February 28, 1805
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February 28, 1805


28th of February 1805 Thursday    Mr. Gravilin 2 frenchmen [1] and 2 Ricaras arrived from the Ricaras with letters from Mr. Taboe &c. informing us of the Deturmination of the Ricaras to follow our councils—    and the threts & intintions of the Sioux in Killing us whenever they again met us—    and that a party of Several bands were formeing to attacke the Mandans &c. &c.

we informed the Mandans & others of this information & 〈answered〉 also the wish the Ricars had to live near them & fite the Sioux &c. &c. &c.

despatched 16 Men 5 Miles abov to build 6 Canoes for the voyage, being Deturmend to Send back the Barge—


a fine morning, two men of the N W Compy arrve with letters and Sacka comah [2] also a Root [3] and top of a plant presented by Mr. Haney, for the Cure of mad Dogs Snakes &c, and to be found & used as follows vz:    "this root is found on high lands and asent of hills, the way of useing it is to Scarify [4] the part when bitten to chu or pound an inch or more if the root is Small, and applying it to the bitten part renewing it twice a Day.    the bitten person is not to chaw nor Swallow any of the Root for it might have contrary effect."

Sent out 16 men to make four Perogus    those men returned in the evening and informed that they found trees they thought would answer.—

Mr. Gravelin two frenchmen & two Inds. arrive from the Ricara Nation with Letters from Mr. Anty Tabeaux, informing us of the peaceable dispositions of that nation towards the Mandans & Me ne ta res & their avowed intentions of pursueing our Councils & advice, they express a wish to visit the Mandans, & Know if it will be agreeable to them to admit the Ricaras to Settle near them and join them against their common Enimey the Souis we mentioned this to the mandans, who observed they had always wished to be at peace and good neighbours with the Ricaras , and it is also the Sentiments of all the Big Bellies, & Shoe Nations

Mr. Gravilin informs that the Sisetoons and the 3 upper bands of the Tetons , with the Yanktons of the North intend to come to war in a Short time against the nations in this quarter, & will Kill everry white man they See—    Mr. T. also informes that Mr. Cameron of St peters has put arms into the hands of the Souis to revenge the death of 3 of his men Killed by the Chipaways [5] latterly—    and that the Band of tetons which we Saw is desposed to doe as we have advised them—    thro the influenc of their Chief the Black Buffalow

Mr. Gravilin further informs that the Party which Robed us of the 2 horses laterly were all Sieoux 100 in number, they Called at the Ricaras on their return, the Ricares being displeased at their Conduct would not give them any thing to eate, that being the greatest insult they could peaceably offer them, and upbraded them.


Thursday 28th Feby. 1805. [6]    about 3 oClock Mr. Gravelleen and Mr. Roie 2 frenchman came up from the Rickarees    2 of the R. Ree Indians came with them    they all Informed us that they Saw the Souix Savvages who Robed our men of the 2 horses, & they said their was 106 in nomber and that they had a mind for to kill our men & that they held a counsel over them whether to kill them and take their arms and all or not.    but while they were doing that our men were off and got clear, but they Say if they can catch any more of us they will kill us for they think that we are bad medicine and Say that we must be killed. Mr. Tabbo a frenchman who is among them & Rick a Rees trading, Sent a letter up to the commanding officers & Mandans chiefs to keep a Good lookout for he had heared the Souix Say that they Should Shurely come to war in the Spring against us and Mandanes.    in the evening the men returned who had been cutting trees to day for the perogues.    they Said they had Several good trees cut, but had Broke Several of their axes.—


Thursday 28th.    Sixteen of us went up the river about six miles, where we found and cut down trees for four canoes. While we were absent an express arrived from the Rickarees village with news that the Sioux had declared war against us, and also against the Mandans and Grossventers. They had boasted of the robbery of the 14th at the Rickarees village in their way home, and that they intended to massacre the whole of us in the spring. By this express we therefore found out that it was the Sioux who had taken the horses from our men.


Thursday February 28th    This morning the weather cold but towards Noon it moderated    The Natives still continuing to come into the Fort, bringing with them Corn to pay for work they got done by our Men, they behaving very well.—

1. Ordway says "Mr Gravelleen and Mr Roie 2 frenchmen." Codex C and Lewis's Weather Diary (see below) indicate two Frenchmen besides Gravelines. Roie was probably Peter Roi, one of the expedition engagés, who had perhaps gone down to the Arikara villages after being discharged at Fort Mandan in the fall, although he could have been the man mentioned by Ordway as having been left with Tabeau at the Arikaras on October 10, 1804. The captains usually reserved the title "Mister" for French traders, not for French boatmen. Coues (HLC), 1:239. (back)
2. More commonly written saccacommis, the word derives from a Chippewa word, saga'komĭnagûnj'. Lewis gives an incorrect etymology of the word on January 25, 1806. Hodge, 2:407. It is Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng., bearberry or kinnikinick. Fernald, 1126; Barkley, 126. Bearberry was often mixed with Cornus sericea L., red osier dogwood, referred to as kinnikinick, and smoked ceremonially by the Indians of the plains. Gilmore (UPI), 56; Densmore, 287. (back)
3. Purple coneflower. See December 16, 1804. (back)
4. Several lines were crossed out here, from "a Root and . . . to Scarify," with red ink and apparently by Biddle. (back)
5. The Chippewas, or Ojibways, are an Algonquian-language people. They formerly lived north of Lake Huron and around Lake Superior, and as far west as Turtle Mountain on the North DakotaManitoba border. Swanton, 260–64; Hodge, 1:277–81. (back)
6. There is no break between the entries for this day and the previous one. Ordway inserted the date, most of it interlinearly, before the word "about." (back)