Lewis and Clark Expedition

Phase 1 / Date 1: August 30-November 19, 1803

From Pittsburgh down the Ohio to the Mississippi

Lewis and Clark
August 31, 1803 (Insert Map here!) (Lewis) At about 11 o'clock we left Pittsburgh with a party of about 11 people. We stopped at Bruno's Island and I tried out my new airgun. Unfortunately, when Mr. Cenas fired the gun a shot hit a woman and grazed her temple, there was a lot of blood but she is fine now. When we left the island the river was very low and in one spot we had to get out and lift the boat about 30 yards. After a long hard day we enjoyed some whiskey and went to bed at 8 o'clock.
September 1, 1803 (Lewis) When we awoke this morning the water was covered with a thick fog, we could only see 40 paces in front of us. We waited until the sun melted away the fog and proceeded at 8 o'clock. Fog seems to be very common in Ohio at this time of year. We ran into much difficulty today on account of the riffle called Woolery's Trap. We had to unload all of the boat's contents try and lift the boat over the trap. Finding this impractical we found a man with a team of oxen to help us. With all of this difficulty we stayed and remained all night, having made only ten miles today. September 2, 1803 (Lewis) Today we set out at sunrise but encountered a riffle after 2 1/2 miles. We got out and pulled the boat over it, which took a lot of energy. At nine o'clock we reached the Logtown Riffle which detained us for four hours. We paid a man a dollar to pull us over with a horse and an ox. Many people who live here live off the money made by travelers in trouble. We passed the mouth of two little creeks to the north and ran into another riffle but we made it through alright. The thermometer stood at about 76 in the cabin and about the same when stuck in the river. I noticed that the leaves of the buckeye, Gum and sassafras have begun to fade and turn red.
September 3, 1803 (Lewis) It was foggy again when I woke up this morning and about 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Even the river was about 75 degrees, the 12 degree difference is what makes the vapor. Because of the fog we were unable to start until 9 o'clock this morning. A wealthy merchant of Philadelphia, Mr. Gui Briant, arrived with two boats filled with furs. Mr. Briant said that if I can reach the Georgetown Bar, 24 miles away, I will be okay. We passed a riffle just below Big Beaver Creek. Later, we anchored at Mackintosh and I discharged one of my hands. We passed another riffle below Makintosh and pressed on. Another 3 miles on we hit another riffle that forced us to unload and drag the boat over with horses. We stayed all night having traveled only 6 miles.
September 4, 1803 (Lewis) Fog again this morning and we had to wait until a little past 8 to set out. I observed that the river has seemed to fall about an inch over the night. A small boat that we bought, to lighten our load, sprung a leak and we lost hardware that was supposed to be presents for the Indians. With help from some people in Georgetown we made it over the bar. At Georgetown we purchased a canoe, two paddles and two poles for $11. We made camp early, only making about 13 miles today. Before we retired we opened the articles that got wet and laid them out in the sun. I also ordered some of the men to repair the canoes. Luckily the articles were not as damaged as I thought. I hired another hand to travel with us as for as Wheeling. My camp is about two miles away from the line that divides Virginia and Pennsylvania and on the west of that the state of Ohio. The water is so low and clear that we can see many fish. We crave all of the beautiful sturgeon, bass and pike....so we set to the task of sharpening spears the Indian way to go fishing.
Indian Woman
September 5, 1803 (Lewis) Again it is fog that I awaken to in the morning. We loaded the canoes and waited until the fog disappeared. We had trouble passing some riffles today and had to use horse and oxen to rescue us. At six in the evening we were pounded by rain. We camped at the head of Brown's Island when the night blackened around us. I was very worried because much of our valuable belongings had not been brought up yet so I blew the trumpet and ordered our things to be secured. We traveled 16 miles today. September 6, 1803 (Lewis) As usual the fog enveloped us in the morning. A little after 7 we set out. We struck on a small riffle and within a few more miles passed 4 others, three of which we needed horses to drag us over. (The man "robbed" me of two dollars for his service!) At 2 o'clock we passed Steuwbenville without much excitement. Being 6 miles from encampment we hoisted our sail and let the wind carry us forward. We ran into another riffle and we hoped that the sail and wind would carry us over but to no avail. We again had to resort to horse and oxen. We proceeded about a mile and a half further before we made camp. We traveled ten miles today. September 7, 1803 (Lewis) According to custom we were awakened by fog this morning. Of course, within about 200 paces we were stuck on a riffle. All of the hands got out and moved the boat. We passed Charles Town (now Wellsburg, West Virginia) over which was built a beautiful wooden bridge. The town has the appearance of a little village of about forty houses. We reached Wheeling at about 5 in the evening. This village has about 50 houses and in the county town of Ohio (State of Virginia). On the side of the river where it empties out into the Ohio, stands an old stockade fort, now gone to decay. In this town of Wheeling I picked up some goods that I had ordered to be sent their and found them to be in order. I met with Col. Rodney briefly, one of the commissioners appointed by the government to adjust the land claims in the Mississippi Territory. We remained in this town all night. September 8 , 1803 (Lewis) Today, I wrote to President Jefferson. I also purchased a perogue and hired a man to work with her. I decided to give my men a days rest because they were very fatigued and I let them do laundry and buy some flour for bread. I dined with Col. Rodney and his suit and feasted on some juicy watermelons. I also met with Dr. Patterson who showed an interest to join our group, I consented. If Clark is unable to join us, he will fill his position as second lieutenant, although I must have the President's consent. September 9, 1803 (Lewis) The Doctor was unable to join us for the journey and we set out at three in the afternoon. We had some difficulty making it over a riffle a mile out of town. There was some mistake in the arrangement for bread at the town of Wheeling. The contract was misunderstood and the bread was left. I sent the Corporal back to get the bread and gave him a dollar to give the woman for her troubles. About that time torrential rain attacked us and continued into the night. Through the course of the night we tried to keep everything dry. The rain was unusually cold for this time of year. September 10, 1803 (Lewis) When morning woke the rain ceased. The clouds refused to disappear and looked they wanted to rain. There was only a little fog and I should have been able to set out early but we had to wait for the Corporal to return from Wheeling to get the bread. I began to worry that he had deserted because of the strong reprimand that I had given him. At 8 o'clock he did return and with the bread! We embarked! We passed several bad riffles and at 11 o'clock I landed on the east side of the river and went on shore. There we discovered an Indian grave about 700 paces from the river. The whole mound was covered with timber from sugar trees, hickory, poplar and red and white oak. I was informed that in removing some of the earth of one of the lesser mounds, two male skeletons were found and some brass beads. We again set off and ran into some bad riffles but we didn't need any help from cattle. We traveled about 24 miles today, the farthest yet. We stayed all night a little above sunfish creek. September 11, 1803 (Lewis) We embarked at sunrise. We passed about five islands. I observed a number of black squirrels swimming the Ohio, swimming very light and at a very good speed. I assume they are moving south for the weather. Many were fat and when fried a very good food. My dog, a Newfoundland breed, enjoyed killing them and swim them back to me. Tonight we lay below the fifth island, having come 26 miles.
September 12, 1803 (Lewis) At sunrise we set out. It rained in intervals until three in the afternoon. We passed many bad riffles including Wilson's riffle. At this riffle we had to channel through the gravel with spades and canoe paddles and drag the boat through. This took us about four hours. On the north-west shore I bought some potatoes and corn from a Yankee farmer in exchange for some lead. We came 20 miles today. September 13, 1803 (Lewis) It was clear this morning so we set out at sunrise. We had to lift the boat over some riffles. I observed many pigeons passing over us moving south. The squirrels continue to cross the river from north-west to south-east. We arrived at Marietta which is a hundred miles from Wheeling. We will lay here all night and I wrote the President. I then dismissed two of my hands and hired two more. This evening I was visited by Col. Green, the postmaster of this town, he is much a gentleman and an excellent republican. September 14, 1803 (Lewis) We couldn't leave today until 11 o'clock because two of my men got drunk and we couldn't find them. When I found them I brought them on board, without their help being that they were so drunk. We passed several riffles and stayed the night on the north- west shore. It was here that we were informed of two women who had contracted malaria who lived on the bank just below. I saw many squirrels today and had my dog catch a few. September 15, 1803 (Lewis) We set out today at sunrise and passed the mouth of the little Kanaway which is one mile form where we camped last night. The mouth is about 60 yards wide and with a huge settlement on the bank. It rained buckets today, from about 7 this morning until 3 in the afternoon. We passed several bad riffles where we had to lift the boat over them, it sure slowed us up. One of the canoes fell far behind and we had to wait several hours for it to catch up with us. I noticed today many squirrels swimming the river although one was going the opposite direction, south-east to north-west. We settled down on the Virginia shore having made 18 miles today. September 16, 1803 (Lewis) We didn't set out until 8 this morning because the fog hung over us like a thick cloak. The air stood at 54 degrees and the water at 72. The day ended up being fair. We passed several bad riffles, while my men were getting the boat out of a fairly long riffle at Emberson's Island, I went on shore and shot some squirrels. My men were quite fatigued after this battle with the riffle yet we continued on till nearly dark and settle on the Virginia shore, having made only 19 miles today. September 17, 1803 (Lewis) This morning it was very foggy, but we set out anyway because my pilot said that we had good water for several miles. After 7 miles we stopped at the Town Bar, which I was determined to spend the day and open and dry my goods which have been wet with rain since the 15th. Even the biscuit was in bad sorts. September 18, 1803 (Lewis) The morning was clear and we set out at sunrise. At nine in the morning we passed Letart's Falls. The rapids are amazing here-a little more than 4 ft in 250 yards. Sept. 19th-Nov. 10th 1803 (Lewis) Lewis had nothing to write about. November 11, 1803 (Lewis) Arrived at Massac and employed George Drouillard as an Indian interpreter. I contracted to pay him $25 a month for his services. I advanced Mr. Swan $30, an assistant military agent in charge of financial affairs at this post, on account of his pay. November 12, 1803 (Lewis) We remained at Massac. I took altitudes in the morning but I didn't finish because of the clouds. November 13, 1803 (Lewis) We left Massac at about 5 this evening and proceeded 3 miles down the river and camped on the south-east shore. It rained very hard tonight and I got sick with something. The fever went down by morning. (Clark) Left Fort Massac at 4 o'clock. November 14, 1803 (Lewis) At first light we set out. I took a dose of Rush's pills (a strong laxative) which helped out a lot. By night my fever was gone. At about 12 o'clock we passed Wilkinson-ville, here was a great chain of rocks stretching its arm across the Ohio. We landed this evening where the Ohio and Mississippi meet. I feel much better now yet very weak.
Illinois Map
November 15, 1803 (Lewis) During the morning I took several altitudes, which takes a considerable amount of time, but couldn't finish because of clouds in the afternoon. Captain Clark make a partial survey of the point with a compass and projected the width of the Ohio.
Confluence of Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
November 16, 1803 (Lewis) Today we passed the great Mississippi and went on the other side. It was here that the Shawnees and Delawares encamped. A Shawnee offered me three beaver skins for my dog, but I couldn't part with my companion. Clark and I scouted around the area and didn't return to camp until 1 o'clock. We were astounded at the size of a catfish the men had caught. The beauty weighed close to 128 lbs. Someone told me that some fish from the Ohio and Mississippi have weighed from 175 to 200 lbs. Later I encountered a prairie chicken, unfortunately I didn't have my gun. November 17, 1803 (Lewis) The wind in its fury blew all last night and through today. The canoes were flung in the arms of the torrential waters, driven also by the wind, and filled water. I measured the bank of the river to be 36 ft and 8 inches. The water level seemed very low. November 18, 1803 (Lewis) We set out early this morning to visit and view where old Fort Jefferson stood. Our group included Clark and eight men. On and near an island were six Shawnee hunting camps, the island is formed by a bayou. At the junction of this bayou and a creed is the fort, which is on rising ground. On our return, we reached the huts of people who made their living by trading with the Indians. It was there we found some of our men who had left camp (against our instructions) and got drunk. We had much difficulty getting them. November 19, 1803 (Lewis) Today I took altitudes in the morning and the afternoon.

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