Lewis and Clark Pen
Lewis and Clark
In May, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on an expedition of epic proportion. Having accepted the charge from President Thomas Jefferson, their mission was to explore, map and document the vast new region of the United States acquired through the Louisiana Purchase. This fearless ensemble, known as The Corps of Discovery included Sacagawea, her son, “Pompey”, 45 young frontiersmen and Seaman (Captain Lewis’s 150-pound Newfoundland dog). Aided by this heroic group, Captains Lewis and Clark would become the first of their nation to reach the Pacific Ocean by land, facilitating trade with the Orient and unlocking the wealth of North America. “Future generations” Jefferson predicted, “would fill up the canvas we begin”. In 1802, Jefferson had offered to buy the port city of New Orleans from France, but Napoleon Bonaparte, faced with another war with England made a counteroffer including the entire Louisiana Territory (820,000 square miles) for $15 million, a sum of almost twice the federal budget. For just 3 cents an acre, Thomas Jefferson more than doubled the size of his country with the single stroke of a pen.
Lewis and Clark’s instructions, according to Jefferson were to “after your departure from the United States” find the Northwest Passage and the most direct route to the Pacific; draw maps; make detailed observations of the soils, minerals, crops, animals and weather; meet the Indians and record their languages, populations, religions, customs, food, clothing and willingness to trade with the Americans.
Equipped with a massive inventory of food, barter goods, camp equipment, technical instruments, arms and ammunition, the Corps of Discovery departed from St. Louis, Missouri and made its way to Camp Dubois, Illinois where they would spend the winter preparing for the impending journey. President Jefferson had written and signed a Letter of Credit promising the full support of the United States Government for any additional expenses incurred along the way and had also developed a code matrix whereby he and Lewis could communicate through the written word using the key word “artichokes” to decipher the code. Finally, on May 14th, 1804, at 4:00 in the afternoon, the Corps of Discovery disembarked from Camp Dubois and sailed across the Mississippi to St. Charles, Missouri and the journey began.
Documenting and mapping the newly acquired Territory, Lewis, Clark and others in the company kept meticulously detailed journals describing their fascinating trek across North America. The peoples, landscapes, new plant and animal life they encountered were carefully documented along the way. The Corps of Discovery made the historic journey to the Pacific Ocean, arriving at the mouth of the Columbia River November 7th, 1805, where winter was spent at Fort Clatsop, Oregon. They had hoped to find an easier way home by sea, but were forced to return by land - the way they had come - departing March 23rd, and arriving in St. Louis on September 23rd, 1806. News of their arrival had preceded them and a huge celebration followed for the Corps of Discovery. The success of Lewis and Clark’s expedition became an integral part of American History.
Few people in American history have accomplished what Lewis and Clark did: complete and document a journey over 8,000 miles long, traveling the full length of the Missouri River, and return to tell about it. America had changed, and Lewis and Clark had made it happen, imprinting their memory in American History forever.
The Lewis and Clark Limited Edition Collection stands as a tribute to the two Captain-explorers and the courage of their unparalleled journey. Lewis and Clark’s signatures are represented respectively in high relief surrounded by a background of gentle river currents underneath. Both Collection pieces feature a map of the Louisiana Purchase marking the Lewis and Clark Trail from St. Louis, Missouri all the way to Fort Clatsop, Oregon. The Meriwether Lewis cap features a telescope clip and a compass rose is engraved on the barrel. The William Clark cap holds a feathered clip and a Peace Medal (given by Lewis and Clark to many of the Indian Chiefs along the Trail) is engraved on the barrel. William Clark became the superintendent of Indian Affairs (and later Governor of the Missouri Territory) and raised Sacagawea’s son, Pompey from 1810.