William Clark, co-leader of the Corps of Discovery with Meriweather Lewis, came from a large and influential family. He was particularly attached to his older brother Jonathan, and wrote frequently to him for advice and information.
These letters cover the period of 1792, with Clark as a young soldier at Fort Steuben, Indiana, to 1811 when Clark was living in St. Louis and serving as superintendent of Indian affairs. We hear in his own words about his preparation for the great exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, of his esteem for Lewis and the men on the expedition, of his wonder at the natural abundance of the unexplored interior of America. The letters provide first-hand reports of the kindness or hostility of native American peoples, the terrors of grizzlies, and the starvation trek through the Bitterroot Mountains.
Once the explorers returned to the States, hailed as heroes, the letters turn to politics of the day, life on the frontier, courtship, financial worries, and the deepening depression of Lewis. Political jealousies and conflicts, slander, the abuse of slavery dim the celebrity of the explorers.
This report prepared by Anne-Louise Bennett