August 6, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 6, 1805


We set out this morning very early on our return to the forks.    having nothing to eat I set Drewyer to the woodlands to my left in order to kill deer, sent Sergt. Gass to the right with orders to keep sufficiently near to discover Capt. C. and the party should they be on their way up that stream and with Sharbono I directed my course to the main forks through the bottom directing the others to meet us there.    about five miles above the forks I head the hooping of the party to my left and changed my rout towards them; on my arrival found that they had taken the rapid for and learnt from Capt. Clark that he had not found the note which I had left for him at that place and the reasons which had induced him to ascend this stream.    it was easeist & more in our direction, and apd. to contain as much water    he had hoever previously to my comeing up with him, met Drewyer who informed him of the state of the two rivers and was on his return.    one of their canoes had just overset and all the baggage wet, the medecine box among other articles and several articles lost a shot pouch and horn with all the implements for one rifle lost and never recovered. I walked down to the point where I waited their return.    on their arrival found that two other canoes had filled with water and wet their cargoes completely. Whitehouse had been thrown out of one of the canoes as she swing in a rapid current and the canoe had rubed him and pressed him to the bottom as she passed over him and had the water been 2 inches shallower must inevitably have crushed him to death.    our parched meal, corn, Indian preasents, and a great part of our most valuable stores were wet and much damaged on this ocasion.    to examine, dry and arrange our stores was the first object; we therefore passed over to the lard. side opposite to the entrance of the rapid fork where there was a large gravly bar that answered our purposes; wood was also convenient and plenty.    here we fixed our camp, [1] and unloaded all our canoes and opened and exposed to dry such articles as had been wet.    a part of the load of each canoe consisted of the leaden canestirs of powder which were not in least injured, tho' some of them had remained upwards of an hour under water.    about 20 lbs. of powder which we had in a tight Keg or at l[e]ast one which we thought sufficiently so got wet and intirely spoiled.    this would have been the case with the other had it not have been for the expedient which I had fallen on of securing the powder by means of the lead having the latter formed into canesters which were filled with the necessary proportion of poder to discharge the lead when used, and those canesters well secured with corks and wax.    in this country the air is so pure and dry that any vessel however well seasoned the timber may be will give way or shrink unless it is kept full of some liquid. we found that three deer skins which we had left at a considerable hight on a tree were taken off which we supposed had been done by a panther.    we sent out some men to hunt this evening, they killed 3 deer and four Elk which gave us a plentifull supply om [of] meat once more. Shannon had been dispatched up the rapid fork this morning to hunt, by Capt Clark before he met with Drewyer or learnt his mistake in the rivers. When he returned he sent Drewyer in surch of him, but he rejoined us this evening and reported that he had been several miles up the river and could find nothing of him.    we had the trumpet sounded and fired several guns but he did not join us this evening. I am fearful he is lost again. this is the same man who was seperated from us 15 days as we came up the Missouri and subsisted 9 days of that time on grapes only. Whitehouse is in much pain this evening with the injury one of his legs sustained from the canoe today at the time it upset and swing over him. Capt Clarks ankle is also very painfull to him.—    we should have given the party a days rest some where near this place had not this accedent happened, as I had determined to take some observations to fix the Latitude and longitude of these forks.    our merchandize medecine &c are not sufficiently dry this evening we covered them securely for the evening. Capt Clark had ascended the river about 9 miles from this place on a course of S 30° W. before he met with Drewyer.—

we beleive that the N. W. or rapid fork is the dane [NB: drain] of the melting snows of the mountains, and that it is not as long as the middle fork and dose not at all seasons of the year supply anything like as much water as the other and that about this season it rises to it's greatest hight this last appears from the apparent bed of the river which is now over flown and the water in many plases spreads through old channels which have their bottoms covered with grass that has grown this season and in such as appears on the parts of the bottom not innundated.    we therefore determined that the middle fork was that which ought of right to bear the name we had given to the lower portion or River Jefferson and called the bold rapid an clear stream Wisdom, and the more mild an placid one which flows in from the S. E. Philanthrophy, [2] in commemoration of two of those cardinal virtues, which have so eminently marked that deservedly selibrated character through life.


a Clear morning Cool wind from the S W    we proceeded on with much dificuelty and fatigue over rapids & Stones; river about 40 or 50 yards wide much divided by Islands and narrow Bayoos to a low bluff on the Stard Side & Brackfast, dureing the time of Brackfast Drewyer Came to me from Capt. Lewis and informed me that they had explored both forks for 30 or 40 miles & that the one we were assending was impractiabl much further up & turned imediately to the north, The middle fork he reported was jintle and after a Short distanc turned to the S. W. and that all the Indian roades leades up the middle fork.    this report deturmind me to take the middle fork, accordingly Droped down to the forks where I met with Capt Lewis & party, Capt Lewis had left a Letter on a pole in the forks informing me what he had discovered & the course of the rivers &c.    this lettr was Cut down by the [beaver] as it was on a green pole & Carried off. Three Skins which was left on a tree was taken off by the Panthers or wolvers. [3] In decending to the Point one Can[o]e Struck & turned on a rapid & Sunk, and wet every thing which was in her, this misfortune obliged us to halt at the forks and dry those articles, one other Canoe nearly turning over, filled half full of water & wet our medison & Some Goods Corn &c. Several hunters out to day & killed a young Elk, Antilope, & 3 Deer, one man Shannon did not return to night—    This evening Cool    my anckle much wors than it has been—    this evening a Violent wind from the N. W accompanied with rain which lasted half an hour    wind N. W


Tuesday 6th August 1805.    a clear morning.    we Set out as usal and proceeded on halling the canoes over the rapids.    the bottoms low and covred with Small timber.    about 8 oClock we halted for breakfast. Several men went out a Short distance to hunt. Some of them Saw a large Indian path, or road along the plain. George Drewyer came to us and Informed us that we were on the wrong fork that we could not go far up this for the Sholes & rapids & that their was 3 forks in this valley and the middle one was the best for us to go up. [4]    one of the hunters did not return, So we left George Drewyer expecting the hunter in Soon.    we turned about and proceeded on down the rapids to the forks, with the crafts.    in passing the bad place of bushes & drift which we went up last evening, one canoe turned over another partly filled and was near turning over also.    one knapsack, full of cloaths leather &C. lost, allso a Shot pouch powder horn & some mockisons.    the rest all got down Safe to the forks and put out all the goods and articles to dry. Several men out to hunt.    one man Jos Whitehouse got his leg lamed when the canoe turned over. Several things damaged by gitting wet.    found Some difficulty in gitting the canoes down over the Sholes and rapids.    one kig of powder Spoild.    we found Capt. Lewis and party at the forks.    they informed us that they had been about 30 miles up the middle fork and they allowed that to be much the best for us to go up.    we Camped on the L. Side of the forks    in the evening all the hunters returned    had killed 3 deer & a faun Elk    the man who left us this morning has not returned and we expect he is lost again.    his name is george Shannon.    we blew the horn and fired Several guns in hopes he would hear it.    the Indian goods &C did not all git dry this evening.


Tuesday 6th.    We started early to go down to the point to see if the canoes had come up that far, and came upon the north branch about 2 miles above it. Here we discovered that the people in the canoes had not found the note, and with great difficulty, had proceeded 5 or 6 miles up the north branch. In their return down one of the canoes was overturned; a knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn lost, and all the rest of the loading wet. We got down to the forks about 12 o'clock, put all our baggage out to dry, and encamped for the night. Some hunters went out and killed 3 deer.


Tuesday 6th August 1805.    a clear morning.    we Set out as usal, and proceeded on halling the canoes up the rapids.    the bottoms low and covered with Small timber.    about 8 oClock A. M. we halted for breakfast at a grove of timber.    Saw an Indian trale or path.    G. Drewyer Came to us and informed us that we had got the wrong fork & that their was 3 forks & Capt. Lewis allowed that the middle fork would be the right course & the best fork for us to go up.    Capt. Lewis gone down to the forks.    we turned about and went down to the forks with the crafts.    in going through a difficult place which we went up thro last evening, one canoe got up Set and everry perticle of the loading got wet.    one of the men who was in the bow lost his knapsack and the most of his cloaths &c.    I was in the Stern when She Swang & jumped out to prevent hir from turning over but the current took hir round So rapid that caught my leg under hir and lamed me & was near breaking my leg.    lost my Shot pouch powder horn full of powder a bunch of thred and Some mockisons &c.    the remainder of the loading Saved.    we found it difficult to go down over the Sholes.    Several canoes ran fast &c.    one of the large canoes took in water & was near filling.    we got down to the forks found Capt. Lewis & party their.    they informed us that they had been about 30 miles up & their was 3 forks and the middle fork was the best for us, to go.    we halted here at the forks on L. S. and put out all the articles which got wet to dry.    one of the men who went out to hunt this morning has not returned.    Several men went out from this place to hunt.    we had a Small Shower of rain.    the hunters all returned in the evening    had killed 3 Deer and one faun Elk.    we blew the horn & fired Several guns, expecting the man who went out this morning George Shannon was lost.    the Indian goods &c. did not all git dry this evening, &c.—

Tuesday August 6th    A Clear morning, We set out as usual and proceeded on, towing our Canoes up the Rapids, and passed through low bottoms, lying on both sides of this little River; which were covered with Rich growths of Timber, about 8 o'Clock A. M. we halted at a Grove of timbered land for to break fast, where we saw Indian trails or paths, at this place George Drewyer, one of the party that went with Captain Lewis came to us.    He informed us that we had taken the wrong fork of the River, and that the River had forked in three places below, and that Captain Lewis allowed that the middle fork, was our right course & the best for the Canoes to ascend,—    and that Captain Lewis had gone down the River to where it forked.—    We set out at 9 oClock A. M. to return down the River with our Canoes, and in going through that difficult place that we passed Yesterday, one of our Canoes upset and ev'ry article of her loading got wet, & we were in great danger of losing them.—    One of our party who was in the bow of the Canoe, lost his knapsack, and most of his Cloathing.—    I happened to be in the Stern of the same Canoe when she swung round and jumped into the water in order to prevent her from turning up, but the current running strong caught my leg, which it had nearly broke.—

I lost in the Canoe, my shot pouch, Powder horn full of powder, the greater part of my cloathing &ca—.    the greater part of the load was saved, owing to the Shallowness of the Water.—    We found it very difficult in going down the River with our Canoes, and getting them over the Shoals, some of them ran aground, and with much difficulty was got off, and one of our largest Canoes took in Water & was near filling.    We got down to the forks about 4 o'Clock P. M. where we found Captain Lewis & the remainder of the party that had went with him.—    They informed us that they had been about 30 Miles up above the forks, and confirmed what Drewyer had mentioned of their being 3 forks,—    and that the middle fork was our best way, We halted at the forks on the South side, where we put all the wet articles out to dry, One of our Men that went out a hunting this morning, had not returned to us.—    Several of our party went out from this place to hunt, and some time after we had a small Shower of rain, the Hunters that went out from this place returned in the Evening they had killed 3 Deer & 1 Elk fawn, which they brought to our Camp.    We blew the horn & fired several Guns, expecting that the Man who went out a hunting this morning was lost & that probably he might hear the report of the Guns and find us out.—    The Indian Goods &ca—    that was put out to dry, are not perfectly so this evening.—

1. On the larboard side of the Jefferson, opposite the mouth of the Big Hole (Wisdom) River, in Madison County, Montana, just north of the present town of Twin Bridges. Atlas map 65. (back)
2. See above, August 4, 1805. (back)
3. The gray wolf, Canis lupus. (back)
4. They had missed a note from Lewis to this effect; the note had been carried off by a beaver. The other fork is the Ruby River, some distance ahead of the party. The middle fork is the Beaverhead, above the Ruby. (back)