Lewis, May 30, 1806
Friday May 30th 1806. Lapage and Charbono set out to the indian vilages early this morning for the purpose of trading with them for roots; Sergt. Gass was sent this morning to obtain some goats hair to stuff the padds of our saddles. he ascended the river on this side and being unable to pass the river opposite to the village he wished to visit, returned in the evening unsuccessfull. Shannon and Collins were permitted to pass the river in order to trade with the natives and lay in a store of roots and bread for themselves with their proportion of the merchandize as the others had done; in landing on the opposite shore the canoe was driven broad side with the full forse of a very strong current against some standing trees and instantly filled with water and sunk. Potts who was with them is an indifferent swimer, it was with much difficulty he made the land. they lost three blankets a blanket coat and their pittance of merchandize. in our bear state of clootheing this was a serious loss. I sent Sergt. Pryor and a party over with the indian canoe in order to raise and secure ours but the debth of the water and the strength of the current baffled every effort. I fear that we have also lost our canoe. all our invalides are on the recovery. we gave the sick Cheif a severe sweat today, shortly after which he could move one of his legs and thyes and work his toes pretty well, the other leg he can move a little; his fingers and arms seem to be almost entirely restored. he seems highly delighted with his recovery. I begin to entertain strong hope of his restoration by these sweats. in the evening Joseph Feild returned in surch of his horses which had left them last evening and returned to camp. Feilds informed us that himself and his brother whom he had left at their camp 6 ms. distant on Collin's creek, had killed 3 deer. The reptiles which I have observed in this quarter are the Rattlesnake of the speceis discribed on the Missouri, they are abundant in every part of the country and are the only poisonous snake which we have yet met with since we left St. Louis. the 2 speceis of snakes of an inosent kind already discribed. the common black lizzard, the horned lizzard, a smal green tree frog, the smal frog which is common to our country which sings in the spring of the year, a large speceis of frog which resorts the water considerably larger than our bull frog, it's shape seems to be a medium between the delicate and lengthy form of our bull frog and that of our land frog or toad as they are sometimes called in the U States. like the latter their bodies are covered with little pustles or lumps, elivated above the ordinary surface of the body; I never heard them make any sound or nois. the mockerson snake or coperhead, a number of vipers a variety of lizzards, the toad bullfrog &c common to the U States are not to be found in this country. most of the insects common to the U States are found here. the butterflies, common house and blowing flies, the horse flies, except the goald coloured ear fly, tho in stead of this fly we have a brown coloured fly about the same size which attatches itself to that part of the horse and is equally as troublesome. the silkworm is also found here. a great variety of beatles common to the Atlantic states are found here likewise. except from this order the large cow beatle and the black beatle usually alled the tumble bug which are not found here. the hornet, the wasp and yellow wasp or yellow jacket as they are frequently called are not met with in this quarter. there is an insect which much resembles the latter only a vast deel larger which are very numerous particularly in the rocky mountains on the waters of the Columbia; these build in the ground where they form a nest like the hornet with an outer covering to the comb in which they deposit their eggs and raise their young. the sheets of this comb are attatched to each other as those of the hornets are. their wings are four of a dark brown colour. the head is black, the body and abdomen are yellow incircled with transverse rings of black, they are ferce and sting very severely, we found them troublesome in frightening our horses as we passed those mountains. the honey bee is not found here. the bumble bee is. one of the men brought me today some onions from the high plain of a different speceis from those near the borders of the river as they are also from the shive or small onion noticed below the falls of the Columbia. these onions were as large as a nutmeg, they generally grow double or two bulbs connected by the same tissue of radicles; each bulb has two long liniar flat solid leaves. the peduncle is solid celindric and crowned with an umbal of from 20 to 30 flowers. this onion is exceedingly crisp and delicately flavoured indeed I think more sweet and less strong than any I ever taisted. it is not yet perfectly in blow, the parts of the flower are not distinct.