May 14, 1806
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May 14, 1806


The morning was fair, we arrose early and dispatched a few of our hunters to the opposite side of the river, and employed a part of the men in transporting our baggage to the opposite shore wile others were directed to collect the horses; at 10 A. M. we had taken our baggage over and collected our horses, we then took breakfast, after which we drove our horses into the river which they swam without accedent and all arrived safe on the opposite shore.    the river is 150 yds. wide at this place and extreemly rapid.    tho' it may be safely navigated at this season, as the water covers all the rocks which lie in it's bed to a considerable debth.    we followed our horses and again collected them, after which we removed our baggage to a position which we had previously selected for our permanent camp about half a mile below. [1]    this was a very eligible spot for defence it had been an ancient habitation of the indians; was sunk about 4 feet in the ground and raised arround it's outer edge about three ½ feet with a good wall of eath.    the whole was a circle of about 30 feet in diameter.    arround this we formed our tents of sticks and grass facing outwards and deposited our baggage within the sunken space under a shelter which we constructed for the purpose.    our situation was within 40 paces of the river in an extentsive level bottom thinly timbered with the longleafed pine.    here we are in the vicinity of the best hunting grounds from indian information, are convenient to the salmon which we expect daily and have an excellent pasture for our horses.    the hills to the E and North of us are high broken and but partially timbered; the soil is rich and affords fine grass.    in short as we are compelled to reside a while in this neighbourhood I feel perfectly satisfyed with our position.— immediately after we had passed the river Tunnachemootoolt and Hosâstillpilp arrived on the south side with a party of a douzen of their young men; they began to sing in token of friendship as is their custom, and we sent the canoe over for them.    they left their horses and came over accompanyed by several of their party among whom were the 2 young men who had presented us with two horses in behalf of the nation; one of these was the son of Tunnachemootoolt and the other the son of the Cheif who was killed by the Minnetares of Fort de Prarie last year and the same who had given us the mare and Colt.    we received them at our camp and smoked with them; after some hours Hohâstillpilp with much cerimony presented me with a very eligant grey gelding which he had brought for that purpose. I gave him in return a handkercheif 200 balls and 4 lbs. of powder.    with which he appeared perfectly satisfyed. Collins killed two bear this morning and was sent with two others in quest of the meat; with which they returned in the evening; the mail bear was large and fat the female was of moderate size and reather meagre.    we had the fat bear fleaced in order to reserve the oil for the mountains. both these bear were of the speceis common to the upper part of the missouri.    they may be called white black grzly brown or red bear for they are found of all those colours.    perhaps it would not be [erased word; illegible] unappropriate to designate them the variagated bear. [2]    we gave the indians who were about 15 in number half the female bear, with the sholder head and neck of the other.    this was a great treat to those poor wretches who scarcely taist meat once a month.    they immediately prepared a brisk fire of dry wood on which they threw a parsel of smooth stones from the river, when the fire had birnt down and heated the stones they placed them level and laid on a parsel of pine boughs, on these they laid the flesh of the bear in flitches, placing boughs between each course of meat and then covering it thickly with pine boughs; after this they poared on a small quantity of water and covered the whoe over with 〈about〉 earth to the debth of four inches.    in this situation they suffered it to remain about 3 hours when they took it out. I taisted of this meat and found it much more tender than that which we had roasted or boiled, but the strong flavor of the pine distroyed it for my pallate. Labuish returned late in the evening and informed us that he had killed a female bear and two large cubbs, he brought with him several large dark brown pheasants which he had also killed. Shannon also returned with a few pheasants and two squirrells.    we have found our stone horses so troublesome that we indeavoured to exchange them with the Chopunnish for mears or gelings but they will not exchange altho' we offer 2 for one; we came to a resolution to castrate them and began the operation this evening    one of the indians present offered his services on this occasion.    he cut them without tying the string of the stone as is usual, and assures us that they will do much better in that way; [3] he takes care to scrape the string very clean and to seperate it from all the adhereing veigns before he cuts it.    we shall have an opportunity of judging whether this is a method preferable to that commonly practiced as Drewyer had gelded two in the usual way. The indians after their feast took a pipe or two with us and retired to rest much pleased with their repast.    these bear are tremendious animals to them; they esteem the act of killing a bear equally great with that of an enimy in the field of action.—    I gave the claws of those which Collins killed to Hohâstillpulp.—


a fine day.    we had all our horses Collected by 10 a. m. dureing the time we had all our baggage Crossed over the Flat head [4] River which is rapid and about 150 yards wide.    after the baggage was over to the North Side we Crossed our horss without much trouble and hobbled them in the bottom after which we moved a Short distance below to a convenient Situation and formed a Camp around a very conveniant Spot for defence where the Indiands had formerly a house under ground and hollow circler Spot of about 30 feet diamieter 4 feet below the Serfce and a Bank of 2 feet above this Situation    we Concluded would be Seffiently convenient to hunt the wood lands for bear & Deer and for the Salmon fish which we were told would be here in a fiew days and also a good Situation for our horses.    the hills to the E. & N. of us are high broken & but partially timbered; the soil rich and affords fine grass.    in Short as we are Compelled to reside a while in this neighbourhood I feel perfectly Satisfied with our position.    imediately after we had Crossed the river the Chief Called the broken Arm or Tin nach-e-moo tolt another principal Chief Hoh-hâst'-ill-pitp arived on the opposite Side and began to Sing. we Sent the Canoe over and those Cheifs, the Son of the broken arm and the Sone of a Great Chief who was killed last year by the Big bellies of Sas kas she win river.    those two young men were the two whome gave Capt Lewis and my self each a horse with great serimony in behalf of the nation a fiew days ago, and the latter a most elligant mare & colt the morning after we arived at the Village. Hohast ill pilt with much Serimoney presented Capt. Lewis with an elegant Gray horse which he had brought for that purpose. Capt Lewis gave him in return a Handkerchief two hundred balls and four pouds of powder with which he appeared perfictly Satisfyed, and appeared much pleased.

Soon after I had Crossed the river and during the time Cap Lewis was on the opposit Side John Collins whome we had Sent out verry early this morning with Labiech and Shannon on the North Side of the river to hunt, Came in and informed me, that he had killed two Bear at about 5 miles distant on the up lands.    one of which was in good order. I imediately dispatched Jo. Fields & P. Wiser with him for the flesh.    we made Several attempts to exchange our Stalions for Geldings or mars without success    we even offered two for one.    those horses are troublesom and Cut each other very much and as we Can't exchange them we think it best to Castrate them and began the opperation this evening    one of the indians present offered his Services on this occasion.    he Cut them without tying the String of the Stone as is usial.    he Craped it very Clean & Seperate it before he Cut it.    about Meredian Shannon Came in with two Grows & 2 Squireles Common to this Country. [5] his mockersons worn out obliged to come in early.

Collins returned in the evening with the two bears which he had killed in the morning    one of them an old hee was in fine order, the other a female with Cubs was Meagure.    we gave the Indians about us 15 in number two Sholders and a ham of the bear to eate which they cooked in the following manner.    to wit on a brisk fire of dryed wood they threw a parcel of Small Stones from the river, when the fire had burnt down and heated the Stone, they placed them level and laid on a parsel of pine boughs, on those they laid the flesh of the bear in flitches, placeing boughs between each course of meat and then Covering it thickly with pine boughs; after this they poared on a Small quantity of water, and covered the whole over with earth to the debth of 4 inches.    in this Situation they Suffered it to remain about 3 hours when they took it out fit for use.    at 6 oClock P M Labiech returned and informed us that he had killed a female Bear and two Cubs, at a long distance from Camp towards the mountains.    he brought in two 〈Grows〉 large dark brown pheasents which he had also killed Shannon also returned also with a few black Pheasents and two squirels which he had killed in the wood land towards Collins Creek. This nation esteem the Killing of one of those tremendeous animals (the Bear) equally great with that of an enemy in the field of action—.    we gave the Claws of those bear which Collins had killed to Hohâstillpelp.


Wednesday 14th of May 1806.    a clear frosty morning.    three men [6] went across the river a hunting.    we took our baggage and Swam our horses across the river to the N. Side and mooved a Short distance down the river and Encamped in a Smooth bottom partly covred with young pitch pine in order to stay untill we can cross the mountains.    a number of the natives came across the river to our Camp. Some of the principal men gave our officers two fine horses.    our hunters returned    had killed Collins two bear of the white kind, Labuche three white bear, and Several prarie hens Shannon Several prarie hens and Squerrells.    we gave the natives Some of our bear meat as they gave us So much & are So kind to us.    they cooked it in the Same manner as they Swet their commass roots.    we eat Several of our Stud horses as they have been troublesome to us.—


Wednesday 14th.    The morning was pleasant with some white frost. Three hunters went over very early to the north side of the river. All the rest of the men were employed in collecting our horses and taking over the baggage. About noon we got all the horses and baggage over safe; and met with one of our hunters, [7] who had killed two bears, some distance off. So two men [8] were dispatched with him to bring in the meat; and we set about forming a camp at the remains of an ancient village on the north side of the Koos- koos-ke river. We were accompanied by a number of the natives, one of whom gave us a horse; and three more of our old stock were brought in by them. In the afternoon we had an operation performed on seven of our horses, to render them more peaceable; which was done by one of the natives upon all but one. [9] In the evening the men came in with the meat of the two bears; and also our other hunters who had killed three more, all of the grizly kind. We gave some of the meat to the natives at our camp, who cooked it in their own way; which was done in the following manner. They first collected some stones and heated them, upon which they placed a part of the meat, and upon the meat some small brush, and so alternately meat and brush, until all the meat was on; when the whole was covered with brush and lastly with earth; so that the heap or mass had something of the appearance of a small coalpit on fire. An hour and an half was necessary to cook it in this way. The natives remained at our camp all night.

1. The party remained at this camp for nearly a month (May 14-June 10, 1806), longer than at any one place during the actual expedition except Fort Mandan and Fort Clatsop. They did not give the camp a name, but Elliott Coues in 1893 suggested the name Camp Chopunnish, now generally accepted in the literature. The site is in Idaho County, Idaho, near the eastern boundary of the present Nez Perce Reservation on the east bank of the Clearwater River, about one and one-half miles northwest of the U.S. Highway 12 bridge over the Clearwater at Kamiah, and about two miles below the mouth of Lawyer Creek. The circle Lewis describes was still visible in 1902, when it was photographed by Olin D. Wheeler; it was subsequently destroyed by the erection of a sawmill on the site. Appleman (LC), 272–73; Wheeler, 2:270; Space, 28; Coues (HLC), 3:1010 n. 2. (back)
2. Studying the varied colors of different specimens of the grizzly bear, Lewis correctly concluded they were the same species—Ursus horribilis. See also May 25 and 31, 1806. Cutright (LCPN), 297. (back)
3. The Nez Perces were one of the very few North American Indian tribes to practice selective breeding of horses by castrating stallions. How they learned or developed this practice is uncertain, since in 1806 they had probably had horses no more than a century. Josephy (NP), 29. See also September 20, 1805. (back)
4. Again the word appears to have been added to a blank space. (back)
5. Richardson's red squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus richardsoni, common to the northern Rockies; see February 25, 1806. (back)
6. Collins, Labiche, and Shannon, according to the captains, and as Ordway notes later in this entry. (back)
8. Clark says they were Joseph Field and Weiser. (back)
9. See Lewis's account of this date of the Nez Perce method of castrating their horses. (back)