July 18, 1806
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July 18, 1806


We set out this morning a little before sunrise    ascended the river hills and continued our rout as yesterday through the open plains    at about 6 miles we reached the top of an elivated plain which divides the waters of the rose river from those of Maria's river.    from hence the North mountains, the South mountains, the falls mountains and the Tower Mountain [1] and those arround and to the East of the latter were visible.    our course led us nearly parrallel with a creek of Maria's river which takes it's rise in these high plains at the place we passed them; at noon we struck this creek about 6 ms. from its junction with Maria's river [2] where we found some cottonwood timber; here we halted to dine and graize our horses.    the bed of this creek is about 25 yds. wide at this place but is nearly dry at present, the water being confined to little pools in the deeper parts of it's bed.    from hence downwards there is a considerable quantity of timber in it's bottom.    we passed immence herds of buffaloe on our way in short for about 12 miles it appeared as one herd only the whole plains and vally of this creek being covered with them; saw a number of wolves of both speceis, [3] also Antelopes and some horses.    after dinner we proceeded about 5 miles across the plain to Maria's river where we arrived at 6 P. M.    we killed a couple of buffaloe in the bottom of this river and encamped on it's west side in a grove of cottonwood some miles above the entrance of the creek. [4]    being now convinced that we were above the point to which I had formerly ascended this river and faring that a fork of this stream might fall in on the Northside between this place and the point to which I had ascended it, I directed Drewyer who was with me on my former excurtion, and Joseph Fields to decend the river early in the morning to the place from whence I had returned, and examine whether any stream fell inn or not. I keep a strict lookout every night, I take my tour of watch with the men.

Courses and distances of July 18th 1806.
N. 25 W.   7 ms. to the source of Buffloe Creek passing the dividing ridge
between the waters of Maria's and rose [EC?: Tansy or Teton]
at 6 ms. praries more hilly than yesterday.    many prickly
pears now in blume.
N. 15 W 12 ms. down buffaloe Creek to the place at which we dined.
here timber commences on this stream.    25 yds. wide no run-
ning water.
North   5 ms. to Maria's River 130 yds. wide 3 feet deep    encamped on
South side.—
Ms. 24  
East 3 miles to a Stard. Bend passing under a high pine hill on Lard
Side    Several Islands—    4½
N. 62° E 4 ½ miles to the enterance of a Small Creek on a bend to Lard
Side opposit to 3 Islands [5]    passed Several Small Islands
high lands on Std. a narrow bottom on the Lard side. Saw a
great Smoke in the R mts. S 20° W. [6]    the rock mts. Termo-
nate S 30° W.    a mtn. not So high at a long distance is S. 80°
E.—    7 〈6〉 m
S. 78° E 2 ½ Miles to a bend to the Stard. Side passing Several Islands.
river pass under a high ruged hill on the Lard side    bad
road—    4 ms.
East 3 ½ miles to a Stard Bend passing a High point at 2 miles on the
Lard Side    a narrow bottom on the Stard Side    High hills on
each Side partially Covered with pine. Country ruged and
Stoney.    halted in a bottom to dine.    6 ms.
N. 20° E 2 Mile to a Lard. Bend    river passing under the high land on
the Stard Side    at 1 mile the botton on Lard Side ¼ of a mile
wide.    3½ ms.
N. 72° E 3 ½ miles to a bend [7] [tear] 〈passd.〉 enterance    a large dr[tear]
[illegible, crossed out] [tear] 〈S 45°〉 to an Indian fort on [tear]
an Island divided [tear] by a narrow Chann [tear] under the
Stard. Hills
S. 45° E 6 miles to a high pine hill 〈at〉 [tear]    Side at the foot of which
the riv[er] [pass]es haveing made Several shot bends in which
there is several Islands Bottoms ½ m. wide on the Lard
Side    a good propotion of Cotton & Willow on the boarders of
the river—    10 m
S. 82° E 1 miles to the head of a Small Isld. Close to the Lard Shore and
incamped    river makeing a bend to the right and passing
under high lands on the Stard. Side. Killed a Buffalow— 2 〈½〉

Yellowstone River, Sweetgrass-Stillwater Counties, Montana,
July 17—18, 1806, Voorhis First Draft
Missouri Historical Society


as we were about Setting out this morning two Buffalow Bulls came near our Camp    Several of the men Shot at one of them.    their being near the river plunged in and Swam across to the opposit Side and there died. Shabono was thrown from his horse to day in pursute of a Buffaloe, the hose unfortunately Steping into a Braroe [8] hole fell and threw him over his head.    he is a good deel brused on his hip Sholder & face.    after brackfast I proceeded on as usial, passd. over points of ridges So as to cut off bends of the [NB: river]    crossed a Small Muddy brook [9] on which I found great quantities of the Purple, yellow & black currents [10] ripe.    they were of an excellent flavour. I think the purple Superior to any I have ever tasted. The river here is about 200 yards wide    rapid as usial and the water gliding over corse gravel and round Stones of various sizes of an excellent grite for whetestones.    the bottoms of the river are narrow.    the hills are not exceeding 200 feet in hight    the sides of them are generally rocky and composed of rocks of the same texture of a dark Colour of Grit well Calculated for grindstones &c. The high bottoms is composed of gravel and Stone like those in the Chanel of the river, with a mixture of earth of a dark brown colour [11]    The Country back from the river on each Side is generally open wavering plains. Some pine is to be Seen in every direction in those plains on the Sides of hills &c.    at 11 A. M. I observed a Smoke rise to the S. S. E in the plains towards the termonation of the rocky mountains in that direction (which is Covered with Snow) this Smoke must be raisd. by the Crow Indians in that direction as a Signal for us, or other bands. I think it most probable that they have discovered our trail and takeing us to be Shoshone &c. in Serch of them the Crow Indians [WC: now at peace with them] to trade as is their Custom, have made this Smoke to Shew where they are—or otherwise takeing up to be their Enemy made this Signal for other bands to be on their guard. I halted in a bottom of fine grass to let the horses graze. Shields killed a fat Buck on which we all Dined.    after dinner and a delay of 3 hours to allow the horses time to feed, we Set out at 4 P. M. I set out and proceeded down the river through a butifull bottom, passing a Indian fort on the head of a Small island near the Lard Shore and Encamped on a Small Island Seperated from the Lard Shore by a very narrow Chanel. [12] Shields killed a Buffalow this evening which Caused me to halt sooner than Common to Save Some of the flesh which was So rank and Strong that we took but very little. Gibson in attempting to mount his horse after Shooting a deer this evening fell and on a Snag and sent it nearly [NB: two] inches into the Muskeler part of his thy.    he informs me this Snag was about 1 inch in diamuter burnt at the end.    this is a very bad wound and pains him exceedingly. I dressed the wound.

Islands on the Yellowstone River, Stillwater County, Montana,
July 18, 1806, Voorhis First Draft
Missouri Historical Society

Course Distance & remarks July 18th 1806
        Ms. by
East 3 Miles to a Stard. Bend passing at the foot of a high } 4 ½
    pine hill rocky and Steep on the Lard. Side.
    passed several Islds.
N. 62° E 4 ½ Miles on the course to the enterance of a Small } 7
    Creek in a Lard. Bend opposit to three Islands
    passing Several Small Islands, high lands on the
    Stard. Side    bottoms narrow on the Lard Side
    (Saw a smoke S. 30° W.[)]    discover the Big horn
    mountain which is low at S. 80° E.
S. 78° E. 2 ½ Miles on the Course to a bend on the Stard Side } 4
    passed Several Islands.    river washing the base of
    a high ruged Stoney hill on the Lard Side
East 3 ½ Miles on the course to a Stard. Bend passing a } 6
    high point at 2 Miles on the Lard. Side    a narrow
    bottom on the Stard. Side.    the hills are high on
    each Side partially covered with pine. Country
    ruged and Stoney emence qtty of Prickley pears [13]
N. 20° E. 2 Miles on the Course to a Lard Bend.    river wash- } 3 ½
    ing the base of the high land on the Starboard
    Side at one mile.    the bottoms on the Larboard
    wide a quarter of a mile wide—
N. 72° E. 3 ½ Miles on the Course to a Lard Bend    passd. the } 5
    enterance of a large dry Creek & 3 islands an old
    indian fort on an Island close to the Lard
    Shore.    river washing the foot of the Stard. Hills
S. 45° E. 6 Miles on the course to a high hill on the Stard. } 11
    Side at the foot of which the river passes, haveing
    made Several Short bends in which there is Several
    islands.    the bottoms ½ a mile wide on the Stard
    Side.    a good proportion of Cotton wood and
    willow on the borders of the river on each Side.
S. 82° E. 1 Mile to the head of a Small island close to the Lard } 2
    Shore.    river makeing a bend to the Stard. under
    the high lands which is ruged and Stoney en-
    camped on the Island    Gibson Snaged his thye
Ms. 26 by land                                           by water Ms. 43

Friday 18th July 1806.    a clear cool windy morning.    we set off as usal and proceeded on down the gentle current    Saw large gangues of buffaloe out in the plains    about noon Collins killed three deer. Saw great numbers of beaver and otter &C.    towards evening we passed the mouth of Smiths River [14]    a Short distance below Some of the hunters went out after some gangues of buffaloe and we Camped    it being late the hunters did not kill any this evening but Saw great numbers in the plains.    the Musquetoes and Small flyes are verry troublesome.    my face and eyes are Swelled by the poison of those insects which bite verry Severe indeed.


Friday 18th.    There was another plesant day, and I went down with three of the men to the lower end of the portage [15] to examine the periogue and deposit there, and found all safe. We took some tobacco out of the deposit, covered up all again, until the party should arrive with the canoes, and returned to camp.

1. These are all names which the captains had bestowed in 1805. The North Mountains are the Bears Paw Mountains. The South Mountains would be either the Highwood or the Judith mountains, although the latter could not be seen from this point. The Falls Mountains may be either the Little or Big Belt mountains. The Tower Mountains are the Sweetgrass Hills. See May 24 and 25, 1805, and June 5, 1805. (back)
2. Lewis's Buffalo Creek, now Dugout Coulee, flowing north toward the Marias in Chouteau and Liberty counties, Montana. (back)
3. The coyote, Canis latrans, and the gray wolf. (back)
4. Lewis camped on Marias River, in Liberty County, a few miles above the mouth of Dugout Coulee. (back)
5. At this point in the first draft Clark has inserted a small sketch map (fig. 6) showing the three islands. They were in Stillwater County, Montana, at the mouth of present White Beaver Creek, Clark's "Muddy Creek" ("Small Creek muddy" on Atlas map 115). Atlas map 107. (back)
6. Clearly "S 20° W." here in the first draft, but "S. S. E" in the text of the Codex M entry and "S. 30° W." in the codex courses and distances. To the southwest would lie the Absaroka Range, the Beartooth Mountains, the Granite Range, and other highlands in the vicinity of the Yellowstone Plateau. The mountains to the east at a long distance would be the Pryor Mountains. (back)
7. Part of this page in the first draft version is missing, resulting in gaps in the courses for this day and for July 19, 1806. See the Codex M entries for missing information. (back)
8. A badger, Taxidea taxus; Clark's term is from the French blaireau; see July 30, 1804. (back)
9. After passing Monument Butte, he reached White Beaver Creek, in Stillwater County. Atlas maps 104, 115. (back)
10. The purple and yellow currants are genetic variants of golden currant. The black currant is probably the wild black currant, Ribes americanum Mill. See April 30, 1805, for a discussion of regional currants. (back)
11. The high bottoms are Yellowstone River terraces of sand, gravel and cobbles. The dark soil is either organic-rich material or is derived from weathering of the dark-colored Tertiary-Cretaceous Livingstone Formation. (back)
12. In Stillwater County, some three miles west of Columbus and the mouth of the Stillwater River (Clark's "Rose bud R"). A mile or so below the camp is the mouth of Huntley Creek, which does not appear on Atlas maps 108 or 115. The "Indian fort" appears on Atlas maps 107 and 115 a little above a dry brook which is apparently present Berry Creek. (back)
13. The species that Lewis noticed on July 10: brittle prickly pear and plains prickly pear. (back)
14. Still carrying the expedition name, it meets the Missouri in Cascade County, Montana. (back)
15. The lower portage camp was on the Missouri, Chouteau County, Montana, below the mouth of Belt Creek; see the captains' entries for June 16, 1805. (back)