April 13, 1805
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April 13, 1805


Being disappointed in my observations of yesterday for Longitude, I was unwilling to remain at the entrance of the river another day for that purpose, and therefore determined to set out early this morning; which we did accordingly; the wind was in our favour after 9 A. M. and continued favourable untill three 3 P. M.    we therefore hoisted both the sails in the White Perogue, consisting of a small squar sail, and spritsail, which carried her at a pretty good gate, untill about 2 in the afternoon when a suddon squall of wind struck us and turned the perogue so much on the side as to allarm Sharbono who was steering at the time, in this state of alarm he threw the perogue with her side to the wind, when the spritsail gibing was as near overseting the perogue as it was possible to have missed.    the wind however abating for an instant I ordered Drewyer to the helm and the sails to be taken in, which was instant executed and the perogue being steered before the wind was agin plased in a state of security.    this accedent was very near costing us dearly.    beleiving this vessell to be the most steady and safe, we had embarked on board of it our instruments, Papers, medicine and the most valuable part of the merchandize which we had still in reserve as presents for the Indians.    we had also embarked on board ourselves, with three men who could not swim and the squaw with the young child, all of whom, had the perogue overset, would most probably have perished, as the waves were high, and the perogue upwards of 200 yards from the nearest shore; however we fortunately escaped and pursued our journey under the square sail, which shortly after the accident I directed to be again hoisted.    our party caught three beaver last evening; and the French hunters 7.    as there was much appearance of beaver just above the entrance of the little Missouri these hunters concluded to remain some days; we therefore left them without the expectation of seeing them again.—    just above the entrance of the Little Missouri the great Missouri is upwards of a mile in width, tho' immediately at the entrance of the former it is not more than 200 yards wide and so shallow that the canoes passed it with seting poles.    at the distance of nine miles passed the mouth of a creek on the Stard. side which we called onion creek [1] from the quantity of wild onions which grow in the plains on it's borders. Capt. Clark who was on shore informed me that this creek was 16 yards wide a mile & a half above it's entrance, discharges more water than creeks of it's size usually do in this open country, and that there was not a stick of timber of any discription to be seen on it's borders, or the level plain country through which it passes.    at the disetance of 10 miles further we passed the mouth of a large creek; [2] discharging itself in the center of a deep bend.    of this creek and the neighbouring country, Capt Clark who was on shore gave me the following discription    "This creek I took to be a small river from it's size, and the quantity of water which it discharged. I ascended it 1½ miles, and found it the discharge of a pond or small lake, which had the appearance of having formerly been the bed of the Missouri.    several small streems discharge themselves into this lake.    the country on both sides consists of beautifull level and elivated plains; asscending as they recede from the Missouri; there were a great number of Swan and gees in this lake and near it's borders I saw the remains of 43 temperary Indian lodges, which I presume were those of the Assinniboins who are now in the neighbourhood of the British establishments on the Assinniboin river—"    This lake and it's discharge we call goos Egg from the circumstance of Capt Clark shooting a goose while on her nest in the top of a lofty cotton wood tree, from which we afterwards took one egg.    the wild gees frequently build their nests in this manner, at least we have already found several in trees, nor have we as yet seen any on the ground, or sand bars where I had supposed from previous information that they most commonly 〈lay〉 deposited their eggs.— [3]    saw some Buffaloe and Elk at a distance today but killed none of them.    we found a number of carcases of the Buffaloe lying along shore, which had been drowned by falling through the ice in winter and lodged on shore by the high water when the river broke up about the first of this month.    we saw also many tracks of the white bear of enormous size, [4] along the river shore and about the carcases of the Buffaloe, on which I presume they feed.    we have not as yet seen one of these anamals, tho' their tracks are so abundant and recent.    the men as well as ourselves are anxious to meet with some of these bear.    the Indians give a very formidable account of the strengh and ferocity of this anamal, which they never dare to attack but in parties of six eight or ten persons; and are even then frequently defeated with the loss of one or more of their party.    the savages attack this anamal with their bows and arrows and the indifferent guns with which the traders furnish them, with these they shoot with such uncertainty and at so short a distance, [NB: unless shot thro' head or heart wound not mortal] that they frequently mis their aim & fall a sacrefice to the bear.    two Minetaries were killed during the last winter in an attack on a white bear.    this anamall is said more frequently to attack a man on meeting with him, than to flee from him. When the Indians are about to go in quest of the white bear, previous to their departure, they paint themselves and perform all those supersticious rights commonly observed when they are about to make war uppon a neighbouring nation. Oserved more bald eagles on this part of the Missouri than we have previously seen. [5]    saw the small hawk, frequently called the sparrow hawk, which is common to most parts of the U States. [6]    great quantities of gees are seen feeding in the praries.    saw a large flock of white brant or gees with black wings pass up the river; there were a number of gray brant with them; from their flight I presume they proceed much further still to the N. W.—    we have never been enabled yet to shoot one of these birds, and cannot therefore determine whether the gray brant found with the white are their brude of the last year or whether they are the same with the grey brant common to the Mississippi and lower part of the Missouri.—    we killed 2 Antelopes today which we found swiming from the S. to the N. side of the river; they were very poor.—    We encamped this evening on the Stard. shore in a beautifull plain. elivated about 30 feet above the river. [7]

  The courses and distances of this day are as follow. [8] miles
N. 18° W. to a point of wood on the L. side, point on the Lard. at 1 ½

  7 ½
N. 10° W. to the upper point of a Low bluff on the Stad. pass a creek
on Stard. side.

N. 45 W. to a point of Woodland on Lard. side   4
N. 28 W. to a point of Woodland Stard. side   3
S. 35 W. to a point of Woodland on Std. side, passed a creek on
Stard. side—    near the commencement of this course
also, two points on the Lard. side, the one at a mile, and
the other ½ a mile further, also a large sand bar in the
above the entrance of the creek.

    23 ½

Note our encampment was one mile short of the extremity of the last course.—


Set out this morning at 6 oClock, the Missouri above the mouth of Little Missouri widens to nearly a mile containing a number of Sand bars    this width &c. of the River Continues Generally as high as the Rochejhone River.

Cought 3 beaver this morning, at 9 miles passd. the mouth of a Creek on the S. S. on the banks of which there is an imence quantity of wild onions or garlick, I was up this Creek ½ a m. and could not See one Stick of timber of any kind on its borders, this creek is 16 yds wide ½ a mile up it and discharges more water than is common for Creeks of its Size.    at about 10 miles higher we pass a Creek about 30 yards wide in a deep bend to the N W. This creek I took to be a Small river from its Size & the quantity of water which it discharged, I assended it 1½ mes and found it the discharge of a pond or Small Lake which has appearance of haveing been once the bead of the river, Some Small Streams discharge themselves into this Lake.    the Countery on both Side is butifull elevated plains assending in Some parts to a great distance    near the aforesaid Lake (which we call Goose egg L from a Circumstance of my Shooting a goose on her neast on Some Sticks in the top of a high Cotton wood tree in which there was one egg) We Saw 8 buffalow at a distance, We also Saw Several herds of Elk at a distance which were verry wild, I Saw near the Lake the remains of 43 lodges, which has latterly been abandond    I Suppose them to have been Ossinniboins and now near the british establishments on the Ossinniboin River tradeing.    we camped on the S. S. in a butifull Plain. I observe more bald Eagles on this part of the Missouri than usial also a Small Hawk    Killed 2 Antelopes in the river to day

Course distance &c. the 13th of April 1805
N. 18° W   7 ½ miles to a point of wood on the L. S.    passd a point on the
L. S. at 1½ miles
N. 10° W.   5 miles to the upper point of a low bluff on the S. S.    passed
a Creek on the S. S. (1)
N. 45° W.   4 miles to a point of wood land on L. S.
N. 28° W.   3 miles to a point of wood land on S. S. the river makeing a
Deep bend to the N W.
S 35° W.   4 miles to a point of wood on the S. S.    passed a creek (2)
on the S. S. near the commencement of this course, also
two points on the L. S one at a mile & the other ½ a mile
further, also a large Sand bar in the middle of the river
above the mouth of the Creek—
  23 ½  

emence numbers of Geese to be seen pared &c.    a Gange of brant pass    one half of the gange white with black wings or the large feathers of the 1s and 2d joint the remds. of the comn. color.    a voice much like that of a goos & finer &c.


Saturday 13th April 1805.    clear pleasant & warm    Som of our men caught 2 beaver and one fish last night    at Sun rise we Set off and proceeded on    over took the frenchmen who came on yesterday trapping.    they had caught Seven beaver last night.    a handsom timbred bottom on the South Side    passed a creek on the N. S.    proceeded on under a fine breeze of wind from the South.    in the afternoon we Saw three Goats under a Steep bank on N. S.    the attempted to git up the bank Several times &.c.    some of the men Shot at them    they then took in to the River & Swam across. Some of the men on S. S. Shot 2 of them.    proceeded on    passed a high Stoney bank on the S. S. Saw a gang of Elk on a plain near a bottom of wood on the N. S.—    Camped the N. S. at a handsome plain.    came 22½ miles to day.—    Saw a Goose nest on a tree    one man clumb it    found only 1 Egg.—


Saturday 13th.    We had a pleasant day and a fair wind; but our small canoes could not bear the sail. Some of the party caught some beaver, and some Frenchmen who were out trapping [9] caught 7 of them. We passed a large creek on the South side, called Onion creek. [10] We came 23 miles and encamped on the North side, where we found a wild goose [11] nest on a tree about 60 feet high. One of the men climbed the tree and found one egg in the nest.


Saturday April 13th    We set out at day light this morning, having a fair wind from the Eastward, we sailed the greater part of this day, The land, being all Priaries that we passed.    in the Evening we encamped on the North side of the Mesouri having come 24½ Miles this day.—

1. Former Lucky Mound Creek (a corruption of the French L'eau qui monte, "water that rises"), in McLean County, North Dakota, also known as Rising Water or Pride Creek; it is today's Deepwater Creek. Mattison (GR), 44; Atlas maps 33, 46, 55; MRC map 55. (back)
2. Shell Creek, now inundated, in Mountrail County, North Dakota; the actual source is much higher than the captains thought. The lake, "Goose Egg Lake" on Atlas maps 33, 46, 55, is also under Garrison Reservoir. Mattison (GR), 45; MRC map 55. (back)
3. Nesting in trees is contrary to the habits of the Canada goose in the East. Nineteenth-century ornithologists challenged the captains' statement, but Coues confirmed this behavior, which provided protection from such predators as wolves and badgers, from observations in the same region. See also May 3, 1805. Coues (HLC), 1:269–70 n. 27; Cutright (LCPN), 128. Someone drew a vertical line through this passage, apparently in red. (back)
4. The bear is the grizzly, Ursus horribilis; a specimen was taken on April 29, 1805. (back)
5. Bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus [AOU, 352]. (back)
6. The sparrow hawk, otherwise the American kestrel, Falco sparverius [AOU, 360]. Holmgren, 30. (back)
7. In Mountrail County, North Dakota, in what was later called Fort Maneury Bend, now under Garrison Reservoir. Mattison (GR), 45; Atlas maps 33, 46, 55; MRC map 55. (back)
8. Also given on Atlas map 33, in both captains' hands. (back)
9. They encountered these three French trappers on April 10. (back)
11. Canada goose, Branta canadensis. See Clark's entry for a discussion of the bird nesting in trees. (back)