August 3, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 3, 1804


August 3rd Friday    prepare a Small preas[en]t for those Indians and hold a Councul [1]    Delivered a Speech & made 8 6 chief [hole]    gave a fiew preasents and, a Smoke a Dram, Some Powder & Ball—[hole]    the man [La Liberté] we 〈left〉 Sent not yet come up, Those people express great Satisfa[ct]ion at the Speech Delivered    they are no Oreters, big [beg?], open Counternances, ottoes large    Missor [Missouris] Small

at 4 oClock Set out under a gentle Breeze from the S. E    proceeded on N. 5° E 5 Ms.    Passed a Pt. on the S. S. and round a large Sand bar on the L. S. and Camped above, [2] below a great number of Snags quit [quite?] across the river, The Musquitors more numerous than I ever Saw them, all in Spirrits, we had Some rough Convasation G. Dr. [Drouillard?]— about boys.

The Osage & Kansies are the Same language [3]

the Ottoes & Mahars Speek many words of the Osarge language

The Ottos, Aiaways [Iowas], & Missouries Speake the Same language

the Panies & Recreries [Arikaras] Speak the Same language also the Loups [Skiris] & repub. [Republican Pawnees, or Kitkahahki]

the Mahar, & Poncarar [Poncas] the Same Language

The Cheaun [Cheyennes], Mandin & Grovanter [Gros Ventres, or Hidatsas] the Same

The Probibility is that those defferant tribes have once formed 〈one〉 3 great nats.    Viz: the Missouries, Osarge, Kanzes, Ottoes, Mahars, & Poncaras & Aiauaies [Iowas] one nation.

The Panies, Loups, Republican, Recrerees the 2nd

The Mandans Cheeons, & Grovanters the 3rd

T[h]e tribes of the Soux all retain the name 4th

It is possible that the 〈Mandain〉, Mahar & Poncarear may have been a Distinct nation, as they only Speek Some words of the osage which have the Same Signification [4]

25 Days to St Ta fee    S. of W. Cross the heads of Arkansies around the head of Kanzies River [5]

after Delivering a Speech informing thos Children of ours of the Change which had taken place, [6] the wishes of our government to Cultivate friendship & good understanding, the method of have good advice & Some Directions, we made 〈8〉 1 Great Chief to the [7] who was not present, to whom we adresed the Speech & Sent Some presents or Meadels [8] & flag, we made 2 Second Chiefs one for the Missouris & another for the Ottos (those two tribes are nearly equal 170 each) and 4 principal men, to thos principal men to thos we gave a Small Comtn. [commission] [9]    to each man to whom w[e] gave authority, a preasn of Br. Clt. [breech clout] Gart.[erin]g. Paint & a med. or Contn    a Small Coms. was delivered for the whole

each Chief & principal man delivered a Speech acknowledging ther approbation to what they had heard and promised to prosue the good advice and Caustion, they were happy w[ith?] 〈Ther〉 new fathers who gave good advice & to be Depended on    all Concluded by asking a little Powder & a Drop of Milk [whiskey].

I answered those Speeches    gave them 50 balls one Canister of Powder & a Dram—    after Cap Lewis Shot his air gun a few times which astonished the nativs, we Set Sail.    recved from thos people water millions &—

The Cheifs & Principal men of the Ottoes & Missouris made by M L. & W C the 3rd August 1804 [10]

from this place I am told by Mr. Faufong the interpeter that it will take a man 25 Days to go to St. a fee pass, the heads of Arkansas, round the Kansas head, across Some mountains from the top of which the City may be Seen    the Spaniards have envited those Indians & the Panies to trade with them & Some french & a few indians are gorn from the Panias to that City this Summer—

The Situation of this place which we Call Council Bluff which is handsom ellevated    a Spot well Calculated for a Tradeing establishment, [11] the Bank high & leavel on top well Calculated for a fort to Command the Countrey and river    the low bottom above high water & well Situated under the Command of the Hill for Houses to trade with the Natives    a butifull Plain both abov and below    at no other bend on either Side does the High land touch the river for Some distance up, as I am told.

those Bluffs afford good Clay for Brick, a great quantity on the 3 points one Opsd. one abov & one below.—    the Situation I am informed is, within 1 Days march of the Ottoes, 1½ of the Panias, 2 of the Mahars, & 2½ of the Loups Villages, also Convenient to the roveing Bands of Soux, Those people are now at war with each other, an establishment here would bring about peace and be the means of Keeping of it. [12]

Augt. 3d [13]    Camped on the upper point of a large Sand bar L. S.    Misquters verry bad. Some place near Conncill Bluff will be the most proper place for a tradeing establishment, for maney of the nations, the distance is to the Ottoes one Days, Ponies [Pawness] 1½ days, to the Mahar, 2 days, to Loups [14] 2 Days & a half 16 or 1800 men—and convenient for Some 〈The Republicans are also〉 bands of the Sues,

〈Your letter of the 7th of Feby I recved With great pleasure〉 [15]


mad[e] up a Small preasant for those people in perpotion to their Consiqunce.    also a package with a meadile to accompany a Speech for the Grand Chief 〈which we intend to send to him〉    after Brackfast we Collected those Indians under an orning of our Main Sail, in presence of our Party paraded & Delivered a long Speech to them expressive of our journey the wirkes of our Government, Some advice to them and Directions how They were to Conduct themselves, 〈made one〉 the princapal Chief for the nation 〈to whom〉 being absente we sent him the Speech flag Meadel & Some Cloathes.    after hering what they had to say Delivered 〈two of〉 a medal of Second Grade to one for the Ottos & and one for the Missourie 〈part of the nation〉 present and 4 medals of a third Grade to the inferior Chief    two for each tribe. Those two parts of nations, Ottos & Missouries now 〈forming one of〉 residing together is about 250 men are 〈nearly equal in number〉 the Ottoes Composeing ⅔d and Missourie ⅓ part [16]

The names of the Chiefs we acknowledged Made this day are as follows Viz [17]

    Indian name English signftn.
1st   We ár ruge nor Ottoe Called Little Theif
2 { Shōn gŏ tōn gŏ "            "      Big Horse
We the a Miss:      "      Hospatality
    Shon Guss Còn Ottoe     "      White horse
    Wau pe ùh M.
    Āh hŏ nīng gă M.
    Baza cou jà Ottoe
    Āh hŏ nē gă M.

Those 〈people〉 Chiefs all Delivered a Speech acknowledgeing Their approbation to the Speech and promissing to prosue the advice & Derictions given them    that they wer happy to find that they had fathers which might be depended on &c.

We gave them a Cannister of Powder and a Bottle of whiskey and delivered a few presents to the whole after giveing a Br: Cth: [breech cloth] Some Pain guartering & a Meadele to those we made Cheifs    after Capt Lewis's Shooting the air gun a feiw Shots (which astonished those nativs) we Set out and proceeded on five miles on a Direct line passed a point on the S. S. & round a large Sand bar on the L. S. & Camped on the upper point. The Misquitors excessively troublesom this evening    Great appearance of wind and rain to the N. W.    we prepare to rec've it—    The man Liberty whome we Sent for the Ottoes has not Come up    he left the Ottoes Town one Day before the Indians. This man has eithered tired his horse or, lost himself in the Plains    Some Indians are to hunt for him,

The Situation [WC: 25 Days from this to Santafee] of our last Camp Councill Bluff or Handssom Prarie appears to be a verry proper place for a Tradeing establishment & fortification    The Soil of the Bluff well adapted for Brick, Great deel of timbers above in the two Points.    many other advantages of a Small nature.    and I am told Senteral to Several nations    Viz. one Days march from the Ottoe Town, one Day & a half from the great Pania village, [18] 2 days from the Mahar Towns, two ¼ Days from the Loups Village, & Convenient to the Countrey thro: which Bands of the Soux [NB: rove &] hunt.    perhaps no other Situation is as well Calculated for a Tradeing establishment. The air is pure and helthy So far as we can Judge.—

Course of Augt. 3rd
N. 5° E 5 ms. to a pt. on L. S.    psd. a pt. on the S. S. & a Sand bar L S

Friday 3rd    a foggy morning.    no Diew last night. This morning the two Captains held a Counsel With the 〈13〉 Zottous Indians & made 6 Chiefs under the american government, they all Recd their medel & other presents With Great kindness & thankfulness they all appeared to be Glad that they had Got freed from all other powers &C—    they made Some verry Sensable Speeches Smoaked and drank with us. Shook hands and parted. Jos. Barter the man who went for those Indians Set out from their camp a day before them & has not returned.    we Set out about 3 oClock P. M. proceeded on Round a large Sand bar & Camped on the S. S.    the Musquetos verry bad. Some place near Councile Bluff is arround the most proper place for a tradeing house as their are these three or four nations, the ottoes Ponies & mahar &C.


Friday august 3dth    the Council was held and all partes was agreed    the Captens Give them meney presents    thes is the ottoe and the Missouries    The Missouries is a verry Small nathion    the ottoes is a very Large nathion So thay Live in one village on the Plate River    after the Council was over we took ouer Leave of them and embarked at 3 oclock P. m under Jentell Brees from the South Est. Sailed made 6 miles    Campt on the South Side    the Land Low, that on the N. prarie Land—


Friday 3rd.    Captain Lewis and Captain Clarke held a council with the Indians, who appeared well pleased with the change of government, and what had been done for them. Six of them were made chiefs, [19] three Otos and three Missouris.

We renewed our voyage at 3 o'clock; went six miles and encamped on the south side; where we had a storm of wind and rain, which lasted two hours.


Friday 3rd    the morning was 〈clear〉 foggy    the Indians Beheavd. well while Incampd. Neer our party    Captn. Lewis Brought them to a treaty after the hour of 9 Oclock—    there was Six of the Zottoe Cheifs & Six of the Missueriees;    he gave 3 of the head chiefs a Meaddle Each; and the Other three Commissions in the Name of the president of the U. S.    the[y] was well Content With what the[y] Recd.    the Officer Commanding Gave Each of the privates [20] Some Small presents    which made them all on an Eaqual Satisfactory Atonement for their Visit.    the[y] was well Content in the presence of their two fathers, which was M. Lewis & Wm. Clark do.    when the Articles was Opend Out the[y] Said as long as the 〈San〉 french had traded with [them] the[y] Never Gave them as much as a Knife for Nothing    Got underway in the Evening    Saild 5 miles—

Friday August 3d    This morning was foggy, the Indians had behaved themselves well in their encampment which lay near ours.—    At 9 o'Clock Captains Lewis & Clark held a treaty with those Indians.    There was Six Chiefs of the Zoto nation, and Six of the Mesouri Chiefs, Captain Lewis gave to three of the heads Chiefs, each a Medal, and the other three Chiefs Commissions, in the name of the President of the United States, they all seemed well content with what they received, The commanding officer, (Captain Lewis) gave each of the others (to whom he had given Commissions) some small presents, which gave general satisfaction—    & they consider'd that they were well paid for their Visit.—

They told Captain Lewis & Captain Clark (which was Interpreted 〈George Drewyer〉 by a frenchman we had with us our Interpreter) that they were well contented with what their fathers, (meaning them had gave them)    when the articles was deliver'd, they mentioned, that as long as the french Traders, had traded with them that they had never even gave them as much as a knife, without receiving something from them for it.—    They staid with us till 5 oClock P. M. when we got under way, and sail'd 5 Miles and encamped on the West bank of the River.—

The Latitude of Council bluff is in 41° 17' north Latitude

1. This council is discussed in Ronda, 17–23. (back)
2. The campsite, depending on shifts of the river, could be in either Harrison County, Iowa, or Washington County, Nebraska, some miles south of the present town of Blair, Nebraska. MRC map 24; MRR map 67. (back)
3. These notes on the conference with the Otos and Missouris and the country around the Council Bluff are on both sides of document 39 of the Field Notes. They are placed here because of the date August 3, given at one point in the document, and their general relation to the day's events. (back)
4. Clark is attempting to analyze information he has gathered from his own observation and that of traders on the languages and relationships of the western tribes. The Omaha, Osage, Ponca, and Kansa languages are of the Dhegiha group of the Siouan language family, so similarities in vocabulary are not surprising. The Iowa, Oto, and Missouri languages are of the Chiwere division of the Siouan family. The Mandan and Hidatsa (Gros Ventre) tongues form separate groups within the Siouan family. The Pawnees and Arikaras spoke related languages of the Caddoan language family. Clark's "Loups" are the Skiri Pawnees, and the "Republicans" are the Kitkahahki Pawnees, both of them speaking dialects of the Pawnee language, which belongs to the Caddoan linguistic family. The Cheyennes spoke an Algonquian language unrelated to any of the others mentioned; probably they were little known to Clark's trader informants, hence the misinformation. Hollow & Parks. (back)
5. At this time, Europeans outside the Spanish Empire had only a vague idea of even the geographical location of Santa Fe, a city nearly two hundred years old, and knew little of the geography of the Southwest. The Spanish government preferred that this ignorance continue. In 1792 Pedro Vial, a Frenchman serving Spain, and two New Mexicans crossed from Santa Fe to the Missouri and St. Louis. Vial estimated that he could have made the trip in twenty-five days, except for difficulties with Indians. Vial's estimate may have been the original source of Clark's information, which came from "Faufong." Jefferson had instructed Lewis to gather information about the possibility of trade with Santa Fe, and Lewis actually contemplated a reconnaissance up the Kansas River in the winter of 1803–4 to examine part of the route, before Jefferson vetoed the idea. The mountains "from the top of which the City may be Seen," mentioned later, are probably the Sangre de Cristo Range in Colorado and New Mexico. De Voto, 186–87; Allen, 74–75; Loomis & Nasatir, 28–73; Nasatir (BR), 86–106; Albert Gallatin to Jefferson, March 14, 1803, Jefferson to Gallatin, March 20, 1803, Jefferson's Instructions to Lewis [June 20, 1803], Lewis to Jefferson, October 3, 1803, Jefferson to Lewis, November 16, 1803, Jackson (LLC), 1:27–28, 31–32, 63, 131, 137. (back)
6. The figures are upside down under this entry:
  186    64
1434      5
1728    69
7. Apparently Clark left the sentence incomplete; he may have intended it to mean: "we made 1 Great Chief to the [ Otos, Little Thief ]." They would meet him later, on August 19, 1804. In the spring of 1805, Little Thief, with two other Otos, a Missouri, and three Republican Pawnees (Kitkahahkis) journeyed down the Missouri to St. Louis, intending to visit Washington. Circumstances forced a long delay in St. Louis, during which Little Thief became ill. He insisted on returning home but died a few miles up the Missouri. Jackson (LCO), 247–48. (back)
8. The custom of presenting medals bearing the reigning sovereign's image to Indian chiefs was one long followed by European powers. United States medals bore the portrait of the current president. Lewis and Clark carried medals of various sizes and inscriptions. The most common displayed the profile of President Jefferson on one side, while the reverse showed clasped hands and crossed tomahawk and pipe. Jefferson medals came in three sizes: 105 mm (the largest ever issued), 76 mm, and 55 mm. Prucha, xiii–xiv, 92–93. (back)
9. These commissions were simply certificates issued to prominent Indians of lesser rank than chief in lieu of medals. See Ronda, 6. (back)
10. Linguistic analysis of these Oto and Missouri personal names by Robert L. Rankin, Kenneth Miner, and John E. Koontz shows some discrepancies in the translations by Clark. "We-ar-ruge-nor" does not signify "Little Thief," although its actual meaning cannot be determined. Šóge thą́ka literally means "Big Horse." Wiđá'e signifies "He Pities them," which may be a reasonable equivalent to "Hospitality." In the second entry for August 3, Clark adds the name "White Horse," which is more correctly Š ǫ́ge ska. (back)
11. In 1819, the army established Fort Atkinson on the Council Bluff just east of present Fort Calhoun, Washington County, Nebraska. Several hundred troops were stationed there, and it was the army's most westerly outpost until abandoned in 1827 because it was considered too remote from white settlements to serve any useful purpose. Ney. (back)
12. On the left margin of this sheet (reverse of document 39) are these figures:
1.64 36 64
  72 36
The entire page is written over what was apparently a draft for a pay roll, with headings as follows (upside down to main text and with part of the left edge of the page cut off):

Terms of Service
Months Days

Pay per
Dols. Cts.

of pay
Dollars Cents

Cash receiv'd
in Lieu of
Clothing &
Dols. Cts.

Dols. Cts.

13. This August 3 entry is on a sheet of the Field Notes (document 40) separate from the preceding material. (back)
14. The Skiri Pawnees, called Loup ("wolf") Pawnees by the French. The Loup River in Nebraska dereives its name from them. If Clark's "Republicans" were the Republican (Kitkahahki) Pawnees, he was badly misinformed about their having any connection with the Sioux, their bitter enemies through most of nineteenth century. Since he crossed out this line later, he probably received more nearly correct information. Hodge, 2:589–91. The Loup villages are the Palmer site. Grange, 18, 21. See also July 20 and 27, 1804. The Pawnee (Chawi) village is the Linwood site. See Grange, 18–19. See Wedel (PHH), 49–60, for the Oto village site. (back)
15. This line, which is heavily crossed out, was apparently a first draft for a letter. Biddle's notation on this sheet of the Field Notes (document 40) comes after the August 3, 1804, entry and reads "Aug. 3 to 6." (back)
16. Someone has apparently crossed through the lines from "the princapal Chef" on. The text, originally quite disordered here, has been arranged as accurately as possible. (back)
17. Biddle apparently added some of these diacritical marks in red ink. (back)
18. Clark may refer to the village of the Grand (Chawi) and Republican (Kitkahahki) Pawnees. Atlas map 126. (back)
19. See Clark's entry for this date for their names. (back)
20. Probably meaning the non-ranking Indian warriors. (back)