Lewis and Clark
Journal Summary 12: Dates December 8, 1805 - January 10,
is a summary of the journal entries made by Lewis and Clark.
Dates: December 8, 1805 - January 10, 1806
is built and a small party search for a whale
Over the next few days, Clark took a small party of men
to find the most direct route to the ocean from the camp.
It was approximately 7 miles away, and while they were gone,
Lewis set about cutting down trees to build huts. At various
times during the expedition the explorers had encountered
fleas. They were infested, once again, at this site and
struggled to remove them from their clothes and bedding.
The expedition members spent the next few weeks building
their huts and hunting Elk. The weather continued to cause
problems as it rarely stopped raining and there were also
periods where it hailed and even snowed. The Elk meat that
had been stored was spoiled by the weather.
The huts were finished by Christmas and the camp was named
Fort Clatsop after the local Indian nation. On Christmas
day the expedition members fired their weapons and sang.
Tobacco and handkerchiefs were given to them by Lewis and
Clark as presents. They were unable to enjoy a Christmas
feast but had to make do with spoiled Elk meat, spoiled
fish and a few roots.
The fleas continued to be a problem having to be killed
every day. When the Indians visited they brought even more
with them which made life very uncomfortable for the Corps
The fort was completed and a rule was put in place that
the Indians must leave each evening at sunset when the gates
would be shut. The hunters brought 4 freshly killed Elk
to the fort, which was welcome after eating the spoiled
food for so long. Clark wrote in his journal that this day
was the best they’d had since being there, with only three
showers of rain.
New Year 1806 was brought in by the firing of small arms
and shouts of ‘Happy New Year’. Lewis and Clark issued orders
to the members of the Corps of Discovery containing the
rules that were to be adhered to in the fort.
The fort was visited by many Indians who wanted to trade.
One of the Indians traded dogs for fishing hooks. Meriwether
Lewis wrote in his journal that he and the men had become
fond of dog flesh since having to eat it earlier in the
expedition. They now preferred it to venison and elk. The
men began to make moccasins and clothes from the animal
Two of the men who had been to the coast to collect salt,
returned with some whale blubber that they’d been given
by some Indians. They found the blubber very palatable and
decided that William Clark should set out, with a party
of men, in search of the dead whale it had come from. They
included Sacagawea in the party as she had expressed her
wish to see the whale and the ocean.
After an arduous journey, that included climbing a steep
mountain, Clark and his party reached the whale. It had
been completely stripped of everything useful leaving just
the skeleton behind. Clark measured the skeleton and recorded
it as 105 feet long. They traded with some Indians to get
as much blubber and oil as they could.
After a 35 mile return
journey, Clark and his party arrived back at Fort Clatsop.