February 19, 1806
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February 19, 1806


Segt. Ordway set out again this morning with a party for the salt works by land.    in the evening Sergt. Gass returned with the flesh of eight Elk, and seven skins; having left one skin with Shannon and Labuishe who remained over the netul to continue the chase.    we had the Elk skins divided among the messes in order that they might be prepared for covering our baggage when we set out in the spring.    our sick are recovering but they appear to strengthen but slowly. The common red deer [1] we found under the rocky mts. in the neighbourhood of the Chopunnish, and about the great falls of the Columbia river and as low down the same as the commencement of tide water.    these do not appear to differ essencially from those of our country being about the same size shape and appearance in every rispect except their great length of tail which is more than half as long again as our deer    I measured one of them which was 17 inches long. The Black tailed fallow deer [2] are peculiar to this coast and are a distinct species of deer partaking equally of peculiarities of the mule deer and the common deer.    their ears are reather larger and their winter coat darker than the common deer; the recepticle of the eye or drane is mor conspicuous; their legs shorter and body thicker and larger than the common deer; their tail is about the length of our deer or from 8 to 10 inches the hair on the underside of which is white, and that of it's sides and top quite black    the horns resemble in form and colour those of the mule deer which it also resembles in it's gate; that is bounding with all four feet off the ground at the same time when runing at full speed and not loping as the common deer or antelope do.    they are sometimes found in the woodlands but most frequently in the praries and open grounds.    they may be said generally to be a size larger than the common deer and that less than the mule deer. they are very seldom found in good order, or fat, even in the season which the common deer are so, and their flesh is inferior to any species of deer which I have evern seen.—


Sergt. Ordway Set out again with a party to the Salt works by land.    in the evening Sergt. Gass returned with the flesh of Eight Elk, and Seven Skins haveing left one Skin with Shannon and Labiche who remained over the Netul to Continue the chase.    we devided the Skins between the messes in order that they might be prepared for Covering the baggage when se Set out in the Spring.    our Sick appear to Strengthen but Slowly I gave Bratten 6 of Scotts pills [3] which did not work him.    he is very weak and Complains of his back.

The black Fox [4] or as they are more frequently Called by the N West Trader Fisher is found in the woody country on this Coast.    how this Animal obtained the name of fisher I know not, but certain it is, that the name is not appropriate, as it does not prey on or Seek it as a prey—.    they are extreemly active Strong and made for climbing which they do with great agility, and bound from tree to tree in pursute of the squirel or Rackoon, their natural and most usual food.    their Colour is a jut Black except a Small Spot of white on the breast.    the body is long, legs Short and formed Something like the turnspit Dog, [5] with a remarkable long tail.    it does not differ here from those of the United States.

The Silver Fox [6]    this animale is very rare even in the Countrey where it exists, I have never Seen more than the Skins of this Animal and those were in the possession of the nativs of the woody Country below the Great falls of the Columbia, from which I think it is most probably they are the inhabitants of the woody country exclusively.    from the Skins, it appeard to be about the Size of the large red Fox of the plains and much of its form with a large tail.    the legs I think somewhat longer    it has a fine long deep for poil.    the poil is of a dark lead colour and the long hairs intermixed with it, are either white or black at the lower part, and white at top, the whole mixture forming a butifull Silver Grey. I think this the handsomest of all the Fox Species, except a Species [7] of which I Saw one running, and Capt Lewis had a good view of another of the Same Species on the Missour near the natural walls. [8] The large red fox of the plains, and the Kit fox [9] are the Same which we met with on the Missouri and are the inhabitants almost exclusively of the open plains, or of the copse of bushes within the plain country.    the Common red or grey fox of the United States is also found in the woody country on this coast, nor does it appear to be altered in respect to it's fur colour or any other particular.    we have Seen none of the large red fox. [10]


Wednesday 19th Feby. 1806.    a hard Storm of wind and rain    myself and Six [11] more of the party Set out eairly to go by land to the Salt works to bring in the Salt & baggage    we proced. on to the praries    crossed the prarie where the land is in ridges like the waves    the frozen rain beat in our faces verry hard.    we got on the coast crossd. a river where we waided to our middles and was glad to git in an old Indian house where we made a fire and Stayed all night. Sand flew & waves rold.


Wednesday 19th— We were employed in bringing in meat, and the sergeant and seven men [12] again set out for the salt works by land, to bring the salt and kettles to the fort. The day was very wet and stormy.


Wednesday Febry. 19th    We had a hard Storm of Rain & high Wind, blowing from the So. West; this morning I left the fort with 6 of our party [13] in order to go to the Salt works, 〈in order〉 to bring the Kettles, Salt & Mens baggage to the Fort.    We proceeded on about half way, when the Storm was so high in the Priari, & on the Sea Coast, that we could not proceed without suffering by the Sand blowing in our faces—    and the Rain that fell froze & cut our faces likewise    We Crossed a Creek, which took us middle deep, which benumbed & Chilled the party very much.    We came to an Old deserted Indian hut, in which we made a fire.    we staid at this place all night in expectation of the weather being better by morning.—

1. The Columbian white-tailed deer, perhaps a new subspecies. Burroughs, 126–27; Cutright (LCPN), 441; Hall, 2:1093. Vertical lines run through much of this passage about the deer, perhaps drawn by Biddle. (back)
2. Columbian black-tailed deer. (back)
3. The first mention of Scott's pills, which are not to be found in the list of drugs brought from Philadelphia. Possibly they were provided by Dr. Hugh Scott who was residing in Pittsburgh when Lewis passed through in 1803. References make it clear they were a physic. Chuinard (OOMD), 349–51; Chuinard (MMFC). (back)
4. The fisher is actually a weasel. Some witnesses say that it does eat fish. Burroughs, 73. (back)
5. A type of small dog of the time, trained to walk on a treadmill to furnish power to a turn-spit. (back)
6. Not a separate species but a color phase of the red fox. (back)
7. The cross fox, another color phase of the red fox. See above, May 31, 1805. (back)
9. Otherwise the swift fox. (back)
10. Presumably all the red foxes mentioned are Vulpes vulpes. (back)
11. Including Whitehouse, as mentioned in his own journal. (back)
12. Ordway again, but with six men (including Whitehouse), according to Ordway and Whitehouse. (back)