August 5, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 5, 1805




As Charbono complained of being unable to march far today I ordered him and Sergt. Gass to pass the rappid river near our camp and proceed at their leasure through the level bottom to a point of high timber about seven miles distant on the middle fork which was in view; I gave them my pack that of Drewyer and the meat which we had, directing them to remain at that place untill we joined them. I took Drewyer with me and continued my rout up the stard. side of the river about 4 miles and then waded it; found it so rapid and shallow that it was impossible to navigate it.    continued up it on the Lard. side about 1½ miles further when the mountains put in close on both sides and arrose to great hight, partially covered with snow.    from hence the course of the river was to the East of North. I took the advantage of a high projecting spur of the mountain which with some difficulty we ascended to it's summit in about half an hour.    from this eminance I had a pleasing view of the valley through which I had passed many miles below and the continuation of the middle fork through the valley equally wide above me to the distance of about 20 miles when that also appeared to enter the mountains and disappeared to my view; however the mountains which termineate the valley in this direction appears much lower than those up either of the other forks.    on the rapid fork they appeared still to rise the one range towering above another as far as I could perceive them.    the middle fork as I suspected dose bear considerably to the West of South and the gap formed by it in the mountains after the valley terminates is in the same direction.    under these circumstances I did not hesitate in beleiving the middle fork the most proper for us to ascend. [2]    about South from me the middle fork approached within about 5 miles. I resolved to pass across the plains to it and return to Gass and Charbono, accordingly we set out and decended the mountain among some steep and difficult precipices of rocks.    here Drewyer missed his step and had a very dangerous fall, he sprained one of his fingers and hirt his leg very much.    in fifteen or 20 minutes he was able to proceed and we continued our rout to the river where we had desighned to interscept it. I quenched my thirst and rested a few minutes examined the river and found it still very navigable.    an old indian road very large and plain leads up this fork, but I could see no tracks except those of horses which appeared to have passed early in the spring.    as the river mad a great bend to the South East we again ascended the high plain and steered our course as streight as we could to the point where I had directed Gass and Sharbono to remain. we passed the plain regained the bottom and struck the river about 3 miles above them; by this time it was perfectly dark & we hooped but could hear no tidings of them.    we had struck the river at the point of timber to which I had directed them, but [they] having mistaken a point of woods lower down, had halted short of the place.    we continued our rout after dark down the bottom through thick brush of the pulppy leafed thorn [3] and prickly pears for about 2 hours when we arrived at their camp. [4]    they had a small quantity of meat left which Drewyer and myself eat it being the first we had taisted today.    we had traveled about 25 miles. I soon laid down and slept very soundly untill morning. I saw no deer today nor any game except a few Antelopes which were very shy. the soil of the plains is a light yellow clay very meager and intermixed with a large proportion of gravel, [5] producing nothing except the twisted or bearded grass, sedge and prickly pears.    the dryer parts of the bottoms are also much more indifferent in point of soil to those below and are covered with the southernwood pulpy leafed thorn and prickley pears with but little grass.    the moist parts are fertile and covered with fine grass and sand rushes.

This morning Capt. Clark set out at sunrise and dispatched Joseph & Reubin Fields to hunt.    they killed two deer on one of which the party breakfasted.    the river today they found streighter and more rapid even than yesterday, and the labour and difficulty of the navigation was proportionably increased, they therefore proceeded but slowly and with great pain as the men had become very languid from working in the water and many of their feet swolen and so painfull that they could scarcely walk.    at 4 P. M. they arrived at the confluence of the two rivers where I had left the note.    this note had unfortunately been placed on a green pole which the beaver had cut and carried off together with the note; the possibility of such an occurrence never onc occurred to me when I placed it on the green pole.    this accedent deprived Capt. Clark of any information with ripect to the country and supposing that the rapid fork was most in the direction which it was proper we should pursue, or West, he took that stream and asscended it with much difficulty about a mile and encamped on an island that had been lately overflown and was yet damp; [6] they were therefore compelled to make beds of brush to keep themselves out of the mud.    in ascending this stream for about a quarter of a mile it scattered in such a maner that they were obliged to cut a passage through the willow brush which leant over the little channels and united their tops.    Capt. Clarks ankle is extreemly painfull to him this evening; the tumor has not yet mature, he has a slight fever.—    The men were so much fortiegued today that they wished much that navigation was at an end that they might go by land.—

Courses and distances traveled by Capt. Clark and party
August 5th 1805.
S. 45° E.    ½ to a Lard. bend passing a bayou on Lard. side.
S. 15° W.    ½ to a Stard. bend passing an island.
South 1 to a Lard. bend passing a small Island, and a bayou on
the Stard. side.
S. 45° W.    ¼ to a Stard. bend passing an island.
S. 30° W. 2 to a low clift at the mouth of a bayou on Stard. side pass-
ing three bad rappids in this course
S. 60° E.    ½ to a Lard. bend passing an Island Stard. side.
S. 30° W.    ½ to a bluff in a Stard. bend
South—    ¼ in the Stard. bend passing a bad rapid.
S. 45° E.    ¼ to a Lard. bend.
South—    ½ to a bluff in a Stard. bend.
South 45° E.    ½ to a Lard. bend.
S. 15° W.    ¼ to a Stard. bend under a bluff.
East—    ½ to a Lard. bend passing a bayou on Stard. side.
S. 5° W.    ¼ to a bayou in a Lard. bend.
S. 45° W.    ½ to a Stard. bend passing an island.
West—    ¼ to a bayou in a Stard. bend.
S. 45° E.    ¼ to a Lard. bend passing an island
South—    ½ to the forks.    these forks are nearly of the same size tho'
the N. W. fork possesses the most water at this time and
is infinitely the most rapid.    ascended the last one mile
on a course of S 30 W. and encamped on an Island.
Miles 9 ¼  

a Cold Clear morning the wind from the S. E.    the river Streight & much more rapid than yesterday, I Sent out Jo. & R. Fields to kill Some meat    they killed 2 Deer & we brackfast on one of them and proceeded on with great dificuelety from the rapidity of the Current, and numerable rapids we had to encounter, at 4 oClock P M Murcury 49 ab. 0, passed the mouth [7] of principal fork which falls in on the Lard. Side, this fork is about the Size of the Stard. one less water reather not so rapid, its Course as far as can be Seen is S. E & appear to pass through between two mountains, the N W. fork being the one most in our course i.e. S 25 W. as far as I can See, deturmind me to take this fork as the principal and the one most proper the S E fork is of a Greenish Colour & contains but little timber. The S W fok contains more timber than is below for Some distance, [8] we assended this fork about one mile and Encamped on an island which had been laterly overflown & was wet    we raised our bead on bushes, we passed a part of the river above the forks which was divided and Scattered thro the willows in Such a manner as to render it dificuelt to pass through for a ¼ of a mile, we were oblige to Cut our way thro' the willows—    Men much fatigued from their excessive labours in hauling the Canoes over the rapids &c. verry weak being in the water all day.    my foot verry painfull

N. 30° W.   1 to a Pooint of rocks on the Lard. Side, at this place the river
passes thro a Spur of the Mountain of perpendicul Clifts
N 60° W.      ¾ to the upper part of a rock in Std bend
S 70° W.   1 ½ to a Clift on the LardSide
S W      ½ to the Stard. Bend
S. 26° W.   1 ¾ to a Bluff in the Stard Side
South      ½ to the lard Bend, at this place the river enter a high
mountn. of Steep uneaven Clifts
N. 30° W   1 ¼ to a Stard. Bend under a high Clift
N. 80° W      ¼ to a Clift of high rocks in Std. bend    a Small bottom on
the Lard Side
S. 60° W.      ½ to a Lard Bend under a pine hill
N. 25° W.      ¼ to a Small Island on the Lard Side
N. 30° E      ¼ to a Stard. Bend high Clifts both Sds.
N. 80° W      ¾ to the mouth of a bold Creek on the Lard. Side passing an
Isld. and riffle of 6 feet fall Frasures fall & creek    here the
river again enters a valle
North      ½ to the Stard. bend under a hill
N W.      ½ to a lard. bend
N. 70° W   1 ½ to the point of an Island    passed Several Small Islands
North      ¼ to a Stard. bend
West      ¾ to the lower point of an Island
N W      ¼ to the mouth of a large Creek Std. R. Fields Creek & valley
28 yd. wd. (Encamped the 1st of Augt.)
S. 80° W.      ¾ to a Stard. Bend
S. 30° W      ¼ to a lard. Bend
West      ¼ to a Bayou in the Lard. Bend
North      ½ to a Stard bend passing a riffle and 2 Small Islands
S. 30° W      ¾ to a Lard. bend    passed an Island
N. 45° W      ½ to a Std. bend    passed a Bayou Ld.
West   2 to an Island passing two points on the Lards. Side two Is-
lands and several Bayous on the Lard Side    the Vallee
from 6 to 10 miles wide
South   1 ⅛ to a lard Bend
N W      ¼ to a Stard bend on the Island
S 40 W      ⅛ in the Stard. bend of the Isld.
S. 60 E.      ¼ to a Lard. bend passing the point of the island on the
Stard. Side
S W.      ½ in the Lard. bend
N. 10° W.      ¾ in the Stard bend    passed a Bayou
N. 80° W.      ¼ in the Stard. Bend of an Island
S. 30° W      ¾ to a Lard. Bend    passed the Island
North      ¼ to a Stard. Bend
S W   1 to the mouth of 3 Bayous in a Std. bend
S. 30° E      ½ in a Lard. Bend
S. 50° W.      ⅛ in the lard Bend
N. 20° W      ½ to a Bayou in the Stard. Bend
S 20° W      ½ to a Lard Bend
N. W.      ¼ to a low Bluff in a Stard. Bend
S. W.      ⅛ in a Stard. Bend    passd. a Bayou Std. Side.
S. 20° E      ½ to a Lard Bend
S. 50° W      ¼ to an lower point of an island
West      ¼ to a Stard. Bend passing a Bayou on the Std. Side and the
isd. to a Bayou Std.
S 60° E      ½ to a Lard. Bend    passed an isld.
S 45° W      ¼ to a Bayou in the Stard. bend
South      ¼ to a Lard Bend
S 60° W.      ½ to a Stard. Bend at the mouth a Bayou rapid & 30 yds wide
[EC: White tail deer = Birth Cr. ]
S. E.      ⅛ in the Stard. bend
East      ⅛ to the Lard Bend
South      ½ to the mo. of a Bayou in Stard. Bend
S. 70° W      ¾ to a Stard. Bend
South      ¼ to a high bottom in a Stard. Bend
S. 70° E      ½ to a Lard. Bend
  23 ¾ (Campd. 2d August)
    3d Aug
South      ½ in a Lard. Bend
West   1 ¼ to a Stard. Bend
S. W.      ½ to the Stard. Bend a Small 〈run〉 [ML?: creek called panther
] [EC: Pipestone ]
S. 20° W.      ½ in the Stard. Bend
S. 80° E   1 ¼ to the Lower point of an island
South      ¼ to a Std. point of the Island
S. 30° E      ¼ to a Bayou in the Island
South   1 ½ to the upper point of the Island haveing passed 3 points
and a Cliff
S. 10° W.   4 on a Direct line to the mouth of a Creek Small the Dreans
of a mountain in which there is Snow in view, river passed
under this mountain [EC: S. Bould Mt. ] on the Lard Side &
has several Short bends in this Course vallie wide & to the
Stard Side
S. 25° W.   1 to a Small run in a Lard. bend
S. 60° W.   1 to a low Stoney bluff in a Stard. bend opposit an Island
passed 1
S. 20° W.   1 to the lower point of a Island Ld.    passed one and thro
a narrow rockey Channel under the bluff (Encamped the 3
of Augt.
S. 45° W.   5 on a Direct Course to a Lard. bend    passed 4 bends to the
Lard. Side & Several Bayous on either Side
S. 20° W.   4 with the river to a Bluff on the Lard. side, passed three
bends on the Stard. and two Small Islands & 2 Bayoes Sd.
S. 60° W.   6 with the river to an island    passed six round bends on the
Stard. and Several Small Bayoes. (Campd. 4h Augt)
S. 45° E      ½ to a Lard. bend    a Bayou Ld. Side
S. 15° W      ½ to a Stard. bend    passed an Island
South   1 to a Lard. bend    psd. a Small island and a Bayou on the
Stard. Side
S. 45° W.      ¼ to a Stard. Bend    passed an island
S. 30° W.   2 to a low Clift at the mouth of a Bayou [EC: Cherry Cr. ] on
the Stard. Side    passed 3 rapids in this course
S. 60° E.      ½ to a Lard bend    passed an Island Std. Side
S. 30° W.      ½ to a Bluff in the Stard. bend
South      ¼ in the Stard. bend    passed a bad rapid
S. 45° E      ¼ to a Lard bend
South      ½ to a Bluff in a Stard. bend
S. 45° E.      ½ to a Lard. bend
S. 15° W.      ¼ to a Stard. Bend under a Bluff
East      ½ to a Lard Bend    passed a Bayou on Std Side
S. 5° W      ¼ to a Bayou in the Lard. Bend
S. 45° W      ½ to a Stard. bend    passed an island
West      ¼ to a Bayou in the Stard. Bend
S. 45° E      ¼ to a Lard. Bend    passed an Island
South      ½ to the forks, passed an Island    Those Forks is nearly of
the Same Size    the N W. fork the most rapid & Clear and
the one most in our Course, the S. E. fork is Still of a
Greenish Colour and appears to come from the S. E. be-
tween the two mountains
  98 up the North Fork

Assended the N W Fork 9 miles on a Course S. 30° W. to a Bluff on the Stard. Side    passed Several Bayous & Islands


Monday 5th August 1805.    a clear cool morning    we Set out as usal    2 hunters Sent on a head to kill Some meat.    passd. rapids as usal.    one of the hunters killed a deer before brakfast.    the wind cold from the South.    the Shores and hills rocky    the bottom of the River covred with Slippery Small Stone and gravvel.    we proceeded on    passed over rapids worse than ever    it is with difficulty & hard fatigue we git up them Some of which are allmost perpinticular 3 or 4 feet fall in a Short distance.    our other hunter joined us at noon    had killed nothing but had Seen where the River forks again.    about 7 oC. P. m. clouded up    wind high    we proceeded on    about a mile further up came to a another forks [9] one nearly as the other    if any difference the right hand fork the largest.    we was not certian whether Capt. Lewis was up the left fork or right So 〈we〉 Capt Clark [10] left a note for him on the point which is level prarie, & proceeded on up the right hand fork, which is amazeing rapid Some of which falls nearly 3 feet in the length of a canoe, but with hard labour we draged them over.    we passed thro a channel which was filled with willows and young cotton wood & brush, Some of which was fell across by the beaver.    the currents So rapid we were oblidged to hall by the bushes, and Some places be out in the water where we could Scarsely kick our feet for the rapidity of the current. Saw Several high beaver dams.    passed Several Islands.    we could Scarsely croud the canoes through the bushes in Several places, night came on and we Camped on the Stard. Side at a bottom which is level and low, has been over flowed lately.    it appears this little Stream is verry high, but has been high by the Snow melting off the Mountains.    it is now falling a little.    was it low we could not proceeded by water any further.    our hunter killed a deer. Came 8 to forks miles this day.    the party much fatigued and wish to go by land.


Monday 5th.    This morning Capt. Lewis thought it would be best for me and one of the interpreters [11] to go over to the west branch, [12] and remain there, until he and the other [13] should go higher up the north, cross over in search of Indians and then go down and join us. At night they came to our camp, but had not seen any of the natives, nor any fresh signs.


Monday 5th August 1805.    a clear cool morning.    we Set out at Sunrise    2 hunters Sent on a head to kill Some meat.    one of them joined us with a deer he had killed before breakfast time.    the wind cold from the South.    the Shores and hills rockey & bottom of the River covd. with Small Stones.    our other hunter joined us at noon, had killed nothing.    the rapids gits worse that ever.    it is with difficulty we git over them, & verry fatigueing.    at 1 oC. P. M. clouded up.    wind high.    proceeded on    about a mile further up came to a fork [14]    we took the right hand fork which was amazeing rapid.    Some of the rapids falls 3 or 4 feet or their abouts in the length of our canoes.    we passed through a channel where the water was rapid and ran through the willows & young cotton wood    the beaver had fell Some of them across the channel and it crooked    it was with much difficulty we got thro.    obledged to forse our way through the bushes and hall by them.    Some places out in the water could Scarsely keep our feet for the rapidity of the current.    Saw Several beaver dams verry high.    night came on.    Camped on S. Side at a low bottom, which has lately been overflowed.    we expect this little Stream is high from the Snow melting on the mountains.    it appears it has lately been higher, but is now falling a little.    was it low their would not be water enofe in it for us to proceed any further by water.    our hunter killed a deer.    Came 8 miles this day.    the party much fatigued and wish to leave the canoes & go by land.

Monday August 5th    A Clear, cool morning, we set out as usual, and sent 2 of our hunters ahead in order to kill some Game for us, One of which joined us before breakfast with a deer he had killed.    The wind blew cold from the South, the Shores & hills rockey & the bottoms of the river, covered with small Stones, The other hunter joined us at Noon, but had not kill'd anything.    The rapids of the River, we find here, worse than any that we have yet met with; and it is with great difficulty that we can pass them, and very fataigueing to our party—    About 1 o'Clock P. M. the weather clouded up, and the wind got high.    We proceeded on about a Mile further up, & came too.—    We halted here for a short time, & then proceeded on, and came to where the River forked, We here took the right hand fork, which we found run very rapid, some of the Rapids of the River; here fell 3 feet, and was between 3 & 4 feet in length.    We passed through a channel where we found the water run rapid through Willows & Cotton wood trees, The Beaver had cut down some of those trees, which had fell across the Channel, & the River running Crooked, it was with much difficulty we got through them, being obliged to force our Canoes through the bushes, & hawl the Canoes by them.    Several of our party were forced to go out into the Water in several places, to hawl along the Canoes, and the rapidity of the Current made it very difficult for them to keep 〈on〉 their feet.—    We saw several beaver dams, which was very high; Night came on, & we encamped on the South side of the River in a low bottom, which had been lately overflowed.    The fork that we are at (or rather small stream of water) is high, which we suppose is occasioned from the Water melting on the Mountains.    this River has the appearance of having been considerable higher, than it is at present, and at any common time.    we are of oppinion that there would not be water sufficient for our Canoes to proceed any futher.—

We came 8 Miles this day, & encamped; our party are much fataigued, & it is the wish of all of them, that we would proceed on our Voyage by land to the Columbia River—    Our hunter joined us at our encampment, and brought with him a Deer, he had killed.—

1. The last entry in Codex Fa has the date only, followed by a blank half-page, and the back of the sheet blank also. (back)
2. Lewis continued up the Big Hole (Wisdom) River about three miles beyond the Madison-Beaverhead county line where he climbed a ridge for a commanding view. Lewis still assumed that by reaching the head of the principal affluent of the Missouri he would be near the headwaters of the Columbia or a main tributary. The middle fork was the Beaverhead, which modern geographers agree with Lewis in calling the main stream, and the mountains in that direction were probably the Tendoy Mountains. In the direction of the "rapid fork"—the Big Hole River—he would be looking at Pioneer Mountains. Atlas maps 65, 66. (back)
3. Greasewood, Sarcobatus vermiculatus (Hook.) Torr. Booth & Wright, 48. (back)
4. On the Beaverhead, in Madison County, Montana, a few miles above the mouth of the Ruby (Philanthropy) River. Atlas map 66. (back)
5. The Tertiary uplands near the junction of these rivers are principally composed of sand, clay, and soft sandstone. Because this area receives only about ten inches of precipitation annually, a mature soil containing a significant humus horizon cannot develop except in the bottoms. The gravel found on these uplands was deposited by the adjacent rivers when they flowed at a higher elevation than at present. (back)
6. Clark's camp was a mile or so up the Big Hole River from its mouth, in Madison County, northwest of the present town of Twin Bridges. Atlas map 65. (back)
7. Here again Clark has placed the courses of several days (August 1–5) together and written the August 5 entry around it; we carry the material at the end of this entry. Someone, perhaps Coues, has underlined a few place-names in blue crayon. See also notes for Clark's entry of July 31, 1805. (back)
8. Clark's terminology is somewhat confusing since he appears to refer to the Big Hole River as both the "N W" and "S W" fork. The southeast fork is the Ruby River. Atlas maps 65, 66. (back)
9. The forks of the Jefferson River at this point are the Big Hole (right fork) and Beaverhead (left fork) rivers. The Big Hole was called Wisdom River by the party, while they continued to use the name Jefferson for the Beaverhead. See Ordway's summation of the names of the rivers through this region in his entry of August 10. (back)
10. The words "Capt Clark" may have been added by someone else. (back)
11. Charbonneau, who was having trouble marching because of his ankle. (back)
12. The Beaverhead River, which the party called the Jefferson. (back)
13. That is, the other interpreter, Drouillard. (back)
14. The forks of the Jefferson River. On the right is Big Hole (the party's Wisdom) River and on the left, Beaverhead River, which they continued to call the Jefferson. (back)