December 8, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

December 8, 1804


a verry Cold morning, the Thermometer Stood at 12 d. below 0 which is 42 d. [1] below the freesing point, wind from the N W    I with 15 men [2] turned out [NB: Indians joined us on horseback    shot with arrows    rode along side of buffaloe] and killed 8 buffalow & one Deer, one Cow and Calf was brought in, two Cows which I killed at 7 miles Dst. I left 2 men to Skin & Keep off the wolves, and brought in one Cow & a calf, in the evening on my return to the fort Saw great numbers of Buffalow Comeing into the Bottoms on both Sides of the river    This day being Cold Several men returned a little frost bit; one of men with his feet badly frost bit    my Servents feet also frosted & his P—s a little, I feel a little fatigued haveing run after the Buffalow all day in Snow many Places 10 inches Deep, Generally 6 or 8, two men hurt their hips verry much in Slipping down—    The Indians kill great numbers of Buffalow to day— 2 reflectings Suns to day [3]


Saturday 8th Decr.    the weather is 12 degrees colder this morning than I ever new it to be in the States. [4]    clear    the wind N. W. about 9 oC Capt. Clark and 14 of the party set off a hunting [page torn, several words illegible] The prarie    we Shortly came in cite of a large gang of Buffalow.    we Saw a nomber of the Savvages on horse back running after them.    we proceeded on    Capt. Clark & myself Saw 2 or 3 Buffalow by themselves    we got near them & fires at them wounded one.    the men all Scattered So that we missed oppertuntities of Surrounding the gangs of Buffalow. But we saw the praries Black at a distance down the River & in a Bottom which is abt. 5 miles from our fort    we then went in to the Bottom and killed 2 cow Buffalow out of a large gang & wounded Several more.    one of our men came to us who had killed a calf Buff.    we left 2 men to take care of the meat.    we then Set off to return to our fort    walked a short distance to where calf was and carried it with us.    walked fast. Saw a Deer    2 men met us with horses.    we got to the fort a little after dark    the hunters all come in    had killed in all 6 Buffalow & one Deer.    the men who went with Capt. Clark he gave a drink of Taffee    the air thick with Ice all this day, like a fog.—


Saturday 8th.    In our hunt of yesterday, two men had their feet frostbitten. Captain Clarke and another party went out though the cold was extreme, to hunt the buffaloe; and killed nine and a deer. One man got his hand frozen; another his foot [5] and some more got a little touched. Two men encamped out to take care of the meat.

1. The correct figure is 44, which Clark has in the Field Notes. (back)
2. Ordway says he was one of them. (back)
3. The sun dog, or parhelion, is produced by the sun's rays reflecting off ice crystals in the very high atmosphere. It is commonly associated with advancing frontal systems and was thus used by natives and modern inhabitants as a harbinger of an approaching storm. Allen, 218. See also entry of December 11. (back)
4. The captains recorded the temperature as -12° F. (back)
5. York suffered frostbite on his feet and apparently some slight frostbite on his penis, according to Clark. (back)