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Expedition Timeline
Events of 1805

During the winter of 1804/05, the men of the Corps of Discovery take part in Indian hunting parties and social events, while providing rudimentary medical care to the Indians and the services of their blacksmith, John Shields. They also speak with British and French-Canadian fur traders who are well established with the Indians. Lewis hires Toussaint Charbonneau as an interpreter, and agrees that he can bring along his Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, who has given birth in February to a baby boy, Jean Baptiste. Lewis and Clark also select those who will travel to the Pacific and those who will return to St. Louis with the keelboat.

Spring - Summer: On April 7, 1805, the Corps of Discovery (numbering 28 soldiers and 5 civilians) departs the Mandan villages in the two pirogues and six canoes en route to the Pacific, while Corporal Richard Warfington, six privates, one Arikara chief, and three civilians head down the Missouri to St. Louis in the keelboat. After two months the Expedition reaches the Great Falls of the Missouri River on 13 June. Two months later the Corps of Discovery finally meet the Shoshone. At a council with the Shoshone on August 17th, Sacagawea recognizes the chief as her brother. The Shoshone supply the Expedition with horses and a guide for the arduous trek across the Rocky Mountains along the Lolo Trail to the Nez Perce village.

Fall - Winter: In late September the Expedition reaches the Nez Perce village, where it holds a council with the tribal chiefs on September 23rd. Anxious to get to the Pacific, the Corps of Discovery departs the Nez Perce on October 7th and begins its final trek west down the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia Rivers to the ocean. On November 7th, the Expedition sights an inlet from the Pacific. Clark writes in his journal, "Ocian in view! O! The joy!" As soon as they arrive at the ocean, Lewis and Clark reconnoiter for a site to make their winter quarters. Just south of present-day Astoria, Oregon, the Corps of Discovery builds Fort Clatsop in honor of the local tribe. The fort is complete on December 23rd.

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