December 25, 1804
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

December 25, 1804


I was awakened before Day by a discharge of 3 platoons [1] from the Party and the french, the men merrily Disposed, I give them all a little Taffia and permited 3 Cannon fired, at raising Our flag, Some men went out to hunt & the Others to Danceing and Continued untill 9 oClock P, M, when the frolick ended &c.


Tuesday 25th Decr. 1804.    cloudy.    we fired the Swivels at day break & each man fired one round.    our officers Gave the party a drink of Taffee.    we had the Best to eat that could be had, & continued firing dancing & frolicking dureing the whole day.    the Savages did not Trouble us as we had requested them not to come as it was a Great medician day with us.    we enjoyed a merry cristmas dureing the day & evening untill nine oClock—all in peace & quietness.


Tuesday 25th.    The morning was ushered in by two discharges of a swivel, and a round of small arms by the whole corps. Captain Clarke then presented to each man a glass of brandy, and we hoisted the American flag in the garrison, and its first waving in fort Mandan was celebrated with another glass.— The men then cleared out one of the rooms and commenced dancing. At 10 o'clock we had another glass of brandy, and at 1 a gun was fired as a signal for dinner. At half past 2, another gun was fired, as a notice to assemble at the dance, which was continued in a jovial manner till 8 at night; and without the presence of any females, except three squaws, wives to our interpreter, [2] who took no other part than the amusement of looking on. None of the natives came to the garrison this day; the commanding officers having requested they should not, which was strictly attended to. During the remainder of the month we lived in peace and tranquility in the garrison, and were daily visited by the natives.


Tuesday 25th Decr. 1804. [3]    we ushred in the morning with a discharge of the Swivvel, and one round of Small arms of all the party.    then another from the Swivel.    then Capt. Clark presented a glass of brandy to each man of the party.    we hoisted the american flag and each man had another Glass of brandy.    the men prepared one of the rooms and commenced dancing.    at 10 oC. we had another glass of brandy, at one a gun was fired as a Signal for diner.    half past two another gun was fired to assemble at the dance, and So we kept it up in a jovel manner untill Eight oC. at night, all without the compy. of the female Seck, except three Squaws the Intreptirs wives and they took no part with us only to look on.    agreeable to the officers request the natives all Stayed at their villages all day.—

Tuesday Decemr 25th    This morning being Christmass, the day was announced by the discharge of our swivels, and one Round from our small arms of the whole company; about 7 o'Clock A. M. we fired our Swivels again, when Captain Clark came out of his quarters, and presented a Glass of Brandy to each Man of our party.—    He then ordered the American Flag to be hoisted, which being done; he presented them again with another Glass of brandy.—    The Men then prepared one of the Rooms, and commenced dancing, we having with us Two Violins & plenty of Musicans in our party.—

At 10 o'Clock A. M. the whole of the party were again served with another Glass brandy    they continued dancing 'till 1 o'Clock P. M. when our Cannon was fir'd off, as a signal for dinner, at half an hour past 2 oClock P. M. we fired off our Cannon, and repaired to the Room to dance, which they continued at till 8 o'Clock P. M.    There was none of the Mandans, Excepting 3 Squaws our Interpreters Wives at the Fort, the Officer having requested the Natives, to stay in their Towns, which they complied with, the Officers this day named our Fort, Fort Mandan,—

1. Here "platoon" is used in its old sense of volleys, or a group of men firing in unison. (back)
2. The wife of Rene Jusseaume and Toussaint Charbonneau's two wives, including Sacagawea; see Clark's entries of October 27 and November 4, 1804. (back)
3. From this date until December 31 there is a gap in Whitehouse's writing in both the original journal and the fair copy. (back)