May 27, 1805
John Ordway

the wind blew hard from the S.W. which detained us untill about 10 oClock at which time we Set out & proceeded on.   passed a Small necked Island on the Lard. Side immediately above the timber in which we Camped   the river is verry Shoaley and the bad places are verry numerous.--   at the mouth of every dreen the rocks is thrown Some distance in the river which causes the riffles.   this day is verry warm.   we Saw only a fiew herds of Big horned animel on the hills, & 2 Elk, one of which we killed.   we Camped at 2 ded top trees in the Larboard Side. [Near McGarry Bar.]  the river is generally about 200 yards wide & current very Swift to day, and has a verry prosperous falls in all its course    it roses a little.  Came 14 miles to day.--

May 27, 1805
Patrick Gass

We have now got into a country which presents little to our view, but scenes of barrenness and desolation; and see no encouraging prospects that it will terminate. Having proceeded (by the course of this river) about two thousand three hundred miles, it may therefore not be improper to make two or three general observations respecting the country we have passed.

From the mouth of the Missouri to that of the river Platte, a distance of more than six hundred miles, the land is generally of a good quality, with a sufficient quantity of timber; in many places very rich, and the country pleasant and beautiful.

From the confluence of the river Platte with the Missouri to the Sterile desert we lately entered, a distance of upwards of fifteen hundred miles the soil is less rich, and except in the bottoms, the land of an inferior quality; but may in general be called good second rate land. The country is rather hilly than level, though not mountainous, rocky or stony. The hills in their unsheltered state are much exposed to be washed by heavy rains. This kind of country and soil which has fallen under our observation in our progress up the Missouri, extends it is understood, to a great distance on both sides of the river. Along the Missouri and the waters which flow into it, cotton wood and willows are frequent in the bottoms and islands; but the upland is almost entirely without timber, and consists of large prairies or plains the boundaries of which the eye cannot reach.  The grass is generally short on these immense natural pastures, which in the proper seasons are decorated with blossoms and flowers of various colours. The views from the hills are interesting and grand. Wide extended plains with their hills and vales, stretching away in lessening wavy ridges, until by their distance they fade from the sight; large rivers and streams in their rapid course, winding in various meanders; groves of cotton wood and willow along the waters intersecting the landscapes in different directions, dividing them into various forms, at length appearing like dark clouds and sinking in the horizon; these enlivened with the buffaloe, elk, deer, and other animals which in vast numbers feed upon the plains or pursue their prey are the prominent objects, which compose the extensive prospects presented to the view and strike the attention of the beholder.

The islands in the Missouri are of various sizes; in general not large and during high water mostly overflowed.

There are Indian paths along the Missouri and some in other parts of the contry.   Those along that river do not generally follow its windings but cut oof points of land and pursue a direct course.  There are also roads and paths made by the bufaloe and other animals; some of the buffaloe roads are at least ten feet wide.  We did not embark this morning until 8 o'clock.  The day was fine, but the wind ahead. We had difficult water, and passed through the most dismal country I ever beheld; nothing but barren mountains on both sides of the river, as far as our view could extend. The bed of the river is rocky, and also the banks and hills in some places; but these are chiefly of earth. We went thirteen miles and encamped in a bottom, just large enough for the purpose, and made out to get enough of drift wood to cook with.

May 27, 1805
Joseph Whitehouse

pleasant weather.   the wind high from the N.W. about 10 oC. we Set off and proceeded on with the towing lines.   the current verry Swift.    passed a great nomber of rapid places.   passed verry high Steep mountains and Clifts Steep precipices. [They were traveling through the Missouri River Breaks.]   these mountains appear to be a desert part of the country.   they wash by rains, but a little rain in this part.   no diews like other parts but barron broken rich Soil but too much of a desert to be inhabited, or cultivated.  Some Spots of pitch & Spruce pine. [Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii.]  the game is Scarcer than it has been.   no grass nor timber for them to live in, but what Ibex or Mountain Sheep, Elk deer &c live on what little grass their is in the vallies and narrow plains on river, which is covered with wild hysop rose bush & Some grass.  Some different kinds of mint along the Shore. [Field Mint, Mentha arvenis.]   Saw mussel Shells also.  the Shore is Stoney & gravvelly.  no falling in banks but the creeks drive the earth and gravvel in Some distance in the river which causes the most of the hard riffles, which we have had all day and had to double man our perogues to git them over Safe.  one mountain ram or Ibex killed to day.   we Came 13 mes today, and Camped at an old Indian Camp on the S. Side [of] River [Near later McGarry Bar.]    we are 800 & 10 miles from the Mandans, 2415 [from the mouth of the Missouri?]

May 27, 1805
Joseph Whitehouse

This morning pleasant weather, but the wind high, from the Northwest, about 10 o'Clock A.M. we set out, and proceeded on our Voyage, towing the Craft, the current of the /River running very Swift.  We passed a number of rapid places, Steep mountains, Clifts and precipices.--  This place appear'd to be a desert Country,--  The hills washing by the Rains, No dews fall here, and it seldom Rains, The Soil is rich, but has the appearance of being too much a desert, ever to be Inhabited.  The Game become scarcer here, than they have been for some time past, owing to their being no Grass, or Timber'd land for them to live in.--   no Trees to be seen here, but a few Pitch pine & Spruce.--  The Ibex, Elk & deer, being in the Valleys, & narrow plains below this on the ?River.--  Those Valleys and plains are covered with wild hysop, Rose bushes, and some Grass.--   some different kinds of wild mint grow along the Shore of the River, and Mussles are to be found in great abundance.--  The land along the Shore is Stoney, & Gravelly; and no falling in banks.--  The water that comes in here from the Creeks, runs so strong that it drives the Stones, and gravel, some distance into the River; which causes most of the hard Riffles, that we passed this day.--   And we had to Man our Crafts doubly in order to get them over Safe.--  One of our party kill'd a Mountain Sheep (Ibex,) this day; We came too and encamp'd where we found an old Indian Camp on the South side of the River, we are now 800 Miles above the Mandan Nation & 2,415 Miles from the mouth of the Mesouri River

[The date of the following tables is unknown, however Whitehouse does provide the latitude of the Marias River where the expedition arrived on June 2, 1805.]

Remarks of Different places--


Latd of the Gasnage 38 15 57 N
Do Gran zoe-- 39 16 23 N
Do rock pole 38 16 00 N
Do the two Cherottors 38 1/2 19 00 N
Do Decough 38 31 13 N
River plate 41 17 00
Do Camp of the Brareow on
Council Bluffs-- 41 17 00


From River Duboise--


To St. Charles-- 21 Miles by water
" Gasconade-- 104 " " --
Unto the Osage River 138 " " "
" Mine River 201 " -- --
2 Charottoes Rivers 226--
" Old village of Misuries 246--
" Grand River 254--
" Kanzies River 366--
2nd Old Village of Kanzies-- 433--
" Nodoway River 481--
" Grand Na, Mahawr 511--
" Bald pated prarie 570--
Moute of plate River 632--

Council Bluffs--


Little Scioux River

Mahars Village 870--
The Mouth of the Big Souix River-- 880--
The Mouth of the River Jacque-- 970--
Grand Calumet Bluffs-- 980--
the River of rapid water-- 1020--
Ceeder Island-- 1090--
River White R-- 1142--
To the Island in the Big bend or Grand detorture of the Missouri River 1183--
round the Bend 30 miles-- 1213--
To the Ceeder Island above the Big Bend-- 1235--
To the Mouth of the Teton River-- 1275--
To the 1st Village of Rickierees-- 1480-- 1430
To Mouth of the River Bullette-- 1505--
River Chiss-Che-tar above the old village of Mandans 1550--
Fort Mandans on the N. Side-- 1600 1/2

Latudes of the Different Remarkable Places

on the Missourie River of St. Charles-- 38 54 39 N
Gasconade-- 38 44 35
Mo of the Osage River 38 32 6
mo of the Grand River 38 47 54 9/10
mo of the Kanzies River 39 5 25
12 ms. above Dimond Isl. 39 9 38
3 ms. below the {crossed out} 2nd Old Village of Kanzies 39 25 42
mo. of the Nordaway-- 39 39 22
mo of Na mahaw-- 39 55 56
Good Isld.-- 40 20 12
Bald Pated Prarie 40 27 6
white Catfish Camp-- 41 3 19
Council Bluff- 41 17 00
Mo of Stone River or the little Sioux 41 42 34
On the South Side whare the late King of the Mahars 42 1 3 N
Fish Camp Neer the Mahars Village August 14th 1804 42 13 41
Septmb. 1 Calimet Bluffs opsite the Sues <Village> Lidges whare we met the Nation of the Sues 42 53 13--
Ceeder Island Louesells Fort-- 44 11 33--
the Mouth of the Chien /River-- 44 19 36--
Mouth of the Water-hoo river 45 39 5--
the Mouth of the River bullette-- 46 29 00--
Fort Mandans on N. Side-- 47 21 00--
at the forks of Mariah-- 47 24 12--