Lewis and Clark
Journal Summary 13: Dates January 11, 1806 - March 22, 1806
is a summary of the journal entries made by Lewis and Clark.
Dates: January 11, 1806 - March 22, 1806
Winter in Fort
Clatsop and Preparation for the Return Journey
One of the canoes was discovered to have been washed away
by the tide as it hadn’t been properly secured the night
before. Lewis and Clark sent men to try and recover the
canoe as it would be a considerable loss to the expedition.
They searched for a couple of days before accepting its
They almost lost a pirogue
that had been carried away after its mooring rope had snapped.
Fortunately they were able to recover it.
Lewis and Clark took the decision to begin the homeward
journey on 1st April 1806. They had consulted the Indians
and were informed that they would be hampered by snow in
the Columbian Plains and the Rockies if they left before
In the following weeks the men were employed in hunting
and collecting salt from the salt makers on the shore. They
also continued to make clothes and moccasins in preparation
for the return journey.
One of the men out hunting
found the canoe that had been washed away on 11th January.
Over the winter, several of the men became ill with bad
colds and flu, almost certainly brought on by the weather.
They would all eventually make a full recovery. Both Lewis
and Clark spent a good deal of their time describing the
plant and animal life in their journals. William Clark completed
a map of the route the Corps of Discovery had taken from
Fort Mandan to Fort Clatsop. The map included the Mississippi,
the Missouri, the Columbia and the smaller rivers along
with their route across the Rockies. In Clark’s own words
the whole map was ‘laid down by celestial observations and
survey’. Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal ‘We now discover
that we have found the most practicable and navigable passage
across the Continent of North America’.
The salt camp was evacuated and the salt brought to the
Fort Clatsop. 12 Gallons was packed and set aside for the
Towards the end of February the Elk had moved away towards
the mountains making hunting them that much harder. However
the Indians had managed to catch anchovies and sturgeon
which they traded at the fort, giving a much enjoyed change
of diet. In Early March another canoe was lost after coming
loose from its mooring. Several unsuccessful attempts were
made to find it.
Lewis and Clark tried to purchase canoes from the Indians
but they were demanding too high a price. They eventually
managed to procure one canoe but decided that they would
steal another in lieu of six Elk that had been stolen from
them during the winter. The expedition members began preparing
for the return journey, and stole a canoe from the Clatsop
Lewis and Clark gave a list of the expedition’s member’s
names to several of the Indians and pasted a copy in their
room in the fort. On the reverse of these lists was a sketch
showing the connection of the upper branches of the Missouri
with those of the Columbia. Lewis explained the reason on
the list and wrote it in his journal as follows:
‘The object of this list is, that through the medium of
some civilized person who may see the same, it may be made
known to the informed world, that the party consisting of
the persons whoes names are hereunto annexed, and who were
sent out by the government of the U' States in May 1804
to explore the interior of the Continent of North America,
did penetrate the same by way of the Missouri and Columbia
Rivers, to the discharge of the latter into the Pacific
Ocean, where they arrive on the 14th November 1805, and
from whence they departed the [blank] day of March 1806
on their return to the United States by the same rout they
had come out.’