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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 12:
Captain Clark (current)
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Concluded to delay here today with a view of taking equal altitudes and making observations as well as refreshing our men, who are much fatigued. After an early breakfast I, with five men in a pirogue, ascended the river Nemaha about three miles to the mouth of a small creek on the lower side. Here I got out of the pirogue. After going to several small mounds in a level plain, I ascended a hill on the lower side. On this hill, several artificial mounds were raised; from the top of the highest of those mounds I had an extensive view of the surrounding plains, which afforded one of the most pleasing prospects I ever beheld: under me a beautiful river of clear water about 80 yards wide, meandering through a level and extensive meadow, as far as I could see - the prospect much enlivened by the few trees and shrubs which border the bank of the river, and the creeks and runs falling into it. The bottom land is covered with grass about 41/2 feet high, and appears as level as a smooth surface. The second bottom [the upper land] is also covered with grass and rich weeds and flowers, interspersed with copses of the Osage plum, on the rising lands. Small groves of trees are seen, with numbers of grapes and a wild cherry resembling the common wild cherry, only larger, and growing on a small bush on the tops of those hills in every direction. I observed artificial mounds (or as I may more justly term graves) which to me is a EM evidence of this country being once thickly settled. (The Indians of the Missouris still keep up the custom of burying their dead on high ground.) After a ramble of about two miles, I returned to the pirogue and descended down the river. Gathered some grapes, nearly ripe. On a sandstone bluff about 1/4 of a mile from its mouth on the lower side, I observed some Indian marks. Went to the rock which jutted over the water and marked my name 8 and the day of the month and year. Tried a man for sleeping on his post, and inspected the arms, ammunition, &c., of the party. Found all complete. Took some lunar observations. Three deer killed today.
A court-martial consisting of the two commanding officers will convene this day at one o'clock, P.M., for the trial of such prisoners as may be brought before them. One of the court will act as judge advocate.
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.