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Survey of Fort Pierre reserve-Reconnaissance from Fort Pierre to Big Shyenne, and




Report of September 4, 1855, and sketch of battle ground at Bluewater creek.....



Meteorology-General remarks and explanations—Notes on the weather— Table I. Ob

servations, altitudes, and distances from Fort Pierre to Fort KearnyTable II. Distances and altitudes from Fort Kearny to Fort Laramie-Table III. Hourly psychrometrical observations— Table IV. Elastic force of vapor, hourly— Table V. Elastic force of vapor, 7 a. m., 2 p. m., and 9 p. m.— Table VI. Hourly observations of barometer No. 1014— Table VII. Hourly observations of barometer No. 1013— Table VIII. Observations for altitude of Fort Pierre- Table IX. Corrections for daily curve of pressure..



Geological note on section in ravine of l'Eau qui Court river, by W. P. Blake Geological

notes on Nebraska, by Dr. F. V. Hayden—Hydrographical basin of the MissouriSystem of waters-Sub-systems—l'Eau qui Court-White river-Teton or Bad river-Shyenne river_Moreau, Grand, and Cannon Ball rivers-Little Missouri river-Right and left forks of the Missouri, James and Big Sioux rivers—GeologyCarboniferous system, Cretaceous system—Tertiary system-Tertiary basin-Lignite basin-Bad Lands of the Judith-Timber—"Bluff formation”-Dorion's Hills-Cotes Brûlés–Cedar Islands, below White river-Bear Butte—Tour from Fort Pierre to the Bad Lands and back--Eagle-nest Butte-Splendid view in the Bad Lands—Fossils from the Bad Lands-Peculiarity of atmosphere-ClimateGeographical distribution of plants and animals..

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1. Map of a portion of the Dacotah country, on a scale of 1 to 600,000, embracing all the ex

plorations within the limits compassed by it, including those of Major Long, J. N.

Nicolet, Captain Fremont, and Captain Stansbury. 2. Map, on a scale of 1 to 300,000, giving location of the different bands of Indians, and

such other information as could be obtained from the trappers and hunters. 3. Barometric profile of route from Fort Pierre to Fort Kearny







WASHINGTON, D. C., March 15, 1856. Sir: In obedience to the orders of Brevet Brigadier General Harney, which required me to present a memoir and sketch of the routes passed over during the past season, I have the honor to present this report and the accompanying maps. My duties in connexion with the “Sioux Expedition” required me to go up the Missouri river to Fort Pierre, lay out a military reserve for that post, and examine the river as high up as the mouth of the Shyenne.

Having accomplished this, and rendered a report thereon, I proceeded across the country direct from Fort Pierre to Fort Kearny. From this point I accompanied the army to Fort Laramie, and thence to Fort Pierre. From Fort Pierre I returned to the settlements at the mouth of the Big Sioux, by the direct route through Minnesota.

Over the routes thus traversed, sketches and notes were taken, and collateral information was sought from every available source. I have given the Indian names, as well as the French and English, to objects and localities, and in writing the Dacota words have adopted, as far as possible, the spelling used in the Dacota Grammar and Dictionary, published by the Smithsonian Institution. Dacota being the proper name for the so called Sioux. *

The routes traversed lead over the great plains between the Missouri, the Platte and the Shyenne, and nowhere entered the mountains. Of the geology of this interesting section, which is believed to be mainly of the tertiary and cretaceous formations, much new information has been gained by Dr. F. V. Hayden, who is at present preparing his results. To his preliminary report [in Appendix E] I would call especial attention on‘account of its general interest.

A note concerning specimens of rock from a ravine on l'Eau qui Court has been prepared by Mr. W. P. Blake, and will be found in Appendix E.

* The letter a, is always sounded as in father ; e, as in they ; i, as in marine ; ch as in cherry.

The country north of White river is clayey; south of this stream it is sandy. This difference has an important bearing on roads through the two sections, as the former is almost everywhere impracticable in the wet seasons, while the latter is not materially injured by rain, and in some parts is improved by it. The water in the former is generally not constant, and wherever it stands in pools is frequently salt. The streams rise and fall suddenly, and their bottoms are more or less muddy and difficult to ford.

In the sandy region the rain that falls sinks into the surface and does not run off suddenly nor evaporate; pure water in small lakes, springs, and clear running streams are the consequence, but they are not numerous. The streams and lakes have sandy bottoms and are easy to ford.

The grass in the clay region, is, as a general thing, superior to that in the other, being finer and more nutritive; but along the banks of the streams, where the clay and sand in either region are mixed, there is not much difference. Wood generally exists along the banks of all the streams where it has not been destroyed by fire, or by the Indians for forage and fuel. Pine timber is found on l'Eau qui Court, on the southern branches of White river, and in the Black Hills. From my observation, I think that continuous settlements cannot be made in Nebraska, west of the 97th meridian, both on account of the unfavorable climate and want of fertility in the soil.

Grasshoppers occasionally devastate the country, stripping it in places of almost every green thing.

The Black Hills of Nebraska are believed to be composed of primitive rock, and are the eastern portion of the great mountain belt. Ther are in somewhat detached ridges, ranging NW. to SE. and probably have their continuation in Snowy, Bears Paw, and Little Missouri, mountains of the upper Missouri and the Cyprus mountains, &c., in the British possessions.

Bear Peak, between the forks of the Shyenne, as well as Raw Hile Peak, a little west of north from Fort Laramie, is a detached portion of this range, and both believed to be of primitive rock. All the other hills, peaks, or buttes to the cast of these are stratified rocks, the remains of vast denudation. The rocky precipices and ridges on White river, between it and l'Eau qui Court, and on the Platte, are generally soft calcareous stone or marl, occasionally capped with hard grit.

The Bad Lands, (les Mauvaises Terres,) as generally understood, lie between the Shyenne and White rivers, and extend east along the latter stream as far as the forks. They belong to the tertiary period. . Dr. Hayden thinks that the Bijou Hills are a part of the same formation; and I should think, from their appearance, the Dog's Ears and Turtle Hill also form a part of it. They lie in an extended ridge, coming from the direction of the Bad Lands of White river, and have similar lithological character. I did not, however, make sufficient examination to detect any fossil remains. Where the road passes through the Mauvaises Terres from White river to the head of Bad river, the surface is, in many places, covered with chalcedony, and is hard ; in others it is clay, and in wet weather very soft. Through


this section some of the streams have clayey beds, some of them sandy
The precipitous ridges of the Mauvaises Terres are about two hundred

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Scenery in the Bad Lands, (les Mauvaises Terres,) Nebraska.

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feet high, and are very striking in appearance. (See sketch.) Black tailed deer and big horn are to be found here.

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