May 5, 1805
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May 5, 1805


A fine morning    I walked on shore untill 8 A M when we halted for breakfast and in the course of my walk killed a deer which I carried about a mile and a half to the river, it was in good order.    soon after seting out the rudder irons of the white perogue were broken by her runing fowl on a sawyer, she was however refitted in a few minutes with some tugs of raw hide and nales.    as usual saw a great quantity of game today; Buffaloe Elk and goats or Antelopes feeding in every direction; we kill whatever we wish, the buffaloe furnish us with fine veal and fat beef, we also have venison and beaver tales when we wish them; the flesh of the Elk and goat are less esteemed, and certainly are inferior.    we have not been able to take any fish for some time past. The country is as yesterday beatifull in the extreme.—

saw the carcases of many Buffaloe lying dead along the shore partially devoured by the wolves and bear.    saw a great number of white brant also the common brown brant, geese of the common kind and a small species of geese which differ considerably from the common canadian goose; their neck head and beak are considerably thicker shorter and larger than the other in proportion to it's size, they are also more than a third smaller, and their note more like that of the brant or a young goose which has not perfectly acquired his notes, in all other rispects they are the same colour habits and the number of feathers in the tale, they frequently also ascociate with the large geese when in flocks, but never saw them pared off with the large or common goose. [1] The white brant [2] ascociate in very large flocks, they do not appear to be mated or pared off as if they intended to raise their young in this quarter, I therefore doubt whether they reside here during the summer for that purpose. this bird is about the size of the common brown brant or two thirds of the common goose, it is not so long by six inches from point to point of the wings when extended as the other; the beak head and neck are also larger and stronger; their beak 〈and〉 legs and feet are of a redish or fleshcoloured white.    the eye is of moderate size, the puple of a deep sea green incircled with a ring of yellowish brown.    it has sixteen feathers of equal length in the tale; their note differs but little from the common brant, their flesh much the same, and in my opinion preferable to the goose, the flesh is dark.    they are entirely of a beatifull pure white except the large feathers of the 1st and second joints of the wings which are jut black.    form and habits are the same with the other brant; they sometimes ascociate and form one common flock. Capt [X: we] Clark found a den of young wolves in the course of his walk today and also saw a great number of those anamals; they are very abundant in this quarter, and are of two species [3]    the small woolf or burrowing dog of the praries are the inhabitants almost invariably of the open plains; they usually ascociate in bands of ten or twelve sometimes more and burrow near some pass or place much frequented by game; not being able alone to take deer or goat they are rarely ever found alone but hunt in bands; they frequently watch and seize their prey near their burrows; in these burrows they raise their young and to them they also resort when pursued; when a person approaches them they frequently bark, their note being precisely that of the small dog.    they are of an intermediate size between that of the fox and dog, very active fleet and delicately formed; the 〈years〉 ears large erect and pointed the head long and pointed more like that of the fox; tale long 〈and bushey〉; the hair and fur also resembles the fox tho' is much coarser and inferior.    they are of a pale redish brown colour.    the eye of a deep sea green colour small and piercing.    their tallons are reather longer than those of the ordinary wolf or that common to the atlantic states, none of which are to be found in this quarter, nor I believe above the river Plat.—    The large woolf found here is not as large as those of the atlantic states.    they were lower and 〈heaver〉 thicker made shorter leged.    their colour which is not effected by the seasons, is a grey or blackish brown and every intermediate shade from that to a creen [cream] coloured white; these wolves resort the woodlands and are also found in the plains, but never take refuge in the ground or burrow so far as I have been able to inform myself.    we scarcely see a gang of buffaloe without observing a parsel of those faithfull shepherds on their skirts in readiness to take care of the mamed & wounded.    the large wolf never barks, but howls as those of the atlantic states do. Capt. Clark and Drewyer killed the largest    brown bear this evening which we have yet seen.    it was a most tremendious looking anamal, and extreemly hard to kill notwithstanding he had five balls through his lungs and five others in various parts he swam more than half the distance across the river to a sandbar & it was at least twenty minutes before he died; he did not attempt to attact, but fled and made the most tremendous roaring from the moment he was shot. We had no means of weighing this monster; Capt. Clark thought he would weigh 500 lbs.    for my own part I think the estimate too small by 100 lbs.    he measured 8 Feet 7½ Inches from the nose to the extremety of the hind feet, 5 F. 10½ Inch arround the breast, 1 F. 11 I. arround the middle of the arm, & 3 F. 11 I. arround the neck; his tallons which were five in number on each foot were 4⅜ Inches in length.    he was in good order, we therefore divided him among the party and made them boil the oil and put it in a cask for future uce; the oil is as hard as hogs lard when cool, much more so than that of the black bear.    this bear differs from the common black bear in several respects; it's tallons are much longer and more blont, it's tale shorter, it's hair which is of a redish or bey brown, is longer thicker and finer than that of the black bear; his liver lungs and heart are much larger even in proportion with his size; the heart particularly was as large as that of a large Ox.    his maw was also ten times the size of black bear, and was filled with flesh and fish.    his testicles were pendant from the belly and placed four inches assunder in seperate bags or pouches.—    this animal also feeds on roots and almost every species of wild fruit.

The party killed two Elk and a Buffaloe today, and my dog caught a goat, which he overtook by superior fleetness, the goat it must be understood was with young and extreemly poor.    a great number of these goats are devowered by the wolves and bear at this season when they are poor and passing the river from S. W. to N. E.    they are very inactive and easily taken in the water, a man can out swim them with great ease; the Indians take them in great numbers in the river at this season and in autumn when they repass to the S. W.—

  Courses and distances of May 5th 1805. [4] mls.
S. 70° W. to the willows on the lower point of an Island near the
Stard. shore, opposite a low bluf

S. 72° W. to some high timber on a projecting point on the Stard.
side opposite a pot. Lard. passing the upper part of Isld.
at 2 miles

  2 ½
S. 30° W. to a point of woodland on the Stard. opposite a low bluff
on Lard. side

  2 ½
N. 48° W. to a point of woodland on the Lard. side   2 ¼
N. 45° W. to the extremity of the sand bar from the Lard. point   1 ¾
South to a willow point on the Stard. side short of which we
encamped on Stard.
  miles 17

Point of observation No. 9.

On the Lard. shore near the fourth course of this day, observed meridian Altitude of the ☉'s L. L. with Octant by the back observation to be 68° 47'.    the latitude deduced from which is 45° 46' 5.6"—    I do think this observation can be depended on as it was reather late before I could commence it, the sun was about to decline or perhaps had declined a few minutes.—


We Set out verry early and had not proceeded far before the rudder Irons of one of the Perogus broke which detained us a Short time    Capt Lewis walked on Shore this morning and killed a Deer, after brackfast I walked on Shore Saw great numbers of Buffalow & Elk    Saw also a Den of young wolves, and a number of Grown wolves in every direction, the white & Grey Brant is in this part of the Missouri    I shot at the white brant but at So great a distance I did not kill, The Countrey on both sides is as yesterday, handsom & fertile—    The river rising & Current Strong & in the evening we Saw a Brown or Grisley beare on a Sand beech, I went out with one man Geo. Drewyer & Killed the bear, which was verry large and a turrible looking animal, which we found verry hard to kill    we Shot ten Balls into him before we killed him, & 5 of those Balls through his lights 〈before〉    This animal is the largest of the Carnivorous kind I ever Saw    we had nothing that could way him, I think his weight may be Stated at 500 [600?] pounds, he measured 8 feet 7½ In. from his nose to the extremity of the Toe, 5 feet 10½ in. arround the breast, 1 feet 11 Ins: around the middle of the arm, 3 feet 11 Ins. arround the neck    his tallents was 4 Inches & ⅜ long, he was good order, and appeared verry different from the Common black bear in as much as his 〈tallents〉? [X: talons or nails] were blunt, his tail Short, his liver & lights much larger, his maw ten times as large and Contained meat or flesh & fish only—    we had him Skined and divided, the oile tried up & put in Kegs for use.    we Camped on the Stard Side, [5] our men killed three Elk and a Buffalow to day, and our Dog Cought an antilope a fair race, this animal appeared verry pore & with young.

Course & Distance 5th of May
S. 70° W.   3 miles to the willows on the lower point of an Island near
the Sd. Side opposit a low bluff.
S. 72° W.   2 ½ miles to Some high timber on a projecting point on the
Stad. Side opsd. a pt. L. S., passed the Isd. at 2 miles
S. 30° W.   2 ½ miles to a point of wood land on the Stard Side opsd. a
low Bluff L. Side
N. 48° W   2 ¼ miles to a point of wood land on the Lard. Side
N. 45° W.   1 ¾ miles to the extremity of the Sand bar from the Lard point
South   5    miles to a willow point on the Stard. Side (Short of which
we encamped[)]
miles 17  

Sunday 5th May 1805. Clear and pleasant.    we Set off eairly    proceeded on.    one hunter who [s]tay on the S. Shore all night came to us at breakfast time.    had killed two buffaloe Calfs which we took on board.    we proceeded on.    passed bottoms of timber on each Side.    passed a large handsom plains on the N. S. where we saw a great nomber of buffaloe and white geese. [6]    we halted for to dine about 2 o.C. on the S. S. at a bottom of timber where we Saw buffaloe and Goats    our officers gave the party a half a Gill of ardent Spirits. Jo. Fields who was taken Sick yesterday is some worse to day.    jest as I went Set off with the canoe the bank fell in & all most filled it.    we directly took out the Sand & bailed out the water and proceeded on    towards evening Capt. Clark and Several more of the party killed a verry large bair which the natives and the french tradors call white but all of the kind that we have seen is of a light brown only owing to the climate as we suppose.    we shot him as he was Swimming the River.    the place where he dyed was Shallow or perhaps he would have Sunk to the bottom.    with the assistance of Several men was got on board a perogue and took him to the Shore on N. S. and dressed it after taking the measure of him.    he was verry old    the tushes most wore out as well as his claws.    the measure of the brown bair is as follows    round the head is 3 feet 5 Inches.    do the neck 3 feet 11 Inches    do the breast 5 feet 10½ Inches.    do the middle of the arm 1 foot 11 Inches.    the length from the nose to the extremity of the hind toe is 8 feet 7½ Inches.    the length of tallons better than four feet [inches].    we found a Cat fish in him which he had Eat.    we Camped and rendered out about 6 gallons of the greese of the brown bair.    he was judged to weigh about 4 hundred after dressed.    one of the party went out and killed an Elk, and Saw another brown bair.    we Came 16 miles to day before we killed the brown bair.    we Sailed considerable in the course of the day with an East wind.


Sunday 5th.    The morning was fine with some white frost. During this day the country appeared beautiful on both sides of the river. We went sixteen miles and encamped on the North side. The sick man has become better. Here we killed a very large brown bear, which measured three feet five inches round the head; three feet eleven inches around the neck; round the breast five feet 10½ inches; the length eight feet 7½ inches; round the middle of the fore leg 23 inches; and his talons four inches and three eights of an inch.


Sunday 5th May 1805.    Clear and pleasant.    we Set off eairly.    one of the hunters lay on the S. S. last night, joined us at breakfast time    had killed two buffaloe Calfs.    we proceeded on.    Saw buffaloe Elk Deer & goats on each side of the River.    passed bottoms and plains on each side.    at 12 oC. we Saw 4 bair on a Sand beach on S. S.    passed a handsom large plain on the N. S.    we halted to dine on the South Side at a bottom of timber.    our officers Gave out to the party a half a Gill of ardent Spirits.    we Saw buffaloe and flocks of Goats.    Jo. Fields verry Sick. [7]    we proceeded on.    towards evening, we killed a verry large bair in the River.    the Natives call it white but it is of a light brown coulour    the measuer of the brown bair is as follows.    round the head is three-feet 5 Inches, do the neck 3 feet 11 Inches, do the breast 5 feet 10½ Inches.    also round the middle of the arm one foot 11 inches.    the length from the nose to the extremity of the hind toe is 8 feet 7½ Inches.    the length of tallons 4 feet ¾ Inches.    his teeth or tuskes were allmost worn out.    the toe nales ware worn Short.    when we got him to Shore we halted for the night on the N. S. dressed the sd. brown bair found a fish in him, which he had caught & eat.    we rendred out about 6 Gallons of Greese and did not render only a part of it    he was not fat but reckened to be about 600 weight as he was killed.    one of the hunters went out and killed an elk & Saw another bair nearly of the Same discription.    Came 16 miles this day.

Sunday May 5th    We had a Clear and pleasant weather, We set out Early this morning, and proceeded on our Voyage; we stoped at 8 o'Clock in Order to break fast on the South side of the River, where we were join'd by one of our hunters who had laid out on that shore all night, he had killed two buffalo calves which were brought to us—    At 9 oClock A. M we set out again and proceeded on; and saw Buffalo, Elk, & deer in gangs in the Priaries, & Goats in large flocks on the Hills on both sides of the River, and some bottom lands, likewise lying on both sides of the River, At 12 o'Clock A. M. we saw 4 Bear on a Sand beach which lay on the South side of the River, and passed some handsome plains lying on the North side, At one o'Clock P. M the party halted to dine, in a bottom of Timber'd land lying on the South shore, here our Officers gave each Man of the party, half a Gill of Ardent Spirits, at this place we saw flocks of Goats & Gangs of Buffalo in abundance on both sides of the River.—    One of our party named 〈ShieldJohn Fields, was taken very Sick at this place.—    At 3 oClock P. M. we got under way, and proceeded on 'till towards Evening, and saw a very large bear in the River.—

The Men who belonged to the party, that was on board the foremost Pettyauger, shot at; and killed this bear; and got him near the shore on the North side of the River, he was one of those called by the Natives, the white bear, altho' his Colour was a light brown.—    As he was by far the largest of the kind, we had seen, Our officers on their arrival; had his dimensions taken which were as follows.—    Round the head three feet 5 Inches, Round the neck, Three feet 11 Inches; Round the breast five feet 10½ Inches, Round the middle of the Arm (or fore foot) One foot 11 Inches, The length of this animal from the Nose to the extremity of his hind Claws 8 ft. 7½ Inches    His Talons 5 Inches, his Tushes were all nearly worn off, and his Nails on the fore feet, worn short, The Officers order'd the Pettyaugers to put too at this place and we encamp'd in Order to Skin and cut up this bear & get it on the Shore, it nearly took our whole party to hawl him up 〈which lay〉 on the North side of the River, in a bottom covered with Timber,—    We dressed this huge animal & found in him a large fish which was fresh & which we supposed he had caught & eat at the time our Men shot him, We got from part of the fat taken out of this Bear, Six Gallons of oil, when melted, he was not so very fat, but at the nearest calculation weigh'd Six hundred pounds Nett weight—    One of our hunters went out a hunting, and killed an Elk, which was brought to our Camp, he mention'd that he had seen on his Route, another Bear, of the same kind, as the One we had killed, and full as large.—    The distance that we come this day was 16 Miles.—

1. Lewis notices snow geese and brant. His common goose is the Canada goose, used for comparing what was probably the lesser Canada, or tundra, goose, Branta canadensis leucopareia [AOU, 172.1], the cackling goose, B. c. minima [AOU, 172.2], or Hutchins's goose B. c. hutchinsii [AOU, 172.3]. All are now grouped as a single species. Clark copied this passage verbatim in his entry for May 26, 1805. Lewis gives a bit more detail on March 6, 1806. Burroughs, 195–96; Holmgren, 30; Cutright (LCPN), 430. Someone drew vertical lines through this and the following natural history passage in this entry, perhaps in red. (back)
2. The snow goose, noted in detail on March 8, 1806. Lewis was correct about their breeding habits; they breed in northern Alaska and arctic Canada. (back)
3. The coyote and gray wolf. The latter probably Canis lupus nubilis and now extinct. Both may be Lewis and Clark discoveries. Burroughs, 84–89; Cutright (LCPN), 87, 440. (back)
4. Also given on Atlas map 36, in both captains' hands, with an incorrect total of 16¼. (back)
5. In McCone County, Montana, southeast of the present town of Wolf Point. Due to shifts in the river the camp is now apparently on the opposite side from Lewis and Clark's time and a mile or so from the river. The legend "Encamped 5th May 1805" is misplaced on Atlas map 57, but the conventional campsite symbol is in the right place. Atlas maps 36, 49; MRC map 63. (back)
6. Probably the snow goose, Chen caerulescens. (back)
7. See Lewis's entry for May 4 for Field's symptoms and treatment. (back)