November 8, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

November 8, 1805


a cloudy morning Some rain and wind    we Changed our Clothes and Set out at 9 oClock    proceeded on Close under the Stard. Side

S. 63° W. 2 miles to a point on the Stard. Side passing under high Moun-
tainious Country    Som low Islands opposit at about 3 miles
3 Inds. in a Canoe over took us
S. 60° W. 6 miles to Cape 〈disappointment〉 [1] Swells on the Stard Side, a
Deep bend to the Stard Side    high country on both Sides,
passed an old village 2 Hs. at 1 〈¼〉 mile on an 〈Std.〉 4 houses
at 3 miles and halted to dine at an old village of Several in a
deep bay on the Stard. Side of 5 miles Deep Several arms still
further into the land    Saw great [numbers] of Swan Geese
and Ducks in this Shallow bay, Cloudy and disagreeable all the
Day. Great maney flees at this old village,

R. Fields Killed a goose & 2 Canvis back Ducks [2] in this bay    after Dinner we took the advantage of the returning tide & proceeded on to the 2d point, [3] at which place we found the Swells too high to proceed    we landed and drew our canoes up So as to let the tide leave them. The three Indians after Selling us 4 fish for which we gave Seven Small fishing hooks, and a piece of red Cloth. Some fine rain at intervales all this day.    the Swells Continued high all the evening & we are Compelled to form an Encampment on a Point Scercely room Sufficent for us all to lie Clear of the tide water.    hills high & with a Steep assent, river wide & at this place too Salt to be used for Drink.    we are all wet and disagreeable, as we have been Continually for Severl. days past, we are at a loss 〈to〉 & cannot find out if any Settlement is near the mouth of this river.

The Swells were So high and the Canoes roled in Such a manner as to cause Several to be verry Sick. Reuben fields, Wiser McNeal & the Squar wer of the number


A Cloudy morning Some rain, we did not Set out untill 9 oClock, haveing Changed our Clothing—    proceeded on Close under the Stard. Side, the hills high with Steep assent, Shore boald and rockey Several low Islands in a Deep bend or Bay to the Lard Side, [4] river about 5 or 7 miles wide.    three Indians in a Canoe overtook us, with Salmon to Sell, passed 2 old villages on the Stard. Side and at 3 miles entered a nitch of about 6 miles wide and 5 miles deep with Several Creeks makeing into the Stard Hills, this nitch we found verry Shallow water and Call it the Shallow 〈nitch〉 [NB: Bay] [5]    we came too at the remains of an old village at the bottom of this nitch and dined, here we Saw great numbers of fowl, Sent out 2 men and they killed a Goose and two Canves back Ducks    here we found great numbers of flees which we treated with the greatest caution and distance; after Diner the Indians left us and we took the advantage of a returning tide and proceeded on to the Second point on the Std.    here we found the Swells or waves So high that we thought it imprudent to proceed; we landed unloaded and drew up our Canoes. Some rain all day at intervales; we are all wet and disagreeable, as we have been for Several days past, and our present Situation a verry disagreeable one in as much; as we have not leavel land Sufficient for an encampment and for our baggage to lie Cleare of the tide, the High hills jutting in So Close and Steep that we cannot retreat back, and the water of the river too Salt to be used, added to this the waves are increasing to Such a hight that we cannot move from this place, in this Situation we are compelled to form our Camp between the hite of the Ebb and flood tides, and rase our baggage on logs—    We are not certain as yet if the whites people who trade with those people or from whome they precure ther goods are Stationary at the mouth, or visit this quarter at Stated times for the purpose of trafick &c. [6]    I believe the latter to be the most probable conjucture—    The Seas roled and tossed the Canoes in Such a manner this evening that Several of our party were Sea Sick.


Friday 8th Nov. 1805.    a Cloudy morning.    we Set out as usal.    the waves high    tossed us abt.    passed round a point in to a bay which we Call Shallow bay [7] where the River is 5 or 6 miles wide    we can See along distance a head    we expect we can See the mo. of the Columbian River.    we but it appears a long distance off.    we halted in the Shallow bay at some old Indian Camps to dine.    the Swan and geese are verry pleanty in this bay. Some of the party killed Several ducks &C.    we then proceeded on    an Indian Canoe and Several Indians in met us    we bought Several fresh fish from them.    the waves roled So high that we were obledged to land on the Same Shore Stard. Side and took great pains to keep the canoes from filling with water.    the River water is gitting so brackish that we cannot drink of it at full tide.    the evening rainy.—


Friday 8th.    We embarked early. The morning was cloudy, and there was a hard wind from the east. We went about 5 miles and came to a bay 12 or 14 miles wide. We had to coast round it, as the wind raised the waves so high we could go no other way. We halted and dined at a point on the north side of the bay, where a small river comes in. [8] We again proceeded on coasting, till we came to a point of land where the bay becomes much narrower; and the water quite salt. The waves here ran so high we were obliged to lie to, and let the tide leave our canoes on dry ground. This point we called Cape Swell; [9] and the bay above, Shallow Bay, as there is no great depth of water. In crossing the bay when the tide was out, some of our men got sea sick, the swells were so great. In it there are a great many swans, geese, ducks and other water fowls. The whole of this day was wet and disagreeable; and the distance we made in a straight line, was not more than 9 miles; though the distance we coasted was above 20 miles.


Friday Novemr. 8th    This morning we had cool cloudy weather.    We set out on our Voyage early.    Shortly after the wind rose & blew from the So East very hard, & the River got so rough, that we were tossed very much in our Canoes.    We continued on our Voyage, & went round a point of the River, & entered into a Bay, or wide place about 7 Miles wide, which continued as far as our Eyes could descern; & we expect that the River continues its width to the Mouth of it.    We halted about noon, at some old Indian Cabbins lying on the South side of the River in order to dine.    We saw vast quantities of Geese & Swans in the bend of this River, or bay.    Our Hunters killed some Ducks, which they brought to us.    We continued on our Voyage, & found the Waves running so high, that we were obliged to land about 3 o'Clock P. M, which we did on the South shore, & took up our encampment for the Night.    Our party had to watch our Canoes constantly, in order to prevent them filling, the waves still continuing to run very high.    We found the River water at this place brackish.    We came 24 Miles this day.—

1. In 1775 Captain Bruno de Heceta, a Spanish explorer, sighted the Columbia estuary; although he did not enter it he correctly concluded that he had found the mouth of a great river, which he called the San Roque. Captain James Cook in 1778 and La Pérouse in 1785 (see below, November 15, 1805) missed the river. In 1788 Captain John Meares, a British sea captain and fur trader, found the location but concluded that the river did not exist; he therefore called the northern headland "Cape Disappointment." Not until May 19, 1792, did Captain Robert Gray, in the American trading ship Columbia Rediviva, enter the estuary and confirm the existence of the river, which he named for his ship. Cape Disappointment he renamed Cape Hancock, but Meares's name has persisted. As indicated by the crossing out of the name, Lewis and Clark had not actually reached Cape Disappointment, but were near Grays Point, which they called "Cape Swells." (back)
2. The canvasback, Aythya valisineria [AOU, 147], was already known to hunters in the East but was not recognized as a species until described by Alexander Wilson in 1814. See Lewis's description below, March 9, 1806. Burroughs, 188. (back)
3. They camped here this day and the next, on the west side of Grays Bay ("Shallow Bay" on Atlas maps 82, 89) probably near the Wahkiakum-Pacific county line, Washington, or farther west near Frankfort, Pacific County, and Grays Point. (back)
4. Cathlamet Bay, in Clatsop County, Oregon, east of Tongue Point ("Point William" on Atlas map 82). (back)
5. Grays Bay, in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties; shown as "Shallow Bay" on Atlas map 82. Named after Robert Gray, first known Euro-American to enter the Columbia estuary in 1792 (see n. 1, above). A concentration of Wahkiakum villages occurred along the shores of Grays Bay, with other settlements extending up Grays River and Deep River into the interior. Work at an archaeological site on Grays River recovered evidence of occupation dated between 2,000 and 2,700 year ago. Minor (ASCR). It was apparently Biddle who crossed out "nitch" and replaced it with his own word, all in red ink. (back)
6. Trading vessels visited the area fairly often after Gray's entry in 1792, but no permanent trading station seems to have been established until the Astorians arrived in 1811. Irving (Astor). (back)
7. Grays Bay, in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties, Washington. The party's name for it was Shallows Bay. (back)
9. They camped here until November 10, either near the Pacific-Wahkiakum county line, or farther west near Frankfort, Pacific County, and Grays Point. (back)