Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 1805 - Part Four
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: April 17, 1805 - April 25, 1805


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates April 17, 1805 - April 25, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates April 17, 1805 - April 25, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates April 17, 1805 - April 25, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: April 17, 1805 - April 25, 1805

April 17, 1805
Wednesday, April 17. We set off early, the weather being fine, and the wind so favorable 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 traveled 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 pumice stone, 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 Assiniboine encampments; around us are great quantities of game, such as herds of buffalo, 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 Assiniboines on their return from war against the Indians on the Rocky mountains.

April 18, 1805
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 buffalo, 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 buffalo which we killed yesterday had shed his long hair, and that which remained was about two inches long, thick, [191]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 color than any we had hitherto seen: their favorite 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.

April 19, 1805
The next day, Friday, 19th, the wind was so high from northwest that we could not proceed, but being less violent on

April 20, 1805
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 neighboring 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 buffalo skins; near it lay a bag made of buffalo 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.

April 21, 1805
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 buffalo, elk, deer, antelopes, geese, and some swan and ducks, out of which we procured three deer, four buffalo calves, which last are equal in flavor 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 neighboring 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 bluff.

April 22, 1805
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 buffalo, 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 strata's of a black colored stone like petrified wood, which make good whetstones. The usual appearances of coal, or carbonated wood, and pumice stone 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, buffalo, and antelopes in view of us: the buffalo 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.

April 23, 1805
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 buffalo calf and three black tailed deer: the sand on the river has the same appearances as usual, except that the quantity of wood increases.

April 24, 1805
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 stopping.

April 25, 1805
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.

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