American Journeys
Home Find a Document Images Advanced Search Highlights Teachers Help  
Document Number: AJ-147
Author: Clark, William, 1770-1838
Title: Letter from Capt. Clark, One of the Party Appointed by the President to Explore the Missouri, &c, to His Brother, St. Louis, September 23, 1806
Source: Clark, William. "Letter from Capt. Clark." The Monthly Anthology, and Boston Review (Boston: Munroe & Francis, 1807). Volume 4, appendix, pages 6-8.
Pages/Illustrations: 5 / 0
Citable URL: www.americanjourneys.org/aj-147/

Author and Expedition Note

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-097, AJ-140, AJ-146, and AJ-160.

Document Note

This letter dated St. Louis, September 23, 1806, was written the day that Clark and Meriwether Lewis returned from their expedition. It was sent to his brother George Rogers Clark in Kentucky, detailing the expedition’s progress from Fort Mandan to the Pacific and back, and was probably intended for publication. It was immediately printed in the Frankfort, Kentucky, Palladium and Western World and within thirty days was picked up by the Pittsburgh Gazette and the Washington Intelligencer. The version given here was printed in January 1807 in The Monthly Anthology and Boston Review, vol. 4 (1807), on pages 6-8 of its "Political Cabinet" appendix.

Other Internet and Reference Sources

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 can be viewed at the Library of Congress' American Memory project in 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. governments site at http://www.lewisandclark200.gov/ is a cooperative venture of thirty-two 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/.

Read this Document
Print or Download
Read Background
View Reference Map (PDF)
How to Cite
Copyright and Permissions
© 2014 Wisconsin Historical Society Feedback | Site Help
Wisconsin history