July 27, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 27, 1806


This morning at day light the indians got up and crouded around the fire, J. Fields who was on post had carelessly laid his gun down behid him near where his brother was sleeping, one of the indians the fellow to whom I had given the medal last evening sliped behind him and took his gun and that of his brothers unperceived by him, at the same instant two others advanced and seized the guns of Drewyer and myself, J. Fields seing this turned about to look for his gun and saw the fellow just runing off with her and his brothers he called to his brother who instantly jumped up and pursued the indian with him whom they overtook at the distance of 50 or 60 paces from the camp sized their guns and rested them from him and R Fields as he seized his gun stabed the indian to the heart with his knife    the fellow ran about 15 steps and fell dead; [1] of this I did not know untill afterwards, having recovered their guns they ran back instantly to the camp; Drewyer who was awake saw the indian take hold of his gun and instantly jumped up and sized her and rested her from him but the indian still retained his pouch, his jumping up and crying damn you let go my gun awakened me    I jumped up and asked what was the matter which I quickly learned when I saw drewyer in a scuffle with the indian for his gun. I reached to seize my gun but found her gone, I then drew a pistol from my holster and terning myself about saw the indian making off with my gun    I ran at him with my pistol and bid him lay down my gun 〈at the instant〉 which he was in the act of doing when the Fieldses returned and drew up their guns to shoot him which I forbid as he did not appear to be about to make any resistance or commit any offensive act, he droped the gun and walked slowly off, I picked her up instantly, Drewyer having about this time recovered his gun and pouch asked me if he might not kill the fellow which I also forbid as the indian did not appear to wish to kill us, as soon as they found us all in possession of our arms they ran and indeavored to drive off all the horses    I now hollowed to the men and told them to fire on them if they attempted to drive off our horses, they accordingly pursued the main party who were drving the horses up the river and I pursued the man who had taken my gun who with another was driving off a part of the horses which were to the left of the camp, I pursued them so closely that they could not take twelve of their own horses but continued to drive one of mine with some others; at the distance of three hundred paces they entered one of those steep nitches in the bluff with the horses before them    being nearly out of breath I could pursue no further, I called to them as I had done several times before that I would shoot them if they did not give me my horse and raised my gun, one of them jumped behind a rock and spoke to the other who turned around and stoped at the distance of 30 steps from me and I shot him through the belly, [2] he fell to his knees and on his wright elbow from which position he partly raised himself up and fired at me, and turning himself about crawled in behind a rock which was a few feet from him.    he overshot me, being bearheaded I felt the wind of his bullet very distinctly. [3]    not having my shotpouch I could not reload my peice and as there were two of them behind good shelters from me I did not think it prudent to rush on them with my pistol which had I discharged I had not the means of reloading untill I reached camp; I therefore returned leasurely towards camp, on my way I met with Drewyer who having heared the report of the guns had returned in surch of me and left the Fieldes to pursue the indians, I desired him to haisten to the camp with me and assist in catching as many of the indian horses as were necessary and to call to the Fieldes if he could make them hear to come back that we still had a sufficient number of horses, this he did but they were too far to hear him.    we reached the camp and began to catch the horses and saddle them and put on the packs.    the reason I had not my pouch with me was that I had not time to return about 50 yards to camp after geting my gun before I was obliged to pursue the indians or suffer them to collect and drive off all the horses.    we had caught and saddled the horses and began to arrange the packs when the Fieldses returned with four of our horses; we left one of our horses and took four of the best of those of the indian's; while the men were preparing the horses I put four sheilds and two bows and quivers of arrows which had been left on the fire, with sundry other articles; they left all their baggage at our mercy.    they had but 2 guns and one of them they left    the others were armed with bows and arrows and eyedaggs. [4]    the gun we took with us. I also retook the flagg but left the medal about the neck of the dead man that they might be informed who we were.    we took some of their buffaloe meat and set out ascending the bluffs by the same rout we had decended last evening leaving the ballance of nine of their horses which we did not want.    the    Feildses told me that three of the indians whom they pursued swam the river one of them on my horse.    and that two others ascended the hill and escaped from them with a part of their horses, two I had pursued into the nitch one lay dead near the camp and the eighth we could not account for but suppose that he ran off early in the contest. having ascended the hill we took our course through a beatiful level plain a little to the S of East.    my design was to hasten to the entrance of Maria's river as quick as possible in the hope of meeting with the canoes and party at that place having no doubt but that they would pursue us with a large party and as there was a band near the broken mountains or probably between them and the mouth of that river we might expect them to receive inteligence from us and arrive at that place nearly as soon as we could, no time was therefore to be lost and we pushed our horses as hard as they would bear.    at 8 miles we passed a large branch 40 yds. wide which I called battle river. [5]    at 3 P. M. we arrived at rose river about 5 miles above where we had passed it as we went out, having traveled by my estimate compared with our former distances and couses about 63 ms. [6] here we halted an hour and a half took some refreshment and suffered our horses to graize; the day proved warm but the late rains had supplyed the little reservors in the plains with water and had put them in fine order for traveling, our whole rout so far was as level as a bowling green with but little stone and few prickly pears.    after dinner we pursued the bottoms of rose river but finding inconvenient to pass the river so often we again ascended the hills on the S. W. side and took the open plains; by dark we had traveled about 17 miles further, we now halted to rest ourselves and horses about 2 hours, we killed a buffaloe cow and took a small quantity of the meat.    after refreshing ourselves we again set out by moon light and traveled leasurely, heavy thunderclouds lowered arround us on every quarter but that from which the moon gave us light.    we contineud to pass immence herds of buffaloe all night as we had done in the latter part of the day.    we traveled untill 2 OCk in the morning having come by my estimate after dark about 20 ms.    we now turned out our horses and laid ourselves down to rest in the plain very much fatiegued as may be readily conceived. [7]    my indian horse carried me very well in short much better than my own would have done and leaves me with but little reason to complain of the robery.

from the Bighorn
N. 45° E 6 miles to a Brook in a Std. bend.    high sand [land?]    Passed
a Island on which there is wood at 2 miles and one near the
Stard. at 6 ms.
N. 45° W. 3 miles to Lard Bend    passed a point of a high Clift on the
Stard Side at 2 miles    passed 2 Islands
N. 25° E 1 ½ miles to a high point on Stard.
N. 60° E 4 ½ miles to the lower part of a bluff on the Stard. Side    passed
a large Creek on the Lard Side behind a large [island?]
creek 40 yds wide
N. 20° E 4 miles to the 〈lower〉 upper pt. of an Island near the Stard
Side.    passd. 3 islands    low bottoms on each Side    rivr
wide and Current jentle.    passed Little wolf river 60 yds.
wid    Scercely any water in on the Lard. at 1 mile.
N. 15° E 5 miles to a black bluff in the Lard Bend    passed the enter-
ance of a river 50 yds wide but little water at 3 miles on the
Lard Side.    passed an Island close to the Stard Shore and
〈one〉 a bar below the river std.
N. 66° E 4 miles to Bluff in Lad bend    a Low bottom on Stard. and a
bluff about 60 feet high on the Lard.    psd. 2 brooks Lard.
no water
East 3 miles to a point of the Lard. Bluff.    a low bottom on Stard.
N. 65° E. 5 miles to the head of an Island in the middle of the river
passed 2 islands and 3 bars.
East 5 miles to the lower part of a wood on the Stard Side    passed
1 large & 4 Small Islands. Extensive bottom both Sides
N. 45 E 2 miles to a [w?] tree in the Lard bend
S 15 E. [8] 2 miles to the enteranc of a Small river 60 yds wide    little
water on Std.    opsd. an Isd. on Std.
N. 60° E 3 ½ miles to the a woon [wood] in the Lard Bend    passed 2
small Isds.
S. 80° E 1 ½ miles to the Island on the Std. Side
North ½ mile to the Lard. main Shore
S. 18° E. ½ mile to the island on the Std. Side.
N. 30 E. 1 mile to the enteranc of a large Brook in the Lard. Bend
abov a low Clift.
S. 45° E 1 mile to the lower point of the Isld.    low bluff on the Lard
S. 76° E 4 〈7?〉 miles to a point of wood on the Stard. Side    passed an is-
land.    low white Clifts on the Lard Side
S. 82° E. 5 〈6?〉 miles to a the Lower point of an Island near Std. Passed
one near the Lard. Shore at 3 ms. and the upper pt. of an
Isld. on Lard. side
N. 62° E 2 ½ miles to a point on the Stard Side opposit a Lard Bluff
passed the Isd. Ld.
S W. 2 miles to the enteranc of a Brook 20 yds wide in a Stard.
Bend    an Island near Lard.    high lands border the Lard
N 80 E. 2 ½ miles to a Stard. point opposit a remakable conocal moun
on the top of which a rock resembles a house with Chimnys.
S. 75 E 3 ½ miles to the point of an Island.    passed the upper point of
one on each Side at 2 ½ miles.    passed a brook 20 yds wide
on the Stard Side
N. 65° E ½ a mile to a point of the Lard 〈Island〉 Side opsd. lower point
of the Stard. Island.
N. E. 3 ½ miles to the lower point of one island Close to the Lard
Shore    passed 2 islands
S. 60° E 1 mile to the upper part of a large Island
N. 2 miles to a point of the Island on the right    passed a chanel
at ¼ ms

I marked my name with red paint on a Cotton tree near my Camp, and Set out at an early hour and proceeded on very well    the river is much wider from 4 to 600 yards much divided by Islands and Sand bars, passed a large dry Creek [NB: call Elk creek ] [9] at 15 miles and halted at the enterance of River 50 yards wide on the Lard Side    I call R. Labeech [10] killed 4 Buffalow and Saved as much of their flesh as we could Carry took brackfast. The Buffalow and Elk is estonishingly noumerous on the banks of the river on each Side, particularly the Elk which lay on almost every point in large gang and are So jintle that we frequently pass within 20 or 30 paces of them without their being the least alarmd.    the buffalow are Generally at a greater distance from the river, and keep a continueing bellowing in every direction, much more beaver Sign than above the bighorn. I Saw Several of those animals on the bank to day.    the antilopes are Scerce as also the bighorns and the deer    by no means So plenty as they were near the Rocky mountains.    when we pass the Big horn I take my leave of the view of the tremendious chain of Rocky Mountains white with Snow    in view of which I have been Since the 1st of May last.

about Sunset I Shot a very large fat buck elk from the Canoe near which I encamped, [11] and was near being bit by a rattle Snake. Shields killed a Deer & a antilope to day for the Skins which the party is in want of for Clothes.    this river below the big horn river resembles the Missouri in almost every perticular 〈its〉 except that it's islands are more noumerous & Current more rapid, it's banks are generally low and falling in the bottoms on the Stard. Side    low and exteneive and Covered with timber near the river such as Cotton wood willow of the different Species rose bushes and Grapevines [12] together with the red berry or Buffalow Grees [13] bushes & a species of shoemake with dark brown [14]    back of those bottoms the Country rises gradually to about 100 feet and has Some pine.    back is leavel plains.    on the Lard Side the river runs under the clifts and Bluffs of high which is from 70 to 150 feet in hight and near the river is Some Scattering low pine    back the plains become leavel and extencive.    the Clifts are Composed of a light gritty Stone which is not very hard.    and the yound stone [NB:large gravelround stones] which is mixed with the Sand and formes bars is much Smaller than they appeared from above the bighorn, and may here be termed Gravel. [15]    the Colour of the water is a yellowish white and less muddy than the Missouri below the mouth of this river.

Course Distance & Remarks July 27th 1806.
from the Big Horn [16]
N. 45° E. to a Brook in a Stard. Bend. [17]    passed an Island at }   6
  2 miles and one near the Stard Side at 6 miles
N. 45° W. to a Lard Bend passing the point of a high clift on the }   3
  Stard. at 2 miles.    passed 2 islands
N. 25° E. to a high point on the Stard. Side     1 ½
N. 60° E. to the lower part of a Bluff on the Stard. Side, passed }   4 ½
  a large Elk Creek on the Lard. Side, back of an Isld.
N. 20° E. to the upper point of an island near the Stard. Side. }   4
  passed 3 islands.    a low bottom on each Side    passed
  a river 50 yds wide on the Lard Side which contains
  but little water    nearly dry    Windsors River
N. 15° E. to a black Bluff in the Lard. Bend.    passed an Island }   5
  close to the Stard. Shore, and a gravelly bar below
N. 66° E. to a bluff in the Lard. Bend.    a low bottom of wood }   4
  on the Stard. Side.    passing a Clift of 60 feet in hight
  on the Lard. and 2 dry Brooks on the same side.
East to a point of the Lard Bluff.    bottom low on Stard.     3
N. 65° E. to the head of an island in the middle of the river. }   5
  passed 2 islands and 3 bars
East to the lower point of a wood on the Stard. Side    passed }   5
  1 large and 4 Small islands.    an extenive bottoms on
  both Sides
N. 45° E. to a Tree in the Larboard Bend     2
N. 15° E. to the enterance of a large Creek 60 yards wide on the }   2
  Stard Side Containing but little water    Labeichs R [18]
N. 60° E. to a wood in the lard Bend.    passed 2 Small islands     3 ½
S. 80° E. to the island on the Stard. Side     1 ½
North to the Lard. main Shore.        ½
S. 18° E. to the lard. Side of the island        ½
N. 30° E. to the enterance of a large brook in the Lard bend }   1
  above low clift    white Creek [19]
S 45° E to the lower point of the island. Low bluff on Lard.     1
S. 76° E. to a point of wood on the Stard. Side, passed an island. }   4
  low white Clifts on the Lard Side.
S. 82° E. to the lower point of an island near the Stard. Side. }   5
  passed one near the Lard. at 3 miles
N. 62° E. to a point on the Stard side opposit to a low bluff }   2 ½
  passed the Lard Island
S. 45° W. to the enterance of a brook 20 yds wide [20] in the Stard. }   2
  Bend    an Island near the Lard. high lands border the
  Larboard Shore
N 80° E. to a Stard. point opposit a Conic Mound on the top of }   2 ½
  which is a rock resembling a house & Chimney. [21]
S. 75° E. to the point of an island    passed the upper pt. of one }   3 ½
  on each Side at 2½ miles.    passed a brook on Sd Side
  20 yds wide. [22]
N. 65° E. to a point of the Lard Side opsd. a low bottom        ½
N. 45° E. to the lower point of an Island.    passed 2 islands     3 ½
S. 60° E to the upper part of a large island     1 ½
North to a point of the Island and Camped on the island     2   
    Miles 80 ½

Sunday 27th July 1806.    a clear morning. Sergt. Gass and Willard Set out with the 4 horses    crossed the river to the N. Side to take them down to the Mouth of Morriah to back [pack] the meat while we lay their, as we expect to arive their before Capt. Lewis & party.    we halled out the white perogue out of the bushes and repaired hir.    about 12 we loaded and Set out with the white perogue and the 5 canoes.    procd. on down the rapid water fast. Camped on S. Side at large gange of Buffaloe    the hunters killed in a fiew minutes 5 buffaloe Some of which was fat, and one deer. And R. Frazer killed one buffaloe with his Musquet &C.


Sunday 27th.    In a fine clear pleasant morning, myself and one of the men [23] crossed the river with the horses, in order to go by land to the mouth of Maria's river: the rest of the party here are to go by water. We proceeded on through the plains about twenty miles, and in our way saw a great many buffaloe. We then struck Tansy or Rose river, [24] which we kept down about ten miles, and encamped. [25] The land along this river is handsomely covered with Cotton wood timber and there is an abundance of game of different kinds. In our way we killed a buffaloe and a goat. [26] The wolves in packs occasinally hunt these goats, which are too swift to be run down and taken by a single wolf. The wolves having fixed upon their intended prey and taken their stations, a part of the pack commence the chase, and running it in a circle, are at certain intervals relieved by others. In this manner they are able to run a goat down. At the falls where the wolves are plenty, I had an opportunity of seeing one of these hunts.

1. This man's name is variously given as He-that-looks-at-the-calf and Sidehill Calf. Ewers (BRNP), 48; Ronda (LCAI), 242; Wheeler, 2:311–12. (back)
2. There is some doubt as to whether this man died of his wound or not, since the fragmentary evidence conflicts on whether one or two Piegan lost their lives. Apparently there is no doubt that the man stabbed by Reubin Field died. Bradley (MS), 135; Wheeler, 2:311–12; Glover, 273. (back)
3. The Piegan almost certainly carried a North West trade musket, much less accurate than Lewis's rifle; indeed, "30 steps" would be about the limit of accuracy for such a weapon. In any case, a man shot in the abdomen was unlikely to shoot very well. Ewers (ILUM), 34–44; Russell (GEF), 104–30, 162–64; Hanson. (back)
4. A type of dagger or stabbing knife with a hole or eye in the handle for inserting a loop; see April 15, 1806. (back)
5. Present Birch Creek in Pondera County, Montana, a tributary of Two Medicine River. (back)
6. Heading southeasterly from the site of the fight, Lewis's party passed near present Conrad in Pondera County and reached the Teton (Rose) River in either northeast Teton County or western Chouteau County, Montana. (back)
7. This camp was some miles west of Fort Benton in Chouteau County. (back)
8. The course in Codex M is "N. 15° E." It appears that Clark has first written "25" rather than "15." (back)
9. Alkali Creek, meeting the Yellowstone River in Treasure County, Montana. Atlas maps 110, 118. Someone, probably Coues, has circled in pencil "a large dry Creek at 15 miles." (back)
10. "Little wolf or Winsors Creek" on Atlas map 110, and "Winsors dry Creek" on Atlas map 118, present Muggins Creek in Treasure County. It was probably Biddle who crossed through the words, "I call R. Labeech" in red ink; see later note in this entry. (back)
11. Clark's camp was in Rosebud County, Montana, about two miles above the mouth of Big Porcupine Creek ("Little Wolf River" on Atlas map 119) and about eight miles west of present Forsyth; the course of the Yellowstone has evidently shifted since 1806, so that the campsite is some distance north of the present river. Atlas map 111. (back)
12. River-bank grape, Vitis riparia Michx. Barkley, 220. (back)
13. Buffaloberry again; see Lewis's entries of July 17 and 19, 1806. (back)
14. Aromatic sumac or skunkbush, also known as squawbush, Rhus aromatica Ait. var. trilobata (Nutt.) Gray. It is significant that the common species of the riparian floodplain are being described here together. The deeply rooting skunkbush is characteristic of riparian streambanks and terraces of the arid West. Barkley, 223; Welsh et al., 47. The missing word may be "leaves." (back)
15. In general, Clark is describing the Hell Creek Formation, but the Bearpaw Shale is exposed for a considerable distance on today's travels, and the Judith River Formation touches the north bank of the river a few miles upstream from his evening's camp. The decreased size of the stones or cobbles in the river bed results both from the continual striking of pebble against pebble as they are transported downstream and from the reduced transporting power of the river after it emerges into the plains country—the large cobbles are left farther upstream. (back)
16. Many of the items are underlined in this table, some in lead pencil, some in blue pencil, perhaps by Coues. The underlining is not shown in this edition. (back)
17. Apparently Unknown Creek, meeting the Yellowstone in Treasure County; it does not appear on Atlas maps 110, 111, or 118. (back)
18. Sarpy Creek, meeting the Yellowstone west of present Sanders, clearly located on Atlas maps 111 and 118. In the journal narrative above Clark apparently misapplied the name to Muggins Creek ("Little Wolf or Winsors Creek") and Biddle crossed the name out. Thwaites (LC), 5:302, did not note the crossing out, which has caused some confusion to those seeking to locate "Labiechs R." (back)
19. Starved to Death Creek enters the Yellowstone in Treasure County, east of Sanders. Atlas maps 111, 118. (back)
20. Apparently Hay Creek, meandering near the Treasure-Rosebud county line, Montana. It is the first of two twenty-yard brooks on Atlas map 111; it is "Brook 20 yards wide" on Atlas map 118. (back)
21. Shown as "Chimney Bluffs" on Atlas maps 111 and 119, opposite present Reservation Creek in Rosebud County. (back)
22. Reservation Creek in Rosebud County, the second twenty-yard brook in succession on Atlas map 111; it is unlabeled on Atlas map 119, but below and across from "Chimney Bluffs." (back)
23. With Gass was Willard, according to Ordway. (back)
25. Gass's camp on the Teton River was probably within a few miles of Fort Benton, Chouteau County. (back)
26. Gass again uses the party's old name for the pronghorn. (back)