May 23, 1805
56.12% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

May 23, 1805

 

Set out early this morning, the frost was severe last night, the ice appeared along the edge of the water, water also freized on the oars.    at the distance of one mile passed the entrance of a creek 15 yds. wide on Stard. side, this we call Teapot Creek, [2] it affords no water at it's mouth but has runing water at some small distance above, this I beleive to be the case with many of those creekes which we have passed since we entered this hilley country, the water is absorbed by the earth near the river and of course appear dry; they afford but little water at any rate, and that is so strongly impregnated with these salts that it is unfit for uce; all the wild anamals appear fond of this water; I have tryed it by way of experiment & find it moderately pergative, but painfull to the intestens in it's opperation.    this creek runs directly towards some low mountains which lye N. W. of it and appear to be about 30 mes. distant, perhaps it heads in them. This range of mountains appear to be about 70 miles long runing from E to W. having their Eastern extremity about 30 mes.: distant in a northwardly direction from [NB: Tea] pot Island.— [3]    also passed two small creeks on Lard. and two others on Stard. all inconsiderable and dry at their entrances.    just above the entrance of Teapot Creek on the stard. there is a large assemblage of the burrows of the Burrowing Squirrel [4]    they generally seelect a south or a south Easterly exposure for their residence, and never visit the brooks or river for water; I am astonished how this anamal exists as it dose without water, [5] particularly in a country like this where there is scarcely any rain during ¾ of the year and more rarely any due [dew]; yet we have sometimes found their villages at the distance of five or six miles from any water, and they are never found out of the limits of the ground which their burrows occupy; in the Autumn when the hard frosts commence they close their burrows and do not venture out again untill spring, indeed some of them appear to be yet in winter quarters.    passed 3 Islands the two first covered with tall cottonwood timber and the last with willows only.    river more rappid, & the country much the same as yesterday.    some spruce pine [6] of small size appears among the pitch pine, and reather more rock than usual on the face of the hills. The musquetoes troublesome this evening, a circumstance I did not expect from the temperature of the morning. The Gees begin to lose the feathers of their wings and are unable to fly. Capt Clark walked on shore and killed 4 deer and an Elk. We killed a large fat brown bear which took the water after being wounded and was carried under some driftwood where he sunk and we were unable to get him. Saw but few buffaloe today, but a great number of Elk, deer, some antelopes and 5 bear. The wild rose [NB: copy for Dr Barton ] which is now in blume are very abundant, they appear to differ but little from those common to the Atlantic States, the leaves of the bushes and the bush itself appear to be of somewhat smaller size. [7]

Courses and distances of May 23rd 1805. [8]
N. 55° W. To the entrance of a large creek at a bend, on the Stard.
side, called Teapot Creek
  1
S. 70° W. To a point of woodland on the lard. side opst. blff   1 ¼
S. 50° W. To a point of woodland on Stard. side   1 ¼
S. 55° W. Along the stard. side opposite to a hill on which there is
some pine
  1 ½
West To a tree in a bend on Stard. above a bluff   2
S. 45° W. To the upper point of an Island in a bend on lard. side,
oppposite the center of this Isld. a small Creek falls in on
the Stard. side
  2
S. 75° W. to the main Stard. point, opposite to a bluff Lard., just
above which a small creek falls in
     ½
S. 85° W. to the lower point of a timbered bottom, lying along a
bluff in a bend on Stard. side
  3
S. 10° W. to the upper point of the timber in a bend on the Lard.
opposite to a bluff
  1 ½
N. 88° W. To a point of woodland Stard. opposite to a bluff above
which a creek falls in on Lard.
  2
N. 15° W. to a point of woodland Lard. opposite to a bluff   1 ¼
West Along the Lard. point      ¼
S. 60° W. to a point of timbered land on Stard. side   1
N. 65° W. to a point of timbered land passing a small Island, in a
deep bend to the N. a bluff on Stard.
  2
S. 65° W. to a point of woodland Stard. opposite to a bluff   2
N. 75° W. to the upper point of a bluff in a bend on Lard.      ¼
N. 30° E. to the upper point of a small Island in a deep bend to the
North E.
  1 ½
N. 40° W. Along the Lard. shore to the point on Lard.   1 ½
S. 45° W. to a point of wood in a bend on Lard. under a hill, opposite
to which we encamped on the Stard. side [9]
  1 ¼
 
Miles—
27
 

a Severe frost last night, the Thrmotr. Stood at the freesing point this morning i e 32 a 0.    wind S W.    the water freeses on the oars. Ice on the edge of the river    we Set out at an early hour and passed the mouth a Creek at 1 mile on the Stard. Side which heads in a mountain N W of its mouth 30 or [illegible] miles, the Countrey on each Side is as passed yesterday    passed 2 Small Creeks on the Stard & 2 on the Lard. Side to day.    a mountain which appears to be 60 or 70 miles long bearing E. & W is about 25 miles distant from this river on the Stard Side Notherley of Pot Island    I walked on Shore and killed 4 deer & an Elk, & a beaver    in the evening we killed a large fat Bear, which we unfortunately lost in the river, after being Shot took the water & was Carried under a drift    passed in course of this day three Islands, two of them Covered with tall timber & a 3rd with willows

The after part of this day was worm & the Misquitors troublesome. Saw but five Buffalow a number of Elk & Deer & 5 bear & 2 Antilopes to day. the river beginning to rise, and Current more rapid than yesterday, in maney places I saw Spruces on the hills Sides Stard. this evening.

  mile Course & Distance May 23rd
N. 55° W.   1 to the enterence of a Creek in a bend to the Stard Side
called Teapot C. 15 yds. wide
S 70° W.   1 ¼ to a point of wood land on Lard. opsd. a bluff
S 50° W.   1 ¼ to a point of wood land on Stard. Side
S. 55° W.   1 ½ allong the Stard. Side a hill opposit on which there is pine
West   2 to a tree in a bend to the Stard. above a bluff
S. 45° W   2 to the upper point of an Island in a bend to the Lard. Side
opposit the Center of this Island a small Creek falls in on
the Stard. Side
S. 75° W.      ½ to the main Std. point opposit to a bluff Lard. just above
which a Small Creek falls in
S. 85° W.   3 to the lower point of a timbered bottom allong a bluff in a
bend on the Stard Side
S. 10° W.   1 ½ to the upper point of a timber in a bend on the Lard. oppo-
sit to a bluff.
N. 88° W.   2 to a point of wood land Stard. Side opsd. a bluff above
which a Creek falls in Lard.
N. 15° W.   1 ¼ to a point of wood land Lard. opsd. a bluff
West      ¼ allong the Lard. point.
S 60° W.   1 to a point of timbered land on the Stard Side
N. 65° W.   2 to a pt. of timber Lard. passing a Small Island in a bend to
the N. a bluff on Stard.
S. 65° W.   2 to a pt. of wood land Stard. opsd. a bluff
N. 75° W.      ¼ to the upper point of a bluff in a bind to the Larboard
Side
N. 30° E   1 ½ to the upper point of a Small Island in a deep bend to the
N. E.
N. 40° W.   1 ½ allong the Lard. Shore to the point L. S.
S. 45 W.   1 ¼ to a point of wood in a bend on Lard. under a hill opposit
to which we encamped on the S. S.
  27  
 

May 23rd Thursday 1805.    a Severe frost last night.    the Thurmomiter Stood at the freezeing point this morning    wind S. W. the water freezes on the ore    Ice on the edge of the river.    we Set out at an eairly hour and passed the mouth of a Creek [10] at 1 mile on the Stard. Side which heads in a mountain N. W. of its mouth 10 miles the country on each Side is as passed yesterday. passed 2 Small creeks Stard & 2 on the Lard. Side to day. [11] a Mountain [12] which appears to be 60 or 70 miles long bearing E. & W. is about 25 miles distant from this river on the Stard Side. Northerly of us passed an Island. Capt. Clark walked on Shore and killed 4 Deer one Elk & a beaver. in the evening we killed a large fat brown or yallow bear, which we unfortunately lost in the River after being Shot took the water & was carried under a drift    passed in course of this day three Islands two of them covered with tall timber & a 3rd with willows    the after part of this day was warm & the Musquetoes troublesome Saw but fiew buffalow a nomber of Elk & Deer & 5 bear & 2 antilopes to day. the river begining to rise, & current more rapid than yesterday    in many places we Saw Spruce [13] on the hills Sides Camped on Stard. Side    Came 27 miles to day.

 

Thursday 23rd.    The morning was clear with a white frost, and ice as thick as window glass. We passed two creeks, one on each side of the river: [14] and two islands which are not common. [15] There are very few between these and fort Mandans; not more than six or eight. In the evening we killed a large bear in the river; but he sunk and we did not get him. [16] We went 28½ miles and encamped.

 

Thursday 23rd May 1805.    a cold frosty morning.    the Standing water was froze over.    we Set off at Sun rise and proceeded on.    one of the hunters who went on Some distance & Stayed out all [night] joined us, had killed 5 deer.

we passed bottoms    killed [blank] Deer in Sd. bottoms    passed pitch pine hills on each Side of the River.    passed Several Small Islands in the River.    about 2 oC. P. M. we halted and made fire to dine at a timbred bottom on N. S.    one of the hunters took his rifle & bullitt pouch on Shore    the fire broke out into the woods, and burned up his shot pouch powder horn & the stalk of his rifle.    about 3 oC we proceeded on    passed pine hills as usal.    towards evening we killed a brown bear in the river but he Sank in under a large drift of wood So that we could not git it.    we Came 28 miles to day and Camped at a timbred bottom on the N. S.    Some of the party discovered high Mountains to the west of us a long distance or as far off as their eyes could extend L. S. [17]

Thursday May 21st [18]    We had a cold frosty morning.    the standing water was froze over, and cover'd with Ice, We set off on our Voyage at Sun rise, and proceeded on, Some of the Hunters that had went on some distance before us, stopped on the bank of the River to waite for us, they had killed 5 deer, which we stopped and took on board; We proceeded on, and passed some bottom land, (& some of our party killed some Deer in them;) and Saw hills having pitch pine growing on them, on both sides of the River, and several small Islands, About 2 oClock P. M. we halted to dine, and kindled a fire in a bottom on the North side of the River, when one of our hunters took his Rifle, and bullet pouch on shore, the fire caught in the Woods, and burned up his shot pouch, powder horn and stock of his Rifle—.    About 3 o'Clock P. M. we proceeded on, and passed some Hills with pine growth on them lying on both sides of the River, towards Evening, some of the party killed a brown bear, as he was swimming in the River; but he sunk in under a large drift of Wood, so that we could not get him out.—    We encamped at a bottom, Covered with timber lying on the North side of the River where some of our party discovered, some very high Mountains, lying to the Westward of us, at a very great distance running to the Northward as far as their sight could Extend    We came 28 Miles this day.—

1. This entry ends the daily entries in Lewis's notebook Codex D. (back)
2. Later CK, or Kannuck, Creek, in Phillips County, Montana. Atlas maps 39, 51, 59; MRC map 69. It was probably Biddle who marked Lewis's word "Teapot" by adding a red letter "o" over "pot." (back)
3. Probably later Ryan Island; the small creeks are nameless on Atlas maps 39, 51, 59, and on MRC map 70. They include Sevenmile Creek in Phillips County, and Carroll Creek in Fergus County, Montana. (back)
4. On Atlas maps 39, 51, 59, this prairie dog colony is shown above the mouth of North Mountain Creek (later Little Rocky, now Rock, Creek), which they passed the next day. MRC map 70. (back)
5. Prairie dogs, Cynomys ludovicianus, like certain other arid-land rodent species, obtain water through their food and retain it better than most mammals. Lewis was apparently the first to report on this phenomenon in North America. Cutright (LCPN), 144–45. (back)
6. Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco, Douglas fir. This location is the northeasternmost limit of Douglas fir in the United States. A small population is known from the Piney Buttes area of Garfield County. It is more commonly found in the middle elevations of the Rocky Mountains much farther west in Montana. Little, 80-W. (back)
7. It was probably Biddle who drew a red vertical line through this last sentence. (back)
8. Also given on Atlas map 39, in both captains' hands. (back)
9. A little below the mouth of Rock (North Mountain) Creek, in Fergus County. Atlas maps 39, 51, 59; MRC map 70. (back)
11. In addition to CK Creek, as indicated by nameless streams on expedition maps. They include Sevenmile Creek, Phillips County, and Carroll Creek, Fergus County, Montana. (back)
13. Perhaps Engelmann spruce, Picea engelmanii Parry, but apparently not known from this area. See entries of Lewis and Clark for this day. (back)
14. The one on the north would be either CK Creek (the party's Teapot Creek) or Sevenmile Creek, both in Phillips County, Montana; the one on the south would be Carroll Creek, Fergus County. (back)
15. One of these is probably later Ryan Island; the other may be Chippewa, or Rocky, Island. (back)
16. McKeehan's note: "It is said that bears, beavers, otters, and such animals will sink unless shot dead." (back)
17. The last two letters appear to be "L. S.," but the Little Rockies are to the north. "L. S.," larboard (or south side in this instance), is uncharacteristic usage by Whitehouse. (back)
18. An error by the copyist, the entry is clearly for May 23. (back)