Small Arms, Personnel, and Miscellany
by Walt Walker
A nine part series examining details of the men and their guns
Miscellany 1: Hunters
In Chapter Two, I stated the nine men from Kentucky were issued rifles and my supposition was based on those men being hired as hunters according to letters between Clark and Lewis. Each of those men was cited by the captains as sent out and returning from hunting forays after departure from Camp DuBois through the winter at Fort Mandan.
Of the prior-enlisted men, Collins was sent out to hunt on numerous occasions. He was one of the best hunters and was cited by the captains as such several times in the Journals. Willard was also an excellent hunter and when he accidentally dropped his gun while trying to cross a river, Ordway noted on July 28th, 1904 that the gun was a rifle. Ordway also noted on July 29th, 1804 that it was raining hard and he (Ordway) aimed to keep his rifle dry.
By now, twelve of the fifteen rifles can be counted as issued. Even though Windsor was cited as sent to hunt sometime after the Corps left Fort Mandan in 1805, he was not considered a hunter before that time. Sergeant Floyd wrote on August 7th, 1804 that Reed took all of his clothes and all his powder and balls and hid them out the night before he deserted. Clark wrote on August 18th, 1804 that Reed confessed to desertion and stealing a public rifle, a shot pouch, powder, and balls. From this, one could deduce that Reed had been issued one of the Harpers Ferry rifles. Windsor most certainly was not issued a rifle prior to Reed’s court-martial.
Sergeant Gass related at different times that he had been sent to hunt only after Sergeant Floyd’s death. It’s logical that he was issued Floyd’s rifle. Whitehouse wrote in his journal entry dated April 2nd, 1806, “The best of our hunters crossed over to the south side of the River Columbia to hunt”. Gass and Windsor were two of those hunters. In Whitehouse’s journal, Cruzatte was cited several times as hunting, and LaBiche was cited as killing a deer on the same day as Cruzatte, August 2nd, 1804. LaBiche was also among the hunters who were sent to find and return Reed. I have inferred from this and other instances that Cruzatte and LaBiche were both issued rifles.
Two other prior-enlisted men cited as being sent out to hunt before reaching the Mandan Villages were Howard and Newman. On September 2nd, 1804, together they killed an elk on the river shore. They had seen the elk swimming in the river while they were eating breakfast and ran a mile up the river shore to get it. Whether they used rifles is unknown. Reed’s rifle was not mentioned as being reissued but might have been issued to Newman. Such a rifle would have been taken away from him upon his September 12th confinement and court-martial on September 13th, 1804.
At this point, only one rifle was left in the Corps Inventory. There were two hunters left to be issued rifles, Windsor and LePage. As mentioned before, LePage may have brought his own rifle with him. It wasn’t until the two accompanied Lewis up the north fork of the Missouri (the Marias River) that Windsor was probably issued that 15th rifle. He hunted frequently after that. Windsor was the man whose rifle muzzle had burst and then was fixed by Shields. That rifle was given to one of the Nez Perce guides at Traveler’s Rest in 1806. On June 4th, 1805, Whitehouse wrote that the six men with Lewis were hunters and the five men with Clark were hunters. Lewis’s party explored the north (Marias River) fork and Clark’s party the south fork of the Missouri.
A note on Drewyer:
He was a civilian and was hired to be an interpreter and a hunter. He was not hired to be a laborer or an oarsman. When they left Camp Dubois, he was either on horseback, on foot, or riding on the keelboat. When they left Fort Mandan, he would hunt on foot or command the rudder on the White Pirogue. After they left the Canoe Camp above the Great Falls of the Missouri, he hunted on foot most of the way to Camp Fortunate. From there to the Shoshone, he was alternately on foot or horseback. From the Lemhi Shoshone to Travelers Rest to the Canoe Camp near the mouth of the Clearwater, he was on horseback. Of necessity, he traveled in a canoe from that camp to the various camps at or near the mouth of the Columbia.
On the return trip, he was in the advance hunting party with the Field brothers and, once beyond the falls of the Columbia, he reverted to walking and riding a horse all the way to Decision Point. From there to St. Louis, he rode in the White Pirogue and only occasionally hunted.
Drewyer, Collins, Labiche, Ruben Field, Shannon, Colter, Joseph Field, Lewis, Clark, York
Shannon/Labiche Field/Field Collins/Drewyer
Shannon/ J. Field/Shields Collins/R. Field Willard/ Colter
Drewyer/ Labiche Drewyer/ Labiche/ Collins
R.Field/ Frazer/ Shields Drewyer/ J. Field
Drewyer, Labiche./ Cruzatte Drewyer/ Field/ Field
Drewyer/ J.Field/ Frazer J.Field/Collins/Shannon/Labiche
Pryor/Gibson J.Field/Pryor/Gibson Drewyer/Shannon
Drewyer/ LePage Shannon/Labiche/R.Field
J. Field/Willard/Gibson Drewyer/ Lewis Collins/Windsor J. Field/ Shannon/ Shields
Collins/ Shields/Shannon Gass/ R. Field/ Thompson
Gass/ R.Field/ J. Field Ordway/Willard Collins/ Colter
Drewyer/Clark Collins/Field/Field Drewyer/ R. Field
Collins/Shannon Drewyer/ any other man
J.Field/ any other man
R. Field/ any other man Collins/ any other man
Seven Best Hunters:
Drewyer, Collins, R. Field, J. Field, Colter, Shannon, Gibson
Other Exccellent Hunters:
Shields, Willard, Clark, Lewis, Labiche, Gass, Pryor, Ordway, Windsor, Cruzatte, Bratton
Frazier, LePage, Howard, Weiser, York, Potts, Charbono
Non-Hunters (though each might have hunted on occasion):
McNeal, Werner, Whitehouse, Thompson, Hall, Goodrich
Labiche, Collins, J. Field, R. Field, Drewyer, Lewis, Clark, York
Miscellany 2: Grizzly bears killed or wounded
1. 10/20/1804 First, encounter, Pierre Cruzatte wounds a grizzly. It escapes.
2. 4/28/1805 One of the hunters wounds a grizzly but it escapes.
3. 4/29/1805 Lewis and one hunter, near Culbertson, MT killing one and wounding one. The wounded bear got away.
4. 5/5/1805 Clark and Drouillard kill a grizzly near Wolf Point, MT— 10 shots.
5. 5/11/1805 Bratton wounds a grizzly that chases him awhile. Hunters kill the bear.
6. 5/13/1805 Gibson wounds a grizzly, but it is too late in the
day to pursue.
7. 5/14/1805 Six hunters shoot a grizzly that chases each of them. Many shots
later, the bear is downed with a headshot.
8. 5/15/1805 The hunters wound a grizzly.
9. 5/17/1805 The hunters shoot a grizzly.
10. 5/19/1805 Clark along with other hunters shoots a grizzly.
11. 5/22/1805 Hunters kill a grizzly late in the afternoon.
12. 5/23/1805 Hunters kill a grizzly but lose it in the river.
13. 6/2/1805 Drouillard kills a grizzly.
14. 6/4/1805 Drouillard shoots and wounds a grizzly.
15. 6/5/1805 Clark’s party kills three grizzlies.
16. 6/12/1805 Lewis’s party kills two grizzlies.
17. 6/25/1805 Drouillard and J. Field kill three grizzlies.
18. 7/2/1805 Drouillard kills a grizzly.
19. 7/26/1805 Clark’s party kills two grizzlies.
20. 9/1/1805 A hunter wounds two grizzlies.
21. 5/14/1806 Collins kills two grizzlies.
22. 5/14/1806 Labiche kills a sow and two large cubs.
23. 5/16/1806 Drouillard wounds three grizzlies.
24. 5/17/1806 Collins kills a grizzly.
25. 5/25/1806 Gibson and Shields wound a sow with two cubs.
26. 7/10/1806 Drouillard kills a grizzly.
27. 7/13/1806 Hunters wound a grizzly.
28. 7/13/1806 Pryor’s party kills a grizzly.
29. 7/19/1806 Shields shoots two grizzlies from his horse while
they are chasing him.
30. 7/30/1806 Ordway and Willard kill a grizzly.
31. 7/31/1806 Clark’s party wounds a grizzly.
32. 8/1/1806 Lewis and Drouillard kill a grizzly.
33. 8/1/1806 Lewis’s party kills a grizzly.
34. 8/2/1806 Clark kills a grizzly.
35. 8/2/1806 Clark’s party wounds a grizzly.
36. 8/4/1806 Ordway and Willard kill a grizzly.
37. 8/5/1806 Clark and one other man kill a grizzly
38. 8/5/1806 The Field brothers kill two grizzlies.
39. 8/6/1806 Clark’s party wounds a grizzly.
40. 8/7/1806 The Field brothers kill two grizzlies.
41. 8/7/1806 Lewis’s party wounds two grizzlies.
The first grizzly sighting was actually a grizzly track. On October 7th, 1804 Captain Clark found the tracks along the Moreau River a mile up from the Missouri River in present-day Dewey County South Dakota. He stated that “the tracks were very large”.
The first encounter with a live bear was by Cruzatte who wounded the bear and, then, ran as it chased him. He dropped his tomahawk and rifle as he fled. The bear escaped and, fortunately, Cruzatte was able to retrieve his weapons.
The next encounter was by Captain Lewis and another hunter near present-day Poplar, MT. on April 29th, 1804. Each of the men shot at one of two grizzlies. The one Lewis shot charged them. Fortunately, they were able to run and reload and killed the charging bear. The other wounded bear escaped.
These two instances were typical of most of the Corps’ encounters with grizzly bears. Some of the hunters were barely able to escape being caught. In one instance, a bear chased a man and got close enough to swipe his foot. This incident was the first of two close calls the hunter had with grizzly bears. In both cases, the bear ambushed the man.
Another incident occurred when six men shot at a bear that pursued each of them in turn. Five men ended up in the river with one of them jumping off a twenty-foot cliff and the bear following him into the river. The only man left on-land was able to kill the bear, shooting him in the head. The bear had eight ball wounds in his body before he was taken down.
Lewis’s encounter with a grizzly that chased him into the river leaving Lewis holding nothing but his espadrille is well-known. The bear finally ran away but it could have been a different story.
When the Corps were returning from their mission in 1806, Gass and Thompson were riding horses and leading other horses along the Medicine River. They were chased a long distance by a grizzly but managed to escape without losing the horses. Shields experienced a similar situation while riding a horse along the Yellowstone River. He was pursued by two grizzlies but was able to shoot both of them from his horse.
In the frequent grizzly bear encounters, almost sixty of them, many bears escaped, others were wounded and others were not shot at by the men. From those grizzlies killed, hides, meat, and fleece were utilized by the Corps. The fleece was rendered to provide oil used in cooking for all the party. The oil was a valued commodity, especially in cooking for 30 plus people.
In 1805 all of the grizzly bear encounters occurred in present-day Montana east of the Continental Divide. No black bears were sighted until the Corps reached the three forks of the Missouri River.
The Corps did not encounter more grizzlies on their journey forward after the Continental Divide until their return trip in 1806 when they reached Nez Perce country in the mountains of Idaho. Passing over the Continental Divide on their return, the bears were, again, found on the high plains where bear food was plentiful. The last grizzly encountered by the Corps was killed near present-day Williston, North Dakota.
Miscellany 3: Clark’s Various Spellings of “Sioux”
Scioux ….. Sioux …… Seioux ….. Soux ….. Suxex
Sciuex ….. Sisouex ….. Seeoux ….. Souiex ….. Sues
Sciouex ….. Sieoux ….. Seouex ….. Souis ….. Sueoux
Sceiouex ….. Sicux ….. Seaux ….. Souix ….. Suouex
Scoux ….. Sieuix ….. Seauex ….. Soue
Sceouex ….. Siouex ….. Seauix ….. Souex
Sceoux ….. Siouxs ….. Seaus ….. Sous
Scouix ….. Siaus ….. Seoux ….. Soauex
Sciaux ….. Sious ….. CueouSx ….. Souixs
Sceaux ….. Sieuex ….. Souxs
Scious ….. Sieaux ….. Soos
Many thanks to my wife, Angela for her much-needed help editing, suggestions and typing this effort. My thanks also to Phil Scriver for his encouragement and suggestions. Many thanks go to Gary Moulton and his herculean effort transcribing the journals of Lewis and Clark completely for all of us to explore and enjoy.