August 7, 1806
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August 7, 1806


It began to rain about midnight and continued with but little intermission until 10 A. M. today.    the air was cold and extreemly unpleasant. we set out early resolving if possible to reach the Yelowstone river today which was at the distance of 83 ms. from our encampment of the last evening; the currant favoured our progress being more rapid than yesterday, the men plyed their oars faithfully and we went at a good rate.    at 8 A. M. we passed the entrance of Marthy's river [1] which has changed it's entrance since we passed it last year, falling in at preasent about a quarter of a mile lower down.    at or just below the entrance of this river we meet with the first appearance of Coal birnt hills and pumicestone, [2] these appearances seem to be coextensive.    here it is also that we find the first Elm [3] and dwarf cedar [4] on the bluffs, the ash [5] first appears in the instance of one solletary tree at the Ash rapid, about the Elk rapid [6] and from thence down we occasionly meet with it scattered through the bottoms but it is generally small.    from Marthy's river to Milk river on the N. E. side there is a most beautifull level plain country; the soil is much more fertile here than above. [7]    we overtook the Feildses at noon.    they had killed 2 bear and seen 6 others, we saw and fired on two from our perogue but killed neither of them.    these bear resort the river where they lie in wate at the crossing places of the game for the Elk and weak cattle; when they procure a subject of either they lie by the carcase and keep the wolves off untill they devour it.    the bear appear to be very abundant on this part of the river.    we saw a number of buffaloe Elk &c as we passed but did not detain to kill any of them.    we also saw an unnusual flight of white gulls about the size of a pigeon with the top of their heads black. [8] at 4 P. M. we arrived at the entrance of the Yellowstone river. [9] I landed at the point and found that Capt. Clark had been encamped at this place and 〈was gone〉 from appearances had left it about 7 or 8 days. I found a paper on a pole at the point which mearly contained my name in the hand wrighting of Capt. C.    we also found the remnant of a note which had been attatched to a peace of Elk's horns in the camp; from this fragment I learned that game was scarce at the point and musquetoes troublesome which were the reasons given for his going on; I also learnt that he intended halting a few miles below where he intended waiting my arrival. I now wrote a note directed to Colter and Collins provided they were behind, ordering them to come on without loss of time; this note I wraped in leather and attatced onto the same pole which Capt. C. had planted at the point; this being done I instantly reimbarked and decended the river in the hope of reaching Capt. C's camp before night.    about 7 miles below the point on the S. W. shore I saw some meat that had been lately fleased and hung on a pole; I directed Sergt. Ordway to go on shore examine the place; on his return he reported that he saw the tracks of two men which appeared so resent that he beleived they had been there today, the fire he found at the plce was blaizing and appeared to have been mended up afresh or within the course of an hour past.    he found at this place a part of a Chinnook hat which my men recognized as the hat of Gibson; [10] from these circumstances we included that Capt. C's camp could not be distant and pursued our rout untill dark with the hope of reaching his camp in this however we were disappointed and night coming on compelled us to encamp on the N. E. shore in the next bottom above our encampment of the 23rd and 24th of April 1805. [11]    as we came too a herd of buffaloe assembled on the shore of which we killed a fat cow.—


Some hard rain this morning after daylight which wet us all. I formed a Sort of Camped and delayed untill 11 a. m. when it Stoped raining for a short time. I directed every thing put on board and proceeded on down. the rain Continued at intervales all day tho' not hard in the evenig Saw a Bear on the bank but Could not get a Shoot at it.    at 6 P M I landed on a Sand bar on the South Side and Campd. [12] Soon after we landed the wind blew very hard for about 2 hours, when it lulled a little.    the air was exceedingly Clear and Cold and not a misquetor to be Seen, which is a joyfull circumstance to the Party.


Thursday 7th August 1806.    a Showery wet morning.    we Set out as usal and procd. on verry well.    overtook the 2 Fieldses who had killed two large Silver grey bears.    we roed on fast    about 4 P. M. we arived at the mouth of the River Roshjone where we expected to have found Capt. Clark and party but found they had been here Some time and left a line that we would find them lower down [13]    Capt. Lewis wrote a line and left for Colter and Collins who we have reason to think is behind, directing them to follow on after us, and we procd. on    Saw Some Camps which appeared fresh 1 of which had fire at it and dry meat hanging up.    we procd. on untill dark and as we were Camping killed a buffaloe out of a gang on the bank.    the wind high this evening.


Thursday 7th.    The morning was cloudy, and we set out early, after a very heavy shower of rain which fell before day light. We proceeded on very well, and about 4 o'clock arrived at the mouth of Yellow Stone river. [14] We found that Captain Clarke had been encamped on the point some time ago, [15] and had left it. We discovered nothing to inform us where he was gone, except a few words written or traced in the sand, [16] which were "W. C. a few miles farther down on the right hand side. Captain Lewis having left a few lines for the two men in the canoe, [17] to inform them, if they are still behind, where we were gone, we continued our voyage. At night we encamped after coming above 100 miles; and though dark, killed a fat buffaloe at the place of our encampment.

1. Big Muddy Creek, in Roosevelt County, Montana; see April 29, 1805. It is labeled "50 yds wide Handson vallie" on Atlas map 35; see Atlas map 48. MRC map 61. (back)
2. The coal-bearing Fort Union Formation borders the Missouri River for about fifteen miles upstream from the mouth of Big Muddy Creek, but the Missouri River valley is wider upstream from that creek than it is below, so the coal easily could have been missed. The burnt hills and "pumicestone" (clinker) are produced by the burning of the coal beds. It was probably Biddle who drew a red vertical line through this geological material and the passages about trees. (back)
3. American elm, Ulmus americana L. Little (CIH), 196-W. (back)
4. Creeping juniper, Juniperus horizontalis Moench. It was collected in 1804 with two other juniper species. Cutright (LCPN), 105, 127, 373. (back)
5. Green ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh., extends up the Missouri River into Fergus and Chouteau counties, Montana. Little (CIH), 130-W. (back)
6. For Ash and Elk Fawn Rapids, see Atlas maps 52, 60; the first lies in Chouteau and Fergus counties, the second in Fergus and Blaine counties. (back)
7. The terrace that borders the northern edge of the Missouri River between the Milk and Poplar rivers was formed in preglacial times when the Missouri River occupied a position more to the north than it does at present. The terrace north of the river from the Poplar River to fifteen miles upstream from Big Muddy Creek is poorly developed and was formed during the late Pleistocene. (back)
8. Identified by Coues (HLC), 3:1112–13 n. 20, as Forster's tern, Sterna forsteri [AOU, 69]. Holmgren, 30, adds Bonaparte's gull, Larus philadelphia [AOU, 60], as a possibility. See also March 6, 1806. (back)
9. Lewis's party has returned to North Dakota, where the Yellowstone enters the Missouri in McKenzie County. Atlas maps 35, 48, 56; MRC map 60. Clark left his note to Lewis on August 4, 1806; see his entry for that date. (back)
10. The captains purchased an unknown number of hats made of cedar bark from some Clatsop women on February 22, 1806, and distributed them among the party. Evidently at least one was still being worn over five months later. (back)
11. This camp was in Williams County, North Dakota, a few miles south of present Trenton. Atlas map 35; MRC map 59. (back)
12. The site of this camp, where Clark's party remained until August 9, is particularly difficult to locate because of the lack of information from Clark. It must still have been above Tobacco Creek (see August 9, 1806), in McKenzie County, North Dakota, the place now being under Garrison Reservoir. (back)
13. Clark left his note at the mouth of the Yellowstone (Roshjone) on August 4, 1806. (back)
14. The Yellowstone enters the Missouri in McKenzie County, North Dakota, just east of the Montana state line. (back)
15. On August 34; see Clark's journal. (back)
16. Clark says he also left a note on a pole in the point between the rivers. Lewis says he found a note attached to some elk horns in the camp. (back)
17. Colter and Collins; they rejoined on August 12. (back)