August 20, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 20, 1804


20th August Monday    after gieving faufon Some goods the Indians a Canister of whiskey, we Set out under a jentle Breeze from the S. E Shields went with the horses—    I am Dull & heavy    been up the greater Part of last night with Serjt. Floyd, who is a[s] bad as he can be to live    the [motion?] of his bowels having changed &c. &c. is the Cause of his violent attack &c. &c.

N. 56° W. 3 mes. to a pt. of Willows on the Island S. S
North   ¾ of a mile on the left of the Said Island—
N 72° E 2 ½ mes. to the upper pt. of the Island
N 18° E. 2 ½ miles to the lower point of an Island on the S. S.
passed Some Sand bars in the river
North 3 ½ miles to a Bluf on the S. S. and the first above the
old Ayauwa Village on the S. S.

we Came to [to] make a warm bath for Sergt. Floyd hopeing it would brace him a little, before we could get him in to this bath he expired, with a great deel of composure, haveing Said to me before his death that he was going away and wished me to write a letter— [1]    we 〈took〉 Buried him to the top of a high round hill over looking the river & Countrey for a great distance    Situated just below a Small river without a name to which we name & call Floyds river, the Bluffs Sergts. Floyds Bluff[2]    we buried him with all the honors of War, and fixed a Ceeder post at his head with his name title & Day of the month and year    Capt Lewis read the funeral Service over him    after paying everry respect to the Body of this desceased man (who had at All times given us proofs of his impatiality Sincurity to ourselves and good will to Serve his Countrey)    we returned to the Boat & proceeded to the Mouth of the little river 30 yd. wide & Camped [3]    a butifull evening


Sergeant Floyd much weaker and no better. Made Mr. Fauforn the interpter a fiew presents, and the Indians a Canister of whisky    we Set out under a gentle breeze from the S. E. and proceeded on verry well—    Serjeant Floyd as bad as he can be    no pulse & nothing will Stay a moment on his Stomach or bowels—

Passed two Islands on the S. S. and at first Bluff on the S S. Serj.' Floyd Died with a great deel of Composure, before his death he Said to me, "I am going away" ["]I want you to write me a letter"—    We buried him on the top of the bluff ½ Miles below a Small river to which we Gave his name, he was buried with the Honors of War much lamented; a Seeder post with the (1) Name Sergt. C. Floyd died here 20th of August 1804 was fixed at the head of his grave—    This Man at all times gave us proofs of his firmness and Determined resolution to doe Service to his Countrey and honor to himself    after paying all the honor to our Decesed brother we Camped in the mouth of floyds river about 30 yards wide, a butifull evening.—

Course Dists. & reffn. 20th Augt.
N. 56° W.   3 ms. to pt. of a willow Isd. S. S.
North      ¾ Me. on the left of the Island
N. 72 E.   2 ¼ Me. to the upr. pt. of the Isd.
N. 18 E   2 ½ ms. to the lower pt. of an Isd. on the S. S.    passed Sand
North   3 ½ ms. to Sjt. Floyds Bluff on S. S.    the 1st above Aiaways
Village a fiew miles above Platt R.
    1 % To the mo: of Floyds River on S. S. & camped

Augt. Monday 20th    pleasant, we Set of under a gentle Breeze from S. E.    the Indians chiefs Set out to return to their village. Sgt. Floyd worse than he was yesterday    we Sailed on verry well till noon when we came too on S. S. Sergt. Charles Floyd Expired directly after we halted a little past the middle of the day.    he was laid out in the Best Manner possable.    we proceeded on to the first hills N. S.    there we dug the Grave on a handsome Sightly Round knob close to the Bank. [4]    we buried him with the honours of war.    the usal Serrymony performed (by Capt. Lewis[)] as custommary in a Settlement, we put a red ceeder post, hughn & branded his name date &.C—    we named those Bluffs Sergeant Charles Floyds Bluff. Distant from the Mouth of the Missouri 949½ miles by water, we then proceeded on a Short distance to a creek which we Call Floyds Creek. [5]    (came 15 or 18 mil. to day.[)]    where we Camped N. S.


Monday 20th.    Sergeant Floyd continued very ill. We embarked early, and proceeded, having a fair wind and fine weather, till 2 o'clock, when we landed for dinner. Here Sergeant Floyd died, notwithstanding every possible effort was made by the commanding officers, and other persons, to save his life. We went on about a mile to high prairie hills on the north side of the river, and there interred his remains in the most decent manner our circumstances would admit; we then proceeded a mile further to a small river on the same side and encamped. Our commanding officers gave it the name of Floyd's river; to perpetuate the memory of the first man who had fallen in this important expedition.


Monday 20th    we Set out eairly this morning under a gentle breeze from the S. E.    the Indians all Set out for to return to their village, we Sailed on verry well till noon when we landed for to take Dinner.    Sergeant Charles Floyd expired directly after we landed.    he was layed out in the most decent manner possable.    we proceded on to the first hills on N. S. where we halted and dug a Grave on the top of a round knob & buried the desed with the honours of war.    the funeral Serrymony performed &c—    we named this hill Sgt. Floyd's Bluff    we then proceeded on to a Creek on the Same Side which we named Sgt. Floyds Creek.

Monday August 20th    We embarked early this morning with a gentle breeze from the South East, the Indians who had encamped a small distance from us, also set out to return to their Villages.    We continued sailing on very well 'till noon, when we landed to take dinner.—    shortly after one of our Serjeants Charles Floyd expired; we laid him out in the most decent manner possible.    We then proceeded on to the first hills, which lay on the North side of the River, where we halted and dug a Grave on the Top of a high round Nob; and Interred him, with all the honors of Warr.—    and had a funeral Sermon preach'd over him.    we named this Hill Serjeant Floyds bluff.    The disease which occasion'd his death, was a Bilious cholic, [6] which baffled all medical aid, that Captain Lewis could administer, We proceeded on to a Creek, lying on the same side of the River, which we named Serjeant Floyds Creek, and encamped

1. The probability is that Floyd died of a ruptured appendix and consequent peritonitis. The ailment was not even recognized by medical science until twenty years after the expedition, and the first successful surgical treatment came in 1884. Probably no physician of the time could have done much more for Floyd than the captains did. A purgative like Rush's pills, their usual remedy for digiestive disorders, could only have hastened Floyd's death, but this is probably what Dr. Benjamin Rush himself would have prescribed if he had been present—along with bleeding, which would have accomplished nothing. The place of Floyd's death is near Sergeant Bluff on the Iowa side of the river, near the present town of Sergeant Bluff, Woodbury County, Iowa. Chuinard, 238–39; Coues (HLC), 1:79–80 n. 44; Iowa Guide, 426; Atlas map 16; MRC map 27; MRR map 76. (back)
2. Within present Sioux City, Woodbury County; later travelers often remarked on the site, and George Catlin painted it in 1832. By 1857 the Missouri had undercut the bluff and the grave was opened and some of the bones lost. Citizens of Sioux City moved the bones to a new burial site. In 1895 the bones were again examined, and a concrete slab and a one-hundred-foot monument was erected in 1901. The Floyd River still bears his name. Appleman, (LC), 285–87; Atlas map 16; MRC map 27: MRR map 76. (back)
3. Just above the mouth of the Floyd River in modern Sioux City, Woodbury County. Atlas map 16 has an error in this day's course that may have resulted from faulty course readings. There is an extreme curve to the northeast above the previous camp, which would sent the Missouri River off in the direction of Minnesota. Clark must have realized his mistake and corrected it on the Fort Mandan (Atlas maps 32a, 32b, 32c) and later maps. MRC map 27; MRR map 76. I am indebted to V. Strode Hinds of Sioux City, for pointing out this discrepancy. (back)
4. At Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa; see the Introduction in volume 9. (back)
6. Gass, on August 19, describes it as "a violent colick"; both descriptions would fit the symptoms of appendicitis that might have been observed. (back)