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Document Number: AJ-097
Author: Floyd, Charles, died 1804
Title: The Original Journal of Sergeant Charles Floyd, 1804 [manuscript]
Source: Draper Manuscripts: William Clark Papers, 6 M, Wisconsin Historical Society.
Pages/Illustrations: 59 / 0
Citable URL: www.americanjourneys.org/aj-097/

Author Note

Sergeant Charles Floyd (1782-1804) came from a family of Kentucky pioneers who were also early settlers of Indiana, and may have been a distant relative of William Clark. Meriwether Lewis recalled him as a “young man of much merit” and he was elevated to the rank of sergeant before the Lewis and Clark expedition commenced. He died only three months into the trip, probably from a ruptured appendix, and is buried at Floyd’s Bluff near present-day Sioux City, Iowa.

Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806

For a thorough summary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition's historical context and itinerary, and short biographies of both Clark and Lewis, see the 44-page introduction in volume one (AJ-100a) of the Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806 by the journals' editor, Reuben Gold Thwaites. For other documents related to the expedition, see AJ-090, AJ-140, AJ-146, AJ-147, and AJ-160.

Document Note

Floyd’s journal was acquired by collector and historian Lyman C. Draper, who appears never to have mentioned it to his closest colleagues. Draper’s successor at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Reuben Gold Thwaites, was surprised to discover it among Draper’s papers after his death. It was first printed in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society in 1894, edited by Draper’s and Thwaites’ associate James Davie Butler. It is also printed in volume seven of the Thwaites edition, AJ-100g. The manuscript today is volume 6M of the William Clark Papers in the Draper Manuscripts at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Other Internet and Reference Sources

Butler, James Davie. "The New Found Journal of Charles Floyd, a Sergeant under Captains Lewis and Clark," in Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 9 (April 1894), pp. 225-252.

The community of Sioux City, Iowa maintains a web sitedevoted to Floyd at http://www.clark.sioux-city.k12.ia.us/History/People/Floys.htm that contains photographs and background information.

The literature on Lewis and Clark is immense, both in print and on the web. For an online summary of it, see the 1904 bibliography by Victor Hugo Paltsits in document AJ-100a, pages lxi-xciii. This should be supplemented by The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: A Bibliography and Essays issued by Lewis and Clark College in 2003, for twentieth-century publications.

A useful starting point for information about the expedition is the Library of Congress online exhibit, "Rivers, Edens and Empires: Lewis and Clark and the Revealing of America," at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/lewisandclark/lewis-landc.html.

The National Archives has created many resources for teaching and learning about Lewis and Clark within its "We the People" web site at http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/lewis_and_clark/ lewis_and_clark.html. This includes digitized documents, background texts, photographs, and lesson plans.

The official report of the expedition, Nicholas Biddle's 1814 History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, Thence Across the Rocky Mountains and Down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, is online at the Library of Congress “Meeting of Frontiers” project at http://frontiers.loc.gov/intldl/mtfhtml/mfsplash.html.

Other documents relating to the expedition are part of its "Louisiana Purchase Legislative Timeline" at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/louisiana5.html. These include the House of Representatives report on the "Explorations of the Western Waters of the United States" by Lewis and Clark, various acts to compensate the explorers for their labors, and documents concerning their appointments as governors of Missouri and Louisiana after the expedition.

Two web sites built as part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition bicentennial also contain helpful information and links. The U.S. government's site at http://www.lewisandclark200.gov/ is a cooperative venture of 32 federal agencies. The non-governmental National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial is a joint effort by historical societies, Indian nations, scholars, businesses, and all other interested parties; its web site is at http://www.lewisandclark200.org/.

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