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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


"The Prarie which is situated below our Camp is above the high water leavel and rich covered with Grass from 5 to 8 feet [1.5 to 2.4 meters] high interspersed with copse of Hazel, Plumbs, Currents (like those of the U. S.) Rasberries & Grapes of Dift. Kinds. also producing a variety of Plants and flowers not common in the United States, two Kind of honeysuckle."


"After Brackfast we collected those Indians under an owning of our Main Sail, in presence of our Party paraded & Delivered a long Speech to them expressive of our journey the wishes of our Government, Some advice to them and Directions how they were to conduct themselves. The principal Chief for the Nation being absent, we Sent him the Speech flag Meadel & Some Cloathes....

"Those Chiefs all Delivered a Speech, acknowledgeing their approbation to the Speech and promissing two prosue the advice and Derections given them that they wer happy to find that they had fathers which might be depended on etc.

"We gave them a Cannister of Powder and a Bottle of Whiskey... after Capt. Lewis’s Shooting the air gun a fiew Shots (which astonished those nativs), we Set out and proceeded on."


"The men Sent to the Mahar Town last evining... Could not find the Indians, nor any fresh Sign.... Those people haveing no houses no Corn or anything more than the graves of their ansesters to attach them to the old Village, Continue in purseute of the Buffalow longer than others.... The ravages of the Small Pox (which Swept off [about 4 years ago] 400 men & Womin & children in perpopotion) has reduced this nation not exceeding 300 men and left them to the insults of their weaker neighbours, which before was glad to be on friendly turms with them."


"Sergeant Floyd much weaker and no better.... as bad as he can be no pulse & nothing will Stay a moment on his Stomach or bowels. Passed two Islands on the S. S. and at the first Bluff on the S. S. Serj. Floyd Died with a great deal of Composure, before his death he Said to me, "I am going away." I want you to write me a letter." We buried him on top of the bluff 1/2 Mile [0.8 kilometer] below a Small river to which we Gave his name.... This Man at all times gave us proofs of his firmness and Determined resolution to doe Service to his Countrey and honor to himself after paying all the honor to our Decesed brother we camped in the Mouth of floyds River about 30 yards [27 meters] wide, a butifull evening."


"The Surrounding Plains is open Void of Timber and leavel to a great extent, hence the wind from whatever quarter it may blow, drives with unusial force over the naked Plains and against this hill; the insects of various kinds are thus involuntaryly driven... by the force of the wind, or fly to its Leeward Side for Shelter; the Small Birds whoes food they are, Consequently resort in great numbers to this place in Surch of them.... from the top of this Mound we beheld a most butifull landscape; Numerous herds of buffalow were Seen feeding in various directions; the Plain... extends without interuption as far as Can be seen."


"To the Grand Chief we gave a Flag and the parole (certificate) & Wampom... We Smoked out of the pipe of peace.... The Souex is a Stout bold looking people, (the young men handsom) & well made, the greater part of them make use of Bows & arrows... the Warriers are Verry much deckerated with Paint Porcupine quils & feathers, large leagins and mockersons, all with buffalow roabs of Different Colours. ...

"after the Indians got their Brackfast the Chiefs met and arranged themselves in a row with elligent pipes of peace all pointing to our Seets, we Came foward and took our Seets, the Great Chief The Shake Hand rose and Spoke to some length aproving what we had said and promissing to pursue the advice.... and all concluded by telling the distresses of their nation by not haveing traders, & wished us to take pity on them. the[y] wanted Powder Ball, & a little Milk [rum; milk of great father means spirits.]"

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