Except The Negro Servant, Were Regularly Enlisted As Privates
In The Military Service Of The United States During
and three of them were by the captains appointed sergeants.
In addition to this force, nine voyageurs and
A corporal and six
private soldiers were detailed to act as guides and assistants
until the explorers should reach the country of the Mandan Indians,
a region lying around the spot where is now situated the flourishing
city of Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota. It was expected
that if hostile Indians should attack the explorers anywhere within
the limits of the little-known parts through which they were to make
their way, such attacks were more likely to be made below the Mandan
country than elsewhere.
The duties of the explorers were numerous and important. They were to explore
as thoroughly as possible the country through which they were to pass;
making such observations of latitude and longitude as would be needed
when maps of the region should be prepared by the War Department;
observing the trade, commerce, tribal relations, manners and customs,
language, traditions, and monuments, habits and industrial pursuits,
diseases and laws of the Indian nations with whom they might come in contact;
note the floral, mineral, and animal characteristics of the country, and,
above all, to report whatever might be of interest to citizens who might
thereafter be desirous of opening trade relations with those wild tribes
of which almost nothing was then distinctly known.
The list of articles with which the explorers were provided,
to aid them in establishing peaceful relations with the Indians,
might amuse traders of the present day.
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