All the articles composed for this section of the Web site were researched lewis and clark expedition essay written by Irving W. Anderson is a past president of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, a graduate of the University of Washington, and a former faculty member of The Heritage Insitute, Antioch University, Seattle. Now retired, he lives in Portland, Oregon.
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1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition. Although many individuals were associated with the military cadre during its 1803-1804 initial stages of travel from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Fort Mandan, North Dakota, only those 33 members who journeyed from Fort Mandan to Fort Clatsop, Oregon, and returned comprised the Permanent Party. Two members originally recruited for the Pacific bound party, Privates Moses Reed and John Newman, were dismissed before the explorers reached Fort Mandan. Due to the remote, wilderness places of their crimes, both remained with the party over the Fort Mandan winter, doing hard labor.
They were sent downriver aboard the keelboat in the spring of 1806. The Fort Mandan-to-Fort Clatsop personnel were of white, black, and red racial origins, plus mixtures of the three. The oldest among the men was Charbonneau, who was 47 years old. Sacagawea was a teenager thought to be approximately 17. 55 days old when the explorers departed Fort Mandan on April 7, 1805, bound for the Pacific Ocean. The following are biographical vignettes of each of the 33 permanent party members.
Those who distinguished themselves during the mission for their more than routine contributions, or were unique members, are treated individually. I suppress the expression of a hope, that the recollection of services thus faithfully performed will meet a just reward in an ample remuneration on the party of our Government. Meriwether Lewis, Captain 1st U. Lewis and Clark Expedition reaches the Pacific Ocean on November 15, 1805.
On November 15, 1805, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Volunteers for Northwestern Discovery reach the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River, one year, six months, and one day after leaving St. Louis, Missouri, in search of the legendary “Northwest Passage” to the sea. Visionaries had long believed that the North American continent could be crossed on a ladder of rivers stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Missouri River, which drains the eastern half of the continent, with the Columbia, flowing west to the Pacific. They carried maps indicating that the two river systems were separated by a “ridge of hills” at the Continental Divide, no more than 20 miles wide and passable in half a day. Instead, they found a daunting range of mountains that took weeks to cross.
By the time they arrived at the ocean, Lewis and Clark knew that the Northwest Passage did not exist. Columbia, western rivers were not the slow, smooth waterways of the East. On the upper Missouri and on the Columbia, the explorers faced rapids and cataracts that were bigger, swifter, and more dangerous than anything they had ever experienced. If they had failed in their primary mission, Lewis and Clark had still achieved many of the objectives laid out for them by President Thomas Jefferson when he planned the expedition in 1803. They had found the sources of the Missouri and the major tributaries of the Columbia, followed the Columbia to the sea, collected detailed information about the plants, animals, geography, and inhabitants of the region, and laid the groundwork for American expansion to the coast. Columbia River estuary, they established what they called “Station Camp. The site is commemorated by Lewis and Clark Campsite State Park, a tiny roadside attraction two miles southeast of what is now the town of Chinook, on U.
The location of the actual campsite is a matter of conjecture, since the shoreline has shifted by several hundred feet since Lewis and Clark passed through. In fact, it was a summer fishing village, temporarily vacated while the occupants moved to winter quarters. The explorers did not understand the biseasonal settlement pattern of the local Native Americans. This was not the first time this particular village had been observed by white men visiting the area. Thirteen years earlier, in May 1792, Captain Robert Gray had drawn a map of the mouth of the Columbia that included the village.
Lieutenant William Broughton of the George Vancouver expedition also noted the village when he explored the Columbia in October 1792. Lewis and Clark counted 36 houses there in 1805, about the same number that James G. Swan saw when he drew sketches of “Chenook” village in 1811. The Corps spent 10 days at Station Camp — their longest encampment in what is now Washington state — exploring, hunting, and visiting with the Chinook and Clatsop Indians who came to inspect and trade with the newcomers. Lewis carved his name in a tree at the northernmost extremity of the cape. Clark and several of the other men added their names to the same tree later, along with the notation that they had come “by land from the U.
At the cape, one of the men killed a “remarkably large buzzard” that had been feeding on the remains of a whale. Condors, now an endangered species, were common on the shores of the Columbia until the mid-nineteenth century. One of the members of their large retinue was wearing a robe made from sea otter pelts, which Clark described as “more butifull than any fur I had ever Seen. The captains wanted to buy the robe as evidence of the wealth to be tapped if a trading post were to be established at the mouth of the Columbia.