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Members of the Expedition

Meriwether Lewis by Charles Willson Peale, ca. 1807 (Independence National Historical Park)Captain Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809)
First Infantry

Lewis joined the Army in 1794 and served in the Ohio Valley and the Old Northwest Territory, where he became friends with William Clark. In 1801, Lewis was appointed as President Thomas Jefferson's private secretary, while retaining his military rank. Two years later, Jefferson chose Lewis as commander of the expedition. Following the return of the expedition in 1806, Lewis became governor of the Louisiana Territory, but encountered difficulties that caused him severe emotional problems. On the Natchez Trace in Tennessee, Lewis took his life.




William Clark by Charles Willson Peale, ca. 1810 (Independence National Historical Park)Second Lieutenant William Clark (1770-1838)
Virginia / Kentucky

The younger brother of General George Rogers Clark, William had served in the Army for four years, participating in the campaigns of General Anthony Wayne in the Northwest Territory before resigning his commission in 1796 to attend to the family business. Because of the Army seniority system, Clark received a second lieutenant's commission instead of a captaincy when he rejoined the military as Lewis's second-in-command. But he and Lewis concealed this from the members of the expedition, who always referred to him as Captain Clark. After the expedition, Clark had a distinguished political career, including the governorship of the Missouri Territory.




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