Lewis's Report on Army Officers

Lewis's codes

In his capacity as the President's secretary, Meriwether Lewis prepared a report in which he classified the Army's officers by military merit and by political affiliation, if known. Both of these factors were considered in identifying candidates for dismissal. Officers rated as "unworthy" were discharged almost without regard to political affiliation . . . .

Clark's Commission

Clark briefly outlined his own previous military record, then explained to Biddle that in mid-June of 1803, Lewis had sent him a long letter outlining the then-secret plan for the expedition, and inviting him to share the command of it. Lewis had assured Clark that their situations would be identical in every respect, beginning with rank . . . .

Outfitting the Corps

Large bales wrapped in canvas and stacked high

The original shopping list that Lewis compiled contained more than 180 items, including various "Mathematical Instruments" for navigational purposes, arms and accouterments, ammunition, clothing, camp equipage, provisions, Indian presents, medicine, and packing materials . . . .

Courts Martial on the Trail

whip with nine knotted ropes

he first court martial took place on 29 March 1804, when John Colter, Robert Frazer, and John Shields were called before the court. Discreetly, Clark committed no details of this one to his journal, and no record of it was entered in the Orderly Book. He merely remarked that (perhaps having expected trouble) he had loaded a "small pr Pistols," and that he had "red the orders on Parade" that afternoon. Shields and Colter, he wrote, "asked the forgivness & . . . promised to doe better in future."