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Lewis and Clark
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From the Expedition Journals

Journal excerpts and maps from Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites


"I Spoke to the Indians on various Subjects endeavoring to impress on theire minds the advantage it would be to them for to sell us horses and expedite the [our] journey the nearest and best way possibley that we might return as soon as possible and winter with them at Some place where there was plenty of buffalow. Our wish is to get a horse for each man to carry our baggage and for Some of the men to ride occasionally. The horses are handsom and much accustomed to be changed as to their Parsture. We cannot calculate on their carrying large loads & feed on the Grass which we may calculate on finding in the Moutnain thro’ which we may expect to pass on our rout…"


"… we passed a broken country heavily timbered great quantities of which had fallen and so obstructed our road that it was almost impracticable to proceed in many places… being determined to make a forced march tomorrow in order to reach if possible the open country. We killed a few Pheasants, and I killed a prarie woolf which together with the balance of our horse beef and some crawfish which we obtained in the creek enabled us to make one more hearty meal, not knowing where the next was to be found."


"The pleasure I now felt in having triumphed over the rockey Mountains and decending once more to a level and fertile country where there was every rational hope of finding a comfortable subsistence for myself and party can be more conceived than expressed, nor was the flattering prospect of the final success of the expedition less pleasing."


"… we saw the Chiefs horses… & we arrived at his Village at Sunset… where I found Capt. Lewis & the party Encamped, much fatigued, & hungery, much rejoiced to find something to eat of which they appeared to partake plentifully…
The planes appeared covered with Spectators viewing the white men and the articles which we had, our party weakened and much reduced in flesh as well as Strength… We attempted to have Some talk with those people but could not for the want of an Interpreter thro’ which we could Speake, we were Compelled to converse alltogteher by Signs. I got the Twisted hare to draw the river from his Camp down which he did with great Cheerfullness on a white Elk skin… At the falls he places Establishments of white people and informs that great numbers of Indians reside on all those fo[r]ks as well as the main river…"


"… ready to commence building canoes on tomorrow. Our axes are Small & badly calculated to build Canoes of the large Pine. Capt. Lewis Still very unwell… Two Chiefs & their familes follow us and encamp near us. They have great numbers of horses… We purchase fresh Salmon of the Indians"


"We have nothing to eate but roots, which give the men violent pains in they bowels after eating much of them… I walked out with me gun on the hills which is verry steep & high, could kill nothing… Provisions all out, which compels us to kill one of our horses to eate (and make Suep for the Sick men)."

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