On February 14, 1805 four men, George Drouillard and privates Robert Frazer, Silas Goodrich and John Newman, were on a detail from Ft. Mandan to collect and bring back meat. About 25 miles downstream from the fort they were confronted by a party of hostile Sioux estimated by William Clark to number 106. After being robbed of two of the three horses they had brought with them, they made their way back to the fort. A force of twenty volunteers was quickly assembled and at dawn on the 15th, under the leadership of Captain Meriwether Lewis and accompanied by a number of their neighbors the Mandan warriors, they set off in pursuit. Early on the morning of February 16th, after a 30 mile march down the ice covered river and with their numbers reduced to 19 from frostbitten feet and snowblindness, the men saw a column of smoke rising into the frigid air from the north bank of the river. Lewis divided his men into two parties and sent one, under the command of a Sergeant, to circle around the fire and form a flanking movement. At the sound of a horn from Lewis' command the two groups were to join and be prepared to fight. This painting depicts the scene as Capt. Lewis' command entered the deserted, burning Mandan village. The Sioux had overnighted there and set fire to two of the earthlodges as they left. Lewis, in his blue surtout and fur cap, has directed the Sergeant at his side to sound the tin horn he holds in his right hand. The scarlet sash and hastily applied red epaulette would help distinguish the Sergeant during an engagement. The men of the second command can be seen cresting the hill to the north, formed as a skirmish line. The men had been instructed to leave everything, even their blankets, hidden in some bushesin preparation for the fight. They are dressed in the warmest garments they could put together to ward off the bitter cold. The lucky ones are wearing the regulation watchcoats constructed of a 'point' blanket, white with blue stripes, binding and buttons.The cuffs were left long and folded back. This allowed them to be pulled down over the wearer's hands. One of the two men out frontseen picking up a discarded moccasin, is wearing a fatigue cap. These were made of the red and blue material from a wornout full dress coat and were specified, in official orders, to be made by the men. The man at his side is one of the recruited privates. He is armed with a 1792 contract rifle, hunting bag and powder horn and is wearing the blue wool overalls Lewis requisitioned before the expediton set out. One private, dressed only in his dress coat, attempts to breathe life into his frozen fingers. These dress coats were cheaply made and did not close across the body. The scarlet lapels were false and sewn on for appearance only, offering precious little protection from the cold. He, like the rest of the U.S.Army regulars,is armed with a 1795 musket. These were modeled after the French Charleville muskets. After finding the Sioux had deserted the scene, Lewis and his men set about hunting and bringing back some much needed meat to the fort. The grinding routine of daily chores interspersed with extremely rare moments of military action, was typical of U.S. Army frontier outposts for decades to come. .