Nebraskaland April 2023

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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38 Nebraskaland • April 2023 In May 1817, he sought and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army's Rifl e Regiment. In 1818, the regiment was assigned to the Yellowstone Expedition. Under the command of Col. Henry Atkinson, the expedition was to establish a series of forts along the Missouri River between St. Louis and the mouth of the Yellowstone River in Montana to protect the growing fur trade and prevent British encroachment from the north. In all, it included 1,126 members of the Rifl e Regiment and Infantry, one fourth of the young nation's army. Field, having been promoted to fi rst lieutenant, was one of 10 offi cers to lead 347 enlisted men of the First Battalion of the Rifl e Regiment, under the command of Col. Talbot Chambers, up the Missouri River as an advance party of the Yellowstone Expedition. According to the journals of John Gale, the surgeon with the regiment, they left Fort Belle Fontaine near St. Louis on August 30. Just as members of the Lewis & Clark Expedition had done nearly 20 years earlier, they rowed, poled and pulled 10 keelboats up the river. They made it as far as Cow Island, north of present-day Weston, Missouri, where they made winter camp on October 18, having traveled more than 360 miles in 50 days. They remained there, awaiting the arrival of Atkinson and the rest of the expedition, which wouldn't set out from Belle Fontaine until July 4, 1819. That winter, Field led or was part of several parties that explored the region, visiting a Kansas Indian village, and tracing the Platte and Nodaway rivers in Missouri. The following spring, he led a party to Manual Lisa's trading post just north of present-day Omaha and was to remain there until the battalion arrived. He apparently went farther, advancing to Council Bluff , the hill overlooking the Missouri River on the east edge of present-day Fort Calhoun, where Lewis and Clark held council with the Oto and Missouria Indians in 1804 and a site Clark identifi ed in his journals as a good location for a trading establishment. On August 16, Gale wrote that Field "arrived from Council Bluff destitute of subsistence," with no explanation as to why he returned to Cow Island. Atkinson and his troops left Fort Belle Fontaine in three steamboats loaded with supplies. The crafts, still in their infancy, weren't able to navigate the snags, sandbars and current of the river and were left behind, leaving troops to transport supplies in keelboats and barges. A fourth steamboat, carrying the smaller scientifi c and exploration party of the expedition and led by Maj. Stephen Long, made An aerial photo looking to the northwest shows Fort Atkinson State Historical Park on the edge of Fort Calhoun. Archaeologists found the remains of Gabriel Field and four others in the fi eld northwest of the park. Soldiers built Cantonment Missouri, their winter camp, in 1819, on the west bank of the Missouri River, which has since shifted, leaving that location on the Iowa side of the river in the upper right portion of this image. ERIC FOWLER, NEBRASKALAND Lt. Field's body found in this area.

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