April 27, 1805
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April 27, 1805


Previous to our setting out this morning I made the following observations.

Point of observation No. 8.

Suns magnetic azimuth by Circumferentor N. 81° E.
  h      m    s
Time by Chronometer A. M.   9    27    14
Altitude by sextant 44°   56'   30"
Sun's magnetic azimuth by Circumft. N. 82° E.
  h      m    s
Time by Chronometer A. M.   9    34    29
Altitude by Sextant 47°   22
Sun's magnetic azimuth by Circumftr. N. 83° E.
  h      m    s
Time by Chronometer A. M.   9    42    17
Altitude by Sextant 49    56    30

This morning I walked through the point formed by the junction of the rivers; the woodland extends about a mile, when the rivers approach each other within less than half a mile; here a beatifull level low plain commences and extends up both rivers for many miles, widening as the rivers recede from each other, and extending back half a mile to a plain about 12 feet higher than itself; the low plain appears to be a few inches higher than high water mark and of course will not be liable to be overflown; tho' where it joins the high plain a part of the Missouri when at it's greatest hight, passes through a channel of 60 or 70 yards wide and falls into the yellowstone river.    on the Missouri about 2½ miles from the entrance of the yellowstone river, and between this high and low plain, a small lake is situated about 200 yards wide extending along the edge of the high plain parallel with the Missouri about one mile.    on the point of the high plain at the lower extremity of this lake I think would be the most eligible site for an establishment. [1]    between this low plain and the Yellowstone river there is an extensive body of timbered land extending up the river for many miles.    this site recommended is about 400 yards distant from the Missouri and about double that distance from the river yellowstone; from it the high plain, rising very gradually, extends back about three miles to the hills, and continues with the same width between these hills and the timbered land on the yellowstone river, up that stream, for seven or eight miles; and is one of the hadsomest plains I ever beheld.    on the Missouri side the hills sircumscribe it's width, & at the distance of three miles up that river from this site, it is not more than 400 yards wide. Capt Clark thinks that the lower extremity of the low plane would be most eligible for this establishment; it is true that it is much nearer both rivers, and might answer very well, but I think it reather too low to venture a permanent establishment, particularly if built of brick or other durable materials, at any considerable expence; for so capricious, and versatile are these rivers, that it is difficult to say how long it will be, untill they direct the force of their currents against this narrow part of the low plain, which when they do, must shortly yeald to their influence; in such case a few years only would be necessary, for the annihilation of the plain, and with it the fortification.—    I continued my walk on shore; at 11 A. M. the wind became very hard from N. W. insomuch that the perogues and canoes were unable either to proceede or pass the river to me; I was under the necessity therefore of shooting a goose and cooking it for my dinner.    the wind abated about 4 P. M. and the party proceeded tho' I could not conveniently join them untill night.    altho' game is very abundant and gentle, we only kill as much as is necessary for food. I believe that two good hunters could conveniently supply a regiment with provisions.    for several days past we have observed a great number of buffaloe lying dead on the shore, some of them entire and others partly devoured by the wolves and bear.    those anamals either drowned during the winter in attempting to pass the river on the ice during the winter or by swiming acrss at present to bluff banks which they are unable to ascend, and feeling themselves too weak to return remain and perish for the want of food; in this situation we met with several little parties of them.—    beaver are very abundant, the party kill several of them every day.    The Eagles, Magpies, and gees have their nests in trees adjacent to each other; the magpye particularly appears fond of building near the Eagle, as we scarcely see an Eagle's nest unaccompanyed with two or three Magpies nests within a short distance.—    The bald Eagle are more abundant here than I ever observed them in any part of the country.

Courses and distances 27th Aprile 1805. [2] Miles
N. [3] 9° E. to the upper part of the timber on Lard. in the point, the
same being the commencement of the low plain, at which
the Missouri and yellowstone rivers are about 250 yards

West to the lower part of the timber in the bend on Lard. side 1
N. 32 W. to a point of the timbered bottom on Lard. opposite to a
low bluff, between two points of wooded bottom ½ a mile
distant from each other; a beautifull plain back.    several
high open situations between the woodlands on the Stard.

West to a point of small willows on the Stard side, opposite a
low white bluff bordering a beautifull rising plain; some
woodland below this bluff on the Lard. side, and a thick
wooded bottom on Stard. side.    on this course the river is
wide, and crouded with sandbars.    a little below the low
bluff on the Lard. side, a timbered bottom commences;
here the country rises gradually from the river on the
Lard. side [4]

Miles 8

after take the azmuth of the Sun & brackfasting we Set out    wind moderate & a head, at 11 oClock the wind rose and continued to blow verry hard a head from the N. W. untill 4 oClock P M, which blew the Sand off the Points in Such clouds as almost Covered us on the opposit bank, at 4 I Set out from my unpleasent Situation and proceeded on, Capt. Lewis walked on Shore in the Point to examine & view the Countrey and could not get to the boats untill night, Saw great numbers of Goats or antilopes, Elk, Swan Gees & Ducks, no buffalow to day    I Saw Several beaver and much Sign, I Shot one in the head which imediately Sunk, altho the game of different kinds are in abundance we Kill nothing but what we can make use of

Course distance the 27th of April
N. 9° E 1 mile to the upper part of the wood in the point and Commence-
ment of a butifull elivated plain at which place the Yellow Stone
is about 250 yards distant from the Missouri
West 1 mile to the lower part of the timber in a bend to the Lard Side
back of which and on the river below is high bottom, and the
upper plains are not So high as below and butifull as far as
Can be Seen
N. 32° W 3 miles to a point of the timbered bottom on the Lad Side op-
posit a low bluff between two points of wooded bottom ½ a
mile distant from each a butifull plain back, Several high open
Situation between the wood land in the S. bend.
West 3 miles to a point of Small Willows on the Sd. Side opposit a low
white bluff bordering a butifull riseing Plain, Some woodland
below this bluff on the L. S. and a thick wooded bottom on the
S. Side in this course the river is wide and crouded with Sand
bars a little above the low bluff on the L. S. a timbered bottom
commences.    here the countrey runs gradually from the river
on the L. S.
miles 8

Saturday 27th April 1805.    a clear and pleasant morning.    we aranged our loading in the perogues and Set off about 9 oClock, proceeded on    passed a beautiful level plain which lay between the River Missourie & River Roshjone, about 12 oC. the wind rose So high from the N. W. and the Sand flew So thick from the Sand bars that we halted about 1 oClock, to wait untill the wind abates, at a bottom of large scatering timber on the N. S.    about 4 oClock the wind abated So that we proceeded on till dusk, and Camped at a bottom covered with Small timber on the N. S. came only about 10 miles to day.    the current Swift.—


Saturday 27th.    About 9 o'clock in the forenoon we renewed our voyage. The day was fine, but on account of a strong wind we were obliged at 1 to halt, till 4, when we again went on; and having this day made 8 miles, encamped on the North side.


Saturday April 27th    We were delayed overhawling the Loads on board the pettyaugers till about 9 o'Clock A. M.    The weather being clear and pleasant; when we proceeded on our Voyage, and passed a handsome Priari, lying on the South side of the Mesouri River, in which lay a handsome Pond of Water, this Pond was wide and very long, One of our Hunters that was out Yesterday in formed us, that at the upper end of it, that it was almost cover'd with Geese, [5] Swans [6] & other Water fowl, We stopped at One o'Clock A. M. to dine in a bottom, cover'd with Cotton wood Trees, lying on the North side of the River, shortly after the Wind blew so hard a head, from the Westward that we were delayed from starting till 4 o'Clock P. M.    we then got underway, and in the Evening, we encamped on the South side of the River Mesouri, having had a strong current against us, we came only 8 Miles this day.—

1. Lewis was considering a site for a military and fur-trading post; Clark's proposed location is marked on Atlas maps 35, 48, and 56; Lewis's site would be about one mile west. The American Fur Company's Fort Union (1828), the Sublette and Campbell post Fort William (1832), and the military post of Fort Buford (1866), were all built, not in the point as Lewis proposed, but on the north side of the Missouri, in Williams County, North Dakota, probably to avoid the flooding which Lewis noted. Mattison (GR), 59–60; MRC map 60. (back)
2. Also given on Atlas map 35, in Clark's hand. (back)
3. Atlas map 35 says "S," which is correct but in opposition to both captains' journals. (back)
4. Their first camp in present Montana was in Roosevelt County, about a mile below and opposite the village of Nohly, Richland County. Atlas maps 35, 48, 56; MRC map 60. (back)
5. Probably the Canada goose, Branta canadensis. (back)
6. Either trumpeter swan, Cygnus buccinator, or tundra (also whistling) swan, C. columbianus. (back)