August 15, 1805
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August 15, 1805


This morning I arrose very early and as hungary as a wolf. I had eat nothing yesterday except one scant meal of the flour and berries except the dryed cakes of berries which did not appear to satisfy my appetite as they appeared to do those of my Indian friends. I found on enquiry of McNeal that we had only about two pounds of flour remaining.    this I directed him to divide into two equal parts and to cook the one half this morning in a kind of pudding with the burries as he had done yesterday and reserve the ballance for the evening.    on this new fashoned pudding four of us breakfasted, giving a pretty good allowance also to the Chief who declared it the best thing he had taisted for a long time.    he took a little of the flour in his hand, taisted and examined very scrutinously and asked me if we made it of roots. I explained to him the manner in which it grew.    I hurried the departure of the Indians.    the Chief addressed them several times before they would move they seemed very reluctant to accompany me. I at length asked the reason and he told me that some foolish persons among them had suggested the idea that we were in league with the Pahkees and had come on in order to decoy them into an ambuscade where their enimies were waiting to receive them.    but that for his part he did not believe it. I readily perceived that our situation was not entirely free from danger as the transision from suspicion to the confermation of the fact would not be very difficult in the minds of these ignorant people who have been accustomed from their infancy to view every stranger as an enimy. I told Cameahwait that I was sorry to find that they had put so little confidence in us, that I knew they were not acquainted with whitemen and therefore could forgive them.    that among whitemen it was considered disgracefull to lye or entrap an enimy by falsehood. I told him if they continued to think thus meanly of us that they might rely on it that no whitemen would ever come to trade with them or bring them arms and amunition and that if the bulk of his nation still entertained this opinion I still hoped that there were some among them that were not affraid to die, that were men and would go with me and convince themselves of the truth of what I had asscerted.    that there was a party of whitemen waiting my return either at the forks of Jefferson's river or a little below coming on to that place in canoes loaded with provisions and merchandize.    he told me for his own part he was determined to go, that he was not affraid to die. I soon found that I had touched him on the right string; to doubt the bravery of a savage is at once to put him on his metal.    he now mounted his horse and haranged his village a third time; the perport of which as he afterwards told me was to inform them that he would go with us and convince himself of the truth or falsity of what we had told him if he was sertain he should be killed, that he hoped there were some of them who heard him were not affraid to die with him and if there was to let him see them mount their horses and prepare to set out.    shortly after this harange he was joined by six or eight only and with these I smoked a pipe and directed the men to put on their packs being determined to set out with them while I had them in the humour    at half after 12 we set out, several of the old women were crying and imploring the great sperit to protect their warriors as if they were going to inevitable distruction.    we had not proceeded far before our party was augmented by ten or twelve more, and before we reached the Creek [1] which we had passed in the morning of the 13th it appeared to me that we had all the men of the village and a number of women with us.    this may serve in some measure to ilustrate the capricious disposition of those people who never act but from the impulse of the moment.    they were now very cheerfull and gay, and two hours ago they looked as sirly as so many imps of satturn.    when we arrived at the spring on the side of the mountain where we had encamped on the 12th the Chief insited on halting to let the horses graize with which I complyed and gave the Indians smoke.    they are excessively fond of the pipe; but have it not much in their power to indulge themselves with even their native tobacco as they do not cultivate it themselves.—    after remaining about an hour we again set out, and by engaging to make compensation to four of them for their trouble obtained the previlege of riding with an indian myself and a similar situation for each of my party. I soon found it more tiresome riding without tirrups than walking and of course chose the latter making the Indian carry my pack.    about sunset we reached the upper part of the level valley of the Cove which now called Shoshone Cove.    the grass being birned on the North side of the river we passed over to the south and encamped near some willow brush about 4 miles above the narrow pass between the hills noticed as I came up this cove. [2]    the river was here about six yards wide, and frequently damed up by the beaver. I had sent Drewyer forward this evening before we halted to kill some meat but he was unsuccessful and did not rejoin us untill after dark    I now cooked and among six of us eat the remaining pound of flour stired in a little boiling water.—    Capt. Clark delayed again this morning untill after breakfast, when he set out and passed between low and rugged mountains which had a few pine trees distributed over them    the clifts are formed of limestone and a hard black rock intermixed. [3]    no trees on the river, the bottoms narrow river crooked shallow shoally and rapid.    the water is as coald as that of the best springs in our country.    the men as usual suffered excessively with fatiegue and the coldness of the water to which they were exposed for hours together. at the distance of 6 miles by water they passed the entrance of a bold creek on Stard. side 10 yds. wide and 3 f. 3 I. deep which we called Willard's Creek after Alexander Willard one of our party. [4]    at 4 miles by water from their encampment of las evening passed a bold branch which tumbled down a steep precipice of rocks from the mountains on the Lard. [5] Capt Clark was very near being bitten twice today by rattlesnakes, the Indian woman also narrowly escaped.    they caught a number of fine trout. Capt. Clark killed a buck which was the only game killed today. the venison has an uncommon bitter taist which is unpleasent. I presume it proceeds from some article of their food, perhaps the willow on the leaves of which they feed very much.    they encamped this evening on the Lard. side near a few cottonwood trees about which there were the remains of several old Indian brush lodges. [6]

Courses and distances traveled by Capt. Clark
August 15th 1805.
S. 25° W. 4 to the entrance of Willard's Creek on Stard. 10 Yds. wide bold
current.    so called from Alexander Willard one of our party.
the distance by water 6 Miles.    passed a point of rocks at 2 M.
on Stard. a bold run on Lard. at 4 Miles; a second point of
rocks on Lard. at 5 and an Island.
S. 22° E. 1 to a small bottom on the Lard. side, passing a high clift on
Stard. opposite to a steep sloping hill.    the same being 3 M. by
S. 20° W. 2 M. to a small branch on Lard. side near which is a small bot-
tom covered with clover and a few cottonwood trees where
they encamped on Lard. side for the evening.
Miles 7  

During my absence Capt. Clark had made the following observations.

Point of Observation No. 41.

August 11th 1805 on the upper point of an island at the encampment of this evening, observed time and distance of ☽'s Western limb from Antares ★ West with Sextant.

  Time   Distance
  h    m      s    
P.M. 9    38      1   91°    57'    —"
  "     41    20     "      56    45
  "     44    39     "      55    15
  "     47      8     "      54    30
  "     50    38     "      54    15
  "     51    52     "      53    45
  Time   Distance
    h    m      s    
P.M.   9    54    31   91°    49'    45"
    "     56    11     "      48     30
    "     58    14     "      48     —
  10    —      23     "      47     45
    "      1      39     "      47     45
    "      2      32     "      47     —

Longitude deduced from this observation West from Greenwich—[blank]

Point of Observation No. 42.
August 15th 1805.

On the Lard. side of the Missouri at the rattlesnake Clifts. Observed Meridian Altitude of ☉'s L. L. with Octant by the back observation—65° 47' —"

Latitude deduced from this observation 44° —' 48.1"

☞ this place ought to stand at about 44° 50' or thereabouts


a Cool windey morning wind from the S W    we proceeded on thro a ruged low mountain water rapid as usial    passed a bold running Stream which falls from the mountain on the Lard. Side at 4 miles, also a bold running Stream 10 yards wide on the Stard Side 8 feet 3 In. Deep at 6 miles, Willards Creek    the bottoms narrow, the Clifs of a Dark brown Stone Some limestone intermixed—    an Indian road passes on the Lard Side latterly used. Took a Meridian altitude at the Comsnt. of the Mountain with Octent 65° 47' 0". The Latd. 44° 0' 48 1/10" proceeded on with great labour & fatigue to the Mouth of a Small run on the Lard. Side passed Several Spring runs, the men Complain much of their fatigue and being repetiedly in the water which weakens them much perticularly as they are obliged to live on pore Deer meet which has a Singular bitter taste. I have no accounts of Capt Lewis Sence he Set out

In walking on Shore I Saw Several rattle Snakes and narrowly escaped at two different times, as also the Squar when walking with her husband on Shore—    I killed a Buck nothing else killed to day—    This mountn. I call rattle Snake mountain.    not one tree on either Side to day [7]

Course Distance &c above Wisdom River
    August 7th
S 45° E      7 miles by water 3 miles by land to the mouth of a Creek
12 yds. wide on the Lard. Side    passed Seven bends to
the Stard. Side and Several Small Bayeus on each Side.
    Courses of August 8th
South      5 miles by water 2 m. by land passing seven bends on the
Lard Side two Islds. & several Bayoos to the mouth of Phi-
on the Lard Side 30 yds. wide & navagable
S. 20° W.   14 miles by water & 6 by land on a Direct course to a fiew
high trees on the Stard. Side    the river bending round to
the East 2 miles from this course, passed an Island at
1 mile, another at 7 miles, Several Small Bayos & 35 binds
to the Stard. most of those bends are Short & round.
    (August 9th)
S. 12° W.   11 miles by water 4 miles direct to a Starbdbend    passd. two
Small Islands, 16 Short round bends on the Stard. Side
we Dined
S. 10° E      3 miles by water 1 m direct to a high bottom on the Lard
Side passed an Island, a Bayou on the Lard Side four
Short bends on the Stard Side
    (August 10th)
S. 30° W.     6 ½ miles by water 2 miles Direct to a Clift of rocks 150 feet
high Std. Side Called by the Snake Indians the Beavers
a Clift 300 distand from the Beaver head about 50
feet high    passed 8 bends on the Stard. Side two Small
bayous on the Lard. Side.
S 60° W.     6 ½ miles by water (2 miles on the Course) to a low bluff on
the Lard. Side, passed four island & 18 bends on the
Stard. Side passing near a low bluff on Stard. Sd.    passed
Several Small Bayoes.
    (August 11th)
S. 20° W.     3 miles by water 1 m. by land to the lower point of 3000
mile Island    passed three Small Islands, 6 bends on the
Stard. Side, 6 Bayoes on eithr Side
S. 25° W.      3 ½ miles by water 1½ m. by land to the head of the Island
Passed Sevin bends on the Lard Side of the Island & 2
Bayous on the Lard. Side. The Stard Chanel passes near
the Bluffs
South     7 ½ miles by water 2½ m. by land to the head of a large Island
the main Chanel on the Lard. Side, passed 3 Small islands
and Several Small Bayoes and 15 bends on the Stard. Side
    (August 12th)
S 8° W.     5 ½ miles by water 2 miles direct to the head of a large Island,
main Chanel on the Stard. Side    passed maney Bayoes, 3
Islands & 9 bends on the Stard. Side
S. 10° W.     6 ½ miles by water 2 ms. by Land to a Stard. bend    passed
four Small Islands and 2 large Island Several Bayoes and
a number of Short bends.    passed a run on the Star Side
    August 13th
South     4 miles by water 1 to a point of rugid rocks about 70 feet
high on the Stard. Sd. Passed the head of the Island opds
to which we Encamped at 2½ ms.    the mouth of a creek
bold running stream 7 yards wide back of an Island on
the Lard Side McNeal Creek
S. 30° W.     6 miles by water 3 m by land to he Clift of high rocks on the
Stard. Side    passed Several Islands and Bayoes on either
Side, the river verry Crooked & bends Short
    (August 14th)
S 14° W.   22 miles by water the river makeing a genl. Bend to the East
(8 miles by land) to a place the river Passes 〈enters〉 a
mountain high Clifts on either side, river crooked cold
rapid & Sholey, almost one continued rapid    passed a
number of bayoes & Small Islands.    passed a bold run-
ning Stream on the Stard Side 4 yards wide & 3 feet deep
at 7 miles, passed a bold running stream from a Spring on
the Lard Side at 15 miles. Encamped the 13th of August
at 6 miles on Ld Side    Encamped 14th of august at 20
miels on the Lar Side, a high Clift on the Course 3 miles
near the upper part of which the Creek passes

Thursday 15th August 1805.    clear & cold this morning.    we Set out after breakfast and entered the Mountains.    high clifts of rocks on each Side near the River. S[t]eep up from the River on L. Side 3 or 400 feet. Saw and took on board 4 deer Skins which Capt. Lewis had left at the entrence of the Mountains.    we passed Several bad rapids.    caught a nomber of Trout in the Eddys below the rapids.    proceeded on    passed Several fine Springs on L. Side.    the river more Shallow.    passed high clifts of rocks & rough knobs &C.    about 2 oClock we passed the mouth of a creek [8] on the Stard. Side 10 yds. wide & 3 feet 3 Inch deep, at the mouth.    2 hunters on a head a hunting.    we Saw where Capt. Lewis Camped the 10 ult. [9]    Some of the high knobs are covred with grass.    a fiew Scattering pine trees on them.    the River crooked Shallow and rapid. Some deep holes where we caught a nomber of Trout. Capt. Clark was near being bit by a rattle Snake which was between his legs as he was fishing, on the shore.    he Shot and killed 2 or 3 others this day.    our Intrepters wife found and gethered a fine persel of Servis berrys    we Came [blank] miles this day & Camped on L. Side at a narrow plain near a grove of cotton trees. Several old Indian Camps here &C.


Thursday 15th.    We had a fine morning and proceeded on about 8 o'clock. Having gone 2 miles, we came to the entrance of a mountain, where Captain Lewis and his party on the second day after their departure had taken dinner; and had left 4 deer skins. At the entrance of the mountain there are two high pillars [10] of rocks, resembling towers on each side of the river. The mountains are not very high and do not approach so near the river as some we have passed; they are about a quarter of a mile distant, and the river meanders along between them through the bushes and is not more than 20 yards wide, and about a foot and a half deep. The water is very cold, and severe and disagreeable to the men, who are frequently obliged to wade and drag the canoes. We went 15 miles and encamped on the South side.


Thursday 15th August 1805.    a cold clear morning.    we Set out as usal and proceeded on    entered the Mountains    verry high clifts of rocks near the River & Steep on each Side.    passed Several Springs on L. Side which run from under the Mountains.    passed Several bad rapids    caught a nomber of fine Trout below the rapids.    the bottoms narrow timber Scarse, the River more Shallow    passed clifts of rocks & high rough mountains on each Side.    passed the Mouth of a creek on the Stard. Side, the warter of a ridish coulour, considerabl rapid and deep.    abt. 7 paces wide.    2 hunters on a head.    we passed where Capt. Lewis had left 3 or 4 Deer Skins the 10 ult. & proceeded on.    the River Shallow    were obledged to hale the large canoes the most part of the time    passed Several cree[k]s    clifts of rocks Steep up from the River about 2 or 3 100 feet in many places.    Some of the knobs are covred with grass & a fine Scattering pitch pines on them.    the River crooked & difficult    Some places Shole & Some deep holes in which we caught a nomber of Trout.    Capt. Clark was near being bit by a rattle Snake which was between his legs as he was Standing on Shore a fishing.    he killed & Shot Several others this afternoon.    Came [blank] miles and Camped on L Side at a narrow plain on which was Some old Indian Camps.

Thursday August 15th    A Cold clear morning, We set out as usual, & proceeded on our Voyage, and entered the Mountains, where we found very high Clifts of Rocks lying near the River, and the shores steep on both sides of the River,—    We passed several springs which lay on the South side of the River, and came from under the Mountains, and several rapid places, in the River.    below these rapids some of our party catch'd a quantity of fine Trout.    We passed some narrow bottoms, but found Timber very scarce.—    The River this day has been very shallow, We continued on, and passed Clifts of high Rocks, & rough mountains lying on each side of the river; and the mouth of a Creek, lying on the North side of the River; the water of which was of a reddish colour, 〈and〉 runs rapid, & is deep; and about 7 paces wide.    We passed where Captain Lewis had left 4 Deer Skins.—    Two of our hunters were sent out ahead of us.—    We found a note, with the deer Skins which Captain Lewis had left, which informed us that he had been at that place the 10th instant.—    We proceeded on, & found the River still growing shallower, which obliged our party to hawl the Canoes the greater part of the way, We also passed several Slifts of rocks which went steep up from the River, from 200 to 300 feet perpendicular in many places; some of the knobs, are covered with Grass, & Pitch pine trees.    The River got very crooked & difficult to pass, having a number of Shoals & deep holes in it.    In those deep holes our party caught a number of fine Trout.—    Captain Clarke was near being bit by a Rattle snake this day; it got between his legs, whilst he was standing fishing, he killed it, & a number of the same kind this day, We came 15 Miles this day, & encamped on the So Side of the River in a narrow plain on which was some old Indian Camps.—

2. On the south side of Horse Prairie Creek, a few miles west of present Grant, Beaverhead County, Montana. Atlas map 67. (back)
3. The rocks between the lower end of the Rattlesnake Cliffs and Grasshopper Creek are principally extrusive volcanic rocks (basalts, rhyolites, and ash-fall tuffs) of early Tertiary age. The "limestone" is probably the light colored ash-fall tuff. Between Grasshopper Creek and Gallagher Creek, sedimentary rocks (sandstone, shale, siltstone, and some limestone) ranging in age from Pennsylvanian to Cretaceous are present along with outcrops of Tertiary volcanic rocks. (back)
5. Perhaps Long Gulch Creek. Atlas map 66. (back)
6. Just below the mouth of the "small branch," apparently later Gallagher's Creek, Beaverhead County. Shown as "bold run" on Atlas map 66. (back)
7. At this point in Codex G (pp. 60–62) Clark has placed courses for August 7–14. Those for August 15–17 are found at his entry of August 17, 1805. The distances for August 13 vary from those given by Lewis. (back)
9. Ordway means "10th instant" for August 10, not "10th ultimo," which would be July 10. (back)
10. Rattlesnake Cliffs, so named by the captains, about ten miles southwest of Dillon, Beaverhead County, Montana, near Barretts Siding on Interstate Highway 15. (back)