The Lewis and Clark Expedition

The Lewis and Clark Expedition was started when people wanted to know if there was a river connecting the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off with a crew of forty-five men on a Keelboat on May 14, 1804 to find out. After a few months they reached the village of a friendly Indian tribe. Sacagawea, the wife of Toussaint Charbonneau (French-Indian), became an important person for their trip. Sacagawea knew the region very well because she was torn away from her Shoshone family as a child and that is why they took her with them. On August 21, Lewis and Clark met a group of Shoshone Indians on horses. Sacagawea saw that her brother was on one of the horses and cried. The Shoshones gave them their horses and a big pile of food. After three weeks they had no more food and game was scarce so they had to kill and eat some of their horses. On October 7, 1805 they met the Nez Perce Indians which made them some log canoes to continue the journey.
After one month of crossing the Snake River, then taking the Columbia and finally reaching the Pacific Ocean they built Fort Clatsop to stay there in the cold winter months. On the return trip they split apart. Lewis’ group went north and Clark’s group went south. Lewis’ trip was shorter than expected so they explored the plains a bit. They met the most powerful and warlike Indians, the Blackfoots. They tried to steel their supplies but Lewis’ men killed one of the indians. On the way to Clark, Lewis got wounded by one of his men while hunting elk. They still kept going. On September 23, 1806 they returned to St. Louis. This trip helped state the presence of the U.S. in the northwest. Although they didn’t reach their goal they still accomplished a great journey.

Thompson, Linda. The Louisiana Purchase. New York: Newbridge Education Publishing, 2006.