In the journals of Private Joseph Whitehouse comes the following account of New Year’s Day 1805. Records show that the weather was fair and 34* in the afternoon. 205-years ago, the Lewis & Clark Expedition was living in an encampment called Fort Mandan – near present-day Washburn, North Dakota. Visitors today can tour the reconstructed fort and interpretative center which documents much of the Corps of Discovery.
This being the first day of the Year, we Early this morning fired off our Swivels twice, and immediately after, fired a Volley of small Arms, in honor of the day.– Captain Lewis gave each of the party a Glass of spirit, which was a short time after, repeated by Captain Clark, about 10 o’Clock A.M. One of our Interpreters, and one half of the Men of our party; went up to the first Village of the Mandan Nation, by request of their Chiefs, to dance, they having a desire to see our manner of dancing. The party had not been long arrived at this Village, when Captain Clarke and three more of the Men arrived.– The Men commenced dancing, which the Natives much admir’d, frequently signifying their approbation by a Whoop they gave, In the evening Captain Clark and some of the Men returned, and part of the Men staid all Night at the Village–