The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, April 13, 1805
Lewis, April 13, 1805
Saturday April 13th Being disappointed in my observations of yesterday for Longitude, I was unwilling to remain at the entrance of the river another day for that purpose, and therefore determined to set out early this morning; which we did accordingly; the wind was in our favour after 9 A.M. and continued favourable untill three 3 P.M. we therefore hoisted both the sails in the White Perogue, consisting of a small squar sail, and spritsail, which carried her at a pretty good gate, untill about 2 in the afternoon when a suddon squall of wind struck us and turned the perogue so much on the side as to allarm Sharbono who was steering at the time, in this state of alarm he threw the perogue with her side to the wind, when the spritsail gibing was as near overseting the perogue as it was possible to have missed. the wind however abating for an instant I ordered Drewyer to the helm and the sails to be taken in, which was instant executed and the perogue being steered before the wind was agin placed in a state of security. this accedent was very near costing us dearly. beleiving this vessell to be the most steady and safe, we had embarked on board of it our instruments, Papers, medicine and the most valuable part of the merchandize which we had still in reserve as presents for the Indians. we had also embarked on board ourselves, with three men who could not swim and the squaw with the young child, all of whom, had the perogue overset, would most probably have perished, as the waves were high, and the perogue upwards of 200 yards from the nearest shore; however we fortunately escaped and pursued our journey under the square sail, which shortly after the accident I directed to be again hoisted. our party caught three beaver last evening; and the French hunters 7. as there was much appearance of beaver just above the entrance of the little Missouri these hunters concluded to remain some days; we therefore left them without the expectation of seeing them again.- just above the entrance of the Little Missouri the great Missouri is upwards of a mile in width, tho immediately at the entrance of the former it is not more than 200 yards wide and so shallow that the canoes passed it with seting poles. at the distance of nine miles passed the mouth of a creek on the Stard. side which we called onion creek from the quantity of wild onions which grow in the plains on it's borders. Capt. Clark who was on shore informed me that this creek was 16 yards wide a mile & a half above it's entrance, discharges more water than creeks of it's size usually do in this open country, and that there was not a stick of timber of any discription to be seen on it's borders, or the level plain country through which it passes. at the distance of 10 miles further we passed the mouth of a large creek; discharging itself in the center of a deep bend. of this creek and the neighbouring country, Capt Clark who was on shore gave me the following discription "This creek I took to be a small river from it's size, and the quantity of water which it discharged. I ascended it 11/2 miles, and found it the discharge of a pond or small lake, which had the appearance of having formerly been the bed of the Missouri. several small streems discharge themselves into this lake. the country on both sides consists of beautifull level and elivated plains; asscending as they recede from the Missouri; there were a great number of Swan and gees in this lake and near it's borders I saw the remains of 43 temperary Indian lodges, which I presume were those of the Assinniboins who are now in the neighbourhood of the British establishments on the Assinniboin river-" This lake and it's discharge we call Boos Egg from the circumstance of Capt Clark shooting a goose while on her nest in the top of a lofty cotton wood tree, from which we afterwards took one egg. the wild gees frequently build their nests in this manner, at least we have already found several in trees, nor have we as yet seen any on the ground, or sand bars where I had supposed from previous information that they most commonly deposited their eggs.- saw some Bufhaloe and Elk at a distance today but killed none of them. we found a number of carcases of the Buffaloe lying along shore, which had been drowned by falling through the ice in winter and lodged on shore by the high water when the river broke up about the first of this month. we saw also many tracks of the white bear of enormous size, along the river shore and about the carcases of the Buffaloe, on which I presume they feed. we have not as yet seen one of these anamals, tho their tracks are so abundant and recent. the men as well as ourselves are anxious to meet with some of these bear. the Indians give a very formidable account of the strengh and ferocity of this anamal, which they never dare to attack but in parties of six eight or ten persons; and are even then frequently defeated with the loss of one or more of their party. the savages attack this anamal with their bows and arrows and the indifferent guns with which the traders furnish them, with these they shoot with such uncertainty and at so short a distance, that they frequently mis their aim & fall a sacrefice to the bear. two Minetaries were killed during the last winter in an attack on a white bear. this anamall is said more frequently to attack a man on meeting with him, than to flee from him. When the Indians are about to go in quest of the white bear, previous to their departure, they paint themselves and perform all those superstitious rights commonly observed when they are about to make war uppon a neighbouring nation. Oserved more bald eagles on this part of the Missouri than we have previously seen saw the small hawk, frequently called the sparrow hawk, which is common to most parts of the U States. great quantities of gees are seen feeding in the praries. saw a large flock of white brant or gees with black wings pass up the river; there were a number of gray brant with them; from their flight I presume they proceed much further still to the N. W.- we have never been enabled yet to shoot one of these birds, and cannot therefore determine whether the gray brant found with the white are their brude of the last year or whether they are the same with the grey brant common to the Mississippi and lower part of the Missouri.- we killed 2 Antelopes today which we found swiming from the S. to the N. side of the river; they were very poor.- We encamped this evening on the Stard. shore in a beautiful) plain, elivated about 30 feet above the river.