Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 1805 - Part Three
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: April 13, 1805 - April 16, 1805

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates April 13, 1805 - April 16, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates April 13, 1805 - April 16, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 1805
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 13, 1805 - April 16, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: April 13, 1805 - April 16, 1805

April 13, 1805
Saturday 13. We set out at sunrise, and at nine o'clock having the wind in our favor 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 Assiniboines, 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 buffalo to-day but at too great a distance to obtain any of them, though a number of the carcasses 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.

April 14, 1805
Sunday 14. We set off early with pleasant and fair weather: a dog joined us, which we suppose had strayed from the Assiniboine 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 Assiniboines 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 Assiniboine, 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 Assiniboines 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 Charbonneau'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 Assiniboines have so recently left the river that game is scarce and shy. One of the hunters shot at an otter last evening; a buffalo 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 pumice stone continue, and a bituminous water about the color 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 [188]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 flavor, which is a favorite food of the antelope, whose necks are often perfumed by rubbing against it.

April 15, 1805
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 Assiniboine, which from Indian accounts approaches very near to the Missouri at this place. Like all the rivulets of this neighborhood 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 Assiniboines; 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 buffalo 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 Assiniboines. 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.

April 16, 1805
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 buffalo, 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.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: April 13, 1805 - April 16, 1805

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