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Lewis and Clark
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From the Expedition Journals

Relevant Maps

image: Junction of Missouri and Medicine Rivers

image: Great, Handsome, and Crooked Falls

image: Camps of July 16-20, 1805

image: Camps for June 11-29, 1805

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


"saw a vast number of buffaloe feeding in every direction arround us in the plains, others coming down in large herds to water at the river; the fragments of many carcases of these poor anamals daily pass down the river.... the passages to the river about the falls are narrow and steep... and the water insta[n]tly takes them over the cataracts where they are instantly crushed to death without possibility of escaping. in this manner I have seen ten or a douzen disappear in a few minutes. their mangled carcases ly along the shores below the falls in considerable quantities and afford fine amusement for the bear wolves and birds of prey; this may be one reason and I think not a bad one either that the bear are so tenatious of their right of soil in this neighbourhood."


"I employed the men in making up our baggage in proper packages for transportation; and waxed the stoppers of my powder canesters anew. had the frame of my Iron boat clensed of rust and well greased. in the evening the men mended their mockersons and prepared themselves for the portage."


"this evening the men repaired their mockersons, and put on double souls to protect their feet from the prickley pears. during the late rains the buffaloe have troden up the praire very much which having now become dry the sharp points of earth as hard as frozen ground stand up in such abundance that there is no avoiding them. this is particular[l]y severe on the feet of the men who have not only their own weight to bear in treading on those hacklelike points but have also the addition of the burthen which they draw and which in fact is as much as they can possibly move with. they are obliged to halt and rest frequently for a few minutes, at every halt these poor fellows tumble down and are so much fortiegued that many of them are asleep in an instant; in short their fatiegues are incredible; some are limping from the soreness of their feet, others faint and unable to stand for a few minutes... yet no one complains."


"a fair morning, I despatch the party except 5 for the remaining baggage scattered in the plains, two to hunt for meat, two to the falls, and one to cook.... I set 4 men to make new axletrees & repare the carrages... Men complain of being Soore this day dull and lolling about, the two men dispatched in serch of the articles lost yesterday returned and brought the compass which they found in the mud & stones near the mouth of the reveen, no other articles found, the place I sheltered under filled up with hugh Rocks... Great numbers of Buffalow in every derection. I think 10,000 may be seen in a view."

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