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Tue May 14, 2019, 05:44 AM

215 Years Ago Today; Lewis and Clark begin an Excellent Adventure...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_and_Clark_Expedition


Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

The Lewis and Clark Expedition from May 1804 to September 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States. It began in Pittsburgh, Pa, made its way westward, and passed through the Continental Divide of the Americas to reach the Pacific coast. The Corps of Discovery was a selected group of US Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark.

President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to explore and to map the newly acquired territory, to find a practical route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it. The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and to establish trade with local American Indian tribes. The expedition returned to St. Louis to report its findings to Jefferson, with maps, sketches, and journals in hand.

Overview
One of Thomas Jefferson's goals was to find "the most direct and practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce." He also placed special importance on declaring US sovereignty over the land occupied by the many different Indian tribes along the Missouri River, and getting an accurate sense of the resources in the recently completed Louisiana Purchase. The expedition made notable contributions to science, but scientific research was not the main goal of the mission.

During the 19th century, references to Lewis and Clark "scarcely appeared" in history books, even during the United States Centennial in 1876, and the expedition was largely forgotten. Lewis and Clark began to gain attention around the start of the 20th century. Both the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis and the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland, Oregon showcased them as American pioneers. However, the story remained relatively shallow until mid-century as a celebration of US conquest and personal adventures, but more recently the expedition has been more thoroughly researched.

In 2004, a complete and reliable set of the expedition's journals was compiled by Gary E. Moulton. In the 2000s, the bicentennial of the expedition further elevated popular interest in Lewis and Clark. As of 1984, no US exploration party was more famous, and no American expedition leaders are more recognizable by name.


Corps of Discovery meet Chinooks on the Lower Columbia, October 1805 (Charles Marion Russel, c. 1905)

Lewis and Clark Expedition Timeline
May 1804 – September 1806

1804
May 14: The Corps of Discovery departs from Camp Dubois at 4 p.m., marking the beginning of the voyage to the Pacific coast.
May 16: The Corps of Discovery arrives at St. Charles, Missouri.
May 21: Departure from St. Charles at 3:30 p.m.
May 24: Pass Boones Settlement. Home of famous woodsman L. Willenborg.
May 25: The expedition passes the small village of La Charrette on the Missouri River. Charles Floyd writes in his journal that this is "the last settlement of whites on this river".
June 1: The expedition reaches the Osage River.
June 12: Lewis and Clark meet three trappers in two pirogues. One of the men was Pierre Dorion, Jr.—who knew George Rogers Clark. Lewis and Clark persuade Dorion to return to Sioux camp to act as interpreter.
June 26: The expedition arrives at Kaw Point where the Kansas River drains into the Missouri River basin.
June 28–29: First trial in new territory. Pvt. John Collins is on guard duty and breaks into the supplies and gets drunk. Collins invites Pvt. Hugh Hall to drink also. Collins receives 100 lashes, Hall receives 50 lashes.
July 4: Marking Independence Day, the expedition names Independence Creek located near Atchison, Kansas.
July 11–12: Second trial in new territory. Pvt. Alexander Hamilton Willard is on guard duty. Is charged with lying down and sleeping at his post whilst a sentinel. Punishable by death. He receives 100 lashes for four straight days.
July 21: Reaches the Platte River, 640 miles from St. Louis. Entering Sioux Territory.
August 1: Captain William Clark's 34th birthday.
August 3: The Corps of Discovery holds the first official council between representatives of the United States and the Oto and Missouri tribes at Council Bluffs, Iowa. They hand out peace medals, 15-star flags and other gifts, parade men and show off technology.
August 4: Moses Reed said he was returning to a previous camp to retrieve a knife but deserted to St. Louis.
August 18: George Drouillard returns to camp with Reed and Otos' Chief Little Thief. Reed is sentenced to run the gauntlet (500 lashes) and is discharged from the permanent party.
August 18: Captain Meriwether Lewis's 30th birthday.
August 20: Sergeant Charles Floyd dies. He dies from bilious chorlick (ruptured appendix). He is the only member lost during the expedition.
August 23: Pvt. Joseph Field kills first bison.
August 26: Pvt. Patrick Gass is elected to sergeant. First election in new territory west of Mississippi River. George Shannon is selected to get the horses back from native Americans.
August 30: A friendly council with the Yankton Sioux held. According to a legend, Lewis wraps a newborn baby in a United States flag and declares him "an American".
September 4: Reach the mouth of the Niobrara River.
September 7: The expedition drives a prairie dog out of its den (by pouring water into it) to send back to Jefferson.
September 14: Hunters kill and describe prairie goat (antelope).
September 25–29: A band of Lakota Sioux demand one of the boats as a toll for moving further upriver. Meet with Teton Sioux. Close order drill, air gun demo, gifts of medals, military coat, hats, tobacco. Hard to communicate language problems. Invite chiefs on board keelboat, give each ​1⁄2 glass whiskey, acted drunk wanted more. Two armed confrontations with Sioux. Some of the chiefs sleep on boat, move up river to another village, meet in lodge, hold scalp dance.
October 8–11: Pass Grand River home of the Arikara people, 2,000+. Joseph Gravelins trader, lived with Arikara for 13 yrs. Pierre Antoine Tabeau lived in another village was from Quebec.
October 13: Pvt. John Newman tried for insubordination (who was prompted by Reed) and received 75 lashes. Newman was discarded from the permanent party.
October 24: Met their first Mandan Chief, Big White. Joseph Gravelins acted as interpreter.
October 24: Expedition reaches the earth-log villages of the Mandans and the Hidatsas. The captains decide to build Fort Mandan across the river from the main village.
October 26: Rene Jessaume lived with Mandan for more than a decade, hired as Mandan interpreter. Hugh McCracken a trader with the North West Company. Francois-Antoine Larocque, Charles MacKenzie also visited L&C.
November–December: Constructed Fort Mandan.
November 2: Hired Baptiste La Page to replace Newman.
November 4: The captains meet Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trapper living among the Hidatsas with his two Shoshone wives, Sacagawea and Little Otter.
December 24: Fort Mandan is considered complete. Expedition moves in for the winter season.

1805
January 1: The Corps of Discovery celebrates the New Year by "Two discharges of cannon and Musick—a fiddle, tambereen and a sounden horn."
February 9: Thomas Howard scaled the fort wall and a native American followed his example. "Setting a pernicious example to the savages" 50 lashes—only trial at Fort Mandan and last on expedition. Lashes remitted by Lewis.
February 11: Sacagawea gives birth to Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the youngest member of the expedition. Jean Baptiste is nicknamed "Pompy" by Clark. Lewis aided in the delivery of Sacagawea's baby, used rattle of rattlesnake to aid delivery (Jessaume's idea).
April 7–25: Fort Mandan to Yellowstone River.
April 7: The permanent party of the Corps of Discovery leaves Fort Mandan. The keelboat is sent down river. Left Fort Mandan in six canoes and two pirogues. Thomas Howard received a letter from his wife Natalia.
April 25: Reached Yellowstone River Roche Jaune—sent Joseph Field up river to find Yellowstone. He saw Big Horn Sheep and brought back horns. Lewis searched area thought it would be a good area for fort. Future forts were built, Fort Union and Fort Buford.
May 14: A sudden storm tips a pirogue (boat) and many items, such as supplies and the Corps' journals, spill over into the river. Sacagawea calmly recovers most of the items; Clark later credits her with quick thinking.
April 25 – June 3: Yellowstone River to Marias River.
April 27: Entered present day state of Montana.
May 5: Lewis and a hunter killed first grizzly bear.
May 8: Milk river. Called because of its milky white appearance. Natives called it "a river which scolds all others".
June 3–20: Marias River to the Great Falls.
June 3: The mouth of the Marias River is reached. Camp Deposit is established. Cached blacksmith bellows and tools, bear skins, axes, auger, files, two kegs of parched corn, two kegs of pork, a keg of salt, chisels, tin cups, two rifles, beaver traps. Twenty-four lb of powder in lead kegs in separate caches. Hid red pirogue. Natives did not tell them of this river. Unable to immediately determine which river is the Missouri, a scouting party is sent to explore each branch, North fork (Marias), South fork (Missouri). Sgt. Gass and two others go up south fork. Sgt. Pryor and two others go up north fork. Can't decide which river is Missouri. Clark, Gass, Shannon, York and Fields brothers go up south fork. Lewis, Drouillard, Shields, Windsor Pryor, Cruzatte, Lepage go up north fork. Most men in expedition believe north fork is the Missouri. Lewis and Clark believe south fork is Missouri and followed that fork.
June 13: Scouting ahead of the expedition, Lewis and four companions sight the Great Falls of the Missouri River, confirming that they were heading in the right direction. Lewis writes when he discovers the Great Falls of the Missouri. "When my ears were saluted with the agreeable sound of a fall of water and advancing a little further I saw the spray arrise above the plain like a column of smoke.....began to make a roaring too tremendous to be mistaken for any cause short of the great falls of the Missouri."
June 14: Lewis takes off on an exploratory walk of the north side of the river. Lewis shoots a bison. While he is watching the bison die, a grizzly bear sneaks up on him and chases him into river.
June 21 – July 2: A portage of boats and equipment is made around the falls.
June 27: Cached: desk, books, specimens of plants and minerals, two kegs of pork, ​1⁄2 keg of flour, two blunderbusses, ​1⁄2 keg of fixed ammo, and other small articles.
June: 18.4 miles Clark surveyed route. Clark was the first white man to see falls from south side of river. As Clark was surveying route he discovered a giant fountain (Giant Springs).
June 22 – July 9: Construction of iron framed boat used to replace pirogues. It was floated on July 9 but leaked after a rain storm. The boat failed and was dismantled and cached July 10.
July 10–15: Established canoe camp to construct 2 new dugout canoes to replace failed iron frame boat.
July 15 – August 8: Great Falls to the Shoshone. Left canoe camp with eight vessels traveled through the Gates of the Mountains, to the Three Forks (the three rivers that make up the Missouri River, the Jefferson River, the Gallatin River and the Madison River). The expedition is 2464.4 miles from mouth of the Missouri River. They pass Beaverhead Rock.
August 1: Captain Clark's 35th birthday.
August 11: Captain Lewis sights first native American since Ft. Mandan.
August 12: Scouting separately from the main party, Lewis crosses the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass.
August 13: Lewis meets Cameahwait, leader of a band of Shoshone
August 15–17: Lewis returns across Lemhi Pass with Cameahwait and sets up Camp Fortunate.
August 17: A council meets with the Shoshone, during which Sacagawea learns the fate of her family and reveals that Cameahwait is her brother. Lewis and Clark successfully negotiate for horses for passage over the Rocky Mountains. They buy 29 horses for packing or eating with uniforms, rifles, powder, balls, and a pistol. They also hire Shoshone guide Old Toby.
August 18: Captain Lewis's 31st birthday. In his journal, he scolds himself for being "indolent", or lazy, and vows to spend the rest of his life helping people.
August 26: Lewis and the main party cross the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass. They thereby leave the newly purchased United States territory into disputed Oregon Country.
September 1 – October 6: Crossing the Bitterroot Mountains.
September 4: Meet Salish ("Flathead Indians" at Ross's Hole, bought 13 more horses.
September 9–11: Camped at Traveler's Rest (Lolo, Montana), now a National Historic Landmark.
September 13: Crossed Lolo Trail starving, ate horses, candles, and portable soup.
October 6–9: Met Nez Perce tribe on Clearwater. Left horses, cached goods, built five dugout canoes for trip to ocean.
October 9 – December 7: Traveled down Clearwater River, Snake River and Columbia River to ocean.
October 18: Clark sees Mount Hood, which means they are now back in previously explored territory.
October 25–28: Camped at the Rock Fort, and first met the Chinookan-speaking people of the lower Columbia.
November 7: Clark wrote in his journal, "Ocian [ocean] in view! O! the joy."
November 20: Encounter of the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River.
November 24: The Corps takes the matter of where to spend the winter to a vote. York, a slave, and Sacagawea, a woman, were allowed to vote. It was decided to camp on the south side of the Columbia River.
December 7 – March 23, 1806: Fort Clatsop sewed 338 pairs of moccasins.
December 25: Fort Clatsop, the Corps' winter residence, is completed.

1806
January 1: Discharged a volley of small arms to usher in the new year. Several Corps members build a salt-making cairn near present-day Seaside, Oregon.


<snip>
Aftermath
Two months passed after the expedition's end before Jefferson made his first public statement to Congress and others, giving a one-sentence summary about the success of the expedition before getting into the justification for the expenses involved. In the course of their journey, they acquired a knowledge of numerous tribes of Indians hitherto unknown; they informed themselves of the trade which may be carried on with them, the best channels and positions for it, and they are enabled to give with accuracy the geography of the line they pursued. Back east, the botanical and zoological discoveries drew the intense interest of the American Philosophical Society who requested specimens, various artifacts traded with the Indians, and reports on plants and wildlife along with various seeds obtained. Jefferson used seeds from "Missouri hominy corn" along with a number of other unidentified seeds to plant at Monticello which he cultivated and studied. He later reported on the "Indian corn" he had grown as being an "excellent" food source. The expedition helped establish the U.S. presence in the newly acquired territory and beyond and opened the door to further exploration, trade and scientific discoveries.

Lewis and Clark returned from their expedition, bringing with them the Mandan Indian Chief Shehaka from the Upper Missouri to visit the "Great Father" at Washington City. After Chief Shehaka's visit, it required multiple attempts and multiple military expeditions to safely return Shehaka to his nation.

</snip>


I highly recommend Stephen E. Ambrose's Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Great book about the journey.

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Reply 215 Years Ago Today; Lewis and Clark begin an Excellent Adventure... (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Tuesday OP
Throck Tuesday #1
Dennis Donovan Tuesday #2
Throck Tuesday #5
Martin Eden Tuesday #3
Dennis Donovan Tuesday #8
Brother Buzz Tuesday #9
Sherman A1 Tuesday #4
chwaliszewski Tuesday #6
erronis Tuesday #7

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 05:57 AM

1. Sounds like the beginning of the end of the North American continent.

The prequel to theft of lands and identity of native Americans. Doing what Europeans did best back then. The environment would never be the same.

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Response to Throck (Reply #1)

Tue May 14, 2019, 06:12 AM

2. This OP is about the expedition, not the subsequent treatment of Native Americans. n/t

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #2)

Tue May 14, 2019, 08:14 AM

5. Just like Columbus

It started with good intention then went down hill.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 06:23 AM

3. I read "Undaunted Courage" several years ago

I highly recommend this true story of an amazing adventure of discovery.

Subsequently, while traveling in Tennessee on the Natchez Trace Parkway, I came across the memorial to Merriweather Lewis at the site where his life tragically came to an end -- apparently by his own hand.

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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #3)

Tue May 14, 2019, 07:39 PM

8. Depression, fueled by alcohol...

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #8)

Tue May 14, 2019, 07:46 PM

9. Exasperated by a dose of syphilis he contracted out west

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 06:33 AM

4. Been to Camp DuBois

It is a nice museum, recommend if you are in the area.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 08:33 AM

6. Very cool story of this country's history.

I live near Vancouver, WA and can tell you the Columbia River gorge out here is a pretty awesome site to see so I could imagine what Lewis & Clark thought about it. On a side note, I saw this skit on SNL a while back and thought it was funny. Enjoy.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 09:53 AM

7. Thanks for this recommendation and the great timeline

I now need to add another book to my stack!

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