June 12, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

June 12, 1805


This morning I felt myself quite revived, took another portion of my decoction and set out at sunrise. I now boar out from the river in order to avoid the steep ravines of the river which usually make out in the plain to the distance of one or two miles; after gaining the leavel plain my couse was a litte to the West of S. W.—    having traveled about 12 miles by 9 in the morning, the sun became warm, and I boar a little to the south in order to gain the river as well to obtain water to allay my thirst as to kill something for breakfast; for the plain through which we had been passing possesses no water and is so level that we cannot approach the buffaloe within shot before they discover us and take to flight.    we arrived at the river about 10 A. M. having traveled about 15 m.    at this place there is a handsom open bottom with some cottonwood timber, here we met with two large bear, and killed them boath at the first fire, a circumstance which I beleive has never happend with the party in killing the brown bear before.    we dressed the bear, breakfasted on a part of one of them and hung the meat and skins on the trees out of the reach of the wolves. I left a note on a stick near the river for Capt. Clark, informing him of my progress &c.—    after refreshing ourselves abut 2 hours we again ascended the bluffs and gained the high plain; saw a great number of burrowing squirrels in the plains today.    also wolves Antelopes mule deer and immence herds of buffaloe.    we passed a ridge of land considerably higher than the adjacent plain on either side, from this hight we had a most beatifull and picturesk view of the Rocky mountains which wer perfectly covered with Snow and reaching from S. E. to the N. of N. W.—    they appear to be formed of several ranges each succeeding range rising higher than the preceding one untill the most distant appear to loose their snowey tops in the clouds; [1] this was an august spectacle and still rendered more formidable by the recollection that we had them to pass.    we traveled about twelve miles when we agin struck the Missoury at a handsome little bottom of Cottonwood timber and altho' the sun had not yet set I felt myself somewhat w[e]ary being weakened I presume by late disorder; and therfore determined to remain here during the ballance of the day and night, having marched about 27 miles today. [2]    on our way in the evening we had killed a buffaloe, an Antelope and three mule deer, and taken a sufficient quantity of the best of the flesh of these anamals for three meals, which we had brought with us. This evening I ate very heartily and after pening the transactions of the day amused myself catching those white fish mentioned yesterday; they are here in great abundance    I caught upwards of a douzen in a few minutes; they bit most freely at the melt of a deer [3] which goodrich had brought with him for the purpose of fishing.

The narrow leafed cottonwood grows here in common with the other species of the same tree with a broad leaf or that which has constituted the major part of the timber of the Missouri from it's junction with the Mississippi to this place. The narrow leafed cottonwood differs only from the other in the shape of it's leaf and greater thickness of it's bark.    the leaf is a long oval acutely pointed, about 2½ or 3 Inches long and from ¾ to an inch in width; it is thick, sometimes slightly grooved or channeled; margin slightly serrate; the upper disk of a common green while the under disk is of a whiteish green; the leaf is smoth. [4] the beaver appear to be extremely fond of this tree and even seem to scelect it from among the other species of Cottonwood, probably from it's affording a deeper and softer bark than the other species.—    saw some sign of the Otter as well as beaver near our camp, also a great number of tracks of the brown bear; these fellows leave a formidable impression in the mud or sand    I measured one this evening which was eleven inches long exclusive of the tallons and seven and ¼ in width.—


last night was Clear and Cold, this morning fair    we Set out at 8 oClock & proceeded on verry well    wind from the S. W.    The interpreters wife verry Sick So much So that I move her into the back part of our Covered part of the Perogue which is Cool, her own situation being a verry hot one in the bottom of the 〈Canoe〉 Perogue exposed to the Sun—    Saw emence No. of Swallows in the 1st bluff on the Lard. Side, water verry Swift, the bluff are blackish Clay & Coal for about 80 feet.    the earth above that for 30 or 40 feet is a brownish yellow, a number of bars of corse gravil and Stones of different Shape & Size &c. [5] Saw a number of rattle Snakes to day    one of the men cought one by the head in Catch'g hold of a bush on which his head lay reclined    three canoes were in great danger to day    one diped water, another was near turning over &c.    at 2 oClock P M a fiew drops of rain    I walked thro' a point and killed a Buck Elk & Deer, and we camped on the Stard Side, [6] the Interpreters woman verry Sick worse than She has been. I give her medison    one man have a fellon riseing on his hand one other with the Tooth ake has taken cold in the Jaw &c.

Course and distance the 12th of June 1805 [7]
S. 30° W.   1 to a point on the Lard Shore    passd. 3 Islands
South   1 to a Lard point of an Island
S. 60° E   2 to a tree on the Lard [8] Side, passd. 2 Small Islands
N. 50° E   1 to an object in the Lard bend opsd. an Island
S. 50° E   1 ½ to a tree on the Lard. Side passd. the Isld.
S. 10° W.   1 to a point on the Stard. Side
S. 40° W.      ½ to a point of wood on the Stard. Side    passd. 2 Islands one
S. 80° W      ½ to a bluff point of wood on Stard. Side    passd. a Isld.
West      ½ to the lower point of a Small Island
S 30° E.   1 ½ to a high black bluff in a bend Lard. Side
S. 50° W.   1 ½ to a tree under a hill Lard Side    passed four Islands two
on each Side
West   3 to the grog spring [9] at the Stard. Side at which place the
Little river which falls into the North fork is 100 yards
N. 45° E   1 ¾ to a low bluff on the Stard Side pass: a point on Std. & one
on the Lard Side
East   1 to a bluff on the Lard Side
West      ¼ to a low Bluff at the upper part of a wood on the Stard
Side opposit a Island.    here we camped at a large Indian
encampment about 12 months past
miles 18  

Wednesday 12th June 1805.    a clear pleasant morning.    we burryed 3 traps which was forgot when we made the Deposite yesterday,    about 7 oClock we Set out from Camp on point Deposite which is 2508¼ miles from the Mouth of the Missourie.    we proceeded on the South fork which we continue to call the Missourie.    we passed 5 or 6 Islands before we got out of cite of the point.    one man caught a large beaver on one of them last night.    we passed verry high black & yallow bluffs on each Side of the River. Saw Elk antilopes & Geese & Goslings &.C. found penerial [10] along the Stoney banks.    the current verry rapid.    2 Canoes were in some danger to day    one came near turning over. Several rattle Snakes has been Seen by the party to day    one man took hold of one which was in a bunch of bushes as he was taking along the towing line, but luckley escaped being bit.    our Intrepters wife verry Sick. Capt. Clark killed this evening 1 Elk & a deer Some of the men killed 1 Elk & a deer also—.    we passed in the course of the day a nomber of Gravelly Islands & bars in the River.    the Shore on each Side is covred with Small Stone of different Sizes, we Came 18 miles to day & Camped at a handsom bottom of cotton timber, where the Elk & Deer was killed.—    on Stad. Side—


Wednesday 12th.    The morning was fine; we set out from the mouth of Maria's river, and went on very well. In the forenoon we passed 12 islands. At 1 o'clock the weather became cloudy and threatened rain; at 2 there was a light shower, and the day became clear. We passed three islands this afternoon and some handsome bluffs on both sides of the river. We went 18 miles and encamped in a small bottom on the north side, where we killed 2 elk and some deer.


Wednesday 12th June 1805.    a clear pleasant morning.    we burryed 3 traps which was forgot yesterday, and Set out about 7 oClock from Camp or point deposit 2508¼ mls from mouth, and proceeded on up the South fork which we Still call the Missourie R.    passed a great nomber of Islands [(]5 or 6 at least by noon) before we had got out of cite of the point, which was covered with cotton timber.    one of the party caught a beaver on one of them in a trap which he Set last night.    passed high black & yallow bluffs on each Side & handsom Smooth plains on each Side.    Saw Elk antelopes & Geese &c.    found Some penerial    the first we Saw on the River.    the current verry Rapid.    three of the G. D. canoes like to have overset & one in great danger.    Several Rattle Snakes has been Seen by the party to day.    one man took hold of one with his hand, which was in a bunch of bushes, but luckily he escaped being bit.    Our Intrepters wife verry Sick.    Capt. Clark killed this evening one Elk & a Deer.    Some other of the hunters killed 1 or 2 more.    we passed in the course of the day a number of gravvelly Islands & bars.    the Shore on each Side is covered with Stone of different Sizes—    we Came 18 miles to day & Camped at a handsom bottom of cottonwood on the N. Side, where the Elk & Deer was killed.

Wednesday June 12th    We had a clear pleasant morning, we buried 3 of our Beaver Traps, which we had omitted burying two days past; We set off from our encampment, which we named point deposit, this lies 2,508¼ Miles from the mouth of the Mesouri River; we proceeded on up the South fork, or River Mesouri, and passed by 6 Islands, before we lost sight of the point we had encamped at; These Islands were all covered with Cotton wood timber, One of our party caught a Beaver, as we passed along, in a trap, which he had set last night.    We passed some black & Yellow bluffs, which were very high, lying on both sides of the River, & some handsome plains, lying also on both sides of the River, In those plains we saw Elk, and Antelopes, and in the River large flocks of Geese, & found Pennyroyal, the first that we had seen since we enter'd the Mesouri growing along the Shore.—

The current of the River, runs very Strong, and three of our Crafts had like to have overset, and one of them was in great danger of being lost.—    Our party saw this day several Rattle Snakes, 〈this day,〉 and one of the party narrowly escaped being bit, by a very large one, that lay concealed in a bush, as he passed along with the tow line.—    Our interpreters wife got very Sick, and great care was taken of her, knowing, what a great loss she would be, if she died, she being our only Interpreter, for the Snake Indians, who reside in those Mountains lying West of us, and from whom we expect assistance, in prosecuting our Voyage,—    Captain Clark who walked along Shore, killed an Elk & one deer; and the 〈other〉 hunters, killed 2 more Elk.    We passed in the course of this day, a number of Gravelly Islands, & barrs; The Shore on each side of the River being covered with stones, of different sizes,—    We came 18 Miles this day, & encamped at a handsome bottom of Cotton Wood trees, lying on the North side of the River, it being the place where the Elk and deer was killed at

1. Lewis could have been seeing the Highwood, Little Belt, and Big Belt mountains, the Lewis range, and the main Rockies, marking the Continental Divide. (back)
2. Lewis camped in Chouteau County, Montana, a little upstream from present Black Coulee. MRC map 76. (back)
3. The deer's spleen. (back)
4. This paragraph to here has a red vertical line drawn through it, probably by Biddle. (back)
5. These bluffs are composed of the dark-gray to black Marias River Shale. The upper, brownish-yellow material is glacial till. There is no coal in these bluffs. The gravel bars reflect the proximity of a source of more indurated rock. (back)
6. In Chouteau County, in the vicinity of Evans Bend, about five miles downstream from Fort Benton. Atlas maps 53, 61; MRC map 75. (back)
7. Also given on Atlas map 42, in Clark's hand. (back)
8. "Stard." on Atlas map 42. (back)
9. Not marked on any of Clark's maps, but in the vicinity of the close approach of the Missouri and Teton rivers to each other. (back)
10. The pennyroyal is a European species; it is not clear what plant Ordway and Whitehouse notice. (back)