Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1805 - Part Eight
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: June 25, 1805 - June 30, 1805

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates June 25, 1805 - June 30, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates June 25, 1805 - June 30, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1805
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 25, 1805 - June 30, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: June 25, 1805 - June 30, 1805

June 25, 1805
Tuesday, 25. The party returned to the lower camp. Two men were sent on the large island to look for timber. J. Fields was sent up the Missouri to hunt elk; but he returned about noon and informed us that a few miles above he saw two white bear near the river, and in attempting to fire at them came suddenly on a third, who being only a few steps off immediately attacked him; that in running to escape from the monster he leaped down a steep bank of the river, where falling on a bar of stone he cut his hand and knee and bent his gun; but fortunately for him the bank concealed him from his antagonist or he would have been most probably lost. The other two returned with a small quantity of bark and timber, which was all they could find on the island; but they had killed two elk: these were valuable, as we are desirous of procuring the skins of that animal in order to cover the boat, as they are more strong and durable than those of the buffalo, and do not shrink so much in drying. The party that went to the lower camp had one canoe and the baggage carried into the high plain to be ready in the morning, and then all who could make use of their feet had a dance on the green to the music of a violin. We have been unsuccessful in our attempt to catch fish, nor does there seem to be any in this part of the river. We observe a number of water terrapins. There are quantities of young blackbirds in these islands just beginning to fly. Among the vegetable productions we observe a species of wild rye which is now heading: it rises to the height of eighteen or twenty inches, the beard remarkably fine and soft; the culen is jointed, and in every respect except in height it resembles the wild rye. Great quantities of mint too, like the peppermint, are found here.

The winds are sometimes violent in these plains. The men inform us that as they were bringing one of the canoes along on truck-wheels, they hoisted the sail and the wind carried her along for some distance.

June 26, 1805
Wednesday 26. Two men were sent on the opposite side of the river for bark and timber, of which they procured some, but by no means enough for our purposes. The bark of the cottonwood is too soft, and our only dependence is on the sweet willow, which has a tough strong bark; the two hunters killed seven buffalo. A party arrived from below with two canoes and baggage, and the wind being from the southeast, they had made considerable progress with the sails. On their arrival one of the men who had been considerably heated and fatigued, swallowed a very hearty draught of water, and was immediately taken ill; Captain Lewis bled him with a penknife, having no other instrument at hand, and succeeded in restoring him to health the next day. Captain Clarke formed a second cache or deposit near the camp, and placed the swivel under the rocks near the river. The antelopes are still scattered through the plains; the females with their young, which are generally two in number, and the males by themselves.

June 27, 1805
Thursday 27. The party were employed in preparing timber for the boat, except two who were sent to hunt. About one in the afternoon a cloud arose from the southwest and brought with it violent thunder, lightning, and hail: soon after it passed the hunters came in from about four miles above us. They had killed nine elk, and three bear. As they were hunting on the river they saw a low ground covered with thick brushwood, where from the tracks along shore they thought a bear had probably taken refuge: they therefore landed, without making a noise, and climbed a tree about twenty feet above the ground. Having fixed themselves securely, they raised a loud shout, and a bear instantly rushed towards them. These animals never climb, and therefore when he came to the tree and stopped to look at them, Drewyer shot him in the head; he proved to be the largest we have yet seen, his nose appeared to be like that of a common ox, his fore feet measured nine inches across, and the hind feet were seven inches wide, and eleven and three quarters long, exclusive of the talons. One of these animals came within thirty yards of the camp last night, and carried off some buffalo meat which we had placed on a pole. In the evening after the storm the water on this side of the river became of a deep crimson color, probably caused by some stream above washing down a kind of soft red stone, which we observed in the neighboring bluffs and gullies. At the camp below, the men who left us in the morning were busy in preparing their load for to-morrow, which were impeded by the rain, hail, and the hard wind from the northwest.

June 28, 1805
Friday 28. The party all occupied in making the boat; they obtained a sufficient quantity of willow bark to line her, and over these were placed the elk skins, and when they failed we were obliged to use the buffalo hide. The white bear have now become exceedingly troublesome; they constantly infest our camp during the night, and though they have not attacked us, as our dog who patroles all night gives us notice of their approach, yet we are obliged to sleep with our arms by our sides for fear of accident, and we cannot send one man alone to any distance, particularly if he has to pass through brushwood. We saw two of them to-day on the large island opposite to us, but as we are all so much occupied now, we mean to reserve ourselves for some leisure moment, and then make a party to drive them from the islands. The river has risen nine inches since our arrival here.

At Portage creek captain Clarke completed the cache, in which we deposited whatever we could spare from our baggage; some ammunition, provisions, books, the specimens of plants and minerals, and a draught of the river from its entrance to fort Mandan. After closing it he broke up the encampment, and took on all the remaining baggage to the high plain, about three miles. Portage creek has risen considerably in consequence of the rain, and the water had become of a deep crimson color, and ill tasted; on overtaking the canoe he found that there was more baggage than could be carried on the two carriages, and therefore left some of the heavy articles which could not be injured, and proceeded on to Willowrun where he encamped for the night. Here they made a supper on two buffalo which they killed on the way; but passed the night in the rain, with a high wind from the southwest. In the morning,

June 29, 1805
Saturday 29, finding it impossible to reach the end of the portage with their present load, in consequence of the state of the road after the rain, he sent back nearly all his party to bring on the articles which had been left yesterday. Having lost some notes and remarks which he had made on first ascending the river, he determined to go up to the Whitebear islands along its banks, in order to supply the deficiency. He there left one man to guard the baggage, and went on to the falls accompanied by his servant York, Charbonneau and his wife with her young child. On his arrival there he observed a very dark cloud rising in the west which threatened rain, and looked around for some shelter, but could find no place where they would be secure from being blown into the river if the wind should prove as violent as it sometimes does in the plains. At length about a quarter of a mile above the falls he found a deep ravine where there were some shelving rocks, under which he took refuge. They were on the upper side of the ravine near the river, perfectly safe from the rain, and therefore laid down their guns, compass, and other articles which they carried with them. The shower was at first moderate, it then increased to a heavy rain, the effects of which they did not feel: soon after a torrent of rain and hail descended; the rain seemed to fall in a solid mass, and instantly collecting in the ravine came rolling down in a dreadful current, carrying the mud and rocks, and every thing that opposed it. Captain Clarke fortunately saw it a moment before it reached them, and springing up with his gun and shotpouch in his left hand, with his right clambered up the steep bluff, pushing on the Indian woman with her child in her arms; her husband too had seized her hand and was pulling her up the hill, but he was so terrified at the danger that but for captain Clark, himself and his wife and child would have been lost. So instantaneous was the rise of the water, that before captain Clark had reached his gun and began to ascend the bank, the water was up to his waist, and he could scarce get up faster than it rose, till it reached the height of fifteen feet with a furious current, which had they waited a moment longer would have swept them into the river just above the great falls, down which they must inevitable have been precipitated.

They reached the plain in safety, and found York who had separated from them just before the storm to hunt some buffalo, and was now returning to find his master. They had been obliged to escape so rapidly that captain Clarke lost his compass and umbrella. Charbonneau left his gun, shotpouch, and tomahawk, and the Indian woman had just time to grasp her child, before the net in which it lay at her feet was carried down the current. He now relinquished his intention of going up the river and returned to the camp at Willowrun. Here he found that the party sent this morning for the baggage, had all returned to camp in great confusion, leaving their loads in the plain. On account of the heat they generally go nearly naked, and with no covering on their heads. The hail was so large and driven so furiously against them by the high wind, that it knocked several of them down: one of them particularly was [286]thrown on the ground three times, and most of them bleeding freely and complained of being much bruised. Willow run had risen six feet since the rain, and as the plains were so wet that they could not proceed, they passed the night at their camp.

At the Whitebear camp also, we had not been insensible to the hail-storm, though less exposed. In the morning there had been a heavy shower of rain, after which it became fair. After assigning to the men their respective employments, Captain Lewis took one of them and went to see the large fountain near the falls. For about six miles he passed through a beautiful level plain, and then on reaching the break of the river hills, was overtaken by the gust of wind from the southwest attended by lightning, thunder, and rain: fearing a renewal of the scene on the 27th, they took shelter in a little gully where there were some broad stones with which they meant to protect themselves against the hail; but fortunately there was not much, and that of a small size; so that they felt no inconvenience except that of being exposed without shelter for an hour, and being drenched by the rain: after it was over they proceeded to the fountain which is perhaps the largest in America. It is situated in a pleasant level plain, about twenty-five yards from the river, into which it falls over some steep irregular rocks with a sudden ascent of about six feet in one part of its course. The water boils up from among the rocks and with such force near the centre, that the surface seems higher there than the earth on the sides of the fountain, which is a handsome turf of fine green grass. The water is extremely pure, cold and pleasant to the taste, not being impregnated with lime or any foreign substance. It is perfectly transparent and continues its bluish cast for half a mile down the Missouri, notwithstanding the rapidity of the river. After examining it for some time Captain Lewis returned to the camp.

June 30, 1805
Sunday 30. In the morning Captain Clarke sent the men to bring up the baggage left in the plains yesterday. On their return the axletrees and carriages were repaired, and the baggage, conveyed on the shoulders of the party across Willow run which had fallen as low as three feet. The carriages being then taken over, a load of baggage was carried to the six-mile stake, deposited there, and the carriages brought back. Such is the state of the plains that this operation consumed the day. Two men were sent to the falls to look for the articles lost yesterday; but they found nothing but the compass covered with mud and sand at the mouth of the ravine; the place at which captain Clarke had been caught by the storm, was filled with large rocks. The men complain much of the bruises received yesterday from the hail. A more than usual number of buffalo appeared about the camp to-day, and furnished plenty of meat: captain Clarke thought that at one view he must have seen at least ten thousand. In the course of the day there was a heavy gust of wind from the southwest, after which the evening was fair.

At the Whitebear camp we had a heavy dew this morning, which is quite a remarkable occurrence. The party continues to be occupied with the boat, the crossbars for which are now finished, and there remain only the strips to complete the wood work: the skins necessary to cover it have already been prepared and they amount to twenty-eight elk skins and four buffalo skins. Among our game were two beaver, which we have had occasion to observe always are found wherever there is timber. We also killed a large bat or goatsucker of which there are many in this neighborhood, resembling in every respect those of the same species in the United States. We have not seen the leather-winged bat for some time, nor are there any of the small goatsucker in this part of the Missouri. We have not seen either that species of goatsucker or nighthawk called the whippoorwill, which is commonly confounded [288]in the United States with the large goatsucker which we observe here; this last prepares no nest but lays its eggs in the open plains; they generally begin to sit on two eggs, and we believe raise only one brood in a season: at the present moment they are just hatching their young.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: June 25, 1805 - June 30, 1805

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