Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1805 - Part Three
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: June 8, 1805 - June 10, 1805

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates June 8, 1805 - June 10, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates June 8, 1805 - June 10, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1805
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 8, 1805 - June 10, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: June 8, 1805 - June 10, 1805

June 8, 1805
Saturday 8. It continued to rain moderately all last night, and the morning was cloudy till about ten o'clock, when it cleared off, and became a fine day. They breakfasted about sunrise and then proceeded down the river in the same way as they had done yesterday, except that the traveling was somewhat better, as they had not so often to wade, though they passed some very dangerous bluffs. The only timber to be found is in the low grounds which are occasionally on the river, and these are the haunts of innumerable birds, who, when the sun began to shine, sang very delightfully. Among these birds they distinguished the brown thrush, robin, turtledove, linnet, goldfinch, the large and small blackbird, the wren, and some others. As they came along, the whole of the party were of opinion that this river was the true Missouri, but Captain Lewis being fully persuaded that it was neither the main stream, nor that which it would be advisable to ascend, gave it the name of Maria's river. After traveling all day they reached the camp at five o'clock in the afternoon, and found captain Clarke and the party very anxious for their safety, as they had staid two days longer than had been expected, and as captain Clarke had returned at the appointed time, it was feared that they had met with some accident.

June 9, 1805
Sunday, 9th. We now consulted upon the course to be pursued. On comparing our observations, we were more than ever convinced of what we already suspected, that Mr. Arrowsmith is incorrect in laying down in the chain of Rocky mountains one remarkable mountain called the Tooth, nearly as far south as 45, and said to be so marked from the discoveries of Mr. Fidler. We are now within one hundred miles of the Rocky mountains and in the latitude of 47 24' 12" 8, and therefore it is highly improbable that the Missouri should make such a bend to the south before it reaches the Rocky mountains, as to have suffered Mr. Fidler to come as low as 45 along the eastern borders without touching that river: yet the general course of Maria's river from this place for fifty-nine miles, as far as Captain Lewis ascended, was north 69 west, and the south branch, or what we consider the Missouri, which captain Clarke had examined as far as forty-five miles in a straight line, ran in a course south 29 west, and as far as it could be seen went considerably west of south, whence we conclude that the Missouri itself enters the Rocky mountains to the north of 45. In writing to the president from our winter quarters, we had already taken the liberty of advancing the southern extremity of Mr. Fidler's discoveries about a degree to the northward, and this from Indian information as to the bearing of the point at which the Missouri enters the mountain; but we think actual observation will place it one degree still further to the northward.

This information of Mr. Fidler however, incorrect as it is, affords an additional reason for not pursuing Maria's river; for if he came as low even as 47 and saw only small streams coming down from the mountains, it is to be presumed that these rivulets do not penetrate the Rocky mountains so far as to approach any navigable branch of the Columbia, and they are most probably the remote waters of some northern branch of the Missouri. In short, being already in latitude 47 24' we cannot reasonably hope by going farther to the northward to find between this place and the Saskashawan any stream which can, as the Indians assure us the Missouri does, possess a navigable current for some distance in the Rocky mountains: the Indians had assured us also that the water of the Missouri was nearly transparent at the falls; this is the case with the southern branch; that the falls lay a little to the south of sunset from them; this too is in favor of the southern fork, for it bears considerably south of this place which is only a few minutes to the northward of fort Mandan; that the falls are below the Rocky mountains and near the northern termination of one range of those mountains: now there is a ridge of mountains which appear behind the South mountains and terminates to the southwest of us, at a sufficient distance from the unbroken chain of the Rocky mountains to allow space for several falls, indeed we fear for too many of them. If too the Indians had ever passed any stream as large as this southern fork on their way up the Missouri, they would have mentioned it; so that their silence seems to prove that this branch must be the Missouri. The body of water also which it discharges must have been acquired from a considerable distance in the mountains, for it could not have been collected in the parched plains between the Yellowstone and the Rocky mountains, since that country could not supply nourishment for the dry channels which we passed on the south, and the travels of Mr. Fidler forbid us to believe that it could have been obtained from the mountains towards the northwest.

These observations which satisfied our mind completely we communicated to the party: but every one of them were of a contrary opinion; and much of their belief depended on Crusatte, an experienced waterman on the Missouri, who gave it as his decided judgment that the north fork was the genuine Missouri. The men therefore mentioned that although they would most cheerfully follow us wherever we should direct, yet they were afraid that the south fork would soon terminate in the Rocky mountains and leave us at a great distance from the Columbia. In order that nothing might be omitted which could prevent our falling into an error, it was agreed that one of us should ascend the southern branch by land until we reached either the falls or the mountains. In the meantime in order to lighten our burdens as much as possible, we determined to deposit here one of the pirogues and all the heavy baggage which we could possibly spare, as well as some provision, salt, powder, and tools: this would at once lighten the other boats, and give them the crew which had been employed on board the pirogue.

June 10, 1805
Monday, 10. The weather being fair and pleasant we dried all our baggage and merchandize and made our deposit. These holes or caches as they are called by the Missouri traders are very common, particularly among those who deal with the Sioux, as the skins and merchandize will keep perfectly sound for years, and are protected from robbery: our cache is built in this manner: In the high plain on the north side of the Missouri and forty yards from a steep bluff, we chose a dry situation, and then describing a small circle of about twenty inches diameter, removed the sod as gently and carefully as possible: the hole is then sunk perpendicularly for a foot deep, or more if the ground be not firm. It is now worked gradually wider as they descend, till at length it becomes six or seven feet deep, shaped nearly like a kettle or the lower part of a large still with the bottom somewhat sunk at the centre.

As the earth is dug it is handed up in a vessel and carefully laid on a skin or cloth, in which it is carried away and usually thrown into the river or concealed so as to leave no trace of it. A floor of three or four inches in thickness is then made of dry sticks, on which is thrown hay or a hide perfectly dry. The goods being well aired and dried are laid on this floor, and prevented from touching the wall by other dried sticks in proportion as the merchandize is stowed away: when the hole is nearly full, a skin is laid over the goods, and on this earth is thrown and beaten down until with the addition of the sod first removed the whole is on a level with the ground, and there remains not the slightest appearance of an excavation. In addition to this we made another of smaller dimensions, [257]in which we placed all the baggage, some powder, and our blacksmith's tools, having previously repaired such of the tools we carry with us as require mending. To guard against accident, we hid two parcels of lead and powder in the two distinct places. The red pirogue was drawn up on the middle of a small island at the entrance of Maria's river, and secured by being fastened to the trees from the effect of any floods. In the evening there was a high wind from the southwest accompanied with thunder and rain. We now made another observation of the meridian altitude of the sun, and found that the mean latitude of the entrance of Maria's river, as deduced from three observations, is 47 25' 17" 2 north. We saw a small bird like the blue thrush or catbird which we had not before met, and also observed that the beemartin or kingbird is common to this country although there are no bees here, and in fact we have not met with the honey-bee since leaving the Osage river.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: June 8, 1805 - June 10, 1805

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