August 17, 1806
96.10% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 17, 1806


a Cool morning    gave some powder & Ball to Big White Chief    Settled with Touisant Chabono for his Services as an enterpreter the pric of a horse and Lodge [1] purchased of him for public Service in all amounting to 500$ 33⅓ cents.    derected two of the largest of the Canoes be fastened together with poles tied across them So as to make them Study for the purpose of Conveying the Indians and enterpreter and their families

we were visited by all the principal Chiefs of the Menetarras to take their leave of us    at 2 oClock we left our encampment after takeing leave of Colter who also Set out up the river in Company with Messrs. Dickson & Handcock.    we also took our leave of T. Chabono, his Snake Indian wife and their Son Child who had accompanied us on our rout to the pacific Ocean in the Capacity of interpreter and interpretes. T. Chabono wished much to accompany us in the Said Capacity if 〈he〉 we could have provailed the MenetarreChiefs to dcend the river with us to the U. States, but as none of those chiefs of whoes 〈set out〉 language he was Conversent would accompany us, his Services were no longer of use to the U' States and he was therefore discharged and paid up. [2]    we offered to convey him down to the Illinois if he Chose to go, he declined proceeding on at present, observing that he had no acquaintance or prospects of makeing a liveing below, and must continue to live in the way that he had done. I offered to take his little Son a butifull promising Child who is 19 months old to which they both himself & wife wer willing provided the Child had been weened.    they observed that in one year the boy would be Sufficiently old to leave his mother & he would then take him to me if I would be so freindly as to raise the Child for him in Such a manner as I thought proper, to which I agreeed &c.— [3]    we droped down to the Big white Cheifs Mandan Village ½ a mile below on the South Side, [4] all the Indians proceeded on down by land.    and I walked to the lodge of the Chief whome I found Sorounded by his friends the men were Setting in a circle Smokeing and the womin Crying.    he Sent his bagage with his wife & Son, with the Interpreter Jessomme & his wife and 2 children to the Canoes provided for them.    after Smoking one pipe, and distributing Some powder & lead which we had given him, he informed me that he was ready and we were accompd to the Canoes by all the village    Maney of them Cried out aloud.    as I was about to Shake with the Grand Cheifs of all the Villages there assembled they requested me to Set one minit longer with them which I readily agreed to and directed a pipe to be lit.    the Cheifs informed that when we first came to their Country they did not beleive all we Said we then told them.    but they were now Convinced that every thing we had told them were true, that they Should keep in memory every thing which he had Said to them, and Strictly attend to our advice, that their young men Should Stay at home and Should no go again to war against any nation, that if any atacted them they Should defend themselves, that we might depend on what they Said, and requested us to inform their great father.    the also requested me to tell the Ricaras to Come and See them, not to be afraid that no harm Should be done them, that they were anxious to be in peace with them.

The Seeoux they Said they had no dependance in and Should kill them whenever they Came into their Country to do them harm &c. I told them that we had always told them to defend themselves, but not to Strike those nations we had taken by the hand, the Sieoux with whome they were at war we had never Seen on our return we Should inform their great fathe of their conduct towards his faithfull red Children and he would take Such Steps as will bring about a lasting peace between them and his faithfull red children. I informed them that we should inform the ricaras what they had requested &c. The Grand Chief of the Mineterres Said that the great Cheif who was going down with to see their great father was a well as if he went also, and on his return he would be fully informed of the words of his great father, and requested us to take care of this Gt. Chief.    we then Saluted them with a gun and Set out and proceeded on to Fort Mandan [5] where I landed and went to view the old works the houses except one in the rear bastion was burnt by accident, Some pickets were Standing in front next to the river.    we proceeded on to the old Ricara village the S E wind was so hardd and the 〈wind〉 waves So high that we were obliged to Come too, & Camp on the S W Side near the old Village.    (18 mils) [6]


Sunday 17th August 1806. John Colter one of the party asks leave of our officers to go back with Mr. Dixon a trapping, which permission was granted him So our officers Settled with him and fitted him out with Powder lead and a great number of articles which compleated him for a trapping voiage of two years which they are determined to Stay untill they make a fortune, &C. &C.    we lashed together Some of our canoes and Colter Mr. Dixon & Handcock parted with us in their Small canoe    the natives visits us in great numbers.    about 4 oC. P. M. dropped down to the 1st village of Mandans where we took on board Mr. Jessom his wife and two children    the big white the head chief of Sd. village his wife or one of his wives. I understand he has two wives.    he has only one child and takes that with him    took their baggage on board and the chief putting his arm round all the head mens necks of his nation who Set on Shore and a number crying and appeared Sorry to part with him    he took his leave of them however and we Set out and procd. on    the wind a head    Campd. on S. S.


Sunday 17th.    There were some flying clouds this morning, and the weather was cold for the season. The two strange hunters, with the man who had received his discharge and was to go up the river with them, went on early. We lashed our small canoes together, two and two, as we expect they will be more steady this way, and carry larger loads. At noon we dropped down to the village of the Big-White: and he, his wife and a child, with Geesem [7] the interpreter for the Big-White, his wife and two children embarked in two of our canoes to go the United States. We proceeded on at two o'clock; the wind was high, and river rough; and in the evening we encamped having descended about 20 miles.

1. Probably the tipi, or "leather lodge," which the captains, Charbonneau, Sacagawea, and Jean Baptiste used after leaving Fort Mandan until it became too rotten to be habitable. See April 7, 1805. (back)
2. Charbonneau's discharge, made out at about this date, is in the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. (back)
3. Clark repeated these offers to Charbonneau, with additional offers of employment or financial assistance and a warm expression of regard for Charbonneau, Sacagawea, and Jean Baptiste, in a letter written from the Arikara villages a few days later. Clark to Toussaint Charbonneau, August 20, 1806. Jackson (LLC), 1:315–16. For Jean Baptiste Charbonneau's later career, see February 11, 1805, and sources listed there. (back)
4. Mitutanka village in Mercer County, North Dakota, at later Deapolis. Atlas map 29; MRC map 52. (back)
5. For the site of Fort Mandan, in McLean County, North Dakota, see November 2, 1804. Atlas map 29; MRC map 51. (back)
6. The camp would be near one of the old Arikara villages in Oliver County, North Dakota, near present Hensler, first noted on October 24 and 25, 1804. Atlas map 29; MRC map 51. (back)