Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 1804 - Part Two
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: July 12, 1804 - July 20, 1804


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates July 12, 1804 - July 20, 1804.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates July 12, 1804 - July 20, 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 12, 1804 - July 20, 1804
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: July 12, 1804 - July 20, 1804

July 12, 1804
Thursday 12th. We remained here to day for the purpose of refreshing the party, and making lunar observations. The Nemahaw empties itself into the Missouri from the south, and is eighty yards wide at the confluence, which is in lat. 39° 55' 56". Capt. Clarke ascended it in the perioque about two miles to the mouth of a small creek on the lower side. On going ashore he found in the level plain several artificial mounds or graves, and on the adjoining hills others of a larger size. This appearance indicates sufficiently the former population of this country; the mounds being certainly intended as tombs; the Indians of the Missouri still preserving the custom of interring the dead on high ground.

From the top of the highest mound a delightful prospect presented itself—the level and extensive meadows watered by the Nemahaw, and enlivened by the few trees and shrubs skirting the borders of the river and its tributary streams—the lowland of the Missouri covered with undulating grass, nearly five feet high, gradually rising into a second plain, where rich weeds and flowers are interspersed with copses of the Osage plum; further back are seen small groves of trees; an abundance of grapes; the wild cherry of the Missouri, resembling our own, but larger, and growing on a small bush; and the chokecherry, which we observed for the first time. Some of the grapes gathered to-day are nearly ripe. On the south of the Nemahaw, and about a quarter of a mile from its mouth, is a cliff of freestone, in which are various inscriptions and marks made by the Indians. The sand island where we are encamped, is covered with the two species of willow, broad and narrow leaf.

July 13, 1804
July 13th. We proceeded at sunrise with a fair wind from the south, and at two miles, passed the mouth of a small river on the north, called Big Tarkio. A channel from the bed of the Missouri once ran into this river, and formed an island called St. Joseph's, but the channel is now filled up, and the island is added to the northern shore. Further on to the south, is situated an extensive plain, covered with a grass resembling timothy in its general appearance, except the seed which is like flaxseed, and also a number of grapevines. At twelve miles, we passed an island on the north, above which is a large sandbar covered with willows: and at twenty and a half miles, stopped on a large sandbar, in the middle of the river opposite a high handsome prairie, which extends to the hills four or five miles distant, though near [26]the bank the land is low, and subject to be overflowed. This day was exceedingly fine and pleasant, a storm of wind and rain from north-northeast, last night, having cooled the air.

July 14, 1804
July 14. We had some hard showers of rain before seven o'clock, when we set out. We had just reached the end of the sand island, and seen the opposite banks falling in, and so lined with timber that we could not approach it without danger, when a sudden squall, from the northeast, struck the boat on the starboard quarter, and would have certainly dashed her to pieces on the sand island, if the party had not leaped into the river, and with the aid of the anchor and cable kept her off: the waves dashing over her for the space of forty minutes; after which, the river became almost instantaneously calm and smooth. The two pirogues were ahead, in a situation nearly similar, but fortunately no damage was done to the boats or the loading.

The wind having shifted to the southeast, we came at the distance of two miles, to an inland on the north, where we dined. One mile above, on the same side of the river, is a small factory, where a merchant of St. Louis traded with the Ottoes and Pawnees two years ago. Near this is an extensive lowland, part of which is overflowed occasionally, the rest is rich and well timbered. The wind again changed to northwest by north. At seven and a half miles, we reached lower point of a large island, on the north side. A small distance above this point, is a river, called by the Maha Indians, Nishnahbatona. This is a considerable creek, nearly as large as the Mine river, and runs parallel to the Missouri the greater part of its course, being fifty yards wide at the mouth. In the prairies or glades, we saw wild-timothy, lambsquarter, cuckleberries, and on the edges of the river, summer-grapes, plums, and gooseberries. We also saw to-day, for the first time, some elk, at which some of the party shot, but at too great a distance. We encamped on the north side of the island, a little above Nishnahbatona, having made nine miles. The river fell a little.

July 15, 1804
July 15. A thick fog prevented our leaving the encampment before seven. At about four miles, we reached the extremity of the large island, and crossing to the south, at the distance of seven miles, arrived at the Little Nemaha, a small river from the south, forty yards wide a little above its mouth, but contracting, as do almost all the waters emptying into the Missouri, at its confluence. At nine and three quarter miles, we encamped on a woody point, on the south. Along the southern bank, is a rich lowland covered with peavine, and rich weeds, and watered by small streams rising in the adjoining prairies. They too, are rich, and though with abundance of grass, have no timber except what grows near the water; interspersed through both are grapevines, plums of two kinds, two species of wild-cherries, hazlenuts, and gooseberries. On the south there is one unbroken plain; on the north the river is skirted with some timber, behind which the plain extends four or five miles to the hills, which seem to have little wood.

July 16, 1804
July 16. We continued our route between a large island opposite to our last night's encampment, and an extensive prairie on the south. About six miles, we came to another large island, called Fairsun island, on the same side; above which is a spot, where about twenty acres of the hill have fallen into the river. Near this, is a cliff of sandstone for two miles, which is much frequented by birds. At this place the river is about one mile wide, but not deep; as the timber, or sawyers, may be seen, scattered across the whole of its bottom. At twenty miles distance, we saw on the south, an island called by the French, l'Isle Chance, or Bald island, opposite to a large prairie, which we called Baldpated prairie, from a ridge of naked hills which bound it, running parallel with the river as far as we could see, and from three to six miles distance. To the south the hills touch the river. We encamped a quarter of a mile beyond this, in a point of woods on the north side. The river continues to fall.

July 17, 1804
Tuesday, July 17. We remained here this day, in order to make observations and correct the chronometer, which ran down on Sunday. The latitude we found to be 40° 27' 5"4/10. The observation of the time proved our chronometer too slow, by 6' 51"6/10. The highlands bear from our camp, north 25° west, up the river. Captain Lewis rode up the country, and saw the Nishnahbatona, about ten or twelve miles from its mouth, at a place not more than three hundred yards from the Missouri, and a little above our camp. It then passes near the foot of the Baldhills, and is at least six feet below the level of the Missouri. On its banks are the oak, walnut, and mulberry. The common current of the Missouri, taken with the log, is 50 fathoms in 40", at some places, and even 20".

July 18, 1804
Wednesday, July 18. The morning was fair, and a gentle wind from southeast by south, carried us along between the prairie on the north, and Bald island to the south: opposite the middle of which, the Nishnahbatona approaches the nearest to the Missouri. The current here ran fifty fathoms in 41". At thirteen and a half miles, we reached an island on the north, near to which the banks overflow; while on the south, the hills project over the river and form high cliffs. At one point a part of the cliff, nearly three quarters of a mile in length, and about two hundred feet in height, has fallen into the river. It is composed chiefly of sandstone intermixed with an iron ore of bad quality; near the bottom is a soft slatestone with pebbles. We passed several bad sandbars in the course of the day, and made eighteen miles, and encamped on the south, opposite to the lower point of the Oven islands. The country around is generally divided into prairies, with little timber, except on low points, islands, and near creeks, and that consisting of cottonwood, mulberry, elm, and sycamore. The river falls fast. An Indian dog came to the bank; he appeared to have been lost and was nearly starved: we gave him some food, but he would not follow us.

July 19, 1804
Thursday, July 19. The Oven islands are small, and two in number; one near the south shore, the other in the middle of the river. Opposite to them is the prairie, called Terrien's Oven, from a trader of that name. At four and a half miles, we reached some high cliffs of a yellow earth, on the south, near which are two beautiful runs of water, rising in the adjacent prairies, and one of them with a deerlick, about two hundred yards from its mouth. In this neighborhood we observed some iron ore in the bank. At two and a half miles above the runs, a large portion of the hill, for nearly three quarters of a mile, has fallen into the river. We encamped on the western extremity of an island, in the middle of the river, having made ten and three quarter miles. The river falls a little. The sandbars which we passed to-day, are more numerous, and the rolling sands more frequent and dangerous, than any we have seen; these obstacles increasing as we approach the river Platte. The Missouri here is wider also than below, where the timber on the banks resists the current; while here the prairies which approach, are more easily washed and undermined. The hunters have brought for the last few days, no quadruped, but deer: great quantities of young geese are seen to-day: one of them brought calamus, which he had gathered opposite our encampment, and a large quantity of sweet-flag.

July 20, 1804
Friday, July 20. There was a heavy dew last night, and this morning was foggy and cool. We passed at about three miles distance, a small willow island to the north, and a creek on the south, about twenty-five yards wide, called by the French, L'eau qui Pleure, or the Weeping Water, and emptying itself just above a cliff of brown clay. Thence we made two and a half miles to another island; three miles further to a third: six miles beyond which is a fourth island; at the head of which we encamped on the southern shore; in all eighteen miles. The party, who walked on the shore to-day, found the plains to the south, rich, but much parched [30]with frequent fires, and with no timber, except the scattering trees about the sources of the runs, which are numerous and fine. On the north, is a similar prairie country. The river continues to fall. A large yellow wolf was this day killed. For a month past the party have been troubled with biles, and occasionally with the dysentery. These biles were large tumors which broke out under the arms, on the legs, and, generally, in the parts most exposed to action, which sometimes became too painful to permit the men to work. After remaining some days, they disappeared without any assistance, except a poultice of the bark of the elm, or of Indian meal. This disorder, which we ascribe to the muddiness of the river water, has not affected the general health of the party, which is quite as good, if not better, than that of the same number of men in any other situation.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: July 12, 1804 - July 20, 1804

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