Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1804 - Part Three
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: September 15, 1804 - September 18, 1804


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates September 15, 1804 - September 18, 1804.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates September 15, 1804 - September 18, 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 15, 1804 - September 18, 1804
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: September 15, 1804 - September 18, 1804

September 15, 1804
Saturday, September 15. We passed, at an early hour, the creek near our last night's encampment; and at two miles distance reached the mouth of White river, coming in from the south. We ascended a short distance, and sent a sergeant and another man to examine it higher up. This river has a bed of about three hundred yards, though the water is confined to one hundred and fifty: in the mouth is a sand island, and several sandbars. The current is regular and swift, with sandbars projecting from the points. It differs very much from the Platte, and Quieurre, in throwing out, comparatively, little sand, but its general character is like that of the Missouri. This resemblance was confirmed by the sergeant, who ascended about twelve miles; at which distance it was about the same width as near the mouth, and the course, which was generally west, had been interrupted by islands and sandbars.

The timber consisted chiefly of elm; they saw pine burrs, and sticks of birch were seen floating down the river; they had also met with goats, such as we have heretofore seen; great quantities of buffalo, near to which were wolves, some deer, and villages of barking squirrels. At the confluence of White river with the Missouri is an excellent position for a town; the land rising by three gradual ascents, and the neighborhood furnishing more timber than is usual in this country. After passing high dark bluffs on both sides, we reached the lower point of an island towards the south, at the distance of six miles. The island bears an abundance of grapes, and is covered with red cedar: it also contains a number of rabbits. At the end of this island, which is small, a narrow channel separates it from a large sand island, which we passed, and encamped, eight miles on the north, under a high point of land opposite a large creek to the south, on which we observe an unusual quantity of timber. The wind was from the northwest this afternoon, and high, the weather cold, and its dreariness increased by the howlings of a number of wolves around us.

September 16, 1804
September 16, Sunday. Early this morning, having reached a convenient spot on the south side, and at one mile and a quarter distance, we encamped just above a small creek, which we called Corvus, having killed an animal of that genus near it. Finding that we could not proceed over the sandbars, as fast as we desired, while the boat was so heavily loaded, we concluded not to send back, as we originally intended, our third pirogue, but to detain the soldiers until spring, and in the mean time lighten the boat by loading the pirogue: this operation, added to that of drying all our wet articles, detained us during the day. Our camp is in a beautiful plain, with timber thinly scattered for three quarters of a mile, and consisting chiefly of elm, cottonwood, some ash of an indifferent quality, and a considerable quantity of a small species of white oak: this tree seldom rises higher than thirty feet, and branches very much; the bark is rough, thick and of a light color; the leaves small, deeply indented, and of a pale green; the cup which contains the acorn is fringed on the edges, and embraces it about one half: the acorn itself, which grows in great profusion, is of an excellent flavor, and has none of the roughness which most other acorns possess; they are now falling, and have probably attracted the number of deer which we saw on this place, as all the animals we have seen are fond of that food. The ground having been recently burnt by the Indians, is covered with young green grass, and in the neighborhood are great quantities of fine plums. We killed a few deer for the sake of their skins, which we wanted to cover the pirogues, the meat being too poor for food: the cold season coming on, a flannel shirt was given to each man, and fresh powder to those who had exhausted their supply.

September 17, 1804
Monday, September 16. Whilst some of the party were engaged in the same way as yesterday, others were employed in examining the surrounding country. About a quarter of a mile behind our camp, and at an elevation of twenty feet above it, a plain extends nearly three miles parallel to the river, and about a mile back to the hills, towards which it gradually ascends. Here we saw a grove of plum-trees loaded with fruit, now ripe, and differing in nothing from those of the Atlantic states, except that the tree is smaller and more thickly set. The ground of the plain is occupied by the burrows of multitudes of barking squirrels, who entice hither the wolves of a small kind, hawks, and polecats, all of which animals we saw, and presumed that they fed on the squirrel. This plain is intersected nearly in its whole extent by deep ravines and steep irregular rising grounds from one to two hundred feet. On ascending the range of hills which border the plain, we saw a second high level plain stretching to the south as far as the eye could reach. To the westward, a high range of hills about twenty miles distant runs nearly north and south, but not to any great extent, as their rise and termination is embraced by one view, and they seemed covered with a verdure similar to that of the plains. The same view extended over the irregular hills which border the northern side of the Missouri; all around the country had been recently burnt, and a young green grass about four inches high covered the ground, which was enlivened by herds of antelopes and buffalo; the last of which were in such multitudes, that we cannot exaggerate in saying that at a single glance we saw three thousand of them before us.

Of all the animals we had seen the antelope seems to possess the most wonderful fleetness: shy and timorous they generally repose only on the ridges, which command a view of all the approaches of an enemy: the acuteness of their sight distinguishes the most distant danger, the delicate sensibility of their smell defeats the precautions of concealment, and when alarmed their rapid career seems more like the flight of birds than the movements of an earthly being. After many unsuccessful attempts, Captain Lewis at last, by winding around the ridges, approached a party of seven, which were on an eminence, towards which the wind was unfortunately blowing. The only male of the party frequently encircled the summit of the hill, as if to announce any danger to the females, who formed a group at the top. Although they did not see Captain Lewis, the smell alarmed them, and they fled when he was at the distance of two hundred yards: he immediately ran to the spot where they had been, a ravine concealed them from him, but the next moment they appeared on a second ridge at the distance of three miles. He doubted whether it could be the same, but their number and the extreme rapidity with which they continued their course, convinced him that they must have gone with a speed equal to that of the most distinguished racehorse. Among our acquisitions to-day was a mule-deer, a magpie, the common deer, and buffalo: Captain Lewis also saw a hare, and killed a rattlesnake near the burrows of the barking squirrels.

September 18, 1804
Tuesday, September 18. Having everything in readiness we proceeded, with the boat much lightened, but the wind being from the N.W. we made but little way. At one mile we reached an island in the middle of the river, nearly a mile in length, and covered with red cedar; at its extremity a small creek comes in from the north; we then met some sandbars, and the wind being very high and ahead, we encamped on the south, having made only seven miles. In addition to the common deer, which were in great abundance, we saw goats, elk, buffalo, the black tailed deer; the large wolves too are very numerous, and have long hair with coarse fur, and are of a light color. A small species of wolf about the size of a gray fox was also killed, and proved to be the animal which we had hitherto mistaken for a fox: there are also many porcupines, rabbits, and barking squirrels in the neighborhood.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: September 15, 1804 - September 18, 1804

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