July 31, 1805
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July 31, 1805


This morning I waited at my camp very impatiently for the arrival of Capt. Clark and party; I observed by my watch that it was 7 A. M. and they had not come in sight. I now became very uneasy and determined to wait until 8 and if they did not arrive by that time to proceed on up the river taking it as a fact that they had passed my camp some miles last evening.    just as I set out to pursue my plan I discovered Charbono walking up shore some distance below me and waited untill arrived    I now learnt that the canoes were behind, they arrived shortly after.    their detention had been caused by the rapidity of the water and the circuitous rout of the river.    they halted and breakfasted after which we all set out again and I continued my walk on the Stard. shore    the river now becomes more collected    the islands tho' numerous ar generally small.    the river continues rapid and is from 90 to 120 yd. wide has a considerable quantity of timber in it's bottoms.    towards evening the bottoms became much narrower and the timber much more scant.    high hills set in close on the Lard. and the plain high waivy or reather broken on the Stard. and approach the river closely for a shot distance vally above 1½ M wd.    About one mile above Capt. Clark's encampment of the last evening the principall entrance of a considerable river discharges itself into Jefferson's river.    this stream is a little upwards of 30 yd. wide discharges a large quantity of very clear water it's bed like that of Jefferson's river is pebble and gravel.    it takes it's rise in the snowclad mountains between Jefferson's and Madison's Rivers to the S. W. and discharges itself into the former by seven mouths it has some timber in it's bottoms and vas numbers of beaver and Otter. [1]    This stream we call River Philosophy. [2]    the rock of the clifts this evening is a hard black grannite like that of the clifts of most parts of the river below the limestone clifts at the 3 forks of the Missouri. [3] this evening just before we encamped Drewyer discovered a brown bear enter a small cops of bushes on the Lard. side; we surrounded the place an surched the brush but he had escaped in some manner unperceived but how we could not discover.    nothing killed today and our fresh meat is out.    when we have a plenty of fresh meat I find it impossible to make the men take any care of it, or use it with the least frugallity.    tho' I expect that necessity will shortly teach them this art.    the mountains on both sides of the river at no great distance are very lofty.    we have a lame crew just now, two with tumers or bad boils on various parts of them, one with a bad stone bruise, one with his arm accedently dislocated but fortunately well replaced, and a fifth has streigned his back by sliping and falling backwards on the gunwall of the canoe.    the latter is Sergt. Gass. it gives him great pain to work in the canoe in his present situation, but he thinks he can walk with convenience, I therefore scelected him as one of the party to accompany me tomorrow, being determined to go in quest of the Snake Indians. I also directed Drewyer and Charbono to hold themselves in readiness. Charbono thinks that his ankle is sufficiently recovered to stand the march but I entertain my doubts of the fact; he is very anxious to accompany me and I therefore indulge him. There is some pine [4] on the hills on both sides of the river opposite to our encampment which is on the Lard. side upon a small island just above a run.    the bull rush & Cat-tail flag [5] grow in great abundance in the moist parts of the bottoms    the dryer situations are covered with fine grass, tanzy, thistles, onions and flax. [6]    the bottom land fertile and of a black rich loam.    the uplands poor sterile and of a light yellow clay with a mixture of small smooth pebble and gravel, [7] poducing prickley pears, sedge and the bearded grass in great abundance; [8] this grass is now so dry that it would birn like tinder.—    we saw one bighorn [9] today as a few antelopes and deer.—

Courses and distances of July 31st 1805.
West—      ⅛ to a bayou in a Stard. bend.
South—   1 to a bayou on the Lard. side at the principal entrence of
River Philosophy which is 30 yds. wide and discharges
itself from hence downwards on Lard. side by five other
mouths, and one above.
West—      ¾ to the entrance of a bayou in a Stard. bend passing 2
small islands one on each side.
South—      ½ to a Lard. bend opposite 2 Islands.
S. 45° W.      ½ to a point on Lard. side passing a bayou Lard. Sd.
West—      ½ to a tree in a Stard. bend
South—      ⅛ in the Stard. bend.
S. 60° E.      ¼ to a prarie above some willows on the Lard. side
S. 25° W.      ¼ to the lower point of an Island.
East—      ⅛ to the upper entrance of Philosophy River, Lad.
South 20 W   1 ¼ to a Stard. bend passing 2 small Islands.
S. 25° E.      ¼ to a Lard. bend.
S. 45° W.      ⅛ to a Stard. bend.
South—      ¼ to a Lard. bend.
S. 20° W.      ¾ in the Lard. bend to a point opposite to an Isld.
West—      ½ to a small bayou in a Lard. bend
S. 60 W.   1 to the head of an Island
S. 45° W.   1 ¼ to a clift of the mountain on Lard. side; passing an Is-
land on Stard.
S. 80° W.      ½ to the clift of a high hill on Stard.    here the clifts put in
close on both sides leaving narrow bottoms.—
S. 45° W.      ¾ to a low bluff above a Lard. clift in a Lard. bend.
N. 45° W.   1 to a point of rock on the Stard. side, here the hills re-
ceede from the river bottoms 1½ me. wide
S. 80° W.      ¼ to a Lard. bend, an Isld. on Lard. side.
N. 80° W.   1 to a Stard. bend passing an Isld.
S. 60° W.      ¾ to a small island in the Stard bend.
South—      ⅛ to a tree in a Lard. bend.
S 70° W.      ¾ to a Stard. bend passing an Island.
S. 20° W.   1 ¾ to the foot of a mountain on a Lard. bend
N. 70° W.      ¾ to a Stard. bend.
S. 70° W.      ½ to some bushes in a Lard. bend, passing the entrance of
a small run on Lard. just above which we encamped on a
small Isld. near the Lard. side.—
Miles 17 ⅝

a fair Morning    Capt Lewis out all night, we arrived at his Camp to brackfast, he was without a blanket, & he killed a Duck whiche Suped on &c.    the river as yesterday Sholey & rapid, passed the lower mouth of a Small river on the Lard.    in the morning & the upper mouth a [blank] Miles above, this little river is the one I camped on the 26th & heads in the Snow mountains to [10] the S W. proceeded on verry well and Camped on a Small Island a little above the place I Camped the 25th instant at the mouth of a run on the Lard Side, [11] the bottoms from the Mouth of the river extend to 2 1/[2] Miles & enter a Short & high hill which is about 1 mile thro' and, the river then passes thro a 2d vallie of about 1½ Miles wide, Some Islands.    below his Knobe the river is Crouded with Islands, we are out of fresh meet, & nothing killed to day    The Mountains on either Side is high & rough    we have two men with toumers and unable to work.

Capt Lewis deturmin to proceed on with three me[n] in Serch of the Snake Indians, tomorrow [12]


July 31st Wednesday 1805. Capt. Lewis Stayed out all last night.    a fine morning.    we Set off at Sunrise and proceeded on as usal.    the current Swift.    about 8 oClock A. M. we came up with Capt. Lewis where he Camped all last night.    proceeded on    passed the mouth of a creek on the Lard. Side, the water of which is of a redish coulour, and is damed up in many places by the beaver, and runs through a beautiful prarie and bottom of Small timber.    the beaver verry pleanty along these bottoms.    the River filled with Islands.    passed a large plain or prarie on L. S. covered with fine grass Tanzey flax and thissels, wild onions or garlick &.C.    considerable of cotton timber along the River bottoms, but no timber back in the country.    the hills begin to make near the River on each Sides.    we dined under a handsom Shady grove of cotton timber under the hills of the Mountains [13] to our left which has heaps of Snow on the top & sides of it. Capt. Clark Saw a Mountain Sheep thro. glass on a hill towards the mo.    the Game is now gitting Scarse. We are now with out fresh meat which is very uncommon to us, for we have generally had double as much as we could eat.    the day very warm    we proceeded on    passed clifts of rocks and high wales &.C. Some pine [14] and ceeder timber along the hill Sides. Some of the hills nearly a Solid rock.    we Came 17¾ miles and Camped on a Small Island on the Lard. Side.    our hunter on Shore wounded a White bear, but did not kill it dead.


Wednesday 31st.    We set out early, and had a fine cool morning with dew. Last night Capt. Lewis went on ahead, and the canoes being unable to get on to him, he was obliged to encamp out alone in this howling wilderness. We passed a small creek this morning on the south side, which empties into the river, through 2 or 3 mouths, on account of its being much dammed up by the beaver, which are very plenty. At breakfast time we came up to Capt. Lewis; and having made 17 miles and three quarters, encamped [15] on an island.


Wednesday 31st July 1805.    Capt. Lewis layed out alone all last night.    a fine morning.    we Set off at Sun rise and proceeded on as usal.    the current rapid.    passed the Mouth of a Creek on the Lard. Side, which was damed up by the beaver in Sundry places.    the bottoms low on each Side and covered with Small cotton timber & young willow &c.    about 8 oClock A. m. we came to Capt. Lewis where he Camped last night.    we took breakfast and proceeded on    passed a plain on the L. S.    the hills begin to make near the River on each Side.    passed a verry large Island which is Smoth bottom prarie & but a little timber on it large open plain on L. Side on which grows abundance of flax wild Tanzey thissels &c.    the above mentioned handsome Creek runs through this prarie on Smoth bottom without timber.    only a little cotton timber on the River    we dined about 1 oC. under a delightful Grove of cotton timber on L. Side under the mountain which has large heaps of Snow on it.    we now enter the hills on each Side and keeps along under the mountains.    Capt. Clark Saw a mountain Sheep with the Spy glass on a round hill towards the mountain.    the Game is now gitting Scarser.    we are now without fresh meat which is verry uncommon to us.    the day verry warm.    we proceeded on    passed clifts of rocks and high wales along the Shores.    Some pine Scatering along the hills.    we Came 17¾ miles this day and Camped on a Small Island on the Lard Side.    our hunter on Shore wounded a white bear.

Wednesday July 31st    About 10 o'Clock last night, the hunters that were out came to our Camp, and had left Captain Lewis, who staid out, all night, We had a fine morning and set out at sunrise; and proceeded on our Voyage; we found the current of the River running strong against us, we passed the Mouth of a large creek which lay on the South side of the River [erasure] which was damed up in many places by the Beaver, We passed also by low bottomed land, lying on both sides of the River, which was cover'd with small Cotton wood timber, Willows, &ca—.    About 8 o'Clock A. M. we arrived at the place where Captain Lewis was & had encamped last night.    We halted at this place and breakfasted.    We then proceeded on, and passed a plain lying on the South side of the River.    The hills near to this plain begin to make in near the River, on both sides of it.    We also passed a very large Island, which lay low, and mostly Priari land, and but little Timber, on it; On the South side of the River opposite to this Island is a large open plain, having a handsome Creek, [16] running through it.—    On this plaine we found growing, abundance of Wild flax, Tanzey, thistles & wild flowers, and had grass growing luxuriently on it, There was some timber likewise at this place which grew near the River.    We dined at that place under a delightful grove of cotton timber, which lies a small distance from a Mountain; which had large heaps of Snow lying on it.—    We proceeded on about One Mile when we passed hills, lying on both sides of the River, which keeps along under the mountains, Captain Clark saw a Mountain Sheep (or Ibex) with his spy Glass, on a round hill towards the Mountain; We found the Game getting very scarce, & we are now without fresh meat, which was very uncommon with us.    This day proved very warm; We continued on our way, and passed clifts of Rocks, and high Walls of Stone lying along the Shores on both sides of the River.—    We saw growing along the hills sides on each side of the River some scattering pine trees.    We encamped in the Evening on a small Island, lying on the South side of the River, having came this day 17¾ Miles.    Our hunters that were on Shore wounded a White or Brown bear, but it made its escape.

1. The otter is Lutra canadensis. (back)
2. Willow Creek, which they named Philosophy River, heads in the Tobacco Root Mountains and joins the Jefferson River in Gallatin County, Montana. Atlas map 65. (back)
3. The dominant rocks along the river in this area are light gray to yellow-gray limestones of the Mississippian-age Mission Canyon and Lodgepole formations. Smaller exposures of Pennsylvanian-age formations are also present, but there is no granite near the river. (back)
4. Probably limber pine, Pinus flexilis James, which is more common in the area than ponderosa pine, P. ponderosa Laws. Little (CIH), 56-W, 64-W; Hahn, P. flexilis map. (back)
5. The "bull rush" is possibly western bulrush, Scirpus acutus Muhl. ex Bigel., or tule, softstem bulrush, S. validus Vahl. The common cat-tail is Typha latifolia L. Hitchcock et al., 1:370–71, 383, 731; Hahn, Scirpus and Typha maps. Perhaps it was Biddle who drew a red vertical line through this passage. (back)
6. The grass is again a generic description of vigorously growing meadow grasses along the bottoms. Tansy is Tanacetum, but it is rare in this region. Lewis refers to an unknown species with an aromatic and deeply divided leaf similar to tansy, with which he was familiar in the East. See above, June 6, 1805. Hitchcock et al., 5:318–20; Booth & Wright, 286–87. His thistles are either the wavyleaf thistle, Cirsium undulatum (Nutt.) Spreng, or the elk thistle, C. foliosum (Hook.) DC. The former is generally found in drier upland areas, while the latter is located in moister meadows. Booth & Wright, 261–62. The onion is possibly Allium acuminatum Hook., or A. textile A. Nels. & Macbr. However these two species are found on dry uplands and not in moister floodplain meadows. Hahn, Allium maps; Hitchcock et al., 1:742, 757. Lewis's flax is blue flax, Linum perenne L. var. lewisii (Pursh) Eat. & Wright. This species was collected by Lewis and originally named for him by Frederick Pursh (L. lewisii Pursh). Hitchcock et al., 3:389; Cutright (LCPN), 173. (back)
7. Along the river bottoms there is sufficient moisture for soil to develop and for a black or dark brown layer of humus or organic-rich material to form near the soil surface. The Tertiary deposits on the uplands and even the terrace deposits slightly elevated above the river, however, are dry and can form only an immature soil. These soils are not sterile, but produce only sparse vegetation because of lack of moisture. (back)
8. Plains prickly pear, Opuntia polyacantha Haw. var. polyacantha, and thread-leaved sedge, Carex filifolia Nutt., or needle leaf sedge, C. stenophylla Wahl. The bearded grass refers to needle and thread grass, Stipa comata Trin. & Rupr. See July 26, 1805. By describing these species together, Lewis is naming characteristic species of the northern grasslands which extend upward along the Missouri River and into the valleys of the Rocky Mountains. Benson (CUSC), 382–88; Hahn, Carex and Stipa maps; Küchler, map; Mueggler & Stewart, 10. (back)
9. Bighorn sheep, Ovis canadensis. (back)
10. Clark interrupts his narrative at this point to enter course and distance material for July 20–27, 1805, that he had labeled: "Course of the Missouri from the gate to the three forks." Since these are courses for the main party from which he was separated and appear to be substantially the same as Lewis's daily course log (with deletions), they are not printed here. (back)
11. The run is probably later Antelope Creek; the camp either in Gallatin or Madison County, Montana, a little downstream from the entrance to Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, which the captains did not actually visit, and some two miles above where U.S. Highway 287 crosses the Jefferson. Atlas map 65. (back)
12. Following this entry is Clark's course and distance table for the period July 27, 30–31, and part of August 1, 1805, that he has labeled: "Course and Distance up the main North fork of the Missouri." These courses appear to be essentially the same as Lewis's daily log and may have been copied by Clark during a time when he was very ill. We do not repeat the material for July, but place the August 1 courses with the remainder, which Clark carried over to p. 46 of this journal (Codex G), interrupting his entry of August 5, the date at which they appear here. Throughout this part of the journal the narrative and course material is very cut up. We bring some sections together for ease of reading while maintaining the integrity of the document as far as possible. (back)
14. Probably limber pine. (back)
15. Near the mouth of Antelope Creek, in either Gallatin or Madison County, a little down stream from the entrance of Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, and some two miles above where U.S. Highway 287 crosses the Jefferson. Gass does not mention that he injured his back this day by falling on the gunwale of a canoe; see Lewis's entry. (back)
16. Evidently Willow Creek or Antelope Creek. (back)