May 27, 1833

27 May: Overcast sky, cool, wind. At 7:30, 54° F [12.2°C]. The Assiniboine had arrived at the agency last night and had stayed there; now it anchored about eleven o’clock at the wooded bank near the Yellow Stone. Our woodcutters had been working all morning and returned shortly before noon. It was so cold that we had a fire all day. Mr. Bodmer brought me Big Soldier’s leather costume as a gift from Major Bean; an interesting souvenir. He called on us toward noon. Wahktä́geli’s costume was adorned with the hair of his enemies, particularly [that] of a Mandan Indian, attached in narrow braids. Big Soldier told me that he had killed four Indians: two Pawnees, Mandans, and others [sic].

Approximately opposite the Sioux Agency, a creek that the Yanktons call Pächendächende (‘ch’ velar, final ‘e’ short) emerges next to the island that lies here in the river. We were now rather close to the end of this island on the left bank.M79Noon, 59°F [15°C]. After lunch the Assiniboine swiftly passed us. We soon followed. The family of a Sioux chief, Little Soldier,M80Tukán-Hätón (‘an’ and ‘on’ as in French). was on board to make the voyage to the Little Missouri [Bad River]. They were in mourning because some of their children had died, and therefore [they were] poorly and plainly dressed and smeared with clay. Big Soldier visited us once more before our departure; today he had no feathers on his head but just a red ribbon. After he had eaten, he had to leave since the boat was beginning to move; for a long time we still saw his singular figure on shore. As the boat swiftly hastened away, the Indian women put their heads down as a sign that they were dizzy.

About twenty minutes past the island, a creek appears to the right; it is probably one of Lewis and Clark's Three Rivers. It issues from willow and cottonwood thickets. Before us on the right bank the Assiniboine was hard aground and could go no farther. The prairie hills behind the plain again have their black medial stratum. Along the shore to the left, steep bluffs again, not high and unattractively gray. We reach the Assiniboine and halt in the vicinity. The [boats] take soundings.[Page 2:96] The keelboat moves beside us. Because the water was too shallow, we stayed here today. The men fished and caught several catfish of the smaller olive-brownish variety.

We went hunting in the nearby dense, wild forest. On shore there was a border, about 60 paces wide, of slender, narrow-leaved willows (Salix [— —]), which have grown up so dense and slender that one can barely get through. Beyond them there is a forest of tall old cottonwoods, elms, box elders, and ashes with a very compact understory of roses, Cornus, and other entangled bushes, [as well as] wild vines (Vitis, Clematis, Rhus, and other plants often entwined in tangles. On open spots on the ground, the pea vine (an Apios or Glycine tuberosa Linn.)—a very useful plant—and the lily of the valley (Convallaria [— —]) grow everywhere in profusion. The pea vine is a climbing plant, the foliage of which is excellent fodder for cattle and horses, which grow very fat from it. On its root grows a bulb the size of a small walnut with a somewhat violet-colored shell, completely white on the inside, which provides very tasty, nourishing food.M81As Say has already noted, it provides very good fodder for horses and cattle. I have not found this plant in bloom. See Say in Major Long’s Expedition, vol. 1, p. 135. A large number of birds lived in this wilderness. The Carolina dove uttered its melancholy call everywhere, and our men pursued these doves for food. Fringilla erythrophthalma, Muscicapa ruticilla, and other small birds were very abundant, and Hirundo purpurea hovered about in the air. We found a nice nest with eggs but could not become acquainted with its builder. In the evening, which was very cool, our Indians made themselves a fire in the forest but returned to the ship for the night.

Monday, May 27, 1833
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