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Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

August 13, 1805


Tuesday August 13th 1805.

We set out very early on the Indian road which still led us through an open broken country in a westerly direction.    a deep valley appeared to our left at the base of a high range of mountains which extended from S. E. to N. W. [1] having their sides better clad with pine timber than we had been accustomed to see the mountains and their tops were also partially covered with snow.    at the distance of five miles the road after leading us down a long decending valley for 2 Ms. brought us to a large creek about 10 yds wide; [2] this we passed and on rising the hill beyond it had a view of a handsome little valley to our left of about a mile in width through which from the appearance of the timber I conjectured that a river passed. I saw near the creek some bushes of the white maple, the 〈small〉 shumate of the small species with the winged rib, and a species of honeysuckle much in it's growth and leaf like the small honeysuckle of the Missouri only reather larger and bears a globular berry as large as a garden pea and as white as wax. [3]    this berry is formed of a thin smooth pellicle which envellopes a soft white musilagenous substance in which there are several small brown seed irregularly scattered or intermixed without any sell or perceptable membranous covering.—    we had proceeded about four miles through a wavy plain parallel to the valley or river bottom when at the distance of about a mile we saw two women, a man and some dogs on an eminence immediately before us.    they appeared to vew us with attention and two of them after a few minutes set down as if to wait our arrival we continued our usual pace towards them.    when we had arrived within half a mile of them I directed the party to halt and leaving my pack and rifle I took the flag which I unfurled and avanced singly towards them the women soon disappeared behind the hill, the man continued untill I arrived within a hundred yards of him and then likewise absconded.    tho' I frequently repeated the word tab-ba-bone sufficiently loud for him to have heard it. I now haistened to the top of the hill where they had stood but could see nothing of them.    the dogs were less shye than their masters they came about me pretty close    I therefore thought of tying a handkerchief about one of their necks with some beads and other trinkets and then let them loose to surch their fugitive owners thinking by this means to convince them of our pacific disposition towards them but the dogs would not suffer me to take hold of them; they also soon disappeared. I now made a signal fror the men to come on, they joined me and we pursued the back tarck of these Indians which lead us along the same road which we had been traveling.    the road was dusty and appeared to have been much traveled lately both by men and horses. these praries are very poor the soil is of a light yellow clay, intermixed with small smooth gravel, [4] and produces little else but prickly pears, and bearded grass about 3 inches high.    the prickley pear are of three species that with a broad leaf common to the missouri; that of a globular form also common to the upper pa[r]t of the Missouri and more especially after it enters the Rocky Mountains, also a 3rd peculiar to this country. [5] it consists of small circular thick leaves with a much greater number of thorns.    these thorns are stronger and appear to be barbed.    the leaves grow from the margins of each other as in the broad leafed pear of the missouri, but are so slightly attatched that when the thorn touches your mockerson it adhears and brings with it the leaf covered in every direction with many others.    this is much the most troublesome plant of the three.    we had not continued our rout more than a mile when we were so fortunate as to meet with three female savages.    the short and steep ravines which we passed concealed us from each other untill we arrived within 30 paces.    a young woman immediately took to flight, an Elderly woman and a girl of about 12 years old remained. I instantly laid by my gun and advanced towards them.    they appeared much allarmed but saw that we were to near for them to escape by flight they therefore seated themselves on the ground, holding down their heads as if reconciled to die which the expected no doubt would be their fate; I took the elderly woman by the hand and raised her up repeated the word tab-ba-bone and strip up my shirt sleve to sew her my skin; to prove to her the truth of the ascertion that I was a white man for my face and hads which have been constantly exposed to the sun were quite as dark as their own. they appeared instantly reconciled, and the men coming up I gave these women some beads a few mockerson awls some pewter looking-glasses and a little paint. I directed Drewyer to request the old woman to recall the young woman who had run off to some distance by this time fearing she might allarm the camp before we approached and might so exasperate the natives that they would perhaps attack us without enquiring who we were. [6]    the old woman did as she was requested and the fugitive soon returned almost out of breath. I bestoed an equvolent portion of trinket on her with the others. I now painted their tawny cheeks with some vermillion which with this nation is emblematic of peace.    after they had become composed I informed them by signs that I wished them to conduct us to their camp that we wer anxious to become acquainted with the chiefs and warriors of their nation.    they readily obeyed and we set out, still pursuing the road down the river.    we had marched about 2 miles when we met a party of about 60 warriors mounted on excellent horses who came in nearly full speed, [7] when they arrived I advanced towards them with the flag leaving my gun with the party about 50 paces behid me.    the chief and two others who were a little in advance of the main body spoke to the women, and they informed them who we were and exultingly shewed the presents which had been given them    these men then advanced and embraced me very affectionately in their way which is by puting their left arm over you wright sholder clasping your back, while they apply their left cheek to yours and frequently vociforate the word âh-hi'-e, âh-hi'-e [8] that is, I am much pleased, I am much rejoiced.    bothe parties now advanced and we wer all carresed and besmeared with their grease and paint till I was heartily tired of the national hug. I now had the pipe lit and gave them smoke; they seated themselves in a circle around us and pulled of their mockersons before they would receive or smoke the pipe.    this is a custom among them as I afterwards learned indicative of a sacred obligation of sincerity in their profession of friendship given by the act of receiving and smoking the pipe of a stranger.    or which is as much as to say that they wish they may always go bearfoot if they are not sincere; a pretty heavy penalty if they are to march through the plains of their country.    after smoking a few pipes with them I distributed some trifles among them, with which they seemed much pleased particularly with the blue beads and vermillion. I now informed the chief that the object of our visit was a friendly one, that after we should reach his camp I would undertake to explain to him fully those objects, who we wer, from whence we had come and wither we were going; that in the mean time I did not care how soon we were in motion, as the sun was very warm and no water at hand.    they now put on their mockersons, and the principal chief Ca-me-âh-wait [9] made a short speach to the warriors. I gave him the flag which I informed him was an emblem of peace among whitemen and now that it had been received by him it was to be respected as the bond of union between us. I desired him to march on, which did and we followed him; the dragoons moved on in squadron in our rear.    after we had marched about a mile in this order he halted them ang gave a second harang; after which six or eight of the young men road forward to their encampment and no further regularity was observed in the order of march. I afterwards understood that the Indians we had first seen this morning had returned and allarmed the camp; these men had come out armed cap a pe [10] for action expecting to meet with their enemies the Minetares of Fort de Prarie whome they Call Pâh'-kees. [11]    they were armed with b[o]ws arrow and Shield except three whom I observed with small pieces such as the N. W. Company furnish the naives with which they had obtained from the Rocky Mountain Indians [12] on the yellow stone river with whom they are at peace.    on our arrival at their encampmen [13] on the river in a handsome level and fertile bottom at the distance of 4 Ms. from where we had first met them they introduced us to a londge made of willow brush and an old leather lodge which had been prepared for our reception by the young men which the chief had dispatched for that purpose. Here we were seated on green boughs and the skins of Antelopes.    one of the warriors then pulled up the grass in the center of the lodge forming a smal circle of about 2 feet in diameter    the chief next produced his pipe and native tobacco and began a long cerimony of the pipe when we were requested to take of our mockersons, the Chief having previously taken off his as well as all the warriors present.    this we complyed with; the Chief then lit his pipe at the fire kindled in this little magic circle, and standing on the oposite side of the circle uttered a speach of several minutes in length at the conclusion of which he pointed the stem to the four cardinal points of the heavens first begining at the East and ending with the North.    he now presented the pipe to me as if desirous that I should smoke, but when I reached my hand to receive it, he drew it back and repeated the same cremony three times, after which he pointed the stem first to the heavens then to the center of the magic circle smoked himself with three whifs and held the pipe untill I took as many as I thought proper; he then held it to each of the white persons and then gave it to be consumed by his warriors.    this pipe was made of a dense simitransparent green stone [14] very highly polished about 2½ inches long and of an oval figure, the bowl being in the same direction with the stem.    a small piece of birned clay is placed in the bottom of the bowl to seperate the tobacco from the end of the stem and is of an irregularly rounded figure not fiting the tube purfectly close in order that the smoke may pass.    this is the form of the pipe. [15]    their tobacco is of the same kind of these used by the Minnetares Mandans and Ricares of the Missouri. [16]    the Shoshonees do not cultivate this plant, but obtain it from the Rocky mountain Indians and some of the bands of their own nation who live further south. I now explained to them the objects of our journey &c.    all the women and children of the camp were shortly collected about the lodge to indulge themselves with looking at us, we being the first white persons they had ever seen.    after the cerimony of the pipe was over I distributed the remainder of the small articles I had brought with me among the women and children.    by this time it was late in the evening and we had not taisted any food since the evening before.    the Chief informed us that they had nothing but berries to eat and gave us some cakes of serviceberries and Choke cherries which had been dryed in the sun; of these I made a hearty meal, and then walked to the river, which I found about 40 yards wide very rapid clear and about 3 feet deep.    the banks low and abrupt as those of the upper part of the Missouri, and the bed formed of loose stones and gravel. [17] Cameahwait informed me that this stream discharged itself into another doubly as large at the distance of half a days march which came from the S. W. [18] but he added on further enquiry that there was but little more timber below the junction of those rivers than I saw here, and that the river was confined between inacessable mountains, was very rapid and rocky insomuch that it was impossible for us to pass either by land or water down this river to the great lake where the white men lived as he had been informed.    this was unwelcome information but I still hoped that this account had been exagerated with a view to detain us among them.    as to timber I could discover not any that would answer the purpose of constructing canoes or in short more than was bearly necessary for fuel consisting of the narrow leafed cottonwood and willow, also the red willow Choke Cherry [19] service berry and a few currant bushes such as were common on the Missouri. these people had been attacked by the Minetares of Fort de prarie this spring and about 20 of them killed and taken prisoners.    on this occasion they lost a great part of their horses and all their lodges except that which they had erected for our accomodation; they were now living in lodges of a conic figure made of willow brush. I still observe a great number of horses feeding in every direction around their camp and therefore entertain but little doubt but we shall be enable to furnish ourselves with an adiquate number to transport our stores even if we are compelled to travel by land over these mountains.    on my return to my lodge an indian called me in to his bower and gave me a small morsel of the flesh of an antelope boiled, and a peice of a fresh salmon roasted; [20] both which I eat with a very good relish.    this was the first salmon I had seen and perfectly convinced me that we were on the waters of the Pacific Ocean.    the course of this river is a little to the North of west as far as I can discover it; and is bounded on each side by a range of high Mountains. tho' those on the E. side are lowest and more distant from the river.— [21]

Shoshone Smoking-pipe, August 13, 1805, Codex F, p. 99
(American Philosophical Society library,
used with permission.)

This evening the Indians entertained us with their dancing nearly all night.    at 12 O'Ck. I grew sleepy and retired to rest leaving the men to amuse themselves with the Indians. I observe no essential difference between the music and manner of dancing among this nation and those of the Missouri. I was several times awoke in the course of the night by their yells but was too much fortiegued to be deprived of a tolerable sound night's repose.

This morning Capt Clark set out early having previously dispatched some hunters ahead.    it was cool and cloudy all the forepart of the day. at 8 A. M. they had a slight rain.    they passed a number of shoals over which they were obliged to drag the canoes; the men in the water ¾ths of the day, the[y] passed a bold runing stream 7 yds. wide on the Lard. side just below a high point of Limestone rocks.    this stream we call McNeal's Creek after Hugh McNeal one of our party. [22]    this creek heads in the Mountains to the East and forms a handsome valley for some miles between the mountains.    from the top of this limestone Clift above the creek The beaver's head boar N 24° E. 12 Ms.    the course of Wisdom river or that which the opening of it's valley makes through the mountains is N. 25 W. to the gap through which Jefferson's river enters the mountains above is S 18° W 10 M.    they killed one deer only today.    saw a number of Otter some beaver Antelopes ducks gees and Crains.    they caught a number of fine trout as they have every day since I left them. they encamped on Lrd. in a smooth level prarie near a few cottonwood trees, [23] but were obliged to make use of the dry willow brush for fuel.—

Courses and distances travelled by Capt. Clark.
August 13th 1805.
South 1 to a point of rocks about 70 feet high on Stard. distance by
water 4 Mt passing the head of the Island. at 2½ Ms. opposite
to which we encamped last evening.    also the entrance of a
bold Creek 7 Yds. wide on Lard. behind an Isld.    this we
called McNeal's Creek, after Hugh McNeal of our party.—
S. 30° W. 4 to a Clift of high rocks on the Stard. side distance by water
12 M. passing several islds. and bayous on either side    the
river very crooked and bends short.
Miles 5
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Summary | 3 Annotations
pulled of their mockersons before they would receive or smoke the pipe.    this is a custom among them as I afterwards learned indicative of a sacred obligation of sincerity in their profession of friendship given by the act of receiving and smoking the pipe of a stranger.    or which is as much as to say that they wish they may always go bearfoot if they are not sincere; a pretty heavy penalty if they are to march through the plains of their country
2020/08/05 04:24
at the conclusion of which he pointed the stem to the four cardinal points of the heavens first begining at the East and ending with the North
2020/08/05 04:25
we wer all carresed and besmeared with their grease and paint till I was heartily tired of the national hug.
2020/08/05 04:27