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Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery

Journals: May, 1804

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Meriwether Lewis, William Clark
Members of the Expedition
Camp DuBois, Fort Clatsop National Memorial, The Lewis and Clark Trail
Keelboats, Maps, Scientific Discoveries
Lewis and Clark Bicentennial

1803 1805 1806

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July August September October November December
May 2
Lewis letter to Clark: I can not hear of any or find any hair pipes. The mail has not arrived yet. The Osages will set out on the tenth. The pay of the men will commence from the dates of their last enlistments and will be made up to the last of November 1804 at the regular wage of soldiers, including the bounty that you are entitled to. Five dollars a month will also be sent as an advance on the score of cloathing and provisions not furnished by the government. This is to commence those inlisted in Kentucky from the dates of their inlistment, all others from January 1, 1804. Mr. Choteau has procured seven engages to go as far as the Mandanes-but will not agree to go further.
Missouri Native Americans Hair Pipes Economics Camp DuBois
May 6
Lewis letter to Clark: Here is your commission accompanied by the Secretary of War's letter. It is not as I had wished it to be. I will explain more in depth when I see you next. I have sent you by Colter and Moses Reed 200 lbs. of tallow which you will be good as to have melted with 50 lbs. of hog's lard, cooled in small vessels and put in small Keggs which were to be used for Whiskey. No Keggs can be obtained from St. Louis. I hope that things will be ready for our departure. Manuel Lisa and Mr. Francis Maire Benoit are giving me more trouble than they are worth. I have conversed with them many times and I believe they are scoundrels, and they have given me abundant proofs of their unfriendly dispositions toward our government and their measures. I no longer plan to call them gentlemen, but rather puppies. They have hired someone to draft a petition and remonstrance to Governor (William) Claibourne against me. I can't believe that such men will be willing to appear to have such sanity, will act in such a way as to show some type of insanity. I plan to take two horses with me, the one which is at camp and the one in which the men now bring to you. Your sincere friend.
Missouri Food and Nutrition Horses Camp DuBois
May 7
Clark: I have worked on loading the boat all day. It is a fair day. Mr. Rumsey road the horse to St. Louis. A fair day.
Missouri Keelboat Horses Weather Camp DuBois
May 13
Clark: I have dispatched an express this morning to Captain Lewis at St. Louis. All of our supplies and provisions are on board this 22 oar boat, another large Perogue of 71 oars (which carries 8 French men), and a second Perogue of 6 oars (containing soldiers). All the men sent out have powder cartridges and 100 balls each. All men are in good health and are ready to set out.

French Missouri Keelboat Camp DuBois
May 14
Clark: It has rained for part of the day. I have decided to go as far as the St. Charles, a french village 7 legs up the Missourie (Missouri), and wait at that place until Captain Lewis could finish the business in which he was detained to do in St. Louis. I am 24 miles up past St. Louis. If any changes are needed in the load we are carrying, then we should be able to make such changes in St. Charles. I have set out at 4 o'clock with many of the inhabitants, following a gentle breeze up the Missouie (Missouri)...
Sgt. Charles Floyd: It is a rainy day. Captain Clark has already set out, at 3 o'clock for the western expedition. His party consists of 3 sergents, and 38 working hands which were used to man the Batteow and two Perogues. We have sailed up the Missouria (Missouri) and encamped on the north side of the River.
Pvt. Patrick Gass: We have left our establishment today, which was located at the mouth of the Dubois or Wood river. We have proceeded up the Missouri on our intended voyage of discovery, under command of Captain Clark. Captain Lewis will join us in two or three days of our journey.

Our group consists of 43 men (including Captain Lewis and Captain Clark-commanders of the expedition, part of the regular troops of the U'States, and part engaged for this particular journey. We are traveling on a battteau and two perogues.

The day was wet, and we have decided to encamp on the north bank six miles up the River. We have a little time of leisure to reflect on the situation, and the nature of this trip. We had all entered this service as volunteers, to consider how far we stood pledged for the success of an expedition, which the government had projected, which is also for the interest of the Union. Of course, we have high expectations.
Missouri Weather Keelboat Camp DuBois

May 16
The rain has let up allowing for a fair day for the explorers to depart from Mr. Piper's Landing. After resettling the boat's load to the bow to prevent the danger of running foul of the concealed logs in the river, the journey continued smoothly. The men observed large amounts of coal before they reached St. Charles. Clark was invited to dine with some local French people who inhabited the area.
French Missouri Keelboat Weather
May 17
A few men were confined and punished for being absent without permission and behaving poorly at the Ball last night. After being found guilty, two men received twenty lashes on their naked back while John Collins received more severe punishment. The court was resolved thereafter.
Missouri Crime
May 19
The explorers endured very bad weather consisting of violent wind and heavy rain. Although Clark was invited to a Ball, he declined with no reason provided. He was also visited by seven ladies today. According to one of Clark's men, he danced with several of them.
Missouri Women Weather
May 20
Lewis was joined by several men in St. Louis who planned to accompany him to St. Charles where Clark was waiting. Along their journey, they were hit with a terrible storm which forced them to seek shelter in a little cabin for a short time. Because Lewis was determined to reach his destination on schedule, the men set out in the driving rain. The group eventually found the party which was in good spirits. St. Charles is located on the North Bank of the Missouri about twenty-one miles before the crossing of the Mississippi. The village consists of a Chapel, one hundred homes, and about 450 people. The explorers described the inhabitants as miserably poor, illiterate, and very friendly. They appeared to live in perfect harmony. These people are principally the descendants of the Canadian French. The explorers are loading for departure.
Canada Missouri Weather
May 23
After receiving gifts from the Indians, the group was well stocked and prepared to set out early. They gave the Indians whiskey in return for their fine food. The explorers passed an interesting rock to which the Indians and French pay omage; the rock exhibited many names of people who had visited it. Lewis almost fell from a ledge that hung over the river, but he saved himself by using his knife.
French Missouri Native Americans Food & Nutrition
May 26
Today Lewis decided to explain his method of commanding in his journal. He listed the names of privates and sergeants and then discussed their duties and positions
May 28
The rain does not seem to let up for the explorers. Due to the hard rain in the night, several articles were drenched and some tobacco was ruined. A man from the group joined in with six Indians for their hunt, but no insight as to their interaction was revealed. The weather was so cloudy that no observations could be May 31-Thursday
Missouri Weather Native Americans
May 31
Several days have passed since a hunter was lost in the woods with a perogue waiting where the group left him. The weather has turned quite cold forcing the men to seek shelter under bear skin. A half Indian/half French man approached the camp with an Indian girl carrying a letter from Mr. Choteau which told of his letter being burned because the Indians denied the Americans' claim to their land. The group caught several rats of considerable size.

zoology: The rats they encountered were probably brown rats that can grow to 8-10 inches. These rats generally live in groups with a dominate leader. They usually eat poultry, lambs, baby pigs, and sometimes other rats. Rats of all types carry diseases such as typhus and bubonic fever. They also destroy crops.
Missouri Weather Native Americans Rats

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This guide last edited 12/17/2005
This guide last revised 10/23/2007
This guide created 10/12/2004