Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 1804 - Part Three
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: August 16, 1804 - August 24, 1804

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates August 16, 1804 - August 24, 1804.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates August 16, 1804 - August 24, 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 1804
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 16, 1804 - August 24, 1804
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: August 16, 1804 - August 24, 1804

August 16, 1804
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, buffalo, one rockfish, one flatback, perch, catfish, a small species of perch called, on the Ohio, silverfish, a shrimp of the same size, shape and flavor 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 mosquitoes, who generally give us great trouble.

August 17, 1804
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 neighboring 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 neighboring tribes, unless they apprehend that it is made by their enemies.

August 18, 1804
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 [47]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, 1804
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 favor 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 neighbors. 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 buffalo 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.

August 20, 1804
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 honors 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 miles.

August 21, 1804
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 rigors 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, 1804
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 [50]same side, of allum rock, of a dark brown color, 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, 1804
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 buffalo [51]prairie, from our having here killed the first buffalo. 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, 1804
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 flavor; 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 mosquitoes.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: August 16, 1804 - August 24, 1804

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