Poor Starved Devils

The game which they principally hunt is the antelope, which they pursue on horseback and shoot with their arrows. This animal is so extremely fleet and durable that a single horse has no possible chance to overtake them or run them down. The Indians are therefore obliged to have recourse to stratagem when they discover a herd of the antelope. They separate and scatter themselves to the distance of five or six miles in different directions around them, generally selecting some commanding eminence for a stand. Some one, or two, now pursue the herd at full speed over the hills, valleys, gullies, and the sides of precipices that are tremendous to view. Thus, after running them from five to six or seven miles, the fresh horses that were in waiting head them [off] and drive them back, pursuing them as far or perhaps further quite to the other extreme of the hunters, who now in turn pursue on their fresh horses, thus worrying the poor animal down and finally killing them with their arrows. Forty or fifty hunters will be engaged for half a day in this manner and perhaps not kill more than two or three antelopes.

They have but few elk or black-tailed deer, and the common red deer they cannot take as they secrete themselves in the brush when pursued, and they have only the bow and arrow, which is a very slender dependence for killing any game except such as they can run down with their horses. I was very much entertained with a view of this Indian chase. It was after a herd of about 10 antelope, and about 20 hunters. It lasted about 2 hours, and a considerable part of the chase in view from my tent. About 1 A.M., the hunters returned, had not killed a single antelope, and their horses foaming with sweat. My hunters returned soon after and had been equally unsuccessful. I now directed McNeal to make me a little paste with the flour and added some berries to it, which I found very palatable.

The means I had of communicating with these people was by way of Drouilliard, who understood perfectly the common language of gesticulation, or signs, which seems to be universally understood by all the nations we have yet seen. It is true that this language is imperfect and liable to error, but it is much less so than would be expected. The strong parts of the ideas are seldom mistaken.

I now prevailed on the chief to instruct me with respect to the geography of his country. This he undertook very cheerfully by delineating the rivers on the ground, but I soon found that his information fell far short of my expectation or wishes. He drew the river on which we now are [i.e., the Lemhi], to which he placed two branches just above us, which he showed me, from the openings of the mountains, were in view. He next made it discharge itself into a large river which flowed from the S.W. about ten miles below us, then continued this joint stream in the same direction of this valley, or N.W., for one day's march, and then inclined it to the west for two more days' march. Here he placed a number of heaps of sand on each side, which, he informed me, represented the vast mountains of rock eternally covered with snow through which the river passed. That the perpendicular, and even jutting, rocks so closely hemmed in the river that there was no possibility of passing along the shore; that the bed of the river was obstructed by sharp pointed rocks, and the rapidity of the stream such that the whole surface of the river was beaten into perfect foam, as far as the eye could reach. That the mountains were also inaccessible to man or horse. He said that, this being the state of the country in that direction, himself nor none of his nation had ever been farther down the river than these mountains. I then inquired the state of the country on either side of the river, but he could not inform me. He said there was an old man of his nation a day's march below who could probably give me some information of the country to the northwest and referred me to an old man then present for that to the southwest.

I now told Cameahwait that I wished him to speak to his people and engage them to go with me tomorrow to the forks of Jefferson's River, where our baggage was by this time arrived with another chief and a large party of white men, who would wait my return at that place; that I wished them to take with them about thirty spare horses to transport our baggage to this place, where we would then remain some time among them and trade with them for horses, and finally concert our future plans for getting on to the ocean and of the trade which would be extended to them, after our return to our homes.

He complied with my request and made a lengthy harangue to his village. He returned in about an hour and a half and informed me that they would be ready to accompany me in the morning. I promised to reward them for their trouble. Drouilliard, who had had a good view of their horses, estimated them at 400. Most of them are fine horses. Indeed, many of them would make a figure on the south side of James River, or the land of fine horses. I saw several with Spanish brands on them, and some mules, which they informed me that they had also obtained from the Spaniards. I also saw a bridle bit of Spanish make, and sundry other articles, which I have no doubt were obtained from the same source.

Notwithstanding the extreme poverty of those poor people, they are very merry. They danced again this evening until midnight. Each warrior keeps one or more horses tied by a cord to a stake near his lodge both day and night, and are always prepared for action at a moment's warning. They fight on horseback altogether. I observe that the large flies are extremely troublesome to the horses as well as ourselves.

This morning being cold, and the men stiff and sore from the exertions of yesterday, Captain Clark did not set out this morning until 7 A.M. The river was so crooked and rapid that they made but little way. At one mile, he passed a bold running stream on starboard, which heads in a mountain to the north, on which there is snow. This we called Track Creek. It is 4 yards wide and 3 feet deep. At 7 miles, passed a stout stream which heads in some springs under the foot of the mountains on larboard. The river near the mountain they found one continued rapid, which was extremely laborious and difficult to ascend. This evening Charbonneau struck his Indian woman, for which Captain Clark gave him a severe reprimand. Joseph and Reuben Fields killed 4 deer and an antelope. Captain Clark killed a buck. Several of the men have lamed themselves by various accidents in working the canoes through this difficult part of the river, and Captain Clark was obliged personally to assist them in this labor.

Captain Lewis, 14 August 1805  

 

This morning I arose very early and as hungry as a wolf. I had eaten nothing yesterday except one scant meal of the flour and berries except the dried cakes of berries, which did not appear to satisfy my appetite as they appeared to do those of my Indian friends. I found on inquiry of McNeal that we had only about two pounds of flour remaining. This I directed him to divide into two equal parts and to cook the one half this morning in a kind of pudding with the berries as he had done yesterday, and reserve the balance for the evening. On this new-fashioned pudding four of us breakfasted, giving a pretty good allowance also to the chief, who declared it the best thing he had tasted for a long time. He took a little of the flour in his hand, tasted and examined it very scrutinously, and asked me if we made it of roots. I explained to him the manner in which it grew.

I hurried the departure of the Indians. The chief addressed them several times before they would move. They seemed very reluctant to accompany me. I at length asked the reason and he told me that some foolish persons among them had suggested the idea that we were in league with the Pahkees and had come on in order to decoy them into an ambuscade, where their enemies were waiting to receive them; but that, for his part, he did not believe it. I readily perceived that our situation was not entirely free from danger, as the transition from suspicion to the confirmation of the fact would not be very difficult in the minds of these ignorant people who have been accustomed from their infancy to view every stranger as an enemy.

I told Cameahwait that I was sorry to find that they had put so little confidence in us, that I knew they were not acquainted with white men and therefore could forgive them. That among white men it was considered disgraceful to lie, or entrap an enemy by falsehood. I told him if they continued to think thus meanly of us, that they might rely on it that no white men would ever come to trade with them, or bring them arms and ammunition; and that, if the bulk of his nation still entertained this opinion, I still hoped that there were some among them that were not afraid to die -- that were men, and would go with me and convince themselves of the truth of what I had asserted, that there was a party of white men waiting my return, either at the forks of Jefferson's River or a little below, coming on to that place in canoes loaded with provisions and merchandise.

He told me, for his own part, he was determined to go, that he was not afraid to die. I soon found that I had touched him on the right string. To doubt the bravery of a savage is at once to put him on his mettle. He now mounted his horse and harangued his village a third time, the purport of which, as he afterwards told me, was to inform them that he would go with us and convince himself of the truth or falsity of what we had told him [even] if he was certain he should be killed; that he hoped there were some of them who heard him were not afraid to die with him, and if there were to let him see them mount their horses and prepare to set out. Shortly after this harangue, he was joined by six or eight only, and with these I smoked a pipe, and directed the men to put on their packs, being determined to set out with them while I had them in the humor.

At half after 12, we set out. Several of the old women were crying and imploring the Great Spirit to protect their warriors as if they were going to inevitable destruction. We had not proceeded far before our party was augmented by ten or twelve more, and before we reached the creek which we had passed in the morning of the 13th, it appeared to me that we had all the men of the village and a number of women with us. This may serve in some measure to illustrate the capricious disposition of those people, who never act but from the impulse of the moment. They were now very cheerful and gay, and two hours ago they looked as surly as so many imps of Saturn [sic]. When we arrived at the spring on the side of the mountain where we had encamped on the 12th, the chief insisted on halting to let the horses graze, with which I complied, and gave the Indians smoke. They are excessively fond of the pipe, but have it not much in their power to indulge themselves with even their native tobacco, as they do not cultivate it themselves. After remaining about an hour, we again set out, and by engaging to make compensation to four of them for their trouble, obtained the privilege of riding with an Indian myself, and a similar situation for each of my party. I soon found it more tiresome riding without stirrups than walking, and of course chose the latter, making the Indian carry my pack. About sunset, we reached the upper part of the level valley of the cove which we now called Shoshone Cove.

Captain Lewis, 15 August 1805
 

 

I sent Drouilliard and Shields before, this morning, in order to kill some meat, as neither the Indians nor ourselves had anything to eat. I informed the chief of my view in this measure, and requested that he would keep his young men with us lest by their whooping and noise they should alarm the game and we should get nothing to eat. But so strongly were their suspicions excited by this measure that two parties of discovery immediately set out, one on each side of the valley, to watch the hunters, as I believe to see whether they had not been sent to give information of their approach to an enemy that they still persuaded themselves were Iying in wait for them. I saw that any further effort to prevent their going would only add strength to their suspicions and therefore said no more.

After the hunters had been gone about an hour, we set out. We had just passed through the narrows when we saw one of the spies coming up the level plain under whip. The chief paused a little and seemed somewhat concerned. I felt a good deal so myself, and began to suspect that by some unfortunate accident, perhaps some of their enemies had straggled hither at this unlucky moment. But we were all agreeably disappointed, on the arrival of the young man, to learn that he had come to inform us that one of the white men had killed a deer.

In an instant, they all gave their horses the whip, and I was taken nearly a mile before I could learn what were the tidings. As I was without stirrups, and an Indian behind me, the jostling was disagreeable. I therefore reined up my horse, and forbade the Indian to whip him, who had given him the lash at every jump for a mile, fearing he should lose a part of the feast. The fellow was so uneasy that he left me the horse, dismounted, and ran on foot at full speed, I am confident, a mile. When they arrived where the deer was, which was in view of me, they dismounted and ran in, tumbling over each other like a parcel of famished dogs, each seizing and tearing away a part of the intestines which had been previously thrown out by Drouilliard, who killed it.

The scene was such, when I arrived, that had I not had a pretty keen appetite myself, I am confident I should not have tasted any part of the venison shortly. Each one had a piece of some description, and all eating most ravenously. Some were eating the kidneys, the milt, and liver, and the blood running from the corners of their mouths. Others were in a similar situation with the paunch and guts, but the exuding substance from their lips, in this case, was of a different description. One of the last who attracted my attention particularly had been fortunate in his allotment, or rather active in the division. He had provided himself with about nine feet of the small guts, one end of which he was chewing on, while with his hands he was squeezing the contents out of the other. I really did not, until now, think that human nature ever presented itself in a shape so nearly allied to the brute creation. I viewed these poor starved devils with pity and compassion. I directed McNeal to skin the deer and reserved a quarter; the balance I gave the chief to be divided among his people. They devoured the whole of it nearly, without cooking.

I now bore obliquely to the left in order to intercept the creek where there was some brush to make a fire, and arrived at this stream, where Drouilliard had killed a second deer. Here nearly the same scene was enacted. A fire being kindled, we cooked and ate, and gave the balance of the two deer to the Indians, who ate the whole of them, even to the soft parts of the hoofs. Drouilliard joined us at breakfast with a third deer. Of this I reserved a quarter, and gave the balance to the Indians.

They all appeared now to have filled themselves, and were in a good humor. This morning early, soon after the hunters set out, a considerable part of our escort became alarmed and returned, 28 men and three women only continued with us. After eating, and suffering the horses to graze about 2 hours, we renewed our march, and toward evening arrived at the lower part of the cove. Shields killed an antelope on the way, a part of which we took and gave the remainder to the Indians. Being now informed of the place at which I expected to meet Captain Clark and the party, they insisted on making a halt, which was complied with.

We now dismounted, and the chief, with much ceremony, put tippets about our necks such as they themselves wore. I readily perceived that this was to disguise us and owed its origin to the same cause already mentioned. To give them further confidence, I put my cocked hat with feather on the chief, and my over-shirt being of the Indian form, my hair disheveled and skin well browned with the sun, I wanted no further addition to make me a complete Indian in appearance. The men followed my example, and we were soon completely metamorphosed. I again repeated to them the possibility of the party not having arrived at the place where I expected they were, but assured them they could not be far below, lest by not finding them at the forks their suspicions might arise to such heights as to induce them to return precipitately.

We now set out and rode briskly within sight of the forks, making one of the Indians carry the flag, that our own party should know who we were. When we arrived in sight at the distance of about two miles, I discovered to my mortification that the party had not arrived, and the Indians slackened their pace. I now scarcely knew what to do, and feared every moment when they would halt altogether. I now determined to restore their confidence, cost what it might, and therefore gave the chief my gun, and told him that if his enemies were in those bushes before him that he could defend himself with that gun, that for my own part I was not afraid to die, and if I deceived him he might make what use of the gun he thought proper, or in other words that he might shoot me. The men also gave their guns to other Indians, which seemed to inspire them with more confidence. They sent their spies before them at some distance, and when I drew near the place I thought of the notes which I had left, and directed Drouilliard to go with an Indian man and bring them to me, which he did, the Indian seeing him take the notes from the stake on which they had been placed.

I now had recourse to a stratagem in which I thought myself justified by the occasion, but which I must confess sat a little awkward. It had its desired effect. After reading the notes, which were the same I had left, I told the chief that when I had left my brother chief with the party below where the river entered the mountain, we both agreed not to bring the canoes higher up than the next forks of the river above us, wherever this might happen; that there he was to await my return, should he arrive first; and that in the event of his not being able to travel as fast as usual from the difficulty of the water, he was to send up to the first forks above him and leave a note informing me where he was, that this note was left here today; and that he informed me that he was just below the mountains and was coming on slowly up, and added that I should wait here for him; but, if they did not believe me, that I should send a man at any rate to the chief, and they might also send one of their young men with him; that myself and two others would remain with them at this place.

This plan was readily adopted, and one of the young men offered his services. I promised him a knife and some beads as a reward for his confidence in us. Most of them seemed satisfied, but there were several that complained of the chief's exposing them to danger unnecessarily and said that we told different stories; in short, a few were much dissatisfied. I wrote a note to Captain Clark by the light of some willow brush, and directed Drouilliard to set out early, being confident that there was not a moment to spare.

We finally lay down, and the chief placed himself by the side of my mosquito bier. I slept but little, as might be well expected, my mind dwelling on the state of the expedition which I have ever held in equal estimation with my own existence, and the fate of which appeared at this moment to depend in a great measure upon the caprice of a few savages, who are ever as fickle as the wind.

I had mentioned to the chief several times that we had with us a woman of his nation who had been taken prisoner by the Minnetarees, and that by means of her I hoped to explain myself more fully than I could do [by] signs. Some of the party had also told the Indians that we had a man with us who was black and had short curling hair. This had excited their curiosity very much, and they seemed quite as anxious to see this monster as they were the merchandise which we had to barter for their horses.

Captain Lewis, 16 August 1805

 

Across the Rocky Mountains

This morning I arose very early and dispatched Drouilliard and the Indian down the river. Sent Shields to hunt. I made McNeal cook the remainder of our meat, which afforded a slight breakfast for ourselves and the chief. Drouilliard had been gone about two hours when an Indian, who had straggled some little distance down the river, returned and reported that the white men were coming, that he had seen them just below. They all appeared transported with joy, and the chief repeated his fraternal hug. I felt quite as much gratified at this information as the Indians appeared to be. Shortly after, Captain Clark arrived with the interpreter, Charbonneau, and the Indian woman, who proved to be a sister of the chief Cameahwait.

The meeting of those people was really affecting, particularly between Sacagawea and an Indian woman who had been taken prisoner at the same time with her, and who had afterwards escaped from the Minnetarees and rejoined her nation.

At noon the canoes arrived, and we had the satisfaction once more to find ourselves all together, with a flattering prospect of being able to obtain as many horses shortly as would enable us to prosecute our voyage by land should that by water be deemed inadvisable.

We now formed our camp just below the junction of the forks on the larboard side in a level, smooth bottom covered with a fine turf of greensward. Here we unloaded our canoes and arranged our baggage on shore. Formed a canopy of one of our large sails and planted some willow brush in the ground to form a shade for the Indians to sit under while we spoke to them, which we thought it best to do this evening.

Accordingly, about 4 P.M., we called them together and through the medium of Labiche, Charbonneau, and Sacagawea, we communicated to them fully the objects which had brought us into this distant part of the country, in which we took care to make them a conspicuous object of our own good wishes and the care of our government. We made them sensible of their dependence on the will of our government for every species of merchandise as well for their defense and comfort, and apprised them of the strength of our government and its friendly dispositions toward them. We also gave them as a reason why we wished to penetrate the country as far as the ocean to the west of them was to examine and find out a more direct way to bring merchandise to them. That as no trade could be carried on with them before our return to our homes, that it was mutually advantageous to them as well as to ourselves that they should render us such aids as they had it in their power to furnish in order to hasten our voyage and, of course, our return home: that such were their horses to transport our baggage, without which we could not subsist, and that a pilot to conduct us through the mountains was also necessary if we could not descend the river by water. But that we did not ask either their horses or their services without giving a satisfactory compensation in return. That at present we wished them to collect as many horses as were necessary to transport our baggage to their village on the Columbia, where we would then trade with them at our leisure for such horses as they could spare us. They appeared well pleased with what had been said. The chief thanked us for friendship toward himself and nation and declared his wish to serve us in every respect; that he was sorry to find that it must yet be some time before they could be furnished with firearms, but said they could live as they had done heretofore until we brought them as we had promised. He said they had not horses enough with them at present to remove our baggage to their village over the mountain, but that he would return tomorrow and encourage his people to come over with their horses, and that he would bring his own and assist us. This was complying with all we wished at present. We next inquired who were chiefs among them. Cameahwait pointed out two others, who, he said, were chiefs. We gave him a medal of the small size with the likeness of Mr. Jefferson, the President of the United States, in relief on one side, and clasped hands with a pipe and tomahawk on the other. To the other chiefs we gave each a small medal which were struck in the Presidency of George Washington, Esq. We also gave small medals of the last description to two young men who, the first chief informed us, were good young men and much respected among them.

Captain Clark and myself now concerted measures for our future operations; and it was mutually agreed that he should set out tomorrow morning with eleven men, furnished with axes and other necessary tools for making canoes, their arms, accouterments, and as much of their baggage as they could carry, also to take the Indians, Charbonneau, and the Indian woman with him. That on his arrival at the Shoshone camp, he was to leave Charbonneau and the Indian woman to hasten the return of the Indians with their horses to this place, and to proceed himself with the eleven men down the Columbia in order to examine the river; and, if he found it navigable and could obtain timber, to set about making canoes immediately. In the meantime, I was to bring on the party and baggage to the Shoshone camp, calculating that by the time I should reach that place, he would have sufficiently informed himself with respect to the state of the river, &c., to determine us whether to prosecute our journey from thence by land or water.

Captain Lewis, 17 August 1805  

 

We set out at 7 o'clock and proceeded on to the forks. I had not proceeded on one mile before I saw, at a distance, several Indians on horseback coming toward me. The interpreter and squaw, who were before me at some distance, danced for the joyful sight, and she made signs to me that they were her nation. As I approached nearer them, discovered one of Captain Lewis's party with them dressed in their dress. They met me with great signs of joy. As the canoes were proceeding on nearly opposite me, I turned those people and joined Captain Lewis, who had camped with 16 of those Snake Indians at the forks 2 miles in advance. Those Indians sang all the way to their camp, where the others had provided a kind of shade of willows stuck up in a circle.

The three chiefs with Captain Lewis met me with great cordiality, embraced, and took a seat on a white robe. The main chief immediately tied to my hair six small pieces of shells, resembling pearl, which are highly valued by those people, and are procured from the nations residing near the seacoast. We then smoked in their fashion, without shoes.

Captain Lewis informed me he found those people on the Columbia River about 40 miles from the forks. At that place there was a large camp of them. He had persuaded those with him to come and see that what he said was the truth. They had been under great apprehension all the way, for fear of their being deceived. The Great Chief of this nation proved to be the brother of the woman with us, and is a man of influence, sense, and easy and reserved manners. Appears to possess a great deal of sincerity. The canoes arrived and unloaded. Everything appeared to astonish those people--the appearance of the men, their arms, the canoes, the clothing, my black servant, and the sagacity of Captain Lewis's dog. We spoke a few words to them in the evening respecting our route, intentions, our want of horses, &c., and gave them a few presents and medals. We made a number of inquiries of those people about the Columbia River, the country, game, &c. The account they gave us was very unfavorable, that the river abounded in immense falls--one, particularly, much higher than the Falls of the Missouri, and at the place, the mountains closed so close that it was impracticable to pass, and that the ridge continued on each side of perpendicular cliffs impenetrable, and that no deer, elk, or any game was to be found in that country. Added to that, they informed us that there was no timber on the river sufficiently large to make small canoes. This information, if true, is alarming. I determined to go in advance and examine the country.

Captain Clark, 17 August 1805  

 

This morning, while Captain Clark was busily engaged in preparing for his route, I exposed some articles to barter with the Indians for horses, as I wished a few at this moment to relieve the men who were going with Captain Clark from the labor of carrying their baggage, and also one to keep here in order to pack the meat to camp which the hunters might kill. I soon obtained three very good horses, for which I gave a uniform coat, a pair of leggings, a few handkerchiefs, three knives, and some other small articles, the whole of which did not cost more than about $20 in the United States. The Indians seemed quite as well pleased with their bargain as I was. The men also purchased one for an old checked shirt, a pair of old leggings, and a knife. Two of those I purchased, Captain Clark took on with him. At 10 A.M., Captain Clark departed with his detachment and all the Indians, except 2 men and 2 women, who remained with us.

This day I completed my thirty-first year, and conceived that I had, in all human probability, now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little, indeed, to further the happiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now sorely feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. But, since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought, and resolve in future to redouble my exertions and at least endeavor to promote those two primary objects of human existence, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which Nature and fortune have bestowed on me; or, in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself.

Captain Lewis, 18 August 1805

 

This morning I arose at daylight and sent out three hunters. Some of the men who were much in want of leggings and moccasins I suffered to dress some skins, the others I employed in repacking the baggage, making pack saddles, etc. We took up the net this morning, but caught no fish. The frost which perfectly whitened the grass this morning had a singular appearance to me at this season. This evening I made a few of the men construct a seine of willow brush, which we hauled, and caught a large number of fine trout and a kind of mullet, about 16 inches long, which I had not seen before.

Captain Lewis, 19 August 1805

 

This morning I sent out the two hunters, and employed the balance of the party pretty much as yesterday. I walked down the river about 3/4 of a mile and selected a place near the river bank, unperceived by the Indians, for a cache which I set three men to make, and directed the sentinel to discharge his gun if he perceived any of the Indians going down in that direction, which was to be a signal for the men at work on the cache to desist and separate, lest these people should discover our deposit, and rob us of the baggage we intend leaving here.

By evening the cache was completed, unperceived by the Indians; and all our packages made up. The packsaddles and harness are not yet completed. In this operation, we find ourselves at a loss for nails and boards. For the former, we substitute thongs of rawhide, which answer very well, and for the latter [had] to cut off the blades of our oars and use the plank of some boxes which have heretofore held other articles, and put those articles into sacks of rawhide which I have had made for the purpose. By this means I have obtained as many boards as will make 20 saddles, which I suppose will be sufficient for our present exigencies. The Indians with us behave themselves extremely well.

This morning, Captain Clark set out at 6 in the morning, and soon after arrived near their camp, they [the Shoshones] having removed about 2 miles higher up the river than the camp at which they were when I first visited them. The chief requested a halt, which was complied with, and a number of the Indians came out from the village and joined them. After smoking a few pipes with them, they all proceeded to the village, where Captain Clark was conducted to a large lodge prepared in the center of the encampment for himself and party. Here they gave him one salmon and some cakes of dried berries. He now repeated to them what had been said to them in council at this place, which was repeated to the village by the chief. When he had concluded this address, he requested a guide to accompany him down the river, and an elderly man was pointed out by the chief who consented to undertake this task. This was the old man of whom Cameahwait had spoken as a person well acquainted with the country to the north of this river.

Captain Lewis, 20 August 1805

 

The party pursued their several occupations, as yesterday. By evening I had all the baggage, saddles, and harnesses completely ready for a march. After dark, I made the men take the baggage to the cache and deposit it. I believe we have been unperceived by the Indians in this movement.

This morning early, Captain Clark resumed his march. At the distance of five miles, he arrived at some brush lodges of the Shoshones inhabited by about seven families. Here he halted.

Captain Lewis, 21 August 1805

 

This morning early, I sent a couple of men to complete the covering of the cache, which could not be done well last night in the dark. They soon accomplished their work and returned. Late last night Drouilliard returned with a fawn he had killed, and a considerable quantity of Indian plunder.

The anecdote with respect to the latter is perhaps worthy of relation. He informed me that, while hunting in the cove yesterday, about 12 o'clock he came suddenly upon an Indian camp at which there were a young man, an old man, and a boy and three women; they seemed but little surprised at seeing him, and he rode up to them and dismounted turning his horse out to graze. These people had just finished their repast on some roots. He entered into conversation with them by signs, and after about 20 minutes one of the women spoke to the others of the party, and they all went immediately and collected their horses, brought them to camp, and saddled them. At this moment, he thought he would also set out and continue his hunt, and accordingly walked to catch his horse at some little distance, and neglected to take up his gun, which he left at camp.

The Indians, perceiving him at the distance of fifty paces, immediately mounted their horses, the young man took the gun, and the whole of them left their baggage, and laid whip to their horses, directing their course to the pass of the mountains. Finding himself deprived of his gun, he immediately mounted his horse and pursued.

After running them about 10 miles, the horses of two of the women nearly gave out and the young fellow with the gun, from their frequent cries, slackened his pace and, being on a very fleet horse, rode around the women at a little distance. At length Drouilliard overtook the women and by signs convinced them that he did not wish to hurt them. They then halted, and the young fellow approached still nearer. He asked him for his gun, but the only part of the answer which he could understand, was "Pahkee," which he knew to be the name by which they called their enemies.

Watching his opportunity when the fellow was off his guard, he suddenly rode alongside of him, seized his gun, and wrested it out of his hands. The fellow, finding Drouilliard too strong for him and discovering that he must yield the gun, had presence of mind to open the pan and cast the priming before he let the gun escape from his hands. Now finding himself divested of the gun, he turned his horse about and laid whip, leaving the women to follow him as well as they could. Drouilliard now returned to the place they had left their baggage and brought it with him to my camp.

At 11 a.m. Charbonneau, the Indian woman, Cameahwait, and about 50 men, with a number of women and children, arrived. They encamped near us. After they had turned out their horses and arranged their camp, I called the chiefs and warriors together and addressed them; gave them some further presents, particularly the second and third chiefs, who, it appeared, had agreeably to their promise exerted themselves in my favor.

Captain Lewis, 22 August 1805

 

I wished to have set out this morning, but the chief requested that I would wait until another party of his nation arrived which he expected today. To this I consented from necessity, and therefore sent out the hunters. I also laid up the canoes this morning in a pond near the forks; sunk them in the water and weighted them down with stone, after taking out the plugs of the gage holes in their bottoms,. hoping by this means to guard against both the effects of high water and that of the fire which is frequently kindled in these plains by the natives. The Indians have promised to do them no intentional injury, and I believe they are too lazy at any rate to give themselves the trouble to raise them from their present situation in order to cut or burn them.

At three p.m. the expected party of Indians arrived, about 50 men, women, and children. There was a good deal of anxiety on the part of some of those who had promised to assist me over the mountains; I felt some uneasiness on this subject, but as they still said they would return with me as they had promised, I said nothing to them but resolved to set out in the morning as early as possible.

Captain Clark set out this morning very early and proceeded but slowly in consequence of the difficulty of his road, which lay along the steep side of a mountain over large irregular and broken masses of rocks which had tumbled from the upper part of the mountain. It was with much risk and pain that the horses could get on. At the distance of four miles, he arrived at the river, and the rocks here were so steep and jutted into the river in such manner that there was no other alternative but passing through the river. This he attempted with success, though the water was so deep for a short distance as to swim the horses and was very rapid.

He continued his route one mile along the edge of the river under this steep cliff to a little bottom, below which the whole current of the river beat against the starboard shore on which he was, and which was formed of a solid rock perfectly inaccessible to horses. Here also the little track, which he had been pursuing, terminated. He therefore determined to leave the horses and the majority of the party here and, with his guide and three men, to continue his route down the river still further, in order more fully to satisfy himself as to its practicability.

Accordingly, he directed the men to hunt and fish at this place until his return. They had not killed anything today but one goose, and the balance of the little provision they had brought with them, as well as the five salmon they had procured yesterday, were consumed last evening. There was, of course, no inducement for his halting at any time, at this place.

After a few minutes, he continued his route, clambering over immense rocks and along the sides of lofty precipices on the border of the river to the distance of 12 miles.

He saw some late appearance of Indians having been encamped, and the tracks of a number of horses. Captain Clark halted here about 2 hours, caught some small fish on which, with the addition of some berries, they dined. The river, from the place at which he left the party to his present station, was one continued rapid, in which there were five shoals, neither of which could be passed with loaded canoes, nor even run with empty ones. At those several places, therefore, it would be necessary to unload and transport the baggage for a considerable distance over steep and almost inaccessible rocks where there was no possibility of employing horses for the relief of the men. The canoes would next have to be let down by cords, and even with this precaution, Captain Clark conceived there would be much risk of both canoes and men.

After dinner, Captain Clark continued his route down the river and at 1/2 a mile passed another creek not so large as that just mentioned, or about 5 yards wide. Here his guide informed him that by ascending this creek some distance, they would have a better road, and would cut off a considerable bend which the river made to the south. Accordingly, he pursued a well-beaten Indian track, which led up this creek about six miles, then, leaving the creek on the right, he passed over a ridge; and at the distance of a mile, arrived at the river where it passes through a well-timbered bottom of about eighty acres of land. They passed this bottom and ascended a steep and elevated point of a mountain from whence the guide showed him the break of the river through the mountains for about 20 miles further. This view was terminated by one of the most lofty mountains, Captain Clark informed me, he had ever seen which was perfectly covered with snow.

Captain Clark, being now perfectly satisfied as to the impracticability of this route either by land or water, informed the old man that he was convinced of the veracity of his assertions and would now return to the village from whence they had set out, where he expected to meet myself and party.

Captain Lewis, 23 August 1805

 

As the Indians who were on their way down the Missouri had a number of spare horses with them, I thought it probable that I could obtain some of them and therefore desired the chief to speak to them and inform me whether they would trade. They gave no positive answer but requested to see the goods which I was willing to give in exchange. I now produced some battle axes which I had made at Fort Mandan, with which they were much pleased. Knives also seemed in great demand among them. I soon purchased three horses and a mule.

I had now nine horses and a mule, and two which I had hired made twelve. These I had loaded, and the Indian women took the balance of the baggage. I had given the interpreter some articles with which to purchase a horse for the woman, which he had obtained. At twelve o'clock we set out, and passed the river below the forks, directing our route toward the cove along the track formerly mentioned. Most of the horses were heavily laden, and it appears to me that it will require at least 25 horses to convey our baggage along such roads as I expect we shall be obliged to pass in the mountains. I had now the inexpressible satisfaction to find myself once more under way with all my baggage and party.

Captain Lewis, 24 August 1805

 

I wrote a letter to Captain Lewis informing him of the prospects before us and information received of my guide which I thought favorable, &c., and stating two plans, one of which for us to pursue, &c., and dispatched one man and horse, and directed the party to get ready to march back. Every man appeared disheartened from the prospects of the river, and nothing to eat. I set out late and camped 2 miles above. Nothing to eat but chokecherries and red haws, which act in different ways so as to make us sick. Dew very heavy, my bedding wet. In passing around a rock, the horses were obliged to go deep into the water.

The plan I stated to Captain Lewis--if he agrees with me we shall adopt--is: to procure as many horses (one for each man if possible) and to hire my present guide, whom I sent on to him to interrogate through the interpreter, and proceed on by land to some navigable part of the Columbia River, or to the ocean, depending on what provisions we can procure by the gun added to the small stock we have on hand, depending on our horses as the last resort.

A second plan: to divide the party, one part to attempt this difficult river with what provisions we have, and the remainder to pass by land on horseback, depending on our guns &c., for provisions, &c., and come together occasionally on the river. The first of which I would be most pleased with, &c.

Captain Clark, 24 August 1805

 

Some time after we had halted, Charbonneau mentioned to me, with apparent unconcern, that he expected to meet all the Indians from the camp on the Columbia tomorrow on their way to the Missouri. Alarmed at this information, I asked why he expected to meet them. He then informed me that the first chief had dispatched some of his young men this morning to this camp requesting the Indians to meet them tomorrow, and that himself and those with him would go on with them down the Missouri, and consequently leave me and my baggage on the mountain or thereabouts.

I was out of patience with the folly of Charbonneau, who had not sufficient sagacity to see the consequences which would inevitably flow from such a movement of the Indians. Although he had been in possession of this information since early in the morning, when it had been communicated to him by his Indian woman, yet he never mentioned it until the afternoon. I could not forbear speaking to him with some degree of asperity on this occasion.

I saw that there was no time to be lost in having those orders countermanded, or that we should not in all probability obtain any more horses or even get my baggage to the waters of the Columbia. I therefore called the three chiefs together and, having smoked a pipe with them, I asked them if they were men of their word, and whether I could depend on the promises they had made me. They readily answered in the affirmative. I then asked them if they had not promised to assist me with my baggage to their camp on the other side of the mountains, or to the place at which Captain Clark might build the canoes, should I wish it. They acknowledged that they had.

I then asked them why they had requested their people on the other side of the mountain to meet them tomorrow on the mountain, where there would be no possibility of our remaining together for the purpose of trading for their horses as they had also promised. That if they had not promised to have given me their assistance in transporting my baggage to the waters on the other side of the mountain, that I should not have attempted to pass the mountains, but would have returned down the river and that, in that case, they would never have seen any more white men in their country. That if they wished the white men to be their friends and to assist them against their enemies by furnishing them with arms, and keeping their enemies from attacking them, that they must never promise us anything which they did not mean to perform. That when I had first seen them they had doubted what I told them about the arrival of the party of white men in canoes, that they had been convinced that what I told them on that occasion was true; why then would they doubt what I said on any other point? I told them that they had witnessed my liberality in dividing the meat which my hunters killed with them; and that I should continue to give such of them as assisted me a part of whatever we had ourselves to eat; and finally concluded by telling them if they intended to keep the promises they had made me, to dispatch one of their young men immediately with orders to their people to remain where they were until our arrival.

The two inferior chiefs said that they wished to assist me and be as good as their word, and that they had not sent for their people, that it was the first chief who had done so, and they did not approve of the measure. Cameahwait remained silent for some time. At length, he told me that he knew he had done wrong; but that he had been induced to that measure from seeing all his people hungry; but, as he had promised to give me his assistance, he would not in future be worse than his word. I then desired him to send immediately and countermand his orders. Accordingly, a young man was sent for this purpose and I gave him a handkerchief to engage him in my interest.

Captain Lewis, 25 August 1805

 

We collected our horses and set out at sunrise. We soon arrived at the extreme source of the Missouri. Here I halted a few minutes. The men drank of the water and consoled themselves with the idea of having at length arrived at this long-wished-for point. From hence we proceeded to a fine spring on the side of the mountain, where I had lain the evening before I first arrived at the Shoshone camp. Here I halted to dine, and graze our horses, there being fine green grass on that part of the hillside which was moistened by the water of the spring, while the grass on the other parts was perfectly dry and parched with the sun. I directed a pint of corn to be given each Indian who was engaged in transporting our baggage, and about the same quantity to each of the men, which they parched, pounded, and made into soup. One of the women who had been assisting in the transportation of the baggage halted at a little run about a mile behind us, and sent on the two pack horses which she had been conducting by one of her female friends. I inquired of Cameahwait the cause of her detention and was informed by him, in an unconcerned manner, that she had halted to bring forth a child and would soon overtake us. In about an hour the woman arrived with her newborn babe and passed us on her way to the camp, apparently as well as she ever was.

Cameahwait requested that we would discharge our guns when we arrived in sight of the village. Accordingly, when I arrived on an eminence above the village in the plain, I drew up the party at open order in a single rank, and gave them a running fire, discharging two rounds. They appeared much gratified with this exhibition. We then proceeded to the village or encampment of brush lodges, 32 in number. I found Colter here, who had just arrived with a letter from Captain Clark, in which Captain Clark had given me an account of his peregrination and the description of the river and country as before detailed. From this view of the subject I found it a folly to think of attempting to descend this river in canoes, and therefore determined to commence the purchase of horses in the morning from the Indians in order to carry into execution the design we had formed of passing the Rocky Mountains.

I now informed Cameahwait of my intended expedition overland to the great river which lay in the plains beyond the mountains, and told him that I wished to purchase 20 horses of himself and his people to convey our baggage. He observed that the Minnetarees had stolen a great number of their horses this spring but hoped his people would spare me the number I wished. I also asked another guide; he observed that he had no doubt but the old man who was with Captain Clark would accompany us if we wished him and that he was better informed of the country than any of them. Matters being thus far arranged, I directed the fiddle to be played and the party danced very merrily, much to the amusement and gratification of the natives, though I must confess that the state of my own mind at this moment did not well accord with the prevailing mirth.

Captain Lewis, 26 August 1805

 

A cloudy morning. Rained some last night. We set out early and proceeded on up the [Fish] Creek, crossed a large fork from the right and one from the left, and at 8 [7 1/2 ] miles left the road on which we were pursuing and which leads over to the Missouri, and proceeded up a west fork [of Fish Creek] without a road. Proceeded on through thickets in which we were obliged to cut a road, over rocky hillsides where our horses were in perpetual danger of slipping to their certain destruction, and up and down steep hills where several horses fell. Some turned over and others slipped down steep hillsides. One horse crippled, and two gave out. One load left about two miles back, the horse on which it was carried, crippled.

Captain Clark, 2 September 1805

 

A cloudy morning. Horses very stiff. Sent two men back with the horse on which Captain Lewis rode, for the load left back last night-which detained us until 8 o'clock, at which time we set out. The country is timbered with pine generally. The bottoms have a great variety of shrubs, and the fir trees in great abundance. Hills high and rocky on each side. In the after part of the day, the high mountains closed the creek on each side and obliged us to take on the steep sides of those mountains-so steep that the horses could scarcely keep from slipping down. Several slipped and injured themselves very much. At dusk it began to snow; at 3 o'clock some rain. The mountains [we had passed] to the east covered with snow. We met with a great misfortune in having our last thermometer broken by accident. This day we passed over immense hills, and some of the worst roads that ever horses passed. Our horses frequently fell. Snow about 2 inches deep when it began to rain, which terminated in a sleet storm.

Captain Clark, 3 September 1805

 

We set out early, the morning cloudy, and proceeded on down the right side of Kooskooskee River, over steep points, rocky and bushy as usual, for 4 miles to an old Indian fishing place. Here the road leaves the river to the left and ascends a mountain, winding in every direction to get up the steep ascents and to pass the immense quantity of falling timber which had been falling from different causes-i.e., fire and wind-and has deprived the greater part of the southerly sides of this mountain of its green timber.

Four miles up the mountain I found a spring and halted for the rear to come up, and to let our horses rest and feed. ln about 2 hours, the rear of the party came up much fatigued, and horses more so. Several horses slipped and rolled down steep hills, which hurt them very much. The one which carried my desk and small trunk turned over and rolled down a mountain for 40 yards and lodged against a tree. Broke the desk; the horse escaped and appeared but little hurt. Some others very much hurt.

Captain Clark, 15 September 1805

 

Captain Clark set out this morning to go ahead with six hunters. There being no game in these mountains, we concluded it would be better for one of us to take the hunters and hurry on to the level country ahead and there hunt and provide some provisions, while the other remained with and brought on the party. The latter of these was my part. Accordingly, I directed the horses to be gotten up early, being determined to force my march as much as the abilities of our horses would permit. The negligence of one of the party (Willard), who had a spare horse, in not attending to him and bringing him up last evening, was the cause of our detention this morning until 1/2 after eight A.M., when we set out. I sent Willard back to search for his horse, and proceeded on with the party. At four in the evening, he overtook us without the horse. We marched 18 miles this day and encamped on the side of a steep mountain. We suffered for water this day, passing one rivulet only. We were fortunate in finding water in a steep ravine about 1/2 mile from our camp. This morning we finished the remainder of our last colt. We dined and supped on a scant proportion of portable soup, a few canisters of which, a little bear's oil, and about 20 pounds of candles form our stock of provision, the only resources being our guns and pack horses. The first is but a poor dependence in our present situation, where there is nothing upon earth except ourselves and a few small pheasants, small gray squirrels, and a blue bird of the vulture kind about the size of a turtledove or jaybird. Our route lay along the ridge of a high mountain. Course S. 20 W. 18 miles. Used the snow for cooking.

Captain Lewis, 18 September 1805

 

A fair morning. Cold. I proceeded on in advance with six hunters. Made 32 miles and encamped on a bold running creek passing to the left, which I call Hungry Creek, as at that place we had nothing to eat.

Captain Clark, 18 September 1805

 

Set out this morning a little after sunrise and continued our route about the same course of yesterday, or S. 20 W. for 6 miles when the ridge terminated and we, to our inexpressible joy, discovered a large tract of prairie country lying to the S.W., and widening as it appeared to extend to the W. Through that plain the Indian informed us that the Columbia River - of which we were in search-ran.

After leaving the ridge, we ascended and descended several steep mountains in the distance of 6 miles further when we struck a creek about 15 yards wide, our course being S. 35 W. The road was excessively dangerous along this creek, being a narrow rocky path, generally on the side of a steep precipice, from which, in many places, if either man or horse were precipitated, they would inevitably be dashed to pieces. Frazer's horse fell from this road in the evening, and rolled with his load near a hundred yards into the creek. We all expected that the horse was killed, but to our astonishment, when the load was taken off him, he arose to his feet and appeared to be but little injured. In 20 minutes he proceeded with his load. This was the most wonderful escape I ever witnessed. The hill down which he rolled was almost perpendicular and broken by large, irregular, and broken rocks.

Captain Lewis, 19 September 1805

 

Set out early. Proceeded on up the Hungry Creek, passing through a small glade at 6 miles, at which place we found a horse. I directed him killed and hung up for the party after taking a breakfast off for ourselves, which we thought fine.

Captain Lewis, 19 September 1805

 

I set out early and proceeded on through a country as rugged as usual. Passed over a low mountain into the forks of a large creek which I kept down 2 miles, and ascended a high steep mountain leaving the creek to our left hand. Passed the head of several drains on a dividing ridge, and at 12 miles descended the mountain to a level pine country. Proceeded on through a beautiful country for three miles to a small plain in which I found many Indian lodges.

At the distance of 1 mile from the lodges, I met 3 Indian boys. When they saw me, they ran and hid themselves in the grass. I dismounted, gave my gun and horse to one of the men, searched in the grass, and found 2 of the boys. Gave them small pieces of ribbon, and sent them forward to the village. Soon after, a man came out to meet me with great caution, and conducted me [us] to a large spacious lodge, which he told me, by signs, was the lodge of his great chief, who had set out 3 days previous with all the warriors of the nation to war, on a southwest direction, and would return in 15 or 18 days. The few men that were left in the village, and great numbers of women, gathered around me with much apparent signs of fear, and appear pleased. They (those people) gave us a small piece of buffalo meat, some dried salmon berries, and roots in different states-some round and much like an onion, which they call pas-she-co. Of this they make bread and soup. They also gave us the bread made of this root, all of which we ate heartily. I gave them a few small articles as presents and proceeded on with a chief to his village-2 miles in the same plain.

Captain Lewis, 20 September 1805

 

A fine morning. Sent out all the hunters in different directions to hunt deer. I myself delayed with the chief to prevent suspicion, and to collect, by signs, as much information as possible about the river and country in advance. The chief drew me a kind of chart of the river, and informed me that a greater chief than himself was fishing at the river half a day's march from his village, that he was called The Twisted Hair; and that the river forked a little below his camp. At a long distance below, and below two large forks-one from the left and the other from the right-the river passed through the mountains, at which place was a great fall of the water passing through the rocks. At those falls, white people lived from whom they procured the white beads, and brass, &c., which the women wore.

A chief of another band visited me today and smoked a pipe. I gave my handkerchief and a silver cord with a little tobacco to those chiefs. The hunters all return without anything. I purchased as much provisions as I could with what few things I chanced to have in my pockets, such as salmon, bread, roots, and berries, and sent one man - R. Fields - with an Indian to meet Captain Lewis, and at 4 o'clock P.M. set out to the river.

Met a man at dark on his way from the river to the village, whom I hired and gave the neck handkerchief of one of the men, to pilot me to the camp of The Twisted Hair. We did not arrive at the camp of The Twisted Hair, but opposite, until half past 11 o'clock P.M. Found at this camp five squaws and 3 children. My guide called to the chief, who was encamped with 2 others on a small island in the river. He soon joined me. I found him a cheerful man with apparent sincerity. I gave him a medal, &c., and smoked until one o'clock A.M., and went to sleep.

Captain Clark, 21 September 1805

 

We had proceeded about two and a half miles when we met Reuben Fields, one of our hunters, whom Captain Clark had dispatched to meet us with some dried fish and roots that he had procured from a band of Indians, whose lodges were about eight miles in advance. I ordered the party to halt for the purpose of taking some refreshment. I divided the fish, roots, and berries, and was happy to find a sufficiency to satisfy completely all our appetites. Fields also killed a crow.

After refreshing ourselves, we proceeded to the village - due west 7 1/2 miles-where we arrived at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Our route was through lands heavily timbered, the larger wood entirely pine. The country, except the last 3 miles, was broken and descending. The pleasure I now felt in having triumphed over the Rocky Mountains, and descending once more to a level and fertile country, where there was every rational hope of finding a comfortable subsistence for myself and party, can be more readily conceived than expressed. Nor was the flattering prospect of the final success of the expedition less pleasing.

On our approach to the village, which consisted of eighteen lodges, most of the women fled to the neighboring woods on horseback with their children-a circumstance I did not expect, as Captain Clark had previously been with them and informed them of our pacific intentions toward them, and also the time at which we should most probably arrive. The men seemed but little concerned, and several of them came to meet us at a short distance from their lodges, unarmed.

Captain Lewis, 22 September 1805

 

Set out with the chief and his son on a young horse for the village, at which place I expected to meet Captain Lewis. This young horse in fright threw himself and me 3 times, on the side of a steep hill, and hurt my hip much. Caught a colt which we found on the road, and I rode it for several miles until we saw the chief's horses. He caught one, and we arrived at his village at sunset, and himself and myself walked up to the second village, where I found Captain Lewis and the party encamped, much fatigued and hungry, much rejoiced to find something to eat, of which they appeared to partake plentifully. I cautioned them of the consequences of eating too much, &c.

The plains appeared covered with spectators viewing the white men and the articles which we had. Our party weakened and much reduced in flesh as well as strength. The horse I left hung up they received at a time they were in great want, and the supply I sent by R. Fields proved timely, and gave great encouragement to the party with Captain Lewis. He lost 3 horses, one of which belonged to our guide. Those Indians stole out of R.F.'s shot pouch his knife, wipers, compass, and steel, which we could not procure from them. We attempted to have some talk with those people, but could not, for the want of an interpreter through which we could speak. We were compelled to converse altogether by signs. I got The Twisted Hair to draw the river from his camp down, which he did with great cheerfulness on a white elk skin.

Captain Clark, 22 September 1805

 

Downstream Toward the Coast

We assembled the principal men as well as the chiefs and by signs informed them where we came from, where bound, our wish to inculcate peace and good understanding between all the red people, &c., which appeared to satisfy them much. We then gave two other medals to other chiefs of bands, a flag to The Twisted Hair. Left a flag and handkerchief to the grand chief, gave a shirt to The Twisted Hair, and a knife and handkerchief with a small piece of tobacco to each. Finding that those people gave no provisions today, we determined to purchase with our small articles of merchandise; accordingly, we purchased all we could, such as roots dried, in bread, and in their raw state, berries of red hews and fish, and in the evening set out and proceeded on to the 2nd village, 2 miles distant, where we also purchased a few articles, all amounting to as much as our weak horses could carry to the river. Captain Lewis and 2 men very sick this evening. My hip very painful. The men trade a few old tin canisters for dressed elk skin to make themselves shirts.

Captain Clark, 23 September 1805

 

Dispatched J. Colter back to hunt the horses lost in the mountains and bring up some shot left behind, and at 10 o'clock we all set out for the river and proceeded on by the same route I had previously traveled, and at sunset we arrived at the island on which I found The Twisted Hair, and formed a camp on a large island a little below. Captain Lewis scarcely able to ride on a gentle horse which was furnished by the chief. Several men so unwell that they were compelled to lie on the side of the road for some time. Others obliged to be put on horses. I gave Rush's pills to the sick this evening.

Captain Clark, 24 September 1805

 

A very hot day. Most of the party complaining, and 2 of our hunters left here on the 22nd very sick; they had killed only two bucks in my absence. I set out early with the chief and 2 young men to hunt some trees calculated to build canoes, as we had previously determined to proceed on by water. I was furnished with a horse, and we proceeded on down the river. Crossed a creek at 1 mile and passed down on the north side of the river to a fork. We halted about an hour. One of the young men took his gig and killed 6 fine salmon, two of them were roasted and we ate. I crossed the south fork and proceeded up on the south side, the most of the way through a narrow pine bottom in which I saw fine timber for canoes.

When I arrived at camp, found Captain Lewis very sick, several men also very sick. I gave some salts and tartar emetic. We determined to go to where the best timber was and there form a camp.

Captain Clark, 25 September 1805

 

All the men able to work commenced building 5 canoes. Several taken sick at work. Our hunters returned sick without meat. J. Colter returned. He found only one of the lost horses. On his way, killed a deer, half of which he gave the Indians. The other proved nourishing to the sick. Captain Lewis very sick. Nearly all the men sick. Our Shoshone Indian guide employed himself making flint points for his arrows.

Captain Clark, 27 September 1805

 

All our men getting better in health and at work at the canoes. The Indians who visited us from below set out on their return early. Several others come from different directions.

Captain Clark, 3 October 1805

 

I feel myself very unwell. All the canoes in the water. We load and set out, after fixing all our poles, &c. The afternoon cloudy. Proceed on, passing many bad rapids. One canoe, that in which I went in front, sprung a leak in passing the third rapid.

Captain Clark, 7 October 1805

 

A cloudy morning. Loaded our canoes, which were unloaded last night, and set out at 9 o'clock. Passed a creek on the starboard side at 16 miles, just below which one canoe, in which Sergeant Gass was steering, was near turning over. She sprung a leak or split open on one side, and bottom filled with water and sunk on the rapid. The men, several of whom could not swim, hung on to the canoe. I had one of the other canoes unloaded and, with the assistance of our small canoe and one Indian canoe, took out everything and towed the empty canoe on shore. One man, Thompson, a little hurt. Everything wet, particularly the greater part of our small stock of merchandise. Had everything opened, and two sentinels put over them to keep off the Indians, who are inclined to thievery, having stolen several small articles. Those people appeared disposed to give us every assistance in their power during our distress.

Captain Clark, 8 October 1805

 

In examining our canoe, found that by putting knees and strong pieces primed to her sides and bottom, &c., she could be made fit for service by the time the goods dried. Set 4 men to work at her: Sergeants Pryor and Gass, Joe Fields and Gibson; others to collect resin. At 1 o'clock she was finished, stronger than ever. The wet articles, not sufficiently dried to pack up, obliged us to delay another night. During that time, one man was trading for fish for our voyage. At dark, we were informed that our old guide and his son had left us, and had been seen running up the river several miles above. We could not account for the cause of his leaving us at this time, without receiving his pay for the services he had rendered us or letting us know anything of his intention.

We requested the chief to send a horseman after our old guide, to come back and receive his pay, &c., which he advised us not to do, as his nation would take his things from him before he passed their camps.

Captain Clark, 9 October 1805

 

Loaded and set out at 7 o'clock. Passed a creek on the larboard with wide cotton willow bottoms, having passed an island and a rapid.

We arrived at the head of a very bad riffle, at which place we landed. After viewing this riffle, two canoes were taken over very well. The third stuck on a rock which took us an hour to get her off, which was effected without her receiving a greater injury than a small split in her side, which was repaired in a short time. We purchased fish and dogs of those people, dined, and proceeded on. Here we met with an Indian from the falls, at which place he says he saw white people, and expressed an inclination to accompany us. Arrived at a large southerly fork. This South Fork or Lewis's River has two forks, which fall into it on the south.

Captain Clark, 10 October 1805

 

We set out early and proceeded on. Passed a rapid at two miles. At 6 miles we came to at some Indian lodges and took breakfast. We purchased all the fish we could, and seven dogs, of those people for stores of provisions down the river. At this place I saw a curious sweat house underground, with a small hole at top to pass in or throw in the hot stones, which those inside threw on as much water as to create the temperature of heat they wished. At 9 mile, passed a rapid. At 15 miles, halted at an Indian lodge to purchase provisions, of which we procured some roots, five dogs, and a few fish dried. After taking some dinner of dog, &c., we proceeded on. Came to and encamped at 2 Indian lodges at a great place of fishing. Here we met an Indian of a nation near the mouth of this river. We purchased three dogs and a few fish of those Indians. We passed today nine rapids, all of them great fishing places. At different places on the river, saw Indian houses and slabs and split timber raised from the ground, being the different parts of the houses of the natives.

Captain Clark, 11 October 1805

 

A very cold morning. At 2 1/2 miles passed a remarkable rock, very large and resembling the hull of a ship. Passed rapids at 6 and 9 miles. At 12 miles we came to at the head of a rapid which the Indians told me was very bad. We viewed the rapid, found it bad in descending. Three stern canoes stuck fast for some time on the head of the rapid, and one struck a rock in the worst part. Fortunately, all landed safe below the rapid, which was nearly 3 miles in length. Here we dined, and for the first time for three weeks past, I had a good dinner of blue-winged teal.

After dinner we set out and had not proceeded on two miles before our stern canoe, in passing through a short rapid opposite the head of an island, ran on a smooth rock and turned broadside. The men got out on the rock, all except one of our Indian chiefs, who swam on shore. The canoe filled and sank. A number of articles floated out, such as the men's bedding, clothes, and skins, the lodge, &c., &c., the greater part of which were caught by 2 of the canoes, while a third was unloading and stemming the swift curent to the relief of the men on the rock, who could with much difficulty hold the canoe. However, in about an hour we got the men and canoe to shore, with the loss of some bedding, tomahawks, shot pouches, skins, clothes, &c., &c., all wet. We had every article exposed to the sun to dry on the island.

Our loss in provisions is very considerable. All our roots were in the canoe that sank, and cannot be dried sufficient to save. Our loose powder was also in the canoe and is all wet. This I think may be saved. In this island we found some split timber, the parts of a house which the Indians had very securely covered with stone. We also observed a place where the Indians had buried their fish. We have made it a point at all times not to take anything belonging to the Indians, even their wood. But at this time we are compelled to violate that rule and take a part of the split timber we find here buried for firewood, as no other is to be found in any direction.

Captain Clark, 14 October 1805

 

A cool morning. Determined to run the rapids. Put our Indian guide in front, our small canoe next, and the other four following each other. The canoes all passed over safe except the rear canoe, which ran fast on a rock at the lower part of the rapids. With the early assistance of the other canoes and the Indians, who were extremely alert, everything was taken out, and the canoe got off without any injury further than the articles with which it was loaded getting all wet. At 14 miles passed a bad rapid, at which place we unloaded and made a portage of 3/4 of a mile, having passed 4 smaller rapids, three islands, and the parts of a house above. I saw Indians and horses on the south side below. Five Indians came up the river in great haste. We smoked with them and gave them a piece of tobacco to smoke with their people, and sent them back. After getting safely over the rapid and having taken dinner, set out and proceeded on seven miles to the junction of this river and the Columbia, which joins from the northwest.

We halted above the point on the river Kimooenim to smoke with the Indians who had collected there in great numbers to view us. Here we met our 2 chiefs who left us two days ago and proceeded on to this place to inform those bands of our approach and friendly intentions toward all nations, &c. We also met the 2 men who had passed us several days ago on horseback; one of them, we observed, was a man of great influence with those Indians - harangued them. After smoking with the Indians who had collected to view us we formed a camp at the point near which place I saw a few pieces of driftwood.

After we had our camp fixed and fires made, a chief came up from this camp, which was about 1/4 of a mile up the Columbia River, at the head of about 200 men singing and beating on their drums and keeping time to the music. They formed a half-circle around us and sang for some time. We gave them all smoke, and spoke to their chief as well as we could by signs, informing them of our friendly disposition to all nations, and our joy in seeing those of our children around us. Gave the principal chief a large medal, shirt, and handkerchief; a second chief a medal of small size, and to the chief who came down from the upper villages a small medal and handkerchief.

Captain Clark, 16 October 1805

 

The Great Chief and one of the Chimnapum nation drew me a sketch of the Columbia and the tribes of his nation living on the banks, and its waters, and the Tapetett River which falls in 18 miles above on the westerly side.

We thought it necessary to lay in a store of provisions for our voyage, and the fish being out of season, we purchased forty dogs, for which we gave articles of little value, such as bells, thimbles, knitting pins, brass wire, and a few beads, with all of which they appeared well satisfied and pleased.

Everything being arranged, we took in our two chiefs, and set out on the great Columbia River, having left our guide and the two young men. Two of them inclined not to proceed on any further, and the third could be of no service to us as he did not know the river below.

Passed 4 islands. At the upper point of the 3rd is a rapid. On this island are two lodges of Indians, drying fish. On the fourth island are nine large lodges of Indians, drying fish on scaffolds. At this place we were called to to land. As it was near night and no appearance of wood, we proceeded on about 2 miles lower to some willows, at which place we observed a drift log. Formed a camp on the larboard side.

Soon after we landed, our old chiefs informed us that the large camp above "was the camp of the 1st chief of all the tribes in this quarter, and that he had called to us to land and stay all night with him, that he had plenty of wood for us." This would have been agreeable to us, if it had been understood, particularly as we were compelled to use dried willows for fuel for the purpose of cooking. We requested the old chiefs to walk up on the side we had landed and call to the chief to come down and stay with us all night, which they did. Late at night, the chief came down accompanied by 20 men, and formed a camp a short distance above. The chief brought with him a large basket of mashed berries, which he left at our lodge as a present.

Captain Clark, 18 October 1805

 

The Great Chief Yelleppit, two other chiefs, and a chief of a band below presented themselves to us very early this morning. We smoked with them, informed them, as we had all others above, as well as we could by signs, of our friendly intentions toward our red children, particularly those who opened their ears to our counsels. We gave a medal, a handkerchief, and a string of wampum to Yelleppit and a string of wampum to each of the others. Yelleppit is a bold, handsome Indian, with a dignified countenance, about 35 years of age.

Great numbers of Indians came down in canoes to view us before we set out, which was not until 9 o'clock A.M. We arrived at the head of a very bad rapid. As the channel appeared to be close under the opposite shore and it would be necessary to lighten our canoe, I determined to walk down on the larboard side, with the two chiefs, the interpreter, and his woman, and directed the small canoe to proceed down on the larboard side to the foot of the rapid, which was about 2 miles in length.

I sent on the Indian chief &c. down, and I ascended a high cliff, about 200 feet above the water, from the top of which is a level plain, extending up the river and off for a great extent. From this place I discovered a high mountain of immense height, covered with snow. This must be one of the mountains laid down by Vancouver, as seen from the mouth of the Columbia River. From the course which it bears, which is west, I take it to be Mt. St. Helens, distant about 120 miles, a range of mountains in the direction crossing a conical mountain southwest, topped with snow.

I observed a great number of lodges on the opposite side at some distance below, and several Indians on the opposite bank passing up to where Captain Lewis was with the canoes. Others I saw on a knob nearly opposite to me, at which place they delayed but a short time before they returned to their lodges as fast as they could run. I was fearful that those people might not be informed of us. I determined to take the little canoe which was with me, and proceed with the three men in it, to the lodges. On my approach, not one person was to be seen except three men off in the plains, and they sheered off as I approached near the shore.

I landed in front of five lodges which were at no great distance from each other. Saw no person. The entrances or doors of the lodges were shut, with the same materials of which they were built-a mat. I approached one, with a pipe in my hand, entered a lodge which was the nearest to me. Found 32 persons-men, women, and a few children-sitting promiscuously in the lodge, in the greatest agitation, some crying and wringing their hands, others hanging their heads. I gave my hand to them all, and made signs of my friendly disposition, and offered the men my pipe to smoke, and distributed a few small articles which I had in my pockets. This measure pacified those distressed people very much. I then sent one man into each lodge, and entered a second myself, the inhabitants of which I found more frightened than those of the first lodge. I distributed sundry small articles among them, and smoked with the men.

I then entered the third, fourth, and fifth lodges, which I found somewhat pacified, the three men, Drouilliard, Joe and R. Fields, having used every means in their power to convince them of our friendly disposition to them. I then sat myself on a rock and made signs to the men to come and smoke with me. Not one came out until the canoes arrived with the two chiefs, one of whom spoke aloud and as was their custom to all we had passed. The Indians came out and sat by me, and smoked. They said we came from the clouds, &c., &c., and were not men, &c., &c.

This time Captain Lewis came down with the canoes in which the Indians were. As soon as they saw the squaw wife of the interpreter, they pointed to her and informed those who continued yet in the same position I first found them. They immediately all came out and appeared to assume new life. The sight of this Indian woman, wife to one of our interpreters, confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter. Captain Lewis joined us, and we smoked with those people in the greatest friendship, during which time one of our old chiefs informed them who we were, from whence we came, and where we were going; giving them a friendly account of us. Passed a small rapid and 15 lodges below the five, and encamped below an island close under the larboard side, nearly opposite to 24 lodges on an island near the middle of the river, and the main starboard shore. Soon after we landed, which was at a few willow trees, about 100 Indians came from the different lodges, and a number of them brought wood, which they gave us. We smoked with all of them, and two of our party - Peter Cruzat and Gibson - played on the violin, which delighted them greatly.

Captain Clark, 19 October 1805

 

One of our party, J. Collins, presented us with some very good beer made of the pa-shi-co- quar-mash bread, which bread is the remains of what was laid in as a part of our stores of provisions, at the first Flatheads, or Chopunnish nation at the head of the Kooskooskee River, which, by being frequently wet, molded and soured.

Captain Clark, 21 October 1805

 

I, with the greater part of the men, crossed in the canoes to opposite side above the falls and hauled them across the portage of 457 yards, which is on the larboard side and certainly the best side to pass the canoes. I then descended through a narrow channel, about 150 yards wide, forming a kind of half-circle in its course of a mile, to a pitch of 8 feet, in which the channel is divided by 2 large rocks.

At this place we were obliged to let the canoes down by strong ropes of elkskin which we had for the purpose. One canoe, in passing this place, got loose by the cords breaking, and was caught by the Indians below. I accomplished this necessary business and landed safe with all the canoes at our camp below the falls by 3 o'clock P.M. Nearly covered with fleas, which were so thick among the straw and fish skins at the upper part of the portage, at which place the natives had been camped not long since, that every man of the party was obliged to strip naked during the time of taking over the canoes, that they might have an opportunity of brushing the fleas off their legs and bodies.

Great numbers of sea otter in the river below the falls. I shot one in the narrow channel today, which I could not get. Great numbers of Indians visit us both from above and below.

We purchased 8 small fat dogs for the party to eat. The natives not being fond of selling their good fish, compels us to make use of dog meat for food, the flesh of which the most of the party have become fond of, from the habit of using it for some time past.

Captain Clark, 23 October 1805

 

Our two old chiefs expressed a desire to return to their band from this place, saying that they could be of no further service to us, as their nation extended no further down the river than those falls; they could no longer understand the language of those below the falls, till then not much difference in the vocabularies; and as the nation below had expressed hostile intentions against us, would certainly kill them, particularly as they had been at war with each other. We requested them to stay with us two nights longer, and we would see the nation below and make a peace between them. They replied that they were anxious to return and see "our horses." We insisted on their staying with us two nights longer, to which they agreed. Our views were to detain those chiefs with us until we should pass the next falls, which we were told were very bad, and at no great distance below; that they might inform us of any designs of the natives; and, if possible, to bring about a peace between them and the tribes below.

At 9 o'clock A.M. I set out with the party and proceeded on down a rapid stream about 400 yards wide. At 2 1/2 miles, the river widened into a large basin to the starboard side, on which there are five lodges of Indians. Here a tremendous black rock presented itself, high and steep, appearing to choke up the river. Nor could I see where the water passed further than the current was drawn with great velocity to the larboard side of this rock, at which place I heard a great roaring.

I landed at the lodges, and the natives went with me to the top of the rock, which makes from the starboard side; from the top of which I could see the difficulties we had to pass for several miles below. At this place, the water of this great river is compressed into a channel between two rocks, not exceeding forty-five yards wide, and continues for 1/4 of a mile, when it again widens to 200 yards, and continues this width for about 2 miles, when it is again intercepted by rocks. This obstruction in the river accounts for the water in high floods rising to such a height at the last falls. The whole of the current of this great river must at all stages pass through this narrow channel of 45 yards wide. As the portage of our canoes over this high rock would be impossible with our strength, and the only danger in passing through those narrows was the whorls and swells arising from the compression of the water; and which I thought-as also our principal waterman, Peter Cruzat - by good steering we could pass down safe. Accordingly, I determined to pass through this place notwithstanding the horrid appearance of this agitated gut, swelling, boiling, and whorling in every direction, which, from the top of the rock, did not appear as bad as when I was in it. However, we passed safe-to the astonishment of all the Indians of the last lodges, who viewed us from the top of the rock.

Passed one lodge below this rock, and halted on the starboard side to view a very bad place: the current divided by 2 islands of rocks, the lower of them large and in the middle of the river. This place being very bad, I sent by land all the men who could not swim and such articles as were most valuable to us-such as papers, guns, and ammunition-and proceeded down with the canoes, two at a time, to a village of 20 wood houses in a deep bend to the starboard side, below which was a rugged black rock about 20 feet higher than the common high floods of the river, with several dry channels which appeared to choke the river up, quite across. This I took to be the second falls, or the place the natives above call timm.

The natives of this village received me very kindly; one of whom invited me into his house, which I found to be large and commodious, and the first wooden houses in which Indians have lived, since we left those in the vicinity of the Illinois. I dispatched a sufficient number of the good swimmers back for the 2 canoes above the last rapid, and with 2 men walked down three miles to examine the river. I returned through a rocky open country infested with polecats, to the village, where I met with Captain Lewis, the two old chiefs who accompanied us, and the party and canoes, who had all arrived safe.

Captain Clark, 24 October 1805

 

Captain Lewis and myself walked down to see the place the Indians pointed out as the worst place in passing through the gut, which we found difficult of passing without great danger. But, as the portage was impractical with our large canoes, we concluded to make a portage of our most valuable articles and run the canoes through. Accordingly, on our return, divided the party: some to take over the canoes, and others to take our stores across a portage of a mile, to a place on the channel below this bad whorl and suck, with some others I had fixed on the channel with ropes to throw out to any who should unfortunately meet with difficulty in passing through. Great numbers of Indians viewing us from the high rocks under which we had to pass. The three first canoes passed through very well; the fourth nearly filled with water; the last passed through by taking in a little water. Thus, safely below what I conceived to be the worst part of this channel, felt myself extremely gratified and pleased.

We loaded the canoes and set out, and had not proceeded more than 2 miles before the unfortunate canoe which filled crossing the bad place above, ran against a rock and was in great danger of being lost. This channel is through a hard, rough black rock, from 50 to 100 yards wide, swelling and boiling in a most tremendous manner. Several places on which the Indians inform me they take the salmon as fast as they wish. We passed through a deep basin to the starboard side of 1 mile, below which the river narrows and is divided by a rock. The current we found quite gentle.

Here we met with our two old chiefs, who had been to a village below to smoke a friendly pipe, and at this place they met the chief and party from the village above, on his return from hunting, all of whom were then crossing over their horses. We landed to smoke a pipe with this chief, whom we found to be a bold, pleasing-looking man of about 50 years of age, dressed in a war jacket, a cap, leggings, and moccasins. He gave us some meat, of which he had but little, and informed us he, in his route, met with a war party of Snake Indians from the great river of the S.E., which falls in a few miles above, and had a fight. We gave this chief a medal, &c. Had a parting smoke with our two faithful friends, the chiefs who accompanied us from the head of the river.

Captain Clark, 25 October 1805

 

. . . And Gazed at the Pacific!

Examined the rapid below us more particularly. The danger appearing too great to hazard our canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not swim with loads to the end of the portage below. I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers, where I delayed until every article was brought over, and the canoes arrived safe.

Captain Clark, 2 November 1805

 

A mountain which we suppose to be Mt. Hood is S. 85 E., about 47 miles distant from the mouth of Quicksand River. This mountain is covered with snow and in the range of mountains which we have passed through and is of a conical form, but rugged. After taking dinner at the mouth of this river, we proceeded on.

Captain Clark, 3 November 1805

 

Several canoes of Indians from the village above came down, dressed for the purpose, as I supposed, of paying us a friendly visit. They had scarlet and blue blankets, sailor jackets, overalls, shirts and hats, independent of their usual dress. The most of them had either war axes, spears, or bows sprung with quivers of arrows, muskets or pistols, and tin flasks to hold their powder. Those fellows we found assuming and disagreeable. However, we smoked with them and treated them with every attention and friendship.

During the time we were at dinner, those fellows stole my pipe tomahawk which they were smoking with. I immediately searched every man and the canoes, but could find nothing of my tomahawk. While searching for the tomahawk, one of those scoundrels stole a capote [greatcoat] of one of our interpreters, which was found stuffed under the root of a tree near the place they sat. We became much displeased with those fellows, which they discovered, and moved off on their return home to their village, except two canoes which had passed on down. We proceeded on.

Captain Clark, 4 November 1805

 

We overtook two canoes of Indians, going down to trade. One of the Indians spoke a few words of English, and said that the principal man who traded with them was Mr. Haley, and that he had a woman in his canoe who Mr. Haley was fond of, &c. He showed us a bow of iron and several other things, which, he said, Mr. Haley gave him. We came to, to dine on the long narrow island. Found the woods so thick with undergrowth that the hunters could not get any distance into the island.

Captain Clark, 6 November 1805

 

Encamped under a high hill on the starboard side, opposite to a rock situated half a mile from the shore, about 50 feet high and 20 feet in diameter. We with difficulty found a place clear of the tide and sufficiently large to lie on, and the only place we could get was on round stones on which we laid our mats. Rain continued moderately all day, and two Indians accompanied us from the last village. They were detected in stealing a knife and returned. Our small canoe, which got separated in a fog this morning, joined us this evening from a large island situated nearest the larboard side, below the high hills on that side, the river being too wide to see either the form, shape, or size of the islands on the larboard side.

Great joy in camp. We are in view of the ocean, this great Pacific Ocean which we have been so long anxious to see, and the roaring or noise made by the waves breaking on the rocky shores (as I suppose) may be heard distinctly.

Captain Clark, 7 November 1805

 

We took the advantage of a returning tide and proceeded on to the second point on the starboard. Here we found the swells or waves so high that we thought it imprudent to proceed. We landed, unloaded, and drew up our canoes. Some rain all day at intervals. We are all wet and disagreeable, as we have been for several days past, and our present situation a very disagreeable one inasmuch as we have not level land sufficient for an encampment, and for our baggage to lie clear of the tide. The high hills jutting in so close and steep that we cannot retreat back, and the water of the river too salt to be used. Added to this, the waves are increasing to such a height that we cannot move from this place. In this situation, we are compelled to form our camp between the height of the ebb and flood tides, and raise our baggage on logs. We are not certain as yet if the white people who trade with those people, or from whom they procure their goods, are stationary at the mouth, or visit this quarter at stated times for the purpose of traffic, &c. I believe the latter to be the most probable conjecture. The seas rolled and tossed the canoes in such a manner this evening that several of our party were seasick.

Captain Clark, 8 November 1805

 

The tide of last night obliged us to unload all the canoes, one of which sank, before she was unloaded, by the high waves or swells which accompanied the returning tide. The others we unloaded, and 3 others were filled with water soon after by the swells or high seas which broke against the shore immediately where we lay. Rained hard all the fore part of the day. The tide, which rose until 2 o'clock P.M. today, brought with it such immense swells or waves- added to a hard wind from the south which loosened the drift trees, which are very thick on the shore, and tossed them about in such a manner-as to endanger our canoes very much. Every exertion and the strictest attention by the party was scarcely sufficient to defend our canoes from being crushed to pieces between those immensely large trees, many of them 200 feet long and 4 feet through.

Captain Clark, 9 November 1805

 

Rained very hard the greater part of last night and continues this morning. The wind has lulled and the waves are not high. We loaded our canoes and proceeded on. Passed several small and deep niches on the starboard side. We proceeded on about 10 miles; saw great numbers of sea gulls. The wind rose from the N.W., and the waves became so high that we were compelled to return about 2 miles to a place we could unload our canoes, which we did in a small niche at the mouth of a small run, on a pile of drift logs, where we continued until low water. When the river appeared calm, we loaded and set out, but were obliged to return, finding the waves too high for our canoes to ride. We again unloaded the canoes and stowed the loading on a rock above the tidewater, and formed a camp on the drift logs which appeared to be the only situation we could find to lee-the hills being either a perpendicular cliff or steep ascent, rising to about 500 feet. Our canoes we secured as well as we could. We are all wet, the rain having continued all day- our bedding and many other articles. Employ ourselves drying our blankets. Nothing to eat but dried fish, pounded, which we brought from the Falls. We made 10 miles today.

Captain Clark, 10 November 1805

 

Our situation is dangerous. We took the advantage of a low tide and moved our camp around a point to a small wet bottom, at the mouth of a brook, which we had not observed when we came to this cove, from its being very thick and obscured by drift trees and thick bushes. It would be distressing to see our situation-all wet and cold, our bedding also wet (and the robes of the party which compose half the bedding are rotten, and we are not in a situation to supply their places), in a wet bottom scarcely large enough to contain us, our baggage half a mile from us, and canoes at the mercy of the waves, although secured as well as possible-sunk, with immense parcels of stone to weight them down to prevent their dashing to pieces against the rocks. One got loose last night and was left on a rock a short distance below, without receiving more damage than a split in her bottom. Fortunately for us, our men are healthy.

Captain Clark, 12 November 1805

 

Captain Lewis concluded to proceed on by land and find, if possible, the white people the Indians say are below, and examine if a bay is situated near the mouth of this river, as laid down by Vancouver, in which we expect, if there are white traders, to find them. At 3 o'clock, he set out with four men, Drouilliard, Joseph and Reuben Fields, and R. Frazer, in one of our large canoes, and 5 men to set them around the point on the sand beach. This canoe returned nearly filled with water, at dark, which it received by the waves dashing into it on its return, having landed Captain Lewis and his party safe on the sand beach. The rain continues all day. All wet.

Captain Clark, 14 November 1805

 

Shannon informed me that he met Captain Lewis at an Indian hut about 10 miles below, who had sent him back to meet me. He also told me the Indians were thievish, as the night before they had stolen both his and Willard's rifles from under their heads [they threatened them with a large party from above, which Captain Lewis's arrival confirmed]; that they set out on their return and had not proceeded far up the beach before they met Captain Lewis, whose arrival was at a timely moment and alarmed the Indians, so that they instantly produced the guns.

I told those Indians who accompanied Shannon that they should not come near us, and if anyone of their nation stole anything from us, I would have him shot, which they understood very well.

Captain Clark, Friday, 15 November 1805

 

Captain Lewis returned, having traversed Haley Bay to Cape Disappointment, and the seacoast to the north for some distance. Several Chinook Indians followed Captain Lewis, and a canoe came up with roots, mats, &c., to sell.

Captain Clark, Cape Disappointment at the entrance of the Columbia River into the Great South Sea, or Pacific Ocean, 17 November 1805

 

I arose early this morning from under a wet blanket caused by a shower of rain which fell in the latter part of the last night, and sent two men on ahead with directions to proceed on near the seacoast and kill something for breakfast and that I should follow myself in about half an hour. After drying our blankets a little, I set out with a view to proceed near the coast, the direction of which induced me to conclude that at the distance of 8 or 10 miles, the bay was no great distance across. I overtook the hunters at about 3 miles. They had killed a small deer, on which we breakfasted. It commenced raining and continued moderately until I 1 o clock A.M.

After taking a sumptuous breakfast of venison, which was roasted on sticks exposed to the fire, I proceeded on through rugged country of high hills and steep hollows on a course from the cape, N. 20 W., 5 miles on a direct line to the commencement of a sandy coast which extended N. 10 W. from the top of the hill above the sand shore to a point of high land, distant near 20 miles. This point I have taken the liberty of calling after my particular friend, Lewis.

Captain Clark, 19 November 1805

 

Found many of the Chinooks with Captain Lewis, of whom there were 2 chiefs, Comcommoly and Chillarlawil, to whom we gave medals, and to one a flag. One of the Indians had on a robe made of two sea-otter skins. The fur of them was more beautiful than any fur I had ever seen. Both Captain Lewis and myself endeavored to purchase the robe with different articles. At length, we procured it for a belt of blue beads which the squaw wife of our interpreter Charbonneau wore around her waist.

Captain Clark, 20 November 1805

 

An old woman and wife to a chief of the Chinooks came and made a camp near ours. She brought with her 6 young squaws-her daughters and nieces-I believe for the purpose of gratifying the passions of the men of our party and receiving for those indulgences such small presents as she (the old woman) thought proper to accept of.

Those people appear to view sensuality as a necessary evil, and do not appear to abhor it as a crime in the unmarried state. The young females are fond of the attention of our men and appear to meet the sincere approbation of their friends and connections for thus obtaining their favors. The women of the Chinook nation have handsome faces, low and badly made with large legs and thighs, which are generally swelled from a stoppage of the circulation in the feet (which are small) by many strands of beads or curious strings which are drawn tight around the leg above the ankle. Their legs are also picked [tattooed] with different figures. I saw on the left arm of a squaw the following letters: J. Bowman. All those are considered by the natives of this quarter as handsome decorations.

Captain Clark, 21 November 1805

 

Captain Lewis branded a tree with his name, date, &c. I marked my name, the day and year, on an alder tree. The party all cut the first letters of their names on different trees in the bottom. Our hunters killed 3 bucks, 4 brant, and 3 ducks today.

In the evening, seven Indians of the Clatsop nation came over in a canoe. They brought with them two sea-otter skins, for which they asked blue beads &c., and such high prices that we were unable to purchase them without reducing our small stock of merchandise on which we depended for subsistence on our return up this river. Merely to try the Indian who had one of those skins, I offered him my watch, handkerchief, a bunch of red beads, and a dollar of the American coin, all of which he refused and demanded ti--co-mo-shack, which is "chief beads," and the common blue beads, but few of which we have at this time.

Captain Clark, 22-[3] November 1805

 

The wind being high, the party were unable to proceed with the pirogues. I determined, therefore, to proceed down the river on its east side in search of an eligible place for our winter's residence, and accordingly set out early this morning in the small canoe, accompanied by 5 men.

Captain Lewis, 29 November 1805

 

I marked my name and the day of the month and year on a large pine tree on this peninsula:

Capt. William Clark December 3d 1805. By Land.
U. States in 1804-1805

The squaw broke the two shank bones of the elk after the marrow was taken out; boiled them, and extracted a pint of grease or tallow from them. Sergeant Pryor and Gibson returned after night and informed me they had been lost the greater part of the time they were out, and had killed six elk which they left lying, having taken out their entrails.

Captain Clark, 3 December 1805

 

We set out at 8 o'clock down to the place Captain Lewis pitched on for winter quarters when he was down. We stopped and dined in the commencement of a bay, after which we proceeded on around the bay to S.E. and ascended a creek 8 miles to a high point and camped. At this place of encampment we propose to build and pass the winter. The situation is in the center of, as we conceive, a hunting country.

Captain Clark, 7 December 1805

 

We having fixed on this situation as the one best calculated for our winter quarters, I determined to go as direct a course as I could to the seacoast, which we could hear roar and appeared to be at no great distance from us. My principal object is to look out a place to make salt, blaze the road or route that the men out hunting might find the direction to the fort if they should get lost in cloudy weather; and see the probability of game in that direction, for the support of the men we shall send to make salt.

Captain Clark, 8 December 1805

 

I set out in a westerly direction, crossed 3 slashes, and arrived at a creek. Met 3 Indians loaded with fresh salmon. Those Indians made signs that they had a town on the seacoast at no great distance, and invited me to go to their town. They had a canoe hid in the creek; we crossed in this little canoe. After crossing, 2 of the Indians took the canoe on their shoulders and carried it across to the other creek, about 1/4 of a mile. We crossed the 2nd creek and proceeded on to the mouth of the creek, which makes a great bend. Above the mouth of this creek, or to the south, are 3 houses and about 12 families of the Clatsop nation. We crossed to those houses.

Those people treated me with extraordinary friendship. One man attached himself to me as soon as I entered the hut, spread down new mats for me to sit on, gave me fish, berries, roots, etc. All the men of the other houses came and smoked with me. In the evening an old woman presented in a bowl made of a light-colored horn, a kind of syrup made of dried berries which the natives call shale-well. They gave me a kind of soup made of bread of the shale-well berries mixed with roots, which they presented in neat trenchers made of wood.

When I was disposed to go to sleep, the man who had been most attentive, named Cuscalah, produced 2 new mats and spread them near the fire, and directed his wife to go to his bed, which was the signal for all to retire. I had not been long on my mats before I was attacked most violently by the fleas, and they kept up a close siege during the night.

Captain Clark, 9 December 1805

 

One of the Indians pointed to a flock of brant sitting in the creek a short distance below and requested me to shoot one. I walked down with my small rifle and killed two at about 40 yards' distance. On my return to the houses, two small ducks sat at about 30 steps from me. The Indians pointed at the ducks. They were near together. I shot at the ducks and accidentally shot the head of one off. This duck and brant were carried to the house, and every man came around, examined the duck, looked at the gun, the size of the ball, which was 100 to the pound, and said in their own language, Clouch musket, (English word, "musket") wake, coin-ma- tax, musket, Kloshe musket, wake kumtaks musket, which is, "A good musket, do not understand this kind of musket," &c. I entered the same house I slept in; they immediately set before me their best roots, fish, and syrup. I attempted to purchase a small sea-otter skin for red beads which I had in my pockets. They would not trade for those beads, not prizing any other color than blue or white. I purchased a little of the berry bread and a few of their roots for which I gave small fishhooks, which they appeared fond of.

Captain Clark, 10 December 1805

 

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