National Historical Publications & Records Commission

The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

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The abridged edition of the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Additional information at with a link to the NHPRC-supported abridged edition at

The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States, departing in May, 1804 from St. Louis on the Mississippi River, making their way westward through the continental divide to the Pacific coast. The expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and consisted of a select group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark. The primary objectives were to explore and map the newly acquired territory, find a practical route across the Western half of the continent, and establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it. The journey lasted to September 1806. This edition includes the journals of the two captains and four enlisted men, an atlas of maps produced by the expedition, and a volume of natural history notes and other non-journal material.

Complete in 11 volumes and an abridged volume.

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