Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1804 - Part Four
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: September 19, 1804 - September 24, 1804


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates September 19, 1804 - September 24, 1804.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates September 19, 1804 - September 24, 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 19, 1804 - September 24, 1804
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: September 19, 1804 - September 24, 1804

September 19, 1804
September 19. We this day enjoyed a cool clear morning, and a wind from the southeast. We reached at three miles a bluff on the south, and four miles farther, the lower point of Prospect island, about two and a half miles in length; opposite to this are high bluffs, about eighty feet above the water, beyond which are beautiful plains gradually rising as they recede from the river: these are watered by three streams which empty near each other; the first is about thirty-five yards wide, the ground on its sides high and rich, with some timber; the second about twelve yards wide, but with less timber; the third is nearly of the same size, and contains more water, but it scatters its waters over the large timbered plain, and empties itself into the river at three places. These rivers are called by the French Les trois rivieres des Sioux, the three Sioux rivers; and as the Sioux generally cross the Missouri at this place, it is called the Sioux pass of the three rivers. These streams have the same right of asylum, though in a less degree than Pipestone creek already mentioned.

Two miles from the island we passed a creek fifteen yards wide; eight miles further, another twenty yards wide; three miles beyond which, is a third of eighteen yards width, all on the south side: the second which passes through a high plain we called Elm creek; to the third we gave the name of Night creek, having reached it late at night. About a mile beyond this is a small island on the north side of the river, and is called Lower island, as it is situated at the commencement of what is known by the name of the Grand Detour, or Great Bend of the Missouri. Opposite is a creek on the south about ten yards wide, which waters a plain where there are great numbers of the prickley pear, which name we gave to the creek. We encamped on the south, opposite the upper extremity of the island, having made an excellent day's sail of twenty six and a quarter miles. Our game this day consisted chiefly of deer, of these four were black tails, one a buck with two main prongs of horns on each side and forked equally. Large herds of buffalo, elk and goats, were also seen.

September 20, 1804
Thursday, September 20. Finding we had reached the Big Bend, we dispatched two men with our only horse across the neck, to hunt there and wait our arrival at the first creek beyond it. We then set out with fair weather and the wind from S.E. to make the circuit of the bend. Near the lower island the sandbars are numerous, and the river shallow. At nine and a half miles is a sand island, on the southern side. About ten miles beyond it is a small island on the south, opposite to a small creek on the north. This island, which is near the N.W. extremity of the bend, is called Solitary island. At about eleven miles further, we encamped on a sandbar, having made twenty-seven and a half miles. Captain Clarke, who early this morning had crossed the neck of the bend, joined us in the evening. At the narrowest part, the gorge is composed of high and irregular hills of about one hundred and eighty or one hundred and ninety feet in elevation; from this descends an unbroken plain over the whole of the bend, and the country is separated from it by this ridge. Great numbers of buffalo, elk, and goats are wandering over these plains, accompanied by grouse and larks. Captain Clarke saw a hare also, on the Great Bend. Of the goats killed to-day, one is a female differing from the male in being smaller in size; its horns too are smaller and straighter, having one short prong, and no black about the neck: none of these goats have any beard, but are delicately formed, and very beautiful.

September 21, 1804
Friday, September 21. Between one and two o'clock the Sergeant on guard alarmed us, by crying that the sandbar on which we lay was sinking; we jumped up, and found that both above and below our camp the sand was undermined and falling in very fast: we had scarcely got into the boats and pushed off, when the bank under which they had been lying, fell in, and would certainly have sunk the two pirogues if they had remained there. By the time we reached the opposite shore the ground of our encampment sunk also. We formed a second camp for the rest of the night; and at daylight proceeded on to the gorge or throat of the Great Bend, where we breakfasted. A man, whom we had dispatched to step off the distance across the bend, made it two thousand yards: the circuit is thirty miles. During the whole course, the land of the bend is low, with occasional bluffs; that on the opposite side, high prairie ground, and long ridges of dark bluffs. After breakfast, we passed through a high prairie on the north side, and a rich cedar lowland and cedar bluff on the south, till we reached a willow island below the mouth of a small creek. This creek, called Tyler's river, is about thirty-five yards wide, comes in on the south, and is at the distance of six miles from the neck of the Great Bend. Here we found a deer, and the skin of a white wolf, left us by our hunters ahead: large quantities of different kinds of plover and brants are in this neighborhood, and seen collecting and moving towards the south; the catfish are small, and not in such plenty as we had found them below this place. We passed several sandbars, which make the river very shallow and about a mile in width, and encamped on the south, at the distance of eleven and a half miles. On each side the shore is lined with hard rough gulleystones, rolled from the hills and small brooks. The most common timber is the cedar, though, in the prairies, there are great quantities of the prickly pear. From this place we passed several sandbars, which make the river shallow, and about a mile in width. At the distance of eleven and a half miles, we encamped on the north at the lower point of an ancient island, which has since been connected with the main land by the filling up of the northern channel, and is now covered with cottonwood. We here saw some tracks of Indians, but they appeared three or four weeks old. This day was warm.

September 22, 1804
September 22. A thick fog detained us until seven o'clock; our course was through inclined prairies on each side of the river, crowded with buffalo. We halted at a point on the north side, near a high bluff on the south, and took a meridian altitude, which gave us the latitude of 44 11' 33-3/10". On renewing our course, we reached first a small island on the south, at the distance of four and a half miles, immediately above which is another island opposite to a creek fifteen yards wide. This creek, and the two islands, one of which is half a mile long, and the second three miles, are called the Three Sisters: a beautiful plain extending on both sides of the river. This is followed by an island on the north, called Cedar island, about one mile and a half in length and the same distance in breadth, and deriving its name from the quality of the timber. On the south side of this island, is a fort and a large trading house, built by a Mr. Loisel, who wintered here during the last year, in order to trade with the Sioux, the remains of whose camps are in great numbers about this place. The establishment is sixty or seventy feet square, built with red cedar and picketted [80]in with the same materials. The hunters who had been sent ahead joined us here. They mention that the hills are washed in gullies, in passing over which, some mineral substances had rotted and destroyed their moccasins; they had killed two deer and a beaver. At sixteen miles distance we came to on the north side at the mouth of a small creek. The large stones which we saw yesterday on the shores are now some distance in the river, and render the navigation dangerous. The mosquitoes are still numerous in the low grounds.

September 23, 1804
Sunday, September 23. We passed, with a light breeze from the southeast, a small island on the north, called Goat island; above which is a small creek, called by the party Smoke creek, as we observed a great smoke to the southwest on approaching it. At ten miles we came to the lower point of a large island, having passed two small willow islands with sandbars projecting from them. This island, which we called Elk island, is about two and a half miles long, and three quarters of a mile wide, situated near the south, and covered with cottonwood, the red currant, and grapes. The river is here almost straight for a considerable distance, wide and shallow, with many sandbars. A small creek on the north, about sixteen yards wide, we called Reuben's creek; as Reuben Fields, one of our men, was the first of the party who reached it. At a short distance above this we encamped for the night, having made twenty miles. The country, generally, consists of low, rich, timbered ground on the north, and high barren lands on the south: on both sides great numbers of buffalo are feeding. In the evening three boys of the Sioux nation swam across the river, and informed us that two parties of Sioux were encamped on the next river, one consisting of eighty, and the second of sixty lodges, at some distance above. After treating them kindly we sent them back with a present of two carrots of tobacco to their chiefs, whom we invited to a conference in the morning.

September 24, 1804
Monday, September 24. The wind was from the east, and the day fair; we soon passed a handsome prairie on the north side, covered with ripe plums, and the mouth of a creek on the south, called Highwater creek, a little above our encampment. At about five miles we reached an island two and a half miles in length, and situated near the south. Here we were joined by one of our hunters, who procured four elk, but whilst he was in pursuit of the game the Indians had stolen his horse. We left the island, and soon overtook five Indians on the shore: we anchored and told them from the boat we were friends and wished to continue so, but were not afraid of any Indians; that some of their young men had stolen the horse which their great father had sent for their great chief, and that we could not treat with them until he was restored. They said that they knew nothing of the horse, but if he had been taken he should be given up. We went on, and at eleven and a half miles, passed an island on the north, which we called Good-humored island; it is about one and a half miles long, and abounds in elk. At thirteen and a half miles, we anchored one hundred yards off the mouth of a river on the south side, where we were joined by both the pirogues and encamped; two thirds of the party remained on board, and the rest went as a guard on shore with the cooks and one pirogue; we have seen along the sides of the hills on the north a great deal of stone; besides the elk, we also observed a hare; the five Indians whom we had seen followed us, and slept with the guard on shore. Finding one of them was a chief we smoked with him, and made him a present of tobacco. This river is about seventy yards wide, and has a considerable current. As the tribe of the Sioux which inhabit it are called Teton, we gave it the name of Teton river.

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