Lewis and Clark Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
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Stephen Ambrose says the expedition "filled in the main outlines" of the area. The expedition documented natural resources and plants that had been previously unknown to Euro-Americans, though not to the indigenous peoples. Jefferson had the expedition declare "sovereignty" and demonstrate their military strength to ensure native tribes would be subordinate to the U.
After the expedition, the maps that were produced allowed the further discovery and settlement of this vast territory in the years that followed. In , Patrick Gass , a private in the U. Army, published an account of the journey. He was promoted to sergeant during the course of the expedition. One of the primary objectives of the expedition as directed by President Jefferson was to observe and record the whereabouts, lives, activities, and cultures of the various American Indian tribes that inhabited the newly acquired territory and the northwest in general.
The expedition encountered many different tribes along the way, many of whom offered their assistance, providing the expedition with their knowledge of the wilderness and with the acquisition of food. The expedition had blank leather-bound journals and ink for the purpose of recording such encounters, as well as for scientific and geological information. They were also provided with various gifts of medals, ribbons, needles, mirrors, and other articles which were intended to ease any tensions when negotiating their passage with the various Indian chiefs whom they would encounter along their way.
Many of the tribes had friendly experiences with British and French fur traders in various isolated encounters along the Missouri and Columbia Rivers, and the expedition did not encounter any hostilities with the exception of the Teton- Sioux tribe under Black Buffalo and the Partisan tribe on September 25, Both of these tribes were rivals and hoped to use the expedition to their own advantage, and both demanded tribute from the expedition for their passage over the river. Captain Lewis made his first mistake by offering the Sioux chief gifts first, which insulted and angered the Partisan chief.
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Communication was difficult, since the expedition's only Sioux interpreter was Pierre Dorion who had stayed behind with the other party and was also involved with diplomatic affairs with another tribe. Consequently, both chiefs were offered a few gifts, but neither was satisfied. At that point, some of the warriors from the Partisan tribe took hold of their boat and one of the oars. Lewis took a firm stand, ordering a display of force and presenting arms; Captain Clark brandished his sword and threatened violent reprisal.
Just before the situation erupted into a violent confrontation, Black Buffalo ordered his warriors to back off.
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The captains were able to negotiate their passage without further incident with the aid of better gifts and a bottle of whiskey. During the next two days, the expedition made camp not far from Black Buffalo's tribe. Similar incidents occurred when they tried to leave, but trouble was averted with gifts of tobacco. As the expedition encountered the various American Indian tribes during the course of their journey, they observed and recorded information regarding their lifestyles, customs and the social codes they lived by, as directed by President Jefferson.
By western standards, the Indian way of life seemed harsh and unforgiving as witnessed by members of the expedition. After many encounters and camping in close proximity to the Indian nations for extended periods of time during the winter months, they soon learned first hand of their customs and social orders. One of the primary customs that distinguished Indian cultures from those of the West was that it was customary for the men to take on two or more wives if they were able to provide for them and often took on a wife or wives who were members of the immediate family circle.
Chastity among women was not held in high regard. Infant daughters were often sold by the father to men who were grown, usually for horses or mules. They learned that women in Sioux nations were often bartered away for horses or other supplies, yet this was not practiced among the Shoshone nation who held their women in higher regard. Sacagawea , sometimes called Sakajawea or Sakagawea c.
On February 11, , a few weeks after her first contact with the expedition, Sacagawea went into labor which was slow and painful, so the Frenchman Charbonneau suggested she be given a potion of rattlesnake's rattle to aid in her delivery. Lewis happened to have some snake's rattle with him. A short time after administering the potion, she delivered a healthy boy who was given the name Jean Baptiste Charbonneau.
When the expedition reached Marias River, on June 16, , Sacagawea became dangerously ill. She was able to find some relief by drinking mineral water from the sulphur spring that fed into the river. Though she has been discussed in literature frequently, much of the information is exaggeration or fiction. Scholars say she did notice some geographical features, but "Sacagawea In his writings, Meriwether Lewis presented a somewhat negative view of her, though Clark had a higher regard for her, and provided some support for her children in subsequent years.
In the journals, they used the terms "squar" and "savages" to refer to Sacagawea and other indigenous peoples. The Corps met their objective of reaching the Pacific, mapping and establishing their presence for a legal claim to the land. They established diplomatic relations and trade with at least two dozen indigenous nations. They did not find a continuous waterway to the Pacific Ocean  but located an Indian trail that led from the upper end of the Missouri River to the Columbia River which ran to the Pacific Ocean.
They mapped the topography of the land, designating the location of mountain ranges, rivers and the many Indian tribes during the course of their journey. They also learned and recorded much about the language and customs of the American Indian tribes they encountered, and brought back many of their artifacts, including bows, clothing and ceremonial robes. 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. After Chief Shehaka's visit, it required multiple attempts and multiple military expeditions to safely return Shehaka to his nation. Since the expedition, Lewis and Clark have been commemorated and honored over the years on various coins, currency, and commemorative postage stamps, as well as in a number of other capacities. Lewis and Clark Expedition, th Anniversary issue U.
Lewis and Clark statue with Seaman dog in St. Charles, Missouri. Vial may have preceded Lewis and Clark to Montana. In , he gave a map of the upper Missouri River and locations of "territories transited by Pedro Vial" to Spanish authorities. Early in , the American explorer Robert Gray , sailing in the Columbia Rediviva , discovered the yet to be named Columbia River , named it after his ship and claimed it for the United States. Later in , the Vancouver Expedition had learned of Gray's discovery and used his maps.
Lewis and Clark used the maps produced by these expeditions when they descended the lower Columbia to the Pacific coast. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American overland expedition to the Pacific coast. For other uses, see Lewis and Clark disambiguation. Further information: List of species described by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. North America portal. The only logical explanation of this incredible omission is that Biddle wanted it that way, insisted on complete anonymity. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Retrieved March 10, Retrieved April 12, Encyclopedia of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Infobase Publishing.
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Retrieved August 28, National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on September 27, Retrieved October 22, Retrieved October 14, Fritz Greenwood Publishing Group. Main article: Bibliography of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Lewis and Clark Expedition at Wikipedia's sister projects.
Home of famous woodsman L. 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 Lewis and Clark meet three trappers in two pirogues. One of the men was Pierre Dorion, Jr. Lewis and Clark persuade Dorion to return to Sioux camp to act as interpreter.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
June 28— First trial in new territory. John Collins is on guard duty and breaks into the supplies and gets drunk. Collins invites Pvt. Hugh Hall to drink also. Collins receives lashes, Hall receives 50 lashes. July 11— Second trial in new territory. 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 lashes for four straight days. July Reaches the Platte River , miles from St. Entering Sioux Territory. August 1: Captain William Clark 's 34th birthday.
They hand out peace medals, 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. Reed is sentenced to run the gauntlet lashes and is discharged from the permanent party.
August Captain Meriwether Lewis's 30th birthday. August Sergeant Charles Floyd dies. He dies from bilious chorlick ruptured appendix. He is the only member lost during the expedition. August Pvt. Joseph Field kills first bison. Patrick Gass is elected to sergeant. First election in new territory west of Mississippi River. Following the winding Trace over streams and through thick forests that blocked out the sun for hours at a time, the four riders entered Tennessee. On October 10, the travelers awoke to find that two packhorses had gotten loose during the night.
Neelly remained behind to search for the horses, and Lewis rode on, with the servants following some distance behind. According to Mrs. Grinder, wife of the absent owner, Lewis asked for spirits but drank little. Then he sat down outside and lit his pipe.
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Grinder prepared a bed for Lewis in one of the cabins, but he preferred to sleep on the floor with bearskins and a buffalo robe. The landlady and her children then went to their cabin and the two servants to a barn yards away. Late into the night, Mrs. Grinder heard Lewis in the other cabin pacing and talking to himself. Then she heard a pistol shot and something falling heavily to the floor. The pistol fired a second time. Then Mrs. Grinder heard Lewis at her door. As Lewis suffered and groped in the dark for a drink of water, Mrs.
Grinder was afraid to do anything but wait. At dawn, she sent her children to get the servants. He uncovered his side, and showed them where the bullet had entered; a piece of his forehead was blown off, and had exposed the brains, without having bled much. After another hour, just as the sun was rising above the trees, the brilliant but moody Lewis breathed his last. Almost two centuries later, historians still debate whether Lewis killed himself or was murdered. Colter had wintered in the wild and was returning to St. Right on the spot, Lisa offered Colter a job.
Although he had a land grant and back pay waiting for him in St. Louis, Colter accepted the offer and turned back, on his way to one of the most incredible adventures in the history of the West. Here the men spent the winter of , but not Colter. This man, with a pack of thirty pounds weight, his gun and some ammunition, went upwards of five hundred miles to the Crow nation; gave them information, and proceeded from them to several other tribes. The region, actually east of present Yellowstone Park, remained largely unexplored for another 60 years.
The Crow later befriended Colter, and he fought with them when a battle broke out between Crow and Flathead against 1, Blackfeet. In the fall of , he and fellow expedition veteran John Potts teamed up to trap in western Montana. They were working the Jefferson River near present Three Forks, when several hundred Blackfeet warriors appeared on the riverbank.
The chiefs ordered Colter and Potts ashore; Colter complied and was immediately stripped and disarmed. Potts remained in his canoe in midstream. An Indian fired a shot. I will kill at least one of them. The next instant, year-old Potts was riddled with bullets.
Colter was horrified and expected to be slowly tortured to death. But after the chiefs conferred, one of them motioned Colter toward the prairie. Colter started to walk, expecting to be shot for sport. But when he had gone 80 or 90 yards, he realized this was sport of a different kind — a race to the death. Perhaps his previous encounter with the Blackfeet had made him respected as well as hated. Colter set off running, pursued by warriors armed with spears.
The Madison River was five miles away, and the barefoot Colter galloped over rocks and cactus, trying to reach it and escape. He was halfway to the Madison when blood began gushing from his nose. He ran on, soon realizing that one warrior, a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, was far ahead of the others. Colter turned to face him, and the young brave tripped as he lunged at him with the spear. Colter grabbed the spear and broke off the head as the Indian fell.
He killed the brave with one blow, grabbed the blanket, and bolted for the Madison. As he reached the water, Colter disappeared in the thick willows and then dove under a beaver dam. He came up inside the dam and soon heard the Blackfeet searching for him, even tromping overhead. But they did not find him and at nightfall Colter made his escape. He died in while serving in the army. Colter was 37 and left a wife, Sally, and a son and daughter. Brothers Joseph and Reubin Field were two of the best hunters on the expedition. The most dangerous scene had been a violent encounter between Indians and four members of the expedition — Lewis, George Drouillard, and the Field brothers.
The four men were exploring northwestern Montana on the homeward portion of the journey when they met a small band of teenage Piegan Blackfeet. Masking his apprehension, Lewis smoked a pipe with the young men, and Drouillard interpreted in sign language. The two groups even camped together. Lewis and the others rushed back to the camp and saddled their horses before a much larger band of Blackfeet could give chase. But they knew they were safe when they reached the Missouri River and rejoined several of their fellow explorers. After the return to St.
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Louis, the Field brothers went back to their home in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Joseph died less than a year later at the age of Other than Charles Floyd, who died of apparent appendicitis three months after the journey began, Joseph was the first expedition veteran to die. The exact cause of death is unknown, but in a list of expedition members Clark compiled sometime between and , he said Joseph had been killed. Joseph left no children. Reubin married Mary Myrtle and farmed in Kentucky for the next 15 years, though little is known of his life.
He was about 52 when he died in ; he and Mary left no heirs. Like Joseph Field, John Shields was a valuable member of the company who died not long after the expedition ended. Born in , Shields was the oldest member in the original group of volunteers. He was an expert blacksmith and gunsmith and served his fellows well. Suggesting a steam bath, Shields dug a 3-foot by 4-foot hole and then built a fire to heat the ground and exposed rocks.
After scooping out the embers, the men helped Bratton into the hole, where he created steam by pouring water on the hot stones and earth. Shields instructed others to hold blanket-draped willows overhead to retain the heat. After a while, the men helped Bratton out, and he plunged into cold water.
Then more steam, followed by another cold plunge, followed by 45 additional minutes of steam treatment. Shields also administered large amounts of mint tea. The next day Bratton was cured. Shields had married Nancy White in the s; the couple had one daughter. Shields died at the age of 40, in He is buried near Corydon, Indiana. The captains hired Lepage to replace John Newman, who had been expelled from the party. Lepage knew the region well and was possibly the first white man to ascend the Little Missouri River, probably going as far as Montana or Wyoming.
He told Clark he had spent 45 days descending the virtually unnavigable river.
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After the expedition members returned to St. Louis, Lepage signed to trap with Manuel Lisa, and he may have been on a fur-trading venture in the West when Meriwether Lewis arrived in St. Louis in Lepage apparently never received his salary, for he died a non-violent death within two months. He was 48 and he left a widow no record of her name has been found , four sons, and one daughter. Little is known of John B. Thompson, either before or after the expedition.
He was one of three men assigned to cook but the only one relieved of that duty, indicating limited skill. He was injured when the group hit heavy rapids in the Snake River. Otherwise, Thompson seems to have performed his duties without drawing unusual praise or criticism. Clark later indicated that Thompson died a violent death but offered no details. In the summer of , a St.
Louis newspaper notified anyone owing or having demands of the estate of John B. Thompson, deceased, to present their accounts to Peggy Thompson. No children were mentioned. Thompson was probably around 40 when he died. Slightly more is known about Thomas Proctor Howard. Born in Massachusetts, he joined the army in Howard married Genevieve Roy after the expedition, and they had two sons.
He served again in the army and was 37 when he died in On September 23, , the honorable John Lucas tapped his gavel to begin a murder trial. George Shannon sat in the jury box with 11 other men. The year after the expedition, during a fur-trading excursion where military rules of conduct were strictly enforced, a man named Antoine Bissonnette took the equipment issued him and deserted.
Lisa sent Bissonnette to St. Charles for medical help, but he died on the way. They retired for 15 minutes before returning a verdict of not guilty. The recollection of this unhappy affair throws me very often in the most profound reflections. Court records show that Drouillard was frequently involved in legal battles related to the fur trade.
He must have headed up the Missouri with a sense of relief when he joined another trading party in the spring of A few months later, at Fort Mandan, Drouillard met Colter, who had still not returned to civilization. In the spring of the next year, Drouillard and Colter guided fur trader Pierre Menard and 80 trappers to Three Forks, where Menard hoped to establish a permanent post for the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company. One week after the men began building a fort, a band of Blackfeet ambushed 18 trappers, slaying and mutilating two of them and stealing horses, traps, and furs.
Three other men were missing, but Colter was among those who made it back to camp. On the third morning he ignored warnings and left alone again. Later that day, a group of armed men rode upstream and found a scene of carnage. We saw from the marks on the ground that he must have fought in a circle on horseback and probably killed some of his enemies, being a brave man and well armed with a rifle, pistol, knife, and tomahawk.
Hired as a boatman and an interpreter for the expedition, Cruzatte became better known for his fiddling. Cruzatte achieved fame — or infamy — by accidentally shooting Lewis. The two men were hunting elk toward the end of the expedition when the one-eyed Cruzatte took aim and fired at a brown patch in the willows. Though he was in a good deal of pain and possibly in shock, Lewis kept his wits. After calling for Cruzatte several times and hearing no reply, he feared that Indians had shot his companion.
Still, Lewis endured considerable pain and once fainted when Clark changed the dressing. Cruzatte virtually disappeared after the expedition. The same year, he received a summons from a St. Louis court for bad debts. Otherwise, the record is silent, and it is unknown whether he married or had children. According to Clark, Cruzatte was killed by the mids, possibly dying around age About the same time Colter discovered Yellowstone Park, Weiser was on a scouting trip, possibly ascending the Madison River to southern Montana and crossing the Continental Divide into Idaho, where he found fertile beaver territory on the Snake River.
When heavy snows came that winter, they ate their horses to survive. It is also possible that Weiser followed the Snake River all the way to western Idaho. When settlers established a town at the confluence of the Snake and Weiser Rivers, they named it Weiser. Louis as his place of residence. He was probably between 30 and 40 when he died.
He was an expert boatman and hunter, as well as an interpreter. When the expedition met the Flathead Indians in western Montana in September of , Labiche played a key role in the complicated translation chain that must have brought smiles to at least some members of the party. Not surprisingly, Labiche found work in the fur trade. His home base was St. Louis, where he owned property and was listed in the city directory as a boatman. He married Genevieve Flore, and they had seven children. He may have died in the mids, when he was about The earthquake struck the farming hamlet of New Madrid, Missouri, at a.
Within seconds, houses and barns collapsed, spontaneous geysers erupted, and the ground rippled in waves from the tremendous quake later estimated at between 8. Among the stunned residents were two veterans of the expedition — John Ordway and William Bratton. During the expedition Ordway had served as a sergeant and performed his duties well. Not knowing which waterway was the principal stream, they sent out reconnaissance parties up both forks.
Although the evidence was not conclusive, the captains believed the south fork to be the major course while everyone else favoured the north. This choice proved correct when the expedition arrived at the Great Falls almost two weeks later. An mile km portage around the falls was made even more difficult by broken terrain, prickly pear cactus, hailstorms, and numerous grizzly bears. On July 4, , the party finished the portage and, to celebrate Independence Day , consumed the last of their gallons of alcohol and danced into the night. Arriving at the Three Forks of the Missouri River the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers , Sacagawea recognized Beaverhead Rock and informed the others they would soon encounter some Shoshones.
After leaving their horses with Chief Twisted Hair, the explorers hollowed out five cottonwood canoes and floated down the Clearwater and Snake rivers, reaching the Columbia River on October Lewis and Clark Expedition. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Written By: Jay H. See Article History. Commissioning and preparation On January 18, , U.