Members of the Expedition
Known as Engagé, Lewis and Clark hired a total of 12 French boatmen to crew the keelboat and pirogues. Some left the expedition immediately after being discharged from service with the corps in the Winter of 1804. Several of the remaining Engagé stayed on for a while longer, finally returning to St. Louis in Spring 1805 with Corporal Richard Warfington. Several others chose to live with the Mandans and were still living there when Lewis and Clark passed through in 1806 on their way back to St. Louis.
E. Cann (1775 – 1836)
E. Cann was actually named Alexander Carson. He had lived among the French for so long that others thought of him as also being French. Carson hired on with the expedition as a boatman and probably returned to St. Louis with Corporal Warfington. One of his descendants was the famous “Kit” Carson.
Charles Caugee (Dates unknown)
Captain Clark listed Charles Caugee in his journal entry of 4 July 1804 as one of the nine contract boatmen hired that were hired. The corps had already left Camp River Dubois and was proceeding along the Missouri River. Other than that, nothing definitive is known about him.
Joseph Collin (Dates unknown)
Sergeant Patrick Gass mentions Collin in his journal as “a young man who formerly belonged to the [British] North West Company.” It appears he accompanied the corps only as far as the Arikara Indian villages and was still living there when Lewis and Clark passed through again on their return in 1806.
Jean Baptiste Deschamps (Dates unknown)
It appears that Jean Baptiste Deschamps was recruited as a private in the U.S. Army at Fort Kaskaskia to be the foreman of the French contract boatmen. He also returned to St. Louis with Corporal Warfington.
Charles Herbert (Dates Unknown)
Parish records in St. Louis disclose that Herbert was married to Julie Hebert Dit La Croix in 1792. The records also list 11 baptized children. Captain Lewis enlisted him as an Engagé before the corps left Camp River Dubois. He was voluntarily discharged at the Mandan village in the winter of 1804.
Jean Baptiste La Jeunesse (Unknown – 1806)
Jean Baptiste La Jeunesse was enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army to serve as a boatman with the expedition. There is no record of his service or discharge. He may have remained at the Mandan village when the expedition continued west in April 1805 or he could have returned to St. Louis with Corporal Warfington.
La Liberté (Unknown – 1837)
Also known as Joseph Barter. Captain Lewis enlisted him as a private in the U.S. Army at Fort Kaskaskia with assigned duties as a boatman. He deserted soon afterwards and thus did not accompany the expedition westward when it departed Camp River Dubois.
Etienne Malboeuf (1775[?] – Unknown)
Etienne (Steven) Malboeuf was recruited by Captain Lewis at Fort Kaskaskia as a contract boatman. His sister was married to Jean Baptiste La Jeunesse.
Peter Pinaut (1776 – Unknown)
Pinaut was the son of a French-Canadian trader and a Missouri Indian woman. He is listed as a member of the corps as of May 1804. He probably returned to St. Louis with Corporal Warfington.
Paul Primeau (Dates Unknown)
He was hired as a contract boatman at Fort Kaskaskia and listed as a member of the corps in May 1804. It is not known if he returned to St. Louis with Warfington or remained on the upper Missouri.
François Rivet (1757 – 1852)
Hired at Fort Kaskaskia in 1804 as a contract boatman. Rivet, along with three other boatmen (Deschamps, Malboeuf, and Carson) remained at the Mandan village over the winter after they were discharged from the expedition. Rivet had originally departed with Corporal Warfington, but returned to the Mandan village and was living there when Lewis and Clark passed through on their way east in 1806.
Peter Roi (Dates unknown)
Because the family name of Roi was very common among the French community living in and around St. Louis, it has proven impossible to learn anything further about him from surviving records.
Note: The information in this section was adopted from Charles G. Clarke’s book The Men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.