September 15, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

September 15, 1804

Course Distance & reffurence 15th Septr. Satturday
N. 50° E 2 mes. to point of White River above on the L. S.    above is
a handsom Situation for a Town    more timber than usial
above the riv    passed Several Sands
N. 26 E. 1 ½ me. to a pt. on the L. S.    a Bluff. on the S. S.
N. 10 W. 1 ½ me. on the L. S. to a Bluff of Black Slate
N. 30 W. 2 mes. to the 〈upper〉 Lower pt of an Island, on the L. S.    this
Island is covered with Ceeders & cald. Rabit Isd. (2)
North 2 mes. to the Mouth of a Creek on the L. S.    a Point of high
land opposit under which we camped, I Killed Elk & Deer
to day    White River is about 400 yds. Wide & like this R.

September the 15th Satturday 1804    Set out early    passed the Mouth of a [creek?] on the L S. where Shannon lived on grapes waiting for Mr. [Clintens?] boat Supposeing we had went on, [1] Capt Lewis and my Self halted at the mouth of White River [2] & wend up a Short    Crossed &, this river is about 400 yards, the water Confined within 150 yards, the Current regularly Swift, much resembling the Missourie, Sand bars makeing out from the points, Some Islands    we Sent up two men [3] to 〈travers〉 go up this river one Day and Meet us to morrow    we proceeded on    passed a Small Island Covered with Ceder timber, & great number of rabits, no game except rabits, and Camped on the S. S. opposit a large Creek, [4] on which there is more wood than usial on Creeks in this quaterr    this creek raised 14 feet last rain    I Killed a Buck elk & a Deer.

Course Distance & reffurences
N. 50° E 2 mes. to the pt. mouth of White river (1) L. S.    passed Sand
bars &c.
N. 26° E 1 ½ mes. to a pt. on the L. S. a Bluff on the S. S.
N. 10° W.    ½ mes. on the L. S. to the commencement of a Bluff of black
N. 30° W 2 mes. to the lower pt. of an Island Situated near the L. Side
North 2 miles to the mouth of a Creek on the L. S. a point of high
land opposit under which we camped

15th September Satturday 1804

Set out early    passed the mo of the Creek, and the mouth of White river; (1) Capt Lewis and my Self went up this river a Short distance and Crossed, found that this differed verry much from the Plat or que Courre, threw out but little Sand, about 300 yard wide, the water confind within 150 yards, the current regular & Swift much resemblig the Missourie, with Sand bars from the points    a Sand Island in the mouth, in the point is a butifull Situation for a Town    3 Gradual assents, and a much Greater quantity of timber about the mouth of this river than usial, we concluded to Send Some distance up this river    detached Sjt. Gass & R. Fields.    we proceeded on passed a Small (2) Island Covered with Ceeder on I Saw great numbers of Rabits & Grapes, this Island is Small & Seperated from a large Sand Isd. at its upper point by a narrow Channel, & is Situated nearest the L. Side. Camped on the S. S. opposit the mouth of a large Creek on which there is more timber than is usial on Creeks of this Size, this Creek raised 14 feet the last rains. I killed a Buck Elk & Deer, this evening is verry Cold, Great many wolves of Different Sorts howling about us. [5]    the wind is hard from the N W this evening


Saturday 15th Sept. 1804.    hard rain the greater part of last night.    we Set of eairly this morning.    passed a creek on s. s. where George Shannon Camped Six days in a Timbered bottom we call this creek Shannons Creek [6] which Shoots in to the Missouri verry rapid.—    proceeded on    passed a black Bluff on the N. S.    passed the mouth of white River on the South Side. Several Sand bars opposite the mouth So that we could not land at its mouth    〈Capt〉 the Capts. went out in the pearogue for to look of the white River &.C.—    the Boat went on above the Sand bars.—    where Capt Clark came to us    had killed an Elk. Capt Lewis came on board little above a black Bluff.    we proceeded on    Capt. Clark went on an Island S. S.    covered with Timber red Ceeder & cottonwood and covered all over with fine Grapes. Capt. Clark killed a Rabbit    named the Isl. Rabit Island.—    we proceeded on till night with a head wind. Camped on the North Side at a Bluff.—


Saturday 15th.    A cloudy morning. We continued our voyage early, and passed a creek on the south side and black bluffs on the north. Passed White river on the south side; one of the men and myself went up it to examine the country, and encamped about twelve miles from the mouth, where it is 150 yards broad. We found good bottoms on this creek; but timber scarce, and none upon the hills. The current and colour of the water are much like those of the Missouri.


Saturday the 15th Sept.    we Set off eairly a cloudy morning.    Collins went with the horse.    we passed a creek on the S. Side named Shannons creek and black bluffs on N. S.    passed white River on the S. Side    Sergt. Gass & R. Fields went up white River Some distance.    they found it to be a handsom river and a handsom country.    12 miles up this R. it is 150 yds. wide the current and coulour is like the Missourie R.

Saturday September 15th    We sett off early this morning the weather being cloudy, we proceeded on, and passed a Creek lying on the South side of the River, which Captain Lewis named Shannons Creek, and some black bluffs on the North side of the River,

We continued on our Voyage, and passed White River, lying on the South side of the River Mesouri.—    Two of our Men were order'd to go up White River & to View it, They proceeded up it 12 Miles, and returned.    they found the River to be a handsome one, & an Elegant Country lying on both sides of it.    its width 150 Yards, the current running Strong, & the Water (like the Mesouri,) muddy.    We encamp'd in the Evening on the South side of the River on its bank.—

1. Obviously the expedition members assumed that some trader's boat was behind them. "Clinten" may have been Charles Courtin, who was trading with the Teton Sioux, the Arikaras, and the Poncas in the next few years, and whom the party may have met on their return journey on September 14, 1806. Apparently Courtin and a party of trappers eventually reached the Three Forks and western Montana. Courtin was reported killed by Piegans near present Dixon, Montana, in 1809. Jackson (LLC), 2:437 n. 3; Osgood (FN), 136 n. 6; Josephy, 660–63. (back)
2. White River still bears the name it derived from the clay of western South Dakota which gives a milky color. Rising in northwestern Nebraska, it curves across southwestern South Dakota and reaches the Missouri in Lyman County. South Dakota Guide, 323; Coues (HLC), 1:117 n. 43; Atlas maps 20, 21, 22; MRC map 36. (back)
3. Gass and Reubin Field, as indicated in Codex B. (back)
4. Clark named the island Rabbit Island on the maps covering this date. It was in the vicinity of later Bice Island. The camp in Brule County, South Dakota, was opposite the mouth of what he called Corvus Creek, later American Creek, or American Crow Creek, in Lyman County, just below the present town of Oacoma. Mattes, 521; Atlas maps 20, 21, 22; Nicollet (MMR), 421; MRC map 37; MRY maps 42, 45. (back)
5. Probably they were hearing both the gray wolf and the coyote, the nocturnal serenades of the latter still being characteristic of the Great Plains. Cutright (LCPN), 85. (back)