Cairo in Alexander County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lewis & Clark
Corps of Discovery
Charting the Confluence
On November 14, 1803, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Corps of Discovery stayed for six days, one of the longest stops made by the expedition. Here, they saw the Mississippi for the first time, noted the mistletoe on the large timber and to their surprise, caught a 128 pound blue catfish. Their stay allowed Captain Lewis to teach Captain Clark the use of the navigational equipment; a compass and sextant. Because the 3rd Principal Meridian begins at the mouth of the Ohio, astronomical observations at this point were crucial.
Corps of Discovery
In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned U.S. Army officers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to conduct an expedition to the Pacific coast through a region entirely unknown to European civilization. Their assignment - to cross the North American continent from the Mississippi River to the Pacific ocean by way of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers. They left from Pittsburgh on the Ohio River August 31, 1803, on the Eastern Legacy of the trip.
This area south of Cairo, in Alexander County,
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Exploration. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #03 Thomas Jefferson, and the Lewis & Clark Expedition series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is November 14, 1803.
Location. 36° 59.252′ N, 89° 9.019′ W. Marker is in Cairo, Illinois, in Alexander County. Marker is on Washington Avenue (U.S. 60/62) south of U.S. 51, on the right when traveling north. Located at the entrance to Fort Defiance Park, in a parking area for the State Highway Patrol office. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2130 Great River Road, Cairo IL 62914, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historical Survey Marker (here, next to this marker); Cairo Connection (here, next to this marker); Lewis and Clark in Illinois (here, next to this marker); Critical River ConfluenceCairo, Illinois (a few steps from this marker); Great River Road Illinois (within shouting distance of this marker); The Ohio River Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Mississippi River Bridge (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cairo.
Also see . . . Lewis & Clark Trail Heritige Foundation. (Submitted on May 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,500 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 2, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.