lewis and clark BY Bedsole97 October 22, 2013 US History 1010 Lewis and Clark the Corps of Discovery The Lewis and Clark expedition, better known as The Corps of Discovery. This was the first party to ever venture the west of the United States. They departed May 1804 on the Mississippi river from St. Louis where they made their way west through the continental divide to the coast of the pacific. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition. The Louisiana Purchase was one of the most significant land deals in history because you were basically getting land for cents of the acre.
The expedition party consisted of US army volunteers who were under the command of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The mission of this Journey was to map out and explore the newly bought territory find routes that were suitable through the western part of the continent, and to make it known this was the Americans land. Another mission the Corps of discovery had was to study the surrounding plants, animals, land area, and to establish relationships with the tribes that surrounded the area.
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Jefferson had hoped that the expedition would find a waterway connecting the Columbia and Missouri rivers. They oped that water way would connect them into the Pacific Ocean the search for the Northwest passage way. The Journey begins upstream on the Missouri River from St. Louis the team had a camp here where they had been preparing for the expedition since the fall of 1803. They began going up the Missouri river in keelboat and two smaller pirogues. Clark occupied his time making maps and tracking the course they were going, while Lewis studied plants, animals, and the geography of the areas.
On their Journey they were eagerly seeing Indians, they had traveled 600 miles by the end of July and hadn’t come in counter with any. On august 2nd they finally had an encounter with the Oto and Missouri Indians they exchanged gifts and peaceful greetings. President Jefferson stressed the importance of making a good relationship with the Sioux tribe because they were very powerful. During the month of August, Sergeant Charles Floyd died suspected of appendicitis. He was the only member to die on the Journey.
By the end of August Lewis and Clark had made it to the end of the Great Plains, which the corps viewed as paradise. They now heading toward Sioux territory. Here they first encountered the Yankton Sioux, who were very peaceful, they arned the Americans about the tribes up the river. Up river they came in counter with the Teton Sioux who were much more hostile than the Yankton. During October through December they wanted to cover as many miles as possible before the river froze. They reached the Mandan village where they planned to spend the winter and made a fort.
Here they hired Charbonneau and his wife Sacagawea to Join the journey. They would not have been successful if Sacagawea had not Joined their mission. She did many significant things and helped communication with other tribes. She was an essential piece in the expedition. During the winter Lewis and Clark recorded what they had discovered so far which included 108 different species Spring came and it was time to move along with their Journey. They were headed due west in their travels. By May, Lewis and Clark were anxious to reach the Rocky Mountains.
On June third they reached a fork in the river they decided to go scouting to make the right decision. June 13th Lewis saw the great falls of the Missouri river. They Journey over the falls took a long while and beyond those falls were the Rockies. The trip of the mountains were going to require horses which they could acquire rom the Shoshone tribe which they would have to find. They finally came in counter with the first Indian they had seen since Fort Mandan, who turned out to be Sacagawea’s brother. They traded for the horses and acquired information from the Shoshones tribe.
They crossed the Rockies and the Pacific as in front of them. Then the explorers headed down the Columbia where they reached a large body of water which they though was the ocean but was Just an estuary but by close to December they made it to the Pacific. They then spent the winter on the coast because of the election the corps had which included the native men and Sacagawea. Winter in Fort Clatsop was very rainy, they spent their days making clothing, writing Journals, and preparing things for the Journey ahead. By the third week in March they were ready for return home across the continent.
In April they were almost out of food and arrived into the Nez Perce territory where they waited out the weather. They left Camp Choppunish and set out to cross back over the Rockies. Then they were crossing back over the bitterroots where it was still winter so they were traveling in the snow. On June 30th Lewis and Clark made the decision to discover more territory hey would separate. Lewis and his team would cover the Marias River to the north and Clark and his team would travel the Yellowstone River to the south.
Clark and his team crossed the continental divide on July 8th and Lewis on July 21st. The group then reunited and then were back on the Missouri where the current pushed them swiftly back at a faster pace. Soon they were back and the Mandan village where they said goodbye to some very important members if the party. After leaving the Mandan village they were so close to home. They were now making 80 miles per day excited to reach home. They finally reached St. Louis on September 23, 1806.
This was two years, four months, and 10 days after beginning this long Journey. This Journey was very similar to the space program and the moon landing. Both parties were going into unfamiliar territories. They both had no idea of what they were going into and had a lot of uncertainty. But the moon landing had contact with Huston and Lewis and Clark had no contact with home. They both discovered very important things and very successful in their missions. I believe Lewis and Clark discovered more and had a bigger impact on society.