Steuben's Regulations listed three types of guards, and described their objectives and procedures. "Out post and piquet [picket] guards," "Camp and quarter guards," and "General and staff officers guards." Picket guards were posted "at the avenues of the camp," whereas camp guards were to form a complete chain of sentinels around the camp "in order to prevent improper persons entering, or the soldiers going out of camp." Camp guards were responsible for protecting the camp from intruders, and preventing soldiers from leaving camp without authorization. Quarter guards were small units situated in front of each battalion; their main duty was to ensure good order and discipline in the camp. Officers' guards were honorary details mustered according to rank for officers higher than captain.
Lewis and Clark's detachment was too small to either require or permit such elaborate security systems. During their journey up the Missouri to the Mandan villages, security procedures were outlined in the detachment orders of 26 May 1804. One of their three sergeants was to be stationed at the helm of the keelboat, another at the bow, and the third in the center, revolving their positions during "parade" every morning. Each position entailed specific duties. The center man was nominally sergeant of the guard, but he had other responsibilities as well. He was to
The sergeant of the guard's instructions concerning camp security were specific to the Corps, but were generally consistent with Steuben's. This sergeant's detail consisted of "six privates & engages" who relieved one another on an hourly basis.
These orders concerning camp security were never officially modified or rescinded, so we may assume they were followed throughout the expedition. The need for continual vigilance must have been apparent to every man, all the more as they progressed up the Missouri into regions known to be occupied by potentially hostile tribes. The hunters who ranged far from the river, and often ahead of the boats, served also as scouts; Sergeants Ordway and Floyd even referred to as "flanking" parties. Modifications of procedures would have been made only as necessary and prudent, given changing circumstances. Clark, responding to a Sioux threat at Fort Mandan with a 21-man detachment under his command, deployed flanking parties on each side, as well as a rear guard. During extended overland travel, sentries would also have kept track of the horses, as far as possible.
The sergeant at the bow of the keelboat was to "keep a good look out for all danger which may approach, either of the enimy, or obstructions which may present themselves to...passage of the boat." Also, he was to report all other boats that came in sight, and all camps or parties of Indians in view, to the sergeant at the center, who would relay it to the commanding officers. Obstructions were to be reported direct to the sergeant at the helm. Each sergeant was to keep a separate daily journal "of all passing occurences, and such other observations on the country &c. as shall appear to them worthy of notice." Those special journals have not been found.
No special orders concerning security were issued at Fort Mandan. However, the Canadian trader François-Antoine Larocque, who was there for several weeks that winter, recorded that a sentry was posted atop the storeroom every night, and "a Centinel [was] likewise kept all day, walking in the Fort."1 The last detachment orders in the Orderly Book, setting forth procedures for the security of Fort Clatsop, were issued on 1 January 1806. For the full text see "Sentinel's Box" and the continuation of those orders on the desk in the Orderly Room.
1. "François-Antoine Larocque's 'Missouri Journal'," in W. Raymond Wood and Thomas D. Thiessen, Early Fur Trade on the Northern Plains (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), 143.
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