Corps of Discovery

By Olivia Bunch

10 Different Camp Sites

Old Cahokia Courthouse -- Cahokia, Illinois

December 7,1803 until May 1804


  • Old Cahokia Courthouse was used as a headquarters for collecting information.
  • Usually for meeting with territorial leaders, gathering supplies and corresponding with Thomas Jefferson while the party camped nearby Camp River Dubois.
  • During the months of their encampment near Cahokia, the Corps of Discovery was able to comprehensively plan the expedition.
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Jefferson National Expansion Memorial -- St. Louis, Missouri

December 1803 until May 1804


  • The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri, commemorates President Thomas Jefferson's vision of the continental destiny of the United States.
  • While at the camp it was Clark's responsibility to train the many different men who had volunteered to go on the expedition and turn them into an efficient team.
  • The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is comprised of the Gateway Arch (National Landmark).
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Fort Osage -- Sibley, Missouri

June 1804


  • Clark considered this spot to be a good place for a fort with its "high commanding position", more than 70 feet above high-water mark.
  • Clark was given the post of commander of the militia and Indian agent of the Louisiana Territory.
  • Fort Osage quickly became one of the most successful of the 28 government supervised trading posts that functioned from 1795 to 1822.
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Fort Atkinson -- Fort Calhoun, Nebraska

July 30 until August 3, 1804


  • William Clark celebrated his 34th birthday while waiting for the arrival of the Indians.
  • The first official council between United States representatives and western Indians began just after breakfast on August 3.
  • The Yellowstone Expedition of 1819 established For Atkinson, named after Col. Henry Atkinson, commander of the Yellowstone Expedition, as the first U.S. military post west of the Missouri River.

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Spirit Mound -- Vermillion, South Dakota

August 25, 1804


  • Lewis and Clark, along with several of their men and Lewis's dog Seaman, walked nine miles to Spirit Mound from their camp on the south bank of the Missouri River near the mouth of White Stone Creek in South Dakota.
  • The explorers were determined to see the mound that was so feared by the Indians of the area.
  • Lewis and Clark reaches the top of Spirit Mound where they "beheld a most beautiful landscape".
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Fort Union Trading Post -- Williston, North Dakota

Late April 1805


  • Lewis and Clark split up and led divisions of the Corps on separate explorations of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers.
  • Lewis was accidentally shot by Pierre Cruzatte, who apparently mistook his commanding officer for an elk.
  • It became the headquarters for trading bison hides, beaver and other furs with the Assiniboin, Crow, Blackfeet, Cree, Ojibwa, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Tribes.
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Great Falls Portage -- Great Falls, Montana

June 13 until July 15, 1805


  • Lewis and Clark found the Great Falls Portage one of the most challenging ordeals of the expedition.
  • The Great Falls presented much danger and hardship for the explorers.
  • The Great Falls area did provide plentiful game, allowing the explorers to stock up on food and leather clothing.
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Lolo Trail -- Weippe Prairie, Idaho

Mid September 1805


  • The Lolo Trail is a 200 mile-long trail that extends from Lolo, Montana to Weippe Prairie, Idaho
  • Lolo Trail would provide the members of the Corps with a truly physical challenge and fearing that they would be not able to survive the perilous peaks ahead without assistance.
  • Under the guidance of a member of the Shoshone nation know as Old Toby, the Lewis and Clark crew turned northward and began their ascent into the daunting Bitterroot Mountains.
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Arrow Rock -- Saline Country, Missouri

June 9, 1804


  • Clark passed by Arrow Rock again in 1807 with his Dragoons on the way to build Fort Osage.
  • Clark commented that the area was an excellent location for a fort and a town.
  • George Sibley established a trading post at Arrow Rock and waited there during War of 1812 when Fort Osage became too dangerous

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Fort Clastop -- Louisville, Kentucky

December 1805 until March 1806


  • Corps of Discovery realized that the rough and miserable winter of 1805 to 1806 would have to be spent thousands of miles from the warmth and comfort of their homes back east,
  • The crew quickly set to build a suitable shelter that would provide protection for the upcoming months spent at Fort Clastop.
  • The expedition's presence in this area strengthened the United States's claim to the Northwest, and paved the way for the first American settlement -- the Pacific Fur Company Post.

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