Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 1805 - Part Seven
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: August 14, 1805 - August 15, 1805


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates August 14, 1805 - August 15, 1805 .

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates August 14, 1805 - August 15, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates August 14, 1805 - August 15, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: August 14, 1805 - August 15, 1805

August 14, 1805
Wednesday 14. In order to give time for the boats to reach the forks of Jefferson river, Captain Lewis determined to remain here and obtain all the information he could collect with regard to the country. Having nothing to eat but a little flour and parched meal, with the berries of the Indians, he sent out Drewyer and Shields, who borrowed horses from the natives, to hunt for a few hours. About the same time the young warriors set out for the same purpose. There are but few elk or black tailed deer in this neighborhood, and as the common red-deer secrete themselves in the bushes when alarmed, they are soon safe from the arrows, which are but feeble weapons against any animals which the huntsmen cannot previously run down with their horses. The chief game of the Shoshones, therefore, is the antelope, which when pursued retreats to the open plains, where the horses have full room for the chase. But such is its extraordinary fleetness and wind that a single horse has no possible chance of outrunning it, or tiring it down; and the hunters are therefore obliged to resort to stratagem.

About twenty Indians, mounted on fine horses, and armed with bows and arrows, left the camp; in a short time they descried a herd of ten antelopes: they immediately separated into little squads of two or three, and formed a scattered circle round the herd for five or six miles, keeping at a wary distance, so as not to alarm them till they were perfectly inclosed, and usually selecting some commanding eminence as a stand. Having gained their positions, a small party rode towards the herd, and with wonderful dexterity the huntsman preserved his seat, and the horse his footing, as he ran at full speed over the hills, and down the steep ravines, and along the borders of the precipices. They were soon outstripped by the antelopes, which on gaining the other extremity of the circle were driven back and pursued by the fresh hunters. They turned and flew, rather than ran in another direction; but there too, they found new enemies. In this way they were alternately pursued backwards and forwards, till at length, notwithstanding the skill of the hunters, they all escaped, and the party after running for two hours returned without having caught any thing, and their horses foaming with sweat.

This chase, the greater part of which was seen from the camp, formed a beautiful scene; but to the hunters is exceedingly laborious, and so unproductive, even when they are able to worry the animal down and shoot him, that forty or fifty hunters will sometimes be engaged for half a day without obtaining more than two or three antelopes. Soon after they returned, our two huntsmen came in with no better success. Captain Lewis therefore made a little paste with the flour, and the addition of some berries formed a very palatable repast. Having now secured the good will of Cameahwait, Captain Lewis informed him of his wish that he would speak to the warriors and endeavor to engage them to accompany him to the forks of Jefferson river, where by this time another chief with a large party of white men were waiting his return: that it would be necessary to take about thirty horses to transport the merchandize; that they should be well rewarded for their trouble; and that when all the party should have reached the Shoshone camp they would remain some time among them, and trade for horses, as well as concert plans for furnishing them in future with regular supplies of merchandize. He readily consented to do so, and after collecting the tribe together he made a long harangue, and in about an hour and a half returned, and told Captain Lewis that they would be ready to accompany him in the morning.

As the early part of the day was cold, and the men stiff and sore from the fatigues of yesterday: we did not set out till seven o'clock. At the distance of a mile we passed a bold stream on the right, which comes from a snowy mountain to the north, and at its entrance is four yards wide, and three feet in depth: we called it Track creek: at six miles further we reached another stream which heads in some springs at the foot of the mountains on the left. Alter passing a number of bayous and small islands on each side, we encamped about half a mile by land below the Rattlesnake cliffs. The river was cold, shallow, and as it approached the mountains formed one continued rapid, over which we were obliged to drag the boats with great labor and difficulty. By using constant exertions we succeeded in making fourteen miles, but this distance did not carry us more than six and a half in a straight line: several of the men have received wounds and lamed themselves in hauling the boats over the stones. The hunters supplied them with five deer and an antelope.

August 15, 1805
Thursday 15. Captain Lewis rose early, and having eaten nothing yesterday except his scanty meal of flour and berries felt the inconveniences of extreme hunger. On inquiry he found that his whole stock of provisions consisted of two pounds of flour. This he ordered to be divided into two equal parts, and one half of it boiled with the berries into a sort of pudding: and after presenting a large share to the chief, he and his three men breakfasted on the remainder. Cameahwait was delighted at this new dish; he took a little of the flour in his hand tasted and examined it very narrowly, asking if it was made of roots; Captain Lewis explained the process of preparing it, and he said it was the best thing he had eaten for a long time.

This being finished, Captain Lewis now endeavored to hasten the departure of the Indians who still hesitated, and seemed reluctant to move, although the chief addressed them twice for the purpose of urging them: on inquiring the reason, Cameahwait told him that some foolish person had suggested that he was in league with their enemies the Pahkees, and had come only to draw them into ambuscade, but that he himself did not believe it: Captain Lewis felt uneasy at this insinuation: he knew the suspicious temper of the Indians, accustomed from their infancy to regard every stranger as an enemy, and saw that if this suggestion were not instantly checked, it might hazard the total failure of the enterprise. Assuming therefore a serious air, he told the chief that he was sorry to find they placed so little confidence in him, but that he pardoned their suspicions because they were ignorant of the character of white men, among whom it was disgraceful to lie or entrap even an enemy by falsehood; that if they continued to think thus meanly of us they might be assured no white men would ever come to supply them with arms and merchandize; that there was at this moment a party of white men waiting to trade with them at the forks of the river; and that if the greater part of the tribe entertained any suspicion, he hoped there were still among them some who were men, who would go and see with their own eyes the truth of what he said, and who, even if there was any danger, were not afraid to die. To doubt the courage of an Indian is to touch the tenderest string of his mind, and the surest way to rouse him to any dangerous achievement. Cameahwait instantly replied, that he was not afraid to die, and mounting his horse, for the third time harangued the warriors: he told them that he was resolved to go if he went alone, or if he were sure of perishing; that he hoped there were among those who heard him some who were not afraid to die, and who would prove it by mounting their horses and following him. This harangue produced an effect on six or eight only of the warriors, who now joined their chief. With these Captain Lewis smoked a pipe, and then fearful of some change in their capricious temper set out immediately.

It was about twelve o'clock when his small party left the camp, attended by Cameahwait and the eight warriors; their departure seemed to spread a gloom over the village; those who would not venture to go were sullen and melancholy, and the woman were crying and imploring the Great Spirit to protect their warriors as if they were going to certain destruction: yet such is the wavering inconstancy of these savages, that Captain Lewis's party had not gone far when they were joined by ten or twelve more warriors, and before reaching the creek which they had passed on the morning of the 13th, all the men of the nation and a number of women had overtaken them, and had changed from the surly ill temper in which they were two hours ago, to the greatest cheerfulness and gayety. When they arrived at the spring on the side of the mountain where the party had encamped on the 12th, the chief insisted on halting to let the horses graze; to which Captain Lewis assented and smoked with them. They are excessively fond of the pipe, in which however they are not able to indulge much as they do not cultivate tobacco themselves, and their rugged country affords them but few articles to exchange for it. Here they remained for about an hour, and on setting out, by engaging to pay four of the party, Captain Lewis obtained permission for himself and each of his men to ride behind an Indian; but he soon found riding without stirrup more tiresome than walking, and therefore dismounted, making the Indian carry his pack.

About sunset they reached the upper part of the level valley in the cove through which he had passed, and which they now called Shoshone cove. The grass being burnt on the north side of the river they crossed over to the south, and encamped about four miles above the narrow pass between the hills noticed as they traversed the cove before. The river was here about six yards wide, and frequently dammed up by the beaver. Drewyer had been sent forward to hunt, but he returned in the evening unsuccessful, and their only supper therefore was the remaining pound of flour stirred in a little boiling water and then divided between the four white men and two of the Indians.

In order not to exhaust the strength of the men, captain Clarke did not leave his camp till after breakfast. Although, he was scarcely half a mile below the Rattlesnake cliffs he was obliged to make a circuit of two miles by water before he reached them. The river now passed between low and rugged mountains and cliffs formed of a mixture of limestone and a hard black rock, with no covering except a few scattered pines. At the distance of four miles is a bold little stream which throws itself from the mountains down a steep precipice of rocks on the left. One mile farther is a second point of rocks, and an island, about a mile beyond which is a creek on the right, ten yards wide and three feet three inches in depth, with a strong current: we called it Willard's creek after one of our men, Alexander Willard. Three miles beyond this creek, after passing a high cliff on the right opposite to a steep hill, we reached a small meadow on the left bank of the river. During its passage through these hills to Willard's creek the river had been less torturous than usual, so that in the first six miles to Willard's creek we had advanced four miles on our route.

We continued on for two miles, till we reached in the evening a small bottom covered with clover and a few cottonwood trees: here we passed the night near the remains of some old Indian lodges of brush. The river is as it has been for some days shallow and rapid; and our men, who are for hours together in the river, suffer not only from fatigue, but from the extreme coldness of the water, the temperature of which is as low as that of the freshest springs in our country. In walking along the side of the river, captain Clarke was very near being bitten twice by rattlesnakes, and the Indian woman narrowly escaped the same misfortune. We caught a number of fine trout; but the only game procured to-day was a buck, which had a peculiarly bitter taste, proceeding probably from its favorite food, the willow.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: August 14, 1805 - August 15, 1805

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