of Lewis and Clark: Dates January 12, 1805 - January 20,
excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis
and Clark. Dates: January 12, 1805 - January 20, 1805
Saturday 12. The weather continues very cold, the mercury
at sunrise being 20° below 0. Three of the hunters returned,
having killed three elk.
January 13, 1805
Sunday 13. We have a continuation of clear weather,
and the cold has increased, the mercury having sunk to 34°
below 0. Nearly one half of the Mandan nation passed down
the river to hunt for several days; in these excursions
men, women and children, with their dogs, all leave the
village together, and after discovering a spot convenient
for the game, fix their tents; all the family bear their
part in the labor, and the game is equally divided among
the families of the tribe. When a single hunter returns
from the chase with more than is necessary for his own immediate
consumption, the neighbors are entitled by custom to a share
of it: they do not however ask for it, but send a squaw,
who without saying any thing, sits down by the door of the
lodge till the master understands the hint, and gives her
gratuitously a part for her family. Charbonneau who with
one man had gone to some lodges of Minnetarees near the
Turtle mountain, returned with their faces much frostbitten.
They had been about ninety miles distant, and procured from
the inhabitants some meat and grease, with which they loaded
the horses. He informs us that the agent of the Hudson bay
company at that place, had been endeavoring to make unfavourable
impressions with regard to us on the mind of the great chief,
and that the N.W. company intend building a fort there.
The great chief had in consequence spoken slightly of the
Americans, but said that if we would give him our great
flag he would come and see us.
January 14, 1805
Monday 14. The Mandans continue to pass down the
river on their hunting party, and were joined by six of
our men. One of those sent on Thursday returned, with information
that one of his companions had his feet so badly frostbitten
that he could not walk home. In their excursion they had
killed a buffalo, a wolf, two porcupines and a white hare.
The weather was more moderate to-day, the mercury being
at 16° below 0, and the wind from the S.E. we had however
some snow, after which it remained cloudy.
January 15, 1805
Tuesday 15. The morning is much warmer than yesterday,
and the snow begins to melt, though the wind after being
for some time from the S.E. suddenly shifted to N.W. Between
twelve and three o'clock A.M. there was a total eclipse
of the moon, from which we obtained a part of the observation
necessary for ascertaining the longitude.
We were visited by four of the most distinguished men of
the Minnetarees, to whom we showed marked attentions, as
we knew that they had been taught to entertain strong prejudices
against us; these we succeeded so well in removing, that
when in the morning,
January 16, 1805
Wednesday 16, about thirty Mandans, among whom six
were chiefs came to see us, the Minnetarees reproached them
with their falsehoods, declaring that they were bad men
and ought to hide themselves. They had told the Minnetarees
that we would kill them if they came to the fort, yet on
the contrary they had spent a night there and been treated
with kindness by the whites, who had smoked with them and
danced for their amusement. Kagohami visited us and brought
us a little corn, and soon afterwards one of the first war
chiefs of the Minnetarees came accompanied by his squaw,
a handsome woman, whom he was desirous we should use during
the night. He favored us with a more acceptable present,
a draft of the Missouri in his manner, and informed us of
his intention to go to war in the spring against the Snake
Indians; we advised him to reflect seriously before he committed
the peace of his nation to the hazards of war; to look back
on the numerous nations whom war has destroyed, that if
he wished his nation to be happy he should cultivate peace
and intercourse with all his neighbors, by which means they
would procure more horses, increase in numbers, and that
if he went to war he would displease his great father the
president, and forfeit his protection. We added that we
had spoken thus to all the tribes whom we had met, that
they had all opened their ears, and that the president would
compel those who did not voluntarily listen to his advice.
Although a young man of only twenty-six years of age, this
discourse seemed to strike him. He observed that if it would
be displeasing to us he would not go to war, since he had
horses enough, and that he would advise all the nation to
remain at home, until we had seen the Snake Indians, and
discovered whether their intentions were pacific. The party
who went down with the horses for the man who was frostbitten
returned, and we are glad to find his complaint not serious.
January 17, 1805
Thursday 17. The day was very windy from the north;
the morning clear and cold, the thermometer at sunrise being
at 0: we had several Indians with us.
Friday 18. The
weather is fine and moderate. Messrs. Laroche and M‘Kenzie,
two of the N.W. company's traders, visited us with some
of the Minnetarees. In the afternoon two of our hunters
returned, having killed four wolves and a blaireau.
January 19, 1805
Saturday 19. Another cloudy day. The two traders
set out on their return, and we sent two men with the horses
thirty miles below to the hunting camp.
January 20, 1805
Sunday 20. The day fair and cold. A number of Indians
visit us with corn to exchange for articles, and to pay
for repairs to their household utensils.