The only deadline Saturday required that we be at the Lewis and Clark Visitors’ Center, have our duffels loaded on the truck, and our boats on the trailer in time for a punctual noon departure, or we’d look silly standing in the empty parking lot all alone. There was enough to get done before that noon departure that I was up at six. To make a quick turn-around, I hadn’t taken much in the motel, so with a quick breakfast, I threw my knapsack in the back of the truck, and headed down Rt. 3 for the Lewis and Clark Center about eight miles away.
Recreated Camp River Dubois
This was really a military expedition, but the Corps of Discovery of 25 men was comprised of only 14 soldiers. The rest were made up mostly of a hunter-interpreter, Kentucky woodsmen, and a couple French watermen. These were strong individualists that didn’t understand or readily accept discipline, military or otherwise. While Lewis was in St. Louis gathering supplies, supporters, and information from traders and trappers that had been on the river, Clark tried to teach military discipline, marksmanship, and mold all the individuals into a cohesive unit. During the winter, several had to be reprimanded and one court-martialed for refusing to perform sentry duty, disobeying orders from their officers, fighting, and making off for neighboring whiskey shops.
By spring, additional recruits had been added to swell the unit to 45 members. Three boats were readied with provisions, ammunition, and supplied for the trip to the Pacific and back, and on May 14, 1804, the expedition made a late start at four in the afternoon to cross the Mississippi and accomplish a start up the Missouri.