13th February Wednesday 1805.
The morning cloudy thermometer 2° below naught wind from S. E. visited by the Black-Cat gave him a battle ax with which he appeared much gratifyed.
I returned last night from a hunting party much fatigued, haveing walked 30 miles on the ice and through of wood land Points in which the Snow was nearly Knee Deep
The 1st day I left the fort proceeded on the ice to new Mandan Island, 22 miles & Camped Killed nothing, & nothing to eat,
The 2d day the morning verry Cold & Windey, I broke thro the ice and got my feet and legs wet, Sent out 4 hunters thro a point to Kill a Deer & Cook it by the time the party Should get up, those hunters killed a Deer & 2 Buffalow Bulls the Buffalow too Meagur to eate, we eate the Deer & proceeded on to an old Indian Lodge, Sent out the hunters & they brought in three lean Deer, which we made use of for food,— walking on uneaven ice has blistered the bottom of my feat, and walking is painfull to me
3rd day Cold morning the after party of the Day worm, Camped on a Sand point near the mouth of a Creek on the S W. Side we Call hunting Creek, I turned out with the hunters, I Killed 2 Deer the hunters killed an Elk, Buffalow Bull & 5 Deer. all Meager
4th Day hunted the two bottoms near the Camp Killed 9 Elk, 18 Deer, brought to camp all the meat fit to eate & had the bones taken out. every man ingaged either in hunting or Collecting & packing the meat to Camp
5th Day Dispatched one of the party our Interpeter & 2 french men with the 3 horses loaded with the best of the meat to the fort 44 miles Distant, the remaining meat I had packed on the 2 Slays & drawn down to the next point about 3 miles below, at this place I had all the meat Collected which was killed yesterday & had escaped the wolves, Raven & Magpie, (which are verry noumerous about this Place) and put into a close pen made of logs to secure it from the wolves & birds & proceeded on to a large bottom nearly opposit the Chisscheter (heart) River, in this bottom we found but little game, Great No. of wolves, on the hills Saw Several parsels of Buffalow.— Camped. I killed a Buck
6th Day The Buffalow Seen last night provd to be Bulls. lean & unfit for to make uce of as food, the Distance from Camp being nearly 60 miles, and the packing of meat that distance attended with much difficuity deturmined me to return and hunt the points above, we Set out on our return and halted at an old Indian lodge 40 miles below Fort Mandan Killed 3 Elk & 2 Deer-.
7th Day a cold Day wind blew hard from the N. W. J Fields got one of his ears frosed deturmined to lay by and hunt today Killed an Elk & 6 deer,* this meat I had Boned & put onto a Close pen made of logs— *all that was fit for use
8th day air keen halted at the old Camp we Stayed in on the 2d night after we left the Fort, expecting to meat the horses at this Place, killed 3 Deer, Several men being nearly out of Mockersons & the horses not returning deturmind me to return to the Fort on tomorrow
9th day. Set out early, Saw great numbers of Grouse feeding on the young willows, on the Sand bars one mans I sent in persute of a gangue of Elk killed three near the old Ricara Village and joined at the fort, Sent him back to Secure the meat one man with him— The ice on the parts of the River which was verry rough, as I went down, was Smothe on my return, this is owing to the rise and fall of the water, which takes place every day or two, and Caused by partial thaws, and obstructions in the passage of the water thro the Ice, which frequently attaches itself to the bottom.— the water when riseing forses its way thro the cracks & air holes above the old ice, & in one night becoms a Smothe Surface of ice 4 to 6 Inchs thick,— the river falls & the ice Sink in places with the water and attaches itself to the bottom, and when it again rises to its former hite, frequently leavs a valley of Several feet to Supply with water to bring it on a leavel Surfice.
The water of the Missouri at this time is Clear with little Tinges.
I saw Several old Villages near the Chisscheta River on enquirey found they were Mandan Villages destroyed by the Sous & Small Pox, they noumerous and lived in 6 Villages near that place.