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Lewis and Clark Journals An American Epic of Discovery

ISBN-10: 0803280394
ISBN-13: 9780803280397
Edition: 2nd 2005 (Abridged)
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Description: Following orders from President Thomas Jefferson, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from their wintering camp in Illinois in 1804 to search for a river passage to the Pacific Ocean. In this riveting account, editor Gary E. Moulton  More...

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Book details

List price: $19.95
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication date: 11/1/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 497
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.694
Language: English

Following orders from President Thomas Jefferson, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from their wintering camp in Illinois in 1804 to search for a river passage to the Pacific Ocean. In this riveting account, editor Gary E. Moulton blends the narrative highlights of the Lewis and Clark journals so that the voices of the enlisted men and of Native peoples are heard alongside the words of the captains. All their triumphs and terrors are here—the thrill of seeing the vast herds of bison on the plains; the tensions and admiration in the first meetings with Indian peoples; Lewis's rapture at the stunning beauty of the Great Falls; the fear the captains felt when a devastating illness befell their Shoshone interpreter, Sacagawea; the ordeal of crossing the Continental Divide; the kidnapping and rescuing of Lewis’s dog, Seaman; miserable days of cold and hunger; and Clark's joy at seeing the Pacific. The cultural differences between the corps and Native Americans make for living drama that at times provokes laughter but more often is poignant and, at least once, tragic.

The Lewis and Clark expedition was one of the earliest crossings of the United States. Eager to expand the country, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Lewis, formerly his private secretary, to seek a Northwest passage to the Orient. Lewis and his partner, William Clark, were both seasoned soldiers, expert woodsmen, and boatmen. They both kept journals and so did 4 sergeants and 1 private in the party of 43 men. They started from St. Louis in 1804, heading up to the Missouri River, across the Rockies, and down to the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Indian woman Sacajawea ("Bird Woman") gave them valuable help on the hazardous journey, which lasted 2 years, 4 months, and 10 days, and cost the U.S. government a total of $38,722.25. Lewis was the better educated of the two captains, and his account has more force, but Clark was a superb observer who wrote in an ingenious phonetic spelling of his own invention. The official edition of the Journals did not appear until 1814, when they were edited in two volumes by Nicholas Biddle and Paul Allen. This text, a paraphrase of the journals, was used in various editions until 1904, when Reuben G. Thwaites edited an eight-volume edition, published in 1904--05. Many recent editions have followed the original text, making the journals available in all of their original freshness. Early in 1960 it was announced in the New York Times that 67 notes written by Clark had been given by Frederick W. Beinecke of New York to the Yale University Library. "The documents, finger-smudged, blotted and blurred with cross-outs, list personal observations previously unknown to historians. . . . The documents, consisting of old letters, envelopes and scraps of paper, were the subject of an unusual legal fight. After the Clark notes were found in an attic in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1952, the United States moved to obtain them. The Government contended the documents were part of the official records of Clark while he served the United States. The Federal Court of Appeals in St. Louis dismissed the suit on Jan. 23, 1958. The court test was closely watched by libraries, museums and the American Philosophical Society. Had the Government been upheld, the custody of similar historical documents would have been jeopardized. . . ." Shortly after the end of the expedition, Lewis was appointed governor of the Territory of Upper Louisiana. When he at last took up his post, he was mysteriously killed---or took his own life---in the lonely wilderness.

List of Illustrations
Preface
Introduction
Editorial Principles
Members of the Permanent Party
Expedition Underway: May 14-August 24, 1804
The Middle Missouri: August 25-October 26, 1804
Knife River Winter: October 27, 1804-April 6, 1805
Into the Unknown: April 7-June 2, 1805
Portaging the Falls: June 3-July 14, 1805
Shadows of the Rockies: July 15-August 9, 1805
Those Tremendous Mountains: August 10-October 10, 1805
Roll On Columbia: October 11-November 14, 1805
Pacific Coast Winter: November 15, 1805-March 22, 1806
Homeward Bound: March 23-July 2, 1806
Separation and Reunion: July 3-August 12, 1806
Hurrying Home: August 13-September 23, 1806
Afterword
Index

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