July 24, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 24, 1806


At 8 A. M. the sun made it's appearance for a few minutes and I took it's altitude but it shortly after clouded up again and continued to rain the ballance of the day    I was therefore unable to complete the observations I wished to take at this place. I determined to remain another day in the hope of it's being fair.    we have still a little bread of cows remaining of which we made a kettle of mush which together with a few pigeons that we were fortunate enough to kill served us with food for this day. I sent the hunters out but they shortly returned without having killed anything and declared that it was useless to hunt within 6 or 8 miles of this place that there was no appearance of game within that distance.    the air has become extreemly cold which in addition to the wind and rain renders our situation extreemly unpleasant.    several wolves visited our camp today, I fired on and wounded one of them very badly.    the small speceis of wolf [1] barks like a dog, they frequently salute us with this note as we pass through the plains.


Set out July 24 1806 at 8 a. m in a 2 Canoes tied togethe.

S E.   1 mile to a Bluff on Std. bend
N. 70° E.   2 ms. under a bluff on Std. Side    psd. an Island on the Lard.
N. 20° E.   4 m. to a Lard Bend    passed 〈an〉 4 Island on Stard. Side
high bluff on Std.    low prarie on Lard Side
〈N.〉 East      ½ m to a large Island in the river of wood
N. 20° E.      ½ m. to main Lard Shore
S. 18° E.      ½ m. to an Island on Std. 〈pass lower pt. of one in the〉
N. 40° E.   1 ½ m. to a Lard. Bend, timber on both sides
S. 75° E   2 ms    passed the lower pt. of the large island    upper pt. I
and 2 other Islands.
North   1 ½ ms. to the main Lard. Shore psd th Isld
N. 65° E.   2 ½ ms. to a bluff bank on the Std. Side    passed Some high
waves    river 200 yds wide
N. 12° E.   1 ½ mile to a bend on the Lard.    passed a Small Island    low
bottom on Stard Side
East   2 miles to a high black bluff on Stard. [3]
N. 20° E   3 m. to a bend on the Lard.    psd. 2 Islds. St. to the lower part
of a Isd. Close to Lard. at Some high waves
N. 60° E   2 ½ ms. to the upper part of Timber in a bottom Lard Bend
passed a Small Isd.
East 〈2〉 4 miles to the enteranc of Big horn R 100 yds wide & muddy
on the Stard Side    Passed a riffle at 3 miles a Small Isd. in the
mouth of the river.    passd. 5 Isds.
N.   2 mile to a Lard. bend    river 300 yds wide
N. 58° E 〈2〉 4 ms. to a Stard. bend    passed 〈4〉 5 Small islands    Some
prarie on each Side.    and large Island on the Lard. Sepe-
rated from the main Shore by a narrow Channel on which
there is a large lodge.    halted & Dined.
N 46° E   3 ms. to a bluffs in a Stard bends opposite to an Island passed
one in the middle of the rive
N. 36° E   1 ½ mile to a large Brook in a bend to the Stard. Side.    passed a
gravely riv
N. 25° W.   1 ½ mils to the enteranc of a [blank] in a bend to the Larbed.
passed the lower point of 2 Islands near Ld.
N. 60° W.   3 ½ m. to a wood in the Std bend    passed 4 Islands.
North   1 ½ m. to open Plain in Lard bend    Some large timber in the
bottom on the [tear] [starboard side?]
N. 60° E   3 ½ m. to a point on the Lard Side opposit a large Island in the
middle of the river    passed Several Small Is.
North   1 m. to a Bend below    Som wood on the Lard Side
N 64° E   2 ½ m. to a Lard point    passed an Island and the lower part of
the large Island
N E.   1 me. to the lower part of a timbered bottom on the Lard
Side    Crossed Horss
East   2 miles to a high black bluff in a Stard. Bend    passed an Is-
land Close under the Stard. Shore
N. 20° E   2 mile under a black bluff to the enterans of Brook on the
Stard Sid under a high Clift of yellowish [rock?]
N. W.   2 miles to a bend on the Lard. passd. 2 Small Islands. High
yellow bluff of excellent grit on the Stard Side    round rocks
of various Sizes.
North   4 miles to a Clif 〈in a bend〉 point on Lard Side    high Clifts on
Stard. under which there is a Cave    passed the Clift on the
Stard. Side at 2 miles    Clifts low Lard Side—    rock dark
N. 12° E   1 ½ miles to a low black low bluff on the Lard. Side opsd. a low
bottom    pd. 2 Small Islands of corse gravel
N. 55° E.   3 ½ miles to the upper point of an island in the Std. Bend
passed a Creek at 3 miles on the Std Side

had all our baggage put on board of the two Small Canoes which when lashed together is very Study and I am Convinced will the party I intend takeing down with me.    at 8 A M. we Set out and proceeded on very well to a riffle about 1 mile above the enterance of Clarks fork or big horn river [4] [NB: a river 150 yds. wide comes in from South, we thought it the B. H. but aftds when we found the B. H. we called it Clarks fork, a bold river washing plain. The Indians call this—or "The lodge where all danc"]    at this riffle the Small Canoes took in a good deel of water which obliged us to land a little above the enterance of this river which the [blank] has called Clarks fork to dry our articles and bail the Canoes. I also had Buffalow Skin tacked on So as to prevent the waters flacking in between the Two canoes. This last [5] River is 150 yards wide at it's Mouth and 100 a Short destance up the water of a light Muddy Colour and much Colder than that of the Rochejhone    a Small Island is Situated imediately in its mouth, the direction of this river is South and East of that part of the rocky mountains which Can be seen from its enterance and which Seem to termonate in that direction.— [6]    [NB: good place for fort &c—    here 〈inds〉 the beaver country begins—best between this & Rochejhaune.]    I thought it probable that this might be the big horn river, and as the Rochejhone appeared to make a great bend to the N. I deturmined to Set the horses across on S. Side. one Chanel of the river passes under a high black bluff from one mile below the place we built the Canoes to within 3 miles of the enterance of Clarks fork [7] when the bottoms widen on each side those on the Stard Side from ½ to a mile in width.    river much divided by Islands.    at 6 ms. below the fork I halted on a large Island [8] Seperated from the Stard. Shore by a narrow Channel, on this    This being a good place to Cross the river I deturmined to wait for Sergt. pryor and put him across the river at this place.    on this Island I observd a large lodge the Same which Shannon informed me of a fiew days past.    this Lodge a council lodge, [9] it is of a Conocil form 60 feet diamuter at its base built of 20 poles each pole 2½ feet in Secumpheranc and 45 feet Long built in the form of a lodge & covered with bushes.    in this Lodge I observed a Cedar bush Sticking up on the opposit side of the lodge fronting the dore, on one side was a Buffalow head, and on the other Several Sticks bent and Stuck in the ground.    a Stuffed Buffalow skin was Suspended from the Center with the back down.    〈on〉 the top of those poles were deckerated with feathers of the Eagle & Calumet Eagle also Several Curious pieces of wood bent in Circleler form with sticks across them in form of a Griddle hung on tops of the lodge poles others in form of a large Sturrip. This Lodge was errected last Summer. It is Situated in the Center of a butifull Island thinly Covered with Cotton wood under which the earth which is rich is Covered with wild rye [10] and a Species of grass resembling the bluegrass, [11] and a mixture of Sweet grass [12] which the Indian plat and ware around their necks for its cent which is of a Strong sent like that of the Vinella after Dinner I proceeded on    passed the enterance of a Small Creek [13] and Some wood on the Stard. Side where I met with Sergt. Pryor, Shannon & Windser with the horses    they had but just arived at that place. Sergt. Pryor informed me that it would be impossible for the two men with him to drive on the horses after him without tireing all the good ones in pursute of the more indifferent to keep them on the Course. that in passing every gangue of buffalow Several of which he had met with, the loos horses as Soon as they Saw the Buffalow would imediately pursue them and run around them. All those that Speed suffient would head the buffalow and those of less Speed would pursue on as fast as they Could. [14]    he at length found that the only practiacable method would be for one of them to proceed on and when ever they Saw a gang of Buffalow to Scear them off before the horses got up. This disposition in the horses is no doubt owing to their being frequently exercised in chasing different animals by their former owners the Indians as it is their Custom to chase every Speces of wild animal with horses, for which purpose they train all their horses. I had the horses drove across the river and Set Sergt. Pryor and his party across. [15] H. Hall who cannot Swim expressed a Willness to proceed on with Sergt. Pryor by land, and as another man was necessary to assist in driveing on the horses, but observed he was necked, I gave him one of my two remaining Shirts a par of Leather Legins and 3 pr. of mockersons which equipt him Completely and Sent him on with the party by land to the Mandans. I proceeded on the river much better than above the enterance of the Clarks fork [16] deep and [NB: more navigable] the Current regularly rapid from 2 to 300 yards in width where it is all together, much divided by islands maney of which are large and well Supplyed with Cotton wood trees, Some of them large, Saw emenc number of Deer Elk and buffalow on the banks. Some beaver. I landed on the Lard Side walked out into the bottom and Killd the fatest Buck I every Saw, Shields killed a deer and my man York killed a Buffalow Bull, as he informed me for his tongue and marrow bones.    for me to mention or give an estimate of the differant Spcies of wild animals on this river particularly Buffalow, Elk Antelopes & Wolves would be increditable. I shall therefore be silent on the Subject further. So it is we have a great abundance of the best of meat.    we made 70 ms. to day    Current rapid and much divided by islands. Campd a little below Pryers river of 35 yds. on S E. [17]

Course Distance & remarks July 24th 1806
S E. to a Bluff in a Stard Bend    passed Lower point of an Isld.     1
S. 70° E [18] under the Stard. Bluff    passed an Island on the Lard Side     2
S. 20° E. to a Lard Bend    pasd. 4 Islands near the Lard Side.    a }
  high bluff on the Stard Side    Low leavel plain on Lard Side
East to a large Island Covered with wood    middle of the river        ½
N. 20° E to the main Larboard Shore passing on the left of the }      ½
S. 18° E. to a bend on the left Side of the island        ½
N. 40° E to a Lard. Bend.    timber on both Sides of the river     1 ½
S. 75° E Passing the lower point of an island at 2 miles opposit }   2
  to the upper point of another island
North to the main Lard Shore passed the island   1 ½
N 65° E. to a Bluff bank on the Stard. Side.    passed Some }   2 ½
  rough waves.    the river about 200 yards wide    
N. 12° E to a Lard. Bend passing a small island.    low bottoms }   1 ½
  on Std.
East to a high bluff on the Stard. Side     2
N. 20° E. to a Lard Bend.    passed 2 islands, near the Stard }   3
  shore 〈pass〉 to the lower point of an Island close on
  Lard. small rapid
N. 60° E. to the upper part of a wood in a Lard Bend.    low }   2 ½
  bottoms passed a Small Stoney Island
East to the enterance of Clarks fork 100 yds wide.    pass- }   4  
  ing a bad rapid at 3 miles. passed 5 Small islands
North to a Lard Bend. river near 300 yards wide     2
N. 58° E to a Stard Bend passing 5 Small islands.    passed an }   4
  old indian fort of logs and bark on a Island Close to
  Lard Side
N. 46° E to a Bluff in a Stard. Bend opsd. an Isld.    passed one }   3
  in Midl. R.    
N. 36° E. to a large brook [19] in a Stard. Bend opposit a Stony bar     1 ½
N 25° W. to a Lard. Bend    passed the lower point of 2 islands     1 ½
N. 60° W. to a wood in the Stard Bend    passed 4 islands     3 ½
North to a Lard Bend opposit some large timber on Stard. Side     1 ½
N. 60° E. to a point on the Lard Side opposit to a large island }   3 ½
  in the middle of the river.    passed Several small
North to a bend below Some wood in the Lard Bend & low }   1
  bottoms on either Side    Horse Creek falls in one Std.
N 64° E. to a Lard. point passing an Island and the lower }   2 ½
  point of a large Island.
N. 45° E to the lower part of a timbered bottom on the Lard }   1
  Side (here I had the horses Crossed 26 in number &c.)
East to a high Bluff bank in a Stard. Bend    passed an Isld.     2
N. 20° E. to the enterance of brook [20] on the Stard. Side. pass- }   2
  ing at the foot of a high black bluff bank on the
  Stard. Side
N. W. to a bend on the Lard.    passed 2 small islands.    a }   2
  high clift of yellowish Gritty Stone [21] on the Stard Side
North to a low clift of dark rock [22] on the Lard Side.    the }   4
  high clift continue on the Stard. for 2 miles
N. 12° E. to a low black Bluff [23] on the Lard Side opsd. to a low }   1 ½
  bottom.    2 Small Stoney islands
N. 55° E to the upper point of an island in a Stard Bend }   3 ½
  〈opposd.〉    passed a Creek on the Stard side at 3
  miles Pryors river
    Miles 69

Thursday 24th July 1806.    a clear morng.    we returnd. with the waggons to the head of the portage and took on the other Small canoes    we load the other large canoe as our wheels not bear it.    took in the Small one the baggage and proceeded on 8 miles    halted to baite our horses.    had a hard Shower of rain which rendred the plains verry muddy.    we procd. to willow Creek & Campd.    one waggon went with one canoe to the foot of the portage &c.—


Thursday 24th.    This was a cloudy morning. I was very much indisposed last night and am yet very unwell. I therefore staid at this camp, and the party went back for two more canoes. About three o'clock, one of the waggons with a canoe arrived; and the party with it; having let the horses feed a while, and taken dinner, they proceeded on to Portage river. [24] About an hour after they started, a very heavy shower of rain, accompanied with thunder and lightning, came on, and lasted about an hour and a half. After this we had a fine evening, and a little before sunset the other waggon with a canoe arrived; when we encamped for the night. The man who cut his leg is still very lame, and continues at this camp.

1. Coyote. (back)
2. The first draft courses and distances resume here, where Clark again started traveling. The number "36" appears to the left of the heading, in an unknown hand. (back)
3. The many black bluffs along this area near Clarks Fork Yellowstone River are composed of the Niobrara and Carlile Shale of the Colorado Group. (back)
4. Clarks Fork Yellowstone River still bears the name from the expedition. As Biddle notes, Clark first took it to be the Bighorn River. The words "Clarks fork or" are interlined and may be a later addition. Clarks Fork Yellowstone reaches the Yellowstone in Yellowstone County, Montana, a few miles southeast of present Laurel. It rises in the Beartooth Mountains in southeast Park County, Montana, curves through a small portion of northwest Wyoming, then returns to Montana. Clark may have obtained the name "The Lodge where all dance" (which he gave Biddle for the interlineation) from the Mandans or Hidatsas on returning to their villages in August 1806. It does not appear in the lists of Yellowstone affluents in the Fort Mandan Miscellany, vol. 3. Atlas maps 108, 115. (back)
5. The word may have been substituted for an erasure. (back)
7. "Clarks fork" appears to substitute for some erasures. (back)
8. An unnamed island in the Yellowstone River, in Yellowstone County, some five miles due east of present Laurel. The island and lodge, which Shannon reported on July 21, 1806, appear plainly on Atlas maps 108 and 116. The reference to the starboard side is puzzling, since from the maps the island is closer to the larboard side, assuming that Clark assigned these bearings according to the direction of travel (here down the Yellowstone), following the captains' usual practice. (back)
9. Compare the following with descriptions and pictures of the modern Crow Sun dance lodge in Frey, 101–9, 119, and Voget, 93–101. (back)
10. Based on the habitat description, the wildrye is either the western species, basin wildrye, which reaches its eastern limit in Rosebud County, Montana, or possibly the more common eastern species, Canada wildrye, Elymus canadensis L. Barkley, 575, 489; Hahn, Elymus map. (back)
11. Possibly fowl bluegrass, Poa palustris L., or the unnamed P. glaucifolia Scribn. & Will., both of which occur in meadows and moist places as described by Clark. The occurrence of Kentucky bluegrass as a native species of North America is uncertain. However, references by Lewis and Clark throughout the expedition to species "resembling the bluegrass" gives strong indication of the presence of bluegrass in the East, and may support the theory that populations of Kentucky Bluegrass were native to North America. Barkley, 517–18; Hitchcock & Chase, 1:124–25, 116; Boivin & Lôve. (back)
12. Sweetgrass (and other vernacular names), Hierochloe odorata (L.) Beauv. This may be the easternmost limit for sweetgrass along the Yellowstone River at this low elevation. Hahn, Hierochloe odorata map; Hitchcock & Chase, 1:547–48; Barkley, 497; Cutright (LCPN), 334. (back)
13. Perhaps Blue Creek in Yellowstone County, reaching the Yellowstone River south of present Billings; "Horse Creek" on Atlas map 108 and "Horse Brook" on map 116. (back)
14. Obviously these horses had been trained, as Clark notes, by their Indian owners to hunt buffalo. (back)
15. The horses crossed the Yellowstone south of Billings, in Yellowstone County, a mile or two below the mouth of Blue Creek (Clark's Horse Creek). Atlas map 116 shows "Sargent Pryors route with the Horses" as a dotted line. (back)
16. Another substitution for apparent erasures. (back)
17. After Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor of the party, in this entry and on Atlas maps 108 and 116, is present Dry Creek in Yellowstone County. It should not be confused with "Pryors Creek" of July 25. The camp of July 24 was just below the mouth of Dry Creek and on the opposite side of the river in Yellowstone County. Clark has greatly exaggerated the bend of the Yellowstone on all the Atlas maps. (back)
18. There is a discrepancy in this course and the next with the draft copy courses of this day. The first version appears to be correct. (back)
19. Apparently Duck Creek, reaeching the Yellowstone in Yellowstone County, a few miles southwest of Billings. It does not appear on Atlas maps 108, 116. (back)
20. Bitter Creek, entering the Yellowstone just opposite Billings. It is unnamed on Atlas maps 108 and 116. (back)
21. The Virgelle Member of the Eagle Sandstone at Sacrifice Cliff, directly east of and opposite Billings. Atlas maps 108, 116. (back)
22. A small outcrop of Claggett Shale. (back)
23. Another small outcrop of Claggett Shale. (back)
24. Belt Creek, the boundary between Cascade and Chouteau counties, Montana. (back)