May 21, 1833
21 May: In the morning, widespread heavy, steady rain. The water level is still said to be falling. At 7:30, 56°F [13.3°C]. It is so cool that we have fire in our stoves. At 8:30 the rain subsides. The weather is clearing. This morning Defond (the half-breed Chippewa), a very good hunter, brought us one of the most interesting butterflies (Phalaena cecropia), which he had caught in the vicinity, undoubtedly near the ship. The Assiniboine has generated steam; apparently it will try to pass through the shallow places of the river. Later the rain began again.
Captain Pratte of the Assiniboine came over, and a boat came down the river with a certain May, who had departed from the Yellowstone River in March. He reduced the number of whites killed there from seven to three; they had been killed by the
Indians [?] Arikaras, or Rees, and not by the Blackfoot.
On the other hand, the
Arikaras Blackfoot had killed thirteen white men in the Fur Company’ s service; thus in one year sixteen men had been killed by Indians. About the death of three men killed by the Arikaras: three men—a certain Glass (about whom more will be said later), Menard, and Rose—were dispatched on the Yellowstone River from Fort Cass to Fort Union. In the forest at the Missouri, they met a war party of eighty Arikaras, and all three of them were killed. At the same time another party of eighteen whites had moved to the sources of the Powder River with a sizeable number of horses and were camping there. The same Arikaras had spied them out. The whites had shot buffalo cows and had made several fires in their fort that had been built for the horses from trees felled for this purpose. During the night they heard the howling of wolves, but they soon recognized that Indians were imitating these howls and were therefore on their guard. Suddenly all the Arikaras stepped into the fort, pretended to be friendly, seated themselves at the fires, [and] took off their wet shoes and put dry ones on. At first they were taken to be Crows, but they were soon recognized. A Hidatsa woman who was with the whites quickly hid herself. Suddenly, they made a sign and all of them ran out, scattered the horses, and stole most of them. At this moment, three of the enemies [were] seized; they were thrown down and bound, but one of them had a knife, found a way to free himself, and escaped. The two others asked the Hidatsa woman, who had again come out of hiding, whether they would suffer any harm, whereupon the answer was given to them that, most certainly, they had to die: the whites had seen the rifle of old Glass as well as the knife of another of the three slain men. The captives chanted their death songs, after they had stated their names and declared that they were brave men. One of them was the son of a chief. At the song of the two captives, several Arikaras came closer and shouted to them that they had to help themselves, since they could not give up the horses. The two Indians were killed, and I own the scalp of one of them.
The bison (buffalo) had all left the Missouri, and hence the Sioux as well, of whom more than four or five will nowhere be found together, since they had to be content with roots and a few animals.
At twelve o'clock noon, 62°F.
I observed the following birds during our stay here: 1.Cathartes aura, 2. Falco [— —], 3. Falco sparverius, 4. Strix otus americana, 5. Picus erythrocephalus, 6. Columba carolinensis, 7. Columba migratoria, 8. Turdus rufus, 9. Turdus aurocapilla W., 10. Muscicapa crinita, 11. Muscicapa tyrannus, 12. Muscicapa ruticilla, 13. Sylvia striata, 14. Sylvia aestiva, 15. Troglodytes aedon, 16. Vireo olivaceus, 17. Hirundo fulva, 18. Cypselus pelasgius ?, 19. Fringilla melodia, 20. Fringilla erythrophthalma, 21. Sturnella pratensis, 22. Quiscalus versicolor, 23. Corvus corax americanus, 24. Corvus corone americanus, 25. Tringa, 26. Larus, 27. Anser canadensis, Anas sponsa, 29. Anas ?, 30. Tetrao phasianellus, 31. Aquila leucocephala, 32. Gray eagle, 33. Corvus cristatus, 34. Fringilla grammaca Say, 35. Podiceps auritus.
Mammals: 1. Bos bison, 2. Cervus canadensis, 3. Cervus virginianus, 4. Antilope furcifer, 5. Arctomys ludoviciana, 6. Mus macrocephalus, 7. Vespertilio var. spec., 8.
Amphibians: 1. Trionyx muticus, 2. Emys [— —], 3. Coluber flaviventris, 4. Heterodon, 5. Coluber proximus, 6. Coluber eximus, 7. [— —], 8. Crotalus. [— —],9. [— —].
Toward noon it was still raining; we could not leave the ship. The keelboat of the Assiniboine set out to remove part of our cargo; it seemed, however, not quite able to get away. At twelve o’clock, 62°F [16.7°C].[Page 2:84] The stove fires have been burning all day. In the afternoon there was no more rain, but it was very cold.