July 20, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 20, 1804


July 20th Friday 1804, a fog this morning and verry Cool    George Drewyer Sick    proceed on over a Sand bar, Bratten Swam the river to get his gun & Clothes left last night    psd a large willow Isd. on the L. S.    (1) passed the mouth of l'Eau que pleure the English of which is the water which Cry's [2]    this Creek is about 20 yards wide    falls into the river above a Clift of brown Clay [3] L. S. opposit a willow Island, at this Creek I went on Shore [4] took R Fields with me and went up this Creek Several miles & crossed thro: the plains to the river above with the view of finding Elk, we walked all day through those praries without Seeing any, I killed an emence large yellow Wolf— [5]    The Countrey throu which we walked after leaveing the Creek was good land covered with Grass interspersed with Groves & Scattering timber near and about the heads of Branches

Course Distance & Reffrs. July 20th 1804
N. 18° E   3 me to a Pt. L. S.    psd. a Willow Island on S. S.    a Creek
on L S.—(1)
〈N. 48 W.   2 ½ m. to pt. Lard. oposite to a deep bend and prarie    on the
Stard. oposite this
pt. to the right of it is the upper point of
a small Is. with a large sand bar below it    the Is. is sepe-
rated by a narrow chal. from L. S.〉 [6]
N. 48 E.   2 ½ m. to a pt. on Std. side of an Island. oposite the upper
pt. of a 2nd. Island which is devided from it by a narrow
Channel—    a deep bend to Sd. side of this small Is-
N. 5 W   3 m. to Lard point of an Isd.
Due N.   6 m, to the point of an Isld. on Lard. side of the same.
N. 18 W   3 ½ ms. to a Point on the L. S.    high land    psd. the hd. of
Isld.    a large Sand bar on the L. S. on Which there was
two Swans Capt Lewis tried to kill [7]
〈N. 22 W.   3 ms. to a pt L. S. opsd. a pt. of high Land    psd. Pigeon C. S. S.
N. 28° W   ms. to a pt Starboard S    passed. [blank] & over a Willow
pt. on the L. S. and a pt. of high land L S (1) [Several
words illegible

one of them without Suckcess, Camped above the bar on the L. S. [8]    a verry agreeable Breeze all night    Serjt. Pryor & Jo: Fields brought in two Deer    river Still falling.    a large Spring ¾ me. below camp [9]


a cool morning    passed a large willow Island (1) on the S. S. and the mouth of Creek about 25 yds. wide on the L. S. Called by the french l' Eue-que pleure [ NB: L'Eau qui pleure ], [10] or the the Water Which Cry's [ NB: Weeping water ]    this Creek falls into the river above a Clift of brown Clay opposit the Willow Island, I went out above the mouth of this Creek and walked the greater part of the day thro: Plains interspesed with Small Groves of TImber on the branches and Some Scattering trees about the heads of the runs, I Killed a Verry large yellow wolf, The Soil of Those Praries appears rich but much Parched with the frequent fires— [11]    after I returned to the Boat we proceeded around a large Sand bar makeing out from the L. S. opsd. a fountain of water comeing out of a hill L. S. and affording water Suffient to turn a mill

The Praries as far as I was out appeared to be well watered, with Small Streems of running water    Serjt. Pryor & Jo: Fields brought in two Deer this evening—    a verry Pleasant Breeze from the N. W. all night—    river falling a little, It is wothey of observation to mention that our party has been much healthier on the 〈Trip〉 Voyage than parties of the Same Number is in any other Situation    Tumers have been troublesom to them all

Course Distance & refrs. July 20th
N. 18° E   3 ms. to a pt. on L. S.   psd. a wil: Isd. on S. S. a Creek on
L. S. (1)
N. 48° E   2 ½ ms. to a pt. on S. S. of an Isld. opsd. the upr. pt. on 2d Isd.
which is divided from it by a narrow Chanl. a Deep bend
to S. S.
N. 5° W   3 ms. to a Lbd. pt. of an Island
North   6 ms. to the pt. of an Isd. on L. S. of Sam[e]
N. 18° W   3 ½ ms. to a pt. on L. S.    high Land    psd. the head of an Isd.
above is a large Sand bar on L. S. (2)

From this evenings incampment a man may walk to the 〈Pane〉 [NB: Pawnee ] Village on the S 〈East〉 bank of the Platt River in two days, and to the Otteaus in one day [12]    all those Indians are Situated on the South bank of the Plate River, as those Indians are now out in the praries following & Hunting the buffalow, I fear we will not See them.


Friday July 20th 1804.    a heavy Deaw last night. Some foggy this morning.    we Set out at Sun rise. Sergt. Pryor & Jo Fields went on Shore with the Horses. George Drewyer Sick, we passed a fine Spring runing out of a high clift of Rocks consisting of lime Stone and Iron oar.    little above we passed weeping water Creek or the creek which Cryes.    Capt. Clark & R. Fields went on Shore after Breakfast, passed praries on both Sides of the Missouris, passed handsome high praries all along the east Side.    passed Several runs    Capt. Clark found an excelent Spring on the South Side, near a Small pond in Site of the River    we passed Several Islands & Sand bars and camped on the South Side nearly under a high hill prarie which appeared beautiful. Jo. Fields killed 2 Deer to Day & brought them in


Friday July 20th    Set out at 6 oclock    proseded on    passed he mouth of a Creek on the South Side Called Crys Creek    it is about 35 yards wide    it Comes in above Clifts oppset a willow Isd.    at this Clift thare is a fine Spring    on the top of this Hill is oppen prarie    passed a Creek on the N. Side Called Piggen Creek [13]    the Land is Low 〈passed〉 that on the South is High prarie Land    passed Several Bad Sand Bares. Campt 〈am〉 on the South Side under a Large Hill


Friday 20th.    We embarked early; passed high yellow banks on the south side and a creek, called the Water-which-cries, or the Weeping stream, opposite a willow island, and encamped on a prairie on the south side.


Friday 20th    Got on our way at an Early hour.    Came up to the creek Calld. Crying water    Breakfasted In the Mouth of the breanth there of is 20 Yds. at the mouth    On the W. S. Under bald hill. [14]    at one ocLock Came to a Large Open preaarie neare the River PLate    it hie Land and Rich, and Some groves of TimBer.    a freash Bres of wind    Come fare and we SaLed    we Came to Iland cross under    an lest night the hunt kiLed 2 deare    Camp nere the Read Blufe    Rowd 17 miLe—

Friday July 20th 1804    This morning early we embarked 〈at an early hour〉 & came up to a Creek called the crying Water, the breadth of this creek at its mouth is 20 Yards wide lying on the So. Side of the River.    At the So West side under a bald hill at One o'Clock came to a large open Priari, near the River Plate; the land lies high at this place, and is very rich; having some Groves of large timber, we continued rowing till towards Evening, and encamped on an Island.    The hunters came to us having killed 2 Deer.    This day we rowed 17 Miles—

1. The July 20 entry and courses and distances are on one sheet (document 33) of the Field Notes, but they are in disordered fragments. Here they have been arranged closer to what was evidently the intended sequence. Under the July 20 entry is the following address in an unknown hand: "Jeffersonville    May 4th    1804    25    Captain William Clark    Kahokia or Mail some-where on the Missoria's    Captain W C." (back)
2. Weeping Water Creek, in Otoe County, Nebraska. Apparently the original Omaha and Oto name was more nearly "murmuring water." Stewart (APN), 528; MRC maps 21, 22; MRR map 60. (back)
3. Outcrops here have been mapped as the lower part of Pennsylvanian Wabaunsee Group. Burchett et al. (back)
4. The remainder of this portion of the entry was written above the first part, with asterisks used to connect them. (back)
5. The gray wolf, probably Canis lupus nubilus, perhaps a Lewis and Clark discovery and now extinct; a yellow color is noted by Jones, 215. Burroughs, 84–88; Cutright (LCPN), 87, 440. (back)
6. This crossed-out course and the following three, not crossed out, are in Lewis's hand. (back)
7. This sentence continues below the crossed-out courses, "N. 22 W. 3" and "No 28° W," which are for the next day, with the words "one of them." Pigeon Creek, not mentioned on July 21, was probably later Wabonsie Creek, Fremont County, Iowa. MRR map 61. (back)
8. If the river has not shifted significantly, this camp would be in Cass County, Nebraska, a little above Spring Creek. On the opposite shore is Fremont County, Iowa. MRC map 22 ; MRR map 61. (back)
9. Probably the source of Spring Creek in Cass County, Nebraska. MRR map 61. (back)
10. Biddle apparently crossed out "l'Eue-que pleure" in red ink. (back)
11. The frequency and occasionally the magnitude of prairie fires was noted by the Corps of Discovery as they entered the Great Plains. The fires were ecologically important wherever grass growth was abundant to prevent secondary growth. They were set by lightning or accidentally by humans, or often Indians set fires purposely for signaling or for improving grazing. The party noted those different types of fires and understood their purposes. See entries at August 17 and 25, September 16, 1804, and particularly March 6, 1805. Pyne; White, 184–86, 374–75 n. 17; Moore. (back)
12. The Pawnee village appears to be the Linwood site, occupied by the Chawis (Grand Pawnees) at this time. It is on the east bank of Skull Creek, about three miles south of the Platte River near the modern town of Linwood, Butler County, Nebraska. The identification of the Oto village is less sure but it may be the Yutan site, about two miles east of Yutan, Saunders County, Nebraska. Wedel (PA), 29–31; Grange, 19. (back)
13. Not mentioned by the other enlisted men and crossed out in Clark's journal; it is Wabonsie Creek, Fremont County, Iowa. (back)
14. After this point begins the writing of No. 3, the most difficult of all to read. The writing runs to the middle of the next entry. (back)