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By Maurice Isserman, John S. Bowman

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Extra info for Across America: The Lewis and Clark Expedition (Discovery and Exploration)

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For his 34th birthday, on August 1 Clark ordered a special meal to be prepared, consisting of “a Saddle of fat Vennison, an Elk fleece & a Bevertail to be cooked and a Desert of Cheries, Plumbs, Raspberries Currents and grapes of a Supr. ” Some nights the captains would issue each man a four-ounce ration of whiskey and, despite their weariness, the men would celebrate with dancing while Cruzatte played his fiddle. On the Fourth of July in 1804, which they celebrated in present-day Atchison County, Kansas, near the mouth of the Kansas River, they marked the occasion not only with whiskey but also with cannon fire.

Among the other supplies Lewis purchased in Philadelphia were scientific and navigational instruments, including a chronometer (an accurate clock set to Greenwich Mean Time, necessary for calculating longitude), for which he paid $250. 37 on fishing tackle. From Israel Wheelen, a Philadelphia merchant, he bought 80 “pocket Looking glasses,” 72 pieces of striped silk ribbon, and 30-odd pounds of white, yellow, red, and blue beads, all intended as presents or for bartering with the western Indians.

S. government for the ceremony that saw the Louisiana Territory handed over, first from Spain to France, and then from France to the United States. They were no longer on foreign soil when they stood on the west bank of the Mississippi. That was certainly good news. So was the arrival of spring shortly thereafter. By March 20 frogs could be heard croaking, by March 26 Clark was recording the weather as “worm and fair,” by April 1 the spicewood was in bloom, followed soon after by apple and peach trees, and by the noisy passage of flocks of waterfowl flying northward.

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