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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For October 8:
Captain Clark (current)
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A cool morning. Set out early, the wind from the N.W. Proceeded on, passed the mouth of a small creek on the L.S. About 2 1/2 miles above Grouse Island, passed a willow island which divides the current equally. Passed the mouth of a river called by the Arikaras Wetarhoo, on the L.S. This river is 120 yards wide, the water of which, at this time, is confined within 20 yards, discharging but a small quantity, throwing out mud with small proportion of sand. Great quantities of the red berries, resembling currants, are on the river at every bend. 77° 33' 00". Latitude from the observation of today at the mouth of this river [heads in the Black Mountains] is 45° 39' 5" North. Proceeded on past a small river 25 yards wide called Rampart or Beaver Dam River. This river (Maropa) is entirely choked up with mud, with a stream of one inch diameter passing through, discharging no sand. At one mile, passed the lower point of an island close on the L.S.
Two of our men discovered the Arikara village, about the center of the island on the L. side on the main shore. This island is about three miles long, separated from the L.S. by a channel about 60 yards wide, very deep. The island is covered with fields, where those people raise their corn, tobacco, beans &c. Great numbers of those people came on the island to see us pass. We passed above the head of the island, and Captain Lewis, with two interpreters and two men, went to the village. I formed a camp of the French and the guard, on shore, with one sentinel on board of the boat, at anchor. A pleasant evening.
All things arranged, both for peace or war. This village is situated about the center of a large island near the L. side, and near the foot of some high, bald, uneven hills.
Several Frenchmen came up with Captain Lewis in a pirogue, one of which is a Mr. Gravelines (employee of the trader Regis Loisel), a man well versed in the language of this nation, and gave us some information relative to the country, nation, &c.
Robert Frazer being regularly enlisted and having become one of the Corps of Volunteers for North-Western Discovery, he is therefore to be viewed and respected accordingly, and will be annexed to Sergeant Gass's mess.
Wm. Clark. Capt. &c. Meriwether Lewis Capt. 1st Regiment, U. S. Infty. River Maropa, 9th of-10-1804
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.