The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, July 1, 1806
Lewis, July 1, 1806
Tuesday July 1st 1806. This morning early we sent out all our hunters. set Sheilds at work to repair some of our guns which were out of order Capt. Clark & my self consurted the following plan viz. from this place I determined to go with a small party by the most direct rout to the falls of the Missouri, there to leave Thompson McNeal and goodrich to prepare carriages and geer for the purpose of transporting the canoes and baggage over the portage, and myself and six volunteers to ascend Maria's river with a view to explore the country and ascertain whether any branch of that river lies as far north as Latd. 50 and again return and join the party who are to decend the Missouri, at the entrance of Maria's river. I now called for the volunteers to accompany me on this rout, many turned out, from whom I scelected Drewyer the two Feildses, Werner, Frazier and Sergt Gass accompanied me the other part of the men are to proceed with Capt Clark to the head of Jefferson's river where we deposited sundry articles and left our canoes. from hence Sergt Ordway with a party of 9 men are to decend the river with the canoes; Capt C. with the remaining ten including Charbono and York will proceed to the Yellowstone river at it's nearest approach to the three forks of the missouri, here he will build a canoe and decend the Yellowstone river with Charbono the indian woman, his servant York and five others to the missouri where should he arrive first he will wait my arrival. Sergt Pryor with two other men are to proceed with the horses by land to the Mandans and thence to the British posts on the Assinniboin with a letter to Mr. Heney whom we wish to engage to prevail on the Sioux Chefs to join us on the Missouri, and accompany them with us to the seat of the general government. these arrangements being made the party were informed of our design and prepared themselves accordingly. our hunters killed 13 deer in the course of this day of which 7 were fine bucks, deer are large and in fine order. the indians inform us that there are a great number of white buffaloe or mountain sheep of the snowey hights of the mountains West of this river; they state that they inhabit the most rocky and inaccessible parts, and run but badly, that they kill them with great ease with their arrows when they can find them. the indian warrior who overtook us on the 26th Ult. made me a present of an excellent horse which he said he gave for the good council we had given himself and nation and also to assure us of his attatchment to the white men and his desire to be at peace with the Minnetares of Fort de Prarie. we had our venison fleeced and exposed in the sun on pole to dry. the dove the black woodpecker, the lark woodpecker, the logcock, the prarie lark, sandhill crain, prarie hen with the short and pointed tail, the robin, a speceis of brown plover, a few curloos, small black birds, ravens hawks and a variety of sparrows as well as the bee martin and the several speceis of Corvus genus are found in this vally.
Windsor birst his gun near the muzzle a few days since; this Sheilds cut off and I then exchanged it with the Cheif for the one we had given him for conducting us over the mountains. he was much pleased with the exchange and shot his gun several times; he shoots very well for an inexperienced person.
The little animal found in the plains of the Missouri which I have called the barking squirrel weighs from 3 to 31/2 pounds. it's form is that of the squirrel. it's colour is an uniform light brick red grey, the red reather predominating. the under side of the neck and bely are lighter coloured than the other parts of the body. the legs are short, and it is wide across the breast and sholders in propotion to it's size, appears strongly formed in that part; the head is also bony muscular and stout, reather more blontly terminated wider and flatter than the common squirrel. the upper lip is split or divided to the nose. the ears are short and lie close to the head, having the appearance of being cut off, in this particular they resemble the guinea pig. the teeth are like those of the squrrel rat &c. they have a false jaw or pocket between the skin and the mustle of the jaw like that of the common ground squrrel but not so large in proportion to their size. they have large and full whiskers on each side of the nose, a few long hairs of the same kind on each jaw and over the eyes. the eye is small and black. they have five toes on each foot of which the two outer toes on each foot are much shoter than those in the center particularly the two inner toes of the fore feet, the toes of the fore feet are remarkably long and sharp and seem well adapted to cratching or burrowing those of the hind feet are neither as long or sharp as the former; the nails are black. the hair of this animal is about as long and equally as course as that of the common grey squrrel of our country, and the hair of the tail is not longer than that of the body except immediately at the extremity where it is somewhat longer and frequently of a dark brown colour. the part of generation in the female is placed on the lower region of the belly between the hinder legs so far forward that she must lie on her back to copolate. the whole length of this animal is one foot five inches from the extremity of the nose to that of the tail of which the tail occupyes 4 inches. it is nearly double the size of the whistleing squirrel of the Columbia. it is much more quick active and fleet than it's form would indicate. these squirrels burrow in the ground in the open plains usually at a considerable distance from the water yet are never seen at any distance from their burrows. six or eight usually reside in one burrow to which there is never more than one entrance. these burrows are of great debth. I once dug and pursued a burrow to the debth of ten feet and did not reach it's greatest debth. they generally associate in large societies placing their burrows near each other and frequently occupy in this manner several hundred acres of land. when at rest above ground their position is generally erect on their hinder feet and rump; thus they will generally set and bark at you as you approach them, their note being much that of the little toy dogs, their yelps are in quick succession and at each they a motion to their tails upwards. they feed on the grass and weeds within the limits of their village which they never appear to exceed on any occasion. as they are usually numerous they keep the grass and weeds within their district very closely graized and as clean as if it had been swept. the earth which they throw out of their burrows is usually formed into a conic mound around the entrance. this little animal is frequently very fat and it's flesh is not unpleasant. as soon as the hard frosts commence it shuts up it's burrow and continues within untill spring. it will eat grain or meat.