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Into the Wilderness

Into the Wilderness: The Lewis and Clark Expedition

James J. Holmberg
Phyllis MacAdam General Editor
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 64
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  • Book Info
    Into the Wilderness
    Book Description:

    "When Thomas Jefferson sent a team of explorers to discover a way to the Pacific Ocean two hundred years ago, the western border of the United States was the Mississippi River. It was Jefferson's dream to uncover the mysteries of the distant lands beyond. In 1803, the president sent a team of thirty men, lead by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, up the Missouri River, across the Rocky Mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific, and back home again. During this monumental, two-and-a-half-year expedition, Lewis and Clark gathered samples of plants, animals, and Indian crafts. Into the Wilderness describes the difficult yet successful journey that made these men the celebrated heroes they are today. James J. Holmberg, curator of special collections at the Filson Historical Society, is the author of Dear Brother: Letters of William Clark to Jonathan Clark.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4404-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. iv-iv)
    Virginia G. Smith

    This book is published as Kentucky joins the rest of the country in commemorating the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific Ocean, an astonishing journey that shaped our nation. This tale is a Kentucky story as well, for Kentuckywasthe West in 1800, and the brave Kentuckians who made the journey comprised nearly half of the men in the Corps of Discovery.

    The Kentucky Humanities Council began New Books for New Readers because Kentucky’s adult literacy students want books that recognize their intelligence and experience while meeting their need for simplicity in writing. The first...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. v-v)
  5. [Map]
    (pp. vi-vi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Two hundred years ago the United States was a young nation. Its western border was the Mississippi River. Most Americans lived east of the Appalachian Mountains. The country west of the Mississippi was a mystery. What was out there? What was beyond their cities, towns, and farms?

    In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson decided to find out. He sent the first official United States exploring party into this mysterious West. The group was named the Corps of Discovery. Its leaders were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. President Jefferson wanted them to find a route across western North America all the way...

  7. 1 Thomas Jefferson’s Dream
    (pp. 3-9)

    Thomas Jefferson had a dream. As a boy in the 1750s, he lived with his family near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. At the time, that was as far west as most American colonists lived. Beyond lay an unknown land. He wondered what the land to the west was like.

    Sometimes men crossed the mountains to hunt. When they came back, they told stories of the land beyond the mountains. They talked about a rich, beautiful land called Kentucky and about the wide Ohio River that flowed toward the setting sun. Young Tom also heard stories about what might...

  8. 2 Down the Ohio
    (pp. 10-18)

    While his letter to William Clark made its way west toward The Falls of the Ohio, Meriwether Lewis headed to Pittsburgh. The weather was warm and dry, and the young explorer made good time on the dusty roads. On the afternoon of July 15, Lewis rode into Pittsburgh.

    He had ordered a keelboat built for the expedition. This would be the expedition’s main boat all the way to the upper Missouri River. It was 55 feet long, with a sail and oars. Upon checking, he learned it wasn’t ready. Day after day the young captain urged the boat builder and...

  9. 3 Up the Missouri
    (pp. 19-30)

    On May 14, 1804, the expedition left Camp Dubois. William Clark recorded the event in his journal. “I set out at 4 O’Clock P.M., in the presence of many of the neighboring inhabitants, and proceeded on under a gentle breeze up the Missouri,” he wrote. The West awaited them.

    Lewis was not with them yet. He was still in St. Louis taking care of a few final matters. He joined Clark and the rest of the Corps six days later at St. Charles, a small town a short way up the Missouri.

    The explorers hunted, fished, and met with Indians....

  10. 4 To the Pacific
    (pp. 31-39)

    When Lewis and Clark left Fort Mandan they had only a general understanding of what lay ahead of them. They had gotten as much information as possible from the Indians during the winter. From what they had learned, and from maps and books they had studied, they knew that the Missouri River began in the Rocky Mountains and flowed east. They knew rivers that flowed into the Columbia River began on the other side of the Rockies and flowed west. The Corps of Discovery planned to travel these rivers to the Columbia and then follow the Columbia to the Pacific...

  11. 5 Homeward Bound
    (pp. 41-48)

    The explorers were so eager to start for home that they left Fort Clatsop a month too early. In late March 1806 they left their winter home and started up the Columbia. They continued to keep journals, draw maps, and collect samples, but they also tried to travel as fast as possible.

    As the Corps moved eastward along the Columbia, they met many Indians. Most of the meetings were friendly, but some were not. The explorers almost got into a fight with some Indians who stole Seaman. Lewis gave orders to shoot the thieves if necessary, but the men rescued...

  12. 6 Life after the Expedition
    (pp. 49-55)

    The Lewis and Clark Expedition had been the biggest event in the lives of its members. Most of the explorers were still fairly young, in their 20s and 30s. Sacagawea wasn’t even 20 years old yet. And little Jean Baptiste wasn’t even two. What did the future hold for the members of the Corps of Discovery? Did it hold happiness and long lives or did it hold disappointment, suffering, and early death?

    The lives of the Nine Young Men from Kentucky would takes both paths. Charles Floyd, of course, never came home.

    He lay buried on a hill overlooking the...

  13. About the Author
    (pp. 56-56)