As you can easily derive from the book title above, the book I read covered the main subject of the historical journey, westward across our country, as taken by the explorers Lewis and Clark and the remaining unit known as the Corps of Discovery. This book was teeming with facts about this exploration as derived, predominantly, as reported within the travel journals diligently kept by both Lewis and Clark. There was supplemental information provided in this book as well. This additional information had been obtained from documented correspondence; letters sent by Lewis to President Thomas Jefferson, and also to his mother, during the travels.
The book provides a short bibliography of Meriwether Lewis providing details regarding his family life, education, military service. The Lewis family came from a region known as central Piedmont in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson lived there as well, and he knew the Lewis family prior to his presidency. Meriwether Lewis served in the US Army and became Captain at the very young age of 26. He then accepted an offer by the newly elected President Jefferson to become his secretary. When the Louisiana Purchase occurred, President Jefferson wanted Lewis to head the exploration and bring back detailed information regarding the borders as well as the geographical conditions of the land that was purchased. He also wanted specific details regarding people, animals and plants that resided within this land. According to Lewis’ journals, one of the most important achievements of the journey would be locating and charting an all water route through the land reaching the Pacific Ocean. The anticipated objectives which motivated achievement of this task were the targeted goals of facilitation of trade with Asia, establishment of fur trading with the Indians, and the development of available western land for the expansion of American settlements.
Lewis received approval to take former US Army Captain, William Clark, whom he served military time with in Ohio under General Anthony Wayne. He also took 34 soldiers, 2 of which were half-bred French Indians to assist with translation that Lewis had sworn in as US Army privates. Also in the initial headcount were 8 French voyagers and Clark’s personal slave, an African American man named York. Along the early stages of the journey he soon added: a French Canadian and Shawnee “frontiersman”, George Drouillard; a pregnant Native American, Sacagawea; and, her French trader husband, Toussaint Charbonneau.
The President also provided Lewis’s exploration with unlimited credit backed by the US Government. The costs to support an undertaking of this magnitude seemed to effortlessly multiply.
The procurement of various transportation, lodging, medical, scientific and food supplies soon added up. Lewis had the task of gathering all the necessary provisional items. Lewis also had numerous preparations to accomplish in order to move this journey to commencement, including research...