History Timeline 1800s

Indian petroglyphs mentioned in the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Nemaha River, Troy, Kansas. Courtesy National Archives. Right: Historic New Orleans wharf scene along the Mississippi River. Courtesy Library of Congress.

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U.S. Timeline - The 1800s

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  • Timeline

  • 1805 Detail

    June 13, 1805 - Meriweather Lewis and four companions confirm their correct heading by sighting the Great Falls of the Missouri River, as the Lewis and Clark expedition continues west.

    Lewis and Clark with Sacagawea at Shoshone Village


    On April 7, 1805, Lewis and Clark had left their first winter encampment at Fort Mandan to continue west on their expedition up the Missouri River on six canoes and two pirogues. Sacagawea was now leading the way toward Shoshone territory with her husband Charbonneau and her young son. By the end of April, they had achieved arrival at the main northern tributary of the Missouri, the Yellowstone River (April 25), then two days later, entered today's state of Montana.

    In Montana, the wildlife was so plentiful, herds of buffalo ran ten thousand deep. By May 26, Meriweather Lewis had sighted the daunting peaks of the Rocky Mountains. But as the first days of June approached, an immediate dilemma arose. Two forks in the river were breached, one three hundred and sixty-two yards wide (south), and the other two hundred yards wide (north), but the men and guides of the Corps of Discovery were unsure of which was actually the main course of the Missouri River. The Corps took a vote, with all but Lewis and Clark selecting the northern route. For five days there was a debate and additional exploration with Meriweather Lewis and William Clark taking various scouting parties up both the north and south branches at the fork to determine which was correct. Although many of the men still thought the northern fork was correct, the Corps followed the intuition of Lewis and Clark and followed the southern fork.


    Journal Entries, Corps of Discovery, Choosing the Right Fork


    June 2, 1805 Clark Diary - we had a hard wind and a little rain last night, this morning fair we Set out at an early hour, wind from the S W. Some little rain to day wind hard a head, the Countrey much like that of yesterday as discribed Capt Lewis walked on Shore, himself & the hunters killed 6 Elk & a Bear and 2 mule deer, and 2 buffalow which was all in good order a beaver also killed to day, passed 9 Islands to day the Current Swift but regular, we Camped on the Lard Side at the forks of the river the Currents & Sizes of them we Could not examine this evening a fair night we took Some Luner observations of moon & Stears.

    June 2, 1805 Whitehouse Diary - Sunday 2nd June 1805. a clear pleasant morning. we Set off as usal & proceeded on. about 9 oC. Some of the hunters killed a buffalow and an Elk. passed high bluffs on each Side, high plains, narrow bottoms and Islands. passed a creek on the N. S. and one on the S. Side about 12 oC. killed another Elk. about 1 oC. we halted to dine at a bottom of timber on the N. S. Some of the men killed another buffaloe. the wind high from the N. W. clouded up. the current is not So Swift yesterday & to day as it has been Some time past. we git along verry well with the towing lines. a Small Sprinkling of rain. about 2 oC. we proceeded on passed Several Islands of cotton wood bluffs & high land towards evening the hunters killed a yallow bear in a bottom of cotton wood on S. S. we Came 18 miles & Camped at a fork of the river. we could not determine which was the Missourie. the hunters killed 6 Elk in all to day. we Saw a high mountain to the west of us. one hunter man Shot a large beaver this evening.

    Sunday June 2nd A Clear pleasant morning, we set off early; and proceeded on our Voyage. About 9 o'Clock A. M. some of our hunters killed a buffalo, and an Elk, we proceeded on, and passed high bluffs lying on each side of the River, also high plains, narrow bottoms of land, & Islands, on both sides; and two Creeks, One on the North, and the other on the South side of the River, about 11 o'Clock A. M. one of our hunters killed another Elk, at 12 o'Clock A. M. we halted to dine on a bottom, lying on the North side of the River, Where one of our party killed a Buffalo, The wind blew hard from the North west at this place, and the Sky became Cloudy. -

    The current of the Mesouris not running so swift, these two days past; as it had done for some time before; so that we made good head way, with towing the Crafts along,- about One o'Clock P M, we had some small sprinkling of rain - about 2 oClock P. M. we proceeded on, and passed several Islands, lying on both sides of the River; having Cotton wood on them. - and bluffs and high land. - towards evening, our hunters killed a Yellow Bear in a bottom, on the South side of the River, We encamped at a place where the Mesouri River forked, the officers being at a loss which fork was the Mesouri River, The Hunters that were out this day, returned to us, having killed 4 more Elk, and in the Evening one beaver, - We saw a high Mountain lying to our West. We came 18 Miles this day. -

    June 3, 1805 Lewis Diary - Monday June 3rd 1805. This morning early we passed over and formed a camp on the point formed by the junction of the two large rivers. here in the course of the day I continued my observations as are above stated. An interesting question was now to be determined; which of these rivers was the Missouri, or that river which the Minnetares call Amahte Arz zha or Missouri, and which they had discribed to us as approaching very near to the Columbia river. to mistake the stream at this period of the season, two months of the traveling season having now elapsed, and to ascend such stream to the rocky Mountain or perhaps much further before we could inform ourselves whether it did approach the Columbia or not, and then be obliged to return and take the other stream would not only loose us the whole of this season but would probably so dishearten the party that it might defeat the expedition altogether. convinced we were that the utmost circumspection and caution was necessary in deciding on the stream to be taken. to this end an investigation of both streams was the first thing to be done; to learn their widths, debths, comparitive rappidity of their courants and thence the comparitive bodies of water furnished by each; accordingly we dispatched two light canoes with three men in each up those streams; we also sent out several small parties by land with instructions to penetrate the country as far as they conveniently can permiting themselves time to return this evening and indeavour if possible to discover the distant bearing of those rivers by ascending the rising grounds. between the time of my A. M. and meridian Capt. C & myself stroled out to the top of the hights in the fork of these rivers from whence we had an extensive and most inchanting view; the country in every derection around us was one vast plain in which innumerable herds of Buffalow were seen attended by their shepperds the wolves; the solatary antelope which now had their young were distributed over it's face; some herds of Elk were also seen; the verdure perfectly cloathed the ground, the weather was pleasent and fair; to the South we saw a range of lofty mountains which we supposed to be a continuation of the S. Mountains, streching themselves from S. E. to N. W. terminating abbrubtly about S. West from us; these were partially covered with snow; behind these Mountains and at a great distance, a second and more lofty range of mountains appeared to strech across the country in the same direction with the others, reaching from West, to the N of N. W., where their snowey tops lost themselves beneath the horizon. this last range was perfectly covered with snow. the direction of the rivers could be seen but little way, soon loosing the break of their channels, to our view, in the common plain. on our return to camp we boar a little to the left and discovered a handsome little river falling into the N. fork on Lard. side about 1 1/2 ms. above our camp. this little river has as much timber in it's bottoms as either of the larger streams. there are a great number of prickley pears in these plains; the Choke cherry grows here in abundance both in the river bottoms and in the steep ravenes along the river bluffs. saw the yellow and red courants, not yet ripe; also the goosberry which begins to ripen; the wild rose which grows here in great abundance in the bottoms of all these rivers is now in full bloom, and adds not a little to the beaty of the cenery. we took the width of the two rivers, found the left hand or S. fork 372 yards and the N. fork 200. The noth fork is deeper than the other but it's courant not so swift; it's waters run in the same boiling and roling manner which has uniformly characterized the Missouri throughout it's whole course so far; it's waters are of a whitish brown colour very thick and terbid, also characteristic of the Missouri; while the South fork is perfectly transparent runds very rappid but with a smoth unriffled surface it's bottom composed of round and flat smooth stones like most rivers issuing from a mountainous country. the bed of the N. fork composed of some gravel but principally mud; in short the air & character of this river is so precisely that of the missouri below that the party with very few exceptions have already pronounced the N. fork to be the Missouri; myself and Capt. C. not quite so precipitate have not yet decided but if we were to give our opinions I believe we should be in the minority, certain it is that the North fork gives the colouring matter and character which is retained from hence to the gulph of Mexico. I am confident that this river rises in and passes a great distance through an open plain country I expect that it has some of it's souces on the Eastern side of the rocky mountain South of the Saskashawan, but that it dose not penetrate the first range of these Mountains and that much the greater part of it's sources are in a northwardly direction towards the lower and middle parts of the Saskashawan in the open plains. convinced I am that if it penetrated the Rocky Mountains to any great distance it's waters would be clearer unless it should run an immence distance indeed after leaving those mountains through these level plains in order to acquire it's turbid hue. what astonishes us a little is that the Indians who appeared to be so well acquainted with the geography of this country should not have mentioned this river on wright hand if it be not the Missouri; the river that scolds at all others, as they call it if there is in reallity such an one, ought agreeably to their account, to have fallen in a considerable distance below, and on the other hand if this righthand or N. fork be the Missouri I am equally astonished at their not menioning the S. fork which they must have passed in order to get to those large falls which they mention on (that) the Missouri. thus have our cogitating faculties been busily employed all day.

    Those who have remained at camp today have been busily engaged in dressing skins for cloathing, notwithstanding that many of them have their feet so mangled and bruised with the stones and rough ground over which they passed barefoot, that they can scarcely walk or stand; at least it is with great pain they do either. for some days past they were unable to wear their mockersons; they have fallen off considerably, but notwithstanding the difficulties past, or those which seem now to mennace us, they still remain perfectly cheerfull. In the evening the parties whom we had sent out returned agreeably to instructions. The parties who had been sent up the rivers in canoes informed that they ascended some disance and had then left their canoes and walked up the rivers a considerable distance further barely leaving themselves time to return; the North fork was not so rappid as the other and afforded the easiest navigation of course; Six [NB: 7] feet appeared to be the shallowest water of the S. Branch and 5 feet that of the N. Their accounts were by no means satisfactory nor did the information we acquired bring us nigher to the decision of our question or determine us which stream to take. Sergt. Pryor hand [had] ascended the N. fork and had taken the following courses and distances-viz -

    Joseph and Reubin Fields reported that they had been up the South fork about 7 mes. on a streight course somewhat N of W. and that there the little river which discharges itself into the North fork just above us, was within 100 yards of the S. fork; that they came down this little river and found it a boald runing stream of about 40 yds. wide containg much timber in it's bottom, consisting of the narrow and wide leafed cottonwood with some birch and box alder undrgrowth willows rosebushes currents &c. they saw a great number of Elk on this river and some beaver. Those accounts being by no means satisfactory as to the fundamental point; Capt. C. and myself concluded to set out early the next morning with a small party each, and ascend these rivers untill we could perfectly satisfy ourselves of the one, which it would be most expedient for us to take on our main journey to the Pacific. accordingly it was agreed that I should ascend the right hand fork and he the left. I gave orders to Sergt. Pryor Drewyer, Shields, Windsor, Cruzatte and La Page to hold themselves in readiness to accompany me in the morning. Capt. Clark also selected Reubin & Joseph Fields, Sergt. Gass, Shannon and his black man York, to accompany him. we agreed to go up those rivers one day and a halfs march or further if it should appear necessary to satisfy us more fully of the point in question. the hunters killed 2 Buffaloe, 6 Elk and 4 deer today. the evening proved cloudy. we took a drink of grog this evening and gave the men a dram, and made all matters ready for an early departure in the morning. I had now my sack and blanket happerst in readiness to swing on my back, which is the first time in my life that I had ever prepared a burthen of this kind, and I am fully convinced that it will not be the last. I take my Octant with me also, this I confide La Page.

    June 8, 1805 Lewis Diary - We determined to deposite at this place the large red perogue all the heavy baggage which we could possibly do without and some provision, salt, tools powder and Lead &c with a view to lighten our vessels and at the same time to strengthen their crews by means of the seven hands who have been heretofore employd. in navigating the red perogue; accordingly we set some hands to diging a hole or cellar for the reception of our stores. these holes in the ground or deposits are called by the engages cashes [NB: cache's]; on enquiry I found that Cruzatte was well acquainted this business and therefore left the management of it intirely to him. today we examined our maps, and compared the information derived as well from them as from the Indians and fully settled in our minds the propryety of addopting the South fork for the Missouri, as that which it would be most expedient for us to take. The information of Mr. Fidler incorrect as it is strongly argued the necessity of taking the South fork, for if he has been along the Eastern side of the rocky mountains as far as even Latd. 47 (degrees), which I think fully as far south as he ever was in that direction, and saw only small rivulets making down from those mountains the presumption is very strong that those little streams do not penetrate the rocky Mountains to such distance as would afford rational grownds for a conjecture that they had their sources near any navigable branch of the Columbia, and if he has seen those rivulets as far south as 47 (degrees) they are most probably the waters of some Nothern branch of the Missouri or South fork probably the river called by the Indians Medicine River; we therefore cannot hope by going Northwardly of this place being already in Latititude 47 degrees 24" to find a stream between this place and the Saskashawan which dose penetrate the Rocky mountains, and which agreeably to the information of the Indians with rispect to the Missouri, dose possess a navigable curent some distance in those mountains. The Indian information also argued strongly in favour of the South fork. they informed us that the water of the Missouri was nearly transparent at the great falls, this is the case with the water of the South fork; that the falls lay a little to the South of sunset from them; this is also brobable as we are only a few minutes North of Fort Mandan and the South fork bears considerably South from hence to the Mountains; that the falls are below the rocky mountains and near the Nothern termineation of one range of those mountains. a range of mountains which apear behind the S. Mountains and which appear to terminate S. W. from this place and on this side of the unbroken chain of the Rocky Mountains gives us hope that this part of their information is also correct, and there is sufficient distance between this and the mountains for many and I fear for us much too many falls. another impression on my mind is that if the Indians had passed any stream as large as the South fork on their way to the Missouri that they would not have omitted mentioning it; and the South fork from it's size and complexion of it's waters must enter the Ry. Mountains and in my opinion penetrates them to a great distance, or els whence such an immence body of water as it discharges; it cannot procede from the dry plains to the N. W. of the Yellow Stone river on the East side of the Rocky Mountains for those numerous large dry channels which we witnessed on that side as we ascended the Missouri forbid such a conjecture; and that it should take it's sourses to the N. W. under those mountains the travels of Mr. Fidler fobid us to beleive. Those ideas as they occurred to me I indevoured to impress on the minds of the party all of whom except Capt. C. being still firm in the beleif that the N. Fork was the Missouri and that which we ought to take; they said very cheerfully that they were ready to follow us any wher we thought proper to direct but that they still thought that the other was the river and that they were affraid that the South fork would soon termineate in the mountains and leave us at a great distance from the Columbia. Cruzatte who had been an old Missouri navigator and who from his integrity knowledge and skill as a waterman had acquired the confidence of every individual of the party declared it as his opinion that the N. fork was the true genuine Missouri and could be no other. finding them so determined in this beleif, and wishing that if we were in an error to be able to detect it and rectify it as soon as possible it was agreed between Capt. C. and myself that one of us should set out with a small party by land up the South fork and continue our rout up it untill we found the falls or reached the snowy Mountains by which means we should be enabled to determine this question prety accurately. this expedition I prefered undertaking as Capt. C best waterman &c. and determined to set out the day after tomorrow; I wished to make some further observations at this place, and as we had determined to leave our blacksmith's bellows and tools here it was necessary to repare some of our arms, and particularly my Airgun the main spring of which was broken, before we left this place. these and some other preperations will necessarily detain us two perhaps three days. I felt myself very unwell this morning and took a portion of salts from which I feel much releif this evening. The cash being completed I walked to it and examined it's construction. it is in a high plain about 40 yards distant from a steep bluff of the South branch on it's nothern side; the situation a dry one which is always necessary. a place being fixed on for a cash, a circle abut 20 inches in diameter is first discribed, the terf or sod of this circle is carefully removed, being taken out as entire as possible in order that it may be replaced in the same situation when the chash is filled and secured. this circular hole is then sunk perpendicularly to the debth of one foot, if the ground be not firm somewhat deeper. they then begin to work it out wider as they proceed downwards untill they get it about six or seven feet deep giving it nearly the shape of the kettle or lower part of a large still. it's bottom is also somewhat sunk in the center. the dementions of the cash is in proportion to the quantity of articles intended to be deposited. as the earth is dug it is handed up in a vessel and carefully laid on a skin or cloth and then carryed to some place where it can be thrown in such manner as to conseal it usually into some runing stream wher it is washed away and leaves no traces which might lead to the discovery of the cash. before the goods are deposited they must be well dryed; a parsel of small dry sticks are then collected and with then [them] a floor is maid of three or four inches thick which is then covered with some dry hay or a raw hide well dryed; on this the articles are deposited, taking care to keep them from touching the walls by putting other dry sticks between as you stoe away the merchandize, when nearly full the goods are covered with a skin and earth thrown in and well ramed untill with the addition of the turf furst removed the whole is on a level with the serface of the ground. in this manner dryed skins or merchandize will keep perfectly sound for several years. the traders of the Missouri, particularly those engaged in the trade with the Siouxs are obliged to have frequent recourse to this method in order to avoyd being robed. most of the men are busily engaged dressing skins for cloathing. In the evening Cruzatte gave us some music on the violin and the men passed the evening in dancing singing &c and were extreemly cheerfull. -

    As the middle of June approached, Meriweather Lewis was pushing forward with a scouting party, ahead of the main group, twenty miles from Clark, when he first saw the Great Falls of the Missouri River. What was the significance of reaching the Great Falls? It proved that the leaders of the Corps of Discovery had been correct in their choice at the fork in the river and that they were heading in the correct direction up the Missouri River toward the Continental Divide.




    Journal Entries, Corps of Discovery, Reaching the Great Falls of the Missouri River


    June 13, 1805 Lewis Diary - This morning we set out about sunrise after taking breakfast off our venison and fish. we again ascended the hills of the river and gained the level country. the country through which we passed for the first six miles tho' more roling than that we had passed yesterday might still with propryety be deemed a level country; our course as yesterday was generally S W. the river from the place we left it appeared to make a considerable bend to the South. from the extremity of this roling country I overlooked a most beatifull and level plain of great extent or at least 50 or sixty miles; in this there were infinitely more buffaloe than I had ever before witnessed at a view. nearly in the direction I had been travling or S. W. two curious mountains presented themselves of square figures, the sides rising perpendicularly to the hight of 250 feet and appeared to be formed of yellow clay; their tops appeared to be level plains; these inaccessible hights appeared like the ramparts of immence fortifications; I have no doubt but with very little assistance from art they might be rendered impregnable. fearing that the river boar to the South and that I might pass the falls if they existed between this an the snowey mountains I altered my course nealy to the South leaving those insulated hills to my wright and proceeded through the plain; I sent Feels on my right and Drewyer and Gibson on my left with orders to kill some meat and join me at the river where I should halt for dinner. I had proceded on this course about two miles with Goodrich at some distance behind me whin my ears were saluted with the agreeable sound of a fall of water and advancing a little further I saw the spray arrise above the plain like a collumn of smoke which would frequently dispear again in an instant caused I presume by the wind which blew pretty hard from the S. W. I did not however loose my direction to this point which soon began to make a roaring too tremendious to be mistaken for any cause short of the great falls of the Missouri. here I arrived about 12 OClock having traveled by estimate about 15 Miles. I hurryed down the hill which was about 200 feet high and difficult of access, to gaze on this sublimely grand specticle. I took my position on the top of some rocks about 20 feet high opposite the center of the falls. this chain of rocks appear once to have formed a part of those over which the waters tumbled, but in the course of time has been seperated from it to the distance of 150 yards lying prarrallel to it and forming a butment against which the water after falling over the precipice beats with great fury; this barrier extends on the right to the perpendicular clift which forms that board (bound or border?) of the river but to the distance of 120 yards next to the clift it is but a few feet above the level of the water, and here the water in very high tides appears to pass in a channel of 40 yds. next to the higher part of the ledg of rocks; on the left it extends within 80 or ninty yards of the lard. Clift which is also perpendicular; between this abrupt extremity of the ledge of rocks and the perpendicular bluff the whole body of water passes with incredible swiftness. immediately at the cascade the river is about 300 yds. wide; about ninty or a hundred yards of this next the Lard. bluff is a smoth even sheet of water falling over a precipice of at least eighty feet, the remaining part of about 200 yards on my right formes the grandest sight I ever beheld, the hight of the fall is the same of the other but the irregular and somewhat projecting rocks below receives the water in it's passage down and brakes it into a perfect white foam which assumes a thousand forms in a moment sometimes flying up in jets of sparkling foam to the hight of fifteen or twenty feet and are scarcely formed before large roling bodies of the same beaten and foaming water is thrown over and conceals them. in short the rocks seem to be most happily fixed to present a sheet of the whitest beaten froath for 200 yards in length and about 80 feet perpendicular. the water after decending strikes against the butment before mentioned or that on which I stand and seems to reverberate and being met by the more impetuous courant they role and swell into half formed billows of great hight which rise and again disappear in an instant. this butment of rock defends a handsom little bottom of about three acres which is deversified and agreeably shaded with some cottonwood trees; in the lower extremity of the bottom there is a very thick grove of the same kind of trees which are small, in this wood there are several Indian lodges formed of sticks. a few small cedar grow near the ledge of rocks where I rest. below the point of these rocks at a small distance the river is divided by a large rock which rises several feet above the water, and extends downwards with the stream for about 20 yards. about a mile before the water arrives at the pitch it decends very rappidly, and is confined on the Lard. side by a perpendicular clift of about 100 feet, on Stard. side it is also perpendicular for about three hundred yards above the pitch where it is then broken by the discharge of a small ravine, down which the buffaloe have a large beaten road to the water, [NE: Qu.] for it is but in very few places that these anamals can obtain water near this place owing to the steep and inaccessible banks. I see several skelletons of the buffaloe lying in the edge of the water near the Stard. bluff which I presume have been swept down by the current and precipitated over this tremendious fall. about 300 yards below me there is another butment of solid rock with a perpendicular face and abot 60 feet high which projects from the Stard. side at right angles to the distance of 134 yds. and terminates the lower part nearly of the bottom before mentioned; there being a passage arround the end of this butment between it and the river of about 20 yardes; here the river again assumes it's usual width soon spreading to near 300 yards but still continues it's rappidity. from the reflection of the sun on the spray or mist which arrises from these falls there is a beatifull rainbow produced which adds not a little to the beauty of this majestically grand senery. after wrighting this imperfect discription I again viewed the falls and was so much disgusted with the imperfect idea which it conveyed of the scene that I determined to draw my pen across it and begin agin, but then reflected that I could not perhaps succeed better than pening the first impressions of the mind; I wished for the pencil of Salvator Rosa [EC: a Titian] or the pen of Thompson, that I might be enabled to give to the enlightened world some just idea of this truly magnifficent and sublimely grand object, which has from the commencement of time been concealed from the view of civilized man; but this was fruitless and vain. I most sincerely regreted that I had not brought a crimee obscura with me by the assistance of which even I could have hoped to have done better but alas this was also out of my reach; I therefore with the assistance of my pen only indeavoured to trace some of the stronger features of this seen by the assistance of which and my recollection aided by some able pencil I hope still to give to the world some faint idea of an object which at this moment fills me with such pleasure and astonishment, and which of it's kind I will venture to ascert is second to but one in the known world. I retired to the shade of a tree where I determined to fix my camp for the present and dispatch a man in the morning to inform Capt. C. and the party of my success in finding the falls and settle in their minds all further doubts as to the Missouri. the hunters now arrived loaded with excellent buffaloe meat and informed me that they had killed three very fat cows about 3/4 of a mile hence. I directed them after they had refreshed themselves to go back and butcher them and bring another load of meat each to our camp determining to employ those who remained with me in drying meat for the party against their arrival. in about 2 hours or at 4 OClock P. M. they set out on this duty, and I walked down the river about three miles to discover if possible some place to which the canoes might arrive or at which they might be drawn on shore in order to be taken by land above the falls; but returned without effecting either of these objects; the river was one continued sene of rappids and cascades which I readily perceived could not be encountered with our canoes, and the Clifts still retained their perpendicular structure and were from 150 to 200 feet high; in short the river appears here to have woarn a channel in the process of time through a solid rock. on my return I found the party at camp; they had butchered the buffaloe and brought in some more meat as I had directed. Goodrich had caught half a douzen very fine trout and a number of both species of the white fish. these trout [NB: caught in the falls] are from sixteen to twenty three inches in length, precisely resemble our mountain or speckled trout in form and the position of their fins, but the specks on these are of a deep black instead of the red or goald colour of those common to the U.' States. these are furnished long sharp teeth on the pallet and tongue and have generally a small dash of red on each side behind the front ventral fins; the flesh is of a pale yellowish red, or when in good order, of a rose red. -

    I am induced to believe that the Brown, the white and the Grizly bear of this country are the same species only differing in colour from age or more probably from the same natural cause that many other anamals of the same family differ in colour. one of those which we killed yesterday was of a creemcoloured white while the other in company with it was of the common bey or rdish brown, which seems to be the most usual colour of them. the white one appeared from it's tallons and teath to be the youngest; it was smaller than the other, and although a monstrous beast we supposed that it had not yet attained it's growth and that it was a little upwards of two years old. the young cubs which we have killed have always been of a brownish white, but none of them as white as that we killed yesterday. one other that we killed sometime since which I mentioned sunk under some driftwood and was lost, had a white stripe or list of about eleven inches wide entirely arround his body just behind the shoalders, and was much darker than these bear usually are. the grizly bear we have never yet seen. I have seen their tallons in possession of the Indians and from their form I am perswaded if there is any difference between this species and the brown or white bear it is very inconsiderable. There is no such anamal as a black bear in this open country or of that species generally denominated the black bear

    my fare is really sumptuous this evening; buffaloe's humps, tongues and marrowbones, fine trout parched meal pepper and salt, and a good appetite; the last is not considered the least of the luxuries.


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    Moving Forward Summer of 1805


    Once the selection of the southern fork had been confirmed as the Missouri River by the sighting of the Great Falls, the Corps of Discovery continued their journey toward the imposing heights of the Rocky Mountains, circumnavigating the falls on June 17 with an eighteen mile journey over land that took one month and one half. On July 25, they reached the headwaters of the Missouri River, and entered Shoshone territory, the homeland of Sacagawea, in early August. By August 12, Meriweather Lewis and three men of the Corps had crossed the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass.

    For the next several weeks, negotiations with the Shoshone tribe, with the assistance of Sacagawea, allowed Lewis and Clark, plus the remainder of the Corps of Discovery, to gain their trust and purchase horses for the journey across the Continental Divide of the Rockies. On September 22, 1805, the Corps emerged from the Bitterroot Mountains on the west side of the Rockies, then continued toward their goal of the Columbia River and the coast of the Pacific Ocean. They reached that goal in November, constructing Fort Clatsop, near today's Astoria, Oregon, to spend the winter.

    As noted in the journal entries above, reprinted courtesy of lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu, much of the Corps of Discovery history has been kept in the journals of six men; Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Joseph Whitehouse, John Ordway, Patrick Gass, and Charles Floyd.

    Photo above: Lewis and Clark reach a Shoshone Camp led by Sacagawea, 1918, Charles Marion Russell. Courtesy Gilcrest Museum via Wikipedia Commons. Below: Painting of Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea, Edgar Samuel Paxson. Courtesy Montana State Capitol via Wikipedia Commons. Info source: Library of Congress; https://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/; Diaries of William Clark, Meriwether Lewis, Joseph Whitehouse, Patrick Gass, John Ordway; Wikipedia Commons.


    Lewis and Clark with Sacagsawea





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