History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, Vol. I.
by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
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* Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies. Where the text has been changed to correct an obvious error by the publisher, the word has been marked with an asterisk. Please note that as this ascii version of the text does not support the degree symbol or ligatures, these have been replaced with the appropriate word or letters.













By order of the







BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twenty-second day of January, in the thirty-eighth year of the independence of the United States of America, A.D. 1814, Bradford and Inskeep, of the said district, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words following, to wit:

"History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains, and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. Performed during the Years 1804-5-6, by order of the Government of the United States. Prepared for the press by Paul Allen, Esquire."

In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States, entitled "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned." And also to the act, entitled, "An act supplementary to an act, entitled, "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned," and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints." DAVID CALDWELL, Clerk of the District of Pennsylvania.


In presenting these volumes to the public, the editor owes equally to himself and to others, to state the circumstances which have preceded the publication, and to explain his own share in compiling them.

It was the original design of captain Lewis to have been himself the editor of his own travels, and he was on his way towards Philadelphia for that purpose when his sudden death frustrated these intentions. After a considerable and unavoidable delay, the papers connected with the expedition were deposited with another gentleman, who, in order to render the lapse of time as little injurious as possible, proceeded immediately to collect and investigate all the materials within his reach.

Of the incidents of each day during the expedition, a minute journal was kept by captain Lewis or captain Clark, and sometimes by both, which was afterwards revised and enlarged at the different periods of leisure which occurred on the route. These were carefully perused in conjunction with captain Clark himself, who was able from his own recollection of the journey, as well as from a constant residence in Louisiana since his return, to supply a great mass of explanations, and much additional information with regard to part of the route which has been more recently explored. Besides these, recourse was had to the manuscript journals kept by two of the serjeants, one of which, the least minute and valuable, has already been published. That nothing might be wanting to the accuracy of these details, a very intelligent and active member of the party, Mr. George Shannon, was sent to contribute whatever his memory might add to this accumulated fund of information.

From these copious materials the narrative was sketched nearly in its present form, when other pursuits diverted the attention of the writer, and compelled him to transfer his manuscript, in its unfinished state, with all the documents connected with it, to the present editor, to prepare them for the press and superintend the publication. That he may not seem to arrogate any thing from the exertions of others, he should therefore state that, although the whole work was thus submitted to his entire discretion, he found but little to change, and that his labour has been principally confined to revising the manuscript, comparing it with the original papers, and inserting such additional matter as appears to have been intentionally deferred by the writer till the period of a more mature revisal. These circumstances, which would otherwise be indifferent to the public, are mentioned merely to account for imperfections, which are in some degree inseparable from any book of travels not written by the traveller. In a work of pure description indeed, like the present, where the incidents themselves are the sole objects of attraction, the part of an editor is necessarily subordinate, nor can his humble pretensions aspire beyond the merit of rigid adherence to facts as they are stated to him. This has been very diligently attempted, and for this, in its full extent, the editor deems himself responsible.

The present volumes, it will be perceived, comprise only the narrative of the journey. Those parts of the work which relate to the various objects of natural history, observed or collected during the journey, as well as the alphabets of the Indian languages, are in the hands of professor Bartou, and will, it is understood, shortly appear.

To give still further interest to the work, the editor addressed a letter to Mr. Jefferson, requesting some authentic memoirs of captain Lewis. For the very curious and valuable information contained in his answer, the public, as well as the editor himself, owe great obligations to the politeness and knowledge of that distinguished gentleman.



Monticello, August 18, 1813. SIR,

In compliance with the request conveyed in your letter of May 25, I have endeavoured to obtain, from the relations and friends of the late governor Lewis, information of such incidents of his life as might be not unacceptable to those who may read the narrative of his western discoveries. The ordinary occurrences of a private life, and those also while acting in a subordinate sphere in the army, in a time of peace, are not deemed sufficiently interesting to occupy the public attention; but a general account of his parentage, with such smaller incidents as marked his early character are briefly noted; and to these are added, as being peculiarly within my own knowledge, whatever related to the public mission, of which an account is now to be published. The result of my inquiries and recollections shall now be offered, to be enlarged or abridged as you may think best; or otherwise to be used with the materials you may have collected from other sources.

Meriwether Lewis, late governor of Louisiana, was born on the eighteenth of August, 1774, near the town of Charlottesville, in the county of Albemarle, in Virginia, of one of the distinguished families of that state. John Lewis, one of his father's uncles was a member of the king's council, before the revolution. Another of them, Fielding Lewis, married a sister of general Washington. His father, William Lewis, was the youngest of five sons of colonel Robert Lewis, of Albemarle, the fourth of whom, Charles, was one of the early patriots who stepped forward in the commencement of the revolution and commanded one of the regiments first raised in Virginia, and placed on continental establishment. Happily situated at home, with a wife and young family, and a fortune placing him at ease, he left all to aid in the liberation of his country from foreign usurpations, then first unmasking their ultimate end and aim. His good sense, integrity, bravery, enterprise, and remarkable bodily powers, marked him as an officer of great promise; but he unfortunately died early in the revolution. Nicholas Lewis, the second of his father's brothers, commanded a regiment of militia in the successful expedition of 1776, against the Cherokee Indians; who, seduced by the agents of the British government to take up the hatchet against us, had committed great havoc on our southern frontier, by murdering and scalping helpless women and children, according to their cruel and cowardly principles of warfare. The chastisement they then received closed the history of their wars, and prepared them for receiving the elements of civilization, which, zealously inculcated by the present government of the United States, have rendered them an industrious, peaceable, and happy people. This member of the family of Lewises, whose bravery was so usefully proved on this occasion, was endeared to all who knew him by his inflexible probity, courteous disposition, benevolent heart, and engaging modesty and manners. He was the umpire of all the private differences of his county—selected always by both parties. He was also the guardian of Meriwether Lewis, of whom we are now to speak, and who had lost his father at an early age. He continued some years under the fostering care of a tender mother, of the respectable family of Meriwethers, of the same county; and was remarkable even in infancy for enterprise, boldness, and discretion. When only eight years of age he habitually went out, in the dead of night, alone with his dogs, into the forest to hunt the raccoon and opossum, which, seeking their food in the night, can then only be taken. In this exercise, no season or circumstance could obstruct his purpose—plunging through the winter's snows and frozen streams in pursuit of his object. At thirteen he was put to the Latin school, and continued at that until eighteen, when he returned to his mother, and entered on the cares of his farm; having, as well as a younger brother, been left by his father with a competency for all the correct and comfortable purposes of temperate life. His talent for observation, which had led him to an accurate knowledge of the plants and animals of his own country, would have distinguished him as a farmer; but at the age of twenty, yielding to the ardour of youth, and a passion for more dazzling pursuits, he engaged as a volunteer in the body of militia which were called out by general Washington, on occasion of the discontents produced by the excise taxes in the western parts of the United States; and from that situation he was removed to the regular service as a lieutenant in the line. At twenty-three he was promoted to a captaincy; and, always attracting the first attention where punctuality and fidelity were requisite, he was appointed paymaster to his regiment. About this time a circumstance occurred which, leading to the transaction which is the subject of this book, will justify a recurrence to its original idea. While I resided in Paris, John Ledyard, of Connecticut, arrived there, well known in the United States for energy of body and mind. He had accompanied captain Cook on his voyage to the Pacific ocean; and distinguished himself on that voyage by his intrepidity. Being of a roaming disposition, he was now panting for some new enterprise. His immediate object at Paris was to engage a mercantile company in the fur-trade of the western coast of America, in which, however, he failed. I then proposed to him to go by land to Kamschatka, cross in some of the Russian vessels to Nootka Sound, fall down into the latitude of the Missouri, and penetrate to, and through, that to the United States. He eagerly seized the idea, and only asked to be assured of the permission of the Russian government. I interested, in obtaining that, M. de Simoulin, minister plenipotentiary of the empress at Paris, but more especially the baron de Grimm, minister plenipotentiary of Saxe-Gotha, her more special agent and correspondent there in matters not immediately diplomatic. Her permission was obtained, and an assurance of protection while the course of the voyage should be through her territories. Ledyard set out from Paris, and arrived at St. Petersburgh after the empress had left that place to pass the winter, I think, at Moscow. His finances not permitting him to make unnecessary stay at St. Petersburgh, he left it with a passport from one of the ministers; and at two hundred miles from Kamschatka, was obliged to take up his winter quarters. He was preparing, in the spring, to resume his journey, when he was arrested by an officer of the empress, who by this time had changed her mind, and forbidden his proceeding. He was put into a close carriage, and conveyed day and night, without ever stopping, till they reached Poland; where he was set down and left to himself. The fatigue of this journey broke down his constitution; and when he returned to Paris his bodily strength was much impaired. His mind, however, remained firm, and he after this undertook the journey to Egypt. I received a letter from him, full of sanguine hopes, dated at Cairo, the fifteenth of November, 1788, the day before he was to set out for the head of the Nile; on which day, however, he ended his career and life: and thus failed the first attempt to explore the western part of our northern continent.

In 1792, I proposed to the American Philosophical Society that we should set on foot a subscription to engage some competent person to explore that region in the opposite direction; that is, by ascending the Missouri, crossing the Stony mountains, and descending the nearest river to the Pacific. Captain Lewis being then stationed at Charlottesville, on the recruiting service, warmly solicited me to obtain for him the execution of that object. I told him it was proposed that the person engaged should be attended by a single companion only, to avoid exciting alarm among the Indians. This did not deter him; but Mr. Andre Michaux, a professed botanist, author of the Flora Boreali-Americana, and of the Histoire des Chesnes d'Amerique, offering his services, they were accepted. He received his instructions, and when he had reached Kentucky in the prosecution of his journey, he was overtaken by an order from the minister of France, then at Philadelphia, to relinquish the expedition, and to pursue elsewhere the botanical inquiries on which he was employed by that government: and thus failed the second attempt for exploring that region.

In 1803, the act for establishing trading houses with the Indian tribes being about to expire, some modifications of it were recommended to congress by a confidential message of January 18th, and an extension of its views to the Indians on the Missouri. In order to prepare the way, the message proposed the sending an exploring party to trace the Missouri to its source, to cross the Highlands, and follow the best water-communication which offered itself from thence to the Pacific ocean. Congress approved the proposition, and voted a sum of money for carrying it into execution. Captain Lewis, who had then been near two years with me as private secretary, immediately renewed his solicitations to have the direction of the party. I had now had opportunities of knowing him intimately. Of courage undaunted; possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from its direction; careful as a father of those committed to his charge, yet steady in the maintenance of order and discipline; intimate with the Indian character, customs, and principles; habituated to the hunting life; guarded, by exact observation of the vegetables and animals of his own country, against losing time in the description of objects already possessed; honest, disinterested, liberal, of sound understanding, and a fidelity to truth so scrupulous, that whatever he should report would be as certain as if seen by ourselves; with all these qualifications, as if selected and implanted by nature in one body for this express purpose, I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him. To fill up the measure desired, he wanted nothing but a greater familiarity with the technical language of the natural sciences, and readiness in the astronomical observations necessary for the geography of his route. To acquire these he repaired immediately to Philadelphia, and placed himself under the tutorage of the distinguished professors of that place, who with a zeal and emulation, enkindled by an ardent devotion to science, communicated to him freely the information requisite for the purposes of the journey. While attending too, at Lancaster, the fabrication of the arms with which he chose that his men should be provided, he had the benefit of daily communication with Mr. Andrew Ellicot, whose experience in astronomical observation, and practice of it in the woods, enabled him to apprise captain Lewis of the wants and difficulties he would encounter, and of the substitutes and resources offered by a woodland and uninhabited country.

Deeming it necessary he should have some person with him of known competence to the direction of the enterprise, in the event of accident to himself, he proposed William Clarke, brother of general George Rogers Clarke, who was approved, and, with that view, received a commission of captain.

In April, 1803, a draught of his instructions was sent to captain Lewis, and on the twentieth of June they were signed in the following form:

"To Meriwether Lewis, esquire, captain of the first regiment of infantry of the United States of America:

"Your situation as secretary of the president of the United States, has made you acquainted with the objects of my confidential message of January 18, 1803, to the legislature; you have seen the act they passed, which, though expressed in general terms, was meant to sanction those objects, and you are appointed to carry them into execution.

"Instruments for ascertaining, by celestial observations, the geography of the country through which you will pass, have been already provided. Light articles for barter and presents among the Indians, arms for your attendants, say for from ten to twelve men, boats, tents, and other travelling apparatus, with ammunition, medicine, surgical instruments, and provisions, you will have prepared, with such aids as the secretary at war can yield in his department; and from him also you will receive authority to engage among our troops, by voluntary agreement, the number of attendants abovementioned; over whom you, as their commanding officer, are invested with all the powers the laws give in such a case.

"As your movements, while within the limits of the United States, will be better directed by occasional communications, adapted to circumstances as they arise, they will not be noticed here. What follows will respect your proceedings after your departure from the United States.

"Your mission has been communicated to the ministers here from France, Spain, and Great Britain, and through them to their governments; and such assurances given them as to its objects, as we trust will satisfy them. The country of Louisiana having been ceded by Spain to France, the passport you have from the minister of France, the representative of the present sovereign of the country, will be a protection with all its subjects; and that from the minister of England will entitle you to the friendly aid of any traders of that allegiance with whom you may happen to meet.

"The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, and such principal streams of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregan, Colorado, or any other river, may offer the most direct and practicable water-communication across the continent, for the purposes of commerce.

"Beginning at the mouth of the Missouri, you will take observations of latitude and longitude, at all remarkable points on the river, and especially at the mouths of rivers, at rapids, at islands, and other places and objects distinguished by such natural marks and characters, of a durable kind, as that they may with certainty be recognised hereafter. The courses of the river between these points of observation may be supplied by the compass, the log-line, and by time, corrected by the observations themselves. The variations of the needle, too, in different places, should be noticed.

"The interesting points of the portage between the heads of the Missouri, and of the water offering the best communication with the Pacific ocean, should also be fixed by observation; and the course of that water to the ocean, in the same manner as that of the Missouri.

"Your observations are to be taken with great pains and accuracy; to be entered distinctly and intelligibly for others as well as yourself; to comprehend all the elements necessary, with the aid of the usual tables, to fix the latitude and longitude of the places at which they were taken; and are to be rendered to the war-office, for the purpose of having the calculations made concurrently by proper persons within the United States. Several copies of these, as well as of your other notes, should be made at leisure times, and put into the care of the most trust-worthy of your attendants to guard, by multiplying them against the accidental losses to which they will be exposed. A further guard would be, that one of these copies be on the cuticular membranes of the paper-birch, as less liable to injury from damp than common paper.

"The commerce which may be carried on with the people inhabiting the line you will pursue, renders a knowledge of those people important. You will therefore endeavour to make yourself acquainted, as far as a diligent pursuit of your journey shall admit, with the names of the nations and their numbers;

"The extent and limits of their possessions;

"Their relations with other tribes or nations;

"Their language, traditions, monuments;

"Their ordinary occupations in agriculture, fishing, hunting, war, arts, and the implements for these;

"Their food, clothing, and domestic accommodations;

"The diseases prevalent among them, and the remedies they use;

"Moral and physical circumstances which distinguish them from the tribes we know;

"Peculiarities in their laws, customs, and dispositions;

"And articles of commerce they may need or furnish, and to what extent.

"And, considering the interest which every nation has in extending and strengthening the authority of reason and justice among the people around them, it will be useful to acquire what knowledge you can of the state of morality, religion, and information among them; as it may better enable those who may endeavour to civilize and instruct them, to adapt their measures to the existing notions and practices of those on whom they are to operate.

"Other objects worthy of notice will be—

"The soil and face of the country, its growth and vegetable productions, especially those not of the United States;

"The animals of the country generally, and especially those not known in the United States;

"The remains and accounts of any which may be deemed rare or extinct;

"The mineral productions of every kind, but more particularly metals, lime-stone, pit-coal, and saltpetre; salines and mineral waters, noting the temperature of the last, and such circumstances as may indicate their character;

"Volcanic appearances;

"Climate, as characterized by the thermometer, by the proportion of rainy, cloudy, and clear days; by lightning, hail, snow, ice; by the access and recess of frost; by the winds prevailing at different seasons; the dates at which particular plants put forth, or lose their flower or leaf; times of appearance of particular birds, reptiles or insects.

"Although your route will be along the channel of the Missouri, yet you will endeavour to inform yourself, by inquiry, of the character and extent of the country watered by its branches, and especially on its southern side. The North river, or Rio Bravo, which runs into the gulf of Mexico, and the North river, or Rio Colorado, which runs into the gulf of California, are understood to be the principal streams heading opposite to the waters of the Missouri, and running southwardly. Whether the dividing grounds between the Missouri and them are mountains or flat lands, what are their distance from the Missouri, the character of the intermediate country, and the people inhabiting it, are worthy of particular inquiry. The northern waters of the Missouri are less to be inquired after, because they have been ascertained to a considerable degree, and are still in a course of ascertainment by English traders and travellers; but if you can learn any thing certain of the most northern source of the Missisipi, and of its position relatively to the Lake of the Woods, it will be interesting to us. Some account too of the path of the Canadian traders from the Missisipi, at the mouth of the Onisconsing to where it strikes the Missouri, and of the soil and rivers in its course, is desirable.

"In all your intercourse with the natives, treat them in the most friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will admit; allay all jealousies as to the object of your journey; satisfy them of its innocence; make them acquainted with the position, extent, character, peaceable and commercial dispositions of the United States; of our wish to be neighbourly, friendly, and useful to them, and of our dispositions to a commercial intercourse with them; confer with them on the points most convenient as mutual emporiums, and the articles of most desirable interchange for them and us. If a few of their influential chiefs, within practicable distance, wish to visit us, arrange such a visit with them, and furnish them with authority to call on our officers on their entering the United States, to have them conveyed to this place at the public expense. If any of them should wish to have some of their young people brought up with us, and taught such arts as may be useful to them, we will receive, instruct, and take care of them. Such a mission, whether of influential chiefs, or of young people, would give some security to your own party. Carry with you some matter of the kine-pox; inform those of them with whom you may be of its efficacy as a preservative from the small-pox, and instruct and encourage them in the use of it. This may be especially done wherever you winter.

"As it is impossible for us to foresee in what manner you will be received by those people, whether with hospitality or hostility, so is it impossible to prescribe the exact degree of perseverance with which you are to pursue your journey. We value too much the lives of citizens to offer them to probable destruction. Your numbers will be sufficient to secure you against the unauthorized opposition of individuals, or of small parties; but if a superior force, authorized, or not authorized, by a nation, should be arrayed against your further passage, and inflexibly determined to arrest it, you must decline its further pursuit and return. In the loss of yourselves we should lose also the information you will have acquired. By returning safely with that, you may enable us to renew the essay with better calculated means. To your own discretion, therefore, must be left the degree of danger you may risk, and the point at which you should decline, only saying, we wish you to err on the side of your safety, and to bring back your party safe, even if it be with less information.

"As far up the Missouri as the white settlements extend, an intercourse will probably be found to exist between them and the Spanish posts of St. Louis opposite Cahokia, or St. Genevieve opposite Kaskaskia. From still further up the river the traders may furnish a conveyance for letters. Beyond that you may perhaps be able to engage Indians to bring letters for the government to Cahokia, or Kaskaskia, on promising that they shall there receive such special compensation as you shall have stipulated with them. Avail yourself of these means to communicate to us, at seasonable intervals, a copy of your journal, notes and observations of every kind, putting into cypher whatever might do injury if betrayed.

"Should you reach the Pacific ocean, inform yourself of the circumstances which may decide whether the furs of those parts may not be collected as advantageously at the head of the Missouri (convenient as is supposed to the waters of the Colorado and Oregan or Columbia) as at Nootka Sound, or any other point of that coast; and that trade be consequently conducted through the Missouri and United States more beneficially than by the circumnavigation now practised.

"On your arrival on that coast, endeavour to learn if there be any port within your reach frequented by the sea vessels of any nation, and to send two of your trusty people back by sea, in such way as shall appear practicable, with a copy of your notes; and should you be of opinion that the return of your party by the way they went will be imminently dangerous, then ship the whole, and return by sea, by the way either of Cape Horn, or the Cape of Good Hope, as you shall be able. As you will be without money, clothes, or provisions, you must endeavour to use the credit of the United States to obtain them; for which purpose open letters of credit shall be furnished you, authorizing you to draw on the executive of the United States, or any of its officers, in any part of the world, on which draughts can be disposed of, and to apply with our recommendations to the consuls, agents, merchants, or citizens of any nation with which we have intercourse, assuring them, in our name, that any aids they may furnish you shall be honourably repaid, and on demand. Our consuls, Thomas Hewes, at Batavia, in Java, William Buchanan, in the Isles of France and Bourbon, and John Elmslie, at the Cape of Good Hope, will be able to supply your necessities, by draughts on us.

"Should you find it safe to return by the way you go, after sending two of your party round by sea, or with your whole party, if no conveyance by sea can be found, do so; making such observations on your return as may serve to supply, correct, or confirm those made on your outward journey.

"On reentering the United States and reaching a place of safety, discharge any of your attendants who may desire and deserve it, procuring for them immediate payment of all arrears of pay and clothing which may have incurred since their departure, and assure them that they shall be recommended to the liberality of the legislature for the grant of a soldier's portion of land each, as proposed in my message to congress, and repair yourself, with your papers, to the seat of government.

"To provide, on the accident of your death, against anarchy, dispersion, and the consequent danger to your party, and total failure of the enterprise, you are hereby authorized, by any instrument signed and written in your own hand, to name the person among them who shall succeed to the command on your decease, and by like instruments to change the nomination, from time to time, as further experience of the characters accompanying you shall point out superior fitness; and all the powers and authorities given to yourself are, in the event of your death, transferred to, and vested in the successor so named, with further power to him and his successors, in like manner to name each his successor, who, on the death of his predecessor, shall be invested with all the powers and authorities given to yourself. Given under my hand at the city of Washington, this twentieth day of June, 1803.

"THOMAS JEFFERSON, "President of the United States of America."

While these things were going on here, the country of Louisiana, lately ceded by Spain to France, had been the subject of negotiation at Paris between us and this last power; and had actually been transferred to us by treaties executed at Paris on the thirtieth of April. This information, received about the first day of July, increased infinitely the interest we felt in the expedition, and lessened the apprehensions of interruption from other powers. Every thing in this quarter being now prepared, captain Lewis left Washington on the fifth of July, 1803, and proceeded to Pittsburg, where other articles had been ordered to be provided for him. The men too were to be selected from the military stations on the Ohio. Delays of preparation, difficulties of navigation down the Ohio, and other untoward obstructions, retarded his arrival at Cahokia until the season was so far advanced as to render it prudent to suspend his entering the Missouri before the ice should break up in the succeeding spring.

From this time his journal, now published, will give the history of his journey to and from the Pacific ocean, until his return to St. Louis on the twenty-third of September, 1806. Never did a similar event excite more joy through the United States. The humblest of its citizens had taken a lively interest in the issue of this journey, and looked forward with impatience for the information it would furnish. Their anxieties too for the safety of the corps had been kept in a state of excitement by lugubrious rumours, circulated from time to time on uncertain authorities, and uncontradicted by letters, or other direct information, from the time they had left the Mandan towns, on their ascent up the river in April of the preceding year, 1805, until their actual return to St. Louis.

It was the middle of February, 1807, before captain Lewis, with his companion captain Clarke, reached the city of Washington, where congress was then in session. That body granted to the two chiefs and their followers the donation of lands which they had been encouraged to expect in reward of their toil and dangers. Captain Lewis was soon after appointed governor of Louisiana, and captain Clarke a general of its militia, and agent of the United States for Indian affairs in that department.

A considerable time intervened before the governor's arrival at St. Louis. He found the territory distracted by feuds and contentions among the officers of the government, and the people themselves divided by these into factions and parties. He determined at once to take no side with either; but to use every endeavour to conciliate and harmonize them. The even-handed justice he administered to all soon established a respect for his person and authority; and perseverance and time wore down animosities, and reunited the citizens again into one family.

Governor Lewis had, from early life, been subject to hypochondriac affections. It was a constitutional disposition in all the nearer branches of the family of his name, and was more immediately inherited by him from his father. They had not, however, been so strong as to give uneasiness to his family. While he lived with me in Washington I observed at times sensible depressions of mind: but knowing their constitutional source, I estimated their course by what I had seen in the family. During his western expedition, the constant exertion which that required of all the faculties of body and mind, suspended these distressing affections; but after his establishment at St. Louis in sedentary occupations, they returned upon him with redoubled vigour, and began seriously to alarm his friends. He was in a paroxysm of one of these, when his affairs rendered it necessary for him to go to Washington. He proceeded to the Chickasaw Bluffs, where he arrived on the sixteenth of September, 1809, with a view of continuing his journey thence by water. Mr. Neely, agent of the United States with the Chickasaw Indians, arriving there two days after, found him extremely indisposed, and betraying at times some symptoms of a derangement of mind. The rumours of a war with England, and apprehensions that he might lose the papers he was bringing on, among which were the vouchers of his public accounts, and the journals and papers of his western expedition, induced him here to change his mind, and to take his course by land through the Chickasaw country. Although he appeared somewhat relieved, Mr. Neely kindly determined to accompany and watch over him. Unfortunately, at their encampment, after having passed the Tennessee one day's journey, they lost two horses, which obliging Mr. Neely to halt for their recovery, the governor proceeded, under a promise to wait for him at the house of the first white inhabitant on his road. He stopped at the house of a Mr. Grinder, who not being at home, his wife, alarmed at the symptoms of derangement she discovered, gave him up the house and retired to rest herself in an out-house, the governor's and Neely's servants lodging in another. About three o'clock in the night he did the deed which plunged his friends into affliction, and deprived his country of one of her most valued citizens, whose valour and intelligence would have been now employed in avenging the wrongs of his country, and in emulating by land the splendid deeds which have honoured her arms on the ocean. It lost too to the nation the benefit of receiving from his own hand the narrative now offered them of his sufferings and successes, in endeavouring to extend for them the boundaries of science, and to present to their knowledge that vast and fertile country, which their sons are destined to fill with arts, with science, with freedom and happiness.

To this melancholy close of the life of one, whom posterity will declare not to have lived in vain, I have only to add, that all the facts I have stated are either known to myself, or communicated by his family or others, for whose truth I have no hesitation to make myself responsible; and I conclude with tendering you the assurances of my respect and consideration.


Mr. PAUL ALLEN, Philadelphia.




The party set out on the expedition and pass Wood river. Description of the town of St. Charles. Osage Woman river. Gasconade and Osage rivers described. Character of the Osage Indians; curious traditionary account of their origin. The party proceed and pass the Mine river. The two Charitons. The Kanzas, Nodawa, Newahaw, Neeshuabatona, Little Nemahar, each of which are particularly described. They encamp at the mouth of the river Platte. A particular description of the surrounding country. The various creeks, bays, islands, prairies, &c. given in the course of the route. 1


Some account of the Pawnee Indians. Council held with the Otto and Missouri Indians. Council held with another party of the Ottoes. Death of sergeant Floyd. The party encamp near the mouth of Whitestone river. The character of the Missouri, with the rivers that enter it. The surrounding country. The various islands, bays, creeks, &c. given in the course of the expedition. 32


Whimsical instance of superstition of the Sioux Indians. Council held with the Sioux. Character of that tribe, their manners, &c. A ridiculous instance of their heroism. Ancient fortifications. Quieurre river described. Vast herds of Buffaloe. Account of the Petit Chien or Little Dog. Narrow escape of George Shannon. Description of White river. Surprising fleetness of the antelope. Pass the river of the Sioux. Description of the Grand Le Tour, or Great Bend. Encamp on the Teton river. 52


Council held with the Tetons. Their manners, dances, &c. Cheyenne river described. Council held with the Ricara Indians. Their manners and habits. Strange instance of Ricara idolatry. Another instance. Cannonball river. Arrival among the Mandans. Character of the surrounding country, and of the creeks, islands, &c. 82


Council held with the Mandans. A prairie on fire, and a singular instance of preservation. Peace established between the Mandans and Ricaras. The party encamp for the winter. Indian mode of catching goats. Beautiful appearance of northern lights. Friendly character of the Indians. Some account of the Mandans. The Anahaways and the Minnetarees. The party acquire the confidence of the Mandans by taking part in their controversy with the Sioux. Religion of the Mandans, and their singular conception of the term medicine. Their tradition. The sufferings of the party from the severity of the season. Indian game of billiards described. Character of the Missouri, of the surrounding country, and of the rivers, creeks, islands, &c. 118


The party increase in the favour of the Mandans. Description of a buffaloe dance. Medicine dance. The fortitude with which the Indians bear the severity of the season. Distress of the party for want of provisions. The great importance of the blacksmith in procuring it. Depredations of the Sioux. The homage paid to the medicine stone. Summary act of justice among the Minnetarees. The process by which the Mandans and Ricaras make beads. Character of the Missouri, of the surrounding country, and of the rivers, creeks, islands, &c. 148


Indian method of attacking the buffaloe on the ice. An enumeration of the presents sent to the president of the United States. The party are visited by a Ricara chief. They leave their encampment, and proceed on their journey. Description of the Little Missouri. Some account of the Assiniboins. Their mode of burying the dead. Whiteearth river described. Great quantity of salt discovered on its banks. Yellowstone river described. A particular account of the country at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri. Description of the Missouri, the surrounding country, and of the rivers, creeks, islands, &c. 174


Unusual appearance of salt. The formidable character of the white bear. Porcupine river described. Beautiful appearance of the surrounding country. Immense quantities of game. Milk river described. Extraordinary character of Bigdry river. An instance of uncommon tenacity of life in a white bear. Narrow escape of one of the party from that animal. A still more remarkable instance. Muscleshell river described. 199


The party continue their route. Description of Judith river. Indian mode of taking the buffaloe. Slaughter river described. Phenomena of nature. Of walls on the banks of the Missouri. The party encamp on the banks of the river to ascertain which of the streams constitute the Missouri. Captain Lewis leaves the party to explore the northern fork, and captain Clarke explores the southern. The surrounding country described in the route of captain Lewis. Narrow escape of one of his party. 225


Return of captain Lewis. Account of captain Clarke's researches with his exploring party. Perilous situation of one of his party. Tansy river described. The party still believing the southern fork the Missouri, captain Lewis is resolves to ascend it. Mode of making a place to deposit provisions, called cache. Captain Lewis explores the southern fork. Falls of the Missouri discovered, which ascertains the question. Romantic scenery of the surrounding country. Narrow escape of captain Lewis. The main body under captain Clarke approach within five miles of the falls, and prepare for making a portage over the rapids. 251


Description and romantic appearance of the Missouri at the junction of the Medicine river. The difficulty of transporting the baggage at the falls. The party employed in the construction of a boat of skins. The embarrassments they had to encounter for the want of proper materials. During the work the party much troubled by white bears. Violent hail-storm, and providential escape of captain Clarke and his party. Description of a remarkable fountain. Singular explosion heard from the Black mountains. The boat found to be insufficient, and the serious disappointment of the party. Captain Clarke undertakes to repair the damage by building canoes, and accomplishes the task. 275


The party embark on board the canoes. Description of Smith's river. Character of the country, &c. Dearborne's river described. Captain Clarke precedes the party for the purpose of discovering the Indians of the Rocky mountains. Magnificent rocky appearances on the borders of the river denominated the Gates of the Rocky mountains. Captain Clarke arrives at the three forks of the Missouri without overtaking the Indians. The party arrive at the three forks, of which a peculiar and interesting description is given. 301


The name of the Missouri changed, as the river now divides itself into three forks, one of which is called after Jefferson, the other Madison, and the other after Gallatin. Their general character. The party ascend the Jefferson branch. Description of the river Philosophy which enters into the Jefferson. Captain Lewis and a small party go in advance in search of the Shoshonees. Description of the country, &c. bordering on the river. Captain Lewis still preceding the main party in quest of the Shoshonees. A singular accident which prevented captain Clarke from following captain Lewis's advice, and ascending the middle fork of the river. Description of Philanthropy river, another stream running into the Jefferson. Captain Lewis and a small party having been unsuccessful in their first attempt, set off a second time in quest of the Shoshonees. 328


Captain Lewis proceeds before the main body in search of the Shoshonees; his ill success on the first interview. The party with captain Lewis at length discover the source of the Missouri. Captain Clarke with the main body still employed in ascending the Missouri or Jefferson river. Captain Lewis's second interview with the Shoshonees attended with success. The interesting ceremonies of his first introduction to the natives, detailed at large. Their hospitality. Their mode of hunting the antelope. The difficulties encountered by captain Clarke and the main body in ascending the river. The suspicions entertained of captain Lewis by the Shoshonees, and his mode of allaying them. The ravenous appetites of the savages illustrated by singular adventure. The Indians still jealous, and the great pains taken by captain Lewis to preserve their confidence. Captain Clarke arrives with the main body exhausted by the difficulties they underwent. 354


Affecting interview between the wife of Chaboneau and the chief of the Shoshonees. Council held with that nation, and favourable result. The extreme navigable point of the Missouri mentioned. General character of the river and of the country through which it passes. Captain Clarke in exploring the source of the Columbia falls in company with another party of Shoshonees. The geographical information acquired from one of that party. Their manner of catching fish. The party reach Lewis river. The difficulties which captain Clarke had to encounter in his route. Friendship and hospitality of the Shoshonees. The party with captain Lewis employed in making saddles, and preparing for the journey. 381


Contest between Drewyer and a Shoshonee. The fidelity and honour of that tribe. The party set out on their journey. The conduct of Cameahwait reproved, and himself reconciled. The easy parturition of the Shoshonee women. History of this nation. Their terror of the Pawkees. Their government and family economy in their treatment of their women. Their complaints of Spanish treachery. Description of their weapons of warfare. Their curious mode of making a shield. The caparison of their horses. The dress of the men and of the women particularly described. Their mode of acquiring new names. 407


The party, after procuring horses from the Shoshonees, proceed on their journey through the mountains. The difficulties and dangers of the route. A council held with another band of the Shoshonees, of whom some account is given. They are reduced to the necessity of killing their horses for food. Captain Clarke with a small party precedes the main body in quest of food, and is hospitably received by the Pierced-nose Indians. Arrival of the main body amongst this tribe, with whom a council is held. They resolve to perform the remainder of their journey in canoes. Sickness of the party. They descend the Kooskooskee to its junction with Lewis river, after passing several dangerous rapids. Short description of the manners and dress of the Pierced-nose Indians. 435




The party set out on the expedition and pass Wood river—Description of the town of St. Charles—Osage Woman river—Gasconade and Osage Rivers described—Character of the Osage Indians—Curious traditionary account of their Origin—The party proceed and pass the Mine river—The two Charitons—The Kanzas, Nodawa, Newahaw, Neeshnabatona, Little Nemahar, each of which are particularly described—They encamp at the mouth of the river Platte—A particular description of the surrounding country—The various Creeks, Bays, Islands, Prairies, &c., given in the course of the route.

On the acquisition of Louisiana, in the year 1803, the attention of the government of the United States, was early directed towards exploring and improving the new territory. Accordingly in the summer of the same year, an expedition was planned by the president for the purpose of discovering the courses and sources of the Missouri, and the most convenient water communication thence to the Pacific ocean. His private secretary captain Meriwether Lewis, and captain William Clarke, both officers of the army of the United States, were associated in the command of this enterprize. After receiving the requisite instructions, captain Lewis left the seat of government, and being joined by captain Clarke at Louisville, in Kentucky, proceeded to St. Louis, where they arrived in the month of December. Their original* intention was to pass the winter at La Charrette, the highest settlement on the Missouri. But the Spanish commandant of the province, not having received an official account of its transfer to the United States, was obliged by the general policy of his government, to prevent strangers from passing through the Spanish territory. They therefore encamped at the mouth of Wood river, on the eastern side of the Mississippi, out of his jurisdiction, where they passed the winter in disciplining the men, and making the necessary preparations for setting out early in the Spring, before which the cession was officially announced. The party consisted of nine young men from Kentucky, fourteen soldiers of the United States army who volunteered their services, two French watermen—an interpreter and hunter—and a black servant belonging to captain Clarke—All these, except the last, were enlisted to serve as privates during the expedition, and three sergeants appointed from amongst them by the captains. In addition to these were engaged a corporal and six soldiers, and nine watermen to accompany the expedition as far as the Mandan nation, in order to assist in carrying the stores, or repelling an attack which was most to be apprehended between Wood river and that tribe. The necessary stores were subdivided into seven bales, and one box, containing a small portion of each article in case of accident. They consisted of a great variety of clothing, working utensils, locks, flints, powder, ball, and articles of the greatest use. To these were added fourteen bales and one box of Indian presents, distributed in the same manner, and composed of richly laced coats and other articles of dress, medals, flags, knives, and tomahawks for the chiefs—ornaments of different kinds, particularly beads, lookingglasses, handkerchiefs, paints, and generally such articles as were deemed best calculated for the taste of the Indians. The party was to embark on board of three boats: the first was a keel boat fifty-five feet long, drawing three feet water, carrying one large squaresail and twenty-two oars, a deck of ten feet in the bow, and stern formed a forecastle and cabin, while the middle was covered by lockers, which might be raised so as to form a breast-work in case of attack. This was accompanied by two perioques or open boats, one of six and the other of seven oars. Two horses were at the same time to be led along the banks of the river for the purpose of bringing home game, or hunting in case of scarcity.

Of the proceedings of this expedition, the following is a succinct and circumstantial narrative.

All the preparations being completed, we left our encampment on Monday, May 14th, 1804. This spot is at the mouth of Wood river, a small stream which empties itself into the Mississippi, opposite to the entrance of the Missouri. It is situated in latitude 38 degrees 55' 19-6/10" north, and longitude from Greenwich, 89 degrees 57' 45". On both sides of the Mississippi the land for two or three miles is rich and level, but gradually swells into a high pleasant country, with less timber on the western than on the eastern side, but all susceptible of cultivation. The point which separates the two rivers on the north, extends for fifteen or twenty miles, the greater part of which is an open level plain, in which the people of the neighbourhood cultivate what little grain they raise. Not being able to set sail before four o'clock P.M., we did not make more than four miles, and encamped on the first island opposite a small creek called Cold Water.

May 15. The rain, which had continued yesterday and last night, ceased this morning. We then proceeded, and after passing two small islands about ten miles further, stopped for the night at Piper's landing, opposite another island. The water is here very rapid and the banks falling in. We found that our boat was too heavily laden in the stern, in consequence of which she ran on logs three times to-day. It became necessary to throw the greatest weight on the bow of the boat, a precaution very necessary in ascending both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, in the beds of which, there lie great quantities of concealed timber.

The next morning we set sail at five o'clock. At the distance of a few miles, we passed a remarkable large coal hill on the north side, called by the French La Charbonniere, and arrived at the town of St. Charles. Here we remained a few days.

St. Charles is a small town on the north bank of the Missouri, about twenty-one miles from its confluence with the Mississippi. It is situated in a narrow plain, sufficiently high to protect it from the annual risings of the river in the month of June, and at the foot of a range of small hills, which have occasioned its being called Petite Cote, a name by which it is more known to the French than by that of St. Charles. One principal street, about a mile in length and running parallel with the river, divides the town, which is composed of nearly one hundred small wooden houses, besides a chapel. The inhabitants, about four hundred and fifty in number, are chiefly descendants from the French of Canada; and, in their manners, they unite all the careless gayety, and the amiable hospitality of the best times of France: yet, like most of their countrymen in America, they are but ill qualified for the rude life of a frontier; not that they are without talent, for they possess much natural genius and vivacity; nor that they are destitute of enterprize, for their hunting excursions are long, laborious, and hazardous: but their exertions are all desultory; their industry is without system, and without perseverance. The surrounding country, therefore, though rich, is not, in general, well cultivated; the inhabitants chiefly subsisting by hunting and trade with the Indians, and confine their culture to gardening, in which they excel.

Being joined by captain Lewis, who had been detained by business at St. Louis, we again set sail on Monday, May 21st, in the afternoon, but were prevented by wind and rain from going more than about three miles, when we encamped on the upper point of an island, nearly opposite a creek which falls in on the south side.

On the 22d we made about eighteen miles, passing several small farms on the bank of the river, a number of islands, and a large creek on the south side, called Bonhomme, or Goodman's river. A small number of emigrants from the United States have settled on the sides of this creek, which are very fertile. We also passed some high lands, and encamped, on the north side, near a small creek. Here we met with a camp of Kickapoo Indians who had left us at St. Charles, with a promise of procuring us some provisions by the time we overtook them. They now made us a present of four deer, and we gave them in return two quarts of whiskey. This tribe reside on the heads of the Kaskaskia and Illinois river, on the other side of the Mississippi, but occasionally hunt on the Missouri.

May 23. Two miles from our camp of last night, we reached a river emptying itself on the north side, called Osage Woman river. It is about thirty yards wide, and has now a settlement of thirty or forty families from the United States. About a mile and a half beyond this is a large cave, on the south side at the foot of cliffs nearby three hundred feet high, overhanging the water, which becomes very swift at this place. The cave is one hundred and twenty feet wide, forty feet deep, and twenty high, it is known by the name of the Tavern, among the traders who have written their names on the rock, and painted some images which command the homage of the Indians and French. About a little further we passed a small creek called Tavern creek, and encamped on the south side of the river, having gone nine miles.

Early the next morning we ascended a very difficult rapid, called the Devil's Race Ground, where the current sets for half a mile against some projecting rocks on the south side. We were less fortunate in attempting a second place of equal difficulty. Passing near the southern shore, the bank fell in so fast as to oblige us to cross the river instantly, between the northern side and a sandbar which is constantly moving and banking with the violence of the current. The boat struck on it, and would have upset immediately, if the men had not jumped into the water and held her, till the sand washed from under her. We encamped on the south side, having ascended ten miles, and the next day, May 25, passed on the south side the mouth of Wood river, on the north, two small creeks and several islands, and stopped for the night at the entrance of a creek on the north side, called by the French La Charrette, ten miles from our last encampment, and a little above a small village of the same name. It consists of seven small houses, and as many poor families who have fixed themselves here for the convenience of trade, and form the last establishment of whites on the Missouri. It rained last night, yet we found this morning that the river had fallen several inches.

May 26. The wind being favourable we made eighteen miles to-day. We passed in the morning several islands, the largest of which is Buffaloe island, separated from the southern side by a small channel which receives the waters of Buffaloe creek. On the same side is Shepherd's creek, a little beyond which we encamped on the northern side. The next day we sailed along a large island called Otter island, on the northern side, extending nearly ten miles in length, narrow but high in its situation, and one of the most fertile in the whole river. Between it and the northern shore, three small creeks, one of which has the same name with the island, empty themselves. On the southern shore is a creek twenty yards wide, called Ash creek. In the course of the day we met two canoes loaded with furs, which had been two months on their route, from the Mahar nation, residing more than seven hundred miles up the river—one large raft from the Pawnees on the river Platte, and three others from the Grand Osage river. At the distance of fifteen miles we encamped on a willow island, at the entrance of the river Gasconade. This river falls into the Missouri from the south, one hundred miles from the Mississippi. Its length is about one hundred and fifty miles in a course generally northeast through a hilly country. On its banks are a number of saltpetre caves, and it is believed some mines of lead in the vicinity. Its width at the mouth is one hundred and fifty-seven yards, and its depth nineteen feet.

Here we halted for the purpose of hunting and drying our provisions, and making the necessary celestial observations. This being completed, we set sail on the 29th at four o'clock, and at four miles distance encamped on the south-side, above a small creek, called Deer creek. The next day, 30th, we set out early, and at two miles distant reached a large cave, on the north, called Montbrun's tavern, after a French trader of that name, just above a creek called after the same person. Beyond this is a large island, and at the distance of four miles, Rush creek coming in from the south, at eleven, Big-muddy river on the north, about fifty yards wide; three miles further, is Little-muddy river on the same side, opposite to which we encamped at the mouth of Grindstone creek. The rain which began last night continued through the day, accompanied with high wind and some hail. The river has been rising fast for two days, and the country around appears full of water. Along the sides of the river to day we observe much timber, the cotton wood, the sycamore, hickory, white walnut, some grapevines, and rushes—the high west wind and rain compelled us to remain all the next day, May 31. In the afternoon a boat came down from the Grand Osage river, bringing a letter from a person sent to the Osage nation on the Arkansaw river, which mentioned that the letter announcing the cession of Louisiana was committed to the flames—that the Indians would not believe that the Americans were owners of that country, and disregarded St. Louis and its supplies. The party was occupied in hunting, in the course of which, they caught in the woods several very large rats. We set sail early the next morning, June 1st, and at six miles distant passed Bear creek, a stream of about twenty-five yards width; but the wind being ahead and the current rapid, we were unable to make more than thirteen miles to the mouth of the Osage river; where we encamped and remained the following day, for the purpose of making celestial observations. The Osage river empties itself into the Missouri, at one hundred and thirty-three miles distance from the mouth of the latter river. Its general course is west and west southwest through a rich and level country. At the junction the Missouri is about eight hundred and seventy-five yards wide, and the Osage three hundred and ninety-seven. The low point of junction is in latitude 38 degrees 31' 16", and at a short distance from it is a high commanding position, whence we enjoyed a delightful prospect of the country.

The Osage river gives or owes its name to a nation inhabiting its banks at a considerable distance from this place. Their present name however, seems to have originated from the French traders, for both among themselves and their neighbours they are called the Wasbashas. They number between twelve and thirteen hundred warriors, and consist of three tribes: the Great Osages of about five hundred warriors, living in a village on the south bank of the river—the Little Osages, of nearly half that number, residing at the distance of six miles from them—and the Arkansaw band, a colony of Osages, of six hundred warriors, who left them some years ago, under the command of a chief called the Bigfoot, and settled on the Vermillion river, a branch of the Arkansaw. In person the Osages are among the largest and best formed Indians, and are said to possess fine military capacities; but residing as they do in villages, and having made considerable advance in agriculture, they seem less addicted to war, than their northern neighbours, to whom the use of rifles gives a great superiority. Among the peculiarities of this people, there is nothing more remarkable than the tradition relative to their origin. According to universal belief, the founder of the nation was a snail passing a quiet existence along the banks of the Osage, till a high flood swept him down to the Missouri, and left him exposed on the shore. The heat of the sun at length ripened him into a man, but with the change of his nature, he had not forgotten his native seats on the Osage, towards which, he immediately bent his way. He was however soon overtaken by hunger, and fatigue, when happily the Great Spirit appeared, and giving him a bow and arrow, showed him how to kill and cook deer, and cover himself with the skin. He then proceeded to his original residence, but as he approached the river, he was met by a beaver, who inquired haughtily who he was, and by what authority he came to disturb his possession. The Osage answered that the river was his own, for he had once lived on its borders. As they stood disputing, the daughter of the beaver came, and having by her entreaties reconciled her father to this young stranger, it was proposed that the Osage should marry the young beaver, and share with her family the enjoyment of the river. The Osage readily consented, and from this happy union there soon came the village and the nation of the Wasbasha, or Osages, who have ever since preserved a pious reverence for their ancestors, abstaining from the chace of the beaver, because in killing that animal, they killed a brother of the Osage. Of late years, however, since the trade with the whites has rendered beaver skins more valuable, the sanctity of these maternal relatives has visibly reduced, and the poor animals have nearly lost all the privileges of kindred.

On the afternoon of June 3, we proceeded, and at three miles distant, reached a creek called Cupboard creek, from a rock of that appearance near its entrance. Two miles further we encamped at Moreau creek, a stream of twenty yards width, on the southern side. The next morning, we passed at an early hour, Cedar island on the north, so called from the abundance of the tree of that name; near which is a small creek, named Nightingale creek, from a bird of that species, who sang for us during the night. Beyond Cedar island, are some others of a smaller extent, and at seven miles distance a creek fifteen or twenty yards wide, entering from the north, and known by the name of Cedar creek. At seven and a half miles further, we passed on the south side another creek, which we called Mast creek, from the circumstance of our mast being broken by running under a concealed tree; a little above is another creek on the left, one mile beyond which we encamped on the southern shore under high projecting cliffs. The French had reported that lead ore was to be found in this place, but on examining the hills, we could discern no appearance of that mineral. Along the river on the south, is a low land covered with rushes, and high nettles, and near the mouths of the creeks, supplied with oak, ash, and walnut timber. On the north the land is rich and well situated. We made seventeen and a half miles this day. The river is falling slowly. We continued our route the next morning early: a small creek called Lead creek, on the south; another on the north, known to the French by the name of Little Good Woman's creek, and again Big Rock creek on the south were the only streams we passed this morning. At eleven o'clock we met a raft made of two canoes joined together, in which two French traders were descending, from eighty leagues up the river Kanzas, where they had wintered, and caught great quantities of beaver, but had lost much of their game by fires from the prairies. They told us that the Kanzas nation is now hunting buffaloe in the plains, having passed the last winter in this river. Two miles further, we reached on the south Little Manitou creek, which takes its name from a strange figure resembling the bust of a man, with the horns of a stag, painted on a projecting rock, which may represent some spirit or deity. Near this is a sandbar extending several miles, which renders the navigation difficult, and a small creek called Sand creek on the south, where we stopped for dinner, and gathered wild cresses and tongue grass from the sandbar. The rapidity of the currents added to our having broken our mast, prevented our going more than twelve and a half miles. The scouts and hunters whom we always kept out, report that they have seen fresh tracks of Indians. The next morning we left our camp, which was on the south side, opposite to a large island in the middle of the river, and at five miles reached a creek on the north side, of about twenty yards wide, called Split Rock creek, from a fissure in the point of a neighbouring rock. Three miles beyond this, on the south is Saline river, it is about thirty yards wide, and has its name from the number of salt licks, and springs, which render its water brackish; the river is very rapid and the banks falling in. After leaving Saline creek, we passed one large island and several smaller ones, having made fourteen miles. The water rose a foot during the last night.

The next day, June 7, we passed at four and a half miles Big Manitou creek, near which is a limestone rock inlaid with flint of various colours, and embellished, or at least covered with uncouth paintings of animals and inscriptions. We landed to examine it, but found the place occupied by a nest of rattlesnakes, of which we killed three. We also examined some licks and springs of salt water, two or three miles up this creek. We then proceeded by some small willow islands, and encamped at the mouth of Good Woman river on the north. It is about thirty-five yards wide, and said to be navigable for boats several leagues. The hunters, who had hitherto given us only deer, brought in this evening three bears, and had seen some indication of buffaloe. We had come fourteen miles.

June 8, we saw several small willow islands, and a creek on the south, near which are a number of deerlicks; at nine miles distance we came to Mine river. This river, which falls into the Missouri from the south, is said to be navigable for boats eighty or ninety miles, and is about seventy yards wide at its mouth. It forks about five or six leagues from the Missouri, and at the point of junction are some very rich salt springs; the west branch in particular, is so much impregnated, that, for twenty miles, the water is not palatable: several branches of the Manitou and Good Woman are equally tinctured. The French report also, that lead ore has been found on different parts of the river. We made several excursions near the river through the low rich country on its banks, and after dinner went on to the island of Mills, where we encamped. We met with a party of three hunters from the Sioux river; they had been out for twelve months, and collected about nine hundred dollars worth of peltries and furs. We ascended this river twelve miles.

On the 9th, we set out early, and reached a cliff of rocks, called the Arrow Rock, near to which is a prairie called the Prairies of Arrows, and Arrow creek, a small stream about eight yards wide, whose source is in the adjoining prairies on the south. At this cliff the Missouri is confined within a bed of two hundred yards; and about four miles to the south east is a large lick and salt spring of great strength. About three miles further is Blackbird creek on the north side, opposite to which, is an island and a prairie inclosing a small lake. Five miles beyond this we encamped on the south side, after making, in the course of the day, thirteen miles. The land on the north is a high rich plain. On the south it is also even, of a good quality, and rising from fifty to one hundred feet.

The next morning, 10th, we passed Deer creek, and at the distance of five miles, the two rivers called by the French the two Charatons, a corruption of Thieraton, the first of which is thirty, the second seventy yards wide, and enter the Missouri together. They are both navigable for boats: the country through which they pass is broken, rich, and thickly covered with timber. The Ayauway nation, consisting of three hundred men, have a village near its head-waters on the river De Moines. Farther on we passed a large island called Chicot or Stump Island, and encamped on the south, after making ten miles. A head wind forced us to remain there all the next day, during which we dried the meat we had killed, and examined the surrounding country, which consists of good land, well watered, and supplied with timber: the prairies also differ from those eastward of the Mississippi, inasmuch as the latter are generally without any covering except grass, whilst the former abound with hazel, grapes and other fruits, among which is the Osage plum of a superior size and quality. On the morning of the 12th, we passed through difficult places in the river, and reached Plum creek on the south side. At one o'clock, we met two rafts loaded, the one with furs, the other with the tallow of buffaloe; they were from the Sioux nation, and on their way to St. Louis; but we were fortunate enough to engage one of them, a Mr. Durion, who had lived with that nation more than twenty years, and was high in their confidence, to accompany us thither. We made nine miles. On the 13th, we passed at between four and five miles, a bend of the river, and two creeks on the north, called the Round Bend creeks. Between these two creeks is the prairie, in which once stood the ancient village of the Missouris. Of this village there remains no vestige, nor is there any thing to recall this great and numerous nation, except a feeble remnant of about thirty families. They were driven from their original seats by the invasions of the Sauks and other Indians from the Mississippi, who destroyed at this village two hundred of them in one contest, and sought refuge near the Little Osage, on the other side of the river. The encroachment of the same enemies forced, about thirty years since, both these nations from the banks of the Missouri. A few retired with the Osage, and the remainder found an asylum on the river Platte, among the Ottoes, who are themselves declining. Opposite the plain there was an island and a French fort, but there is now no appearance of either, the successive inundations having probably washed them away, as the willow island which is in the situation described by Du Pratz, is small and of recent formation. Five miles from this place is the mouth of Grand River, where we encamped. This river follows a course nearly south, or south east, and is between eighty and a hundred yards wide where it enters the Missouri, near a delightful and rich plain. A racoon, a bear, and some deer were obtained to day. We proceeded at six o'clock the next morning. The current was so rapid and the banks on the north falling in so constantly, that we were obliged to approach the sandbars on the south. These were moving continually, and formed the worst passage we had seen, and which we surmounted with much difficulty. We met a trading raft from the Pawnee nation on the river Platte, and attempted unsuccessfully to engage one of their party to return with us. At the distance of eight miles, we came to some high cliffs, called the Snake bluffs, from the number of that animal in the neighbourhood, and immediately above these bluffs, Snake creek, about eighteen yards wide, on which we encamped. One of our hunters, a half Indian, brought us an account of his having to day passed a small lake, near which a number of deer were feeding, and in the pond he heard a snake making a guttural noise like a turkey. He fired his gun, but the noise became louder. He adds, that he has heard the Indians mention this species of snake, and this story is confirmed by a Frenchman of our party. All the next day, the river being very high, the sandbars were so rolling and numerous, and the current so strong, that we were unable to stem it even with oars added to our sails; this obliged us to go nearer the banks, which were falling in, so that we could not make, though the boat was occasionally towed, more than fourteen miles. We passed several islands and one creek on the south side, and encamped on the north opposite a beautiful plain, which extends as far back as the Osage river, and some miles up the Missouri. In front of our encampment are the remains of an old village of the Little Osage, situated at some distance from the river, and at the foot of a small hill. About three miles above them, in view of our camp is the situation of the old village of the Missouris after they fled from the Sauks. The inroads of the same tribe compelled the Little Osage to retire from the Missouri a few years ago, and establish themselves near the Great Osages. The river, which is here about one mile wide, had risen in the morning, but fell towards evening. Early this morning, June 16th, we joined the camp of our hunters, who had provided two deer and two bear, and then passing an island and a prairie on the north covered with a species of timothy, made our way through bad sandbars and a swift current, to an encampment for the evening, on the north side, at ten miles distance. The timber which we examined to day was not sufficiently strong for oars; the musquitoes and ticks are exceedingly troublesome. On the 17th, we set out early and having come to a convenient place at one mile distance, for procuring timber and making oars, we occupied ourselves in that way on this and the following day. The country on the north of the river is rich and covered with timber; among which we procured the ash for oars. At two miles it changes into extensive prairies, and at seven or eight miles distance becomes higher and waving. The prairie and high lands on the south commence more immediately on the river; the whole is well watered and provided with game, such as deer, elk, and bear. The hunters brought in a fat horse which was probably lost by some war party—this being the crossing place for the Sauks, Ayauways, and Sioux, in their excursions against the Osage.

June 19, the oars being finished, we proceeded under a gentle breeze by two large and some smaller islands. The sandbars are numerous and so bad, that at one place we were forced to clear away the driftwood in order to pass: the water too was so rapid that we were under the necessity of towing the boat for half a mile round a point of rocks on the south side. We passed two creeks, one called Tiger creek on the north, twenty-five yards wide at the extremity of a large island called Panther Island; the other Tabo creek on the south, fifteen yards wide. Along the shores are gooseberries and raspberries in great abundance. At the distance of seventeen and a half miles we encamped on the south, near a lake about two miles from the river and several in circumference; and much frequented by deer and all kinds of fowls. On the north the land is higher and better calculated for farms than that on the south, which ascends more gradually, but is still rich and pleasant. The musquitoes and other animals are so troublesome that musquitoe biers or nets were distributed to the party. The next morning we passed a large island, opposite to which on the north is a large and beautiful prairie, called Sauk prairie, the land being fine and well timbered on both sides the river. Pelicans were seen to day. We made six and three quarter miles, and encamped at the lower point of a small island, along the north side of which we proceeded the next day, June 21st, but not without danger in consequence of the sands and the rapidity of the water which rose three inches last night. Behind another island come in from the south two creeks, called Eau, Beau, or Clear Water creeks; on the north is a very remarkable bend, where the high lands approach the river, and form an acute angle at the head of a large island produced by a narrow channel through the point of the bend. We passed several other islands, and encamped at seven and a half miles on the south.

22d. The river rose during the night four inches. The water is very rapid and crowded with concealed timber. We passed two large islands and an extensive prairie on the south, beginning with a rich low land, and rising to the distance of seventy or eighty feet of rolling clear country. The thermometer at three o'clock P.M. was at 87 degrees. After coming ten and a half miles we encamped on the south, opposite a large creek called Fire Prairie river.

23d. The wind was against us this morning, and became so violent that we made only three and a half miles, and were obliged to lie to during the day at a small island. This is separated from the northern side by a narrow channel which cannot be passed by boats, being choaked by trees and drifted wood. Directly opposite on the south, is a high commanding position, more than seventy feet above high water mark, and overlooking the river which is here of but little width; this spot has many advantages for a fort, and trading house with the Indians.[A] The river fell eight inches last night.

[Footnote A: The United States built in September, 1808, a factory and fort at this spot, which is very convenient for trading with the Osages, Ayauways and Kanzas.]

The next day, 24th, we passed at eight miles distance, Hay Cabin creek coming in from the south, about twenty yards wide, and so called from camps of straw built on it; to the north are some rocks projecting into the river, and a little beyond them a creek on the same side, called Charaton Scarty; that is, Charaton like the Otter. We halted, after making eleven and a half miles, the country on both sides being fine and interspersed with prairies, in which we now see numerous herds of deer, pasturing in the plains or feeding on the young willows of the river.

25th. A thick fog detained us till eight o'clock, when we set sail, and at three miles reached a bank of stone coal on the north, which appeared to be very abundant: just below it is a creek called after the bank La Charbonniere. Four miles further, and on the southern side, comes in a small creek, called La Benite. The prairies here approach the river and contain many fruits, such as plums, raspberries, wild apples, and nearer the river vast quantities of mulberries. Our encampment was at thirteen miles distance on an island to the north, opposite some hills higher than usual, and almost one hundred and sixty or one hundred and eighty feet. 26th. At one mile we passed at the end of a small island, Blue Water creek, which is about thirty yards wide at its entrance from the south.[A] Here the Missouri is confined within a narrow bed, and the current still more so by counter currents or whirls on one side and a high bank on the other. We passed a small island and a sandbar, where our tow rope broke twice, and we rowed round with great exertions. We saw a number of parroquets, and killed some deer; after nine and three quarter miles we encamped at the upper point of the mouth of the river Kanzas: here we remained two days, during which we made the necessary observations, recruited the party, and repaired the boat. The river Kanzas takes its rise in the plains between the Arkansaw and Platte rivers, and pursues a course generally east till its junction with the Missouri which is in latitude 38 degrees 31' 13"; here it is three hundred and forty and a quarter yards wide, though it is wider a short distance above the mouth. The Missouri itself is about five hundred yards in width; the point of union is low and subject to inundations for two hundred and fifty yards, it then rises a little above high water mark, and continues so as far back as the hills. On the south of the Kanzas the hills or highlands come within one mile and a half of the river; on the north of the Missouri they do not approach nearer than several miles; but on all sides the country is fine. The comparative specific gravities of the two rivers is, for the Missouri seventy-eight, the Kanzas seventy-two degrees; the waters of the latter have a very disagreeable taste, the former has risen during yesterday and to day about two feet. On the banks of the Kanzas reside the Indians of the same name, consisting of two villages, one at about twenty, the other forty leagues from its mouth, and amounting to about three hundred men. They once lived twenty-four leagues higher than the Kanzas, on the south bank of the Missouri, and were then more numerous, but they have been reduced and banished by the Sauks and Ayauways, who being better supplied with arms have an advantage over the Kanzas, though the latter are not less fierce or warlike than themselves. This nation is now hunting in the plains for the buffaloe which our hunters have seen for the first time.

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