rocky mountains. Magnificent rocky
          appearances on the borders of the river denominated
          the Gates of the Rocky mountains. Captain Clarke
          arrives at the three forks of the Missouri without
          overtaking the Indians. The party arrive at the
          three forks, of which a peculiar and interesting
          description is given.                                 301

                              CHAPTER XIII.

          The name of the Missouri changed, as the river now
          divides itself into three forks, one of which is
          called after Jefferson, the other Madison, and the
          other after Gallatin. Their general character. The
          party ascend the Jefferson branch. Description of
          the river Philosophy which enters into the
          Jefferson. Captain Lewis and a small party go in
          advance in search of the Shoshonees. Description of
          the country, &c. bordering on the river. Captain
          Lewis still preceding the main party in quest of the
          Shoshonees. A singular accident which prevented
          captain Clarke from following captain Lewis's
          advice, and ascending the middle fork of the river.
          Description of Philanthropy river, another stream
          running into the Jefferson. Captain Lewis and a
          small party having been unsuccessful in their first
          attempt, set off a second time in quest of the
          Shoshonees.                                           328

                              CHAPTER XIV.

          Captain Lewis proceeds before the main body in
          search of the Shoshonees; his ill success on the
          first interview. The party with captain Lewis at
          length discover the source of the Missouri. Captain
          Clarke with the main body still employed in
          ascending the Missouri or Jefferson river. Captain
          Lewis's second interview with the Shoshonees
          attended with success. The interesting ceremonies of
          his first introduction to the natives, detailed at
          large. Their hospitality. Their mode of hunting the
          antelope. The difficulties encountered by captain
          Clarke and the main body in ascending the river. The
          suspicions entertained of captain Lewis by the
          Shoshonees, and his mode of allaying them. The
          ravenous appetites of the savages illustrated by
          singular adventure. The Indians still jealous, and
          the great pains taken by captain Lewis to preserve
          their confidence. Captain Clarke arrives with the
          main body exhausted by the difficulties they
          underwent.                                            354

                              CHAPTER XV.

          Affecting interview between the wife of Chaboneau
          and the chief of the Shoshonees. Council held with
          that nation, and favourable result. The extreme
          navigable point of the Missouri mentioned. General
          character of the river and of the country through
          which it passes. Captain Clarke in exploring the
          source of the Columbia falls in company with another
          party of Shoshonees. The geographical information
          acquired from one of that party. Their manner of
          catching fish. The party reach Lewis river. The
          difficulties which captain Clarke had to encounter
          in his route. Friendship and hospitality of the
          Shoshonees. The party with captain Lewis employed in
          making saddles, and preparing for the journey.        381

                              CHAPTER XVI.

          Contest between Drewyer and a Shoshonee. The
          fidelity and honour of that tribe. The party set out
          on their journey. The conduct of Cameahwait
          reproved, and himself reconciled. The easy
          parturition of the Shoshonee women. History of this
          nation. Their terror of the Pawkees. Their
          government and family economy in their treatment of
          their women. Their complaints of Spanish treachery.
          Description of their weapons of warfare. Their
          curious mode of making a shield. The caparison of
          their horses. The dress of the men and of the women
          particularly described. Their mode of acquiring new
          names.                                                407

                              CHAPTER XVII.

          The party, after procuring horses from the
          Shoshonees, proceed on their journey through the
          mountains. The difficulties and dangers of the
          route. A council held with another band of the
          Shoshonees, of whom some account is given. They are
          reduced to the necessity of killing their horses for
          food. Captain Clarke with a small party precedes the
          main body in quest of food, and is hospitably
          received by the Pierced-nose Indians. Arrival of the
          main body amongst this tribe, with whom a council is
          held. They resolve to perform the remainder of their
          journey in canoes. Sickness of the party. They
          descend the Kooskooskee to its junction with Lewis
          river, after passing several dangerous rapids. Short
          description of the manners and dress of the
          Pierced-nose Indians.                                 435

                      LEWIS AND CLARKE'S EXPEDITION

                             UP THE MISSOURI.

                                CHAP. I.

     The party set out on the expedition and pass Wood
     river--Description of the town of St. Charles--Osage Woman
     river--Gasconade and Osage Rivers described--Character of the
     Osage Indians--Curious traditionary account of their Origin--The
     party proceed and pass the Mine river--The two Charitons--The
     Kanzas, Nodawa, Newahaw, Neeshnabatona, Little Nemahar, each of
     which are particularly described--They encamp at the mouth of the
     river Platte--A particular description of the surrounding
     country--The various Creeks, Bays, Islands, Prairies, &c., given
     in the course of the route.

On the acquisition of Louisiana, in the year 1803, the attention of the
government of the United States, was early directed towards exploring
and improving the new territory. Accordingly in the summer of the same
year, an expedition was planned by the president for the purpose of
discovering the courses and sources of the Missouri, and the most
convenient water communication thence to the Pacific ocean. His private
secretary captain Meriwether Lewis, and captain William Clarke, both
officers of the army of the United States, were associated in the
command of this enterprize. After receiving the requisite instructions,
captain Lewis left the seat of government, and being joined by captain
Clarke at Louisville, in Kentucky, proceeded to St. Louis, where they
arrived in the month of December. Their original* intention was to pass
the winter at La Charrette, the highest settlement on the Missouri. But
the Spanish commandant of the province, not having received an official
account of its transfer to the United States, was obliged by the general
policy of his government, to prevent strangers from passing through the
Spanish territory. They therefore encamped at the mouth of Wood river,
on the eastern side of the Mississippi, out of his jurisdiction, where
they passed the winter in disciplining the men, and making the necessary
preparations for setting out early in the Spring, before which the
cession was officially announced. The party consisted of nine young men
from Kentucky, fourteen soldiers of the United States army who
volunteered their services, two French watermen--an interpreter and
hunter--and a black servant belonging to captain Clarke--All these,
except the last, were enlisted to serve as privates during the
expedition, and three sergeants appointed from amongst them by the
captains. In addition to these were engaged a corporal and six soldiers,
and nine watermen to accompany the expedition as far as the Mandan
nation, in order to assist in carrying the stores, or repelling an
attack which was most to be apprehended between Wood river and that
tribe. The necessary stores were subdivided into seven bales, and one
box, containing a small portion of each article in case of accident.
They consisted of a great variety of clothing, working utensils, locks,
flints, powder, ball, and articles of the greatest use. To these were
added fourteen bales and one box of Indian presents, distributed in the
same manner, and composed of richly laced coats and other articles of
dress, medals, flags, knives, and tomahawks for the chiefs--ornaments of
different kinds, particularly beads, lookingglasses, handkerchiefs,
paints, and generally such articles as were deemed best calculated for
the taste of the Indians. The party was to embark on board of three
boats: the first was a keel boat fifty-five feet long, drawing three
feet water, carrying one large squaresail and twenty-two oars, a deck of
ten feet in the bow, and stern formed a forecastle and cabin, while the
middle was covered by lockers, which might be raised so as to form a
breast-work in case of attack. This was accompanied by two perioques or
open boats, one of six and the other of seven oars. Two horses were at
the same time to be led along the banks of the river for the purpose of
bringing home game, or hunting in case of scarcity.

Of the proceedings of this expedition, the following is a succinct and
circumstantial narrative.

All the preparations being completed, we left our encampment on Monday,
May 14th, 1804. This spot is at the mouth of Wood river, a small stream
which empties itself into the Mississippi, opposite to the entrance of
the Missouri. It is situated in latitude 38° 55' 19-6/10" north, and
longitude from Greenwich, 89° 57' 45". On both sides of the Mississippi
the land for two or three miles is rich and level, but gradually swells
into a high pleasant country, with less timber on the western than on
the eastern side, but all susceptible of cultivation. The point which
separates the two rivers on the north, extends for fifteen or twenty
miles, the greater part of which is an open level plain, in which the
people of the neighbourhood cultivate what little grain they raise. Not
being able to set sail before four o'clock P.M., we did not make more
than four miles, and encamped on the first island opposite a small creek
called Cold Water.

May 15. The rain, which had continued yesterday and last night, ceased
this morning. We then proceeded, and after passing two small islands
about ten miles further, stopped for the night at Piper's landing,
opposite another island. The water is here very rapid and the banks
falling in. We found that our boat was too heavily laden in the stern,
in consequence of which she ran on logs three times to-day. It became
necessary to throw the greatest weight on the bow of the boat, a
precaution very necessary in ascending both the Missouri and
Mississippi rivers, in the beds of which, there lie great quantities of
concealed timber.

The next morning we set sail at five o'clock. At the distance of a few
miles, we passed a remarkable large coal hill on the north side, called
by the French La Charbonniere, and arrived at the town of St. Charles.
Here we remained a few days.

St. Charles is a small town on the north bank of the Missouri, about
twenty-one miles from its confluence with the Mississippi. It is
situated in a narrow plain, sufficiently high to protect it from the
annual risings of the river in the month of June, and at the foot of a
range of small hills, which have occasioned its being called Petite
Cote, a name by which it is more known to the French than by that of St.
Charles. One principal street, about a mile in length and running
parallel with the river, divides the town, which is composed of nearly
one hundred small wooden houses, besides a chapel. The inhabitants,
about four hundred and fifty in number, are chiefly descendants from the
French of Canada; and, in their manners, they unite all the careless
gayety, and the amiable hospitality of the best times of France: yet,
like most of their countrymen in America, they are but ill qualified for
the rude life of a frontier; not that they are without talent, for they
possess much natural genius and vivacity; nor that they are destitute of
enterprize, for their hunting excursions are long, laborious, and
hazardous: but their exertions are all desultory; their industry is
without system, and without perseverance. The surrounding country,
therefore, though rich, is not, in general, well cultivated; the
inhabitants chiefly subsisting by hunting and trade with the Indians,
and confine their culture to gardening, in which they excel.

Being joined by captain Lewis, who had been detained by business at St.
Louis, we again set sail on Monday, May 21st, in the afternoon, but were
prevented by wind and rain from going more than about three miles, when
we encamped on the upper point of an island, nearly opposite a creek
which falls in on the south side.

On the 22d we made about eighteen miles, passing several small farms on
the bank of the river, a number of islands, and a large creek on the
south side, called Bonhomme, or Goodman's river. A small number of
emigrants from the United States have settled on the sides of this
creek, which are very fertile. We also passed some high lands, and
encamped, on the north side, near a small creek. Here we met with a camp
of Kickapoo Indians who had left us at St. Charles, with a promise of
procuring us some provisions by the time we overtook them. They now made
us a present of four deer, and we gave them in return two quarts of
whiskey. This tribe reside on the heads of the Kaskaskia and Illinois
river, on the other side of the Mississippi, but occasionally hunt on
the Missouri.

May 23. Two miles from our camp of last night, we reached a river
emptying itself on the north side, called Osage Woman river. It is about
thirty yards wide, and has now a settlement of thirty or forty families
from the United States. About a mile and a half beyond this is a large
cave, on the south side at the foot of cliffs nearby three hundred feet
high, overhanging the water, which becomes very swift at this place. The
cave is one hundred and twenty feet wide, forty feet deep, and twenty
high, it is known by the name of the Tavern, among the traders who have
written their names on the rock, and painted some images which command
the homage of the Indians and French. About a little further we passed a
small creek called Tavern creek, and encamped on the south side of the
river, having gone nine miles.

Early the next morning we ascended a very difficult rapid, called the
Devil's Race Ground, where the current sets for half a mile against some
projecting rocks on the south side. We were less fortunate in attempting
a second place of equal difficulty. Passing near the southern shore, the
bank fell in so fast as to oblige us to cross the river instantly,
between the northern side and a sandbar which is constantly moving and
banking with the violence of the current. The boat struck on it, and
would have upset immediately, if the men had not jumped into the water
and held her, till the sand washed from under her. We encamped on the
south side, having ascended ten miles, and the next day, May 25, passed
on the south side the mouth of Wood river, on the north, two small
creeks and several islands, and stopped for the night at the entrance of
a creek on the north side, called by the French La Charrette, ten miles
from our last encampment, and a little above a small village of the same
name. It consists of seven small houses, and as many poor families who
have fixed themselves here for the convenience of trade, and form the
last establishment of whites on the Missouri. It rained last night, yet
we found this morning that the river had fallen several inches.

May 26. The wind being favourable we made eighteen miles to-day. We
passed in the morning several islands, the largest of which is Buffaloe
island, separated from the southern side by a small channel which
receives the waters of Buffaloe creek. On the same side is Shepherd's
creek, a little beyond which we encamped on the northern side. The next
day we sailed along a large island called Otter island, on the northern
side, extending nearly ten miles in length, narrow but high in its
situation, and one of the most fertile in the whole river. Between it
and the northern shore, three small creeks, one of which has the same
name with the island, empty themselves. On the southern shore is a creek
twenty yards wide, called Ash creek. In the course of the day we met two
canoes loaded with furs, which had been two months on their route, from
the Mahar nation, residing more than seven hundred miles up the
river--one large raft from the Pawnees on the river Platte, and three
others from the Grand Osage river. At the distance of fifteen miles we
encamped on a willow island, at the entrance of the river Gasconade.
This river falls into the Missouri from the south, one hundred miles
from the Mississippi. Its length is about one hundred and fifty miles in
a course generally northeast through a hilly country. On its banks are a
number of saltpetre caves, and it is believed some mines of lead in the
vicinity. Its width at the mouth is one hundred and fifty-seven yards,
and its depth nineteen feet.

Here we halted for the purpose of hunting and drying our provisions, and
making the necessary celestial observations. This being completed, we
set sail on the 29th at four o'clock, and at four miles distance
encamped on the south-side, above a small creek, called Deer creek. The
next day, 30th, we set out early, and at two miles distant reached a
large cave, on the north, called Montbrun's tavern, after a French
trader of that name, just above a creek called after the same person.
Beyond this is a large island, and at the distance of four miles, Rush
creek coming in from the south, at eleven, Big-muddy river on the north,
about fifty yards wide; three miles further, is Little-muddy river on
the same side, opposite to which we encamped at the mouth of Grindstone
creek. The rain which began last night continued through the day,
accompanied with high wind and some hail. The river has been rising fast
for two days, and the country around appears full of water. Along the
sides of the river to day we observe much timber, the cotton wood, the
sycamore, hickory, white walnut, some grapevines, and rushes--the high
west wind and rain compelled us to remain all the next day, May 31. In
the afternoon a boat came down from the Grand Osage river, bringing a
letter from a person sent to the Osage nation on the Arkansaw river,
which mentioned that the letter announcing the cession of Louisiana was
committed to the flames--that the Indians would not believe that the
Americans were owners of that country, and disregarded St. Louis and its
supplies. The party was occupied in hunting, in the course of which,
they caught in the woods several very large rats. We set sail early the
next morning, June 1st, and at six miles distant passed Bear creek, a
stream of about twenty-five yards width; but the wind being ahead and
the current rapid, we were unable to make more than thirteen miles to
the mouth of the Osage river; where we encamped and remained the
following day, for the purpose of making celestial observations. The
Osage river empties itself into the Missouri, at one hundred and
thirty-three miles distance from the mouth of the latter river. Its
general course is west and west southwest through a rich and level
country. At the junction the Missouri is about eight hundred and
seventy-five yards wide, and the Osage three hundred and ninety-seven.
The low point of junction is in latitude 38° 31' 16", and at a short
distance from it is a high commanding position, whence we enjoyed a
delightful prospect of the country.

The Osage river gives or owes its name to a nation inhabiting its banks
at a considerable distance from this place. Their present name however,
seems to have originated from the French traders, for both among
themselves and their neighbours they are called the Wasbashas. They
number between twelve and thirteen hundred warriors, and consist of
three tribes: the Great Osages of about five hundred warriors, living in
a village on the south bank of the river--the Little Osages, of nearly
half that number, residing at the distance of six miles from them--and
the Arkansaw band, a colony of Osages, of six hundred warriors, who left
them some years ago, under the command of a chief called the Bigfoot,
and settled on the Vermillion river, a branch of the Arkansaw. In person
the Osages are among the largest and best formed Indians, and are said
to possess fine military capacities; but residing as they do in
villages, and having made considerable advance in agriculture, they seem
less addicted to war, than their northern neighbours, to whom the use of
rifles gives a great superiority. Among the peculiarities of this
people, there is nothing more remarkable than the tradition relative to
their origin. According to universal belief, the founder of the nation
was a snail passing a quiet existence along the banks of the Osage, till
a high flood swept him down to the Missouri, and left him exposed on the
shore. The heat of the sun at length ripened him into a man, but with
the change of his nature, he had not forgotten his native seats on the
Osage, towards which, he immediately bent his way. He was however soon
overtaken by hunger, and fatigue, when happily the Great Spirit
appeared, and giving him a bow and arrow, showed him how to kill and
cook deer, and cover himself with the skin. He then proceeded to his
original residence, but as he approached the river, he was met by a
beaver, who inquired haughtily who he was, and by what authority he came
to disturb his possession. The Osage answered that the river was his
own, for he had once lived on its borders. As they stood disputing, the
daughter of the beaver came, and having by her entreaties reconciled her
father to this young stranger, it was proposed that the Osage should
marry the young beaver, and share with her family the enjoyment of the
river. The Osage readily consented, and from this happy union there soon
came the village and the nation of the Wasbasha, or Osages, who have
ever since preserved a pious reverence for their ancestors, abstaining
from the chace of the beaver, because in killing that animal, they
killed a brother of the Osage. Of late years, however, since the trade
with the whites has rendered beaver skins more valuable, the sanctity of
these maternal relatives has visibly reduced, and the poor animals have
nearly lost all the privileges of kindred.

On the afternoon of June 3, we proceeded, and at three miles distant,
reached a creek called Cupboard creek, from a rock of that appearance
near its entrance. Two miles further we encamped at Moreau creek, a
stream of twenty yards width, on the southern side. The next morning, we
passed at an early hour, Cedar island on the north, so called from the
abundance of the tree of that name; near which is a small creek, named
Nightingale creek, from a bird of that species, who sang for us during
the night. Beyond Cedar island, are some others of a smaller extent, and
at seven miles distance a creek fifteen or twenty yards wide, entering
from the north, and known by the name of Cedar creek. At seven and a
half miles further, we passed on the south side another creek, which we
called Mast creek, from the circumstance of our mast being broken by
running under a concealed tree; a little above is another creek on the
left, one mile beyond which we encamped on the southern shore under high
projecting cliffs. The French had reported that lead ore was to be found
in this place, but on examining the hills, we could discern no
appearance of that mineral. Along the river on the south, is a low land
covered with rushes, and high nettles, and near the mouths of the
creeks, supplied with oak, ash, and walnut timber. On the north the land
is rich and well situated. We made seventeen and a half miles this day.
The river is falling slowly. We continued our route the next morning
early: a small creek called Lead creek, on the south; another on the
north, known to the French by the name of Little Good Woman's creek, and
again Big Rock creek on the south were the only streams we passed this
morning. At eleven o'clock we met a raft made of two canoes joined
together, in which two French traders were descending, from eighty
leagues up the river Kanzas, where they had wintered, and caught great
quantities of beaver, but had lost much of their game by fires from the
prairies. They told us that the Kanzas nation is now hunting buffaloe in
the plains, having passed the last winter in this river. Two miles
further, we reached on the south Little Manitou creek, which takes its
name from a strange figure resembling the bust of a man, with the horns
of a stag, painted on a projecting rock, which may represent some spirit
or deity. Near this is a sandbar extending several miles, which renders
the navigation difficult, and a small creek called Sand creek on the
south, where we stopped for dinner, and gathered wild cresses and tongue
grass from the sandbar. The rapidity of the currents added to our having
broken our mast, prevented our going more than twelve and a half miles.
The scouts and hunters whom we always kept out, report that they have
seen fresh tracks of Indians. The next morning we left our camp, which
was on the south side, opposite to a large island in the middle of the
river, and at five miles reached a creek on the north side, of about
twenty yards wide, called Split Rock creek, from a fissure in the point
of a neighbouring rock. Three miles beyond this, on the south is Saline
river, it is about thirty yards wide, and has its name from the number
of salt licks, and springs, which render its water brackish; the river
is very rapid and the banks falling in. After leaving Saline creek, we
passed one large island and several smaller ones, having made fourteen
miles. The water rose a foot during the last night.

The next day, June 7, we passed at four and a half miles Big Manitou
creek, near which is a limestone rock inlaid with flint of various
colours, and embellished, or at least covered with uncouth paintings of
animals and inscriptions. We landed to examine it, but found the place
occupied by a nest of rattlesnakes, of which we killed three. We also
examined some licks and springs of salt water, two or three miles up
this creek. We then proceeded by some small willow islands, and encamped
at the mouth of Good Woman river on the north. It is about thirty-five
yards wide, and said to be navigable for boats several leagues. The
hunters, who had hitherto given us only deer, brought in this evening
three bears, and had seen some indication of buffaloe. We had come
fourteen miles.

June 8, we saw several small willow islands, and a creek on the south,
near which are a number of deerlicks; at nine miles distance we came to
Mine river. This river, which falls into the Missouri from the south,
is said to be navigable for boats eighty or ninety miles, and is about
seventy yards wide at its mouth. It forks about five or six leagues from
the Missouri, and at the point of junction are some very rich salt
springs; the west branch in particular, is so much impregnated, that,
for twenty miles, the water is not palatable: several branches of the
Manitou and Good Woman are equally tinctured. The French report also,
that lead ore has been found on different parts of the river. We made
several excursions near the river through the low rich country on its
banks, and after dinner went on to the island of Mills, where we
encamped. We met with a party of three hunters from the Sioux river;
they had been out for twelve months, and collected about nine hundred
dollars worth of peltries and furs. We ascended this river twelve miles.

On the 9th, we set out early, and reached a cliff of rocks, called the
Arrow Rock, near to which is a prairie called the Prairies of Arrows,
and Arrow creek, a small stream about eight yards wide, whose source is
in the adjoining prairies on the south. At this cliff the Missouri is
confined within a bed of two hundred yards; and about four miles to the
south east is a large lick and salt spring of great strength. About
three miles further is Blackbird creek on the north side, opposite to
which, is an island and a prairie inclosing a small lake. Five miles
beyond this we encamped on the south side, after making, in the course
of the day, thirteen miles. The land on the north is a high rich plain.
On the south it is also even, of a good quality, and rising from fifty
to one hundred feet.

The next morning, 10th, we passed Deer creek, and at the distance of
five miles, the two rivers called by the French the two Charatons, a
corruption of Thieraton, the first of which is thirty, the second
seventy yards wide, and enter the Missouri together. They are both
navigable for boats: the country through which they pass is broken,
rich, and thickly covered with timber. The Ayauway nation, consisting
of three hundred men, have a village near its head-waters on the river
De Moines. Farther on we passed a large island called _Chicot_ or Stump
Island, and encamped on the south, after making ten miles. A head wind
forced us to remain there all the next day, during which we dried the
meat we had killed, and examined the surrounding country, which consists
of good land, well watered, and supplied with timber: the prairies also
differ from those eastward of the Mississippi, inasmuch as the latter
are generally without any covering except grass, whilst the former
abound with hazel, grapes and other fruits, among which is the Osage
plum of a superior size and quality. On the morning of the 12th, we
passed through difficult places in the river, and reached Plum creek on
the south side. At one o'clock, we met two rafts loaded, the one with
furs, the other with the tallow of buffaloe; they were from the Sioux
nation, and on their way to St. Louis; but we were fortunate enough to
engage one of them, a Mr. Durion, who had lived with that nation more
than twenty years, and was high in their confidence, to accompany us
thither. We made nine miles. On the 13th, we passed at between four and
five miles, a bend of the river, and two creeks on the north, called the
Round Bend creeks. Between these two creeks is the prairie, in which
once stood the ancient village of the Missouris. Of this village there
remains no vestige, nor is there any thing to recall this great and
numerous nation, except a feeble remnant of about thirty families. They
were driven from their original seats by the invasions of the Sauks and
other Indians from the Mississippi, who destroyed at this village two
hundred of them in one contest, and sought refuge near the Little Osage,
on the other side of the river. The encroachment of the same enemies
forced, about thirty years since, both these nations from the banks of
the Missouri. A few retired with the Osage, and the remainder found an
asylum on the river Platte, among the Ottoes, who are themselves
declining. Opposite the plain there was an island and a French fort,
but there is now no appearance of either, the successive inundations
having probably washed them away, as the willow island which is in the
situation described by Du Pratz, is small and of recent formation. Five
miles from this place is the mouth of Grand River, where we encamped.
This river follows a course nearly south, or south east, and is between
eighty and a hundred yards wide where it enters the Missouri, near a
delightful and rich plain. A racoon, a bear, and some deer were obtained
to day. We proceeded at six o'clock the next morning. The current was so
rapid and the banks on the north falling in so constantly, that we were
obliged to approach the sandbars on the south. These were moving
continually, and formed the worst passage we had seen, and which we
surmounted with much difficulty. We met a trading raft from the Pawnee
nation on the river Platte, and attempted unsuccessfully to engage one
of their party to return with us. At the distance of eight miles, we
came to some high cliffs, called the Snake bluffs, from the number of
that animal in the neighbourhood, and immediately above these bluffs,
Snake creek, about eighteen yards wide, on which we encamped. One of our
hunters, a half Indian, brought us an account of his having to day
passed a small lake, near which a number of deer were feeding, and in
the pond he heard a snake making a guttural noise like a turkey. He
fired his gun, but the noise became louder. He adds, that he has heard
the Indians mention this species of snake, and this story is confirmed
by a Frenchman of our party. All the next day, the river being very
high, the sandbars were so rolling and numerous, and the current so
strong, that we were unable to stem it even with oars added to our
sails; this obliged us to go nearer the banks, which were falling in, so
that we could not make, though the boat was occasionally towed, more
than fourteen miles. We passed several islands and one creek on the
south side, and encamped on the north opposite a beautiful plain, which
extends as far back as the Osage river, and some miles up the Missouri.
In front of our encampment are the remains of an old village of the
Little Osage, situated at some distance from the river, and at the foot
of a small hill. About three miles above them, in view of our camp is
the situation of the old village of the Missouris after they fled from
the Sauks. The inroads of the same tribe compelled the Little Osage to
retire from the Missouri a few years ago, and establish themselves near
the Great Osages. The river, which is here about one mile wide, had
risen in the morning, but fell towards evening. Early this morning, June
16th, we joined the camp of our hunters, who had provided two deer and
two bear, and then passing an island and a prairie on the north covered
with a species of timothy, made our way through bad sandbars and a swift
current, to an encampment for the evening, on the north side, at ten
miles distance. The timber which we examined to day was not sufficiently
strong for oars; the musquitoes and ticks are exceedingly troublesome.
On the 17th, we set out early and having come to a convenient place at
one mile distance, for procuring timber and making oars, we occupied
ourselves in that way on this and the following day. The country on the
north of the river is rich and covered with timber; among which we
procured the ash for oars. At two miles it changes into extensive
prairies, and at seven or eight miles distance becomes higher and
waving. The prairie and high lands on the south commence more
immediately on the river; the whole is well watered and provided with
game, such as deer, elk, and bear. The hunters brought in a fat horse
which was probably lost by some war party--this being the crossing place
for the Sauks, Ayauways, and Sioux, in their excursions against the

June 19, the oars being finished, we proceeded under a gentle breeze by
two large and some smaller islands. The sandbars are numerous and so
bad, that at one place we were forced to clear away the driftwood in
order to pass: the water too was so rapid that we were under the
necessity of towing the boat for half a mile round a point of rocks on
the south side. We passed two creeks, one called Tiger creek on the
north, twenty-five yards wide at the extremity of a large island called
Panther Island; the other Tabo creek on the south, fifteen yards wide.
Along the shores are gooseberries and raspberries in great abundance. At
the distance of seventeen and a half miles we encamped on the south,
near a lake about two miles from the river and several in circumference;
and much frequented by deer and all kinds of fowls. On the north the
land is higher and better calculated for farms than that on the south,
which ascends more gradually, but is still rich and pleasant. The
musquitoes and other animals are so troublesome that musquitoe biers or
nets were distributed to the party. The next morning we passed a large
island, opposite to which on the north is a large and beautiful prairie,
called Sauk prairie, the land being fine and well timbered on both sides
the river. Pelicans were seen to day. We made six and three quarter
miles, and encamped at the lower point of a small island, along the
north side of which we proceeded the next day, June 21st, but not
without danger in consequence of the sands and the rapidity of the water
which rose three inches last night. Behind another island come in from
the south two creeks, called Eau, Beau, or Clear Water creeks; on the
north is a very remarkable bend, where the high lands approach the
river, and form an acute angle at the head of a large island produced by
a narrow channel through the point of the bend. We passed several other
islands, and encamped at seven and a half miles on the south.

22d. The river rose during the night four inches. The water is very
rapid and crowded with concealed timber. We passed two large islands and
an extensive prairie on the south, beginning with a rich low land, and
rising to the distance of seventy or eighty feet of rolling clear
country. The thermometer at three o'clock P.M. was at 87°. After coming
ten and a half miles we encamped on the south, opposite a large creek
called Fire Prairie river.

23d. The wind was against us this morning, and became so violent that we
made only three and a half miles, and were obliged to lie to during the
day at a small island. This is separated from the northern side by a
narrow channel which cannot be passed by boats, being choaked by trees
and drifted wood. Directly opposite on the south, is a high commanding
position, more than seventy feet above high water mark, and overlooking
the river which is here of but little width; this spot has many
advantages for a fort, and trading house with the Indians.[A] The river
fell eight inches last night.

[Footnote A: The United States built in September, 1808, a factory and
fort at this spot, which is very convenient for trading with the Osages,
Ayauways and Kanzas.]

The next day, 24th, we passed at eight miles distance, Hay Cabin creek
coming in from the south, about twenty yards wide, and so called from
camps of straw built on it; to the north are some rocks projecting into
the river, and a little beyond them a creek on the same side, called
Charaton Scarty; that is, Charaton like the Otter. We halted, after
making eleven and a half miles, the country on both sides being fine and
interspersed with prairies, in which we now see numerous herds of deer,
pasturing in the plains or feeding on the young willows of the river.

25th. A thick fog detained us till eight o'clock, when we set sail, and
at three miles reached a bank of stone coal on the north, which appeared
to be very abundant: just below it is a creek called after the bank La
Charbonniere. Four miles further, and on the southern side, comes in a
small creek, called La Benite. The prairies here approach the river and
contain many fruits, such as plums, raspberries, wild apples, and nearer
the river vast quantities of mulberries. Our encampment was at thirteen
miles distance on an island to the north, opposite some hills higher
than usual, and almost one hundred and sixty or one hundred and eighty
feet. 26th. At one mile we passed at the end of a small island, Blue
Water creek, which is about thirty yards wide at its entrance from the
south.[A] Here the Missouri is confined within a narrow bed, and the
current still more so by counter currents or whirls on one side and a
high bank on the other. We passed a small island and a sandbar, where
our tow rope broke twice, and we rowed round with great exertions. We
saw a number of parroquets, and killed some deer; after nine and three
quarter miles we encamped at the upper point of the mouth of the river
Kanzas: here we remained two days, during which we made the necessary
observations, recruited the party, and repaired the boat. The river
Kanzas takes its rise in the plains between the Arkansaw and Platte
rivers, and pursues a course generally east till its junction with the
Missouri which is in latitude 38° 31' 13"; here it is three hundred and
forty and a quarter yards wide, though it is wider a short distance
above the mouth. The Missouri itself is about five hundred yards in
width; the point of union is low and subject to inundations for two
hundred and fifty yards, it then rises a little above high water mark,
and continues so as far back as the hills. On the south of the Kanzas
the hills or highlands come within one mile and a half of the river; on
the north of the Missouri they do not approach nearer than several
miles; but on all sides the country is fine. The comparative specific
gravities of the two rivers is, for the Missouri seventy-eight, the
Kanzas seventy-two degrees; the waters of the latter have a very
disagreeable taste, the former has risen during yesterday and to day
about two feet. On the banks of the Kanzas reside the Indians of the
same name, consisting of two villages, one at about twenty, the other
forty leagues from its mouth, and amounting to about three hundred men.
They once lived twenty-four leagues higher than the Kanzas, on the south
bank of the Missouri, and were then more numerous, but they have been
reduced and banished by the Sauks and Ayauways, who being better
supplied with arms have an advantage over the Kanzas, though the latter
are not less fierce or warlike than themselves. This nation is now
hunting in the plains for the buffaloe which our hunters have seen for
the first time.

[Footnote A: A few miles up the Blue Water Creek are quarries of plaster
of paris, since worked and brought down to St. Louis.]

On the 29th, we set out late in the afternoon, and having passed a
sandbar, near which the boat was almost lost, and a large island on the
north, we encamped at seven and a quarter miles on the same side in the
low lands, where the rushes are so thick that it is troublesome to walk
through them. Early the next morning, 30th, we reached, at five miles
distance, the mouth of a river coming in from the north, and called by
the French, Petite Riviere Platte, or Little Shallow river; it is about
sixty yards wide at its mouth. A few of the party who ascended informed
us, that the lands on both sides are good, and that there are several
falls well calculated for mills; the wind was from the south west, and
the weather oppressively warm, the thermometer standing at 96° above at
three o'clock P.M. One mile beyond this is a small creek on the south,
at five miles from which we encamped on the same side, opposite the
lower point of an island called Diamond island. The land on the north
between the Little Shallow river, and the Missouri is not good and
subject to overflow--on the south it is higher and better timbered.

July 1st. We proceeded along the north side of Diamond island, where a
small creek called Biscuit creek empties itself. One and a half miles
above the island is a large sandbar in the middle of the river, beyond
which we stopped to refresh the men, who suffered very much from the
heat. Here we observed great quantities of grapes and raspberries.
Between one and two miles farther are three islands a creek on the
south known by the French name of Remore. The main current which is now
on the south side of the largest of the three islands, ran three years,
as we were told on the north, and there was then no appearance of the
two smaller islands. At the distance of four and a half miles we reached
the lower point of a cluster of small islands, two large and two small,
called Isles des Pares or Field Islands. Paccaun trees were this day
seen, and large quantities of deer and turkies on the banks. We had
advanced twelve miles.

July 2d. We left our encampment, opposite to which is a high and
beautiful prairie on the southern side, and passed up the south of the
islands, which are high meadows, and a creek on the north called Pare
creek. Here for half an hour the river became covered with drift wood,
which rendered the navigation dangerous, and was probably caused by the
giving way of some sandbar, which had detained the wood. After making
five miles we passed a stream on the south called Turky creek, near a
sandbar, where we could scarcely stem the current with twenty oars, and
all the poles we had. On the north at about two miles further is a large
island called by the Indians, Wau-car-da-war-card-da, or the Bear
Medicine island. Here we landed and replaced our mast, which had been
broken three days ago, by running against a tree, overhanging the river.
Thence we proceeded, and after night stopped on the north side, above
the island, having come eleven and a half miles. Opposite our camp is a
valley, in which was situated an old village of the Kanzas, between two
high points of land, and on the bank of the river. About a mile in the
rear of the village was a small fort, built by the French on an
elevation. There are now no traces of the village, but the situation of
the fort may be recognized by some remains of chimnies, and the general
outline of the fortification, as well as by the fine spring which
supplied it with water. The party, who were stationed here, were
probably cut off by the Indians, as there are no accounts of them.

July 3d. A gentle breeze from the south carried us eleven and a quarter
miles this day, past two islands, one a small willow island, the other
large, and called by the French Isle des Vaches, or Cow island. At the
head of this island, on the northern shore, is a large pond containing
beaver, and fowls of different kinds. After passing a bad sandbar, we
stopped on the south side at an old trading house, which is now
deserted, and half a mile beyond it encamped on the south. The land is
fine along the rivers, and some distance back. We observed the black
walnut and oak, among the timber; and the honey-suckle and the
buck's-eye, with the nuts on them.

The morning of the 4th July was announced by the discharge of our gun.
At one mile we reached the mouth of a bayeau or creek, coming from a
large lake on the north side, which appears as if it had once been the
bed of the river, to which it runs parallel for several miles. The water
of it is clear and supplied by a small creek and several springs, and
the number of goslins which we saw on it, induced us to call it the
Gosling lake. It is about three quarters of a mile wide, and seven or
eight miles long. One of our men was bitten by a snake, but a poultice
of bark and gunpowder was sufficient to cure the wound. At ten and a
quarter miles we reached a creek on the south about twelve yards wide
and coming from an extensive prairie, which approached the borders of
the river. To this creek which had no name, we gave that of Fourth of
July creek; above it is a high mound, where three Indian paths centre,
and from which is a very extensive prospect. After fifteen miles sail we
came to on the north a little above a creek on the southern side, about
thirty yards wide, which we called Independence creek, in honour of the
day, which we could celebrate only by an evening gun, and an additional
gill of whiskey to the men.

The next day, 5th, we crossed over to the south and came along the bank
of an extensive and beautiful prairie, interspersed with copses of
timber, and watered by Independence creek. On this bank formerly stood
the second village of the Kanzas; from the remains it must have been
once a large town. We passed several bad sandbars, and a small creek to
the south, which we called Yellow Ochre creek, from a bank of that
mineral a little above it. The river continues to fall. On the shores
are great quantities of summer and fall grapes, berries and wild roses.
Deer is not so abundant as usual, but there are numerous tracks of elk
around us. We encamped at ten miles distance on the south side under a
high bank, opposite to which was a low land covered with tall rushes,
and some timber.

July 6. We set sail, and at one mile passed a sandbar, three miles
further an island, a prairie to the north, at the distance of four miles
called Reevey's prairie, after a man who was killed there; at which
place the river is confined to a very narrow channel, and by a sandbar
from the south. Four miles beyond is another sandbar terminated by a
small willow island, and forming a very considerable bend in the river
towards the north. The sand of the bar is light, intermixed with small
pebbles and some pit coal. The river falls slowly, and, owing either to
the muddiness of its water, or the extreme heat of the weather, the men
perspire profusely. We encamped on the south having made twelve miles.
The bird called whip-poor-will sat on the boat for some time.

In the morning, July 7th, the rapidity of the water obliged us to draw
the boat along with ropes. At six and three quarter miles, we came to a
sandbar, at a point opposite a fine rich prairie on the north, called
St. Michael's. The prairies of this neighbourhood have the appearance of
distinct farms, divided by narrow strips of woodland, which follow the
borders of the small runs leading to the river. Above this, about a
mile, is a cliff of yellow clay on the north. At four o'clock we passed
a narrow part of the channel, where the water is confined within a bed
of two hundred yards wide, the current running directly against the
southern bank with no sand on the north to confine it or break its
force. We made fourteen miles, and halted on the north, after which we
had a violent gust about seven o'clock. One of the hunters saw in a pond
to the north which we passed yesterday a number of young swans. We saw a
large rat, and killed a wolf. Another of our men had a stroke of the
sun; he was bled, and took a preparation of nitre which relieved him

July 8. We set out early, and soon passed a small creek on the north,
which we called Ordway's creek, from our sergeant of that name who had
been sent on shore with the horses, and went up it. On the same side are
three small islands, one of which is the Little Nodawa, and a large
island called the Great Nodawa* extending more than five miles, and
containing seven or eight thousand acres of high good land, rarely
overflowed, and one of the largest islands of the Missouri. It is
separated from the northern shore by a small channel of from forty-five
to eighty yards wide, up which we passed, and found near the western
extremity of the island the mouth of the river Nodawa. This river
persues nearly a southern course, is navigable for boats to some
distance, and about seventy yards wide above the mouth, though not so
wide immediately there, as the mud from the Missouri contracts its
channel. At twelve and a quarter miles, we encamped on the north side,
near the head of Nodawa island, and opposite a smaller one in the middle
of the river. Five of the men were this day sick with violent headache.
The river continues to fall.

July 9th. We passed the island opposite to which we last night encamped,
and saw near the head of it a creek falling in from a pond on the north,
to which we gave the name of Pike pond, from the numbers of that animal
which some of our party saw from the shore. The wind changed at eight
from N.E. to S.W. and brought rain. At six miles we passed the mouth of
Monter's creek on the south, and two miles above a few cabins, where one
of our party had encamped with some Frenchmen about two years ago.
Further on we passed an island on the north, opposite some cliffs on the
south side, near which Loup or Wolf river falls into the Missouri. This
river is about sixty yards wide, it heads near the same sources as the
Kanzas, and is navigable for boats, at some distance up. At fourteen
miles we encamped on the south side.

Tuesday 10th. We proceeded on by a prairie on the upper side of Wolf
river, and at four miles passed a creek fifteen yards wide on the south,
called Pape's creek after a Spaniard of that name, who killed himself
there. At six miles we dined on an island called by the French Isle de
Salomon, or Solomon's island, opposite to which on the south is a
beautiful plain covered with grass, intermixed with wild rye and a kind
of wild potatoe. After making ten miles we stopped for the night on the
northern side, opposite a cliff of yellow clay. The river has neither
risen nor fallen to day. On the north the low land is very extensive,
and covered with vines; on the south, the hills approach nearer the
river, and back of them commence the plains. There are a great many
goslins along the banks.

Wednesday 11th. After three miles sailing we came to a willow island on
the north side, behind which enters a creek called by the Indians
Tarkio. Above this creek on the north the low lands are subject to
overflow, and further back the undergrowth of vines particularly, is so
abundant that they can scarcely be passed. Three miles from the Tarkio
we encamped on a large sand island on the north, immediately opposite
the river Nemahaw.

Thursday 12th. We remained here to day for the purpose of refreshing the
party, and making lunar observations. The Nemahaw empties itself into
the Missouri from the south, and is eighty yards wide at the confluence,
which is in lat. 39° 55' 56". Capt. Clarke ascended it in the perioque
about two miles to the mouth of a small creek on the lower side. On
going ashore he found in the level plain several artificial mounds or
graves, and on the adjoining hills others of a larger size. This
appearance indicates sufficiently the former population of this country;
the mounds being certainly intended as tombs; the Indians of the
Missouri still preserving the custom of interring the dead on high
ground. From the top of the highest mound a delightful prospect
presented itself--the level and extensive meadows watered by the
Nemahaw, and enlivened by the few trees and shrubs skirting the borders
of the river and its tributary streams--the lowland of the Missouri
covered with undulating grass, nearly five feet high, gradually rising
into a second plain, where rich weeds and flowers are interspersed with
copses of the Osage plum; further back are seen small groves of trees;
an abundance of grapes; the wild cherry of the Missouri, resembling our
own, but larger, and growing on a small bush; and the chokecherry, which
we observed for the first time. Some of the grapes gathered to-day are
nearly ripe. On the south of the Nemahaw, and about a quarter of a mile
from its mouth, is a cliff of freestone, in which are various
inscriptions and marks made by the Indians. The sand island where we are
encamped, is covered with the two species of willow, broad and narrow

July 13th. We proceeded at sunrise with a fair wind from the south, and
at two miles, passed the mouth of a small river on the north, called Big
Tarkio. A channel from the bed of the Missouri once ran into this river,
and formed an island called St. Joseph's, but the channel is now filled
up, and the island is added to the northern shore. Further on to the
south, is situated an extensive plain, covered with a grass resembling
timothy in its general appearance, except the seed which is like
flaxseed, and also a number of grapevines. At twelve miles, we passed an
island on the north, above which is a large sandbar covered with
willows: and at twenty and a half miles, stopped on a large sandbar, in
the middle of the river opposite a high handsome prairie, which extends
to the hills four or five miles distant, though near the bank the land
is low, and subject to be overflowed. This day was exceedingly fine and
pleasant, a storm of wind and rain from north-northeast, last night,
having cooled the air.

July 14. We had some hard showers of rain before seven o'clock, when we
set out. We had just reached the end of the sand island, and seen the
opposite banks falling in, and so lined with timber that we could not
approach it without danger, when a sudden squall, from the northeast,
struck the boat on the starboard quarter, and would have certainly
dashed her to pieces on the sand island, if the party had not leaped
into the river, and with the aid of the anchor and cable kept her off:
the waves dashing over her for the space of forty minutes; after which,
the river became almost instantaneously calm and smooth. The two
periogues were ahead, in a situation nearly similar, but fortunately no
damage was done to the boats or the loading. The wind having shifted to
the southeast, we came at the distance of two miles, to an inland on the
north, where we dined. One mile above, on the same side of the river, is
a small factory, where a merchant of St. Louis traded with the Ottoes
and Pawnees two years ago. Near this is an extensive lowland, part of
which is overflowed occasionally, the rest is rich and well timbered.
The wind again changed to northwest by north. At seven and a half miles,
we reached lower point of a large island, on the north side. A small
distance above this point, is a river, called by the Maha Indians,
Nishnahbatona. This is a considerable creek, nearly as large as the Mine
river, and runs parallel to the Missouri the greater part of its course,
being fifty yards wide at the mouth. In the prairies or glades, we saw
wild-timothy, lambsquarter, cuckleberries, and on the edges of the
river, summer-grapes, plums, and gooseberries. We also saw to-day, for
the first time, some elk, at which some of the party shot, but at too
great a distance. We encamped on the north side of the island, a little
above Nishnahbatona, having made nine miles. The river fell a little.

July 15. A thick fog prevented our leaving the encampment before seven.
At about four miles, we reached the extremity of the large island, and
crossing to the south, at the distance of seven miles, arrived at the
Little Nemaha, a small river from the south, forty yards wide a little
above its mouth, but contracting, as do almost all the waters emptying
into the Missouri, at its confluence. At nine and three quarter miles,
we encamped on a woody point, on the south. Along the southern bank, is
a rich lowland covered with peavine, and rich weeds, and watered by
small streams rising in the adjoining prairies. They too, are rich, and
though with abundance of grass, have no timber except what grows near
the water; interspersed through both are grapevines, plums of two kinds,
two species of wild-cherries, hazlenuts, and gooseberries. On the south
there is one unbroken plain; on the north the river is skirted with some
timber, behind which the plain extends four or five miles to the hills,
which seem to have little wood.

July 16. We continued our route between a large island opposite to our
last night's encampment, and an extensive prairie on the south. About
six miles, we came to another large island, called Fairsun island, on
the same side; above which is a spot, where about twenty acres of the
hill have fallen into the river. Near this, is a cliff of sandstone for
two miles, which is much frequented by birds. At this place the river is
about one mile wide, but not deep; as the timber, or sawyers, may be
seen, scattered across the whole of its bottom. At twenty miles
distance, we saw on the south, an island called by the French, l'Isle
Chance, or Bald island, opposite to a large prairie, which we called
Baldpated prairie, from a ridge of naked hills which bound it, running
parallel with the river as far as we could see, and from three to six
miles distance. To the south the hills touch the river. We encamped a
quarter of a mile beyond this, in a point of woods on the north side.
The river continues to fall.

Tuesday, July 17. We remained here this day, in order to make
observations and correct the chronometer, which ran down on Sunday. The
latitude we found to be 40° 27' 5"4/10. The observation of the time
proved our chronometer too slow, by 6' 51"6/10. The highlands bear from
our camp, north 25° west, up the river. Captain Lewis rode up the
country, and saw the Nishnahbatona, about ten or twelve miles from its
mouth, at a place not more than three hundred yards from the Missouri,
and a little above our camp. It then passes near the foot of the
Baldhills, and is at least six feet below the level of the Missouri. On
its banks are the oak, walnut, and mulberry. The common current of the
Missouri, taken with the log, is 50 fathoms in 40", at some places, and
even 20".

Wednesday, July 18. The morning was fair, and a gentle wind from
southeast by south, carried us along between the prairie on the north,
and Bald island to the south: opposite the middle of which, the
Nishnahbatona approaches the nearest to the Missouri. The current here
ran fifty fathoms in 41". At thirteen and a half miles, we reached an
island on the north, near to which the banks overflow; while on the
south, the hills project over the river and form high cliffs. At one
point a part of the cliff, nearly three quarters of a mile in length,
and about two hundred feet in height, has fallen into the river. It is
composed chiefly of sandstone intermixed with an iron ore of bad
quality; near the bottom is a soft slatestone with pebbles. We passed
several bad sandbars in the course of the day, and made eighteen miles,
and encamped on the south, opposite to the lower point of the Oven
islands. The country around is generally divided into prairies, with
little timber, except on low points, islands, and near creeks, and that
consisting of cottonwood, mulberry, elm, and sycamore. The river falls
fast. An Indian dog came to the bank; he appeared to have been lost and
was nearly starved: we gave him some food, but he would not follow us.

Thursday, July 19. The Oven islands are small, and two in number; one
near the south shore, the other in the middle of the river. Opposite to
them is the prairie, called Terrien's Oven, from a trader of that name.
At four and a half miles, we reached some high cliffs of a yellow earth,
on the south, near which are two beautiful runs of water, rising in the
adjacent prairies, and one of them with a deerlick, about two hundred
yards from its mouth. In this neighbourhood we observed some iron ore in
the bank. At two and a half miles above the runs, a large portion of the
hill, for nearly three quarters of a mile, has fallen into the river. We
encamped on the western extremity of an island, in the middle of the
river, having made ten and three quarter miles. The river falls a
little. The sandbars which we passed to-day, are more numerous, and the
rolling sands more frequent and dangerous, than any we have seen; these
obstacles increasing as we approach the river Platte. The Missouri here
is wider also than below, where the timber on the banks resists the
current; while here the prairies which approach, are more easily washed
and undermined. The hunters have brought for the last few days, no
quadruped, but deer: great quantities of young geese are seen to-day:
one of them brought calamus, which he had gathered opposite our
encampment, and a large quantity of sweet-flag.

Friday, July 20. There was a heavy dew last night, and this morning was
foggy and cool. We passed at about three miles distance, a small willow
island to the north, and a creek on the south, about twenty-five yards
wide, called by the French, L'eau qui Pleure, or the Weeping Water, and
emptying itself just above a cliff of brown clay. Thence we made two and
a half miles to another island; three miles further to a third: six
miles beyond which is a fourth island; at the head of which we encamped
on the southern shore; in all eighteen miles. The party, who walked on
the shore to-day, found the plains to the south, rich, but much parched
with frequent fires, and with no timber, except the scattering trees
about the sources of the runs, which are numerous and fine. On the
north, is a similar prairie country. The river continues to fall. A
large yellow wolf was this day killed. For a month past the party have
been troubled with biles, and occasionally with the dysentery. These
biles were large tumours which broke out under the arms, on the legs,
and, generally, in the parts most exposed to action, which sometimes
became too painful to permit the men to work. After remaining some days,
they disappeared without any assistance, except a poultice of the bark
of the elm, or of Indian meal. This disorder, which we ascribe to the
muddiness of the river water, has not affected the general health of the
party, which is quite as good, if not better, than that of the same
number of men in any other situation.

Saturday, July 21. We had a breeze from the southeast, by the aid of
which we passed, at about ten miles, a willow island on the south, near
high lands covered with timber, at the bank, and formed of limestone
with cemented shells: on the opposite side is a bad sandbar, and the
land near it is cut through at high water, by small channels forming a
number of islands. The wind lulled at seven o'clock, and we reached, in
the rain, the mouth of the great river Platte, at the distance of
fourteen miles. The highlands which had accompanied us on the south, for
the last eight or ten miles, stopped at about three quarters of a mile
from the entrance of the Platte. Captains Lewis and Clarke ascended the
river in a periogue, for about one mile, and found the current very
rapid; rolling over sands, and divided into a number of channels; none
of which are deeper than five or six feet. One of our Frenchmen, who
spent two winters on it, says that it spreads much more at some distance
from the mouth; that its depth is generally not more than five or six
feet; that there are many small islands scattered through it, and that
from its rapidity and the quantity of its sand, it cannot be navigated
by boats or periogues, though the Indians pass it in small flat canoes
made of hides. That the Saline or Salt river, which in some seasons is
too brackish to be drank, falls into it from the south about thirty
miles up, and a little above it Elkhorn river from the north, running
nearly parallel with the Missouri. The river is, in fact, much more
rapid than the Missouri, the bed of which it fills with moving sands,
and drives the current on the northern shore, on which it is constantly
encroaching. At its junction the Platte is about six hundred yards wide,
and the same number of miles from the Mississippi. With much difficulty
we worked round the sandbars near the mouth, and came to above the
point, having made fifteen miles. A number of wolves were seen and heard
around us in the evening.

July 22. The next morning we set sail, and having found at the distance
of ten miles from the Platte, a high and shaded situation on the north,
we encamped there, intending to make the requisite observations, and to
send for the neighbouring tribes, for the purpose of making known the
recent change in the government, and the wish of the United States to
cultivate their friendship.

                               CHAP. II.

     Some account of the Pawnee Indians--Council held with the Otto and
     Missouri Indians--Council held with another party of the
     Ottoes--Death of sergeant Floyd--The party encamp near the mouth of
     Whitestone river--The character of the Missouri, with the rivers
     that enter it--The surrounding country--The various islands, bays,
     creeks, &c. given in the course of the expedition.

Our camp is by observation in latitude 41° 3' 11". Immediately behind it
is a plain about five miles wide, one half covered with wood, the other
dry and elevated. The low grounds on the south near the junction of the
two rivers, are rich, but subject to be overflowed. Farther up, the
banks are higher, and opposite our camp the first hills approach the
river, and are covered with timber, such as oak, walnut, and elm. The
intermediate country is watered by the Papillon, or Butterfly creek, of
about eighteen yards wide, and three miles from the Platte; on the north
are high open plains and prairies, and at nine miles from the Platte,
the Musquitoe creek, and two or three small willow islands. We stayed
here several days, during which we dried our provisions, made new oars,
and prepared our despatches and maps of the country we had passed, for
the president of the United States, to whom we intend to send them by a
periogue from this place. The hunters have found game scarce in this
neighbourhood; they have seen deer, turkies, and grouse; we have also an
abundance of ripe grapes; and one of our men caught a white catfish, the
eyes of which were small, and its tail resembling that of a dolphin. The
present season is that in which the Indians go out into the prairies to
hunt the buffaloe; but as we discovered some hunter's tracks, and
observed the plains on fire in the direction of their villages, we hoped
that they might have returned to gather the green indian corn, and
therefore despatched two men to the Ottoes or Pawnee villages with a
present of tobacco, and an invitation to the chiefs to visit us. They
returned after two days absence. Their first course was through an open
prairie to the south, in which they crossed Butterfly creek. They then
reached a small beautiful river, called Come de Cerf, or Elkhorn river,
about one hundred yards wide, with clear water and a gravelly channel.
It empties a little below the Ottoe village into the Platte, which they
crossed, and arrived at the town about forty-five miles from our camp.
They found no Indians there, though they saw some fresh tracks of a
small party. The Ottoes were once a powerful nation, and lived about
twenty miles above the Platte, on the southern bank of the Missouri.
Being reduced, they migrated to the neighborhood of the Pawnees, under
whose protection they now live. Their village is on the south side of
the Platte, about thirty miles from its mouth; and their number is two
hundred men, including about thirty families of Missouri Indians, who
are incorporated with them. Five leagues above them, on the same side of
the river, resides the nation of Pawnees. This people were among the
most numerous of the Missouri Indians, but have gradually been dispersed
and broken, and even since the year 1797, have undergone some sensible
changes. They now consist of four bands; the first is the one just
mentioned, of about five hundred men, to whom of late years have been
added the second band, who are called republican Pawnees, from their
having lived on the republican branch of the river Kanzas, whence they
emigrated to join the principal band of Pawnees: the republican Pawnees
amount to nearly two hundred and fifty men. The third, are the Pawnees
Loups, or Wolf Pawnees, who reside on the Wolf fork of the Platte, about
ninety miles from the principal Pawnees, and number two hundred and
eighty men. The fourth band originally resided on the Kanzas and
Arkansaw, but in their wars with the Osages, they were so often
defeated, that they at last retired to their present position on the Red
river, where they form a tribe of four hundred men. All these tribes
live in villages, and raise corn; but during the intervals of culture
rove in the plains in quest of buffaloe.

Beyond them on the river, and westward of the Black mountains, are the
Kaninaviesch, consisting of about four hundred men. They are supposed to
have emigrated originally from the Pawnees nation; but they have
degenerated from the improvements of the parent tribe, and no longer
live in villages, but rove through the plains.

Still further to the westward, are several tribes, who wander and hunt
on the sources of the river Platte, and thence to Rock Mountain. These
tribes, of which little more is known than the names and the population,
are first, the Staitan, or Kite Indians, a small tribe of one hundred
men. They have acquired the name of Kites, from their flying; that is,
their being always on horseback; and the smallness of their numbers is
to be attributed to their extreme ferocity; they are the most warlike of
all the western Indians; they never yield in battle; they never spare
their enemies; and the retaliation of this barbarity has almost
extinguished the nation. Then come the Wetapahato, and Kiawa tribes,
associated together, and amounting to two hundred men; the Castahana, of
three hundred men, to which are to be added the Cataka of seventy-five
men, and the Dotami. These wandering tribes, are conjectured to be the
remnants of the Great Padouca nation, who occupied the country between
the upper parts of the river Platte, and the river Kanzas. They were
visited by Bourgemont, in 1724, and then lived on the Kanzas river. The
seats, which he describes as their residence, are now occupied by the
Kanzas nation; and of the Padoucas, there does not now exist even the

July 27. Having completed the object of our stay, we set sail, with a
pleasant breeze from the N.W. The two horses swam over to the southern
shore, along which we went, passing by an island, at three and a half
miles, formed by a pond, fed by springs: three miles further is a large
sand island, in the middle of the river; the land on the south being
high, and covered with timber; that on the north, a high prairie. At ten
and a half miles from our encampment, we saw and examined a curious
collection of graves or mounds, on the south side of the river. Not far
from a low piece of land and a pond, is a tract of about two hundred
acres in circumference, which is covered with mounds of different
heights, shapes, and sizes: some of sand, and some of both earth and
sand; the largest being nearest the river. These mounds indicate the
position of the ancient village of the Ottoes, before they retired to
the protection of the Pawnees. After making fifteen miles, we encamped
on the south, on the bank of a high handsome prairie, with lofty
cottonwood in groves, near the river.

July 28. At one mile, this morning we reached a bluff, on the north,
being the first highlands, which approach the river on that side, since
we left the Nadawa. Above this, is an island and a creek, about fifteen
yards wide, which, as it has no name, we called Indian Knob creek, from
a number of round knobs bare of timber, on the highlands, to the north.
A little below the bluff, on the north, is the spot where the Ayauway
Indians formerly lived. They were a branch of the Ottoes, and emigrated
from this place to the river Desmoines. At ten and three quarter miles,
we encamped on the north, opposite an island, in the middle of the
river. The land, generally, on the north, consists of high prairie and
hills, with timber: on the south, low and covered with cottonwood. Our
hunter brought to us in the evening, a Missouri Indian, whom he had
found, with two others, dressing an elk; they were perfectly friendly,
gave him some of the meat, and one of them agreed to accompany him to
the boat. He is one of the few remaining Missouris, who live with the
Ottoes: he belongs to a small party, whose camp is four miles from the
river; and he says, that the body of the nation is now hunting buffaloe
in the plains: he appeared quite sprightly, and his language resembled
that of the Osage, particularly in his calling a chief, inca. We sent
him back with one of our party next morning,

Sunday, July 29, with an invitation to the Indians, to meet us above on
the river, and then proceeded. We soon came to a northern bend in the
river, which runs within twenty yards of Indian Knob creek, the water of
which is five feet higher than that of the Missouri. In less than two
miles, we passed Boyer's creek on the north, of twenty-five yards width.
We stopped to dine under a shade, near the highland on the south, and
caught several large catfish, one of them nearly white, and all very
fat. Above this highland, we observed the traces of a great hurricane,
which passed the river obliquely from N.W. to S.E. and tore up large
trees, some of which perfectly sound, and four feet in diameter, were
snapped off near the ground. We made ten miles to a wood on the north,
where we encamped. The Missouri is much more crooked, since we passed
the river Platte, though generally speaking, not so rapid; more of
prairie, with less timber, and cottonwood in the low grounds, and oak,
black walnut, hickory, and elm.

July 30. We went early in the morning, three and a quarter miles, and
encamped on the south, in order to wait for the Ottoes. The land here
consists of a plain, above the highwater level, the soil of which is
fertile, and covered with a grass from five to eight feet high,
interspersed with copses of large plums, and a currant, like those of
the United States. It also furnishes two species of honeysuckle; one
growing to a kind of shrub, common about Harrodsburgh (Kentucky), the
other is not so high: the flowers grow in clusters, are short, and of a
light pink colour; the leaves too, are distinct, and do not surround the
stalk, as do those of the common honeysuckle of the United States. Back
of this plain, is a woody ridge about seventy feet above it, at the end
of which we formed our camp. This ridge separates the lower from a
higher prairie, of a good quality, with grass, of ten or twelve inches
in height, and extending back about a mile, to another elevation of
eighty or ninety feet, beyond which is one continued plain. Near our
camp, we enjoy from the bluffs a most beautiful view of the river, and
the adjoining country. At a distance, varying from four to ten miles,
and of a height between seventy and three hundred feet, two parallel
ranges of highland affords a passage to the Missouri, which enriches the
low grounds between them. In its winding course, it nourishes the willow
islands, the scattered cottonwood, elm, sycamore, lynn, and ash, and the
groves are interspersed with hickory, walnut, coffeenut, and oak.

July 31. The meridian altitude of this day made the latitude of our camp
41° 18' 1-4/10". The hunters supplied us with deer, turkies, geese, and
beaver; one of the last was caught alive, and in a very short time was
perfectly tamed. Catfish are very abundant in the river, and we have
also seen a buffaloefish. One our men brought in yesterday an animal
called, by the Pawnees, chocartoosh, and, by the French, blaireau, or
badger. The evening is cool, yet the musquitoes are still very

We waited with much anxiety the return of our messenger to the Ottoes.
The men whom we despatched to our last encampment, returned without
having seen any appearance of its having been visited. Our horses too
had strayed; but we were so fortunate as to recover them at the distance
of twelve miles. Our apprehensions were at length relieved by the
arrival of a party of about fourteen Ottoe and Missouri Indians, who
came at sunset, on the second of August, accompanied by a Frenchman, who
resided among them, and interpreted for us. Captains Lewis and Clarke
went out to meet them, and told them that we would hold a council in the
morning. In the mean time we sent them some roasted meat, pork, flour,
and meal; in return for which they made us a present of watermelons. We
learnt that our man Liberte had set out from their camp a day before
them: we were in hopes that he had fatigued his horse, or lost himself
in the woods, and would soon return; but we never saw him again.

August 8. The next morning the Indians, with their six chiefs, were all
assembled under an awning, formed with the mainsail, in presence of all
our party, paraded for the occasion. A speech was then made, announcing
to them the change in the government, our promises of protection, and
advice as to their future conduct. All the six chiefs replied to our
speech, each in his turn, according to rank: they expressed their joy at
the change in the government; their hopes that we would recommend them
to their great father (the president), that they might obtain trade and
necessaries; they wanted arms as well for hunting as for defence, and
asked our mediation between them and the Mahas, with whom they are now
at war. We promised to do so, and wished some of them to accompany us to
that nation, which they declined, for fear of being killed by them. We
then proceeded to distribute our presents. The grand chief of the nation
not being of the party, we sent him a flag, a medal, and some ornaments
for clothing. To the six chiefs who were present, we gave a medal of the
second grade to one Ottoe chief, and one Missouri chief; a medal of the
third grade to two inferior chiefs of each nation: the customary mode of
recognizing a chief, being to place a medal round his neck, which is
considered among his tribe as a proof of his consideration abroad. Each
of these medals was accompanied by a present of paint, garters, and
cloth ornaments of dress; and to this we added a cannister of powder, a
bottle of whiskey, and a few presents to the whole, which appeared to
make them perfectly satisfied. The airgun too was fired, and astonished
them greatly. The absent grand chief was an Ottoe named Weahrushhah,
which, in English, degenerates into Little Thief. The two principal
chieftains present were, Shongotongo, or Big Horse; and Wethea, or
Hospitality; also Shosgusean, or White Horse, an Ottoe; the first an
Ottoe, the second a Missouri. The incidents just related, induced us to
give to this place the name of the Council-bluff; the situation of it
is exceedingly favourable for a fort and trading factory, as the soil
is well calculated for bricks, and there is an abundance of wood in the
neighbourhood, and the air being pure and healthy. It is also central to
the chief resorts of the Indians: one day's journey to the Ottoes; one
and a half to the great Pawnees; two days from the Mahas; two and a
quarter from the Pawnees Loups village; convenient to the hunting
grounds of the Sioux; and twenty-five days journey to Santa Fee.

The ceremonies of the council being concluded, we set sail in the
afternoon, and encamped at the distance of five miles, on the south
side, where we found the musquitoes very troublesome.

August 4. A violent wind, accompanied by rain, purified and cooled the
atmosphere last night; we proceeded early, and reached a very narrow
part of the river, where the channel is confined within a space of two
hundred yards, by a sand point on the north, and a bend on the south;
the banks in the neighbourhood washing away, the trees falling in, and
the channel filled with buried logs. Above this is a trading house, on
the south, where one of our party passed two years, trading with the
Mahas. At nearly four miles, is a creek on the south, emptying opposite
a large island of sand; between this creek and our last night's
encampment, the river has changed its bed, and encroached on the
southern shore. About two miles further, is another creek on the south,
which, like the former, is the outlet of three ponds, communicating with
each other, and forming a small lake, which is fed by streams from the
highlands. At fifteen miles, we encamped on the south. The hills on both
sides of the river are nearly twelve or fifteen miles from each other;
those of the north containing some timber, while the hills of south are
without any covering, except some scattering wood in the ravines, and
near where the creeks pass into the hills; rich plains and prairies
occupying the intermediate space, and partially covered, near the water,
with cottonwood. There has been a great deal of pumice stone on shore

August 5th. We set out early, and, by means of our oars, made twenty and
a half miles, though the river was crowded with sandbars. On both sides
the prairies extend along the river; the banks being covered with great
quantities of grapes, of which three different species are now ripe; one
large and resembling the purple grape. We had some rain this morning,
attended by high wind; but generally speaking, have remarked that
thunder storms are less frequent than in the Atlantic states, at this
season. Snakes too are less frequent, though we killed one to-day of the
shape and size of the rattlesnake, but of a lighter colour. We fixed our
camp on the north side. In the evening, captain Clarke, in pursuing some
game, in an eastern direction, found himself at the distance of three
hundred and seventy yards from the camp, at a point of the river whence
we had come twelve miles. When the water is high, this peninsula is
overflowed, and judging from the customary and notorious changes in the
river, a few years will be sufficient to force the main current of the
river across, and leave the great bend dry. The whole lowland between
the parallel range of hills seems formed of mud or ooze of the river, at
some former period, mixed with sand and clay. The sand of the
neighbouring banks accumulates with the aid of that brought down the
stream, and forms sandbars, projecting into the river; these drive the
channel to the opposite banks, the loose texture of which it undermines,
and at length deserts its ancient bed for a new and shorter passage; it
is thus that the banks of the Missouri are constantly falling, and the
river changing its bed.

August 6. In the morning, after a violent storm of wind and rain from
N.W. we passed a large island to the north. In the channel separating it
from the shore, a creek called Soldier's river enters; the island kept
it from our view, but one of our men who had seen it, represents it as
about forty yards wide at its mouth. At five miles, we came to a bend
of the river towards the north, a sandbar, running in from the south,
had turned its course so as to leave the old channel quite dry. We again
saw the same appearance at our encampment, twenty and a half miles
distant on the north side. Here the channel of the river had encroached
south, and the old bed was without water, except a few ponds. The
sandbars are still very numerous.

August 7. We had another storm from the N.W. in the course of the last
evening; in the morning we proceeded, having the wind from the north,
and encamped on the northern shore, having rowed seventeen miles. The
river is here encumbered with sandbars, but no islands, except two small
ones, called Detachment islands, and formed on the south side by a small

We despatched four men back to the Ottoes village in quest of our man,
Liberte, and to apprehend one of the soldiers, who left us on the 4th,
under pretence of recovering a knife which he had dropped a short
distance behind, and who we fear has deserted. We also sent small
presents to the Ottoes and Missouris, and requested that they would join
us at the Maha village, where a peace might be concluded between them.

August 8. At two miles distance, this morning we came to a part of the
river, where there was concealed timber difficult to pass. The wind was
from the N.W. and we proceeded in safety. At six miles, a river empties
on the northern side, called by the Sioux Indians, Eaneahwadepon, or
Stone river; and by the French, Petite Riviere des Sioux, or Little
Sioux river. At its confluence it is eighty yards wide. Our interpreter,
Mr. Durion, who has been to the sources of it, and knows the adjoining
country, says that it rises within about nine miles of the river
Desmoines; that within fifteen leagues of that river it passes through a
large lake nearly sixty miles in circumference, and divided into two
parts by rocks which approach each other very closely: its width is
various: it contains many islands, and is known by the name of the Lac
d'Esprit: it is near the Dogplains, and within four days march of the
Mahas. The country watered by it, is open and undulating, and may be
visited in boats up the river for some distance. The Desmoines, he adds,
is about eighty yards wide where the Little Sioux river approaches it:
it is shoaly, and one of its principal branches is called Cat river. Two
miles beyond this river is a long island which we called Pelican island,
from the numbers of that animal which were feeding on it: one of these
being killed, we poured into his bag five gallons of water. An elk, too,
was shot, and we had again to remark that snakes are rare in this part
of the Missouri. A meridian altitude near the Little Sioux river made
the latitude 41° 42' 34". We encamped on the north, having come sixteen

August 9. A thick fog detained us until past seven o'clock, after which
we proceeded with a gentle breeze from the southeast. After passing two
sandbars we reached, at seven and a half miles, a point of highland on
the left, near which the river has forced itself a channel across a
peninsula, leaving on the right a circuit of twelve or eighteen miles,
which is now recognised by the ponds and islands it contains. At
seventeen and a half miles, we reached a point on the north, where we
encamped. The hills are at a great distance from the river for the last
several days; the land, on both sides low, and covered with cottonwood
and abundance of grape vines. An elk was seen to-day, a turkey also
shot, and near our camp is a beaver den: the musquitoes have been more
troublesome than ever for the two last days.

August 10. At two and a half miles, we came to a place, called Coupee a
Jacques, where the river has found a new bed, and abridged a circuit of
several miles: at twelve and a half miles, a cliff of yellow stone on
the left. This is the first highland near the river above the
Council-bluff. After passing a number of sandbars we reached a willow
island at the distance of twenty-two and a half miles, which we were
enabled to do with our oars and a wind from the S.W. and encamped on the
north side.

August 11. After a violent wind from the N.W. attended with rain, we
sailed along the right of the island. At nearly five miles, we halted on
the south side for the purpose of examining a spot where one of the
great chiefs of the Mahas named Blackbird, who died about four years ago
of the smallpox, was buried. A hill of yellow soft sandstone rises from
the river in bluffs of various heights, till it ends in a knoll about
three hundred feet above the water; on the top of this a mound, of
twelve feet diameter at the base and six feet high, is raised over the
body of the deceased king; a pole of about eight feet high is fixed in
the centre; on which we placed a white flag, bordered with red, blue,
and white. The Blackbird seems to have been a personage of great
consideration; for ever since his death he is supplied with provisions,
from time to time, by the superstitious regard of the Mahas. We
descended to the river and passed a small creek on the south, called, by
the Mahas, Waucandipeeche, (Great Spirit is bad.) Near this creek and
the adjoining hills the Mahas had a village, and lost four hundred of
their nation by the dreadful malady which destroyed the Blackbird. The
meridian altitude made the latitude 42° 1' 3-8/10" north. We encamped,
at seventeen miles distance, on the north side in a bend of the river.
During our day's course it has been crooked; we observed a number of
places in it where the old channel is filled up, or gradually becoming
covered with willow and cottonwood; great numbers of herons are observed
to-day, and the mosquitoes annoy us very much.

August 12. A gentle breeze from the south, carried us along about ten
miles, when we stopped to take meridian altitude, and sent a man across
to our place of observation: yesterday he stepped nine hundred and
seventy-four yards, and the distance we had come round, was eighteen
miles and three quarters. The river is wider and shallower than usual.
Four miles beyond this bend a bluff begins, and continues several
miles; on the south it rises from the water at different heights, from
twenty to one hundred and fifty feet, and higher as it recedes on the
river: it consists of yellow and brown clay, with soft sandstone imbeded
in it, and is covered with timber, among which may be observed some red
cedar: the lands on the opposite side are low and subject to inundation,
but contain willows, cottonwood, and many grapes. A prairie-wolf came
near the bank and barked at us; we attempted unsuccessfully to take him.
This part of the river abounds in beaver. We encamped on a sand-island
in a bend to the north, having made twenty miles and a quarter.

August 13. Set out at daylight with a breeze from the southeast, and
passed several sandbars. Between ten and eleven miles, we came to a spot
on the south, where a Mr. Mackay had a trading establishment in the year
1795 and 1796, which he called Fort Charles. At fourteen miles, we
reached a creek on the south, on which the Mahas reside, and at
seventeen miles and a quarter, formed a camp on a sandbar, to the south
side of the river, opposite the lower point of a large island. From this
place sergeant Ordway and four men were detached to the Maha village
with a flag and a present, in order to induce them to come and hold a
council with us. They returned at twelve o'clock the next day, August
14. After crossing a prairie covered with high grass, they reached the
Maha creek, along which they proceeded to its three forks, which join
near the village: they crossed the north branch and went along the
south; the walk was very fatiguing, as they were forced to break their
way through grass, sunflowers and thistles, all above ten feet high, and
interspersed with wild pea. Five miles from our camp they reached the
position of the ancient Maha village: it had once consisted of three
hundred cabins, but was burnt about four years ago, soon after the
smallpox had destroyed four hundred men, and a proportion of women and
children. On a hill, in the rear of the village, are the graves of the
nation; to the south of which runs the fork of the Maha creek: this they
crossed where it was about ten yards wide, and followed its course to
the Missouri, passing along a ridge of hill for one and a half mile, and
a long pond between that and the Missouri: they then recrossed the Maha
creek, and arrived at the camp, having seen no tracks of Indians nor any
sign of recent cultivation.

In the morning 15th, some men were sent to examine the cause of a large
smoke from the northeast, and which seemed to indicate that some Indians
were near; but they found that a small party, who had lately passed that
way, had left some trees burning, and that the wind from that quarter
blew the smoke directly towards us. Our camp lies about three miles
northeast from the old Maha village, and is in latitude 42° 15' 41". The
accounts we have had of the effects of the smallpox on that nation are
most distressing; it is not known in what way it was first communicated
to them, though probably by some war party. They had been a military and
powerful people; but when these warriors saw their strength wasting
before a malady which they could not resist, their phrenzy was extreme;
they burnt their village, and many of them put to death their wives and
children, to save them from so cruel an affliction, and that all might
go together to some better country.

On the 16th, we still waited for the Indians: a party had gone out
yesterday to the Maha creek, which was damned up by the beaver between
the camp and the village: a second went to-day. They made a kind of drag
with small willows and bark, and swept the creek: the first company
brought three hundred and eighteen, the second upwards of eight hundred,
consisting of pike, bass, fish resembling salmon, trout, redhorse,
buffaloe, one rockfish, one flatback, perch, catfish, a small species of
perch called, on the Ohio, silverfish, a shrimp of the same size, shape
and flavour of those about Neworleans, and the lower part of the
Mississippi. We also found very fat muscles; and on the river as well as
the creek, are different kinds of ducks and plover. The wind, which in
the morning had been from the northwest, shifted round in the evening to
the southeast, and as usual we had a breeze, which cooled the air and
relieve us from the musquitoes, who generally give us great trouble.

Friday 17. The wind continued from the southeast, and the morning was
fair. We observe about us a grass resembling wheat, except that the
grain is like rye, also some similar to both rye and barley, and a kind
of timothy, the seed of which branches from the main stock, and is more
like a flaxseed than a timothy. In the evening, one of the party sent to
the Ottoes, returned with the information that the rest were coming on
with the deserter: they had also caught Liberte, but, by a trick, he
made his escape: they were bringing three of the chiefs in order to
engage our assistance in making peace with the Mahas. This nation having
left their village, that desirable purpose cannot be effected; but in
order to bring in any neighbouring tribes, we set the surrounding
prairies on fire. This is the customary signal made by traders to
apprize the Indians of their arrival: it is also used between different
nations as an indication of any event which they have previously agreed
to announce in that way; and as soon as it is seen collects the
neighbouring tribes, unless they apprehend that it is made by their

August 18. In the afternoon the party arrived with the Indians,
consisting of the Little Thief and the Big Horse, whom we had seen on
the third, together with six other chiefs, and a French interpreter. We
met them under a shade, and after they had finished a repast with which
we supplied them, we inquired into the origin of the war between them
and the Mahas, which they related with great frankness. It seems that
two of the Missouris went to the Mahas to steal horses, but were
detected and killed; the Ottoes and Missouris thought themselves bound
to avenge their companions, and the whole nations were at last obliged
to share in the dispute; they are also in fear of a war from the
Pawnees, whose village they entered this summer, while the inhabitants
were hunting, and stole their corn. This ingenuous confession did not
make us the less desirous of negotiating a peace for them; but no
Indians have as yet been attracted by our fire. The evening was closed
by a dance; and the next day,

August 19, the chiefs and warriors being assembled at ten o'clock, we
explained the speech we had already sent from the Council-bluffs, and
renewed our advice. They all replied in turn, and the presents were then
distributed: we exchanged the small medal we had formerly given to the
Big Horse for one of the same size with that of Little Thief: we also
gave a small medal to a third chief, and a kind of certificate or letter
of acknowledgment to five of the warriors expressive of our favour and
their good intentions: one of them dissatisfied, returned us the
certificate; but the chief, fearful of our being offended, begged that
it might be restored to him; this we declined, and rebuked them severely
for having in view mere traffic instead of peace with their neighbours.
This displeased them at first; but they at length all petitioned that it
should be given to the warrior, who then came forward and made an
apology to us; we then delivered it to the chief to be given to the most
worthy, and he bestowed it on the same warrior, whose name was Great
Blue Eyes. After a more substantial present of small articles and
tobacco, the council was ended with a dram to the Indians. In the
evening we exhibited different objects of curiosity, and particularly
the airgun, which gave them great surprise. Those people are almost
naked, having no covering, except a sort of breechcloth round the
middle, with a loose blanket or buffaloe robe painted, thrown over them.
The names of these warriors, besides those already mentioned were
Karkapaha, (or Crow's head) and Nenasawa (or Black Cat) Missouris; and
Sananona (or Iron Eyes) Neswaunja (or Big Ox) Stageaunja (or Big Blue
Eyes) and Wasashaco (or Brave Man) all Ottoes. These two tribes speak
very nearly the same language: they all begged us to give them whiskey.

The next morning, August 20, the Indians mounted their horses and left
us, having received a canister of whiskey at parting. We then set sail,
and after passing two islands on the north, came to on that side under
some bluffs; the first near the river since we left the Ayauwa village.
Here we had the misfortune to lose one of our sergeants, Charles Floyd.
He was yesterday seized with a bilious cholic, and all our care and
attention were ineffectual to relieve him: a little before his death, he
said to captain Clark, "I am going to leave you," his strength failed
him as he added "I want you to write me a letter," but he died with a
composure which justified the high opinion we had formed of his firmness
and good conduct. He was buried on the top of the bluff with the honours
due to a brave soldier; and the place of his interment marked by a cedar
post, on which his name and the day of his death were inscribed. About a
mile beyond this place, to which we gave his name, is a small river
about thirty yards wide, on the north, which we called Floyd's river,
where we encamped. We had a breeze from the southeast, and made thirteen

August 21. The same breeze from the southeast carried us by a small
willow creek on the north, about one mile and a half above Floyd's
river. Here began a range of bluffs which continued till near the mouth
of the great Sioux river, three miles beyond Floyd's. This river comes
in from the north, and is about one hundred and ten yards wide. Mr.
Durion, our Sioux interpreter, who is well acquainted with it, says that
it is navigable upwards of two hundred miles to the falls, and even
beyond them; that its sources are near those of the St. Peters. He also
says, that below the falls a creek falls in from the eastward, after
passing through cliffs of red rock: of this the Indians make their
pipes; and the necessity of procuring that article, has introduced a
sort of law of nations, by which the banks of the creek are sacred, and
even tribes at war meet without hostility at these quarries, which
possess a right of asylum. Thus we find even among savages certain
principles deemed sacred, by which the rigours of their merciless system
of warfare are mitigated. A sense of common danger, where stronger ties
are wanting, gives all the binding force of more solemn obligations. The
importance of preserving the known and settled rules of warfare among
civilized nations, in all their integrity, becomes strikingly evident;
since even savages, with their few precarious wants, cannot exist in a
state of peace or war where this faith is once violated. The wind became
southerly, and blew with such violence that we took a reef in our sail:
it also blew the sand from the bars in such quantities, that we could
not see the channel at any distance ahead. At four and a quarter miles,
we came to two willow islands, beyond which are several sandbars; and at
twelve miles, a spot where the Mahas once had a village, now no longer
existing. We again passed a number of sandbars, and encamped on the
south; having come twenty-four and three quarter miles. The country
through which we passed has the same uniform appearance ever since we
left the river Platte: rich low-grounds near the river, succeeded by
undulating prairies, with timber near the waters. Some wolves were seen
to-day on the sandbeaches to the south; we also procured an excellent
fruit, resembling a red currant, growing on a shrub like the privy, and
about the height of a wild plum.

August 22. About three miles distance, we joined the men who had been
sent from the Maha village with our horses, and who brought us two deer.
The bluffs or hills which reach the river at this place, on the south,
contain allum, copperas, cobalt which had the appearance of soft
isinglass, pyrites, and sandstone, the two first very pure. Above this
bluff comes in a small creek on the south, which we call Rologe creek.
Seven miles above is another cliff, on the same side, of allum rock, of
a dark brown colour, containing in its crevices great quantities of
cobalt, cemented shells, and red earth. From this the river bends to the
eastward, and approaches the Sioux river within three or four miles. We
sailed the greater part of the day, and made nineteen miles to our camp
on the north side. The sandbars are as usual numerous: there are also
considerable traces of elk; but none are yet seen. Captain Lewis in
proving the quality of some of the substances in the first cliff, was
considerably injured by the fumes and taste of the cobalt, and took some
strong medicine to relieve him from its effects. The appearance of these
mineral substances enable us to account for disorders of the stomach,
with which the party had been affected since they left the river Sioux.
We had been in the habit of dipping up the water of the river
inadvertently and making use of it, till, on examination, the sickness
was thought to proceed from a scum covering the surface of the water
along the southern shore, and which, as we now discovered, proceeded
from these bluffs. The men had been ordered, before we reached the
bluffs, to agitate the water, so as to disperse the scum, and take the
water, not at the surface, but at some depth. The consequence was, that
these disorders ceased: the biles too which had afflicted the men, were
not observed beyond the Sioux river. In order to supply the place of
sergeant Floyd, we permitted the men to name three persons, and Patrick
Gass having the greatest number of votes was made a sergeant.

August 23. We set out early, and at four miles came to a small run
between cliffs of yellow and blue earth: the wind, however, soon
changed, and blew so hard from the west, that we proceeded very slowly;
the fine sand from the bar being driven in such clouds, that we could
scarcely see. Three and a quarter miles beyond this run, we came to a
willow island, and a sand island opposite, and encamped on the south
side, at ten and a quarter miles. On the north side is an extensive and
delightful prairie, which we called Buffaloe prairie, from our having
here killed the first buffaloe. Two elk swam the river to-day and were
fired at, but escaped: a deer was killed from the boat; one beaver was
killed; and several prairie wolves were seen.

August 24. It began to rain last night, and continued this morning: we
proceeded, however, two and a quarter miles, to the commencement of a
bluff of blue clay, about one hundred and eighty, or one hundred and
ninety feet on the south side: it seems to have been lately on fire; and
even now the ground is so warm that we cannot keep our hands in it at
any depth: there are strong appearances of coal, and also great
quantities of cobalt, or a crystalized substance resembling it. There is
a fruit now ripe which looks like a currant, except that it is double
the size, and grows on a bush like a privy, the size of a damson, and of
a delicious flavour; its Indian name means rabbit-berries. We then
passed, at the distance of about seven miles, the mouth of a creek on
the north side, called by an Indian name, meaning Whitestone river. The
beautiful prairie of yesterday, has changed into one of greater height,
and very smooth and extensive. We encamped on the south side, at ten and
a quarter miles, and found ourselves much annoyed by the musquitoes.

                                CHAP. III.

     Whimsical instance of superstition of the Sioux Indians--Council
     held with the Sioux--Character of that tribe, their manners, &c.--A
     ridiculous instance of their heroism--Ancient
     fortifications--Quieurre river described--Vast herds of
     Buffaloe--Account of the Petit Chien or Little Dog--Narrow escape
     of George Shannon--Description of Whiteriver--Surprising fleetness
     of the Antelope--Pass the river of the Sioux--Description of the
     Grand Le Tour, or Great Bend--Encamp on the Teton river.

August 25. Captains Lewis and Clarke, with ten men, went to see an
object deemed very extraordinary among all the neighbouring Indians.
They dropped down to the mouth of Whitestone river, about thirty yards
wide, where they left the boat, and at the distance of two hundred
yards, ascended a rising ground, from which a plain extended itself as
far as the eye could discern. After walking four miles, they crossed the
creek where it is twenty-three yards wide, and waters an extensive
valley. The heat was so oppressive that we were obliged to send back our
dog to the creek, as he was unable to bear the fatigue; and it was not
till after four hours march that we reached the object of our visit.
This was a large mound in the midst of the plain about N. 20° W. from
the month of Whitestone river, from which it is nine miles distant. The
base of the mound is a regular parallelogram, the longest side being
about three hundred yards, the shorter sixty or seventy: from the
longest side it rises with a steep ascent from the north and south to
the height of sixty-five or seventy feet, leaving on the top a level
plain of twelve feet in breadth and ninety in length. The north and
south extremities are connected by two oval borders which serve as new
bases, and divide the whole side into three steep but regular gradations
from the plain. The only thing characteristic in this hill is its
extreme symmetry, and this, together with its being totally detached
from the other hills which are at the distance of eight or nine miles,
would induce a belief that it was artificial; but, as the earth and the
loose pebbles which compose it, are arranged exactly like the steep
grounds on the borders of the creek, we concluded from this similarity
of texture that it might be natural. But the Indians have made it a
great article of their superstition: it is called the mountain of Little
People, or Little Spirits, and they believe that it is the abode of
little devils, in the human form, of about eighteen inches high and with
remarkably large heads; they are armed with sharp arrows, with which
they are very skilful, and are always on the watch to kill those who
should have the hardihood to approach their residence. The tradition is,
that many have suffered from these little evil spirits, and among
others, three Maha Indians fell a sacrifice to them a few years since.
This has inspired all the neighbouring nations, Sioux, Mahas, and
Ottoes, with such terror, that no consideration could tempt them to
visit the hill. We saw none of these wicked little spirits; nor any
place for them, except some small holes scattered over the top: we were
happy enough to escape their vengeance, though we remained some time on
the mound to enjoy the delightful prospect of the plain, which spreads
itself out till the eye rests upon the N.W. hills at a great distance,
and those of N.E. still farther off, enlivened by large herds of
buffaloe feeding at a distance. The soil of these plains is exceedingly
fine; there is, however, no timber except on the Missouri: all the wood
of the Whitestone river not being sufficient to cover thickly one
hundred acres. The plain country which surrounds this mound has
contributed not a little to its bad reputation: the wind driving from
every direction over the level ground obliges the insects to seek
shelter on its leeward side, or be driven against us by the wind. The
small birds, whose food they are, resort of course in great numbers in
quest of subsistence; and the Indians always seem to discover an unusual
assemblage of birds as produced by some supernatural cause: among them
we observed the brown martin employed in looking for insects, and so
gentle that they did not fly until we got within a few feet of them. We
have also distinguished among numerous birds of the plain, the
blackbird, the wren or prairie bird, and a species of lark about the
size of a partridge, with a short tail. The excessive heat and thirst
forced us from the hill, about one o'clock, to the nearest water, which
we found in the creek, at three miles distance, and remained an hour and
a half. We then went down the creek, through a lowland about one mile in
width, and crossed it three times, to the spot where we first reached it
in the morning. Here we gathered some delicious plums, grapes and blue
currants, and afterwards arrived at the mouth of the river about sunset.
To this place the course from the mound is S. twenty miles, E. nine
miles; we there resumed our periogue, and on reaching our encampment of
last night set the prairies on fire, to warn the Sioux of our approach.
In the mean time, the boat under serjeant Pryor had proceeded in the
afternoon one mile, to a bluff of blue clay on the south, and after
passing a sandbar and two sand islands fixed their camp at the distance
of six miles on the south. In the evening some rain fell. We had killed
a duck and several birds: in the boat, they had caught some large

Sunday, August 26. We rejoined the boat at nine o'clock before she set
out, and then passing by an island, and under a cliff on the south,
nearly two miles in extent and composed of white and blue earth,
encamped at nine miles distance, on a sandbar towards the north.
Opposite to this, on the south, is a small creek called Petit Arc or
Little Bow, and a short distance above it, an old village of the same
name. This village, of which nothing remains but the mound of earth
about four feet high surrounding it, was built by a Maha chief named
Little Bow, who being displeased with Blackbird, the late king, seceded
with two hundred followers and settled at this spot, which is now
abandoned, as the two villages have reunited since the death of
Blackbird. We have great quantities of grapes, and plums of three kinds;
two of a yellow colour, and distinguished by one of the species being
longer than the other; and a third round and red: all have an excellent
flavour, particularly those of the yellow kind.

August 27. The morning star appeared much larger than usual. A gentle
breeze from the southeast carried us by some large sandbars, on both
sides and in the middle of the river, to a bluff, on the south side, at
seven and a half miles distant; this bluff is of white clay or chalk,
under which is much stone, like lime, incrusted with a clear substance,
supposed to be cobalt, and some dark ore. Above this bluff we set the
prairie on fire, to invite the Sioux. After twelve and a half miles, we
had passed several other sandbars, and now reached the mouth of a river
called by the French Jacques (James river) or Yankton, from the tribe
which inhabits its banks. It is about ninety yards wide at the
confluence: the country which it waters is rich prairie, with little
timber: it becomes deeper and wider above its mouth, and may be
navigated a great distance; as its sources rise near those of St.
Peter's, of the Mississippi, and the red river of lake Winnipeg. As we
came to the mouth of the river, an Indian swam to the boat; and, on our
landing, we were met by two others, who informed us that a large body of
Sioux were encamped near us: they accompanied three of our men, with an
invitation to meet us at a spot above the river: the third Indian
remained with us: he is a Maha boy, and says that his nation have gone
to the Pawnees to make peace with them. At fourteen miles, we encamped
on a sandbar to the north. The air was cool, the evening pleasant, the
wind from the southeast, and light. The river has fallen gradually, and
is now low.

Tuesday, 28th. We passed, with a stiff breeze from the south, several
sandbars. On the south is a prairie which rises gradually from the water
to the height of a bluff, which is, at four miles distance, of a whitish
colour, and about seventy or eighty feet high. Further on is another
bluff, of a brownish colour, on the north side; and at the distance of
eight and a half miles is the beginning of Calumet bluff, on the south
side, under which we formed our camp, in a beautiful plain, to wait the
arrival of the Sioux. At the first bluff the young Indian left us and
joined their camp. Before reaching Calumet bluff one of the periogues
ran upon a log in the river, and was rendered unfit for service; so that
all our loading was put into the second periogue. On both sides of the
river are fine prairies, with cotton wood; and near the bluff there is
more timber in the points and valleys than we have been accustomed to

Wednesday, 29th. We had a violent storm of wind and rain last evening;
and were engaged during the day in repairing the periogue, and other
necessary occupations; when, at four o'clock in the afternoon, sergeant
Pryor and his party arrived on the opposite side, attended by five
chiefs, and about seventy men and boys. We sent a boat for them, and
they joined us, as did also Mr. Durion, the son of our interpreter, who
happened to be trading with the Sioux at this time. He returned with
sergeant Pryor to the Indians, with a present of tobacco, corn, and a
few kettles; and told them that we would speak to their chiefs in the
morning. Sergeant Pryor reported, that on reaching their village, which
is at twelve miles distance from our camp, he was met by a party with a
buffaloe robe, on which they desired to carry their visitors: an honour
which they declined, informing the Indians that they were not the
commanders of the boats: as a great mark of respect, they were then
presented with a fat dog, already cooked, of which they partook
heartily, and found it well flavoured. The camps of the Sioux are of a
conical form, covered with buffaloe robes, painted with various figures
and colours, with an aperture in the top for the smoke to pass through.
The lodges contain from ten to fifteen persons, and the interior
arrangement is compact and handsome, each lodge having a place for
cooking detached from it.

August 30th. Thursday. The fog was so thick that we could not see the
Indian camp on the opposite side, but it cleared off about eight
o'clock. We prepared a speech, and some presents, and then sent for the
chiefs and warriors, whom we received, at twelve o'clock, under a large
oak tree, near to which the flag of the United States was flying.
Captain Lewis delivered a speech, with the usual advice and counsel for
their future conduct. We then acknowledged their chiefs, by giving to
the grand chief a flag, a medal, a certificate, with a string of wampum;
to which we added a chief's coat; that is, a richly laced uniform of the
United States artillery corps, and a cocked hat and red feather. One
second chief and three inferior ones were made or recognised by medals,
and a suitable present of tobacco, and articles of clothing. We then
smoked the pipe of peace, and the chiefs retired to a bower, formed of
bushes, by their young men, where they divided among each other the
presents, and smoked and eat, and held a council on the answer which
they were to make us to-morrow. The young people exercised their bows
and arrows in shooting at marks for beads, which we distributed to the
best marksmen; and in the evening the whole party danced until a late
hour, and in the course of their amusement we threw among them some
knives, tobacco, bells, tape, and binding, with which they were much
pleased. Their musical instruments were the drum, and a sort of little
bag made of buffaloe hide, dressed white, with small shot or pebbles in
it, and a bunch of hair tied to it. This produces a sort of rattling
music, with which the party was annoyed by four musicians during the
council this morning.

August 31. In the morning, after breakfast, the chiefs met, and sat down
in a row, with pipes of peace, highly ornamented, and all pointed
towards the seats intended for captains Lewis and Clarke. When they
arrived and were seated, the grand chief, whose Indian name, Weucha, is,
in English Shake Hand, and, in French, is called Le Liberateur (the
deliverer) rose, and spoke at some length, approving what we had said,
and promising to follow our advice:

"I see before me," said he, "my great father's two sons. You see me, and
the rest of our chiefs and warriors. We are very poor; we have neither
powder nor ball, nor knives; and our women and children at the village
have no clothes. I wish that as my brothers have given me a flag and a
medal, they would give something to those poor people, or let them stop
and trade with the first boat which comes up the river. I will bring
chiefs of the Pawnees and Mahas together, and make peace between them;
but it is better that I should do it than my great father's sons, for
they will listen to me more readily. I will also take some chiefs to
your country in the spring; but before that time I cannot leave home. I
went formerly to the English, and they gave me a medal and some clothes:
when I went to the Spanish they gave me a medal, but nothing to keep it
from my skin; but now you give me a medal and clothes. But still we are
poor; and I wish, brothers, you would give us something for our squaws."

"When he sat down, Mahtoree, or White Crane, rose:

"I have listened," said he, "to what our father's words were yesterday;
and I am, to-day, glad to see how you have dressed our old chief. I am a
young man, and do not wish to take much: my fathers have made me a
chief: I had much sense before, but now I think I have more than ever.
What the old chief has declared I will confirm, and do whatever he and
you please: but I wish that you would take pity on us, for we are very

Another chief, called Pawnawneahpahbe, then said;

"I am a young man, and know but little: I cannot speak well; but I have
listened to what you have told the old chief, and will do whatever you

The same sentiments were then repeated by Aweawechache.

We were surprised at finding that the first of these titles means
"Struck by the Pawnee," and was occasioned by some blow which the chief
had received in battle, from one of the Pawnee tribe. The second is, in
English, "Half Man," which seems a singular name for a warrior, till it
was explained to have its origin, probably, in the modesty of the chief;
who, on being told of his exploits, would say, "I am no warrior: I am
only half a man." The other chiefs spoke very little; but after they had
finished, one of the warriors delivered a speech, in which he declared
he would support them. They promised to make peace with the Ottoes and
Missouris, the only nations with whom they are at war. All these
harangues concluded by describing the distress of the nation: they
begged us to have pity on them: to send them traders: that they wanted
powder and ball; and seemed anxious that we should supply them with some
of their great father's milk, the name by which they distinguish ardent
spirits. We then gave some tobacco to each of the chiefs, and a
certificate to two of the warriors who attended the chief. We prevailed
on Mr. Durion to remain here, and accompany as many of the Sioux chiefs
as he could collect, down to the seat of government. We also gave his
son a flag, some clothes, and provisions, with directions to bring about
a peace between the surrounding tribe, and to convey some of their
chiefs to see the president. In the evening they left us, and encamped
on the opposite bank, accompanied by the two Durions. During the evening
and night we had much rain, and observed that the river rises a little.
The Indians, who have just left us, are the Yanktons, a tribe of the
great nation of Sioux. These Yanktons are about two hundred men in
number; and inhabit the Jacques, Desmoines, and Sioux rivers. In person
they are stout, well proportioned, and have a certain air of dignity and
boldness. In their dress they differ nothing from the other bands of the
nation whom we saw, and will describe afterwards: they are fond of
decorations, and use paint, and porcupine quills, and feathers. Some of
them wore a kind of necklace of white bear's claws, three inches long,
and closely strung together round their necks. They have only a few
fowling pieces, being generally armed with bows and arrows, in which,
however, they do not appear as expert as the more northern Indians. What
struck us most was an institution, peculiar to them, and to the Kite
Indians, further to the westward, from whom it is said to have been
copied. It is an association of the most active and brave young men, who
are bound to each other by attachment, secured by a vow, never to
retreat before any danger, or give way to their enemies. In war they go
forward without sheltering themselves behind trees, or aiding their
natural valour by any artifice. This punctilious determination, not to
be turned from their course, became heroic, or ridiculous, a short time
since, when the Yanktons were crossing the Missouri on the ice. A hole
lay immediately in their course, which might easily have been avoided,
by going round. This the foremost of the band disdained to do; but went
straight forward, and was lost. The others would have followed his
example, but were forcibly prevented by the rest of the tribe. These
young men sit, and encamp, and dance together, distinct from the rest of
the nation: they are generally about thirty or thirty-five years old;
and such is the deference paid to courage, that their seats in council
are superior to those of the chiefs, and their persons more respected.
But, as may be supposed, such indiscreet bravery will soon diminish the
numbers of those who practise it; so that the band is now reduced to
four warriors, who were among our visitors. These were the remains of
twenty-two, who composed the society not long ago; but, in a battle with
the Kite Indians, of the Black Mountains, eighteen of them were killed,
and these four were dragged from the field by their companions.

Whilst these Indians remained with us we made very minute inquiries
relative to their situation and numbers, and trade, and manners. This we
did very satisfactorily, by means of two different interpreters; and
from their accounts, joined to our interviews with other bands of the
same nation, and much intelligence acquired since, we were enabled to
understand, with some accuracy, the condition of the Sioux hitherto so
little known.

The Sioux, or Dacorta Indians, originally settled on the Mississippi,
and called by Carver, Madowesians, are now subdivided into tribes, as

First, The Yanktons: this tribe inhabits the Sioux, Desmoines, and
Jacques rivers, and number about two hundred warriors.

Second, The Tetons of the burnt woods. This tribe numbers about three
hundred men, who rove on both sides of the Missouri, the White, and
Teton rivers.

Third. The Tetons Okandandas, a tribe consisting of about one hundred
and fifty men, who inhabit both sides of the Missouri below the Chayenne

Fourth, Tetons Minnakenozzo, a nation inhabiting both sides of the
Missouri, above the Chayenne river, and containing about two hundred and
fifty men.

Fifth, Tetons Saone; these inhabit both sides of the Missouri below the
Warreconne river, and consist of about three hundred men.

Sixth, Yanktons of the Plains, or Big Devils; who rove on the heads of
the Sioux, Jacques, and Red river; the most numerous of all the tribes,
and number about five hundred men.

Seventh, Wahpatone; a nation residing on the St. Peter's, just above the
mouth of that river, and numbering two hundred men.

Eighth, Mindawarcarton, or proper Dacorta or Sioux Indians. These
possess the original seat of the Sioux, and are properly so denominated.
They rove on both sides of the Mississippi, about the falls of St.
Anthony, and consist of three hundred men.

Ninth, The Wahpatoota, or Leaf Beds. This nation inhabits both sides of
the river St. Peter's, below Yellow-wood river, amounting to about one
hundred and fifty men.

Tenth, Sistasoone: this nation numbers two hundred men, and reside at
the head of the St. Peter's. Of these several tribes, more particular
notice will be taken hereafter.

Saturday, September 1, 1804. We proceeded this morning under a light
southern breeze, and passed the Calumet bluffs; these are composed of a
yellowish red, and brownish clay as hard as chalk, which it much
resembles, and are one hundred and seventy, or one hundred and eighty
feet high. At this place the hills on each side come to the verge of the
river, those on the south being higher than on the north. Opposite the
bluffs is a large island covered with timber; above which the highlands
form a cliff over the river on the north side, called White Bear cliff;
an animal of that kind being killed in one of the holes in it, which are
numerous and apparently deep. At six miles we came to a large sand
island covered with cottonwood; the wind was high, and the weather rainy
and cloudy during the day. We made fifteen miles to a place on the north
side, at the lower point of a large island called Bonhomme, or Goodman's
island. The country on both sides has the same character of prairies,
with no timber; with occasional lowlands covered with cottonwood, elm
and oak: our hunters had killed an elk and a beaver: the catfish too are
in great abundance.

September 2. It rained last night, and this morning we had a high wind
from the N.W. We went three miles to the lower part of an ancient
fortification on the south side, and passed the head of Bonhomme island,
which is large and well timbered: after this the wind became so violent,
attended by a cold rain, that we were compelled to land at four miles on
the northern side, under a high bluff of yellow clay, about one hundred
and ten feet in height. Our hunters supplied us with four elk; and we
had grapes and plums on the banks: we also saw the beargrass and rue, on
the side of the bluffs. At this place there are highlands on both sides
of the river which become more level at some distance back, and
contain but few streams of water. On the southern bank, during this day,
the grounds have not been so elevated. Captain Clarke crossed the river
to examine the remains of the fortification we had just passed.

                    [Illustration: Fortification]

This interesting object is on the south side of the Missouri, opposite
the upper extremity of Bonhomme island, and in a low level plain, the
hills being three miles from the river. It begins by a wall composed of
earth, rising immediately from the bank of the river and running in a
direct course S. 76°, W. ninety six yards; the base of this wall or
mound is seventy-five feet, and its height about eight. It then diverges
in a course S. 84° W. and continues at the same height and depth to the
distance of fifty-three yards, the angle being formed by a sloping
descent; at the junction of these two is an appearance of a hornwork of
the same height with the first angle: the same wall then pursues a
course N. 69° W. for three hundred yards: near its western extremity is
an opening or gateway at right angles to the wall, and projecting
inwards; this gateway is defended by two nearly semicircular walls
placed before it, lower than the large walls; and from the gateway there
seems to have been a covered way communicating with the interval between
these two walls: westward of the gate, the wall becomes much larger,
being about one hundred and five feet at its base, and twelve feet high:
at the end of this high ground the wall extends for fifty-six yards on a
course N. 32° W; it then turns N. 23° W. for seventy-three yards: these
two walls seems to have had a double or covered way; they are from ten
to fifteen feet eight inches in height, and from seventy-five to one
hundred and five feet in width at the base; the descent inwards being
steep, whilst outwards it forms a sort of glacis. At the distance of
seventy-three yards, the wall ends abruptly at a large hollow place much
lower than the general level of the plain, and from which is some
indication of a covered way to the water. The space between them is
occupied by several mounds scattered promiscuously through the gorge, in
the centre of which is a deep round hole. From the extremity of the last
wall, in a course N. 32° W. is a distance of ninety-six yards over the
low ground, where the wall recommences and crosses the plain in a course
N. 81° W. for eighteen hundred and thirty yards to the bank of the
Missouri. In this course its height is about eight feet, till it enters,
at the distance of five hundred and thirty-three yards, a deep circular
pond of seventy-three yards diameter; after which it is gradually lower,
towards the river: it touches the river at a muddy bar, which bears
every mark of being an encroachment of the water, for a considerable
distance; and a little above the junction, is a small circular redoubt.
Along the bank of the river, and at eleven hundred yards distance, in a
straight line from this wall, is a second, about six feet high, and of
considerable width: it rises abruptly from the bank of the Missouri, at
a point where the river bends, and goes straight forward, forming an
acute angle with the last wall, till it enters the river again, not far
from the mounds just described, towards which it is obviously tending.
At the bend the Missouri is five hundred yards wide; the ground on the
opposite side highlands, or low hills on the bank; and where the river
passes between this fort and Bonhomme island, all the distance from the
bend, it is constantly washing the banks into the stream, a large
sandbank being already taken from the shore near the wall. During the
whole course of this wall, or glacis, it is covered with trees, among
which are many large cotton trees, two or three feet in diameter.
Immediately opposite the citadel, or the part most strongly fortified,
on Bonhomme island, is a small work in a circular form, with a wall
surrounding it, about six feet in height. The young willows along the
water, joined to the general appearance of the two shores, induce a
belief that the bank of the island is encroaching, and the Missouri
indemnifies itself by washing away the base of the fortification. The
citadel contains about twenty acres, but the parts between the long
walls must embrace nearly five hundred acres.

These are the first remains of the kind which we have had an opportunity
of examining; but our French interpreters assure us, that there are
great numbers of them on the Platte, the Kanzas, the Jacques, &c. and
some of our party say, that they observed two of those fortresses on the
upper side of the Petit Arc creek, not far from its mouth; that the wall
was about six feet high, and the sides of the angles one hundred yards
in length.

September 3. The morning was cold, and the wind from the northwest. We
passed at sunrise, three large sandbars, and at the distance of ten
miles reached a small creek, about twelve yards wide, coming in from the
north, above a white bluff: this creek has obtained the name of Plum
creek, from the number of that fruit which are in the neighbourhood, and
of a delightful quality. Five miles further, we encamped on the south
near the edge of a plain; the river is wide, and covered with sandbars
to-day: the banks are high and of a whitish colour; the timber scarce,
but an abundance of grapes. Beaver houses too have been observed in
great numbers on the river, but none of the animals themselves.

September 4. We set out early, with a very cold wind from S.S.E. and at
one mile and a half, reached a small creek, called Whitelime creek, on
the south side. Just above this is a cliff, covered with cedar trees,
and at three miles a creek, called Whitepaint creek, of about thirty
yards wide: on the same side, and at four and a half miles distance from
the Whitepaint creek, is the Rapid river, or, as it is called by the
French, la Riverequi Court; this river empties into the Missouri, in a
course S.W. by W. and is one hundred and fifty-two yards wide, and four
feet deep at the confluence. It rises in the Black mountains, and passes
through a hilly country, with a poor soil. Captain Clark ascended three
miles to a beautiful plain, on the upper side, where the Pawnees once
had a village: he found that the river widened above its mouth, and
much divided by sands and islands, which, joined to the great rapidity
of the current, makes the navigation very difficult, even for small
boats. Like the Platte its waters are of a light colour; like that river
too it throws out into the Missouri, great quantities of sand, coarser
even than that of the Platte, which form sandbars and shoals near its

We encamped just above it, on the south, having made only eight miles,
as the wind shifted to the south, and blew so hard that in the course of
the day we broke our mast: we saw some deer, a number of geese, and shot
a turkey and a duck: the place in which we halted is a fine low-ground,
with much timber, such as red cedar, honeylocust, oak, arrowwood, elm
and coffeenut.

September 5, Wednesday. The wind was again high from the south. At five
miles, we came to a large island, called Pawnee island, in the middle of
the river; and stopped to breakfast at a small creek on the north, which
has the name of Goat creek, at eight and a half miles. Near the mouth of
this creek the beaver had made a dam across so as to form a large pond,
in which they built their houses. Above this island the river Poncara
falls into the Missouri from the south, and is thirty yards wide at the
entrance. Two men whom we despatched to the village of the same name,
returned with information that they had found it on the lower side of
the creek; but as this is the hunting season, the town was so completely
deserted that they had killed a buffaloe in the village itself. This
tribe of Poncaras, who are said to have once numbered four hundred men,
are now reduced to about fifty, and have associated for mutual
protection with the Mahas, who are about two hundred in number. These
two nations are allied by a similarity of misfortune; they were once
both numerous, both resided in villages, and cultivated Indian corn;
their common enemies, the Sioux and small-pox, drove them from their
towns, which they visit only occasionally for the purposes of trade;
and they now wander over the plains on the sources of the Wolf and
Quieurre rivers. Between the Pawnee island and Goat creek on the north,
is a cliff of blue earth, under which are several mineral springs,
impregnated with salts: near this we observed a number of goats, from
which the creek derives its name. At three and a half miles from the
creek, we came to a large island on the south, along which we passed to
the head of it, and encamped about four o'clock. Here we replaced the
mast we had lost, with a new one of cedar: some bucks and an elk were
procured to-day, and a black tailed deer was seen near the Poncara's

Thursday, September 6. There was a storm this morning from the N.W. and
though it moderated, the wind was still high, and the weather very cold;
the number of sandbars too, added to the rapidity of the current,
obliged us to have recourse to the towline: with all our exertions we
did not make more than eight and a half miles, and encamped on the
north, after passing high cliffs of soft, blue, and red coloured stone,
on the southern shore. We saw some goats, and great numbers of buffaloe,
in addition to which the hunters furnished us with elk, deer, turkies,
geese, and one beaver: a large catfish too was caught in the evening.
The ground near the camp, was a low prarie, without timber, though just
below is a grove of cottonwood.

Friday, September 7. The morning was very cold and the wind southeast.
At five and a half miles, we reached and encamped at the foot of a round
mountain, on the south, having passed two small islands. This mountain,
which is about three hundred feet at the base, forms a cone at the top,
resembling a dome at a distance, and seventy feet or more above the
surrounding highlands. As we descended from this dome, we arrived at a
spot, on the gradual descent of the hill, nearly four acres in extent,
and covered with small holes: these are the residence of a little
animal, called by the French, petit chien (little dog) who sit erect
near the mouth, and make a whistling noise, but when alarmed take refuge
in their holes. In order to bring them out, we poured into one of the
holes five barrels of water without filling it, but we dislodged and
caught the owner. After digging down another of the holes for six feet,
we found, on running a pole into it, that we had not yet dug half way to
the bottom: we discovered, however, two frogs in the hole, and near it
we killed a dark rattlesnake, which had swallowed a small prairie dog:
we were also informed, though we never witnessed the fact, that a sort
of lizard, and a snake, live habitually with these animals. The petit
chien are justly named, as they resemble a small dog in some
particulars, though they have also some points of similarity to the
squirrel. The head resembles the squirrel in every respect, except that
the ear is shorter, the tail like that of the ground-squirrel, the
toe-nails are long, the fur is fine, and the long hair is gray.

Saturday, September 8. The wind still continued from the southeast, but
moderately. At seven miles we reached a house on the north side, called
the Pawnee house, where a trader, named Trudeau, wintered in the year
1796-7: behind this, hills, much higher than usual, appear to the north,
about eight miles off. Before reaching this house, we came by three
small islands, on the north side, and a small creek on the south; and
after leaving it, reached another, at the end of seventeen miles, on
which we encamped, and called it Boat island: we here saw herds of
buffaloe, and some elk, deer, turkies, beaver, a squirrel, and a prairie
dog. The party on the north represent the country through which they
passed, as poor, rugged, and hilly, with the appearance of having been
lately burnt by the Indians; the broken hills, indeed, approach the
river on both sides, though each is bordered by a strip of woodland near
the water.

Sunday, September 9. We coasted along the island on which we had
encamped, and then passed three sand and willow islands, and a number of
smaller sandbars. The river is shallow, and joined by two small creeks
from the north, and one from the south. In the plains, to the south,
are great numbers of buffaloe, in herds of nearly five hundred; all
the copses of timber appear to contain elk or deer. We encamped on a
sandbar, on the southern shore, at the distance of fourteen and a
quarter miles.

September 10, Monday. The next day we made twenty miles. The morning was
cloudy and dark, but a light breeze from the southeast carried us past
two small islands on the south, and one on the north; till, at the
distance of ten and a half miles, we reached an island, extending for
two miles in the middle of the river, covered with red cedar, from which
it derives its name of Cedar island. Just below this island, on a hill,
to the south, is the backbone of a fish, forty-five feet long, tapering
towards the tail, and in a perfect state of petrifaction, fragments of
which were collected and sent to Washington. On both sides of the river
are high dark-coloured bluffs. About a mile and a half from the island,
on the southern shore, the party on that side discovered a large and
very strong impregnated spring of water; and another, not so strongly
impregnated, half a mile up the hill. Three miles beyond Cedar island is
a large island on the north, and a number of sandbars. After which is
another, about a mile in length, lying in the middle of the river, and
separated by a small channel, at its extremity, from another above it,
on which we encamped. These two islands are called Mud islands. The
river is shallow during this day's course, and is falling a little. The
elk and buffaloe are in great abundance, but the deer have become

September 11, Tuesday. At six and a half miles we passed the upper
extremity of an island on the south; four miles beyond which is another
on the same side of the river; and about a quarter of a mile distant we
visited a large village of the barking-squirrel. It was situated on a
gentle declivity, and covered a space of nine hundred and seventy yards
long, and eight hundred yards wide; we killed four of them. We then
resumed our course, and during five and a half miles passed two islands
on the north, and then encamped at the distance of sixteen miles, on the
south side of the river, and just above a small run. The morning had
been cloudy, but in the afternoon it began raining, with a high
northwest wind, which continued during the greater part of the night.
The country seen to-day consists of narrow strips of lowland, rising
into uneven grounds, which are succeeded, at the distance of three
miles, by rich and level plains, but without any timber. The river
itself is wide, and crowded with sandbars. Elk, deer, squirrels, a
pelican, and a very large porcupine, were our game this day; some foxes
too were seen, but not caught.

In the morning we observed a man riding on horseback down towards the
boat, and we were much pleased to find that it was George Shannon, one
of our party, for whose safety we had been very uneasy. Our two horses
having strayed from us on the 26th of August, he was sent to search for
them. After he had found them he attempted to rejoin us, but seeing some
other tracks, which must have been those of Indians, and which he
mistook for our own, he concluded that we were ahead, and had been for
sixteen days following the bank of the river above us. During the first
four days he exhausted his bullets, and was then nearly starved, being
obliged to subsist, for twelve days, on a few grapes, and a rabbit which
he killed by making use of a hard piece of stick for a ball. One of his
horses gave out, and was left behind; the other he kept as a last
resource for food. Despairing of overtaking us, he was returning down
the river, in hopes of meeting some other boat; and was on the point of
killing his horse, when he was so fortunate as to join us.

Wednesday, September 12. The day was dark and cloudy; the wind from the
northwest. At a short distance we reached an island in the middle of the
river, which is covered with timber, a rare object now. We with great
difficulty were enabled to struggle through the sandbars, the water
being very rapid and shallow, so that we were several hours in making a
mile. Several times the boat wheeled on the bar, and the men were
obliged to jump out and prevent her from upsetting; at others, after
making a way up one channel, the shoalness of the water forced us back
to seek the deep channel. We advanced only four miles in the whole day
and encamped on the south. Along both sides of the river are high
grounds; on the southern side particularly, they form dark bluffs, in
which may be observed slate and coal intermixed. We saw also several
villages of barking-squirrels; great numbers of growse, and three foxes.

September 13, Thursday. We made twelve miles to-day through a number of
sandbars, which make it difficult to find the proper channel. The hills
on each side are high, and separated from the river by a narrow plain on
its borders. On the north, these lowlands are covered in part with
timber, and great quantities of grapes, which are now ripe: on the south
we found plenty of plums, but they are not yet ripe; and near the dark
bluffs, a run tainted with allum and copperas; the southern side being
more strongly impregnated with minerals than the northern. Last night
four beaver were caught in the traps; a porcupine was shot as it was
upon a cottontree, feeding on its leaves and branches. We encamped on
the north side, opposite to a small willow island. At night the
musquitoes were very troublesome, though the weather was cold and rainy
and the wind from the northwest.

Friday, September 14. At two miles we reached a round island on the
northern side; at about five, a run on the south; two and a half miles
further, a small creek; and at nine miles encamped near the month of a
creek, on the same side. The sandbars are very numerous, and render the
river wide and shallow, and obliged the crew to get into the water and
drag the boat over the bars several times. During the whole day we
searched along the southern shore, and at some distance into the
interior, to find an ancient volcano which we heard at St. Charles was
somewhere in this neighbourhood; but we could not discern the slightest
appearance of any thing volcanic. In the course of their search the
party shot a buck-goat and a hare. The hills, particularly on the south,
continue high, but the timber is confined to the islands and banks of
the river. We had occasion here to observe the rapid undermining of
these hills by the Missouri: the first attacks seem to be on the hills
which overhang the river; as soon as the violence of the current
destroys the grass at the foot of them, the whole texture appears
loosened, and the ground dissolves and mixes with the water: the muddy
mixture is then forced over the low-grounds, which it covers sometimes
to the depth of three inches, and gradually destroys the herbage; after
which it can offer no resistance to the water, and becomes at last
covered with sand.

Saturday, September 15. We passed, at an early hour, the creek near our
last night's encampment; and at two miles distance reached the mouth of
White river, coming in from the south. We ascended a short distance, and
sent a sergeant and another man to examine it higher up. This river has
a bed of about three hundred yards, though the water is confined to one
hundred and fifty: in the mouth is a sand island, and several sandbars.
The current is regular and swift, with sandbars projecting from the
points. It differs very much from the Platte, and Quieurre, in throwing
out, comparatively, little sand, but its general character is like that
of the Missouri. This resemblance was confirmed by the sergeant, who
ascended about twelve miles; at which distance it was about the same
width as near the mouth, and the course, which was generally west, had
been interrupted by islands and sandbars. The timber consisted chiefly
of elm; they saw pine burrs, and sticks of birch were seen floating down
the river; they had also met with goats, such as we have heretofore
seen; great quantities of buffaloe, near to which were wolves, some
deer, and villages of barking squirrels. At the confluence of White
river with the Missouri is an excellent position for a town; the land
rising by three gradual ascents, and the neighbourhood furnishing more
timber than is usual in this country. After passing high dark bluffs on
both sides, we reached the lower point of an island towards the south,
at the distance of six miles. The island bears an abundance of grapes,
and is covered with red cedar: it also contains a number of rabbits. At
the end of this island, which is small, a narrow channel separates it
from a large sand island, which we passed, and encamped, eight miles on
the north, under a high point of land opposite a large creek to the
south, on which we observe an unusual quantity of timber. The wind was
from the northwest this afternoon, and high, the weather cold, and its
dreariness increased by the howlings of a number of wolves around us.

September 16, Sunday. Early this morning, having reached a convenient
spot on the south side, and at one mile and a quarter distance, we
encamped just above a small creek, which we called Corvus, having killed
an animal of that genus near it. Finding that we could not proceed over
the sandbars, as fast as we desired, while the boat was so heavily
loaded, we concluded not to send back, as we originally intended, our
third periogue, but to detain the soldiers until spring, and in the mean
time lighten the boat by loading the periogue: this operation, added to
that of drying all our wet articles, detained us during the day. Our
camp is in a beautiful plain, with timber thinly scattered for three
quarters of a mile, and consisting chiefly of elm, cottonwood, some ash
of an indifferent quality, and a considerable quantity of a small
species of white oak: this tree seldom rises higher than thirty feet,
and branches very much; the bark is rough, thick and of a light colour;
the leaves small, deeply indented, and of a pale green; the cup which
contains the acorn is fringed on the edges, and embraces it about one
half: the acorn itself, which grows in great profusion, is of an
excellent flavour, and has none of the roughness which most other acorns
possess; they are now falling, and have probably attracted the number of
deer which we saw on this place, as all the animals we have seen are
fond of that food. The ground having been recently burnt by the Indians,
is covered with young green grass, and in the neighbourhood are great
quantities of fine plums. We killed a few deer for the sake of their
skins, which we wanted to cover the periogues, the meat being too poor
for food: the cold season coming on, a flannel shirt was given to each
man, and fresh powder to those who had exhausted their supply.

Monday, September 16. Whilst some of the party were engaged in the same
way as yesterday, others were employed in examining the surrounding
country. About a quarter of a mile behind our camp, and at an elevation
of twenty feet above it, a plain extends nearly three miles parallel to
the river, and about a mile back to the hills, towards which it
gradually ascends. Here we saw a grove of plum-trees loaded with fruit,
now ripe, and differing in nothing from those of the Atlantic states,
except that the tree is smaller and more thickly set. The ground of the
plain is occupied by the burrows of multitudes of barking squirrels, who
entice hither the wolves of a small kind, hawks, and polecats, all of
which animals we saw, and presumed that they fed on the squirrel. This
plain is intersected nearly in its whole extent by deep ravines and
steep irregular rising grounds from one to two hundred feet. On
ascending the range of hills which border the plain, we saw a second
high level plain stretching to the south as far as the eye could reach.
To the westward, a high range of hills about twenty miles distant runs
nearly north and south, but not to any great extent, as their rise and
termination is embraced by one view, and they seemed covered with a
verdure similar to that of the plains. The same view extended over the
irregular hills which border the northern side of the Missouri; all
around the country had been recently burnt, and a young green grass
about four inches high covered the ground, which was enlivened by herds
of antelopes and buffaloe; the last of which were in such multitudes,
that we cannot exaggerate in saying that at a single glance we saw three
thousand of them before us. Of all the animals we had seen the antelope
seems to possess the most wonderful fleetness: shy and timorous they
generally repose only on the ridges, which command a view of all the
approaches of an enemy: the acuteness of their sight distinguishes the
most distant danger, the delicate sensibility of their smell defeats the
precautions of concealment, and when alarmed their rapid career seems
more like the flight of birds than the movements of an earthly being.
After many unsuccessful attempts, captain Lewis at last, by winding
around the ridges, approached a party of seven, which were on an
eminence, towards which the wind was unfortunately blowing. The only
male of the party frequently encircled the summit of the hill, as if to
announce any danger to the females, who formed a group at the top.
Although they did not see captain Lewis, the smell alarmed them, and
they fled when he was at the distance of two hundred yards: he
immediately ran to the spot where they had been, a ravine concealed them
from him, but the next moment they appeared on a second ridge at the
distance of three miles. He doubted whether it could be the same, but
their number and the extreme rapidity with which they continued their
course, convinced him that they must have gone with a speed equal to
that of the most distinguished racehorse. Among our acquisitions to-day
was a mule-deer, a magpie, the common deer, and buffaloe: captain Lewis
also saw a hare, and killed a rattlesnake near the burrows of the
barking squirrels.

Tuesday, September 18. Having everything in readiness we proceeded,
with the boat much lightened, but the wind being from the N.W. we made
but little way. At one mile we reached an island in the middle of the
river, nearly a mile in length, and covered with red cedar; at its
extremity a small creek comes in from the north; we then met some
sandbars, and the wind being very high and ahead, we encamped on the
south, having made only seven miles. In addition to the common deer,
which were in great abundance, we saw goats, elk, buffaloe, the black
tailed deer; the large wolves too are very numerous, and have long hair
with coarse fur, and are of a light colour. A small species of wolf
about the size of a gray fox was also killed, and proved to be the
animal which we had hitherto mistaken for a fox: there are also many
porcupines, rabbits, and barking squirrels in the neighbourhood.

September 19. We this day enjoyed a cool clear morning, and a wind from
the southeast. We reached at three miles a bluff on the south, and four
miles farther, the lower point of Prospect island, about two and a half
miles in length; opposite to this are high bluffs, about eighty feet
above the water, beyond which are beautiful plains gradually rising as
they recede from the river: these are watered by three streams which
empty near each other; the first is about thirty-five yards wide, the
ground on its sides high and rich, with some timber; the second about
twelve yards wide, but with less timber; the third is nearly of the same
size, and contains more water, but it scatters its waters over the large
timbered plain, and empties itself into the river at three places. These
rivers are called by the French Les trois rivieres des Sioux, the three
Sioux rivers; and as the Sioux generally cross the Missouri at this
place, it is called the Sioux pass of the three rivers. These streams
have the same right of asylum, though in a less degree than Pipestone
creek already mentioned.

Two miles from the island we passed a creek fifteen yards wide; eight
miles further, another twenty yards wide; three miles beyond which, is a
third of eighteen yards width, all on the south side: the second which
passes through a high plain we called Elm creek; to the third we gave
the name of Night creek, having reached it late at night. About a mile
beyond this is a small island on the north side of the river, and is
called Lower island, as it is situated at the commencement of what is
known by the name of the Grand Detour, or Great Bend of the Missouri.
Opposite is a creek on the south about ten yards wide, which waters a
plain where there are great numbers of the prickley pear, which name we
gave to the creek. We encamped on the south, opposite the upper
extremity of the island, having made an excellent day's sail of twenty
six and a quarter miles. Our game this day consisted chiefly of deer, of
these four were black tails, one a buck with two main prongs of horns on
each side and forked equally. Large herds of buffaloe, elk and goats,
were also seen.

Thursday, September 20. Finding we had reached the Big Bend, we
despatched two men with our only horse across the neck, to hunt there
and wait our arrival at the first creek beyond it. We then set out with
fair weather and the wind from S.E. to make the circuit of the bend.
Near the lower island the sandbars are numerous, and the river shallow.
At nine and a half miles is a sand island, on the southern side. About
ten miles beyond it is a small island on the south, opposite to a small
creek on the north. This island, which is near the N.W. extremity of the
bend, is called Solitary island. At about eleven miles further, we
encamped on a sandbar, having made twenty-seven and a half miles.
Captain Clarke, who early this morning had crossed the neck of the bend,
joined us in the evening. At the narrowest part, the gorge is composed
of high and irregular hills of about one hundred and eighty or one
hundred and ninety feet in elevation; from this descends an unbroken
plain over the whole of the bend, and the country is separated from it
by this ridge. Great numbers of buffaloe, elk, and goats are wandering
over these plains, accompanied by grouse and larks. Captain Clarke saw a
hare also, on the Great Bend. Of the goats killed to-day, one is a
female differing from the male in being smaller in size; its horns too
are smaller and straighter, having one short prong, and no black about
the neck: none of these goats have any beard, but are delicately formed,
and very beautiful.

Friday, September 21. Between one and two o'clock the serjeant on guard
alarmed us, by crying that the sandbar on which we lay was sinking; we
jumped up, and found that both above and below our camp the sand was
undermined and falling in very fast: we had scarcely got into the boats
and pushed off, when the bank under which they had been lying, fell in,
and would certainly have sunk the two periogues if they had remained
there. By the time we reached the opposite shore the ground of our
encampment sunk also. We formed a second camp for the rest of the night;
and at daylight proceeded on to the gorge or throat of the Great Bend,
where we breakfasted. A man, whom we had despatched to step off the
distance across the bend, made it two thousand yards: the circuit is
thirty miles. During the whole course, the land of the bend is low, with
occasional bluffs; that on the opposite side, high prairie ground, and
long ridges of dark bluffs. After breakfast, we passed through a high
prairie on the north side, and a rich cedar lowland and cedar bluff on
the south, till we reached a willow island below the mouth of a small
creek. This creek, called Tyler's river, is about thirty-five yards
wide, comes in on the south, and is at the distance of six miles from
the neck of the Great Bend. Here we found a deer, and the skin of a
white wolf, left us by our hunters ahead: large quantities of different
kinds of plover and brants are in this neighbourhood, and seen
collecting and moving towards the south; the catfish are small, and not
in such plenty as we had found them below this place. We passed several
sandbars, which make the river very shallow and about a mile in width,
and encamped on the south, at the distance of eleven and a half miles.
On each side the shore is lined with hard rough gulleystones, rolled
from the hills and small brooks. The most common timber is the cedar,
though, in the prairies, there are great quantities of the prickly pear.
From this place we passed several sandbars, which make the river
shallow, and about a mile in width. At the distance of eleven and a half
miles, we encamped on the north at the lower point of an ancient island,
which has since been connected with the main land by the filling up of
the northern channel, and is now covered with cottonwood. We here saw
some tracks of Indians, but they appeared three or four weeks old. This
day was warm.

September 22. A thick fog detained us until seven o'clock; our course
was through inclined prairies on each side of the river, crowded with
buffaloe. We halted at a point on the north side, near a high bluff on
the south, and took a meridian altitude, which gave us the latitude of
44° 11' 33-3/10". On renewing our course, we reached first a small
island on the south, at the distance of four and a half miles,
immediately above which is another island opposite to a creek fifteen
yards wide. This creek, and the two islands, one of which is half a mile
long, and the second three miles, are called the Three Sisters: a
beautiful plain extending on both sides of the river. This is followed
by an island on the north, called Cedar island, about one mile and a
half in length and the same distance in breadth, and deriving its name
from the quality of the timber. On the south side of this island, is a
fort and a large trading house, built by a Mr. Loisel, who wintered here
during the last year, in order to trade with the Sioux, the remains of
whose camps are in great numbers about this place. The establishment is
sixty or seventy feet square, built with red cedar and picketted in
with the same materials. The hunters who had been sent ahead joined us
here. They mention that the hills are washed in gullies, in passing over
which, some mineral substances had rotted and destroyed their moccasins;
they had killed two deer and a beaver. At sixteen miles distance we came
to on the north side at the mouth of a small creek. The large stones
which we saw yesterday on the shores are now some distance in the river,
and render the navigation dangerous. The musquitoes are still numerous
in the low grounds.

Sunday, September 23. We passed, with a light breeze from the southeast,
a small island on the north, called Goat island; above which is a small
creek, called by the party Smoke creek, as we observed a great smoke to
the southwest on approaching it. At ten miles we came to the lower point
of a large island, having passed two small willow islands with sandbars
projecting from them. This island, which we called Elk island, is about
two and a half miles long, and three quarters of a mile wide, situated
near the south, and covered with cottonwood, the red currant, and
grapes. The river is here almost straight for a considerable distance,
wide and shallow, with many sandbars. A small creek on the north, about
sixteen yards wide, we called Reuben's creek; as Reuben Fields, one of
our men, was the first of the party who reached it. At a short distance
above this we encamped for the night, having made twenty miles. The
country, generally, consists of low, rich, timbered ground on the north,
and high barren lands on the south: on both sides great numbers of
buffaloe are feeding. In the evening three boys of the Sioux nation swam
across the river, and informed us that two parties of Sioux were
encamped on the next river, one consisting of eighty, and the second of
sixty lodges, at some distance above. After treating them kindly we sent
them back with a present of two carrots of tobacco to their chiefs, whom
we invited to a conference in the morning.

Monday, September 24. The wind was from the east, and the day fair; we
soon passed a handsome prairie on the north side, covered with ripe
plums, and the mouth of a creek on the south, called Highwater creek, a
little above our encampment. At about five miles we reached an island
two and a half miles in length, and situated near the south. Here we
were joined by one of our hunters, who procured four elk, but whilst he
was in pursuit of the game the Indians had stolen his horse. We left the
island, and soon overtook five Indians on the shore: we anchored and
told them from the boat we were friends and wished to continue so, but
were not afraid of any Indians; that some of their young men had stolen
the horse which their great father had sent for their great chief, and
that we could not treat with them until he was restored. They said that
they knew nothing of the horse, but if he had been taken he should be
given up. We went on, and at eleven and a half miles, passed an island
on the north, which we called Good-humoured island; it is about one and
a half miles long, and abounds in elk. At thirteen and a half miles, we
anchored one hundred yards off the mouth of a river on the south side,
where we were joined by both the periogues and encamped; two thirds of
the party remained on board, and the rest went as a guard on shore with
the cooks and one periogue; we have seen along the sides of the hills on
the north a great deal of stone; besides the elk, we also observed a
hare; the five Indians whom we had seen followed us, and slept with the
guard on shore. Finding one of them was a chief we smoked with him, and
made him a present of tobacco. This river is about seventy yards wide,
and has a considerable current. As the tribe of the Sioux which inhabit
it are called Teton, we gave it the name of Teton river.

                                CHAP. IV.

     Council held with the Tetons--Their manners, dances, &c.--Chayenne
     River--Council held with the Ricara Indians--Their manners and
     habits--Strange instance of Ricara idolatry--Another
     instance--Cannonball river--Arrival among the Mandans--Character of
     the surrounding country, and of the creeks, islands, &c.

September 25. The morning was fine, and the wind continued from the
southeast. We raised a flagstaff and an awning, under which we assembled
at twelve o'clock, with all the party parading under arms. The chiefs
and warriors from the camp two miles up the river, met us, about fifty
or sixty in number, and after smoking delivered them a speech; but as
our Sioux interpreter, Mr. Durion, had been left with the Yanktons, we
were obliged to make use of a Frenchman who could not speak fluently,
and therefore we curtailed our harangue. After this we went through the
ceremony of acknowledging the chiefs, by giving to the grand chief a
medal, a flag of the United States, a laced uniform coat, a cocked hat
and feather: to the two other chiefs a medal and some small presents;
and to two warriors of consideration certificates. The name of the great
chief is Untongasabaw, or Black Buffaloe; the second Tortohonga, or the
Partisan; the third Tartongawaka, or Buffaloe Medicine: the name of one
of the warriors was Wawzinggo; that of the second Matocoquepa, or Second
Bear. We then invited the chiefs on board, and showed them the boat, the
airgun, and such curiosities as we thought might amuse them: In this we
succeeded too well; for after giving them a quarter of a glass of
whiskey, which they seemed to like very much, and sucked the bottle, it
was with much difficulty that we could get rid of them. They at last
accompanied captain Clarke on shore in a periogue with five men; but it
seems they had formed a design to stop us; for no sooner had the party
landed than three of the Indians seized the cable of the periogue, and
one of the soldiers of the chief put his arms round the mast: the second
chief who affected intoxication, then said, that we should not go on,
that they had not received presents enough from us; captain Clarke told
him that he would not be prevented from going on; that we were not
squaws, but warriors; that we were sent by our great father, who could
in a moment exterminate them: the chief replied, that he too had
warriors, and was proceeding to offer personal violence to captain
Clarke, who immediately drew his sword, and made a signal to the boat to
prepare for action. The Indians who surrounded him, drew their arrows
from their quivers and were bending their bows, when the swivel in the
boat was instantly pointed towards them, and twelve of our most
determined men jumped into the periogue and joined captain Clarke. This
movement made an impression on them, for the grand chief ordered the
young men away from the periogue, and they withdrew and held a short
council with the warriors. Being unwilling to irritate them, captain
Clarke then went forward and offered his hand to the first and second
chiefs, who refused to take it. He then turned from them and got into
the periogue, but had not gone more than ten paces when both the chiefs
and two of the warriors waded in after him, and he brought them on
board. We then proceeded on for a mile and anchored off a willow island,
which from the circumstances which had just occurred, we called
Badhumoured island.

Wednesday, September 26. Our conduct yesterday seemed to have inspired
the Indians with fear of us, and as we were desirous of cultivating
their acquaintance, we complied with their wish that we should give them
an opportunity of treating us well, and also suffer their squaws and
children to see us and our boat, which would be perfectly new to them.
Accordingly, after passing at one and a half mile a small willow island
and several sandbars, we came to on the south side, where a crowd of
men, women and children were waiting to receive us. Captain Lewis went
on shore and remained several hours, and observing that their
disposition was friendly we resolved to remain during the night to a
dance, which they were preparing for us. Captains Lewis and Clarke, who
went on shore one after the other, were met on landing by ten well
dressed young men, who took them up in a robe highly decorated and
carried them to a large council house, where they were placed on a
dressed buffaloe skin by the side of the grand chief. The hall or
council-room was in the shape of three quarters of a circle, covered at
the top and sides with skins well dressed and sewed together. Under this
shelter sat about seventy men, forming a circle round the chief, before
whom were placed a Spanish flag and the one we had given them yesterday.
This left a vacant circle of about six feet diameter, in which the pipe
of peace was raised on two forked sticks, about six or eight inches from
the ground, and under it the down of the swan was scattered: a large
fire, in which they were cooking provisions, stood near, and in the
centre about four hundred pounds of excellent buffaloe meat as a present
for us. As soon as we were seated, an old man got up, and after
approving what we had done, begged us to take pity on their unfortunate
situation. To this we replied with assurances of protection. After he
had ceased, the great chief rose and delivered an harangue to the same
effect: then with great solemnity he took some of the most delicate
parts of the dog, which was cooked for the festival, and held it to the
flag by way of sacrifice: this done, he held up the pipe of peace, and
first pointed it towards the heavens, then to the four quarters of the
globe, and then to the earth, made a short speech, lighted the pipe, and
presented it to us. We smoked, and he again harangued his people, after
which the repast was served up to us. It consisted of the dog which they
had just been cooking, this being a great dish among the Sioux and used
on all festivals; to this were added, pemitigon, a dish made of buffaloe
meat, dried or jerked, and then pounded and mixed raw with grease and a
kind of ground potatoe, dressed like the preparation of Indian corn
called hominy, to which it is little inferior. Of all these luxuries
which were placed before us in platters with horn spoons, we took the
pemitigon and the potatoe, which we found good, but we could as yet
partake but sparingly of the dog. We eat and smoked for an hour, when it
became dark: every thing was then cleared away for the dance, a large
fire being made in the centre of the house, giving at once light and
warmth to the ballroom. The orchestra was composed of about ten men, who
played on a sort of tambourin, formed of skin stretched across a hoop;
and made a jingling noise with a long stick to which the hoofs of deer
and goats were hung; the third instrument was a small skin bag with
pebbles in it: these, with five or six young men for the vocal part,
made up the band. The women then came forward highly decorated; some
with poles in their hands, on which were hung the scalps of their
enemies; others with guns, spears or different trophies, taken in war by
their husbands, brothers, or connexions. Having arranged themselves in
two columns, one on each side of the fire, as soon as the music began
they danced towards each other till they met in the centre, when the
rattles were shaken, and they all shouted and returned back to their
places. They have no step, but shuffle along the ground; nor does the
music appear to be any thing more than a confusion of noises,
distinguished only by hard or gentle blows upon the buffaloe skin: the
song is perfectly extemporaneous. In the pauses of the dance, any man of
the company comes forward and recites, in a sort of low guttural tone,
some little story or incident, which is either martial or ludicrous; or,
as was the case this evening, voluptuous and indecent; this is taken up
by the orchestra and the dancers, who repeat it in a higher strain and
dance to it. Sometimes they alternate; the orchestra first performing,
and when it ceases, the women raise their voices and make a music more
agreeable, that is, less intolerable than that of the musicians. The
dances of the men, which are always separate from those of the women,
are conducted very nearly in the same way, except that the men jump up
and down instead of shuffling; and in the war dances the recitations are
all of a military cast. The harmony of the entertainment had nearly been
disturbed by one of the musicians, who thinking he had not received a
due share of the tobacco we had distributed during the evening, put
himself into a passion, broke one of the drums, threw two of them into
the fire, and left the band. They were taken out of the fire: a buffaloe
robe held in one hand and beaten with the other, by several of the
company, supplied the place of the lost drum or tambourin, and no notice
was taken of the offensive conduct of the man. We staid till twelve
o'clock at night, when we informed the chiefs that they must be fatigued
with all these attempts to amuse us, and retired accompanied by four
chiefs, two of whom spent the night with us on board.

While on shore we saw twenty-five squaws, and about the same number of
children, who had been taken prisoners two weeks ago, in a battle with
their countrymen the Mahas. In this engagement the Sioux destroyed forty
lodges, killed seventy-five men, of which we saw many of the scalps, and
took these prisoners; their appearance is wretched and dejected; the
women too seem low in stature, coarse and ugly; though their present
condition may diminish their beauty. We gave them a variety of small
articles, such as awls and needles, and interceded for them with the
chiefs, to whom we recommended to follow the advice of their great
father, to restore the prisoners and live in peace with the Mahas, which
they promised to do.

The tribe which we this day saw, are a part of the great Sioux nation,
and are known by the name of the Teton Okandandas: they are about two
hundred men in number, and their chief residence is on both sides of the
Missouri, between the Chayenne and Teton rivers. In their persons they
are rather ugly and ill made, their legs and arms being too small, their
cheekbones high, and their eyes projecting. The females, with the same
character of form, are more handsome; and both sexes appear cheerful and
sprightly; but in our intercourse with them we discovered that they were
cunning and vicious.

The men shave the hair off their heads, except a small tuft on the top,
which they suffer to grow and wear in plaits over the shoulders; to this
they seem much attached, as the loss of it is the usual sacrifice at the
death of near relations. In full dress, the men of consideration wear
a hawk's feather, or calumet feather worked with porcupine quills, and
fastened to the top of the head, from which it falls back. The face and
body are generally painted with a mixture of grease and coal. Over the
shoulders is a loose robe or mantle of buffaloe skin dressed white,
adorned with porcupine quills loosely fixed so as to make a gingling
noise when in motion, and painted with various uncouth figures
unintelligible to us, but to them emblematic of military exploits, or
any other incident; the hair of the robe is worn next the skin in fair
weather, but when it rains the hair is put outside, and the robe is
either thrown over the arm, or wrapped round the body, all of which it
may cover. Under this in the winter season they wear a kind of shirt
resembling ours, and made either of skin or cloth, and covering the arms
and body. Round the middle is fixed a girdle of cloth or procured
dressed elk-skin, about an inch in width and closely tied to the body,
to this is attached a piece of cloth or blanket or skin about a foot
wide, which passes between the legs and is tucked under the girdle both
before and behind; from the hip to the ancle he is covered by leggings
of dressed antelope skins, with seams at the sides two inches in width,
and ornamented by little tufts of hair the produce of the scalps they
have made in war, which are scattered down the leg. The winter moccasins
are of dressed buffaloe-skin, the hair being worn inwards, and soaled
with thick elk-skin parchment: those for summer are of deer or elk-skin,
dressed without the hair, and with soals of elk-skin. On great
occasions, or wherever they are in full dress, the young men drag after
them the entire skin of a polecat fixed to the heel of the moccasin.
Another skin of the same animal is either tucked into the girdle or
carried in the hand, and serves as a pouch for their tobacco, or what
the French traders call the bois roule: this is the inner bark of a
species of red willow, which being dried in the sun or over the fire, is
rubbed between the hands and broken into small pieces, and is used alone
or mixed with tobacco. The pipe is generally of red earth, the stem made
of ash, about three or four feet long, and highly decorated with
feathers, hair and porcupine quills.

The hair of the women is suffered to grow long, and is parted from the
forehead across the head, at the back of which it is either collected
into a kind of bag, or hangs down over the shoulders. Their moccasins
are like those of the men, as are also the leggings, which do not
however reach beyond the knee, where it is met by a long loose shift of
skin which reaches nearly to the ancles: this is fastened over the
shoulders by a string and has no sleeves, but a few pieces of the skin
hang a short distance down the arm. Sometimes a girdle fastens this skin
round the waist, and over all is thrown a robe like that worn by the
men. They seem fond of dress. Their lodges are very neatly constructed,
in the same form as those of the Yanktons; they consist of about one
hundred cabins, made of white buffaloe hide dressed, with a larger one
in the centre for holding councils and dances. They are built round with
poles about fifteen or twenty feet high, covered with white skins; these
lodges may be taken to pieces, packed up, and carried with the nation
wherever they go, by dogs which bear great burdens. The women are
chiefly employed in dressing buffaloe skins: they seem perfectly well
disposed, but are addicted to stealing any thing which they can take
without being observed. This nation, although it makes so many ravages
among its neighbours, is badly supplied with guns. The water which they
carry with them is contained chiefly in the paunches of deer and other
animals, and they make use of wooden bowls. Some had their heads shaved,
which we found was a species of mourning for relations. Another usage,
on these occasions, is to run arrows through the flesh both above and
below the elbow.

While on shore to-day we witnessed a quarrel between two squaws, which
appeared to be growing every moment more boisterous, when a man came
forward, at whose approach every one seemed terrified and ran. He took
the squaws, and without any ceremony whipped them severely; on inquiring
into the nature of such summary justice, we learnt that this man was an
officer well known to this and many other tribes. His duty is to keep
the peace, and the whole interior police of the village is confided to
two or three of these officers, who are named by the chief and remain in
power some days, at least till the chief appoints a successor; they seem
to be a sort of constable or sentinel, since they are always on the
watch to keep tranquillity during the day, and guarding the camp in the
night. The short duration of their office is compensated by its
authority: his power is supreme, and in the suppression of any riot or
disturbance no resistance to him is suffered: his person is sacred, and
if in the execution of his duty he strikes even a chief of the second
class, he cannot be punished for this salutary insolence. In general
they accompany the person of the chief, and when ordered to any duty,
however dangerous, it is a point of honour rather to die than to refuse
obedience. Thus, when they attempted to stop us yesterday, the chief
ordered one of these men to take possession of the boat: he immediately
put his arms round the mast, and, as we understood, no force except the
command of the chief would have induced him to release his hold. Like
the other men their bodies are blackened, but their distinguishing mark
is a collection of two or three raven skins fixed to the girdle behind
the back in such a way, that the tails stick out horizontally from the
body. On his head too is a raven skin split into two parts, and tied so
as to let the beak project from the forehead.

Thursday September 27. We rose early, and the two chiefs took off, as a
matter of course and according to their custom, the blanket on which
they had slept. To this we added a peck of corn as a present to each.
Captain Lewis and the chiefs went on shore to see a part of the nation
that was expected, but did not come. He returned at two o'clock, with
four of the chiefs and a warrior of distinction, called Wadrapa, (or on
his guard); they examined the boat and admired whatever was strange,
during half an hour, when they left it with great reluctance. Captain
Clarke accompanied them to the lodge of the grand chief, who invited
them to a dance, where, being joined by captain Lewis, they remained
till a late hour. The dance was very similar to that of yesterday. About
twelve we left them, taking the second chief and one principal warrior
on board: as we came near the boat the man who steered the periogue, by
mistake, brought her broadside against the boat's cable, and broke it.
We called up all hands to their oars; but our noise alarmed the two
Indians: they called out to their companions, and immediately the whole
camp crowded to the shore; but after half an hour they returned, leaving
about sixty men near us. The alarm given by the chiefs was said to be
that the Mahas had attacked us, and that they were desirous of assisting
us to repel it; but we suspected that they were afraid we meant to set
sail, and intended to prevent us from doing so; for in the night the
Maha prisoners had told one of our men, who understood the language,
that we were to be stopped. We therefore, without giving any indication
of our suspicion, prepared every thing for an attack, as the loss of our
anchor obliged to come to near a falling bank, very unfavourable for
defence. We were not mistaken in these opinions; for when in the

Friday, September 28, after dragging unsuccessfully for the anchor, we
wished to set sail, it was with great difficulty that we could make the
chiefs leave the boat. At length we got rid of all except the great
chief; when just as we were setting out, several of the chief's soldiers
sat on the rope which held the boat to the shore. Irritated at this we
got every thing ready to fire on them if they persisted, but the great
chief said that these were his soldiers and only wanted some tobacco. We
had already refused a flag and some tobacco to the second chief, who had
demanded it with great importunity; but willing to leave them without
going to extremities, we threw him a carrot of tobacco, saying to him,
"You have told us that you were a great man, and have influence; now
show your influence, by taking the rope from those men, and we will then
go without any further trouble." This appeal to his pride had the
desired effect; he went out of the boat, gave the soldiers the tobacco,
and pulling the rope out of their hands delivered it on board, and we
then set sail under a breeze from the S.E. After sailing about two miles
we observed the third chief beckoning to us: we took him on board, and
he informed us that the rope had been held by the order of the second
chief, who was a double-faced man. A little farther on we were joined by
the son of the chief, who came on board to see his father. On his return
we sent a speech to the nation, explaining what we had done, and
advising them to peace; but if they persisted in their attempts to stop
us, we were willing and able to defend ourselves. After making six
miles, during which we passed a willow island on the south and one
sandbar, we encamped on another in the middle of the river. The country
on the south-side was a low prairie, that on the north highland.

September 29. We set out early, but were again impeded by sandbars,
which made the river shallow; the weather was however fair; the land on
the north side low and covered with timber contrasted with the bluffs to
the south. At nine o'clock we saw the second chief and two women and
three men on shore, who wished us to take two women offered by the
second chief to make friends, which was refused; he then requested us to
take them to the other band of their nation, who were on the river not
far from us: this we declined; but in spite of our wishes they followed
us along shore. The chief asked us to give them some tobacco; this we
did, and gave more as a present for that part of the nation which we did
not see. At seven and a half miles we came to a small creek on the
southern side, where we saw great numbers of elk, and which we called
Notimber creek from its bare appearance. Above the mouth of this stream,
a Ricara band of Pawnees had a village five years ago: but there are no
remains of it except the mound which encircled the town. Here the second
chief went on shore. We then proceeded, and at the distance of eleven
miles encamped on the lower part of a willow island, in the middle of
the river, being obliged to substitute large stones in the place of the
anchor which we lost.

September 30. The wind was this morning very high from the southeast, so
that we were obliged to proceed under a double-reefed mainsail, through
the rain. The country presented a large low prairie covered with timber
on the north side; on the south, we first had high barren hills, but
after some miles it became of the same character as that on the opposite
side. We had not gone far when an Indian ran after us, and begged to be
carried on board as far as the Ricaras, which we refused: soon after, we
discovered on the hills at a distance, a great number of Indians, who
came towards the river and encamped ahead of us. We stopped at a
sandbar, at about eleven miles, and after breakfasting proceeded on a
short distance to their camp, which consisted of about four hundred
souls. We anchored one hundred yards from the shore, and discovering
that they were Tetons belonging to the band which we had just left: we
told them that we took them by the hand, and would make each chief a
present of tobacco; that we had been badly treated by some of their
band, and that having waited for them two days below, we could not stop
here, but referred them to Mr. Durion for our talk and an explanation of
our views: they then apologized for what had past, assured us that they
were friendly, and very desirous that we should land and eat with them:
this we refused, but sent the periogue on shore with the tobacco, which
was delivered to one of the soldiers of the chief, whom we had on board.
Several of them now ran along the shore after us, but the chief threw
them a twist of tobacco, and told them to go back and open their ears to
our counsels; on which they immediately returned to their lodges. We
then proceeded past a continuation of the low prairie on the north,
where we had large quantities of grapes, and on the south saw a small
creek and an island. Six miles above this, two Indians came to the bank,
looked at us about half an hour, and then went without speaking over the
hills to the southwest. After some time, the wind rose still higher, and
the boat struck a log, turned, and was very near taking in water. The
chief became so much terrified at the danger, that he hid himself in the
boat, and as soon as we landed got his gun and told us that he wanted to
return, that we would now see no more Tetons, and that we might proceed
unmolested: we repeated the advice we had already given, presented him
with a blanket, a knife, some tobacco, and after smoking with him he set
out. We then continued to a sandbar on the north side, where we
encamped, having come twenty and a half miles. In the course of the day
we saw a number of sandbars which impede the navigation. The only
animal which we observed was the white gull, then in great abundance.

October 1st, 1804. The weather was very cold and the wind high from the
southeast during the night, and continued so this morning. At three
miles distance, we had passed a large island in the middle of the river,
opposite to the lower end of which the Ricaras once had a village on the
south side of the river: there are, however, no remnants of it now,
except a circular wall three or four feet in height, which encompassed
the town. Two miles beyond this island is a river coming in from the
southwest, about four hundred yards wide; the current gentle, and
discharging not much water, and very little sand: it takes its rise in
the second range of the Cote Noire or Black mountains, and its general
course is nearly east; this river has been occasionally called Dog
river, under a mistaken opinion that its French name was Chien, but its
true appellation is Chayenne, and it derives this title from the
Chayenne Indians: their history is the short and melancholy relation of
the calamities of almost all the Indians. They were a numerous people
and lived on the Chayenne, a branch of the Red river of Lake Winnipeg.
The invasion of the Sioux drove them westward; in their progress they
halted on the southern side of the Missouri below the Warreconne, where
their ancient fortifications still exist; but the same impulse again
drove them to the heads of the Chayenne, where they now rove, and
occasionally visit the Ricaras. They are now reduced, but still number
three hundred men.

Although the river did not seem to throw out much sand, yet near and
above its mouth we find a great many sandbars difficult to pass. On both
sides of the Missouri, near the Chayenne, are rich thinly timbered
lowlands, behind which are bare hills. As we proceeded, we found that
the sandbars made the river so shallow, and the wind was so high, that
we could scarcely find the channel, and at one place were forced to drag
the boat over a sandbar, the Missouri being very wide and falling a
little. At seven and a half miles we came to at a point, and remained
three hours, during which time the wind abated: we then passed within
four miles two creeks on the south, one of which we called Centinel
creek, and the other Lookout creek. This part of the river has but
little timber; the hills are not so high as we have hitherto seen, and
the number of sandbars extends the river to more than a mile in breadth.
We continued about four and a half miles further, to a sandbar in the
middle of the river, where we spent the night, our progress being
sixteen miles. On the opposite shore, we saw a house among the willows
and a boy to whom we called, and brought him on board. He proved to be a
young Frenchman in the employ of a Mr. Valle a trader, who is now here
pursuing his commerce with the Sioux.

Tuesday, October 2. There had been a violent wind from S.E. during the
night, which having moderated we set sail with Mr. Valle, who visited us
this morning and accompanied us for two miles. He is one of three French
traders who have halted here, expecting the Sioux who are coming down
from the Ricaras, where they now are, for the purposes of traffic. Mr.
Valle tells us that he passed the last winter three hundred leagues up
the Chayenne under the Black mountains. That river he represents as very
rapid, liable to sudden swells, the bed and shores formed of course
gravel, and difficult of ascent even for canoes. One hundred leagues
from its mouth it divides into two branches, one coming from the south,
the other at forty leagues from the junction enters the Black mountains.
The land which it waters from the Missouri to the Black mountains,
resembles the country on the Missouri, except that the former has even
less timber, and of that the greater proportion is cedar. The Chayennes
reside chiefly on the heads of the river, and steal horses from the
Spanish settlement, a plundering excursion which they perform in a
month's time. The Black mountains he observes are very high, covered
with great quantities of pine, and in some parts the snow remains during
the summer. There are also great quantities of goats, white bear,
prairie cocks, and a species of animal which from his description must
resemble a small elk, with large circular horns.

At two and a half miles we had passed a willow island on the south, on
the north side of the river were dark bluffs, and on the south low rich
prairies. We took a meridian altitude on our arrival at the upper end of
the isthmus of the bend, which we called the Lookout bend, and found the
latitude to be 44° 19' 36". This bend is nearly twenty miles round, and
not more than two miles across.

In the afternoon we heard a shot fired, and not long after observed some
Indians on a hill: one of them came to the shore and wished us to land,
as there were twenty lodges of Yanktons or Boisbrule there; we declined
doing so, telling him that we had already seen his chiefs, and that they
might learn from Mr. Durion the nature of the talk we had delivered to
them. At nine miles we came to the lower point of a long island on the
north, the banks of the south side of the river being high, those of the
north forming a low rich prairie. We coasted along this island, which we
called Caution island, and after passing a small creek on the south
encamped on a sandbar in the middle of the river, having made twelve
miles. The wind changed to the northwest, and became very high and cold.
The current of the river is less rapid, and the water though of the same
colour contains less sediment than below the Chayenne, but its width
continues the same. We were not able to hunt to-day; for as there are so
many Indians in the neighbourhood, we were in constant expectation of
being attacked, and were therefore forced to keep the party together and
be on our guard.

Wednesday, October 3. The wind continued so high from the northwest,
that we could not set out till after seven: we then proceeded till
twelve o'clock, and landed on a bar towards the south, where we
examined the periogues, and the forecastle of the boat, and found that
the mice had cut several bags of corn, and spoiled some of our clothes:
about one o'clock an Indian came running to the shore with a turkey on
his back: several others soon joined him, but we had no intercourse with
them. We then went on for three miles, but the ascent soon became so
obstructed by sandbars and shoal water, that after attempting in vain
several channels, we determined to rest for the night under some high
bluffs on the south, and send out to examine the best channel. We had
made eight miles along high bluffs on each side. The birds we saw were
the white gulls and the brant which were flying to the southward in
large flocks.

Thursday, 4th. On examination we found that there was no outlet
practicable for us in this channel, and that we must retread our steps.
We therefore returned three miles, and attempted another channel in
which we were more fortunate. The Indians were in small numbers on the
shore, and seemed willing had they been more numerous to molest us. They
called to desire that we would land, and one of them gave three yells
and fired a ball ahead of the boat: we however took no notice of it, but
landed on the south to breakfast. One of these Indians swam across and
begged for some powder, we gave him a piece of tobacco only. At eight
and a half miles we had passed an island in the middle of the river,
which we called Goodhope island. At one and a half mile we reached a
creek on the south side about twelve yards wide, to which we gave the
name of Teal creek. A little above this is an island on the north side
of the current, about one and a half mile in length and three quarters
of a mile in breadth. In the centre of this island is an old village of
the Ricaras, called Lahoocat; it was surrounded by a circular wall,
containing seventeen lodges. The Ricaras are known to have lived therein
1797, and the village seems to have been deserted about five years
since; it does not contain much timber. We encamped on a sandbar making
out from the upper end of this island; our journey to-day being twelve

Friday, October 5. The weather was very cold: yesterday evening and this
morning there was a white frost. We sailed along the highlands on the
north side, passing a small creek on the south, between three and four
miles. At seven o'clock we heard some yells and saw three Indians of the
Teton band, who asked us to come on shore and begged for some tobacco,
to all which we gave the same answer as hitherto. At eight miles we
reached a small creek on the north. At fourteen we passed an island on
the south, covered with wild rye, and at the head a large creek comes in
from the south, which we named Whitebrant creek, from seeing several
white brants among flocks of dark-coloured ones. At the distance of
twenty miles we came to on a sandbar towards the north side of the
river, with a willow island opposite; the hills or bluffs come to the
banks of the river on both sides, but are not so high as they are below:
the river itself however continues of the same width, and the sandbars
are quite as numerous. The soil of the banks is dark coloured, and many
of the bluffs have the appearance of being on fire. Our game this day
was a deer, a prairie wolf, and some goats out of a flock that was
swimming across the river.

Saturday, October 6. The morning was still cold, the wind being from the
north. At eight miles we came to a willow island on the north, opposite
a point of timber, where there are many large stones near the middle of
the river, which seem to have been washed from the hills and high plains
on both sides, or driven from a distance down the stream. At twelve
miles we halted for dinner at a village which we suppose to have
belonged to the Ricaras; it is situated in a low plain on the river, and
consists of about eighty lodges, of an octagon form, neatly covered with
earth, placed as close to each other as possible, and picketed round.
The skin canoes, mats, buckets, and articles of furniture found in the
lodges, induce us to suppose that it had been left in the spring. We
found three different sorts of squashes growing in the village; we also
killed an elk near it, and saw two wolves. On leaving the village the
river became shallow, and after searching a long time for the main
channel, which was concealed among sandbars, we at last dragged the boat
over one of them rather than go back three miles for the deepest
channel. At fourteen and a half miles we stopped for the night on a
sandbar, opposite a creek on the north, called Otter creek, twenty-two
yards in width, and containing more water than is common for creeks of
that size. The sides of the river during the day are variegated with
high bluffs and low timbered grounds on the banks: the river is very
much obstructed by sandbars. We saw geese, swan, brants and ducks of
different kinds on the sandbars, and on shore numbers of the prairie
hen; the magpie too is very common, but the gulls and plover, which we
saw in such numbers below, are now quite rare.

Sunday, October 7. There was frost again last evening, and this morning
was cloudy and attended with rain. At two miles we came to the mouth of
a river; called by the Ricaras, Sawawkawna, or Pork river; the party who
examined it for about three miles up, say that its current is gentle,
and that it does not seem to throw out much sand. Its sources are in the
first range of the Black mountains, and though it has now only water of
twenty yards width, yet when full it occupies ninety. Just below the
mouth is another village or wintering camp of the Ricaras, composed of
about sixty lodges, built in the same form as those passed yesterday,
with willow and straw mats, baskets and buffaloe-skin canoes remaining
entire in the camp. We proceeded under a gentle breeze from the
southwest: at ten o'clock we saw two Indians on the north side, who told
us they were a part of the lodge of Tartongawaka, or Buffaloe Medicine,
the Teton chief whom we had seen on the twenty-fifth, that they were on
the way to the Ricaras, and begged us for something to eat, which we of
course gave them. At seven and a half miles is a willow island on the
north, and another on the same side five miles beyond it, in the middle
of the river between highlands on both sides. At eighteen and a half
miles is an island called Grouse island, on which are the walls of an
old village; the island has no timber, but is covered with grass and
wild rye, and owes its name to the number of grouse that frequent it. We
then went on till our journey for the day was twenty-two miles: the
country presented the same appearance as usual. In the low timbered
ground near the mouth of the Sawawkawna, we saw the tracks of large
white bear, and on Grouse island killed a female blaireau, and a deer of
the black-tailed species, the largest we have ever seen.

Monday, October 8. We proceeded early with a cool northwest wind, and at
two and a half miles above Grouse island, reached the mouth of a creek
on the south, then a small willow island, which divides the current
equally; and at four and a half miles came to a river on the southern
side where we halted. This river, which our meridian altitude fixes at
45° 39' 5" north latitude, is called by the Ricaras Wetawhoo; it rises
in the Black mountains, and its bed which flows at the mouth over a low
soft slate stone, is one hundred and twenty yards wide, but the water is
now confined within twenty yards, and is not very rapid, discharging mud
with a small proportion of sand: here as in every bend of the river, we
again observe the red berries resembling currants, which we mentioned
before. Two miles above the Wetawhoo, and on the same side, is a small
river called Maropa by the Indians; it is twenty yards in width, but so
dammed up by mud that the stream creeps through a channel of not more
than an inch in diameter, and discharges no sand. One mile further we
reached an island close to the southern shore, from which it is
separated by a deep channel of sixty yards. About half way a number of
Ricara Indians came out to see us. We stopped and took a Frenchman on
board, who accompanied us past the island to our camp on the north side
of the river, which is at the distance of twelve miles from that of
yesterday. Captain Lewis then returned with four of the party to see the
village; it is situated in the centre of the island, near the southern
shore, under the foot of some high, bald, uneven hills, and contains
about sixty lodges. The island itself is three miles long, and covered
with fields in which the Indians raise corn, beans, and potatoes.
Several Frenchmen living among these Indians as interpreters, or
traders, came back with captain Lewis, and particularly a Mr.
Gravelines, a man who has acquired the language. On setting out we had a
low prairie covered with timber on the north, and on the south
highlands, but at the mouth of the Wetawhoo the southern country
changes, and a low timbered plain extends along the south, while the
north has a ridge of barren hills during the rest of the day's course.

Tuesday, 9th. The wind was so cold and high last night and during all
the day, that we could not assemble the Indians in council; but some of
the party went to the village. We received the visits of the three
principal chiefs with many others, to whom we gave some tobacco, and
told them that we would speak to them to-morrow. The names of these
chiefs were first, Kakawissassa or Lighting Crow; second chief Pocasse
or Hay; third chief Piaheto or Eagle's Feather. Notwithstanding the high
waves, two or three squaws rowed to us in little canoes made of a single
buffaloe skin, stretched over a frame of boughs interwoven like a
basket, and with the most perfect composure. The object which appeared
to astonish the Indians most, was captain Clark's servant York, a
remarkable stout strong negro. They had never seen a being of that
colour, and therefore flocked round him to examine the extraordinary
monster. By way of amusement he told them that he had once been a wild
animal, and caught and tamed by his master, and to convince them, showed
them feats of strength which added to his looks made him more terrible
than we wished him to be. Opposite our camp is a small creek on the
south, which we distinguished by the name of the chief Kakawissassa.

Wednesday, 10th. The weather was this day fine, and as we were desirous
of assembling the whole nation at once, we despatched Mr. Gravelines,
who with Mr. Tabeau another French trader had breakfeasted with us, to
invite the chiefs of the two upper villages to a conference. They all
assembled at one o'clock, and after the usual ceremonies we addressed
them in the same way in which we had already spoken to the Ottoes and
Sioux: we then made or acknowledged three chiefs, one for each of the
three villages; giving to each a flag, a medal, a red coat, a cocked hat
and feather, also some goods, paint and tobacco, which they divided
among themselves: after this the airgun was exhibited, very much to
their astonishment, nor were they less surprised at the colour and
manner of York. On our side we were equally gratified at discovering
that these Ricaras made use of no spirituous liquors of any kind, the
example of the traders who bring it to them so far from tempting having
in fact disgusted them. Supposing that it was as agreeable to them as to
the other Indians, we had at first offered them whiskey; but they
refused it with this sensible remark, that they were surprised that
their father should present to them a liquor which would make them
fools. On another occasion they observed to Mr. Tabeau, that no man
could be their friend who tried to lead them into such follies. The
council being over they retired to consult on their answer, and the next

Thursday, 11th, at eleven o'clock we again met in council at our camp.
The grand chief made a short speech of thanks for the advice we had
given, and promised to follow it; adding that the door was now open and
no one dare shut it, and that we might depart whenever we pleased,
alluding to the treatment we had received from the Sioux: they also
brought us some corn, beans, and dried squashes, and in return we gave
them a steel mill with which they were much pleased. At one o'clock we
left our camp with the grand chief and his nephew on board, and at about
two miles anchored below a creek on the south, separating the second and
third village of the Ricaras, which are about half a mile distant from
each other. We visited both the villages, and sat conversing with the
chiefs for some time, during which they presented us with a bread made
of corn and beans, also corn and beans boiled, and a large rich bean
which they take from the mice of the prairie, who discover and collect
it. These two villages are placed near each other in a high smooth
prairie; a fine situation, except that having no wood the inhabitants
are obliged to go for it across the river to a timbered lowland opposite
to them. We told them that we would speak to them in the morning at
their villages separately.

Thursday, 12th. Accordingly after breakfast we went on shore to the
house of the chief of the second village named Lassel, where we found
his chiefs and warriors. They made us a present of about seven bushels
of corn, a pair of leggings, a twist of their tobacco, and the seeds of
two different species of tobacco. The chief then delivered a speech
expressive of his gratitude for the presents and the good counsels which
we had given him; his intention of visiting his great father but for
fear of the Sioux; and requested us to take one of the Ricara chiefs up
to the Mandans and negociate a peace between the two nations. To this we
replied in a suitable way, and then repaired to the third village. Here
we were addressed by the chief in nearly the same terms as before, and
entertained with a present of ten bushels of corn, some beans, dried
pumpkins, and squashes. After we had answered and explained the
magnitude and power of the United States, the three chiefs came with us
to the boat. We gave them some sugar, a little salt, and a sunglass. Two
of them then left us, and the chief of the third, by name Ahketahnasha
or Chief of the Town, accompanied us to the Mandans. At two o'clock we
left the Indians, who crowded to the shore to take leave of us, and
after making seven and a half miles landed on the north side, and had a
clear, cool, pleasant evening.

The three villages which we have just left, are the residence of a
nation called the Ricaras. They were originally colonies of Pawnees, who
established themselves on the Missouri, below the Chayenne, where the
traders still remember that twenty years ago they occupied a number of
villages. From that situation a part of the Ricaras emigrated to the
neighbourhood of the Mandans, with whom they were then in alliance. The
rest of the nation continued near the Chayenne till the year 1797, in
the course of which, distressed by their wars with the Sioux, they
joined their countrymen near the Mandans. Soon after a new war arose
between the Ricaras and the Mandans, in consequence of which the former
came down the river to their present position. In this migration those
who had first gone to the Mandans kept together, and now live in the two
lower villages, which may thence be considered as the Ricaras proper.
The third village was composed of such remnants of the villages as had
survived the wars, and as these were nine in number a difference of
pronunciation and some difference of language may be observed between
them and the Ricaras proper, who do not understand all the words of
these wanderers. The villages are within the distance of four miles of
each other, the two lower ones consisting of between one hundred and
fifty and two hundred men each, the third of three hundred. The Ricaras
are tall and well proportioned, the women handsome and lively, and as
among other savages to them falls all the drudgery of the field and the
labours of procuring subsistence, except that of hunting: both sexes are
poor, but kind and generous, and although they receive with thankfulness
what is given to them, do not beg as the Sioux did, though this praise
should be qualified by mentioning that an axe was stolen last night
from our cooks. The dress of the men is a simple pair of moccasins,
legings, and a cloth round the middle, over which a buffaloe robe is
occasionally thrown, with their hair, arms and ears decorated with
different ornaments. The women wear moccasins, legings, a long shirt
made of goats' skins, generally white and fringed, which is tied round
the waist; to those they add, like the men, a buffaloe robe without the
hair, in summer. These women are handsomer than the Sioux; both of them
are however, disposed to be amorous, and our men found no difficulty in
procuring companions for the night by means of the interpreters. These
interviews were chiefly clandestine, and were of course to be kept a
secret from the husband or relations. The point of honour indeed, is
completely reversed among the Ricaras; that the wife or the sister
should submit to a stranger's embraces without the consent of her
husband or brother, is a cause of great disgrace and offence, especially
as for many purposes of civility or gratitude the husband and brother
will themselves present to a stranger these females, and be gratified by
attentions to them. The Sioux had offered us squaws, but while we
remained there having declined, they followed us with offers of females
for two days. The Ricaras had been equally accommodating; we had equally
withstood their temptation; but such was their desire to oblige that two
very handsome young squaws were sent on board this evening, and
persecuted us with civilities. The black man York participated largely
in these favours; for instead of inspiring any prejudice, his colour
seemed to procure him additional advantages from the Indians, who
desired to preserve among them some memorial of this wonderful stranger.
Among other instances of attention, a Ricara invited him into his house
and presenting his wife to him, retired to the outside of the door:
while there one of York's comrades who was looking for him came to the
door, but the gallant husband would permit no interruption before a
reasonable time had elapsed.

The Ricara lodges are in a circular or octagonal form, and generally
about thirty or forty feet in diameter: they are made by placing forked
posts about six feet high round the circumference of the circle; these
are joined by poles from one fork to another, which are supported also
by other forked poles slanting from the ground: in the centre of the
lodge are placed four higher forks, about fifteen feet in length,
connected together by beams; from these to the lower poles the rafters
of the roof are extended so as to leave a vacancy in the middle for the
smoke: the frame of the building is then covered with willow branches,
with which is interwoven grass, and over this mud or clay: the aperture
for the door is about four feet wide, and before it is a sort of entry
about ten feet from the lodge. They are very warm and compact.

They cultivate maize or Indian corn, beans, pumpkins, watermelons,
squashes, and a species of tobacco peculiar to themselves.

Their commerce is chiefly with the traders who supply them with goods in
return for peltries, which they procure not only by their own hunting,
but in exchange for corn from their less civilized neighbours. The
object chiefly in demand seemed to be red paint, but they would give any
thing they had to spare for the most trifling article. One of the men
to-day gave an Indian a hook made out of a pin, and he gave him in
return a pair of moccasins.

They express a disposition to keep at peace with all nations, but they
are well armed with fusils, and being much under the influence of the
Sioux, who exchanged the goods which they get from the British for
Ricara corn, their minds are sometimes poisoned and they cannot be
always depended on. At the present moment they are at war with the
Mandans. We are informed by Mr. Gravelines, who had passed through that
country, that the Yankton or Jacques river rises about forty miles to
the east or northeast of this place, the Chayenne branch of the Red
river about twenty miles further, passing the Sioux, and the St. Peter's
about eighty.

Saturday, 13th. In the morning our visitors left us, except the brother
of the chief who accompanies us and one of the squaws. We passed at an
early hour a camp of Sioux on the north bank, who merely looked at us
without saying a word, and from the character of the tribe we did not
solicit a conversation. At ten and a half miles we reached the mouth of
a creek on the north, which takes its rise from some ponds a short
distance to the northeast: to this stream we gave the name of Stoneidol
creek, for after passing a willow and sand island just above its mouth,
we discovered that a few miles back from the Missouri there are two
stones resembling human figures, and a third like a dog; all which are
objects of great veneration among the Ricaras. Their history would adorn
the metamorphoses of Ovid. A young man was deeply enamoured with a girl
whose parents refused their consent to the marriage. The youth went out
into the fields to mourn his misfortunes; a sympathy of feeling led the
lady to the same spot, and the faithful dog would not cease to follow
his master. After wandering together and having nothing but grapes to
subsist on, they were at last converted into stone, which beginning at
the feet gradually invaded the nobler parts leaving nothing unchanged
but a bunch of grapes which the female holds in her hands to this day.
Whenever the Ricaras pass these sacred stones, they stop to make some
offering of dress to propitiate these deities. Such is the account given
by the Ricara chief which we had no mode of examining, except that we
found one part of the story very agreeably confirmed; for on the river
near where the event is said to have occurred, we found a greater
abundance of fine grapes than we had yet seen. Above this is a small
creek four and a half miles from Stoneidol creek, which is fifteen yards
wide, comes in from the south, and received from us the name of Pocasse
or Hay creek, in honour of the chief of the second village. Above the
Ricara island, the Missouri becomes narrow and deeper, the sandbars
being generally confined to the points; the current too is much more
gentle; the timber on the lowlands is also in much greater quantities,
though the high grounds are still naked. We proceeded on under a fine
breeze from the southeast, and after making eighteen miles encamped on
the north near a timbered low plain, after which we had some rain and
the evening was cold. The hunters killed one deer only.

Sunday, 14th. We set out in the rain which continued during the day. At
five miles we came to a creek on the south, about fifteen yards wide,
and named by us Piaheto or Eagle's Feather, in honour of the third chief
of the Ricaras. After dinner we stopped on a sandbar, and executed the
sentence of a court martial which inflicted corporal punishment on one
of the soldiers. This operation affected the Indian chief very sensibly,
for he cried aloud during the punishment: we explained the offence and
the reasons of it. He acknowledged that examples were necessary, and
that he himself had given them by punishing with death; but his nation
never whipped even children from their birth. After this we continued
with the wind from the northeast, and at the distance of twelve miles,
encamped in a cove of the southern bank. Immediately opposite our camp
on the north side are the ruins of an ancient fortification, the greater
part of which is washed into the river: nor could we distinguish more
than that the walls were eight or ten feet high. The evening is wet and
disagreeable, and the river which is somewhat wider than yesterday,
continues to have an unusual quantity of timber. The country was level
on both sides in the morning, but afterwards we passed some black bluffs
on the south.

Monday, 15th. We stopped at three miles on the north a little above a
camp of Ricaras who are hunting, where we were visited by about thirty
Indians. They came over in their skin canoes, bringing us meat, for
which we returned them beads and fishhooks. About a mile higher we found
another encampment of Ricaras on the south, consisting of eight lodges:
here we again ate and exchanged a few presents. As we went we discerned
numbers of other Indians on both sides of the river; and at about nine
miles we came to a creek on the south, where we saw many high hills
resembling a house with a slanting roof; and a little below the creek an
old village of the Sharha or Chayenne Indians. The morning had been
cloudy, but the evening became pleasant, the wind from the northeast,
and at sunset we halted, after coming ten miles over several sandbars
and points, above a camp of ten Ricara lodges on the north side. We
visited their camp, and smoked and eat with several of them; they all
appeared kind and pleased with our attentions, and the fair sex received
our men with more than hospitality. York was here again an object of
astonishment; the children would follow him constantly, and if he
chanced to turn towards them, run with great terror. The country of
to-day is generally low and covered with timber on both sides, though in
the morning we passed some barren hills on the south.

Tuesday, 16th. At this camp the squaw who accompanied the chief left us;
two others were very anxious to go on with us. Just above our camp we
passed a circular work or fort where the Sharha or Chayennes formerly
lived: and a short distance beyond, a creek which we called Chayenne
creek. At two miles is a willow island with a large sandbar on both
sides above it, and a creek, both on the south, which we called Sohaweh,
the Ricara name for girl; and two miles above a second creek, to which
we gave the name of Chapawt, which means woman in the same language.
Three miles further is an island situated in a bend to the north, about
a mile and a half long, and covered with cottonwood. At the lower end of
this island comes in a small creek from the north, called
Keetooshsahawna or Place of Beaver. At the upper extremity of the island
a river empties itself from the north: it is called Warreconne, or Elk
Shed their Horns, and is about thirty-five yards wide: the island itself
is named Carp island by Evans, a former traveller. As we proceeded there
were great numbers of goats on the banks of the river, and we soon after
saw large flocks of them in the water: they had been gradually driven
into the river by the Indians who now lined the shore so as to prevent
their escape, and were firing on them, while sometimes boys went into
the river and killed them with sticks: they seemed to be very
successful, for we counted fifty-eight which they had killed. We
ourselves killed some, and then passing the lodges to which these
Indians belonged, encamped at the distance of half a mile on the south,
having made fourteen and a half miles. We were soon visited by numbers
of these Ricaras, who crossed the river hallooing and singing: two of
them then returned for some goats' flesh and buffaloe meat dried and
fresh, with which they made a feast that lasted till late at night, and
caused much music and merriment.

Wednesday 17th. The weather was pleasant: we passed a low ground covered
with small timber on the south, and barren hills on the north which come
close to the river; the wind from the northwest then become so strong
that we could not move after ten o'clock, until late in the afternoon,
when we were forced to use the towline, and we therefore made only six
miles. We all went out hunting and examining the country. The goats, of
which we see large flocks coming to the north bank of the river, spend
the summer, says Mr. Gravelines, in the plains east of the Missouri, and
at the present season are returning to the Black mountains, where they
subsist on leaves and shrubbery during the winter, and resume their
migrations in the spring. We also saw buffaloe, elk, and deer, and a
number of snakes; a beaver house too was seen, and we caught a
whippoorwill of a small and uncommon kind: the leaves are fast falling;
the river wider than usual and full of sandbars: and on the sides of the
hills are large stones, and some rock of a brownish colour in the
southern bend below us. Our latitude by observation was 46° 23' 57".

Thursday 18. After three miles we reached the mouth of Le Boulet or
Cannonball river: this stream rises in the Black mountains, and falls
into the Missouri on the south; its channel is about one hundred and
forty yards wide, though the water is now confined within forty, and its
name is derived from the numbers of perfectly round large stones on the
shore and in the bluffs just above. We here met with two Frenchmen in
the employ of Mr. Gravelines, who had been robbed by the Mandans of
their traps, furs, and other articles, and were descending the river in
a periogue, but they turned back with us in expectation of obtaining
redress through our means. At eight miles is a creek on the north, about
twenty-eight yards wide, rising in the northeast, and called Chewah or
Fish river; one mile above this is another creek on the south: we
encamped on a sandbar to the south, at the distance of thirteen miles,
all of which we had made with oars and poles. Great numbers of goats are
crossing the river and directing their course to the westward; we also
saw a herd of buffaloe and of elk; a pelican too was killed, and six
fallow deer, having found, as the Ricaras informed us, that there are
none of the black-tail species as high up as this place. The country is
in general level and fine, with broken short high grounds, low timbered
mounds on the river, and a rugged range of hills at a distance.

Friday 19. We set sail with a fine morning, and a southeast wind, and at
two and a half miles passed a creek on the north side: at eleven and a
half miles we came to a lake or large pond on the same side, in which
were some swans. On both banks of the Missouri are low grounds which
have much more timber than lower down the river: the hills are at one or
two miles distance from the banks, and the streams which rise in them
are brackish, and the mineral salts appear on the sides of the hills
and edges of the runs. In walking along the shore we counted fifty-two
herds of buffaloe, and three of elk, at a single view. Besides these we
also observed elk, deer, pelicans, and wolves. After seventeen and a
half miles we encamped on the north, opposite to the uppermost of a
number of round hills, forming a cone at the top, one being about
ninety, another sixty feet in height, and some of less elevation. Our
chief tells us that the calumet bird lives in the holes formed by the
filtration of the water from the top of these hills through the sides.
Near to one of these moles, on a point of a hill ninety feet above the
plain, are the remains of an old village which is high, strong, and has
been fortified; this our chief tells us is the remains of one of the
Mandan villages, and are the first ruins which we have seen of that
nation in ascending the Missouri: opposite to our camp is a deep bend to
the south, at the extremity of which is a pond.

Saturday 30. We proceeded early with a southeast wind, which continued
high all day, and came to a creek on the north at two miles distance,
twenty yards wide. At eight miles we reached the lower point of an
island in the middle of the river, though there is no current on the
south. This island is covered with willows and extends about two miles,
there being a small creek coming in from the south at its lower
extremity. After making twelve miles we encamped on the south, at the
upper part of a bluff containing stone-coal of an inferior quality;
immediately below this bluff and on the declivity of a hill, are the
remains of a village covering six or eight acres, formerly occupied by
the Mandans, who, says our Ricara chief, once lived in a number of
villages on each side of the river, till the Sioux forced them forty
miles higher; whence after a few years residence, they moved to their
present position. The country through, which we passed has wider bottoms
and more timber than those we have been accustomed to see, the hills
rising at a distance and by gradual ascents. We have seen great numbers
of elk, deer, goats, and buffaloe, and the usual attendants of these
last, the wolves, who follow their movements and feed upon those who die
by accident, or who are too poor to keep pace with the herd; we also
wounded a white bear, and saw some fresh tracks of those animals which
are twice as large as the track of a man.

Sunday 21. Last night the weather was cold, the wind high from the
northeast, and the rain which fell froze on the ground. At daylight it
began to snow, and continued till the afternoon, when it remained cloudy
and the ground was covered with snow. We however, set out early, and
just above our camp came to a creek on the south, called Chisshetaw,
about thirty yards wide and with a considerable quantity of water. Our
Ricara chief tells us, that at some distance up this river is situated a
large rock which is held in great veneration, and visited by parties who
go to consult it as to their own or their nations' destinies, all of
which they discern in some sort of figures or paintings with which it is
covered. About two miles off from the mouth of the river the party on
shore saw another of the objects of Ricara superstition: it is a large
oak tree, standing alone in the open prairie, and as it alone has
withstood the fire which has consumed every thing around, the Indians
naturally ascribe to it extraordinary powers. One of their ceremonies is
to make a hole in the skin of their necks through which a string is
passed and the other end tied to the body of the tree; and after
remaining in this way for some time they think they become braver. At
two miles a from our encampment we came to the ruins of a second Mandan
village, which was in existence at the same time with that just
mentioned. It is situated on the north at the foot of a hill in a
beautiful and extensive plain, which is now covered with herds of
buffaloe: nearly opposite are remains of a third village on the south of
the Missouri; and there is another also about two miles further on the
north, a little off the river. At the distance of seven miles we
encamped on the south, and spent a cold night. We procured to-day a
buffaloe and an otter only. The river is wide and the sandbars numerous,
and a low island near our encampment.

Monday 22. In the morning we passed an old Mandan village on the south,
near our camp; at four miles another on the same side. About seven
o'clock we came to at a camp of eleven Sioux of the Teton tribe, who are
almost perfectly naked, having only a piece of skin or cloth round the
middle, though we are suffering from the cold. From their appearance,
which is warlike, and from their giving two different accounts of
themselves, we believe that they are either going to or returning from
the Mandans, to which nations the Sioux frequently make excursions to
steal horses. As their conduct displeased as, we gave them nothing. At
six we reached an island about one mile in length, at the head of which
is a Mandan village on the north in ruins, and two miles beyond a bad
sandbar. At eight miles are remains of another Mandan village on the
south; and at twelve miles encamped on the south. The hunters brought in
a buffaloe bull, and mentioned that of about three hundred which they
had seen, there was not a single female. The beaver is here in plenty,
and the two Frenchmen who are returning with us catch several every

These villages which are nine in number are scattered along each side of
the river within a space of twenty miles; almost all that remains of
them is the wall which surrounded them, the fallen heaps of earth which
covered the houses, and occasionally human skulls and the teeth and
bones of men, and different animals, which are scattered on the surface
of the ground.

Tuesday 23. The weather was cloudy and we had some snow; we soon arrived
at five lodges where the two Frenchmen had been robbed, but the Indians
had left it lately as we found the fires still burning. The country
consists as usual of timbered low grounds, with grapes, rushes, and
great quantities of a small red acid fruit, known among the Indians by
a name signifying rabbitberries, and called by the French graisse de
buffle or buffaloe fat. The river too, is obstructed by many sandbars.
At twelve miles we passed an old village on the north, which was the
former residence of the Ahnahaways who now live between the Mandans and
Minnetarees. After making thirteen miles we encamped on the south.

Wednesday 24. The day was again dark and it snowed a little in the
morning. At three miles we came to a point on the south, where the river
by forcing a channel across a former bend has formed a large island on
the north. On this island we found one of the grand chiefs of the
Mandans, who with five lodges was on a hunting excursion. He met his
enemy the Ricara chief, with great ceremony and apparent cordiality, and
smoked with him. After visiting his lodges, the grand chief and his
brother came on board our boat for a short time; we then proceeded and
encamped on the north, at seven miles from our last night's station and
below the old village of the Mandans and Ricaras. Here four Mandans came
down from a camp above, and our Ricara chief returned with them to their
camp, from which we auger favourably of their pacific views towards each
other. The land is low and beautiful, and covered with oak and
cottonwood, but has been too recently hunted to afford much game.

25th. The morning was cold and the wind gentle from the southeast: at
three miles we passed a handsome high prairie on the south, and on an
eminence about forty feet above the water and extending back for several
miles in a beautiful plain, was situated an old village of the Mandan
nation which has been deserted for many years. A short distance above
it, on the continuation of the same rising ground are two old villages
of Ricaras, one on the top of the hill, the other in the level plain,
which have been deserted only five years ago. Above these villages is an
extensive low ground for several miles, in which are situated, at three
or four miles from the Ricara villages, three old villages of Mandans
near together. Here the Mandans lived when the Ricaras came to them for
protection, and from this they moved to their present situation above.
In the low ground the squaws raised their corn, and the timber, of which
there was little near the villages, was supplied from the opposite side
of the river, where it was and still is abundant.

As we proceeded several parties of Mandans both on foot and horseback
came along the river to view us, and were very desirous that we should
land and talk to them: this we could not do on account of the sandbreaks
on the shore, but we sent our Ricara chief to them in a periogue. The
wind too having shifted to the southwest and being very high it required
all our precautions on board, for the river was full of sandbars which
made it very difficult to find the channel. We got aground several
times, and passed a very bad point of rocks, after which we encamped on
a sandpoint to the north, above a handsome plain covered with timber,
and opposite to a high hill on the south side at the distance of eleven
miles. Here we were joined by our Ricara chief, who brought an Indian to
the camp where he remained all night.

26th. We set out early with a southwest wind, and after putting the
Ricara chief on shore to join the Mandans who were in great numbers
along it, we proceeded to the camp of the grand chiefs four miles
distant. Here we met a Mr. M'Cracken one of the northwest or Hudson Bay
company, who arrived with another person about nine days ago to trade
for horses and buffaloe robes. Two of the chiefs came on board with some
of their household furniture, such as earthern pots and a little corn
and went on with us; the rest of the Indians following on shore. At one
mile beyond the camp we passed a small creek, and at three more a bluff
of coal of an inferior quality on the south. After making eleven miles
we reached an old field where the Mandans had cultivated grain last
summer, and encamped for the night on the south side, about half a mile
below the first village of the Mandans. In the morning we had a willow
low ground on the south and highland on the north, which occasionally
varied in the course of the day. There is but little wood on this part
of the river, which is here subdivided into many channels and obstructed
by sandbars. As soon as we arrived a crowd of men, women, and children
came down to see us. Captain Lewis returned with the principal chiefs to
the village, while the others remained with us during the evening; the
object which seemed to surprise them most, was a cornmill fixed to the
boat which we had occasion to use, and delighted them by the ease with
which it reduced the grain to powder. Among others who visited us was
the son of the grand chief of the Mandans, who had his two little
fingers cut off at the second joints. On inquiring into this accident,
we found that it was customary to express grief for the death of
relations by some corporeal suffering, and that the usual mode was to
lose two joints of the little fingers, or sometimes the other fingers.
The wind blew very cold in the evening from the southwest. Two of the
party are affected with rheumatic complaints.

                                CHAPTER V.

     Council held with the Mandans--A prairie on fire, and a singular
     instance of preservation--Peace established between the Mandans and
     Ricaras--The party encamp for the winter--Indian mode of catching
     goats--Beautiful appearance of northern lights--Friendly character
     of the Indians--Some account of the Mandans--The Ahnahaways and the
     Minnetarees--The party acquire the confidence of the Mandans by
     taking part in their controversy with the Sioux--Religion of the
     Mandans, and their singular conception of the term medicine--Their
     tradition--The sufferings of the party from the severity of the
     season--Indian game of billiards described--Character of the
     Missouri, of the surrounding country, and of the rivers, creeks,
     islands, &c.

Saturday, October 27. At an early hour we proceeded and anchored off the
village. Captain Clarke went on shore, and after smoking a pipe with the
chiefs, was desired to remain and eat with them. He declined on account
of his being unwell; but his refusal gave great offence to the Indians,
who considered it disrespectful not to eat when invited, till the cause
was explained to their satisfaction. We sent them some tobacco, and then
proceeded to the second village on the north, passing by a bank
containing coal, and a second village, and encamped at four miles on the
north, opposite to a village of Ahnahaways. We here met with a
Frenchman, named Jesseaume, who lives among the Indians with his wife
and children, and who we take as an interpreter. The Indians had flocked
to the bank to see us as we passed, and they visited in great numbers
the camp, where some of them remained all night. We sent in the evening
three young Indians with a present of tobacco for the chiefs of the
three upper villages, inviting them to come down in the morning to a
council with us. Accordingly the next day,

Sunday, October 28, we were joined by many of the Minnetarees and
Ahnahaways from above, but the wind was so violent from the southwest
that the chiefs of the lower villages could not come up, and the
council was deferred till to-morrow. In the mean while we entertained
our visitors by showing them what was new to them in the boat; all
which, as well our black servant, they called Great Medicine, the
meaning of which we afterwards learnt. We also consulted the grand chief
of the Mandans, Black Cat, and Mr. Jesseaume, as to the names,
characters, &c. of the chiefs with whom we are to hold the council. In
the course of the day we received several presents from the women,
consisting of corn, boiled hominy, and garden stuffs: in our turn we
gratified the wife of the great chief with a gift of a glazed earthen
jar. Our hunter brought us two beaver. In the afternoon we sent the
Minnetaree chiefs to smoke for us with the great chief of the Mandans,
and told them we would speak in the morning.

Finding that we shall be obliged to pass the winter at this place, we
went up the river about one and a half miles to-day, with a view of
finding a convenient spot for a fort, but the timber was too scarce and
small for our purposes.

Monday, October 29. The morning was fine and we prepared our presents
and speech for the council. After breakfast we were visited by an old
chief of the Ahnahaways, who finding himself growing old and weak had
transferred his power to his son, who is now at war against the
Shoshonees. At ten o'clock the chiefs were all assembled under an awning
of our sails, stretched so as to exclude the wind which had become high;
that the impression might be the more forcible, the men were all
paraded, and the council opened by a discharge from the swivel of the
boat. We then delivered a speech, which like those we had already made
intermingled advice with assurances of friendship and trade: while we
were speaking the old Ahnahaway chief grew very restless, and observed
that he could not wait long as his camp was exposed to the hostilities
of the Shoshonees; he was instantly rebuked with great dignity by one of
the chiefs for this violation of decorum at such a moment, and remained
quiet during the rest of the council. Towards the end of our speech we
introduced the subject of our Ricara chief, with whom we recommended a
firm peace: to this they seemed well disposed, and all smoked with him
very amicably. We all mentioned the goods which had been taken from the
Frenchmen, and expressed a wish that they should he restored. This being
over, we proceeded to distribute the presents with great ceremony: one
chief of each town was acknowledged by a gift of a flag, a medal with
the likeness of the president of the United States, a uniform coat, hat
and feather: to the second chiefs we gave a medal representing some
domestic animals, and a loom for weaving; to the third chiefs medals
with the impressions of a farmer sowing grain. A variety of other
presents were distributed, but none seemed to give them more
satisfaction than an iron corn mill which we gave to the Mandans.

The chiefs who were made to-day are: Shahaka or Big White, a first
chief, and Kagohami or Little Raven, a second chief of the lower village
of the Mandans, called Matootonha: the other chiefs of an inferior
quality who were recommended were, 1. Ohheenaw, or Big Man, a Chayenne
taken prisoner by the Mandans who adopted him, and he now enjoys great
consideration among the tribe. 2. Shotahawrora, or Coal, of the second
Mandan village which is called Rooptahee. We made Poscopsahe, or Black
Cat, the first chief of the village, and the grand chief of the whole
Mandan nation: his second chief is Kagonomokshe, or Raven man Chief;
inferior chiefs of this village were, Tawnuheo, and Bellahsara, of which
we did not learn the translation.

In the third village which is called Mahawha, and where the Arwacahwas
reside, we made one first chief, Tetuckopinreha, or White Buffaloe robe
unfolded, and recognized two of an inferior order: Minnissurraree, or
Neighing Horse, and Locongotiha, or Old woman at a distance.

Of the fourth village where the Minnetarees live, and which is called
Metaharta, we made a first chief, Ompsehara, or Black Moccasin: a second
chief, Ohhaw, or Little Fox. Other distinguished chiefs of this village
were, Mahnotah, or Big Thief, a man whom we did not see as he is out
fighting, and was killed soon after; and Mahserassa, or Tail of the
Calumet Bird. In the fifth village we made a first chief Eapanopa, or
Red Shield; a second chief Wankerassa, or Two Tailed Calumet Bird, both
young chiefs; other persons of distinction are, Shahakohopinnee, or
Little Wolf's Medicine; Ahrattanamoekshe, or Wolfman chief, who is now
at war, and is the son of the old chief we have mentioned, whose name is
Caltahcota, or Cherry on a Bush.

The presents intended for the grand chief of the Minnetarees, who was
not at the council, were sent to him by the old chief Caltahcota; and we
delivered to a young chief those intended for the chief of the lower
village. The council was concluded by a shot from our swivel, and after
firing the airgun for their amusement, they retired to deliberate on the
answer which they are to give to-morrow.

In the evening the prairie took fire, either by accident or design, and
burned with great fury, the whole plain being enveloped in flames: so
rapid was its progress that a man and a woman were burnt to death before
they could reach a place of safety; another man with his wife and child
were much burnt, and several other persons narrowly escaped destruction.
Among the rest a boy of the half white breed escaped unhurt in the midst
of the flames; his safety was ascribed to the great medicine spirit, who
had preserved him on account of his being white. But a much more natural
cause was the presence of mind of his mother, who seeing no hopes of
carrying off her son, threw him on the ground, and covering him with the
fresh hide of a buffaloe, escaped herself from the flames; as soon as
the fire had passed, she returned and found him untouched, the skin
having prevented, the flame from reaching the grass on which he lay.

Tuesday 30. We were this morning visited by two persons from the lower
village, one the Big White the chief of the village, the other the
Chayenne called the Big Man; they had been hunting, and did not return
yesterday early enough to attend the council. At their request we
repeated part of our speech of yesterday, and put the medal round the
neck of the chief. Captain Clarke took a periogue and went up the river
in search of a good wintering place, and returned after going seven
miles to the lower point of an island on the north side, about one mile
in length; he found the banks on the north side high, with coal
occasionally, and the country fine on all sides; but the want of wood
and the scarcity of game up the river, induced us to decide on fixing
ourselves lower down during the winter. In the evening our men danced
among themselves to the great amusement of the Indians.

Wednesday 31. A second chief arrived this morning with an invitation
from the grand chief of the Mandans, to come to his village where he
wished to present some corn to us and to speak with us. Captain Clarke
walked down to his village; he was first seated with great ceremony on a
robe by the side of the chief, who then threw over his shoulders another
robe handsomely ornamented. The pipe was then smoked with several of the
old men who were seated around the chief; after some time he began his
discourse, by observing that he believed what we had told him, and that
they should soon enjoy peace, which would gratify him as well as his
people, because they could then hunt without fear of being attacked, and
the women might work in the fields without looking every moment for the
enemy, and at night put off their moccasins, a phrase by which is
conveyed the idea of security when the women could undress at night
without fear of attack. As to the Ricaras, he continued, in order to
show you that we wish peace with all men, that chief, pointing to his
second chief, will go with some warriors back to the Ricaras with their
chief now here and smoke with that nation. When we heard of your coming
all the nations around returned from their hunting to see you, in hopes
of receiving large presents; all are disappointed and some discontented;
for his part he was not much so, though his village was. He added that
he would go and see his great father the president. Two of the steel
traps stolen from the Frenchmen were then laid before captain Clarke,
and the women brought about twelve bushels of corn. After the chief had
finished, captain Clarke made an answer to the speech and then returned
to the boat, where he found the chief of the third village and Kagohami
(the Little Raven) who smoked and talked about an hour. After they left
the boat the grand chief of the Mandans came dressed in the clothes we
had given him, with his two children, and begged to see the men dance,
in which they willingly gratified him.

Thursday, November 1st. Mr. M'Cracken, the trader whom we found here,
set out to-day on his return to the British fort and factory on the
Assiniboin river, about one hundred and fifty miles from this place. He
took a letter from captain Lewis to the northwest company, inclosing a
copy of the passport granted by the British minister in the United
States. At ten o'clock the chiefs of the lower village arrived; they
requested that we would call at their village for some corn, that they
were willing to make peace with the Ricaras, that they had never
provoked the war between them, but as the Ricaras had killed some of
their chiefs, they had retaliated on them; that they had killed them
like birds, till they were tired of killing them, so that they would
send a chief and some warriors to smoke with them. In the evening we
dropped down to the lower village where captain Lewis went on shore, and
captain Clarke proceeded to a point of wood on the north side.

Friday, November 2. He therefore went up to the village where eleven
bushels of corn were presented to him. In the meantime Captain Clarke
went down with the boats three miles, and having found a good position
where there was plenty of timber, encamped and began to fell trees to
build our huts. Our Ricara chief set out with one Mandan chief and
several Minnetaree and Mandan warriors; the wind was from the southeast,
and the weather being fine a crowd of Indians came down to visit us.

Saturday 3. We now began the building of our cabins, and the Frenchmen
who are to return to St. Louis are building a periogue for the purpose.
We sent six men in a periogue to hunt down the river. We were also
fortunate enough to engage in our service a Canadian Frenchmen, who had
been with the Chayenne Indians on the Black mountains, and last summer
descended thence by the Little Missouri. Mr. Jessaume our interpreter
also came down with his squaw and children to live at our camp. In the
evening we received a visit from Kagohami or Little Raven, whose wife
accompanied him, bringing about sixty weight of dried meat, a robe and a
pot of meal. We gave him in return a piece of tobacco, to his wife an
axe and a few small articles, and both of them spent the night at our
camp. Two beavers were caught in traps this morning.

Sunday 4. We continued our labours: the timber which we employ is large
and heavy, and chiefly consists of cottonwood and elm with some ash of
an inferior size. Great numbers of the Indians pass our camp on their
hunting excursions: the day was clear and pleasant, but last night was
very cold and there was a white frost.

Monday 5. The Indians are all out on their hunting parties: a camp of
Mandans caught within two days one hundred goats a short distance below
us: their mode of hunting them is to form a large strong pen or fold,
from which a fence made of bushes gradually widens on each side: the
animals are surrounded by the hunters and gently driven towards this
pen, in which they imperceptibly find themselves inclosed and are then
at the mercy of the hunters. The weather is cloudy and the wind moderate
from the northwest. Late at night we were awaked by the sergeant on
guard to see the beautiful phenomenon called the northern light: along
the northern sky was a large space occupied by a light of a pale but
brilliant white colour: which rising from the horizon extended itself to
nearly twenty degrees above it. After glittering for some time its
colours would be overcast, and almost obscured, but again it would burst
out with renewed beauty; the uniform colour was pale light, but its
shapes were various and fantastic: at times the sky was lined with light
coloured streaks rising perpendicularly from the horizon, and gradually
expanding into a body of light in which we could trace the floating
columns sometimes advancing, sometimes retreating and shaping into
infinite forms, the space in which they moved. It all faded away before
the morning. At daylight,

Tuesday 6, the clouds to the north were darkening and the wind rose high
from the northwest at eight o'clock, and continued cold during the day.
Mr. Gravelines and four others who came with us returned to the Ricaras
in a small periogue, we gave him directions to accompany some of the
Ricara chiefs to the seat of government in the spring.

Wednesday 7. The day was temperate but cloudy and foggy, and we were
enabled to go on with our work with much expedition.

Thursday 8. The morning again cloudy; our huts advance very well, and we
are visited by numbers of Indians who come to let their horses graze
near us: in the day the horses are let loose in quest of grass, in the
night they are collected and receive an armful of small boughs of the
cottonwood, which being very juicy, soft and brittle, form nutritious
and agreeable food: the frost this morning was very severe, the weather
during the day cloudy and the wind from the northwest. We procured from
an Indian a weasel perfectly white except the extremity of the tail
which was black: great numbers of wild geese are passing to the south,
but their flight is too high for us to procure any of them.

November 10. We had again a raw day, a northwest wind, but rose early
in hopes of finishing our works before the extreme cold begins. A chief
who is a half Pawnee came to us and brought a present of half a
buffaloe, in return for which we gave him some small presents and a few
articles to his wife and son: he then crossed the river in a buffaloe
skin canoe; his wife took the boat on her back and carried it to the
village three miles off. Large flocks of geese and brant, and also a few
ducks are passing towards the south.

Sunday 11. The weather is cold. We received the visit of two squaws,
prisoners from the Rock mountains, and purchased by Chaboneau. The
Mandans at this time are out hunting the buffaloe.

Monday 12. The last night had been cold and this morning we had a very
hard frost: the wind changeable during the day, and some ice appears on
the edges of the rivers; swans too are passing to the south. The Big
White came down to us, having packed on the back of his squaw about one
hundred pounds of very fine meat: for which we gave him as well as the
squaw some presents, particularly an axe to the woman with which she was
very much pleased.

Tuesday 13. We this morning unloaded the boat and stowed away the
contents in a storehouse which we have built. At half past ten ice began
to float down the river for the first time: in the course of the morning
we were visited by the Black Cat, Poscapsahe, who brought an Assiniboin
chief and seven warriors to see us. This man, whose name is Chechawk, is
a chief of one out of three bands of Assiniboins who wander over the
plains between the Missouri and Assiniboin during the summer, and in the
winter carry the spoils of their hunting to the traders on the
Assiniboin river, and occasionally come to this place: the whole three
bands consist of about eight hundred men. We gave him a twist of tobacco
to smoke with his people, and a gold cord for himself: the Sioux also
asked for whiskey which we refused to give them. It snowed all day and
the air was very cold.

Wednesday 14. The river rose last night half an inch, and is now filled
with floating ice. This morning was cloudy with some snow: about seventy
lodges of Assiniboins and some Knistenaux are at the Mandan village, and
this being the day of adoption and exchange of property between them
all, it is accompanied by a dance, which prevents our seeing more than
two Indians to-day: these Knistenaux are a band of Chippeways whose
language they speak; they live on the Assiniboin and Saskashawan rivers,
and are about two hundred and forty men. We sent a man down on horseback
to see what had become of our hunters, and as we apprehend a failure of
provisions we have recourse to our pork this evening. Two Frenchmen who
had been below returned with twenty beaver which they had caught in

Thursday 15. The morning again cloudy, and the ice running thicker than
yesterday, the wind variable. The man came back with information that
our hunters were about thirty miles below, and we immediately sent an
order to them to make their way through the floating ice, to assist them
in which we sent some tin for the bow of the periogue and a towrope. The
ceremony of yesterday seem to continue still, for we were not visited by
a single Indian. The swan are still passing to the south.

Friday 16. We had a very hard white frost this morning, the trees are
all covered with ice, and the weather cloudy. The men this day moved
into the huts, although they are not finished. In the evening some
horses were sent down to the woods near us in order to prevent their
being stolen by the Assiniboins, with whom some difficulty is now
apprehended. An Indian came down with four buffaloe robes and some corn,
which he offered for a pistol, but was refused.

Saturday, November 17. Last night was very cold, and the ice in the
river to-day is thicker than hitherto. We are totally occupied with our
huts, but received visits from several Indians.

Sunday, November 18. To-day we had a cold windy morning; the Black Cat
came to see us, and occupied us for a long time with questions on the
usages of our country. He mentioned that a council had been held
yesterday to deliberate on the state of their affairs. It seems that not
long ago, a party of Sioux fell in with some horses belonging to the
Minnetarees, and carried them off; but in their flight they were met by
some Assiniboins, who killed the Sioux and kept the horses: a Frenchman
too who had lived many years among the Mandans, was lately killed on his
route to the British factory on the Assiniboin; some smaller differences
existed between the two nations, all of which being discussed, the
council decided that they would not resent the recent insults from the
Assiniboins and Knistenaux, until they had seen whether we had deceived
them or not in our promises of furnishing them with arms and ammunition.
They had been disappointed in their hopes of receiving them from Mr.
Evans and were afraid that we too, like him, might tell them what was
not true. We advised them to continue at peace, that supplies of every
kind would no doubt arrive for them, but that time was necessary to
organize the trade. The fact is that the Assiniboins treat the Mandans
as the Sioux do the Ricaras; by their vicinity to the British they get
all the supplies, which they withhold or give at pleasure to the remoter
Indians: the consequence is, that however badly treated, the Mandans and
Ricaras are very slow to retaliate lest they should* lose their trade

Monday 19. The ice continues to float in the river, the wind high from
the northwest, and the weather cold. Our hunters arrived from their
excursion below, and bring a very fine supply of thirty-two deer, eleven
elk, and five buffaloe, all of which was hung in a smokehouse.

Tuesday 20. We this day moved into our huts which are now completed.
This place which we call Fort Mandan, is situated in a point of low
ground, on the north side of the Missouri, covered with tall and heavy
cottonwood. The works consist of two rows of huts or sheds, forming an
angle where they joined each other; each row containing four rooms, of
fourteen feet square and seven feet high, with plank ceiling*, and the
roof slanting so as to form a loft above the rooms, the highest part of
which is eighteen feet from the ground: the backs of the huts formed a
wall of that height, and opposite the angle the place of the wall was
supplied by picketing; in the area were two rooms for stores and
provisions. The latitude by observation is 47° 21' 47", and the computed
distance from the mouth of the Missouri sixteen hundred miles.

In the course of the day several Indians came down to partake of our
fresh meat; among the rest, three chiefs of the second Mandan village.
They inform us that the Sioux on the Missouri above the Chayenne river,
threaten to attack them this winter; that these Sioux are much irritated
at the Ricaras for having made peace through our means with the Mandans,
and have lately ill treated three Ricaras who carried the pipe of peace
to them, by beating them and taking away their horses. We gave them
assurances that we would protect them from all their enemies.

November 21st. The weather was this day fine: the river clear of ice and
rising a little: we are now settled in our new winter habitation, and
shall wait with much anxiety the first return of spring to continue our

The villages near which we are established are five in number, and are
the residence of three distinct nations: the Mandans, the Ahnahaways,
and the Minnetarees. The history of the Mandans, as we received it from
our interpreters and from the chiefs themselves, and as it is attested
by existing monuments, illustrates more than that of any other nation
the unsteady movements and the tottering fortunes of the American
nations. Within the recollection of living witnesses, the Mandans were
settled forty years ago in nine villages, the ruins of which we passed
about eighty miles below, and situated seven on the west and two on the
east side of the Missouri. The two finding themselves wasting away
before the small-pox and the Sioux, united into one village, and moved
up the river opposite to the Ricaras. The same causes reduced the
remaining seven to five villages, till at length they emigrated in a
body to the Ricara nation, where they formed themselves into two
villages, and joined those of their countrymen who had gone before them.
In their new residence they were still insecure, and at length the three
villages ascended the Missouri to their present position. The two who
had emigrated together still settled in the two villages on the
northwest side of the Missouri, while the single village took a position
on the southeast side. In this situation they were found by those who
visited them in 1796; since which the two villages have united into one.
They are now in two villages, one on the southeast of the Missouri, the
other on the opposite side, and at the distance of three miles across.
The first, in an open plain, contains about forty or fifty lodges, built
in the same way as those of the Ricaras: the second, the same number,
and both may raise about three hundred and fifty men.

On the same side of the river, and at the distance of four miles from
the lower Mandan village, is another called Mahaha. It is situated in a
high plain at the mouth of Knife river, and is the residence of the
Ahnahaways. This nation, whose name indicates that they were "people
whose village is on a hill," formerly resided on the Missouri, about
thirty miles below where they now live. The Assiniboins and Sioux forced
them to a spot five miles higher, where the greatest part of them were
put to death, and the rest emigrated to their present situation, in
order to obtain an assylum near the Minnetarees. They are called by the
French, Soulier Noir or Shoe Indians; by the Mandans, Wattasoons, and
their whole force is about fifty men.

On the south side of the same Knife river, half a mile above the Mahaha
and in the same open plain with it, is a village of Minnetarees surnamed
Metaharta, who are about one hundred and fifty men in number. On the
opposite side of Knife river, and one and a half mile above this village
is a second of Minnetarees, who may be considered as the proper
Minnetaree nation. It is situated in a beautiful low plain, and contains
four hundred and fifty warriors. The accounts which we received of the
Minnetarees were contradictory. The Mandans say that this people came
out of the water to the east, and settled near them in their former
establishment in nine villages; that they were very numerous, and fixed
themselves in one village on the southern side of the Missouri. A
quarrel about a buffaloe divided the nation, of which two bands went
into the plains, and were known by the name of Crow and Paunch Indians,
and the rest moved to their present establishment. The Minnetarees
proper assert, on the contrary, that they grew where they now live, and
will never emigrate from the spot; the great spirit having declared that
if they moved they would all die. They also say that the Minnetarees
Metaharta, that is Minnetarees of the Willows, whose language with very
little variation is their own, came many years ago from the plains and
settled near them, and perhaps the two traditions may be reconciled by
the natural presumption that these Minnetarees were the tribe known to
the Mandans below, and that they ascended the river for the purpose of
rejoining the Minnetarees proper. These Minnetarees are part of the
great nation called Fall Indians, who occupy the intermediate country
between the Missouri and the Saskaskawan, and who are known by the name
of Minnetarees of the Missouri, and Minnetarees of Fort de Prairie; that
is, residing near or rather frequenting the establishment in the prairie
on the Saskaskawan. These Minnetarees indeed, told us that they had
relations on the Saskaskawan, whom they had never known till they met
them in war, and having engaged in the night were astonished at
discovering that they were fighting with men who spoke their own
language. The name of Grosventres, or Bigbellies is given to these
Minnetarees, as well as to all the Fall Indians. The inhabitants of
these five villages, all of which are within the distance of six miles,
live in harmony with each other. The Ahnahaways understand in part the
language of the Minnetarees: the dialect of the Mandans differs widely
from both; but their long residence together has insensibly blended
their manners, and occasioned some approximation in language,
particularly as to objects of daily occurrence and obvious to the

November 22. The morning was fine, and the day warm. We purchased from
the Mandans a quantity of corn of a mixed colour, which they dug up in
ears from holes made near the front of their lodges, in which it is
buried during the winter: this morning the sentinel informed us that an
Indian was about to kill his wife near the fort; we went down to the
house of our interpreter where we found the parties, and after
forbidding any violence, inquired into the cause of his intending to
commit such as atrocity. It appeared that some days ago a quarrel had
taken place between him and his wife, in consequence of which she had
taken refuge in the house where the two squaws of our interpreter lived:
by running away she forfeited her life, which might have been lawfully
taken by the husband. About two days ago she had returned to the
village, but the same evening came back to the fort much beaten and
stabbed in three places, and the husband now came for the purpose of
completing his revenge. He observed that he had lent her to one of our
serjeants for a night, and that if he wanted her he would give her to
him altogether: we gave him a few presents and tried to persuade him to
take his wife home; the grand chief too happened to arrive at the same
moment, and reproached him with his violence, till at length they went
off together, but by no means in a state of much apparent love.

November 23. Again we had a fair and warm day, with the wind from the
southeast: the river is now at a stand having risen four inches in the

November 24. The wind continued from the same quarter and the weather
was warm: we were occupied in finishing our huts and making a large rope
of elk-skin to draw our boat on the bank.

Sunday, November 25. The weather is still fine, warm and pleasant, and
the river falls one inch and a half. Captain Lewis went on an excursion
to the villages accompanied by eight men. A Minnetaree chief, the first
who has visited us, came down to the fort: his name was Waukerassa, but
as both the interpreters had gone with captain Lewis we were obliged to
confine our civilities to some presents with which he was much pleased:
we now completed our huts, and fortunately too, for the next day,

Monday, November 26, before daylight the wind shifted to the northwest,
and blew very hard, with cloudy weather and a keen cold air, which
confined us much and prevented us from working: the night continued very
cold, and,

Tuesday 27, the weather cloudy, the wind continuing from the northwest
and the river crowded with floating ice. Captain Lewis returned with two
chiefs Mahnotah, an Ahnahaway, and Minnessurraree a Minnetaree, and a
third warrior: they explained to us that the reason of their not having
come to see us, was that the Mandans had told them that we meant to
combine with the Sioux and cut them off in the course of the winter: a
suspicion increased by the strength of the fort, and the circumstance of
our interpreters having both removed there with their families: these
reports we did not fail to disprove to their entire satisfaction, and
amused them by every attention, particularly by the dancing of the men
which diverted them highly. All the Indians whom captain Lewis had
visited were very well disposed, and received him with great kindness,
except a principal chief of one of the upper villages, named
Mabpahpaparapassatoo or Horned Weasel, who made use of the civilized
indecorum of refusing to be seen, and when captain Lewis called he was
told the chief was not at home. In the course of the day seven of the
northwest company's traders arrived from the Assiniboin river, and one
of their interpreters having undertaken to circulate among the Indians
unfavourable reports, it become necessary to warn them of the
consequences if they did not desist from such proceedings. The river
fell two inches to-day and the weather became very cold.

Wednesday 28. About eight o'clock last evening it began to snow and
continued till daybreak, after which it ceased till seven o'clock, but
then resumed and continued during the day, the weather being cold and
the river full of floating ice: about eight o'clock Poscopsahe came down
to visit us, with some warriors; we gave them presents and entertained
them with all that might amuse their curiosity, and at parting we told
them that we had heard of the British trader, Mr. Laroche, having
attempted to distribute medals and flags among them, but that those
emblems could not be received from any other than the American nation
without incurring the displeasure of their great father the president.
They left us much pleased with their treatment. The river fell one inch

Thursday 29. The wind is again from the northwest, the weather cold, and
the snow which fell yesterday and this night is thirteen inches in
depth. The river closed during the night at the village above, and fell
two feet; but this afternoon it began to rise a little. Mr. Laroche, the
principal of the seven traders, came with one of his men to see us; we
told him that we should not permit him to give medals and flags to the
Indians; he declared that he had no such intention, and we then suffered
him to make use of one of our interpreters, on his stipulating not to
touch any subject but that of his traffic with them. An unfortunate
accident occurred to sergeant Pryor, who in taking down the boat's mast
dislocated his shoulder, nor was it till after four trials that we
replaced it.

Friday 30. About eight o'clock an Indian came to the opposite bank of
the river, calling out that he had something important to communicate,
and on sending for him, he told us that five Mandans had been met about
eight leagues to the southwest by a party of Sioux, who had killed one
of them, wounded two, and taken nine horses; that four of the Wattasoons
were missing, and that the Mandans expected an attack. We thought this
an excellent opportunity to discountenance the injurious reports against
us, and to fix the wavering confidence of the nation. Captain Clarke
therefore instantly crossed the river with twenty-three men strongly
armed, and circling the town approached it from behind. His unexpected
appearance surprised and alarmed the chiefs, who came out to meet him,
and conducted him to the village. He then told them that having heard of
the outrage just committed, he had come to assist his dutiful children;
that if they would assemble their warriors and those of the nation, he
would lead them against the Sioux and avenge the blood of their
countrymen. After some minutes conversation, Oheenaw the Chayenne arose;
"We now see," said he, "that what you have told us is true, since as
soon as our enemies threaten to attack us you come to protect us and are
ready to chastise those who have spilt our blood. We did indeed listen
to your good talk, for when you told us that the other nations were
inclined to peace with us, we went out carelessly in small parties, and
some have been killed by the Sioux and Ricaras. But I knew that the
Ricaras were liars, and I told their chief who accompanied you, that his
whole nation were liars and bad men; that we had several times made a
peace with them which they were the first to break; that whenever we
pleased we might shoot them like buffaloe, but that we had no wish to
kill them; that we would not suffer them to kill us, nor steal our
horses; and that although we agreed to make peace with them, because our
two fathers desired it, yet we did not believe that they would be
faithful long. Such, father, was my language to them in your presence,
and you see that instead of listening to your good counsels they have
spilt our blood. A few days ago two Ricaras came here and told us that
two of their villages were making moccasins, that the Sioux were
stirring them up against us, and that we ought to take care of our
horses; yet these very Ricaras we sent home as soon as the news reached
us to-day, lest our people should kill them in the first moment of grief
for their murdered relatives. Four of the Wattasoons whom we expected
back in sixteen days have been absent twenty-four, and we fear have
fallen. But father the snow is now deep, the weather cold, and our
horses cannot travel through the plains; the murderers have gone off: if
you will conduct us in the spring, when the snow has disappeared, we
will assemble all the surrounding warriors and follow you."

Captain Clarke replied that we were always willing and able to defend
them; that he was sorry that the snow prevented their marching to meet
the Sioux, since he wished to show them that the warriors of their great
father would chastise the enemies of his obedient children who opened
their ears to his advice; that if some Ricaras had joined the Sioux,
they should remember that there were bad men in every nation, and that
they should not be offended at the Ricaras till they saw whether these
ill-disposed men were countenanced by the whole tribe; that the Sioux
possessed great influence over the Ricaras, whom they supplied with
military stores, and sometimes led them astray, because they were afraid
to oppose them: but that this should be the less offensive since the
Mandans themselves were under the same apprehensions from the
Assiniboins and Knistenaux, and that while they were thus dependant,
both the Ricaras and Mandans ought to keep on terms with their powerful
neighbours, whom they may afterwards set at defiance, when we shall
supply them with arms, and take them under our protection.

After two hours conversation captain Clarke left the village. The chief
repeatedly thanked him for the fatherly protection he had given them,
observing that the whole village had been weeping all night and day for
the brave young man who had been slain, but now they would wipe their
eyes and weep no more as they saw that their father would protect them.
He then crossed the river on the ice and returned on the north side to
the fort. The day as well as the evening was cold, and the river rose to
its former height.

Saturday, December 1. The wind was from the northwest, and the whole
party engaged in picketing the fort. About ten o'clock the half-brother
of the man who had been killed, came to inform us that six Sharhas or
Chayenne Indians had arrived, bringing a pipe of peace, and that their
nation was three days march behind them. Three Pawnees had accompanied
the Sharhas, and the Mandans being afraid of the Sharhas on account of
their being at peace with the Sioux, wished to put both them and the
three Pawnees to death; but the chiefs had forbidden it as it would be
contrary to our wishes. We gave him a present of tobacco, and although
from his connexion with the sufferer, he was more embittered against the
Pawnees than any other Mandan, yet he seemed perfectly satisfied with
our pacific counsels and advice. The Mandans, we observe, call all the
Ricaras by the name of Pawnees; the name of Ricaras being that by which
the nation distinguishes itself.

In the evening we were visited by a Mr. Henderson, who came from the
Hudson bay company to trade with the Minnetarees. He had been about
eight days on his route in a direction nearly south, and brought with
him tobacco, beeds, and other merchandize to trade for furs, and a few
guns which are to be exchanged for horses.

Sunday, December 2. The latter part of the evening was warm, and a thaw
continued till the morning, when the wind shifted to the north. At
eleven o'clock the chiefs of the lower village brought down four of the
Sharhas. We explained to them our intentions, and advised them to remain
at peace with each other: we also gave them a flag, some tobacco, and a
speech for their nation. These were accompanied by a letter to messrs.
Tabeau and Gravelines at the Ricara village, requesting them to preserve
peace if possible, and to declare the part which we should be forced to
take if the Ricaras and Sioux made war on those whom we had adopted.
After distributing a few presents to the Sharhas and Mandans, and
showing them our curiosities we dismissed them, apparently well pleased
at their reception.

Monday, December 3. The morning was fine, but in the afternoon the
weather became cold with the wind from the northwest. The father of the
Mandan who was killed brought us a present of dried pumpkins and some
pemitigon, for which we gave him some small articles. Our offer of
assistance to avenge the death of his son seemed to have produced a
grateful respect from him, as well as from the brother of the deceased,
which pleased us much.

Tuesday 4th. The wind continues from the northwest, the weather cloudy
and raw, and the river rose one inch, Oscapsahe and two young chiefs
pass the day with us. The whole religion of the Mandans consists in the
belief of one great spirit presiding over their destinies. This being
must be in the nature of a good genius since it is associated with the
healing art, and the great spirit is synonymous with great medicine, a
name also applied to every thing which they do not comprehend. Each
individual selects for himself the particular object of his devotion,
which is termed his medicine, and is either some invisible being or more
commonly some animal, which thenceforward becomes his protector or his
intercessor with the great spirit; to propitiate whom every attention is
lavished, and every personal consideration is sacrificed. "I was lately
owner of seventeen horses," said a Mandan to us one day, "but I have
offered them all up to my medicine and am now poor." He had in reality
taken all his wealth, his horses, into the plain, and turning them loose
committed them to the care of his medicine and abandoned them forever.
The horses less religious took care of themselves, and the pious votary
travelled home on foot. Their belief in a future state is connected with
this tradition of their origin: the whole nation resided in one large
village under ground near a subterraneous lake; a grape-vine extended
its roots down to their habitation and gave them a view of the light:
some of the most adventurous climed up the vine and were delighted with
the sight of the earth, which they found covered with buffaloe and rich
with every kind of fruits: returning with the grapes they had gathered,
their countrymen were so pleased with the taste of them that the whole
nation resolved to leave their dull residence for the charms of the
upper region; men, women and children ascended by means of the vine; but
when about half the nation had reached the surface of the earth, a
corpulent woman who was clambering up the vine broke it with her weight,
and closed upon herself and the rest of the nation the light of the sun.
Those who were left on earth made a village below where we saw the nine
villages; and when the Mandans die they expect to return to the original
seats of their forefathers; the good reaching the ancient village by
means of the lake, which the burden of the sins of the wicked will not
enable them to cross.

Wednesday 5. The morning was cold and disagreeable, the wind from the
southeast accompanied with snow: in the evening there was snow again and
the wind shifted to the northeast: we were visited by several Indians
with a present of pumpkins, and by two of the traders of the northwest

Thursday 6. The wind was violent from the north northwest with some
snow, the air keen and cold. At eight o'clock A.M. the thermometer stood
at ten degrees above 0, and the river rose an inch and a half in the
course of the day.

Friday, December 7. The wind still continued from the northwest and the
day is very cold: Shahaka the chief of the lower village came to apprise
us that the buffaloe were near, and that his people were waiting for us
to join them in the chase: captain Clark with fifteen men went out and
found the Indians engaged in killing the buffaloe, the hunters mounted
on horseback and armed with bows and arrows encircle the herd, and
gradually drive them into a plain or an open place fit for the movements
of horse; they then ride in among them, and singling out a buffaloe, a
female being preferred, go as close as possible and wound her with
arrows till they think they have given the mortal stroke; when they
pursue another till the quiver is exhausted: if, which rarely happens,
the wounded buffaloe attacks the hunter, he evades his blow by the
agility of his horse which is trained for the combat with great
dexterity. When they have killed the requisite number they collect their
game, and the squaws and attendants come up from the rear and skin and
dress the animals. Captain Clarke killed ten buffaloe, of which five
only were brought to the fort, the rest which could not be conveyed home
being seized by the Indians, among whom the custom is that whenever a
buffaloe is found dead without an arrow or any particular mark, he is
the property of the finder; so that often a hunter secures scarcely any
of the game he kills if the arrow happens to fall off: whatever is left
out at night falls to the share of the wolves, who are the constant and
numerous attendants of the buffaloe. The river closed opposite the fort
last night, an inch and a half in thickness. In the morning the
thermometer stood at one degree below 0. Three men were badly
frostbitten in consequence of their exposure.

Saturday 8. The thermometer stood at twelve degrees below 0, that is at
forty-two degrees below the freezing point: the wind was from the
northwest. Captain Lewis with fifteen men went out to hunt the buffaloe;
great numbers of which darkened the prairies for a considerable
distance: they did not return till after dark, having killed eight
buffaloe and one deer. The hunt was, however, very fatiguing, as they
were obliged to make a circuit at the distance of more than seven miles;
the cold too, was so excessive that the air was filled with icy
particles resembling a fog, and the snow generally six or eight inches
deep and sometimes eighteen, in consequence of which two of the party
were hurt by falls, and several had their feet frostbitten.

Sunday 9. The wind was this day from the east, the thermometer at seven
degrees above 0, and the sun shone clear: two chiefs visited us, one in
a sleigh drawn by a dog and loaded with meat.

Monday 10. Captain Clarke who had gone out yesterday with eighteen men
to bring in the meat we had killed the day before, and to continue the
hunt, came in at twelve o'clock. After killing nine buffaloe and
preparing that already dead, he had spent a cold disagreeable night on
the snow, with no covering but a small blanket, sheltered by the hides
of the buffaloe they had killed. We observe large herds of buffaloe
crossing the river on the ice, the men who were frostbitten are
recovering, but the weather is still exceedingly cold, the wind being
from the north, and the thermometer at ten and eleven degrees below 0:
the rise of the river is one inch and a half.

Tuesday 11. The weather became so intensely cold that we sent for all
the hunters who had remained out with captain Clarke's party, and they
returned in the evening several of them frostbitten. The wind was from
the north and the thermometer at sunrise stood at twenty-one below 0,
the ice in the atmosphere being so thick as to render the weather hazy
and give the appearance of two suns reflecting each other. The river
continues at a stand. Pocapsahe made us a visit to-day.

Wednesday, December 12. The wind is still from the north, the
thermometer being at sunrise thirty-eight degrees below 0. One of the
Ahnahaways brought us down the half of an antelope killed near the fort;
we had been informed that all these animals return to the Black
mountains, but there are great numbers of them about us at this season
which we might easily kill, but are unwilling to venture out before our
constitutions are hardened gradually to the climate. We measured the
river on the ice, and find it five hundred yards wide immediately
opposite the fort.

Thursday 13. Last night was clear and a very heavy frost covered the old
snow, the thermometer at sun rise being twenty degrees below 0, and
followed by a fine day. The river falls.

Friday 14. The morning was fine, and the weather having moderated so
far, that the mercury stood at 0, captain Lewis went down with a party
to hunt; they proceeded about eighteen miles, but the buffaloe having
left the banks of the river they saw only two, which were so poor as not
to be worth killing, and shot two deer. Notwithstanding the snow we were
visited by a large number of the Mandans.

Saturday 15. Captain Lewis finding no game returned to the fort hunting
on both sides of the river, but with no success. The wind being from the
north, the mercury at sunrise eight degrees below 0, and the snow of
last night an inch and a half in depth. The Indian chiefs continue to
visit us to-day with presents of meat.

Sunday 16. The morning is clear and cold, the mercury at sunrise 22°
below 0. A Mr. Haney with two other persons from the British
establishment on the Assiniboin, arrived in six days with a letter from
Mr. Charles Chabouilles, one of the company, who with much politeness
offered to render us any service in his power.

Monday 17. The weather to-day was colder than any we had yet
experienced, the thermometer at sunrise being 45° below 0, and about
eight o'clock it fell to 74° below the freezing point. From Mr. Haney,
who is a very sensible intelligent man, we obtained much geographical
information with regard to the country between the Missouri and
Mississippi, and the various tribes of Sioux who inhabit it.

Tuesday 18. The thermometer at sunrise was 32° below 0. The Indians had
invited us yesterday to join their chace to-day, but the seven men whom
we sent returned in consequence of the cold, which was so severe last
night that we were obliged to have the sentinel relieved every half
hour. The northwest traders however left us on their return home.

Wednesday 19. The weather moderated, and the river rose a little,
so that we were enabled to continue the picketing of the fort.
Notwithstanding the extreme cold, we observe the Indians at the village
engaged out in the open air at a game which resembled billiards more
than any thing we had seen, and which we inclined to suspect may have
been acquired by ancient intercourse with the French of Canada. From
the first to the second chief's lodge, a distance of about fifty yards,
was covered with timber smoothed and joined so as to be as level as the
floor of one of our houses, with a battery at the end to stop the rings:
these rings were of clay-stone and flat like the chequers for drafts,
and the sticks were about four feet long, with two short pieces at one
end in the form of a mace, so fixed that the whole will slide along the
board. Two men fix themselves at one end, each provided with a stick,
and one of them with a ring: they then run along the board, and about
half way slide the sticks after the ring.

Thursday 20. The wind was from the N.W. the weather moderate, the
thermometer 24° above at sunrise. We availed ourselves of this change to
picket the fort near the river.

Friday 21. The day was fine and warm, the wind N.W. by W. The Indian
who had been prevented a few days ago from killing his wife, came with
both his wives to the fort, and was very desirous of reconciling our
interpreter, a jealousy against whom on account of his wife's taking
refuge in his house, had been the cause of his animosity. A woman
brought her child with an abscess in the lower part of the back, and
offered as much corn as she could carry for some medicine; we
administered to it of course very cheerfully.

Saturday, 22d. A number of squaws and men dressed like squaws brought
corn to trade for small articles with the men. Among other things we
procured two horns of the animal called by the French the Rock mountain
sheep, and known to the Mandans by the name of ahsahta. The animal
itself is about the size of a small elk or large deer: the horns winding
like those of a ram which they resemble also in texture, though larger
and thicker.

Sunday, 23d. The weather was fine and warm like that of yesterday: we
were again visited by crowds of Indians of all descriptions, who came
either to trade or from mere curiosity. Among the rest Kogahami, the
Little Raven, brought his wife and son loaded with corn, and she then
entertained us with a favourite Mandan dish, a mixture of pumpkins,
beans, corn, and chokecherries with the stones, all boiled together in a
kettle, and forming a composition by no means unpalatable.

Monday, 24th. The day continued warm and pleasant, and the number of
visitors became troublesome. As a present to three of the chiefs, we
divided a fillet of sheepskin which we brought for spunging into three
pieces each of two inches in width; they were delighted at the gift,
which they deemed of equal value with a fine horse. We this day
completed our fort, and the next morning being Christmas,

Tuesday, 25th, we were awaked before day by a discharge of three
platoons from the party. We had told the Indians not to visit us as it
was one of our great medicine days; so that the men remained at home and
amused themselves in various ways, particularly with dancing in which
they take great pleasure. The American flag was hoisted for the first
time in the fort; the best provisions we had were brought out, and this,
with a little brandy, enabled them to pass the day in great festivity.

Wednesday, 26th. The weather is again temperate, but no Indians have
come to see us. One of the northwest traders who came down to request
the aid of our Minnetaree interpreter, informs us that a party of
Minnetarees who had gone in pursuit of the Assiniboins who lately stole
their horses had just returned. As is their custom, they came back in
small detachments, the last of which brought home eight horses which
they had captured or stolen from an Assiniboin camp on Mouse river.

Thursday, 27th. A little fine snow fell this morning and the air was
colder than yesterday, with a high northwest wind. We were fortunate
enough to have among our men a good blacksmith, whom we set to work to
make a variety of articles; his operations seemed to surprise the
Indians who came to see us, but nothing could equal their astonishment
at the bellows, which they considered as a very great medicine. Having
heretofore promised a more particular account of the Sioux, the
following may serve as a general outline of their history:

Almost the whole of that vast tract of country comprised between the
Mississippi, the Red River of Lake Winnepeg, the Saskaskawan, and the
Missouri, is loosely occupied by a great nation whose primitive name is
Darcota, but who are called Sioux by the French, Sues by the English.
Their original seats were on the Mississippi, but they have gradually
spread themselves abroad and become subdivided into numerous tribes. Of
these, what may be considered as the Darcotas are the Mindawarcarton, or
Minowakanton, known to the French by the name of the Gens du Lac, or
People of the Lake. Their residence is on both sides of the Mississippi
near the falls of St. Anthony, and the probable number of their warriors
about three hundred. Above them, on the river St. Peter's, is the
Wahpatone, a smaller band of nearly two hundred men; and still farther
up the same river below Yellow-wood river are the Wahpatootas or Gens de
Feuilles, an inferior band of not more than one hundred men; while the
sources of the St. Peter's are occupied by the Sisatoones, a band
consisting of about two hundred warriors.

These bands rarely if ever approach the Missouri, which is occupied by
their kinsmen the Yanktons and the Tetons. The Yanktons are of two
tribes, those of the plains, or rather of the north, a wandering race of
about five hundred men, who roam over the plains at the heads of the
Jacques, the Sioux, and the Red river; and those of the south, who
possess the country between the Jacques and Sioux rivers and the
Desmoine. But the bands of Sioux most known on the Missouri are the
Tetons. The first who are met on ascending the Missouri is the tribe
called by the French the Tetons of the Boise Brule or Burntwood, who
reside on both sides of the Missouri, about White and Teton rivers, and
number two hundred warriors. Above them on the Missouri are the Teton
Okandandas, a band of one hundred and fifty men living below the
Chayenne river, between which and the Wetarhoo river is a third band,
called Teton Minnakenozzo, of nearly two hundred and fifty men; and
below the Warreconne is the fourth and last tribe of Tetons of about
three hundred men, and called Teton Saone. Northward of these, between
the Assiniboin and the Missouri, are two bands of Assiniboins, one on
Mouse river of about two hundred men, and called Assiniboin Menatopa;
the other, residing on both sides of White river, called by the French
Gens de Feuilles, and amounting to two hundred and fifty men. Beyond
these a band of Assiniboins of four hundred and fifty men, and called
the Big Devils, wander on the heads of Milk, Porcupine, and Martha's
rivers; while still farther to the north are seen two bands of the same
nation, one of five hundred and the other of two hundred, roving on the
Saskaskawan. Those Assiniboins are recognised by a similarity of
language, and by tradition as descendents or seceders from the Sioux;
though often at war are still acknowledged as relations. The Sioux
themselves, though scattered, meet annually on the Jacques, those on the
Missouri trading with those on the Mississippi.

                                CHAPTER VI.

     The party increase in the favour of the Mandans--Description of a
     buffaloe dance--Medicine dance--The fortitude with which the
     Indians bear the severity of the season--Distress of the party for
     want of provisions--The great importance of the blacksmith in
     procuring it--Depredations of the Sioux--The homage paid to the
     medicine stone--Summary act of justice among the Minnetarees--The
     process by which the Mandans and Ricaras make beads--Character of
     the Missouri, of the surrounding country, and of the rivers,
     creeks, islands, &c.

Friday, 28th. The wind continued high last night, the frost severe, and
the snow drifting in great quantities through the plains.

Saturday, 29th. There was a frost fell last night nearly one quarter of
an inch in depth, which continued to fall till the sun had gained some
height: the mercury at sunrise stood at 9° below 0: there were a number
of Indians at the fort in the course of the day.

Sunday, 30th. The weather was cold, and the thermometer 20° below 0. We
killed one deer, and yesterday one of the men shot a wolf. The Indians
brought corn, beans, and squashes, which they very readily gave for
getting their axes and kettles mended. In their general conduct during
these visits they are honest, but will occasionally pilfer any small

Monday, 31. During the night there was a high wind which covered the ice
with hillocks of mixed sand and snow: the day was however fine, and the
Indians came in great numbers for the purpose of having their utensils

Tuesday, January 1, 1805. The new year was welcomed by two shot from the
swivel and a round of small arms. The weather was cloudy but moderate;
the mercury which at sunrise was at 18°, in the course of the day rose
to 34° above 0: towards evening it began to rain, and at night we had
snow, the temperature for which is about 0. In the morning we permitted
sixteen men with their music to go up to the first village, where they
delighted the whole tribe with their dances, particularly with the
movements of one of the Frenchmen who danced on his head. In return they
presented the dancers with several buffaloe robes and quantities of
corn. We were desirous of showing this attention to the village, because
they had received an impression that we had been wanting in regard for
them, and they had in consequence circulated invidious comparisons
between us and the northern traders: all these however they declared to
captain Clarke, who visited them in the course of the morning, were made
in jest. As captain Clarke was about leaving the village, two of their
chiefs returned from a mission to the Grosventres or wandering
Minnetarees. These people were encamped about ten miles above, and while
there one of the Ahnahaways had stolen a Minnetaree girl: the whole
nation immediately espoused the quarrel, and one hundred and fifty of
their warriors were marching down to revenge the insult on the
Ahnahaways. The chief of that nation took the girl from the ravisher,
and giving her to the Mandans requested their intercession. The
messengers went out to meet the warriors, and delivered the young damsel
into the hands of her countrymen, smoked the pipe of peace with them,
and were fortunate enough to avert their indignation and induce them to
return. In the evening some of the men came to the fort and the rest
slept in the village. Pocapsahe also visited us and brought some meat on
his wife's back.

Wednesday, January 2. It snowed last night, and during this day the same
scene of gayety was renewed at the second village, and all the men
returned in the evening.

Thursday 3. Last night it became very cold, and this morning we had some
snow: our hunters were sent out for buffaloe, but the game had been
frightened from the river by the Indians, so that they obtained only
one: they however killed a hare and a wolf. Among the Indians who
visited us was a Minnetaree who came to seek his wife: she had been much
abused and came here for protection, but returned with him; as we had no
authority to separate those whom even the Mandan rites had united.

Friday 4. The morning was cloudy and warm, the mercury being 28° above
0: but towards evening the wind changed to northwest, and the weather
became cold. We sent some hunters down the river, but they killed only
one buffaloe and a wolf. We received the visit of Kagohami who is very
friendly, and to whom we gave a hankerchief and two files.

Saturday 5. We had high and boisterous winds last night and this
morning: the Indians continue to purchase repairs with grain of
different kinds. In the first village there has been a buffaloe dance
for the last three nights, which has put them all into commotion, and
the description which we received from those of the party who visited
the village and from other sources, is not a little ludicrous: the
buffaloe dance is an institution originally intended for the benefit of
the old men, and practised at their suggestion. When buffaloe becomes
scarce they send a man to harangue the village, declaring that the game
is far off and that a feast is necessary to bring it back, and if the
village be disposed a day and place is named for the celebration of it.
At the appointed hour the old men arrive, and seat themselves
crosslegged on skins round a fire in the middle of the lodge with a sort
of doll or small image, dressed like a female, placed before them. The
young men bring with them a platter of provisions, a pipe of tobacco,
and their wives, whose dress on the occasion is only a robe or mantle
loosely thrown round the body. On their arrival each youth selects the
old man whom he means to distinguish by his favour, and spreads before
him the provisions, after which he presents the pipe and smokes with
him. Mox senex vir simulacrum parvæ puellæ ostensit. Tune egrediens
eætu, jecit effigium solo et superincumbens, senili ardore veneris
complexit. Hoc est signum. Denique uxor e turba recessit, et jactu
corporis, fovet amplexus viri solo recubante. Maritus appropinquans
senex vir dejecto vultu, et honorem et dignitatem ejus conservare
amplexu uxoris illum oravit. Forsitan imprimis ille refellit; dehine,
maritus multis precibus, multis lachrymis, et multis donis vehementer
intercessit. Tune senex amator perculsus miserecordia, tot precibus, tot
lachrymis, et tot donis, conjugali amplexu submisit. Multum ille
jactatus est, sed debilis et effoetus senectute, frustra jactatus est.
Maritus interdum stans juxta guadit multum honore, et ejus dignitati sic
conservata. Unus nostrum sodalium multum alacrior et potentior
juventute, hac nocte honorem quartour maritorum custodivit.

Sunday 6. A clear cold morning with high wind: we caught in a trap a
large gray wolf, and last night obtained in the same way a fox who had
for some time infested the neighbourhood of the fort. Only a few Indians
visited us to-day.

Monday 7. The weather was again clear and cold with a high northwest
wind, and the thermometer at sunrise 22° below 0; the river fell an
inch. Shahaka the Big White chief dined with us, and gave a connected
sketch of the country as far as the mountains.

Tuesday 8. The wind was still from the northwest, the day cold, and we
received few Indians at the fort. Besides the buffaloe dance we have
just described, there is another called medicine dance, an entertainment
given by any person desirous of doing honour to his medicine or genius.
He announces, that on such a day he will sacrifice his horses, or other
property, and invites the young females of the village to assist in
rendering homage to his medicine; all the inhabitants may join in the
solemnity, which is performed in the open plain and by daylight, but the
dance is reserved for the virgins or at least the unmarried females, who
disdain the incumbrance or the ornament of dress. The feast is opened
by devoting the goods of the master of the feast to his medicine, which
is represented by a head of the animal itself, or by a medicine bag if
the deity be an invisible being. The young women then begin the dance,
in the intervals of which each will prostrate herself before the
assembly to challenge or reward the boldness of the youth, who are often
tempted by feeling or the hopes of distinction to achieve the adventure.

Wednesday 9. The weather is cold, the thermometer at sunrise 21° below
0. Kagohami breakfasted with us, and captain Clarke with three or four
men accompanied him and a party of Indians to hunt, in which they were
so fortunate as to kill a number of buffaloe: but they were incommoded
by snow, by high and squally winds, and by extreme cold; several of the
Indians came to the fort nearly frozen, others are missing, and we are
uneasy, for one of our men who was separated from the rest during the
chase has not returned: In the morning,

Thursday 10, however, he came back just as we were sending out five men
in search of him. The night had been excessively cold, and this morning
at sunrise the mercury stood at 40° below 0, or 72 below the freezing
point. He had however, made a fire and kept himself tolerably warm. A
young Indian, about thirteen years of age, also came in soon after. His
father who came last night to inquire after him very anxiously, had sent
him in the afternoon to the fort: he was overtaken by the night, and was
obliged to sleep on the snow with no covering except a pair of antelope
skin moccasins and leggings and a buffaloe robe: his feet being frozen
we put them into cold water, and gave him every attention in our power.
About the same time an Indian who had also been missing returned to the
fort, and although his dress was very thin, and he had slept on the snow
without a fire, he had not suffered the slightest inconvenience. We have
indeed observed that these Indians support the rigours of the season in
a way which we had hitherto thought impossible. A more pleasing
reflection occurred at seeing the warm interest which the situation of
these two persons had excited in the village, the boy had been a
prisoner and adopted from charity, yet the distress of the father proved
that he felt for him the tenderest affection, the man was a person of no
distinction, yet the whole village was full of anxiety for his safety
and when they came to us, borrowed a sleigh to bring them home with
ease, if they survived, or to carry their bodies if they had perished.

Friday 11. We despatched three hunters to join the same number whom we
had sent below about seven miles to hunt elk. Like that of yesterday the
weather to-day was cold and clear, the thermometer standing at 38° below
0. Poscopsahe and Shotahawrora visited us, and past the night at the

Saturday 12. The weather continues very cold, the mercury at sunrise
being 20° below 0. Three of the hunters returned, having killed three

Sunday 13. We have a continuation of clear weather, and the cold has
increased, the mercury having sunk to 34° below 0. Nearly one half of
the Mandan nation passed down the river to hunt for several days; in
these excursions men, women and children, with their dogs, all leave the
village together, and after discovering a spot convenient for the game,
fix their tents; all the family bear their part in the labour, and the
game is equally divided among the families of the tribe. When a single
hunter returns from the chase with more than is necessary for his own
immediate consumption, the neighbours are entitled by custom to a share
of it: they do not however ask for it, but send a squaw, who without
saying any thing, sits down by the door of the lodge till the master
understands the hint, and gives her gratuitously a part for her family.
Chaboneau who with one man had gone to some lodges of Minnetarees near
the Turtle mountain, returned with their faces much frostbitten. They
had been about ninety miles distant, and procured from the inhabitants
some meat and grease, with which they loaded the horses. He informs us
that the agent of the Hudson bay company at that place, had been
endeavouring to make unfavourable impressions with regard to us on the
mind of the great chief, and that the N.W. company intend building a
fort there. The great chief had in consequence spoken slightly of the
Americans, but said that if we would give him our great flag he would
come and see us.

Monday 14. The Mandans continue to pass down the river on their hunting
party, and were joined by six of our men. One of those sent on Thursday
returned, with information that one of his companions had his feet so
badly frostbitten that he could not walk home. In their excursion they
had killed a buffaloe, a wolf, two porcupines and a white hare. The
weather was more moderate to-day, the mercury being at 16° below 0, and
the wind from the S.E. we had however some snow, after which it remained

Tuesday 15. The morning is much warmer than yesterday, and the snow
begins to melt, though the wind after being for some time from the S.E.
suddenly shifted to N.W. Between twelve and three o'clock A.M. there was
a total eclipse of the moon, from which we obtained a part of the
observation necessary for ascertaining the longitude.

We were visited by four of the most distinguished men of the
Minnetarees, to whom we showed marked attentions, as we knew that they
had been taught to entertain strong prejudices against us; these we
succeeded so well in removing, that when in the morning,

Wednesday 16, about thirty Mandans, among whom six were chiefs came to
see us, the Minnetarees reproached them with their falsehoods, declaring
that they were bad men and ought to hide themselves. They had told the
Minnetarees that we would kill them if they came to the fort, yet on the
contrary they had spent a night there and been treated with kindness by
the whites, who had smoked with them and danced for their amusement.
Kagohami visited us and brought us a little corn, and soon afterwards
one of the first war chiefs of the Minnetarees came accompanied by his
squaw, a handsome woman, whom he was desirous we should use during the
night. He favoured us with a more acceptable present, a draft of the
Missouri in his manner, and informed us of his intention to go to war in
the spring against the Snake Indians; we advised him to reflect
seriously before he committed the peace of his nation to the hazards of
war; to look back on the numerous nations whom war has destroyed, that
if he wished his nation to be happy he should cultivate peace and
intercourse with all his neighbours, by which means they would procure
more horses, increase in numbers, and that if he went to war he would
displease his great father the president, and forfeit his protection. We
added that we had spoken thus to all the tribes whom we had met, that
they had all opened their ears, and that the president would compel
those who did not voluntarily listen to his advice. Although a young man
of only twenty-six years of age, this discourse seemed to strike him. He
observed that if it would be displeasing to us he would not go to war,
since he had horses enough, and that he would advise all the nation to
remain at home, until we had seen the Snake Indians, and discovered
whether their intentions were pacific. The party who went down with the
horses for the man who was frostbitten returned, and we are glad to find
his complaint not serious.

Thursday 17. The day was very windy from the north; the morning clear
and cold, the thermometer at sunrise being at 0: we had several Indians
with us.

Friday 18. The weather is fine and moderate. Messrs. Laroche and
M'Kenzie, two of the N.W. company's traders, visited us with some of the
Minnetarees. In the afternoon two of our hunters returned, having killed
four wolves and a blaireau.

Saturday 19. Another cloudy day. The two traders set out on their
return, and we sent two men with the horses thirty miles below to the
hunting camp.

Sunday 20. The day fair and cold. A number of Indians visit us with corn
to exchange for articles, and to pay for repairs to their household

Monday 21. The weather was fine and moderate. The hunters all returned,
having killed during their absence three elk, four deer, two porcupines,
a fox and a hare.

Tuesday 22. The cold having moderated and the day pleasant, we attempted
to cut the boats out of the ice, but at the distance of eight inches
came to water, under which the ice became three feet thick, so that we
were obliged to desist.

Wednesday 23. The cold weather returned, the mercury having sunk 2°
below 0, and the snow fell four inches deep.

Thursday 24. The day was colder than any we have had lately, the
thermometer being at 12° below 0. The hunters whom we sent out returned
unsuccessful, and the rest were occupied in cutting wood to make

Friday 25. The thermometer was at 25° below 0, the Wind from N.W. and
the day fair, so that the men were employed in preparing coal, and
cutting the boats out of the ice. A band of Assiniboins headed by their
chief, called by the French, Son of the Little Calf, have arrived at the

Saturday 26. A fine warm day: a number of Indians dine with us: and one
of our men is attacked with a violent pleurisy.

Sunday 27. Another warm and pleasant day: we again attempted to get the
boat out of the ice. The man who has the pleurisy was blooded and
sweated, and we were forced to take off the toes of the young Indian who
was frostbitten some time since. Our interpreter returned from the
villages, bringing with him three of Mr. Laroche's horses which he had
sent in order to keep them out of the way of the Assiniboins, who are
very much disposed to steal, and who have just returned to their camp.

Monday 28. The weather to-day is clear and cold: we are obliged to
abandon the plan of cutting the boat through the ice, and therefore made
another attempt the next day,

Tuesday 29, by heating a quantity of stones so as to warm the water in
the boat, and thaw the surrounding ice: but in this too we were
disappointed, as all the stones on being put into the fire cracked into
pieces: the weather warm and pleasant: the man with the pleurisy is

Wednesday 30. The morning was fair, but afterwards became cloudy. Mr.
Laroche the trader from the northwest company paid us a visit, in hopes
of being able to accompany us on our journey westward, but this proposal
we thought it best to decline.

Thursday 31. It snowed last night, and the morning is cold and
disagreeable, with a high wind from the northwest: we sent five hunters
down the river. Another man is taken with the pleurisy.

Friday, February 1. A cold windy day: our hunters returned having killed
only one deer. One of the Minnetaree war chiefs, a young man named
Maubuksheahokeah or Seeing Snake, came to see us and procure a war
hatchet: he also requested that we would suffer him to go to war against
the Sioux and Ricaras who had killed a Mandan some time ago: this we
refused for reasons which we explained to him. He acknowledged that we
were right, and promised to open his ears to our counsels.

Saturday 2. The day is fine: another deer was killed. Mr. Laroche who
has been very anxious to go with us left the fort to-day, and one of the
squaws of the Minnetaree interpreter is taken ill.

Sunday 3. The weather is again pleasant: disappointed in all our efforts
to get the boats free, we occupied ourselves in making iron spikes so as
to prize them up by means of long poles.

Monday 4. The morning fair and cold, the mercury at sunrise being 18°
below 0, and the wind from the northwest. The stock of meat which we
had procured in November and December being now nearly exhausted, it
became necessary to renew our supply; captain Clarke therefore took
eighteen men, and with two sleighs and three horses descended the river
for the purpose of hunting, as the buffaloe has disappeared from our
neighbourhood, and the Indians are themselves suffering for want of
meat. Two deer were killed to-day but they were very lean.

Tuesday 5. A pleasant fair morning with the wind from northwest: a
number of the Indians come with corn for the blacksmith, who being now
provided with coal has become one of our greatest resources for
procuring grain. They seem particularly attached to a battle axe, of a
very inconvenient figure: it is made wholly of iron, the blade extremely
thin, and from seven to nine inches long; it is sharp at the point and
five or six inches on each side, whence they converge towards the eye,
which is circular and about an inch in diameter, the blade itself being
not more than an inch wide, the handle is straight, and twelve or
fifteen inches long; the whole weighing about a pound. By way of
ornament, the blade is perforated with several circular holes. The
length of the blade compared with the shortness of the handle render it
a weapon of very little strength, particularly as it is always used on
horseback: there is still however another form which is even worse, the
same sort of handle being fixed to a blade resembling an espontoon.

Wednesday, February 6. The morning was fair and pleasant, the wind N.W.
A number of Indian chiefs visited us and withdrew after we had smoked
with them contrary to their custom, for after being once introduced into
our apartment they are fond of lounging about during the remainder of
the day. One of the men killed three antelopes. Our blacksmith has his
time completely occupied, so great is the demand for utensils of
different kinds. The Indians are particularly fond of sheet iron, out of
which they form points for arrows and instruments for scraping hides,
and when the blacksmith cut up an old cambouse of that metal, we
obtained for every piece of four inches square seven or eight gallons of
corn from the Indians, who were delighted at the exchange.

Thursday 7. The morning was fair and much warmer than for some days, the
thermometer being at 18° above 0, and the wind from the S.E. A number of
Indians continue to visit us; but learning that the interpreter's squaws
had been accustomed to unbar the gate during the night, we ordered a
lock put on it, and that no Indian should remain in the fort all night,
nor any person admitted during the hours when the gate is closed, that
is from sunset to sunrise.

Friday 8. A fair pleasant morning, with S.E. winds. Pocopsahe came down
to the fort with a bow, and apologized for his not having finished a
shield which he had promised captain Lewis, and which the weather had
prevented him from completing. This chief possesses more firmness,
intelligence, and integrity, than any Indian of this country, and he
might be rendered highly serviceable in our attempts to civilize the
nation. He mentioned that the Mandans are very much in want of meat, and
that he himself had not tasted any for several days. To this distress
they are often reduced by their own improvidence, or by their unhappy
situation. Their principal article of food is buffaloe-meat, their corn,
beans, and other grain being reserved for summer, or as a last resource
against what they constantly dread, an attack from the Sioux, who drive
off the game and confine them to their villages. The same fear too
prevents their going out to hunt in small parties to relieve their
occasional wants, so that the buffaloe is generally obtained in large
quantities and wasted by carelessness.

Saturday 9. The morning was fair and pleasant, the wind from the S.E.
Mr. M'Kenzie from the N.W. company establishment visited us.

Sunday 10. A slight snow fell in the course of the night, the morning
was cloudy, and the northwest wind blew so high that although the
thermometer was 18° above 0, the day was cooler than yesterday, when it
was only 10° above the same point. Mr. M'Kenzie left us, and Chaboneau
returned with information that our horses loaded with meat were below,
but could not cross the ice not being shod.

Monday 11. We sent down a party with sleds, to relieve the horses from
their loads; the weather fair and cold, with a N.W. wind. About five
o'clock one of the wives of Chaboneau was delivered of a boy; this being
her first child she was suffering considerable, when Mr. Jessaume told
captain Lewis that he had frequently administered to persons in her
situation, a small dose of the rattle of the rattlesnake which had never
failed to hasten the delivery. Having some of the rattle, captain Lewis
gave it to Mr. Jessaume who crumbled two of the rings of it between his
fingers, and mixing it with a small quantity of water gave it to her.
What effect it may really have had it might be difficult to determine,
but captain Lewis was informed that she had not taken it more than ten
minutes before the delivery took place.

Tuesday 12. The morning is fair though cold, the mercury being 14° below
the wind from the S.E. About four o'clock the horses were brought in
much fatigued; on giving them meal bran moistened with water they would
not eat it, but preferred the bark of the cottonwood, which as is
already observed forms their principal food during the winter. The
horses of the Mandans are so often stolen by the Sioux, Ricaras, and
Assiniboins, that the invariable rule now is to put the horses every
night in the same lodge with the family. In the summer they ramble in
the plains in the vicinity of the camp, and feed on the grass, but
during cold weather the squaws cut down the cottonwood trees as they are
wanted, and the horses feed on the boughs and bark of the tender
branches, which are also brought into the lodges at night and placed
near them. These animals are very severely treated; for whole days they
are pursuing the buffaloe, or burdened with the fruits of the chase,
during which they scarcely ever taste food, and at night return to a
scanty allowance of wood; yet the spirit of this valuable animal
sustains him through all these difficulties, and he is rarely deficient
either in flesh or vigour.

Wednesday 13. The morning was cloudy, the thermometer at 2° below 0, the
wind from the southeast. Captain Clarke returned last evening with all
his hunting party: during their excursion they had killed forty deer,
three buffaloe, and sixteen elk; but most of the game was too lean for
use, and the wolves, who regard whatever lies out at night as their own,
had appropriated a large part of it: when he left the fort on the 4th
instant, he descended on the ice twenty-two miles to New Mandan island,
near some of their old villages, and encamped, having killed nothing,
and therefore without food for the night.

Early on the 5th, the hunters went out and killed two buffaloe and a
deer, but the last only could be used, the others being too lean. After
breakfast they proceeded down to an Indian lodge and hunted during the
day: the next morning, 6th, they encamped forty-four miles from the fort
on a sand point near the mouth of a creek on the southwest side, which
they call Hunting creek, and during this and the following day hunted
through all the adjoining plains, with much success, having killed a
number of deer and elk. On the 8th, the best of the meat was sent with
the horses to the fort, and such parts of the remainder as were fit for
use were brought to a point of the river three miles below, and after
the bones were taken out, secured in pens built of logs, so as to keep
off the wolves, ravens and magpies, who are very numerous and constantly
disappoint the hunter of his prey: they then went to the low grounds
near the Chisshetaw river where they encamped, but saw nothing except
some wolves on the hills, and a number of buffaloe too poor to be worth
hunting. The next morning 9th, as there was no game and it would have
been inconvenient to send it back sixty miles to the fort, they returned
up the river, and for three days hunted along the banks and plains, and
reached the fort in the evening of the twelfth much fatigued, having
walked thirty miles that day on the ice and through the snow in many
places knee deep, the moccasins too being nearly worn out: the only game
which they saw besides what is mentioned, was some growse on the
sandbars in the river.

Thursday 14. Last night the snow fell three inches deep; the day was,
however, fine. Four men were despatched with sleds and three horses to
bring up the meat which had been collected by the hunters. They returned
however, with intelligence that about twenty-one miles below the fort a
party of upwards of one hundred men, whom they supposed to be Sioux,
rushed on them, cut the traces of the sleds, and carried off two of the
horses, the third being given up by intercession of an Indian who seemed
to possess some authority over them; they also took away two of the
men's knifes, and a tomahawk, which last however they returned. We sent
up to the Mandans to inform them of it, and to know whether any of them
would join a party which intended to pursue the robbers in the morning.
About twelve o'clock two of their chiefs came down and said that all
their young men were out hunting, and that there were few guns in the
village. Several Indians however, armed some with bows and arrows, some
with spears and battle-axes, and two with fusils, accompanied captain
Lewis, who set out,

Friday 15, at sunrise with twenty-four men. The morning was fine and
cool, the thermometer being at 16° below 0. In the course of the day one
of the Mandan chiefs returned from captain Lewis's party, his eye-sight
having become so bad that he could not proceed. At this season of the
year the reflexion from the ice and snow is so intense as to occasion
almost total blindness. This complaint is very common, and the general
remedy is to sweat the part affected by holding the face over a hot
stone, and receiving the fumes from snow thrown on it. A large red fox
was killed to-day.

Saturday 16. The morning was warm, mercury at 32° above 0, the weather
cloudy: several of the Indians who went with captain Lewis returned, as
did also one of our men, whose feet had been frostbitten.

Sunday 17. The weather continued as yesterday, though in the afternoon
it became fair. Shotawhorora and his son came to see us, with about
thirty pounds of dried buffaloe meat and some tallow.

Monday 18. The morning was cloudy with some snow, but in the latter part
of the day it cleared up. Mr. M'Kenzie who had spent yesterday at the
fort now left us. Our stock of meat is exhausted, so that we must
confine ourselves to vegetable diet, at least till the return of the
party: for this, however, we are at no loss, since both on this and the
following day,

Tuesday 19, our blacksmith got large quantities of corn from the Indians
who came in great numbers to see us. The weather was fair and warm, the
wind from the south.

Wednesday, 20th. The day was delightfully fine; the mercury being at
sunrise 2° and in the course of the day 22° above 0, the wind southerly.
Kagohami came down to see us early: his village is afflicted by the
death of one of their eldest men, who from his account to us must have
seen one hundred and twenty winters. Just as he was dying, he requested
his grandchildren to dress him in his best robe when he was dead, and
then carry him on a hill and seat him on a stone, with his face down the
river towards their old villages, that he might go straight to his
brother who had passed before him to the ancient village under ground.
We have seen a number of Mandans who have lived to a great age; chiefly
however the men, whose robust exercises fortify the body, while the
laborious occupations of the women shorten their existence.

Thursday 21. We had a continuation of the same pleasant weather. Oheenaw
and Shahaka came down to see us, and mentioned that several of their
countrymen had gone to consult their medicine stone as to the prospects
of the following year. This medicine stone is the great oracle of the
Mandans, and whatever it announces is believed with implicit confidence.
Every spring, and on some occasions during the summer, a deputation
visits the sacred spot, where there is a thick porous stone twenty-feet
in circumference, with a smooth surface. Having reached the place the
ceremony of smoking to it is performed by the deputies, who alternately
take a whiff themselves and then present the pipe to the stone; after
this they retire to an adjoining wood for the night, during which it may
be safely presumed that all the embassy do not sleep; and in the morning
they read the destinies of the nation in the white marks on the stone,
which those who made them are at no loss to decypher. The Minnetarees
have a stone of a similar kind, which has the same qualities and the
same influence over the nation. Captain Lewis returned from his
excursion in pursuit of the Indians. On reaching the place where the
Sioux had stolen our horses, they found only one sled, and several pair
of moccasins which were recognised to be those of the Sioux. The party
then followed the Indian tracks till they reached two old lodges where
they slept, and the next morning pursued the course of the river till
they reached some Indian camps, where captain Clarke passed the night
some time ago, and which the Sioux had now set on fire, leaving a little
corn near the place in order to induce a belief that they were Ricaras.
From this point the Sioux tracks left the river abruptly and crossed
into the plains; but perceiving that there was no chance of overtaking
them, captain Lewis went down to the pen where captain Clarke had left
some meat, which he found untouched by the Indians, and then hunted in
the low grounds on the river, till he returned with about three thousand
pounds of meat, some drawn in a sled by fifteen of the men, and the rest
on horseback; having killed thirty-six deer, fourteen elk, and one wolf.

Friday, 22nd. The morning was cloudy and a little snow fell, but in the
afternoon the weather became fair. We were visited by a number of
Indians, among whom was Shotawhorora, a chief of much consideration
among the Mandan, although by birth a Ricara.

Saturday, 23d. The day is warm and pleasant. Having worked industriously
yesterday and all this morning we were enabled to disengage one of the
periogues and haul it on shore, and also nearly to cut out the second.
The father of the boy whose foot had been so badly frozen, and whom we
had now cured, came to-day and carried him home in a sleigh.

Sunday, 24th. The weather is again fine. We succeeded in loosening the
second periogue and barge, though we found a leak in the latter. The
whole of the next day,

Monday, 25th, we were occupied in drawing up the boats on the bank: the
smallest one we carried there with no difficulty, but the barge was too
heavy for our elk-skin ropes which constantly broke. We were visited by
Orupsehara, or Black Moccasin, and several other chiefs, who brought us
presents of meat on the backs of their squaws, and one of the
Minnetarees requested and obtained permission for himself and his two
wives to remain all night in the fort. The day was exceedingly pleasant.

Tuesday 26. The weather is again fine. By great labour during the day we
got all the boats on the bank by sunset, an operation which attracted a
great number of Indians to the fort.

Wednesday 27. The weather continues fine. All of us employed in
preparing tools to build boats for our voyage, as we find that small
periogues will be much more convenient than the barge in ascending the

Thursday 28. The day is clear and pleasant. Sixteen men were sent out to
examine the country for trees suitable for boats, and were successful in
finding them. Two of the N.W. company traders arrived with letters; they
had likewise a root which is used for the cure of persons bitten by mad
dogs, snakes, and other venomous animals: it is found on high grounds
and the sides of hills, and the mode of using it is to scarify the
wound, and apply to it an inch or more of the chewed or pounded root,
which is to be renewed twice a day; the patient must not however chew or
swallow any of the root, as an inward application might be rather
injurious than beneficial.

Mr. Gravelines with two Frenchmen and two Indians arrived from the
Ricara nation, with letters from Mr. Anthony Tabeau. This last gentleman
informs us that the Ricaras express their determination to follow our
advice, and to remain at peace with the Mandans and Minnetarees, whom
they are desirous of visiting; they also wish to know whether these
nations would permit the Ricaras to settle near them, and form a league
against their common enemies the Sioux. On mentioning this to the
Mandans they agreed to it, observing that they always desired to
cultivate friendship with the Ricaras, and that the Ahnahaways and
Minnetarees have the same friendly views.

Mr. Gravelines states that the band of Tetons whom we had seen was well
disposed to us, owing to the influence of their chief the Black
Buffaloe; but that the three upper bands of Tetons, with the Sisatoons,
and the Yanktons of the north, mean soon to attack the Indians in this
quarter, with a resolution to put to death every white man they
encounter. Moreover, that Mr. Cameron of St. Peter's has armed the Sioux
against the Chippeways, who have lately put to death three of his men.
The men who had stolen our horses we found to be all Sioux, who after
committing the outrage went to the Ricara villages, where they said that
they had hesitated about killing our men who were with the horses, but
that in future they would put to death any of us they could, as we were
bad medicines and deserved to be killed. The Ricaras were displeased at
their conduct and refused to give them any thing to eat, which is
deemed the greatest act of hostility short of actual violence.

Friday, March 1. The day is fine, and the whole party is engaged, some
in making ropes and periogues, others in burning coal, and making battle
axes to sell for corn.

Saturday 2. Mr. Laroche one of the N.W. company's traders has just
arrived with merchandise from the British establishments on the
Assiniboin. The day is fine, and the river begins to break up in some
places, the mercury being between 28° and 36° above 0, and the wind from
the N.E. We were visited by several Indians.

Sunday 3. The weather pleasant, the wind from the E. with clouds; in the
afternoon the clouds disappeared and the wind came from the N.W. The men
are all employed in preparing the boats; we are visited by Poscapsahe
and several other Indians with corn. A flock of ducks passed up the
river to-day.

Monday 4. A cloudy morning with N.W. wind, the latter part of the day
clear. We had again some Indian visitors with a small present of meat.
The Assiniboins, who a few days since visited the Mandans, returned, and
attempted to take horses from the Minnetarees, who fired on them; a
circumstance which may occasion some disturbance between the two

Tuesday 5. About four o'clock in the morning there was a slight fall of
snow, but the day became clear and pleasant with the mercury 40° above
0. We sent down an Indian and a Frenchman to the Ricara villages with a
letter to Mr. Tabeau.

Wednesday 6. The day was cloudy and smoky in consequence of the burning
of the plains by the Minnetarees; they have set all the neighbouring
country on fire in order to obtain an early crop of grass which may
answer for the consumption of their horses, and also as an inducement
for the buffaloe and other game to visit it. The horses stolen two days
ago by the Assiniboins have been returned to the Minnetarees. Ohhaw
second chief of the lower Minnetaree village came to see us. The river
rose a little and overran the ice, so as to render the crossing

Thursday, 7th. The day was somewhat cloudy, and colder than usual; the
wind from the northeast. Shotawhorora visited us with a sick child, to
whom some medicine was administered. There were also other Indians who
brought corn and dried buffaloe meat in exchange for blacksmith's work.

Friday 8. The day cold and fair with a high easterly wind: we were
visited by two Indians who gave us an account of the country and people
near the Rocky mountains where they had been.

Saturday 9. The morning cloudy and cool, the wind from the north. The
grand chief of the Minnetarees, who is called by the French Le Borgne,
from his having but one eye, came down for the first time to the fort.
He was received with much attention, two guns were fired in honour of
his arrival, the curiosities were exhibited to him, and as he said that
he had not received the presents which we had sent to him on his
arrival, we again gave him a flag, a medal, shirt, armbraces and the
usual presents on such occasions, with all which he was much pleased. In
the course of the conversation, the chief observed that some foolish
young men of his nation had told him there was a person among us who was
quite black, and he wished to know if it could be true. We assured him
that it was true, and sent for York: the Borgne was very much surprised
at his appearance, examined him closely, and spit on his finger and
rubbed the skin in order to wash off the paint; nor was it until the
negro uncovered his head, and showed his short hair, that the Borgne
could be persuaded that he was not a painted white man.

Sunday 10. A cold windy day. Tetuckopinreha, chief of the Ahnahaways,
and the Minnetaree chief Ompsehara, passed the day with us, and the
former remained during the night. We had occasion to see an instance of
the summary justice of the Indians: a young Minnetaree had carried off
the daughter of Cagonomokshe, the Raven Man, second chief of the upper
village of the Mandans; the father went to the village and found his
daughter, whom he brought home, and took with him a horse belonging to
the offender: this reprisal satisfied the vengeance of the father and of
the nation, as the young man would not dare to reclaim his horse, which
from that time became the property of the injured party. The stealing of
young women is one of the most common offenses against the police of the
village, and the punishment of it always measured by the power or the
passions of the kindred of the female. A voluntary elopement is of
course more rigorously chastised. One of the wives of the Borgne
deserted him in favour of a man who had been her lover before the
marriage, and who after some time left her, and she was obliged to
return to her father's house. As soon as he heard it the Borgne walked
there and found her sitting near the fire: without noticing his wife, he
began to smoke with the father; when they were joined by the old men of
the village, who knowing his temper had followed in hopes of appeasing
him. He continued to smoke quietly with them, till rising to return, he
took his wife by the hair, led her as far as the door, and with a single
stroke of his tomahawk put her to death before her father's eyes: then
turning fiercely upon the spectators, he said that if any of her
relations wished to avenge her, they might always find him at his lodge;
but the fate of the woman had not sufficient interest to excite the
vengeance of the family. The caprice or the generosity of the same chief
gave a very different result to a similar incident which occurred some
time afterwards. Another of his wives eloped with a young man, who not
being able to support her as she wished they both returned to the
village, and she presented herself before the husband, supplicating his
pardon for her conduct: the Borgne sent for the lover: at the moment
when the youth expected that he would be put to death, the chief mildly
asked them if they still preserved their affection for each other; and
on their declaring that want, and not a change of affection had induced
them to return, he gave up his wife to her lover, with the liberal
present of three horses, and restored them both to his favour.

Monday 11. The weather was cloudy in the morning and a little snow fell,
the wind then shifted from southeast to northwest and the day became
fair. It snowed again in the evening, but the next day,

Tuesday 12, was fair with the wind from the northwest.

Wednesday 13. We had a fine day, and a southwest wind. Mr. M'Kenzie came
to see us, as did also many Indians who are so anxious for battle-axes
that our smiths have not a moment's leisure, and procure us an abundance
of corn. The river rose a little to-day, and so continued.

Thursday 14. The wind being from the west, and the day fine, the whole
party were employed in building boats and in shelling corn.

Friday 15. The day is clear, pleasant and warm. We take advantage of the
fine weather to hang all our Indian presents and other articles out to
dry before our departure.

Saturday 16. The weather is cloudy, the wind from the southeast. A Mr.
Garrow, a Frenchman who has resided a long time among the Ricaras and
Mandans, explained to us the mode in which they make their large beads,
an art which they are said to have derived from some prisoners of the
Snake Indian nation, and the knowledge of which is a secret even now
confined to a few among the Mandans and Ricaras: the process is as
follows: glass of different colours is first pounded fine and washed,
till each kind, which is kept separate, ceases to stain the water thrown
over it: some well seasoned clay, mixed with a sufficient quantity of
sand to prevent its becoming very hard when exposed to heat, and reduced
by water to the consistency of dough, is then rolled on the palm of the
hand, till it becomes of the thickness wanted for the hole in the bead;
these sticks of clay are placed upright, each on a little pedestal or
ball of the same material about an ounce in weight, and distributed over
a small earthen platter, which is laid on the fire for a few minutes,
when they are taken off to cool: with a little paddle or shovel three or
four inches long and sharpened at the end of the handle, the wet pounded
glass is placed in the palm of the hand: the beads are made of an oblong
form wrapped in a cylindrical form round the stick of clay which is
laid crosswise over it, and gently rolled backwards and forwards till
it becomes perfectly smooth. If it be desired to introduce any other
colour, the surface of the bead is perforated with the pointed end of
the paddle and the cavity filled with pounded glass of that colour: the
sticks with the string of beads are then replaced on their pedestals,
and the platter deposited on burning coals or hot embers: over the
platter an earthern pot containing about three gallons, with a mouth
large enough to cover the platter, is reversed, being completely closed
except a small aperture at the top, through which are watched the bead:
a quantity of old dried wood formed into a sort of dough or paste is
placed round the pot so as almost to cover it, and afterwards set on
fire: the manufacturer then looks through the small hole in the pot,
till he sees the beads assume a deep red colour, to which succeeds a
paler or whitish red, or they become pointed at the upper extremity; on
which the fire is removed and the pot suffered to cool gradually: at
length it is removed, the beads taken out, the clay in the hollow of
them picked out with an awl or needle, and it is then fit for use. The
beads thus formed are in great demand among the Indians, and used as
pendants to their ears and hair, and are sometimes worn round the neck.

Sunday 17. A windy but clear and pleasant day, the river rising a little
and open in several places. Our Minnetaree interpreter Chaboneau, whom
we intended taking with us to the Pacific, had some days ago been worked
upon by the British traders, and appeared unwilling to accompany us,
except on certain terms; such as his not being subject to our orders,
and do duty, or to return whenever he chose. As we saw clearly the
source of his hesitation, and knew that it was intended as an obstacle
to our views, we told him that the terms were inadmissible, and that we
could dispense with his services: he had accordingly left us with some
displeasure. Since then he had made an advance towards joining us, which
we showed no anxiety to meet; but this morning he sent an apology for
his improper conduct, and agreed to go with us and perform the same
duties as the rest of the corps; we therefore took him again into our

Monday 18. The weather was cold and cloudy, the wind from the north. We
were engaged in packing up the goods into eight divisions, so as to
preserve a portion of each in case of accident. We hear that the Sioux
have lately attacked a party of Assiniboins and Knistenaux, near the
Assiniboin river, and killed fifty of them.

Tuesday 19. Some snow fell last night, and this morning was cold, windy,
and cloudy. Shahaka and Kagohami came down to see us, as did another
Indian with a sick child, to whom we gave some medicine. There appears
to be an approaching war, as two parties have already gone from the
Minnetarees, and a third is preparing.

Wednesday 20. The morning was cold and cloudy, the wind high from the
north, but the afternoon was pleasant. The canoes being finished, four
of them were carried down to the river, at the distance of a mile and a
half from where they were constructed.

Thursday 20. The remaining periogues were hauled to the same place, and
all the men except three, who were left to watch them returned to the
fort. On his way down, which was about six miles, captain Clarke passed
along the points of the high hills, where he saw large quantities of
pumicestone on the foot, sides and tops of the hills, which had every
appearance of having been at some period on fire. He collected specimens
of the stone itself, the pumicestone, and the hard earth; and on being
put into the furnace the hard earth melted and glazed, the pumicestone
melted, and the hardstone became a pumicestone glazed.

                               CHAPTER VII.

     Indian method of attacking the buffaloe on the ice--An enumeration
     of the presents sent to the president of the United States--The
     party are visited by a Ricara chief--They leave their encampment,
     and proceed on their journey--description of the Little
     Missouri--Some account of the Assiniboins--Their mode of burying
     the dead--Whiteearth river described--Great quantity of salt
     discovered on its banks--Yellowstone river described--A particular
     account of the country at the confluence of the Yellowstone and
     Missouri--Description of the Missouri, the surrounding country, and
     of the rivers, creeks, islands, &c.

Friday 22. This was a clear pleasant day, with the wind from the S.S.W.
We were visited by the second chief of the Minnetarees, to whom we gave
a medal and some presents, accompanied by a speech. Mr. M'Kenzie and Mr.
Laroche also came to see us. They all took their leave next day.

Saturday 23. Soon after their departure, a brother of the Borgne with
other Indians came to the fort. The weather was fine, but in the evening
we had the first rain that has fallen during the winter.

Sunday 24. The morning cloudy, but the afternoon fair, the wind from the
N.E. We are employed in preparing for our journey. This evening swans
and wild geese flew towards the N.E.

Monday 25. A fine day, the wind S.W. The river rose nine inches, and the
ice began breaking away in several places, so as to endanger our canoes
which we are hauling down to the fort.

Tuesday 26. The river rose only half an inch, and being choaked up with
ice near the fort, did not begin to run till towards evening. This day
is clear and pleasant.

Wednesday 27. The wind is still high from the S.W.: the ice which is
ocasionally stopped for a few hours is then thrown over shallow
sandbars when the river runs. We had all our canoes brought down, and
were obliged to cauk and pitch very attentively the cracks so common in

Thursday 28. The day is fair. Some obstacle above has prevented the ice
from running. Our canoes are now nearly ready, and we expect to set out
as soon as the river is sufficiently clear to permit us to pass.

Friday 29. The weather clear, and the wind from N.W. The obstruction
above gave way this morning, and the ice came down in great quantities;
the river having fallen eleven inches in the course of the last
twenty-four hours. We have had few Indians at the fort for the last
three or four days, as they are now busy in catching the floating
buffaloe. Every spring as the river is breaking up the surrounding
plains are set on fire, and the buffaloe tempted to cross the river in
search of the fresh grass which immediately succeeds to the burning: on
their way they are often insulated on a large cake or mass of ice, which
floats down the river: the Indians now select the most favourable points
for attack, and as the buffaloe approaches dart with astonishing agility
across the trembling ice, sometimes pressing lightly a cake of not more
than two feet square: the animal is of course unsteady, and his
footsteps insecure on this new element, so that he can make but little
resistance, and the hunter, who has given him his death wound, paddles
his icy boat to the shore and secures his prey.

Saturday 30. The day was clear and pleasant, the wind N.W. and the ice
running in great quantities. All our Indian presents were again exposed
to the air, and the barge made ready to descend the Missouri.

Monday 31. Early this morning it rained, and the weather continued
cloudy during the day; the river rose nine inches, the ice not running
so much as yesterday. Several flocks of geese and ducks fly up the

Monday, April 1, 1805. This morning there was a thunder storm,
accompanied with large hail, to which succeeded rain for about half an
hour. We availed ourselves of this interval to get all the boats in the
water. At four o'clock P.M. it began to rain a second time, and
continued till twelve at night. With the exception of a few drops at two
or three different times, this is the first rain we have had since the
15th of October last.

Tuesday 2. The wind was high last night and this morning from N.W. and
the weather continued cloudy. The Mandans killed yesterday twenty-one
elk, about fifteen miles below, but they were so poor as to be scarcely
fit for use.

Wednesday 3. The weather is pleasant, though there was a white frost and
some ice on the edge of the water. We were all engaged in packing up our
baggage and merchandize.

Thursday 4. The day is clear and pleasant, though the wind is high from
N.W. We now packed up in different boxes a variety of articles for the
president, which we shall send in the barge. They consisted of a stuffed
male and female antelope with their skeletons, a weasel, three squirrels
from the Rocky mountains, the skeleton of the prairie wolf, those of the
white and gray hare, a male and female blaireau, or burrowing dog of the
prairie, with a skeleton of the female, two burrowing squirrels, a white
weasel, and the skin of the louservia, the horns of the mountain ram, or
big-horn, a pair of large elk horns, the horns and tail of the
black-tailed deer, and a variety of skins, such as those of the red fox,
white hare, martin, yellow bear obtained from the Sioux; also, a number
of articles of Indian dress, among which was a buffaloe robe,
representing a battle fought about eight years since between the Sioux
and Ricaras against the Mandans and Minnetarees, in which the combatants
are represented on horseback. It has of late years excited much
discussion to ascertain the period when the art of painting was first
discovered: how hopeless all researches of this kind are, is evident
from the foregoing fact. It is indebted for its origin to one of the
strongest passions of the human heart; a wish to preserve the features
of a departed friend, or the memory of some glorious exploit: this
inherits equally the bosoms of all men either civilized or savage. Such
sketches, rude and imperfect as they are, delineate the predominant
character of the savage nations. If they are peaceable and inoffensive,
the drawings usually consist of local scenery, and their favourite
diversions. If the band are rude and ferocious, we observe tomahawks,
scalpingknives, bows, arrows, and all the engines of destruction. A
Mandan bow and quiver of arrows; also some Ricara tobacco-seed and an
ear of Mandan corn; to these were added a box of plants, another of
insects, and three cases containing a burrowing squirrel; a prairie hen,
and four magpies, all alive.

Friday, 5th. Fair and pleasant, but the wind high from the northwest: we
were visited by a number of Mandans, and are occupied in loading our
boats in order to proceed on our journey.

Saturday, 6th. Another fine day with a gentle breeze from the south. The
Mandans continue to come to the fort; and in the course of the day
informed us of the arrival of a party of Ricaras on the other side of
the river. We sent our interpreter to inquire into their reason for
coming; and in the morning,

Sunday, 7th, he returned with a Ricara chief and three of his nation.
The chief, whose name is Kagohweto, or Brave Raven, brought a letter
from Mr. Tabeau, mentioning the wish of the grand chiefs of the Ricaras
to visit the president, and requesting permission for himself and four
men to join our boat when it descends; to which we consented, as it will
then be manned with fifteen hands and be able to defend itself against
the Sioux. After presenting the letter, he told us that he was sent with
ten warriors by his nation to arrange their settling near the Mandans
and Minnetarees, whom they wished to join; that he considered all the
neighboring nations friendly except the Sioux, whose persecution they
would no longer withstand, and whom they hoped to repel by uniting with
the tribes in this quarter: he added that the Ricaras intended to follow
our advice and live in peace with all nations, and requested that we
would speak in their favour to the Assiniboin Indians. This we willingly
promised to do, and assured them that their great father would protect
them and no longer suffer the Sioux to have good guns, or to injure his
dutiful children. We then gave him a small medal, a certificate of his
good conduct, a carrot of tobacco, and some wampum, with which he
departed for the Mandan village well satisfied with his reception.
Having made all our arrangements, we left the fort about five o'clock in
the afternoon. The party now consisted of thirty-two persons. Besides
ourselves were serjeants John Ordway, Nathaniel Pryor, and Patrick Gass:
the privates were William Bratton, John Colter, John Collins, Peter
Cruzatte, Robert Frazier, Reuben Fields, Joseph Fields, George Gibson,
Silas Goodrich, Hugh Hall, Thomas P. Howard, Baptiste Lapage, Francis
Labiche, Hugh M'Neal, John Potts, John Shields, George Shannon, John B.
Thompson, William Werner, Alexander Willard, Richard Windsor, Joseph
Whitehouse, Peter Wiser, and captain Clarke's black servant York. The
two interpreters, were George Drewyer and Toussaint Chaboneau. The wife
of Chaboneau also accompanied us with her young child, and we hope may
be useful as an interpreter among the Snake Indians. She was herself one
of that tribe, but having been taken in war by the Minnetarees, by whom
she was sold as a slave to Chaboneau, who brought her up and afterwards
married her. One of the Mandans likewise embarked with us, in order to
go to the Snake Indians and obtain a peace with them for his countrymen.
All this party with the baggage was stowed in six small canoes and two
large periogues. We left the fort with fair pleasant weather though the
northwest wind was high, and after making about four miles encamped on
the north side of the Missouri, nearly opposite the first Mandan
village. At the same time that we took our departure, our barge manned
with seven soldiers, two Frenchmen, and Mr. Gravelines as pilot, sailed
for the United States loaded with our presents and despatches.

Monday, 8th. The day was clear and cool, the wind from the northwest, so
that we travelled slowly. After breakfasting at the second Mandan
village we passed the Mahaha at the mouth of Knife river, a handsome
stream about eighty yards wide. Beyond this we reached the island which
captain Clarke had visited on the 30th October. This island has timber
as well as the lowlands on the north, but its distance from the water
had prevented our encamping there during the winter. From the head of
this island we made three and a half miles to a point of wood on the
north, passing a high bluff on the south, and having come about fourteen
miles. In the course of the day one of our boats filled and was near
sinking; we however saved her with the loss of a little biscuit and

Tuesday, April 9. We set off as soon as it was light, and proceeded five
miles to breakfast, passing a low ground on the south, covered with
groves of cottonwood timber. At the distance of six miles, we reached on
the north a hunting camp of Minnetarees consisting of thirty lodges, and
built in the usual form of earth and timber. Two miles and a quarter
farther, comes in on the same side Miry creek, a small stream about ten
yards wide, which, rising in some lakes near the Mouse river, passes
through beautiful level fertile plains without timber in a direction
nearly southwest; the banks near its entrance being steep, and rugged on
both sides of the Missouri. Three miles above this creek we came to a
hunting party of Minnetarees, who had prepared a park or inclosure and
were waiting the return of the antelope: this animal, which in the
autumn retires for food and shelter to the Black mountains during the
winter, recross the river at this season of the year, and spread
themselves through the plains on the north of the Missouri. We halted
and smoked a short time with them, and then proceeded on through
handsome plains on each side of the river, and encamped at the distance
of twenty-three and a half miles on the north side: the day was clear
and pleasant, the wind high from the south, but afterwards changed to a
western steady breeze. The bluffs which we passed to-day are upwards of
one hundred feet high, composed of a mixture of yellow clay and sand,
with many horizontal strata of carbonated wood resembling pit-coal, from
one to five feet in depth, and scattered through the bluff at different
elevations, some as high as eighty feet above the water: the hills along
the river are broken, and present every appearance of having been burned
at some former period; great quantities of pumicestone and lava or
rather earth, which seems to have been boiled and then hardened by
exposure, being seen in many parts of these hills where they are broken
and washed down into gullies by the rain and melting snow. A great
number of brants pass up the river: there are some of them perfectly
white, except the large feathers of the first and second joint of the
wing which are black, though in every other characteristic they resemble
common gray brant: we also saw but could not procure an animal that
burrows in the ground, and similar in every respect to the burrowing
squirrel, except that it is only one third of its size. This may be the
animal whose works we have often seen in the plains and prairies; they
resemble the labours of the salamander in the sand hills of South
Carolina and Georgia, and like him, the animals rarely come above
ground; they consist of a little hillock of ten or twelve pounds of
loose ground which would seem to have been reversed from a pot, though
no aperture is seen through which it could have been thrown: on removing
gently the earth, you discover that the soil has been broken in a circle
of about an inch and a half diameter, where the ground is looser though
still no opening is perceptible. When we stopped for dinner the squaw
went out, and after penetrating with a sharp stick the holes of the
mice, near some drift wood, brought to us a quantity of wild artichokes,
which the mice collect and hoard in large numbers; the root is white, of
an ovate form, from one to three inches long, and generally of the size
of a man's finger, and two, four, and sometimes six roots are attached
to a single stalk. Its flavour as well as the stalk which issues from it
resemble those of the Jerusalem artichoke, except that the latter is
much larger. A large beaver was caught in a trap last night, and the
musquitoes begin to trouble us.

Wednesday 10. We again set off early with clear pleasant weather, and
halted about ten for breakfast, above a sandbank which was falling in,
and near a small willow island. On both sides of the Missouri, after
ascending the hills near the water, one fertile unbroken plain extends
itself as far as the eye can reach, without a solitary tree or shrub,
except in moist situations or in the steep declivities of hills where
they are sheltered from the ravages of fire. At the distance of twelve
miles we reached the lower point of a bluff on the south; which is in
some parts on fire and throws out quantities of smoke which has a strong
sulphurous smell, the coal and other appearances in the bluffs being
like those described yesterday: at one o'clock we overtook three
Frenchmen who left the fort a few days before us, in order to make the
first attempt on this river of hunting beaver, which they do by means of
traps: their efforts promise to be successful for they have already
caught twelve which are finer than any we have ever seen: they mean to
accompany us as far as the Yellowstone river in order to obtain our
protection against the Assiniboins who might attack them. In the evening
we encamped on a willow point to the south opposite to a bluff, above
which a small creek falls in, and just above a remarkable bend in the
river to the southwest, which we called the Little Basin. The low
grounds which we passed to-day possess more timber than is usual, and
are wider: the current is moderate, at least not greater than that of
the Ohio in high tides; the banks too fall in but little; so that the
navigation comparatively with that lower down the Missouri is safe and
easy. We were enabled to make eighteen and a half miles: we saw the
track of a large white bear, there were also a herd of antelopes in the
plains; the geese and swan are now feeding in considerable quantities on
the young grass in the low prairies; we shot a prairie hen, and a bald
eagle of which there were many nests in the tall cottonwood trees; but
could procure neither of two elk which were in the plain. Our old
companions the musquitoes have renewed their visit, and gave us much

Thursday, 11th. We set out at daylight, and after passing bare and
barren hills on the south, and a plain covered with timber on the north,
breakfasted at five miles distance: here we were regaled with a deer
brought in by the hunters, which was very acceptable as we had been for
several days without fresh meat; the country between this and fort
Mandan being so frequently disturbed by hunters that the game has become
scarce. We then proceeded with a gentle breeze from the south which
carried the periogues on very well; the day was however so warm that
several of the men worked with no clothes except round the waist, which
is the less inconvenient as we are obliged to wade in some places owing
to the shallowness of the river. At seven miles we reached a large
sandbar making out from the north. We again stopped for dinner, after
which we went on to a small plain on the north covered with cottonwood
where we encamped, having made nineteen miles. The country around is
much the same as that we passed yesterday: on the sides of the hills,
and even on the banks of the rivers, as well as on the sandbars, is a
white substance which appears in considerable quantities on the surface
of the earth, and tastes like a mixture of common salt with glauber
salts: many of the streams which come from the foot of the hills, are so
strongly impregnated with this substance, that the water has an
unpleasant taste and a purgative effect. A beaver was caught last night
by one of the Frenchmen; we killed two geese, and saw some cranes, the
largest bird of that kind common to the Missouri and Mississippi, and
perfectly white except the large feathers on the two first joints of the
wing which are black. Under a bluff opposite to our encampment we
discovered some Indians with horses, whom we supposed were Minnetarees,
but the width of the river prevented our speaking to them.

Friday, 12th. We set off early and passed a high range of hills on the
south side, our periogues being obliged to go over to the south in order
to avoid a sandbank which was rapidly falling in. At six miles we came
to at the lower side of the entrance of the Little Missouri, where we
remained during the day for the purpose of making celestial
observations. This river empties itself on the south side of the
Missouri, one thousand six hundred and ninety-three miles from its
confluence with the Mississippi. It rises to the west of the Black
mountains, across the northern extremity of which it finds a narrow
rapid passage along high perpendicular banks, then seeks the Missouri in
a northeastern direction, through a broken country with highlands bare
of timber, and the low grounds particularly supplied with cottonwood,
elm, small ash, box, alder, and an undergrowth of willow, redwood,
sometimes called red or swamp-willow, the redberry and chokecherry. In
its course it passes near the northwest side of the Turtle mountain,
which is said to be only twelve or fifteen miles from its mouth in a
straight line a little to the south of west, so that both the Little
Missouri and Knife river have been laid down too far southwest. It
enters the Missouri with a bold current, and is one hundred and
thirty-four yards wide, but its greatest depth is two feet and a half,
and this joined to its rapidity and its sandbars, make the navigation
difficult except for canoes, which may ascend it for a considerable
distance. At the mouth, and as far as we could discern from the hills
between the two rivers about three miles from their junction, the
country is much broken, the soil consisting of a deep rich dark coloured
loam, intermixed with a small proportion of fine sand and covered
generally with a short grass resembling blue grass. In its colour, the
nature of its bed, and its general appearance, it resembles so much the
Missouri as to induce a belief that the countries they water are similar
in point of soil. From the Mandan villages to this place the country is
hilly and irregular, with the same appearance of glauber salts and
carbonated wood, the low grounds smooth, sandy, and partially covered
with cottonwood and small ash; at some distance back there are extensive
plains of a good soil, but without timber or water.

We found great quantities of small onions which grow single, the bulb of
an oval form, white, about the size of a bullet with a leaf resembling
that of the chive. On the side of a neighbouring hill, there is a
species of dwarf cedar: it spreads its limbs along the surface of the
earth, which it almost conceals by its closeness and thickness, and is
sometimes covered by it, having always a number of roots on the under
side, while on the upper are a quantity of shoots which with their
leaves seldom rise higher than six or eight inches; it is an evergreen,
its leaf more delicate than that of the common cedar, though the taste
and smell is the same.

The country around has been so recently hunted that the game are
extremely shy, so that a white rabbit, two beaver, a deer, and a bald
eagle were all that we could procure. The weather had been clear, warm,
and pleasant in the morning, but about three we had a squall of high
wind and rain with some thunder, which lasted till after sunset when it
again cleared off.

Saturday 13. We set out at sunrise, and at nine o'clock having the wind
in our favour went on rapidly past a timbered low ground on the south,
and a creek on the north at the distance of nine miles, which we called
Onion creek, from the quantity of that plant which grows in the plains
near it: this creek is about sixteen yards wide at a mile and a half
above its mouth, it discharges more water than is usual for creeks of
that size in this country, but the whole plain which it waters is
totally destitute of timber. The Missouri itself widens very remarkably
just above the junction with the Little Missouri: immediately at the
entrance of the latter, it is not more than two hundred yards wide, and
so shallow that it may be passed in canoes with setting poles, while a
few miles above it is upwards of a mile in width: ten miles beyond Onion
creek we came to another, discharging itself on the north in the centre
of a deep bend: on ascending it for about a mile and a half, we found it
to be the discharge of a pond or small lake, which seemed to have been
once the bed of the Missouri: near this lake were the remains of
forty-three temporary lodges which seem to belong to the Assiniboins,
who are now on the river of the same name. A great number of swan and
geese were also in it, and from this circumstance we named the creek
Goose creek, and the lake by the same name: these geese we observe do
not build their nests on the ground or in sandbars, but in the tops of
lofty cottonwood trees: we saw some elk and buffaloe to-day but at too
great a distance to obtain any of them, though a number of the carcases
of the latter animal are strewed along the shores, having fallen through
the ice, and been swept along when the river broke up. More bald eagles
are seen on this part of the Missouri than we have previously met with;
the small or common hawk, common in most parts of the United States, are
also found here: great quantities of geese are feeding in the prairies,
and one flock of white brant or goose with black wings, and some gray
brant with them pass up river, and from their flight they seem to
proceed much farther to the northwest. We killed two antelopes which
were very lean, and caught last night two beaver: the French hunters who
had procured seven, thinking the neighborhood of the Little Missouri a
convenient hunting ground for that animal, remained behind there: in
the evening we encamped in a beautiful plain on the north thirty feet
above the river, having made twenty-two and a half miles.

Sunday 14. We set off early with pleasant and fair weather: a dog joined
us, which we suppose had strayed from the Assiniboin camp on the lake.
At two and a half miles we passed timbered low grounds and a small
creek: in these low grounds are several uninhabited lodges built with
the boughs of the elm, and the remains of two recent encampments, which
from the hoops of small kegs found in them we judged could belong to
Assiniboins only, as they are the only Missouri Indians who use
spirituous liquors: of these they are so passionately fond that it forms
their chief inducement to visit the British on the Assiniboin, to whom
they barter for kegs of rum their dried and pounded meat, their grease,
and the skins of large and small wolves, and small foxes. The dangerous
exchange is transported to their camps with their friends and relations,
and soon exhausted in brutal intoxication: so far from considering
drunkenness as disgraceful, the women and children are permitted and
invited to share in these excesses with their husbands and fathers, who
boast how often their skill and industry as hunters has supplied them
with the means of intoxication: in this, as in their other habits and
customs, they resemble the Sioux from whom they are descended: the trade
with the Assiniboins and Knistenaux is encouraged by the British,
because it procures provision for their _engages_ on their return from
Rainy lake to the English river and the Athabasky country where they
winter; these men being obliged during that voyage to pass rapidly
through a country but scantily supplied with game. We halted for dinner
near a large village of burrowing squirrels, who we observe generally
select a southeasterly exposure, though they are sometimes found in the
plains. At ten and a quarter miles we came to the lower point of an
island, which from the day of our arrival there we called Sunday
island: here the river washes the bases of the hills on both sides and
above the island, which with its sandbar extends a mile and a half: two
small creeks fall in from the south; the uppermost of these, which is
the largest, we called Chaboneau's creek, after our interpreter who once
encamped on it several weeks with a party of Indians. Beyond this no
white man had ever been except two Frenchmen, one of whom Lapage is with
us, and who having lost their way straggled a few miles further, though
to what point we could not ascertain: about a mile and a half beyond
this island we encamped on a point of woodland on the north, having made
in all fourteen miles.

The Assiniboins have so recently left the river that game is scarce and
shy. One of the hunters shot at an otter last evening; a buffaloe too
was killed, and an elk, both so poor as to be almost unfit for use; two
white bear were also seen, and a muskrat swimming across the river. The
river continues wide and of about the same rapidity as the ordinary
current of the Ohio. The low grounds are wide, the moister parts
containing timber, the upland extremely broken, without wood, and in
some places seem as if they had slipped down in masses of several acres
in surface. The mineral appearances of salts, coal, and sulphur, with
the burnt hill and pumicestone continue, and a bituminous water about
the colour of strong lye, with the taste of glauber salts and a slight
tincture of allum. Many geese were feeding in the prairies, and a number
of magpies who build their nest much like those of the blackbird in
trees, and composed of small sticks, leaves and grass, open at top: the
egg is of a bluish brown color, freckled with reddish brown spots. We
also killed a large hooting owl resembling that of the United States,
except that it was more booted and clad with feathers. On the hills are
many aromatic herbs, resembling in taste, smell and appearance the sage,
hysop, wormwood, southern wood, juniper and dwarf cedar; a plant also
about two or three feet high, similar to the camphor in smell and
taste, and another plant of the same size, with a long, narrow, smooth,
soft leaf, of an agreeable smell and flavour, which is a favourite food
of the antelope, whose necks are often perfumed by rubbing against it.

Monday 15. We proceeded under a fine breeze from the south, and clear
pleasant weather. At seven miles we reached the lower point of an island
in a bend to the south, which is two miles in length. Captain Clarke,
who went about nine miles northward from the river reached the high
grounds, which, like those we have seen, are level plains without
timber; here he observed a number of drains, which descending from the
hills pursue a northeast course, and probably empty into the Mouse
river, a branch of the Assiniboin, which from Indian accounts approaches
very near to the Missouri at this place. Like all the rivulets of this
neighbourhood these drains were so strongly impregnated with mineral
salts that they are not fit to drink. He saw also the remains of several
camps of Assiniboins; the low grounds on both sides of the river are
extensive, rich, and level. In a little pond on the north, we heard for
the first time this season the croaking of frogs, which exactly
resembles that of the small frogs in the United States: there are also
in these plains great quantities of geese, and many of the grouse, or
prairie hen, as they are called by the N.W. company traders; the note of
the male, as far as words can represent it, is cook, cook, cook, coo,
coo, coo, the first part of which both male and female use when flying;
the male too drums with his wings when he flies in the same way, though
not so loud as the pheasant; they appear to be mating. Some deer, elk,
and goats were in the low grounds, and buffaloe on the sand beaches, but
they were uncommonly shy; we also saw a black bear, and two white ones.
At fifteen miles we passed on the north side a small creek twenty yards
wide, which we called Goatpen creek, from a park or enclosure for the
purpose of catching that animal, which those who went up the creek
found, and which we presume to have been left by the Assiniboins. Its
water is impregnated with mineral salts, and the country through which
it flows consists of wide and very fertile plains, but without any
trees. We encamped at the distance of twenty-three miles, on a sandpoint
to the south; we passed in the evening a rock in the middle of the
river, the channel of which a little above our camp, is confined within
eighty yards.

Tuesday 16. The morning was clear, the wind light from the S.E. The
country presents the same appearance of low plains and meadows on the
river, bounded a few miles back by broken hills, which end in high level
fertile lands, the quantity of timber is however increasing. The
appearance of minerals continues as usual, and to-day we found several
stones which seemed to have been wood, first carbonated and then
petrified by the water of the Missouri, which has the same effect on
many vegetable substances. There is indeed reason to believe that the
strata of coal in the hills cause the fire and appearances which they
exhibit of being burned. Whenever these marks present themselves in the
bluffs on the river, the coal is seldom seen, and when found in the
neighborhood of the strata of burnt earth, the coal with the sand and
sulphurous matter usually accompanying it, is precisely at the same
height and nearly of the same thickness with those strata. We passed
three small creeks or rather runs, which rise in the hills to the north.
Numbers of geese, and few ducks chiefly of the mallard and bluewinged
teal, many buffaloe, elk and deer were also observed, and in the
timbered low grounds this morning we were surprised to observe a great
quantity of old hornets' nests: we encamped in a point of woods on the
south, having come eighteen miles, though the circuits which we were
obliged to make around sandbars very much increased the real distance.

Wednesday, April 17. We set off early, the weather being fine, and the
wind so favourable as to enable us to sail the greater part of the
course. At ten and three quarter miles we passed a creek ten yards wide
on the south; at eighteen miles a little run on the north, and at night
encamped in a woody point on the south. We had travelled twenty-six
miles through a country similar to that of yesterday, except that there
were greater appearances of burnt hills, furnishing large quantities of
lava and pumicestone, of the last of which we observe some pieces
floating down the river, as we had previously done, as low as the Little
Missouri. In all the copses of wood are the remains of the Assiniboin
encampments; around us are great quantities of game, such as herds of
buffaloe, elk, antelopes, some deer and wolves, the tracks of bears, a
curlue was also seen, and we obtained three beaver, the flesh of which
is more relished by the men than any other food which we have. Just
before we encamped we saw some tracks of Indians, who had passed
twenty-four hours before, and left four rafts, and whom we supposed to
be a band of Assiniboins on their return from war against the Indians on
the Rocky mountains.

Thursday 18. We had again a pleasant day, and proceeded on with a
westerly wind, which however changed to N.W. and blew so hard that we
were obliged to stop at one o'clock and remain four hours, when it
abated and we then continued our course.

We encamped about dark on a woody bank having made thirteen miles. The
country presented the usual variety of highlands interspersed with rich
plains. In one of these we observed a species of pea bearing a yellow
flower, which is now in blossom, the leaf and stalk resembling the
common pea. It seldom rises higher than six inches, and the root is
perennial. On the rose bushes we also saw a quantity of the hair of the
buffaloe, which had become perfectly white by exposure, and resembled
the wool of the sheep, except that it was much finer and more soft and
silky. A buffaloe which we killed yesterday had shed his long hair, and
that which remained was about two inches long, thick, fine, and would
have furnished five pounds of wool, of which we have no doubt an
excellent cloth may be made. Our game to-day was a beaver, a deer, an
elk, and some geese. The river has been crooked all day and bearing
towards the south.

On the hills we observed considerable quantities of dwarf juniper, which
seldom grows higher than three feet. We killed in the course of the day
an elk, three geese and a beaver. The beaver on this part of the
Missouri are in greater quantities, larger and fatter, and their fur is
more abundant and of a darker colour than any we had hitherto seen:
their favourite food seems to be the bark of the cottonwood and willow,
as we have seen no other species of tree that has been touched by them,
and these they gnaw to the ground through a diameter of twenty inches.

The next day, Friday, 19th, the wind was so high from northwest that we
could not proceed, but being less violent on

Saturday, 20th, we set off about seven o'clock, and had nearly lost one
of the canoes as we left the shore, by the falling in of a large part of
the bank. The wind too became again so strong that we could scarcely
make one mile an hour, and the sudden squalls so dangerous to the small
boats, that we stopped for the night among some willows on the north,
not being able to advance more than six and a half miles. In walking
through the neighbouring plains we found a fine fertile soil covered
with cottonwood, some box, alder, ash, red elm, and an undergrowth of
willow, rosebushes, honeysuckle, red willow, gooseberry, currant, and
serviceberries, and along the foot of the hills great quantities of
hysop. Our hunters procured elk and deer which are now lean, and six
beaver which are fatter and more palatable. Along the plain there were
also some Indian camps; near one of these was a scaffold about seven
feet high, on which were two sleds with their harness, and under it the
body of a female, carefully wrapped in several dressed buffaloe skins;
near it lay a bag made of buffaloe skin, containing a pair of moccasins,
some red and blue paint, beaver's nails, scrapers for dressing hides,
some dried roots, several plaits of sweet grass, and a small quantity of
Mandan tobacco. These things as well as the body itself had probably
fallen down by accident, as the custom is to place them on the scaffold.
At a little distance was the body of a dog not yet decayed, who had met
this reward for having dragged thus far in the sled the corpse of his
mistress, to whom according to the Indian usage he had been sacrificed.

Sunday, 21st. Last night there was a hard white frost, and this morning
the weather cold, but clear and pleasant: in the course of the day
however it became cloudy and the wind rose. The country is of the same
description as within the few last days. We saw immense quantities of
buffaloe, elk, deer, antelopes, geese, and some swan and ducks, out of
which we procured three deer, four buffaloe calves, which last are equal
in flavour to the most delicious veal; also two beaver, and an otter. We
passed one large and two small creeks on the south side, and reached at
sixteen miles the mouth of Whiteearth river, coming in from the north.
This river before it reaches the low grounds near the Missouri, is a
fine bold stream sixty yards wide, and is deep and navigable, but it is
so much choked up at the entrance by the mud of the Missouri, that its
mouth is not more than ten yards wide. Its course, as far as we could
discern from the neighbouring hills, is nearly due north, passing
through a beautiful and fertile valley, though without a tree or bush of
any description. Half a mile beyond this river we encamped on the same
side below a point of highland, which from its appearance we call Cut

Monday, 22d. The day clear and cold: we passed a high bluff on the north
and plains on the south, in which were large herds of buffaloe, till
breakfast, when the wind became so strong ahead that we proceeded with
difficulty even with the aid of the towline. Some of the party now
walked across to the Whiteearth river, which here at the distance of
four miles from its mouth approaches very near to the Missouri. It
contains more water than is usual in streams of the same size at this
season, with steep banks about ten or twelve feet high, and the water is
much clearer than that of the Missouri; the salts which have been
mentioned as common on the Missouri, are here so abundant that in many
places the ground appears perfectly white, and from this circumstance it
may have derived its name; it waters an open country and is navigable
almost to its source, which is not far from the Saskaskawan, and judging
from its size and course, it is probable that it extends as far north as
the fiftieth degree of latitude. After much delay in consequence of the
high wind, we succeeded in making eleven miles, and encamped in a low
ground on the south covered with cottonwood and rabbitberries. The hills
of the Missouri near this place exhibit large irregular broken masses of
rocks and stones, some of which, although two hundred feet above the
water, seem at some remote period to have been subject to its influence,
being apparently worn smooth by the agitation of the water. These rocks
and stones consist of white and gray granite, a brittle black rock,
flint, limestone, freestone, some small specimens of an excellent
pebble, and occasionally broken stratas of a black coloured stone like
petrified wood, which make good whetstones. The usual appearances of
coal, or carbonated wood, and pumicestone still continue, the coal being
of a better quality and when burnt affords a hot and lasting fire,
emitting very little smoke or flame. There are huge herds of deer, elk,
buffaloe, and antelopes in view of us: the buffaloe are not so shy as
the rest, for they suffer us to approach within one hundred yards before
they run, and then stop and resume their pasture at a very short
distance. The wolves to-day pursued a herd of them, and at length caught
a calf that was unable to keep up with the rest; the mothers on these
occasions defending their young as long as they can retreat as fast as
the herd, but seldom returning any distance to seek for them.

Tuesday 23. A clear and pleasant morning, but at nine o'clock the wind
became so high that the boats were in danger of upsetting; we therefore
were forced to stop at a place of safety till about five in the
afternoon, when the wind being lower we proceeded and encamped on the
north at the distance of thirteen and a half miles: the party on shore
brought us a buffaloe calf and three blacktailed deer: the sand on the
river has the same appearances as usual, except that the quantity of
wood increases.

Wednesday 24. The wind blew so high during the whole day that we were
unable to move; such indeed was its violence, that although we were
sheltered by high timber the waves wet many articles in the boats: the
hunters went out and returned with four deer, two elk, and some young
wolves of the small kind. The party are very much afflicted with sore
eyes, which we presume are occasioned by the vast quantities of sand
which are driven from the sandbars in such clouds as often to hide from
us the view of the opposite bank. The particles of this sand are so fine
and light that it floats for miles in the air like a column of thick
smoke, and is so penetrating that nothing can be kept free from it, and
we are compelled to eat, drink, and breathe it very copiously. To the
same cause we attribute the disorder of one of our watches, although her
cases are double and tight; since without any defect in its works, that
we can discover, it will not run for more than a few minutes without

Thursday 25. The wind moderated this morning, but was still high; we
therefore set out early, the weather being so cold that the water froze
on the oars as we rowed, and about ten o'clock the wind increased so
much that we were obliged to stop. This detention from the wind and the
reports from our hunters of the crookedness of the river, induced us to
believe that we were at no great distance from the Yellowstone river. In
order therefore to prevent delay as much as possible, captain Lewis
determined to go on by land in search of that river, and make the
necessary observations, so as to be enabled to proceed on immediately
after the boats should join him; he therefore landed about eleven
o'clock on the south side, accompanied by four men; the boats were
prevented from going until five in the afternoon, when they went on a
few miles further and encamped for the night at the distance of fourteen
and a half miles.

Friday 26. We continued our voyage in the morning and by twelve o'clock
encamped at eight miles distance, at the junction of the Missouri and
Yellowstone rivers; where we were soon joined by captain Lewis.

On leaving us yesterday he pursued his route along the foot of the
hills, which he ascended at the distance of eight miles; from these the
wide plains watered by the Missouri and the Yellowstone spread
themselves before the eye, occasionally varied with the wood of the
banks, enlivened by the irregular windings of the two rivers, and
animated by vast herds of buffaloe, deer, elk, and antelope. The
confluence of the two rivers was concealed by the wood, but the
Yellowstone itself was only two miles distant to the south. He therefore
descended the hills and encamped on the bank of the river, having killed
as he crossed the plain four buffaloes; the deer alone are shy and
retire to the woods, but the elk, antelope, and buffaloe suffered him to
approach them without alarm, and often followed him quietly for some
distance. This morning he sent a man up the river to examine it, while
he proceeded down to the junction: the ground on the lower side of the
Yellowstone near its mouth, is flat, and for about a mile seems to be
subject to inundation, while that at the point or junction, as well as
on the opposite side of the Missouri, is at the usual height of ten or
eighteen feet above the water, and therefore not overflown. There is
more timber in the neighbourhood of this place, and on the Missouri, as
far below as the Whiteearth river, than on any other part of the
Missouri on this side of the Chayenne: the timber consists principally
of cottonwood, with some small elm, ash, and box alder. On the sandbars
and along the margin of the river grows the small-leafed willow; in the
low grounds adjoining are scattered rosebushes three or four feet high,
the redberry, serviceberry and redwood. The higher plains are either
immediately on the river, in which case they are generally timbered, and
have an undergrowth like that of the low grounds, with the addition of
the broad-leafed willow, gooseberry, chokecherry, purple currant, and
honeysuckle; or they are between the low grounds and the hills, and for
the most part without wood or any thing except large quantities of wild
hysop; this plant rises about two feet high, and like the willow of the
sandbars is a favourite food of the buffaloe, elk, deer, grouse,
porcupine, hare, and rabbit. This river which had been known to the
French as the Roche jaune, or as we have called it the Yellowstone,
rises according to Indian information in the Rocky mountains; its
sources are near those of the Missouri and the Platte, and it may be
navigated in canoes almost to its head. It runs first through a
mountainous country, but in many parts fertile and well timbered; it
then waters a rich delightful land, broken into vallies and meadows, and
well supplied with wood and water till it reaches near the Missouri open
meadows and low grounds, sufficiently timbered on its borders. In the
upper country its course is represented as very rapid, but during the
two last and largest portions, its current is much more gentle than that
of the Missouri, which it resembles also in being turbid though with
less sediment. The man who was sent up the river, reported in the
evening that he had gone about eight miles, that during that distance
the river winds on both sides of a plain four or five miles wide, that
the current was gentle and much obstructed by sandbars, that at five
miles he had met with a large timbered island, three miles beyond which
a creek falls in on the S.E. above a high bluff, in which are several
strata of coal. The country as far as he could discern, resembled that
of the Missouri, and in the plain he met several of the bighorn animals,
but they were too shy to be obtained. The bed of the Yellowstone, as we
observed it near the mouth, is composed of sand and mud, without a stone
of any kind. Just above the confluence we measured the two rivers, and
found the bed of the Missouri five hundred and twenty yards wide, the
water occupying only three hundred and thirty, and the channel deep:
while the Yellowstone, including its sandbar, occupied eight hundred and
fifty-eight yards, with two hundred and ninety-seven yards of water: the
deepest part of the channel is twelve feet, but the river is now falling
and seems to be nearly at its summer height.

April 27. We left the mouth of the Yellowstone. From the point of
junction a wood occupies the space between the two rivers, which at the
distance of a mile comes within two hundred and fifty yards of each
other. There a beautiful low plain commences, and widening as the rivers
recede, extends along each of them for several miles, rising about half
a mile from the Missouri into a plain twelve feet higher than itself.
The low plain is a few inches above high water mark, and where it joins
the higher plain there is a channel of sixty or seventy yards in width,
through which a part of the Missouri when at its greatest height passes
into the Yellowstone. At two and a half miles above the junction and
between the high and low plain is a small lake, two hundred yards wide,
extending for a mile parallel with the Missouri along the edge of the
upper plain. At the lower extremity of this lake, about four hundred
yards from the Missouri, and twice that distance from the Yellowstone,
is a situation highly eligible for a trading establishment; it is in the
high plain which extends back three miles in width, and seven or eight
miles in length, along the Yellowstone, where it is bordered by an
extensive body of woodland, and along the Missouri with less breadth,
till three miles above it is circumscribed by the hills within a space
four yards in width. A sufficient quantity of limestone for building may
easily be procured near the junction of the rivers; it does not lie in
regular stratas, but is in large irregular masses, of a light colour and
apparently of an excellent quality. Game too is very abundant, and as
yet quite gentle; above all, its elevation recommends it as preferable
to the land at the confluence of the rivers, which their variable
channels may render very insecure. The N.W. wind rose so high at eleven
o'clock, that we were obliged to stop till about four in the afternoon,
when we proceeded till dusk. On the south a beautiful plain separates
the two rivers, till at about six miles there is a timbered piece of low
ground, and a little above it bluffs, where the country rises gradually
from the river; the situations on the north more high and open. We
encamped on that side, the wind, the sand which it raised, and the
rapidity of the current having prevented our advancing more than eight
miles; during the latter part of the day the river becomes wider and
crowded with sandbars: although the game is in such plenty we kill only
what is necessary for our subsistence. For several days past we have
seen great numbers of buffaloe lying dead along the shore, and some of
them partly devoured by the wolves; they have either sunk through the
ice during the winter, or been drowned in attempting to cross, or else,
after crossing to some high bluff, found themselves too much exhausted
either to ascend or swim back again, and perished for want of food; in
this situation we found several small parties of them. There are geese
too in abundance, and more bald-eagles than we have hitherto observed;
the nests of these last being always accompanied by those of two or
three magpies, who are their inseparable attendants.

                              CHAPTER VIII.

     Unusual appearance of salt--The formidable character of the white
     bear--Porcupine river described--Beautiful appearance of the
     surrounding country--Immense quantities of game--Milk river
     described--Extraordinary character of Bigdry river--An instance of
     uncommon tenacity of life in a white bear--Narrow escape of one of
     the party from that animal--A still more remarkable
     instance--Muscleshell river described.

Sunday 28. The day was clear and pleasant, and the wind having shifted
to southeast, we could employ our sails, and went twenty-four miles to a
low ground on the north opposite to steep bluffs: the country on both
sides is much broken, the hills approaching nearer to the river, and
forming bluffs, some of a white and others of a red colour, and
exhibiting the usual appearances of minerals, and some burnt hills
though without any pumicestone; the salts are in greater quantities than
usual, and the banks and sandbars are covered with a white incrustation
like frost. The low grounds are level, fertile and partially timbered,
but are not so wide as for a few days past. The woods are now green, but
the plains and meadows seem to have less verdure than those below: the
only streams which we met to-day are two small runs on the north and one
on the south, which rise in the neighbouring hills, and have very little
water. At the distance of eighteen miles the Missouri makes a
considerable bend to the southeast: the game is very abundant, the
common, and mule or blacktailed deer, elk, buffaloe, antelope, brown
bear, beaver, and geese. The beaver have committed great devastation
among the trees, one of which, nearly three feet in diameter, has been
gnawed through by them.

Monday 29. We proceeded early with a moderate wind: captain Lewis who
was on shore with one hunter met about eight o'clock two white bears: of
the strength and ferocity of this animal, the Indians had given us
dreadful accounts: they never attack him but in parties of six or eight
persons, and even then are often defeated with the loss of one or more
of the party. Having no weapons but bows and arrows, and the bad guns
with which the traders supply them, they are obliged to approach very
near to the bear; and as no wound except through the head or heart is
mortal, they frequently fall a sacrifice if they miss their aim. He
rather attacks than avoids a man, and such is the terror which he has
inspired, that the Indians who go in quest of him paint themselves and
perform all the superstitious rites customary when they make war on a
neighbouring nation. Hitherto those we had seen did not appear desirous
of encountering us, but although to a skilful rifleman the danger is
very much diminished, yet the white bear is still a terrible animal: on
approaching these two, both captain Lewis and the hunter fired and each
wounded a bear: one of them made his escape; the other turned upon
captain Lewis and pursued him seventy or eighty yards, but being badly
wounded he could not run so fast as to prevent him from reloading his
piece, which he again aimed at him, and a third shot from the hunter
brought him to the ground: he was a male not quite full grown, and
weighed about three hundred pounds: the legs are somewhat longer than
those of the black bear, and the talons and tusks much larger and
longer. The testicles are also placed much farther forward and suspended
in separate pouches from two to four inches asunder, while those of the
black bear are situated back between the thighs and in a single pouch
like those of the dog: its colour is a yellowish brown, the eyes small,
black, and piercing, the front of the fore legs near the feet is usually
black, and the fur is finer, thicker, and deeper than that of the black
bear: add to which, it is a more furious animal, and very remarkable for
the wounds which it will bear without dying.

We are surrounded with deer, elk, buffaloe, antelopes, and their
companions the wolves, who have become more numerous and make great
ravages among them: the hills are here much more rough and high, and
almost overhang the banks of the river. There are greater appearances of
coal than we have hitherto seen, the stratas of it being in some places
six feet thick, and there are stratas of burnt earth, which are always
on the same level with those of coal. In the evening after coming
twenty-five miles we encamped at the entrance of a river which empties
itself into a bend on the north side of the Missouri: this stream which
we called Martha's river, is about fifty yards wide, with water for
fifteen yards, the banks are of earth, and steep, though not high, and
the bed principally of mud. Captain Clarke, who ascended it for three
miles, found that it continued of the same width with a gentle current,
and pursuing its course about north 30° west, through an extensive,
fertile, and beautiful valley, but without a single tree. The water is
clear, and has a brownish yellow tint; at this place the highlands which
yesterday and to-day had approached so near the river became lower, and
receding from the water left a valley seven or eight miles wide.

Tuesday 30. The wind was high from the north during last evening and
continued so this morning: we however continued, and found the river
more winding than usual and with a number of sand islands and bars, on
one of which last we encamped at the distance of twenty-four miles. The
low grounds are fertile and extensive but with very little timber, and
that cottonwood, very bad of its kind, being too small for planks, and
broken and dead at the top and unsound in the centre of the trunk. We
passed some ancient lodges of driftwood which do not appear to have been
lately inhabited. The game continues abundant: we killed the largest
male elk we have yet seen; on placing it in its natural erect position,
we found that it measured five feet three inches from the point of the
hoof to the top of the shoulder. The antelopes are yet lean and the
females are with young: this fleet and quick-sighted animal is generally
the victim of its curiosity: when they first see the hunters they run
with great velocity; if he lies down on the ground and lifts up his arm,
his hat, or his foot, the antelope returns on a light trot to look at
the object, and sometimes goes and returns two or three times till they
approach within reach of the rifle; so too they sometimes leave their
flock to go and look at the wolves who crouch down, and if the antelope
be frightened at first repeat the same manoeuvre, and sometimes relieve
each other till they decoy it from the party when they seize it. But
generally the wolves take them as they are crossing the rivers, for
although swift of foot they are not good swimmers.

Wednesday, May 1. The wind was in our favour and we were enabled to use
the sails till twelve o'clock, when the wind became so high and squally
that we were forced to come to at the distance of ten miles on the
south, in a low ground stocked with cottonwood, and remain there during
the day; one of the canoes being separated from us, and not able to
cross over in consequence of the high waves. The country around is more
pleasant than that through which we had passed for several days, the
hills being lower, the low grounds wider and better supplied with
timber, which consists principally of cottonwood: the undergrowth willow
on the banks and sandbars, rosebushes, redwillow, and the broad-leafed
willow in the low plains, while the high country on both sides is one
extensive plain without wood, though the soil is a dark, rich, mellow
loam. Our hunters killed a buffaloe, an elk, a goat, and two beaver, and
also a bird of the plover kind.

Thursday, 2d. The wind continued high during the night, and at daylight
it began to snow and did not stop till ten o'clock, when the ground was
covered an inch deep, forming a striking contrast with the vegetation
which is now considerably advanced; some flowers having put forth, and
the cottonwood leaves as large as a dollar. The wind lulled about five
o'clock in the afternoon, and we then proceeded along wide fertile low
grounds and high level plains, and encamped at the distance of four
miles. Our game to-day was deer, elk, and buffaloe: we also procured
three beaver who are quite gentle, as they have not been hunted, but
when the hunters are in pursuit they never leave their huts during the
day: this animal we esteem a great delicacy, particularly the tail,
which when boiled resembles in flavor the flesh tongues and sounds of
the codfish, and is generally so large as to afford a plentiful meal for
two men. One of the hunters in passing near an old Indian camp found
several yards of scarlet cloth, suspended on the bough of a tree as a
sacrifice to the deity by the Assiniboins: the custom of making these
offerings being common among that people as indeed among all the Indians
on the Missouri. The air was sharp this evening; the water froze on the
oars as we rowed, and in the morning.

Friday, 3d, the weather became quite cold, the ice was a quarter of an
inch thick in the kettle, and the snow still continued on the hills
though it has melted from the plains. The wind too continued high from
the west, but not so violently as to prevent our going on. At two miles
from our encampment we passed a curious collection of bushes about
thirty feet high and ten or twelve in diameter, tied in the form of a
fascine and standing on end in the middle of the low ground: this too we
supposed to have been left by the Indians as a religious sacrifice: at
twelve o'clock the usual hour we halted for dinner. The low grounds on
the river are much wider than common, sometimes extending from five to
nine miles to the highlands, which are much lower than heretofore, not
being more than fifty or sixty feet above the lower plain: through all
this valley traces of the ancient bed of the river are every where
visible, and since the hills have become lower, the stratas of coal,
burnt earth, and pumicestone have in a great measure ceased, there
being in fact none to-day. At the distance of fourteen miles we reached
the mouth of a river on the north, which from the unusual number of
porcupines near it, we called Porcupine river. This is a bold and
beautiful stream one hundred and twelve yards wide, though the water is
only forty yards at its entrance: captain Clarke who ascended it several
miles and passed it above where it enters the highlands, found it
continued nearly of the same width and about knee deep, and as far as he
could distinguish for twenty miles from the hills, its course was from a
little to the east of north. There was much timber on the low grounds:
he found some limestone also on the surface of the earth in the course
of his walk, and saw a range of low mountains at a distance to the west
of north, whose direction was northwest; the adjoining country being
every where level, fertile, open, and exceedingly beautiful. The water
of this river is transparent, and is the only one that is so of all
those that fall into the Missouri: before entering a large sandbar
through which it discharges itself, its low grounds are formed of a
stiff blue and black clay, and its banks which are from eight to ten
feet high and seldom if ever overflow are composed of the same
materials. From the quantity of water which this river contains, its
direction, and the nature of the country through which it passes, it is
not improbable that its sources may be near the main body of the
Saskaskawan, and as in high water it can be no doubt navigated to a
considerable distance, it may be rendered the means of intercourse with
the Athabasky country, from which the northwest company derive so many
of their valuable furs.

A quarter of a mile beyond this river a creek falls in on the south, to
which on account of its distance from the mouth of the Missouri, we gave
it the name of Two-thousand mile creek: it is a bold stream with a bed
thirty yards wide. Three miles and a half above Porcupine river, we
reached some high timber on the north, and encamped just above an old
channel of the river, which is now dry. We saw vast quantities of
buffaloe, elk, deer, principally of the long tailed kind, antelopes,
beaver, geese, ducks, brant, and some swan. The porcupines too are
numerous, and so careless and clumsy that we can approach very near
without disturbing them as they are feeding on the young willows;
towards evening we also found for the first time, the nest of a goose
among some driftwood, all that we have hitherto seen being on the top of
a broken tree on the forks, and invariably from fifteen to twenty feet
or more in height.

Saturday 4. We were detained till nine in order to repair the rudder of
one of the boats, and when we set out the wind was ahead; at six and a
half miles we passed a small creek in a deep bend on the south with a
sand island opposite to it, and then passing along an extensive plain
which gradually rises from the north side of the river, encamped at the
distance of eighteen miles in a point of woodland on the north: the
river is this day wider than usual, and crowded with sandbars on all
sides: the country is level, fertile, and beautiful, the low grounds
extensive and contain a much greater portion of timber than is common:
indeed all the forepart of the day the river was bordered with timber on
both sides, a circumstance very rare on the Missouri, and the first that
has occurred since we left the Mandans. There are as usual vast
quantities of game, and extremely gentle; the male buffaloe particularly
will scarcely give way to us, and as we approach will merely look at us
for a moment, as something new, and then quietly resume their feeding.
In the course of the day we passed some old Indian hunting camps, one of
which consisted of two large lodges fortified with a circular fence,
twenty or thirty feet in diameter, and made of timber laid horizontally,
the beams overlaying each other to the height of five feet, and covered
with the trunks and limbs of trees that have drifted down the river: the
lodges themselves are formed by three or more strong sticks about the
size of a man's leg or arm, and twelve feet long, which are attached at
the top by a whith of small willows, and spreading out so as to form at
the base a circle of ten or fourteen feet in diameter: against these are
placed pieces of driftwood and fallen timber, usually in three ranges
one on the other, and the interstices are covered with leaves, bark, and
straw, so as to form a conical figure about ten feet high, with a small
aperture in one side for the door. It is, however, at best a very
imperfect shelter against the inclemencies of the seasons.

Sunday 5. We had a fine morning, and the wind being from the east we
used our sails. At the distance of five miles we came to a small island,
and twelve miles farther encamped on the north, at the distance of
seventeen miles. The country like that of yesterday is beautiful in the
extreme. Among the vast quantities of game around us, we distinguish a
small species of goose differing considerably from the common Canadian
goose; its neck, head, and beak, being much thicker, larger, and shorter
in proportion to its size, which is nearly a third smaller; the noise
too resembling more that of the brant or of a young goose that has not
yet fully acquired its note; in other respects its colour, habits, and
the number of feathers in the tail, the two species correspond; this
species also associates in flocks with the large geese, but we have not
seen it pair off with them. The white brant is about the size of the
common brown brant, or two thirds of the common goose, than which it is
also six inches shorter from the extremity of the wings, though the
beak, head, and neck are larger and stronger: the body and wings are of
a beautiful pure white, except the black feathers of the first and
second joints of the wings; the beak and legs are of a reddish or
flesh-coloured white, the eye of a moderate size, the pupil of a deep
sea-green incircled with a ring of yellowish brown, the tail consists of
sixteen feathers equally long, the flesh is dark and as well as its note
differs but little from those of the common brant, whom in form and
habits it resembles, and with whom it sometimes unites in a common
flock; the white brant also associate by themselves in large flocks, but
as they do not seem to be mated or paired off, it is doubtful whether
they reside here during the summer for the purpose of rearing their

The wolves are also very abundant, and are of two species. First, the
small wolf or burrowing dog of the prairies, which are found in almost
all the open plains. It is of an intermediate size between the fox and
dog, very delicately formed, fleet and active. The ears are large,
erect, and pointed, the head long and pointed, like that of the fox; the
tail long and bushy; the hair and fur of a pale reddish brown colour,
though much coarser than that of the fox; the eye of a deep sea-green
colour, small and piercing; the talons rather longer than those of the
wolf of the Atlantic states, which animal as far as we can perceive is
not to be found on this side of the river Platte. These wolves usually
associate in bands of ten or twelve, and are rarely if ever seen alone,
not being able singly to attack a deer or antelope. They live and rear
their young in burrows, which they fix near some pass or spot much
frequented by game, and sally out in a body against any animal which
they think they can overpower, but on the slightest alarm retreat to
their burrows making a noise exactly like that of a small dog.

The second species is lower, shorter in the legs and thicker than the
Atlantic wolf; their colour, which is not affected by the seasons, is of
every variety of shade, from a gray or blackish brown to a cream
coloured white. They do not burrow, nor do they bark, but howl, and they
frequent the woods and plains, and skulk along the skirts of the
buffaloe herds, in order to attack the weary or wounded.

Captain Clarke and one of the hunters met this evening the largest brown
bear we have seen. As they fired he did not attempt to attack, but fled
with a most tremendous roar, and such was its extraordinary tenacity of
life, that although he had five balls passed through his lungs and five
other wounds, he swam more than half across the river to a sandbar, and
survived twenty minutes. He weighed between five and six hundred pounds
at least, and measured eight feet seven inches and a half from the nose
to the extremity of the hind feet, five feet ten inches and half round
the breast, three feet eleven inches round the neck, one foot eleven
inches round the middle of the foreleg, and his talons, five on each
foot, were four inches and three eighths in length. It differs from the
common black bear in having its talons much longer and more blunt; its
tail shorter; its hair of a reddish or bay brown, longer, finer, and
more abundant; his liver, lungs, and heart, much larger even in
proportion to his size, the heart particularly being equal to that of a
large ox; his maw ten times larger; his testicles pendant from the belly
and in separate pouches four inches apart: besides fish and flesh he
feeds on roots, and every kind of wild fruit.

The antelope are now lean and with young, so that they may readily be
caught at this season, as they cross the river from S.W. to N.E.

Monday 6. The morning being fair and the wind favourable, we set sail,
and proceeded on very well the greater part of the day. The country
continues level, rich, and beautiful; the low grounds wide and
comparatively with the other parts of the Missouri, well supplied with
wood. The appearances of coal, pumicestone, and burnt earth have ceased,
though the salts of tartar or vegetable salts continue on the banks and
sandbars, and sometimes in the little ravines at the base of the low
hills. We passed three streams on the south; the first at the distance
of one mile and a half from our camp was about twenty-five yards wide,
but although it contained some water in standing pools it discharges
none; this we called Littledry creek, about eight miles beyond which is
Bigdry creek; fifty yards wide, without any water; the third is six
miles further, and has the bed of a large river two hundred yards wide,
yet without a drop of water: like the other two this stream, which we
called Bigdry river, continues its width undiminished as far as we can
discern. The banks are low, this channel formed of a fine brown sand,
intermixed with a small proportion of little pebbles of various colours,
and the country around flat and without trees. They had recently
discharged their waters, and from their appearance and the nature of the
country through which they pass, we concluded that they rose in the
Black mountains, or in the level low plains which are probably between
this place and the mountains; that the country being nearly of the same
kind and of the same latitude, the rains of spring melting the snows
about the same time, conspire with them to throw at once vast quantities
of water down these channels, which are then left dry during the summer,
autumn, and winter, when there is very little rain. We had to-day a
slight sprinkling. But it lasted a very short time. The game is in such
plenty that it has become a mere amusement to supply the party with
provisions. We made twenty-five miles to a clump of trees on the north
where we passed the night.

Tuesday 7. The morning was pleasant and we proceeded at an early hour.
There is much driftwood floating, and what is contrary to our
expectation, although the river is rising, the water is somewhat clearer
than usual. At eleven o'clock the wind became so high that one of the
boats was nearly sunk, and we were obliged to stop till one, when we
proceeded on, and encamped on the south, above a large sandbar
projecting from the north, having made fifteen miles. On the north side
of the river are the most beautiful plains we have yet seen: they rise
gradually from the low grounds on the water to the height of fifty or
sixty feet, and then extend in an unbroken level as far as the eye can
reach: the hills on the south are more broken and higher, though at some
distance back the country becomes level and fertile. There are no more
appearances of burnt earth, coal, or pumicestone, though that of salt
still continues, and the vegetation seems to have advanced but little
since the twenty-eighth of last month: the game is as abundant as usual.
The bald-eagles, of whom we see great numbers, probably feed on the
carcases of dead animals, for on the whole Missouri we have seen neither
the blue-crested fisher, nor the fishing-hawks, to supply them with
their favourite food, and the water of the river is so turbid that no
bird which feeds exclusively on fish can procure a subsistence.

Wednesday 8. A light breeze from the east carried us sixteen miles, till
we halted for dinner at the entrance of a river on the north. Captain
Clarke who had walked on the south, on ascending a high point opposite
to its entrance discovered a level and beautiful country which it
watered; that its course for twelve or fifteen miles was N.W. when it
divided into two nearly equal branches, one pursuing a direction nearly
north, the other to the W. of N.W: its width at the entrance is one
hundred and fifty yards, and on going three miles up, captain Lewis
found it to be of the same breadth, and sometimes more; it is deep,
gentle, and has a large quantity of water; its bed is principally of
mud, the banks abrupt, about twelve feet in height, and formed of a
dark, rich loam and blue clay; the low grounds near it are wide and
fertile, and possess a considerable proportion of cottonwood and willow.
It seems to be navigable for boats and canoes, and this circumstance
joined to its course and the quantity of water, which indicates that it
passes through a large extent of country, we are led to presume that it
may approach the Saskashawan and afford a communication with that river.
The water has a peculiar whiteness, such as might be produced by a
tablespoon full of milk in a dish of tea, and this circumstance induced
us to call it Milk river. In the evening we had made twenty-seven miles,
and encamped on the south. The country on that side consists in general
of high broken hills, with much gray, black and brown granite scattered
over the surface of the ground. At a little distance from the river
there is no timber on either side, the wood being confined as below to
the margin of the river; so that unless the contrary is particularly
mentioned, it is always understood that the upland is perfectly naked,
and that we consider the low grounds well timbered if even a fifth be
covered with wood. The wild liquorice is found in great abundance on
these hills, as is also the white apple. As usual we are surrounded by
buffaloe, elk, common and blacktailed deer, beaver, antelopes and
wolves. We observed a place where an Indian had recently taken the hair
off an antelope's skin, and some of the party thought they distinguished
imperfectly some smoke and Indian lodges up Milk river, marks which we
are by no means desirous of realizing, as the Indians are probably
Assiniboins, and might be very troublesome.

Thursday, 9th. We again had a favourable wind and sailed along very
well. Between four and five miles we passed a large island in a deep
bend to the north, and a large sandbar at the upper point. At fifteen
and a quarter miles we reached the bed of a most extraordinary river
which presents itself on the south: though as wide as the Missouri
itself, that is about half a mile, it does not discharge a drop of water
and contains nothing but a few standing pools. On ascending it three
miles we found an eminence from which we saw the direction of the
channel, first south for ten or twelve miles, then turning to the east
of southeast as far as we could see; it passes through a wide valley
without timber, and the surrounding country consists of waving low hills
interspersed with some handsome level plains; the banks are abrupt and
consist of a black or yellow clay; or of a rich sandy loam, but though
they do not rise more than six or eight feet above the bed, they exhibit
no appearance of being overflowed: the bed is entirely composed of a
light brown sand, the particles of which like those of the Missouri are
extremely fine. Like the dry rivers we passed before, this seemed to
have discharged its waters recently, but the watermark indicated that
its greatest depth had not been more than two feet: this stream, if it
deserve the name, we called Bigdry river. About a mile below is a large
creek on the same side, which is also perfectly dry: the mineral salts
and quartz are in large quantities near this neighbourhood. The sand of
the Missouri from its mouth to this place has been mixed with a
substance which we had presumed to be a granulated chalk, but which is
most probably this quartz. The game is now in great quantities,
particularly the elk and buffaloe, which last is so gentle that the men
are obliged to drive them out of the way with sticks and stones. The
ravages of the beaver are very apparent: in one place the timber was
entirely prostrated for a space of three acres in front on the river and
one in depth, and great part of it removed, although the trees were in
large quantities, and some of them as thick as the body of a man. At the
distance of twenty-four miles we encamped, after making twenty-five and
a half miles, at the entrance of a small creek in a bend on the north;
to which we gave the name of Werner's creek after one of our men.

For several days past the river has been as wide as it generally is near
its mouth, but as it is much shallower, crowded with sandbars, and the
colour of the water has become much clearer, we do not yet despair of
reaching the Rock mountains, for which we are very anxious.

Friday, 10th. We had not proceeded more than four and a quarter miles
when the violence of the wind forced us to halt for the day under some
timber in a bend on the south side. The wind continued high, the clouds
thick and black, and we had a slight sprinkling of rain several times in
the course of the day. Shortly after our landing a dog came to us, and
as this induced us to believe that we are near the hunting grounds of
the Assiniboins, who are a vicious ill-disposed people, it was
necessary to be on our guard: we therefore inspected our arms which we
found in good order, and sent several hunters to scour the country, but
they returned in the evening having seen no tents, nor any recent tracks
of Indians. Biles and imposthumes are very common among the party, and
sore eyes continue in a greater or less degree with all of us; for the
imposthumes we use emollient poultices, and apply to the eyes a solution
of two grains of white vitriol and one of sugar of lead with one ounce
of water.

Saturday, 11th. The wind blew very hard in the night, but having abated
this morning we went on very well, till in the afternoon the wind arose
and retarded our progress; the current too was strong, the river very
crooked, and the banks as usual constantly precipitating themselves in
large masses into the water. The highlands are broken and approach
nearer the river than they do below. The soil however of both hills and
low grounds appear as fertile as that further down the river: it
consists of a black looking loam with a small portion of sand, which
cover the hills and bluffs to the depth of twenty or thirty feet, and
when thrown in the water dissolves as readily as loaf-sugar, and
effervesces like marle; there are also great appearances of quartz and
mineral salts: the first is most commonly seen in the faces of the
bluffs, the second is found on the hills as well as the low grounds, and
in the gullies which come down from the hills; it lies in a crust of two
or three inches in depth, and may be swept up with a feather in large
quantities. There is no longer any appearance of coal burnt earth or
pumicestone. We saw and visited some high hills on the north side about
three miles from the river, whose tops were covered with the pitch-pine:
this in the first pine we have seen on the Missouri, and it is like that
of Virginia, except that the leaves are somewhat longer; among this pine
is also a dwarf cedar, sometimes between three or four feet high, but
generally spreading itself like a vine along the surface of the earth,
which it covers very closely, putting out roots from the under side. The
fruit and smell resemble those of the common red cedar, but the leaf is
finer and more delicate. The tops of the hills where these plants grow
have a soil quite different from that just described, the basis of it is
usually yellow or white clay, and the general appearance light coloured,
sandy, and barren, some scattering tufts of sedge being almost its only
herbage. About five in the afternoon one of our men who had been
afflicted with biles, and suffered to walk on shore, came running to the
boats with loud cries and every symptom of terror and distress: for some
time after we had taken him on board he was so much out of breath as to
be unable to describe the cause of his anxiety, but he at length told us
that about a mile and a half below he had shot a brown bear which
immediately turned and was in close pursuit of him; but the bear being
badly wounded could not overtake him. Captain Lewis with seven men
immediately went in search of him, and having found his track followed
him by the blood for a mile, and found him concealed in some thick
brushwood, and shot him with two balls through the skull. Though
somewhat smaller than that killed a few days ago, he was a monstrous
animal and a most terrible enemy: our man had shot him through the
centre of the lungs, yet he had pursued him furiously for half a mile,
then returned more than twice that distance, and with his talons had
prepared himself a bed in the earth two feet deep and five feet long,
and was perfectly alive when they found him, which was at least two
hours after he received the wound. The wonderful power of life which
these animals possess render them dreadful: their very track in the mud
or sand, which we have sometimes found eleven inches long and seven and
a quarter wide, exclusive of the talons, is alarming; and we had rather
encounter two Indians than meet a single brown bear. There is no chance
of killing them by a single shot unless the ball goes through the
brains, and this is very difficult on account of two large muscles
which cover the side of the forehead, and the sharp projection of the
centre of the frontal bone, which is also thick. Our encampment was on
the south at the distance of sixteen miles from that of last night; the
fleece and skin of the bear were a heavy burden for two men, and the oil
amounted to eight gallons.

Sunday, 12th. The weather being clear and calm, we set out early. Within
a mile we came to a small creek, about twenty yards wide, emptying
itself on the south. At eleven and three quarter miles we reached a
point of woodland on the south, opposite to which is a creek of the same
width as the last, but with little water, which we called Pine creek. At
eighteen and three quarter miles we came to on the south opposite to the
lower point of a willow island, situated in a deep bend of the river to
the southeast: here we remained during the day, the wind having risen at
twelve so high that we could not proceed: it continued to blow violently
all night, with occasional sprinklings of rain from sunset till
midnight. On both sides of the river the country is rough and broken,
the low grounds becoming narrower; the tops of the hills on the north
exhibits some scattered pine and cedar, on the south the pine has not
yet commenced, though there is some cedar on the sides of the hills and
in the little ravines. The chokecherry, the wild hysop, sage,
fleshy-leafed thorn, and particularly the aromatic herb on which the
antelope and hare feed, are to be found on the plains and hills. The
soil of the hills has now altered its texture considerably: their bases,
like that of the river plains, is as usual a rich, black loam, while
from the middle to the summits they are composed of a light
brown-coloured earth, poor and sterile, and intermixed with a coarse
white sand.

Monday, 13th. The wind was so strong that we could not proceed till
about one o'clock, when we had to encounter a current rather stronger
than usual. In the course of a mile and a half we passed two small
creeks on the south, one of eighteen the other of thirty yards width,
but neither of them containing any water, and encamped on the south at a
point of woodland, having made only seven miles. The country is much the
same as yesterday, with little timber in the low grounds, and a small
quantity of pine and cedar on the northern hills. The river however
continues to grow clearer, and this as well as the increased rapidity
induces us to hope for some change of country. The game is as usual so
abundant that we can get without difficulty all that is necessary.

Tuesday, 14th. There was some fog on the river this morning, which is a
very rare occurrence. At the distance of a mile and a half we reached an
island in a bend on the north, which continued for about half a mile,
when at the head of it a large creek comes in on the north, to which we
gave the name of Gibson's creek. At seven and a half miles is a point of
rocks on the south, above a creek on the same side, which we called
Sticklodge creek: five miles further is a large creek on the south,
which like the two others has no running water; and at sixteen and a
half miles a timbered point on the north, where we encamped for the
night. The country is like that of yesterday, except that the low
grounds are wider; there are also many high black bluffs along the
banks: the game too is in great abundance. Towards evening the men in
the hindmost canoes discovered a large brown bear lying in the open
grounds, about three hundred paces from the river: six of them, all good
hunters, immediately went to attack him, and concealing themselves by a
small eminence came unperceived within forty paces of him: four of the
hunters now fired, and each lodged a ball in his body, two of them
directly through the lungs: the furious animal sprung up and ran
openmouthed upon them; as he came near, the two hunters who had reserved
their fire gave him two wounds, one of which breaking his shoulder
retarded his motion for a moment; but before they could reload he was so
near that they were obliged to run to the river, and before they
reached it he had almost overtaken them: two jumped into the canoe; the
other four separated, and concealing themselves in the willows fired as
fast as each could reload: they struck him several times, but instead of
weakening the monster each shot seemed only to direct him towards the
hunter, till at last he pursued two of them so closely, that they threw
aside their guns and pouches, and jumped down a perpendicular bank of
twenty feet into the river; the bear sprang after them, and was within a
few feet of the hindmost, when one of the hunters on shore shot him in
the head and finally killed him: they dragged him to the shore, and
found that eight balls had passed through him in different directions;
the bear was old and the meat tough, so that they took the skin only,
and rejoined us at camp, where we had been as much terrified by an
accident of a different kind. This was the narrow escape of one of our
canoes containing all our papers, instruments, medicine, and almost
every article indispensible for the success of our enterprise. The canoe
being under sail, a sudden squall of wind struck her obliquely, and
turned her considerably. The man at the helm, who was unluckily the
worst steersman of the party, became alarmed, and instead of putting her
before the wind luffed her up into it. The wind was so high that it
forced the brace of the squaresail out of the hand of the man who was
attending it, and instantly upset the canoe, which would have turned
bottom upwards but for the resistance made by the awning. Such was the
confusion on board, and the waves ran so high, that it was half a minute
before she righted, and then nearly full of water, but by baling out she
was kept from sinking until they rowed ashore; besides the loss of the
lives of three men who not being able to swim would probably have
perished, we should have been deprived of nearly every thing necessary
for our purpose, at a distance of between two and three thousand miles
from any place where we could supply the deficiency.

Wednesday 15. As soon as a slight shower of rain had passed, we spread
out the articles to dry; but the weather was so damp and cloudy that
they derived little benefit from exposure. Our hunters procured us deer,
buffaloe, and beaver.

Thursday 16. The morning was fair and we were enabled to dry and repack
our stores: the loss we sustained is chiefly in the medicines, many
articles of which are completely spoiled, and others considerably
injured. At four o'clock we embarked, and after making seven miles
encamped on the north near some wood: the country on both sides is
broken, the low grounds narrower and with less timber, though there are
some scattered pine and cedar on the steep declivities of the hills,
which are now higher than usual. A white bear tore the coat of one of
the men which he had left on shore; and two of the party wounded a large
panther who was feasting on a deer. We caught some lean antelopes as
they were swimming the river, and killed two buffaloe.

Friday 17. We set out early and proceeded on very well; the banks being
firm and the shore bold we were enabled to use the towline, which,
whenever the banks will permit it, is the safest and most expeditious
mode of ascending the river, except under a sail with a steady breeze.
At the distance of ten and a half miles we came to the mouth of a small
creek on the south, below which the hills approach the river, and
continue near it during the day: three miles further is a large creek on
the north, and again six and three quarter miles beyond it, another
large creek to the south, which contain a small quantity of running
water of a brackish taste. The last we called Rattlesnake creek from our
seeing that animal near it. Although no timber can be observed on it
from the Missouri, it throws out large quantities of driftwood, among
which were some pieces of coal brought down by the stream. We continued
on one mile and a quarter, and encamped on the south, after making
twenty and a half miles. The country in general is rugged, the hills
high, with their summits and sides partially covered with pine and
cedar, and their bases on both sides washed by the river: like those
already mentioned the lower part of these hills is a dark rich loam,
while the upper region for one hundred and fifty feet consists of a
whitish brown sand, so hard as in many places to resemble stone, though
in fact very little stone or rock of any kind is to be seen on the
hills. The bed of the Missouri is much narrower than usual, being not
more than between two and three hundred yards in width, with an
uncommonly large proportion of gravel; but the sandbars, and low points
covered with willows have almost entirely disappeared: the timber on the
river consists of scarcely any thing more than a few scattered
cottonwood trees. The saline incrustations along the banks and the foot
of the hills are more abundant than usual. The game is in great
quantities, but the buffaloe are not so numerous as they were some days
ago: two rattlesnakes were seen to-day, and one of them killed: it
resembles those of the middle Atlantic states, being about two feet six
inches long, of a yellowish brown on the back and sides, variegated with
a row of oval dark brown spots lying transversely on the back from the
neck to the tail, and two other rows of circular spots of the same
colour on the sides along the edge of the scuta: there are one hundred
and seventy-six scuta on the belly, and seventeen on the tail. Captain
Clarke saw in his excursions a fortified Indian camp which appeared to
have been recently occupied, and was, we presumed, made by a party of
Minnetarees who went to war last March.

Late at night we were roused by the sergeant of the guard in consequence
of a fire which had communicated to a tree overhanging our camp. The
wind was so high, that we had not removed the camp more than a few
minutes when a large part of the tree fell precisely on the spot it had
occupied, and would have crushed us if we had not been alarmed in time.

Saturday 18. The wind continued high from the west, but by means of the
towline we were able to make nineteen miles, the sandbars being now few
in number, the river narrow and the current gentle; the willow has in a
great measure disappeared, and even the cottonwood, almost the only
timber remaining, is growing scarce. At twelve and three quarter miles
we came to a creek on the north, which was perfectly dry. We encamped on
the south opposite the lower point of an island.

Sunday 19. The last night was disagreeably cold; and in the morning
there was a very heavy fog which obscured the river so much as to
prevent our seeing the way. This is the first fog of any degree of
thickness which we have experienced: there was also last evening a fall
of dew, the second which we have seen since entering this extensive open
country. About eight o'clock the fog dispersed, and we proceeded with
the aid of the towline: the island near which we were encamped, was
three quarters of a mile in length. The country resembles that of
yesterday, high hills closely bordering the river. In the afternoon the
river became crooked, and contained more sawyers or floating timber than
we have seen in the same space since leaving the Platte. Our game
consisted of deer, beaver, and elk: we also killed a brown bear, who,
although shot through the heart, ran at his usual pace nearly a quarter
of a mile before he fell. At twenty-one miles is a willow island half a
mile in length, on the north side, a quarter of a mile beyond which is a
shoal of rapid water under a bluff: the water continued very strong for
some distance beyond it: at half a mile we came to a sandbar on the
north, from which to our place of encampment was another half mile,
making in all twenty-two and a quarter miles. The saline substances
which we have mentioned continue to appear; and the men are much
afflicted with sore eyes and imposthumes.

Monday 20. As usual we set out early, and the banks being convenient for
that purpose, we used the towline: the river is narrow and crooked, the
water rapid, and the country much like that of yesterday: at the
distance of two and a quarter miles we passed a large creek with but
little water, to which we gave the name of Blowingfly creek, from the
quantity of those insects found in its neighbourhood. They are extremely
troublesome, infesting our meat whilst cooking and at our meals. After
making seven miles we reached by eleven o'clock the mouth of a large
river on the south, and encamped for the day at the upper point of its
junction with the Missouri. This stream which we suppose to be that
called by the Minnetarees the Muscleshell river, empties into the
Missouri two thousand two hundred and seventy miles above the mouth of
the latter river, and in latitude 47° 0' 24" 6 north. It is one hundred
and ten yards wide, and contains more water than streams of that size
usually do in this country; its current is by no means rapid, and there
is every appearance of its being susceptible of navigation by canoes for
a considerable distance: its bed is chiefly formed of coarse sand and
gravel, with an occasional mixture of black mud; the banks abrupt and
nearly twelve feet high, so that they are secure from being overflowed:
the water is of a greenish yellow cast and much more transparent than
that of the Missouri, which itself, though clearer than below, still
retains its whitish hue and a portion of its sediment. Opposite to the
point of junction the current of the Missouri is gentle, and two hundred
and twenty-two yards in width, the bed principally of mud (the little
sand remaining being wholly confined to the points) and still too deep
to use the setting pole. If this be, as we suppose, the Muscleshell, our
Indian information is, that it rises in the first chain of the Rocky
mountains not far from the sources of the Yellowstone, whence in its
course to this place it waters a high broken country, well timbered
particularly on its borders, and interspersed with handsome fertile
plains and meadows. We have reason, however, to believe, from their
giving a similar account of the timber where we now are, that the
timber of which they speak is similar to that which we have seen for a
few days past, which consists of nothing more than a few straggling
small pine and dwarf cedar, on the summits of the hills, nine-tenths of
the ground being totally destitute of wood, and covered with a short
grass, aromatic herbs, and an immense quantity of prickly pears: though
the party who explored it for eight miles represented low grounds on the
river as well supplied with cottonwood of a tolerable size, and of an
excellent soil. They also reported that the country is broken and
irregular like that near our camp; that about five miles up a handsome
river about fifty yards wide, which we named after Chaboneau's wife,
Sahcajahweah, or Birdwoman's river, discharges itself into the
Muscleshell on the north or upper side. Another party found at the foot
of the southern hills, about four miles from the Missouri, a fine bold
spring, which in this country is so rare that since we left the Mandans
we have found only one of a similar kind, and that was under the bluffs
on the south side of the Missouri, at some distance from it, and about
five miles below the Yellowstone: with this exception all the small
fountains of which we have met a number are impregnated with the salts
which are so abundant here, and with which the Missouri is itself most
probably tainted, though to us who have been so much accustomed to it,
the taste is not perceptible. Among the game to-day we observed two
large owls, with remarkably long feathers resembling ears on the sides
of the head, which we presume are the hooting owls, though they are
larger and their colours are brighter than those common in the United

Tuesday 21. The morning being very fine we were able to employ the rope
and made twenty miles to our camp on the north. The shores of the river
are abrupt, bold and composed of a black and yellow clay, the bars being
formed of black mud, and a small proportion of fine sand; the current
strong. In its course the Missouri makes a sudden and extensive bend
towards the south, to receive the waters of the Muscleshell. The neck of
land thus formed, though itself high is lower than the surrounding
country, and makes a waving valley extending for a great distance to the
northward, with a fertile soil which, though without wood, produces a
fine turf of low grass, some herbs and vast quantities of prickly pear.
The country on the south is high, broken, and crowned with some pine and
dwarf cedar; the leaf of this pine is longer than that of the common
pitch or red pine of Virginia, the cone is longer and narrower, the
imbrications wider and thicker, and the whole frequently covered with
rosin. During the whole day the bends of the river are short and sudden;
and the points covered with some cottonwood, large or broad leaved
willow, and a small quantity of redwood; the undergrowth consisting of
wild roses, and the bushes of the small honeysuckle.

The mineral appearances on the river are as usual. We do not find the
grouse or prairie hen so abundant as below, and think it probable that
they retire from the river to the plains during this season.

The wind had been moderate during the fore part of the day, but
continued to rise towards evening, and about dark veered to northeast,
and blew a storm all night. We had encamped on a bar on the north,
opposite the lower point of an island, which from this circumstance we
called Windy island; but we were so annoyed by clouds of dust and sand
that we could neither eat nor sleep, and were forced to remove our camp
at eight o'clock to the foot of an adjoining hill, which shielded us in
some degree from the wind: we procured elk, deer, and buffaloe.

Wednesday 22. The wind blew so violently that it was deemed prudent to
wait till it had abated, so that we did not leave the camp till ten
o'clock, when we proceeded principally by the towline. We passed Windy
island which is about three quarters of a mile in length: and five and a
half miles above it a large island in a bend to the north: three miles
beyond this we came to the entrance of a creek twenty yards wide, though
with little water, which we called Grouse creek, from observing near its
mouth a quantity of the prairie hen with pointed tails, the first we
have seen in such numbers for several days: the low grounds are somewhat
wider than usual and apparently fertile, though the short and scanty
grass on the hills does not indicate much richness of soil. The country
around is not so broken as that of yesterday, but is still waving, the
southern hills possessing more pine than usual, and some appearing on
the northern hills, which are accompanied by the usual salt and mineral

The river continues about two hundred and fifty yards wide, with fewer
sandbars, and the current more gentle and regular. Game is no longer in
such abundance, since leaving the Muscleshell. We have caught very few
fish on this side of the Mandans, and these were the white catfish of
two to five pounds. We killed a deer and a bear: we have not seen in
this quarter the black bear, common in the United States and on the
lower parts of the Missouri, nor have we discerned any of their tracks,
which may easily be distinguished by the shortness of its talons from
the brown, grizzly, or white bear, all of which seem to be of the same
family, which assumes those colours at different seasons of the year. We
halted earlier than usual, and encamped on the north, in a point of
woods, at the distance of sixteen and a half miles.

                                CHAPTER IX.

     The party continue their route--description of Judith river--Indian
     mode of taking the buffaloe--Slaughter river described--phenomena
     of nature--of walls on the banks of the Missouri--the party encamp
     on the banks of the river to ascertain which of the streams
     constitute the Missouri--captain Lewis leaves the party to explore
     the northern fork, and captain Clarke explores the southern--the
     surrounding country described in the route of captain Lewis--narrow
     escape of one of his party.

Thursday 23. Last night the frost was severe, and this morning the ice
appeared along the edges of the river, and the water froze on our oars.
At the distance of a mile we passed the entrance of a creek on the
north, which we named Teapot creek; it is fifteen yards wide, and
although it has running water at a small distance from its mouth, yet it
discharges none into the Missouri, resembling, we believe, most of the
creeks in this hilly country, the waters of which are absorbed by the
thirsty soil near the river. They indeed afford but little water in any
part, and even that is so strongly tainted with salts that it is unfit
for use, though all the wild animals are very fond of it. On experiment
it was found to be moderately purgative, but painful to the intestines
in its operation. This creek seems to come from a range of low hills,
which run from east to west for seventy miles, and have their eastern
extremity thirty miles to the north of Teapot creek. Just above its
entrance is a large assemblage of the burrowing squirrels on the north
side of the river. At nine miles we reached the upper point of an island
in a bend on the south, and opposite the centre of the island, a small
dry creek on the north. Half a mile further a small creek falls in on
the same side; and six and a half miles beyond this another on the
south. At four and a half we passed a small island in a deep bend to
the north, and on the same side in a deep northeastern bend of the river
another small island. None of these creeks however possessed any water,
and at the entrances of the islands, the two first are covered with tall
cottonwood timber, and the last with willows only. The river has become
more rapid, the country much the same as yesterday, except that there is
rather more rocks on the face of the hills, and some small spruce pine
appears among the pitch. The wild roses are very abundant and now in
bloom; they differ from those of the United States only in having the
leaves and the bush itself of a somewhat smaller size. We find the
musquitoes troublesome, notwithstanding the coolness of the morning. The
buffaloe is scarce to-day, but the elk, deer, and antelope, are very
numerous. The geese begin to lose the feathers of the wings, and are
unable to fly. We saw five bears, one of which we wounded, but in
swimming from us across the river, he become entangled in some driftwood
and sank. We formed our camp on the north opposite to a hill and a point
of wood in a bend to the south, having made twenty-seven miles.

Friday 24. The water in the kettles froze one eighth of an inch during
the night; the ice appears along the margin of the river, and the
cottonwood trees which have lost nearly all their leaves by the frost,
are putting forth other buds. We proceeded with the line principally
till about nine o'clock, when a fine breeze sprung up from the S.E. and
enabled us to sail very well, notwithstanding the rapidity of the
current. At one mile and a half is a large creek thirty yards wide, and
containing some water which it empties on the north side, over a
gravelly bed, intermixed with some stone. A man who was sent up to
explore the country returned in the evening, after having gone ten miles
directly towards the ridge of mountains to the north, which is the
source of this as well as of Teapot creek. The air of these highlands is
so pure, that objects appear much nearer than they really are, so that
although our man went ten miles without thinking himself by any means
half way to the mountains, they do not from the river appear more than
fifteen miles distant; this stream we called Northmountain creek. Two
and a half miles higher is a creek on the south which is fifteen yards
wide, but without any water, and to which we gave the name of Littledog
creek, from a village of burrowing squirrels opposite to its entrance,
that being the name given by the French watermen to those animals. Three
miles from this a small creek enters on the north, five beyond which is
an island a quarter of a mile in length, and two miles further a small
river: this falls in on the south, is forty yards wide, and discharges a
handsome stream of water; its bed rocky with gravel and sand, and the
banks high: we called it Southmountain creek, as from its direction it
seemed to rise in a range of mountains about fifty or sixty miles to the
S.W. of its entrance. The low grounds are narrow and without timber; the
country high and broken; a large portion of black rock, and brown sandy
rock appears in the face of the hills, the tops of which are covered
with scattered pine, spruce and dwarf cedar: the soil is generally poor,
sandy near the tops of the hills, and nowhere producing much grass, the
low grounds being covered with little else than the hysop, or southern
wood, and the pulpy-leafed thorn. Game is more scarce, particularly
beaver, of which we have seen but few for several days, and the
abundance or scarcity of which seems to depend on the greater or less
quantity of timber. At twenty-four and a half miles we reached a point
of woodland on the south, where we observed that the trees had no
leaves, and encamped for the night. The high country through which we
have passed for some days, and where we now are, we suppose to be a
continuation of what the French traders called the Cote Noire or Black
hills. The country thus denominated consists of high broken irregular
hills and short chains of mountains; sometimes one hundred and twenty
miles in width, sometimes narrower, but always much higher than the
country on either side. They commence about the head of the Kanzas,
where they diverge; the first ridge going westward, along the northern
shore of the Arkansaw; the second approaches the Rock mountains
obliquely in a course a little to the W. of N.W. and after passing the
Platte above its forks, and intersecting the Yellowstone near the
Bigbend, crosses the Missouri at this place, and probably swell the
country as far as the Saskashawan, though as they are represented much
smaller here than to the south, they may not reach that river.

Saturday, 25th. Two canoes which were left behind yesterday to bring on
the game, did not join us till eight o'clock this morning, when we set
out with the towline, the use of which the banks permitted. The wind
was, however, ahead, the current strong, particularly round the points
against which it happened to set, and the gullies from the hills having
brought down quantities of stone, those projected into the river,
forming barriers for forty or fifty feet round, which it was very
difficult to pass. At the distance of two and three quarter miles we
passed a small island in a deep bend on the south, and on the same side
a creek twenty yards wide, but with no running water. About a mile
further is an island between two and three miles in length, separated
from the northern shore by a narrow channel, in which is a sand island
at the distance of half a mile from its lower extremity. To this large
island we gave the name of Teapot island; two miles above which is an
island a mile long, and situated on the south. At three and a half miles
is another small island, and one mile beyond it a second three quarters
of a mile in length, on the north side. In the middle of the river two
miles above this is an island with no timber, and of the same extent as
this last. The country on each side is high, broken, and rocky; the rock
being either a soft brown sandstone, covered with a thin stratum of
limestone, or else a hard black rugged granite, both usually in
horizontal stratas, and the sandrock overlaying the other. Salts and
quartz as well as some coal and pumicestone still appear: the bars of
the river are composed principally of gravel; the river low grounds are
narrow, and afford scarcely any timber; nor is there much pine on the
hills. The buffaloe have now become scarce: we saw a polecat this
evening, which was the first for several days: in the course of the day
we also saw several herds of the big-horned animals among the steep
cliffs on the north, and killed several of them. At the distance of
eighteen miles we encamped on the south, and the next morning,

Sunday, 26th, proceeded on at an early hour by means of the towline,
using our oars merely in passing the river, to take advantage of the
best banks. There are now scarcely any low grounds on the river, the
hills being high and in many places pressing on both sides to the verge
of the water. The black rock has given place to a very soft sandstone,
which seems to be washed away fast by the river, and being thrown into
the river renders its navigation more difficult than it was yesterday:
above this sandstone, and towards the summits of the hills, a hard
freestone of a yellowish brown colour shows itself in several stratas of
unequal thickness, frequently overlaid or incrusted by a thin stratum of
limestone, which seems to be formed of concreted shells. At eight and a
quarter miles we came to the mouth of a creek on the north, thirty yards
wide, with some running water and a rocky bed: we called it Windsor
creek, after one of the party. Four and three quarter miles beyond this
we came to another creek in a bend to the north, which is twenty yards
wide, with a handsome little stream of water: there is however no timber
on either side of the river, except a few pines on the hills. Here we
saw for the first time since we left the Mandans several soft shelled
turtles, though this may be owing rather to the season of the year than
to any scarcity of the animal. It was here that after ascending the
highest summits of the hills on the north side of the river, that
captain Lewis first caught a distant view of the Rock mountains, the
object of all our hopes, and the reward of all our ambition. On both
sides of the river and at no great distance from it, the mountains
followed its course: above these, at the distance of fifty miles from
us, an irregular range of mountains spread themselves from west to
northwest from his position. To the north of these a few elevated
points, the most remarkable of which bore north 65° west, appeared above
the horizon, and as the sun shone on the snows of their summits he
obtained a clear and satisfactory view of those mountains which close on
the Missouri the passage to the Pacific. Four and a half miles beyond
this creek we came to the upper point of a small sand island. At the
distance of five miles between high bluffs, we passed a very difficult
rapid, reaching quite across the river, where the water is deep, the
channel narrow, and gravel obstructing it on each side: we had great
difficulty in ascending it, although we used both the rope and the pole,
and doubled the crews: this is the most considerable rapid on the
Missouri, and in fact the only place where there is a sudden descent: as
we were labouring over them, a female elk with its fawn swam down
through the waves, which ran very high, and obtained for the place the
name of the Elk Rapids. Just above them is a small low ground of
cottonwood trees, where, at twenty-two and a quarter miles we fixed our
encampment, and were joined by captain Lewis, who had been on the hills
during the afternoon.

The country has now become desert and barren: the appearances of coal,
burnt earth, pumicestone, salts, and quartz, continue as yesterday: but
there is no timber except the thinly scattered pine and spruce on the
summits of the hills, or along the sides. The only animals we have
observed are the elk, the bighorn, and the hare, common in this country.
In the plain where we lie are two Indian cabins made of sticks, and
during the last few days we have passed several others in the points of
timber on the river.

Monday, 27. The wind was so high that we did not start till ten o'clock,
and even then were obliged to use the line during the greater part of
the day. The river has become very rapid with a very perceptible
descent: its general width is about two hundred yards: the shoals too
are more frequent, and the rocky points at the mouth of the gullies more
troublesome to pass: great quantities of this stone lie in the river and
on its banks, and seem to have fallen down as the rain washed away the
clay and sand in which they were imbedded. The water is bordered by high
rugged bluffs, composed of irregular but horizontal stratas of yellow
and brown or black clay, brown and yellowish white sand, soft yellowish
white sandstone: hard dark brown freestone; and also large round kidney
formed irregular separate masses of a hard black ironstone, imbedded in
the clay and sand; some coal or carbonated wood also makes its
appearance in the cliffs, as do also its usual attendants the
pumicestone and burnt earth. The salts and quartz are less abundant, and
generally speaking the country is if possible more rugged and barren
than that we passed yesterday; the only growth of the hills being a few
pine, spruce, and dwarf cedar, interspersed with an occasional contrast
once in the course of some miles, of several acres of level ground,
which supply a scanty subsistence for a few little cottonwood trees.

Soon after setting out we passed a small untimbered island on the south:
at about seven miles we reached a considerable bend which the river
makes towards the southeast, and in the evening, after making twelve and
a half miles, encamped on the south near two dead cottonwood trees, the
only timber for fuel which we could discover in the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, 28. The weather was dark and cloudy; the air smoky, and there
fell a few drops of rain. At ten o'clock we had again a slight
sprinkling of rain, attended with distant thunder, which is the first we
have heard since leaving the Mandans. We employed the line generally,
with the addition of the pole at the ripples and rocky points, which we
find more numerous and troublesome than those we passed yesterday. The
water is very rapid round these points, and we are sometimes obliged to
steer the canoes through the points of sharp rocks rising a few inches
above the surface of the water, and so near to each other that if our
ropes give way the force of the current drives the sides of the canoe
against them, and must inevitably upset them or dash them to pieces.
These cords are very slender, being almost all made of elkskin, and much
worn and rotted by exposure to the weather: several times they gave way,
but fortunately always in places where there was room for the canoe to
turn without striking the rock; yet with all our precautions it was with
infinite risk and labour that we passed these points. An Indian pole for
building floated down the river, and was worn at one end as if dragged
along the ground in travelling; several other articles were also brought
down by the current, which indicate that the Indians are probably at no
great distance above us, and judging from a football which resembles
those used by the Minnetarees near the Mandans, we conjecture that they
must be a band of the Minnetarees of fort de Prairie. The appearance of
the river and the surrounding country continued as usual, till towards
evening, at about fifteen miles, we reached a large creek on the north
thirty-five yards wide, discharging some water, and named after one of
our men Thompson's creek. Here the country assumed a totally different
aspect; the hills retired on both sides from the river, which now
spreads to more than three times its former size, and is filled with a
number of small handsome islands covered with cottonwood. The low
grounds on the river are again wide, fertile, and enriched with trees;
those on the north are particularly wide, the hills being comparatively
low and opening into three large vallies, which extend themselves for a
considerable distance towards the north: these appearances of vegetation
are delightful after the dreary hills over which we have passed, and we
have now to congratulate ourselves at having escaped from the last
ridges of the Black mountains. On leaving Thompson's creek we passed two
small islands, and at twenty-three miles distance encamped among some
timber on the north, opposite to a small creek, which we named Bull
creek. The bighorn is in great quantities, and must bring forth their
young at a very early season, as they are now half grown. One of the
party saw a large bear also, but being at a distance from the river, and
having no timber to conceal him, he would not venture to fire.

Wednesday, 29. Last night we were alarmed by a new sort of enemy. A
buffaloe swam over from the opposite side and to the spot where lay one
of our canoes, over which he clambered to the shore: then taking fright
he ran full speed up the bank towards our fires, and passed within
eighteen inches of the heads of some of the men, before the sentinel
could make him change his course: still more alarmed he ran down between
four fires and within a few inches of the heads of the second row of the
men, and would have broken into our lodge if the barking of the dog had
not stopped him. He suddenly turned to the right and was out of sight in
a moment, leaving us all in confusion, every one seizing his rifle and
inquiring the cause of the alarm. On learning what had happened, we had
to rejoice at suffering no more injury than the damage to some guns
which were in the canoe which the buffaloe crossed.

In the morning early we left our camp, and proceeded as usual by the
cord. We passed an island and two sandbars, and at the distance of two
and a half miles we came to a handsome river which discharges itself on
the south, and which we ascended to the distance of a mile and a half:
we called it Judith's river: it rises in the Rock mountains in about
the same place with the Muscleshell and near the Yellowstone river. Its
entrance is one hundred yards wide from one bank to the other, the water
occupying about seventy-five yards, and in greater quantity than that of
the Muscleshell river, and though more rapid equally navigable, there
being no stones or rocks in the bed, which is composed entirely of
gravel and mud with some sand: the water too is clearer than any which
we have yet seen; and the low grounds, as far as we could discern, wider
and more woody than those of the Missouri: along its banks we observed
some box-alder intermixed with the cottonwood and the willow; the
undergrowth consisting of rosebushes, honeysuckle, and a little red
willow. There was a great abundance of the argalea or bighorned animals
in the high country through which it passes, and a great number of the
beaver in its waters: just above the entrance of it we saw the fires of
one hundred and twenty-six lodges, which appeared to have been deserted
about twelve or fifteen days, and on the other side of the Missouri a
large encampment, apparently made by the same nation. On examining some
moccasins which we found there, our Indian woman said that they did not
belong to her own nation the Snake Indians, but she thought that they
indicated a tribe on this side of the Rocky mountain, and to the north
of the Missouri; indeed it is probable that these are the Minnetarees of
fort de Prairie. At the distance of six and a half miles the hills again
approach the brink of the river, and the stones and rocks washed down
from them form a very bad rapid, with rocks and ripples more numerous
and difficult than those we passed on the 27th and 28th; here the same
scene was renewed, and we had again to struggle and labour to preserve
our small craft from being lost. Near this spot are a few trees of the
ash, the first we have seen for a great distance, and from which we
named the place Ash Rapids. On these hills there is but little timber,
but the salts, coal, and other mineral appearances continue. On the
north we passed a precipice about one hundred and twenty feet high,
under which lay scattered the fragments of at least one hundred carcases
of buffaloes, although the water which had washed away the lower part of
the hill must have carried off many of the dead. These buffaloe had been
chased down the precipice in a way very common on the Missouri, and by
which vast herds are destroyed in a moment. The mode of hunting is to
select one of the most active and fleet young men, who is disguised by a
buffaloe skin round his body; the skin of the head with the ears and
horns fastened on his own head in such a way as to deceive the buffaloe:
thus dressed, he fixes himself at a convenient distant between a herd of
buffaloe and any of the river precipices, which sometimes extend for
some miles. His companions in the meantime get in the rear and side of
the herd, and at a given signal show themselves, and advance towards the
buffaloe: they instantly take the alarm, and finding the hunters beside
them, they run towards the disguised Indian or decoy, who leads them on
at full speed toward the river, when suddenly securing himself in some
crevice of the cliff which he had previously fixed on, the herd is left
on the brink of the precipice: it is then in vain for the foremost to
retreat or even to stop; they are pressed on by the hindmost rank, who
seeing no danger but from the hunters, goad on those before them till
the whole are precipitated and the shore is strewn with their dead
bodies. Sometimes in this perilous seduction the Indian is himself
either trodden under root by the rapid movements of the buffaloe, or
missing his footing in the cliff is urged down the precipice by the
falling herd. The Indians then select as much meat as they wish, and the
rest is abandoned to the wolves, and create a most dreadful stench. The
wolves who had been feasting on these carcases were very fat, and so
gentle that one of them was killed with an esponton. Above this place we
came to for dinner at the distance of seventeen miles, opposite to a
bold running river of twenty yards wide, and falling in on the south.
From the objects we had just passed we called this stream Slaughter
river. Its low grounds are narrow, and contain scarcely any timber. Soon
after landing it began to blow and rain, and as there was no prospect of
getting wood for fuel farther on, we fixed our camp on the north, three
quarters of a mile above Slaughter river. After the labours of the day
we gave to each man a dram, and such was the effect of long abstinence
from spirituous liquors, that from the small quantity of half a gill of
rum, several of the men were considerably affected by it, and all very
much exhilirated. Our game to-day consisted of an elk and two beaver.

Thursday, 30. The rain which commenced last evening continued with
little intermission till eleven this morning, when the high wind which
accompanied it having abated, we set out. More rain has now fallen than
we have had since the 1st of September last, and many circumstances
indicate our approach to a climate differing considerably from that of
the country through which we have been passing: the air of the open
country is astonishingly dry and pure. Observing that the case of our
sextant, though perfectly seasoned, shrank and the joints opened, we
tried several experiments, by which it appeared that a tablespoon full
of water exposed in a saucer to the air would evaporate in thirty-six
hours, when the mercury did not stand higher than the temperate point at
the greatest heat of the day. The river, notwithstanding the rain, is
much clearer than it was a few days past; but we advance with great
labour and difficulty; the rapid current, the ripples and rocky points
rendering the navigation more embarrassing than even that of yesterday,
in addition to which the banks are now so slippery after the rain, that
the men who draw the canoes can scarcely walk, and the earth and stone
constantly falling down the high bluffs make it dangerous to pass under
them; still however we are obliged to make use of the cord, as the wind
is strong ahead, the current too rapid for oars, and too deep for the
pole. In this way we passed at the distance of five and a half miles a
small rivulet in a bend on the north, two miles further an island on the
same side, half a mile beyond which came to a grove of trees at the
entrance of a run in a bend to the south, and encamped for the night on
the northern shore. The eight miles which we made to-day cost us much
trouble. The air was cold and rendered more disagreeable by the rain,
which fell in several slight showers in the course of the day; our cords
too broke several times, but fortunately without injury to the boats. On
ascending the hills near the river, one of the party found that there
was snow mixed with the rain on the heights: a little back of these the
country becomes perfectly level on both sides of the river. There is now
no timber on the hills, and only a few scattering cottonwood, ash,
box-alder, and willows, along the water. In the course of the day we
passed several encampments of Indians, the most recent of which seemed
to have been evacuated about five weeks since, and from the several
apparent dates we supposed that they were made by a band of about one
hundred lodges who were travelling slowly up the river. Although no part
of the Missouri from the Minnetarees to this place exhibit signs of
permanent settlements, yet none seem exempt from the transient visits of
hunting parties. We know that the Minnetarees of the Missouri extend
their excursions on the south side of the river, as high as the
Yellowstone; and the Assiniboins visit the northern side, most probably
as high as Porcupine river. All the lodges between that place and the
Rocky mountains we supposed to belong to the Minnetarees of fort de
Prairie, who live on the south fork of the Saskashawan.

Friday, 31. We proceeded in two periogues, leaving the canoes to bring
on the meat of two buffaloes killed last evening. Soon after we set off
it began to rain, and though it ceased at noon, the weather continued
cloudy during the rest of the day. The obstructions of yesterday still
remain and fatigue the men excessively: the banks are so slippery in
some places and the mud so adhesive that they are unable to wear their
moccasins; one fourth of the time they are obliged to be up to their
armpits in the cold water, and sometimes walk for several yards over the
sharp fragments of rocks which have fallen from the hills: all this
added to the burden of dragging the heavy canoes is very painful, yet
the men bear it with great patience and good humour. Once the rope of
one of the periogues, the only one we had made of hemp, broke short, and
the periogue swung and just touched a point of rock which almost overset
her. At nine miles we came to a high wall of black rock rising from the
water's edge on the south, above the cliffs of the river: this continued
about a quarter of a mile, and was succeeded by a high open plain, till
three miles further a second wall two hundred feet high rose on the same
side. Three miles further a wall of the same kind about two hundred feet
high and twelve in thickness, appeared to the north: these hills and
river cliffs exhibit a most extraordinary and romantic appearance: they
rise in most places nearly perpendicular from the water, to the height
of between two and three hundred feet, and are formed of very white
sandstone, so soft as to yield readily to the impression of water, in
the upper part of which lie imbedded two or three thin horizontal
stratas of white freestone insensible to the rain, and on the top is a
dark rich loam, which forms a gradually ascending plain, from a mile to
a mile and a half in extent, when the hills again rise abruptly to the
height of about three hundred feet more. In trickling down the cliffs,
the water has worn the soft sandstone into a thousand grotesque figures,
among which with a little fancy may be discerned elegant ranges of
freestone buildings, with columns variously sculptured, and supporting
long and elegant galleries, while the parapets are adorned with
statuary: on a nearer approach they represent every form of elegant
ruins; columns, some with pedestals and capitals entire, others
mutilated and prostrate, and some rising pyramidally over each other
till they terminate in a sharp point. These are varied by niches,
alcoves, and the customary appearances of desolated magnificence: the
allusion is increased by the number of martins, who have built their
globular nests in the niches and hover over these columns; as in our
country they are accustomed to frequent large stone structures. As we
advance there seems no end to the visionary enchantment which surrounds
us. In the midst of this fantastic scenery are vast ranges of walls,
which seem the productions of art, so regular is the workmanship: they
rise perpendicularly from the river, sometimes to the height of one
hundred feet, varying in thickness from one to twelve feet, being
equally broad at the top as below. The stones of which they are formed
are black, thick, and durable, and composed of a large portion of earth,
intermixed and cemented with a small quantity of sand, and a
considerable proportion of talk or quartz. These stones are almost
invariably regular parallelipeds of unequal sizes in the wall, but
equally deep, and laid regularly in ranges over each other like bricks,
each breaking and covering the interstice of the two on which it rests:
but though the perpendicular interstice be destroyed, the horizontal one
extends entirely through the whole work: the stones too are proportioned
to the thickness of the wall in which they are employed, being largest
in the thickest walls. The thinner walls are composed of a single depth
of the paralleliped, while the thicker ones consist of two or more
depths: these walls pass the river at several places, rising from the
water's edge much above the sandstone bluffs which they seem to
penetrate; thence they cross in a straight line on either side of the
river, the plains over which they tower to the height of from ten to
seventy feet, until they lose themselves in the second range of hills:
sometimes they run parallel in several ranges near to each other,
sometimes intersect each other at right angles, and have the appearance
of walls of ancient houses or gardens.

The face of some of these river hills, is composed of very excellent
freestone of a light yellowish brown colour, and among the cliffs we
found a species of pine which we had not yet seen, and differing from
the Virginia pitchpine in having a shorter leaf, and a longer and more
pointed cone. The coal appears only in small quantities, as do the burnt
earth and pumicestone: the mineral salts have abated. Among the animals
are a great number of the bighorn, a few buffaloe and elk, and some
mule-deer, but none of the common deer nor any antelopes. We saw but
could not procure a beautiful fox, of a colour varied with orange,
yellow, white, and black, rather smaller than the common fox of this
country, and about the same size as the red fox of the United States.

The river to-day has been from about one hundred and fifty to two
hundred and fifty yards wide, with but little timber. At the distance of
two miles and a half from the last stone wall, is a stream on the north
side, twenty-eight yards in width, and with some running water. We
encamped just above its mouth having made eighteen miles.

Saturday, June 1. The weather was cloudy with a few drops of rain. As we
proceeded by the aid of our cord we found the river cliffs and bluffs
not so high as yesterday, and the country more level. The timber too is
in greater abundance on the river, though there is no wood on the high
ground; coal however appears in the bluffs. The river is from two
hundred to two hundred and fifty feet wide, the current more gentle, the
water becoming still clearer and fewer rocky points and shoals than we
met yesterday, though those which we did encounter were equally
difficult to pass. Game is by no means in such plenty as below; all that
we obtained were one bighorn, and a mule-deer though we saw in the
plains a quantity of buffaloe, particularly near a small lake about
eight miles from the river to the south. Notwithstanding the wind was
ahead all day, we dragged the canoes along the distance of twenty-three
miles. At fourteen and a quarter miles, we came to a small island
opposite a bend of the river to the north: two and a half miles to the
upper point of a small island on the north; five miles to another island
on the south side and opposite to a bluff. In the next two miles we
passed an island on the south, a second beyond it on the north, and
reached near a high bluff on the north a third on which we encamped. In
the plains near the river are the chokecherry, yellow and red
currant-bushes, as well as the wild rose and prickly pear, both of which
are now in bloom. From the tops of the river hills, which are lower than
usual, we enjoyed a delightful view of the rich fertile plains on both
sides, in many places extending from the river cliffs to a great
distance back. In these plains we meet occasionally large banks of pure
sand, which were driven apparently by the southwest winds, and there
deposited. The plains are more fertile some distance from the river than
near its banks, where the surface of the earth is very generally strewed
with small pebbles, which appear to be smoothed and worn by the
agitation of the waters with which they were no doubt once covered. A
mountain or part of the North mountain approaches the river within eight
or ten miles, bearing north from our encampment of last evening; and
this morning a range of high mountains bearing S.W. from us and
apparently running to the westward, are seen at a great distance covered
with snow. In the evening we had a little more rain.

Sunday 2. The wind blew violently last night, and a slight shower of
rain fell, but this morning was fair. We set out at an early hour, and
although the wind was ahead by means of the cord went on much better
than for the last two days, as the banks were well calculated for
towing. The current of the river is strong but regular, its timber
increases in quantity, the low grounds become more level and extensive,
and the bluffs on the river are lower than usual. In the course of the
day we had a small shower of rain, which lasted a few minutes only. As
the game is very abundant we think it necessary to begin a collection
of hides for the purpose of making a leathern boat, which we intend
constructing shortly. The hunters who were out the greater part of the
day brought in six elk, two buffaloe, two mule-deer and a bear. This
last animal had nearly cost us the lives of two of our hunters who were
together when he attacked them: one of them narrowly escaped being
caught, and the other after running a considerable distance, concealed
himself in some thick bushes, and while the bear was in quick pursuit of
his hiding place, his companion came up and fortunately shot the animal
through the head.

At six and at half miles we reached an island on the northern side; one
mile and a quarter thence is a timbered low ground on the south: and in
the next two and three quarter miles we passed three small islands, and
came to a dark bluff on the south: within the following mile are two
small islands on the same side. At three and a quarter miles we reached
the lower part of a much larger island near a northern point, and as we
coasted along its side, within two miles passed a smaller island, and
half a mile above reached the head of another. All these islands are
small, and most of them contain some timber. Three quarters of a mile
beyond the last, and at the distance of eighteen miles from our
encampment, we came to for the night in a handsome low cottonwood plain
on the south, where we remained for the purpose of making some celestial
observations during the night, and of examining in the morning a large
river which comes in opposite to us. Accordingly at an early hour,

Monday, 3d, we crossed and fixed our camp in the point, formed by the
junction of the river with the Missouri. It now became an interesting
question which of these two streams is what the Minnetarees call
Ahmateahza or the Missouri, which they described as approaching very
near to the Columbia. On our right decision much of the fate of the
expedition depends; since if after ascending to the Rocky mountains or
beyond them, we should find that the river we were following did not
come near the Columbia, and be obliged to return; we should not only
lose the travelling season, two months of which had already elapsed, but
probably dishearten the men so much as to induce them either to abandon
the enterprise, or yield us a cold obedience instead of the warm and
zealous support which they had hitherto afforded us. We determined,
therefore, to examine well before we decided on our future course; and
for this purpose despatched two canoes with three men up each of the
streams with orders to ascertain the width, depth, and rapidity of the
current, so as to judge of their comparative bodies of water. At the
same time parties were sent out by land to penetrate the country, and
discover from the rising grounds, if possible, the distant bearings of
the two rivers; and all were directed to return towards evening. While
they were gone we ascended together the high grounds in the fork of
these two rivers, whence we had a very extensive prospect of the
surrounding country: on every side it was spread into one vast plain
covered with verdure, in which innumerable herds of buffaloe were
roaming, attended by their enemies the wolves: some flocks of elk also
were seen, and the solitary antelopes were scattered with their young
over the face of the plain. To the south was a range of lofty mountains,
which we supposed to be a continuation of the South mountain, stretching
themselves from southeast to northwest, and terminating abruptly about
southwest from us. These were partially covered with snow; but at a
great distance behind them was a more lofty ridge completely covered
with snow, which seemed to follow the same direction as the first,
reaching from west to the north of northwest, where their snowy tops
were blended with the horizon. The direction of the rivers could not
however be long distinguished, as they were soon lost in the extent of
the plain. On our return we continued our examination; the width of the
north branch is two hundred yards, that of the south is three hundred
and seventy-two. The north, although narrower and with a gentler
current, is deeper than the south: its waters too are of the same
whitish brown colour, thickness, and turbidness: they run in the same
boiling and rolling manner which has uniformly characterized the
Missouri; and its bed is composed of some gravel, but principally mud.
The south fork is deeper, but its waters are perfectly transparent: its
current is rapid, but the surface smooth and unruffled; and its bed too
is composed of round and flat smooth stones like those of rivers issuing
from a mountainous country. The air and character of the north fork so
much resemble those of the Missouri that almost all the party believe
that to be the true course to be pursued. We however, although we have
given no decided opinion, are inclined to think otherwise, because,
although this branch does give the colour and character to the Missouri,
yet these very circumstances induce an opinion that it rises in and runs
through an open plain country, since if it came from the mountains it
would be clearer, unless, which from the position of the country is
improbable, it passed through a vast extent of low ground after leaving
them: we thought it probable that it did not even penetrate the Rocky
mountains, but drew it sources from the open country towards the lower
and middle parts of the Saskashawan, in a direction north of this place.
What embarrasses us most is, that the Indians who appeared to be well
acquainted with the geography of the country, have not mentioned this
northern river; for "the river which scolds at all others," as it is
termed, must be according to their account one of the rivers which we
have passed; and if this north fork be the Missouri, why have they not
designated the south branch which they must also have passed, in order
to reach the great falls which they mention on the Missouri. In the
evening our parties returned, after ascending the rivers in canoes for
some distance, then continuing on foot, just leaving themselves time to
return by night. The north fork was less rapid, and therefore afforded
the easiest navigation: the shallowest water of the north was five feet
deep, that of the south six feet. At two and a half miles up the north
fork is a small river coming in on the left or western side, sixty feet
wide, with a bold current three feet in depth. The party by land had
gone up the south fork in a straight line, somewhat north of west for
seven miles, where they discovered that this little river came within
one hundred yards of the south fork, and on returning down it found it a
handsome stream, with as much timber as either of the larger rivers,
consisting of the narrow and wide-leafed cottonwood, some birch and
box-alder, amid undergrowth of willows, rosebushes, and currants: they
also saw on this river a great number of elk and some beaver.

All these accounts were however very far from deciding the important
question of our future route, and we therefore determined each of us to
ascend one of the rivers during a day and a half's march, or farther if
necessary, for our satisfaction. Our hunters killed two buffaloe, six
elk, and four deer to-day. Along the plains near the junction, are to be
found the prickly pear in great quantities; the chokecherry is also very
abundant in the river low grounds, as well as the ravines along the
river bluffs; the yellow and red currants are not yet ripe; the
gooseberry is beginning to ripen, and the wildrose which now covers all
the low grounds near the rivers is in full bloom. The fatigues of the
last few days have occasioned some falling off in the appearance of the
men, who not having been able to wear moccasins, had their feet much
bruised and mangled in passing over the stones and rough ground. They
are however perfectly cheerful, and have an undiminished ardour for the

Tuesday, June 4. At the same hour this morning captain Lewis and captain
Clarke set out to explore the two rivers: captain Lewis with six men
crossed the north fork near the camp, below a small island from which
he took a course N. 30° W. for four and a half miles to a commanding
eminence. Here we observed that the North mountain, changing its
direction parallel to the Missouri, turned towards the north and
terminated abruptly at the distance of about thirty miles, the point of
termination bearing N. 48° E. The South mountain too diverges to the
south, and terminates abruptly, its extremity bearing S. 8° W. distant
about twenty miles: to the right of, and retreating from this extremity,
is a separate mountain at the distance of thirty-five miles in a
direction S. 38° W. which from its resemblance to the roof of a barn, we
called the Barn mountain. The north fork, which is now on the left,
makes a considerable bend to the northwest, and on its western border a
range of hills about ten miles long, and bearing from this spot N. 60°
W. runs parallel with it: north of this range of hills is an elevated
point of the river bluff on its south side, bearing N. 72° W. about
twelve miles from us; towards this he directed his course across a high,
level, dry open plain; which in fact embraces the whole country to the
foot of the mountains. The soil is dark, rich, and fertile, yet the
grass by no means so luxuriant as might have been expected, for it is
short and scarcely more than sufficient to cover the ground. There are
vast quantities of prickly pears, and myriads of grasshoppers, which
afford food for a species of curlew which is in great numbers in the
plain. He then proceeded up the river to the point of observation they
had fixed on; from which he went two miles N. 15° W. to a bluff point on
the north side of the river: thence his course was N. 30° W. for two
miles to the entrance of a large creek on the south. The part of the
river along which he passed is from forty to sixty yards wide, the
current strong, the water deep and turbid, the banks falling in, the
salts, coal and mineral appearances are as usual, and in every respect,
except as to size, this river resembles the Missouri. The low grounds
are narrow but well supplied with wood: the bluffs are principally of
dark brown yellow, and some white clay with freestone in some places.
From this point the river bore N. 20° E. to a bluff on the south, at the
distance of twelve miles: towards this he directed his course, ascending
the hills which are about two hundred feet high, and passing through
plains for three miles, till he found the dry ravines so steep and
numerous that he resolved to return to the river and follow its banks.
He reached it about four miles from the beginning of his course, and
encamped on the north in a bend among some bushes which sheltered the
party from the wind: the air was very cold, the northwest wind high, and
the rain wet them to the skin. Besides the game just mentioned, he
observed buffaloe, elk, wolves, foxes, and we got a blaireau and a
weasel, and wounded a large brown bear, whom it was too late to pursue.
Along the river are immense quantities of roses which are now in full
bloom, and which make the low grounds a perfect garden.

Wednesday 5. The rain fell during the greater part of the last night,
and in the morning the weather was cloudy and cold, with a high
northwest wind: at sunrise he proceeded up the river eight miles to the
bluff on the left side, towards which he had been directing his course
yesterday. Here he found the bed of a creek twenty-five yards wide at
the entrance, with some timber, but no water, notwithstanding the rain:
it is, indeed, astonishing to observe the vast quantities of water
absorbed by the soil of the plains, which being opened in large crevices
presents a fine rich loam: at the mouth of this stream (which he called
Lark creek) the bluffs are very steep and approach the river so that he
ascended them, and crossing the plains reached the river, which from the
last point bore N. 50° W: four miles from this place it extended north
two miles. Here he discovered a lofty mountain standing alone at the
distance of more than eighty miles in the direction of N. 30° W. and
which from its conical figure he called Tower mountain. He then
proceeded on these two hills and afterwards in different courses six
miles, when he again changed for a western course across a deep bend
along the south side: in making this passage over the plains he found
them like those of yesterday, level and beautiful, with great quantities
of buffaloes, and some wolves, foxes, and antelopes, and intersected
near the river by deep ravines. Here at the distance of from one to nine
miles from the river, he met the largest village of barking squirrels
which we had yet seen: for he passed a skirt of their territory for
seven miles. He also saw near the hills a flock of the mountain cock or
a large species of heath hen with a long pointed tail, which the Indians
below had informed us were common among the Rock mountains. Having
finished his course of ten miles west across a bend, he continued two
miles N. 80° W. and from that point discovered some lofty mountains to
the northwest of Tower mountain and bearing N. 65° W. at eighty or one
hundred miles distance: Here he encamped on the north side in a handsome
low ground, on which were several old stick lodges: there had been but
little timber on the river in the forepart of the day, but now there is
a greater quantity than usual. The river itself is about eighty yards
wide, from six to ten feet deep, and has a strong steady current. The
party had killed five elk, and a mule-deer; and by way of experiment
roasted the burrowing squirrels, which they found to be well flavoured
and tender.

Thursday 6. Captain Lewis was now convinced that this river pursued a
direction too far north for our route to the Pacific, and therefore
resolved to return; but waited till noon to take a meridian altitude.
The clouds, however, which had gathered during the latter part of the
night continued and prevented the observation: part of the men were sent
forward to a commanding eminence, six miles S. 70° W; from which they
saw at the distance of about fifteen miles S. 80° W. a point of the
south bluff of the river, which thence bore northwardly. In their
absence two rafts had been prepared, and when they returned about noon,
the party embarked: but they soon found that the rafts were so small and
slender that the baggage was wet, and therefore it was necessary to
abandon them, and go by land. They therefore crossed the plains, and at
the distance of twelve miles came to the river, through a cold storm
from the northeast, accompanied by showers of rain. The abruptness of
the cliffs compelled them, after going a few miles, to leave the river
and meet the storm in the plains. Here they directed their course too
far northward, in consequence of which they did not meet the river till
late at night, after having travelled twenty-three miles since noon, and
halted at a little below the entrance of Lark creek. They had the good
fortune to kill two buffaloe which supplied them with supper, but spent
a very uncomfortable night without any shelter from the rain, which
continued till morning,

Friday 7, when at an early hour they continued down the river. The route
was extremely unpleasant, as the wind was high from the N.E. accompanied
with rain, which made the ground so slippery that they were unable to
walk over the bluffs which they had passed on ascending the river. The
land is the most thirsty we have ever seen; notwithstanding all the rain
which has fallen, the earth is not wet for more than two inches deep,
and resembles thawed ground; but if it requires more water to saturate
it than the common soils, on the other hand it yields its moisture with
equal difficulty. In passing along the side of one of these bluffs at a
narrow pass thirty yards in length, captain Lewis slipped, and but for a
fortunate recovery, by means of his espontoon, would then have been
precipitated into the river over a precipice of about ninety feet. He
had just reached a spot where by the assistance of his espontoon he
could stand with tolerable safety, when he heard a voice behind him cry
out, good God captain what shall I do? he turned instantly and found it
was Windsor who had lost his foothold about the middle of the narrow
pass, and had slipped down to the very verge of the precipice where he
lay on his belly, with his right arm and leg over the precipice, while
with the other leg and arm he was with difficulty holding on to keep
himself from being dashed to pieces below. His dreadful situation was
instantly perceived by captain Lewis, who stifling his alarm, calmly
told him that he was in no danger; that he should take his knife out of
his belt with the right hand, and dig a hole in the side of the bluff to
receive his right foot. With great presence of mind he did this, and
then raised himself on his knees; captain Lewis then told him to take
off his moccasins and come forward on his hands and knees, holding the
knife in one hand and his rifle in the other. He immediately crawled in
this way till he came to a secure spot. The men who had not attempted
this passage, were ordered to return and wade the river at the foot of
the bluff, where they found the water breast high. This adventure taught
them the danger of crossing the slippery heights of the river; but as
the plains were intersected by deep ravines almost as difficult to pass,
they continued down the river, sometimes in the mud of the low grounds,
sometimes up to their arms in the water, and when it became too deep to
wade, they cut footholds with their knives in the sides of the banks. In
this way they travelled through the rain, mud, and water, and having
made only eighteen miles during the whole day, encamped in an old Indian
lodge of sticks, which afforded them a dry shelter. Here they cooked
part of six deer they had killed in the course of their walk, and having
eaten the only morsel they had tasted during the whole day slept
comfortably on some willow boughs.

                                CHAPTER X.

     Return of captain Lewis--Account of captain Clarke's researches
     with his exploring party--Perilous situation of one of his
     party--Tansy river described--The party still believing the
     southern fork the Missouri, captain Lewis resolves to ascend
     it--Mode of making a place to deposit provisions, called
     cache--Captain Lewis explores the southern fork--Falls of the
     Missouri discovered, which ascertains the question--Romantic
     scenery of the surrounding country--Narrow escape of captain
     Lewis--The main body under captain Clarke approach within five
     miles of the falls, and prepare for making a portage over the

Saturday 8. It continued to rain moderately all last night, and the
morning was cloudy till about ten o'clock, when it cleared off, and
became a fine day. They breakfasted about sunrise and then proceeded
down the river in the same way as they had done yesterday, except that
the travelling was somewhat better, as they had not so often to wade,
though they passed some very dangerous bluffs. The only timber to be
found is in the low grounds which are occasionally on the river, and
these are the haunts of innumerable birds, who, when the sun began to
shine, sang very delightfully. Among these birds they distinguished the
brown thrush, robin, turtledove, linnet, goldfinch, the large and small
blackbird, the wren, and some others. As they came along, the whole of
the party were of opinion that this river was the true Missouri, but
captain Lewis being fully persuaded that it was neither the main stream,
nor that which it would be advisable to ascend, gave it the name of
Maria's river. After travelling all day they reached the camp at five
o'clock in the afternoon, and found captain Clarke and the party very
anxious for their safety, as they had staid two days longer than had
been expected, and as captain Clarke had returned at the appointed time,
it was feared that they had met with some accident.

Captain Clarke on setting out with five men on the 4th, went seven
miles on a course S. 25° W. to a spring; thence he went S. 20° W. for
eight miles to the river where was an island, from which he proceeded in
a course N. 45° W. and approached the river at the distance of three,
five, and thirteen miles, at which place they encamped in an old Indian
lodge made of sticks and bark. In crossing the plains they observed
several herds of buffaloe, some muledeer, antelopes and wolves. The
river is rapid and closely hemmed in by high bluffs, crowded with bars
of gravel, with little timber on the low grounds, and none on the
highlands. Near the camp this evening, a white bear attacked one of the
men, whose gun happening to be wet, would not go off; he instantly made
towards a tree, but was so closely pursued, that as he ascended the tree
he struck the bear with his foot. The bear not being able to climb,
waited till he should be forced to come down; and as the rest of the
party were separated from him by a perpendicular cliff of rocks, which
they could not descend, it was not in their power to give him any
assistance: fortunately however at last the bear became frighted at
their cries and firing, and released the man. In the afternoon it
rained, and during the night there fell both rain and snow, and in the

June 5, the hills to the S.E. were covered with snow, and the rain
continued. They proceeded on in a course N. 20° W. near the river
several miles, till at the distance of eleven miles they reached a
ridge, from the top of which on the north side they could plainly
discern a mountain to the S. and W. at a great distance covered with
snow; a high ridge projecting from the mountains to the southeast
approaches the river on the southeast side, forming some cliffs of dark
hard stone. They also saw that the river ran for a great distance west
of south, with a rapid current, from which as well as its continuing of
the same width and depth, captain Clarke thought it useless to advance
any further, and therefore returned across the level plain in a
direction north 30° east, and reached at the distance of twenty miles
the little river which is already mentioned as falling into the north
fork, and to which they gave the name of Tansy river, from the great
quantity of that herb growing on its banks. Here they dined, and then
proceeded on a few miles by a place where the Tansy breaks through a
high ridge on its north side and encamped.

The next day, 6th, the weather was cold, raw and cloudy, with a high
northeast wind. They set out early, down the Tansy, whose low grounds
resemble precisely, except as to extent, those of the Missouri before it
branches, containing a great proportion of a species of cottonwood, with
a leaf like that of the wild cherry. After halting at twelve o'clock for
dinner, they ascended the plain, and at five o'clock reached the camp
through the rain, which had fallen without intermission since noon.
During his absence the party had been occupied in dressing skins, and
being able to rest themselves were nearly freed from their lameness and
swollen feet. All this night and the whole of the following day, 7th, it
rained, the wind being from the southwest off the mountains: yet the
rivers are falling, and the thermometer 40° above 0. The rain continued
till the next day, 8th, at ten o'clock, when it cleared off, and the
weather became fine, the wind high from the southwest. The rivers at the
point have now fallen six inches since our arrival, and this morning the
water of the south fork became of a reddish brown colour, while the
north branch continued of its usual whitish appearance. The mountains to
the south are covered with snow.

Sunday, 9th. We now consulted upon the course to be pursued. On
comparing our observations, we were more than ever convinced of what we
already suspected, that Mr. Arrowsmith is incorrect in laying down in
the chain of Rocky mountains one remarkable mountain called the Tooth,
nearly as far south as 45°, and said to be so marked from the
discoveries of Mr. Fidler. We are now within one hundred miles of the
Rocky* mountains and in the latitude of 47° 24' 12" 8, and therefore it
is highly improbable that the Missouri should make such a bend to the
south before it reaches the Rocky mountains, as to have suffered Mr.
Fidler to come as low as 45° along the eastern borders without touching
that river: yet the general course of Maria's river from this place for
fifty-nine miles, as far as captain Lewis ascended, was north 69° west,
and the south branch, or what we consider the Missouri, which captain
Clarke had examined as far as forty-five miles in a straight line, ran
in a course south 29° west, and as far as it could be seen went
considerably west of south, whence we conclude that the Missouri itself
enters the Rocky mountains to the north of 45°. In writing to the
president from our winter quarters, we had already taken the liberty of
advancing the southern extremity of Mr. Fidler's discoveries about a
degree to the northward, and this from Indian information as to the
bearing of the point at which the Missouri enters the mountain; but we
think actual observation will place it one degree still further to the
northward. This information of Mr. Fidler however, incorrect as it is,
affords an additional reason for not pursuing Maria's river; for if he
came as low even as 47° and saw only small streams coming down from the
mountains, it is to be presumed that these rivulets do not penetrate the
Rocky mountains so far as to approach any navigable branch of the
Columbia, and they are most probably the remote waters of some northern
branch of the Missouri. In short, being already in latitude 47° 24' we
cannot reasonably hope by going farther to the northward to find between
this place and the Saskashawan any stream which can, as the Indians
assure us the Missouri does, possess a navigable current for some
distance in the Rocky mountains: the Indians had assured us also that
the water of the Missouri was nearly transparent at the falls; this is
the case with the southern branch; that the falls lay a little to the
south of sunset from them; this too is in favour of the southern fork,
for it bears considerably south of this place which is only a few
minutes to the northward of fort Mandan; that the falls are below the
Rocky mountains and near the northern termination of one range of those
mountains: now there is a ridge of mountains which appear behind the
South mountains and terminates to the southwest of us, at a sufficient
distance from the unbroken chain of the Rocky mountains to allow space
for several falls, indeed we fear for too many of them. If too the
Indians had ever passed any stream as large as this southern fork on
their way up the Missouri, they would have mentioned it; so that their
silence seems to prove that this branch must be the Missouri. The body
of water also which it discharges must have been acquired from a
considerable distance in the mountains, for it could not have been
collected in the parched plains between the Yellowstone and the Rocky
mountains, since that country could not supply nourishment for the dry
channels which we passed on the south, and the travels of Mr. Fidler
forbid us to believe that it could have been obtained from the mountains
towards the northwest.

These observations which satisfied our mind completely we communicated
to the party: but every one of them were of a contrary opinion; and much
of their belief depended on Crusatte, an experienced waterman on the
Missouri, who gave it as his decided judgment that the north fork was
the genuine Missouri. The men therefore mentioned that although they
would most cheerfully follow us wherever we should direct, yet they were
afraid that the south fork would soon terminate in the Rocky mountains
and leave us at a great distance from the Columbia. In order that
nothing might be omitted which could prevent our falling into an error,
it was agreed that one of us should ascend the southern branch by land
until we reached either the falls or the mountains. In the meantime in
order to lighten our burdens as much as possible, we determined to
deposit here one of the periogues and all the heavy baggage which we
could possibly spare, as well as some provision, salt, powder, and
tools: this would at once lighten the other boats, and give them the
crew which had been employed on board the periogue.

Monday, 10. The weather being fair and pleasant we dried all our baggage
and merchandize and made our deposit. These holes or _caches_ as they
are called by the Missouri traders are very common, particularly among
those who deal with the Sioux, as the skins and merchandize will keep
perfectly sound for years, and are protected from robbery: our cache is
built in this manner: In the high plain on the north side of the
Missouri and forty yards from a steep bluff, we chose a dry situation,
and then describing a small circle of about twenty inches diameter,
removed the sod as gently and carefully as possible: the hole is then
sunk perpendicularly for a foot deep, or more if the ground be not firm.
It is now worked gradually wider as they descend, till at length it
becomes six or seven feet deep, shaped nearly like a kettle or the lower
part of a large still with the bottom somewhat sunk at the centre. As
the earth is dug it is handed up in a vessel and carefully laid on a
skin or cloth, in which it is carried away and usually thrown into the
river or concealed so as to leave no trace of it. A floor of three or
four inches in thickness is then made of dry sticks, on which is thrown
hay or a hide perfectly dry. The goods being well aired and dried are
laid on this floor, and prevented from touching the wall by other dried
sticks in proportion as the merchandize is stowed away: when the hole is
nearly full, a skin is laid over the goods, and on this earth is thrown
and beaten down until with the addition of the sod first removed the
whole is on a level with the ground, and there remains not the slightest
appearance of an excavation. In addition to this we made another of
smaller dimensions, in which we placed all the baggage, some powder,
and our blacksmith's tools, having previously repaired such of the tools
we carry with us as require mending. To guard against accident, we hid
two parcels of lead and powder in the two distinct places. The red
periogue was drawn up on the middle of a small island at the entrance of
Maria's river, and secured by being fastened to the trees from the
effect of any floods. In the evening there was a high wind from the
southwest accompanied with thunder and rain. We now made another
observation of the meridian altitude of the sun, and found that the mean
latitude of the entrance of Maria's river, as deduced from three
observations, is 47° 25' 17" 2 north. We saw a small bird like the blue
thrush or catbird which we had not before met, and also observed that
the beemartin or kingbird is common to this country although there are
no bees here, and in fact we have not met with the honey-bee since
leaving the Osage river.

Tuesday 11. This morning captain Lewis with four men set out on their
expedition up the south branch. They soon reached the point where the
Tansy river approaches the Missouri, and observing a large herd of elk
before them, descended and killed several which they hung up along the
river so that the party in the boats might see them as they came along.
They then halted for dinner; but captain Lewis who had been for some
days afflicted with the dysentery, was now attacked with violent pains
attended by a high fever and was unable to go on. He therefore encamped
for the night under some willow boughs: having brought no medicine he
determined to try an experiment with the small twigs of the chokecherry,
which being stripped of their leaves and cut into pieces about two
inches long were boiled in pure water, till they produced a strong black
decoction of an astringent bitter taste; a pint of this he took at
sunset, and repeated the dose an hour afterwards. By ten o'clock he was
perfectly relieved from pain, a gentle perspiration ensued, his fever
abated and in the morning he was quite recovered. One of the men caught
several dozen fish of two species: the first is about nine inches long,
of a white colour, round in shape; the mouth is beset both above and
below with a rim of fine sharp teeth, the eye moderately large, the
pupil dark, and the iris narrow, and of a yellowish brown colour: in
form and size it resembles the white chub of the Potomac, though its
head is proportionably smaller; they readily bite at meat or
grasshoppers; but the flesh though soft and of a fine white colour is
not highly flavoured. The second species is precisely of the form and
about the size of the fish known by the name of the hickory shad or old
wife, though it differs from it in having the outer edge of both the
upper and lower jaw set with a rim of teeth, and the tongue and palate
also are defended by long sharp teeth bending inwards, the eye is very
large, the iris wide and of a silvery colour; they do not inhabit muddy
water, and the flavour is much superior to that of the former species.
Of the first kind we had seen a few before we reached Maria's river; but
had found none of the last before we caught them in the Missouri above
its junction with that river. The white cat continues as high as Maria's
river, but they are scarce in this part of the river, nor have we caught
any of them since leaving the Mandans which weighed more than six

Of other game they saw a great abundance even in their short march of
nine miles.

Wednesday 12. This morning captain Lewis left the bank of the river in
order to avoid the steep ravines which generally run from the shore to
the distance of one or two miles in the plain: having reached the opened
country he went for twelve miles in a course a little to the west of
southwest, when the sun becoming warm by nine o'clock, he returned to
the river in quest of water and to kill something for breakfast, there
being no water in the plain, and the buffaloe discovering them before
they came within gunshot took to flight. They reached the banks in a
handsome open low ground with cottonwood, after three miles walk. Here
they saw two large brown bears, and killed them both at the first fire,
a circumstance which has never before occurred since we have seen that
animal. Having made a meal of a part and hung the remainder on a tree
with a note for captain Clarke, they again ascended the bluffs into the
open plains. Here they saw great numbers of the burrowing squirrel, also
some wolves, antelopes, muledeer, and vast herds of buffaloe. They soon
crossed a ridge considerably higher than the surrounding plains, and
from its top had a beautiful view of the Rocky mountains, which are now
completely covered with snow: their general course is from southeast to
the north of northwest, and they seem to consist of several ranges which
successively rise above each other till the most distant mingles with
the clouds. After travelling twelve miles they again met the river,
where there was a handsome plain of cottonwood; and although it was not
sunset, and they had only come twenty-seven miles, yet captain Lewis
felt weak from his late disorder, and therefore determined to go no
further that night. In the course of the day they killed a quantity of
game, and saw some signs of otter as well as beaver, and many tracks of
the brown bear: they also caught great quantities of the white fish
mentioned yesterday. With the broad-leafed cottonwood, which has formed
the principal timber of the Missouri, is here mixed another species
differing from the first only in the narrowness of its leaf and the
greater thickness of its bark. The leaf is long, oval, acutely pointed,
about two and a half or three inches long and from three quarters of an
inch to an inch in width; it is smooth and thick sometimes slightly
grooved or channeled with the margin a little serrate, the upper disk of
a common, the lower of a whitish green. This species seems to be
preferred by the beaver to the broad-leaved, probably because the former
affords a deeper and softer bark.

Thursday 13. They left their encampment at sunrise, and ascending the
river hills went for six miles in a course generally southwest, over a
country which though more waving than that of yesterday may still be
considered level. At the extremity of this course they overlooked a most
beautiful plain, where were infinitely more buffaloe than we had ever
before seen at a single view. To the southwest arose from the plain two
mountains of a singular appearance and more like ramparts of high
fortifications than works of nature. They are square figures with sides
rising perpendicularly to the height of two hundred and fifty feet,
formed of yellow clay, and the tops seemed to be level plains. Finding
that the river here bore considerably to the south, and fearful of
passing the falls before reaching the Rocky mountains, they now changed
their course to the south, and leaving those insulated hills to the
right proceeded across the plain. In this direction captain Lewis had
gone about two miles when his ears were saluted with the agreeable sound
of a fall of water, and as he advanced a spray which seemed driven by
the high southwest wind arose above the plain like a column of smoke and
vanished in an instant. Towards this point he directed his steps, and
the noise increasing as he approached soon became too tremendous to be
mistaken for any thing but the great falls of the Missouri. Having
travelled seven miles after first hearing the sound he reached the falls
about twelve o'clock, the hills as he approached were difficult of
access and two hundred feet high: down these he hurried with impatience
and seating himself on some rocks under the centre of the falls, enjoyed
the sublime spectacle of this stupendous object which has since the
creation had been lavishing its magnificence upon the desert, unknown to

                 [Illustration: The Falls and Portage]

The river immediately at its cascade is three hundred yards wide, and is
pressed in by a perpendicular cliff on the left, which rises to about
one hundred feet and extends up the stream for a mile; on the right the
bluff is also perpendicular for three hundred yards above the falls.
For ninety or a hundred yards from the left cliff, the water falls in
one smooth even sheet, over a precipice of at least eighty feet. The
remaining part of the river precipitates itself with a more rapid
current, but being received as it falls by the irregular and somewhat
projecting rocks below, forms a splendid prospect of perfectly white
foam two hundred yards in length, and eighty in perpendicular elevation.
This spray is dissipated into a thousand shapes, sometimes flying up in
columns of fifteen or twenty feet, which are then oppressed by larger
masses of the white foam, on all which the sun impresses the brightest
colours of the rainbow. As it rises from the fall it beats with fury
against a ledge of rocks which extend across the river at one hundred
and fifty yards from the precipice. From the perpendicular cliff on the
north, to the distance of one hundred and twenty yards, the rocks rise
only a few feet above the water, and when the river is high the stream
finds a channel across them forty yards wide, and near the higher parts
of the ledge which then rise about twenty feet, and terminate abruptly
within eighty or ninety yards of the southern side. Between them and the
perpendicular cliff on the south, the whole body of water runs with
great swiftness. A few small cedars grow near this ridge of rocks which
serves as a barrier to defend a small plain of about three acres shaded
with cottonwood, at the lower extremity of which is a grove of the same
tree, where are several Indian cabins of sticks; below the point of them
the river is divided by a large rock, several feet above the surface of
the water, and extending down the stream for twenty yards. At the
distance of three hundred yards from the same ridge is a second abutment
of solid perpendicular rock about sixty feet high, projecting at right
angles from the small plain on the north for one hundred and thirty-four
yards into the river. After leaving this, the Missouri again spreads
itself to its usual distance of three hundred yards, though with more
than its ordinary rapidity.

The hunters who had been sent out now returned loaded with buffaloe
meat, and captain Lewis encamped for the night under a tree near the
falls. The men were again despatched to hunt for food against the
arrival of the party, and captain Lewis walked down the river to
discover if possible some place where the canoes might be safely drawn
on shore, in order to be transported beyond the falls. He returned
however without discovering any such spot, the river for three miles
below being one continued succession of rapids and cascades, overhung
with perpendicular bluffs from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet
high; in short, it seems to have worn itself a channel through the solid
rock. In the afternoon they caught in the falls some of both kinds of
the white fish, and half a dozen trout from sixteen to twenty-three
inches long, precisely resembling in form and the position of its fins
the mountain or speckled trout of the United States, except that the
specks of the former are of a deep black, while those of the latter are
of a red or gold colour: they have long sharp teeth on the palate and
tongue, and generally a small speck of red on each side behind the front
ventral fins; the flesh is of a pale yellowish red, or when in good
order of a rose-coloured red.

Friday 14. This morning one of the men was sent to captain Clarke with
an account of the discovery of the falls, and after employing the rest
in preserving the meat which had been killed yesterday, captain Lewis
proceeded to examine the rapids above. From the falls he directed his
course southwest up the river: after passing one continued rapid, and
three small cascades, each three or four feet high, he reached at the
distance of five miles a second fall. The river is about four hundred
yards wide, and for the distance of three hundred throws itself over to
the depth of nineteen feet, and so irregularly that he gave it the name
of the Crooked falls. From the southern shore it extends obliquely
upwards about one hundred and fifty yards, and then forms an acute angle
downwards nearly to the commencement of four small islands close to the
northern side. From the perpendicular pitch to these islands, a distance
of more than one hundred yards, the water glides down a sloping rock
with a velocity almost equal to that of its fall. Above this fall the
river bends suddenly to the northward: while viewing this place captain
Lewis heard a loud roar above him, and crossing the point of a hill for
a few hundred yards, he saw one of the most beautiful objects in nature:
the whole Missouri is suddenly stopped by one shelving rock, which
without a single niche and with an edge as straight and regular as if
formed by art, stretches itself from one side of the river to the other
for at least a quarter of a mile. Over this it precipitates itself in an
even uninterrupted sheet to the perpendicular depth of fifty feet,
whence dashing against the rocky bottom it rushes rapidly down, leaving
behind it a spray of the purest foam across the river. The scene which
it presented was indeed singularly beautiful, since without any of the
wild irregular sublimity of the lower falls, it combined all the regular
elegances which the fancy of a painter would select to form a beautiful
waterfall. The eye had scarcely been regaled with this charming
prospect, when at the distance of half a mile captain Lewis observed
another of a similar kind: to this he immediately hastened, and found a
cascade stretching across the whole river for a quarter of a mile with a
descent of fourteen feet, though the perpendicular pitch was only six
feet. This too in any other neighborhood would have been an object of
great magnificence, but after what he had just seen it became of
secondary interest; his curiosity being however awakened, he determined
to go on even should night overtake him to the head of the falls. He
therefore pursued the southwest course of the river, which was one
constant succession of rapids and small cascades, at every one of which
the bluffs grew lower, or the bed of the river became more on a level
with the plains. At the distance of two and a half miles he arrived at
another cataract of twenty-six feet. The river is here six hundred
yards wide, but the descent is not immediately perpendicular, though the
river falls generally with a regular and smooth sheet; for about one
third of the descent a rock protrudes to a small distance, receives the
water in its passage and gives it a curve. On the south side is a
beautiful plain a few feet above the level of the falls; on the north
the country is more broken, and there is a hill not far from the river.
Just below the falls is a little island in the middle of the river well
covered with timber. Here on a cottonwood tree an eagle had fixed its
nest, and seemed the undisputed mistress of a spot, to contest whose
dominion neither man nor beast would venture across the gulfs that
surround it, and which is further secured by the mist rising from the
falls. This solitary bird could not escape the observation of the
Indians who made the eagle's nest a part of their description of the
falls, which now proves to be correct in almost every particular, except
that they did not do justice to their height. Just above this is a
cascade of about five feet, beyond which, as far as could be discerned,
the velocity of the water seemed to abate. Captain Lewis now ascended
the hill which was behind him, and saw from its top a delightful plain
extending from the river to the base of the Snow mountains to the south
and southwest. Along this wide level country the Missouri pursued its
winding course, filled with water to its even and grassy banks, while
about four miles above it was joined by a large river flowing from the
northwest through a valley three miles in width, and distinguished by
the timber which adorned its shores; the Missouri itself stretches to
the south in one unruffled stream of water as if unconscious of the
roughness it must soon encounter, and bearing on its bosom vast flocks
of geese, while numerous herds of buffaloe are feeding on the plains
which surround it.

Captain Lewis then descended the hill, and directed his course towards
the river falling in from the west. He soon met a herd of at least a
thousand buffaloe, and being desirous of providing for supper shot one
of them; the animal began to bleed, and captain Lewis who had forgotten
to reload his rifle, was intently watching to see him fall, when he
beheld a large brown bear who was stealing on him unperceived, and was
already within twenty steps. In the first moment of surprise he lifted
his rifle, but remembering instantly that it was not charged, and that
he had not time to reload, he felt that there was no safety but in
flight. It was in the open level plain, not a bush nor a tree within
three hundred yards, the bank of the river sloping and not more than
three feet high, so that there was no possible mode of concealment:
captain Lewis therefore thought of retreating in a quick walk as fast as
the bear advanced towards the nearest tree; but as soon as he turned the
bear ran open mouth and at full speed upon him. Captain Lewis ran about
eighty yards, but finding that the animal gained on him fast, it flashed
on his mind that by getting into the water to such a depth that the bear
would be obliged to attack him swimming, there was still some chance of
his life, he therefore turned short, plunged into the river about waist
deep, and facing about presented the point of his espontoon. The bear
arrived at the water's edge within twenty feet of him, but as soon as he
put himself in this position of defence, he seemed frightened, and
wheeling about, retreated with as much precipitation as he had pursued.
Very glad to be released from this danger, captain Lewis returned to the
shore, and observed him run with great speed, sometimes looking back as
if he expected to be pursued, till he reached the woods. He could not
conceive the cause of the sudden alarm of the bear, but congratulated
himself on his escape when he saw his own track torn to pieces by the
furious animal, and learnt from the whole adventure never to suffer his
rifle to be a moment unloaded. He now resumed his progress in the
direction which the bear had taken towards the western river, and found
it a handsome stream about two hundred yards wide, apparently deep,
with a gentle current; its waters clear, and its banks, which were
formed principally of dark brown and blue clay, are about the same
height as those of the Missouri, that is from three to five feet. What
was singular was that the river does not seem to overflow its banks at
any season, while it might be presumed from its vicinity to the
mountains, that the torrents arising from the melting of the snows,
would sometimes cause it to swell beyond its limits. The contrary fact
would induce a belief that the Rocky mountains yield their snows very
reluctantly and equably to the sun, and are not often drenched by very
heavy rains. This river is no doubt that which the Indians call Medicine
river, which they mentioned as emptying into the Missouri, just above
the falls. After examining Medicine river, captain Lewis set out at half
after six o'clock in the evening on his return towards the camp, which
he estimated at the distance of twelve miles. In going through the low
grounds on Medicine river he met an animal which at a distance he
thought was a wolf, but on coming within sixty paces, it proved to be
some brownish yellow animal standing near its burrow, which, when he
came nigh, crouched and seemed as if about to spring on him. Captain
Lewis fired and the beast disappeared in its burrow. From the track and
the general appearance of the animal he supposed it to be of the tiger
kind. He then went on, but as if the beasts of the forests had conspired
against him, three buffaloe bulls which were feeding with a large herd
at the distance of half a mile, left their companions and ran at full
speed towards him. He turned round, and unwilling to give up the field
advanced towards them: when they came within a hundred yards, they
stopped, looked at him for some time, and then retreated as they came.
He now pursued his route in the dark, reflecting on the strange
adventures and sights of the day which crowded on his mind so rapidly
that he should have been inclined to believe it all enchantment if the
thorns of the prickly pear piercing his feet did not dispel at every
moment the illusion. He at last reached the party, who had been very
anxious for his safety, and who had already decided on the route which
each should take in the morning to look for him. Being much fatigued he
supped and slept well during the night.

Saturday, 15. The men were again sent out to bring in the game killed
yesterday and to procure more: they also obtained a number of fine trout
and several small catfish weighing about four pounds, and differing from
the white catfish lower down the Missouri. On awaking this morning
captain Lewis found a large rattlesnake coiled on the trunk of a tree
under which he had been sleeping. He killed it, and found it like those
we had seen before, differing from those of the Atlantic states, not in
its colours but in the form and arrangement of them; it had one hundred
and seventy-six scuta on the abdomen, and seventeen half-formed scuta on
the tail. There is a heavy dew on the grass about the camp every
morning, which no doubt proceeds from the mist of the falls, as it takes
place no where in the plains nor on the river except here. The messenger
sent to captain Clarke returned with information of his having arrived
five miles below at a rapid, which he did not think it prudent to ascend
and would wait till captain Lewis and his party rejoined him.

On Tuesday 11th, the day when captain Lewis left us, we remained at the
entrance of Maria's river and completed the deposits of all the articles
with which we could dispense. The morning had been fair with a high wind
from the southwest, which shifted in the evening to northwest, when the
weather became cold and the wind high. The next morning,

Wednesday, 12, we left our encampment with a fair day and a southwest
wind. The river was now so crowded with islands that within the distance
of ten miles and a half we passed eleven of different dimensions before
reaching a high black bluff in a bend on the left, where we saw a great
number of swallows. Within one mile and a half farther we passed four
small islands, two on each side, and at fifteen miles from our
encampment reached a spring which the men called Grog spring: it is on
the northern shore, and at the point where Tansy river approaches within
one hundred yards of the Missouri. From this place we proceeded three
miles to a low bluff on the north opposite to an island, and spent the
night in an old Indian encampment. The bluffs under which we passed were
composed of a blackish clay and coal for about eighty feet, above which
for thirty or forty feet is a brownish yellow earth. The river is very
rapid and obstructed by bars of gravel and stone of different shapes and
sizes, so that three of our canoes were in great danger in the course of
the day. We had a few drops of rain about two o'clock in the afternoon.
The only animals we killed were elk and deer; but we saw great numbers
of rattlesnakes.

Thursday, 13. The morning was fair and there was some dew on the ground.
After passing two islands we reached at the distance of a mile and a
half a small rapid stream fifty yards wide, emptying itself on the
south, rising in a mountain to the southeast about twelve or fifteen
miles distant, and at this time covered with snow. As it is the channel
for the melted snow of that mountain we called it Snow river: opposite
to its entrance is another island: at one mile and three quarters is
a black bluff of slate on the south; nine miles beyond which, after
passing ten islands, we came to on the southern shore near an old Indian
fortified camp, opposite the lower point of an island, having made
thirteen miles. The number of islands and shoals, the rapidity of the
river, and the quantity of large stones, rendered the navigation very
disagreeable: along the banks we distinguished several low bluffs or
cliffs of slate. There were great numbers of geese and goslings; the
geese not being able to fly at this season. Gooseberries are ripe and in
great abundance; the yellow currant is also common, but not yet ripe.
Our game consisted of buffaloe and goats.

Friday, 14. Again the day is fine. We made two miles to a small island
in the southern bend, after passing several bad rapids. The current
becomes indeed swifter as we ascend and the canoes frequently receive
water as we drag them with difficulty along. At the distance of six
miles we reached captain Clarke's camp on the fourth, which is on the
north side and opposite to a large gravelly bar. Here the man sent by
captain Lewis joined us with the pleasing intelligence that he had
discovered the falls, and was convinced that the course we were pursuing
was that of the true Missouri. At a mile and a half we reached the upper
point of an island, three quarters of a mile beyond which we encamped on
the south, after making only ten and a quarter miles. Along the river
was but little timber, but much hard slate in the bluffs.

Saturday, 15. The morning being warm and fair we set out at the usual
hour, but proceeded with great difficulty in consequence of the
increased rapidity of the current. The channel is constantly obstructed
by rocks and dangerous rapids. During the whole progress the men are
in the water hauling the canoes, and walking on sharp rocks and round
stones which cut their feet or cause them to fall. The rattlesnakes too
are so numerous that the men are constantly on their guard against being
bitten by them; yet they bear the fatigues with the most undiminished
cheerfulness. We hear the roar of the falls very distinctly this
morning. At three and three quarter miles we came to a rock in a bend
to the south, resembling a tower. At six and three quarter miles we
reached a large creek on the south, which after one of our men we called
Shield's creek. It is rapid in its course, about thirty yards wide, and
on sending a person five miles up it proved to have a fall of fifteen
feet, and some timber on its low ground. Above this river the bluffs of
the Missouri are of red earth mixed with stratas of black stone; below
it we passed some white clay in the banks which mixes with water in
every respect like flour. At three and three quarter miles we reached
a point on the north opposite an island and a bluff; and one mile and
a quarter further, after passing some red bluffs, came to on the north
side, having made twelve miles. Here we found a rapid so difficult
that we did not think proper to attempt the passage this evening, and
therefore sent to captain Lewis to apprise him of our arrival. We saw
a number of geese, ducks, crows, and blackbirds to-day, the two former
with their young. The river rose a little this evening, but the timber
is still so scarce that we could not procure enough for our use during
the night.

Sunday, June 16. Some rain fell last night, and this morning the weather
was cloudy and the wind high from the southwest. We passed the rapid by
doubly manning the periogue and canoes, and halted at the distance of a
mile and a quarter to examine the rapids above, which we found to be a
continued succession of cascades as far as the view extended, which was
about two miles. About a mile above where we halted was a large creek
falling in on the south, opposite to which is a large sulphur spring
falling over the rocks on the north: captain Lewis arrived at two from
the falls about five miles above us, and after consulting upon the
subject of the portage, we crossed the river and formed a camp on
the north, having come three quarters of a mile to-day. From our own
observation we had deemed the south side to be the most favourable for a
portage, but two men sent out for the purpose of examining it, reported
that the creek and the ravines intersected the plain so deeply that it
was impossible to cross it. Captain Clarke therefore resolved to examine
more minutely what was the best route: the four canoes were unloaded at
the camp and then sent across the river, where by means of strong cords
they were hauled over the first rapid, whence they may be easily drawn
into the creek. Finding too, that the portage would be at all events
too long to enable us to carry the boats on our shoulders, six men
were set to work to make wheels for carriages to transport them. Since
leaving Maria's river the wife of Chaboneau, our interpreter, has been
dangerously ill, but she now found great relief from the mineral water
of the sulphur spring. It is situated about two hundred yards from
the Missouri, into which it empties over a precipice of rock about
twenty-five feet high. The water is perfectly transparent, strongly
impregnated with sulphur, and we suspect iron also, as the colour of the
hills and bluffs in the neighbourhood indicates the presence of that
metal. In short the water to all appearance is precisely similar to that
of Bowyer's sulphur spring in Virginia.

Monday 17. Captain Clarke set out with five men to explore the country;
the rest were employed in hunting, making wheels and in drawing the five
canoes and all the baggage up the creek, which we now called Portage
creek: from this creek there is a gradual ascent to the top of the high
plain, while the bluffs of the creek lower down and of the Missouri,
both above and below its entrance, were so steep as to have rendered it
almost impracticable to drag them up from the Missouri. We found great
difficulty and some danger in even ascending the creek thus far, in
consequence of the rapids and rocks of the channel of the creek, which
just above where we brought the canoes has a fall of five feet, and high
and sleep bluffs beyond it: we were very fortunate in finding just below
Portage creek a cottonwood tree about twenty-two inches in diameter, and
large enough to make the carriage wheels; it was perhaps the only one
of the same size within twenty miles; and the cottonwood, which we are
obliged to employ in the other parts of the work, is extremely soft and
brittle. The mast of the white periogue which we mean to leave behind,
supplied us with two axletrees. There are vast quantities of buffaloe
feeding in the plains or watering in the river, which is also strewed
with the floating carcases and limbs of these animals. They go in large
herds to water about the falls, and as all the passages to the river
near that place are narrow and steep, the foremost are pressed into the
river by the impatience of those behind. In this way we have seen ten or
a dozen disappear over the falls in a few minutes. They afford excellent
food for the wolves, bears, and birds of prey; and this circumstance may
account for the reluctance of the bears to yield their dominion over the

Tuesday 18. The periogue was drawn up a little below our camp and
secured in a thick copse of willow bushes. We now began to form a cache
or place of deposit and to dry our goods and other articles which
required inspection. The wagons too are completed. Our hunters brought
us ten deer, and we shot two out of a herd of buffaloe that came to
water at the sulphur spring. There is a species of gooseberry growing
abundantly among the rocks on the sides of the cliffs: it is now ripe,
of a pale red colour, about the size of the common gooseberry, and like
it is an ovate pericarp of soft pulp enveloping a number of small
whitish coloured seeds, and consisting of a yellowish slimy mucilaginous
substance, with a sweet taste; the surface of the berry is covered with
a glutinous adhesive matter, and its fruit though ripe retains its
withered corolla. The shrub itself seldom rises more than two feet high,
is much branched, and has no thorns. The leaves resemble those of the
common gooseberry except in being smaller, and the berry is supported by
separate peduncles or footstalks half an inch long. There are also
immense quantities of grasshoppers of a brown colour in the plains, and
they no doubt contribute to the lowness of the grass, which is not
generally more than three inches high, though it is soft, narrow-leafed
and affords a fine pasture for the buffaloe.

Wednesday 19. The wind blew violently to-day, as it did yesterday, and
as it does frequently in this open country, where there is not a tree
to break or oppose its force. Some men were sent for the meat killed
yesterday which fortunately had not been discovered by the wolves.
Another party went to Medicine river in quest of elk, which we hope
may be induced to resort there, from there being more wood in that
neighborhood than on the Missouri. All the rest were occupied in packing
the baggage and mending their moccasins, in order to prepare for the
portage. We caught a number of the white fish, but no catfish or
trout. Our poor Indian woman, who had recovered so far as to walk out,
imprudently ate a quantity of the white apple, which with some dried
fish occasioned a return of her fever.

The meridian altitude of the sun's lower limb, as observed with octant
by back observation, was 53° 15', giving as the latitude of our camp,
47° 8' 59" 5"'.

Thursday 20. As we were desirous of getting meat enough to last us
during the portage, so that the men might not be diverted from their
labour to look for food, we sent out four hunters to-day: they killed
eleven buffaloe. This was indeed an easy labour, for there are vast
herds coming constantly to the opposite bank of the river to water; they
seem also to make much use of the mineral water of the sulphur spring,
but whether from choice, or because it is more convenient than the
river, we cannot determine, as they sometimes pass near the spring and
go on to the river. Besides this spring, brackish water or that of a
dark colour impregnated with mineral salts, such as we have frequently
met on the Missouri, may be found in small quantities in some of the
steep ravines on the north side of the river opposite to us and at the

Captain Clarke returned this evening, having examined the whole course
of the river and fixed the route most practicable for the portage. The
first day, 17th, he was occupied in measuring the heights and distances
along the banks of the river, and slept near a ravine at the foot of the
crooked falls, having very narrowly escaped falling into the river,
where he would have perished inevitably, in descending the cliffs near
the grand cataract. The next day, 18th, he continued the same occupation
and arrived in the afternoon at the junction of Medicine and Missouri
rivers: up the latter he ascended, and passed at the distance of a mile
an island and a little timber in an eastwardly bend of the river. One
mile beyond this he came to the lower point of a large island; another
small island in the middle of the river, and one near the left shore at
the distance of three miles, opposite to the head of which he encamped
near the mouth of a creek which appeared to rise in the South mountain.
These three islands are opposite to each other, and we gave them the
name of the Whitebear islands from observing some of those animals on
them. He killed a beaver, an elk and eight buffaloe. One of the men who
was sent a short distance from the camp to bring home some meat, was
attacked by a white bear, and closely pursued within forty paces of the
camp, and narrowly escaped being caught. Captain Clarke immediately went
with three men in quest of the bear, which he was afraid might surprise
another of the hunters who was out collecting the game. The bear was
however too quick, for before captain Clarke could reach the man, the
bear had attacked him and compelled him to take refuge in the water. He
now ran off as they approached, and it being late they deferred pursuing
him till the next morning.

                                CHAPTER XI.

     Description and romantic appearance of the Missouri at the junction
     of the Medicine river--the difficulty of transporting the baggage
     at the falls--the party employed in the construction of a boat of
     skins--the embarrassments they had to encounter for want of proper
     materials--during the work the party much troubled by white
     bears--violent hail-storm, and providential escape of captain
     Clarke and his party--description of a remarkable
     fountain--singular explosion heard from the Black mountains--the
     boat found to be insufficient, and the serious disappointment of
     the party--captain Clarke undertakes to repair the damage by
     building canoes, and accomplishes the task.

On the 19th, captain Clarke not being able to find the bear mentioned in
the last chapter, spent the day in examining the country both above and
below the Whitebear islands, and concluded that the place of his
encampment would be the best point for the extremity of the portage. The
men were therefore occupied in drying the meat to be left here. Immense
numbers of buffaloe are every where round, and they saw a summer duck
which is now sitting. The next morning, 20th, he crossed the level
plain, fixed stakes to mark the route of the portage, till he passed a
large ravine which would oblige us to make the portage farther from the
river: after this there being no other obstacle he went to the river
where he had first struck it, and took its courses and distances down to
the camp. From the draught and survey of captain Clarke, we had now a
clear and connected view of the falls, cascades, and rapids of the

This river is three hundred yards wide at the point where it receives
the waters of Medicine river, which is one hundred and thirty-seven
yards in width. The united current continues three hundred and
twenty-eight poles to a small rapid on the north side, from which it
gradually widens to one thousand four hundred yards, and at the distance
of five hundred and forty-eight poles reaches the head of the rapids,
narrowing as it approaches them. Here the hills on the north which had
withdrawn from the bank closely border the river, which, for the space
of three hundred and twenty poles, makes its way over the rocks with a
descent of thirty feet: in this course the current is contracted to five
hundred and eighty yards, and after throwing itself over a small pitch
of five feet, forms a beautiful cascade of twenty-six feet five inches;
this does not however fall immediately perpendicular, being stopped by a
part of the rock which projects at about one third of the distance.
After descending this fall, and passing the cottonwood island on which
the eagle has fixed its nest, the river goes on for five hundred and
thirty-two poles over rapids and little falls, the estimated descent of
which is thirteen feet six inches till it is joined by a large fountain
boiling up underneath the rocks near the edge of the river, into which
it falls with a cascade of eight feet. It is of the most perfect
clearness and rather of a bluish cast; and even after falling into the
Missouri it preserves its colour for half a mile. From this fountain the
river descends with increased rapidity for the distance of two hundred
and fourteen poles, during which the estimated descent is five feet from
this for a distance of one hundred and thirty-five poles, the river
descends fourteen feet seven inches including a perpendicular fall of
six feet seven inches. The river has now become pressed into a space of
four hundred and seventy-three yards, and here forms a grand cataract by
falling over a plain rock the whole distance across the river to the
depth of forty-seven feet eight inches: after recovering itself the
Missouri then proceeds with an estimated descent of three feet, till at
the distance of one hundred and two poles it again is precipitated down
the Crooked falls of nineteen feet perpendicular; below this at the
mouth of a deep ravine is a fall of five feet, after which for the
distance of nine hundred and seventy poles the descent is much more
gradual, not being more than ten feet, and then succeeds a handsome
level plain for the space of one hundred and seventy-eight poles with a
computed descent of three feet, making a bend towards the north. Thence
it descends during four hundred and eight poles, about eighteen feet and
a half, when it makes a perpendicular fall of two feet, which is ninety
poles beyond the great cataract, in approaching which it descends
thirteen feet within two hundred yards, and gathering strength from its
confined channel, which is only two hundred and eighty yards wide,
rushes over the fall to the depth of eighty-seven feet and three
quarters of an inch. After raging among the rocks and losing itself in
foam, it is compressed immediately into a bed of ninety-three yards in
width: it continues for three hundred and forty poles to the entrance of
a run or deep ravine where there is a fall of three feet, which, joined
to the decline of the river during that course, makes the descent six
feet. As it goes on the descent within the next two hundred and forty
poles is only four feet: from this passing a run or deep ravine the
descent for four hundred poles is thirteen feet; within two hundred and
forty poles a second descent of eighteen feet; thence one hundred and
sixty poles a descent of six feet; after which to the mouth of Portage
creek, a distance of two hundred and eighty poles, the descent is ten
feet. From this survey and estimate it results that the river
experiences a descent of three hundred and fifty-two feet in the course
of two and three quarter miles, from the commencement of the rapids to
the mouth of Portage creek, exclusive of the almost impassable rapids
which extend for a mile below its entrance.

The latitude of our camp below the entrance of Portage creek, was found
to be 47° 7' 10" 3, as deduced from a meridian altitude of the sun's
lower limb taken with octant by back observation giving 53° 10'.

Friday, June 21. Having made the necessary preparations for continuing
our route, a part of the baggage was carried across the creek into the
high plain, three miles in advance and placed on one of the carriages
with truck wheels: the rest of the party was employed in drying meat and
dressing elk skins. We killed several muledeer and an elk, and observed
as usual vast quantities of buffaloe who came to drink at the river. For
the first time on the Missouri we have seen near the falls a species of
fishing duck, the body of which is brown and white, the wings white, and
the head and upper part of the neck of a brick red, with a narrow beak,
which seems to be of the same kind common in the Susquehanna, Potomac
and James' river. The little wood which this neighbourhood affords
consists of the broad and narrow-leafed cottonwood, the box alder, the
narrow and broad-leafed willow, the large or sweet willow, which was not
common below Maria's river, but which here attains the same size and has
the same appearance as in the Atlantic states. The undergrowth consists
of roses, gooseberries, currants, small honeysuckles, and the redwood,
the inner part of which the _engages_ or watermen are fond of smoking
when mixed with tobacco.

Saturday, 22. We now set out to pass the portage and halted for dinner
at eight miles distance near a little stream. The axletrees of our
carriage, which had been made of an old mast, and the cottonwood tongues
broke before we came there: but we renewed them with the timber of the
sweet willow, which lasted till within half a mile of our intended camp,
when the tongues gave way and we were obliged to take as much baggage as
we could carry on our backs down to the river, where we formed an
encampment in a small grove of timber opposite to the Whitebear islands.
Here the banks on both sides of the river are handsome, level, and
extensive; that near our camp is not more than two feet above the
surface of the water. The river is about eight hundred yards wide just
above these islands, ten feet deep in most places, and with a very
gentle current. The plains however on this part of the river are not so
fertile as those from the mouth of the Muscleshell and thence downwards;
there is much more stone on the sides of the hills and on the broken
lands than is to be found lower down. We saw in the plains vast
quantities of buffaloe, a number of small birds, and the large brown
curlew, which is now sitting, and lays its eggs, which are of a pale
blue with black-specks, on the ground without any nest. There is also a
species of lark much resembling the bird called the oldfield lark, with
a yellow breast and a black spot on the croup; though it differs from
the latter in having its tail formed of feathers of an unequal length
and pointed; the beak too is somewhat longer and more curved, and the
note differs considerably. The prickly pear annoyed us very much to-day
by sticking through our moccasins. As soon as we had kindled our fires
we examined the meat which captain Clarke had left here, but found that
the greater part of it had been taken by the wolves.

Sunday, 23. After we had brought up the canoe and baggage captain Clarke
went down to the camp at Portage creek, where four of the men had been
left with the Indian woman. Captain Lewis during the morning prepared
the camp, and in the afternoon went down in a canoe to Medicine river to
look after the three men who had been sent thither to hunt on the 19th,
and from whom nothing had as yet been heard. He went up the river about
half a mile and then walked along on the right bank, hallooing as he
went, till at the distance of five miles he found one of them who had
fixed his camp on the opposite bank, where he had killed seven deer and
dried about six hundred pounds of buffaloe meat, but had killed no elk,
the animal chiefly wanted. He knew nothing of his companions except that
on the day of their departure from camp he had left them at the falls
and come on to Medicine river, not having seen them since. As it was too
late to return captain Lewis passed over on a raft which he made for
the purpose and spent the night at Shannon's camp, and the next morning,

Monday, 24, sent J. Fields up the river with orders to go four miles and
return, whether he found the two absent hunters or not; then descending
the southwest side of Medicine river, he crossed the Missouri in the
canoe, and sent Shannon back to his camp to join Fields and bring the
meat which they had killed: this they did, and arrived in the evening at
the camp on Whitebear islands. A part of the men from Portage creek also
arrived with two canoes and baggage. On going down yesterday captain
Clarke cut off several angles of the former route so as to shorten the
Portage considerably, and marked it with stakes: he arrived there in
time to have two of the canoes carried up in the high plain about a mile
in advance. Here they all repaired their moccasins, and put on double
soals to protect them from the prickly pear and from the sharp points of
earth which have been formed by the trampling of the buffaloe during the
late rains: this of itself is sufficient to render the portage
disagreeable to one who had no burden; but as the men are loaded as
heavily as their strength will permit, the crossing is really painful:
some are limping with the soreness of their feet, others are scarcely
able to stand for more than a few minutes from the heat and fatigue:
they are all obliged to halt and rest frequently, and at almost every
stopping place they fall and many of them are asleep in an instant; yet
no one complains and they go on with great cheerfulness. At their camp
Drewyer and Fields joined them, and while captain Lewis was looking for
them at Medicine river, they returned to report the absence of Shannon
about whom they had been very uneasy. They had killed several buffaloe
at the bend of the Missouri above the falls: and dried about eight
hundred pounds of meat and got one hundred pounds of tallow: they had
also killed some deer, but had seen no elk. After getting the party in
motion with the canoes captain Clarke returned to his camp at Portage

We were now occupied in fitting up a boat of skins, the frame of which
had been prepared for the purpose at Harper's ferry. It was made of
iron, thirty-six feet long, four feet and a half in the beam, and
twenty-six inches wide in the bottom. Two men had been sent this morning
for timber to complete it, but they could find scarcely any even
tolerably straight sticks four and a half feet long, and as the
cottonwood is too soft and brittle we were obliged to use the willow and

Tuesday, 25. The party returned to the lower camp. Two men were sent on
the large island to look for timber. J. Fields was sent up the Missouri
to hunt elk; but he returned about noon and informed us that a few miles
above he saw two white bear near the river, and in attempting to fire at
them came suddenly on a third, who being only a few steps off
immediately attacked him; that in running to escape from the monster he
leaped down a steep bank of the river, where falling on a bar of stone
he cut his hand and knee and bent his gun; but fortunately for him the
bank concealed him from his antagonist or he would have been most
probably lost. The other two returned with a small quantity of bark and
timber, which was all they could find on the island; but they had killed
two elk: these were valuable, as we are desirous of procuring the skins
of that animal in order to cover the boat, as they are more strong and
durable than those of the buffaloe, and do not shrink so much in drying.
The party that went to the lower camp had one canoe and the baggage
carried into the high plain to be ready in the morning, and then all who
could make use of their feet had a dance on the green to the music of a
violin. We have been unsuccessful in our attempt to catch fish, nor does
there seem to be any in this part of the river. We observe a number of
water terrapins. There are quantities of young blackbirds in these
islands just beginning to fly. Among the vegetable productions we
observe a species of wild rye which is now heading: it rises to the
height of eighteen or twenty inches, the beard remarkably fine and soft;
the culen is jointed, and in every respect except in height it resembles
the wild rye. Great quantities of mint too, like the peppermint, are
found here.

The winds are sometimes violent in these plains. The men inform us that
as they were bringing one of the canoes along on truck-wheels, they
hoisted the sail and the wind carried her along for some distance.

Wednesday 26. Two men were sent on the opposite side of the river for
bark and timber, of which they procured some, but by no means enough for
our purposes. The bark of the cottonwood is too soft, and our only
dependence is on the sweet willow, which has a tough strong bark; the
two hunters killed seven buffaloe. A party arrived from below with two
canoes and baggage, and the wind being from the southeast, they had made
considerable progress with the sails. On their arrival one of the men
who had been considerably heated and fatigued, swallowed a very hearty
draught of water, and was immediately taken ill; captain Lewis bled him
with a penknife, having no other instrument at hand, and succeeded in
restoring him to health the next day. Captain Clarke formed a second
cache or deposit near the camp, and placed the swivel under the rocks
near the river. The antelopes are still scattered through the plains;
the females with their young, which are generally two in number, and the
males by themselves.

Thursday 27. The party were employed in preparing timber for the boat,
except two who were sent to hunt. About one in the afternoon a cloud
arose from the southwest and brought with it violent thunder, lightning,
and hail: soon after it passed the hunters came in from about four miles
above us. They had killed nine elk, and three bear. As they were hunting
on the river they saw a low ground covered with thick brushwood, where
from the tracks along shore they thought a bear had probably taken
refuge: they therefore landed, without making a noise, and climbed a
tree about twenty feet above the ground. Having fixed themselves
securely, they raised a loud shout, and a bear instantly rushed towards
them. These animals never climb, and therefore when he came to the tree
and stopped to look at them, Drewyer shot him in the head; he proved to
be the largest we have yet seen, his nose appeared to be like that of a
common ox, his fore feet measured nine inches across, and the hind feet
were seven inches wide, and eleven and three quarters long, exclusive of
the talons. One of these animals came within thirty yards of the camp
last night, and carried off some buffaloe meat which we had placed on a
pole. In the evening after the storm the water on this side of the river
became of a deep crimson colour, probably caused by some stream above
washing down a kind of soft red stone, which we observed in the
neighbouring bluffs and gullies. At the camp below, the men who left us
in the morning were busy in preparing their load for to-morrow, which
were impeded by the rain, hail, and the hard wind from the northwest.

Friday 28. The party all occupied in making the boat; they obtained a
sufficient quantity of willow bark to line her, and over these were
placed the elk skins, and when they failed we were obliged to use the
buffaloe hide. The white bear have now become exceedingly troublesome;
they constantly infest our camp during the night, and though they have
not attacked us, as our dog who patroles all night gives us notice of
their approach, yet we are obliged to sleep with our arms by our sides
for fear of accident, and we cannot send one man alone to any distance,
particularly if he has to pass through brushwood. We saw two of them
to-day on the large island opposite to us, but as we are all so much
occupied now, we mean to reserve ourselves for some leisure moment, and
then make a party to drive them from the islands. The river has risen
nine inches since our arrival here.

At Portage creek captain Clarke completed the cache, in which we
deposited whatever we could spare from our baggage; some ammunition,
provisions, books, the specimens of plants and minerals, and a draught
of the river from its entrance to fort Mandan. After closing it he broke
up the encampment, and took on all the remaining baggage to the high
plain, about three miles. Portage creek has risen considerably in
consequence of the rain, and the water had become of a deep crimson
colour, and ill tasted; on overtaking the canoe he found that there was
more baggage than could be carried on the two carriages, and therefore
left some of the heavy articles which could not be injured, and
proceeded on to Willowrun where he encamped for the night. Here they
made a supper on two buffaloe which they killed on the way; but passed
the night in the rain, with a high wind from the southwest. In the

Saturday 29, finding it impossible to reach the end of the portage with
their present load, in consequence of the state of the road after the
rain, he sent back nearly all his party to bring on the articles which
had been left yesterday. Having lost some notes and remarks which he had
made on first ascending the river, he determined to go up to the
Whitebear islands along its banks, in order to supply the deficiency. He
there left one man to guard the baggage, and went on to the falls
accompanied by his servant York, Chaboneau and his wife with her young
child. On his arrival there he observed a very dark cloud rising in the
west which threatened rain, and looked around for some shelter, but
could find no place where they would be secure from being blown into the
river if the wind should prove as violent as it sometimes does in the
plains. At length about a quarter of a mile above the falls he found a
deep ravine where there were some shelving rocks, under which he took
refuge. They were on the upper side of the ravine near the river,
perfectly safe from the rain, and therefore laid down their guns,
compass, and other articles which they carried with them. The shower
was at first moderate, it then increased to a heavy rain, the effects of
which they did not feel: soon after a torrent of rain and hail
descended; the rain seemed to fall in a solid mass, and instantly
collecting in the ravine came rolling down in a dreadful current,
carrying the mud and rocks, and every thing that opposed it. Captain
Clarke fortunately saw it a moment before it reached them, and springing
up with his gun and shotpouch in his left hand, with his right clambered
up the steep bluff, pushing on the Indian woman with her child in her
arms; her husband too had seized her hand and was pulling her up the
hill, but he was so terrified at the danger that but for captain Clark,
himself and his wife and child would have been lost. So instantaneous
was the rise of the water, that before captain Clark had reached his gun
and began to ascend the bank, the water was up to his waist, and he
could scarce get up faster than it rose, till it reached the height of
fifteen feet with a furious current, which had they waited a moment
longer would have swept them into the river just above the great falls,
down which they must inevitable have been precipitated. They reached the
plain in safety, and found York who had separated from them just before
the storm to hunt some buffaloe, and was now returning to find his
master. They had been obliged to escape so rapidly that captain Clarke
lost his compass and umbrella. Chaboneau left his gun, shotpouch, and
tomahawk, and the Indian woman had just time to grasp her child, before
the net in which it lay at her feet was carried down the current. He now
relinquished his intention of going up the river and returned to the
camp at Willowrun. Here he found that the party sent this morning for
the baggage, had all returned to camp in great confusion, leaving their
loads in the plain. On account of the heat they generally go nearly
naked, and with no covering on their heads. The hail was so large and
driven so furiously against them by the high wind, that it knocked
several of them down: one of them particularly was thrown on the ground
three times, and most of them bleeding freely and complained of being
much bruised. Willow run had risen six feet since the rain, and as the
plains were so wet that they could not proceed, they passed the night at
their camp.

At the Whitebear camp also, we had not been insensible to the
hail-storm, though less exposed. In the morning there had been a heavy
shower of rain, after which it became fair. After assigning to the men
their respective employments, captain Lewis took one of them and went to
see the large fountain near the falls. For about six miles he passed
through a beautiful level plain, and then on reaching the break of the
river hills, was overtaken by the gust of wind from the southwest
attended by lightning, thunder, and rain: fearing a renewal of the scene
on the 27th, they took shelter in a little gully where there were some
broad stones with which they meant to protect themselves against the
hail; but fortunately there was not much, and that of a small size; so
that they felt no inconvenience except that of being exposed without
shelter for an hour, and being drenched by the rain: after it was over
they proceeded to the fountain which is perhaps the largest in America.
It is situated in a pleasant level plain, about twenty-five yards from
the river, into which it falls over some steep irregular rocks with a
sudden ascent of about six feet in one part of its course. The water
boils up from among the rocks and with such force near the centre, that
the surface seems higher there than the earth on the sides of the
fountain, which is a handsome turf of fine green grass. The water is
extremely pure, cold and pleasant to the taste, not being impregnated
with lime or any foreign substance. It is perfectly transparent and
continues its bluish cast for half a mile down the Missouri,
notwithstanding the rapidity of the river. After examining it for some
time captain Lewis returned to the camp.

Sunday 30. In the morning Captain Clarke sent the men to bring up the
baggage left in the plains yesterday. On their return the axletrees and
carriages were repaired, and the baggage, conveyed on the shoulders of
the party across Willow run which had fallen as low as three feet. The
carriages being then taken over, a load of baggage was carried to the
six-mile stake, deposited there, and the carriages brought back. Such is
the state of the plains that this operation consumed the day. Two men
were sent to the falls to look for the articles lost yesterday; but they
found nothing but the compass covered with mud and sand at the mouth of
the ravine; the place at which captain Clarke had been caught by the
storm, was filled with large rocks. The men complain much of the bruises
received yesterday from the hail. A more than usual number of buffaloe
appeared about the camp to-day, and furnished plenty of meat: captain
Clarke thought that at one view he must have seen at least ten thousand.
In the course of the day there was a heavy gust of wind from the
southwest, after which the evening was fair.

At the Whitebear camp we had a heavy dew this morning, which is quite a
remarkable occurrence. The party continues to be occupied with the boat,
the crossbars for which are now finished, and there remain only the
strips to complete the wood work: the skins necessary to cover it have
already been prepared and they amount to twenty-eight elk skins and four
buffaloe skins. Among our game were two beaver, which we have had
occasion to observe always are found wherever there is timber. We also
killed a large bat or goatsucker of which there are many in this
neighbourhood, resembling in every respect those of the same species in
the United States. We have not seen the leather-winged bat for some
time, nor are there any of the small goatsucker in this part of the
Missouri. We have not seen either that species of goatsucker or
nighthawk called the whippoorwill, which is commonly confounded in the
United States with the large goatsucker which we observe here; this last
prepares no nest but lays its eggs in the open plains; they generally
begin to sit on two eggs, and we believe raise only one brood in a
season: at the present moment they are just hatching their young.

Monday, July 1. After a severe day's work captain Clarke reached our
camp in the evening, accompanied by his party and all the baggage except
that left at the six-mile stake, for which they were too much fatigued
to return. The route from the lower camp on Portage creek to that near
Whitebear island, having been now measured and examined by captain
Clarke was as follows:

From our camp opposite the last considerable rapid to the entrance of
Portage creek south 9° east for three quarters of a mile: thence on a
course south 10° east for two miles, though for the canoes the best
route is to the left of this course, and strikes Portage one mile and
three quarters from its entrance, avoiding in this way a very steep hill
which lies above Portage creek; from this south 18° west for four miles,
passing the head of a drain or ravine which falls into the Missouri
below the great falls, and to the Willow run which has always a
plentiful supply of good water and some timber: here the course turns to
south 45° west for four miles further; then south 66° west three miles,
crossing at the beginning of the course the head of a drain which falls
into the Missouri at the Crooked Falls, and reaching an elevated point
of the plain from which south 42° west. On approaching the river on this
course there is a long and gentle descent from the high plain, after
which the road turns a little to the right of the course up the river to
our camp. The whole portage is seventeen and three quarter miles.

At the Whitebear camp we were occupied with the boat and digging a pit
for the purpose of making some tar. The day has been warm, and the
mosquitoes troublesome. We were fortunate enough to observe equal
altitudes of the sun with sextant, which since our arrival here we have
been prevented from doing, by flying clouds and storms in the evening.

Tuesday, July 2d. A shower of rain fell very early this morning. We then
despatched some men for the baggage left behind yesterday, and the rest
were engaged in putting the boat together. This was accomplished in
about three hours, and then we began to sew on the leather over the
crossbars or iron on the inner side of the boat which form the ends of
the sections. By two o'clock the last of the baggage arrived, to the
great delight of the party who were anxious to proceed. The mosquitoes
we find very troublesome.

Having completed our celestial observations we went over to the large
island to make an attack upon its inhabitants the bears, who have
annoyed us very much of late, and who were prowling about our camp all
last night. We found that the part of the island frequented by the bear
forms an almost impenetrable thicket of the broad-leafed willow: into
this we forced our way in parties of three; but could see only one bear,
who instantly attacked Drewyer. Fortunately as he was rushing on the
hunter shot him through the heart within twenty paces and he fell, which
enabled Drewyer to get out of his way: we then followed him one hundred
yards and found that the wound had been mortal. Not being able to
discover any more of these animals we returned to camp: here in turning
over some of the baggage we caught a rat somewhat larger than the common
European rat, and of a lighter colour: the body and outer parts of the
legs and head of a light lead colour; the inner side of the legs as well
as the belly, feet and ears are white; the ears are not covered with
hair, and are much larger than those of the common rat; the toes also
are longer, the eyes black and prominent, the whiskers very long and
full; the tail rather longer than the body, and covered with fine fur
and hair of the same size with that on the back, which is very close,
short, and silky in its texture. This was the first we had met, although
its nests are very frequent among the cliffs of rocks and hollow trees,
where we also found large quantities of the shells and seed of the
prickly pear, on which we conclude they chiefly subsist. The musquitoes
are uncommonly troublesome. The wind was again high from the southwest:
these winds are in fact always the coldest and most violent which we
experience, and the hypothesis which we have formed on that subject is,
that the air coming in contact with the Snowy mountains immediately
becomes chilled and condensed, and being thus rendered heavier than the
air below it descends into the rarified air below or into the vacuum
formed by the constant action of the sun on the open unsheltered plains.
The clouds rise suddenly near these mountains and distribute their
contents partially over the neighbouring plains. The same cloud will
discharge hail alone in one part, hail and rain in another, and rain
only in a third, and all within the space of a few miles; while at the
same time there is snow falling on the mountains to the southeast of us.
There is at present no snow on those mountains; that which covered them
on our arrival as well as that which has since fallen having
disappeared. The mountains to the north and northwest of us are still
entirely covered with snow, and indeed there has been no perceptible
diminution of it since we first saw them, which induces a belief either
that the clouds prevailing at this season do not reach their summits or
that they deposit their snow only. They glisten with great beauty when
the sun shines on them in a particular direction, and most probably from
this glittering appearance have derived the name of the Shining

Wednesday, 3. Nearly the whole party were employed in different labours
connected with the boat, which is now almost completed: but we have not
as yet been able to obtain tar from our kiln, a circumstance that will
occasion us not a little embarrassment. Having been told by the Indians
that on leaving the falls we should soon pass the buffaloe country, we
have before us the prospect of fasting occasionally; but in order to
provide a supply we sent out the hunters who killed only a buffaloe and
two antelopes, which added to six beaver and two otter have been all our
game for two or three days. At ten in the morning we had a light shower
which scarcely wet the grass.

Thursday, July 4th. The boat was now completed except what is in fact
the most difficult part, the making her seams secure. We had intended to
despatch a canoe with part of our men to the United States early this
spring; but not having yet seen the Snake Indians, or knowing whether to
calculate on their friendship or enmity, we have decided not to weaken
our party which is already scarcely sufficient to repel any hostility.
We were afraid too that such a measure might dishearten those who
remain; and as we have never suggested it to them, they are all
perfectly and enthusiastically attached to the enterprise, and willing
to encounter any danger to ensure its success. We had a heavy dew this

Since our arrival at the falls we have repeatedly heard a strange noise
coming from the mountains in a direction a little to the north of west.
It is heard at different periods of the day and night, sometimes when
the air is perfectly still and without a cloud, and consists of one
stroke only, or of five or six discharges in quick succession. It is
loud and resembles precisely the sound of a six pound piece of ordnance
at the distance of three miles. The Minnetarees frequently mentioned
this noise like thunder, which they said the mountains made; but we had
paid no attention to it, believing it to have been some superstition or
perhaps a falsehood. The watermen also of the party say that the Pawnees
and Ricaras give the same account of a noise heard in the Black
mountains to the westward of them. The solution of the mystery given by
the philosophy of the watermen is, that it is occasioned by the
bursting of the rich mines of silver confined within the bosom of the
mountain. An elk and a beaver are all that were killed to-day: the
buffaloe seemed to have withdrawn from our neighbourhood, though several
of the men who went to-day to visit the falls for the first time,
mention that they are still abundant at that place. We contrived however
to spread not a very sumptuous but a comfortable table in honour of the
day, and in the evening gave the men a drink of spirits, which was the
last of our stock. Some of them appeared sensible to the effects of even
so small a quantity, and as is usual among them on all festivals, the
fiddle was produced and a dance begun, which lasted till nine o'clock,
when it was interrupted by a heavy shower of rain. They continued
however their merriment till a late hour.

Friday 5. The boat was brought up into a high situation and fires
kindled under her in order to dry her more expeditiously. Despairing now
of procuring any tar, we formed a composition of pounded charcoal with
beeswax and buffaloe tallow to supply its place; should this resource
fail us it will be very unfortunate, as in every other respect the boat
answers our purposes completely. Although not quite dry she can be
carried with ease by five men; her form is as complete as could be
wished; very strong, and will carry at least eight thousand pounds with
her complement of hands. Besides our want of tar, we have been unlucky
in sewing the skins with a needle which had sharp edges instead of a
point merely, although a large thong was used in order to fill the hole,
yet it shrinks in drying and leaves the hole open, so that we fear the
boat will leak.

A large herd of buffaloe came near us and we procured three of them:
besides which were killed two wolves and three antelopes. In the course
of the day other herds of buffaloe came near our camp on their way down
the river: these herds move with great method and regularity. Although
ten or twelve herds are seen scattered from each other over a space of
many miles, yet if they are undisturbed by pursuit they will be
uniformly travelling in the same direction.

Saturday 6. Last night there were several showers of rain and hail,
attended with thunder and lightning: and about day break a heavy storm
came on from the southwest with one continued roar of thunder, and rain
and hail. The hail which was as large as musket balls, covered the
ground completely; and on collecting some of it, it lasted during the
day and served to cool the water. The red and yellow currant is abundant
and now ripe, although still a little acid. We have seen in this
neighbourhood what we have not met before, a remarkably small fox which
associates in bands and burrows in the prairie, like the small wolf, but
have not yet been able to obtain any of them, as they are extremely
vigilant, and betake themselves on the slightest alarm to their burrows
which are very deep.

Sunday 7. The weather is warm but cloudy, so that the moisture retained
by the bark after the rain leaves it slowly, though we have small fires
constantly under the boat. We have no tents, and therefore are obliged
to use the sails to keep off the bad weather. Our buffaloe skins too,
are scarcely sufficient to cover our baggage, but the men are now
dressing others to replace their present leather clothing, which soon
rots by being so constantly exposed to water. In the evening the hunters
returned with the skins of only three buffaloe, two antelope, four deer,
and three wolf skins, and reported that the buffaloe had gone further
down the river; two other hunters who left us this morning could find
nothing except one elk: in addition to this we caught a beaver. The
musquitoes still disturb us very much, and the blowing-flies swarm in
vast numbers round the boat. At four in the afternoon we had a light
shower of rain attended with some thunder and lightning.

Monday 8. In order more fully to replace the notes of the river which
he had lost, and which he was prevented from supplying by the storm of
the twenty-ninth ult. captain Clarke set out after breakfast, taking
with him nearly the whole party with a view of shooting buffaloe if
there should be any near the falls. After getting some distance in the
plains the men were divided into squads, and he with two others struck
the Missouri at the entrance of Medicine river, and thence proceeded
down to the great cataract. He found that the immense herds of buffaloe
have entirely disappeared, and he thought had gone below the falls.
Having made the necessary measurements, he returned through the plains
and reached camp late in the evening; the whole party had killed only
three buffaloe, three antelopes and a deer; they had also shot a small
fox, and brought a living ground-squirrel somewhat larger than those of
the United States.

The day was warm and fair, but a slight rain fell in the afternoon. The
boat having now become sufficiently dry, we gave it a coat of the
composition, which after a proper interval was repeated, and the next

Tuesday 9, she was launched into the water, and swam perfectly well: the
seats were then fixed and the oars fitted; but after we had loaded her,
as well as the canoes, and were on the point of setting out a violent
wind caused the waves to wet the baggage, so that we were forced to
unload them. The wind continued high till evening, when to our great
disappointment we discovered that nearly all the composition had
separated from the skins, and left the seams perfectly exposed; so that
the boat now leaked very much. To repair this misfortune without pitch
is impossible, and as none of that article is to be procured, we
therefore, however reluctantly, are obliged to abandon her, after having
had so much labour in the construction. We now saw that the section of
the boat covered with buffaloe skins on which hair had been left,
answered better than the elk skins and leaked but little; while that
part which was covered hair about one eighth of an inch, retained the
composition perfectly, and remained sound and dry. From this we
perceived that had we employed buffaloe instead of elk skins, and not
singed them so closely as we have done, carefully avoiding to cut the
leather in sewing, the boat would have been sufficient even with the
present composition, or had we singed instead of shaving the elk skins
we might have succeeded. But we discovered our error too late: the
buffaloe had deserted us, the travelling season was so fast advancing
that we had no time to spare for experiments, and therefore finding that
she could be no longer useful she was sunk in the water, so as to soften
the skins and enable us the more easily to take her to pieces. It now
became necessary to provide other means for transporting the baggage
which we had intended to stow in her. For this purpose we shall want two
canoes, but for many miles below the mouth of the Muscleshell river to
this place, we have not seen a single tree fit to be used in that way.
The hunters however who had hitherto been sent after timber, mention
that there is a low ground on the opposite side of the river, about
eight miles above us by land, and more than twice that distance by
water, in which we may probably find trees large enough for our
purposes. Captain Clarke therefore determined to set out by land for
that place with ten of the best workmen who would be occupied in
building the canoes till the rest of the party, after taking the boat to
pieces and making the necessary deposits, should transport the baggage
and join them with the other six canoes.

Wednesday 10. He accordingly passed over to the opposite side of the
river with his party, and proceeded on eight miles by land, the distance
by water being twenty-three and three quarter miles. Here he found two
cottonwood trees, but on cutting them down, one proved to be hollow,
split at the top in falling, and both were much damaged at the bottom.
He searched the neighbourhood but could find none which would suit
better, and therefore was obliged to make use of those which he had
felled, shortening them in order to avoid the cracks, and supplying the
deficiency by making them as wide as possible. They were equally at a
loss for wood of which they might make handles for their axes, the eyes
of which not being round they were obliged to split the timber in such a
manner that thirteen of the handles broke in the course of the day,
though made of the best wood they could find for the purpose, which was
the chokecherry.

The rest of the party took the frame of the boat to pieces, deposited it
in a cache or hole, with a draught of the country from fort Mandan to
this place, and also some other papers and small articles of less
importance. After this we amused ourselves with fishing, and although we
had thought on our arrival that there were none in this part of the
river, we caught some of a species of white chub below the falls, but
few in number, and small in size.

Serjeant Ordway with four canoes and eight men had set sail in the
morning, with part of the baggage to the place where captain Clarke had
fixed his camp, but the wind was so high that he only reached within
three miles of that place, and encamped for the night.

Thursday, July 11. In the morning one of the canoes joined captain
Clarke: the other three having on board more valuable articles, which
would have been injured by the water, went on more cautiously, and did
not reach the camp till the evening. Captain Clarke then had the canoes
unloaded and sent back, but the high wind prevented their floating down
nearer than about eight miles above us. His party were busily engaged
with the canoes, and their hunters supplied them with three fat deer and
a buffaloe, in addition to two deer and an antelope killed yesterday.
The few men who were with captain Lewis were occupied in hunting, but
with not much success, having killed only one buffaloe. They heard about
sunset two discharges of the tremendous mountain artillery: they also
saw several very large gray eagles, much larger than those of the United
States, and most probably a distinct species, though the bald eagle of
this country is not quite so large as that of the United States. The men
have been much afflicted with painful whitlows, and one of them disabled
from working by this complaint in his hand.

Friday, 12. In consequence of the wind the canoes did not reach the
lower camp till late in the afternoon, before which time captain Lewis
sent all the men he could spare up the river to assist in building the
boats, and the day was too far advanced to reload and send them up
before morning. The mosquitoes are very troublesome, and they have a
companion not less so, a large black gnat which does not sting, but
attacks the eyes in swarms. The party with captain Clarke are employed
on the canoes: in the course of the work serjeant Pryor dislocated his
shoulder yesterday, but it was replaced immediately, and though painful
does not threaten much injury. The hunters brought in three deer and two
otter. This last animal has been numerous since the water has become
sufficiently clear for them to take fish. The blue-crested fisher, or as
it is sometimes called, the kingfisher, is an inhabitant of this part of
the river; it is a bird rare on the Missouri: indeed we had not seen
more than three or four of them from its entrance to Maria's river, and
even those did not seem to reside on the Missouri but on some of the
clearer streams which empty into it, as they were seen near the mouths
of those streams.

Saturday 13. The morning being fair and calm captain Lewis had all the
remaining baggage embarked on board the six canoes, which sailed with
two men in each for the upper camp. Then with a sick man and the Indian
woman, he left the encampment, and crossing over the river went on by
land to join captain Clarke. From the head of the Whitebear islands he
proceeded in a southwest direction, at the distance of three miles, till
he struck the Missouri, which he then followed till he reached the place
where all the party were occupied in boat-building. On his way he passed
a very large Indian lodge, which was probably designed as a great
council-house, but it differs in its construction from all that we have
seen lower down the Missouri or elsewhere. The form of it was a circle
two hundred and sixteen feet in circumference at the base, and composed
of sixteen large cottonwood poles about fifty feet long, and at their
thicker ends, which touched the ground, about the size of a man's body:
they were distributed at equal distances, except that one was omitted to
the east, probably for the entrance. From the circumference of this
circle the poles converged towards the centre where they were united and
secured by large withes of willow brush. There was no covering over this
fabric, in the centre of which were the remains of a large fire, and
round it the marks of about eighty leathern lodges. He also saw a number
of turtledoves, and some pigeons, of which he shot one differing in no
respect from the wild pigeon of the United States. The country exhibits
its usual appearances, the timber confined to the river, the country on
both sides as far as the eye can reach being entirely destitute of trees
or brush. In the low ground in which we are building the canoes, the
timber is larger and more abundant than we have seen it on the Missouri
for several hundred miles. The soil too is good, for the grass and weeds
reach about two feet high, being the tallest we have observed this
season, though on the high plains and prairies the grass is at no season
above three inches in height. Among these weeds are the sandrush, and
nettle in small quantities; the plains are still infested by great
numbers of the small birds already mentioned, among whom is the brown
curlew. The current of the river is here extremely gentle; the buffaloe
have not yet quite gone, for the hunters brought in three in very good
order. It requires some diligence to supply us plentifully, for as we
reserve our parched meal for the Rocky mountains, where we do not expect
to find much game, our principal article of food is meat, and the
consumption of the whole thirty-two persons belonging to the party,
amounts to four deer, an elk and a deer, one buffaloe every twenty four
hours. The musquitoes and gnats persecute us as violently as below, so
that we can get no sleep unless defended by biers, with which we are all
provided. We here found several plants hitherto unknown to us, and of
which we preserved specimens.

Serjeant Ordway proceeded with the six canoes five miles up the river,
but the wind becoming so high as to wet the baggage he was obliged to
unload and dry it. The wind abated at five o'clock in the evening, when
he again proceeded eight miles and encamped. The next morning,

Sunday, July 14, he joined us about noon. On leaving the Whitebear camp
he passed at a short distance a little creek or run coming in on the
left. This had been already examined and called Flattery run; it
contains back water only, with very extensive low grounds, which rising
into large plains reach the mountains on the east; then passed a willow
island on the left within one mile and a half, and reached two miles
further a cliff of rocks in a bend on the same side. In the course of
another mile and a half he passed two islands covered with cottonwood,
box-alder, sweet-willow, and the usual undergrowth, like that of the
Whitebear islands. At thirteen and three quarter miles he came to the
mouth of a small creek on the left; within the following nine miles he
passed three timbered islands, and after making twenty-three and a
quarter miles from the lower camp, arrived at the point of woodland on
the north where the canoes were constructed.

The day was fair and warm; the men worked very industriously, and were
enabled by the evening to lanch the boats, which now want only seats and
oars to be complete. One of them is twenty-five, the other thirty-three
feet in length and three feet wide. Captain Lewis walked out between
three and four miles over the rocky bluffs to a high situation, two
miles from the river, a little below Fort Mountain creek. The country
which he saw was in most parts level, but occasionally became varied by
gentle rises and descents, but with no timber except along the water.
From this position, the point at which the Missouri enters the first
chain of the Rocky mountains bore south 28° west about twenty-five
miles, according to our estimate.

The northern extremity of that chain north 73° west at the distance of
eighty miles.

To the same extremity of the second chain north 65° west one hundred and
fifty miles.

To the most remote point of a third and continued chain of these
mountains north 50° west about two hundred miles.

The direction of the first chain was from south 20° east to north 20°
west; of the second, from south 45° east to north 45° west; but the eye
could not reach their southern extremities, which most probably may be
traced to Mexico. In a course south 75° west, and at the distance of
eight miles is a mountain, which from its appearance we shall call Fort
Mountain. It is situated in the level plain, and forms nearly a square,
each side of which is a mile in extent. These sides, which are composed
of a yellow clay with no mixture of rock or stone whatever, rise
perpendicularly to the height of three hundred feet, where the top
becomes a level plain covered, as captain Lewis now observed, with a
tolerably fertile mould two feet thick, on which was a coat of grass
similar to that of the plain below: it has the appearance of being
perfectly inaccessible, and although the mounds near the falls somewhat
resemble it, yet none of them are so large.

                                CHAPTER XII.

     The party embark on board the canoes--Description of Smith's
     river--Character of the country, &c.--Dearborne's river
     described--Captain Clarke precedes the party for the purpose of
     discovering the Indians of the Rocky mountains--Magnificent rocky
     appearances on the borders of the river denominated the Gates of
     the Rocky mountains--Captain Clarke arrives at the three forks of
     the Missouri without overtaking the Indians--The party arrive at
     the three forks, of which a particular and interesting description
     is given.

Monday, July 15. We rose early, embarked all our baggage on board the
canoes, which though light in number are still heavily loaded, and at
ten o'clock set out on our journey. At the distance of three miles we
passed an island, just above which is a small creek coming in from the
left, which we called Fort Mountain creek, the channel of which is ten
yards wide but now perfectly dry. At six miles we came to an island
opposite to a bend towards the north side; and reached at seven and a
half miles the lower point of a woodland at the entrance of a beautiful
river, which in honour of the secretary of the navy we called Smith's
river. This stream falls into a bend on the south side of the Missouri,
and is eighty yards wide. As far as we could discern its course it wound
through a charming valley towards the southeast, in which many herds of
buffaloe were feeding, till at the distance of twenty five miles it
entered the Rocky mountains, and was lost from our view. After dining
near this place we proceeded on four and three quarter miles to the head
of an island; four and a quarter miles beyond which is a second island
on the left; three and a quarter miles further in a bend of the river
towards the north, is a wood where we encamped for the night, after
making nineteen and three quarter miles.

We find the prickly pear, one of the greatest beauties as well as the
greatest inconveniences of the plains, now in full bloom. The sunflower
too, a plant common on every part of the Missouri from its entrance to
this place, is here very abundant and in bloom. The lambsquarter,
wild-cucumber, sandrush, and narrowdock are also common. Two elk, a
deer, and an otter, were our game to-day.

The river has now become so much more crooked than below that we omit
taking all its short meanders, but note only its general course, and lay
down the small bends on our daily chart by the eye. The general width is
from one hundred to one hundred and fifty yards. Along the banks are
large beds of sand raised above the plains, and as they always appear on
the sides of the river opposite to the southwest exposure, seem
obviously brought there from the channel of the river by the incessant
winds from that quarter: we find also more timber than for a great
distance below the falls.

Tuesday 16. There was a heavy dew last night. We soon passed about forty
little booths, formed of willow bushes as a shelter against the sun.
These seemed to have been deserted about ten days, and as we supposed by
the Snake Indians, or Shoshonees, whom we hope soon to meet, as they
appeared from the tracks to have a number of horses with them. At three
and three quarter miles we passed a creek or run in a bend on the left
side, and four miles further another run or small rivulet on the right.
After breakfasting on a buffaloe shot by one of the hunters, captain
Lewis resolved to go on ahead of the party to the point where the river
enters the Rocky mountains and make the necessary observations before
our arrival. He therefore set out with Drewyer and two of the sick men
to whom he supposed the walk would be useful: he travelled on the north
side of the river through a handsome level plain, which continued on the
opposite side also, and at the distance of eight miles passed a small
stream on which he observed a considerable quantity of the aspen tree. A
little before twelve o'clock he halted on a bend to the north in a low
ground well covered with timber, about four and a half miles below the
mountains, and obtained a meridian altitude, by which he found the
latitude was N. 46° 46' 50" 2"'. His route then lay through a high
waving plain to a rapid where the Missouri first leaves the Rocky
mountains, and here he encamped for the night.

In the meantime we had proceeded after breakfast one mile to a bend in
the left, opposite to which was the frame of a large lodge situated in
the prairie, constructed like that already mentioned above the Whitebear
islands, but only sixty feet in diameter: round it were the remains of
about eighty leathern lodges, all which seemed to have been built during
the last autumn; within the next fifteen and a quarter miles we passed
ten islands, on the last of which we encamped near the right shore,
having made twenty-three miles. The next morning,

Wednesday 17, we set out early, and at four miles distance joined
captain Lewis at foot of the rapids, and after breakfast began the
passage of them: some of the articles most liable to be injured by the
water were carried round. We then double manned the canoes, and with the
aid of the towing-line got them up without accident. For several miles
below the rapids the current of the Missouri becomes stronger as you
approach, and the spurs of the mountains advance towards the river,
which is deep and not more than seventy yards wide: at the rapids the
river is closely hemmed in on both sides by the hills, and foams for
half a mile over the rocks which obstruct its channel. The low grounds
are now not more than a few yards in width, but they furnish room for an
Indian road which winds under the hills on the north side of the river.
The general range of these hills is from southeast to northwest, and the
cliffs themselves are about eight hundred feet above the water, formed
almost entirely of a hard black granite, on which are scattered a few
dwarf pine and cedar trees. Immediately in the gap is a large rock four
hundred feet high, which on one side is washed by the Missouri, while on
its other sides a handsome little plain separates it from the
neighbouring mountains. It may be ascended with some difficulty nearly
to its summit, and affords a beautiful prospect of the plains below, in
which we could observe large herds of buffaloe. After ascending the
rapids for half a mile we came to a small island at the head of them,
which we called Pine island from a large pine tree at the lower end of
it, which is the first we have seen near the river for a great distance.
A mile beyond captain Lewis's camp we had a meridian altitude which gave
us the latitude of 46° 42' 14" 7"'. As the canoes were still heavily
loaded all those not employed in working them walked on shore. The
navigation is now very laborious. The river is deep but with little
current and from seventy to one hundred yards wide; the low grounds are
very narrow, with but little timber and that chiefly the aspen tree. The
cliffs are steep and hang over the river so much that often we could not
cross them, but were obliged to pass and repass from one side of the
river to the other in order to make our way. In some places the banks
are formed of rocks, of dark black granite rising perpendicularly to a
great height, through which the river seems in the progress of time to
have worn its channel. On these mountains we see more pine than usual,
but it is still in small quantities. Along the bottoms, which have a
covering of high grass, we observe the sunflower blooming in great
abundance. The Indians of the Missouri, and more especially those who do
not cultivate maize, make great use of the seed of this plant for bread
or in thickening their soup. They first parch and then pound it between
two stones until it is reduced to a fine meal. Sometimes they add a
portion of water, and drink it thus diluted: at other times they add a
sufficient proportion of marrow grease to reduce it to the consistency
of common dough and eat it in that manner. This last composition we
preferred to all the rest, and thought it at that time a very palatable
dish. There is however little of the broad-leafed cottonwood on this
side of the falls, much the greater part of what we see being of the
narrow-leafed species. There are also great quantities of red, purple,
yellow and black currants. The currants are very pleasant to the taste,
and much preferable to those of our common garden. The bush rises to the
height of six or eight feet; the stem simple, branching and erect. These
shrubs associate in corps either in upper or timbered lands near the
water courses. The leaf is peteolate, of a pale green, and in form
resembles the red currant so common in our gardens. The perianth of the
fruit is one leaved, five cleft, abbriviated and tubular. The corolla is
monopetallous, funnel-shaped, very long, and of a fine orange colour.
There are five stamens and one pistillum of the first, the filaments are
capillar, inserted in the corolla, equal and converging, the anther
ovate and incumbent. The germ of the second species is round, smooth,
inferior and pidicelled: the style long and thicker than the stamens,
simple, cylindrical, smooth and erect. It remains with the corolla until
the fruit is ripe, the stamen is simple and obtuse, and the fruit much
the size and shape of our common garden currants, growing like them in
clusters supported by a compound footstalk. The peduncles are longer in
this species, and the berries are more scattered. The fruit is not so
acid as the common currant, and has a more agreeable flavour.

The other species differs in no respect from the yellow currant
excepting in the colour and flavour of the berries.

The serviceberry differs in some points from that of the United States.
The bushes are small, sometimes not more than two feet high, and rarely
exceed eight inches. They are proportionably small in their stems,
growing very thickly, associated in clumps. The fruit is of the same
form, but for the most part larger and of a very dark purple. They are
now ripe and in great perfection. There are two species of gooseberry
here, but neither of them yet ripe: nor are the chokecherry, though in
great quantities. Besides there are also at that place the box alder,
red willow and a species of sumach. In the evening we saw some mountain
rams or big-horned animals, but no other game of any sort. After leaving
Pine island we passed a small run on the left, which is formed by a
large spring rising at the distance of half a mile under the mountain.
One mile and a half above the island is another, and two miles further a
third island, the river making small bends constantly to the north. From
this last island to a point of rocks on the south side the low grounds
become rather wider, and three quarters of a mile beyond these rocks, in
a bend on the north, we encamped opposite to a very high cliff, having
made during the day eleven and a half miles.

Thursday 18. This morning early before our departure we saw a large herd
of the big-horned animals, who were bounding among the rocks in the
opposite cliff with great agility. These inaccessible spots secure them
from all their enemies, and the only danger is in wandering among these
precipices, where we should suppose it scarcely possible for any animal
to stand; a single false step would precipitate them at least five
hundred feet into the water. At one mile and a quarter we passed another
single cliff on the left; at the same distance beyond which is the mouth
of a large river emptying itself from the north. It is a handsome, bold,
and clear stream, eighty yards wide, that is nearly as broad as the
Missouri, with a rapid current over a bed of small smooth stones of
various figures. The water is extremely transparent, the low grounds are
narrow, but possess as much wood as those of the Missouri; and it has
every appearance of being navigable, though to what distance we cannot
ascertain, as the country which it waters, is broken and mountainous. In
honour of the secretary at war we called it Dearborn's river. Being now
very anxious to meet with the Shoshonees or Snake Indians, for the
purpose of obtaining the necessary information of our route, as well as
to procure horses, it was thought best for one of us to go forward with
a small party and endeavour to discover them, before the daily discharge
of our guns, which is necessary for our subsistence, should give them
notice of our approach: if by an accident they hear us, they will most
probably retreat to the mountains, mistaking us for their enemies who
usually attack them on this side. Accordingly captain Clarke set out
with three men, and followed the course of the river on the north side;
but the hills were so steep at first that he was not able to go much
faster than ourselves. In the evening however he cut off many miles of
the circuitous course of the river, by crossing a mountain over which he
found a wide Indian road which in many places seems to have been cut or
dug down in the earth. He passed also two branches of a stream which he
called Ordway's creek, where he saw a number of beaver-dams extending in
close succession towards the mountains as far as he could distinguish:
on the cliffs were many of the big-horned animals. After crossing this
mountain he encamped near a small stream of running water, having
travelled twenty miles.

On leaving Dearborn's river we passed at three and a half miles a small
creek, and at six beyond it an island on the north side of the river,
which makes within that distance many small bends. At two and a half
miles further is another island: three quarters of a mile beyond this is
a small creek on the north side. At a mile and a half above the creek is
a much larger stream thirty yards wide, and discharging itself with a
bold current on the north side: the banks are low, and the bed formed of
stones altogether. To this stream we gave the name of Ordway's creek,
after serjeant John Ordway. At two miles beyond this the valley widens:
we passed several bends of the river, and encamped in the centre of one
on the south, having made twenty-one miles. Here we found a small grove
of the narrow-leafed cottonwood, there being no longer any of the
broad-leafed kind since we entered the mountains. The water of these
rivulets which come down from the mountains is very cold, pure, and well
tasted. Along their banks as well as on the Missouri the aspen is very
common, but of a small kind. The river is somewhat wider than we found
it yesterday; the hills more distant from the river and not so high;
there are some pines on the mountains, but they are principally confined
to the upper regions of them: the low grounds are still narrower and
have little or no timber. The soil near the river is good, and produces
a luxuriant growth of grass and weeds; among these productions the
sunflower holds a very distinguished place. For several days past we
have observed a species of flax in the low grounds, the leaf-stem and
pericarp of which resemble those of the flax commonly cultivated in the
United States: the stem rises to the height of two and a half or three
feet, and spring to the number of eight or ten from the same root, with
a strong thick bark apparently well calculated for use: the root seems
to be perennial, and it is probable that the cutting of the stems may
not at all injure it, for although the seeds are not yet ripe, there are
young suckers shooting up from the root, whence we may infer that the
stems which are fully grown and in the proper stage of vegetation to
produce the best flax, are not essential to the preservation or support
of the root, a circumstance which would render it a most valuable plant.
To-day we have met with a second species of flax smaller than the first,
as it seldom obtains a greater height than nine or twelve inches: the
leaf and stem resemble those of the species just mentioned, except that
the latter is rarely branched, and bears a single monopetalous
bell-shaped blue flower, suspended with its limb downwards. We saw
several herds of the big-horn, but they were in the cliffs beyond our
reach. We killed an elk this morning and found part of a deer which had
been left for us by captain Clarke. He pursued his route,

Friday, 19, early in the morning, and soon passed the remains of several
Indian camps formed of willow brush, which seemed to have been deserted
this spring. At the same time he observed that the pine trees had been
stripped of their bark about the same season, which our Indian woman say
her countrymen do in order to obtain the sap and the soft parts of the
wood and bark for food. About eleven o'clock he met a herd of elk and
killed two of them, but such was the want of wood in the neighbourhood
that he was unable to procure enough to make a fire, and he was
therefore obliged to substitute the dung of the buffaloe, with which he
cooked his breakfast. They then resumed their course along an old Indian
road. In the afternoon they reached a handsome valley watered by a large
creek, both of which extend a considerable distance into the mountain:
this they crossed, and during the evening travelled over a mountainous
country covered with sharp fragments of flint-rock: these bruised and
cut their feet very much, but were scarcely less troublesome than the
prickly pear of the open plains, which have now become so abundant that
it is impossible to avoid them, and the thorns are so strong that they
pierce a double soal of dressed deer skin: the best resource against
them is a soal of buffaloe hide in parchment. At night they reached the
river much fatigued, having passed two mountains in the course of the
day and having travelled thirty miles. Captain Clarke's first employment
on lighting a fire was to extract from his feet the briars, which he
found seventeen in number.

In the meantime we proceeded on very well, though the water appears to
increase in rapidity as we advance: the current has indeed been strong
during the day and obstructed by some rapids, which are not however much
broken by rocks, and are perfectly safe: the river is deep, and its
general width is from one hundred to one hundred and fifty yards wide.
For more than thirteen miles we went along the numerous bends of the
river and then reached two small islands; three and three quarter miles
beyond which is a small creek in a bend to the left, above a small
island on the right side of the river. We were regaled about ten o'clock
P.M. with a thunder storm of rain and hail which lasted for an hour, but
during the day in this confined valley, through which we are passing,
the heat is almost insupportable; yet whenever we obtain a glimpse of
the lofty tops of the mountains we are tantalized with a view of the
snow. These mountains have their sides and summits partially varied with
little copses of pine, cedar, and balsam fir. A mile and a half beyond
this creek the rocks approach the river on both sides, forming a most
sublime and extraordinary spectacle. For five and three quarter miles
these rocks rise perpendicularly from the water's edge to the height of
nearly twelve hundred feet. They are composed of a black granite near
its base, but from its lighter colour above and from the fragments we
suppose the upper part to be flint of a yellowish brown and cream
colour. Nothing can be imagined more tremendous than the frowning
darkness of these rocks, which project over the river and menace us with
destruction. The river, of one hundred and fifty yards in width, seems
to have forced its channel down this solid mass, but so reluctantly has
it given way that during the whole distance the water is very deep even
at the edges, and for the first three miles there is not a spot except
one of a few yards, in which a man could stand between the water and the
towering perpendicular of the mountain: the convulsion of the passage
must have been terrible, since at its outlet there are vast columns of
rock torn from the mountain which are strewed on both sides of the
river, the trophies as it were of the victory. Several fine springs
burst out from the chasms of the rock, and contribute to increase the
river, which has now a strong current, but very fortunately we are able
to overcome it with our oars, since it would be impossible to use
either the cord or the pole. We were obliged to go on some time after
dark, not being able to find a spot large enough to encamp on, but at
length about two miles above a small inland in the middle of the river
we met with a spot on the left side, where we procured plenty of
lightwood and pitchpine. This extraordinary range of rocks we called the
Gates of the Rocky mountains. We had made twenty-two miles; and four and
a quarter miles from the entrance of the gates. The mountains are higher
to-day than they were yesterday. We saw some big-horns, a few antelopes
and beaver, but since entering the mountains have found no buffaloe: the
otter are however in great plenty: the musquitoes have become less
troublesome than they were.

Saturday 20. By employing the towrope whenever the banks permitted the
use of it, the river being too deep for the pole, we were enabled to
overcome the current which is still strong. At the distance of half a
mile we came to a high rock in a bend to the left in the Gates. Here the
perpendicular rocks cease, the hills retire from the river, and the
vallies suddenly widen to a greater extent than they have been since we
entered the mountains. At this place was some scattered timber,
consisting of the narrow-leafed cottonwood, the aspen, and pine. There
are also vast quantities of gooseberries, serviceberries, and several
species of currant, among which is one of a black colour, the flavour of
which is preferable to that of the yellow, and would be deemed superior
to that of any currant in the United States. We here killed an elk which
was a pleasant addition to our stock of food. At a mile from the Gates,
a large creek comes down from the mountains and empties itself behind an
island in the middle of a bend to the north. To this stream which is
fifteen yards wide we gave the name of Potts's creek, after John Potts,
one of our men. Up this valley about seven miles we discovered a great
smoke, as if the whole country had been set on fire; but were at a loss
to decide whether it had been done accidentally by captain Clarke's
party, or by the Indians as a signal on their observing us. We
afterwards learnt that this last was the fact; for they had heard a gun
fired by one of captain Clarke's men, and believing that their enemies
were approaching had fled into the mountains, first setting fire to the
plains as a warning to their countrymen. We continued our course along
several islands, and having made in the course of the day fifteen miles,
encamped just above an island, at a spring on a high bank on the left
side of the river. In the latter part of the evening we had passed
through a low range of mountains, and the country became more open,
though still unbroken and without timber, and the lowlands not very
extensive: and just above our camp the river is again closed in by the
mountains. We found on the banks an elk which captain Clarke had left
us, with a note mentioning that he should pass the mountains just above
us and wait our arrival at some convenient place. We saw but could not
procure some redheaded ducks and sandhill cranes along the sides of the
river, and a woodpecker about the size of the lark-woodpecker, which
seems to be a distinct species: it is as black as a crow with a long
tail, and flies like a jaybird. The whole country is so infested by the
prickly pear that we could scarcely find room to lie down at our camp.

Captain Clarke on setting out this morning had gone through the valley
about six miles to the right of the river. He soon fell into an old
Indian road which he pursued till he reached the Missouri, at the
distance of eighteen miles from his last encampment, just above the
entrance of a large creek, which we afterwards called Whiteearth creek.
Here he found his party so much cut and pierced with the sharp flint and
the prickly pear that he proceeded only a small distance further, and
then halted to wait for us. Along his track he had taken the precaution
to strew signals, such as pieces of cloth, paper and linen, to prove to
the Indians, if by accident they met his track, that we were white men.
But he observed a smoke some distance ahead, and concluded that the
whole country had now taken the alarm.

Sunday 21. On leaving our camp we passed an island at half a mile, and
reached at one mile a bad rapid at the place where the river leaves the
mountain: here the cliffs are high and covered with fragments of broken
rocks, the current is also strong, but although more rapid the river is
wider and shallower, so that we are able to use the pole occasionally,
though we principally depend on the towline. On leaving this rapid which
is about half a mile in extent, the country opens on each side; the
hills become lower; at one mile is a large island on the left side, and
four and a half beyond it a large and bold creek twenty-eight yards
wide, coming in from the north, where it waters a handsome valley: we
called it Pryor's creek after one of the sergeants, John Pryor. At a
mile above this creek on the left side of the Missouri we obtained a
meridian altitude, which gave 46° 10' 32" 9"' as the latitude of the
place. For the following four miles, the country, like that through
which we passed during the rest of the day, is rough and mountainous as
we found it yesterday; but at the distance of twelve miles, we came
towards evening into a beautiful plain ten or twelve miles wide and
extending as far the eye could reach. This plain or rather valley is
bounded by two nearly parallel ranges of high mountains whose summits
are partially covered with snow, below which the pine is scattered along
the sides down to the plain in some places, though the greater part of
their surface has no timber and exhibits only a barren soil with no
covering except dry parched grass or black rugged rocks. On entering the
valley the river assumes a totally different aspect; it spreads to more
than a mile in width, and though more rapid than before, is shallow
enough in almost every part for the use of the pole, while its bed is
formed of smooth stones and some large rocks, as it has been indeed
since we entered the mountains: it is also divided by a number of
islands some of which are large near the northern shore. The soil of the
valley is a rich black loam apparently very fertile, and covered with a
fine green grass about eighteen inches or two feet in height; while that
of the high grounds is perfectly dry and seems scorched by the sun. The
timber though still scarce is in greater quantities in this valley than
we have seen it since entering the mountains, and seems to prefer the
borders of the small creeks to the banks of the river itself. We
advanced three and a half miles in this valley and encamped on the left
side, having made in all fifteen and a half miles.

Our only large game to-day was one deer. We saw however two pheasants of
a dark brown colour, much larger than the same species of bird in the
United States. In the morning too, we saw three swans which, like the
geese, have not yet recovered the feathers of the wing, and were unable
to fly: we killed two of them, and the third escaped by diving and
passing down the current. These are the first we have seen on the river
for a great distance, and as they had no young with them, we presume
that they do not breed in this neighbourhood. Of the geese we daily see
great numbers, with their young perfectly feathered except on the wings,
where both young and old are deficient; the first are very fine food,
but the old ones are poor and unfit for use. Several of the large brown
or sandhill crane are feeding in the low grounds on the grass which
forms their principal food. The young crane cannot fly at this season:
they are as large as a turkey, of a bright reddish bay colour. Since the
river has become shallow we have caught a number of trout to-day, and a
fish, white on the belly and sides, but of a bluish cast on the back,
and a long pointed mouth opening somewhat like that of the shad.

This morning captain Clarke wishing to hunt but fearful of alarming the
Indians, went up the river for three miles, when finding neither any of
them nor of their recent tracks returned, and then his little party
separated to look for game. They killed two bucks and a doe, and a young
curlew nearly feathered: in the evening they found the musquitoes as
troublesome as we did: these animals attack us as soon as the labours
and fatigues of the day require some rest, and annoy us till several
hours after dark, when the coldness of the air obliges them to
disappear; but such is their persecution that were it not for our biers
we should obtain no repose.

Monday, 22. We set out at an early hour. The river being divided into so
many channels by both large and small islands, that it was impossible to
lay it down accurately by following in a canoe any single channel,
captain Lewis walked on shore, took the general courses of the river,
and from the rising grounds laid down the situation of the islands and
channels, which he was enabled to do with perfect accuracy, the view not
being obstructed by much timber. At one mile and a quarter we passed an
island somewhat larger than the rest, and four miles further reached the
upper end of another, on which we breakfasted. This is a large island
forming in the middle of a bend to the north a level fertile plain ten
feet above the surface of the water and never overflowed. Here we found
great quantities of a small onion about the size of a musket ball,
though some were larger; it is white, crisp, and as well flavoured as
any of our garden onions; the seed is just ripening, and as the plant
bears a large quantity to the square foot, and stands the rigours of the
climate, it will no doubt be an acquisition to settlers. From this
production we called it Onion island. During the next seven and three
quarter miles we passed several long circular bends, and a number of
large and small islands which divide the river into many channels, and
then reached the mouth of a creek on the north side. It is composed of
three creeks which unite in a handsome valley about four miles before
they discharge themselves into the Missouri, where it is about fifteen
feet wide and eight feet deep, with clear transparent water. Here we
halted for dinner, but as the canoes took different channels in
ascending it was some time before they all joined. Here we were
delighted to find that the Indian woman recognizes the country; she
tells us that to this creek her countrymen make excursions to procure a
white paint on its banks, and we therefore call it Whiteearth creek. She
says also that the three forks of the Missouri are at no great distance,
a piece of intelligence which has cheered the spirits of us all, as we
hope soon to reach the head of that river. This is the warmest day
except one we have experienced this summer. In the shade the mercury
stood at 80° above 0, which is the second time it has reached that
height during this season. We encamped on an island after making
nineteen and three quarter miles.

In the course of the day we saw many geese, cranes, small birds common
to the plains, and a few pheasants: we also observed a small plover or
curlew of a brown colour, about the size of the yellow-legged plover or
jack curlew, but of a different species. It first appeared near the
mouth of Smith's river, but is so shy and vigilant that we were unable
to shoot it. Both the broad and narrow-leafed willow continue, though
the sweet willow has become very scarce. The rosebush, small
honeysuckle, the pulpy-leafed thorn, southern wood, sage and box-alder,
narrow-leafed cottonwood, redwood, and a species of sumach, are all
abundant. So too are the red and black gooseberries, serviceberries,
chokecherry, and the black, red, yellow, and purple currant, which last
seems to be a favourite food of the bear. Before encamping we landed and
took on board captain Clarke with the meat he had collected during this
day's hunt, which consisted of one deer and an elk: we had ourselves
shot a deer and an antelope. The musquitoes and gnats were unusually
fierce this evening.

Tuesday, 23. Captain Clarke again proceeded with four men along the
right bank. During the whole day the river divided by a number of
islands, which spread it out sometimes to the distance of three miles:
the current is very rapid and has many ripples; and the bed formed of
gravel and smooth stones. The banks along the low grounds are of a rich
loam, followed occasionally by low bluffs of yellow and red clay, with a
hard red slatestone intermixed. The low grounds are wide, and have very
little timber but a thick underbrush of willow, and rose and currant
bushes: these are succeeded by high plains extending on each side to the
base of the mountains, which lie parallel to the river about eight or
twelve miles apart, and are high and rocky, with some small pine and
cedar interspersed on them. At the distance of seven miles a creek
twenty yards wide, after meandering through a beautiful low ground on
the left for several miles parallel to the river, empties itself near a
cluster of small islands: the stream we called Whitehouse creek after
Joseph Whitehouse one of the party, and the islands from their number
received the name of the "Ten islands." About ten o'clock we came up
with Drewyer, who had gone out to hunt yesterday, and not being able to
find our encampment had staid out all night: he now supplied us with
five deer. Three and a quarter miles beyond Whitehouse creek we came
to the lower point of an island where the river is three hundred yards
wide, and continued along it for one mile and a quarter, and then passed
a second island just above it. We halted rather early for dinner in
order to dry some part of the baggage which had been wet in the canoes:
we then proceeded, and at five and a half miles had passed two small
islands. Within the next three miles we came to a large island, which
from its figure we called Broad island. From that place we made three
and a half miles, and encamped on an island to the left, opposite to
a much larger one on the right. Our journey to-day was twenty-two and
a quarter miles, the greater part of which was made by means of our
poles and cords, the use of which the banks much favoured. During the
whole time we had the small flags hoisted in the canoes to apprise the
Indians, if there were any in the neighbourhood, of our being white men
and their friends; but we were not so fortunate as to discover any of
them. Along the shores we saw great quantities of the common thistle,
and procured a further supply of wild onions and a species of garlic
growing on the highlands, which is now green and in bloom: it has a
flat leaf, and is strong, tough, and disagreeable. There was also much
of the wild flax, of which we now obtained some ripe seed, as well as
some bullrush and cattail flag. Among the animals we met with a black
snake about two feet long, with the belly as dark as any other part
of the body, which was perfectly black, and which had one hundred and
twenty-eight scuta on the belly and sixty-three on the tail: we also saw
antelopes, crane, geese, ducks, beaver, and otter; and took up four deer
which had been left on the water side by captain Clarke. He had pursued
all day an Indian road on the right side of the river, and encamped late
in the evening at the distance of twenty-five miles from our camp of
last night. In the course of his walk he met besides deer a number of
antelopes and a herd of elk, but all the tracks of Indians, though
numerous, were of an old date.

Wednesday, 24. We proceeded for four and a quarter miles along several
islands to a small run, just above which the low bluffs touch the river.
Within three and a half miles further we came to a small island on the
north, and a remarkable bluff composed of earth of a crimson colour,
intermixed with stratas of slate, either black or of a red resembling
brick. The following six and three quarter miles brought us to an
assemblage of islands, having passed four at different distances; and
within the next five miles we met the same number of islands, and
encamped on the north after making nineteen and a half miles. The
current of the river was strong and obstructed, as indeed it has been
for some days by small rapids or ripples which descend from one to three
feet in the course of one hundred and fifty yards, but they are rarely
incommoded by any fixed rocks, and therefore, though the water is rapid,
the passage is not attended with danger. The valley through which the
river passes is like that of yesterday; the nearest hills generally
concealing the most distant from us; but when we obtain a view of them
they present themselves in amphitheatre, rising above each other as they
recede from the river till the most remote are covered with snow. We saw
many otter and beaver to-day: the latter seem to contribute very much to
the number of islands and the widening of the river. They begin by
damming up the small channels of about twenty yards between the islands;
this obliges the river to seek another outlet, and as soon as this is
effected the channel stopped by the beaver becomes filled with mud and
sand. The industrious animal is then driven to another channel which
soon shares the same fate, till the river spreads on all sides, and cuts
the projecting points of the land into islands. We killed a deer and saw
great numbers of antelopes, cranes, some geese, and a few redheaded
ducks. The small birds of the plains and the curlew are still abundant:
we saw but could not come within gunshot of a large bear. There is much
of the track of elk but none of the animals themselves, and from the
appearance of bones and old excrement, we suppose that buffaloe have
sometimes strayed into the valley, though we have as yet seen no recent
sign of them. Along the water are a number of snakes, some of a brown
uniform colour, others black, and a third speckled on the abdomen, and
striped with black and a brownish yellow in the back and sides. The
first, which are the largest, are about four feet long; the second is of
the kind mentioned yesterday, and the third resembles in size and
appearance the garter-snake of the United States. On examining the teeth
of all these several kinds we found them free from poison: they are fond
of the water, in which they take shelter on being pursued. The
mosquitoes, gnats, and prickly pear, our three persecutors, still
continue with us, and joined with the labour of working the canoes have
fatigued us all excessively. Captain Clarke continued along the Indian
road which led him up a creek. About ten o'clock he saw at the distance
of six miles a horse feeding in the plains. He went towards him, but the
animal was so wild that he could not get within several hundred paces of
him: he then turned obliquely to the river where he killed a deer and
dined, having passed in this valley five handsome streams, only one of
which had any timber; another had some willows, and was very much dammed
up by the beaver. After dinner he continued his route along the river
and encamped at the distance of thirty miles. As he went along he saw
many tracks of Indians, but none of recent date. The next morning,

Thursday, 25, at the distance of a few miles he arrived at the three
forks of the Missouri. Here he found that the plains had been recently
burnt on the north side, and saw the track of a horse which seemed to
have passed about four or five days since. After breakfast he examined
the rivers, and finding that the north branch, although not larger,
contained more water than the middle branch, and bore more to the
westward, he determined to ascend it. He therefore left a note informing
captain Lewis of his intention, and then went up that stream on the
north side for about twenty-five miles. Here Chaboneau was unable to
proceed any further, and the party therefore encamped, all of them much
fatigued, their feet blistered and wounded by the prickly pear.

In the meantime we left our camp, and proceeded on very well, though the
water is still rapid and has some occasional ripples. The country is
much like that of yesterday: there are however fewer islands, for we
passed only two. Behind one of them is a large creek twenty-five yards
wide, to which we gave the name of Gass's creek, from one of our
serjeants, Patrick Gass: it is formed by the union of five streams,
which descend from the mountains and join in the plain near the river.
On this island we saw a large brown bear, but he retreated to the shore
and ran off before we could approach him. These animals seem more shy
than they were below the mountains. The antelopes have again collected
in small herds, composed of several females with their young, attended
by one or two males, though some of the males are still solitary or
wander in parties of two over the plains, which the antelope invariably
prefers to the woodlands, and to which it always retreats if by accident
it is found straggling in the hills, confiding no doubt in its wonderful
fleetness. We also killed a few young geese, but as this game is small
and very incompetent to the subsistence of the party, we have forbidden
the men any longer to waste their ammunition on them. About four and a
half miles above Gass's creek, the valley in which we have been
travelling ceases, the high craggy cliffs again approach the river,
which now enters or rather leaves what appears to be a second great
chain of the Rocky mountains. About a mile after entering these hills or
low mountains we passed a number of fine bold springs, which burst out
near the edge of the river under the cliffs on the left, and furnished a
fine freestone water: near these we met with two of the worst rapids we
have seen since entering the mountains; a ridge of sharp pointed rocks
stretching across the river, leaving but small and dangerous channels
for the navigation. The cliffs are of a lighter colour than those we
have already passed, and in the bed of the river is some limestone which
is small and worn smooth, and seems to have been brought down by the
current. We went about a mile further and encamped under a high bluff on
the right opposite to a cliff of rocks, having made sixteen miles.

All these cliffs appeared to have been undermined by the water at some
period, and fallen down from the hills on their sides, the stratas of
rock sometimes lying with their edges upwards, others not detached from
the hills are depressed obliquely on the side next the river as if they
had sunk to fill up the cavity formed by the washing of the river.

In the open places among the rocky cliffs are two kinds of gooseberry,
one yellow and the other red. The former species was observed for the
first time near the falls, the latter differs from it in no respect
except in colour and in being of a larger size; both have a sweet
flavour, and are rather indifferent fruit.

Friday 26. We again found the current strong and the ripples frequent:
these we were obliged to overcome by means of the cord and the pole, the
oar being scarcely ever used except in crossing to take advantage of the
shore. Within three and three quarter miles we passed seven small
islands and reached the mouth of a large creek which empties itself in
the centre of a bend on the left side: it is a bold running stream
fifteen yards wide, and received the name of Howard creek after John P.
Howard one of the party. One mile beyond it is a small run which falls
in on the same side just above a rocky cliff. Here the mountains recede
from the river, and the valley widens to the extent of several miles.
The river now becomes crowded with islands of which we passed ten in the
next thirteen and three quarter miles, then at the distance of eighteen
miles we encamped on the left shore near a rock in the centre of a bend
towards the left, and opposite to two more islands. This valley has wide
low grounds covered with high grass, and in many with a fine turf of
green sward. The soil of the highlands is thin and meagre, without any
covering except a low sedge and a dry kind of grass which is almost as
inconvenient as the prickly pear. The seeds of it are armed with a long
twisted hard beard at their upper extremity, while the lower part is a
sharp firm point, beset at its base with little stiff bristles, with the
points in a direction contrary to the subulate point to which they
answer as a barb. We see also another species of prickly pear. It is of
a globular form, composed of an assemblage of little conic leaves
springing from a common root to which their small points are attached
as a common centre, and the base of the cone forms the apex of the leaf
which is garnished with a circular range of sharp thorns like the
cochineal plant, and quite as stiff and even more keen than those of the
common flat-leafed species. Between the hills the river had been
confined within one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards, but in the
valley it widens to two hundred or two hundred and fifty yards, and
sometimes is spread by its numerous islands to the distance of three
quarters of a mile. The banks are low, but the river never overflows
them. On entering the valley we again saw the snow-clad mountains before
us, but the appearance of the hills as well as of the timber near us is
much as heretofore.

Finding Chaboneau unable to proceed captain Clarke left him with one of
the men, and accompanied by the other went up the river about twelve
miles to the top of a mountain. Here he had an extensive view of the
river valley upwards and saw a large creek which flowed in on the right
side. He however discovered no fresh sign of the Indians, and therefore
determined to examine the middle branch and join us by the time we
reached the forks: he descended the mountain by an Indian path which
wound through a deep valley, and at length reached a fine cold spring.
The day had been very warm, the path unshaded by timber, and his thirst
was excessive; he was therefore tempted to drink: but although he took
the precaution of previously wetting his head, feet and hands, he soon
found himself very unwell; he continued his route, and after resting
with Chaboneau at his camp, resumed his march across the north fork near
a large island. The first part was knee deep, but on the other side of
the island the water came to their waists and was so rapid that
Chaboneau was on the point of being swept away, and not being able to
swim would have perished if captain Clarke had not rescued him. While
crossing the island they killed two brown bear and saw great quantities
of beaver. He then went on to a small river which falls into the north
fork some miles above its junction with the two others: here, finding
himself grow more unwell, he halted for the night at the distance of
four miles from his last encampment.

Saturday 27. We proceeded on but slowly, the current being still so
rapid as to require the utmost exertions of us all to advance, and the
men are losing their strength fast in consequence of their constant
efforts. At half a mile we passed an island, and a mile and a quarter
further again entered a ridge of hills which now approach the river with
cliffs apparently sinking like those of yesterday. They are composed of
a solid limestone of a light lead colour when exposed to the air, though
when freshly broken it is of a deep blue, and of an excellent quality
and very fine grain. On these cliffs were numbers of the bighorn. At two
and a half miles we reached the centre of a bend towards the south
passing a small island, and at one mile and a quarter beyond this
reached about nine in the morning the mouth of a river seventy yards
wide, which falls in from the southeast. Here the country suddenly opens
into extensive and beautiful meadows and plains, surrounded on every
side with distant and lofty mountains. Captain Lewis went up this stream
for about half a mile, and from the height of a limestone cliff could
observe its course about seven miles, and the three forks of the
Missouri, of which this river is one. Its extreme point bore S. 65° E.
and during the seven miles it passes through a green extensive meadow of
fine grass dividing itself into several streams, the largest passing
near the ridge of hills on which he stood. On the right side of the
Missouri a high, wide and extensive plain succeeds to this low meadow
which reaches the hills. In the meadow a large spring rises about a
quarter of a mile from this Southeast fork, into which it discharges
itself on the right side about four hundred paces from where he stood.
Between the southeast and middle forks a distant range of snow-topped
mountains spread from east to south above the irregular broken hills
nearer to this spot: the middle and southwest forks unite at half a mile
above the entrance of the southeast fork. The extreme point at which the
former can be seen, bears S. 15° E. and at the distance of fourteen
miles, where it turns to the right round the point of a high plain and
disappears from the view. Its low grounds are several miles in width,
forming a smooth and beautiful green meadow, and like the southeast fork
it divides itself into several streams. Between these two forks and near
their junction with that from the southwest, is a position admirably
well calculated for a fort. It is a limestone rock of an oblong form,
rising from the plain perpendicularly to the height of twenty-five feet
on three of its sides; the fourth towards the middle fork being a
gradual ascent and covered with a fine green sward, as is also the top
which is level and contains about two acres. An extensive plain lies
between the middle and southwest forks, the last of which after watering
a country like that of the other two branches, disappears about twelve
miles off, at a point bearing south 30° west. It is also more divided
and serpentine in its course than the other two, and possesses more
timber in its meadows. This timber consists almost exclusively of the
narrow-leafed cottonwood, with an inter-mixture of box alder and
sweet-willow, the underbrush being thick and like that of the Missouri
lower down. A range of high mountains partially covered with snow is
seen at a considerable distance running from south to west, and nearly
all around us are broken ridges of country like that below, through
which those united streams appear to have forced their passage: after
observing the country captain Lewis descended to breakfast. We then left
the mouth of the southeast fork, to which in honour of the secretary of
the treasury we called Gallatin's river, and at the distance of half a
mile reached the confluence of the southwest and middle branch of the
Missouri. Here we found the letter from captain Clarke, and as we
agreed with him that the direction of the southwest fork gave it a
decided preference over the others, we ascended that branch of the river
for a mile, and encamped in a level handsome plain on the left: having
advanced only seven miles. Here we resolved to wait the return of
captain Clarke, and in the meantime make the necessary celestial
observations, as this seems an essential point in the geography of the
western world, and also to recruit the men and air the baggage. It was
accordingly all unloaded and stowed away on shore. Near the three forks
we saw many collections of the mud-nests of the small martin attached to
the smooth faces of the limestone rock, where they were sheltered by
projections of the rock above it: and in the meadows were numbers of the
duck or mallard with their young, who are now nearly grown. The hunters
returned towards evening with six deer, three otter and a muskrat; and
had seen great numbers of antelopes, and much sign of the beaver and

During all last night captain Clarke had a high fever and chills
accompanied with great pain. He however pursued his route eight miles to
the middle branch, where not finding any fresh Indian track he came down
it and joined us about three o'clock, very much exhausted with fatigue
and the violence of his fever. Believing himself bilious he took a dose
of Rush's pills, which we have always found sovereign in such cases, and
bathing the lower extremities in warm water.

We are now very anxious to see the Snake Indians. After advancing for
several hundred miles into this wild and mountainous country, we may
soon expect that the game will abandon us. With no information of the
route we may be unable to find a passage across the mountains when we
reach the head of the river, at least such a one as will lead us to the
Columbia, and even were we so fortunate as to find a branch of that
river, the timber which we have hitherto seen in these mountains does
not promise us any fit to make canoes, so that our chief dependence is
on meeting some tribe from whom we may procure horses. Our consolation
is, that this southwest branch can scarcely head with any other river
than the Columbia, and that if any nation of Indians can live in the
mountains we are able to endure as much as they, and have even better
means of procuring subsistence.

                              CHAPTER XIII.

     The name of the Missouri changed, as the river now divides itself
     into three forks, one of which is called after Jefferson, the other
     Madison, and the other after Gallatin--their general character--the
     party ascend the Jefferson branch--description of the river
     Philosophy which enters into the Jefferson--captain Lewis and a
     small party go in advance in search of the Shoshonees--description
     of the country, &c. bordering on the river--captain Lewis still
     preceding the main party in quest of the Shoshonees--a singular
     accident which prevented captain Clarke from following captain
     Lewis's advice, and ascending the middle fork of the
     river--description of Philanthropy river, another stream running
     into the Jefferson--captain Lewis and a small party having been
     unsuccessful in their first attempt, set off a second time in quest
     of the Shoshonees.

Sunday, July 28. Captain Clarke continued very unwell during the night,
but was somewhat relieved this morning. On examining the two streams it
became difficult to decide which was the larger or the real Missouri;
they are each ninety yards wide and so perfectly similar in character
and appearance that they seem to have been formed in the same mould. We
were therefore induced to discontinue the name of Missouri, and gave to
the southwest branch the name of Jefferson in honour of the president of
the United States, and the projector of the enterprise: and called the
middle branch Madison, after James Madison secretary of state. These
two, as well as Gallatin river, run with great velocity and throw out
large bodies of water. Gallatin river is however the most rapid of the
three, and though not quite as deep, yet navigable for a considerable
distance. Madison river though much less rapid than the Gallatin, is
somewhat more rapid than the Jefferson; the beds of all of them are
formed of smooth pebble and gravel, and the waters are perfectly
transparent. The timber in the neighbourhood would be sufficient for
the ordinary uses of an establishment, which, however, it would be
adviseable to build of brick, as the earth appears calculated for that
purpose, and along the shores are some bars of fine pure sand. The
greater part of the men, having yesterday put their deer skins in water,
were this day engaged in dressing them, for the purpose of making
clothing. The weather was very warm, the thermometer in the afternoon
was at 90° above 0, and the musquitoes more than usually inconvenient:
we were, however, relieved from them by a high wind from the southwest,
which came on at four o'clock, bringing a storm of thunder and
lightning, attended by refreshing showers, which continued till after
dark. In the evening the hunters returned with eight deer and two elk;
and the party who had been sent up the Gallatin, reported that after
passing the point, where it escaped from captain* Lewis's view
yesterday, it turned more towards the east, as far as they could discern
the opening of the mountains, formed by the valley which bordered it.
The low grounds were still wide but not so extensive as near its mouth,
and though the stream is rapid and much divided by islands, it is still
sufficiently deep for navigation with canoes. The low grounds, although
not more than eight or nine feet above the water, seem never to be
overflowed, except a part on the west side of the middle fork, which is
stony and seems occasionally inundated, are furnished with great
quantities of small fruit, such as currants and gooseberries: among the
last of which is a black species, which we observe not only in the
meadows but along the mountain rivulets. From the same root rise a
number of stems to the height of five or six feet, some of them
particularly branched and all reclining. The berry is attached by a long
peduncle to the stem, from which they hang of a smooth ovate form, as
large as the common garden gooseberry, and as black as jet, though the
pulp is of a bright crimson colour. It is extremely acid: the form of
the leaf resembles that of the common gooseberry, though larger. The
stem is covered with very sharp thorns or briars: the grass too is very
luxuriant and would yield fine hay in parcels of several acres. The
sand-rushes will grow in many places as high as a man's breast, and as
thick as stalks of wheat; it would supply the best food during the
winter to cattle of any trading or military post.

Sacajawea, our Indian woman, informs us that we are encamped on the
precise spot where her countrymen, the Snake Indians, had their huts
five years ago, when the Minnetarees of Knife river first came in sight
of them, and from which they hastily retreated three miles up the
Jefferson, and concealed themselves in the woods. The Minnetarees,
however, pursued and attacked them, killed four men, as many women, and
a number of boys; and made prisoners of four other boys, and all the
females, of whom Sacajawea was one: she does not, however, show any
distress at these recollections, nor any joy at the prospect of being
restored to her country; for she seems to possess the folly or the
philosophy of not suffering her feelings to extend beyond the anxiety of
having plenty to eat and a few trinkets to wear.

Monday 29. This morning the hunters brought in some fat deer of the
long-tailed red kind, which are quite as large as those of the United
States, and are, indeed, the only kind we have found at this place:
there are numbers of the sandhill cranes feeding in the meadows; we
caught a young one of the same colour as the red deer, which, though it
had nearly attained its full growth could not fly; it is very fierce and
strikes a severe blow with its beak. The kingfisher has become quite
common on this side of the falls: but we have seen none of the summer
duck since leaving that place. The mallard duck, which we saw for the
first time on the 20th instant, with their young, are now abundant,
though they do not breed on the Missouri, below the mountains. The small
birds already described are also abundant in the plains; here too, are
great quantities of grasshoppers or crickets; and among other animals, a
large ant with a reddish brown body and legs, and a black head and
abdomen, who build little cones of gravel, ten or twelve inches high,
without a mixture of sticks, and but little earth. In the river we see a
great abundance of fish, but we cannot tempt them to bite by any thing
on our hooks. The whole party have been engaged in dressing skins, and
making them into moccasins and leggings. Captain Clarke's fever has
almost left him, but he still remains very languid and has a general
soreness in his limbs. The latitude of our camp, as the mean of two
observations of the meridian altitude of the sun's lower limb with
octant by back observation is N. 45° 24' 8" 5"'.

Tuesday 30. Captain Clarke was this morning much restored; and,
therefore, having made all the observations necessary to fix the
longitude, we reloaded our canoes, and began to ascend Jefferson river.
The river now becomes very crooked, and forms bends on each side; the
current too is rapid, and cut into a great number of channels, and
sometimes shoals, the beds of which consist of coarse gravel. The
islands are unusually numerous: on the right are high plains
occasionally forming cliffs of rocks and hills; while the left was an
extensive low ground and prairie intersected by a number of bayous or
channels falling into the river. Captain Lewis, who had walked through
it with Chaboneau, his wife, and two invalids, joined us at dinner, a
few miles above our camp. Here the Indian woman said was the place where
she had been made prisoner. The men being too few to contend with the
Minnetarees, mounted their horses, and fled as soon as the attack began.
The women and children dispersed, and Sacajawea as she was crossing at a
shoal place, was overtaken in the middle of the river by her pursuers.
As we proceeded, the low grounds were covered with cottonwood and a
thick underbrush, and on both sides of the river, except where the high
hills prevented it, the ground was divided by bayous, which are dammed
up by the beaver, which are very numerous here. We made twelve and a
quarter miles, and encamped on the north side. Captain Lewis proceeded
after dinner, through an extensive low ground of timber and meadow land
intermixed; but the bayous were so obstructed by beaver dams, that in
order to avoid them he directed his course towards the high plain on the
right. This he gained with some difficulty, after wading up to his waist
through the mud and water of a number of beaver dams. When he desired to
rejoin the canoes he found the underbrush so thick, and the river so
crooked, that this, joined to the difficulty of passing the beaver dams,
induced him to go on and endeavour to intercept the river at some point
where it might be more collected into one channel and approach nearer to
the high plain. He arrived at the bank about sunset, having gone only
six miles in a direct course from the canoes: but he saw no traces of
the men, nor did he receive any answer to his shouts nor the firing of
his gun. It was now nearly dark; a duck lighted near him and he shot it.
He then went on the head of a small island where he found some
driftwood, which enabled him to cook his duck for supper, and he laid
down to sleep on some willow brush. The night was cool, but the
driftwood gave him a good fire, and he suffered no inconvenience except
from the mosquitoes.

Wednesday 31. The next morning he waited till after seven o'clock, when
he became uneasy lest we should have gone beyond his camp last evening
and determined to follow us. Just as he had set out with this intention,
he saw one of the party in advance of the canoes; although our camp was
only two miles below him, in a straight line, we could not reach him
sooner, in consequence of the rapidity of the water and the circuitous
course of the river. We halted for breakfast, after which captain Lewis
continued his route. At the distance of one mile from our encampment we
passed the principal entrance of a stream on the left, which rises in
the snowy mountains to the southwest, between Jefferson and Madison
rivers, and discharges itself by seven mouths, five below, and one three
miles above this, which is the largest, and about thirty yards wide: we
called it Philosophy river. The water of it is abundant and perfectly
clear, and the bed like that of the Jefferson consists of pebble and
gravel. There is some timber in the bottoms of the river, and vast
numbers of otter and beaver, which build on its smaller mouths and the
bayous of its neighbourhood. The Jefferson continues as yesterday,
shoaly and rapid, but as the islands though numerous are small, it is
however more collected into one current than it was below, and is from
ninety to one hundred and twenty yards in width. The low ground has a
fertile soil of rich black loam, and contains a considerable quantity of
timber, with the bullrush and cattail flag very abundant in the moist
parts, while the drier situations are covered with fine grass, tansy,
thistles, onions, and flax. The uplands are barren, and without timber:
the soil is a light yellow clay intermixed with small smooth pebble and
gravel, and the only produce is the prickly-pear, the sedge, and the
bearded grass, which is as dry and inflammable as tinder. As we
proceeded the low grounds became narrower, and the timber more scarce,
till at the distance of ten miles the high hills approach and overhang
the river on both sides, forming cliffs of a hard black granite, like
almost all those below the limestone cliffs at the three forks of the
Missouri: they continue so for a mile and three quarters, where we came
to a point of rock on the right side, at which place the hills again
retire, and the valley widens to the distance of a mile and a half.
Within the next five miles we passed four islands, and reached the foot
of a mountain in a bend of the river to the left: from this place we
went a mile and a quarter to the entrance of a small run discharging
itself on the left, and encamped on an island just above it, after
making seventeen and three quarter miles. We observe some pine on the
hills on both sides of our encampment, which are very lofty. The only
game which we have seen are one bighorn, a few antelopes, deer, and one
brown bear, which escaped from our pursuit. Nothing was, however, killed
to-day, nor have we had any fresh meat except one beaver for the last
two days, so that we are now reduced to an unusual situation, for we
have hitherto always had a great abundance of flesh.

Thursday, August 1. We left our encampment early, and at the distance of
a mile, reached a point of rocks on the left side, where the river
passes though perpendicular cliffs. Two and three quarter miles further
we halted for breakfast under a cedar tree in a bend to the right: here
as had been previously arranged, captain Lewis left us, with sergeant
Gass, Chaboneau, and Drewyer, intending to go on in advance in search of
the Shoshonees. He began his route along the north side of the river
over a high range of mountains, as captain Clarke who ascended them on
the 26th had observed from them a large valley spreading to the north of
west, and concluded that on leaving the mountain the river took that
direction; but when he reached that valley, captain Lewis found it to be
the passage of a large creek falling just above the mountain into the
Jefferson, which bears to the southwest. On discovering his error, he
bent his course towards that river, which he reached about two in the
afternoon, very much exhausted with heat and thirst. The mountains were
very bare of timber, and the route lay along the steep and narrow
hollows of the mountain, exposed to the mid-day sun, without air, or
shade, or water. Just as he arrived there a flock of elk passed, and
they killed two of them, on which they made their dinner, and left the
rest on the shore for the party in the canoes. After dinner they resumed
their march, and encamped on the north side of the river, after making
seventeen miles; in crossing the mountains captain Lewis saw a flock of
the black or dark brown pheasant, of which he killed one. This bird is
one third larger than the common pheasant of the Atlantic States; its
form is much the same. The male has not however the tufts of long black
feathers on the side of the neck so conspicuous in the Atlantic
pheasant, and both sexes are booted nearly to the toes. The colour is a
uniform dark brown with a small mixture of yellow or yellowish brown
specks on some of the feathers, particularly those of the tail, though
the extremities of these are perfectly black for about an inch. The eye
is nearly black, and the iris has a small dash of yellowish brown; the
feathers of the tail are somewhat longer than those of our pheasant, but
the same in number, eighteen, and nearly equal in size, except that
those of the middle are somewhat the longest; their flesh is white and
agreeably flavoured.

He also saw among the scattered pine near the top of the mountain, a
blue bird about the size of a robin, but in action and form something
like a jay; it is constantly in motion, hopping from spray to spray, and
its note which is loud and frequent, is, as far as letters can represent
it, char ah! char ah! char ah!

After breakfast we proceeded on: at the distance of two and a quarter
miles the river enters a high mountain, which forms rugged cliffs of
nearly perpendicular rocks. These are of a black granite at the lower
part, and the upper consists of a light coloured freestone; they
continue from the point of rocks close to the river for nine miles,
which we passed before breakfast, during which the current is very
strong. At nine and a quarter miles we passed an island, and a rapid
fall with a fall of six feet, and reached the entrance of a large creek
on the left side. In passing this place the towline of one of the canoes
broke just at the shoot of the rapids, swung on the rocks and had nearly
upset. To the creek as well as the rapid we gave the name of Frazier,
after Robert* Frazier one of the party: here the country opens into a
beautiful valley from six to eight miles in width: the river then
becomes crooked and crowded with islands; its lowgrounds wide and
fertile, but though covered with fine grass from nine inches to two
feet high; possesses but a small proportion of timber, and that consists
almost entirely of a few narrow-leafed cottonwood distributed along the
verge of the river. The soil of the plain is tolerably fertile, and
consists of a black or dark yellow loam. It gradually ascends on each
side to the bases of two ranges of high mountains which lie parallel* to
the river; the tops of them are yet in part covered with snow, and while
in the valley we are nearly suffocated with heat during the day, and at
night the air is so cold that two blankets are not more than sufficient
covering. In passing through the hills we observed some large cedar
trees, and some juniper also. From Frazier's creek we went three and
three quarter miles, and encamped on the left side, having come thirteen
miles. Directly opposite our camp is a large creek which we call Field's
creek, from Reuben Fields, one of our men. Soon after we halted two of
the hunters went out and returned with five deer, which, with one
bighorn, we killed in coming through the mountain on which we dined; and
the elk left by captain Lewis. We were again well supplied with fresh
meat. In the course of the day we saw a brown bear but were not able to
shoot him.

Friday, August 2. Captain Lewis, who slept in the valley a few miles
above us, resumed his journey early, and after making five miles and
finding that the river still bore to the south, determined to cross it
in hopes of shortening the route: for the first time therefore he waded
across it, although there are probably many places above the falls where
it might be attempted with equal safety. The river was about ninety
yards wide, the current rapid, and about waist deep: the bottom formed
of smooth pebble with a small mixture of coarse gravel. He then
continued along the left bank of the river till sunset and encamped,
after travelling twenty-four miles. He met no fresh tracks of Indians.
Throughout the valley are scattered the bones and excrement of the
buffaloe* of an old date, but there seems no hope of meeting the animals
themselves in the mountains: he saw an abundance of deer and antelope,
and many tracks of elk and bear. Having killed two deer they feasted
sumptuously, with a desert of currants of different colours; two species
of red, others yellow, deep purple, and black: to these were added black
gooseberries and deep purple serviceberries, somewhat larger than ours,
from which it differs also in colour, size, and the superior excellence
of its flavour. In the low grounds of the river were many beaver-dams
formed of willow brush, mud, and gravel, so closely interwoven that they
resist the water perfectly: some of them were five feet high and
overflowed several acres of land.

In the meantime we proceeded on slowly, the current being so strong as
to require the utmost exertions of the men to make any advance even with
the aid of the cord and pole, the wind being from the northwest. The
river is full of large and small islands, and the plain cut by great
numbers of bayous or channels, in which are multitudes of beaver. In the
course of the day we passed some villages of barking squirrels: we saw
several rattlesnakes in the plain; young ducks, both of the
duckon-mallard and red-headed fishing duck species; some geese; also the
black woodpecker, and a large herd of elk. The channel, current, banks,
and general appearance of the river, are like that of yesterday. At
fourteen and three quarter miles we reached a rapid creek or bayou about
thirty yards wide, to which we gave the name of Birth creek. After
making seventeen miles we halted in a smooth plain in a bend towards the

Saturday, 3. Captain Lewis continued his course along the river through
the valley, which continued much as it was yesterday, except that it now
widens to nearly twelve miles; the plains too are more broken and have
some scattered pine near the mountains, where they rise higher than
hitherto. In the level parts of the plains and the river bottoms there
is no timber except small cottonwood near the margin, and an undergrowth
of narrow-leafed willow, small honeysuckle, rosebushes, currants,
serviceberry, and gooseberry, and a little of a small species of birch;
it is a finely indented oval of a small size and a deep green colour;
the stem is simple, ascending and branching, and seldom rises higher
than ten or twelve feet. The mountains continue high on each side of the
valley, but their only covering is a small species of pitch-pine with a
short leaf, growing on the lower and middle regions, while for some
distance below the snowy tops there is neither timber nor herbage of any
kind. About eleven o'clock Drewyer killed a doe on which they
breakfasted, and after resting two hours continued till night, when they
reached the river near a low ground more extensive than usual. From the
appearance of the timber captain Lewis supposed that the river forked
above him, and therefore encamped with an intention of examining it more
particularly in the morning. He had now made twenty-three miles, the
latter part of which were for eight miles through a high plain covered
with prickly pears and bearded grass, which rendered the walking very
inconvenient: but even this was better than the river bottoms we crossed
in the evening, which, though apparently level, were formed into deep
holes as if they had been rooted up by hogs, and the holes were so
covered with thick grass that they were in danger of falling at every
step. Some parts of these low grounds, however, contain turf or peat of
an excellent quality for many feet deep apparently, as well as the
mineral salts which we have already mentioned on the Missouri. They saw
many deer, antelopes, ducks, geese, some beaver, and great traces of
their work, and the small birds and curlews as usual. The only fish
which they observed in this part of the river is the trout and a species
of white fish, with a remarkably long small mouth, which one of our men
recognize as the fish called in the eastern states the bottlenose.

On setting out with the canoes we found the river as usual much crowded
with islands, the current more rapid as well as shallower, so that in
many places they were obliged to man the canoes double, and drag them
over the stone and gravel of the channel. Soon after we set off captain
Clarke who was walking on shore observed a fresh track which he knew to
be that of an Indian from the large toes being turned inwards, and on
following it found that it led to the point of a hill from which our
camp of last night could be seen. This circumstance strengthened the
belief that some Indian had strayed thither, and had run off alarmed at
the sight of us. At two and a quarter miles, is a small creek in a bend
towards the right, which runs down from the mountains at a little
distance; we called it Panther creek from an animal of that kind killed
by Reuben Fields at its mouth. It is precisely the same animal common to
the western parts of the United States, and measured seven and a half
feet from the nose to the extremity of the tail. Six and three quarter
miles beyond this stream is another on the left formed by the drains
which convey the melted snows from a mountain near it, under which the
river passes, leaving the low grounds on the right side, and making
several bends in its course. On this stream are many large beaver dams.
One mile above it is a small run on the left, and after leaving which
begins a very bad rapid, where the bed of the river is formed of solid
rock: this we passed in the course of a mile, and encamped on the lower
point of an island. Our journey had been only thirteen miles, but the
badness of the river made it very laborious, as the men were compelled
to be in the water during the greater part of the day. We saw only deer,
antelopes, and the common birds of the country.

Saturday 4. This morning captain Lewis proceeded early, and after going
southeast by east for four miles, reaching a bold running creek, twelve
yards wide, with clear cold water, furnished apparently by four drains
from the snowy mountains on the left; after passing this creek he
changed his direction to southeast, and leaving the valley in which he
had travelled for the last two days, entered another which bore east. At
the distance of three miles on this course he passed a handsome little
river, about thirty yards wide, which winds through the valley: the
current is not rapid nor the water very clear, but it affords a
considerable quantity of water, and appears as if it might be navigable
for some miles. The banks are low, and the bed formed of stone and
gravel. He now changed his route to southwest, and passing a high plain
which separates the vallies, returned to the more southern or that which
he had left: in passing this he found a river about forty-five yards
wide, the water of which has a whitish blue tinge, with a gentle
current, and a gravelly bottom. This he waded and found it waist deep.
He then continued down it, till at the distance of three quarters of a
mile he saw the entrance of the small river he had just passed; as he
went on two miles lower down, he found the mouth of the creek he had
seen in the morning. Proceeding further on three miles, he arrived at
the junction of this river, with another which rises from the southwest,
runs through the south valley about twelve miles before it forms its
junction, where it is fifty yards wide: we now found that our camp of
last night was about a mile and a half above the entrance of this large
river, on the right side. This is a bold, rapid, clear stream, but its
bed is so much obstructed by gravelly bars, and subdivided by islands,
that the navigation must be very insecure, if not impracticable. The
other or middle stream, has about two thirds its quantity of water, and
is more gentle, and may be safely navigated. As far as it could be
observed, its course was about southwest, but the opening of the valley
induced him to believe that farther above it turned more towards the
west. Its water is more turbid and warmer than that of the other branch,
whence it may be presumed to have its sources at a greater distance in
the mountains, and to pass through a more open country. Under this
impression he left a note recommending to captain Clarke the middle
fork, and then continued his course along the right side of the other,
or more rapid branch. After travelling twenty-three miles he near a
place where the river leaves the valley and enters the mountain. Here he
encamped for the night. The country he passed is like that of the rest
of this valley, though there is more timber in this part on the rapid
fork than there has been on the river in the same extent since we
entered it; for on some parts of the valley the Indians seem to have
destroyed a great proportion of the little timber there was, by setting
fire to the bottoms. He saw some antelopes, deer, cranes, geese and
ducks of the two species common to this country, though the summer duck
has ceased to appear, nor does it seem to be an inhabitant of this part
of the river.

We proceeded soon after sunrise: the first five miles we passed four
bends on the left, and several bayous on both sides. At eight o'clock we
stopped to breakfast, and found the note captain Lewis had written on
the 2d instant. During the next four miles, we passed three small bends
of the river to the right, two small islands, and two bayous on the same
side. Here we reached a bluff on the left; our next course was six miles
to our encampment. In this course we met six circular bends on the
right, and several small bayous, and halted for the night in a low
ground of cottonwood on the right. Our days journey, though only fifteen
miles in length, was very fatiguing. The river is still rapid and the
water though clear is very much obstructed by shoals or ripples at every
two or three hundred yards: at all these places we are obliged to drag
the canoes over the stones as there is not a sufficient depth of water
to float them, and in the other parts the current obliges us to have
recourse to the cord. But as the brushwood on the banks will not permit
us to walk on shore, we are under the necessity of wading through the
river as we drag the boats. This soon makes our feet tender, and
sometimes occasions severe falls over the slippery stones; and the men
by being constantly wet are becoming more feeble. In the course of the
day the hunters killed two deer, some geese and ducks, and the party
saw antelopes, cranes, beaver and otter.

Monday 5. This morning Chaboneau complained of being unable to march far
to-day, and captain Lewis therefore ordered him and serjeant Gass to
pass the rapid river and proceed through the level low ground, to a
point of high timber on the middle fork, seven miles distant, and wait
his return. He then went along the north side of the rapid river about
four miles, where he waded it, and found it so rapid and shallow that it
would be impossible to navigate it. He continued along the left side for
a mile and a half, when the mountains came close on the river, and rise
to a considerable height with a partial covering of snow. From this
place the course of the river was to the east of north. After ascending
with some difficulty a high point of the mountain, he had a pleasing
view of the valley he had passed, and which continued for about twenty
miles further on each side of the middle fork, which then seemed to
enter the mountains, and was lost to the view. In that direction,
however, the hills which terminate the valley are much lower than those
along either of the other forks, particularly the rapid one, where they
continue rising in ranges above each other us far as the eye could
reach. The general course too of the middle fork, as well as that of the
gap which it forms on entering the mountains, is considerably to the
south of west; circumstances which gave a decided preference to this
branch as our future route. Captain Lewis now descended the mountain,
and crossed over to the middle fork, about five miles distant, and found
it still perfectly navigable. There is a very large and plain Indian
road leading up it, but it has at present no tracks, except those of
horses which seem to have used it last spring. The river here made a
great bend to the southeast, and he therefore directed his course, as
well as he could, to the spot where he had directed Chaboneau and Gass
to repair, and struck the river about three miles above their camp. It
was now dark, and he, therefore, was obliged to make his way through the
thick brush of the pulpy-leafed thorn and the prickly pear, for two
hours before he reached their camp. Here he was fortunate enough to find
the remains of some meat, which was his only food during the march of
twenty-five miles to-day. He had seen no game of any sort except a few
antelopes who were very shy. The soil of the plains is a meagre clay, of
a light yellow colour, intermixed with a large proportion of gravel, and
producing nothing but twisted or bearded grass, sedge and prickly pears.
The drier parts of the low grounds are also more indifferent in point of
soil than those further down the river, and although they have but
little grass, are covered with southern wood, pulpy-leafed thorn, and
prickly pears, while the moist parts are fertile, and supplied with fine
grass and sandrushes.

We passed within the first four and a quarter miles three small islands,
and the same number of bad rapids. At the distance of three quarters of
a mile is another rapid of difficult passage: three miles and three
quarters beyond this are the forks of the river, in reaching which we
had two islands and several bayous on different sides to pass. Here we
had come nine miles and a quarter. The river was straighter and more
rapid than yesterday, the labour of the navigation proportionally
increased, and we therefore proceeded very slowly, as the feet of
several of the men were swollen, and all were languid with fatigue. We
arrived at the forks about four o'clock, but unluckily captain Lewis's
note had been left on a green pole which the beaver had cut down and
carried off with the note, an accident which deprived us of all
information as to the character of the two branches of the river.
Observing therefore that the northwest fork was most in our direction,
and contained as much water as the other, we ascended it; we found it
extremely rapid, and its waters were scattered in such a manner, that
for a quarter of a mile we were forced to cut a passage through the
willowbrush that leaned over the little channels and united at the top.
After going up it for a mile we encamped on an island which had been
overflowed, and was still so wet that we were compelled to make beds of
brush to keep ourselves out of the mud. Our provision consisted of two
deer which had been killed in the morning.

Tuesday 6. We proceeded up the northwest fork, which we found still very
rapid, and divided by several islands, while the plains near it were
intersected by bayous. After passing with much difficulty over stones
and rapids, we reached a bluff on the right, at the distance of nine
miles, our general course south 30° west, and halted for breakfast. Here
we were joined by Drewyer, who informed us of the state of the two
rivers and of captain Lewis's note, and we immediately began to descend
the river in order to take the other branch. On going down one of the
canoes upset, and two others filled with water, by which all the baggage
was wet, and several articles irrecoverably lost. As one of them swung
round in a rapid current, Whitehouse was thrown out of her, and whilst
down the canoe passed over him, and had the water been two inches
shallower would have crushed him to pieces; but he escaped with a severe
bruise of his leg. In order to repair these misfortunes we hastened to
the forks, where we were joined by captain Lewis, and then passed over
to the left side opposite to the entrance of the rapid fork, and
encamped on a large gravelly bar, near which there was plenty of wood.
Here we opened and exposed to dry all the articles which had suffered
from the water; none of them were completely spoiled except a small keg
of powder; the rest of the powder, which was distributed in the
different canoes was quite safe, although it had been under the water
upwards of an hour. The air is indeed so pure and dry that any wood-work
immediately shrinks, unless it is kept filled with water; but we had
planned our powder in small canisters of lead, each containing powder
enough for the canister when melted into bullets, and smeared with cork
and wax, which answered our purpose perfectly.

Captain Lewis had risen very early, and having nothing to eat, sent out
Drewyer to the woodland on the left in search of a deer, and directed
sergeant Gass to keep along the middle branch to meet us if we were
ascending it. He then set off with Chaboneau towards the forks, but five
miles above them, hearing us on the left, struck the river as we were
descending, and came on board at the forks.

In the evening we killed three deer and four elk, which furnished us
once more with a plentiful supply of meat. Shannon, the same man who was
lost before for fifteen days, was sent out this morning to hunt, up the
northwest fork; when we decided on returning, Drewyer was directed to go
in quest of him, but he returned with information that he had gone
several miles up the river without being able to find Shannon. We now
had the trumpet sounded, and fired several guns, but he did not return,
and we fear he is again lost.

Wednesday 7. We remained here this morning for the purpose of making
some celestial observations, and also in order to refresh the men, and
complete the drying of the baggage. We obtained a meridian altitude
which gave the latitude of our camp at north 45° 2' 48" 8"'. We were now
completely satisfied that the middle branch was the most navigable, and
the true continuation of the Jefferson. The northwest fork seems to be
the drain of the melting snows of the mountains, its course cannot be so
long as the other branch, and although it contains now as great a
quantity of water, yet the water has obviously overflowed the old bed,
and spread into channels which leave the low grounds covered with young
grass, resembling that of the adjoining lands, which are not inundated;
whence we readily infer that the supply is more precarious than that of
the other branch, the waters of which though more gentle are more
constant. This northwest fork we called Wisdom river.

As soon as the baggage was dried, it was reloaded on board the boats,
but we now found it so much diminished, that we would we able to proceed
with one canoe less. We therefore hauled up the superfluous one into a
thicket of brush where we secured her against being swept away by the
high tide. At one o'clock all set out, except captain Lewis who remained
till the evening in order to complete the observation of equal
altitudes: we passed several bends of the river both to the right and
left, as well as a number of bayous on both sides, and made seven miles
by water, though the distance by land is only three. We then encamped on
a creek which rises in a high mountain to the northeast, and after
passing through an open plain for several miles, discharges itself on
the left, where it is a bold running stream twelve yards wide. We called
it Turf creek, from the number of bogs and the quantity of turf on its
waters. In the course of the afternoon there fell a shower of rain
attended with thunder and lightning, which lasted about forty minutes,
and the weather remained so cloudy all night that we were unable to take
any lunar observations. Uneasy about Shannon, we sent R. Fields in
search of him this morning, but we have as yet no intelligence of either
of them. Our only game to-day was one deer.

Thursday 8. There was a heavy dew this morning. Having left one of the
canoes, there are now more men to spare for the chace; and four were
sent out at an early hour, after which we proceeded. We made five miles
by water along two islands and several bayous, but as the river formed
seven different bends towards the left, the distance by land was only
two miles south of our encampment. At the end of that course we reached
the upper principal entrance of a stream which we called Philanthropy
river. This river empties itself into the Jefferson on the southeast
side, by two channels a short distance from each other: from its size
and its southeastern course, we presume that it rises in the Rocky
mountains near the sources of the Madison. It is thirty yards wide at
its entrance, has a very gentle current, and is navigable for some
distance. One mile above this river we passed an island, a second at the
distance of six miles further, during which the river makes a
considerable bend to the east. Reuben Fields returned about noon with
information that he had gone up Wisdom river till its entrance into the
mountains, but could find nothing of Shannon. We made seven miles beyond
the last island, and after passing some small bayous, encamped under a
few high trees on the left, at the distance of fourteen miles above
Philanthropy river by water, though only six by land. The river has in
fact become so very crooked that although by means of the pole which we
now use constantly we make a considerable distance, yet being obliged to
follow its windings, at the end of the day, we find ourselves very
little advanced on our general course. It forms itself into small
circular bends, which are so numerous that within the last fourteen
miles we passed thirty-five of them, all inclining towards the right; it
is however much more gentle and deep than below Wisdom river, and its
general width is from thirty-five to forty-five yards. The general
appearance of the surrounding country is that of a valley five or six
miles wide, enclosed between two high mountains. The bottom is rich,
with some small timber on the islands and along the river, which
consists rather of underbrush, and a few cottonwood, birch, and
willow-trees. The high grounds have some scattered pine, which just
relieve the general nakedness of the hills and the plain, where there is
nothing except grass. Along the bottoms we saw to-day a considerable
quantity of the buffaloe clover, the sunflower, flax, green sward,
thistle and several species of rye grass, some of which rise to the
height of three or four feet. There is also a grass with a soft smooth
leaf which rises about three feet high, and bears its seed very much
like the timothy, but it does not grow luxuriantly nor would it
apparently answer so well in our meadows as that plant. We preserved
some of its seed, which are now ripe, in order to make the experiment.
Our game consisted of deer and antelope, and we saw a number of geese
and ducks just beginning to fly, and some cranes. Among the inferior
animals we have an abundance of the large biting or hare fly, of which
there are two species, one black, the other smaller and brown, except
the head which is green. The green or blowing flies unite with them in
swarms to attack us, and seem to have relieved the eye-gnats who have
now disappeared. The musquitoes too are in large quantities, but not so
troublesome as they were below. Through the valley are scattered bogs,
and some very good turf, the earth of which the mud is composed is of a
white or bluish white colour, and seems to be argilaceous. On all the
three rivers, but particularly on the Philanthropy, are immense
quantities of beaver, otter and muskrat. At our camp there was an
abundance of rosebushes and briars, but so little timber that we were
obliged to use willow brush for fuel. The night was again cloudy which
prevented the lunar observations.

On our right is the point of a high plain, which our Indian woman
recognizes as the place called the Beaver's-head from a supposed
resemblance to that object. This she says is not far from the summer
retreat of her countrymen, which is on a river beyond the mountains, and
running to the west. She is therefore certain that we shall meet them
either on this river, or on that immediately west of its source, which
judging from its present size, cannot be far distant. Persuaded of the
absolute necessity of procuring horses to cross the mountains, it was
determined that one of us should proceed in the morning to the head of
the river, and penetrate the mountains till he found the Shoshonees or
some other nation who could assist us in transporting our baggage, the
greater part of which we shall be compelled to leave without the aid of

Friday 9. The morning was fair and fine. We set off early, and proceeded
on very well, though there were more rapids in the river than
yesterday. At eight o'clock we halted for breakfast, part of which
consisted of two fine geese killed before we stopped. Here we were
joined by Shannon for whose safety we had been so uneasy. The day on
which he left us on his way up Wisdom river, after hunting for some time
and not seeing the party arrive, he returned to the place where he had
left us. Not finding us there he supposed we had passed him, and he
therefore marched up the river during all the next day, when he was
convinced that we had not gone on, as the river was no longer navigable.
He now followed the course of the river down to the forks, and then took
the branch which we are pursuing. During the three days of his absence,
he had been much wearied with his march, but had lived plentifully, and
brought the skins of three deer. As far as he had ascended Wisdom river
it kept its course obliquely down towards the Jefferson. Immediately
after breakfast, captain Lewis took Drewyer, Shields and M'Neal, and
slinging their knapsacks they set out with a resolution to meet some
nation of Indians before they returned, however long they might be
separated from the party. He directed his course across the low ground
to the plain on the right, leaving the Beaver's-head about two miles to
the left. After walking eight miles to the river, which they waded, they
went on to a commanding point from which he saw the place at which it
enters the mountain, but as the distance would not permit his reaching
it this evening, he descended towards the river, and after travelling
eight miles further, encamped for the evening some miles below the
mountain. They passed before reaching their camp a handsome little
stream formed by some large springs which rise in the wide bottom on the
left side of the river. In their way they killed two antelopes, and took
with them enough of the meat for their supper and breakfast the next

In the meantime we proceeded, and in the course of eleven miles from
our last encampment passed two small islands, sixteen short round bends
in the river, and halted in a bend towards the right where we dined. The
river increases in rapidity as we advance, and is so crooked that the
eleven miles, which have cost us so much labour, only bring us four
miles in a direct line. The weather became overcast towards evening, and
we experienced a slight shower attended with thunder and lightning. The
three hunters who were sent out killed only two antelopes; game of every
kind being scarce.

Saturday, 10. Captain Lewis continued his route at an early hour through
the wide bottom along the left bank of the river. At about five miles he
passed a large creek, and then fell into an Indian road leading towards
the point where the river entered the mountain. This he followed till he
reached a high perpendicular cliff of rocks where the river makes its
passage through the hills, and which he called the Rattlesnake cliff,
from the number of that animal which he saw there: here he kindled a
fire and waited the return of Drewyer, who had been sent out on the way
to kill a deer: he came back about noon with the skin of three deer and
the flesh of one of the best of them. After a hasty dinner they returned
to the Indian road which they had left for a short distance to see the
cliff. It led them sometimes over the hills, sometimes in the narrow
bottoms of the river, till at the distance of fifteen miles from the
Rattlesnake cliffs they reached a handsome open and level valley, where
the river divided into two nearly equal branches. The mountains over
which they passed were not very high, but are rugged and continue close
to the river side. The river, which before it enters the mountain was
rapid, rocky, very crooked, much divided by islands, and shallow, now
becomes more direct in its course as it is hemmed in by the hills, and
has not so many bends nor islands, but becomes more rapid and rocky,
and continues as shallow. On examining the two branches of the river it
was evident that neither of them was navigable further. The road forked
with the river; and captain Lewis therefore sent a man up each of them
for a short distance, in order that by comparing their respective
information he might be able to take that which seemed to have been most
used this spring. From their account he resolved to choose that which
led along the southwest branch of the river which was rather the smaller
of the two: he accordingly wrote a note to captain Clarke informing him
of the route, and recommending his staying with the party at the forks
till he should return: This he fixed on a dry willow pole at the forks
of the river, and then proceeded up the southwest branch; but after
going a mile and a half the road became scarcely distinguishable, and
the tracks of the horses which he had followed along the Jefferson were
no longer seen. Captain Lewis therefore returned to examine the other
road himself, and found that the horses had in fact passed along the
western or right fork which had the additional recommendation of being
larger than the other.

This road he concluded to take, and therefore sent back Drewyer to the
forks with a second letter to captain Clarke apprising him of the
change, and then proceeded on. The valley of the west fork through which
he now passed, bears a little to the north of west, and is confined
within the space of about a mile in width, by rough mountains and steep
cliffs of rock. At the distance of four and a half miles it opens into a
beautiful and extensive plain about ten miles long and five or six in
width: this is surrounded on all sides by higher rolling or waving
country, intersected by several little rivulets from the mountains, each
bordered by its wide meadows. The whole prospect is bounded by these
mountains, which nearly surround it, so as to form a beautiful cove
about sixteen or eighteen miles in diameter. On entering this cove the
river bends to the northwest, and bathes the foot of the hills to the
right. At this place they halted for the night on the right side of the
river, and having lighted a fire of dry willow brush, the only fuel
which the country affords, supped on a deer. They had travelled to-day
thirty miles by estimate: that is ten to the Rattlesnake cliff, fifteen
to the forks of Jefferson river, and five to their encampment. In this
cove some parts of the low grounds are tolerably fertile, but much the
greater proportion is covered with prickly pear, sedge, twisted grass,
the pulpy-leafed thorn, southern-wood, and wild sage, and like the
uplands have a very inferior soil. These last have little more than the
prickly pear and the twisted or bearded grass, nor are there in the
whole cove more than three or four cottonwood trees, and those are
small. At the apparent extremity of the bottom above, and about ten
miles to the westward, are two perpendicular cliffs rising to a
considerable height on each side of the river, and at this distance seem
like a gate. In the meantime we proceeded at sunrise, and found the
river not so rapid as yesterday, though more narrow and still very
crooked, and so shallow that we were obliged to drag the canoes over
many ripples in the course of the day. At six and a half miles we had
passed eight bends on the north, and two small bayous on the left, and
came to what the Indians call the Beaver's-head, a steep rocky cliff
about one hundred and fifty feet high, near the right side of the river.
Opposite to this at three hundred yards from the water is a low cliff
about fifty feet in height, which forms the extremity of a spur of the
mountain about four miles distant on the left. At four o'clock we were
overtaken by a heavy shower of rain, attended with thunder, lightning
and hail. The party were defended from the hail by covering themselves
with willow bushes, but they got completely wet, and in this situation,
as soon as the rain ceased, continued till we encamped. This we did at a
low bluff on the left, after passing in the course of six and a half
miles, four islands and eighteen bends on the right, and a low bluff
and several bayous on the same side. We had now come thirteen miles, yet
were only four on our route towards the mountains. The game seems to be
declining, for our hunters procured only a single deer, though we found
another for us that had been killed three days before by one of the
hunters during an excursion, and left for us on the river.

                               CHAPTER XIV.

     Captain Lewis proceeds before the main body in search of the
     Shoshonees--his ill success on the first interview--the party with
     captain Lewis at length discover the source of the
     Missouri--captain Clarke with the main body still employed in
     ascending the Missouri or Jefferson river--captain Lewis's second
     interview with the Shoshonees attended with success--the
     interesting ceremonies of his first introduction to the natives,
     detailed at large--their hospitality--their mode of hunting the
     antelope--the difficulties encountered by captain Clarke and the
     main body in ascending the river--the suspicions entertained of
     captain Lewis by the Shoshonees, and his mode of allaying them--the
     ravenous appetites of the savages illustrated by a singular
     adventure--the Indians still jealous, and the great pains taken by
     captain Lewis to preserve their confidence--captain Clarke arrives
     with the main body exhausted by the difficulties which they

Sunday, August 11. Captain Lewis again proceeded on early, but had the
mortification to find that the track which he followed yesterday soon
disappeared. He determined therefore to go on to the narrow gate or pass
of the river which he had seen from the camp, in hopes of being able to
recover the Indian path. For this purpose he waded across the river,
which was now about twelve yards wide, and barred in several places by
the dams of the beaver, and then went straight forward to the pass,
sending one man along the river to his left, and another on the right,
with orders to search for the road, and if they found it to let him know
by raising a hat on the muzzle of their guns. In this order they went
along for about five miles, when captain Lewis perceived with the
greatest delight a man on horseback at the distance of two miles coming
down the plain towards them. On examining him with the glass, captain
Lewis saw that he was of a different nation from any Indians we had
hitherto met: he was armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows; mounted
on an elegant horse without a saddle, and a small string attached to the
under jaw answered as a bridle. Convinced that he was a Shoshonee, and
knowing how much of our success depended on the friendly offices of that
nation, captain Lewis was full of anxiety to approach without alarming
him, and endeavour to convince him that he was a white man. He
therefore, proceeded on towards the Indian at his usual pace, when they
were within a mile of each other the Indian suddenly stopt, captain
Lewis immediately followed his example, took his blanket from his
knapsack, and holding it with both hands at the two corners, threw it
above his head and unfolded it as he brought it to the ground as if in
the act of spreading it. This signal which originates in the practice of
spreading a robe or a skin, as a seat for guests to whom they wish to
show a distinguished kindness, is the universal sign of friendship among
the Indians on the Missouri and the Rocky mountains. As usual, captain
Lewis repeated this signal three times: still the Indian kept his
position, and looked with an air of suspicion on Drewyer and Shields who
were now advancing on each side. Captain Lewis was afraid to make any
signal for them to halt, lest he should increase the suspicions of the
Indian, who began to be uneasy, and they too distant to hear his voice.
He, therefore, took from his pack some beads, a looking-glass and a few
trinkets, which he had brought for the purpose, and leaving his gun
advanced unarmed towards the Indian. He remained in the same position
till captain Lewis came within two hundred yards of him, when he turned
his horse, and began to move off slowly; captain Lewis then called out
to him, in as loud a voice as he could, repeating the word, tabba bone!
which in the Shoshonee language means white man; but looking over his
shoulder the Indian kept his eyes on Drewyer and Shields, who were still
advancing, without recollecting the impropriety of doing so at such a
moment, till captain Lewis made a signal to them to halt; this Drewyer
obeyed, but Shields did not observe it, and still went forward: seeing
Drewyer halt the Indian turned his horse about as if to wait for captain
Lewis who now reached within one hundred and fifty paces, repeating the
word tabba bone, and holding up the trinkets in his hand, at the same
time stripping up the sleeve of his shirt to show the colour of his
skin. The Indian suffered him to advance within one hundred paces, then
suddenly turned his horse, and giving him the whip, leaped across the
creek, and disappeared in an instant among the willow bushes: with him
vanished all the hopes which the sight of him had inspired of a friendly
introduction to his countrymen. Though sadly disappointed by the
imprudence of his two men, captain Lewis determined to make the incident
of some use, and therefore calling the men to him they all set off after
the track of the horse, which they hoped might lead them to the camp of
the Indian who had fled, or if he had given the alarm to any small
party, their track might conduct them to the body of the nation. They
now fixed a small flag of the United States on a pole, which was carried
by one of the men as a signal of their friendly intentions, should the
Indians observe them as they were advancing. The route lay across an
island formed by a nearly equal division of the creek in the bottom:
after reaching the open grounds on the right side of the creek, the
track turned towards some high hills about three miles distant.
Presuming that the Indian camp might be among these hills, and that by
advancing hastily he might be seen and alarm them, captain Lewis sought
an elevated situation near the creek, had a fire made of willow brush,
and took breakfast. At the same time he prepared a small assortment of
beads, trinkets, awls, some paint and a looking glass, and placed them
on a pole near the fire, in order that if the Indians returned they
might discover that the party were white men and friends. Whilst making
these preparations a very heavy shower of rain and hail came on, and
wet them to the skin: in about twenty minutes it was over, and captain
Lewis then renewed his pursuit, but as the rain had made the grass which
the horse had trodden down rise again, his track could with difficulty
be distinguished. As they went along they passed several places where
the Indians seemed to have been digging roots to-day, and saw the fresh
track of eight or ten horses, but they had been wandering about in so
confused a manner that he could not discern any particular path, and at
last, after pursuing it about four miles along the valley to the left
under the foot of the hills, he lost the track of the fugitive Indian.
Near the head of the valley they had passed a large bog covered with
moss and tall grass, among which were several springs of pure cold
water: they now turned a little to the left along the foot of the high
hills, and reached a small creek where they encamped for the night,
having made about twenty miles, though not more than ten in a direct
line from their camp of last evening.

The morning being rainy and wet we did not set out with the canoes till
after an early breakfast. During the first three miles we passed three
small islands, six bayous on different sides of the river, and the same
number of bends towards the right. Here we reached the lower point of a
large island which we called Three-thousand-mile island, on account of
its being at that distance from the mouth of the Missouri. It is three
miles and a half in length, and as we coasted along it we passed several
small bends of the river towards the left, and two bayous on the same
side. After leaving the upper point of Three-thousand-mile island, we
followed the main channel on the left side, which led us by three small
islands and several small bayous, and fifteen bends towards the right.
Then at the distance of seven miles and a half we encamped on the upper
end of a large island near the right. The river was shallow and rapid,
so that we were obliged to be in the water during a great part of the
day, dragging the canoes over the shoals and ripples. Its course too was
so crooked, that notwithstanding we had made fourteen miles by water, we
were only five miles from our encampment of last night. The country
consists of a low ground on the river about five miles wide, and
succeeded on both sides by plains of the same extent which reach to the
base of the mountains. These low grounds are very much intersected by
bayous, and in those on the left side is a large proportion of bog
covered with tall grass, which would yield a fine turf. There are very
few trees, and those small narrow-leafed cottonwood: the principal
growth being the narrow-leafed willow, and currant bushes, among which
were some bunches of privy near the river. We saw a number of geese,
ducks, beaver, otter, deer and antelopes, of all which one beaver was
killed with a pole from the boat, three otters with a tomahawk, and the
hunters brought in three deer and an antelope.

Monday, 12. This morning as soon as it was light captain Lewis sent
Drewyer to reconnoitre if possible the route of the Indians: in about an
hour and a half he returned, after following the tracks of the horse
which we had lost yesterday to the mountains, where they ascended and
were no longer visible. Captain Lewis now decided on making the circuit
along the foot of the mountains which formed the cove, expecting by that
means to find a road across them, and accordingly sent Drewyer on one
side, and Shields on the other. In this way they crossed four small
rivulets near each other, on which were some bowers or conical lodges of
willow brush, which seemed to have been made recently. From the manner
in which the ground in the neighbourhood was torn up the Indians
appeared to have been gathering roots; but captain Lewis could not
discover what particular plant they were searching for, nor could he
find any fresh track, till at the distance of four miles from his camp
he met a large plain Indian road which came into the cove from the
northeast, and wound along the foot of the mountains to the southwest,
approaching obliquely the main stream he had left yesterday. Down this
road he now went towards the southwest: at the distance of five miles it
crossed a large run or creek, which is a principal branch of the main
stream into which it falls, just above the high cliffs or gates observed
yesterday, and which they now saw below them: here they halted and
breakfasted on the last of the deer, keeping a small piece of pork in
reserve against accident: they then continued through the low bottom
along the main stream near the foot of the mountains on their right. For
the first five miles the valley continues towards the southwest from two
to three miles in width; then the main stream, which had received two
small branches from the left in the valley, turns abruptly to the west
through a narrow bottom between the mountains. The road was still plain,
and as it led them directly on towards the mountain the stream gradually
became smaller, till after going two miles it had so greatly diminished
in width that one of the men in a fit of enthusiasm, with one foot on
each side of the river, thanked God that he had lived to bestride the
Missouri. As they went along their hopes of soon seeing the waters of
the Columbia arose almost to painful anxiety, when after four miles from
the last abrupt turn of the river, they reached a small gap formed by
the high mountains which recede on each side, leaving room for the
Indian road. From the foot of one of the lowest of these mountains,
which rises with a gentle ascent of about half a mile, issues the
remotest water of the Missouri. They had now reached the hidden sources
of that river, which had never yet been seen by civilized man; and as
they quenched their thirst at the chaste and icy fountain--as they sat
down by the brink of that little rivulet, which yielded its distant and
modest tribute to the parent ocean, they felt themselves rewarded for
all their labours and all their difficulties. They left reluctantly
this interesting spot, and pursuing the Indian road through the interval
of the hills, arrived at the top of a ridge, from which they saw high
mountains partially covered with snow still to the west of them. The
ridge on which they stood formed the dividing line between the waters of
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They followed a descent much steeper
than that on the eastern side, and at the distance of three quarters of
a mile reached a handsome bold creek of cold clear water running to the
westward. They stopped to taste for the first time the waters of the
Columbia; and after a few minutes followed the road across steep hills
and low hollows, till they reached a spring on the side of a mountain:
here they found a sufficient quantity of dry willow brush for fuel, and
therefore halted for the night; and having killed nothing in the course
of the day supped on their last piece of pork, and trusted to fortune
for some other food to mix with a little flour and parched meal, which
was all that now remained of their provisions. Before reaching the
fountain of the Missouri they saw several large hawks nearly black, and
some of the heath cocks: these last have a long pointed tail, and are of
a uniform dark brown colour, much larger than the common dunghill fowl,
and similar in habits and the mode of flying to the grouse or prairie
hen. Drewyer also wounded at the distance of one hundred and thirty
yards an animal which we had not yet seen, but which after falling
recovered itself and escaped. It seemed to be of the fox kind, rather
larger than the small wolf of the plains, and with a skin in which
black, reddish brown, and yellow, were curiously intermixed. On the
creek of the Columbia they found a species of currant which does not
grow as high as that of the Missouri, though it is more branching, and
its leaf, the under disk of which is covered with a hairy pubescence, is
twice as large. The fruit is of the ordinary size and shape of the
currant, and supported in the usual manner, but is of a deep purple
colour, acid, and of a very inferior flavour.

We proceeded on in the boats, but as the river was very shallow and
rapid, the navigation is extremely difficult, and the men who are almost
constantly in the water are getting feeble and sore, and so much wore
down by fatigue that they are very anxious to commence travelling by
land. We went along the main channel which is on the right side, and
after passing nine bends in that direction, three islands and a number
of bayous, reached at the distance of five and a half miles the upper
point of a large island. At noon there was a storm of thunder which
continued about half an hour; after which we proceeded, but as it was
necessary to drag the canoes over the shoals and rapids, made but little
progress. On leaving the island we passed a number of short bends,
several bayous, and one run of water on the right side, and having gone
by four small and two large islands, encamped on a smooth plain to the
left near a few cottonwood trees: our journey by water was just twelve
miles, and four in a direct line. The hunters supplied us with three
deer and a fawn.

Tuesday 13. Very early in the morning captain Lewis resumed the Indian
road, which led him in a western direction, through an open broken
country; on the left was a deep valley at the foot of a high range of
mountains running from southeast to northwest, with their sides better
clad with timber than the hills to which we have been for some time
accustomed, and their tops covered in part with snow. At five miles
distance, after following the long descent of another valley, he reached
a creek about ten yards wide, and on rising the hill beyond it had a
view of a handsome little valley on the left, about a mile in width,
through which they judged, from the appearance of the timber, that some
stream of water most probably passed. On the creek they had just left
were some bushes of the white maple, the sumach of the small species
with the winged rib, and a species of honeysuckle, resembling in its
general appearance and the shape of its leaf the small honeysuckle of
the Missouri, except that it is rather larger, and bears a globular
berry, about the size of a garden pea, of a white colour, and formed of
a soft white mucilaginous substance, in which are several small brown
seeds irregularly scattered without any cell, and enveloped in a smooth
thin pellicle.

They proceeded along a waving plain parallel to this valley for about
four miles, when they discovered two women, a man and some dogs on an
eminence at the distance of a mile before them. The strangers first
viewed them apparently with much attention for a few minutes, and then
two of them sat down as if to await captain Lewis's arrival. He went on
till he reached within about half a mile, then ordered his party to
stop, put down his knapsack and rifle, and unfurling the flag advanced
alone towards the Indians. The females soon retreated behind the hill,
but the man remained till captain Lewis came within a hundred yards from
him, when he too went off, though captain Lewis called out tabba bone!
loud enough to be heard distinctly. He hastened to the top of the hill,
but they had all disappeared. The dogs however were less shy, and came
close to him; he therefore thought of tying a handkerchief with some
beads round their necks, and then let them loose to convince the
fugitives of his friendly disposition, but they would not suffer him to
take hold of them, and soon left him. He now made a signal to the men,
who joined him, and then all followed the track of the Indians, which
led along a continuation of the same road they had been already
travelling. It was dusty and seemed to have been much used lately both
by foot passengers and horsemen. They had not gone along it more than a
mile when on a sudden they saw three female Indians, from whom they had
been concealed by the deep ravines which intersected the road, till they
were now within thirty paces of each other; one of them a young woman
immediately took to flight, the other two, an elderly woman and a
little girl, seeing we were too near for them to escape, sat on the
ground, and holding down their heads seemed as if reconciled to the
death which they supposed awaited them. The same habit of holding down
the head and inviting the enemy to strike, when all chance of escape is
gone, is preserved in Egypt to this day. Captain Lewis instantly put
down his rifle, and advancing towards them, took the woman by the hand,
raised her up, and repeated the word tabba bone! at the sane time
stripping up his shirt sleeve to prove that he was a white man, for his
hands and face had become by constant exposure quite as dark as their
own. She appeared immediately relieved from her alarm, and Drewyer and
Shields now coming up, captain Lewis gave them some beads, a few awls,
pewter mirrors, and a little paint, and told Drewyer to request the
woman to recall her companion who had escaped to some distance, and by
alarming the Indians might cause them to attack him without any time for
explanation. She did as she was desired, and the young woman returned
almost out of breath: captain Lewis gave her an equal portion of
trinkets, and painted the tawny cheeks of all three of them with
vermillion, a ceremony which among the Shoshonees is emblematic of
peace. After they had become composed, he informed them by signs of his
wish to go to their camp in order to see their chiefs and warriors; they
readily obeyed, and conducted the party along the same road down the
river. In this way they marched two miles, when they met a troop of
nearly sixty warriors mounted on excellent horses riding at full speed
towards them. As they advanced captain Lewis put down his gun, and went
with the flag about fifty paces in advance. The chief who with two men
were riding in front of the main body, spoke to the women, who now
explained that the party was composed of white men, and showed
exultingly the presents they had received. The three men immediately
leaped from their horses, came up to Captain Lewis and embraced him with
great cordiality, putting their left arm over his right shoulder and
clasping his back, applying at the same time their left cheek to his,
and frequently vociferating ah hi e! ah hi e! "I am much pleased, I am
much rejoiced." The whole body of warriors now came forward, and our men
received the caresses, and no small share of the grease and paint of
their new friends. After this fraternal embrace, of which the motive was
much more agreeable than the manner, captain Lewis lighted a pipe and
offered it to the Indians who had now seated themselves in a circle
around the party. But before they would receive this mark of friendship
they pulled off their moccasins, a custom as we afterwards learnt, which
indicates the sacred sincerity of their professions when they smoke with
a stranger, and which imprecates on themselves the misery of going
barefoot forever if they are faithless to their words, a penalty by no
means light to those who rove over the thorny plains of their country.
It is not unworthy to remark the analogy which some of the customs of
those wild children of the wilderness bear to those recorded in holy
writ. Moses is admonished to pull off his shoes, for the place on which
he stood was holy ground. Why this was enjoined as an act of peculiar
reverence; whether it was from the circumstance that in the arid region
in which the patriarch then resided, it was deemed a test of the
sincerity of devotion to walk upon the burning sands barefooted, in some
measure analogous to the pains inflicted by the prickly pear, does not
appear. After smoking a few pipes, some trifling presents were
distributed amongst them, with which they seemed very much pleased,
particularly with the blue beads and the vermillion. Captain Lewis then
informed the chief that the object of his visit was friendly, and should
be explained as soon as he reached their camp; but that in the meantime
as the sun was oppressive, and no water near, he wished to go there as
soon as possible. They now put on their moccasins, and their chief,
whose name was Cameahwait, made a short speech to the warriors. Captain
Lewis then gave him the flag, which he informed him was among white men
the emblem of peace, and now that he had received it was to be in future
the bond of union between them. The chief then moved on, our party
followed him, and the rest of the warriors in a squadron, brought up the
rear. After marching a mile they were halted by the chief, who made a
second harangue, on which six or eight young men rode forward to their
camp, and no further regularity was observed in the order of march. At
the distance of four miles from where they had first met, they reached
the Indian camp, which was in a handsome level meadow on the bank of the
river. Here they were introduced into an old leathern lodge which the
young men who had been sent from the party had fitted up for their
reception. After being seated on green boughs and antelope skins, one of
the warriors pulled up the grass in the centre of the lodge so as to
form a vacant circle of two feet diameter, in which he kindled a fire.
The chief then produced his pipe and tobacco, the warriors all pulled
off their moccasins, and our party was requested to take off their own.
This being done, the chief lighted his pipe at the fire within the magic
circle, and then retreating from it began a speech several minutes long,
at the end of which he pointed the stem towards the four cardinal points
of the heavens, beginning with the east and concluding with the north.
After this ceremony he presented the stem in the same way to captain
Lewis, who supposing it an invitation to smoke, put out his hand to
receive the pipe, but the chief drew it back, and continued to repeat
the same offer three times, after which he pointed the stem first to the
heavens, then to the centre of the little circle, took three whiffs
himself, and presented it again to captain Lewis. Finding that this last
offer was in good earnest, he smoked a little, the pipe was then held to
each of the white men, and after they had taken a few whiffs was given
to the warriors. This pipe was made of a dense transparent green stone,
very highly polished; about two and an half inches long, and of an oval
figure, the bowl being in the same situation with the stem. A small
piece of burnt clay is placed in the bottom of the bowl to separate the
tobacco from the end of the stem, and is of an irregularly round figure,
not fitting the tube perfectly close, in order that the smoke may pass
with facility. The tobacco is of the same kind with that used by the
Minnetarees, Mandans and Ricaras of the Missouri. The Shoshonees do not
cultivate this plant, but obtain it from the Rocky mountain Indians, and
some of the bands of their own nation who live further south. The
ceremony of smoking being concluded, captain Lewis explained to the
chief the purposes of his visit, and as by this time all the women and
children of the camp had gathered around the lodge to indulge in a view
of the first white men they had ever seen, he distributed among them the
remainder of the small articles he had brought with him. It was now late
in the afternoon, and our party had tasted no food since the night
before. On apprising the chief of this circumstance, he said that he had
nothing but berries to eat, and presented some cakes made of
serviceberry and chokecherries which had been dried in the sun. On these
captain Lewis made a hearty meal, and then walked down towards the
river: he found it a rapid clear stream forty yards wide and three feet
deep; the banks were low and abrupt, like those of the upper part of the
Missouri, and the bed formed of loose stones and gravel. Its course, as
far as he could observe it, was a little to the north of west, and was
bounded on each side by a range of high mountains, of which those on the
east are the lowest and most distant from the river.

The chief informed him that this stream discharged itself at the
distance of half a day's march, into another of twice its size, coming
from the southwest; but added, on further inquiry, that there was
scarcely more timber below the junction of those rivers than in this
neighbourhood, and that the river was rocky, rapid, and so closely
confined between high mountains, that it was impossible to pass down
it, either by land or water to the great lake, where as he had
understood the white men lived. This information was far from being
satisfactory; for there was no timber here that would answer the purpose
of building canoes, indeed not more than just sufficient for fuel, and
even that consisted of the narrow-leafed cotton wood, the red and the
narrow-leafed willow, the chokecherry, serviceberry and a few currant
bushes such as are common on the Missouri. The prospect of going on by
land is more pleasant; for there are great numbers of horses feeding in
every direction round the camp, which will enable us to transport our
stores if necessary over the mountains. Captain Lewis returned from the
river to his lodge, and on his way an Indian invited him into his bower
and gave him a small morsel of boiled antelope and a piece of fresh
salmon roasted. This was the first salmon he had seen, and perfectly
satisfied him that he was now on the waters of the Pacific. On reaching
this lodge, he resumed his conversation with the chief, after which he
was entertained with a dance by the Indians. It now proved, as our party
had feared, that the men whom they had first met this morning had
returned to the camp and spread the alarm that their enemies, the
Minnetarees of fort de Prairie, whom they call Pahkees, were advancing
on them. The warriors instantly armed themselves and were coming down in
expectation of an attack, when they were agreeably surprised by meeting
our party. The greater part of them were armed with bows and arrows, and
shields, but a few had small fusils, such as are furnished by the
northwest company traders, and which they had obtained from the Indians
on the Yellowstone, with whom they are now at peace. They had reason to
dread the approach of the Pahkees, who had attacked them in the course
of this spring and totally defeated them. On this occasion twenty of
their warriors were either killed or made prisoners, and they lost their
whole camp except the leathern lodge which they had fitted up for us,
and were now obliged to live in huts of a conical figure made with
willow brush. The music and dancing, which was in no respect different
from those of the Missouri Indians, continued nearly all night; but
captain Lewis retired to rest about twelve o'clock, when the fatigues of
the day enabled him to sleep though he was awaked several times by the
yells of the dancers.

Whilst all these things were occurring to captain Lewis we were slowly
and laboriously ascending the river. For the first two and a half miles
we went along the island opposite to which we encamped last evening, and
soon reached a second island behind which comes in a small creek on the
left side of the river. It rises in the mountains to the east and forms
a handsome valley for some miles from its mouth, where it is a bold
running stream about seven yards wide: we called it M'Neal's creek,
after Hugh M'Neal one of our party. Just above this stream and at the
distance of four miles from our camp is a point of limestone rock on the
right, about seventy feet high, forming a cliff over the river. From the
top of it the Beaver's-head bore north 24° east twelve miles distant,
the course of Wisdom river, that is the direction of its valley through
the mountains is north 25° west, while the gap through which the
Jefferson enters the mountains is ten miles above us on a course south
18° west. From this limestone rock we proceeded along several islands,
on both sides, and after making twelve miles arrived at a cliff of high
rocks on the right, opposite to which we encamped in a smooth level
prairie, near a few cottonwood trees; but were obliged to use the dry
willow brush for fuel. The river is still very crooked, the bends short
and abrupt, and obstructed by so many shoals, over which the canoes were
to be dragged, that the men were in the water three fourths of the day.
They saw numbers of otter, some beaver, antelopes, ducks, geese, and
cranes, but they killed nothing except a single deer. They, however,
caught some very fine trout, as they have done for several days past.
The weather had been cloudy and cool during the forepart of the day, and
at eight o'clock a shower of rain fell.

Wednesday 14. In order to give time for the boats to reach the forks of
Jefferson river, captain Lewis determined to remain here and obtain all
the information he could collect with regard to the country. Having
nothing to eat but a little flour and parched meal, with the berries of
the Indians, he sent out Drewyer and Shields, who borrowed horses from
the natives, to hunt for a few hours. About the same time the young
warriors set out for the same purpose. There are but few elk or
blacktailed deer in this neighbourhood, and as the common red-deer
secrete themselves in the bushes when alarmed, they are soon safe from
the arrows, which are but feeble weapons against any animals which the
huntsmen cannot previously run down with their horses. The chief game of
the Shoshonees, therefore, is the antelope, which when pursued retreats
to the open plains, where the horses have full room for the chase. But
such is its extraordinary fleetness and wind that a single horse has no
possible chance of outrunning it, or tiring it down; and the hunters are
therefore obliged to resort to stratagem. About twenty Indians, mounted
on fine horses, and armed with bows and arrows, left the camp; in a
short time they descried a herd of ten antelopes: they immediately
separated into little squads of two or three, and formed a scattered
circle round the herd for five or six miles, keeping at a wary distance,
so as not to alarm them till they were perfectly inclosed, and usually
selecting some commanding eminence as a stand. Having gained their
positions, a small party rode towards the herd, and with wonderful
dexterity the huntsman preserved his seat, and the horse his footing, as
he ran at full speed over the hills, and down the steep ravines, and
along the borders of the precipices. They were soon outstripped by the
antelopes, which on gaining the other extremity of the circle were
driven back and pursued by the fresh hunters. They turned and flew,
rather than ran in another direction; but there too, they found new
enemies. In this way they were alternately pursued backwards and
forwards, till at length, notwithstanding the skill of the hunters, they
all escaped, and the party after running for two hours returned without
having caught any thing, and their horses foaming with sweat. This
chase, the greater part of which was seen from the camp, formed a
beautiful scene; but to the hunters is exceedingly laborious, and so
unproductive, even when they are able to worry the animal down and shoot
him, that forty or fifty hunters will sometimes be engaged for half a
day without obtaining more than two or three antelopes. Soon after they
returned, our two huntsmen came in with no better success. Captain Lewis
therefore made a little paste with the flour, and the addition of some
berries formed a very palatable repast. Having now secured the good will
of Cameahwait, captain Lewis informed him of his wish that he would
speak to the warriors and endeavour to engage them to accompany him to
the forks of Jefferson river, where by this time another chief with a
large party of white men were waiting his return: that it would be
necessary to take about thirty horses to transport the merchandize; that
they should be well rewarded for their trouble; and that when all the
party should have reached the Shoshonee camp they would remain some time
among them, and trade for horses, as well as concert plans for
furnishing them in future with regular supplies of merchandize. He
readily consented to do so, and after collecting the tribe together he
made a long harangue, and in about an hour and a half returned, and told
captain Lewis that they would be ready to accompany him in the morning.

As the early part of the day was cold, and the men stiff and sore from
the fatigues of yesterday: we did not set out till seven o'clock. At the
distance of a mile we passed a bold stream on the right, which comes
from a snowy mountain to the north, and at its entrance is four yards
wide, and three feet in depth: we called it Track creek: at six miles
further we reached another stream which heads in some springs at the
foot of the mountains on the left. Alter passing a number of bayous and
small islands on each side, we encamped about half a mile by land below
the Rattlesnake cliffs. The river was cold, shallow, and as it
approached the mountains formed one continued rapid, over which we were
obliged to drag the boats with great labour and difficulty. By using
constant exertions we succeeded in making fourteen miles, but this
distance did not carry us more than six and a half in a straight line:
several of the men have received wounds and lamed themselves in hauling
the boats over the stones. The hunters supplied them with five deer and
an antelope.

Thursday 15. Captain Lewis rose early, and having eaten nothing
yesterday except his scanty meal of flour and berries felt the
inconveniences of extreme hunger. On inquiry he found that his whole
stock of provisions consisted of two pounds of flour. This he ordered to
be divided into two equal parts, and one half of it boiled with the
berries into a sort of pudding: and after presenting a large share to
the chief, he and his three men breakfasted on the remainder. Cameahwait
was delighted at this new dish; he took a little of the flour in his
hand tasted and examined it very narrowly, asking if it was made of
roots; captain Lewis explained the process of preparing it, and he said
it was the best thing he had eaten for a long time.

This being finished, captain Lewis now endeavoured to hasten the
departure of the Indians who still hesitated, and seemed reluctant to
move, although the chief addressed them twice for the purpose of urging
them: on inquiring the reason, Cameahwait told him that some foolish
person had suggested that he was in league with their enemies the
Pahkees, and had come only to draw them into ambuscade, but that he
himself did not believe it: captain Lewis felt uneasy at this
insinuation: he knew the suspicious temper of the Indians, accustomed
from their infancy to regard every stranger as an enemy, and saw that if
this suggestion were not instantly checked, it might hazard the total
failure of the enterprise. Assuming therefore a serious air, he told the
chief that he was sorry to find they placed so little confidence in him,
but that he pardoned their suspicions because they were ignorant of the
character of white men, among whom it was disgraceful to lie or entrap
even an enemy by falsehood; that if they continued to think thus meanly
of us they might be assured no white men would ever come to supply them
with arms and merchandize; that there was at this moment a party of
white men waiting to trade with them at the forks of the river; and that
if the greater part of the tribe entertained any suspicion, he hoped
there were still among them some who were men, who would go and see with
their own eyes the truth of what he said, and who, even if there was any
danger, were not afraid to die. To doubt the courage of an Indian is to
touch the tenderest string of his mind, and the surest way to rouse him
to any dangerous achievement. Cameahwait instantly replied, that he was
not afraid to die, and mounting his horse, for the third time harangued
the warriors: he told them that he was resolved to go if he went alone,
or if he were sure of perishing; that he hoped there were among those
who heard him some who were not afraid to die, and who would prove it by
mounting their horses and following him. This harangue produced an
effect on six or eight only of the warriors, who now joined their chief.
With these captain Lewis smoked a pipe, and then fearful of some change
in their capricious temper set out immediately. It was about twelve
o'clock when his small party left the camp, attended by Cameahwait and
the eight warriors; their departure seemed to spread a gloom over the
village; those who would not venture to go were sullen and melancholy,
and the woman were crying and imploring the Great Spirit to protect
their warriors as if they were going to certain destruction: yet such
is the wavering inconstancy of these savages, that captain Lewis's party
had not gone far when they were joined by ten or twelve more warriors,
and before reaching the creek which they had passed on the morning of
the 13th, all the men of the nation and a number of women had overtaken
them, and had changed from the surly ill temper in which they were two
hours ago, to the greatest cheerfulness and gayety. When they arrived at
the spring on the side of the mountain where the party had encamped on
the 12th, the chief insisted on halting to let the horses graze; to
which captain Lewis assented and smoked with them. They are excessively
fond of the pipe, in which however they are not able to indulge much as
they do not cultivate tobacco themselves, and their rugged country
affords them but few articles to exchange for it. Here they remained for
about an hour, and on setting out, by engaging to pay four of the party,
captain Lewis obtained permission for himself and each of his men to
ride behind an Indian; but he soon found riding without stirrup more
tiresome than walking, and therefore dismounted, making the Indian carry
his pack. About sunset they reached the upper part of the level valley
in the cove through which he had passed, and which they now called
Shoshonee cove. The grass being burnt on the north side of the river
they crossed over to the south, and encamped about four miles above the
narrow pass between the hills noticed as they traversed the cove before.
The river was here about six yards wide, and frequently dammed up by the
beaver. Drewyer had been sent forward to hunt, but he returned in the
evening unsuccessful, and their only supper therefore was the remaining
pound of flour stirred in a little boiling water and then divided
between the four white men and two of the Indians.

In order not to exhaust the strength of the men, captain Clarke did not
leave his camp till after breakfast. Although, he was scarcely half a
mile below the Rattlesnake cliffs he was obliged to make a circuit of
two miles by water before he reached them. The river now passed between
low and rugged mountains and cliffs formed of a mixture of limestone and
a hard black rock, with no covering except a few scattered pines. At the
distance of four miles is a bold little stream which throws itself from
the mountains down a steep precipice of rocks on the left. One mile
farther is a second point of rocks, and an island, about a mile beyond
which is a creek on the right, ten yards wide and three feet three
inches in depth, with a strong current: we called it Willard's creek
after one of our men, Alexander Willard. Three miles beyond this creek,
after passing a high cliff on the right opposite to a steep hill, we
reached a small meadow on the left bank of the river. During its passage
through these hills to Willard's creek the river had been less torturous
than usual, so that in the first six miles to Willard's creek we had
advanced four miles on our route. We continued on for two miles, till we
reached in the evening a small bottom covered with clover and a few
cottonwood trees: here we passed the night near the remains of some old
Indian lodges of brush. The river is as it has been for some days
shallow and rapid; and our men, who are for hours together in the river,
suffer not only from fatigue, but from the extreme coldness of the
water, the temperature of which is as low as that of the freshest
springs in our country. In walking along the side of the river, captain
Clarke was very near being bitten twice by rattlesnakes, and the Indian
woman narrowly escaped the same misfortune. We caught a number of fine
trout; but the only game procured to-day was a buck, which had a
peculiarly bitter taste, proceeding probably from its favourite food,
the willow.

Friday, 16. As neither our party nor the Indians had any thing to eat,
captain Lewis sent two of his hunters ahead this morning to procure some
provision: at the same time he requested Cameahwait to prevent his young
men from going out, lest by their noise they might alarm the game; but
this measure immediately revived their suspicions: it now began to be
believed that these men were sent forward in order to apprise the enemy
of their coming, and as captain Lewis was fearful of exciting any
further uneasiness, he made no objection on seeing a small party of
Indians go on each side of the valley under pretence of hunting, but in
reality to watch the movements of our two men: even this precaution
however did not quiet the alarms of the Indians, a considerable part of
whom returned home, leaving only twenty-eight men and three women. After
the hunters had been gone about an hour, captain Lewis again mounted
with one of the Indians behind him, and the whole party set out; but
just as they passed through the narrows they saw one of the spies coming
back at full speed across the plain: the chief stopped and seemed
uneasy, the whole band were moved with fresh suspicions, and captain
Lewis himself was much disconcerted, lest by some unfortunate accident
some of their enemies might have perhaps straggled that way. The young
Indian had scarcely breath to say a few words as he came up, when the
whole troop dashed forward as fast as their horses could carry them, and
captain Lewis astonished at this movement was borne along for nearly a
mile before he learnt with great satisfaction that it was all caused by
the spy's having come to announce that one of the white men had killed a
deer. Relieved from his anxiety he now found the jolting very
uncomfortable; for the Indian behind him being afraid of not getting his
share of the feast had lashed the horse at every step since they set
off; he therefore reined him in and ordered the Indian to stop beating
him. The fellow had no idea of losing time in disputing the point, and
jumping off the horse ran for a mile at full speed. Captain Lewis
slackened his pace, and followed at a sufficient distance to observe
them. When they reached the place where Drewyer had thrown out the
intestines, they all dismounted in confusion and ran tumbling over each
other like famished dogs: each tore away whatever part he could and
instantly began to eat it; some had the liver, some the kidneys, in
short no part on which we are accustomed to look with disgust escaped
them: one of them who had seized about nine feet of the entrails was
chewing at one end, while with his hand he was diligently clearing his
way by discharging the contents at the other. It was indeed impossible
to see these wretches ravenously feeding on the filth of animals, and
the blood streaming from their mouths, without deploring how nearly the
condition of savages approaches that of the brute creation: yet though
suffering with hunger they did not attempt, as they might have done, to
take by force the whole deer, but contented themselves with what had
been thrown away by the hunter. Captain Lewis now had the deer skinned,
and after reserving a quarter of it gave the rest of the animal to the
chief to be divided among the Indians, who immediately devoured nearly
the whole of it without cooking. They now went forward towards the creek
where there was some brushwood to make a fire, and found Drewyer who had
killed a second deer: the same struggle for the entrails was renewed
here, and on giving nearly the whole deer to the Indians, they devoured
it even to the soft part of the hoofs. A fire being made captain Lewis
had his breakfast, during which Drewyer brought in a third deer: this
too, after reserving one quarter, was given to the Indians, who now
seemed completely satisfied and in good humour. At this place they
remained about two hours to let the horses graze, and then continued
their journey, and towards evening reached the lower part of the cove
having on the way shot an antelope, the greater part of which was given
to the Indians. As they were now approaching the place where they had
been told by Captain Lewis they would see the white men, the chief
insisted on halting: they therefore all dismounted, and Cameahwait with
great ceremony and as if for ornament, put tippets or skins round the
necks of our party, similar to those worn by themselves. As this was
obviously intended to disguise the white men, captain Lewis in order to
inspire them with more confidence put his cocked hat and feather on the
head of the chief, and as his own over-shirt was in the Indian form, and
his skin browned by the sun, he could not have been distinguished from
an Indian: the men followed his example, and the change seemed to be
very agreeable* to the Indians.

In order to guard however against any disappointment captain Lewis again
explained the possibility of our not having reached the forks in
consequence of the difficulty of the navigation, so that if they should
not find us at that spot they might be assured of our not being far
below. They again all mounted their horses and rode on rapidly, making
one of the Indians carry their flag, so that we might recognise them as
they approached us; but to the mortification and disappointment of both
parties on coming within two miles of the forks, no canoes were to be
seen. Uneasy lest at this moment he should be abandoned, and all his
hopes of obtaining aid from the Indians be destroyed, captain Lewis gave
the chief his gun, telling him that if the enemies of his nation were in
the bushes he might defend himself with it; that for his own part he was
not afraid to die, and that the chief might shoot him as soon as they
discovered themselves betrayed. The other three men at the same time
gave their guns to the Indians, who now seemed more easy, but still
wavered in their resolutions. As they went on towards the point, captain
Lewis perceiving how critical his situation had become, resolved to
attempt a stratagem which his present difficulty seemed completely to
justify. Recollecting the notes he had left at the point for us, he sent
Drewyer for them with an Indian who witnessed his taking them from the
pole. When they were brought, captain Lewis told Cameahwait that on
leaving his brother chief at the place where the river issues from the
mountains, it was agreed that the boats should not be brought higher
than the next forks we should meet; but that if the rapid water
prevented the boats from coming on as fast as they expected, his brother
chief was to send a note to the first forks above him to let him know
where the boats were; that this note had been left this morning at the
forks, and mentioned that the canoes were just below the mountains, and
coming slowly up in consequence of the current. Captain Lewis added,
that he would stay at the forks for his brother chief, but would send a
man down the river, and that if Cameahwait doubted what he said, one of
their young men would go with him whilst he and the other two remained
at the forks. This story satisfied the chief and the greater part of the
Indians, but a few did not conceal their suspicion, observing that we
told different stories, and complaining that the chief exposed them to
danger by a mistaken confidence. Captain Lewis now wrote by the light of
some willow brush a note to captain Clarke, which he gave to Drewyer,
with an order to use all possible expedition in ascending the river, and
engaged an Indian to accompany him by a promise of a knife and some
beads. At bedtime the chief and five others slept round the fire of
captain Lewis, and the rest hid themselves in different parts of the
willow brush to avoid the enemy, who they feared would attack them in
the night. Captain Lewis endeavoured to assume a cheerfulness he did not
feel to prevent the despondency of the savages: after conversing gayly
with them he retired to his musquitoe bier, by the side of which the
chief now placed himself: he lay down, yet slept but little, being in
fact scarcely less uneasy than his Indian companions. He was
apprehensive that finding the ascent of the river impracticable, captain
Clarke might have stopped below the Rattlesnake bluff, and the messenger
would not meet him. The consequence of disappointing the Indians at this
moment would most probably be, that they would retire and secrete
themselves in the mountains, so as to prevent our having an opportunity
of recovering their confidence: they would also spread a panic through
all the neighbouring Indians, and cut us off from the supply of horses
so useful and almost so essential to our success: he was at the same
time consoled by remembering that his hopes of assistance rested on
better foundations than their generosity--their avarice, and their
curiosity. He had promised liberal exchanges for their horses; but what
was still move seductive, he had told them that one of their
country-women who had been taken with the Minnetarees accompanied the
party below; and one of the men had spread the report of our having with
us a man perfectly black, whose hair was short and curled. This last
account had excited a great degree of curiosity, and they seemed more
desirous of seeing this monster than of obtaining the most favourable
barter for their horses.

In the meantime we had set out after breakfast, and although we
proceeded with more ease than we did yesterday, the river was still so
rapid and shallow as to oblige us to drag the large canoes during the
greater part of the day. For the first seven miles the river formed a
bend to the right so as to make our advance only three miles in a
straight line; the stream is crooked, narrow, small, and shallow, with
highlands occasionally on the banks, and strewed with islands, four of
which are opposite to each other. Near this place we left the valley, to
which we gave the name of Serviceberry valley, from the abundance of
that fruit now ripe which is found in it. In the course of the four
following miles we passed several more islands and bayous on each side
of the river, and reached a high cliff on the right. Two and a half
miles beyond this the cliffs approach on both sides and form a very
considerable rapid near the entrance of a bold running stream on the
left. The water was now excessively cold, and the rapids had been
frequent and troublesome. On ascending an eminence captain Clarke saw
the forks of the river and sent the hunters up. They must have left it
only a short time before captain Lewis's arrival, but fortunately had
not seen the note which enabled him to induce the Indians to stay with
him. From the top of this eminence he could discover only three trees
through the whole country, nor was there along the sides of the cliffs
they had passed in the course of the day, any timber except a few small
pines: the low grounds were supplied with willow, currant bushes, and
serviceberries. After advancing half a mile further we came to the lower
point of an island near the middle of the river, and about the centre of
the valley: here we halted for the night, only four miles by land,
though ten by water, below the point where captain Lewis lay. Although
we had made only fourteen miles, the labours of the men had fatigued and
exhausted them very much: we therefore collected some small willow brush
for a fire, and lay down to sleep.

                               CHAPTER XV.

     Affecting interview between the wife of Chaboneau and the chief of
     the Shoshonees--Council held with that nation, and favourable
     result--The extreme navigable point of the Missouri
     mentioned--General character of the river and of the country
     through which it passes--Captain Clarke in exploring the source of
     the Columbia falls in company with another party of Shoshonees--The
     geographical information acquired from one of that party--Their
     manner of catching fish--The party reach Lewis river--The
     difficulties which captain Clarke had to encounter in his
     route--Friendship and hospitality of the Shoshonees--The party with
     captain Lewis employed in making saddles, and preparing for the

Saturday, August 17. Captain Lewis rose very early and despatched
Drewyer and the Indian down the river in quest of the boats. Shields was
sent out at the same time to hunt, while M'Neal prepared a breakfast out
of the remainder of the meat. Drewyer had been gone about two hours, and
the Indians were all anxiously waiting for some news, when an Indian who
had straggled a short distance down the river, returned with a report
that he had seen the white men, who were only a short distance below,
and were coming on. The Indians were all transported with joy, and the
chief in the warmth of his satisfaction renewed his embrace to captain
Lewis, who was quite as much delighted as the Indians themselves; the
report proved most agreeably true. On setting out at seven o'clock,
captain Clarke with Chaboneau and his wife walked on shore, but they had
not gone more than a mile before captain Clarke saw Sacajawea, who was
with her husband one hundred yards ahead, began to dance, and show every
mark of the most extravagant joy, turning round him and pointing to
several Indians, whom he now saw advancing on horseback, sucking her
fingers at the same time to indicate that they were of her native tribe.
As they advanced captain Clarke discovered among them Drewyer dressed
like an Indian, from whom he learnt the situation of the party. While
the boats were performing the circuit, he went towards the forks with
the Indians, who as they went along, sang aloud with the greatest
appearance of delight. We soon drew near to the camp, and just as we
approached it a woman made her way through the crowd towards Sacajawea,
and recognising each other, they embraced with the most tender
affection. The meeting of these two young women had in it something
peculiarly touching, not only in the ardent manner in which their
feelings were expressed, but from the real interest of their situation.
They had been companions in childhood, in the war with the Minnetarees
they had both been taken prisoners in the same battle, they had shared
and softened the rigours of their captivity, till one of them had
escaped from the Minnetarees, with scarce a hope of ever seeing her
friend relieved from the hands of her enemies. While Sacajawea was
renewing among the women the friendships of former days, captain Clarke
went on, and was received by captain Lewis and the chief, who after the
first embraces and salutations were over, conducted him to a sort of
circular tent or shade of willows. Here he was seated on a white robe;
and the chief immediately tied in his hair six small shells resembling
pearls, an ornament highly valued by these people, who procured them in
the course of trade from the seacoast. The moccasins of the whole party
were then taken off, and after much ceremony the smoking began. After
this the conference was to be opened, and glad of an opportunity of
being able to converse more intelligibly, Sacajawea was sent for; she
came into the tent, sat down, and was beginning to interpret, when in
the person of Cameahwait she recognised her brother: she instantly
jumped up, and ran and embraced him, throwing over him her blanket and
weeping profusely; the chief was himself moved, though not in the same
degree. After some conversation between them she resumed her seat, and
attempted to interpret for us, but her new situation seemed to
overpower her, and she was frequently interrupted by her tears. After
the council was finished, the unfortunate woman learnt that all her
family were dead except two brothers, one of whom was absent, and a son
of her eldest sister, a small boy, who was immediately adopted by her.
The canoes arriving soon after, we formed a camp in a meadow on the left
side, a little below the forks; took out our baggage, and by means of
our sails and willow poles formed a canopy for our Indian visitors.
About four o'clock the chiefs and warriors were collected, and after the
customary ceremony of taking off the moccasins and smoking a pipe, we
explained to them in a long harangue the purposes of our visit, making
themselves one conspicuous object of the good wishes of our government,
on whose strength as well as its friendly disposition we expatiated. We
told them of their dependance on the will of our government for all
future supplies of whatever was necessary either for their comfort or
defence; that as we were sent to discover the best route by which
merchandize could be conveyed to them, and no trade would be begun
before our return, it was mutually advantageous that we should proceed
with as little delay as possible; that we were under the necessity of
requesting them to furnish us with horses to transport our baggage
across the mountains, and a guide to show us the route, but that they
should be amply remunerated for their horses, as well as for every other
service they should render us. In the meantime our first wish was, that
they should immediately collect as many horses as were necessary to
transport our baggage to their village, where, at our leisure we would
trade with them for as many horses as they could spare.

The speech made a favourable impression: the chief in reply thanked us
for our expressions of friendship towards himself and his nation, and
declared their willingness to render us every service. He lamented that
it would be so long before they should be supplied with firearms, but
that till then they could subsist as they had heretofore done. He
concluded by saying that there were not horses here sufficient to
transport our goods, but that he would return to the village to-morrow,
and bring all his own horses, and encourage his people to come over with
theirs. The conference being ended to our satisfaction, we now inquired
of Cameahwait what chiefs were among the party, and he pointed out two
of them. We then distributed our presents: to Cameahwait we gave a medal
of the small size, with the likeness of president Jefferson, and on the
reverse a figure of hands clasped with a pipe and tomahawk: to this was
added an uniform coat, a shirt, a pair of scarlet leggings, a carrot of
tobacco, and some small articles. Each of the other chiefs received a
small medal struck during the presidency of general Washington, a shirt,
handkerchief, leggings, a knife, and some tobacco. Medals of the same
sort were also presented to two young warriors, who though not chiefs
were promising youths and very much respected in the tribe. These
honorary gifts were followed by presents of paint, moccasins, awls,
knives, beads and looking-glasses. We also gave them all a plentiful
meal of Indian corn, of which the hull is taken off by being boiled in
lye; and as this was the first they had ever tasted, they were very much
pleased with it. They had indeed abundant sources of surprise in all
they saw: the appearance of the men, their arms, their clothing, the
canoes, the strange looks of the negro, and the sagacity of our dog, all
in turn shared their admiration, which was raised to astonishment by a
shot from the airgun: this operation was instantly considered as a
_great medicine_, by which they as well as the other Indians mean
something emanating directly from the Great Spirit, or produced by his
invisible and incomprehensible agency. The display of all these riches
had been intermixed with inquiries into the geographical situation of
their country; for we had learnt by experience, that to keep the savages
in good temper their attention should not be wearied with too much
business; but that the serious affairs should be enlivened by a mixture
of what is new and entertaining. Our hunters brought in very seasonably
four deer and an antelope, the last of which we gave to the Indians, who
in a very short time devoured it. After the council was over, we
consulted as to our future operations. The game does not promise to last
here for a number of days, and this circumstance combined with many
others to induce our going on as soon as possible. Our Indian
information as to the state of the Columbia is of a very alarming kind,
and our first object is of course to ascertain the practicability of
descending it, of which the Indians discourage our expectations. It was
therefore agreed that captain Clarke should set off in the morning with
eleven men, furnished, besides their arms, with tools for making canoes;
that he should take Chaboneau and his wife to the camp of the
Shoshonees, where he was to leave them, in order to hasten the
collection of horses; that he was then to lead his men down to the
Columbia, and if he found it navigable, and the timber in sufficient
quantity, begin to build canoes. As soon as he had decided as to the
propriety of proceeding down the Columbia or across the mountains, he
was to send back one of the men with information of it to captain Lewis,
who by that time would have brought up the whole party, and the rest of
the baggage as far as the Shoshonee village.

Preparations were accordingly made this evening for such an arrangement.
The sun is excessively hot in the day time, but the nights very cold,
and rendered still more unpleasant from the want of any fuel except
willow brush. The appearances too of game, for many days' subsistence,
are not very favourable.

Sunday 18. In order to relieve the men of captain Clarke's party from
the heavy weight of their arms provisions and tools, we exposed a few
articles to barter for horses, and soon obtained three very good ones,
in exchange for which we gave a uniform coat, a pair of leggings, a few
handkerchiefs, three knifes and some other small articles, the whole of
which did not in the United States cost more than twenty dollars: a
fourth was purchased by the men for an old checkered shirt, a pair of
old leggings and a knife. The Indians seemed to be quite as well pleased
as ourselves at the bargains they had made. We now found that the two
inferior chiefs were somewhat displeased at not having received a
present equal to that given to the great chief, who appeared in a dress
so much finer than their own. To allay their discontent, we bestowed on
them two old coats, and promised them that if they were active in
assisting us across the mountains they should have an additional
present. This treatment completely reconciled them, and the whole Indian
party, except two men and two women, set out in perfect good humour to
return home with captain Clarke. After going fifteen miles through a
wide level valley with no wood but willows and shrubs, he encamped in
the Shoshonee cove near a narrow pass where the highlands approach
within two hundred yards of each other, and the river is only ten yards
wide. The Indians went on further, except the three chiefs and two young
men, who assisted in eating two deer brought in by the hunters. After
their departure every thing was prepared for the transportation of the
baggage, which was now exposed to the air and dried. Our game was one
deer and a beaver, and we saw an abundance of trout in the river for
which we fixed a net in the evening.

We have now reached the extreme navigable point of the Missouri, which
our observation places in latitude 43° 30' 43" north. It is difficult to
comprise in any general description the characteristics of a river so
extensive, and fed by so many streams which have their sources in a
great variety of soils and climates. But the Missouri is still
sufficiently powerful to give to all its waters something of a common
character, which is of course decided by the nature of the country
through which it passes. The bed of the river is chiefly composed of a
blue mud from which the water itself derives a deep tinge. From its
junction here to the place near which it leaves the mountains, its
course is embarrassed by rapids and rocks which the hills on each side
have thrown into its channel. From that place, its current, with the
exception of the falls, is not difficult of navigation, nor is there
much variation in its appearance till the mouth of the Platte. That
powerful river throws out vast quantities of coarse sand which
contribute to give a new face to the Missouri, which is now much more
impeded by islands. The sand, as it is drifted down, adheres in time to
some of the projecting points from the shore, and forms a barrier to the
mud, which at length fills to the same height with the sandbar itself;
as soon as it has acquired a consistency, the willow grows there the
first year, and by its roots assists the solidity of the whole: as the
mud and sand accumulate the cottonwood tree next appears; till the
gradual excretion of soils raises the surface of the point above the
highest freshets. Thus stopped in its course the water seeks a passage
elsewhere, and as the soil on each side is light and yielding, what was
only a peninsula, becomes gradually an island, and the river indemnifies
itself for the usurpation by encroaching on the adjacent shore. In this
way the Missouri like the Mississippi is constantly cutting off the
projections of the shore, and leaving its ancient channel, which is then
marked by the mud it has deposited and a few stagnant ponds.

The general appearance of the country as it presents itself on ascending
may be thus described: From its mouth to the two Charletons, a ridge of
highlands borders the river at a small distance, leaving between them
fine rich meadows. From the mouth of the two Charletons the hills recede
from the river, giving greater extent to the low grounds, but they again
approach the river for a short distance near Grand river, and again at
Snake creek. From that point they retire, nor do they come again to the
neighbourhood of the river till above the Sauk prairie, where they are
comparatively low and small. Thence they diverge and reappear at the
Charaton Searty, after which they are scarcely if at all discernible,
till they advance to the Missouri nearly opposite to the Kanzas.

The same ridge of hills extends on the south side, in almost one
unbroken chain, from the mouth of the Missouri to the Kanzas, though
decreasing in height beyond the Osage. As they are nearer the river than
the hills on the opposite sides, the intermediate low grounds are of
course narrower, but the general character of the soil is common to both

In the meadows and along the shore, the tree most common is the
cottonwood, which with the willow forms almost the exclusive growth of
the Missouri. The hills or rather high grounds, for they do not rise
higher than from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet, are composed
of a good rich black soil, which is perfectly susceptible of
cultivation, though it becomes richer on the hills beyond the Platte,
and are in general thinly covered with timber. Beyond these hills the
country extends into high open plains, which are on both sides
sufficiently fertile, but the south has the advantage of better streams
of water, and may therefore be considered as preferable for settlements.
The lands, however, become much better and the timber more abundant
between the Osage and the Kanzas. From the Kanzas to the Nadawa the
hills continue at nearly an equal distance, varying from four to eight
miles from each other, except that from the little Platte to nearly
opposite the ancient Kanzas village, the hills are more remote, and the
meadows of course wider on the north side of the river. From the Nadawa
the northern hills disappear, except at occasional intervals, where they
are seen at a distance, till they return about twenty-seven miles above
the Platte near the ancient village of the Ayoways. On the south the
hills continue close to the river from the ancient village of the Kanzas
up to Council bluff, fifty miles beyond the Platte; forming high
prairie lands. On both sides the lands are good, and perhaps this
distance from the Osage to the Platte may be recommended as among the
best districts on the Missouri for the purposes of settlers.

From the Ayoway village the northern hills again retire from the river,
to which they do not return till three hundred and twenty miles above,
at Floyd's river. The hills on the south also leave the river at Council
bluffs, and reappear at the Mahar village, two hundred miles up the
Missouri. The country thus abandoned by the hills is more open and the
timber in smaller quantities than below the Platte, so that although the
plain is rich and covered with high grass, the want of wood renders it
less calculated for cultivation than below that river.

The northern hills after remaining near the Missouri for a few miles at
Floyd's river, recede from it at the Sioux river, the course of which
they follow; and though they again visit the Missouri at Whitestone
river, where they are low, yet they do not return to it till beyond
James river. The highlands on the south, after continuing near the river
at the Mahar villages, again disappear, and do not approach it till the
Cobalt bluffs, about forty-four miles from the villages, and then from
those bluffs to the Yellowstone river, a distance of about one thousand
miles, they follow the banks of the river with scarcely any deviation.

From the James river, the lower grounds are confined within a narrow
space by the hills on both sides, which now continue near each other up
to the mountains. The space between them however varies from one to
three miles as high as the Muscleshell river, from which the hills
approach so high as to leave scarcely any low grounds on the river, and
near the falls reach the waters edge. Beyond the falls the hills are
scattered and low to the first range of mountains.

The soil during the whole length of the Missouri below the Platte is
generally speaking very fine, and although the timber is scarce, there
is still sufficient for the purposes of settlers; But beyond that river,
although the soil is still rich, yet the almost total absence of timber,
and particularly the want of good water, of which there is but a small
quantity in the creeks, and even that brackish, oppose powerful
obstacles to its settlement. The difficulty becomes still greater
between the Muscleshell river and the falls, where besides the greater
scarcity of timber, the country itself is less fertile.

The elevation of these highlands varies as they pass through this
extensive tract of country. From Wood river they are about one hundred
and fifty feet above the water, and continue at that height till they
rise near the Osage, from which place to the ancient fortification they
again diminish in size. Thence they continue higher till the Mandan
village, after which they are rather lower till the neighbourhood of
Muscleshell river, where they are met by the Northern hills, which have
advanced at a more uniform height, varying from one hundred and fifty to
two hundred or three hundred feet. From this place to the mountains the
height of both is nearly the same, from three hundred to five hundred
feet, and the low grounds so narrow that the traveller seems passing
through a range of high country. From Maria's river to the falls, the
hills descend to the height of about two or three hundred feet.

Monday 19. The morning was cold, and the grass perfectly whitened by the
frost. We were engaged in preparing packs and saddles to load the horses
as soon as they should arrive. A beaver was caught in a trap, but we
were disappointed in trying to catch trout in our net; we therefore made
a seine of willow brush, and by hauling it procured a number of fine
trout, and a species of mullet which we had not seen before: it is about
sixteen inches long, the scales small; the nose long, obtusely pointed,
and exceeding the under jaw; the mouth opens with folds at the sides; it
has no teeth, and the tongue and palate is smooth. The colour of its
back and sides is a bluish brown, while the belly is white: it has the
faggot bones, whence we concluded it to be of the mullet species. It is
by no means so well flavoured a fish as the trout, which are the same as
those we first saw at the falls, larger than the speckled trout of the
mountains in the Atlantic states, and equally well flavoured. In the
evening the hunters returned with two deer.

Captain Clarke, in the meantime, proceeded through a wide level valley,
in which the chief pointed out a spot where many of his tribe were
killed in battle a year ago. The Indians accompanied him during the day,
and as they had nothing to eat, he was obliged to feed them from his own
stores, the hunters not being able to kill any thing. Just as he was
entering the mountains, he met an Indian with two mules and a Spanish
saddle, who was so polite as to offer one of them to him to ride over
the hills. Being on foot, captain Clarke accepted his offer and gave him
a waistcoat as a reward for his civility. He encamped for the night on a
small stream, and the next morning,

Tuesday, August 20, he set out at six o'clock. In passing through a
continuation of the hilly broken country, he met several parties of
Indians. On coming near the camp, which had been removed since we left
them two miles higher up the river, Cameahwait requested that the party
should halt. This was complied with: a number of Indians came out from
the camp, and with great ceremony several pipes were smoked. This being
over captain Clarke was conducted to a large leathern lodge prepared for
his party in the middle of the encampment, the Indians having only
shelters of willow bushes. A few dried berries, and one salmon, the only
food the whole village could contribute, were then presented to him;
after which he proceeded to repeat in council, what had been already
told them, the purposes of his visit; urged them to take their horses
over and assist in transporting our baggage, and expressed a wish to
obtain a guide to examine the river. This was explained and enforced to
the whole village by Cameahwait, and an old man was pointed out who was
said to know more of their geography to the north than any other person,
and whom captain Clarke engaged to accompany him. After explaining his
views he distributed a few presents, the council was ended, and nearly
half the village set out to hunt the antelope, but returned without

Captain Clarke in the meantime made particular inquiries as to the
situation of the country, and the possibility of soon reaching a
navigable water. The chief began by drawing on the ground a delineation
of the rivers, from which it appeared that his information was very
limited. The river on which the camp is he divided into two branches
just above us, which, as he indicated by the opening of the mountains,
were in view: he next made it discharge itself into a larger river ten
miles below, coming from the southwest: the joint stream continued one
day's march to the northwest, and then inclined to the westward for two
day's march farther. At that place he placed several heaps of sand on
each side, which, as he explained them, represented, vast mountains of
rock always covered with snow, in passing through which the river was so
completely hemmed in by the high rocks, that there was no possibility of
travelling along the shore; that the bed of the river was obstructed by
sharp-pointed rocks, and such its rapidity, that as far as the eye could
reach it presented a perfect column of foam. The mountains he said were
equally inaccessible, as neither man nor horse could cross them; that
such being the state of the country neither he nor any of his nation had
ever attempted to go beyond the mountains. Cameahwait said also that he
had been informed by the Chopunnish, or pierced-nose Indians, who reside
on this river west of the mountains, that it ran a great way towards the
setting sun, and at length lost itself in a great lake of water which
was ill-tasted, and where the white men lived. An Indian belonging to a
band of Shoshonees who live to the southwest, and who happened to be at
camp, was then brought in, and inquiries made of him as to the
situation of the country in that direction: this he described in terms
scarcely less terrible than those in which Cameahwait had represented
the west. He said that his relations lived at the distance of twenty
days' march from this place, on a course a little to the west of south
and not far from the whites, with whom they traded for horses, mules,
cloth, metal, beads, and the shells here worn as ornaments, and which
are those of a species of pearl oyster. In order to reach his country we
should be obliged during the first seven days to climb over steep rocky
mountains where there was no game, and we should find nothing but roots
for subsistence. Even for these however we should be obliged to contend
with a fierce warlike people, whom he called the Broken-moccasin, or
moccasin with holes, who lived like bears in holes, and fed on roots and
the flesh of such horses as they could steal or plunder from those who
passed through the mountains. So rough indeed was the passage, that the
feet of the horses would be wounded in such a manner that many of them
would be unable to proceed. The next part of the route was for ten days
through a dry parched desert of sand, inhabited by no animal which would
supply us with subsistence, and as the sun had now scorched up the grass
and dried up the small pools of water which are sometimes scattered
through this desert in the spring, both ourselves and our horses would
perish for want of food and water. About the middle of this plain a
large river passes from southeast to northwest, which, though navigable,
afforded neither timber nor salmon. Three or four days' march beyond
this plain his relations lived, in a country tolerably fertile and
partially covered with timber, on another large river running in the
same direction as the former; that this last discharges itself into a
third large river, on which resided many numerous nations, with whom his
own were at war, but whether this last emptied itself into the great or
stinking lake, as they called the ocean, he did not know: that from his
country to the stinking lake was a great distance, and that the route
to it, taken by such of his relations as had visited it, was up the
river on which they lived, and over to that on which the white people
lived, and which they knew discharged itself into the ocean. This route
he advised us to take, but added, that we had better defer the journey
till spring, when he would himself conduct us. This account persuaded us
that the streams of which he spoke were southern branches of the
Columbia, heading with the Rio des Apostolos, and Rio Colorado, and that
the route which he mentioned was to the gulf of California: captain
Clarke therefore told him that this road was too much towards the south
for our purpose, and then requested to know if there was no route on the
left of the river where we now are, by which we might intercept it below
the mountains; but he knew of none except that through the barren
plains, which he said joined the mountains on that side, and through
which it was impossible to pass at this season, even if we were
fortunate enough to escape the Broken-moccasin Indians. Captain Clarke
recompensed the Indian by a present of a knife, with which he seemed
much gratified, and now inquired of Cameahwait by what route the
Pierced-nose Indians, who he said lived west of the mountains, crossed
over to the Missouri: this he said was towards the north, but that the
road was a very bad one; that during the passage he had been told they
suffered excessively from hunger, being obliged to subsist for many days
on berries alone, there being no game in that part of the mountains,
which were broken and rocky, and so thickly covered with timber that
they could scarcely pass. Surrounded by difficulties as all the other
routes are, this seems to be the most practicable of all the passages by
land, since, if the Indians can pass the mountains with their women and
children, no difficulties which they could encounter could be formidable
to us; and if the Indians below the mountains are so numerous as they
are represented to be, they must have some means of subsistence equally
within our power. They tell us indeed that the nations to the westward
subsist principally on fish and roots, and that their only game were a
few elk, deer, and antelope, there being no buffaloe west of the
mountain. The first inquiry however was to ascertain the truth of their
information relative to the difficulty of descending the river: for this
purpose captain Clarke set out at three o'clock in the afternoon,
accompanied by the guide and all his men, except one whom he left with
orders to purchase a horse and join him as soon as possible. At the
distance of four miles he crossed the river, and eight miles from the
camp halted for the night at a small stream. The road which he followed
was a beaten path through a wide rich meadow, in which were several old
lodges. On the route he met a number of men, women, and children, as
well as horses, and one of the men who appeared to possess some
consideration turned back with him, and observing a woman with three
salmon obtained them from her, and presented them to the party. Captain
Clarke shot a mountain cock or cock of the plains, a dark brown bird
larger than the dunghill fowl, with a long and pointed tail, and a
fleshy protuberance about the base of the upper chop, something like
that of the turkey, though without the snout. In the morning,

Wednesday 21, he resumed his march early, and at the distance of five
miles reached an Indian lodge of brush, inhabited by seven families of
Shoshonees. They behaved with great civility, gave the whole party as
much boiled salmon as they could eat, and added as a present several
dried salmon and a considerable quantity of chokecherries. After smoking
with them all he visited the fish weir, which was about two hundred
yards distant; the river was here divided by three small islands, which
occasioned the water to pass along four channels. Of these three were
narrow, and stopped by means of trees which were stretched across, and
supported by willow stakes, sufficiently near each other to prevent the
passage of the fish. About the centre of each was placed a basket
formed of willows, eighteen or twenty feet in length, of a cylindrical
form, and terminating in a conic shape at its lower extremity; this was
situated with its mouth upwards, opposite to an aperture in the weir.
The main channel of the water was then conducted to this weir, and as
the fish entered it they were so entangled with each other that they
could not move, and were taken out by untying the small end of the
willow basket. The weir in the main channel was formed in a manner
somewhat different; there were in fact two distinct weirs formed of
poles and willow sticks quite across the river, approaching each other
obliquely with an aperture in each side near the angle. This is made by
tying a number of poles together at the top, in parcels of three, which
were then set up in a triangular form at the base, two of the poles
being in the range desired for the weir, and the third down the stream.
To these poles two ranges of other poles are next lashed horizontally,
with willow bark and wythes, and willow sticks joined in with these
crosswise, so as to form a kind of wicker-work from the bottom of the
river to the height of three or four feet above the surface of the
water. This is so thick as to prevent the fish from passing, and even in
some parts with the help of a little gravel and some stone enables them
to give any direction which they wish to the water. These two weirs
being placed near to each other, one for the purpose of catching the
fish as they ascend, the other as they go down the river, is provided
with two baskets made in the form already described, and which are
placed at the apertures of the weir. After examining these curious
objects, he returned to the lodges, and soon passed the river to the
left, where an Indian brought him a tomahawk which he said he had found
in the grass, near the lodge where captain Lewis had staid on his first
visit to the village. This was a tomahawk which had been missed at the
time, and supposed to be stolen; it was however the only article which
had been lost in our intercourse with the nation, and as even that was
returned the inference is highly honourable to the integrity of the
Shoshonees. On leaving the lodges captain Clarke crossed to the left
side of the river, and despatched five men to the forks of it, in search
of the man left behind yesterday, who procured a horse and passed by
another road as they learnt, to the forks. At the distance of fourteen
miles they killed a very large salmon, two and a half feet long, in a
creek six miles below the forks: and after travelling about twenty miles
through the valley, following the course of the river, which runs nearly
northwest, halted in a small meadow on the right side, under a cliff of
rocks. Here they were joined by the five men who had gone in quest of
Crusatte. They had been to the forks of the river, where the natives
resort in great numbers for the purpose of gigging fish, of which they
made our men a present of five fresh salmon. In addition to this food,
one deer was killed to-day. The western branch of this river is much
larger than the eastern, and after we passed the junction we found the
river about one hundred yards in width, rapid and shoaly, but containing
only a small quantity of timber. As captain Lewis was the first white
man who visited its waters, captain Clarke gave it the name of Lewis's
river. The low grounds through which he had passed to-day were rich and
wide, but at his camp this evening the hills begin to assume a
formidable aspect. The cliff under which he lay is of a reddish brown
colour, the rocks which have fallen from it are a dark brown flintstone.
Near the place are gullies of white sandstone, and quantities of a fine
sand, of a snowy whiteness: the mountains on each side are high and
rugged, with some pine trees scattered over them.

Thursday 22. He soon began to perceive that the Indian accounts had not
exaggerated: at the distance of a mile he passed a small creek, and the
points of four mountains, which were rocky, and so high that it seemed
almost impossible to cross them with horses. The road lay over the sharp
fragments of rocks which had fallen from the mountains, and were strewed
in heaps for miles together, yet the horses altogether unshod,
travelled across them as fast as the men, and without detaining them a
moment. They passed two bold-running streams, and reached the entrance
of a small river, where a few Indian families resided. They had not been
previously acquainted with the arrival of the whites, the guide was
behind, and the wood so thick that we came upon them unobserved, till at
a very short distance. As soon as they saw us, the women and children
fled in great consternation; the men offered us every thing they had,
the fish on the scaffolds, the dried berries and the collars of elk's
tushes worn by the children. We took only a small quantity of the food,
and gave them in return some small articles which conduced very much to
pacify them. The guide now coming up, explained to them who we were, and
the object of our visit, which seemed to relieve the fears, but still a
number of the women and children did not recover from their fright, but
cryed during our stay, which lasted about an hour. The guide, whom we
found a very intelligent friendly old man, informed us that up this
river there was a road which led over the mountains to the Missouri. On
resuming his route, he went along the steep side of a mountain about
three miles, and then reached the river near a small island, at the
lower part of which he encamped; he here attempted to gig some fish, but
could only obtain one small salmon. The river is here shoal and rapid,
with many rocks scattered in various directions through its bed. On the
sides of the mountains are some scattered pines, and of those on the
left the tops are covered with them; there are however but few in the
low grounds through which they passed, indeed they have seen only a
single tree fit to make a canoe, and even that was small. The country
has an abundant growth of berries, and we met several women and children
gathering them who bestowed them upon us with great liberality. Among
the woods captain Clarke observed a species of woodpecker, the beak and
tail of which were white, the wings black, and every other part of the
body of a dark brown; its size was that of the robin, and it fed on the
seeds of the pine.

Friday 23. Captain Clarke set off very early, but as his route lay along
the steep side of a mountain, over irregular and broken masses of rocks,
which wounded the horses' feet, he was obliged to proceed slowly. At the
distance of four miles he reached the river, but the rocks here became
so steep, and projected so far into the river, that there was no mode of
passing, except through the water. This he did for some distance, though
the river was very rapid, and so deep that they were forced to swim
their horses. After following the edge of the water for about a mile
under this steep cliff, he reached a small meadow, below which the whole
current of the river beat against the right shore on which he was, and
which was formed of a solid rock perfectly inaccessible to horses. Here
too, the little track which he had been pursuing terminated. He
therefore resolved to leave the horses and the greater part of the men
at this place, and examine the river still further, in order to
determine if there were any possibility of descending it in canoes.
Having killed nothing except a single goose to-day, and the whole of our
provision being consumed last evening, it was by no means advisable to
remain any length of time where they were. He now directed the men to
fish and hunt at this place till his return, and then with his guide and
three men he proceeded, clambering over immense rocks, and along the
side of lofty precipices which bordered the river, when at about twelve
miles distance he reached a small meadow, the first he had seen on the
river since he left his party. A little below this meadow, a large creek
twelve yards wide, and of some depth, discharges itself from the north.
Here were some recent signs of an Indian encampment, and the tracks of a
number of horses, who must have come along a plain Indian path, which he
now saw following the course of the creek. This stream his guide said
led towards a large river running to the north, and was frequented by
another nation for the purpose of catching fish. He remained here two
hours, and having taken some small fish, made a dinner on them with the
addition of a few berries. From the place where he had left the party,
to the mouth of this creek, it presents one continued rapid, in which
are five shoals, neither of which could be passed with loaded canoes;
and the baggage must therefore be transported for a considerable
distance over the steep mountains, where it would be impossible to
employ horses for the relief of the men. Even the empty canoes must be
let down the rapids by means of cords, and not even in that way without
great risk both to the canoes as well as to the men. At one of these
shoals, indeed the rocks rise so perpendicularly from the water as to
leave no hope of a passage or even a portage without great labour in
removing rocks, and in some instances cutting away the earth. To
surmount these difficulties would exhaust the strength of the party, and
what is equally discouraging would waste our time and consume our
provisions, of neither of which have we much to spare. The season is now
far advanced, and the Indians tell us we shall shortly have snow: the
salmon too have so far declined that the natives themselves are
hastening from the country, and not an animal of any kind larger than a
pheasant or a squirrel, and of even these a few only will then be seen
in this part of the mountains: after which we shall be obliged to rely
on our own stock of provisions, which will not support us more than ten
days. These circumstances combine to render a passage by water
impracticable in our present situation. To descend the course of the
river on horseback is the other alternative, and scarcely a more
inviting one. The river is so deep that there are only a few places
where it can be forded, and the rocks approach so near the water as to
render it impossible to make a route along the waters' edge. In crossing
the mountains themselves we should have to encounter, besides their
steepness, one barren surface of broken masses of rock, down which in
certain seasons the torrents sweep vast quantities of stone into the
river. These rocks are of a whitish brown, and towards the base of a
gray colour, and so hard, that on striking them with steel, they yield a
fire like flint. This sombre appearance is in some places scarcely
relieved by a single tree, though near the river and on the creeks there
is more timber, among which are some tall pine: several of these might
be made into canoes, and by lashing two of them together, one of
tolerable size might be formed.

After dinner he continued his route, and at the distance of half a mile
passed another creek about five yards wide. Here his guide informed him
that by ascending the creek for some distance he would have a better
road, and cut off a considerable bend of the river towards the south. He
therefore pursued a well-beaten Indian track up this creek for about six
miles, when leaving the creek to the right he passed over a ridge, and
after walking a mile again met the river, where it flows through a
meadow of about eighty acres in extent. This they passed and then
ascended a high and steep point of a mountain, from which the guide now
pointed out where the river broke through the mountains about twenty
miles distant. Near the base of the mountains a small river falls in
from the south: this view was terminated by one of the loftiest
mountains captain Clarke had ever seen, which was perfectly covered with
snow. Towards this formidable barrier the river went directly on, and
there it was, as the guide observed, that the difficulties and dangers
of which he and Cameahwait had spoken commenced. After reaching the
mountain, he said, the river continues its course towards the north for
many miles, between high perpendicular rocks, which were scattered
through its bed: it then penetrated the mountain through a narrow gap,
on each side of which arose perpendicularly a rock as high as the top of
the mountain before them; that the river then made a bend which
concealed its future course from view, and as it was alike impossible
to descend the river or clamber over that vast mountain, eternally
covered with snow, neither he nor any of his nation had ever been lower
than at a place where they could see the gap made by the river on
entering the mountain. To that place he said he would conduct captain
Clarke if he desired it by the next evening. But he was in need of no
further evidence to convince him of the utter impracticability of the
route before him. He had already witnessed the difficulties of part of
the road, yet after all these dangers his guide, whose intelligence and
fidelity he could not doubt, now assured him that the difficulties were
only commencing, and what he saw before him too clearly convinced him of
the Indian's veracity. He therefore determined to abandon this route,
and returned to the upper part of the last creek we had passed, and
reaching it an hour after dark encamped for the night: on this creek he
had seen in the morning an Indian road coming in from the north.
Disappointed in finding a route by water, captain Clarke now questioned
his guide more particularly as to the direction of this road which he
seemed to understand perfectly. He drew a map on the sand, and
represented this road as well as that we passed yesterday on Berry creek
as both leading towards two forks of the same great river, where resided
a nation called Tushepaws, who having no salmon on their river, came by
these roads to the fish weirs on Lewis's river. He had himself been
among these Tushepaws, and having once accompanied them on a fishing
party to another river he had there seen Indians who had come across the
rocky mountains. After a great deal of conversation, or rather signs,
and a second and more particular map from his guide, captain Clarke felt
persuaded that his guide knew of a road from the Shoshonee village they
had left, to the great river to the north, without coming so low down as
this on a route impracticable for horses. He was desirous of hastening
his return, and therefore set out early,

Saturday 24, and after descending the creek to the river, stopped to
breakfast on berries in the meadow above the second creek. He then went
on, but unfortunately fell from a rock and injured his leg very much; he
however walked on as rapidly as he could, and at four in the afternoon
rejoined his men. During his absence they had killed one of the mountain
cocks, a few pheasants, and some small fish, on which with haws and
serviceberries they had subsisted. Captain Clarke immediately sent
forward a man on horseback with a note to captain Lewis, apprising him
of the result of his inquiries, and late in the afternoon set out with
the rest of the party and encamped at the distance of two miles. The men
were much disheartened at the bad prospect of escaping from the
mountains, and having nothing to eat but a few berries which have made
several of them sick, they all passed a disagreeable night, which was
rendered more uncomfortable by a heavy dew.

Sunday 25. The want of provisions urged captain Clarke to return as soon
as possible; he therefore set out early, and halted an hour in passing
the Indian camp near the fish weirs. These people treated them with
great kindness, and though poor and dirty they willingly give what
little they possess; they gave the whole party boiled salmon and dried
berries, which were not however in sufficient quantities to appease
their hunger. They soon resumed their old road, but as the abstinence or
strange diet had given one of the men a very severe illness, they were
detained very much on his account, and it was not till late in the day
they reached the cliff under which they had encamped on the
twenty-first. They immediately began to fish and hunt, in order to
procure a meal. We caught several small fish, and by means of our guide,
obtained two salmon from a small party of women and children, who, with
one man, were going below to gather berries. This supplied us with about
half a meal, but after dark we were regaled with a beaver which one of
the hunters brought in. The other game seen in the course of the day
were one deer, and a party of elk among the pines on the sides of the

Monday 26. The morning was fine, and three men were despatched ahead to
hunt, while the rest were detained until nine o'clock, in order to
retake some horses which had strayed away during the night. They then
proceeded along the route by the forks of the river, till they reached
the lower Indian camp where they first were when we met them. The whole
camp immediately flocked around him with great appearance of cordiality,
but all the spare food of the village did not amount to more than two
salmon, which they gave to captain Clarke, who distributed them among
his men. The hunters had not been able to kill any thing, nor had
captain Clarke or the greater part of the men any food during the
twenty-four hours, till towards evening one of them shot a salmon in the
river, and a few small fish were caught, which furnished them with a
scanty meal. The only animals they had seen were a few pigeons, some
very wild hares, a great number of the large black grasshopper, and a
quantify of ground lizards.

Tuesday 27. The men, who were engaged last night in mending their
moccasins, all except one, went out hunting, but no game was to be
procured. One of the men however killed a small salmon, and the Indians
made a present of another, on which the whole party made a very slight
breakfast. These Indians, to whom this life is familiar, seem contented,
although they depend for subsistence on the scanty productions of the
fishery. But our men who are used to hardships, but have been accustomed
to have the first wants of nature regularly supplied, feel very sensibly
their wretched situation; their strength is wasting away; they begin to
express their apprehensions of being without food in a country perfectly
destitute of any means of supporting life, except a few fish. In the
course of the day an Indian brought into the camp five salmon, two of
which captain Clarke bought, and made a supper for the party.

Wednesday 28. There was a frost again this morning. The Indians gave
the party two salmon out of several which they caught in their traps,
and having purchased two more, the party was enabled to subsist on them
during the day. A camp of about forty Indians from the west fork passed
us to-day, on their route to the eastward. Our prospect of provisions is
getting worse every day: the hunters who had ranged through the country
in every direction where game might be reasonably expected, have seen
nothing. The fishery is scarcely more productive, for an Indian who was
out all day with his gig killed only one salmon. Besides the four fish
procured from the Indians, captain Clarke obtained some fishroe in
exchange for three small fish-hooks, the use of which he taught them,
and which they very readily comprehended. All the men who are not
engaged in hunting, are occupied in making pack-saddles for the horses
which captain Lewis informed us he had bought.

August 20. Two hunters were despatched early in the morning, but they
returned without killing any thing, and the only game we procured was a
beaver, who was caught last night in a trap which he carried off two
miles before he was found. The fur of this animal is as good as any we
have ever seen, nor does it in fact appear to be ever out of season on
the upper branches of the Missouri. This beaver, with several dozen of
fine trout, gave us a plentiful subsistence for the day. The party were
occupied chiefly in making pack-saddles, in the manufacture of which we
supply the place of nails and boards, by substituting for the first
thongs of raw hide, which answer very well; and for boards we use the
handles of our oars, and the plank of some boxes, the contents of which
we empty into sacks of raw hides made for the purpose. The Indians who
visit us behave with the greatest decorum, and the women are busily
engaged in making and mending the moccasins of the party. As we had
still some superfluous baggage which would be too heavy to carry across
the mountains, it became necessary to make a cache or deposit. For this
purpose we selected a spot on the bank of the river, three quarters of a
mile below the camp, and three men were set to dig it, with a sentinel
in the neighbourhood, who was ordered if the natives were to straggle
that way, to fire a signal for the workmen to desist and separate.
Towards evening the cache was completed without being perceived by the
Indians, and the packages prepared for deposit.

                               CHAPTER XVI.

     Contest between Drewyer and a Shoshonee--The fidelity and honour of
     that tribe--The party set out on their journey--The conduct of
     Cameahwait reproved, and himself reconciled--The easy parturition
     of the Shoshonee women--History of this nation--Their terror of the
     Pawkees--Their government and family economy in their treatment of
     their women--Their complaints of Spanish treachery--Description of
     their weapons of warfare--Their curious mode of making a
     shield--The caparison of their horses--The dress of the men and of
     the women particularly described--Their mode of acquiring new

Wednesday, August 21. The weather was very cold; the water which stood
in the vessels exposed to the air being covered with ice a quarter of an
inch thick: the ink freezes in the pen, and the low grounds are
perfectly whitened with frost: after this the day proved excessively
warm. The party were engaged in their usual occupations, and completed
twenty saddles with the necessary harness, all prepared to set off as
soon as the Indians should arrive. Our two hunters who were despatched
early in the morning have not returned, so that we were obliged to
encroach on our pork and corn, which we consider as the last resource
when our casual supplies of game fail. After dark we carried our baggage
to the cache, and deposited what we thought too cumbrous to carry with
us: a small assortment of medicines, and all the specimens of plants,
seeds, and minerals, collected since leaving the falls of the Missouri.
Late at night Drewyer, one of the hunters, returned with a fawn and a
considerable quantity of Indian plunder, which he had taken by way of
reprisal. While hunting this morning in the Shoshonee cove, he came
suddenly upon an Indian camp, at which were an old man, a young one,
three women, and a boy: they showed no surprise at the sight of him and
he therefore rode up to them, and after turning his horse loose to
graze sat down and began to converse with them by signs. They had just
finished a repast on some roots, and in about twenty minutes one of the
women spoke to the rest of the party, who immediately went out,
collected their horses and began to saddle them. Having rested himself,
Drewyer thought that he would continue his hunt, and rising went to
catch his horse who was at a short distance, forgetting at the moment to
take up his rifle. He had scarcely gone more than fifty paces when the
Indians mounted their horses, the young man snatched up the rifle, and
leaving all their baggage, whipt their horses, and set off at full speed
towards the passes of the mountains: Drewyer instantly jumped on his
horse and pursued them. After running about ten miles the horses of the
women nearly gave out, and the women finding Drewyer gain on them raised
dreadful cries, which induced the young man to slacken his pace, and
being mounted on a very fleet horse rode round them at a short distance.
Drewyer now came up with the women, and by signs persuaded them that he
did not mean to hurt them: they then stopped, and as the young man came
towards them Drewyer asked him for his rifle, but the only part of the
answer which he understood was Pahkee, the name by which they call their
enemies, the Minnetarees of fort de Prairie. While they were thus
engaged in talking, Drewyer watched his opportunity, and seeing the
Indian off his guard, galloped up to him and seized his rifle: the
Indian struggled for some time, but finding Drewyer getting too strong
for him, had the presence of mind to open the pan and let the priming
fall out; he then let go his hold, and giving his horse the whip escaped
at full speed, leaving the women to the mercy of the conqueror. Drewyer
then returned to where he had first seen them, where he found that their
baggage had been left behind, and brought it to camp with him.

Thursday, 22. This morning early two men were sent to complete the
covering of the cache, which could not be so perfectly done during the
night as to elude the search of the Indians. On examining the spoils
which Drewyer had obtained, they were found to consist of several
dressed and undressed skins; two bags wove with the bark of the silk
grass, each containing a bushel of dried serviceberries, and about the
same quantity of roots; an instrument made of bone for manufacturing the
flints into heads for arrows; and a number of flints themselves: these
were much of the same colour and nearly as transparent as common black
glass, and when cut detached itself into flakes, leaving a very sharp

The roots were of three kinds, and folded separate from each in hides of
buffaloe made into parchment. The first is a fusiform root six inches
long, and about the size of a man's finger at the largest end, with
radicles larger than is usual in roots of the fusiform sort: the rind is
white and thin, the body is also white, mealy, and easily reducible, by
pounding, to a substance resembling flour, like which it thickens by
boiling, and is of an agreeable flavour: it is eaten frequently in its
raw state either green or dried. The second species was much mutilated,
but appeared to be fibrous; it is of a cylindrical form about the size
of a small quill, hard and brittle. A part of the rind which had not
been detached in the preparation was hard and black, but the rest of the
root was perfectly white; this the Indiana informed us was always boiled
before eating; and on making the experiment we found that it became
perfectly soft, but had a bitter taste, which was nauseous to our taste,
but which the Indians seemed to relish; for on giving the roots to them
they were very heartily swallowed.

The third species was a small nut about the size of a nutmeg, of an
irregularly rounded form, something like the smallest of the Jerusalem
artichokes, which, on boiling, we found them to resemble also in
flavour, and is certainly the best root we have seen in use among the
Indians. On inquiring of the Indians from what plant these roots were
procured, they informed us that none of them grew near this place.

The men were chiefly employed in dressing the skins belonging to the
party who accompanied captain Clarke. About eleven o'clock Chaboneau and
his wife returned with Cameahwait, accompanied by about fifty men with
their women and children. After they had encamped near us and turned
loose their horses, we called a council of all the chiefs and warriors
and addressed them in a speech; additional presents were then
distributed, particularly to the two second chiefs, who had agreeably to
their promises exerted themselves in our favour. The council was then
adjourned, and all the Indians were treated with an abundant meal of
boiled Indian corn and beans. The poor wretches, who had no animal food
and scarcely any thing but a few fish, had been almost starved, and
received this new luxury with great thankfulness. Out of compliment to
the chief we gave him a few dried squashes which we had brought from the
Mandans, and he declared it was the best food he had ever tasted except
sugar, a small lump of which he had received from his sister: he now
declared how happy they should all be to live in a country which
produced so many good things, and we told him that it would not be long
before the white men would put it in their power to live below the
mountains, where they might themselves cultivate all these kinds of food
instead of wandering in the mountains. He appeared to be much pleased
with this information, and the whole party being now in excellent temper
after their repast, we began our purchase of horses. We soon obtained
five very good ones on very reasonable terms; that is, by giving for
each merchandise which cost us originally about six dollars. We have
again to admire the perfect decency and propriety of their conduct; for
although so numerous, they do not attempt to crowd round our camp or
take any thing which they see lying about, and whenever they borrow
knives or kettles or any other article from the men, they return them
with great fidelity.

Towards evening we formed a drag of bushes, and in about two hours
caught five hundred and twenty-eight very good fish most of them large
trout. Among them we observed for the first time ten or twelve trout of
a white or silvery colour, except on the back and head where they are of
a bluish cast: in appearance and shape they resemble exactly the
speckled trout, except that they are not quite so large, though the
scales are much larger, and the flavour equally good. The greater part
of the fish was distributed among the Indians.

Friday 28. Our visitors seem to depend wholly on us for food, and as the
state of our provisions obliges us to be careful of our remaining stock
of corn and flour, this was an additional reason for urging our
departure; but Cameahwait requested us to wait till the arrival of
another party of his nation who were expected to-day. Knowing that it
would be in vain to oppose his wish, we consented, and two hunters were
sent out with orders to go further up the southeast fork than they had
hitherto been. At the same time the chief was informed of the low state
of our provisions, and advised to send out his young men to hunt. This
he recommended them to do, and most of them set out: we then sunk our
canoes by means of stones to the bottom of the river, a situation which
better than any other secured them against the effects of the high
waters, and the frequent fires of the plains; the Indians having
promised not to disturb them during our absence, a promise we believe
the more readily, as they are almost too lazy to take the trouble of
raising them for fire-wood. We were desirous of purchasing some more
horses, but they declined selling any until we reached their camp in the
mountains. Soon after starting the Indian hunters discovered a mule
buck, and twelve of their horsemen pursued it, for four miles. We saw
the chase, which was very entertaining, and at length they rode it down
and killed it. This mule buck was the largest deer of any kind we have
seen, being nearly as large as a doe elk. Besides this they brought in
another deer and three goats; but instead of a general distribution of
the meat, and such as we have hitherto seen among all tribes of Indians,
we observed that some families had a large share, while others received
none. On inquiring of Cameahwait the reason of this custom, he said that
meat among them was scarce; that each hunter reserved what he killed for
the use of himself and his own family, none of the rest having any claim
on what he chose to keep. Our hunters returned soon after with two mule
deer and three common deer, three of which we distributed among the
families who had received none of the game of their own hunters. About
three o'clock the expected party consisting of fifty men, women and
children arrived. We now learnt that most of the Indians were on their
way down the valley towards the buffaloe country, and some anxiety to
accompany them appeared to prevail among those who had promised to
assist us in crossing the mountains. We ourselves were not without some
apprehension that they might leave us, but as they continued to say that
they would return with us nothing was said upon the subject. We were,
however, resolved to move early in the morning; and therefore despatched
two men to hunt in the cove and leave the game on the route we should
pass to-morrow.

Saturday 24. As the Indians who arrived yesterday had a number of spare
horses, we thought it probable they might be willing to dispose of them,
and desired the chief to speak to them for that purpose. They declined
giving any positive answer, but requested to see the goods which we
proposed to exchange. We then produced some battle-axes which we had
made at fort Mandan, and a quantity of knives; with both of which they
appeared very much pleased; and we were soon able to purchase three
horses by giving for each an axe, a knife, a hankerchief and a little
paint. To this we were obliged to add a second knife, a shirt, a
handkerchief and a pair of leggings; and such is the estimation in which
those animals are held, that even at this price, which was double that
for a horse, the fellow who sold him took upon himself great merit in
having given away a mule to us. They now said that they had no more
horses for sale, and as we had now nine of our own, two hired horses,
and a mule, we began loading them as heavily as was prudent, and placing
the rest on the shoulders of the Indian women, left our camp at twelve
o'clock. We were all on foot, except Sacajawea, for whom her husband had
purchased a horse with some articles which we gave him for that purpose;
an Indian however had the politeness to offer captain Lewis one of his
horses to ride, which he accepted in order better to direct the march of
the party. We crossed the river below the forks, directing our course
towards the cove by the route already passed, and had just reached the
lower part of the cove when an Indian rode up to captain Lewis to inform
him that one of his men was very sick, and unable to come on. The party
was immediately halted at a run which falls into the creek on the left,
and captain Lewis rode back two miles, and found Wiser severely
afflicted with the colic: by giving him some of the essence of
peppermint and laudanum, he recovered sufficiently to ride the horse of
captain Lewis, who then rejoined the party on foot. When he arrived he
found that the Indians who had been impatiently expecting his return, at
last unloaded their horses and turned them loose, and had now made their
camp for the night. It would have been fruitless to remonstrate, and not
prudent to excite any irritation, and therefore, although the sun was
still high, and we had made only six miles, we thought it best to remain
with them: after we had encamped there fell a slight shower of rain. One
of the men caught several fine trout; but Drewyer had been sent out to
hunt without having killed any thing. We therefore gave a little corn to
those of the Indians who were actually engaged in carrying our baggage,
and who had absolutely nothing to eat. We also advised Cameahwait, as we
could not supply all his people with provisions, to recommend to all who
were not assisting us, to go on before us to their camp. This he did:
but in the morning,

Sunday 25, a few only followed his advice, the rest accompanying us at
some distance on each side. We set out at sunrise and after going
seventeen miles halted for dinner within two miles of the narrow pass in
the mountains. The Indians who were on the sides of our party had
started some antelopes, but were obliged after a pursuit of several
hours to abandon the chase: our hunters had in the meantime brought in
three deer, the greater part of which was distributed among the Indians.
Whilst at dinner we learnt by means of Sacajawea, that the young men who
left us this morning, carried a request from the chief, that the village
would break up its encampment and meet this party to-morrow, when they
would all go down the Missouri into the buffaloe country. Alarmed at
this new caprice of the Indians which, if not counteracted, threatened
to leave ourselves and our baggage on the mountains, or even if we
reached the waters of the Columbia, prevent our obtaining horses to go
on further, captain Lewis immediately called the three chiefs together.
After smoking a pipe he asked them if they were men of their words, and
if we can rely on their promises. They readily answered in the
affirmative. He then asked, if they had not agreed to assist us in
carrying our baggage over the mountains. To this they also answered yes;
and why then, said he, have you requested your people to meet us
to-morrow, where it will be impossible for us to trade for horses, as
you promised we should. If, he continued, you had not promised to help
us in transporting our goods over the mountains, we should not have
attempted it, but have returned down the river, after which no white men
would ever have come into your country. If you wish the whites to be
your friends, and to bring you arms and protect you from your enemies,
you should never promise what you do not mean to perform: when I first
met you, you doubted what I said, yet you afterwards saw that I told
you the truth. How therefore can you doubt what I now tell you; you see
that I have divided amongst you the meat which my hunters kill, and I
promise to give all who assist us a share of whatever we have to eat. If
therefore you intend to keep your promise, send one of the young men
immediately to order the people to remain at the village till we arrive.

The two inferior chiefs then said, that they had wished to keep their
words and to assist us; that they had not sent for the people, but on
the contrary had disapproved of the measure which was done wholly by the
first chief. Cameahwait remained silent for some time: at last he said
that he knew he had done wrong, but that seeing his people all in want
of provisions, he had wished to hasten their departure for the country
where their wants might be supplied. He however now declared, that
having passed his word he would never violate it, and counter orders
were immediately sent to the village by a young man, to whom we gave a
handkerchief in order to ensure despatch and fidelity.

This difficulty being now adjusted, our march was resumed with an
unusual degree of alacrity on the part of the Indians. We passed a spot,
where six years ago the Shoshonees* suffered a very severe defeat from
the Minnetarees; and late in the evening we reached the upper part of
the cove where the creek enters the mountains. The part of the cove on
the northeast side of the creek has lately been burnt, most probably as
a signal on some occasion. Here we were joined by our hunters with a
single deer, which captain Lewis gave, as a proof of his sincerity, to
the women and children, and remained supperless himself. As we came
along we observed several large hares, some ducks, and many of the cock
of the plains: in the low grounds of the cove were also considerable
quantities of wild onions.

Monday 26. The morning was excessively cold, and the ice in our vessels
was nearly a quarter of an inch in thickness: we set out at sunrise, and
soon reached the fountain of the Missouri, where we halted for a few
minutes, and then crossing the dividing ridge reached the fine spring
where captain Lewis had slept on the 12th in his first excursion to the
Shoshonee camp. The grass on the hill sides is perfectly dry and parched
by the sun, but near the spring was a fine green grass: we therefore
halted for dinner and turned our horses to graze. To each of the Indians
who were engaged in carrying our baggage was distributed a pint of corn,
which they parched, then pounded, and made a sort of soup. One of the
women who had been leading two of our pack horses halted at a rivulet
about a mile behind, and sent on the two horses by a female friend: on
inquiring of Cameahwait the cause of her detention, he answered with
great appearance of unconcern, that she had just stopped to lie in, but
would soon overtake us. In fact we were astonished to see her in about
an hour's time come on with her new born infant and pass us on her way
to the camp, apparently in perfect health.

This wonderful facility with which the Indian women bring forth their
children, seems rather some benevolent gift of nature, in exempting them
from pains which their savage state would render doubly grievous, than
any result of habit. If as has been imagined, a pure dry air or a cold
and elevated country are obstacles to easy delivery, every difficulty
incident to that operation might be expected in this part of the
continent; nor can another reason, the habit of carrying heavy burthens
during pregnancy, be at all applicable to the Shoshonee women, who
rarely carry any burdens, since their nation possesses an abundance of
horses. We have indeed been several times informed by those conversant
with Indian manners, and who asserted their knowledge of the fact, that
Indian women pregnant by white men experience more difficulty in
child-birth than when the father is an Indian. If this account be true,
it may contribute to strengthen the belief, that the easy delivery of
the Indian women is wholly constitutional.

The tops of the high irregular mountains to the westward are still
entirely covered with snow; and the coolness which the air acquires in
passing them, is a very agreeable relief from the heat, which has dried
up the herbage on the sides of the hills. While we stopped, the women
were busily employed in collecting the root of a plant with which they
feed their children, who like their mothers are nearly half starved and
in a wretched condition. It is a species of fennel which grows in the
moist grounds; the radix is of the knob kind, of a long ovate form,
terminating in a single radicle, the whole being three or four inches
long, and the thickest part about the size of a man's little finger:
when fresh, it is white, firm, and crisp; and when dried and pounded
makes a fine white meal. Its flavour is not unlike that of aniseed,
though less pungent. From one to four of these knobbed roots are
attached to a single stem which rises to the height of three or four
feet, and is jointed, smooth, cylindric, and has several small
peduncles, one at each joint above the sheathing leaf. Its colour is a
deep green, as is also that of the leaf, which is sheathing, sessile,
and _polipartite_, the divisions being long and narrow. The flowers,
which are now in bloom, are small and numerous, with white and
umbellifferous petals: there are no root leaves. As soon as the seeds
have matured, the roots of the present year as well as the stem decline,
and are renewed in the succeeding spring from the little knot which
unites the roots. The sunflower is also abundant here, and the seeds,
which are now ripe, are gathered in considerable quantities, and after
being pounded and rubbed between smooth stones, form a kind of meal,
which is a favourite dish among the Indians.

After dinner we continued our route and were soon met by a party of
young men on horseback, who turned with us and went to the village. As
soon as we were within sight of it, Cameahwait requested that we would
discharge our guns; the men were therefore drawn up in a single rank,
and gave a running fire of two rounds, to the great satisfaction of the
Indians. We then proceeded to the encampment where we arrived about six
o'clock, and were conducted to the leathern lodge in the centre of
thirty-two others made of brush. The baggage was arranged near this
tent, which captain Lewis occupied, and surrounded by those of the men
so as to secure it from pillage. This camp was in a beautiful smooth
meadow near the river, and about three miles above their camp when we
first visited the Indians. We here found Colter, who had been sent by
captain Clarke with a note apprising us that there were no hopes of a
passage by water, and that the most practicable route seemed to be that
mentioned by his guide, towards the north. Whatever road we meant to
take, it was now necessary to provide ourselves with horses; we
therefore informed Cameahwait of our intention of going to the great
river beyond the mountains, and that we would wish to purchase twenty
more horses: he said the Minnetarees had stolen a great number of their
horses this spring, but he still hoped they could spare us that number.
In order not to loose the present favourable moment, and to keep the
Indians as cheerful as possible, the violins were brought out and our
men danced to the great diversion of the Indians. This mirth was the
more welcome because our situation was not precisely that which would
most dispose us for gayety, for we have only a little parched corn to
eat, and our means of subsistence or of success, depend on the wavering
temper of the natives, who may change their minds to-morrow.

The Shoshonees are a small tribe of the nation called Snake Indians, a
vague denomination, which embraces at once the inhabitants of the
southern parts of the Rocky mountains and of the plains on each side.
The Shoshonees with whom we now are, amount to about one hundred
warriors, and three times that number of women and children. Within
their own recollection they formerly lived in the plains, but they have
been driven into the mountains by the Pawkees, or the roving Indians of
the Sascatchawain, and are now obliged to visit occasionally, and by
stealth, the country of their ancestors. Their lives are indeed
migratory. From the middle of May to the beginning of September, they
reside on the waters of the Columbia, where they consider themselves
perfectly secure from the Pawkees who have never yet found their way to
that retreat. During this time they subsist chiefly on salmon, and as
that fish disappears on the approach of autumn, they are obliged to seek
subsistence elsewhere. They then cross the ridge to the waters of the
Missouri, down which they proceed slowly and cautiously, till they are
joined near the three forks by other bands, either of their own nation
or of the Flatheads, with whom they associate against the common enemy.
Being now strong in numbers, they venture to hunt buffaloe in the plains
eastward of the mountains, near which they spend the winter, till the
return of the salmon invites them to the Columbia. But such is their
terror of the Pawkees, that as long as they can obtain the scantiest
subsistence, they do not leave the interior of the mountains; and as
soon as they collect a large stock of dried meat, they again retreat,
and thus alternately obtaining their food at the hazard of their lives,
and hiding themselves to consume it. In this loose and wandering
existence they suffer the extremes of want; for two thirds of the year
they are forced to live in the mountains, passing whole weeks without
meat, and with nothing to eat but a few fish and roots. Nor can any
thing be imagined more wretched than their condition at the present
time, when the salmon is fast retiring, when roots are becoming scarce,
and they have not yet acquired strength to hazard an encounter with
their enemies. So insensible are they however to these calamities, that
the Shoshonees are not only cheerful but even gay; and their character,
which is more interesting than that of any Indians we have seen, has in
it much of the dignity of misfortune. In their intercourse with
strangers they are frank and communicative, in their dealings perfectly
fair, nor have we had during our stay with them, any reason to suspect
that the display of all our new and valuable wealth, has tempted them
into a single act of dishonesty. While they have generally shared with
us the little they possess, they have always abstained from begging any
thing from us. With their liveliness of temper, they are fond of gaudy
dresses, and of all sorts of amusements, particularly to games of
hazard; and like most Indians fond of boasting of their own warlike
exploits, whether real or fictitious. In their conduct towards
ourselves, they were kind and obliging, and though on one occasion they
seemed willing to neglect us, yet we scarcely knew how to blame the
treatment by which we suffered, when we recollected how few civilized
chiefs would have hazarded the comforts or the subsistence of their
people for the sake of a few strangers. This manliness of character may
cause or it may be formed by the nature of their government, which is
perfectly free from any restraint. Each individual is his own master,
and the only control to which his conduct is subjected, is the advice of
a chief supported by his influence over the opinions of the rest of the
tribe. The chief himself is in fact no more than the most confidential
person among the warriors, a rank neither distinguished by any external
honor, nor invested by any ceremony, but gradually acquired from the
good wishes of his companions and by superior merit. Such an officer has
therefore strictly no power; he may recommend or advise or influence,
but his commands have no effect on those who incline to disobey, and who
may at any time withdraw from their voluntary allegiance. His shadowy
authority which cannot survive the confidence which supports it, often
decays with the personal vigour of the chief, or is transferred to some
more fortunate or favourite hero.

In their domestic economy, the man is equally sovereign. The man is the
sole proprietor of his wives and daughters, and can barter them away, or
dispose of them in any manner he may think proper. The children are
seldom corrected; the boys, particularly, soon become their own
masters; they are never whipped, for they say that it breaks their
spirit, and that after being flogged they never recover their
independence of mind, even when they grow to manhood. A plurality of
wives is very common; but these are not generally sisters, as among the
Minnetarees and Mandans, but are purchased of different fathers. The
infant daughters are often betrothed by the father to men who are grown,
either for themselves or for their sons, for whom they are desirous of
providing wives. The compensation to the father is usually made in
horses or mules; and the girl remains with her parents till the age of
puberty, which is thirteen or fourteen, when she is surrendered to her
husband. At the same time the father often makes a present to the
husband equal to what he had formerly received as the price of his
daughter, though this return is optional with her parent. Sacajawea had
been contracted in this way before she was taken prisoner, and when we
brought her back, her betrothed was still living. Although he was double
the age of Sacajawea, and had two other wives, he claimed her, but on
finding that she had a child by her new husband, Chaboneau, he
relinquished his pretensions and said he did not want her.

The chastity of the women does not appear to be held in much estimation.
The husband will for a trifling present lend his wife for a night to a
stranger, and the loan may be protracted by increasing the value of the
present. Yet strange as it may seem, notwithstanding this facility, any
connexion of this kind not authorized by the husband, is considered
highly offensive and quite as disgraceful to his character as the same
licentiousness in civilized societies. The Shoshonees are not so
importunate in volunteering the services of their wives as we found the
Sioux were; and indeed we observed among them some women who appeared to
be held in more respect than those of any nation we had seen. But the
mass of the females are condemned, as among all savage nations, to the
lowest and most laborious drudgery. When the tribe is stationary, they
collect the roots, and cook; they build the huts, dress the skins and
make clothing; collect the wood, and assist in taking care of the horses
on the route; they load the horses and have the charge of all the
baggage. The only business of the man is to fight; he therefore takes on
himself the care of his horse, the companion of his warfare; but he will
descend to no other labour than to hunt and to fish. He would consider
himself degraded by being compelled to walk any distance; and were he so
poor as to possess only two horses, he would ride the best of them, and
leave the other for his wives and children and their baggage; and if he
has too many wives or too much baggage for the horse, the wives have no
alternative but to follow him on foot; they are not however often
reduced to those extremities, for their stock of horses is very ample.
Notwithstanding their losses this spring they still have at least seven
hundred, among which are about forty colts, and half that number of
mules. There are no horses here which can be considered as wild; we have
seen two only on this side of the Muscleshell river which were without
owners, and even those although shy, showed every mark of having been
once in the possession of man. The original stock was procured from the
Spaniards, but they now raise their own. The horses are generally very
fine, of a good size, vigorous and patient of fatigue as well as hunger.
Each warrior has one or two tied to a stake near his hut both day and
night, so as to be always prepared for action. The mules are obtained in
the course of trade from the Spaniards, with whose brands several of
them are marked, or stolen from them by the frontier Indians. They are
the finest animals of that kind we have ever seen, and at this distance
from the Spanish colonies are very highly valued. The worst are
considered as worth the price of two horses, and a good mule cannot be
obtained for less than three and sometimes four horses.

We also saw a bridle bit, stirrups and several other articles which,
like the mules, came from the Spanish colonies. The Shoshonees say that
they can reach those settlements in ten days' march by the route of the
Yellowstone river; but we readily perceive that the Spaniards are by no
means favourites. They complain that the Spaniards refuse to let them
have fire arms under pretence that these dangerous weapons will only
induce them to kill each other. In the meantime, say the Shoshonees, we
are left to the mercy of the Minnetarees, who having arms, plunder them
of their horses, and put them to death without mercy. "But this should
not be," said Cameahwait fiercely, "if we had guns, instead of hiding
ourselves in the mountains and living like the bears on roots and
berries, we would then go down and live in the buffaloe country in spite
of our enemies, whom we never fear when we meet on equal terms."

As war is the chief occupation, bravery is the first virtue among the
Shoshonees. None can hope to be distinguished without having given
proofs of it, nor can there be any preferment, or influence among the
nation, without some warlike achievement. Those important events which
give reputation to a warrior, and which entitle him to a new name, are
killing a white bear, stealing individually the horses of the enemy,
leading out a party who happen to be successful either in plundering
horses or destroying the enemy, and lastly scalping a warrior. These
acts seem of nearly equal dignity, but the last, that of taking an
enemy's scalp, is an honour quite independent of the act of vanquishing
him. To kill your adversary is of no importance unless the scalp is
brought from the field of battle, and were a warrior to slay any number
of his enemies in action, and others were to obtain the scalps or first
touch the dead, they would have all the honours, since they have borne
off the trophy.

Although thus oppressed by the Minnetarees, the Shoshonees are still a
very military people. Their cold and rugged country inures them to
fatigue; their long abstinence makes them support the dangers of
mountain warfare, and worn down as we saw them, by want of sustenance,
have a look of fierce and adventurous courage. The Shoshonee warrior
always fights on horseback; he possesses a few bad guns, which are
reserved exclusively for war, but his common arms are the bow and arrow,
a shield, a lance and a weapon called by the Chippeways, by whom it was
formerly used, the poggamoggon. The bow is made of cedar or pine covered
on the outer side with sinews and glue. It is about two and a half feet
long, and does not differ in shape from those used by the Sioux, Mandans
and Minnetarees. Sometimes, however, the bow is made of a single piece
of the horn of an elk, covered on the back like those of wood with
sinews and glue, and occasionally ornamented by a strand wrought of
porcupine quills and sinews, which is wrapped round the horn near its
two ends. The bows made of the horns of the bighorn, are still more
prized, and are formed by cementing with glue flat pieces of the horn
together, covering the back with sinews and glue, and loading the whole
with an unusual quantity of ornaments. The arrows resemble those of the
other Indians except in being more slender than any we have seen. They
are contained, with the implements for striking fire, in a narrow quiver
formed of different kinds of skin, though that of the otter seems to be
preferred. It is just long enough to protect the arrows from the
weather, and is worn on the back by means of a strap passing over the
right shoulder and under the left arm. The shield is a circular piece of
buffaloe hide about two feet four or five inches in diameter, ornamented
with feathers, and a fringe round it of dressed leather, and adorned or
deformed with paintings of strange figures. The buffaloe hide is
perfectly proof against any arrow, but in the minds of the Shoshonees,
its power to protect them is chiefly derived from the virtues which are
communicated to it by the old men and jugglers. To make a shield is
indeed one of their most important ceremonies: it begins by a feast to
which all the warriors, old men and jugglers are invited. After the
repast a hole is dug in the ground about eighteen inches in depth and of
the same diameter as the intended shield: into this hole red hot stones
are thrown and water poured over them, till they emit a very strong* hot
steam. The buffaloe skin, which must be the entire hide of a male two
years old, and never suffered to dry since it was taken from the animal,
is now laid across the hole, with the fleshy side to the ground, and
stretched in every direction by as many as can take hold of it. As the
skin becomes heated, the hair separates and is taken off by the hand;
till at last the skin is contracted into the compass designed for the
shield. It is then taken off and placed on a hide prepared into
parchment, and then pounded during the rest of the festival by the bare
heels of those who are invited to it. This operation sometimes continues
for several days, after which it is delivered to the proprietor, and
declared by the old men and jugglers to be a security against arrows;
and provided the feast has been satisfactory, against even the bullets
of their enemies. Such is the delusion, that many of the Indians
implicitly believe that this ceremony has given to the shield
supernatural powers, and that they have no longer to fear any weapons of
their enemies.

The paggamoggon is an instrument, consisting of a handle twenty-two
inches long, made of wood, covered with dressed leather about the size
of a whip-handle: at one end is a thong of two inches in length, which
is tied to a round stone weighing two pounds and held in a cover of
leather: at the other end is a loop of the same material, which is
passed round the wrist so as to secure the hold of the instrument, with
which they strike a very severe blow.

Besides these, they have a kind of armour something like a coat of mail,
which is formed by a great many folds of dressed antelope skins, united
by means of a mixture of glue and sand. With this they cover their own
bodies and those of their horses, and find it impervious to the arrow.

The caparison of their horses is a halter and a saddle: the first
is either a rope of six or seven strands of buffaloe hair platted
or twisted together, about the size of a man's finger and of great
strength; or merely a thong of raw hide, made pliant by pounding and
rubbing; though the first kind is much preferred. The halter is very
long, and is never taken from the neck of the horse when in constant
use. One end of it is first tied round the neck in a knot and then
brought down to the under jaw, round which it is formed into a simple
noose, passing through the mouth: it is then drawn up on the right side
and held by the rider in his left hand, while the rest trails after him
to some distance. At other times the knot is formed at a little distance
from one of the ends, so as to let that end serve as a bridle, while the
other trails on the ground. With these cords dangling along side of them
the horse is put to his full speed without fear of falling, and when he
is turned to graze the noose is merely taken from his mouth. The saddle
in formed like the pack-saddles used by the French and Spaniards, of two
flat thin boards which fit the sides of the horse, and are kept together
by two cross pieces, one before and the other behind, which rise to
a considerable height, ending sometimes in a flat point extending
outwards, and always making the saddle deep and narrow. Under this a
piece of buffaloe skin, with the hair on, is placed so as to prevent the
rubbing of the boards, and when they mount they throw a piece of skin
or robe over the saddle, which has no permanent cover. When stirrups
are used, they consist of wood covered with leather; but stirrups and
saddles are conveniences reserved for old men and women. The young
warriors rarely use any thing except a small leather pad stuffed with
hair, and secured by a girth made of a leathern thong. In this way they
ride with great expertness, and they have a particular dexterity in
catching the horse when he is running at large. If he will not
immediately submit when they wish to take him, they make a noose in the
rope, and although the horse may be at a distance, or even running,
rarely fail to fix it on his neck; and such is the docility of the
animal, that however unruly he may seem, he surrenders as soon as he
feels the rope on him. This cord is so useful in this way that it is
never dispensed with, even when they use the Spanish bridle, which they
prefer, and always procure when they have it in their power. The horse
becomes almost an object of attachment: a favourite is frequently
painted and his ears cut into various shapes: the mane and tail, which
are never drawn nor trimmed, are decorated with feathers of birds, and
sometimes a warrior suspends at the breast of his horse the finest
ornaments he possesses.

Thus armed and mounted the Shoshonee is a formidable enemy, even with
the feeble weapons which he is still obliged to use. When they attack at
full speed they bend forward and cover their bodies with the shield,
while with the right hand they shoot under the horses neck.

The only articles of metal which the Shoshonees possess are a few bad
knives, some brass kettles, some bracelets or armbands of iron and
brass, a few buttons worn as ornaments in their hair, one or two spears
about a foot in length, and some heads for arrows made of iron and
brass. All these they had obtained in trading with the Crow or Rocky
mountain Indians, who live on the Yellowstone. The few bridle-bits and
stirrups they procured from the Spanish colonies.

The instrument which supplies the place of a knife among them, is a
piece of flint with no regular form, and the sharp part of it not more
than one or two inches long: the edge of this is renewed, and the flint
itself is formed into heads for arrows, by means of the point of a deer
or elk horn, an instrument which they use with great art and ingenuity.
There are no axes or hatchets; all the wood being cut with flint or
elk-horn, the latter of which is always used as a wedge in splitting
wood. Their utensils consist, besides the brass kettles, of pots in the
form of a jar, made either of earth, or of a stone found in the hills
between Madison and Jefferson rivers, which, though soft and white in
its natural state, becomes very hard and black after exposure to the
fire. The horns of the buffaloe and the bighorn supply them with spoons.

The fire is always kindled by means of a blunt arrow, and a piece of
well-seasoned wood of a soft spongy kind, such as the willow or

The Shoshonees are of a diminutive stature, with thick flat feet and
ankles, crooked legs, and are, generally speaking, worse formed than any
nation of Indians we have seen. Their complexion resembles that of the
Sioux, and is darker than that of the Minnetarees, Mandans, or Shawnees.
The hair in both sexes is suffered to fall loosely over the face and
down the shoulders: some men, however, divide it by means of thongs of
dressed leather or otter skin into two equal queues, which hang over the
ears and are drawn in front of the body; but at the present moment, when
the nation is afflicted by the loss of so many relations killed in war,
most of them have the hair cut quite short in the neck, and Cameahwait
has the hair cut short all over his head, this being the customary
mourning for a deceased kindred.

The dress of the men consists of a robe, a tippet, a shirt, long
leggings and moccasins. The robe is formed most commonly of the skins of
antelope, bighorn, or deer, though when it can be procured, the buffaloe
hide is preferred. Sometimes too they are made of beaver, moonax, and
small wolves, and frequently during the summer of elk skin. These are
dressed with the hair on, and reach about as low as the middle of the
leg. They are worn loosely over the shoulders, the sides being at
pleasure either left open or drawn together by the hand, and in cold
weather kept close by a girdle round the waist. This robe answers the
purpose of a cloak during the day, and at night is their only covering.

The tippet is the most elegant article of Indian dress we have ever
seen. The neck or collar of it is a strip about four or five inches
wide, cut from the back of the otter skin, the nose and eyes forming one
extremity, and the tail another. This being dressed with the fur on,
they attach to one edge of it, from one hundred to two hundred and
fifty little rolls of ermine skin, beginning at the ear, and proceeding
towards the tail. These ermine skins are the same kind of narrow strips
from the back of that animal, which are sewed round a small cord of
twisted silkgrass thick enough to make the skin taper towards the tail
which hangs from the end, and are generally about the size of a large
quill. These are tied at the head into little bundles, of two, three or
more according to the caprice of the wearer, and then suspended from the
collar, and a broad fringe of ermine skin is fixed so as to cover the
parts where they unite, which might have a coarse appearance. Little
tassels of fringe of the same materials are also fastened to the
extremities of the tail, so as to show its black colour to greater
advantage. The centre of the collar is further ornamented with the
shells of the pearl oyster. Thus adorned, the collar is worn close round
the neck, and the little rolls fall down over the shoulders nearly
to the waist, so as to form a sort of short cloak, which has a very
handsome appearance. These tippets are very highly esteemed, and are
given or disposed of on important occasions only. The ermine is the fur
known to the northwest traders by the name of the white weasel, but is
the genuine ermine; and by encouraging the Indians to take them, might
no doubt be rendered a valuable branch of trade. These animals must be
very abundant, for the tippets are in great numbers, and the
construction of each requires at least one hundred skins.

The shirt is a covering of dressed skin without the hair, and formed
of the hide of the antelope, deer, bighorn, or elk, though the last
is more rarely used than any other for this purpose. It fits the body
loosely, and reaches half way down the thigh. The aperture at the top
is wide enough to admit the head, and has no collar, but is either left
square, or most frequently terminates in the tail of the animal, which
is left entire, so as to fold outwards, though sometimes the edges are
cut into a fringe, and ornamented with quills of the porcupine. The
seams of the shirt are on the sides, and are richly fringed and adorned
with porcupine quills, till within five or six inches of the sleeve,
where it is left open, as is also the under side of the sleeve from the
shoulder to the elbow, where it fits closely round the arm as low as
the wrist, and has no fringe like the sides, and the under part of the
sleeve above the elbow. It is kept up by wide shoulder straps, on which
the manufacturer displays his taste by the variety of figures wrought
with porcupine quills of different colours, and sometimes by beads when
they can be obtained. The lower end of the shirt retains the natural
shape of the fore legs and neck of the skin, with the addition of a
slight fringe; the hair too is left on the tail and near the hoofs, part
of which last is retained and split into a fringe.

The leggings are generally made of antelope skins, dressed without the
hair, and with the legs, tail and neck hanging to them. Each legging is
formed of a skin nearly entire, and reaches from the ancle to the upper
part of the thigh, and the legs of the skin are tucked before and behind
under a girdle round the waist. It fits closely to the leg, the tail
being worn upwards, and the neck highly ornamented with fringe and
porcupine quills, drags on the ground behind the heels. As the legs of
the animal are tied round the girdle, the wide part of the skin is drawn
so high as to conceal the parts usually kept from view, in which respect
their dress is much more decent than that of any nation of Indians on
the Missouri. The seams of the leggings down the sides, are also fringed
and ornamented, and occasionally decorated with tufts of hair taken
from enemies whom they have slain. In making all these dresses, their
only thread is the sinew taken from the backs and loins of deer, elk,
buffaloe, or any other animal.

The moccasin is of the deer, elk, or buffaloe skin, dressed without the
hair, though in winter they use the buffaloe skin with the hairy side
inward, as do most of the Indians who inhabit the buffaloe country. Like
the Mandan moccasin, it is made with a single seam on the outer edge,
and sewed up behind, a hole being left at the instep to admit the foot.
It is variously ornamented with figures wrought with porcupine quills,
and sometimes the young men most fond of dress, cover it with the skin
of a polecat, and trail at their heels the tail of the animal.

The dress of the women consists of the same articles as that of their
husbands. The robe though smaller is worn in the same way: the moccasins
are precisely similar. The shirt or chemise reaches half way down the
leg, is in the same form, except that there is no shoulder-strap, the
seam coming quite up to the shoulder; though for women who give suck
both sides are open, almost down to the waist. It is also ornamented in
the same way with the addition of little patches of red cloth, edged
round with beads at the skirts. The chief ornament is over the breast,
where there are curious figures made with the usual luxury of porcupine
quills. Like the men they have a girdle round the waist, and when either
sex wishes to disengage the arm, it is drawn up through the hole near
the shoulder, and the lower part of the sleeve thrown behind the body.

Children alone wear beads round their necks; grown persons of both sexes
prefer them suspended in little bunches from the ear, and sometimes
intermixed with triangular pieces of the shell of the pearl oyster.
Sometimes the men tie them in the same way to the hair of the forepart
of the head, and increase the beauty of it by adding the wings and tails
of birds, and particularly the feathers of the great eagle or calumet
bird, of which they are extremely fond. The collars are formed either
of sea shells procured from their relations to the southwest, or of the
sweet-scented grass which grows in the neighbourhood, and which they
twist or plait together, to the thickness of a man's finger, and then
cover with porcupine quills of various colours. The first of these is
worn indiscriminately by both sexes, the second principally confined
to the men, while a string of elk's tusks is a collar almost peculiar
to the women and children. Another collar worn by the men is a string
of round bones like the joints of a fish's back, but the collar most
preferred, because most honourable, is one of the claws of the brown
bear. To kill one of these animals is as distinguished an achievement as
to have put to death an enemy, and in fact with their weapons is a more
dangerous trial of courage. These claws are suspended on a thong of
dressed leather, and being ornamented with beads, are worn round the
neck by the warriors with great pride. The men also frequently wear the
skin of a fox, or a strip of otter skin round the head in the form of a

In short, the dress of the Shoshonees is as convenient and decent as
that of any Indians we have seen.

They have many more children than might have been expected, considering
their precarious means of support and their wandering life. This
inconvenience is however balanced by the wonderful facility with which
their females undergo the operations of child-birth. In the most
advanced state of pregnancy they continue their usual occupations, which
are scarcely interrupted longer than the mere time of bringing the child
into the world.

The old men are few in number and do not appear to be treated with much
tenderness or respect.

The tobacco used by the Shoshonees is not cultivated among them, but
obtained from the Indians of the Rocky mountains, and from some of the
bands of their own nation who live south of them; it is the same plant
which is in use among the Minnetarees, Mandans, and Ricaras.

Their chief intercourse with other nations seems to consist in their
association with other Snake Indians, and with the Flatheads when they
go eastward to hunt buffaloe, and in the occasional visits made by the
Flatheads to the waters of the Columbia for the purpose of fishing.
Their intercourse with the Spaniards is much more rare, and it furnishes
them with a few articles, such as mules, and some bridles, and other
ornaments for horses, which, as well as some of their kitchen utensils,
are also furnished by the bands of Snake Indians from the Yellowstone.
The pearl ornaments which they esteem so highly come from other bands,
whom they represent as their friends and relations, living to the
southwest beyond the barren plains on the other side of the mountains:
these relations they say inhabit a good country, abounding with elk,
deer, bear, and antelope, where horses and mules are much more abundant
than they are here, or to use their own expression, as numerous as the
grass of the plains.

The names of the Indians varies in the course of their life: originally
given in childhood, from the mere necessity of distinguishing objects,
or from some accidental resemblance to external objects, the young
warrior is impatient to change it by some achievement of his own. Any
important event, the stealing of horses, the scalping an enemy, or
killing a brown bear, entitles him at once to a new name which he then
selects for himself, and it is confirmed by the nation. Sometimes the
two names subsist together: thus, the chief Cameahwait, which means,
"one who never walks," has the war name of Tooettecone, or "black gun,"
which he acquired when he first signalized himself. As each new action
gives a warrior a right to change his name, many of them have had
several in the course of their lives. To give to a friend his own name
is an act of high courtesy, and a pledge like that of pulling off the
moccasin of sincerity and hospitality. The chief in this way gave his
name to captain Clarke when he first arrived, and he was afterwards
known among the Shoshonees by the name of Cameahwait.

The diseases incident to this state of life may be supposed to be few,
and chiefly the result of accidents. We were particularly anxious to
ascertain whether they had any knowledge of the venereal disorder. After
inquiring by means of the interpreter and his wife, we learnt that they
sometimes suffered from it, and that they most usually die with it; nor
could we discover what was their remedy. It is possible that this
disease may have reached them in their circuitous communications with
the whites through the intermediate Indians; but the situation of the
Shoshonees is so insulated, that it is not probable that it could have
reached them in that way, and the existence of such a disorder among the
Rocky mountains seems rather a proof of its being aboriginal.

                               CHAPTER XVII.

     The party, after procuring horses from the Shoshonees, proceed on
     their journey through the mountains--The difficulties and dangers
     of the route--A council held with another band of the Shoshonees,
     of whom some account is given--They are reduced to the necessity of
     killing their horses for food--Captain Clarke with a small party
     precedes the main body in quest of food, and is hospitably received
     by the Pierced-nose Indians--Arrival of the main body amongst this
     tribe, with whom a council is held--They resolve to perform the
     remainder of their journey in canoes--Sickness of the party--They
     descend the Kooskooskee to its junction with Lewis river, after
     passing several dangerous rapids--Short description of the manners
     and dress of the Pierced-nose Indians.

August 27. We were now occupied in determining our route and procuring
horses from the Indians. The old guide who had been sent on by captain
Clarke, now confirmed, by means of our interpreter, what he had
already asserted, of a road up Berry creek which would lead to Indian
establishments on another branch of the Columbia: his reports however
were contradicted by all the Shoshonees. This representation we ascribed
to a wish on their part to keep us with them during the winter, as well
for the protection we might afford against their enemies, as for the
purpose of consuming our merchandise amongst them; and as the old
man promised to conduct us himself, that route seemed to be the most
eligible. We were able to procure some horses, though not enough for
all our purposes. This traffic, and our inquiries and councils with the
Indians, consumed the remainder of the day.

August 28. The purchase of horses was resumed, and our stock raised
to twenty-two. Having now crossed more than once the country which
separates the head waters of the Missouri from those of the Columbia, we
can designate the easiest and most expeditious route for a portage; it
is as follows:

From the forks of the river north 60° west, five miles to the point of
a hill on the right: then south 80° west, ten miles to a spot where the
creek is ten miles wide, and the highlands approach within two hundred
yards; southwest five miles to a narrow part of the bottom; then turning
south 70° west, two miles to a creek on the right: thence south 80°
west, three miles to a rocky point opposite to a thicket of pines on the
left; from that place west, three miles to the gap where is the fountain
of the Missouri: on leaving this fountain south 80° west, six miles
across the dividing ridge, to a run from the right passing several small
streams north 80° west, four miles over hilly ground to the east fork of
Lewis's river, which is here forty yards wide.

Thursday 29. Captain Clarke joined us this morning, and we continued our
bargains for horses. The late misfortunes of the Shoshonees make the
price higher than common, so that one horse cost a pistol, one hundred
balls, some powder and a knife; another was changed for a musket, and in
this way we obtained twenty-nine. The horses themselves are young and
vigorous, but they are very poor, and most of them have sore backs in
consequence of the roughness of the Shoshonee saddle. We are therefore
afraid of loading them too heavily and are anxious to obtain one at
least for each man to carry the baggage, or the man himself, or in the
last resource to serve as food; but with all our exertions we could not
provide all our men with horses. We have, however, been fortunate in
obtaining for the last three days a sufficient supply of flesh, our
hunters having killed two or three deer every day.

Friday 30. The weather was fine, and having now made all our purchases,
we loaded our horses, and prepared to start. The greater part of the
band who had delayed their journey on our account, were also ready to
depart. We then took our leave of the Shoshonees, who set out on their
visit to the Missouri at the same time that we accompanied by the old
guide, his four sons, and another Indian, began the descent of the
river, along the same road which captain Clarke had previously pursued.
After riding twelve miles we encamped on the south bank of the river,
and as the hunters had brought in three deer early in the morning we did
not feel the want of provisions.

Saturday 31. At sunrise we resumed our journey, and halted for three
hours on Salmon creek to let the horses graze. We then proceeded to the
stream called Berry creek eighteen miles from the camp of last night:
as we passed along, the vallies and prairies were on fire in several
places, in order to collect the bands of the Shoshonees and the
Flatheads, for their journey to the Missouri. The weather was warm and
sultry, but the only inconvenience which we apprehend is a dearth of
food, of which we had to-day an abundance, having procured a deer, a
goose, one duck and a prairie fowl. On reaching Tower creek we left the
former track of captain Clarke, and began to explore the new route,
which is our last hope of getting out of the mountains. For four miles
the road, which is tolerably plain, led us along Berry creek to some old
Indian lodges where we encamped for the night; the next day,

Sunday, September 1, 1805, we followed the same road which here left
the creek and turned to the northwest across the hills. During all day
we were riding over these hills, from which are many drains and small
streams running into the river to the left, and at the distance of
eighteen miles, came to a large creek called Fish creek emptying into
the Columbia which is about six miles from us. It had rained in the
course of the day, and commenced raining again towards evening. We
therefore determined not to leave the low grounds to night, and after
going up Fish creek four miles formed our encampment. The country over
which we passed is well watered, but poor and rugged or stony, except
the bottoms of Fish creek, and even these are narrow. Two men were sent
to purchase fish of the Indians at the mouth of the creek, and with the
dried fish which they obtained, and a deer and a few salmon killed by
the party, we were still well supplied. Two bear also were wounded but
we could procure neither of them.

Monday 2. This morning all the Indians left us, except the old guide,
who now conducted us up Fish creek: at one mile and a half we passed a
branch of the river coming in through a low ground covered with pine on
the left, and two and a half miles further is a second branch from the
right; after continuing our route along the hills covered with pine, and
a low ground of the same growth, we arrived at the distance of three and
a half miles at the forks of the creek. The road which we were following
now turned up the east side of these forks, and as our guide informed us
led to the Missouri. We were therefore left without any track; but as no
time was to be lost we began to cut our road up the west branch of the
creek. This we effected with much difficulty; the thickets of trees
and brush through which we were obliged to cut our way required great
labour; the road itself was over the steep and rocky sides of the hills
where the horses could not move without danger of slipping down, while
their feet were bruised by the rocks and stumps of trees. Accustomed as
these animals were to this kind of life they suffered severely, several
of them fell to some distance down the sides of the hills, some turned
over with the baggage, one was crippled, and two gave out exhausted with
fatigue. After crossing the creek several times we at last made five
miles, with great fatigue and labour, and encamped on the left side of
the creek in a small stony low ground. It was not, however, till after
dark that the whole party was collected, and then, as it rained, and we
killed nothing, we passed an uncomfortable night. The party had been
too busily occupied with the horses to make any hunting excursion, and
though as we came along Fish creek we saw many beaver dams we saw none
of the animals themselves. In the morning,

Tuesday 3, the horses were very stiff and weary. We sent back two men
for the load of the horse which had been crippled yesterday, and which
we had been forced to leave two miles behind. On their return, we set
out at eight o'clock, and proceeded up the creek, making a passage
through the brush and timber along its borders. The country is generally
supplied with pine, and in the low grounds is a great abundance of fir
trees, and under bushes. The mountains are high and rugged, and those to
the east of us, covered with snow. With all our precautions the horses
were very much injured in passing over the ridges and steep points of
the hills, and to add to the difficulty, at the distance of eleven
miles, the high mountains closed the creek, so that we were obliged
to leave the creek to the right, and cross the mountain abruptly. The
ascent was here so steep that several of the horses slipped and hurt
themselves, but at last we succeeded in crossing the mountain, and
encamped on a small branch of Fish creek. We had now made fourteen miles
in a direction nearly north from the river; but this distance, though
short, was very fatiguing, and rendered still more disagreeable by the
rain which began at three o'clock. At dusk it commenced snowing, and
continued till the ground was covered to the depth of two inches, when
it changed into a sleet. We here met with a serious misfortune the last
of our thermometers being broken by accident. After making a scanty
supper on a little corn and a few pheasants killed in the course of the
day, we laid down to sleep, and next morning,

Wednesday 4, found every thing frozen, and the ground covered with snow.
We were obliged to wait some time in order to thaw the covers of the
baggage, after which we began our journey at eight o'clock. We crossed a
high mountain which joins the dividing ridge between the waters of the
creek we had been ascending, and those running to the north and west.
We had not gone more than six miles over the snow, when we reached the
head of a stream from the right, which directed its course more to the
westward. We descended the steep sides of the hills along its border,
and at the distance of three miles found a small branch coming in from
the eastward. We saw several of the argalia, but they were too shy to be
killed, and we therefore made a dinner from a deer shot by one of the
hunters. Then we pursued the course of the stream for three miles, till
it emptied itself into a river from the east. In the wide valley at
their junction, we discovered a large encampment of Indians: when we had
reached them and alighted from our horses, we were received with great
cordiality. A council was immediately assembled, white robes were
thrown over our soldiers, and the pipe of peace introduced. After
this ceremony, as it was too late to go any further, we encamped, and
continued smoking and conversing with the chiefs till a late hour. The
next morning,

Thursday 5, we assembled the chiefs and warriors, and informed them who
we were, and the purpose for which we visited their country. All this
was however conveyed to them through so many different languages, that
it was not comprehended without difficulty. We therefore proceeded to
the more intelligible language of presents, and made four chiefs by
giving a medal and a small quantity of tobacco to each. We received in
turn from the principal chief, a present consisting of the skins of a
braro, an otter, and two antelopes, and were treated by the women to
some dried roots and berries. We then began to traffic for horses, and
succeeded in exchanging seven, purchasing eleven, for which we gave a
few articles of merchandise.

This encampment consists of thirty-three tents, in which were about four
hundred souls, among whom eighty were men. They are called Ootlashoots,
and represent themselves as one band of a nation called Tushepaws, a
numerous people of four hundred and fifty tents, residing on the heads
of the Missouri and Columbia rivers, and some of them lower down the
latter river. In person these Indians are stout, and their complexion
lighter than that common among Indians. The hair of the men is worn
in queues of otter skin, falling in front over the shoulders. A shirt
of dressed skin covers the body to the knee, and on this is worn
occasionally a robe. To these were added leggings and moccasins. The
women suffer their hair to fall in disorder over the face and shoulders,
and their chief article of covering is a long shirt of skin, reaching
down to the ancles, and tied round the waist. In other respects, as also
in the few ornaments which they possess, their appearance is similar
to that of the Shoshonees; there is however a difference between the
language of these people which is still farther increased by the very
extraordinary pronunciation of the Ootlashoots. Their words have all a
remarkably guttural sound, and there is nothing which seems to represent
the tone of their speaking more exactly than the clucking of a fowl, or
the noise of a parrot. This peculiarity renders their voices scarcely
audible, except at a short distance, and when many of them are talking,
forms a strange confusion of sounds. The common conversation we
overheard, consisted of low guttural sounds occasionally broken by
a loud word or two, after which it would relapse and scarcely be
distinguished. They seem kind and friendly and willingly shared with us
berries and roots, which formed their only stock of provisions. Their
only wealth is their horses, which are very fine, and so numerous that
this party had with them at least five hundred.

Friday 6. We continued this morning with the Ootlashoots, from whom we
purchased two more horses, and procured a vocabulary of their language.
The Ootlashoots set off about two o'clock to join the different bands
who were collecting at the three forks of the Missouri. We ourselves
proceeded at the same time, and taking a direction N. 30 W. crossed
within the distance of one mile and a half, a small river from the
right, and a creek coming in from the north. This river is the main
stream, and when it reaches the end of the valley, where the mountains
close in upon it, is joined by the river on which we encamped last
evening, as well as by the creek just mentioned. To the river thus
formed we gave the name of captain Clarke, he being the first white man
who had ever visited its waters. At the end of five miles on this course
we had crossed the valley, and reached the top of a mountain covered
with pine; this we descended along the steep sides and ravines for
a mile and a half, when we came to a spot on the river, where the
Ootlashoots had encamped a few days before. We then followed the course
of the river, which is from twenty-five to thirty yards wide, shallow,
stony, and the low grounds on its borders narrow. Within the distance of
three and a half miles, we crossed it several times, and after passing a
run on each side, encamped on its right bank, after making ten miles
during the afternoon. The horses were turned out to graze, but those we
had lately bought were secured and watched, lest they should escape, or
be stolen by their former owners. Our stock of flour was now exhausted,
and we had but little corn, and as our hunters had killed nothing except
two pheasants, our supper consisted chiefly of berries.

Saturday, 7. The greater part of the day the weather was dark and rainy:
we continued through the narrow low grounds along the river, till at
the distance of six miles we came to a large creek from the left, after
which the bottoms widen. Four miles lower is another creek on the same
side, and the valley now extends from one to three miles, the mountains
on the left being high and bald, with snow on the summits, while the
country to the right is open and hilly. Four miles beyond this is a
creek running from the snow-top'd mountains, and several runs on both
sides of the river. Two miles from this last is another creek on the
left. The afternoon was now far advanced, but not being able to find a
fit place to encamp we continued six miles further till after dark, when
we halted for the night. The river here is still shallow and stony, but
is increased to the width of fifty yards. The valley through which we
passed is of a poor soil, and its fertility injured by the quantity of
stone scattered over it. We met two horses which had strayed from the
Indians and were now quite wild. No fish was to be seen in the river,
but we obtained a very agreeable supply of two deer, two cranes, and two

Sunday, 8. We set out early: the snow-top'd hills on the left approach
the river near our camp, but we soon reached a valley four or five miles
wide, through which we followed the course of the river in a direction
due north. We passed three creeks on the right, and several runs
emptying themselves into the opposite side of the river. At the distance
of eleven miles the river turned more towards the west: we pursued it
for twelve miles, and encamped near a large creek coming in from the
right, which, from its being divided into four different channels, we
called Scattering creek. The valley continues to be a poor stony land,
with scarcely any timber, except some pine trees along the waters and
partially scattered on the hills to the right, which, as well as those
on the left, have snow on them. The plant which forces itself most on
our attention is a species of prickly pear very common on this part of
the river: it grows in clusters, in an oval form about the size of a
pigeon's egg, and its thorns are so strong and bearded, that when it
penetrates our feet it brings away the pear itself. We saw two mares
and a colt, which, like the horses seen yesterday, seemed to have lost
themselves and become wild. Our game to-day consisted of two deer, an
elk, and a prairie fowl.

Monday, 9. We resumed our journey through the valley, and leaving
the road on our right crossed the Scattering creek, and halted at
the distance of twelve miles on a small run from the east, where we
breakfasted on the remains of yesterday's hunt: we here took a meridian
altitude, which gave the latitude of 46° 41' 38" 9"': we then continued,
and at the distance of four miles passed over to the left bank of the
river, where we found a large road through the valley. At this place is
a handsome stream of very clear water, a hundred yards wide with low
banks, and a bed formed entirely of gravel: it has every appearance of
being navigable, but as it contains no salmon, we presume there must
be some fall below which obstructs their passage. Our guide could not
inform us where this river discharged its waters; he said that as far as
he knew its course it ran along the mountains to the north, and that not
far from our present position it was joined by another stream nearly
as large as itself, which rises in the mountains to the east near the
Missouri, and flows through an extensive valley or open prairie. Through
this prairie is the great Indian road to the waters of the Missouri; and
so direct is the route, that in four days' journey from this place we
might reach the Missouri about thirty miles above what we called the
Gates of the Rocky mountains, or the spot where the valley of that river
widens into an extensive plain on entering the chain of mountains. At
ten miles from our camp is a small creek falling in from the eastward,
five miles below which we halted at a large stream which empties itself
on the west side of the river. It is a fine bold creek of clear water
about twenty yards wide, and we called it _Traveller's-rest_ creek; for
as our guide told us that we should here leave the river, we determined
to remain for the purpose of making celestial observations and
collecting some food, as the country through which we are to pass has no
game for a great distance.

The valley of the river through which we have been passing is generally
a prairie from five to six miles in width, and with a cold gravelly
white soil. The timber which it possesses is almost exclusively pine,
chiefly of the long-leafed kind, with some spruce, and a species of fir
resembling the Scotch fir: near the water courses are also seen a few
narrow-leafed cottonwood trees, and the only underbrush is the redwood,
honeysuckle, and rosebushes. Our game was four deer, three geese,
four ducks, and three prairie fowls; one of the hunters brought in a
red-headed woodpecker of the large kind common in the United States,
but the first of the kind we have seen since leaving the Illinois.

Tuesday, 10. The morning being fair all the hunters were sent out,
and the rest of the party employed in repairing their clothes: two
of them were sent to the junction of the river from the east, along
which the Indians go to the Missouri: it is about seven miles below
Traveller's-rest creek; the country at the forks is seven or eight miles
wide, level and open, but with little timber; its course is to the
north, and we incline to believe that this is the river which the
Minnetarees had described to us as running from south to north along the
west side of the Rocky mountains, not far from the sources of Medicine
river: there is moreover reason to suppose, that after going as far
northward as the head-waters of that river it turns to the westward and
joins the Tacootchetessee. Towards evening one of the hunters returned
with three Indians, whom he had met in his excursion up Traveller's-rest
creek: as soon as they saw him they prepared to attack him with arrows,
but he quieted them by laying down his gun and advancing towards them,
and soon persuaded them to come to the camp. Our Shoshonee guide could
not speak the language of these people, but by the universal language
of signs and gesticulations, which is perfectly intelligible among the
Indians, he found that these were three Tushepaw Flatheads in pursuit of
two men, supposed to be Shoshonees, who had stolen twenty-three of their
horses: we gave them some boiled venison and a few presents; such as a
fishhook, a steel to strike fire, and a little powder; but they seemed
better pleased with a piece of riband which we tied in the hair of each
of them. They were however in such haste, lest their horses should be
carried off, that two of them set off after sunset in quest of the
robbers: the third however was persuaded to remain with us and conduct
us to his relations: these he said were numerous, and resided on the
Columbia in the plain below the mountains. From that place he added,
the river was navigable to the ocean; that some of his relations had
been there last fall and seen an old white man who resided there by
himself, and who gave them some handkerchiefs like those we have. The
distance from this place is five sleeps or days' journey. When our
hunters had all joined us we found our provisions consisted of four
deer, a beaver, and three grouse.

The observation of to-day gave 46° 48' 28" as the latitude of
Travellers-rest creek.

Wednesday 11. Two of our horses having strayed away we were detained all
the morning before they were caught. In the meantime our Tushepaw Indian
became impatient of the delay, and set out to return home alone. As
usual we had dispatched four of our best hunters ahead, and as we hoped
with their aid and our present stock of provisions to subsist on the
route, we proceeded at three o'clock up the right side of the creek, and
encamped under some old Indian huts at the distance of seven miles. The
road was plain and good; the valley is however narrower than that which
we left and bordered by high and rugged hills to the right, while the
mountains on the left were covered with snow. The day was fair and warm,
the wind from the northwest.

Thursday 12. There was a white frost this morning. We proceeded at seven
o'clock and soon passed a stream falling in on the right, near which was
an old Indian camp with a bath or sweating-house covered with earth. At
two miles distance we ascended a high, and thence continued through a
hilly and thickly timbered country for nine miles, when we came to the
forks of the creek, where the road branches up each fork. We followed
the western route, and finding that the creek made a considerable bend
at the distance of four miles, crossed a high mountain in order to avoid
the circuit. The road had been very bad during the first part of the
day, but the passage of the mountain, which was eight miles across,
was very painful to the horses, as we were obliged to go over steep
stony sides of hills and along the hollows and ravines, rendered more
disagreeable* by the fallen timber, chiefly pine, spruce pine and fir.
We at length reached the creek, having made twenty-three miles of a
route so difficult that some of the party did not join us before ten
o'clock. We found the account of the scantiness of game but too true, as
we were not able to procure any thing during the whole of yesterday, and
to-day we killed only a single pheasant. Along the road we observed many
of the pine trees pealed off, which is done by the Indians to procure
the inner bark for food in the spring.

Friday 13. Two of the horses strayed away during the night, and one of
them being captain Lewis's, he remained with four men to search for them
while we proceeded up the creek: at the distance of two miles we came
to several springs issuing from large rocks of a coarse hard grit,
and nearly boiling hot. Those seem to be much frequented as there are
several paths made by elk, deer and other animals, and near one of
the springs a hole or Indian bath, and roads leading in different
directions. These embarrassed our guide, who mistaking the road took us
three miles out of the proper course over an exceedingly bad route. We
then fell into the right road, and proceeded on very well, when having
made five miles we stopped to refresh the horses. Captain Lewis here
joined us, but not having been able to find his horse two men were sent
back to continue the search. We then proceeded along the same kind of
country which we passed yesterday, and after crossing a mountain and
leaving the sources of the Travellers-rest creek on the left, reached
after five miles riding a small creek which also came in from the left
hand, passing through open glades, some of which were half a mile wide.
The road which had been as usual rugged and stony, became firm, plain
and level after quitting the head of Travellers-rest. We followed the
course of this new creek for two miles and encamped at a spot where the
mountains close on each side. Other mountains covered with snow are in
view to the southeast and southwest. We were somewhat more fortunate
to-day in killing a deer and several pheasants which were of the common
species, except that the tail was black.

Saturday 14. The day was very cloudy with rain and hail in the vallies,
while on the top of the mountains some snow fell. We proceeded early,
and continuing along the right side of Glade creek crossed a high
mountain, and at the distance of six miles reached the place where it is
joined by another branch of equal size from the right. Near the forks
the Tushepaws have had an encampment which is but recently abandoned,
for the grass is entirely destroyed by horses, and two fish weirs across
the creek are still remaining; no fish were however to be seen. We here
passed over to the left side of the creek and began the ascent of a very
high and steep mountain nine miles across. On reaching the other side we
found a large branch from the left, which seems to rise in the snowy
mountains to the south and southeast. We continued along the creek two
miles further, when night coming on we encamped opposite a small island
at the mouth of a branch on the right side of the river. The mountains
which we crossed to-day were much more difficult than those of
yesterday; the last was particularly fatiguing, being steep and stony,
broken by fallen timber, and thickly overgrown by pine, spruce, fir,
haematack and tamarac. Although we had made only seventeen miles we were
all very weary. The whole stock of animal food was now exhausted, and
we therefore killed a colt, on which we made a hearty supper. From
this incident we called the last creek we had passed from the south
Colt-killed creek. The river itself is eighty yards wide, with a swift
current, and a stony channel. Its Indian name is Kooskooskee.

Sunday 15. At an early hour we proceeded along the right side of the
Kooskooskee over steep rocky points of land, till at the distance of
four miles we reached an old Indian fishing place: the road here turned
to the right of the water, and began to ascend a mountain: but the fire
and wind had prostrated or dried almost all the timber on the south
side, and the ascents were so steep that we were forced to wind in every
direction round the high knobs which constantly impeded our progress.
Several of the horses lost their foot-hold and slipped: one of them
which was loaded with a desk and small trunk, rolled over and over for
forty yards, till his fall was stopped by a tree. The desk was broken;
but the poor animal escaped without much injury. After clambering in
this way for four miles, we came to a high snowy part of the mountain
where was a spring of water, at which we halted two hours to refresh our

On leaving the spring the road continued as bad as it was below, and the
timber more abundant. At four miles we reached the top of the mountain,
and foreseeing no chance of meeting with water, we encamped on the
northern side of the mountain, near an old bank of snow, three feet
deep. Some of this we melted, and supped on the remains of the colt
killed yesterday. Our only game to-day was two pheasants, and the horses
on which we calculated as a last resource begin to fail us, for two of
them were so poor, and worn out with fatigue, that we were obliged to
leave them behind. All around us are high rugged mountains, among which
is a lofty range from southeast to northwest, whose tops are without
timber, and in some places covered with snow. The night was cloudy and
very cold, and three hours before daybreak,

Monday 16, it began to snow, and continued all day, so that by evening
it was six or eight inches deep. This covered the track so completely,
that we were obliged constantly to halt and examine, lest we should
lose the route. In many places we had nothing to guide us except the
branches of the trees which, being low, have been rubbed by the burdens
of the Indian horses. The road was, like that of yesterday, along
steep hill sides, obstructed with fallen timber, and a growth of eight
different species of pine, so thickly strewed that the snow falls from
them as we pass, and keeps us continually wet to the skin, and so cold,
that we are anxious lest our feet should be frozen, as we have only thin
moccasins to defend them.

At noon we halted to let the horses feed on some long grass on the south
side of the mountains, and endeavoured by making fires to keep ourselves
warm. As soon as the horses were refreshed, captain Clarke went ahead
with one man, and at the distance of six miles reached a stream from the
right, and prepared fires by the time of our arrival at dusk. We here
encamped in a piece of low ground, thickly timbered, but scarcely large
enough to permit us to lie level. We had now made thirteen miles. We
were all very wet, cold, and hungry: but although before setting out
this morning, we had seen four deer, yet we could not procure any of
them, and were obliged to kill a second colt for our supper.

Tuesday 17. Our horses became so much scattered during the night, that
we were detained till one o'clock before they were all collected. We
then continued our route over high rough knobs, and several drains and
springs, and along a ridge of country separating the waters of two small
rivers. The road was still difficult, and several of the horses fell and
injured themselves very much, so that we were unable to advance more
than ten miles to a small stream, on which we encamped.

We had killed a few pheasants, but these being insufficient for our
subsistence, we killed another of the colts. This want of provisions,
and the extreme fatigue to which we were subjected, and the dreary
prospects before us, began to dispirit the men. It was therefore agreed
that captain Clarke should go on ahead with six hunters, and endeavour
to kill something for the support of the party. He therefore set out,

Wednesday 18, early in the morning in hopes of finding a level country
from which he might send back some game. His route lay S. 85° W., along
the same high dividing ridge, and the road was still very bad; but he
moved on rapidly, and at the distance of twenty miles was rejoiced on
discovering far off an extensive plain towards the west and southwest,
bounded by a high mountain. He halted an hour to let the horses eat a
little grass on the hill sides, and then went on twelve and a half miles
till he reached a bold creek, running to the left, on which he encamped.
To this stream he gave the very appropriate name of Hungry creek; for
having procured no game, they had nothing to eat.

In the meantime we were detained till after eight o'clock by the loss of
one of our horses which had strayed away and could not be found. We then
proceeded, but having soon finished the remainder of the colt killed
yesterday, felt the want of provisions, which was more sensible from our
meeting with no water, till towards nightfall we found some in a ravine
among the hills. By pushing on our horses almost to their utmost
strength, we made eighteen miles.

We then melted some snow, and supped on a little portable soup, a few
canisters of which, with about twenty weight of bears oil, are our only
remaining means of subsistence. Our guns are scarcely of any service,
for there is no living creature in these mountains, except a few small
pheasants, a small species of gray squirrel, and a blue bird of the
vulture kind about the size of a turtle dove or jay, and even these are
difficult to shoot.

Thursday 19. Captain Clarke proceeded up the creek, along which the
road was more steep and stony than any he had yet passed, At six miles
distance he reached a small plain, in which he fortunately found a
horse, on which he breakfasted, and hung the rest on a tree for the
party in the rear. Two miles beyond this he left the creek, and crossed
three high mountains, rendered almost impassable from the steepness of
the ascent and the quantity of fallen timber. After clambering over
these ridges and mountains, and passing the heads of some branches of
Hungry creek, he came to a large creek running westward. This he
followed for four miles, then turned to the right down the mountain,
till he came to a small creek to the left. Here he halted, having made
twenty-two miles on his course, south eighty degrees west, though the
winding route over the mountains almost doubled the distance. On
descending the last mountain, the heat became much more sensible after
the extreme cold he had experienced for several days past. Besides the
breakfast in the morning, two pheasants were their only food during the
day, and the only kinds of birds they saw were the blue jay, a small
white-headed hawk, a larger hawk, crows, and ravens.

We followed soon after sunrise. At six miles the ridge terminated and we
had before us the cheering prospect of the large plain to the southwest.
On leaving the ridge we again ascended and went down several mountains,
and six miles further came to Hungry creek where it was fifteen yards
wide, and received the waters of a branch from the north. We went up it
on a course nearly due west, and at three miles crossed a second branch
flowing from the same quarter. The country is thickly covered with pine
timber, of which we have enumerated eight distinct species. Three miles
beyond this last branch of Hungry creek we encamped, after a fatiguing
route of eighteen miles. The road along the creek is a narrow rocky path
near the borders of very high precipices, from which a fall seems almost
inevitable destruction. One of our horses slipped and rolling over with
his load down the hill side, which was nearly perpendicular and strewed
with large irregular rocks, nearly a hundred yards, and did not stop
till he fell into the creek: we all expected he was killed, but to our
astonishment, on taking off his load, he rose, and seemed but little
injured, and in twenty minutes proceeded with his load. Having no other
provision we took some portable soup, our only refreshment during the
day. This abstinence, joined with fatigue, has a visible effect on our
health. The men are growing weak and losing their flesh very fast:
several are afflicted with the dysentery, and eruptions of the skin are
very common.

Friday 20. Captain Clarke went on through a country as rugged as usual,
till on passing a low mountain he came at the distance of four miles to
the forks of a large creek. Down this he kept on a course south 60° west
for two miles, then turning to the right, continued over a dividing
ridge where were the heads of several little streams, and at twelve
miles distance descended the last of the rocky mountains and reached the
level country. A beautiful open plain partially supplied with pine now
presented itself. He continued for five miles when he discovered three
Indian boys, who, on observing the party, ran off and hid themselves in
the grass. Captain Clarke immediately alighted, and giving his horse
and gun to one of the men went after the boys. He soon relieved their
apprehensions and sent them forward to the village about a mile off with
presents of small pieces of riband. Soon after the boys had reached
home, a man came out to meet the party, with great caution, but he
conducted them to a large tent in the village, and all the inhabitants
gathered round to view with a mixture of fear and pleasure these
wonderful strangers. The conductor now informed captain Clarke by signs,
that the spacious tent was the residence of the great chief, who had set
out three days ago with all the warriors to attack some of their enemies
towards the southwest; that he would not return before fifteen or
eighteen days, and that in the meantime there were only a few men left
to guard the women and children. They now set before them a small piece
of buffaloe meat, some dried salmon, berries, and several kinds of
roots. Among these last is one which is round and much like an onion in
appearance and sweet to the taste: it is called quamash, and is eaten
either in its natural state, or boiled into a kind of soup or made into
a cake, which is then called pasheco. After the long abstinence this was
a sumptuous treat; we returned the kindness of the people by a few small
presents, and then went on in company with one of the chiefs to a second
village in the same plain, at the distance of two miles. Here the party
was treated with great kindness and passed the night. The hunters were
sent out, but though they saw some tracks of deer were not able to
procure any thing.

We were detained till ten o'clock before we could collect our scattered
horses; we then proceeded for two miles, when to our great joy we found
the horse which captain Clarke had killed, and a note apprising us of
his intention of going to the plains towards the southwest, and collect
provisions by the time we reached him. At one o'clock we halted on a
small stream, and made a hearty meal of horse flesh. On examination it
now appeared that one of the horses was missing, and the man in whose
charge he had been, was directed to return and search for him. He came
back in about two hours without having been able to find the horse; but
as the load was too valuable to be lost, two of the best woodsmen were
directed to continue the search while we proceeded. Our general course
was south 25° west through a thick forest of large pine, which has
fallen in many places, and very much obstructs the road. After making
about fifteen miles we encamped on a ridge where we could find but
little grass and no water. We succeeded, however, in procuring a little
from a distance, and supped on the remainder of the horse.

On descending the heights of the mountains the soil becomes gradually
more fertile, and the land through which we passed this evening, is of
an excellent quality. It has a dark gray soil, though very broken, and
with large masses of gray free-stone above the ground in many places.
Among the vegetable productions we distinguished the alder, honeysuckle,
and huckleberry, common in the United States, and a species of
honeysuckle, known only westward of the Rocky mountains, which rises to
the height of about four feet, and bears a white berry. There is also a
plant resembling the chokecherry, which grows in thick clumps eight or
ten feet high, and bears a black berry with a single stone of a sweetish
taste. The arbor vitæ too, is very common, and grows to a great size,
being from two to six feet in diameter.

Saturday 21. The free use of food, to which he had not been accustomed,
made captain Clarke very sick both yesterday evening and during the
whole of to-day. He therefore sent out all the hunters and remained
himself at the village, as well on account of his sickness as for the
purpose of avoiding suspicion and collecting information from the
Indians as to the route.

The two villages consist of about thirty double tents, and the
inhabitants call themselves Chopunnish or Pierced-nose. The chief drew
a chart of the river, and explained, that a greater chief than himself,
who governed this village and was called the Twisted-hair, was now
fishing at the distance of half a day's ride down the river: his chart
made the Kooskooskee fork a little below his camp, a second fork below,
still further on a large branch flowed in on each side, below which the
river passed the mountains: here was a great fall of water, near which
lived white people, from whom were procured the white beads and brass
ornaments worn by the women.

A chief of another band made a visit this morning, and smoked with
captain Clarke. The hunters returned without having been able to kill
any thing; captain Clarke purchased as much dried salmon, roots, and
berries as he could, with the few articles he chanced to have in his
pockets, and having sent them by one of the men and a hired Indian back
to captain Lewis, he went on towards the camp of the Twisted-hair. It
was four o'clock before he set out, and the night soon came on; but
having met an Indian coming from the river, they engaged him by a
present of a neckcloth, to guide them to the Twisted-hair's camp. For
twelve miles they proceeded through the plain before they reached the
river hills, which are very high and steep. The whole valley from these
hills to the Rocky mountain is a beautiful level country, with a rich
soil covered with grass: there is, however, but little timber, and the
ground is badly watered: the plain is so much lower than the surrounding
hills, or so much sheltered by them, that the weather is quite warm,
while the cold of the mountains was extreme. From the top of the river
hills they proceeded down for three miles till they reached the water
side, between eleven and twelve o'clock at night: here we found a small
camp of five squaws and three children, the chief himself being
encamped, with two others, on a small island in the river: the guide
called to him and he soon came over. Captain Clarke gave him a medal,
and they smoked together till one o'clock.

We could not set out till eleven o'clock, because being obliged in the
evening to loosen our horses to enable them to find subsistence, it
is always difficult to collect them in the morning. At that hour we
continued along the ridge on which we had slept, and at a mile and a
half reached a large creek running to our left, just above its junction
with one of its branches. We proceeded down the low grounds of this
creek, which are level, wide, and heavily timbered, but turned to the
right at the distance of two and a half miles, and began to pass the
broken and hilly country; but the thick timber had fallen in so many
places that we could scarcely make our way. After going five miles
we passed the creek on which captain Clarke had encamped during the
night of the 19th, and continued five miles further over the same kind
of road, till we came to the forks of a large creek. We crossed the
northern branch of this stream, and proceeded down it on the west side
for a mile: here we found a small plain where there was tolerable grass
for the horses, and therefore remained during the night, having made
fifteen miles on a course S. 30° W.

The arbor vitæ increases in size and quantity as we advance: some of
the trees we passed to-day being capable of forming periogues at least
forty-five feet in length. We were so fortunate also as to kill a few
pheasants and a prairie wolf, which, with the remainder of the horse,
supplied us with one meal, the last of our provisions, our food for the
morrow being wholly dependent on the chance of our guns.

Sunday, 22. Captain Clarke passed over to the island with the
Twisted-hair, who seemed to be cheerful and sincere in his conduct.
The river at this place is about one hundred and sixty yards wide, but
interrupted by shoals, and the low grounds on its borders are narrow.
The hunters brought in three deer; after which Captain Clarke left his
party, and accompanied by the Twisted-hair and his son, rode back to the
village, where he arrived about sunset: they then walked up together to
the second village, where we had just arrived. We had intended to set
out early, but one of the men having neglected to hobble his horse he
strayed away, and we were obliged to wait till nearly twelve o'clock. We
then proceeded on a western course for two and a half miles, when we met
the hunters sent by Captain Clarke from the village, seven and a half
miles distant, with provisions. This supply was most seasonable, as
we had tasted nothing since last night, and the fish, and roots, and
berries, in addition to a crow which we killed on the route, completely
satisfied our hunger. After this refreshment we proceeded in much better
spirits, and at a few miles were overtaken by the two men who had been
sent back after a horse on the 20th. They were perfectly exhausted with
the fatigue of walking and the want of food; but as we had two spare
horses they were mounted and brought on to the village.

They had set out about three o'clock in the afternoon of the 20th with
one horse between them: after crossing the mountain they came to the
place where we had eaten the horse. Here they encamped, and having no
food made a fire and roasted the head of the horse, which even our
appetites had spared, and supped on the ears, skin, lips, &c. of the
animal. The next morning, 21st, they found the track of the horse,
and pursuing it recovered the saddle-bags, and at length about eleven
o'clock, the horse himself. Being now both mounted, they set out to
return and slept at a small stream: during the day they had nothing at
all except two pheasants, which were so torn to pieces by the shot, that
the head and legs were the only parts fit for food. In this situation
they found the next morning, 22d, that during the night their horses had
run away from them or been stolen by the Indians. They searched for them
until nine o'clock, when seeing that they could not recover them and
fearful of starving if they remained where they were, they set out on
foot to join us, carrying the saddle-bags alternately. They walked as
fast as they could during the day, till they reached us in a deplorable
state of weakness and inanition.

As we approached the village, most of the women, though apprised of our
being expected, fled with their children into the neighbouring woods.
The men, however, received us without any apprehension, and gave us
a plentiful supply of provisions. The plains were now crowded with
Indians, who came to see the persons of the whites and the strange
things they brought with them: but as our guide was perfectly a stranger
to their language we could converse by signs only. Our inquiries were
chiefly directed to the situation of the country, the courses of the
rivers, and the Indian villages, of all which we received information
from several of the Indians, and as their accounts varied but little
from each other, we were induced to place confidence in them. Among
others, the Twisted-hair drew a chart of the river on a white elk skin.
According to this, the Kooskooskee forks a few miles from this place;
two days towards the south is another and larger fork on which the
Shoshonee or Snake Indians fish: five days' journey further is a large
river from the northwest into which Clarke's river empties itself: from
the mouth of that river to the falls is five days' journey further: on
all the forks as well as on the main river great numbers of Indians
reside, and at the falls are establishments of whites. This was the
story of the Twisted-hair.

Monday 23. The chiefs and warriors were all assembled this morning, and
we explained to them where we came from, the objects of our visiting
them, and our pacific intentions towards all the Indians. This being
conveyed by signs, might not have been perfectly comprehended, but
appeared to give perfect satisfaction. We now gave a medal to two of
the chiefs, a shirt in addition to the medal already received by the
Twisted-hair, and delivered a flag and a handkerchief for the grand
chief on his return. To these were added a knife, a handkerchief and a
small piece of tobacco for each chief. The inhabitants did not give us
any provisions gratuitously. We therefore purchased a quantity of fish,
berries (chiefly red haws) and roots; and in the afternoon went on to
the second village. The Twisted-hair introduced us into his own tent,
which consisted however of nothing more than pine bushes and bark,
and gave us some dried salmon boiled. We continued our purchases, and
obtained as much provision as our horses could carry in their present
weak condition as far as the river. The men exchanged a few old
canisters for dressed elk skins, of which they made shirts: great crowds
of the natives are round us all night, but we have not yet missed any
thing except a knife and a few other articles stolen yesterday from a
shot pouch. At dark we had a hard wind from the southwest accompanied
with rain which lasted half an hour, but in the morning,

Tuesday 24, the weather was fair. We sent back Colter in search of the
horses lost in the mountains, and having collected the rest set out
at ten o'clock along the same route already passed by captain Clarke
towards the river. All round the village the women are busily employed
in gathering and dressing the pasheco root, of which large quantities
are heaped up in piles over the plain. We now felt severely the
consequence of eating heartily after our late privations: captain Lewis
and two of the men were taken very ill last evening, and to-day he
could scarcely sit on his horse, while others were obliged to be put
on horseback, and some from extreme weakness and pain, were forced to
lie down along side of the road for some time. At sunset we reached
the island where the hunters had been left on the 22d. They had been
unsuccessful, having killed only two deer since that time, and two of
them are very sick. A little below this island is a larger one on which
we encamped, and administered Rush's pills to the sick.

Wednesday 25. The weather was very hot, and oppressive to the party,
most of whom are now complaining of sickness. Our situation indeed,
rendered it necessary to husband our remaining strength, and it was
determined to proceed down the river in canoes. Captain Clarke therefore
set out with the Twisted-hair and two young men, in quest of timber for
canoes. As he went down the river he crossed at the distance of a mile a
creek from the right, which from the rocks that obstructed its passage,
he called Rockdam river. The hills along the river are high and steep:
the low grounds are narrow, and the navigation of the river embarrassed
by two rapids. At the distance of three miles further he reached two
nearly equal forks of the river, one of which flowed in from the north.
Here he rested for an hour, and cooked a few salmon which one of the
Indians caught with a gig. Here too, he was joined by two canoes of
Indians from below: they were long, steady, and loaded with the
furniture and provisions of two families. He now crossed the south fork,
and returned to the camp on the south side, through a narrow pine bottom
the greater part of the way, in which was found much fine timber for
canoes. One of the Indian boats with two men, set out at the same time,
and such was their dexterity in managing the pole, that they reached
camp within fifteen minutes after him, although they had to drag the
canoe over three rapids. He found captain Lewis, and several of the men
still very sick; and distributed to such as were in need of it, salts
and tartar emetic.

Thursday 26. Having resolved to go down to some spot calculated for
building canoes, we set out early this morning and proceeded five miles,
and encamped on low ground on the south, opposite the forks of the
river. But so weak were the men that several were taken sick in coming
down; the weather being oppressively hot. Two chiefs and their families
followed us, and encamped with a great number of horses near us: and
soon after our arrival we were joined by two Indians, who came down
the north fork on a raft. We purchased some fresh salmon, and having
distributed axes, and portioned off the labour of the party, began,

Friday 27, at an early hour, the preparations for making five canoes.
But few of the men, however, were able to work, and of these several
were soon taken ill, as the day proved very hot. The hunters too,
returned without any game, and seriously indisposed, so that nearly the
whole party was now ill. We procured some fresh salmon; and Colter, who
now returned with one of the horses, brought half a deer, which was very
nourishing to the invalids: several Indians from a camp below, came up
to see us.

Saturday 28. The men continue ill, though some of those first attacked
are recovering. Their general complaint is a heaviness at the stomach,
and a lax, which is rendered more painful by the heat of the weather,
and the diet of fish and roots, to which they are confined, as no game
is to be procured. A number of Indians collect about us in the course of
the day to gaze at the strange appearance of every thing belonging to

Sunday 29. The morning was cool, the wind from the southwest; but in the
afternoon the heat returned. The men continue ill; but all those who are
able to work are occupied at the canoes. The spirits of the party were
much recruited by three deer brought in by the hunters; and the next

Monday 30th, the sick began to recruit their strength, the morning being
fair and pleasant. The Indians pass in great numbers up and down the
river, and we observe large quantities of small duck going down this

Tuesday, October 1, 1805. The morning was cool, the wind easterly, but
the latter part of the day was warm. We were visited by several Indians
from the tribes below, and others from the main south fork. To two of
the most distinguished men, we made presents of a ring and broach,
and to five others a piece of riband, a little tobacco, and the fifth
part of a neckcloth. We now dried our clothes and other articles, and
selected some articles such as the Indians admire, in order to purchase
some provisions, as we have nothing left except a little dried fish,
which operates as a complete purgative.

Wednesday 2. The day is very warm. Two men were sent to the village with
a quantity of these articles to purchase food. We are now reduced to
roots, which produce violent pains in the stomach. Our work continued
as usual, and many of the party are convalescent. The hunters returned
in the afternoon with nothing but a small prairie-wolf, so that our
provisions being exhausted, we killed one of the horses to eat, and
provide soup for the sick.

Thursday 3. The fine cool morning and easterly wind had an agreeable
effect upon the party, most of whom are now able to work. The Indians
from below left us, and we were visited by others from different

Friday 4. Again we had a cool east wind from the mountains. The men were
now much better, and captain Lewis himself so far recovered as to walk
about a little. Three Indians arrived to-day from the Great river to the
south. The two men also returned from the village with roots and fish,
and as the flesh of the horse killed yesterday was exhausted, we were
confined to that diet, although unwholesome as well as unpleasant. The
afternoon was warm.

Saturday 5. The wind easterly, and the weather cool. The canoes being
nearly finished it became necessary to dispose of our horses. They were
therefore collected to the number of thirty-eight, and being branded and
marked were delivered to three Indians, the two brothers and the son of
a chief, who promises to accompany us down the river. To each of those
men we gave a knife and some small articles, and they agreed to take
good care of the horses till our return. The hunters with all their
diligence are unable to kill any thing, the hills being high and rugged,
and the woods too dry to hunt deer, which is the only game in the
country. We therefore continue to eat dried fish and roots, which are
purchased from the squaws, by means of small presents, but chiefly white
beads, of which they are extravagantly fond. Some of these roots seem to
possess very active properties, for after supping on them this evening,
we were swelled to such a degree as to be scarcely able to breathe for
several hours. Towards night we lanched two canoes which proved to be
very good.

Sunday 6. This morning is again cool, and the wind easterly. The general
course of the winds seems to resemble that which we observed on the east
side of the mountain. While on the head waters of the Missouri, we had
every morning a cool wind from the west. At this place a cool breeze
springs up during the latter part of the night, or near daybreak, and
continues till seven or eight o'clock, when it subsides, and the latter
part of the day is warm. Captain Lewis is not so well as he was, and
captain Clarke was also taken ill. We had all our saddles buried in a
cache near the river, about half a mile below, and deposited at the same
time a canister of powder, and a bag of balls. The time which could be
spared from our labours on the canoes, was devoted to some astronomical
observations. The latitude of our camp as deduced from the mean of two
observations is 46° 34' 56" 3"' north.

Monday 7. This morning all the canoes were put in the water and loaded,
the oars fixed, and every preparation made for setting out but when we
were all ready, the two chiefs who had promised to accompany us, were
not to be found, and at the same time we missed a pipe tomahawk. We
therefore proceeded without them. Below the forks this river is called
the Kooskooskee, and is a clear rapid stream, with a number of shoals
and difficult places. For some miles the hills are steep, the low
grounds narrow, but then succeeds an open country with a few trees
scattered along the river. At the distance of nine miles is a small
creek on the left. We passed in the course of the day ten rapids, in
descending which, one of the canoes struck a rock, and sprung a leak:
we however continued for nineteen miles, and encamped on the left side
of the river, opposite to the mouth of a small run. Here the canoe was
unloaded and repaired, and two lead canisters of powder deposited;
several camps of Indians were on the sides of the river, but we had
little intercourse with any of them.

Tuesday 8. We set out at nine o'clock. At eight and a half miles we
passed an island: four and a half miles lower a second island, opposite
a small creek on the left side of the river. Five miles lower is another
island on the left: a mile and a half below which is a fourth. At a
short distance from this is a large creek from the right, to which we
gave the name of Colter's creek, from Colter one of the men. We had
left this creek about a mile and a half, and were passing the last of
fifteen rapids which we had been fortunate enough to escape, when one of
the canoes struck, and a hole being made in her side, she immediately
filled and sunk. The men, several of whom could not swim, clung to the
boat till one of our canoes could be unloaded, and with the assistance
of an Indian boat, they were all brought to shore. All the goods were so
much wet, that we were obliged to halt for the night, and spread them
out to dry. While all this was exhibited, it was necessary to place two
sentinels over the merchandise, for we found that the Indians, though
kind and disposed to give us every aid during our distress, could not
resist the temptation of pilfering some of the small articles. We passed
during our route of twenty miles to-day, several encampments of Indians
on the islands, and near the rapids, which places are chosen as most
convenient for taking salmon. At one of these camps we found our two
chiefs, who after promising to descend the river with us, had left us;
they however willingly came on board after we had gone through the
ceremony of smoking.

Wednesday, 9. The morning was as usual, cool; but as the weather both
yesterday and to-day was cloudy, our merchandise dried but slowly. The
boat, though much injured, was repaired by ten o'clock so as to be
perfectly fit for service; but we were obliged to remain during the day
till the articles were sufficiently dry to be reloaded: the interval
we employed in purchasing fish for the voyage and conversing with the
Indians. In the afternoon we were surprised at hearing that our old
Shoshonee guide and his son had left us, and been seen running up the
river several miles above. As he had never given any notice of his
intention, nor had even received his pay for guiding us, we could not
imagine the cause of his desertion, nor did he ever return to explain
his conduct. We requested the chief to send a horseman after him to
request that he would return and receive what we owed him. From this
however he dissuaded us, and said very frankly, that his nation, the
Chopunnish, would take from the old man any presents that he might have
on passing their camp.

The Indians came about our camp at night, and were very gay and
good-humoured with the men. Among other exhibitions was that of a squaw
who appeared to be crazy: she sang in a wild incoherent manner, and
would offer to the spectators all the little articles she possessed,
scarifying herself in a horrid manner if any one refused her present:
she seemed to be an object of pity among the Indians, who suffered her
to do as she pleased without interruption.

Thursday, 10. A fine morning. We loaded the canoes and set off at seven
o'clock. At the distance of two and a half miles we had passed three
islands, the last of which is opposite to a small stream on the right.
Within the following three and a half miles is another island and
a creek on the left, with wide low grounds, containing willow and
cottonwood trees, on which were three tents of Indians. Two miles
lower is the head of a large island, and six and a half miles further
we halted at an encampment of eight lodges on the left, in order to
view a rapid before us: we had already passed eight, and some of them
difficult; but this was worse than any of them, being a very hazardous
ripple strewed with rocks: we here purchased roots and dined with the
Indians. Among them was a man from the falls, who says that he saw white
people at that place and is very desirous of going down with us; an
offer which however we declined. Just above this camp we had passed a
tent, near which was an Indian bathing himself in a small pond or hole
of water, warmed by throwing in hot stones. After finishing our meal we
descended the rapid with no injury, except to one of our boats which
ran against a rock, but in the course of an hour was brought off with
only a small split in her side. This ripple, from its appearance and
difficulty, we named the Rugged rapid. We went on over five other rapids
of a less dangerous kind, and at the distance of five miles reached a
large fork of the river from the south; and after coming twenty miles,
halted below the junction on the right side of the river: our arrival
soon attracted the attention of the Indians, who flocked in all
directions to see us. In the evening the Indian from the falls, whom we
had seen at the Rugged rapid, joined us with his son in a small canoe,
and insisted on accompanying us to the falls. Being again reduced to
fish and roots we made an experiment to vary our food by purchasing*
a few dogs, and after having been accustomed to horse-flesh, felt no
disrelish to this new dish. The Chopunnish have great numbers of dogs
which they employ for domestic purposes, but never eat; and our using
the flesh of that animal soon brought us into ridicule as dog-eaters.

The country at the junction of the two rivers is an open plain on all
sides, broken towards the left by a distant ridge of highland, thinly
covered with timber: this is the only body of timber which the country
possesses; for at the forks there is not a tree to be seen, and during
almost the whole descent of sixty miles down the Kooskooskee from its
forks there are very few. This southern branch is in fact the main
stream of Lewis's river on which we encamped when among the Shoshonees.
The Indians inform us that it is navigable for sixty miles; that not far
from its mouth it receives a branch from the south; and a second and
larger branch, two days' march up, and nearly parallel to the first
Chopunnish villages, we met near the mountains. This branch is called
Pawnashte, and is the residence of a chief, who, according to their
expression, has more horses than he can count. The river has many
rapids, near which are situated many fishing camps; there being ten
establishments of this before reaching the first southern branch; one
on that stream, five between that and the Pawnashte; one on that river,
and two above it; besides many other Indians who reside high up on the
more distant waters of this river. All these Indians belong to the
Chopunnish nation, and live in tents of an oblong form, covered with
flat roofs.

At its mouth Lewis's river is about two hundred and fifty yards wide,
and its water is of a greenish blue colour. The Kooskooskee, whose
waters are clear as crystal, one hundred and fifty yards in width, and
after the union the river enlarges to the space of three hundred yards:
at the point of the union is an Indian cabin, and in Lewis's river a
small island.

The Chopunnish or Pierced-nose nation, who reside on the Kooskooskee
and Lewis's rivers, are in person stout, portly, well-looking men: the
women are small, with good features, and generally handsome, though the
complexion of both sexes is darker than that of the Tushepaws. In dress
they resemble that nation, being fond of displaying their ornaments. The
buffaloe or elk-skin robe decorated with beads, sea-shells, chiefly
mother-of-pearl, attached to an otter-skin collar and hung in the hair,
which falls in front in two queues; feathers, paints of different kinds,
principally white, green, and light blue, all of which they find in
their own country: these are the chief ornaments they use. In the winter
they wear a short shirt of dressed skins, long painted leggings and
moccasins, and a plait of twisted grass round the neck.

The dress of the women is more simple, consisting of a long shirt of
argalia or ibex skin, reaching down to the ankles without a girdle:
to this are tied little pieces of brass and shells and other small
articles; but the head is not at all ornamented. The dress of the female
is indeed more modest, and more studiously so than any we have observed,
though the other sex is careless of the indelicacy of exposure.

The Chopunnish have very few amusements, for their life is painful and
laborious; and all their exertions are necessary to earn even their
precarious subsistence. During the summer and autumn they are busily
occupied in fishing for salmon, and collecting their winter store
of roots. In the winter they hunt the deer on snow shoes over the
plains, and towards spring cross the mountains to the Missouri for the
purpose of trafficking for buffaloe robes. The inconveniences of that
comfortless life are increased by frequent encounters with their enemies
from the west, who drive them over the mountains with the loss of their
horses, and sometimes the lives of many of the nation. Though originally
the same people, their dialect varies very perceptibly from that of
the Tushepaws: their treatment to us differed much from the kind and
disinterested services of the Shoshonees: they are indeed selfish and
avaricious; they part very reluctantly with every article of food or
clothing; and while they expect a recompense for every service however
small, do not concern themselves about reciprocating any presents we may
give them.

They are generally healthy--the only disorders which we have had
occasion to remark being of a scrophulous kind, and for these, as well
as for the amusement of those who are in good health, hot and cold
bathing is very commonly used.

The soil of these prairies is of a light yellow clay intermixed with
small smooth grass: it is barren, and produces little more than a
bearded grass about three inches high, and a prickly pear, of which we
now found three species: the first is of the broad-leafed kind, common
to the Missouri. The second has the leaf of a globular form, and is also
frequent on the upper part of the Missouri, particularly after it enters
the Rocky mountains. The third is pecular to this country, and is much
more inconvenient than the other two: it consists of small thick leaves
of a circular form, which grow from the margin of each other as in the
broad-leafed pear of the Missouri: these leaves are armed with a greater
number of thorns, which are stronger, and appear to be barbed; and as
the leaf itself is very slightly attached to the stem, as soon as one
thorn touches the moccasin it adheres and brings with it the leaf, which
is accompanied by a reenforecement of thorns.

                            END OF VOLUME 1.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, Vol. I. - To the Sources of the Missouri, Thence Across the Rocky Mountains and Down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. - Performed During the Years 1804-5-6." ***

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