Lewis and Clark at the Confluence

In 1803, President Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis, a captain in the U.S. Army, to lead an expedition, entrusting to him responsibility to find "the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent for the purposes of commerce." Lewis assembled the Corps of Discovery and invited his friend, Captain William Clark, with a crew of approximately 30 other men, made up of non-commissioned officers, sergeants, privates, non-military members and Lewis' dog, Seaman.

  • As part of President Jefferson's mission to explore the recent purchase of the Louisiana Territory by way of an Army mission, the men set out on the 1803 to 1806 expedition, officially called, "Corps of Volunteers for North Western Discovery."
  • On December 12, 1803, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark established Camp River Dubois, within sight of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Today, the Lewis & Clark State Historic in Hartford, Illinois sits at the location. As National Trail Site #1, the Interpretive Center is dedicated to telling the story of Lewis & Clark at Camp River Dubois.
  • Five months at camp were spent preparing and recruiting for the three-year journey westward. On May 14, 1804, the Corps of Discovery set out in their 55-foot-long keelboat loaded with supplies and the expectation of tales that would later become historical legends of bravery and possibility.
  • For more information about the Lewis and Clark State Historic site, call 618-251-5811 or go to www.campdubois.com