St. Joseph in Buchanan County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Men of the Corps of Discovery / The Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Men of the Corps of Discovery
During the winter of 1803, Lewis and Clark set up camp opposite the mouth of the Missouri River. Here they drilled and trained their men to prepare them for the task ahead. All of the men had been selected for their special talents and experiences as backwoodsmen. They were chosen to be "capable of bearing bodily fatigue in a pretty considerable way." Several were considered too undisciplined to serve under a military command and were dismissed.
The Corps of Discovery was made up of volunteers from the military, other Americans, and Frenchmen hired to be hunters, trackers, blacksmiths, carpenters, general laborers, boatmen, and interpreters. They were to receive six months pay in advance plus clothing and food.
The number of men with the Corps of Discovery varied along the journey. Some were hired to help with the keelboat and pirogues and assist the expedition only as far as the Mandan villages. On July 7, 1804, as the group passed the future site of St. Joseph, it consisted of the fifty men listed below, four horses, and a dog.
*Meriwether Lewis and
*York, Clark's servant John Boley *William Bratton Alexander Carson Charles Caugee Joseph Collin *John Collins John Colter *Pierre Cruzatte John Dame Baptiste DeChamps Pierre Dorion *George Drouillard *Joseph Fields *Reuben Fields Charles Floyd *Robert Frazier *Patrick Gass *George Gibson *Silas Goodrich *Hugh McNeal John Newman *John Ordway *John Potts Paul Primeau *Nathaniel Pryor Moses Reed Francois Rivet Peter Roi "Rokey" *George Shannon *John Shields *John Thompson Ebenezer Tuttle Richard Warfington *Peter Weiser *William Werner Issac [sic] White *Joseph Whitehouse *Alexander Willard *Richard Windsor
* Indicates men who made the entire journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back to St. Louis in 1806. (The only woman with the Corps of Discovery, Sacagawea, and her husband joined the expedition at a Mandan village.)
President Jefferson instructed that descriptions of what Lewis and Clark saw "were to be taken with great pains & accuracy, to be entered distinctly, & intelligibly for others as well as yourself."
Clark wrote his field notes at the end of each day. The Corps of Discovery passed the future site of St. Joseph on July 7, 1804, and Clark wrote the entry shown to the right that evening.
[caption below the Yale University
Seaman was a Newfoundland purchased by Lewis for $20. The dog accompanied the party to the Pacific, but it is not known if he was still with the expedition when it returned to St. Louis. The last time Seaman was mentioned in the journals was July 15, 1806, when the Corps of Discovery was in the vicinity of what is now Great Falls, Montana. Seaman was much admired by the Native Americans, and they frequently offered to trade for him, which Lewis always refused to do.
[Map of area] Saturday, July 7, 1804 [and] Friday, September 12, 1806
The Lewis and Clark Expedition
In 1804-06, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led about 40 soldiers and boatmen on an epic journey. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned this "Corps of Discovery" to find a route to the Pacific Ocean through the newly acquired Louisiana territory. Along the way, they mapped the land, recorded its resources, and contacted its native inhabitants.
The landscape has changed since Lewis and Clark explored it: rivers have been dammed, forests cut over, prairies plowed under, and roads built to the horizon. Although remnants of wilderness still exist, imagine this land as Lewis and Clark first saw it two centuries ago.
The United States purchased the
With Jefferson's permission, Lewis asked his friend and former commanding officer, William Clark (left), to be co-leader. Although opposite in temperament, they worked harmoniously throughout the two-year journey.
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Exploration • Government & Politics • Native Americans • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #03 Thomas Jefferson, and the Lewis & Clark Expedition series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is July 2005.
Location. 39° 46.626′ N, 94° 52.039′ W. Marker is in St. Joseph, Missouri, in Buchanan County. Marker is south of the shelter house in Huston Wyeth Park, on Wyeth Hill, at the north end of Elwood Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Joseph MO 64501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Joseph Robidoux at Roy's Branch (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Path To Freedom (approx. 0.4 miles away); St. Joseph (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fort Smith (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Lewis and Clark ExpeditionPony Express (approx. 0.8 miles away); Joseph Robidoux (approx. 0.8 miles away); The California - Oregon Trail (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Joseph.
Also see . . .
1. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. (Submitted on November 30, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Discovering Lewis & Clark. (Submitted on November 30, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. (Submitted on November 30, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. The Lewis and Clark Expedition. (Submitted on November 30, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 26, 2022. It was originally submitted on November 30, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 977 times since then and 115 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 30, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.