The Expedition of Lewis and Clark by Zachary Hine

Why the Expedition Began

President Thomas Jefferson

After the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, Jefferson wanted the land explored. He wanted to find a waterway route across North America to the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson wanted to learn about the Indian tribes. In 1803, he chose his secretary Meriwether Lewis to lead the journey across the west.

Important People of the Expedition

The group of people on the journey were called The Corps of Discovery. Besides the key players, there were also about 23 US Army privates, and 3 US army sergeants as well.


Meriwether Lewis

  • from Virginia
  • served in US Army in 1700s
  • well educated, the President's Secretary
  • experienced woodsmen, brave
  • chosen to lead the expedition by President Jefferson

William Clark

  • from Virginia
  • served in US army in 1700s
  • brave, experienced woodsmen
  • chosen by Lewis to help lead the expeditition

Seaman (Lewis's Dog)

  • companion to the crew
  • helped with hunting


(Clark's African American Slave)

  • strong worker
  • helped with getting along with the Indians
  • the only African-American on the journey


(French Canadian fur trader)

  • knew sign language and many Indian languages
  • was the translator for the Indians


(wife of Charbonneau)

  • once belonged to the Shoshone Tribe
  • she bartered with the Indians for horses needed for the journey
  • she helped save important materials from the water when their boat overtuned
  • she led the crew over land she knew

Jean Baptiste

(Nickname Pompy-given by Clark it means "little chief")

  • he helped the crew not be so homesick
  • to the Indians, having a baby meant the crew came in peace

Sergeant Charles Floyd

  • the only person to die on the expedition
  • he kept detailed records of the journey until he died

Items needed for the journey

Most of the journey was by water, so transportation was needed.

  • a 55 foot barge - called a Keelboat
  • 2 pirogue - large rowboats with sails
  • canoes


flour, coffee, salt
  • dried condensed soup
  • flour
  • biscuits
  • salt
  • coffee
  • peas
  • beans
  • sugar
  • lard

Kitchen Supplies

kettle, knives, spoons
  • kettles
  • knives
  • spoons
  • cups
  • candles


compass, telescope, scissors
  • pliers
  • chisel
  • handsaws
  • hatchets
  • fishing hooks and lines
  • compass
  • telescope
  • thermometers
  • sextants
  • chronometer (to calculate longitude)
  • scissors

Arms and Ammunition

  • rifles
  • bullets
  • gun powder
  • other weapons


  • overcoat
  • rain coat
  • overalls
  • shirt
  • socks
  • etc.

Presents for Indians

ivory comb, sewing needles, silk ribbons
  • pocket mirrors
  • sewing needles
  • scissors
  • silk ribbons
  • ivory combs
  • bright colored cloth
  • tobacco
  • knives
  • beads of different colors

Other items

book, mosquito curtains
  • medicine
  • books
  • mosquito curtains
  • writing paper, ink, crayons

Hardships of the journey

Hardships on the water

mosquito, sand bars, bad weather, logs
  • sand bars - stopped the boats
  • rapids - slowed the boats down, possibly overturn
  • huge floating logs that could crush a canoe
  • bad weather - difficult to navigate, squalls can flip the boat
  • intense heat
  • mosquitoes
  • sickness - can slow the crew down, some men had colds, fever, and boils

Hardships on land

bears, cold winters
  • the thorns from the prickly pear cactus would cut the men's feet
  • hunger, sometimes animals were scarce and the crew was hungry
  • bad weather, the winter of 1804-1805 was so cold, the temperature was almost forty degrees below zero
  • grizzly bears, Lewis was almost killed be one. He wrote in his journal that, "I had reather fight 2 Indians than one bear."
  • homesick, the journey took about 2 years and the crew did not get mail from their family
  • unfriendly Indians - the Teton Sioux tribe was the most hostile, but after talking and giving them gifts, they let the crew go on


Animals (They discovered more than 120 animals)

buffalo, red fox, prairie dog
  • black - billed mag pie
  • prairie dog
  • blue catfish
  • bull snake
  • coyote
  • grizzly bear
  • harbor seal
  • mountain lion
  • red fox
  • sea otter
  • white tailed deer
  • bison
  • porcupines
  • woodpeckers

Plants (They discovered over 200 plants)

spring birch, silver sage, bear grass
  • bear grass
  • big leaf maple
  • camas
  • silver sage
  • spring birtch
  • yellow flowering pea

Accomplishments of the Lewis and clark expedition

  • Lewis/Clark learned a lot about the Native American Indians. They knew some Indian words. They could describe how they dress and where and how they live. They knew which tribes got along and which ones didn't.
  • Lewis/Clark mapped out a large portion of North America.
  • They learned that a water route from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean didn't exist.
  • Lewis/Clark contributed to science by discovering many new plants and animals.
  • After the expedition, many more Americans were excited to go west.

timeline of their journey

  • May 4, 1804 - The Corp of Discovery departs St. Louis heading west on the Missouri River.
  • August 1804 - Sergeant Charles Floyd dies of a burst appendix and was buried on a hill along the side of the Missouri River. Explorers named this place Floyd's Bluff.
  • November 1804 - The crew traveled about 1,600 miles from St. Louis. Winter was coming, so they built a fort along the bank of the Missouri River called Fort Mandan. The name was to honor their friendly neighbors.
  • February 1805 - Toussaint Charbonneau and Sacagawea join the corp.
  • April 1805 - Several crew members headed down the Missouri River to deliver findings to President Jefferson. The rest of the crew left Fort Mandan and headed west on the Missouri River.
  • June 1805 - They discover the Great Falls along the Missouri River. It took them 11 days to cross The Falls.
  • August 1805 - Sacagawea helped trade with the Shoshones for horses.
  • August 30, 1805 - A Shoshone man named Old Toby and his 4 sons helped to guide the Corps over the rugged Bitterroot Mountains.
  • September 1805 - The Corp took the Lolo Trail over the Bitterroot. There were many obstacles like a blizzard and hunger.
  • October 1805 - The Corp left Clearwater River and headed down Snake River with 2 Nez Perce chiefs as guides.
  • Late October 1805 - They left Snake River and went onto the Columbia River.
  • November 15, 1805 - The Corps reached the Pacific Ocean.
  • December 7, 1805 - The Corps built a fort called Fort Clatsop to spend the winter.
  • March 23, 1806 - The Crop started their journey back home, using the same route.
  • September 1806 - The Corps reached St. Louis

Interesting Facts about lewis & clark and the expedition

  • President Jefferson knew Meriwether from the time he was born.
  • Clark's oldest son was named Meriwether Lewis Clark.
  • When Lewis and a crew member were hunting, the crew member accidentally shot Lewis in the butt thinking he was an elk.
  • Sacagawea saw her long lost brother during the journey.
  • Clark eventually adopted "Pomp" Sacagawea's boy.
  • During the hard times of the expedition, they ate dog meat.

Sources used:

  • St. George, Judith. What was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?. Penguin Group, 2014.


Created with images by cliff1066™ - "Thomas Jefferson" • scottfeldstein - "DSC_0053.JPG" • jarmoluk - "coffee beans coffee the drink" • SoraZG - "Salt-(sea)_B130623" • oatsy40 - "Copper Kettles" • Didriks - "New Kyocera Knives at Local Root" • visnup - "spooning" • Unsplash - "compass magnetic orientation" • Newsum Antiques - "Telescope" • Leonid Mamchenkov - "Scissors" • Brett_Hondow - "bullets ammo ammunition" • jarmoluk - "old books book old" • tanakawho - "Mosquito" • - "Dublin Irelande / Irelande" • LoboCrzz - "clouds storm sky" • Jan Tik - "Log Ness Monster" • kasabubu - "grizzly bear brown bear grizzly" • bigbirdz - "Snow" • skeeze - "bison buffalo herd" • Unsplash - "fox wildlife animal" • Joergseemann - "prairie dog zoo animal" • bagsgroove - "Spring" • Paula Reedyk - "Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)" • Drew Avery - "Bear Grass {nolina texana}"

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