December 12, 1803
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

December 12, 1803


A hard N W wind all last night    Set out this morning at 7 oClock, passed the head of the Isd on which we Camped last night at one mile—    nearly opposit the head of this Island is a Settlement [1] in a Small Preree on the Larbd. Side, and the lower point of a large (1) Island [2] close to the Sterbd. Side    (2) opposit the middle of this Island on the Larbd. Side, the high Lands is within two or 300 yards of the River; above the high Lands on the Same Side is an (3) Island [3] in the bend of the river above the mouth of a Creek    (4) passed the upper point of the Island on the Stbd. 〈left〉 which is about 4 miles long with a verry narrow Chanl. seperateing it from the Stbd. Shore—    Large banks of Sand is thrown up from the last mentioned Island on the Lbd Side to the mouth of Musoures    (5) a Small Island lies close to the Stbd. Side    at the lower point is a Settlement on land which does not appear to have been over flown latterly;    (6) about [blank] miles higher up and above the upper pt. of the last mentioned Island, & nearly opposit the Missouries I came to in the mouth of a little River called Wood River, [4] about 2 oClock and imediately after I had landed the N W wind which had been blowing all day increased to a Storm which was accompanied by Hail & Snow, & the wind Continued to blow from the Same point with violence.

not soon after I had landed two Canoos of Potowautomi Indians [5] Came up on the other Side and landed    formed their Camp and three of them in a Small Canoo Came across when the waves was so high & wind blowing with violence that I expected their Canoo would Certounly fill with water or turn over, but to my astonishment found on their landing that they were all Drunk and their Canoo had not received any water.

The hunders which I had sent out to examine the Countrey in Deferent derections, returned with Turkeys & opossoms [6] and informed me the Countrey was butifull and had great appearance of Gaim.

December 12th
Course Time Dists. Remks. & References (1)
  h m mils  
N. 13° E. 2 15 2 ¼ To pt. on Lbd. Side above a Settlemt.—    psd. the
upr. pt. of the Isd. (1)    opst. is the Lowr. pt. on
Isd. Stbd. side
N. 22 E. 2 20 6 ¼ To pt. on Lbd Side—    psd. Creek (2) above the
high Land. (3) psd. an Island abe. on Lbd. Side
(4) psd. the upr. pt. of the isld. on Stbd.—
N. 3° E. 1 40 2 ¾ To the mouth of Wood Creek on Stbd Side (5)
passd. Sm Isd. on Stbd. Sd. and Landed in the
mo: of Wood Creek (6)    a violent wind &c.
Total 6 15 11 ¼  
1. Probably the village of St. Ferdinand, or San Fernando, de Florissant, apparently established on Cold Water Creek by French settlers from east of the Mississippi about the time of the founding of St. Louis (1764). At the time of the Louisiana Purchase it contained sixty houses. On Collot's 1796 map it appears simply as Florissant, and Clark's sketch map of the area (see fig. 6) shows "Florisan." It is now Florissant, St. Louis County, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Houck, 2:198; Collot's map, Tucker, map 28; Missouri Guide, 340–43. (back)
2. Perhaps Chouteau Island, "Great Island" on Collot's 1796 map. Collot's map, Tucker, map 28. (back)
3. This also might be Chouteau Island, and the creek Watkins Creek. (back)
4. Apparently named Rivière à Dubois after a long forgotten Frenchman rather than because of trees, so the literal translation "Wood River" originally had no validity; Wood's River would be more accurate, but long usage has now established the former as the river's name. It was on the south side of the river that Clark established the winter quarters later variously called Camp Wood, Camp Wood River, and Camp Dubois (none of which names were actually used by the captains) on a site selected earlier by Lewis on the basis of local information. Although Clark describes the mouth as being nearly opposite the mouth of the Missouri, his sketch map of the area (fig. 6) shows the mouth of Wood River well to the south of that of the Missouri. Various nearly contemporary maps, as well as Lewis and Clark's 1804 map (Atlas map 6), show the two mouths directly opposite. Today both rivers have shifted their courses considerably, and Wood River enters the Mississippi well above the Missouri, in Madison County, Illinois. Because of these shifts, the approximate site of the camp is now in St. Charles County, Missouri, on the western side of the Mississippi. Osgood (FN), 3 n. 1; Appleman (LC), 287–90; Lewis to Jefferson, December 19, 1803, Jackson (LLC), 1:147; McDermott (WCS), 144–46; Collot's map, Tucker, map 28. (back)
5. The name Potawatomi comes both from a self-designation and a Chippewa name for these people. The Potawatomis, together with the Ottawas and Chippewas, descended from a common ancestral group, but by the time of Lewis and Clark they had had at least two centuries of cultural independence. Their domain included parts of modern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northern Indiana, and southwestern Michigan. Within fifty years the Potawatomi would be divested of their extensive land holdings and survive as small, scattered remnants in Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan, and Canada. Clifton, 725, 728–29, 731, 736–42; Edmunds, 3–4, 240–75. (back)
6. The wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo [AOU, 310], and the opossum, Didelphis virginiana. Hall, 1:5. (back)