Lewis and Clark: A Timeline of the Extraordinary Expedition
The “Corps of Discovery,” led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, were sent by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, to find a passable water route west to the Pacific Ocean. Below is a timeline of Lewis and Clark’s extraordinary expedition.
Lewis and Clark’s Journey Begins
In 1804 the Corps of Discovery sets out on a westward journey up the Missouri River, with Patrick Gass as part of the 41-man crew of volunteers, soldiers, and one African American slave. Sergeant Charles Floyd, the expedition’s youngest member, dies near modern-day Sioux City, Iowa.
A Tense Encounter With the Teton Sioux
The explorers exchange angry threats and boasts through nervous interpreters near modern-day Pierre, South Dakota, during their encounter with the Teton Sioux (Lakota). After three restless days, Chief Black Buffalo breaks the tension and calls for peace.
Lewis and Clark Meet Sacagawea
Lewis and Clark hire Sacagawea, a 17-year-old pregnant wife of Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian trader, as a Hidatsa interpreter. She quickly proves to be an invaluable member of the expedition, assisting the men with their diet and finding edible plants to improve their health. Lewis and Clark discover the Great Falls of the Missouri in 1805.
The Expedition Finds the Shoshone
Sacagawea lived among the Shoshone people near the modern-day Montana-Idaho border, where she was kidnapped by the Hidatsa when she was 12 years old. Her childhood memories provide valuable clues that Lewis and Clark are on the right track, and she reunites them with her brother Cameahwait, who is now chief, in August of 1805.
Crew Gets Lost in Snow, Nearly Starves to Death
Lewis and Clark were snowblind when they crossed the Bitterroot Mountains and were taken in by the Nez Perce Indians, who treated them well until they became ill from eating piles of dried fish and boiled roots.
They Reach the Pacific…or Not
The canoes are swamped and paralyzed by powerful waves and strong winds, so local Clatsop Indians use their large ocean-going canoes to ferry the men across the estuary.
Lewis and Clark Reach the Pacific Ocean
With historic votes from York, an African American slave, and Sacagawea, an Indian woman, Lewis and Clark voted to build Fort Clatsop, their home for the next five months.
Long-Needed R&R With the Nez Perce
Men and Indians played boyhood games like “prison base,” a type of tag, and stayed up late dancing and playing the fiddle during Lewis and Clark’s last month with the Nez Perce, one of the most leisurely periods of their two-year journey.
Lewis Kills a Blackfoot Brave
In 1806 Lewis and his men came face to face with a small band of Blackfeet warriors, and after killing a young brave, Lewis and his men rode for 24 hours straight to escape the Blackfeet. “That was the only native death on the entire expedition,” historian John B Buckley says.
Lewis and Clark Arrive Back in St. Louis as Heroes
On September 23, 1806 in St. Louis, Missouri, Lewis and Clark complete their final journey, which Buckley describes as “America’s odyssey.” The Corps of Discovery returned to the land of their birth, where they were greeted as heroes.
How long did it take Lewis and Clark to reach the Pacific?
Lewis and Clark, along with the Corps of Volunteers for Northwestern Discovery, arrive at the mouth of the Columbia River on November 15, 1805, one year, six months, and one day after leaving St. Louis, Missouri, in search of the legendary “Northwest Passage” to the sea.
When did Lewis and Clark finish their journey?
The corps established Fort Clatsop, near present-day Astoria, Oregon, as its winter quarters after reaching the Pacific Ocean in November 1805, and then returned home to St. Louis on March 23, 1806.
What was Lewis and Clark’s salary?
Meriwether Lewis was paid a total of $2,776.22 (including his allowance) for 47 months of service, plus 1,600 acres of land*, while Captain Clark was paid a total of $2,113.74 (including subsistence allowance) for 47 months of service, plus the 1,600 acres of land.
What did Clark name his first born child?
Clark and his wife, Julia Hancock, had five children, the eldest of whom he named Meriwether Lewis.) Clark was a devoted family man and a valued friend.
Who helped Lewis and Clark survive on their journey?
Despite Lewis’ tragic death, his expedition with Clark is one of America’s most famous, as the duo and their crew strengthened America’s claim to the West with the help of Sacagawea and other Native Americans, and inspired countless other explorers and western pioneers.
What did Lewis and Clark find on their journey?
However, Lewis and Clark discovered 122 animal species on their 8,000-mile journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean and back in 1804-1806, including iconic American animals like the grizzly bear, coyote, prairie dog, and bighorn sheep.
What happened to the Mandan villages?
A smallpox epidemic devastated Mandan villages in 1781, forcing survivors to relocate north and establish two villages about five miles south of the Hidatsa villages, where they prospered until a smallpox epidemic in 1837 reduced the Mandan to as few as 125 people.
How long did the entire journey take?
In fact, the expedition had to make its way across the vast Bitterroot Mountains, which were already covered in snow in September, on the Lolo Trail, which took 11 days and nearly put the men to sleep.
Why did Thomas Jefferson order the Lewis and Clark expedition?
The Lewis and Clark Expedition set out on the next leg of their journey in the spring of 1805, with high water and favorable weather. Jefferson hoped that Lewis and Clark would find a water route connecting the Columbia and Missouri rivers.
Who died on the Lewis and Clark expedition?
Sergeant Charles Floyd dies three months into Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s journey, making him the only member of the Corps of Discovery to perish.
Did Lewis and Clark get along?
Lewis met Clark during the 1790s Northwest Campaigns in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, where their friendship began. Both considered the other to be their closest friend, and Lewis’ death in 1809 was a devastating blow to Clark.
How many died on Lewis and Clark expedition?
Only one member of the Lewis and Clark expedition died during the journey, Sergeant Charles Floyd, who died near modern-day Sioux City, Iowa, in August 1804.