Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 1805 - Part Two
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: April 8, 1805 - April 12, 1805


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates April 8, 1805 - April 12, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates April 8, 1805 - April 12, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 8, 1805 - April 12, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: April 8, 1805 - April 12, 1805

April 8, 1805
Monday, 8th. The day was clear and cool, the wind from the northwest, so that we traveled 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 powder.

April 9, 1805
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 pumice stone 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 labors 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 flavor 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 mosquitoes begin to trouble us.

April 10, 1805
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 Assiniboines 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 mosquitoes have renewed their visit, and gave us much uneasiness.

April 11, 1805
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 pirogues 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.

April 12, 1805
Friday, 12th. We set off early and passed a high range of hills on the south side, our pirogues 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 colored loam, intermixed with a small proportion of fine sand and covered generally with a short grass resembling blue grass. In its color, 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 neighboring 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.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: April 8, 1805 - April 12, 1805

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