May 14, 1804: The Louis and Clark Expedition Sets Out to Explore the Louisiana Territory
On this day in 1804, the Corps of Discovery (more commonly known as the Louis and Clark Expedition) left Camp Dubois near St. Louis, Missouri to explore the Louisiana Territory.
For $15 million, President Jefferson’s 1803 purchase of the territory had more than doubled the size of United States: 820,000 square miles for 3 cents an acre. Jefferson chose his personal secretary Meriwether Lewis to serve as commander of the expedition. Soon after, Lewis invited his former army comrade William Clark to share command. Nearly four dozen men comprised the original group.
Trace the Lewis and Clarke Expedition with Ken Burns’s timeline of the trip.
Top Image: Painting of Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia by Charles Marion Russell (1905). Middle Image: A Map of Lewis and Clark’s Track Across the Western Portion of North America from Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean”, by Samuel Lewis (1814). Bottom Image: Lewis and Clark Expedition, 200th Anniversary issue postage stamp (2004).