Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1804 - Part One
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: September 1, 1804 - September 3, 1804


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates September 1, 1804 - September 3, 1804.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates September 1, 1804 - September 3, 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1, 1804 - September 3, 1804
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: September 1, 1804 - September 3, 1804

September 1, 1804
Saturday, September 1, 1804. We proceeded this morning under a light southern breeze, and passed the Calumet bluffs; these are composed of a yellowish red, and brownish clay as hard as chalk, which it much resembles, and are one hundred and seventy, or one hundred and eighty feet high. At this place the hills on each side come to the verge of the river, those on the south being higher than on the north. Opposite the bluffs is a large island covered with timber; above which the highlands form a cliff over the river on the north side, called White Bear cliff; an animal of that kind being killed in one of the holes in it, which are numerous and apparently deep. At six miles we came to a large sand island covered with cottonwood; the wind was high, and the weather rainy and cloudy during the day. We made fifteen miles to a place on the north side, at the lower point of a large island called Bonhomme, or Goodman's island. The country on both sides has the same character of prairies, with no timber; with occasional lowlands covered with cottonwood, elm and oak: our hunters had killed an elk and a beaver: the catfish too are in great abundance.

September 2, 1804
September 2. It rained last night, and this morning we had a high wind from the N.W. We went three miles to the lower part of an ancient fortification on the south side, and passed the head of Bonhomme island, which is large and well timbered: after this the wind became so violent, attended by a cold rain, that we were compelled to land at four miles on the northern side, under a high bluff of yellow clay, about one hundred and ten feet in height. Our hunters supplied us with four elk; and we had grapes and plums on the banks: we also saw the beargrass and rue, on the side of the bluffs. At this place there are highlands on both sides of the river which become more level at some distance back, and contain but few streams of water. On the southern bank, during this day, the grounds have not been so elevated. Captain Clarke crossed the river to examine the remains of the fortification we had just passed.

This interesting object is on the south side of the Missouri, opposite the upper extremity of Bonhomme island, and in a low level plain, the hills being three miles from the river. It begins by a wall composed of earth, rising immediately from the bank of the river and running in a direct course S. 76, W. ninety six yards; the base of this wall or mound is seventy-five feet, and its height about eight. It then diverges in a course S. 84 W. and continues at the same height and depth to the distance of fifty-three yards, the angle being formed by a sloping descent; at the junction of these two is an appearance of a hornwork of the same height with the first angle: the same wall then pursues a course N. 69 W. for three hundred yards: near its western extremity is an opening or gateway at right angles to the wall, and projecting inwards; this gateway is defended by two nearly semicircular walls placed before it, lower than the large walls; and from the gateway there seems to have been a covered way communicating with the interval between these two walls: westward of the gate, the wall becomes much larger, being about one hundred and five feet at its base, and twelve feet high: at the end of this high ground the wall extends for fifty-six yards on a course N. 32 W; it then turns N. 23 W. for seventy-three yards: these two walls seems to have had a double or covered way; they are from ten to fifteen feet eight inches in height, and from seventy-five to one hundred and five feet in width at the base; the descent inwards being steep, whilst outwards it forms a sort of glacis. At the distance of seventy-three yards, the wall ends abruptly at a large hollow place much lower than the general level of the plain, and from which is some indication of a covered way to the water. The space between them is occupied by several mounds scattered promiscuously through the gorge, in the centre of which is a deep round hole.

From the extremity of the last wall, in a course N. 32 W. is a distance of ninety-six yards over the low ground, where the wall recommences and crosses the plain in a course N. 81 W. for eighteen hundred and thirty yards to the bank of the Missouri. In this course its height is about eight feet, till it enters, at the distance of five hundred and thirty-three yards, a deep circular pond of seventy-three yards diameter; after which it is gradually lower, towards the river: it touches the river at a muddy bar, which bears every mark of being an encroachment of the water, for a considerable distance; and a little above the junction, is a small circular redoubt. Along the bank of the river, and at eleven hundred yards distance, in a straight line from this wall, is a second, about six feet high, and of considerable width: it rises abruptly from the bank of the Missouri, at a point where the river bends, and goes straight forward, forming an acute angle with the last wall, till it enters the river again, not far from the mounds just described, towards which it is obviously tending. At the bend the Missouri is five hundred yards wide; the ground on the opposite side highlands, or low hills on the bank; and where the river passes between this fort and Bonhomme island, all the distance from the bend, it is constantly washing the banks into the stream, a large sandbank being already taken from the shore near the wall. During the whole course of this wall, or glacis, it is covered with trees, among which are many large cotton trees, two or three feet in diameter. Immediately opposite the citadel, or the part most strongly fortified, on Bonhomme island, is a small work in a circular form, with a wall surrounding it, about six feet in height. The young willows along the water, joined to the general appearance of the two shores, induce a belief that the bank of the island is encroaching, and the Missouri indemnifies itself by washing away the base of the fortification. The citadel contains about twenty acres, but the parts between the long walls must embrace nearly five hundred acres.

These are the first remains of the kind which we have had an opportunity of examining; but our French interpreters assure us, that there are great numbers of them on the Platte, the Kansas, the Jacques, &c. and some of our party say, that they observed two of those fortresses on the upper side of the Petit Arc creek, not far from its mouth; that the wall was about six feet high, and the sides of the angles one hundred yards in length.

September 3, 1804
September 3. The morning was cold, and the wind from the northwest. We passed at sunrise, three large sandbars, and at the distance of ten miles reached a small creek, about twelve yards wide, coming in from the north, above a white bluff: this creek has obtained the name of Plum creek, from the number of that fruit which are in the neighborhood, and of a delightful quality. Five miles further, we encamped on the south near the edge of a plain; the river is wide, and covered with sandbars to-day: the banks are high and of a whitish color; the timber scarce, but an abundance of grapes. Beaver houses too have been observed in great numbers on the river, but none of the animals themselves.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: September 1, 1804 - September 3, 1804

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