The Journals of Lewis & Clark: July 8, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
July 7, 1805
July 9, 1805

July 8, 1805

Monday July 8th 1805.

Capt. Clark Determined to make a second effort to replace the notes which he had made with rispect to the river and falls accordingly he set out after an early breakfast and took with him the greater part of the men with a view also to kill buffaloe should there be any in that quarter. after geting some distance in the plains he divided the party and sent them in different directions and himself and two others struck the Missouri at the entrance of medicine river and continued down it to the great Cataract, from whence he returned through the plains to camp where he arrived late in the evening. the hunters also returned having killed 3 buffaloe 2 Antelopes and a deer. he informed me that the immence herds of buffaloe which we had seen for some time past in this neighbourhood have almost entirely disappeared and he beleives are gone down the river.

The day being warm and fair about 12 OCk. the boat was sufficiently dry to receive a coat of the composition which I accordingly applyed. this adds very much to her appearance whether it will be effectual or not. it gives her hull the appearance of being formed of one solid piece. after the first coat had cooled I gave her a second which I think has made it sufficiently thick. The mountains which ly before us from the South, to the N. W. still continue covered with snow. one hunter also passed the river to hunt this morning in the evening he returned having killed a Buck and a male Antelope. The party who were down with Capt. Clark also killed a small fox which they brought with them. it was a female appeared to give suck, otherwise it is so much like the comm small fox of this country commonly called the kit fox that I should have taken it for a young one of that species; however on closer examination it did apear to differ somewhat; it's colour was of a lighter brown, it's years proportionably larger, and the tale not so large or the hair not so long which formed it. they are very delicately formed, exceedingly fleet, and not as large as the common domestic cat. their tallons appear longer than any species of fox I ever saw and seem therefore prepared more amply by nature for the purpose of burrowing. there is sufficient difference for discrimination between it and the kit fox, and to satisfy me perfectly that it is a distinct species. the men also brought me a living ground squirrel which is something larger than those of the U States or those of that kind which are also common here. this is a much hadsomer anamal. like the other it's principal colour is a redish brown but is marked longitudinally with a much greater number of black or dark bron stripes; the spaces between which is marked by ranges of pure white circular spots, about the size of a brister blue shot. these colours imbrace the head neck back and sides; the tail is flat, or the long hair projecting horizontally from two sides of it only gives it that appearance. the belly and breast are of much lighter brown or nearly white. this is an inhabitant of the open plain altogether, wher it burrows and resides; nor is it like the other found among clifts of rocks or in the woodlands. their burrows sometimes like those of the mole run horizontally near the surface of the ground for a considerable distance, but those in which they reside or take refuge strike much deeper in the earth.- Slight rain this afternoon. musquetoes troublesome as usual.

July 8th Monday 1805

A worm morning flying Clouds I deturmin take the width of the river at the falls & the Medison river and to take the greater part of the men which Can be Speared to Kill Buffalow for their Skins as well as meat, devided the party & Sent them in different directions to hunt & proceeded my Self to the mouth of Medison river measured it and found it to be 137 yards wide, in the narrowest part of the Missouri imediately above Medison river the Missouri is 300 yards wide, below and a little above the falls 1440 yards wide with the direction of the upper great fall 580 yards wide, at the great Spring 270 yards wide, at the handsom falls of 47 ft. 8 I. the river is 473 yards wide, at the lower great falls the river is confined within 280 yards, below the falls the water occupies 93 yards only- after takeing the wedth of the river at those Sundery placies I returned thro the plains in a direct line to Camp. Some rain this evening after a verry hot day.- the mountains which are in view to the South & N W. are Covered with Snow. those nearer us and forma 3/4 Circle around us is not Covered with Snow at this time. The hunters killed 3 buffalow, two antelopes, & a Deer to day- the emence herds of buffalow which was near us a fiew days ago, has proceeded on down the river, we Can See but a fiew Bulls in the plains