November 30, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

November 30, 1804


30h of Nov.    an Indian Chief Came and informed us that five Men of the Mandans Nation was on a hunting party to the S W, distance about Eight Leagues, they were Surprised    one man Killed two wounded and nine horses taken, Severale others men wet on hunting partes & were to have returned Several days ago & had not yet returned, & that they expected to be attacked by an army of Sioux    I took 23 men and went to the Village deturmined to Collect the warriers of the Different Villages and meet the Sioux—    The village not expecting Such Strong aid in So Short a time was a little alarmed of the formable appearance of my party—    The principal Chiefs met me at 200 yards Distance from the Town, and envited me to his Lodge. I told the Nation the Cause of Comeing &. was to assist in Chastiseing the enimies of my Dutifull Children—    I requested great Chief to repeat the Cercunstance of the Sioux attack as it realy happined which he did—    I told them to Send runners to the other villages & assemble the warriers & we Would go and Chastize the Sioux for Spilling the Blood of my Dutifull Children—    after a Conversation of a few minits amongst themselves, a Chief Said that they now Saw that what we had told them was the trooth and we were ready to protect them and Kill those who did not listen to our Councils (and after a long Speech) he concluded    Said ["]the Sious who Spilt our Blood is gorn home—    The Snow is deep and it is Cold, our horses Cannot Travel thro the plains in pursute—    If you will go and conduct us in the Spring after the Snow is gorn, we will assemble all the warriers & Brave men in all the villages and go with you." I answered the Speach at Some length, explained to them their Situation declareing our intentions of Defending them at any time dureing the time we Should Stay in ther nieghbourhood, explained the Situation of the Ricaras & told them not to get angrey with them untill they were Certain of their haveing violated the treaty &c. &. I crossed the River on the Ice and returned to the fort [1]


〈We Promiss〉    30th    in the morning early a Indian Came to the river opposit & requsted to be brought over, that he had Some thing to Say from his nation    we Sent for him, and after he had Smoked—    he Said he thought the river was frosted across here & expected to Cross on the ice—

7 or 8 Mandans out hunting in a S. W, Derection from this place about 8 Leagues, after they had made their hunt and on their return was attackted by a large Party of Seaux, one of the party a young Chief was Killed 2 wounded & 9 horses taken, the men who made their escape Say the one half of the party who attacked them was Panias [3]

The two Panias who Came here a fiew days ago was imediately Sent home, for fear of their being [pu]t to death by the party Defeated—

Tw[o of th]e attacting party was Known to be Panies. The man who was killed mentioned that after he was wounded, 〈men〉 that he had been at war & been wounded, "this day I shall die like a man before my Enimies,!    tell my father that I died bravely, and do not greive for me—["]

4 of the Big bellies who were Camped near thos is missing, and Searching for him in their Camps above—    no one Dare to go to the ground where the battle was for fear of the Sioux being noumerous—.


This morning at 8 oClock an Indian Calld from the other Side and informed that he had Something of Consequence to Communicate.    we Sent a perogue for him & he informed us as follows. Viz:    "five men of the Mandan Nation out hunting in a S. W. derection about Eight Leagues was Suprised by a large party of Sceoux & Panies, one man was Killed and two wounded with arrows & 9 Horses taken, 4 of the We ter Soon nation [4] was missing, & they expected to be attacked by the Souix &c. &.["]    we thought it well to Show a Disposition to ade and assist them against their enimies, perticularly those who Came in oppersition to our Councils, and I Deturmined to go to the town with Some men, and if the Sceoux were comeing to attact the nation to Collect the worriers from each Village and meet them, thos Ideas were also those of Capt Lewis, I crossed the river in about an hour after the arrival of the Indian express with 23 men including the interpeters and flankd the Town & came up on the back part—The Indians not expecting 〈not〉 to receive Such Strong aide in So Short a time was much Supprised, and a littled allarmed at the formadable appearance of my party—    The principal Chiefs met me Some Distance from the town (Say 200 yards) and invited me in to town, I ord my pty into dft. lodges &

I explained to the nation the cause of my comeing in this formadable manner to their Town, was to asst and Chastise the enimies of our Dutifull Children,—    I requested the Grand Cheif to repeat the Circumstancies as they hapined which he did as was mentioned by the Express in the morning—    I then informed them that if they would assemble their warrers and those of the different Towns I would to meet the Army of Souix & Chastise thim for takeing the blood of our dutifull Children &c.    after a conversation of a fiew minits anongst themselves, one Chief the Big Man Cien [NB: (a Chayenne)] Said they now Saw that what we hade told them was the trooth, whin we expected the enimies of their Nation was Comeing to attact them, or had spilt their blood were ready to protect them, and Kill those who would not listen to our Good talk—    his people had listened to what we had told them and Cearlessly went out to hunt in Small parties believing themselves to be Safe from the other Nations—    and have been killed by the Panies & Seauex . "I knew Said he that the Panies were liers, and told the old Chief who Came with you (to Confirm a piece with us) that his people were liers and bad men and that we killed them like the Buffalow, when we pleased, we had made peace Several times and you Nation 〈& They〉 have always Commened the war, we do not want to Kill you, and will not Suffer you to Kill us or Steal our horses, we will make peace with you as our two fathers have derected, and they Shall See that we will not be the Ogressors, but we fear the Ricares will not be at peace—long—["]    "My father those are the words I Spoke to the Ricare in Your presents—    you See they have not opened their ears to your good Councils but have Spuilt our blood."    two Ricarees whome we Sent home this day for fear of our peoples Killing them in their greaf—informed us when they Came here Several days ago, that two Towns of the Ricares were makeing their Mockersons, and that we had best take care of Our horses &."—    a number of Sieuex were in their Towns, and they believed not well disposed towards us—    four of the Wetersoons are now absent they were to have been back in 16 days    they have been Out 24    we fear they have fallen.    my father the Snow is deep and it is cold    our horses Cannot travel thro the the plains,—    those people who have Spilt our blood have gorn back?    if you will go with us in the Spring after the Snow goes off we will raise the Warriers of all the Towns & nations around about us, and go with you."

I told this nation that we Should be always willing and ready to defend them from the insults of any nation who would dare to Come to doe them injurey dureing the time we would 〈Stay〉 remain in their neighbourhood, and requstd. that they would inform us of any party who may at any time be discovered by their Patroles or Scouts;

I was Sorry that the Snow in the Plains had fallen So Deep Sence the Murder of the young Chief by the Scioux as prevented, their horses from traveling    I wished to meet those Scioux & all others who will not open their ears, but make war on our dutiful! Children, and let you See that the Wariers of your great father will Chastize the enimies of his dutifull Children the Mandans, wetersoons & Winitarees, who have opend. their ears to his advice—    you Say that the Panies or Ricares were with the Sciaux ,    Some bad men may have been with the Sciaux    you know there is bad men in all nations, do not get mad with the racarees untill we know if those bad men are Counternoncd. by their nation, and we are Convsd. those people do not intend to follow our Councils—    you know that the Sceaux have great influence over the ricarees and perhaps have led Some of them astray—    you know that the Ricarees, are Dependant on the Sceaux for their guns, powder, & Ball, and it was policy in them to keep on as good terms as possible with the Siaux untill they had Some other means of getting those articles &c. &.    you know your Selves that you are Compelled to put up with little insults from the Christinoes & Ossinaboins (or Stone Inds.) because if you go to war with those people, they will provent the traders in the north from bringing you Guns Powder & Ball and by that means distress you verry much, but whin you will have Certain Suppliers from your Great American father of all those articls you will not Suffer any nation to insult you &c.    after about two hours conversation on various Subjects all of which tended towards their Situation &c. I informed them I Should return to the fort, the Chief Said they all thanked me verry much for the fatherly protection which I Showed towards them, that the Village had been Crying all the night and day for the death of the brave young man, who fell but now they would wipe away their tears, and rejoice in their fathers protection—and Cry no more—

I then Paraded & Crossed the river on the ice and Came down on the N. Side    the Snow So deep, it was verry fatigueing    arrved at the fort after night, gave a little Taffee, [5] [NB: dram to my party]    a Cold night    the river rise to its former hite—    The Chief frequently thanked me for Comeing to protect them—    and the whole Village appeared thankfull for that measure


Friday 30th Nov.    a clear Sharp frosty morning.    froze hard last night.    about 9 oClock A. M. an Indian came to the opposite Side of the River and called to come across.    our Intrepter Spoke to him found he was come to bring news from the village So we brought him across in a pearogue.    he Informed us that a party of the Sauix nation had atcked a party of the Mandans.    they killed 1 man on each Side    Several more wounded, but the Souix Robbed the party of Manden of their horses 5 or 6    this being done lately our officers thought it best to offer the Mandens Some assistance if they were disposed to fight the Souix. So Captain Clark, myself & 20 more of the party turned out voluntarrely and crossed the River and marched through a bottom covered with Small Timber, willows & all kinds of thick brush for abt. 3 miles.    flanking parties out each Side & a rear Guard. I being on the left flank found it difficult Getting through the brush.    we raised a Steep bank back of this bottom which brot us on the level prarie, then turned our course & went to the first village of the mandens, Capt Clark told the M. chief what we had come for, and if he would Send a war party from his village & the Black cat another from his village we would go with them & fight the Souix but the chief declined Sending any at present for he Sd. the Snow too deep &.C. So we delayed in the village abt. 2 hours    they appeared to be pleased at our comming to their assistance & used us friendly.    they would have us to Eat in every lodge we went in &.C.    we then Set off from the village & crossed the river on the Ice little abo. above the vil. but the River was Shet up for Some distance below.    we then returned down to our Garrison.    our officers Gave each man a drink of Taffe, which we Stood in need off,

1. The events of the day, particularly the Indian point-of-view, are discussed in Ronda (LCAI), 95–98. (back)
2. The second entry in the Field Notes for November 30 is on document 65. (back)
3. Here again Clark is referring to the Arikaras as "Pawnees" because of the linguistic kinship between the two. (back)
5. Probably tafia, an inferior grade of rum made from molasses. Thwaites (LC), 1:232 n. 1. (back)