"as we were pushing off this Morning two Canoes Loaded with fur &c. Came to from the Mahars nation [Omahas]...., at about 10 oClock 4 Cajaux or rafts loaded with furs and peltres came too one from the Paunees (Pawnees) the other from Grand Osage... we camped on a Willow Island in the mouth of Gasconade River"
William Clark, May 27, 1804
On May 26, 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped on an island at the southern end of Loutre Ialand near present-day Hermann. The party had made some 18 miles on this day aided by a wind that gave them a rare chance to use the sail on the keelboat. Along the way, they noted many signs of deer along the bank.
While encamped, Captain Meriwhether Lewis issued a set of Detachment Orders dividing the 24 man crew of the keelboat (all enlisted privates in the army) into three messes under the command of Sergeants Floyd, Ordway and Pryor. These three messes contained the elite corps of men who were designated by the captains to make the entire journey to the Pacific Ocean and back. The crew of hired French boatmen, or engag, assigned to the red pirogue formed a mess under the Patroon, Bapiste Deschamps. They returned to St. Louis from Fort Mandan in the spring of 1805. Another mess, consisting of army personnel under the command of Cpl. Richard Warfington, formed the crew of the white pirogue. Warfington and the crew of the white pirogue were to pilot the keelboat back to St. Louis from Fort Mandan in the spring of 1805 along with reports from the captains and specimens collected on the expedition; these were to be forwarded to President Thomas Jefferson.
The next day (May 27), the expedition encountered several canoes and boatloads of traders. Some of these had come down from the Omaha Indian nation about 700 miles upriver; some had come down from the Pawnee nation on the Platte River; and some had come down from the Grand Osage village on the Osage River. Sometime on the morning of May 27, the expedition passed the site of present-day Hermann and then continued on to the mouth of the Gasconade River where they stayed through May 28.
Duties of Sergeants on Keelboats
Sgt. at the Helm
Steer boat · See that baggage arranged and stowed · Attend to compass
Sgt. at the Center
Command guard · Manage sails · Supervise oarsmen · See that boat departs on time · Watch for streams, islands · Issue "spirituous liquor" · Regulate halts · Post guards on land
Sgt. at Bow
Look out for all dangers: enemy or obstruction · Communicate same to Sgt. at Center · Report all other craft, hunting camps, Indians · Assist bowman in poling
Organization of the Corps of Discovery
Detachment One (Keelboat)
Saturday, May 26, 1804, near Loutre Island
Mess 1, Sgt. Charles Floyd
Privates Hugh McNeal · Patric Gass · Reubin Fields · John B. Thompson · John Newman · Richard Windsor · Francis Rivet · Joseph Fields
Mess 2, Sgt. John Ordway
Privates William Bratton · John Colter · Moses B. Reed · Alexander Willard · William Werner · Silas Goodrich · John Potts · Hugh Hall
Mess 3, Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor
Privates George Gibson · George Shannon · John Shields · John Collins · Joseph Whitehouse · Peter Wiser · Pierre Cruzatte · Francois Labiche
Detachment Two (Pirogues)
Mess 1, Red Pirogue, Patroon Baptiste Deschamps
Engages Etienne Malboeuf · Paul Primeau · Charles Hebert · Jean Baptist La Jeunesse · Peter Pinaut · Peter Roi · Joseph Collin
Mess 2, White Pirogue, Cpl. Richard Warfington
Privates Robert Frazer · John Boley · John Dame · Ebinezer Tuttle · Issac White