previous | next
This morning I arrose very early and dispatched Drewyer and the Indian down the river. sent Shields to hunt. I made McNeal cook the remainder of our meat which afforded a slight breakfast for ourselves and the Cheif. Drewyer had been gone about 2 hours when an Indian who had straggled some little distance down the river returned and reported that the whitemen were coming, that he had seen them just below. they all appeared transported with joy, & the chef repeated his fraturnal hug. I felt quite as much gratifyed at this information as the Indians appeared to be. Shortly after Capt. Clark arrived with the Interpreter Charbono, and the Indian woman, who proved to be a sister of the Chif Cameahwait. the meeting of those people was really affecting, particularly between Sah cah-gar-we-ah and an Indian woman,  who had been taken prisoner at the same time with her, and who had afterwards escaped from the Minnetares and rejoined her nation. At noon the Canoes arrived, and we had the satisfaction once more to find ourselves all together, with a flattering prospect of being able to obtain as many horses shortly as would enable us to prosicute our voyage by land should that by water be deemed unadvisable.
We now formed our camp  just below the junction of the forks on the Lard. side in a level smooth bottom covered with a fine terf of green swoard. here we unloaded our canoes and arranged our baggage on shore; formed a canopy of one of our large sails and planted some willow brush in the ground to form a shade for the Indians to set under while we spoke to them, which we thought it best to do this evening. acordingly about 4 P. M. we called them together and through the medium of Labuish, Charbono and Sah-cah-gar-weah, we communicated to them fully the objects which had brought us into this distant part of the country, in which we took care to make them a conspicuous object of our own good wishes and the care of our government. we made them sensible of their dependance on the will of our government for every species of merchandize as well for their defence & comfort; and apprized them of the strength of our government and it's friendly dispositions towards them. we also gave them as a reason why we wished to petrate the country as far as the ocean to the west of them was to examine and find out a more direct way to bring merchandize to them. that as no trade could be carryed on with them before our return to our homes that it was mutually advantageous to them as well as to ourselves that they should render us such aids as they had it in their power to furnish in order to haisten our voyage and of course our return home. that such were their horses to transport our baggage without which we could not subsist, and that a pilot to conduct us through the mountains was also necessary if we could not decend the river by water. but that we did not ask either their horses or their services without giving a satisfactory compensation in return. that at present we wished them to collect as many horses as were necessary to transport our baggage to their village on the Columbia where we would then trade with them at our leasure for such horses as they could spare us.— They appeared well pleased with what had been said. the chief thanked us for friendship towards himself and nation & declared his wish to serve us in every rispect; that he was sorry to find that it must yet be some time before they could be furnished with firearms but said they could live as they had done heretofore untill we brought them as we had promised. he said they had not horses enough with them at present to remove our baggage to their village over the mountain, but that he would return tomorrow and encourage his people to come over with their horses and that he would bring his own and assist us. this was complying with all we wished at present. we next enquired who were chiefs among them. Cameahwait pointed out two others whom he said were Chiefs we gave him a medal of the small size with the likeness of Mr. Jefferson the President of the U' States in releif on one side and clasp hands with a pipe and tomahawk on the other, to the other Chiefs we gave each a small medal which were struck in the Presidency of George Washing [NB: ton] Esqr. we also gave small medals of the last discription to two young men whom the 1st Chief informed us wer good young men and much rispected among them. we gave the 1st Chief an uniform coat shit [NB: irt] a pair of scarlet legings a carrot of tobacco and some small articles to each of the others we gave a shi[r]t leging handkerchief a knife some tobacco and a few small articles we also distributed a good quantity paint mockerson awls knives beads lookingglasses &c among the other Indians and gave them a plentifull meal of lyed [NB: hull taken off by being boiled in lye] corn which was the first they had ever eaten in their lives. they were much pleased with it. every article about us appeared to excite astonishment in ther minds; the appearance of the men, their arms, the canoes, our manner of working them, the back man york and the segacity of my dog were equally objects of admiration. I also shot my air-gun which was so perfectly incomprehensible that they immediately denominated it the great medicine. the idea which the indians mean to convey by this appellation is something that eminates from or acts immediately by the influence or power of the great sperit; or that in which the power of god is manifest by it's incomprehensible power of action. our hunters killed 4 deer and an Antelope this evening of which we also gave the Indians a good proportion. the cerimony of our council and smoking the pipe was in conformity of the custom of this nation perfomed bearfoot. on those occasions points of etiquet are quite as much attended to by the Indians as among scivilized nations. To keep indians in a good humour you must not fatiegue them with too much business at one time. therefore after the council we gave them to eat and amused them a while by shewing them such articles as we thought would be entertaining to them, and then renewed our enquiries with rispect to the country. the information we derived was only a repetition of that they had given me before and in which they appeared to be so candid that I could not avoid yealing confidence to what they had said. Capt. Clark and myself now concerted measures for our future operations, and it was mutually agreed that he should set out tomorrow morning with eleven men furnished with axes and other necessary tools for making canoes, their arms accoutrements and as much of their baggage as they could carry. also to take the indians Carbono and the indian woman with him; that on his arrival at the Shoshone camp he was to leave Charbono and the Indian woman to haisten the return of the Indians with their horses to this place, and to proceede himself with the eleven men down the Columbia in order to examine the river and if he found it navigable and could obtain timber to set about making canoes immediately. In the mean time I was to bring on the party and baggage to the Shoshone Camp, calculating that by the time I should reach that place that he would have sufficiently informed himself with rispect to the state of the river &c. as to determine us whether to prosicute our journey from thence by land or water. in the former case we should want all the horses which we could perchase, the latter only to hire the Indians to transport our baggage to the place at which we made the canoes. in order to inform me as early as possible of the state of the river he was to send back one of the men with the necessary information as soon as he should satisfy himself on this subject. this plan being settled we gave orders accordingly and the men prepared for an early march. the nights are very cold and the sun excessively hot in the day. we have no fuel here but a few dry willow brush. and from the appearance of country I am confident we shall not find game here to subsist us many days. these are additional reasons why I conceive it necessary to get under way as soon as possible.— this morning Capt. Clark had delayed untill 7 A. M. before he set out just about which time Drewyer arrived with the Indian; he left the canoes to come on after him, and immediately set out and joined me as has been before mentioned.— The sperits of the men were now much elated as the prospect of geting horses.
August 17th 1805.
a fair Cold morning wind S. W. the Thermometer at 42 a. 0 at Sunrise, We Set out at 7 oClock and proceeded on to the forks I had not proceeded on one mile before I saw at a distance Several Indians on horsback Comeing towards me, The Intertrepeter & Squar who were before me at Some distance danced for the joyful Sight, and She made signs to me that they were her nation, as I aproached nearer them descovered one of Capt Lewis party With them dressed in their Dress; the met me with great Signs of joy, as the Canoes were proceeding on nearly opposit me I turned those people & Joined Capt Lewis who had Camped with 16 of those Snake Indians at the forks 2 miles in advance. those Indians Sung all the way to their Camp where the others had provd. a cind of Shade of Willows Stuck up in a Circle the Three Chiefs with Capt. Lewis met me with great cordialliaty embraced and took a Seat on a white robe, the Main Chief imedeately tied to my hair Six Small pieces of Shells resembling perl which is highly Valued by those people and is prcured from the nations resideing near the Sea Coast. we then Smoked in their fassion without Shoes and without much cerimoney and form.
Capt Lewis informed me he found those people on the Columbia River about 40 miles from the forks at that place there was a large camp of them, he had purswaded those with him to Come and See that what he said was the truth, they had been under great apprehension all the way, for fear of their being deceived. The Great Chief of this nation proved to be the brother of the Woman with us and is a man of Influence Sence & easey & reserved manners, appears to possess a great deel of Cincerity. The 〈perog〉 Canoes arrived & unloaded— every thing appeared to asstonish those people. the appearance of the men, their arms, the Canoes, the Clothing my black Servent & the Segassity of Capt Lewis's Dog. we Spoke a fiew words to them in the evening respecting our rout intentions our want of horses &c. & gave them a fiew presents & medals— 〈in the eving〉 we made a number of inquires of those people about the Columbia River the Countrey game &c. The account they gave us was verry unfavourable, that the River abounded in emence falls, one perticularly much higher than the falls of the Missouri & at the place the mountains Closed So Close that it was impracticable to pass, & that the ridge Continued on each Side of perpendicular Clifts inpenetratable, and that no Deer Elk or any game was to be found in that Countrey, aded to that they informed us that there was no timber on the river Sufficiently large to make Small Canoes, This information (if true is alarming) I deturmined to go in advance and examine the Countrey, See if those dificueltes presented themselves in the gloomey picture in which they painted them, and if the river was practiable and I could find timber to build Canoes, those Ideas & plan appeard to be agreeable to Capt Lewis's Ideas on this point, and I selected 11 men,  directed them to pack up their baggage Complete themselves with amunition, take each an ax and Such tools as will be Soutable to build Canoes, and be ready to Set out at 10 oClock tomorrow morning. Those people greatly pleased our hunters killed three Deer & an antilope which was eaten in a Short time the Indians being so harrassed & compelleted to move about in those rugid mountains that they are half Starved liveing at this time on berries & roots which they geather in the plains. Those people are not begerley but generous, only one has asked me for anything and he for powder.
This nation Call themselves Cho-shon-nê the Chief is name Too-et-te-con'l Black Gun is his war name Ka-me-ah-wah— or Come & Smoke. this Chief gave me the following name and pipe Ka-me-ah-wah. [NB: exchange names,  custom I was called by this name afd by the Snake Inds]
Saturday 17th August 1805. a clear cold morning. we have been cold this Several nights under 2 blankets or Robes, over us. a little white frost. the air chilley & cold. we took an eairly breakfast and set out proceeded on a Short distance heared Some Indians Singing on Shore on L. Side directly came up Several of the Snake nation a horseback. they told us that Capt. Lewis and party was at the forks waiting our arival. Capt. Clark the Intrepter & wife went with them to Capt. Lewis Camp. the natives rode back forth the Shore to See us come up with the canoes. we halled the Canoes over a great nomber of Shole places and arived at Capt. Lewis Camp abt. 10 oClock A. m. a little below the forks, their was 20 odd of the Snake nation Indians Camped here which came over the Mountains with Capt. Lewis. they appeared verry friendly. Capt. Lewis informed us that he had been over the dividing ridge or mountain to the head waters of the Columbian River & that it is only about 40 miles from this place. they drank at the head Spring of the Missourie & went only about a mile and drank at the head Spring of the Columbian River which ran west. they Saw one Indian comming towards them on horse back a considerable distance from the band. Capt. Lewis wavered a blanket as a token of friendship. he lay close on his horse & Spyed 2 of the party makeing towards him who had been a hunting a little off the road. the Indian turned his horse and ran him untill he got to his band & told the news. the next they met was 3 Squaws digging roots. 2 of them ran off Some distance the other being old Stood her ground. Capt. Lewis Set down and gave hir Some Small presents. She then called the other 2 which came up and piloted them to their Camp which was on a branch of the columbian River they were on their way over to this Side to hunt &C. they had Some Salmon  which they caught in the main River they tell us that their is no timber on the head waters for canoes. they also tell us that their is no game, but we do not believe them. they are poor. Capt. Lewis gave them what little presents he had with him and they came about 20 odd with their horses with him across the Mt. 2 chiefs among them. when Capt. Lewis first came near them they appeared frightened untill he & them with him lay down their arms & made motions of friendship. when they met the natives took them round the neck as a great token of friendship. they were uneasy & afraid that they were taken in when they came to the forks & found that we were not their as they had motioned, but when they Saw us they were glad, and were verry friendly to lend us their horses to pack meat &C. we conclude to leave the canoes at this place, So we unloadd and formed a Camp  a little below the forks on a Smooth prarie on L. S. no timber. we have to cook with Small willow &C. high hills on the point between the 2 Rivers, & around this valley. a fiew Scattering pitch pine on them. this valley Smooth & pleasant the natives horses appear good and in tollarable order, but they are verry poor nothing to be Seen amongst them but thier horses & 2 or 3 guns, but no ammunition. they are dressed tollarably well in antelope & Mountain Rams Skins well dressed. a fiew beeds hung in their ears with mussel Shells &C their hair Short the most of them. we expect they git their horses from the Spanis and what other little art articles they have, but they have no knives tommahawks nor no weapons of war except their bow & arrows. it is only by their acct. 8 day travel to the South to the Spanish country. our officers Captains Lewis & Clark told the head chief  of them that they wanted to by their horses to take our baggage over the Mountains. the Chief Said they would let us have the use of their horses & promised to assist us over as much as lay in their power. So they gave them out considerable of different kinds of marchandize. gave the chief a meddel made another chief & gave him a meddle also. gave the head chief a uniform coat & Shirt & arm bands &C &C. Capt. Lewis Shot the airgun, which they thought a great meddicine & Shewed them a nomber of Strange things to them. 4 deer & 2 antelopes killed by the hunters this day. Capt. Lewis tells us that the game is verry Scarse on the mountain he was about 3 days with[out] meat. the natives gave Capt. Lewis ear bobs to put in ears and an ornament to Spread over his Shoulders, which was made of white wezels  tails & fastened on an otters Skin. they fixed off all the men in the Same way who were returning with Capt. Lewis. they take us round the neck and Sweze us in token of friendship as they have a practice in Stead of Shakeing hands
Saturday 17th. A fine morning. We proceeded on about 2 miles, and discovered a number of the natives, of the Snake nation, coming along the bank on the South side. Captain Lewis had been as far as the waters of the Columbia river and met them there.  We continued on about two miles further to a place where the river forks, and there halted and encamped,  after much fatigue and difficulty. The water is so shallow that we had to drag the canoes, one at a time, almost all the way. The distance across from this place to the waters of the Columbia river is about 40 miles, and the road or way said to be good. There were about 20 of the natives came over with Captain Lewis and had the same number of horses. Here we unloaded the canoes, and had a talk with the Indians; and agreed with them that they should lend us some of their horses to carry our baggage to the Columbia river.
Saturday 17th August 1805. a clear cold morning. we lay last night with 2 blankets or Robes over us & lay cold. Some frost this morning. we took an eairly breakfast and Set out. proceeded on a Short distance. heared a nomber of Indians a Singing on L. Side. directly their came Several of the Snake nation  Came to us & told us that Capt. Lewis & party was at the forks. Capt. Clark our Intrepter & wife went with the natives rode their horses to the forks. they kept rideing back & forward to See us comeing up with the canoes. we were obledged to hale the canoes a great part of the way untill we got to Capt. Lewises Camp a little below the forks their was 20 odd of the Snake nation Camped with Capt. Lewis. they appeared harmeless & friendly. Capt. Lewis informed us that he had been over the mountain on the head waters of Columbian River and that this band was Camped on Sd. waters and Creek or Small River on their way across to this place a hunting. the first they Saw was one Spy they had Some distance a head on horse back. Capt. Lewis Swung & held up a blanket as a token of friendship, but as it hapened 2 of the men were a hunting one on each Side of him, which frightned him as he Suposed they wished to take prisoner turned about his horse & rode verry Seedy out of his road & made no halt untill he got to the band, & told his people the news. they met 3  Squaws 〈2〉 on the Side of the mountain a digging roots 2 of them ran off, the other being old Stood hir ground. Capt. Lewis came or went up to hir & gave hir Some Small presents, and Shewed everry mark of friendship. She then called up the other 2 and they piloted 〈them〉 Capt. Lewis & party to the band, which received them with a great deal of fear at first. appared frightened until they lay down their guns and made Some tokens & motions of friendship. the natives then put their arms around their or our peoples necks & appeared glad to See them and used them friendly. they had Some Salmon which they had brought with them from the main river. it is only about 40 miles over the mount to the head waters of the other R. the[y] drank at the head waters or Spring of the Missourie and went only abt. a mile and drank out of the head Spring of the Columbian River which ran west. the natives tell us that their is no timber large enofe for canoes on the head waters &c Capt. Lewis got 2 odd of the band to come over with their horses, only 3 women with them. we conclude to leave the canoes at this place and git horses of the natives to take our baggage over the mountains. So we unloaded the canoes and formed a Camp on a Smooth prarie on L. Side. the grass high, but no timber we could git no timber to burn but Small dry willow Sticks about as big as a mans finger &c. a high hill in the point or between the forks of the River. high hills around this valley. the hunters killed 3 deer & 2 goats this day. Capt. Lewis informes us that the game is verry Scarse on the mountain, & that they were without any thing of account to eat for 2 or three days, but the natives tell us that their is pleanty of fish on the columbian River Such as Salmon &c. our officers told the natives that we wanted to git their horses to take our baggage over the Mountain & wanted to buy Some from them also So they Gave them considerable of marchandize divided it among them all. they consented to let us have their horses & assist us over the mo. they tell us that it is only about 8 days travvel a South course to the Spanish country,  but these Indians git but little trade amongst them &c—
Saturday August 17th A Clear cold morning; the weather was so cold last night, that our party had to lay under 2 buffalo robes each in order to keep themselves warm, We took an early break fast and set out, we had proceeded on but a short distance when we were alarmed by several voices that were singing— the Voices, came from the South side of the River. We halted our Canoes, when a number of the Snake Nation of Indians came to us; these were the Persons who we had heard singing; They informed us by our Interpreter (the Indian Woman) that Captain Lewis & party was at the Forks of the River waiting for us.— Captain Clark, our french Interpreter & his Indian Wife, went off with these Indians— The Snake Indians that came to us, rode very fine horses, 〈which〉 and they let Captain Clark & the Interpreter & wife ride 2 of them to the forks of the River. We proceeded on, the Indians riding their horses back & forward to see us coming on, with our Canoes. We were obliged to hawl our Canoes a great part of the way over shallow places, till we arrived at the place, where Captain Lewis was encamped, which lay a small distance below the forks of this River. We found between 20 & 30 of the Snake Nation of Indians encamped with him.—
The Indians appeared to be very harmless & inoffensive, Captain Lewis informed us, that he had crossed the Mountains that lay a head of us & had gone on to the head Waters of Columbia River, and that he had found Some of this band of Indians, encamped on the head waters of said River, & a part of them at a Creek or small River, on their way across the Mountains to this place; on a hunting party.— he likewise mentioned, that the first Indian of this party that they had seen, was one of their spies, that was some distance a head of the party on horseback, Captain Lewis swung a blanket as a token of friendship to this Indian, but two of [his, erased] Captain Lewis's party who were hunting happen'd to be on each side of 〈him〉 that Indian which frightened 〈the Indian〉 him, & he supposing that Captain Lewis & party wanted to take him prisoner, he turned about his horse, and rode very speedily out of his Road, & made no halt, untill he got to his band, to who he told the news & of what people he had seen; that afterwards they had met with 3 of their Squaws on the side of the mountain who were digging Roots, 2 of these squaws ran off, & the other being old & feeble stood her ground. Captain Lewis went up to this Squaw, and made her some small presents, and showed her every mark of friendship. This Squaw then called to the other two, who came to her, and those 3 Squaws piloted Captain Lewis & his party to their band; who received them with a great deal of fear at first, & appeared to be much frightened, untill Captain Lewis & his party laid down their guns, & made some motions of friendship, the Indians then hung their Arms (Bows & Arrows) round their own & our Mens necks & appeared very glad to see them, & used them very friendly. These Indians, had some Salmon with them which they had brought from the main Columbia River. they mentioned to us that it is only 40 Miles across the mountains to the head waters of Columbia River. The party that was with Captain Lewis mentioned that they had drank at the head water or Source of the Mesouri River, which was a large spring.— They also inform'd us that about one Mile from that large spring, that they had also drank water out of another spring, which was the head Waters of Columbia River, The Snake Indians informed us by our Interpreter, that there was no timber on the other side of the Mountains, large enough to make Canoes, near to the head of Columbia River— Captain Lewis had persuaded 20 odd Snake Indians of that band to come over with their horses with him.— Our officers concluded to leave our Canoes at this place, & to get horses from those Indians to transport our baggage across the mountains, to Columbia River.— We unloaded our Canoes at that place, & formid a Camp in a smooth Priari, lying on the So— side of the River; where the Grass was very high. We found no timber here, & was forced to make use of small dry willows to cook our Meat with.— In the fork of this River, on a point, lay a high hill, and hills all round where we 〈are〉 were encamped at, which is in a Valley. Our hunters killed 3 deer & 2 Goats this day, which they brought to our Camp. Captain Lewis informed us that Game is very scarce to be found on the mountains, & that they were without any thing of any account to eat for 3 days, The indians inform'd us, that there is plenty of fish to be caught in the Columbia River, such as Salmon, &ca. Our Officers informed the Indians that they wanted to get their horses, to carry our baggage over the Mountains, and that they would purchase some of them also, & that they would give them some Merchandise for them, The Indians consented to the officers proposals, The officers gave the Indians some Merchandise for part of their horses, & they agreed to assist us across the mountains. They informed us that it is only 8 days travel, from that place to where the Spaniards have a settlement, which they told us lays a South course from this place but that they have very little trade with them
1. Rees says her name was Pop-pank, "Jumping Fish," from the manner in which she jumped through the water of a stream in escaping from the Hidatsas. Rees, 4, 9. (Return to text.)
2. "Camp Fortunate," in Beaverhead County, Montana, lies just below the forks of the Beaverhead, where a part of the party would remain until August 24. The site is now under Clark Canyon Reservoir. Atlas map 66. (Return to text.)
3. Now an island surrounded by Clark Canyon Reservoir. Atlas map 66. (Return to text.)
4. Including Sergeants Gass and Pryor, Privates Collins, Colter, Cruzatte, Shannon, Windsor, and four others unidentified. Sacagawea and Charbonneau accompanied Clark as far as the Shoshone village. Appleman (LC), 372 n. 111. (Return to text.)
5. Such exchange of names, creating a ceremonial kinship between the persons concerned, was a custom of several Western tribes. However, Rees, 7, believes the name given Clark was not the chief's name but was Kim-ah-pawn, which he also interprets as "come and smoke," which he derived from Clark's smoking with the Shoshones on August 20, 1805. (Return to text.)
6. Here in Codex G, p. 67, Clark has inserted accumulated courses for August 15, 16, and 17, 1805. (Return to text.)
7. Salmon, Oncorhynchus sp., of an unknown type. (Return to text.)
8. Called Camp Fortunate by the party, it was located just below the forks of the Beaverhead River, Beaverhead County, Montana. The site is now under Clark Canyon Reservoir. The group would remain here until August 24. (Return to text.)
9. Cameahwait, the brother of Sacagawea. (Return to text.)
11. Lewis's party had crossed the Continental Divide and met the Shoshones on the Lemhi River in Idaho. (Return to text.)
12. The junction of Horse Prairie Creek and Red Rock River to form Beaverhead River. Here, in Beaverhead County, Montana, they formed Camp Fortunate just below the forks on a site now under Clark Canyon Reservoir. (Return to text.)
13. The Lemhi Shoshones, Sacagawea's people. See Lewis's entries of August 11–17 for his meeting with them and his efforts to get them to meet the main party at the forks (see note 12). (Return to text.)
14. The number "3" is written over "2." (Return to text.)
15. The "Spanish country" would be New Mexico, but eight days seems an optimistic estimate. (Return to text.)
previous | next