The Indians took in the weary travelers, fed them and helped them regain their health. As the Corps recovered, they built dugout canoes, then left their horses with the Nez Perce and braved the Clearwater River rapids to Snake River and then to Columbia River. They reportedly ate dog meat along the way instead of wild game. A bedraggled and harried Corps finally reached the stormy Pacific Ocean in November They decided to make camp near present-day Astoria, Oregon , and started building Fort Clatsop on December 10 and moved in by Christmas.
It was not an easy winter at Fort Clatsop.
Description: This page contains the account of the Lewis and Clark expedition reaching the Columbia River. One group, headed by Lewis, explored the Marias River to determine if it originated in British Canadian territory, while the second, headed by Clark, proceeded southwest and descended the Yellowstone River. The maps, principally the work of William Clark, provided the first detailed topographic representations of the interior landscapes of the Oregon Country. Lewis and Clark had hoped to contact seafarers at the mouth of the Columbia, but no ships entered the river during their stay on the coast. Lewis and Clark discovered that those who lived in the Columbia River Gorge spoke a different language, but they ignored the Nez Perce warnings and encountered no hostility. Their impatience with Clatsops who would not sell them a canoe led them to steal one of the great canoes they had lauded, breaking one of their fundamental rules to not transgress Natives. They were to explore the Missouri River to its source, then establish the most direct water route to the Pacific, making scientific and geographic observations along the way.
Everyone struggled to keep themselves and their supplies dry and fought an ongoing battle with tormenting fleas and other insects. Almost everyone was weak and sick with stomach problems likely caused by bacterial infections , hunger or influenza-like symptoms. On March 23, , the Corps left Fort Clatsop for home.
They retrieved their horses from the Nez Perce and waited until June for the snow to melt to cross the mountains into the Missouri River Basin. The two groups planned to rendezvous where the Yellowstone and Missouri met in North Dakota. Department of the Interior.
Two days later, at Marias River near present-day Cut Bank, Montana, Lewis and his group encountered eight Blackfeet warriors and were forced to kill two of them when they tried to steal weapons and horses. The location of the clash became known as Two Medicine Fight Site. It was the only violent episode of the expedition, although soon after the Blackfeet fight, Lewis was accidentally shot in his buttocks during a hunting trip; the injury was painful and inconvenient but not fatal. On August 12, Lewis and Clark and their crews reunited and dropped off Sacagawea and her family at the Mandan villages.
They then headed down the Missouri River — with the currents moving in their favor this time — and arrived in St. Lewis and Clark returned to Washington , D. Not only had they completed their mission of surveying the Louisiana Territory from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean — though they failed to identify a coveted Northwest Passage across the continent — they did so against tremendous odds with just one death and little violence. The Corps had traveled more than 8, miles, produced invaluable maps and geographical information, identified at least animal specimens and botanical samples and initiated peaceful relations with dozens of Native American tribes.
Both Lewis and Clark received double pay and 1, acres of land for their efforts. Clark remained well-respected and lived a successful life. Lewis, however, was not an effective governor and drank too much. He never married or had children and died in of two gunshot wounds, possibly self-inflicted. Building Fort Clatsop. Corps of Discovery.
National Park Service: Gateway Arch. Expedition Timeline. Flagship: Keelboat, Barge or Boat? Fort Clatsop Illnesses. Fort Mandan Winter. Indian Peace Medals. Lemhi Valley to Fort Clatsop. Lolo Trail. Louisiana Purchase. The Journey. The Native Americans. To Equip an Expedition. Two Medicine Fight Site. Washington City to Fort Mandan. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!
Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. Lewis first met Clark after being court-martialed by the Army. While serving as a frontier army officer in , a young Meriwether Lewis was court-martialed for allegedly challenging a lieutenant to a duel during a drunken dispute.
The year-old was found not guilty of the Daniel Boone was a hunter, fur trapper and trailblazing American frontiersman whose name is synonymous with the exploration and settlement of Kentucky. The Louisiana Purchase of brought into the United States about , square miles of territory from France, thereby doubling the size of the young republic.
What was known at the time as the Louisiana Territory stretched from the Mississippi River in the east to the Rocky Buffalo soldiers were African American soldiers who mainly served on the Western frontier following the American Civil War. In , six all-black cavalry and infantry regiments were created after Congress passed the Army Organization Act. Their main tasks were to help control The Oregon Trail was a roughly 2,mile route from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon, which was used by hundreds of thousands of American pioneers in the mids to emigrate west.
The trail was arduous and snaked through Missouri and present-day Kansas, Famed as a frontiersman, folk hero, congressman and Alamo defender, Davy Crockett was one of the most celebrated and mythologized figures in American history.
Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in , expressed the philosophy that drove 19th-century U. Manifest Destiny held that the United States was destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the There they met the Nez Perce, whose hospitality revived the physically weakened Corps during their two-week stay. The Captains made strong connections with Nez Perce and secured their aid in constructing five dugout canoes from ponderosa pine logs to descend the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers.
With two Nez Perce as guides—Twisted Hair and Teotarsky—the small flotilla descended the Clearwater to the Snake River , where they encountered nearly fifty major rapids and a semi-arid landscape that was unlike anything they had experienced. As the Corps descended the Columbia in October and November , the Captains described Native people in increasingly negative terms, emphasizing the pilfering of items and their physical appearance and dress.
But they also noted their extensive caches of dried fish, the unusual reed mat lodges, and their fishing gear. Their Nez Perce guides told the Captains that they had entered a dangerous region and that people who lived below the falls would kill them. They left the Corps to return to their villages on the Clearwater.
Lewis and Clark discovered that those who lived in the Columbia River Gorge spoke a different language, but they ignored the Nez Perce warnings and encountered no hostility. The river overwhelmed the Corps. By early November, they had descended below the Cascades rapids, where Clark noted evidence of a tidal effect in the river near present-day Beacon Rock.
On the southern bank they found extensive sand deposits at the mouth of what they called the Quicksand River the present-day Sandy River. Their journal entries increasingly included complaints about the weather. By November 18, the expeditionary force had reached the Pacific. By polling Corps members, they decided to stay the winter on the south side of the river. In early December, they built a sturdy stockade, named Fort Clatsop , on the present-day Lewis and Clark River southwest of present-day Astoria.
Lewis and Clark had hoped to contact seafarers at the mouth of the Columbia, but no ships entered the river during their stay on the coast. Built in the homeland of the Clatsop people, the fort drew sufficient attention from residents on both sides of the Columbia River that the Captains instituted security precautions to limit contact between Corps members and Natives. The restrictions reflected significant tensions between the Corps and lower Columbia River people, who the Captains saw as difficult in trade and generally not interested in friendly relations, as the Mandan had been.
Chinook and Clatsop people had little to gain in trade with the Corps, and their middleman role in trade between coastal and interior Native groups gave them considerable power. Lewis and Clark spent the winter compiling their notes and maps from the journey west of Fort Mandan, taking care to make drawings of people, flora, fauna, and landscapes. Their journal entries from that winter are peppered with criticism of the people and conditions at the coast.
Certainly one of the worst days that ever was! During much of the Fort Clatsop winter, the Corps prepared gear and clothing for the return journey, hunted elk in the Coast Range, and tended a salt-boiling station on the coast. Nonetheless, the Captains were eager to head upriver. Their impatience with Clatsops who would not sell them a canoe led them to steal one of the great canoes they had lauded, breaking one of their fundamental rules to not transgress Natives. Lewis and Clark and the members of the Corps focused on arriving at the Nez Perce camps as speedily as possible.
They dallied only to explore the Willamette River , which they called the Multnomah, a major tributary they had missed on their descent. Clark had time only to travel up the Willamette to near the present-day site of the St. Johns Bridge. Once back on the Columbia and in the Gorge, the Captains tried to bargain for horses to hasten their journey. The spring freshet on the river offered the Corps a much different river, one very difficult to navigate against a strong current.
At The Dalles, Lewis became agitated with what he perceived to be Native intransigence and erupted over thievery. By April 27, the Corps had reunited with Yellepit near the mouth of the Snake River, where they traded for more horses and made their way cross-country to the Nez Perce camps and a reuniting with Teotarsky.
The Captains learned that snow blocked passage over the Bitterroot Mountains, so they spent more than a month with the Nez Perce, developing the strongest relationship with Natives during the entire Expedition. The Corps struggled back over the Lolo Trail to the Bitterroot Valley by late June, when they rested and decided to split up. One group, headed by Lewis, explored the Marias River to determine if it originated in British Canadian territory, while the second, headed by Clark, proceeded southwest and descended the Yellowstone River.
Lewis and his group had a much different experience. Offering to camp with them, Lewis believed he was being careful, but an attempted theft of a Corps rifle led to a skirmish that left two Piegan dead and the Corps racing away from the scene to the Missouri River. It was the only armed conflict with Natives during the Expedition.
Clark and Lewis and their entourages reunited at the mouth of the Yellowstone on August 12 for their final descent of the Missouri to the Mandan villages, where they arrived two days later. The Captains took two days to conduct diplomacy with Mandan and Hidatsa chiefs; to say their farewells to Toussaint Charbonneau, Sacagawea, and Baptiste; and to enlist Mandan chief Sheheke and his family to accompany the Corps to St. Louis to visit the United States as ambassadors of the Mandan people. Louis and sent word by letter of their success. The most important legacy of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is extant in the nearly one million words of description preserved in the journals, the herbarium specimens collected during the Expedition, and the maps created by William Clark.
The Captains listed plants and animals new to science, with 65 species located in Oregon Country. Included in those new species are Columbian ground squirrel, white sturgeon, and Oregon pronghorn, along with Western red cedar , salmonberry, and Oregon white oak.
The Corps of Discovery was not a direct cause of western settlement or a pathway for the later Oregon Trail. Fur-trade companies based in St. Louis, however, enlisted Corps members to trap the Yellowstone River region and establish outposts as early as The manuscript journals from the Expedition are archived at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.
The first publication of a travel narrative based on the Expedition was an edited version of a journal lost to history kept by Patrick Gass, which appeared in , with six later editions by The first modern edition was the work of Elliott Coues, who published a four-volume rendition of the journals in In , Reuben Gold Thwaites of the Wisconsin Historical Society published an extensive eight-volume edition of the journals, which remained the standard until Gary E.
The lives of principals in the great exploration varied dramatically. Meriwether Lewis never completed his promised narrative of the Expedition, served briefly as governor of Upper Louisiana Territory, and came under congressional criticism. He committed suicide on the Natchez Trace in October William Clark lived out his life as a public official as Louisiana Territory superintendent of Indian affairs, governor of Missouri Territory, and finally as federal superintendent of Indian affairs.
He lived in St. Louis, where he died in Sacagawea lived with Charbonneau in St. Louis and at fur forts in the Upper Missouri region, gave birth to a second child, and died in late of fever at Fort Manuel. Jean Baptiste Charbonneau went to live with Clark in St. Louis in , attended school, traveled to Europe, and worked as a western guide and in gold mining. He died of pneumonia in southeast Oregon in May Two material objects from the Lewis and Clark Expedition remain in Oregon.
The silver medal given to Yellepit, which was evidently lost or traded, ended up in the collections of the Oregon Historical Society in after it was discovered on an island in the Columbia in the early s. It was found near The Dalles in the s and is in the collections of the Oregon Historical Society. The Lewis and Clark Expedition remains one of the foundational stories of Oregon history. Place-names the explorers set down on maps are still used, Sacagawea became one of the most famous women in American history, and modern places and institutions in Oregon are named for the Captains and members of the Corps.
Interest in the Expedition waned during the nineteenth century, but was reinvigorated after World War II, when scholars pursued subjects that revealed Native perspectives on the journey, geopolitical consequences, and scientific discoveries made by the explorers. Donald Jackson, ed. Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition , 2 vols. Urbana: Universityof Illinois Press, Gary E.
Moulton, ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, James P. Lewis and Clark Among the Indians. Richard Engeman. William L. Lang and Carl Abbott. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, It was founded in its current location at about AD Of the …. Of the several Chinook men called Concomly at one time or another, the most famous was the headman located on Baker's Bay, on the north bank of the Columbia River, during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.