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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

The men of the Expedition continue to recover their health and strength at the Three Forks of the Missouri River in present Montana. The Captains make celestial observations. Lewis writes about the large ants found here.

the men have been busily engaged all day in dising [dressing?] skins and making them into various garments all are leather dressers and taylors.

Meriwether Lewis


Drawing of the men sewing and cooking at camp

From an interpretive sign at the Great Falls Lewis and Clark Visitor Center.

we have killed no mule deer since we lay here, they are all of the longtailed red deer which appear qu[i]te as large as those of the United States.

Meriwether Lewis

Western white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus

Profile of male deer with large antlers

This photo, on display at Fort Osage, was originally provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

the hunters brought in a living young sandhill crain; this young animal is very ferce and strikes a severe blow with his beak; after amusing myself with it I had it set at liberty and it moved off apparently much pleased with being releived from his captivity.

Meriwether Lewis

Sandhill crane chick, Grus canadensis

Small fluffy chick with brown down

Photo Tim Bowman of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

there is also in these plains a large ant with a redish brown body and legs, and a black head and abdomen; they construct little perimids of small gravel in a conic shape, about 10 or 12 inches high without a mixture of sticks and with but little earth.

Meriwether Lewis

Western harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis

Close-up of a reddish ant

Photo Tim Bowman of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.