June 16, 1805
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June 16, 1805


J. Fields set out early on his return to the lower camp, at noon the men arrived and shortly after I set out with them to rejoin the party.    we took with us the dryed meat consisting of about 600 lbs. and several douzen of dryed trout.    about 2 P. M. I reached the camp     found the Indian woman extreemly ill and much reduced by her indisposition. [1]    this gave me some concern as well for the poor object herself, then with a young child in her arms, as from the consideration of her being our only dependence for a friendly negociation with the Snake Indians on whom we depend for horses to assist us in our portage from the Missouri to the columbia River. I now informed Capt. C. of my discoveries with rispect to the most proper side for our portage, and of it's great length, which I could not estimate at less than 16 miles. Capt. C. had already sent two men this morning to examine the country on the S. side of the river; he now passed over with the party to that side and fixed a camp about a mile blow the entrance of a Creek [2] where there was a sufficient quantity of wood for fuel, an article which can be obtained but in few places in this neighbourhood.    after discharging the loads four of the canoes were sent back to me, which by means of strong ropes we hawled above the rappid and passed over to the south side from whence the water not being rappid we can readily convey them into the creek by means of which we hope to get them on the high plain with more ease.    one of the small canoes was left below this rappid in order to pass and repass the river for the purpose of hunting as well as to procure the water of the Sulpher spring, [3] the virtues of which I now resolved to try on the Indian woman.    this spring is situated about 200 yards from the Missouri on the N. E. side nearly opposite to the entrance of a large creek; it discharges itself into the Missouri over a precepice of rock about 25 feet, forming a pretty little [erasure, perhaps "cactaract"]    the water is as transparent as possible strongly impregnated with sulpher, and I suspect Iron also, as the colour of the hills and bluffs in the neighbourhood indicate the existence of that metal.    the water to all appearance is precisely similar to that of Bowyer's Sulphur Springs in Virginia. [4] Capt. Clark determined to set out in the morning to examine [NB: the country] and survey the portage, and discover the best rout.    as the distance was too great to think of transporting the canoes and baggage on the men's shoulders, we scelected six men, and ordered them to look out some timber this evening, and early in the morning to set about making a parsel of truck wheels in order to convey our canoes and baggage over the portage.    we determined to leave the white perogue at this place, and substitute the Iron boat, and also to make a further deposit of a part of our stores.    in the evening the men who had been sent out to examine the country and made a very unfavourable report.    they informed us that the creek just above us and two deep ravenes still higher up cut the plain between the river and mountain in such a manner, that in their opinions a portage for the canoes on this side was impracticable.    g[o]od or bad we must make the portage.    notwithstanding this report I am still convinced from the view I had of the country the day before yesterday that a good portage may be had on this side at least much better than on the other, and much nearer also. I found that two dozes of barks and opium which I had given her since my arrival had produced an alteration in her pulse for the better; they were now much fuller and more regular. I caused her to drink the mineral water altogether.    wen I first came down I found that her pulse were scarcely perceptible, very quick frequently irregular and attended with strong nervous symptoms, that of the twitching of the fingers and leaders of the arm; now the pulse had become regular much fuller and a gentle perspiration had taken place; the nervous symptoms have also in a great measure abated, and she feels herself much freeer from pain.    she complains principally of the lower region of the abdomen, I therefore continued the cataplasms of barks and laudnumn [5] which had been previously used by my friend Capt Clark. I beleive her disorder originated principally from an obstruction of the mensis in consequence of taking could.—    I determined to remain at this camp in order to make some celestial observations, restore the sick woman, and have all matters in a state of readiness to commence the portage immediately on the return of Capt. Clark, who now furnished me with the dayly occurrences which had taken place with himself and party since our seperation which I here enter in his own words.— [6]


Some rain last night    a cloudy morning wind hard from the S. W.    we Set out passed the rapid by double manning the Perogue & Canoes and halted at ¼ of a mile to examine the rapids above, which I found to be an Continued Cascade for as far as could be Seen which was about 2 miles, I walked up on the Lard Side as high as a large Creek, [7] which falls in on the Lard. Side one mile above & opposit a large Sulpher Spring which falls over the rocks on the Std. Side    the wind rored from the S. W. hard & Some rain, at about 2 oClock Capt Lewis joined me from the falls 5 miles distant, & infd. that the Lard Side was the best portage    I despatched 2 men this morning on the Lard. Side to examine the portage.—    the Indian woman verry bad, & will take no medisin what ever, untill her husband finding her out of her Senses, easyly provailed on her to take medison, if She dies it will be the fault of her husband as I am now convinced—.    we crossed the river after part of the day and formed a Camp from which we intended to make the first portage, Capt. Lewis stayed on the Std Side to direct the Canoes over the first riffle    4 of them passed this evening the others unloaded & part of the Perogue Loading taken out—    I deturmined to examine & Survey the Portage find a leavel rout if possible—    The 2 men despatched to examine the Portage gave an unfavourable account of the Countrey, reporting that the Creek & 2 deep reveens [8] cut the Prarie in such a manner between the river and mountain as to render a portage in their oppinion for the Canoes impossible—    we Selected 6 men to make wheels & to draw the Canoes on as the distance was probably too far for to be caried on the mens Sholders


Sunday 16th June 1805.    a Small Shower of rain and high wind from the west the fore part of last night.    a clear morning.    all hands took the canoes up over the rapids.    then came back and took over the large perogue about 1 mile    then halted to wait the arival of Capt. Lewis their being another rapid near above which was impossable for loaded craft to pass.    we caught considerable quantity of Small flat Scale fish while we lay here. about 12 oClock Capt. Lewis and his men joined us. Capt. Lewis had been about 15 miles up the River above the 1st rapid, or Shoot, and that the falls continue all that distance in 5 different Shoots. [9]    the highest about 50 feet perpinticular, & Shoots & brakers all the way between each other. Capt. Lewis & men had killed Some fat buffalow and dryed the best of the fat meat for us.    they caught a great many fine fish like our Sammon trout. [10]    they had dryed a considerable quantity of them for us also. Capt. Lewis concluded that the Lard. Side would be the best for us to carry our baggage through the plains above the falls as that is the Smoothest Side    we crossed over to the Lard. Side & unloaded the canoes & crossed them back to the Stard. Side & halled them up the rapid about 1 mile empty.    then crossed them back again So that we could take them in the mouth of a Small River [11] which puts in close under the next Shoot or fall, then we could have a more convenient place to take them up the bank, on the Smoth plains.    opposite to the mouth of this little River on the N. Side of the Missourie is a beautiful Sulpher or mineral Spring which falls out of the Side hills.    it has a Strong taste of Sulpher.    we drink of it freely.    in the bottoms is a great quantity of flax [12] growing all in blue blossoms &C.


Sunday 16th.    In the morning all hands were engaged in taking the canoes over the rapid about a mile in length, which having accomplished they returned and took up the periogue, where we halted to examine another great rapid close ahead. One man [13] had been sent on last night to Captain Lewis, to find out what discoveries he had made. We remained here some time, and a few of the men went out to hunt. About noon Captain Lewis and the party with him joined us, and the hunters came in. Captain Lewis had been up the falls 15 miles above the first shoot or pitch, and found the falls continue all that distance, in which there were 5 different shoots 40 or 50 feet perpendicular each, and very rapid water between them. As we found the south side the best to carry our canoes up, we crossed over and unloaded our craft. We then had to take the empty canoes to the side we had left, and to tow them up by a line about a mile, in order to get them up to the mouth of a small river on the south side, as a more convenient place to take them up the bank. This business was attended with great difficulty as well as danger, but we succeeded in getting them all over safe.


Sunday 16th June 1805.    we had a Shower of rain & high wind the fore part of last night.    a clear morning.    all hands went over the Rapids 1st with the canoes about 1 mile & then went back and took up the perogue, and halted to wait the arival of Capt. Lewis, &c. their being a rapid a Short distance above which is impossable to pass with loaded crafts.    we caught a considerable quantity of Small flat Scale fish at this place.    about 12 oC. Capt. Lewis & the men who accompanied him joined us.    Capt. Lewis informed us that he had been 15 miles up the River above the first bad Rapids or Shoot & that the falls continued all that distance in 5 different Shoots, but Some higher than the rest, but the highest about 50 feet perpenticular & verry Rapid water between each Shoot roling waves & white brakers.    Capt. Lewis informed us that the Lard. Side would be the best for us to carry our goods and baggage by the falls, also the canoes.    So we crossed over to the Lard. Side and unloaded the Canoes & crossed them back to the Stard. Side empty and towed them up the rapid about a mile.    then crossed them back to the Lard. Side again, in order that we might git them up a Small River which comes in below the next Shoot to a more convenient place to git them up the bank on to the plains.    this little River comes in on Lard. Side close below the next Shoot.    opposite to the mouth of this little River on S. S. a beautiful Sulpher or mineral Spring rises out of the Side hills.    it is a verry Strong Sulpher water.    we git & drink freely of it.    in the bottoms is a considerable of wild flax growing all in blossum.    Capt. Lewis's party had prepared & dryed buffalow meat and had caught & dryed a large quantity, of fine fish, which we call Salmon troute—

Sunday June 16th    We had in the forepart of last night, Showers of Rain, & high wind, This morning it cleared away, & we had pleasant weather; and we prepared to pass the Rapids which was Effected by all hands that were well passing our Crafts over One at a time.—

We halted above the falls, to waite for the arrival of Captain Lewis & his party.—    and on account of a large rapid which lay a short distance above us; which was thought impossible to pass, with loaded Crafts.—    We caught at this place a considerable quantity of those flatt large scaled fish, mention'd, which was caught, at where the Mesouri forked, and where we had encamp'd called Point deposit, About 12 o'Clock A. M Captain Lewis and his party, came to us; Captain Lewis informed us; that he had been 15 Miles above the first rapids, or Shoot, and that the falls continued all that distance; in five falls or Shoots; and that there was some of them of considerable height, the highest being 87 feet perpendicular, and the water running very rapid, between each fall, with rolling waves & white breakers; Captain Lewis gave it as his opinion, that it would be best to take the Crafts over to the South side of the River, and have them unloaded, and the empty Crafts towed up the Rapid, about a Mile, which Captain Clarke agreed to, and it was accordingly done, altho' with much labour & fataigue to the Men, and they got them, into a small River, which came into this River on the South side, below the next fall or Shoot, it being a convenient place to land    the party then carried all the Crafts loading to them, at this Small River;—    opposite to which we found on the South side, a beautiful Sulphur or Mineral Spring running out of the side of the hills, the water having a strong sulphurous taste, Our party drank a considerable quantity of this water for their healths which had the desired effect, the bottoms lying on this small River〈s〉 had a considerable quantity of beautiful wild flowers, which were all in blossom; Captain Lewis's party that went ahead of us, had prepar'd dinner, for the party (who brought on our Crafts loading;) which consisted of buffalo meat & Salmon trout, the latter of which they had caught a great Quantity, they were by much the largest of any, that we had ever seen, We encamped at this place for the day.—

1. Chuinard believes Sacagawea may have suffered from chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, due to gonorrheal infection. Some of her symptoms, such as twitching of the fingers and arms, could have been due to loss of minerals resulting from the captains' bleeding her. Chuinard (OOMD), 287–89 and 289 n. 7; Cutright (LCPN), 160–61. (back)
2. The "Lower Portage Camp" in Chouteau County, Montana, below the mouth of Belt Creek (Lewis and Clark's Portage Creek), the starting point for the month-long portage of the Great Falls. Atlas maps 42, 54, 61; MRC map 77. (back)
3. Sulphur, or informally, Sacagawea, Springs is still to be found about three hundred yards from the Missouri, opposite the mouth of Belt Creek, in Cascade County, Montana. Appleman (LC), 317; Atlas maps 42, 61. (back)
4. Unidentified, but there were a number of mineral springs in Virginia, operated by their owners as medicinal springs and spas. Jefferson, 34–36. (back)
5. Poultices of Peruvian bark (cinchona) and laudanum (tincture of opium). Cutright (LCPN), 24, 63–64; Chuinard (OOMD), 156–57. (back)
6. Here Lewis copies Clark's entries from Voorhis No.1 covering the period of separation, June 11–16. Having only slight differences in wording, the material is not repeated. (back)
7. Belt Creek, Lewis and Clark's Portage Creek, the boundary between Cascade and Chouteau counties. Atlas maps 54, 61; MRC map 77. (back)
8. The second of these, which they called Willow Run, is now Box Elder Creek, in Cascade County. Atlas maps 54, 61; MRC map 77. (back)
9. The Great Falls of the Missouri River consists of a series of five falls in Cascade County, Montana. For a more accurate measure of the various heights, see Clark's survey notes of June 17–19, 1805. (back)
10. Probably the cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarki (formerly Salmo clarkii), named for Clark. (back)
11. Portage or Red Creek to the expedition, where the party established their lower portage camp; it is now Belt Creek, the boundary between Chouteau and Cascade counties, Montana. At least a part of the group would remain here until July 1 as they made their way around the falls. (back)
12. Perhaps blue flax, Linum perenne L., or roundleaf harebell, Campanula rotundifolia L., which resembles flax. See Lewis's entry of July 18. (back)