April 22, 1805
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April 22, 1805


Set out at an early hour this morning; proceeded pretty well untill breakfat, when the wind became so hard a head that we proceeded with difficulty even with the assistance of our toe lines.    the party halted and Cpt. Clark and myself walked to the white earth river which approaches the Missouri very near at this place, being about 4 miles above it's entrance.    we found that it contained more water than streams of it's size generally do at this season.    the water is much clearer than that of the Missouri.    the banks of the river are steep and not more than ten or twelve feet high; the bed seems to be composed of mud altogether.    the salts which have been before mentioned as common on the Missouri, 〈and〉 appears in great quantities along the banks of this river, which are in many places so thickly covered with it that they appear perfectly white. perhaps it has been from this white appearance of it's banks that the river has derived it's name.    this river is said to be navigable nearly to it's source, which is at no great distance from the Saskashawan, and I think from it's size 〈and〉 the direction which it seems to take, and the latitude of it's mouth, that there is very good ground to believe that it extends as far North as latitude 50°.— [1]    this stream passes through an open country generally.—    the broken hills of the Missouri about this place exhibit large irregular and broken masses of rocks and stones; some of which tho' 200 feet above the level of the water seem at some former period to have felt it's influence, for they appear smoth as if woarn by the agetation of the water.    this collection consists of white & grey gannite, a brittle black rock, flint, limestone, freestone, some small specimens of an excellent pebble and occasionally broken stratas of a stone which appears to be petrefyed wood, it is of a black colour, and makes excellent whetstones. Coal or carbonated wood pumice stone lava and other mineral apearances still continue. [2]    the coal appears to be of better quality; I exposed a specimen of it to the fire and found that it birnt tolerably well, it afforded but little flame or smoke, but produced a hot and lasting fire.—    I asscended to the top of the cutt bluff this morning, from whence I had a most delightfull view of the country, the whole of which except the vally formed by the Missouri is void of timber or underbrush, exposing to the first glance of the spectator immence herds of Buffaloe, Elk, deer, & Antelopes feeding in one common and boundless pasture.    we saw a number of bever feeding on the bark of the trees alonge the verge of the river, several of which we shot, found them large and fat.    walking on shore this evening I met with a buffaloe calf which attatched itself to me and continued to follow close at my heels untill I embarked and left it.    it appeared allarmed at my dog which was probably the cause of it's so readily attatching itself to me. Capt Clark informed me that he saw a large drove of buffaloe pursued by wolves today, that they at length caught a calf which was unable to keep up with the herd.    the cows only defend their young so long as they are able to keep up with the herd, and seldom return any distance in surch of them.—

  Courses and distances of 22cd of April 1805 [3] miles
N. 60° W. to a point of woodland on the Lard. side   2 ½
W. along the woodland on Lard. shore   1
S. 70 W. to the lower point of a bluff in a bend on stard. side   1
S. 20 W. to the upper part of the stard. bluff   2
S. 60 E. to a point of woods in a bend on Stard.   1
S. 30 E. to a willow point on the Stard. side.   2
N. 65 E. to an object in a bend on Lard. where we encamped for
the evening [4]

  1 ½
   Miles 11

Point of Observation No. 6.
April 22cd 1805.

On the Lard shore one mile above the cut bluff

Observed time and distance of ☉'s and ☽'s nearest limbs, with Sextant, the ☉ East.—

  Time       Distance
  h      m      s    
A. M. 10    44      3   84°   20'   45"
   "      46    16    "      20    30
   "      48      8    "      20
   "      49    28    "      19    45
   "      50    24    "      19    30
   "      51    27    "      19    30
   "      52    35    "      19
   "      53    40    "      18    45
  Time   Distance
  h      m      s    
A. M. 11      1    54   84°   15'   —"
   "        4    25    "      14
   "        6      8    "      13    45
   "        7      2    "      12    45
   "        8      3    "      12    45
   "        9      4    "      12    37 ½
   "      10    20    "      12    30
   "      12   40    "      12

Observed equal altitudes of the with ☉ Sextant

  h      m      s         h    m      s
A. M. 11    21    49   P. M. 5    13    38
   "      23    38      "    15    31
   "      25    29      "    17    20

Altitude by Sextant at the time of observation    77° 52' 45"


a verry cold morning Some frost, we Set out at an early hour and proceeded on verry well untill brackfast at which time the wind began to blow verry hard ahead, and Continued hard all day    we proceeded on with much dificuelty with the assistance of the toe Ropes. Capt. Lewis & my Self walked to the [blank] River which is near the Missouri four miles above its mouth, this river is 60 yards wide and contains a greater perportion of water at this time than is Common for Rivers of its Size    it appears navagable as fur as any of the party was, and I am told to near its Source in morrasses in the open Plains, it passes (as far as we can See which is 6 or 7 Leagus) thro' a butifull extinsive vallie, rich & fertile and at this time Covered with Buffalow, Elk & antelopes, which may be Seen also in any other direction in this quarter—    this river must take its rise at no great distance Easte of the Saskashawan, and no doubt as far N. as Latd. 50°.

Some of the high plains or the broken Revien of the river contains great quantity of Pebble Stones of various Sizes, The Stratum of Coal is much richer than below, the appearances of Mineral & burnt hills Still continue

the river riseing a little, Saw an emence number of beaver feeding on the waters edge & Swiming Killed Several, Capt. Lewis assended a hill from the top of which he had a most inchanting prospect of the Countrey around & the meanderings of the two rivers, which is remarkable Crooked—    a buffalow calf which was on the Shore alone followed Cap Lewis Some distance,—    I observed a large drove of buffalow prosued by wolves    the wolves cought one of their Calves in my view, those animals defend their young as long as they Can keep up with the drove

  miles Course & Distance 22nd of April
N. 60° W.   2 ½ to a point of wood land on the Ld. Side
West   1 along the wood on the Ld. point
S. 70° W.   1 to the lower point of a bluff in a bend to the Starboard
S. 20° W.   2 to the upper part of the Said bluff on the Starboard Side
S. 60° E   1 to a wood in a bend to the Sd. Side
S. 30° E   2 to a willow point on the Sd. Side
N. 65° E   1 ½ to an object in a bend to the L. S. and Camped

Monday 22 April 1805.    clear and cold.    we Set off as usal    passed a high bluff on S. S. and a handsom bottom and plains on the N. S. which was covered with buffaloe & buffaloe calfs, Elk deer &.c. and large gangs on the opposite Shore    I think that we Saw at one view nearly one thousand animels.    they are not to day verry wild for we could go within a 100 yards of them in open view of them before they would run off and then they would go but a Short distance before they would Stop and feed again, We delayed about 2 hours & proceeded on.    passed bluffs on N. S. where we dined & delayed again on acct. of the high wind,    aired Some articles which got wet in a Small canoe    proceeded on with the towing lines. Saw a buffaloe Calf which had fell down the bank & could not git up again.    we helped it up the bank and it followed us a Short distance (the river raised 4 Inches last & a white frost)    we have Seen a great nomber of dead buffaloe lying on each Shore all the way from the little missourie R.    we Suppose that they Got drownded attempting to cross on the Ice last fall before it got Strong.    we Camped in a bottom covered with c. w. timber & rabbit berry bushes on the S. S.    the beaver has cut down large trees along this bottom. Saw a great nomber of their houses. Capt. Clark Shot a large one. G. Drewyer went after dark to set his traps & Shot another.    (N. B. Came only 10 miles today)    one man found killd a Spoted Snake.


Monday 22nd.    Before daylight we continued our voyage; passed a beautiful bottom on the North side, covered with game of different kinds. The wind was unfavourable to day, and the river here is very crooked. We came about 14 miles, then encamped on the South side and caught some beaver.


Monday April 21st [5]    We got under way at the usual hour, and passed another branch of the River La Tear Black, [6] the Wind blew from the N East and the Water fell 2 Inches in the River, We went 9 Miles this day & encamped [7] on the North Side of the River.—

1. A highly optimistic estimate, based on a hope of finding an American entryway into the Canadian fur regions and extending the Louisiana Purchase in that direction. The Little Muddy rises in Williams County, North Dakota. Even the real White Earth River would not have matched their hopes, probably based on Indian information. Allen (PG), 242. (back)
2. The broken hills (breaks) were formed when the Missouri River cut a new course along the southern and western edges of glacial ice. The large rocks are glacial erratics. Most of these rocks have been derived from the Canadian Shield and from lower Paleozoic formations just west of it. The day's camp was near the contact between the Sentinel Butte and Bullion Creek formations; coal is more abundant in the latter formation. (back)
3. Also given on Atlas map 35, in Clark's hand. (back)
4. In McKenzie County, North Dakota, a few miles above Williston, on the opposite side. Mattison (GR), 58; Atlas maps 34, 47, 56; MRC map 59. (back)
5. It is not altogether clear whether this is the entry of April 21 or 22, since there is an apparently misdated entry for the previous day and none for the twenty-second. (back)
6. The party's White Earth River is not the present stream of that name, which they passed on April 16. This is Little Muddy River, Williams County, North Dakota. (back)
7. Whether this is April 21 or 22, the camp is placed on the wrong side of the River. That of April 21 is in McKenzie County, North Dakota, nearly opposite present Williston. The camp of the next day is also in McKenzie County, a few miles above the previous one. (back)