Across America: The Lewis and Clark Expedition (Discovery by Maurice Isserman, John S. Bowman

By Maurice Isserman, John S. Bowman

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With the help of the Chouteau brothers, the expedition hired seven French boatmen, known as engagés, who had experience sailing up the Missouri as far as the Mandan villages. But in the end, they were delayed. , to meet their new “great white father,” Thomas Jefferson. By the time everything was sorted out, necessary supplies gathered and packed in the expedition’s three boats, it was mid-May. Meanwhile, Clark had received disappointing news from Washington. Despite Lewis’s promise that Clark would hold rank equal to his own, Jefferson had secured him a commission only as a lieutenant.

Louis and enjoy a little of its social life. ) Lewis spent only a few days at Camp Wood. For most of February both captains were in St. Louis, leaving Sergeant John Ordway in command. The captains’ prolonged absences did not help the camp’s disciplinary problems. The men may have resented the fact that their officers were getting to spend the winter enjoying the comforts of St. Louis, while they were stuck out in the woods, in freezing temperatures, with nothing to look forward to beyond their evening ration of whiskey.

The keelboat was having problems on the river, snagging on floating logs, and riding too high at its bow; some of the goods stowed in the stern of the boat would have to be moved forward to balance the load. ” On May 16 they reached the little village of St. Charles, located on the north bank of the river, about 21 miles upriver from the mouth of the Missouri. With its 450 inhabitants, St. Charles was the last substantial white settlement they would encounter until their return. Clark and the men spent five days there, waiting for Lewis to finish his business in St.

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