Cover picture

Lewis and Clark Anchor TB

  • Starting Point

    Starting Point
    Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from St. Louis, Missouri, on May 14th, 1804. President Jefferson had asked them to explore the newly purchased Louisiana Territory. They were also going to try to find a water route across the continent. They set out, in Clark's words, "under a jentle brease up the Missourie."
  • Illness and Death of Sergeant Floyd

    Illness and Death of Sergeant Floyd
    In late August, near the present town of Sioux City, Iowa, Sergeant Floyd died and was buried. He is believed to have died of a burst appendix. He was the only person who died on the dangerous expedition. Remarkably, he did not die from the perils of the expedition, but merely from an illness which might have killed him at home.
  • Encounter with Teton Sioux

    Encounter with Teton Sioux
    In late September, the expedition encountered the Teton Sioux Indian tribe. These Indians were unfriendly, and refused to let the expedition through without paying a fee. Weapons were drawn, but the Indians were outnumbered and backed down before anyone was hurt. The next day, the Indians changed their treatment of the white men, entertaining them with food and music. However, the expedition still mistrusted the Indians, and the next morning they escaped.
  • Experience with Mandan Indians

    Experience with Mandan Indians
    In late October, the expedition encountered the Mandan Indians. The Mandans were very hospitable and helpful. The expedition spent the winter near the Indian village, and the Indians provided them with food. When food got scarce, the Corps and the Indians went on a buffalo hunt together. Clark wrote that they were "well disposed Indians. . . . They are brave, humane, and hospitable."
  • Building of Fort Mandan

    Building of Fort Mandan
    In early November, the expedition found a place to spend the winter. It was near the Missouri River in present-day North Dakota. The men built a fort out of cottonwood trees, and because the friendly Mandan Indians were nearby, they named it Fort Mandan. At Fort Mandan, the expedition was joined by a Frenchman named Charbonneau and his wife Sacagawea. Sacagawea would later be very helpful because she spoke Shoshone.
  • Birth of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau

    Birth of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau
    On February 11, 1805, in modern North Dakota, Sacagawea gave birth to a baby boy. He was named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, but he was nicknamed Pomp. The childbirth was painful, and Captain Lewis gave Sacagawea medicine made from a rattlesnake rattle to ease the pain. Sacagawea was only about 15 years old when she gave birth to the baby.
  • Experience with a Grizzly Bear

    Experience with a Grizzly Bear
    In early May, the expedition had an encounter with a grizzly bear in what is now Montana. Six of the men, armed with rifles, crept up to the bear and shot it. The bear chased the men into the bushes, and it took several more shots to kill it. When the men butchered the bear, they found it had taken eight shots to kill the powerful animal, including one through the lungs. Lewis wrote that he would "reather fight two Indians than one bear."
  • Cacti at Great Falls

    Cacti at Great Falls
    In mid June, the expedition reached the Great Falls of the Missouri River. Although the falls were magnificent (Lewis described them as "one of the most beautifull objects in nature"), they meant hard work for the men. They had to portage everything past the falls, and most of the
    18-mile trip was uphill. Worst of all, there were small cacti carpeting the ground, and the plants' sharp spines went right through the men's moccasins. The spiny plants made the already difficult experience a misery.
  • Encounter with Shoshone

    Encounter with Shoshone
    Near the borders of the present-day states Idaho and Montana, the expedition met the Shoshone Indian tribe. The Shoshone had never seen white men before, and were frightened at first. Soon, however, they realized that the men were not a threat. Sacagawea helped the expedition to communicate with the Shoshone, and was even reunited with her brother Cameahwait, whom she had been separated from after being kidnapped years before.
  • Crossing the Bitterroot Mountains

    Crossing the Bitterroot Mountains
    As they crossed the border between present-day states Idaho and Montana, the expedition had to climb the Bitterroot Mountains. The weather was freezing with frequent snow. The men only wore leather moccasins, and the freezing, snowy conditions nearly froze their feet. Food was also scarce; the men had to kill and eat some horses to survive. On September 14, Clark wrote, ". . .rained and snowed and hailed the greater part of the day all wet and cold. . ."
  • Experience in Idaho

    Experience in Idaho
    In early October of 1805, the Corps of Discovery encountered the Nez Perce Indians. The main food that was available there was salmon. After being short on food for some time before that, the men were happy to have salmon. But because they weren't used to the fish, many of the men got sick. Some of them ate dog meat instead.
  • Building of Fort Clatsop

    Building of Fort Clatsop
    After reaching the Pacific Ocean via the Columbia River, the expedition needed to decide where to spend the winter. They took a vote, allowing even Sacagawea and York, Clark's slave, to vote. It was decided that they would stay where they were and build a fort. They built Fort Clatsop, named for the Clatsop Indians, near present day Astoria, Oregon.
  • Trading with the Tillamooks

    Trading with the Tillamooks
    While the Corps was spending the winter at Fort Clatsop, a large whale washed onto the beach nearby. Clark went to salvage some meat and blubber, but the nearby Tillamook Indians had already taken everything but the bones. The Tillamooks were reluctant to give up any of the blubber, but Clark persuaded them by offering them trinkets. Both sides were satisfied with the trade, and the Corps was very grateful for the blubber.
  • Killing of Blackfeet Indians

    Killing of Blackfeet Indians
    On the return trip of the journey, the expedition split into two groups, one led by Lewis and another by Clark. While in Montana, Lewis's group encountered the Blackfoot Indians. The Blackfeet attempted to steal the expedition's rifles. There was a fight, and two Indians were killed. These were the only Native Americans killed by a member of the expedition.
  • Lewis Mistakenly Shot

    Lewis Mistakenly Shot
    On the return trip of the expedition, in what is now North Dakota, Lewis was shot in the hip. He and one of the men, Private Cruzatte, were hunting for elk when the incident happened. Lewis was suddenly shot, and he thought Cruzatte, who was partially blind, had mistaken him for an elk and shot him. However, Cruzatte denied doing this. Luckily, Lewis's wounds were not serious, and he was soon well again.