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Lewis and Clark
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From the Expedition Journals

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image: Trail from the Mandans to the Yellowstone

Journal excerpts and maps from Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites


"Some Snow to day, 8 men go to hunt the buffalow, killed a hare & wolf several Indians visit us to day & a Gross Ventre came after his wife, who had been much abused, & came here for Protection."


"about thirty Mandans came to the fort to day, 6 chiefs....

"This War Chief gave us a Chart in his way of the Missourie, he informed us of his intentions of going to War in the Spring against the Snake Indians we advised him to look back at the number of Nations who had been distroyed by War, and reflect upon what he was about to do, observing if he wished the happiness of his nation, he would be at peace with all, by that by being at peace and haveing plenty of goods amongst them & a free intercourse with those defenceless nations, they would get on easy tirms a greater Number of horses... if he went to War against those Defenceless people, he would displease his great father, and he would not receive that pertection & care from him as other nations who listened to his word....

"This Chief Said that he would advise all his nation to stay at home untill we Saw the Snake Indians & Knew if they would be friendly, he himself would attend to what we had told him."


"A little after dark this evening Capt. Clark arrived with the hunting party since they set out they have killed forty Deer, three buffaloe bulls, & sixteen Elk, most of them were so meager that they were unfit for uce, particularly the Buffaloe and male Elk the wolves also which are here extreemely numerous helped themselves to a considerable proportion of the hunt. if an anamal is killed and lyes only one night exposed to the wolves it is almost invariably devoured by them."


"Having on this day at 4 P.M. completed every arrangement necessary for our departure, we dismissed the barge and crew with orders to return without loss of time to St. Louis... confided... likewise our dispatches to the government, letters to our private friends, and a number of articles to the President of the United States…

"At same moment that the Barge departed from Fort Mandan, Capt. Clark emba[r]ked with our party and proceeded up the River.... Our part[y] now [included]... Interpreters, George Drewyer and Tauasant Charbono ... an Indian Woman wife to Charbono with a young child, and a Mandan man who had promised us to accompany us as far as the Snake Indians with a view to bring about a good understanding and friendly intercourse between that nation and his own…

"we were now about to penentrate a country at least two thousand miles [3,219 kilometers] in width, on which the foot of civilized man had never trodden; the good or evil it had in store for us was for experiment yet to determine, and these little vessells contained every article by which we were to expect to subsist or defend ourselves.... I could but esteem this moment of my departure as among the most happy of my life."

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Amahami Indians
Arikara Indians
Hidatsa Indians
Mandan Indians
Minitari Indians
Fort Mandan
Mandan Lodge