August 12, 1806
95.66% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 12, 1806


Being anxious to overtake Capt. Clark who from the appearance of his camps could be at no great distance before me, we set out early and proceeded with all possible expedition    at 8 A. M. the bowsman informed me that there was a canoe and a camp he beleived of whitemen on the N. E. shore. I directed the perogue and canoes to come too at this place and found it to be the camp of two hunters from the Illinois by name Joseph Dickson and Forest Hancock. [2]    these men informed me that Capt. C. had passed them about noon the day before.    they also informed me that they had left the Illinois in the summer 1804 since which time they had been ascended the Missouri, hunting and traping beaver; that they had been robed by the indians and the former wounded last winter by the Tetons of the birnt woods; [3] that they had hitherto been unsuccessfull in their voyage having as yet caught but little beaver, but were still determined to proceed. I gave them a short discription of the Missouri, a list of distances to the most conspicuous streams and remarkable places on the river above and pointed out to them the places where the beaver most abounded. I also gave them a file and a couple of pounds of powder with some lead.    these were articles which they assured me they were in great want of. I remained with these men an hour and a half when I took leave of them and proceeded.    〈at one OCK in the〉 while I halted with these men Colter and Collins who seperated from us on the 3rd ist. rejoined us.    they were well no accedent having happened.    they informed me that after proceeding the first day and not overtaking us that they had concluded that we were behind and had delayed several days in waiting for us and had thus been unable to join us untill the present momet.    my wounds felt very stiff and soar this morning but gave me no considerable pain.    there was much less inflamation than I had reason to apprehend there would be. I had last evening applyed a poltice of peruvian barks. [4]    at 1 P. M. I overtook Capt. Clark and party and had the pleasure of finding them all well. [5]    as wrighting in my present situation is extreemly painfull to me I shall desist untill I recover and leave to my frind Capt. C. the continuation of our journal. [6]    however I must notice a singular Cherry [7] which is found on the Missouri in the bottom lands about the beaverbends and some little distance below the white earth river.    this production is not very abundant even in the small tract of country to which it seems to be confined.    the stem is compound erect and subdivided or branching without any regular order it rises to the hight of eight or ten feet seldom puting up more than one stem from the same root not growing in cops as the Choke Cherry dose. the bark is smooth and of a dark brown colour.    the leaf is peteolate, oval accutely pointed at it's apex, from one and a ¼ to 1½ inches in length and from ½ to ¾ of an inch in width, finely or minutely serrate, pale green and free from bubessence.    the fruit is a globular berry about the size of a buck-shot of a fine scarlet red; like the cherries cultivated in the U' States each is supported by a seperate celindric flexable branch peduncle which issue from the extremities of the boughs    the peduncle of this cherry swells as it approahes the fruit being largest at the point of insertion.    the pulp of this fruit is of an agreeable ascid flavour and is now ripe.    the style and stigma [8] are permanent. I have never seen it in blume.


I set out early this morning and had not proceeded on far before Shannon discovered he had lost his Tomahk. I derected him to land his Skin Canoe and go back to our Camp of last night in Serch of it, and proceeded on my self with the two wood and one Skin Canoe to a large bottom on the N. E. Side above the head of Jins [NB: Qu: an] island [9] and landed to take brackfast as well as to delay untill Shannon & Gibson Should arive. Sent out Shields & Labiech to hunt deer in the bottom, at 2 〈a〉 P m. Shannon and gibson arived having found the tomahawk at our camp they killed 3 Elk &c.    one of the Canoes of Buffalow Skin by accident got a hole peirced in her of about 6 inches diamuter. I derected two of the men to patch the Canoe with a piece of Elk skin over the hole, which they did and it proved all Sufficient, after which the Canoe did not leak one drop. The two hunters returned without haveing killed any thing.    at meridian Capt Lewis hove in Sight with the party which went by way of the Missouri as well as that which accompanied him from Travellers rest on Clarks river; I was alarmed on the landing of the Canoes to be informed that Capt. Lewis was wounded by an accident—. I found him lying in the Perogue, he informed me that his wound was slight and would be well in 20 or 30 days this information relieved me very much. I examined the wound and found it a very bad flesh wound the ball had passed through the fleshey part of his left thy below the hip bone and cut the cheek of the right buttock for 3 inches in length and the debth of the ball. Capt L. informed me the accident happened the day before by one of the men Peter Crusat misstakeig him in the thick bushes to be an Elk. Capt Lewis with this Crusat and Several other men were out in the bottom Shooting of Elk, and had Scattered in a thick part of the woods in pursute of the Elk. Crusat Seeing Capt L. passing through the bushes and takeing him to be an Elk from the Colour of his Cloathes which were of leather and very nearly that of the Elk fired and unfortunately the ball passed through the thy as aforesaid. Capt Lewis thinking it indians who had Shot him hobbled to the canoes as fast as possible and was followered by Crusat, the mistake was then discovered. This Crusat is near Sighted and has the use of but one eye, he is an attentive industerous man and one whome we both have placed the greatest Confidence in dureing the whole route.— After Capt. Lewis and my Self parted at Travellers rest, [10] he with the Indians proceeded down the West Side of Clarks river Seven miles and crossed on rafts 2 miles below the East fork 120 yards wide, after Crossing the river he proceeded up the North Side of the east fork and encampd.    here the Indians left him and proceeded down Clarks river in Serch of the Tushepaws.    an Indian man Came up with Cap L. from the W. of the mountains and proceeded on with those who had accompanied us. Capt. L. proceeded up the E. fork of Clarks river 17 ms. to the enterance of Cokahlarishkit river or the river to buffalow, he proceeded up on the North Side of this river which is 60 yards wide crossing Several Small Streams and the N. fork, and passing over part of the dividing mountain onto the waters of Deabourns river in the plains and in a Derection to the N. extremity of Easte range of rocky mountains which pass the Missouri at the pine Island Rapid.    from thence he bore his Course to the N E untill he Struck Meadcin river near where that river Enters the rocky Mts. and proceeded down Medicine river to the Missouri at the white bear Islands at the upper part of the portage.    this rout is a very good one tho not the most derect rout, the most derect rout would be to proceed up the Missouri above Dearborns river and take a right hand road & fall on a South branch of the Cokatlarishkit R. and proceed down that river to the main road    but the best rout would be from the falls of the Missouri by fort mountain and passing the N. extremity of that range of the Rocky Mountains which pass the Missouri at the pine Island rapid Course nearly S. W. and to the gap through which the great road passeds the dividing mountain the distance from the falls to this gap about 45 miles through a tolerable leavel plain on an old indian road.    and the distance from thence to Clarks river is 105 miles. The total distance from the falls of the Missouri to Clarks river is only 150 miles of a tolerable road—    Capt L. arived at the white Bear Islands and encampd. on the West Side of the Missouri and in the morning he discovered that the Indians had taken of Seven of his best horses, drewyer prosued the indians two day's on the rout towards Clarks river.    he Saw their camp on Dearborns river near the road on which Capt. Lewis & party Come on a by place where they had left only one or two day at this encampment he Saw great appearanc of horses—    on the return of Drewyer Capt L. took Drewyer & the 2 fieldses & proceeded on his intended rout up Marias river leaving Sergt. Gass, Thompson, Frazier, Werner, McNeal & Goodrich at the portage to prepare Geer and repar the wheels & Carrage against the arival of the Canoes and he also left 4 horses for the purpose of hauling the Canoes across. The Canoes arrived on the 16th, and on the 26th they had all except one across, the Plains becom So muddy from the emence rains which had fallen, that they Could not get her over the portage.    on the 28th they joined Capt Lewis at the Grog Spring a fiew miles above the enterance of Marias river—. From the Falls of Missouri Capt. L. proceeded on with Drewyer & the 2 fieldses    Courss [11]

    17th July
N. 10° W. 20 miles from the Great falls of the Missouri to rose river through
an open fertile plain.
    18th July
N. 25° W. 7 miles to the Sourse of Buffalow Creek, passing a dividing ridge
dividing the waters of Mairias river from rose river at 6
miles    Country hilly &c.
N. 15° W. 12 Miles down Buffalow Creek    here the timber Commences
Creek 25 Yds wide    no running water.
North 5 miles to Marias river 130 yards wide 3 feet deep.    here Capt
encamped the 18th July 1806
N. 80° W. 20 miles up Marias river on its North Side    passed a large Creek
on the South Side with Some timber in it's vally at 8 miles    also
another large Creek on the N. Side at 15 miles 30 yards wide
with but little water—.
    July 20th
S. 80° W. 28 Miles with the river in it's course upwds.    on it's N. Side river
120 yds wide, passed a Creek on South Side at 6 miles, one
at 22 miles on the N. Side the last has no water, Some little
timber, the genl. course of this river is very Streight its vally
½ m. wide.
    July 21st
S. 80° W. 15 Miles to the forks of the river the Main Southern branch bears
S. 75° W. about 30 miles to the rocky Mountains.
N. 40° W. 6 miles up the North branch 30 yds wd. confined close between
clifts of rocks, Shallow, rapid and not navagable.
N. 25° W. 7 Miles up the North fork, hills broken & pore.
N. 30° W. 7 M. up the river, water transparent.
S. 80° W. 10 M. through the plains    the river maeking a considerable bend
to the right or N W.
S. 75° W. 11 M. through the plains on the N. Side of the river which here
made a considerable bend to the left or S. haveing passed the
river twice.

here Capt Lewis Continued the 23rd 24th & 25th of July to make Some celestial observations but the weather proved So Cloudy that he only made the following observations on the 23rd of July 〈which gave〉

     Observed Meridian Altd. of ☉'s L. L. with Octant by the } 62° 00' 00"
back observation—
     Latitude deduced from this observation [blank]    
     observed equal altitudes of the Sun with the Sextant.    
  h m  s     h m  s    
A M 7 40 57   P M 4 32 40 } Altitude of ☉
56° 8' 45"
  " 42 30     " 33 13
  " 43   5     " 34 43

On the 26th of July Capt Lewis Set out on his return to the enterance of Marias river to meet with the party with, the Canoes from the falls. his course was through the plains.

S. E.    5    Miles—    passing a Small Creek from the mts—

S. 70° E.    9    Miles to a principal branch of Marias River 65 yards wide not very deep at 7 mile.    this last branch is Shallow and rapid about the Size of the former from the 〈N W〉 S W. both of those Streams Contain a great preportion of timber—    here we find the 3 Specis of Cotton before mentioned

N 80° E.    4    miles down Marias river and met with 8 Indians of the Blackfoot nation with about 30 horses, those Indians professed friendship and Set out with him and encamped together the night of the 26th of July, thy informed him that there was two large bands of their nation in that quarter one of which would be at the enterance of Marias river in a fiew days.    they also informed that a french Trader was with one of those bands, that they traded with the white people on the Suskashwen River at 6 easy days march or about 150 miles distant from whome they precured Guns Powder Lead blankets &c. in exchange for wolf and beaver Skins. Capt Lewis gave them a Flag Meadel & Handkerchief Capt. L. informed those Indians where he was from & where he had been and his objects & friendly views &c. of which they appeared to be well Satisfied.

"on the morning of the 27th at day light the indians got up and crouded around the fire, Jo. Field who was on post had carelessly laid his gun down behind him near where his brother was Sleeping.    one of the Indians Slipd. behind him and took his gun and that of his brother unperceived by him, at the Same instant two others advanced and Seized the guns of Drewyer and Capt Lewis who were yet asleep. Jo. Fields Seeing this turned about to take his gun and Saw the fellow running off with his and his brothers, he called to his brother who    instantly jumped up and prosued the indian with him whome they overtook at the distance of 50 or 60 paces Siezed their guns and rested them from him and R. Field as he Seized his gun Stabed the indian to the heart with his knif who fell dead; (this Cap L. did not know untill Some time after.[)]    drewyer who awoke at the first alarm jumped up and seized & rested his gun from the indian &c. Capt L. awoke and asked what was the matter Seeing Drewyer in a Scuffle for his gun he turned to get his gun and found her gorn, he drew a pistol from his holsters and prosued the Indian whom he Saw in possession of his gun making off    he presented the pistol and the indian lay down the gun.    the two Fields Came up and drew up to Shoot the Indian which Capt L. forbid the indians then attempted to drive off all the horses. Capt L. derected the men to fire on them if they attempted to drive off the horses, and prosued two fellows who Continued to drive of his horses he Shot the indian who had taken his gun and then in possession of his horse through the belly, he fell and raised on his elbow and fired at Capt L.    the other made his escape into a nitch out of Sight with his bow and arrows and as Capt L. guns was empty and he without his Shot pouch he returnd. to the Camp where the 2 fields and Drewyer joind him having prosued the indians across the river    the were now in possession of the most of their own as well as the indian horses and a gun Several bows & arrows and all the indians baggage the gun & Some feathers and flag they took and burnt all the 〈rest〉 other articles.    and Saddled up a many of the best horses as they wished with Some Spear horses, and Set out for to intersept the party at Marias river and proceded on a little to the S. of East 112 Miles to the Missouri at the Grog Spring.    here they met with Canoes and party decending joined them leaving their horses on the river bank, and proceeded on to the enterance of Marias river opened the deposits, found Several articles damaged.    3 Beaver traps could not be found, the red perogue unfit for Service, from thenc they proceeded without delay to the River Rochejhone    See cources of Capt Lewis rout in next book.["] [12]

at 2 P. M. Shannon & Gibson arived in the Skin Canoe with the Skins and the greater part of the flesh of 3 Elk which they had killed a fiew miles above.    the two men Dixon & Handcock the two men we had met above came down intending to proceed on down with us to the Mandans.    at 3 P M we proceded on all together 〈after〉 having left the 2 leather Canoes on the bank.    a little below the enterance of 〈Jos〉 Shabonos Creek we Came too on a large Sand point from the S. E. Side and Encamped. [13]    the wind blew very hard from the S W. and Some rain. I washed Capt L. wound which has become Sore and Somewhat painfull to him.


Tuesday 12th August 1806.    a fair morning.    we Set out eairly and procd. on    about 8 A. M. we met two trappers Americans by the names of Jos Dixon & forrest Handcock    they were from the Ellynoise country, and have gathered a great deal of peltry Since they have been out about 2 years and have carshed the most of it in the ground    they tells us that they are determined to Stay up this river and go to the head where the beaver is pleanty and trap and hunt untill they make a fortune before they return.    they had 20 odd good traps and tools for building canoes &C.    they informed us that Capt. Clark passed here about 12 oClock yesterday and Said that they would go on Slowly untill we come up. Capt. Lewis gave them Some powder and Several articles    while we were here Colter and Collins Come up and joined us.    they informed us that they had waited    expected we were behind    they had killed 6 buffaloe 13 deer 5 Elk & 31 beaver. Mr. Dixon concludes to go back to the Mandans in hopes to git a frenchman or Some body to go with him to the head of the river. So we procd. on    about 10 A. M. we overtook Capt. Clark and party all alive and well    they informed us that they after they left us at the three forks followed on up the South fork or Gallentines River nearly to its head which was about 30 miles, and that the beavers abound on that river    that their dams overflowed the bottoms So that they had difficulty to cross the river    they then Struck for the River Roshjone leaving the Mountn. a Short distance to the right    crossd over a low ridge 10 miles then come on the head waters of the roshjone    followed down Some distance before they found any timber that they could make canoes of.    they Saw no Indians but Saw Indn. tracks and the Indn. Stole 25 of the horses    they having the two Small canoes done lashed them and Sergt. pryor Set out with 3 men and the rest of the horses by land in order to take them to the Mandans 25 in number which now remained, but the 2nd night the Indn. Stole all the horses and they had to return to the Roshjone and killd. buffaloe and made leather canoes of them and followed on down    they informed us that the distance from where they Struck the River Roshjone to its mouth is 836 miles and a pleasant river bottoms and timber on this river    the buffaloe So pleanty and Swimming the river So that they could Scarsely pass down this river    mountn. Sheep also in many places.    we fired the blunderbusses and Small arms being rejoiced to meet all together again.    2 of Capt. Clarks party were a hunting and killed a Spotted Elk    had white spots about it and different from any we have ever Seen before.    we left their buffaloe canoes and after a delay of three hours we procd. on. Mr. Dixon and Handcock accompy. us to the Mandans.    we Camped on a Sand beach on acct. of the Musquetoes    a little rain this evening &C—


Tuesday 12th.    The morning was pleasant and we proceeded on. Captain Lewis is in good spirits; but his wound stiff and sore. Having gone about nine miles we met with two men on the river trapping and hunting. Captain Lewis gave them some ammunition and directions with respect to the river above. They informed us that Captain Clarke and party has passed them yesterday at noon. We proceeded on and at 10 o'clock overtook Captain Clarke and his party, all in good health. The two men [14] with the small canoe, who had been some time absent, came down and joined at the place where we met with the two strangers: and now, (thanks to God) we are all together again in good health, except Captain Lewis, and his wound is not serious.

After the Corps were separated among the mountains, [15] as before mentioned, Captain Clarke's party proceeded on to the Canoe deposit, near the head of the main branch of the Missouri (called Jefferson's river) and having descended with the canoes to the mouth of the branch, which they called Gallatin, Captain Clarke with ten men left those, who were to take down the canoes to the falls; travelled three days up Gallatin's river towards the south, when they crossed a ridge and came upon the waters of the Jaune or Yellow-stone river. Having gone about 100 miles down this river by land they made two canoes, and Captain Clarke having sent off a sergeant and three men with the horses to the Mandan villages, went down himself with six other men by water. On the second day after the sergeant and his party had started for the Mandan villages, the Indians stole the whole of the horses, and the party were obliged to descend the river in skin canoes. Captain Clarke's party in their route had found game plenty of different kinds, buffaloe, elk, deer, beaver, otter and some other animals. They also found the Yellow-Stone river a pleasant and navigable stream, with a rich soil along it; but timber scarce.

We here took the men on board, and left the buffaloe canoes. At night we encamped on a sand beach, as the musquitoes are not so bad there as in the woods.

1. Lewis's journalizing in Codex Lb, and for the expedition, ends at this entry. There follows a note by Clark: "To be anexed to Book No. 12 at the last." Book No. 12 is Biddle's designation for Codex L. Coues has added the dates of Codex Lb, "Aug. 9–12 1806." (back)
2. Joseph Dickson, or Dixon, having lived in Pennsylvania and Tennessee, settled in Cahokia, Illinois, with his wife and children in 1802; he spent much of his time hunting and trapping in Missouri, where he met Forrest Hancock, who had come to Boone's Settlement in 1799. The two started up the Missouri in August 1804; they may have spent the following winter in the vicinity of Sioux City, Iowa. The next year they worked with the trader Charles Courtin, wintering in Teton Sioux country. Their meeting with Clark on this day (see Clark's entry), was the expedition party's first direct contact with the European world since April 1805. John Colter, who may have known Dickson before, persuaded the captains to let him join the two in a trapping venture to the Yellowstone, in what has become known as the "Fourth Expedition" to the region, those of Charles LeRaye (which is highly questionable), François Antoine Larocque, and Clark being the first three. How far up the Yellowstone they traveled is not known, but the party broke up over some dispute and Colter and Hancock returned to the Mandan villages. Dickson spent the winter of 1806–7 alone on the Yellowstone, enduring great hardship. On his journey downriver in the spring, he barely escaped the hostility of the Arikaras. Thereafter he remained in Illinois and became a highly respectable citizen, having "got religion" as a result of his suffering in the Rockies. Dickson (HH); Dickson (JD); Harris, 33–58 (which varies considerably from other accounts). (back)
4. Peruvian bark, or cinchona, was a general remedy for fevers. Chuinard (OOMD), 65, 156–57 n. 8. (back)
5. The two parties reunited at the place Clark had halted for lunch, in Mountrail County, North Dakota, some six miles south of present Sanish. The site does not appear on any Atlas map, but it was below Little Knife River (the captains' Goat Pen Creek). The site is now inundated by Garrison Reservoir. Mattison (GR), 49–50; Atlas map 34; MRC map 56. (back)
6. In fact, Lewis never resumed writing his journals after this date. (back)
7. Lewis's last botanical description in the journals is of the pin, or bird, cherry, Prunus pensylvanica L. f. It is a biogeographically interesting species of the northern Midwest that is more common in the East, with relic populations in the Black Hills of South Dakota and in the Colorado front range of the Rockies. The specimen he described here may be the one in the Lewis and Clark herbarium. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. The cherry "cultivated in the U' States" he used for comparison is probably black cherry, P. serotina Ehrh. Barkley, 148; Cutright (LCPN), 325–26. (back)
8. Coues patched the damaged page at this point with a two-cent postage stamp (Scott #220) bearing the words "Dec. 20 1892 Coues." He also used a portion of the stamp to patch another tear a few pages earlier. (back)
9. The party first passed this island on April 15, 1805, on the outbound journey, but did not refer to it by any name. It is nameless on Atlas maps 34 and 47 and would be the "Knife R. Towhead" of MRC map 56, between Mountrail and McKenzie counties, North Dakota, or near it. The meeting place of Lewis and Clark northeast of the head of the island would be in Mountrail County, some six miles south of present Sanish, now under Garrison Reservoir. Mattison (GR), 48–50. The letters after Biddle's "Qu:" are not distinct. (back)
10. For Lewis's narrative of his exploration after the captains' separation on July 3, 1806, see his journal entries for July 3 to August 12, 1806 (back)
11. The courses and distances match Lewis's, but the dates and separations are somewhat incorrect. (back)
12. A reference to Clark's copy of Lewis's courses from Travelers' Rest to the Great Falls in Codex N. It is placed after Lewis's entry of July 10, 1806. Clark is summarizing Lewis's remarks for July 27 and 28. (back)
13. "Shabonos Creek," which they passed going west on April 14, 1805, is now Bear Den Creek in McKenzie County. The camp would be near the McKenzie-Mountrail county line, on a site now inundated by Garrison Reservoir. Mattison (GR), 48–49; Atlas maps 34, 47, 56; MRC map 56. (back)
14. Colter and Collins. (back)
15. As noted, Clark's account of the exploration of the Yellowstone appears in his journals for July 3 to August 12, 1806. (back)