May 11, 1805
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May 11, 1805


Set out this morning at an early hour, the courant strong; and river very crooked; the banks are falling in very fast; I sometimes wonder that some of our canoes or perogues are not swallowed up by means of these immence masses of earth which are eternally precipitating themselves into the river; we have had many hair breadth escapes from them but providence seems so to have ordered it that we have as yet sustained no loss in consequence of them. The wind blue very hard the forepart of last night but abated toward morning; it again arose in the after part of this day and retarded our progress very much.    the high lands are broken, the hills higher and approach nearer the river, tho' the soil of both hills and bottoms appear equally as furtile as below; it consists of a black looking lome with a moderate portion of sand; the hills and bluffs to the debth of 20 or thirty feet, seemed to be composed entirely of this loam; when thrown in the water it desolves as readily as loaf sugar and effervesses like marle.    great appearance of quarts and minerals salts, the latter appears both on the hills and bottoms, in the bottoms of the gullies which make down from the hills it lies incrusting the earth to the debth of 2 or 3 inches, and may with a fether be swept up and collected in large quantities, I preserved several specimines of this salts.    the quarts appears most commonly in the faces of the bluffs.    no coal, burnt hills, or pumice stone. [1]    saw today some high hills on the Stard. whose summits were covered with pine. Capt Clark went on shore and visited them; he brought with him on his return som of the boughs of this pine it is of the pitch kind but I think the leaves somewhat longer than ours in Virginia. [2] Capt C. also in his walk killed 2 Mule deer a beaver and two buffaloe; these last he killed about 3 miles above where we encamped this evening in the expectation that we would reach that place, but we were unable to do so from the adverse winds and other occurrences, and he came down and joined us about dark.    there is a dwarf cedar growing among the pine on the hills; it rises to the hight thre sometimes 4 feet, but most generally spreads itself like a vine along the surface of the earth, which it covers very closely, puting out roots from the underside of the limbs; the leaf is finer and more delicate than the common red ceader, it's fruit and smell are the same with the red ceader. [3]    the tops of these hills which produce the pine and cedar is of a different soil from that just described; it is a light coloured poor sterile sandy soil, the base usually a yellow or white clay; [4] it produces scarcely any grass, some scattering tuffts of sedge [5] constitutes the greater part of it's grass. About 5 P. M. my attention was struck by one of the Party runing at a distance towards us and making signs and hollowing as if in distress, I ordered the perogues to put too, and waited untill he arrived; I now found that it was Bratton the man with the soar hand whom I had permitted to walk on shore, he arrived so much out of breath that it was several minutes before he could tell what had happened; at length he informed me that in the woody bottom on the Lard. side about 1½ below us he had shot a brown bear which immediately turned on him and pursued him a considerable distance but he had wounded it so badly that it could not overtake him; I immediately turned out with seven of the party in quest of this monster, we at length found his trale and persued him about a mile by the blood through very thick brush of rosbushes and the large leafed willow; we finally found him concealed in some very thick brush and shot him through the skull with two balls; we proceeded dress him as soon as possible, we found him in good order; it was a monstrous beast, not quite so large as that we killed a few days past but in all other rispects much the same    the hair is remarkably long fine and rich tho' he appears parshally to have discharged his winter coat; we now found that Bratton had shot him through the center of the lungs, notwithstanding which he had pursued him near half a mile and had returned more than double that distance and with his tallons had prepared himself a bed in the earth of about 2 feet deep and five long and was perfectly alive when we found him which could not have been less than 2 hours after he received the wound; these bear being so hard to die reather intimedates us all; I must confess that I do not like the gentlemen and had reather fight two Indians than one bear; there is no other chance to conquer them by a single shot but by shooting them through the brains, and this becomes difficult in consequence of two large muscles which cover the sides of the forehead and the sharp projection of the center of the frontal bone, which is also of a pretty good thickness.    the flece and skin were as much as two men could possibly carry.    by the time we returned the sun had set and I determined to remain here all night, [6] and directed the cooks to render the bear's oil and put it in the kegs which was done.    there was about eight gallons of it.—

the wild Hysop grows here and in all the country through which we have passed for many days past; [NB: Copy for Dr. Barton ] tho' from big Dry river to this place it has been more abundant than below, and a smaller variety of it grows on the hills, the leaves of which differ considerably being more deeply indented near it's extremity. [7]    the buffaloe deer and Elk feed on this herb in the winter season as they do also on the small willow of the sandbards.    there is another growth that begins now to make it's appearance in the bottom lands and is becoming extreemly troublesome; it is a shrub which rises to the hight of from two to four feet, much branched, the bark of the trunk somewhat rough hard and of light grey colour; the wood is firm and stif, the branches beset with a great number of long, shap, strong, wooddy looking thorns; the leaf is about ¾ or an inch long, and one ⅛ of an inch wide, it is obtuse, absolutely entire, veinless fleshy and gibbose; has no perceptable taste or smell, and no anamal appears to eat it.    by way of designating when I mention it hereafter I shall call it the fleshey leafed thorn [8]

Courses and distances May 11th 1805 [9]
South to the upper part of some high timber on the Lard. side
passing over a sand pont Lard.

  1 ½
S. 50° W. to the upper part of the timber in a bend on Stard. side   1 ½
South to the commencement of a wood on Stard. side, opposite to
a Lard. point

S. 68° E. to the upper part of the timber in a bend on Lard. side,
passing over a sand bar from a Stard. point

  1 ¾
S. 10° E. to the upper part of a sand-bar on the Stard. opposite
to a bluff
  1 ½
S. 85° W. to some timber in the center of a bend on Stard. side, pass-
ing a sand point on Lard at ¾

S. 10° E. to a point of woodland on the Lard. side   1
S. 40° E. to the point of a sand-bar on Stard. oposite to a low bluf   2 ½
S. 80° W. to a point of woodland on the Lard side, passing a point
of woodland on Std. side at ½ a mile, a deep bend to the
N. W.

  1 ¼
S. 75° W. to a high bluff point in a bend on Stard. ☞ S. W. from hence
distant 3 Miles is a ridge of high lands covered with pine
which is the first we have yet seen on the Missouri

S. 25° E. to the point of a sand-bar on the Stard. ½ below which we
encamped on the Lad.

  2 ¼
  Miles 17

Point of Observation No. 16.

On the Lard. shore about the middle of the 4th course of this day observed equal altitudes of ☉ with Sext.

  h m s          
A M. 8 15 33.8   P.M. lost in consequence } Altd. of Sextant
58° 41' 30"
  " 17 7.5     of the intervention
  " 18 43     of clouds

Point of Observation No. 17.

On the Lard. shore at the middle of the 8th course of this day, observed Meridian altd. of ☉'s L. L. with Octant by the back observation 65° 51'

Latitude deduced from this observtn. [blank]


Wind hard fore part of last night    the latter part verry Cold a white frost this morning, the river riseing a little and verry Crooked    the high land is rugged and approaches nearer than below, the hills and bluff exhibit more mineral quats & Salts than below, the gullies in maney places are white, and their bottoms one, two & 3 Inches deep of this mineral, no appearance of either burnt pumice Stone or Coal, the Countrey hilley on both Sides of a rich black earth, which disolves 〈like loaf Sugar in water,〉 This kind of Countrey Continues of the same quallity for maney miles on either Side, we observed Some hills which appeared to be timbered, I walked to this timber and found it to pitch pine & Dwarf Cedar, we observe in every derection Buffalow, Elk, Antelopes & Mule deer inumerable and So jintle that we Could approach near them with great ease, I killed 2 Mule Deer for the benifit of their Skins for the party, and about the place I expected the party would get to Camp I killed 2 fat Bulls for theire use, in my absence they had killed a fine fat Yellow bear below which detained them and they did not reach the place I expected, but had Camped on the Lard. Side about 2 miles below    on my return to the party I killed a fat Beaver    the wind blew verry hard from the S. W. all the after part of this day which retarded our progress verry much.    river rose 2 In

  miles   Course & Distance the 11th of May
South   1 ½ to the upper part of a high timber on the Stard Side pass-
ing over a Sand point from the Ld. Side
S. 50° W.   1 ½ to the upper part of the timbered in a bend to the Stard.
South      ¾ to the Commencement of a wood on the Std. Side opsd. a
point on L. S.
S 68° E   1 ¾ to the upper part of the timber in a bend on the Lard. Side
passing over a Sand bar from Stard point
S. 10° E,   1 ½ to the upper part of a Sand bar on the Stard Side opposit a
S. 85° W.   2 to Some timber in the Center of a bend on the Stard. Side
passing a Sand point on the Lard. at ¾ of a mile
S. 10° E,   1 to a point of wood land on the Lard Side
S. 40° E.   2 ½ to the point of a Sand bar on the Stard Side opposit a low
S. 80° W.   1 ¼ to a point of wood land on the Lard Side passing a pt. of
wood land on S. S. at ½ m.    a Deep bend to N W.
S. 75° W   1 to a high bluff point in a bend to the Std. Side    S W 3
miles is a ridge of high land covered with pine which is the
first we have seen on Missouri
S 25 E   2 ¼ to the pt. of a Sand bar on the Stard. ½ a mile below which,
we encamped
miles 17  

Saturday 11th May 1805.    a clear cool morning & white frost    we Set off eairly. Some of the party caught 2 beaver last night    we proceeded on    passed black bluffs & hills on the S. S.    low ceeder on the hills in places & Spots on each Side of the River. Saw verry large gangs of buffaloe in the bottoms on Each Side of the River.    one of the party which had a lame hand was walking on Shore.    towards evening he came running and hollowing to the perogues chased by a brown bair which he had wounded, bad. Some of the hunters went out with him and killed it.    it was nearly of the Same description as the one killed Some days past, but much fatter.    we Camped before night to dress the bair, after comming 17 miles today. Capt Clark who walked on Shore killed 2 buffaloe 2 deer and one beaver.    he went on some broken hills on the N. S. which was partly covred with pitch pine [10] and another Sort of pine which resembles the pitch pine only the bark & leaf Smaller.    these hill bair the first pine we have Seen on this River.    the country back from the River is broken, but the Soil verry rich and good.    the River bottoms are Smoth and level thinly covred with cotton wood timber, and filled with all most all kinds of Game. Some Smoth plains under the black broken hills which is covered with wild hysop.    passed Several Small runs in the course of the day,


Saturday 11th.    The morning was fine, we started at the usual hour: at 1 passed a small creek on the South side. [11] This day we saw several great gangs of buffaloe, and other game in plenty. One of the men killed another large brown bear, about the size of the one lately killed. We came seventeen miles and encamped on the South side.


Saturday 11th May 1805.    a clear cold morning, a white frost last night.    Some of the party caught 2 beaver last night.    we Set off eairly, and proceeded on    passed black bluffs on the S. S. and hills on each Side partly covred with low ceeder.    we Saw large gangs of buffaloe in the bottoms on Each Side of the River.    towards evening one of the party [12] wounted a brown bair, and was chased by it to the perogues.    Several hunters went to his assistance and killed it    it was nearly of the Same discription as the other we killed Several days ago.    we fount it fat and good meat.    Capt. Clark who walked on Shore killed 2 buffaloe and 2 deer.    (one beaver also)    one of the men killd. another buffaloe.    we Saw hills on the N. S. partly covred with pitch pine    the first we have Seen.    the country begins to be hilley and broken, but verry rich Soil    the bottoms on the River chiefly covred with cottonwood timber, which is filled with Game    Some Smoth plains under the hills covred with wild hysop. [13]    we came 17 miles and Camped on the South Side before night on account of dressing the bair, which detained us untill night &c.    passed 2 or 3 Small runs to day, &c

Saturday May 11th    We had a white frost last night, and this morning was Clear & cold, some of our party, during the night, caught 2 Beaver, We set off early, and proceeded on, & passed some black bluffs, lying on the South side of the River, and hills on both sides of the River, partly covered with low Cedar Trees growing on them,—    and saw large gangs of Buffalo, in the bottoms on each side of the River,—    towards the Evening, one of our party that went out hunting wounded a Brown Bear, The animal was so fierce, that he chased the hunter, to where our Pettyaugers lay.    Several of our hunters went to his assistance, and killed it.—    This Bear was nearly in size, the same as the one I have before described, which we had killed in the River, some days past, but much fatter,—    and its flesh good meat    Captain Clark, & some hunters who had walked on shore since Morning, with some of our party, came to us here; They had killed 3 Buffalo, 2 deer, and One beaver and a party was sent to bring them to the Pettyaugers.—    We saw here some hills lying on the North side of the River, partly covered with Pitch pine Trees, which were the first of the kind we had seen since we entered the River Mesouri, The Country here begins to be hilly and broken; but the Soil very rich, The bottoms on the River are chiefly cover'd with Cotton wood and is filled with game.—    There is some plains lying under the hills at this place, which is covered with wild hysop,—    We stopped at the place where we 〈put out〉 took in, the hunter, who had wounded the Bear, and encamped, it being on the South side of the River on the bank,—    in Order to dress the Bear & preserve the meat that was killed this day, which kept us employed till Night

1. The soil here is derived from weathered late Cretaceous sandstone and shale. It does not dissolve in water but readily dissociates. Salts are especially common in the Bearpaw Shale. The "quartz" is selenite. There is no coal in the formations near the river. (back)
2. Probably northeast of what is now The Pines Recreation Area, in Valley County, Montana, on the edge of Fort Peck Lake. The needles of this pine, Pinus ponderosa Laws., ponderosa pine, are indeed longer than the pitch-pine, P. rigida Mill., with which Lewis was familiar from Virginia. Little, 64-W, 71-E; Fernald, 57. (back)
3. Someone drew a vertical line through this passage about the dwarf cedar. (back)
4. These hills are capped by the Hell Creek Formation and the Fox Hills Sandstone or their weathered products. These formations contain abundant white, light yellow-white sand, sandstone, and siltstone. (back)
5. Probably Carex filifolia Nutt., thread-leaved sedge, a drought tolerant sedge, commonly found in similar sites and a common plant of this area. Barkley, 440; Weaver & Albertson, 39. (back)
6. In Garfield County, a site now inundated by Fort Peck Reservoir. Atlas maps 37, 50, 58; MRC map 66. (back)
7. Perhaps Artemisia nova A. Nels., black sagebrush. If true, the presence of black sagebrush in the Piney Buttes of Garfield County extends its known range to the east. Shultz, 45. It was probably Biddle who drew a red line through this paragraph. (back)
8. Sarcobatus vermiculatus (Hook.) Torr. in Emory, greasewood, then new to science. A salt tolerant species which indicates alkaline soil. Barkley, 69; Booth & Wright, 48; Cutright (LCPN), 137. (back)
9. Also given on Atlas map 37, in both captains' hands. (back)
10. Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Laws. Lewis and Clark do not mention another pine. (back)
11. Not noticed by the captains and not found on any Atlas map. If Gass means the north side, there are at least three small creeks now largely drowned by Fort Peck Reservoir in the day's course, none of which the captains thought worth mentioning. (back)
12. Bratton. (back)
13. Probably big sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata Nutt. (back)