Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 1805 - Part Three
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: August 5, 1805 - August 6, 1805


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates August 5, 1805 - August 6, 1805 .

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates August 5, 1805 - August 6, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 5, 1805 - August 6, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: August 5, 1805 - August 6, 1805

August 5, 1805
Monday 5. This morning Charbonneau complained of being unable to march far to-day, and Captain Lewis therefore ordered him and Sergeant 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 Charbonneau 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 color, 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 labor 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.

August 6, 1805
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 Charbonneau 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.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: August 5, 1805 - August 6, 1805

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