The Journals of Lewis & Clark: May 10, 1805

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
May 9, 1805
May 11, 1805

May 10, 1805

Friday May 10th 1805.

Set out at sunrise and proceeded but a short distance ere the wind became so violent that we were obliged to come too, which we did on the Lard. side in a suddon or short bend of the river where we were in a great measure sheltered from the effects of the wind. the wind continued violent all day, the clouds were thick and black, had a slight sprinkle of rain several times in the course of the day. we sent out several hunters to scower the country, to this we were induced not so much from the want of provision as to discover the Indians whome we had reasons to believe were in the neighbourhood, from the circumstance of one of their dogs comeing to us this morning shortly after we landed; we still beleive ourselves in the country usually hunted by the Assinniboins, and as they are a vicious illy disposed nation we think it best to be on our guard, accordingly we inspected the arms and accoutrements the party and found them all in good order. The hunters returned this evening having seen no tents or Indians nor any fresh sign of them; they killed two Mule deer, one common fallow or longtailed deer, 2 Buffaloe and 5 beaver, and saw several deer of the Mule kind of immence size, and also three of the Bighorned anamals. from the appearance of the Mule deer and the bighorned anamals we beleive ourselves fast approaching a hilly or mountainous country; we have rarely found the mule deer in any except a rough country; they prefer the open grounds and are seldom found in the woodlands near the river; when they are met with in the woodlands or river bottoms and are pursued, they invariably run to the hills or open country as the Elk do. the contrary happens with the common deer ther are several esscential differences between the Mule and common deer as well in form as in habits. they are fully a third larger in general, and the male is particularly large; I think there is somewhat greater disparity of size between the male and female of this speceis than there is between the male and female fallow deer; I am convinced I have seen a buck of this species twice the volume of a buck of any other species. the ears are peculiarly large; I measured those of a large buck which I found to be eleven inches long and 31/2 in width at the widest part; they are not so delicately formed, their hair in winter is thicker longer and of a much darker grey, in summer the hair is still coarser longer and of a paleer red, more like that of the Elk; in winter they also have a considerable quantity of a very fine wool intermixed with the hair and lying next to the skin as the Antelope has. the long hair which grows on the outer sides of the 1st joint of the hinder legs, and which in the common deer do not usually occupy more than 2 inches in them occupys from 6 to eight; their horns also differ, these in the common deer consist of two main beams from which one or more points project the beam graduly deminishing as the points procede from it, with the mule deer the horns consist of two beams which at the distance of 4 or 6 inches from the head divide themselves each into two equal branches which again either divide into two other equal branches or terminate in a smaller, and two equal ones; having either 2 4 or 6 points on a beam; the horn is not so rough about the base as the common deer and are invariably of a much darker colour. the most striking difference of all, is the white rump and tale. from the root of the tail as a center there is a circular spot perfectly white, of abot 3 inches radius, which occupys a part of the rump and extremitys of the buttocks and joins the white of the belley underneath; the tail which is usually from 8 to 9 inches long, for the first 4 or 5 inches from it's upper extremity is covered with short white hairs, much shorter indeed than the hairs of the body; from hence for about one inch further the hair is still white but gradually becomes longer, the tail then terminates in a tissue of black hair of about 3 Inches long. from this black hair of the tail they have obtained among the French engages the appelation of the black taled deer, but this I conceive by no means characteristic of the anamal as much the larger portion of the tail is white. the year and the tail of this anamal when compared with those of the common (leer, so well comported with those of the mule when compared with the horse, that we have by way of distinction adapted the appellation of the mule deer which I think much more appropriate. on the inner corner of each eye there is a drane or large recepicle which seems to answer as a drane to the eye which gives it the appearance of weeping, this in the common deer of the atlantic states is scarcely perceptable but becomes more conspicuous in the fallow deer, and still more so in the Elk; this recepticle in the Elk is larger than in any of the pecora order with which I am acquainted.

Boils and imposthumes have been very common with the party Bratton is now unable to work with one on his hand; soar eyes continue also to be common to all of us in a greater or less degree. for the imposthume I use emmolient poltices, and for soar eyes a solution of white vitriol and the sugar of lead in the proportion of 2 grs. of the former and one of the latter to each ounce of water.

May the 10th Friday 1805

river fell 3/4 of an inch last night, wind from the N. W, we proceeded on but a short distance e'r'e the wind became So violent we could not proceed came to on the Lard. Side in a Short bend, the wind Continued all day Several times in the course of the day We had some fiew drops of rain from verry black Clouds, no thunder or lightning latterly, Soon after we landed a Dog came to us from the opposit Side, which induced a belief that we had not passd. the Assinniboin Indians, parties wer Sent on the hills in different derections to examine but Saw no tents or fresh Sign. examined the arms &c. of the party found all in good order. Three mule deer, two Buffalow & 5 beaver killed, 3 of the mountain ram Seen.