The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, February 15, 1806

Lewis, February 15, 1806

Saturday February 15th 1806. Drewyer and Whitehouse set out this morning on a hunting excurtion towards the praries of Point Adams. we have heard our hunters over the Netul fire several shot today, but have had no account from them as yet. about 3 P.M. Bratton arrived from the salt works and informed us that Sergt. Pryor and party were on their way with Gibson who is so much reduced that he cannot stand alone and that they are obliged to carry him in a litter. Bratton himself appears much reduced with his late indisposition but is now recovering fast. Bratton informed that the cause of Sergt. Pryor's delay was attributeable to the winds which had been so violent for several days as to render it impossible to get a canoe up the creek to the point where it was necessary to pass with Gibson. the S. W. winds are frequently very violent on the coast when we are but little sensible of them at Fort Clatsop. in consequence of the lofty and thickly timbered fir country which surrounds us on that quarter from the South to the North East.

after dark Sergt. Pryor arrived with Gibson. we are much pleased in finding him by no means as ill as we had expected. we do no conceive him in danger by any means, tho he has yet a fever and is much reduced. we beleive his disorder to have orriginated in a violent cold which he contracted in hunting and pursuing Elk and other game through the swams and marshes about the salt works. he is nearly free from pain tho a gooddeel reduced and very languid. we gave him broken dozes of diluted nitre and made him drink plentifully of sage tea, had his feet bathed in warm water and at 9 P.M. gave him 35 drops of laudanum.

The quadrupeds of this country from the Rocky Mountains to the pacific Ocean are 1st the domestic animals, consisting of the horse and the dog only; 2cdly the native wild animals, consisting of the Brown white or grizly bear, (which I beleive to be the same family with a mearly accedental difference in point of colour) the black bear, the common red deer, the black tailed fallow deer, the Mule deer, Elk, the large brown wolf, the small woolf of the plains, the large wolf of the plains, the tiger cat, the common red fox, black fox or fisher, silver fox, large red fox of the plains, small fox of the plains or kit fox, Antelope, sheep, beaver, common otter, sea Otter, mink, spuck, seal, racoon, large grey squirrel, small brown squirrel, small grey squirrel, ground squirrel, sewelel, Braro, rat, mouse, mole, Panther, hare, rabbit, and polecat or skunk. all of which shall be severally noticed in the order in which they occur as well as shuch others as I learn do exist and which not been here recapitulated. The horse is confined principally to the nations inhabiting the great plains of Columbia extending from Latitude 40° to 50° N. and occuping the tract of country lying between the rocky mountains and a range of Mountains which pass the columbia river about the great falls or from Longitude 116 to 121 West. in this extesive tract of principally untimbered country so far as we have leant the following nations reside (viz) the Sosone or snake Indians, the Chopunnish, sokulks, Cutssahnims, Chymnapums, Ehelutes, Eneshuh & Chilluckkittequaws. all of whom enjoy the bennefit of that docile, generous and valuable anamal the horse, and all of them except the three last have immence numbers of them. Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are lofty eligantly formed active and durable; in short many of them look like the fine English coarsers and would make a figure in any country. some of those horses are pided with large spots of white irregularly scattered and intermixed with the black brown bey or some other dark colour, but much the larger portion are of an uniform colour with stars snips and white feet, or in this rispect marked much like our best blooded horses in virginia, which they resemble as well in fleetness and bottom as in form and colours. the natives suffer them to run at large in the plains, the grass of which furnishes them with their only subsistence their masters taking no trouble to lay in a winters store for them, but they even keep fat if not much used on the dry grass of the plains during the winter. no rain scarcely ever falls in these plains and the grass is short and but thin. The natives appear to take no pains in scelecting their male horses from which they breed, in short those of that discription which I have noticed appeared much the most indifferent. whether the horse was orrigeonally a native of this country or not it is out of my power to determine as we can not understand the language of the natives sufficiently to ask the question. at all events the country and climate appears well adapted to this anamal. horses are said to be found wild in many parts of this extensive plain country. the several tribes of Sosones who reside towards Mexico on the waters of Clark's river or particularly one of them called Sh&-bo-bo-ah have also a great number of mules, which among the Indians I find are much more highly prized than horses. an eligant horse may be purchased of the natives in this country for a lew peads or other paltry trinkets which in the U States would not cost more than one or two dollars. This abundance and cheapness of horses will be extremely advantageous to those who may hereafter attemt the fir trade to the East Indies by way of the Columbia river and the Pacific Ocean.- the mules in the possession of the Indians are principally stolen from the Spaniards of Mexeco; they appear to be large and fine such as we have seen. Among the Sosones of the upper part of the S. E. fork of the Columbia we saw several horses with spanish brands on them which we supposed had been stolen from the inhabitants of Mexeco.