July 23, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 23, 1805


Set out early as usual; Capt. Clark left us with his little party of 4 men and continued his rout on the Stard. side of the river.    about 10 OCk. A M. we came up with Drewyer who had seperated from us yesterday evening and lay out all night not being able to find where we had encamped.    he had killed 5 deer which we took on board and continued our rout.    the river is still divided by a great number of islands, it channels sometimes seperating to the distance of 3 miles; the current very rapid with a number of riffles; the bed gravel and smooth stones; the banks low and of rich loam in the bottoms; some low bluffs of yellow and red clay with a hard red slate stone intermixed. [1]    the bottoms are wide and but scantily timbered; the underbrush very thick consisting of the narrow & broad leafed willow rose and Currant bushes principally.    high plains succeeds the river bottoms and extend back on either side to the base of the mountains which are from 8 to 12 miles assunder, high, rocky, some small pine and Cedar on them and ly parallel with the river.    passed a large creek on Lard. side 20 yds. wide which after meandering through a beautifull and extensive bottom for several miles nearly parallel with the river discharges itself opposite to a large cluster of islands which from their number I called the 10 islands and the creek Whitehous's Creek, [2] after Josph. Whitehouse one of the party.    saw a great abundance of the common thistles; [3] also a number of the wild onions of which we collected a further supply.    there is a species of garlic [4] also which grows on the high lands with a flat leaf now green and in bloe but is strong tough and disagreeable.    found some seed of the wild flax ripe which I preserved; this plant grows in great abundance in these bottoms. I halted rearther early for dinner today than usual in order to dry some articles which had gotten wet in several of the canoes. I ordered the canoes to hoist their small flags in order that should the indians see us they might discover that we were not Indians, nor their enemies.    we made great uce of our seting poles and cords the uce of both which the river and banks favored.    most of our small sockets were lost, and the stones were so smooth that the points of their poles sliped in such manner that it increased the labour of navigating the canoes very considerably, I recollected a parsel of giggs which I had brought on, and made the men each atatch one of these to the lower ends of their poles with strong wire, which answered the desired purpose.    we saw Antelopes Crain gees ducks beaver and Otter.    we took up four deer which Capt. Clark & party had killed and left near the river.    he pursued his rout untill late in the evening and encamped on the bank of the river 25 ms. above our encampment of the last evening; [5] he followed an old indian road which lyes along the river on the stard side Capt. saw a number of Antelopes, and one herd of Elk.    also much sign of the indians but all of ancient date. I saw the bull rush and Cattail flag today.— [6]

Courses and distances of July 23rd 1805
S. 20° E.   2 to a point of the Stard. bluff passing several islds.
N. 60° E.   1 ½ to a lad. bend passing a large island on stard.
S. 30° E.   1 ½ to a stard. bend passing the upper point of the island at ½
a mile and two other small ones on it's lower end.    a large
creek falls in on Lard. behind 20 yds. wide call it White-
house's Creek
S. 70° E.   1 ¾ to a Lard. bend passing several outlets to the river on
Stard. and through an assemblage of islands
S. 5° E.   1 ½ to the lower point of an island.    the river 300 yds. wide at
this place.
S. 20° E.   2 to the center of a Lard. bend passing the upper pt. of the
island on Stard. at 1 ¼ m. and a small isld. on Lard. near
the extremity of this course.
S. 10° W.   1 ½ to the center of a Stard. bend
S. 80° E.   1 to a point in the Stard. bend.
N. 85° E   3 to a tree in a Lard. bend passing two small islds
S. 20° W.   3 to a Stard. bend passing over a large island; called it broad
N. 70° E.   1 ½ to a point of high timber on stard. side.
S. 20° W.   2 to some dead timber in the center of a Stard. bend just
above which we encamped on an island on Lard. opposite
to a large isld. on Stard. [7]
Miles 22 ¼  

I saw a black snake today about two feet long the Belly of which was as black as any other part or as jet itself. [8]    it had 128 scuta on the belley 63 on the tail.


a fair morning wind from the South. I Set out by land [9] at 6 miles overtook G Drewyer who had killed a Deer.    we killed in the Same bottom 4 deer & a antelope & left them on the river bank for the Canoes    proceeded on an Indian roade through a wider Vallie which the Missouri Passes about 25 miles & Camped on the bank of the river, High mountains on either Side of the Vallie Containing Scattering Pine & Cedar Some Small Cotton willow willow &c. on the Islands & bank of the river    I Saw no fresh Sign of Indians to day    Great number of antelopes Some Deer & a large Gangue of Elk


July 23rd Tuesday 1805. Capt. Clark and 3 men [10] Set out again in order to go on to the 3 forks of the River expecting to find the Snake nation at that place.    a little cloudy.    the Musquetoes verry troublesome.    we proceeded on as usal.    passed level Smooth plains on each side.    passd. a Small creek on L. Side.    passed a nomber of Islands.    considerable of good flax now fit to pull in the praries & bottoms.    the Thissels pleanty. [11]    the pine continues on the Sides of the hills.    our hunter who Stayed out last night joined us at noon    had killed Several deer.    we dryed Some articles which got wet in the canoes.    we hoisted up our flags expecting the natives would See them & know the meaning of them.    the current verry Swift.    we Came 24 miles this day & Camped on the Larbord Side.    we find pleanty of wild Inions or what Some calls leeks, or garlick. [12]    we gethered a quantity of them to eat—


Tuesday 23rd.    A cloudy morning. We embarked early, and at the same time Captain Clarke and four men went on again to endeavour to meet with some of the natives. We had rapid water, and passed a great number of islands. Capt. Clarke and his men killed four deer and a cabre, and left the skins and meat on the shore, where we could easily find them. The course of the river all day was nearly from the south, through a valley of 10 or 12 miles wide. The mountains are not so high nor so rocky, as those we passed. Large timber is not plenty, but there are a great quantity of small shrubs and willows. We passed a small river on the south side, and some banks of very white clay. We encamped on an island, having made 24 miles.


Tuesday 23rd July 1805.    Capt. Clark and 3 men Set out in order to go on to the 3 forks, expecting to find the Snake nation, near that place.    Some cloudy.    the Musquetoes verry troublesome.    I cannot keep them out of my face at this time.    the current verry rapid.    we proceeded on.    the river Spreads wide, and full of Islands.    we passed the mouth of a Small River [13] which came in behind an Island on the South Side.    passed livel Smoth large plains, on each Side.    high [14] grass in places & fine Short grass in general.    considerable of good flax now going to Seed.    the thissels also pleanty & high now in blossom.    the timber continues on the Island and along the Shores.    the beaver pleanty.    the pine timber continues on the Sides of the hills at Some distance from the River.    our hunter [15] who Stayed out last night came to us at noon where we delayed to dry the articles wh[ich] is wet in the canoes.    he had killed Several Deer, and Saved the most of the meat.    we hoisted up our flags and proceeded on    the current verry rapid.    Came 24 miles this day and Camped on the South Side.    the party in general much fatigued.    we find pleanty of wild Inions or garlick, in these bottoms & Islands &c. &c.—

Tuesday July 23rd    This morning Cloudy, Captain Clark and three of our party, set out in Order to go to the three forks of the Mesouri River, where they expect to find the Snake Nation of Indians residing, at or near that place.—    We set out early, and found the current run very rapid, and the River spreading wide, and full of Islands, we passed the mouth of a small River, which came in behind an Island lying on the South side of the River, & passed level smooth large plains, lying on each side of the River, having fine Grass on it & Flax now going to seed, Thistles high & in bloom, the Timber plenty growing along the Shores, and on the sides of the hills, some distance from the Shores.—    Our hunters that had staid out all last night came to us at noon.—

We delayed at the place that the hunters came to us, to dry the articles that was wet in the Canoes, the hunters had killed several deer & had saved most of the meat,—    We hoisted our flags on board our Canoes & proceeded on at 2 oClock P. M. the current still running very Rapid, We came 24 Miles this day, and encamped on the South side of the River Mesouri, our Men being very much fataigued, We found here plenty of Wild Onions.—

1. The valley through here is underlain by relatively soft sediments of middle to late Tertiary age. The red slate is actually shale, formerly a lateritic soil horizon. The gravel and stones indicate the proximity of a source of consolidated rock. (back)
2. Ray Creek, in Broadwater County, Montana. On Atlas map 63 it was first labeled "Ordway's Creek" and then corrected to the name Lewis gave it. MRC map 81. (back)
3. Probably Cirsium foliosum (Hook.) DC., elk thistle. Booth & Wright, 261. (back)
4. Possibly Allium brevistylum A. Wats. Dorn, 161; Hahn, Allium map. It was probably Biddle who drew a red vertical line through the passages about garlic and flax. (back)
5. Clark's camp was in Broadwater County, about four miles downstream from Toston. Atlas map 63; MRC map 82. (back)
6. Probably Scirpus acutus Muhl. ex Bigel., western bulrush, and Typha latifolia L., common cat-tail. Hahn, Scirpus and Typha maps; Dorn, 25. (back)
7. In Broadwater County, near the south end of present Canyon Ferry Lake, near present Townsend. Atlas map 63; MRC map 82. (back)
8. The western hog-nosed snake, Heterodon nasicus, then new to science. Burroughs, 276–77; Cutright (LCPN), 427–28. (back)
9. On Atlas map 63 the dotted line indicating Clark's route does not go through the July 22 campsite, his actual starting point on the twenty-third. (back)
10. Actually four men: Joseph and Reubin Field, Frazer, and Charbonneau. They overtook Drouillard hunting several miles ahead. (back)
11. Probably elk thistle, Cirsium foliosum (Hook.) DC. (back)
12. Possibly Allium brevistylum A. Wats. (back)
13. Whitehouse fails to mention that Lewis named the stream after him. (back)
14. The word "high" is written over "low." (back)