After being issued by President Thomas Jefferson to map, explore, and compile information on the land just bought through the Louisiana Purchase, Captain Meriwether Lewis and 2nd Lieutenant William Clark set off on one of the greatest expeditions of all time. This paper will explore what adversities were faced on the Corp of Discoveries. From militant Indians to diseases like dysentery, they faced it all. And as Captain Lewis documented, “We went as close to hell as you can go in this lifetime.” (11.Perry)
On April 30, 1803, the United States bought 828,000 square miles of uncharted land from France. This is known as the Louisiana Purchase. A little over a year later, Jefferson’s famous “Corps of Discovery” set off from Camp River DuBois on the Missouri River. This group was led by Captain Meriwether Lewis, President Jefferson’s private secretary, and 2nd Lieutenant William Clark. They carried with them a keelboat, two smaller rowboats known as pirogues, and fifty-five men including translators, soldiers, a slave, and a dog named Seaman. The main goal of the expedition was to find a water route linking the Columbia and Missouri rivers. Finding this route would lead to an increase in trade and travel. As they traded with the Indians they set up the first phase of fur trading within the Oregon Country. This later led to strong diplomatic relations with some of the Native American tribes. Lewis and Clark also contributed greatly to the botanical and zoological fields by documenting 174 new plant species and 134 new animal species. But it was not all fun and games, as you will see. (4. " lewis & clark expedition --reading 1.") (11.Perry) (5. "Lewis and clark expedition facts, information, pictures.")
Along the journey to the Pacific and back, Lewis and Clark faced some treacherous events. One of these adversities was starvation and food malnutrition. Granted, they did carry 193 pounds of boiled down eggs, meat, and vegetables called “portable soup.” But even this amount of food could not sustain them for the entire journey; this makes sense considering one man usually ate nine pounds of meat a day. Lewis and Clark combined prehistoric gathering of edible plants with the more modern style of hunting. This created a wide variety in their diet. Their main source of food was from shooting wild buffalo. Sacagawea also aided them in finding food. Since she was a native of the land, she knew the vegetation better than anybody. But even with this many resources there were times when their food supply was low or even deteriorated to the point that several members often suffered with malnutrition. As bad as this seems, this is just the beginning of their problems. (2. Delms) (3."Hardships – mccarthy)
Our next hardship is illnesses. This was a monumental challenge during that day. Their medical knowledge was very little. Lewis and Clark did carry medicine with them, but most of it did no good. These diseases included boils, dysentery, frost...