September 3, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

September 3, 1806


Wind Continued to blow very hard this morning.    it Shifted last night to the S. W. and blew the Sand over us in Such a manner as to render the after part of the night very disagreeable.    the wind luled a little and we Set out and proceeded on with the wind a head    passed the enterance of redstone River [1] on the N E. Side at 11 A M. and at half past 4 P. M we Spied two boats [2] & Several men, our party peyed their Ores and we Soon landed on the Side of the Boats    the men of these boats Saluted us with their Small arms I landed & was met by a Mr. James Airs [3] from Mackanaw by way of Prarie Dechien and St. Louis.    this Gentleman is of the house of Dickson & Co: of Prarie de Chian who has a Licence to trade for one year with the Sieoux    he has 2 Batteaux loaded with Merchendize for that purpose. This Gentleman receved both Capt. Lewis and my Self with every mark of friendship he was himself at the time with a chill of the agu on him which he has had for Several days.    our first enquirey was after the President of our country and then our friends and the State of the politicks of our country &c. and the State Indian affairs to all of which enquireys Mr. Aires gave us as Satisfactory information as he had it in his power to have Collected in the Illinois which was not a great deel. soon after we Landed a violent Storm of Thunder Lightning and rain from the N W. which was violent with hard Claps of thunder and Sharp Lightning which continued untill 10 P M after which the wind blew hard. I set up late and partook of the tent of Mr. Aires which was dry. Mr. Aires unfortunately had his boat Sunk on the 25 of July last by a violent Storm of Wind and hail by which accident he lost the most of his usefull articles as he informed. us.    this Gentleman informed us of maney Changes & misfortunes which had taken place in the Illinois amongst others the loss of Mr. Cady Choteaus house and furniture by fire. [4]    for this misfortune of our friend Choteaus I feel my Self very much Concernd &c.    he also informed us that Genl. Wilkinson [5] was the governor of the Louisiana and at St. Louis.    300 of the american Troops had been Contuned on the Missouri a fiew miles above it's mouth, Some disturbance with the Spaniards in the Nackatosh Country [6] is the Cause of their being Called down to that Country, the Spaniards had taken one of the U, States frigates in the Mediteranean, [7] Two British Ships of the line had fired on an American Ship in the port of New York, and killed the Capts. brother. [8]    2 Indians had been hung in St. Louis for murder and several others in jale. [9] and that Mr. Burr & genl. Hambleton fought a Duel, the latter was killed &c. &c. [10] I am happy to find that my worthy friend Capt L's is so well as to walk about with ease to himself &c., we made 60 Miles to day    the river much crowded with Sand bars, which are very differently Situated from what they were when we went up.


Wednesday 3rd Sept. 1806.    we Set out and procd. on as usal.    the day warm & Sultry.    towards evening we passd. the Calimet bluffs    a Short distance below we met an American trador by the name of Herd.    he had two Batteaux and 18 hands and are on their way to the babruleys and yanktons near white Stone River [11] in order to trade with those nations and the Mahars also—    Mr. Herd informed us of the news of the States &C    a verry hard Storm of wind and hard rain this evening.


Wednesday 3rd.    In a pleasant morning we got early under way, and went very well all day. About 5 o'clock in the afternoon, we met a Mr. Aird, a trader, who was going up the Missouri, and we encamped with him. At sunset a violent gust of wind and rain, with thunder and lightning came on and lasted two hours.

1. Vermillion River, first reached on August 24, 1804, joins the Missouri in Clay County, South Dakota, southeast of present Vermillion. Clark called it the "White Stone River" on the westbound trip. Atlas map 17; MRC map 29. (back)
2. This location, where they apparently camped for the night, is particularly vauge. From the mileage given below it would seem to have been in Union County, South Dakota, or Dakota County, Nebraska, some miles up the Missouri from present Sioux City. (back)
3. James Aird, a Scotsman, had been a trader at Mackinac by 1779 and one of the earliest settlers at Prairie du Chien, in modern Wisconsin, where he was employed by Robert Dickson, one of the leading traders on the upper Mississippi. He is described as a large man, much respected by the Indians. Technically, he declared himself an American citizen for trading purposes in 1805. He seems to have made more than one trip up the Missouri; John Bradbury met him in St. Louis and again at the Omaha village in 1810. During the War of 1812 he served as a British agent, encouraging the Indians of the upper Mississippi to fight against the Americans. After the war he remained at Prairie du Chien, where he died in 1819, apparently working for the American Fur Company. Thwaites (LC), 5:374 n. 2; Bradbury, 87 and n. 50; Cruikshank, 137, 151, 154; Lavender (FW), 58–62, 65–67, 285–86, 290, 439–40 n. 2, 444 n. 13, and passim. (back)
4. This was the house of Jean Pierre Chouteau, the St. Louis fur trader and friend and host of the captains; see March 21, May 3 and 20, 1804. His house burned on the night of February 15, 1805. Thwaites (LC), 5:375 n. 1, erroneously identified the man as Pierre Chouteau, Jr. Such confusion is understandable since family members at various times called both Jean Pierre and his son, Pierre, Jr., by the name Cadet, a French term occasionally used for a younger or second-born son. Foley & Rice, 44, 114, 211. (back)
5. James Wilkinson, after serving in the Revolutionary War, moved to Kentucky in 1784 and became active in politics and business at New Orleans. He entered the regular army in 1791 and soon became a brigadier general, serving in Anthony Wayne's campaign against the Northwest Territory Indians, during which time Clark served under him and apparently admired him. After Wayne's death in 1796 he became the ranking officer in the U.S. Army; at the same time he was a secret agent in the pay of the Spanish governor of Louisiana. During his service in the West he was engaged in various intrigues in the Spanish borderlands which have never been entirely unraveled. He was governor of Louisiana Territory from 1805 to 1807. He was involved with Aaron Burr in whatever conspiracies Burr had in progress, but when Burr was tried for treason in 1807 Wilkinson was the chief witness against him, narrowly escaping indictment himself. Wilkinson held an important command on the Canadian border in the War of 1812 and was notably unsuccessful. He died in Mexico in 1825 and was remembered as the general who never won a battle or lost a court martial. Hay & Werner; Weems. (back)
6. The region between Natchitoches, Louisiana, which became part of the United States by the Louisiana Purchase, and Nacogdoches, in eastern Texas, still Spanish territory, was an area of political intrigues, smuggling, and illegal border crossings. In February 1806 American troops took over a Spanish post a few miles west of Natchitoches in Louisiana; the following July a Spanish force of 400 men moved across the Sabine River boundary into the area northwest of Natchitoches. General Wilkinson's mission was to expel the intruders, but the Spanish governor of Texas withdrew his forces west of the Sabine, and he and Wilkinson negotiated an agreement recognizing a "neutral ground" east of the river. Expansionists like Aaron Burr, who had hoped for war as an opportunity to seize Texas and West Florida for the United States, were greatly disappointed. Cook, 476, 486, and passim; Nasatir (BR), 128–29. (back)
7. The U.S. frigate President was fired on by Spanish gunboats near Algeciras, Spain, in the fall of 1804, but was not captured. (back)
8. The British warship Leander fired on the American merchant ship Richard off New York on April 25, 1806, killing one seaman. This was one of the various incidents arising from Britain's policy of impressment of American seamen and seizure of American ships during the Napoleonic wars which eventually led to the War of 1812. (back)
9. The two Indians were probably the Kickapoos called Ouabesca and Ouifumcaka (variously spelled) who were accused of murdering an unidentified white man on December 30, 1805, in Louisiana territory on a prairie opposite the Osage River. In June 1806 a jury found them guilty, and on the following day the two men were sentenced to be hanged by the neck on June 10 "until they be dead, dead, dead." The two men were executed, but Governor Wilkinson pardoned a third Kickapoo, Hononquise, who was implicated in the crime. Information provided by William E. Foley, December 1991. (back)
10. Aaron Burr, Jefferson's vice president, and Alexander Hamilton, the Federalist leader and Washington's Secretary of the Treasury, fought the most famous duel in American history on July 11, 1804, at Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton died of his wound. (back)
11. The Vermillion River reaches the Missouri in Clay County, South Dakota, southeast of the town of Vermillion. (back)