February 15, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

February 15, 1805


15th    Capt. Lewis with a party of men [1] & 4 Indians went in pursute of the Sioux, the Indians returned the next Day & informed me that the Sioux had Burnt all my meat & gorn home (they Saw me but was afraid to attact me)    Capt Lewis returned the 21st with 2400 l[bs]. of meat, haveing Killed 36 Deer & 14 Elk, the Sioux burnt one of my meet houses; they did not find the other


at 10 oClock P M. last night the men that dispatched 〈last night〉 yesterday for the meat, returned and informed us that as they were on their march down at the distance of about 24 miles below the Fort "about 105 Indians which they took to be Souis rushed on them and Cut their horses from the Slays, two of which they carried off in great hast, the 3rd horse was given up to the party by the intersetion of an Indian who assumd Some authority on the accasion, probably more thro' fear of himself or Some of the Indians being killed by our men who were not disposed to be Robed of all they had tamely, they also forced 2 of the mens knives & a tamahawk, the man obliged them to return the tamahawk    the knives they ran off with

G Drewyer Frasure, S Gutterage, & Newmon with a broken Gun

we dispatched two men to inform the mandans, and if any of them chose to pursue those robers, to come down in the morning, and join Capt Lewis who intended to Set out with a party of men verry early, by 12 oClock the Chief of the 2ed Village Big white Came down, and Soon after one other Chief and Several men—    The Chief observed that all the young men of the 2 Villages were out hunting, and but verry fiew guns were left,—Capt. Lewis Set out at Sunrise with 24 men, to meet those Soues &c.    Several Indians accompanied him Some with Bows & arrows Some withe Spears & Battle axes, a 〈fiew〉 2 with fusees [NB: fusils]—    the morning fine the Thermometer Stood at 16° below 0, Nought, visited by 2 of the Big Bellies this evening,—    one Chief of the Mandans returned from Capt Lewises Party nearly blind—    this Complaint is as I am infomd. Common at this Season of the year and caused by the reflection of the Sun on the ice & Snow, it is cured by "jentilley Swetting the part affected by throweng Snow on a hot Stone" [2]

verry Cold part of the night—    one man Killed a verry large Red Fox to day [3]


Friday 15th Feby. 1805.    about 2 OClock last night the 4 men who dispatched yesterday returned and informed us that they were Stoped about 25 mls. down the River by about 105 of the Souix Savages, they emediately Seized the horses cut of the collars (hooping and yelling) jurked the halters from one to another through Several hands.    then they jumped on two of them and rode of uppon the run, our men with much difficulty kept the Gray mare which had a coalt at the Fort.    one of the horses which they took was a fine large Gilding which belong to one of the N. W. Compy. tradors by the name of Mackinzie—    the other was a publick horse    as soon as we was informed of this Capt. Lewis and 20 odd of the party vollunterily to go and fight. Sent word up to the 1st village to See if they would turn out    the head chief & a nomber of warries came emediately to the Fort.    we Got ready to Start directly but did not set out untill after Sunrise    I then Set out with Capt. Lewis and 20 odd more of the party. [4]    Several warries of the Mandans Set out with us but their was only 3 or 4 remained with us the whole day.    we walked about 18 mls. and halted. Got Some meat that our hunters had left hanging upon a tree & boiled & eat Some    then proceeded on to the place where the horses was taken.    we found a Sled their which they had cut the horse out of.    found also a nomber pair of moccasons at their camp.    we took the Sled and proceeded on their trale untill late in the evening.    we then arived at 2 old Indian lodges which we Some expected to find them their    we sent in a Spy but found none so we went to the lodges and Slept all night    Some of the mens feet were sore walking 30 odd mls. on the Ice to day.—


Friday February 15    This morning we had fine Clear weather, At day light, Captain Lewis & the party of our Men [5] under his command〈ed〉 left the Fort, in pursuit of those Savages, that had robbed our Men, they proceeded on, and marched 30 Miles that day, without being able to overtake them; that Party encamped [6] on the North side of the River Mesouri for that night, in a thick Wood.—    Nothing worth relating happen'd at the Fort this day.—

1. They included Ordway and Gass, all volunteers according to Ordway. (back)
2. Snowblindness is the result of the sun's reflecting off snow causing serious irritation to unprotected eyes. David Thompson reports essentially the same cure, the application of hot steam to the eyes, among Indians far to the north of the Mandans on Hudson's Bay. He calls it "the only efficient cure yet known." Maximilian, however, claims that in his time (1833–34) the Mandans and Hidatsas treated the affliction with a solution of gunpowder and water. Glover, 36; Thwaites (EWT), 23:360. Biddle underlined part of this passage in red: "this complaint . . . of the year." (back)
3. The red fox was already known to science. Burroughs, 91. (back)
4. Including also Sergeant Gass, according to Gass. (back)
5. Once again, it is not clear from the fair copy whether Whitehouse was with Lewis's party. However, this account is the most detailed description of the foray, even more so than Ordway's. (back)
6. At an abandoned Indian village in Oliver County, North Dakota. (back)