Documenting Lewis and Clark – 1806, The Return Home
26-27: Two Medecine River
Meriwether Lewis: I had intended to decend this river with it's course to it's junction with the fork which I had ascended and from thence have taken across the country obliquely to rose river and decend that stream to it's confluence with Maria's river. . . . I had scarcely ascended the hills before I discovered to my left a the distance of a mile an assembleage of about 30 horses, I halted and used my spye glass by the help of which I discovered several indians on the tomp of an eminence just above them who appeared to be looking down towards the river I presumed at Drewyer. about half the horses were saddled. this was a very unpleasant sight, however I resolved to make the best of our situation and to approach them in a friendly manner. . . . I told the two men with me that I apprehended that these were the Minnetares of Fort de Prarie and from their known character I expected that we were to have some difficulty with them; that if they thought themselves sufficiently strong I was convinced they would attempt to rob us in which case be their numbers what they would I should resist to the last extremity preferring death to that of being deprived of my papers instruments and gun and desired that they would form the same resolution and be allert and on their guard.
. . . they appeared much agitated with our first interview from which they had scarcely yet recovered, in fact I beleive that they were more allarmed at this accedental interview than we were. . . . as it was growing late in the evening I proposed that we should remove to the rearest part of the river and encamp together, I told them that I was glad to see them and had a great deel to say to them. . . . I took the first watch tonight and set up untill half after eleven; the indians by this time were all asleep, I roused up R. Fields and laid down myself; I directed Fields to watch the movements of the indians and if any of them left the camp to wake us all as I apprehended they would attampt to seal our horses. this being done I fell into a profound sleep and did not wake untill the noise of the men and indians awoke me a little after light in the morning.(Moulton, Vol. 8, p. 128-132)
Meriwether Lewis: This morning at day light the indians got up and crouded around the fire, J. Fields who was on post had carelessly laid his gun down behid him near where his brother was sleeping, one of the indians the fellow to whom I had given the medal last evening sliped behind him and took his gun and that of his brothers unperceived by him, at the same instant two others advanced and seized the guns of Drewyer and myself, J. Fields seing this turned about to look for his gun and saw the fellow just running off with her and his brothers he called to his brother who instantly jumped up and pursued the indian with him whom they overtook . . . sized their guns and rested them from him and R Fields as he seized his gun stabed the indian to the heart with his knife the fellow ran about 15 steps and fell dead; . . . Drewyer who was awake saw the indian take hold of his gun and instantly jumped up and sized her and rested her from him but the indian still retained his pouch, his jumping up and crying damn you let go my gun awakened me I jumped up and asked what was the matter which I quickly learned . . .. I reached to seize my gun but found her gone, I then drew a pistol from my holster and terning myself about saw the indian making off with my gun I ran at him with my pistol and bid him lay down my gun . . . he droped the gun and walked slowly off . . . I pursued the man who had taken my gun who with another was driving off a part of the horses . . . I pursued them so closely that they could not take twelve of their own horses but continued to drive one of mine with some others; at the distance of three hundred paces they entered one of those steep nitches . . . being nearly out of breath I could pursue no further, I called to them as I had done several times before that I would shoot them if they did not give me my horse and raised my gun, one of them jumped behind a rock and spoke to the other who turned arround and stoped a the distance of 30 steps from me and I shot him through the belly, he fell to his knees and on his wright elbow from which position he partly raised himself up and fired at me, turning himself about crawled in behind a rock which was a few feet from him. he overshot me, being bearheaded I felt the wind of his bullet very distinctly. not having my shotpouch I could not reload my piece . . . I therefore returned leasurely towards camp . . .. while the men were preparing the horses I put four shields and two bows and quivers of arrows which had been left on the fire, with sundry other articles; they left all their baggage at our mercy. . . . I also retook the flagg but left the medal about the neck of the dead man that they might be informed who we were. . . . my design was to hasten to the entrance of the Maria's river as quick as possible in the hope of meeting with the canoes and party at that place having no doubt but that they would pursue us with a large party . . .. my indian horse carried me very well in short much better than my own would have done and leaves me with but little reason to complain of the robbery.(Moulton, Vol. 8, p. 133-136)
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