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Document Number: AJ-146
Author: Clark, William, 1770-1838
Title: Letter on Journey up the Missouri River, Fort Mandan, April 2, 1805 [manuscript]
Source: Draper Manuscripts: George Rogers Clark Papers, 12 J 4, Wisconsin Historical Society.
Pages/Illustrations: 2 / 0
Citable URL:

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-090, AJ-097, AJ-140, AJ-147, and AJ-160.

Document Note

In 1846 Clarks nephew, Dr. John Croghan, gave to Lyman Copeland Draper the familys manuscripts related to William and George Rogers Clark (1752-1818). He also included the research notes and manuscripts assembled by two previous biographers of Clark. Draper continued to acquire and interfile Clark family papers for forty-five more years, until they filled more than eighty bound volumes. Precisely when and how the document given here was obtained is not known. The original manuscript is in volume 12J of the George Rogers Clark Papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

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

The National Archives has created many resources for teaching and learning about Lewis and Clark within its We the Peopleweb site at 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

Other documents relating to the expedition can be viewed at the Library of Congress American Memory project in its Louisiana Purchase Legislative Timeline at 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 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

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