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Letter from Captain Meriwether

Letter from Captain Meriwether Lewis to President Thomas Jefferson, April 7, 1805, with list of enclosed collected specimens

Letter from Captain Meriwether

Exploring the Continent - 3

Throughout the 19th century Congress promoted exploration of the American West. President Thomas Jefferson proposed, and Congress funded the first expedition: a “Corps of Discovery,” led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1803. Their mission was to chart the Louisiana Territory, find a water route to the Pacific Ocean, and establish trade with Indian nations. Traveling the Missouri and Columbia Rivers and partially overland to the Pacific, they acquired a wealth of information about the geography, geology, flora, fauna, and peoples of the Northwest.