Departing from Fort Clatsop, Oregon
March 23, 1806 -
Clatsop, Oregon - Clark recorded that ". . . we
loaded our canoes and at 1 P.M. left Fort Clatsop on
our homeward bound journey. at this place we had
wintered and remained from the 7th of December 1805
to this day and have lived as well as we had any
right to expect, and we can say that we were never
one day without 3 meals of some kind either pore Elk
meat or roots . . . "
Drouillard and a party of hunters were sent out
ahead, and the two pirogues and three canoes began
the return voyage up the Columbia River.
April 11, 1806 - At the modern
The portage here was over a slippery, narrow trail,
2800 yards long, in the rain. Indians crowded the
camp, watching. Clark took four canoes up the
rapids with a great deal of labor; some of the
canoes were unavoidably damaged in the process. The
men were very tired after this laborious task.
Drouillard and the Field brothers were sent out
to hunt. The Indians began to steal items from the
Corps. Shields was forced to draw a knife on two
Indians who tried to take a dog he had purchased for
food. A couple of other Indians stole
Seaman, and Lewis sent three men after them to
retrieve his dog, even if they had to kill the
Indians. When the men approached the Indians, they
ran off, and Seaman was brought back to camp.
April 27, 1806
- The camp was in
Benton County, Oregon,
below the mouth of the
Walla Walla River. Chief Yelleppit of the Walla
Wallas invited the Corps to stay at his village, and
offered them food and horses. He drew a map of the
confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers, and
persuaded his villagers to give the Corps items they
needed. Lewis gave him a peace medal.
May 9, 1806 - Near modern
Orofino, Idaho, on the Nez Perce Reservation.
The Nez Perce brought 21 of the Corps' horses to
them, cared for all winter by the Nez Perce.
May 14, 1806 - The camp at "Camp
Chopunnish," near Kamiah, Idaho,
on the Nez
Perce Reservation - This was the longest camp of
any, other than the three winter encampments of the
Corps. The Corps had to wait until the snow melted
in the mountains so that they could pass over the
Continental Divide and return to the east.
May 17, 1806 -
"Camp Chopunnish," Kamiah, Idaho
- Lewis wrote:
"I am pleased at finding the river rise so rapidly,
it now doubt is attributeable to the melting snows
of the mountains; that icy barier which seperates me
from my friends and country, from all which makes
life esteemable. - patience, patience."
June 9, 1806 -
"Camp Chopunnish," Kamiah, Idaho. The men ate
the last of the meat yesterday; they lived on roots
today. They played games with the Indians, including
footraces, prisoner's base, and pitching quoits
[flattened rings] at a post. Excitement rose over
their impending departure as the river fell.
Contrary to the advice of the Nez Perce, the
impatient Lewis intended upon leaving the following
June 15, 1806 - The camp was on
Eldorado Creek in Idaho County, Idaho, near the
mouth of Lunch Creek. The Corps set out for the
mountains, making their way around fallen timber and
over slippery roads. The march was slow and hard on
the horses. Lewis described the country and the
fauna he observed.
June 17, 1806 - The camp was on the south
side of Hungry Creek between the camps of
18 and 19, 1805. During their march, the Corps
encountered snow 12 to 15 feet deep; they decided to
cache their supplies and return to Weippe Prairie
with their horses; a Nez Perce guide would be needed
to get over the mountains.
June 24, 1806 - Eldorado Creek - The Corps
set out once again for the mountains accompanied by
three Nez Perce guides; at night, the Nez Perce set
some fir trees on fire, a spectacular show which
reminded Lewis of "a display of fireworks." The
Indians did this as a good omen for favorable
weather during their journey.
July 3, 1806 - After successfully making
their way over the mountains, Lewis and Clark
decided to split their force in order to scout more
of the mountainous country and look for an easier
pass over the Rockies. Lewis would follow the
Missouri eastward, while Clark would proceed to the
Yellowstone and follow it to its junction with the
Missouri, where the Corps would be reunited. Lewis
camped near the site of modern Missoula, Montana.
Lewis with 9 men and 5 Indians set out down the
Bitterroot River on a raft; the Indians, however,
soon abandoned the trip, as they were afraid of
Hidatsa war parties. Lewis' party was composed of Gass, Drouillard, Joseph and Reubin Field, Werner,
Frazer, Thompson, McNeal and Goodrich; "All
arrangements being now compleated for carrying into
effect the several schemes we had planed for
execution on our return, we saddled our horses and
Clark, with the remainder of the Corps and
50 horses, traveled to a point 3 miles north of
present-day Hamilton, Montana along Route 93.
July 11, 1806 -
Lewis' party arrived at the
White Bear Islands near Great Falls, Montana.
men killed 11 buffalo, and begin building canoes of
buffalo skins - bullboats. "the morning was fair and
the plains looked beatifull . . . the air was
pleasant and a vast assemblage of little birds which
croud to the groves on the river sung most
enchantingly." Clark stayed near modern Twin
Bridges, Montana. At the camp of August 8, 1805, he
found a canoe the Corps had cached.
July 13, 1806 - Great Falls, Montana -
opened a cache from the year before; his bearskins
and plant specimens had been ruined by moisture.
Meanwhile, Clark's camp was one mile east of Logan,
Montana, at Three Forks, Gallatin County, on the
east bank of the Jefferson River.
He was being
guided by Sacagawea, who remembered the country
through which they were passing.
Clark divided his
party here, sending Ordway, Collins, Colter,
Cruzatte, Howard, Lepage, Potts, Weiser, Whitehouse
and Willard down the Missouri in canoes to Great
Falls. Meanwhile, Clark would strike out overland to
meet the Yellowstone River, down which he would
travel until it met the Missouri. Clark retained
Pryor, Shields, Shannon, Bratton, Labiche, Windsor,
Hall, Gibson, Sacagawea, Charbonneau, baby Pomp, and
York with his immediate party. He had 49 horses and
July 15, 1806 - Great Falls, Montana - Lewis
decided to leave six men, Gass, Fraser, McNeal,
Thompson, Goodrich and Werner at the Great Falls. He
planned to explore the upper reaches of the Marias
River with Drouillard and Joseph and Reubin Field.
McNeal was attacked by a grizzly bear at the lower
portage; he broke his musket over the bear's head
and climbed a tree to get away. Meanwhile, Clark
traveled through Bozeman Pass to the Yellowstone
River; he camped on the north side of the
Yellowstone in Park County, south of Sheep Mountain
and three miles below Shields River.
July 19, 1806 - The party commanded by Sgt.
Ordway arrived at Great Falls, Montana, and united
with the six men Lewis left there under Sgt. Gass.
July 20, 1806 - Lewis camped 5 miles
southwest of Shelby, Montana on the Marias River.
Lewis described the country and the area fauna. He
continued to hope that the Marias would prove to be
the key to U.S. access to the fur trade along the
Saskatchewan River. This was not to be. "The day has
proved excessively warm and we lay by four hours
during the heat of it." Meanwhile Clark, at the
"Canoe Camp" on the north side of the Yellowstone
south of modern Park City, Montana, continued to
search for timber to make canoes.
July 25, 1806 - At
the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, (Lewis and Clark
Trail Site #41), Lewis tried to take solar readings,
but it was too cloudy and rainy. Lewis became
concerned that he would not be able to return to the
United States this season unless he rushed.
Meanwhile, Clark camped 2 miles northeast of
Pompey's Pillar, (Lewis and Clark Trail Site #37),
he found a dinosaur skeleton, possibly a
Tyrannosaurus Rex, and carved his name on Pompey's
July 26, 1806 - Lewis camped in Pondera
County, on the Blackfeet Reservation; (Lewis and
Clark Trail Site #42). Lewis encountered a hunting
party of eight Blackfeet warriors, and the two
groups decided to camp together for the night. Lewis
gave the Blackfeet one medal, one flag, and a
handkerchief. In the early morning hours of July 27,
the Blackfeet warriors took the rifles from the
sleeping Field brothers, Drouillard and Lewis.
Joseph Field woke up, struggled with Sidehill Calf,
and stabbed the Blackfeet man to death. Lewis shot
and wounded, and perhaps killed, a second warrior,
who shot back and barely missed Lewis' head. The
Corps members recovered their rifles, and the
Blackfeet fled. After the firefight, Lewis "pushed
the horses as hard as they would bear." The men rode
63 miles, ate, then 17 more, ate once again, then 20
more miles by moonlight. Lewis was anxious to warn
the unsuspecting members of his party at the Marias
of the potential danger of a Blackfeet attack. They
finally camped west of modern Fort Benton, Montana.
July 28, 1806
- Sore from riding, Lewis urged
his men on to the rendezvous point at the Marias
River, fearing that the other portion of their
party, unaware of the danger, might be taken by
surprise by the Blackfeet. Lewis rendezvoused with
the Ordway and Gass parties at modern Loma, Montana.
31, 1806 - Clark reports the buffalo were
numerous on the river. "I was much disturbed
last night by the noise of the
which were about me. one gang swam the river
near our camp which alarmed me a little for fear of
their crossing our canoes and splitting them to
August 3, 1806
- Lewis camped on the north
side of the Missouri in Valley County, Montana,
below the mouth of Cattle Creek, two miles above the
camp of May 12, 1805. Lewis noted the abundant
wildlife; "we did not halt today to cook and dine as
usual having directed that in future the party
should cook as much meat in the evening after
encamping as would be sufficient to serve them the
next day; by this means we forward our journey at
least 12 or 15 miles Pr. day." Clark's party was
plagued with mosquitoes as they arrived at the
confluence of the Yellowstone and the Missouri, and
stayed at the camp of April 26, 1805.
August 8, 1806
- Lewis camped in Williams
County, several miles southwest of Williston, North
Dakota. Lewis did not catch up with Clark today. He
pulled over to the shore to repair the boats and
give the men time to make leather clothing. The
mosquitoes were bad. Clark moved down to the New
Town, North Dakota area, on the Three Affiliated
Tribes Reservation. Pryor, Shannon, Hall and
Windsor, in bullboats, were reunited with Clark.
These four had been sent from high up on the
Yellowstone with the remaining horse herd of 26, but
the horses "disappeared" in the night. They made
bullboats and floated down the river.
August 11, 1806 - Lewis camped in Montrail
County, North Dakota, above the mouth of the White
Earth River. Lewis proceeded rapidly to meet up with
Lewis and Cruzatte went hunting
after sighting an elk herd. They shot one and
wounded another. Lewis reported that "I was in the
act of firing on the elk a second time when a ball
struck my left thye about an inch below my hip
joint, missing the bone it passed through the left
thye and cut the thickness of the bullet across the
hinder part of the right thye; the stroke was very
severe. . . " Lewis called out to Cruzatte, suspecting the
nearsighted man had shot him by mistake; but when no
one answered, Lewis began to fear the worst, an
Indian attack. Lewis made his way back to the
pirogue to warn the men, where Gass dressed his
wounds. Cruzatte finally came in; there was no doubt
that it was his rifle that did the deed, for the
spent ball was in Lewis' breeches.
August 12, 1806 - The
reunion of the Lewis
and Clark parties took place 6 miles south of Sanish,
North Dakota, at "Reunion Point," on the Fort
Berthold Reservation. Lewis came upon the camp of
two white hunters from Illinois, Joseph Dickson and
Forest Hancock. They told Lewis that Clark had
passed them about noon the day before. Lewis gave
them information on the upper Missouri and the
location of beaver. At "1 p.m. I overtook Capt.
Clark and party and had the pleasure of finding them
all well." Clark was concerned about Lewis' wounds.
Lewis stated that he would now leave off writing as
he was in great pain, but first noted the pin or
bird cherry with a long description. This was the
last entry Lewis made in the journals.
August 15, 1806 -
Knife River Indian
Villages. A council was held with the Hidatsa, who
did not want to go down the river because of hostile
Lakota and Arikara war parties. Colter asked
permission to return upriver with Dickson and
Hancock to trap beaver; permission was granted, as
long as others in the party did not ask the same.
August 17, 1806
- Camp near modern Hensler,
North Dakota. Clark paid Charbonneau $500.33 1/3,
his salary as interpreter to the West Coast and
back. The Corps was visited by all the principal
Hidatsa chiefs to take their leave. The Corps took
its leave of Colter, who set off upriver with the
trappers, and of Charbonneau, Sacagawea, and little
Pomp, now over a year and a half old. Clark offered
to school Pomp. The Mandans cried as Sheheke (Big
White) left his village with the Corps. The boats
went down the river past the old Fort Mandan site,
which Clark examined.
August 30, 1806
- The camp was two miles
above the camp of September 9, 1804, in Gregory
County, South Dakota. The Corps had an unsettling
confrontation with a band of 80-90 Lakota warriors
led by Black Buffalo. Clark walked out to parley
with them, and told them that the Corps would have
nothing to do with them; that the Corps would kill
any Lakota who attempted to approach the camp.
Sept. 14, 1806 - The camp was opposite
Leavenworth, Kansas on Route 45 at Beverly, Missouri. Three keelboats sailing up from St.
Louis to trade with the Yanktons gave the men liquor,
biscuits, cheese and onions. The Corps had a dram of
spirits and sang songs until 11 p.m.
Sept. 17, 1806 - Camped at the mouth of the
Grand River on the south side across from Brunswick,
Missouri. Met a Capt. John McClallen who told the
Corps that they had been given up for dead by the
people of the United States. He informed them of
Spanish attempts to locate and stop their
Sept. 21, 1806 -
St. Charles, Missouri
Corps passed the canoes of Kickapoo traders, as well
as two large boats going upriver. The Corps arrived
in St. Charles; Ordway noticed many new settlements
that had sprung up since 1804. Clark stated that
"the inhabitants of this village appear much
delighted at our return and seem to vie with each
other in their politeness to us all."
Sept. 23, 1806 -
St. Louis, Missouri- The men rowed
the rest of the way down to St. Louis, where Ordway
reported that they "fired three rounds as we
approached the town and Landed oppocit the center of
the Town, the people gathered on the Shore and
Huzzared three cheers." Lewis and Clark stayed in
the home of Pierre Chouteau.