Lewis & Clark Expedition – Sufficient Provides Propelled Its Survival and Success

Historians like to match the Lewis-and-Clark 1804-1806 westward expedition to our modern-day astronaut’s first touchdown on the moon. Each accomplishments had been tough and proportionally comparable. Nonetheless, the 30-tons of provides taken on the Corps-of-Discovery’s 28-month perilous journey to the Pacific Ocean and again helped it to succeed immensely.

Particularly, the preplanned presents for the Indian tribes helped them cope with the natives honorably en route. Their different provisions for survival, protection, navigation, commerce, leisure, medicine, and documentation, that are summarized under, additionally helped them succeed. A few of these provides are listed under.


  • One 55-ft keelboat (shallow-draft freight sort) having a 12-ton maintain and 32-ft mast with sq. sail and 35 oars/push rods
  • Two pirogues (flat-bottomed canoe-shaped with oars and a small mast and sq. sail): one 41-ft crimson and one 39-ft white
  • One 36 x 4.5-ft collapsible steel boat body to be assembled and lined with animal skins later within the journey.

As a result of the keelboat was too giant for a lot of the higher Missouri and different outlying rivers, it was returned to St. Louis with the present artifacts and written experiences throughout the early spring of 1805. It was manned by a small crew. The steel boat body was by no means used for the dearth of a pure sealing pitch from pine bushes. It was deserted in a sunken cache close to Nice Falls, Montana. The corps used dugout canoes as an alternative.

Animals. Two horses (for using on land, and for serving to pull the keelboat upstream); one giant Newfoundland retriever (Lewis’ private canine named, Seaman, who aided the hassle by retrieving sport and by guarding the campsites at evening).

Scientific/navigational devices. Surveyor’s compass, hand compasses, telescope, quadrant, sextants, thermometers, degree, chronometer, magnet, microscope, line reel, parallel glass (for studying the horizon), oiled baggage for preserving the devices in, and paraphernalia for storing collected plant and animal specimens and Native American artifacts.

Tenting gear. Oiled canvases, waterproofing oil, 9 tents, lanterns, 30 steels to make fires, flints, corn mill, tablespoons, tumblers, water flasks, fishing gear, drawing knives, whetstones, cleaning soap, cooking gear/utensils (brass/steel kettles/pots/pans, consuming utensils), bedding gear, mosquito curtains, rope/twine/string, heavy stitching needles/thread, hanging hooks, flags, hogshead (giant barrel), wood bins, kegs, oiled storage baggage, lamps/lanterns, candle wicks/wax, candles, one field of friction matches, and one crewman’s private fiddle (unofficially for campfire songs and leisure).

Items for the tribes (21 bales). Pocket mirrors, stitching needles with circumstances, awls, knitting pins, small scissors, stitching thread, thimbles, silk ribbons, buttons, scissors, ivory/iron combs, burning/magnifying glasses, bells, Chiefs bundles (containing high-quality gadgets), lockets, broaches, rings, handkerchiefs, calico shirts, bright-colored textiles/material, curtain rings, brass wire, rolls/twists of tobacco, axes, tomahawk-pipes, knives, brass kettles, corn mills, brass strips, fishing gear, powdered Vermilion face paint, earrings, armbands, 33-lb coloured glass beads, American flags, and specifically made peace medals/certificates. The corps additionally traded different gadgets with the tribes, together with their very own private gear and, not often, arms and ammunition.

Instruments (all types). Pliers, chisels, handsaws, buck-saws, two-man lumberjack saws, hatchets, axes, scrapers, shears, planes, reducing instruments, augers, hand drills, whetstones, hammers, nails, squares, chain, information/rasps, anvil and bellows-forge with accompanying blacksmithing instruments, spirit degree, tape measure, English wooden set, gold scales, iron weights, grease/oil, iron corn mill.

Throughout their journey, the corps constructed two stockade forts for his or her winter encampments: 1) Fort Mandan, North Dakota, 1804, and a pair of) Fort Clatsop, Oregon coast, 1805. In addition they constructed carts for transporting their items round waterfalls and rapids, they usually made a number of dugout/burned-out canoes for navigating the rivers and streams.


Forty day menu (stored on board).1200-lb parchmeal, 800-lb frequent meal, 1600-lb hulled corn, 3400-lb flour, 560-lb biscuit combine, 750-lb salt, 3700-lb salt pork, 50-lb espresso, 2-lb tea, 100-lb dried beans/peas, 112-lb sugar, 750-lb salt, 100-lb hogs lard, 600-lb cooking grease, 30-gal wine, 120-gal whiskey (to get them to the purpose of no return), 193-lb moveable soup combine (boiled-down paste of meat, eggs, and greens). The moveable soup was eaten solely as a final resort when no different meals was obtainable.

Obtained en route. Fruit (apples, cherries, raspberries, plums, grapes, currants, pawpaws), greens (squash, greens, melons, leeks/onions, artichokes, licorice, roots, greens, wappatos, white apples), meat (a whole bunch of fish/salmon, deer, elk, bison, antelope, bighorn sheep, bear, beaver, otter, duck/geese/brant, coot/plover, grouse, pheasant, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, wolf, canine, and colt/horse), and traded-for bear grease. It has been estimated the corps took about 2000 fowl and land animals for his or her meat and skins, which was a minuscule quantity in comparison with the large animal populations then.

Further clothes. Flannel/linen shirts, coats, frocks, sneakers, boots, woolen pants and coveralls, blankets, knapsacks, stockings, and some costume uniforms. Later within the journey, the crew made their very own moccasins and buckskin clothes when their very own wore out, or had been traded to the natives.

Arms/ammunition. Brass cannon (swivel-mounted on the keelboat’s bow), 4 blunderbusses (giant shotguns: one mounted on all sides of the keelboat, and one on every pirogue), 15 Mannequin-1803 muzzle-loading 0.54 caliber flint-lock rifles with slings, 4 pistols, a number of swords, espontoons (pointed strolling sticks additionally used as spears/gun-rests), 500 musket flints, spare elements for muskets, 420-lb sheet lead for bullets, 200-lb of gun/rifle powder packed in sealed lead canisters, powder horns and pouches, looking/out of doors knives, one long-barreled compressed-air repeating rifle, and the non-public knives, rifles, and firearms of the crew, together with Lewis’ dueling pistols. The repeating rifle was used principally for present and demonstration among the many tribes, not for looking small sport.

Medication/medical provides. (stored in walnut/pine chests) 600 Dr. Rush capsules (laxatives), lancets (surgical knives), forceps (tongs), syringes, tourniquets, small dental/medical devices, bleeding implements, tin canisters, glass-stoppered tincture bottles, 1300 doses of physic (cathartic), 1100 doses of emetic (vomiting), 3500 doses of diaphoretic (sweat inducer), different medication, like, laudanum (a tincture of opium), mercury, nitrate salts, powdered barks/herbs, ointments, and different salts for blisters, boils, ache/ache, sores, sunburn, worms, and for elevated saliva and urine output.

Books. Botany, historical past, mineralogy, nautical astronomy, pure science, almanac, giant dictionary, Linnaeus classification of crops, requisite tables for longitude/latitude, and an early map of the Missouri River.

Writing/drafting implements. Pencils, quills, powered ink, brass ink stands, crayons, drafting/plotting instruments, leather-covered writing journals, writing/map paper, draft/receipt booklets, oilskin baggage to retailer information in, candles for writing at evening, and sealing wax.

These huge provides propelled the corps by way of a number of out of doors difficulties to the Pacific Ocean with excessive successes. Nonetheless, whereas wintering there close to the mouth of the Columbia River, their provides and commerce items had dwindled. Parts of them had been

  1. consumed en route
  2. left behind in caches for his or her return journey if not spoiled
  3. traded-off with the Indian tribes.

Particularly, they ran out of coloured beads, usually prized by the native tribes. So, they traded the steel buttons from their remaining uniforms and clothes as an alternative. In addition they began making their very own salt from the ocean water. Briefly, the provisions on their return journey could be a lot scantier than what that they had departed with on their outbound one.

As a result of this example was precarious, the corps rationed their items on the return journey. They most likely prevented sure tribes they had been indebted to as effectively. Then, after arriving again within the North-Dakota plains the place their earlier winter fort was situated, they settled-up and parted with one in every of their interpreters and his spouse, Sacagawea. In addition to a money settlement for them, the corps gave them their no-longer-needed blacksmithing gear.

Shortly after that, they gave the brass cannon from the keelboat, which had been saved in one of many caches, to a tribal chief close by, hoping to coax him into returning to the states with them. He turned the invitation down. However they discovered one other chief, who together with his household, would accompany the corps again St Louis and the states.

For sure, besides for his or her collected animal furs and skins, the corps got here house a lot much less provided than once they departed 28-months earlier. Looking back, their west-coastal winter encampment and their return journey house might have gone higher if that they had been capable of replenish their tradable items whereas close to the ocean and Columbia River, presumably from a international service provider ship.

Commerce ships had landed there earlier than. The coastal tribes had been accustomed to them, and had been effectively outfitted with steel pots and pans, early mannequin muskets, and sailors clothes. A authorities draft signed by Lewis would have paid for these items. But, few ships, if any, appeared to return that manner throughout their wintertime keep there. For extra detailed data on their preparation for this journey, see these websites.