July 25, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 25, 1806


The weather still continues cold cloudy and rainy, the wind also has blown all day with more than usual violence from the N. W.    this morning we eat the last of our birds and cows, I therefore directed Drewyer and J. Fields to take a couple of the horses and proceed to the S. E. as far as the main branch of Maria's river [1] which I expected was at no great distance and indeavour to kill some meat; they set out immediately and I remained in camp with R. Fields to avail myself of every opportunity to make my observations should any offer, but it continued to rain and I did not see the sun through the whole course of the day    R. Fields and myself killed nine pige[ons] which lit in the trees near our camp    on these we dined.    late in the evening Drewyer and J. Fields returned the former had killed a fine buck on which we now fared sumptuously.    they informed me that it was about 10 miles to the main branch of Maria's River, that the vally formed by the river in that quarter was wide extensive and level with a considerable quantity timber; here they found some wintering camps of the natives and a great number of others of a more recent date or that had from appearance been evacuated about 6 weeks; we consider ourselves extreemly fortunate in not having met with these people. I determined that if tomorrow continued cloudy to set out as I now begin to be apprehensive that I shall not reach the United States within this season unless I make every exertion in my power which I shall certainly not omit when once I leave this place which I shall do with much reluctance without having obtained the necessary data to establish it's longitude—as if the fates were against me my chronometer from some unknown cause stoped today, when I set her to going she went as usual.

N. 20° W.   2 mile to the head of a large Isd. in the middle of the river
passed an Island
East   2 miles to a low clift in the Lard Side ps a large Island
N. 25° E.   1 mile under a Bluff    passed a Creek at ¼ a mile I call rock
creek at Ld.
N. E   5 miles to 〈th〉    a high point of [blank] on the 〈passed〉 Stard.
Side    passed the large Island at 1 mile and Islands    passed
a Small river
N 20° W   2 miles to a Lard. Clift on the Lard Side    passeded 3 islands
N. 25° E   4 m to the head of a Island in a Stard. bend    passed 4 islands
N. 15° W.   3 m to a Low black Bluff on the Lard Side    passed a large
Brook on Lard. Side
N 60° East   1 mile to a 〈Stard Side〉 Lard. Point Bluff [on larboard side?]
N E 10 mile to a point of wood on the Stard Side opposit a Black
bluff a high pt. of rocks a little [banks?] about 70 feet high
Passing under a Black Bluff on 〈for 3 miles〉 the Lard Side
passed a large Brook at ¼ of a mile on the Lard Side    one at
5 mils one at 7 mils and a Small one at 8 ½ mils 〈to a point of
wood〉    the Countrey to the Stard. open enterance leavel
plain for 6 miles & then riseing gradually to about 300 feet
passed 6 islands & several gravelly bars
N. 65° E.   3 mils to Stard. Bend    passed the pt of an Island at 2 miles
North   1 mile to Lard Bluffs below the Island
N. 70° E   2 ½ mils to a point of the Bluff which has 〈felled in〉 Sliped in and
filled up ⅓ of the Chanel    on the top of this is a yellowish
Stone of 20 feet thick    Passed a Brook and an island
N. 80° E   3 miles to the point of a Bluff on the Lard. Side    passd. Sev-
eral Bars
East   2 〈3〉 miles to a Bluff laterly Sliped in on the Lard Side opsd. the
head of an Isld.
South   1 mile to th lower point of a Isld on the Stard. Side
N. 62° E   3 〈5〉 miles to a point of a Lard Bluff    passed Lower point of the
East   3 miles to Pompys Tower 200 feet high and 400 yards in Se-
cumfrance Situated in a low bottom on the Std. Side [blank]
Paces from the river which is imediately between this Tower
& the hight on the Lard Side—    from the top of this Tower
the river as far as Can be seen is N. 66° E 〈4〉 5 miles to Clift
point on the Lard Side    passed a point of Clift at 2 miles on
Lard. Side.    passed the Enterance of [illegible] Creek at 9
Ms. This valley of a Baptiests Creek which falls in 〈4?〉 miles
below is S 25° East    a Low Mountain is S. 15° E about 40
miles. The Rock mountans covered with Snow is S W. The
Little wolf mountaine which is but low is N. 55° W.    about
45 m a large dry Creek falls in on the opposit Side opposit
this Tower    The Countrey to the N. is ruged near the river.
a range of high hills which appear to run from South to
North covered with pine at about 18 miles to the East    to S.
no timber. N. a few low pine
S 60° E   4 miles to the enterance of Baptiests Creek from the Stard.
and Camped    passed the Clieft, on the Lard at 3 miles, Sev-
eral Gravelly

We Set out at Sunrise and proceeded on very well for three hours. Saw a large gange of Buffalow on the Lard Bank. I concluded to halt and kill a fat one, dureing which time Some brackfast was ordered to be Cooked. we killed 2 Buffalow and took as much of their flesh as I wished. Shields killed two fat deer and after a delay of one hour and a half we again proceeded on.    and had not proceeded far before a heavy shower of rain pored down upon us, and the wind blew hard from the S W.    the wind increased and the rain 〈began〉 continued to fall. I halted on the Stard. Side had Some logs set up on [end?] close together and Covered with deerskins to keep off the rain, and a large fire made to dry ourselves. the rain continued moderately untill near twelve oClock when it Cleared away and become fair.    the wind Contined high untill 2 P M. I proceeded on after the [NB: rain] lay a little and at 4 P M arived at a remarkable rock [2] Situated in an extensive bottom on the Stard. Side of the river & 250 paces from it.    this rock I ascended and from it's top had a most extensive view in every direction. This rock which I shall Call Pompy's Tower is 200 feet high and 400 paces in secumphrance and only axcessable on one Side which is from the N. E the other parts of it being a perpendicular Clift of lightish Coloured gritty rock on the top there is a tolerable Soil of about 5 or 6 feet thick Covered with Short grass. The Indians have made 2 piles of Stone on the top of this Tower. The nativs have ingraved on the face of this rock the figures of animals &c. near which I marked my name and the day of the month & year. From the top of this Tower I Could discover two low Mountains & the Rocky Mts. covered with Snow S W.    one of them appeard to be extencive and bore S. 15° E. [3] about 40 miles.    the other I take to be what the indians Call the Little wolf Mtn. I can only see the Southern extremity of it which bears N 55° W about 35 Miles. The plains to the South rise from the distance of about 6 miles the width of the bottom gradually to the mountains in that derection.    a large Creek [4] with an extencive Vally the direction of which is S. 25° E. meanders boutifully through this plain.    a range of high land Covered with pine [5] appears to run in a N. & S. direction approaching the river below.    on the Northerly Side of the river high romantic Clifts approach & jut over the water for Some distance both above and below.    a large Brook [6] which at this time has Some running muddy water falls in to the Rochejhone imediately opposit Pompys Tower.    back from the river for Some distance on that Side the hills are ruged & some pine back the plains are open and extensive.    after Satisfying my Self Sufficiently in this delightfull prospect of the extensive Country around, and the emence herds of Buffalow, Elk and wolves in which it abounded, I decended and proceeded on a fiew miles, Saw a gang of about 40 Big horn animals fired at them and killed 2 on the Sides of the rocks which we did not get. I directed the Canoes to land, and I walked up through a crevis in the rocks almost inaxcessiable and killed 2 of those animals one a large doe and the other a yearlin Buck. I wished very much to kill a large buck, had there been one with the gang I Should have killd. him.    dureing the time the men were getting the two big horns which I had killed to the river I employed my Self in getting pieces of the rib of a fish which was Semented within the face of the rock    this rib is [NB: about 3] [7] inchs 〈diame〉 in Secumpherance about the middle    [NB: the fallen rock is near the water—    the face    of the rock where rib is is perpendr.—    4 is. lengthwise, a little barb projects]    it is 3 feet in length tho a part of the end appears to have been broken off    I have Several peces of this rib    the bone is neither decayed nor petrified but very rotten. [8]    the part which I could not get out may be Seen, it is about 6 or 7 Miles below Pompys Tower in the face of the Lard. Clift about 20 feet above the water.    after getting the big horn on board &c I proceeded on a Short distance and encamped, [9] an earlyer than I intended on accout of a heavy cloud which was comeing up from the S. S W. and Some appearance of a Violent wind. I walked out and killed a Small Buck for his Skin which the party are in want of for Clothes.    about Sunset the wind blew hard from the W. and Some little rain. I encamped on the Stard. Side imediately below the enteranc Shannons River about 22 Yards wide, and at this time discharges a great portion of water which is very Muddy.    emence herds of Buffalow about our as it is now running time with those animals the bulls keep Such a grunting nois which is very loud and disagreeable Sound that we are compelled to Scear them away before we can Sleep.    the men fire Several Shot at them and Scear them away.

Course distance and remarks July 25th 1806 [10]
N. 20° W. to the head of a large Island in the middle of the }   2
  river, haveing passed an island.
East to a low Clift on the Lard. Side    passed a large Island     2
N. 25° E. passing under the Lard Bluff, passed rock Creek [11] }   1 ½
  (Small) on the Lard. Side but a Small quantity of
N. 45° E. to a high point of land on the Stard. Side, passed a }   5
  large island at 1 mile and Several Small islds.
  〈N 6 W〉    passed the enterance of a small river [EC:
  Pryor's Creek ] [12] on Stard. Side
N. 20° W. to a low Clift on the Lard. Side    passed 3 islands     2
N. 25° E. to the head of an Island in the Stard. Bend    passed }   4
  four islands
N. 15° W. to a low black bluff on the Lard. Side, [13] haveing }   3
  passed a large Brook [14] on the Lard Side.
N. 60° E. to a Lard point passing a Bluff on the Lard Side.     1
N. 45° E. to a point of woodland on the Stard. Side opposite to } 10
  a bluff bank which we passed under on the Lard Side
  passed a large brook at ¼ of a mile, one at 5 and one
  at 7 and a Small one at 8½ miles all on the Lard
  Side. [15]    passed 6 islands and Several Stoney bars
N. 65° E. to a Stard. Bend passing the head of an island at }   3
  2 miles
North to a Larboard Bluff below the island     1
N 70° E. to a Bluff on the Lard. Side which has Sliped into the }   2 ½
  river and filled up ⅓ of the river    on the top a yel-
  lowish Gritty Stone of 20 feet thick [16]
N. 80° E. to the point of a Bluff on the Lard Side    passed Sev- }   3
  eral Stoney bars
East to a rugid bluff latterly Slipped into the river on the }   2
  Lard Side opposit to the head of an island
South to the Lower point of an island on Stard. Side     1
N. 62° E. to the point of a Lard. Bluff passed the Island     3
East to Pompys Tower.    200 feet high.    400 paces }   3
  around from the top of which the rocky mountains
  Covered with Snow can be Seen S W.    also two low
  mountains one S. 15 E. and the other N. 55° W
  this rock is Situated 250 paces from the water on the
  Stard Side of the river, and opposit to a large Brook
  on the Lard Side I call baptiests Creek
N. 66° E. to high Clift point of rocks on the Lard Side }   5
  passed a point of the Clift at 2 miles and 2 Stoney
  bars or islands
S. 60° E. to the enterance of Shannon [17] Creek    22 yds wide }   4
  on the Stard. Side    passed the Lard Clifts at 3 Miles
  passed Several Stoney bars
  Mile 58

[NB: See a description of the Country South in an appendex of the next book] [18]


Friday 25th July 1806.    we procd. on to portage Creek. [19]    met the other men returning.    we formed a Camp at portage Creek    left 2 men one to Cook & one to hunt and returnd. to willow Creek    hard rain comd. about noon and continued the remainder part of the day, but did not Stop us from our urgent labours.    halted as much as we were able to help the horses as the place So amazeing muddy & bad.    in the evening we got to portage Creek and Camped.    rained verry hard and we having no Shelter Some of the men and myself turned over a canoe & lay under it    others Set up by the fires.    the water run under us and the ground was covred with water.    the portage River raises fast    Collins killed a buffaloe and a brarow.—


Friday 25th.    This was a fine morning with a very heavy dew. The party set out early for Portage river with the canoe; and in a short time, the men with the other waggon came back; I was by this time so much recovered as to be able to return with the party for another canoe; which is all we will bring over, as the other is heavy, and injured; and we expect that the five small ones with the periogues, will be sufficient to carry ourselves and baggage down the Missouri. About 2 o'clock, the waggons met at Willow creek, when we had another very heavy shower of rain accompanied with thunder and lightning. At 3 o'clock we set out with both the waggons and 2 canoes to Portage river; it rained on us hard all the way, and the road was so muddy that the horses were not able to haul the loads, without the assistance of every man at the waggons. At night we arrived at Portage river, [20] and then had four canoes there safe.

2. This sandstone formation is in Yellowstone County, Montana, one-half mile north of Interstate Highway 94, between the present villages of Nibbe and Pompeys Pillar, and about twenty-eight miles northeast of Billings. Pompeys Pillar is formed of the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (sometimes called Lance Formation). It has been isolated from the left bank of the river by meander development. The soil has formed on the top either because the rock there is more easily weathered or because it is protected from erosion. Apparently the first white man to see it was François-Antoine Larocque (see November 27, 1804) on his trip to the Yellowstone in September 1805, some ten months before Clark. Clark named the rock "Pompy's Tower" for little Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, whom he had nicknamed "Pomp." In the 1814 history Biddle altered this to a more classical "Pompey's Pillar," the name which has persisted. Clark's inscription of his name and date are still visible, the only surviving physical evidence of the expedition along its route. In 1876 a soldier participating in the campaign against the Sioux reportedly carved his name over the "k," and when reprimanded declared that he did not believe that there had been a white man in the country seventy years earlier. The inscription has since been deepened and is now protected by shatterproof glass. Atlas maps 110, 116; Appleman (LC), 322–25; Wood & Thiessen, 194 & n. 80; Bradley (MMC), 64–66. (back)
3. The same bearing appears in Biddle's history. On Atlas map 110, however, "S. 15° W. 40 m" is noted by Pompys Tower. On Atlas map 116 no bearing is given, but a straight, dotted line runs from the tower southwesterly in the general direction of the Pryor Mountains in Big Horn County, Montana, which are in fact southwest of Pompeys Pillar. The Bighorn Mountains lie southeast of the position. The mountains to the northwest are the Bull Mountains, the "Southern extremity" of which would be Dunn Mountain. (back)
4. Fly Creek, "Shannons River" after George Shannon of the party on Atlas maps 110 and 116, meeting the Yellowstone River from the south in Yellowstone County. (back)
5. Pine Ridge in Big Horn County, just west of the Bighorn River, "Pine hills" on Atlas maps 110 and 117. (back)
6. Clark's "River Baptieste," present Pompeys Pillar Creek, which meets the Yellowstone in Yellowstone County directly opposite Pompeys Pillar. Atlas maps 110, 116. (back)
7. Biddle inserted the words over a blank space. (back)
8. Clark found the fossilized rib in the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation: the rib probably came from a terrestrial dinosaur. The most common terrestrial dinosaurs of that period in this area were Hadrosaurus, Triceratops, Albertosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus, many examples of which have been found in the Hell Creek Formation in northern Garfield County and west-central McCone County, Montana. (back)
9. Clark's camp was on the south side of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone County, just below the mouth of Fly Creek (Shannons River) and about two miles northeast of the present village of Pompeys Pillar. Atlas maps 110, 117. (back)
10. Clark's route maps, Atlas maps 108, 109, 116, show great distortion of the Yellowstone River bend between present Billings and Pompeys Pillar, in Yellowstone County, a distortion repeated in his Western map of 1810 (Atlas map 125) and its published version of 1814 (Atlas map 126). This distortion appears also in the courses and distances for the day, notably the first, which should be more nearly due north. There is much underlining in this table in pencil (probably by Coues) and in red ink (probably by Biddle); these are not shown in this edition. (back)
11. Present Five Mile Creek, which now meets the Yellowstone in northeast Billings, in Yellowstone County. Atlas maps 108, 116. (back)
12. Present Pryor Creek, still bearing Nathaniel Pryor's name, meets the Yellowstone in Yellowstone County, just southwest of Huntley. Atlas maps 109, 116. (back)
13. This is an outcrop of Upper Cretaceous Bearpaw Shale. (back)
14. Probably present Crooked Creek, entering the Yellowstone in Yellowstone County, a few miles northeast of Huntley. Atlas maps 109, 116. (back)
15. The first two are apparently Razor and Cabin creeks and the other two unnamed streams in Yellowstone County. Atlas maps 109, 116. (back)
16. Clark's "Tumbling Bluff" (see Postexpeditionary Miscellany); another outcrop of uppermost Hell Creek Formation. (back)
17. "Shannon" appears to be a substitution for an erasure. (back)
18. Perhaps a reference to Clark's "Notes of Information I believe Correct" and "Misselanious Notes Given by a Trader," in Codex N, pp. 122–37, reading backwards, much of which Clark must have obtained in later years. Not reproduced in this edition, it may be found in Thwaites (LC), 6:266–68. (back)
19. Belt Creek, the boundary between Cascade and Chouteau counties, Montana. (back)
20. Apparently they camped on Belt Creek where the portage route reached its banks, in Cascade County, Montana, a mile or so above its mouth on the Missouri River. (back)