Posted by: Ron DuBour | November 28, 2014

American Heroes~Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806)~by rldubour

Friday!!! time to post another write on American Heroes, today we take a journey across America with some famous historical figures:


Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806)

President Thomas Jefferson

An advocate of western expansion.

Wrote to Meriwether Lewis

An asked to form an expedition.


The Louisiana Purchase

In eighteen-hundred and four.

Just two weeks after signing

Lewis was commissioned to explore.


Would be the first American

To the Pacific coast and back.

Congress would appropriate

Twenty-five hundred for the task.


The expedition would be called

The Corps of Discovery.

In a letter from the President

Dated June twenty, eighteen and three.


Lewis selected William Clark

Held the rank of Second Lieutenant.

Concealed this from the men

Referred as Captain by affirmant.


The object of the mission

To find a direct water way.

For the purposes of commerce

To report their route and survey.


They departed from Camp DuBois

On May fourteenth, eighteen and four.

A party of thirty-three men

Of unknown land they would explore.


On March two-three, eighteen and six

With great success they started home.

Made a major contribution

In mapping the land that they did roam.


The U.S. gained extensive knowledge

Of major rivers and mountain ranges.

One hundred and twenty-two species of animals

For America brought many changes.


One hundred and seventy-eight plants

Described on their heroic journey.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Gained extensive knowledge of the geography.


AUTHOR NOTES: The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806), headed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, was the first American overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back. In 1804, the Louisiana Purchase sparked interest in expansion to the west coast. A few weeks after the purchase, President Thomas Jefferson, an advocate of western expansion, had the Congress appropriate $2,500 for an expedition. In a message to Congress, Jefferson wrote: “The river Missouri, and Indians inhabiting it, are not as well known as rendered desirable by their connection with the Mississippi, and consequently with us. … An intelligent officer, with ten or twelve chosen men … might explore the whole line, even to the Western Ocean.” Jefferson selected Captain Meriwether Lewis to lead the expedition, afterwards known as the Corps of Discovery. In a letter dated June 20, 1803, Jefferson wrote to Lewis.

“The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river and such principal stream of it as by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado or any other river may offer the most direct and practicable water communication across this continent for the purposes of commerce.” Lewis selected William Clark as his partner. Because of bureaucratic delays in the U.S. Army, Clark officially only held the rank of Second Lieutenant at the time, but Lewis concealed this from the men and shared the leadership of the expedition, always referring to Clark as “Captain”. Left Pittsburgh this day at 11 o’clock with a party of 11 hands 7 of which are soldiers, a pilot and three young men on trial they having proposed to go with me throughout the voyage.” With those words, written on August 31, 1803, Meriwether Lewis began his first journal entry on the epic Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis declared the mouth of the river Dubois (on the east side of the Mississippi across from the mouth of the Missouri river) to be the expedition’s official point of departure, but the two and one-half months spent descending the Ohio River can be considered its real beginning. Clark made most of the preparations, by way of letters to Jefferson. He bought two large buckets and five smaller buckets of salt, a ton of dried pork, and medicines. The party of 33 included 29 individuals who were active participants in the Corps’ organizational development, recruitment and training at its 1803-1804 winter staging area at Camp Dubois, Illinois Territory. They then departed from Camp Dubois, near present day Hartford, Illinois, and began their historic journey on May 14, 1804. They soon met-up with Lewis in Saint Charles, Missouri, and the corps followed the Missouri River westward. Soon they passed La Charrette, the last white settlement on the Missouri River. The expedition followed the Missouri through what is now Kansas City, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska. On August 20, 1804, the Corps of Discovery suffered its only death when Sergeant Charles Floyd died, apparently from acute appendicitis. He was buried at Floyd’s Bluff, near what is now Sioux City, Iowa. During the final week of August, Lewis and Clark had reached the edge of the Great Plains, a place abounding with elk, deer, buffalo, and beavers. They were also entering Sioux territory. The first tribe of Sioux they met, the Yankton Sioux, were more peaceful than their neighbors further west along the Missouri River, the Teton Sioux, also known as the Lakota. The Yankton Sioux were disappointed by the gifts they received from Lewis and Clark—five medals—and gave the explorers a warning about the upriver Teton Sioux. The Teton Sioux received their gifts with ill-disguised hostility. One chief demanded a boat from Lewis and Clark as the price to be paid for passage through their territory. As the Indians became more dangerous, Lewis and Clark prepared to fight back. At the last moment before fighting began, the two sides fell back. The Americans quickly continued westward (upriver) until winter stopped them at the Mandan tribe’s territory. In the winter of 1804–05, the party built Fort Mandan, near present-day Washburn, North Dakota. Over the course of the winter the expedition enjoyed generally good relations with the Mandan Indian tribe who lived alongside the Fort. It was at Fort Mandan that Lewis and Clark came to employ a French-speaking, part-Indian fur trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau, whose young Shoshone Indian wife, Sacagawea, translated for the expedition among the Shoshone and Nez Perce. In April 1805, some members of the expedition were sent back home from Mandan in the ‘return party’. Along with them went a report about what Lewis and Clark had discovered, 108 botanical and zoological specimens (including some living animals), 68 mineral specimens, and Clark’s map of the United States. Other specimens were sent back to Jefferson periodically; including a prairie dog which Jefferson received alive in a box. The expedition continued to follow the Missouri to its headwaters and over the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass via horses. In canoes, they descended the mountains by the Clearwater River, the Snake River, and the Columbia River, past Celilo Falls and past what is now Portland, Oregon. At this point, Lewis spotted Mount Hood, a mountain known to be very close to the ocean. The explorers began their journey home on March 23, 1806. The Corps of Discovery returned with important information about the new United States territory and the people who lived in it, as well as its rivers and mountains, plants and animals. The expedition made a major contribution to mapping the North American continent. Born: Lewis – August 18, 1774; Clark – August 1, 1770, Died: Lewis – October 11, 1809; Clark – September 1, 1838

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