April 9, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

April 9, 1805


Set out as early as it was possible to see this morning and proceed about five miles where we halted and took beakfas—    the Indian man who had promised us to accompany us as far as the Snake Indians, now informed us of his intention to relinquish the journey, and accordingly returned to his village.    we saw a great number of brant passing up the river, some of them were white, except the large feathers in the first and second joint of the wing which are black.    there is no other difference between them and the common gray brant but that of their colour—   their note and habits are the same, and they are freequently seen to associate together. I have not yet positively determined whether they are the same, or a different species.— [2]    Capt Clark walked on shore to-day and informed me on his return, that passing through the prarie he had seen an anamal that precisely resembled the burrowing squrril, accept in point of size, it being only about one third as large as the squirrel, and that it also burrows. [3] I have observed in many parts of the plains and praries the work of an anamal of which I could never obtain a view. [4]    their work resembles that of the salamander common to the sand hills of the States of South Carolina and Georgia; and like that anamal also it never appears above the ground.    the little hillocks which are thrown up by these anamals have much the appearance of ten or twelve pounds of loose earth poared out of a vessel on the surface of the plain.    in the state they leave them you can discover no whole through which they throw out this earth; but by removing the loose earth gently you may discover that the soil has been broken in a circle manner for about an inch and a half in diameter, where it appears looser than the adjacent surface, and is certainly the place through which the earth has been thrown out, tho' the operation is performed without leaving any visible aperture.—    the Bluffs of the river which we passed today were upwards of a hundred feet high, formed of a mixture of yellow clay and sand—    many horizontal stratas of carbonated wood, having every appearance of pitcoal at a distance; were seen in the face of these bluffs.    these stratas are of unequal thicknesses from 1 to 5 feet, and appear at different elivations above the water some of them as much as eighty feet.    the hills of the river are very broken and many of them have the apearance of having been on fire at some former period.    considerable quantities of pumice stone and lava appear in many parts of these hills where they are broken and washed down by the rain and melting snow. [5]    when we halted for dinner the squaw busied herself in serching for the wild artichokes [6] which the mice collect and deposit in larger hoards.    this operation she performed by penetrating the earth with a sharp stick about some small collections of drift wood.    her labour soon proved successful, and she procurrd a good quantity of these roots.    the flavor of this root resembles that of the Jerusalem Artichoke, and the stalk of the weed which produces it is also similar, tho' both the root and stalk are much smaller than the Jarusalem Artichoke.    the root is white and of an ovate form, from one to three inches in length and usually about the size of a man's finger.    one stalk produces from two to four, and somitimes six of these roots.—

at the distance of 6 miles passed a large wintering or hunting camp of the Minetares on the Stard. side.    these lodges about thirty in number are built of earth and timber in their usual stile. 2¼ miles higher we passed the entrance of Miry Creek, [7] which discharges itself on the Stard. side.    this creek is but small, takes it's rise in some small lakes near the Mouse river and passed in it's course to the Misouri, through beatifull, level, and fertile plains, intirely destitute of timber.—    Three miles above the mouth of this creek we passed a hunting camp of Minetares [8] who had prepared a park and were weting the return of the Antelope; which usually pass the Missouri at this season of the year from the Black hills on the South side, to the open plains on the north side of the river; in like manner the Antelope repasses the Missouri from N. to South in the latter end of Autumn, and winter in the black hills, where there is considerable bodies of woodland.    we proceed on 11½ miles further and encamped on the N. side [9] in a most beatifull high extensive open bottom

  The courses and distances of this day are as follow [10] miles
N. 20° W. to a Stard. point opposte to a bluff   1
N. to a Stard. point    do.    do.    do.      ½
N. 80 E. to a sand point on Lard. side   1 ½
N. to a Lard. point [11]      ½
N. 18 W to a handsome elivated plain on Lard. Sd.   1
N. 22 E. to a point of willows on Lard. side opposite to a wintering
camp of the Minetares

  1 ½
N. 20 W. to the mouth of Miry creek Stard. side, passing a small
run [12] and a hill called snake den

  2 ¼
W. to a point on Lard side   1
S. 75 W. to a point on Stard opposite to a camp of Minetares, and
lower pot. of a high bluff

N. 65 W. to the upper point point of woo[d]land on Std. Sd.   3
S. 45 W. to a point of timber on the Lard. side   2
S. 30 W. to a sand point on the Stard side   1 ¼
S. 78 W. to a point of woodland on the Lard side   4
    23 ½ [13]

Set out this morning verry early under a gentle breeze from the S. E.    at Brackfast the Indian deturmined to return to his nation. I saw a Musquetor to day [14]    great numbers of Brant flying up the river, the Maple, & Elm has buded & Cotton and arrow wood beginning to bud. [15] I saw in the prarie an animal resembling the Prarie dog or Barking Squirel & burrow in the Same way, this animal was about ⅓ as large as the barking Squirel. But fiew resident birds or water fowls which I have Seen as yet    at 6 miles passed an old hunting camp of Menitarrees on the S. S.    2½ miles higher passed the mouth of Miry Creek on the S. S.    passed a hunting Camp of Minetarees on the S. S. waiting the return of the Antilope, Saw Great numbers of Gees feedin in the Praries on the young grass, I saw flowers in the praries to day, juniper grows on the Sides of the hills, & runs on the ground [16]    all the hills have more or Less indefferent Coal in Stratias at different hites from the waters edge to 80 feet.    those Stratias from 1 inch to 5 feet thick.    we Campd. on the S. S. above some rocks makeing out in the river in a butifull ellivated plain.

Course distance & refferences for the 9th
N. 20° W.   1 mile on the S. pt opsd. a Bluff
N      ½ mile on the S. pt. do.
N. 80° E   1 ½ miles to a sand pt. on the L. S.
N.      ½ a mile to the L. pt.
N. 18° W.   1 mile to a handsom elivated plain on L. S.
N. 22° E.   1 ½ miles to a pt. of willows on the L. S. opposit a Wintering
camp of the Menetarras.
N. 20° W.   2 ¼ miles to the mouth of Miry Creek; passd. a hill call Snake
house & Small run S. S.
West   1 mile to a pt. on the Larboard Side
S. 75° W.   4 miles to a pt. on the S. S. opsd. a Bluff and a camp of
N. 65° W.   3 miles to the upper part of the timber S. S.
S. 45° W.   2 miles to a pt. of timber on the L. S.
S. 30 W   1 ¼ miles to a Sand pt. on the S. S.
S. 78° W.   4 miles to a pt. of wood on the L. S
  23 ½  

Tuesday 9th April 1805.    clear and pleasant.    a gentle breese from the South    we set off at day light. Sailed on    Shortly took in a large Beaver which one of our men had caught in a Trap which he Set last evening.    we passed a bottom on the South Side coveered with handsome groves of Sizeable cotton wood timber.    came about 5 mls. & halted took breakfast.    then proceeded on    passed a Small creek [17] on the N. S. & Ruged Bluffs on each Side of the River &.c.    proceeded on    about 1 oClock we passed a Bottom covered with c. w. timber on the S. S. where we Saw a hunting party of the Grossvauntares    they assembled on the bank of the River    our officers halted and Smoaked a Short time with them.    went a Short distance further and halted for to take dinner at a bottom covered with Small cotton wood on N. S.    the wind Shifted in to the West and blew Steady.    proceeded on    passed handsome bottoms on each Side of the River. Saw Gravelly bars [18] which was the first we Saw on this River.    they were round and large. Saw Some on Shore also    we Saw a nomber of wild Geese on the River & brants flying over [19]    Some ducks.    the Musquetoes begin to Suck our blood this afternoon.    we camped at the upper end of a bottom on the N. S. after working our crafts 22 miles to day.—


Tuesday 9th.    We set out early, and had a fine day; about 1 o'clock we passed a party of Grossventers hunting: made about twenty-two miles and encamped on the North side.


Tuesday April 9th    This day Clear & pleasant weather, We set out early this morning, and proceeded on; at 10 o'Clock A. M we passed a small River [20] the Name unknown, lying on the North Side of the Mesouri.    The banks of the River not being so high gave us an opportunity of seeing the Country which appear'd to be a mixture of Priaries & Wood land, in the Evening we encamped on the North side of the Mesouri, distance this day come being 22 Miles.—

1. Someone drew vertical lines through the natural history material in this entry, apparently in red. (back)
2. Lewis here makes a distinction between the blue phase and white phase of the snow goose, Chen caerulescens [AOU, 169], a distinction recognized by ornithologists only recently when the blue became a subspecies of the white. Holmgren, 28; AOU, 67. The majority of the brant were probably Branta bernicla [AOU, 173]. (back)
3. Probably Richardson's ground squirrel, Spermophilus richardsonii. Burroughs, 102; Jones et al., 137–41. (back)
4. It is not completely clear if this animal was considered by Lewis to be the same as the one Clark saw, mentioned just above. Its workings, as described, seem to be those of the northern pocket gopher, Thomomys talpoides; they never did obtain a specimen. The "salamander" mentioned for comparison is a rodent, not an amphibian, probably Geomys pinetis, the southeastern pocket gopher. Cutright (LCPN), 130; Burroughs, 107; Jones et al., 166–69. (back)
5. The Sentinel Butte Formation extends for more than 100 miles along the Missouri River between Knife and Little KnifeRivers. Lignite coal (Lewis's carbonated wood) is common in this formation and occasionally catches fire, baking and fusing the overlying clay or shale into rocks that superficially resemble rocks of volcanic origin. The burnt hills are probably hills that exhibit these products, but the term may also refer to the burnt sienna or umber colors of some of the sandstones because it is used on October 5, 1804, and May 26, 1805, in places where there is insufficient coal to have produced this appearance. (back)
6. Helianthus tuberosus L., Jerusalem artichoke. The species is near its northwestern distributional limit in McLean County, North Dakota. Barkley, 380; Heiser, 171. Artichokes were not apparently gathered in the way Lewis described. He may be confusing the method Indians used to gather the hog peanut, Amphicarpa bracteata (L.) Fern. Gilmore (UPI), 43–44. See also October 11, 1804, and May 12, 1805. The collection mice are probably the meadow mouse or vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus. Burroughs, 118, 322 n. 26; Jones et al., 221–25. (back)
7. Now Snake Creek, in McLean County; much of it is now under Snake Creek Reservoir, a branch of the Garrison Reservoir (Lake Sakakawea). It is "Bourbeaux" or "Muddy Creek" on Atlas map 29. Atlas maps 33, 46, 55; MRC map 52. (back)
8. Both these camps are clearly marked on Atlas maps 46 and 55. (back)
9. Now inundated by Garrison Reservoir, the site was in McLean County above Douglas Creek and a few miles southwest of Garrison. Mattison (GR), 31–32; Atlas maps 33, 46, 55; MRC map 53. (back)
10. These courses are also on Atlas map 33, in both captains' hands. (back)
11. Atlas map 33 says "Stard." (back)
12. Later Wolf Creek, in McLean County. It appears, nameless, just below Snake (Miry) Creek on Atlas maps 29, 33, 46, 55. On the first map apparently Maximilian has labeled it "Snake R Creek." MRC map 52. (back)
13. Atlas map 33 has an incorrect total of 23 ¾. (back)
14. Probably Aedes vexans. (back)
15. Other than the boxelder there are no maple species native to this area of North Dakota; Clark probably meant Acer negundo L., boxelder, which is of the maple genus and flowers in early spring as described. The elm is Ulmus americana L., American elm; the cottonwood is Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh, ssp. monilifera (Ait.) Eckenwalder, plains cottonwood; arrow wood is probably nannyberry, Viburnum lentago L. Little, 96-E, 196-N, 149-W; Barkley, 101, 205; Kartesz & Kartesz, 169. (back)
16. Probably in reference to the two species of juniper in the area, Juniperus scopulorum Sarg., Rocky Mountain red cedar, an upright tree found on hillsides, and J. horizontalis Moench, creeping juniper, a low, dwarf species. Barkley, 13, 12. (back)
18. It was apparently Nicholas Biddle who wrote "Qu" (for "question" or "query") across the entry at this point when he was working with Ordway's journal in 1810. It is not clear what Biddle meant to query. (back)
19. The geese are probably the Canada goose, Branta canadensis, and the brant is probably the familiar brant, Branta bernicla. (back)