August 25, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 25, 1804


The Expedition's Route, August 25, 1804–April 6, 1805
(Journals 3 University of Nebraska Press,
used with permission.)

Augt. 25th Satturday 1804    This morning Capt Lewis & my Self G D. Sjt. Ouderway Shields J. Fields colter Bratten Cane Labeeche corp Wovington Frasure & York Set out to Visit this mountain of evel Spirits, [1] we Set out from the mouth of the White Stone Creek, [2] at 8 oClock, at 4 miles Cross the Creek in an open plain, at 7 ms. the dog gave out & we Sent him back to the Creek    at 12 oClock we rose the hill    Some time before we got to the hill we obsevd. great numbers of Birds hovering about the top of this Mound    when I got on the top those Birds flw off. I discovered that they wer Cetechig [catching] a kind of flying ant [3] which were in great numbers abought the top of this hill, those insects lit on our hats & necks, Several of them bit me verry Shart [sharp?] on the neck, near the top of this nole I observed three holes which I Supposed to be Prarie Wolves or Braroes, [4] which are numerous in those Plains.    this hill is about 70 foot high in an emince Prarie or leavel plain    from the top I could not observe any woods except in the Missourie Points and a few Scattering trees on the three Rivers in view. i' e' the Soues River below, the River Jacque above & the one we have [5] crossed    from the top of this Mound we observed Several large gangus of Buffalow & Elk feeding    upwards of 800 in number    Capt Lewis being much fatigued and verry thursty obliged us to go to the neares water which we Could See, which was the W Stone Creek at right angles from the Course we came out, and we got water in three miles in the Creek above whre the beaver had damed it up    after a Delay of about one hour & a half we Set out for our boat, Cross the Creek three times wast deep, passing down an ellgent bottom of about a mile in width bordered by a ridge of about 50 feet from the top of which it was leavel to the river, we proceeded on by a Circular Derection to the place we Crossed this Creek going out where we delayed for the men to rest themselves about 40 minits in a small grove    here we got Great quantities of the best largest grapes I ever tasted, Some Blue Currents still on the bushes, and two kind of Plumbs, one the Common wild Plumb the other a large Yellow Plumb growing on a Small bush, this blumb is [6] about double the Size of the Common and Deliscously flavoured— [7]    Those plains are leavel without much water and no timber    all the timber on the Stone River would not thickly timber 100 acres of land—    we returned to the boat at Sunset, my Servent nearly exosted with heat thurst and fatigue, he being fat and un accustomed to walk as fast as I went was the Cause—    we Set fire to the Praries in two Places to let the Sous know we were on the river and as a Signal for them to Come to the river above, our Party in the Boat & one Perogue undr. the Comd of Sergt. Pryor answered us by firing a prarie near them.    we proceeded on to the place we Camped last night, and as it began to rain and verry dark, we Concluded to Stay all night, our boys prepared us a Supper of jurked mee[t] and two Prarie Larks (which are about the Size of a Pigeon and Peculier to this country) [8] and on a Buffalow roabe we Slept verry well    in the morning we proceeded on and joined the boat at 6 miles, they had camped [9] & were Jurking an Elk & 5 Deer which R. Fields & Shannon had brough in.    from the Mound to the Hill S. S. mo: of R. Soues S 70° E. to the opsd. Hills S. 45° E. and to the woods near River au Jacque is West—


Augt. 25th Satturday    wind S E    The Boat under Serjt Pryor after drying some goods which got wet in the french Perogue & jurking the meet killed yesterday Set out at 12 oClock and proceeded on Six miles and Camped on the L. S.    passed a Bluff of blue earth [11] at 3 miles and a large Sand Island in a bend to the S. S. at 5 miles, R Fields brought in 5 Deer, G Shannon an Elk this eveng:    rain    at 3 oClock Murchy. 86 abo O, [12]

Course, Destance & Reffurence august 25th 1804
S. 72° W. 1 me. the S. S. opposit a 〈Bluff〉 of Blue earth on the L. S.
West    ½ me. on the S. S. opposite the Bluff, the River verry narrow
N. 22 E 3 ms. to a pt. of high willows of the L. S. opposit a Sand Isd.
in a bend
N. 40 W. 1 me on the L. S. opsd. an Island afore Said
S. 86 W    ½ on the L. S. to a point of willows, where the Boat lay Sinc
last night Sunset.
Miles 6  

a Cloudy morning    Capt Lewis & my Self Concluded to go and See the Mound which was viewed with Such turrow by all the different Nation in this quarter, we Selected Shields J. Fields, W Bratten, Sergt. Ordway, J Colter, Can, 〈& york〉 and Corp Worbington & Frasure, also G. Drewyer and droped down to the mouth of White Stone River where we left the Perogue with two men and at 200 yards we assended a riseing ground of about Sixty feet, from the top of this High land the Countrey is leavel & open as far as Can be Seen, except Some few rises at a Great Distance, and the Mound which the Indians Call Mountain of little people or Spirits    this mound appears of a Conic form & is N. 20° W. from the mouth of the Creek, we left the river at 8 oClock, at 4 miles we Crossed the Creek 23 yards wide in an extensive Valley and continued on    at two miles further our Dog was So Heeted & fatigued we was obliged Send him back to the Creek, at 12 oClock we arrived at the hill    Capt Lewis much fatigued from heat the day it being verry hot & he being in a debilitated State from the Precautions he was obliged to take to provent the affects of the Cobalt, & Minl. Substance which had like to have poisoned him two days ago, his want of water, and Several of the men complaining of Great thirst, deturmined us to make for the first water which was the Creek in a bend N. E. from the mound about 3 miles—    aftr a Delay of about 1 hour & a half to recrut our party w[e] Set out on our return down the Creek thro: the bottom of about 1 mile in width, Crossed the Creek 3 times to the place we first Struck it, where we geathered Some delisious froot Such as Grapes Plumbs, & Blue Currents after a Delay of an hour we Set out on our back trail & arrived at the Perogue at Sun Set    we proceedd on to the place w[e] Campd. last night and Stayed all night.

☞This Mound is Situated on an elivated plain in a leavel and extensive prarie, bearing N. 20° W. from the mouth of White Stone Creek Nine Miles, the base of the Mound is a regular parallelagram the long Side of which is about 300 yards in length the Shorter 60 or 70 yards—    from the longer Side of the Base it rises from the North & South with a Steep assent to the hight of 65 or 70 feet, leaveing a leavel Plain on the top of 12 feet in width & 90 in length.    the North & South part of this mound is joins by two regular rises, each in Oval forms of half its hight forming three regular rises from the Plain    the assent of each elivated part is as Suden as the principal mound at the narrower Sides of its Bass—

The reagular form of this hill would in Some measure justify a belief that it owed its Orrigin to the hand of man; but as the earth and loos pebbles and other Substances of which it was Composed, bare an exact resemblance to the Steep Ground which border on the Creek in its neighbourhood we Concluded it was most probably the production of nature—.

The only remarkable Charactoristic of this hill admiting it to be a naturial production is that it is insulated or Seperated a considerable distance from any other, which is verry unusial in the naturul order or disposition of the hills.

The Surrounding Plains is open void of Timber and leavel to a great extent: hence the wind from whatever quarter it may blow, drives with unusial force over the naked Plains and against this hill; the insects of various kinds are thus involuntaryly driven to the mound by the force of the wind, or fly to its Leward Side for Shelter; the Small Birds whoes food they are, Consequently 〈they are〉 resort in great numbers to this place in Surch of them; Perticularly the Small brown [14] Martin of which we saw a vast number hovering on the Leward Side of the hill, when we approached it in the act of Catching those insects; they were So gentle that they did not quit the place untill we had arrivd. within a fiew feet of them—

One evidence which the Inds Give for believeing this place to be the residence of Some unusial Spirits is that they frequently discover a large assemblage of Birds about this mound—    is in my opinion a Suffient proof to produce in the Savage mind a Confident belief of all the properties which they ascribe it.

from the top of this Mound we beheld a most butifull landscape; Numerous herds of buffalow were Seen feeding in various directions, the Plain to North N. W & N E extends without interuption as far as Can be Seen—

From the Mound
to the mouth of Stone River is S. 20° E 9 miles.
to the woods near the mouth of River Jacque is West—
to the High land near the mouth of Souis River is S. 70° E.
to the high land opposit Side or near the Maha Town is S. 45 E.

Some high lands to be Seen from the mound at a Great distance to the N. E    Some Nearer to the N W.    no woods except on the Missouris Points

if all the timber which is on the Stone Creek was on 100 a[c]res it would not be thickly timbered, the Soil of those Plains are delightfull—

Great numbers of Birds are Seen in those Plains, Such as black bird, Ren [X: wren] or Prarie burd a kind of larke about the Sise of a Partridge with a Short tail &c. &. [15]

25th Augt    the Boat under the Comd. of Sergt. Pryor proceeded on in our absence (after jurking the Elk I Killed yesterday) Six Miles and Camped on the Larboard Side    R Fields brought in five Deer. George Shannon Killed an Elk Buck    Some rain this evening.

we Set the Praries on fire as a Signal for the Soues to Come to the river.

Course Dist & refers. Augt. 25th
S. 72° W 1 me. on the pt. on S. S. opsd. a Bluff of Blue Clay which is
on the L. S.
West   ½ me. on the pt. S. S. opsd. the Bluff
N. 22° E 3 mes. to a pt. of high willows on the L. S. opsd. a Sand Is-
land    passed a Sand bar on the L. S.
N. 40° W. 1 Me. on the L. S. opsd. Sand lsd.
S. 86°W.   ½ Me. on the L. S. to a pt. of willows the Camp.

on our return from the mound of sperits saw the first bats that we had observed since we began to ascend the Missouri

also saw on our return on the Creek that passes this mound about 2 M. distant S. a bird of heron kind as large as the Cormorant short tale long leggs of a colour on the back and wings deep copper brown with a shade of red.    we could not kill it therefore I can not describe it more particularly.


Saturday 25th    2 men of the party caught 9 cat fish last night 5 of them verry large.    a fair & pleasant morning. Capt. Lewis & Clark & 10 more of the party I was with them. [17]    we went back to the mouth of white Stone or little peoples Rivers in the white pearogue and walked out to the hill of the little people    we walked hard 3 hours from the Missouri to git to the hill, we crossed white Stone River on our way, when we came near the hill we Saw a great flock of Birds flying about the top of it    we ascended the hill found none of the little people ther    we Saw Several holes in the ground. Some Stone piss ants [18] &.C.    we could See a Great distance in everry direction which the land is verry Rich.    high Smooth praries & Some fine Bottom.    when we was on the Top of the hill of the little Devils (which is 60 feet high) we Saw Several gangs of Buffelow at a considerable distance from us.    we was allmost famished for the want of warter.    the Sun beat down verry hot the air Sultry.    we went the nighest course to the River of little children, from hence after we took a little refreshment.    we proceded on down that R. & Struck our old track & returned back to the pearogue, about Sunset, we walked the whole day in the Beautiful prarie    found Some plums & grapes, but little Timber.    we returned back to the old Camp of last night & camped.    the Big Boat had Set off about 11 A. M. oClock & proceeded on, [19] we had a little rain this evening, we killed one duck & Several Birds only,


Saturday 25th.    Two of our men last night caught nine catfish, that would together weigh three hundred pounds. [20] The large catfish are caught in the Missouri with hook and line. Captain Lewis and Captain Clarke went to see a hill [21] on the north side of the river where the natives will not or pretend that they will not venture to go, and say that a small people live there, whom they are afraid of. At 11 o'clock, the gentlemen not having returned, we set sail with a gentle breeze from the S. E. passed black bluffs on the south side, and continued on nine miles and encamped. [22] Two of our hunters came in who had killed a large elk. [23] Captains Lewis and Clarke did not return this evening.


Saturday 25th    2 men of the party caught 9 nine cat fish last night, 5 of them verry large, Capt. Lewis & Clark & 10 more of the party went back to See the hill of little Devils.    the Boat waited till Eleven oClock & then went on.

Saturday August 25th    We remained here part of this day    some of our Men caught Nine Cat fish.    5 of them was very large, weighing on an average each 100 lbs.    Captain Lewis & Captain Clark with 10 Men, went back to take a view of the Hill, called the little Devil, we waited for them till 11 o'Clock when they returned. [24]    We proceeded on, and in the Evening encamped on the North side of the River.—

1. "G D." is Drouillard. "Cane" may be here written "Carre"; in Codex B it is "Can" or "Carr." He may be the "E. Cann" listed as an engagé in the Field Notes for July 4. Clarke (MLCE), 68–69; Osgood (FN), 118 and n. 2. The mound is Spirit Mound, Clay County, South Dakota. See August 24, 1804. (back)
2. Vermillion River, which they reached on August 24. (back)
3. Probably the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex sp. (back)
4. The prairie wolf is the coyote, Canis latrans, and the braro is the badger, Taxidea taxus. See September 18, 1804, and July 30, 1804, respectively for the two species. (back)
5. The entry shifts here from document 44 to document 46 of the Field Notes. Clark used a circled number "3" on both sheets to connect the two parts. (back)
6. Here on the reverse of document 46 are the barely legible deleted words: I walked on Shore. Documents 45 and 46 of the Field Notes were once apparently part of a single sheet that was divided. In the process these words were cut in two that appear partly on each sheet. Whatever sentence was intended was not continued. The text of the two documents are mixed between August 24 and 25. (back)
7. The "Blue Currants" are either Ribes odoratum Wendl. f., buffalo currant, or R. americanum Mill., wild black currant. The common wild plum is Prunus americana Marsh. and the "Yellow Plumb" is P. mexicana Wats., big-tree plum. Barkley, 134–35, 146, 147. (back)
8. This is probably the same bird Clark calls "the Sise of a Partridge" in Codex B this day (see n. 15). Coues labels it the western meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta [AOU, 501.1], then unknown to science. Another source suggests the yellow rail, Coturnicops noveboracensis [AOU, 215]. Coues (HLC), 1:87; Holmgren, 31. (back)
9. The boats, under Pryor's command, had camped on the larboard side, near the Cedar-Dixon county line, Nebraska. Atlas map 17; MRC map 29; MRR maps 80, 81. (back)
10. This second entry for August 25 is on document 47 of the Field Notes. Biddle's notation at the top of the sheet reads "Aug. 25 to Aug. 30th." Immediately above the entry date is written "92½" and a circled 10 comes right after the date and day. See August 24, 1804, n. 2. This entry for August 25 is written over some figures, many of which are illegible due to an ink blot:
24 ¾
 1? ¼
10 ½
    ½ (back)
11. Perhaps Carlile Shale, a gray marine shale that sometimes has a bluish hue, or outcrops of Graneros Shale, most of which is dark gray. (back)
12. This appears to be the only temperature reading taken between May 14 and September 19, 1804. Whatever the reason for the hiatus, it was not for lack of a thermometer, as this recorded temperature proves. See below, September 19, 1804. (back)
13. Biddle has apparently made red marks through some of the scientific material in this entry. (back)
14. This word could be read as "Crows" or "Grows." Biddle and Thwaites both have "brown," which seems correct. Possibly the bank swallow, Riparia riparia, [AOU, 616] or the northern rough-winged swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis [AOU, 617]. Holmgren, 32, and personal communication, August 9, 1984. (back)
15. This bird "the Sise of a Partridge" may be the same as the one in the Field Notes of this day, "about the Size of a Pigeon" (see n. 8 for this day). The sentence itself is unclear as to whether the wren or the lark is the "Praire bird." Biddle punctuates it so as to make it the wren. Coues (HLC), 1:87. For the wren, see Holmgren, 34. (back)
16. Lewis's natural history notes from Codex Q. The bats could be any of a number of species that are widely dispersed on the plains. The "bird of heron kind" may be either the American bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus [AOU, 190], or the immature black-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax nycticorax [AOU, 202]. Jones et al., 64–96; Holmgren, 23, 31. (back)
17. According to Clark, the men were Drouillard, Ordway, John Shields, Joseph Field, John Colter, Bratton, "Cane" (perhaps engagé Cann), Labiche, Richard Warfington, Robert Frazer, and perhaps York. (back)
18. Perhaps the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex sp., mentioned by Clark this day. (back)
19. The main party camped on the Nebraska side, near the Cedar-Dixon county line. (back)
20. Perhaps channel catfish. (back)
21. Spirit Mound, Clay County, South Dakota, eight miles north of Vermillion. (back)
22. The main party, with Sergeant Nathaniel H. Pryor in charge, continued on and camped on the Nebraska side, near the Cedar-Dixon county line. (back)
24. In fact, the captains' party did not return to the main group until the next day; this seems a clear case of Whitehouse's scribe misinterpreting the original journal entry. (back)