History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark. Volume II


Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

Series: American History, Culture and Literature
BISAC: HIS051000

History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, is a fascinating account of the first exploration of the Missouri River, the journey over the Rocky Mountains, and the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. This 2 volume book contains an accurate diary of the journey to discover the Northwest Passage, commissioned by and reported to Thomas Jefferson.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER I. The party proceed in canoes. Description of an Indian sweating bath and burial place. Many dangerous rapids passed. Narrow escape of one of the canoes. In the passage down they are visited by several Indians, all of whom manifest pacific dispositions. Description of the Sokulk tribe. Their dress, and manner of building houses. Their pacific character. Their habits of living. Their mode of boiling salmon. Vast quantities of salmon amongst the Sokulk. Council held with this tribe. The terror and consternation excited by captain Clark, concerning which an interesting cause is related. Some account of the Pisquitpaws. Their mode of burying the dead.

CHAPTER II. The party in their passage still visited by the Indians. Lepage’s river described. Immense quantities of salmon caught by the Indians. Description of the river Towahnahiooks. Indian mode of stacking fish, and preparing them for market. Description of the great falls. Description of an Indian canoe. Alarm excited by an anticipated attack from the Eheltoots. A very dangerous rapid passed in safety, called by the Indians the Falls. Account of the Indian houses in the neighbourhood. Another dreadful rapid passed without injury. Some account of the Chilluckittequaw Indians. Captain Clark examines the great rapids. Description of an Indian burial place. The rapids passed in safety.
CHAPTER III. First appearance of tide water in the Columbia river. Description of the Quicksand river. Some account of the Skilloot Indians. The party pass the river Coweliskee. Some account of the Wahkiacum Indians. Arrival on the borders of the Pacific. Disagreeable and critical situation of the party when first encamped. Their distress occasioned by the incessant torrents of rain. Exposed for thirty days to this drenching deluge, during which time their provisions are spoiled, and most of their few articles of merchandise destroyed. Distress of the party. Adventure of Shannon and his danger from the Wahkiacum. Difficulty of finding a place suitable for a permanent encampment. Visited by several Indians of different tribes, on whom medals [iv]are bestowed.

CHAPTER IV. Extravagant passion of the natives for blue beads, which constitute amongst them the circulating medium of the country. The party still in search of a suitable place for winter quarters. Still suffering from the constant deluges of rain. Are visited by the Indians, with whom they traffic but little, on account of the extravagant prices they ask for every article. Return of captain Lewis who reports that he has found a suitable place for winter quarters. The rain still continues. They prepare to form an encampment on a point of high land on the banks of the river Nutel. Captain Clark goes with a party to find a place suitable for the manufacture of salt. He is hospitably entertained by the Clatsops. This tribe addicted to the vice of gambling. Sickness of some of the party, occasioned by the incessant rains. They form, notwithstanding, a permanent encampment for their winter quarters.

CHAPTER V. A party, headed by captain Clark, go in quest of a whale driven on the shore of the Pacific to obtain some of the oil. They pass the Clatsop river, which is described. The perilous nature of this jaunt, and the grandeur of the scenery described. Indian mode of extracting whale oil. The life of one of captain Clark’s party preserved by the kindness of an Indian woman. A short account of the Chinnooks, of the Clatsops, Killamucks, the Lucktons, and an enumeration of several other tribes. The manner of sepulchre among the Chinnooks, Clatsops, &c. Description of their weapons of war and hunting. Their mode of building houses. Their manufactures, and cookery. Their mode of making canoes. Their great dexterity in managing that vehicle.

CHAPTER VI. An account of the Clatsops, Killamucks, Chinnooks and Cathlamahs. Their uniform customs of flattening the forehead. The dress of these savages, and their ornaments, described. The licensed prostitution of the women, married and unmarried, of which a ludicrous instance is given. The character of their diseases. The common opinion, that the treatment of women is the standard by which the virtues of an Indian may be known, combatted, and disproved by examples. The respect entertained by these Indians for old age, compared with the different conduct of those nations who subsist by the chase. Their mode of government. Their ignorance of ardent spirits, and their fondness for gambling. Their dexterity in traffic. In what articles their traffic consists. Their extraordinary attachment to blue beads, which forms their circulating medium.
CHAPTER VII. A general description of the beasts, birds, and plants, &c. found by the party [v]in this expedition.
CHAPTER VIII. Difficulty of procuring means of subsistence for the party. They determine to resume their journey to the mountains. They leave in the hands of the Indians a written memorandum, importing their having penetrated to the Pacific, through the route of the Missouri and Columbia, and through the Rocky mountains. The party commence their return route. Dexterity of the Cathlamah Indians in carving. Description of the Coweliskee river. They experience much hospitality from the natives. An instance of the extreme voracity of the vulture. The party are visited by many strange Indians, all of whom are kind and hospitable. Scarcity of game, and embarrassments of the party on that account. Captain Clark discovers a tribe not seen in the descent down the Columbia. Singular adventure to obtain provisions from them. Particular description of the Multnomah village and river. Description of mount Jefferson. Some account by captain Clark of the Neerchokio tribe, and of their architecture. Their sufferings by the small-pox.

CHAPTER IX. Description of Wappatoo island, and the mode in which the nations gather wappatoo. The character of the soil and its productions. The numerous tribes residing in its vicinity. The probability that they were all of the tribe of the Multnomahs originally, inferred from similarity of dress, manners, language, &c. Description of their dress, weapons of war, their mode of burying the dead. Description of another village, called the Wahelellah village. Their mode of architecture. Extraordinary height of Beacon rock. Unfriendly character of the Indians at that place. The party, alarmed for their safety, resolve to inflict summary vengeance, in case the Wahelellah tribe persist in their outrages and insults. Interview with the chief of that tribe, and confidence restored. Difficulty of drawing the canoes over the rapids. Visited by a party of the Yehugh tribe. Short notice of the Weocksockwillackum tribe. Curious phenomenon observed in the Columbia, from the Rapids to the Chilluckittequaws.
CHAPTER X. Captain Clark procures four horses for the transportation of the baggage. Some further account of the Skilloot tribe. Their joy at the first appearance of salmon in the Columbia. Their thievish propensities. The party arrive at the village of the Eneeshurs, where the natives are found alike unfriendly. The party now provided with horses. The party prevented from the exercise of hostility against this nation by a friendly adjustment. The scarcity of timber so great that they are compelled to buy wood to cook their provisions. Arrive at the Wahhowpum village. Dance of the natives. Their ingenuity in declining to purchase the canoes, on the supposition that the party would [vi]be compelled to leave them behind defeated. The party having obtained a complement of horses, proceed by land. Arrive at the Pishquitpah village, and some account of that people. Their frank and hospitable treatment from the Wollawollahs. Their mode of dancing described. Their mode of making fish-weirs. Their amiable character, and their unusual affection for whites.

CHAPTER XI. The party still pursue their route towards the Kooskooskee on horseback with Wollawollah guides. Character of the country. The quamash and other flowering shrubs in bloom. The party reach the Kinnooenim creek. They meet with an old acquaintance called the Bighorn Indian. They arrive at the mouth of the Kooskooskee. Singular custom among the Chopunnish women. Difficulty of purchasing provisions from the natives, and the new resort of the party to obtain them. The Chopunnish style of architecture. Captain Clark turns physician, and performs several experiments with success upon the natives, which they reward. An instance of their honesty. The distress of the Indians for want of provisions during the winter. The party finally meet the Twistedhair, to whom was entrusted their horses during their journey down. The quarrel between that chief and another of his nation, on the subject of his horses. The cause of this controversy stated at large. The two chiefs reconciled by the interference of the party, and the horses restored. Extraordinary instance of Indian hospitality towards strangers. A council held with the Chopunnish, and the object of the expedition explained in a very circuitous route of explanation. The party again perform medical cures. The answer of the Chopunnish to the speech delivered at the council, confirmed by a singular ceremony of acquiescence. They promise faithfully to follow the advice of their visiters.

CHAPTER XII. The party encamp amongst the Chopunnish, and receive further evidences of their hospitality. The Indian mode of boiling bear-flesh. Of gelding horses. Their mode of decoying the deer within reach of their arrows. Character of the soil and climate in the Rocky mountain. Varieties of climate. Character of the natives. Their dress and ornaments. Mode of burying the dead. The party administer medical relief to the natives. One of the natives restored to the use of his limbs by sweating, and the curious process by which perspiration was excited. Another proof of Chopunnish hospitality. Success of their sweating prescription on the Indian chief. Description of the horned lizzard, and a variety of insects. The attachment of the friends of a dying Indian to a tomahawk which he had stolen from the party, and which they desired to bury with the body. Description of the river Tommanamah. The [vii]Indians return an answer to a proposition made by the party.

CHAPTER XIII. The party mingle in the diversions of the Willetpos Indians, a tribe hitherto unnoticed. Their joy on the prospect of a return. Description of the vegetables growing on the Rocky mountains. Various preparations made to resume their journey. The party set out, and arrive at Hungry creek. The serious and desponding difficulties that obstructed their progress. They are compelled to return and wait for a guide across the mountains. Their distress for want of provisions. They resolve to return to the Quamash flats. They are at last so fortunate as to procure Indian guides, with whom they resume their journey to the falls of the Missouri. The danger of the route described. Their scarcity of provisions, and the danger of their journey. Their course lying along the ridges of mountains. Description of the warm springs, where the party encamp. The fondness of the Indians for bathing in them.
CHAPTER XIV. The party proceed on their journey with their Indian guides, and at length agree to divide, to take several routes, and to meet again at the mouth of Yellowstone river. The route of captain Lewis is to pursue the most direct road to the falls of the Missouri, then to ascend Maria’s river, explore the country, and to descend that river to its mouth. Captain Lewis, accordingly, with nine men proceed up the eastern branch of Clark’s river, and take leave of their Indian guides. Description of that branch, and character of the surrounding country. Description of the Cokalahishkit river. They arrive at the ridge dividing the Missouri from the Columbia rivers. Meet once more with the buffaloe and brown bear. Immense herds of buffaloe discovered on the borders of Medicine river. The party encamp on Whitebear islands. Singular adventure that befel M’Neal. Captain Lewis, with three of his party proceed to explore the source of Maria’s river. Tansy river described. He reaches the dividing line of these two streams. General character of the surrounding country.

CHAPTER XV. Captain Lewis and his party still proceed on the route mentioned in the last chapter, and arrive at the forks of Maria’s river; of which river a particular description is given. Alarmed by the evidence that they are in the neighbourhood of unfriendly Indians, and much distressed for want of provisions, the weather proving unfavourable, they are compelled to return. The face of the country described. Interview with the unfriendly Indians, called Minnetarees of Fort de Prairie. Mutual consternation. Resolution of captain Lewis. They encamp together for the night, apparently with amicable dispositions. The conversation that ensued between these new visitants. The [viii]conflict occasioned by the Indians attempting to seize the rifles and horses of the party, in which one is mortally wounded. Captain Lewis kills another Indian, and his narrow escape. Having taken four horses belonging to the Indians, they hastened with all expedition to join the party attached to captain Clark. Arriving near the Missouri they are alarmed by the sound of rifles, which proves fortunately to be from the party of their friends, under the command of serjeant Ordway. The two detachments thus fortunately united, leave their horses, and descend the Missouri in canoes. They continue their route down the river to form a junction with captain Clark. Vast quantities of game found in their passage down the river. Captain Lewis accidentally wounded by one of his own party. They proceed down the Missouri, and at length join captain Clark.

CHAPTER XVI. The party commanded by captain Clark, previous to his being joined by captain Lewis, proceed along Clark’s river, in pursuance of the route mentioned in a preceding chapter. Their sorry commemoration of our national anniversary. An instance of Sacajawea’s strength of memory. Description of the river and of the surrounding country as the party proceed. Several of the horses belonging to the party supposed to be stolen by their Indian neighbours. They reach Wisdom river. Extraordinary heat of a spring. The strong attachment of the party for tobacco, which they find on opening a cache. Serjeant Ordway recovers the horses. Captain Clark divides his party, one detachment of which was to descend the river: they reach Gallatin and Jefferson rivers, of which a description is given. Arrive at the Yellowstone river. Some account of Otter and Beaver rivers. An example of Indian fortification. One of the party seriously and accidentally wounded. Engaged in the construction of canoes. Twenty-four horses stolen, probably by the Indians in one night.

CHAPTER XVII. Captain Clark proceeds with his party down the river. Description of an Indian lodge. Serjeant Pryor arrives with the horses left by the party when they embarked in their canoes; his difficulty in bringing them on. Remarkable rock discovered by captain Clark, and the beauty of the prospect from the summit. They continue their route down the river, of which a particular description is given, as well as the surrounding country. Yellowstone and Bighorn rivers compared. Great quantities of game found on the banks of the rivers. Immense herds of buffaloe. Fierceness of the white bear. Encamp at the junction of the Yellowstone and Missouri. A general outline given of Yellowstone river, comprehending the shoals; its entrance recommended for the formation of a trading establishment. The sufferings of the party from the musquetoes. Serjeant Pryor, who, with a detachment of the party, was [ix]to have brought on the horses, arrives and reports that they were all stolen by the Indians; deprived of these animals, they form for themselves Indian canoes of the skins of beasts, and of curious structure, with which they descend the river over the most difficult shoals and dangerous rapids. Meet with two white men unexpectedly, from whom they procure intelligence of the Indians formerly visited by the party.

CHAPTER XVIII. The party, while descending the river in their skin canoes, are overtaken by the detachment under captain Lewis, and the whole party, now once more happily united, descend the Missouri together. They once more visit the Minnetaree Indians, and hold a council with that nation as well as with the Mahahas. Captain Clark endeavours to persuade their chiefs to accompany him to the United States, which invitation they decline, on account of their fears of the Sioux, in their passage down the river. Colter, one of the party, requests and obtains liberty to remain among the Indians for the purpose of hunting beaver. Friendly deportment of the Mandans; council held by captain Clark with the chiefs of the different villages; the chief named the Bigwhite, with his wife and son, agree to accompany the party to the United States, who takes an affecting farewell of his nation. Chaboneau, with his wife and child, decline visiting the United States, and are left among the Indians. The party at length proceed on their journey, and find that the course of the Missouri has, in some places, changed since their passage up that river. They arrive among the Ricaras. Character of the Chayennes; their dress, habits, &c. Captain Clark offers to the chief of this nation a medal, which he at first refuses, believing it to be medicine, but which he is afterwards prevailed on to accept. The Ricaras refuse to permit one of their party to accompany captain Clark to the United states until the return of their chief, who had formerly gone. The party proceed rapidly down the river. Prepare to defend themselves against the Tetons, but receive no injury from them. Incredible numbers of buffaloe seen near White river. They meet, at last, with the Tetons, and refuse their invitation to land. Intrepidity of captain Clark.

CHAPTER XIX. The party return in safety to St. Louis.



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