The Journals of Lewis & Clark: August 4, 1806

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
August 3, 1806
August 5, 1806

August 4, 1806

Monday August 4th 1806. Set out at 4 A.M. this morning. permited Willard and Sergt. Ordway to exchange with the Feildses and take their small canoe to hunt to-day. at 1/2 after eleven O'Ck. passed the entrance of big dry river; found the water in this river about 60 yds. wide tho shallow. it runs with a boald even currant. at 3 P.M. we arrived at the entrance of Milk river where we halted a few minutes. this stream is full at present and it's water is much the colour of that of the Missouri; it affords as much water at present as Maria's river and I have no doubt extends itself to a considerable distance North. during our halt we killed a very large rattlesnake of the speceis common to our country. it had 176 scuta on the abdomen and 25 on the tail, it's length 5 feet. the scutae on the tail fully formed. after passing this river we saw several large herds of buffaloe and Elk we killed one of each of these animals and took as much of the flesh as we wished. we encamped this evening two miles below the gulph on the N. E. side of the river. Tonight for the first time this season I heard the small whippoorwill or goatsucker of the Missouri cry. Colter and Collins have not yet overtaken us. Ordway and Willard delayed so much time in hunting today that they did not overtake us untill about midnight. they killed one bear and 2 deer. in passing a bend just below the gulph it being dark they were drawn by the currant in among a parsel of sawyers, under one of which the canoe was driven and throwed Willard who was steering overboard; he caught the sawyer and held by it; Ordway with the canoe drifted down about half a mile among the sawyers under a falling bank, the canoe struck frequently but did not overset; he at length gained the shore and returned by land to learn the fate of Willard whom he found was yet on the sawyer; it was impossible for him to take the canoe to his relief Willard at length tied a couple of sticks together which had lodged against the sawyer on which he was and set himself a drift among the sawyers which he fortunately escaped and was taken up about a mile below by Ordway with the canoe; they sustained no loss on this occasion. it was fortunate for Willard that he could swim tolerably well.

Wednesday 4th August 1806

Musquetors excessively troublesom So much So that the men complained that they could not work at their Skins for those troublesom insects. and I find it entirely impossible to hunt in the bottoms, those insects being So noumerous and tormenting as to render it imposseable for a man to continue in the timbered lands and our best retreat from those insects is on the Sand bars in the river and even those Situations are only clear of them when the Wind Should happen to blow which it did to day for a fiew hours in the middle of the day. the evenings nights and mornings they are almost indureable perticelarly by the party with me who have no Bears to keep them off at night, and nothing to Screen them but their blankets which are worn and have maney holes. The torments of those Missquetors and the want of a Sufficety of Buffalow meat to dry, those animals not to be found in this neighbourhood induce me to deturmine to proceed on to a more eliagiable Spot on the Missouri below at which place the Musquetors will be less troublesom and Buffalow more plenty. (I will here obseve that Elk is Abundant but their flesh & fat is hard to dry in the Sun, and when dry is much easirSpoiled than either the Buffalow or Deer) I ordered the Canoes to be reloaded with our baggage & dryed meat which had been Saved on the Rochejhone together with the Elk killed at this place. wrote a note to Capt Lewis informing him of my intentions and tied it to a pole which I had Stuck up in the point. At 5 P. M Set out and proceeded on down to the 2d point which appeared to be an eligable Situation for my purpose killed a porcupine on this point the Musquetors were So abundant that we were tormented much worst than at the point. The Child of Shabono has been So much bitten by the Musquetor that his face is much puffed up & Swelled. I encamped on this extensive Sand bar which is on the N W. Side.