The Journals of Lewis & Clark: August 6, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
August 5, 1805
August 7, 1805

August 6, 1805

Tuesday August 6th 1805.

We set out this morning very early on our return to the forks. having nothing to eat I set Drewyer to the woodlands to my left in order to kill a deer, sent Sergt. Gass to the right with orders to keep sufficiently near to discover Capt. C. and the party should they be on their way up that stream, and with Sharbono I directed my course to the main forks through the bottom directing the others to meet us there. about five miles above the forks I head the hooping of the party to my left and changed my rout towards them; on my arrival found that they had taken the rapid fork and learnt from Capt. Clark that he had not found the note which I had left for him at that place and the reasons which had induced him to ascend this stream. it was easeist & more in our direction, and apd. to contain as much water he had hoever previously to my comeing up with him, met Drewyer who informed him of the state of the two rivers and was on his return. one of their canoes had just overset and all the baggage wet, the medecine box among other articles and several articles lost a shot pouch and horn with all the implements for one rifle lost and never recovered. I walked down to the point where I waited their return. on their arrival found that two other canoes had filled with water and wet their cargoes completely. Whitehouse had been thrown out of one of the canoes as she swing in a rapid current and the canoe had rubed him and pressed him to the bottom as she passed over him and had the water been 2 inches shallower must inevitably have crushed him to death. our parched meal, corn, Indian preasents, and a great part of our most valuable stores were wet and much damaged on this ocasion. to examine, dry and arrange our stores was the first object; we therefore passed over to the lard. side opposite to the entrance of the rapid fork where there was a large gravly bar that answered our purposes; wood was also convenient and plenty. here we fixed our camp, and unloaded all our canoes and opened and exposed to dry such articles as had been wet. a part of the load of each canoe consisted of the leaden canestirs of powder which were not in least injured, tho some of them had remained upwards of an hour under water. about 20 lbs. of powder which we had in a tight Keg or at least one which we thought sufficiently so got wet and intirely spoiled. this would have been the case with the other had it not have been for the expedient which I had fallen on of securing the powder by means of the lead having the latter formed into canesters which were filled with the necessary proportion of poder to discharge the lead when used, and those canesters well secured with corks and wax. in this country the air is so pure and dry that any vessel however well seasoned the timber may be will give way or shrink unless it is kept full of some liquid. we found that three deer skins which we had left at a considerable hight on a tree were taken off which we supposed had been done by a panther. we sent out some men to hunt this evening, they killed 3 deer and four Elk which gave us a plentifull supply of meat once more. Shannon had been dispatched up the rapid fork this morning to hunt, by Capt Clark before he met with Drewyer or learnt his mistake in the rivers. when he returned he sent Drewyer in surch of him, but he rejoined us this evening and reported that he had been several miles up the river and could find nothing of him. we had the trumpet sounded and fired several guns but he did not join us this evening. I am fearful he is lost again. this is the same man who was seperated from us 15 days as we came up the Missouri and subsisted 9 days of that time on grapes only. Whitehouse is in much pain this evening with the injury one of his legs sustained from the canoe today at the time it upset and swing over him. Capt Clarks ankle is also very painfull to him.- we should have given the party a days rest some where near this place had not this accedent happened, as I had determined to take some observations to fix the Latitude and longitude of these forks. our merchandize medecine &c are not sufficiently dry this evening we covered them securely for the evening. Capt Clark had ascended the river about 9 miles from this place on a course of S 30° W. before he met with Drewyer.

we beleive that the N. W. or rapid fork is the dane of the melting snows of the mountains, and that it is not as long as the middle fork and dose not at all seasons of the year supply any thing like as much water as the other and that about this season it rises to it's greatest hight. this last appears from the apparent bed of the river which is now overflown and the water in many plases spreads through old channels which have their bottoms covered with grass that has grown this season and is such as appears on the parts of the bottom not innundated. we therefore determined that the middle fork was that which ought of right to bear the name we had given to the lower portion or River Jefferson and called the bold rapid an clear stream Wisdom, and the more mild and placid one which flows in from the S. E. Philanthrophy, in commemoration of two of those cardinal virtues, which have so eminently marked that deservedly selibrated character through life.

August 6th Tuesday 1805

a Clear morning Cool wind from the S W we proceeded on with much dificuelty and fatigue over rapids & Stones; river about 40 or 50 yards wide much divided by Islands and narrow Bayoos to a low bluff on the Stard Side & Brackfast, dureing the time of Brackfast Drewyer Came to me from Capt. Lewis and informed me that they had explored both forks for 30 or 40 miles & that the one we were assending was impractiabl much further up & turned imediately to the north, The middle fork he reported was jintle and after a Short distanc turned to the S. W. and that all the Indian roades leades up the middle fork. this report deturmind me to take the middle fork, accordingly Droped down to the forks where I met with Capt Lewis & party, Capt Lewis had left a Letter on a pole in the forks informing me what he had discovered & the course of the rivers &c. this lettr was Cut down by the beaver as it was on a green pole & Carried off. Three Skins which was left on a tree was taken off by the Panthers or wolvers. In decending to the Point one Canoe Struck & turned on a rapid & Sunk, and wet every thing which was in her, this misfortune obliged us to halt at the forks and dry those articles, one other Canoe nearly turning over, filled half full of water & wet our medison & Some Goods Corn &c. Several hunters out to day & killed a young Elk, Antilope, & 3 Deer, one man Shannon did not return to night- This evening Cool my anckle much wors than it has been- this evening a Violent wind from the N. W accompanied with rain which lasted half an hour wind N. W