Cold and Hungry

When snow blankets the mountains, the expedition is once again imperiled

Equipped with horses from the Shoshone, the corps prepares to cross the Bitterroot Mountains in present-day Idaho. But winter is fast approaching and there is little to eat.

September 4, 1805 [Capt. William Clark]

A verry cold morning every thing wet and frosed....groun covered with Snow....we met a part of the [Salish] nation of 33 Lodges about 80 men 400 Total and at least 500 horses, those people recved us friendly, threw white robes over our Sholders & Smoked in the pipes of peace, we Encamped with them & found them friendly.

September 10 [Capt. Meriwether Lewis]

This evening one of our hunters returned accompanyed by three men of the [Salish] nation....[the third man] agreed to continue with us as a guide, and to introduce us to his relations whom he informed us were numerous and resided in the plain below the mountains on the columbia river, from whence he said the water was good and capable of being navigated to the sea.

September 14 [Sgt. Patrick Gass]

The two hunters, that had gone back here joined us with Capt. Lewis’s horse, but none of the hunters killed any thing except 2 or 3 pheasants; on which, without a miracle it was impossible to feed 30 hungry men and upwards, besides some Indians. So Capt. Lewis gave out some portable soup, which he had along, to be used in cases of necessity. Some of the men did not relish this soup, and agreed to kill a colt; which they immediately did, and set about roasting it; and which appeared to me to be good eating.

September 16 [Clark]

Began to Snow about 3 hours before Day and Continud all night we found it from 6 to 8 Inches deep....I have been wet and as cold in every part as I ever was in my life, indeed I was at one time fearfull my feet would freeze in the thin mockersons which I all wet cold and hungary. Killed a Second Colt which we all Suped hartily on and thought it fine meat.

September 18 [Lewis]

Cap Clark set out this morning to go a head with six hunters. there being no game in these mountains we concluded it would be better for one of us to take the hunters and hurry on to the leavel country a head and there hunt and provide some provision while the other remained with and brought on the party.

September 18 [Clark]

[No] sign of deer and nothing else... made 32 miles and Encamped on a...Creek...which I call Hungery Creek as at this place we had nothing to eate. I halted only one hour to day to let our horses feed on Grass and rest.

September 21 [Lewis]

I find myself growing weak for the want of food.

September 21 [Clark]

I collected a horse load of roots & 3 Sammon & Sent R Fields with one Indian to meet Capt Lewis.

September 22 [Lewis]

I divided the fish roots and buries, and was happy to find a sufficiency to satisfy compleatly all our appetites.

September 24 [Clark]

Several men So unwell that they were Compelled to lie on the Side of the road for Some time others obliged to be put on horses.

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